by Celeste Taylor
ASHEVILLE, N.C.—A little bit of sun and a cool breeze helped dry out the course, which just that morning had been greasy with mud.
Meghan Korol (Team Handmade) blasted out of the starting grid to take the holeshot but Mertz responded quickly, working her way to the front. Emily Kachorek (Squid Bikes) also found her way up among the leaders, along with Melinda McCutcheon (Canyon Bicycles-Shimano) who won her first National Championships just yesterday in the Master Women’s 30-34 race, and was able to overcome a fifth row call up in the singlespeed field to get to the front of affairs.
At the first pass of the off camber stretch leading to the bike barn and Ingles Heckle Hill, Kachorek slipped and went off the bike but was able to keep the lead group in her sights and recover.
Halfway through the second lap, Cutler found herself on the ground after taking a corner leading into a drop with slightly too much speed. She was able to recover quickly and renew her pursuit of Mertz but the resulting gap ultimately proved too difficult to overcome.
The reigning Masters 30-34 National Campion McCutcheon worked hard to gain ground on Mertz and Cutler. An unfortunate bobble allowed the leaders to gap McCutcheon while Kachorek drew even closer. Kachorek briefly led McCutcheon but McCutcheon was able to pass and gap Kachorek shortly after.
Rider Catherine Moore (Trek Cyclocross Collective) suffered a crash just before the steep descent following Heckler Hill. Moore, who finished second in the Masters Women 45-49 event yesterday, took a hard hit and suffered a shoulder injury that forced her to drop out of the remainder of the race.
Campbell Steers (Rock Lobster), a category three rider out of California, shocked the crowd by moving from a second-to-last call up into contention for the podium. A mistaken pause before the final lap bumped her overall standing down, but the rider was still able to take seventh behind Ellen Sherrill (Voler/HRS/Clif Bar/Rock Lobster Cyclocross) who finished third in the event in 2015.
Despite Cutler’s best efforts, Mertz continued to pull away and widen the gap between the two riders. With one lap to go, Mertz’s lead had increased to 19 seconds and by the time the two riders crossed the finish line, Mertz was over thirty seconds ahead. McCutcheon was able to pull close to Cutler but was bested at the line by a mere three seconds. Kachorek finished in fourth 32 seconds behind McCutcheon while fifth place finisher Jennifer Nowlin (Power Fix CX) finished nearly two minutes after.
2016 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships Women's Single Speed Full Results
|1||Nicole MERTZ||ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice||44:42.|
|2||Jessica CUTLER||Jamis Pro Cyclocross||45:14.|
|3||Melinda MCCUTCHEON||Canyon Bicycles-Shimano||45:17.|
|5||Jennifer NOWLIN||Power Fix CX||47:52.|
|8||Rebecca BLATT||Van Dessel Factory Team||48:36.|
|10||Margell ABEL||Evol Elite Racing||49:56.|
|12||Katrina DOWIDCHUK||Colavita Midatlantic Womens Te||50:15.|
|13||Heidi WOOD||333fab CX Factory Team||50:17.|
|14||Kristal BONI||Rapid Racing||50:52.|
|15||Allyson TUFANO||Patapsco Bicycles||50:53.|
|19||Paula BURKS||Peachtree Bikes||51:03.|
|20||Jennifer MAXWELL||Colavita Midatlantic Womens Te||51:08.|
|21||Julie BAIRD||Olympia Cycling Team||51:14.|
|22||Ali KNUTSON||SaltAir Cross Fever||52:19.|
|23||Desiree WHITE||OKCVC Bike Lab||52:54.|
|24||Amanda SCHAPER||Giro Sport Design||53:39.|
|25||Tracy JONES MARTIN||Bayou City Racing||54:00.|
|26||Deirdre GARVEY||Boulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo||44:12.|
|27||Dorothy WONG||The TEAM SoCalCross||45:03.|
|28||Lupine CRAMER||Roosters Bikers Edge||45:20.|
|29||Evie EDWARDS||SpokesWomen Syndicate Inc.||45:55.|
|32||Marni HARKER||Colavita Midatlantic Womens Te||47:29.|
|33||Jenna LATOURNICHOLS||Rutgers University-New Brunswic||36:03.|
|34||Shauna SWEET||Crosshairs Cycling||36:46.|
|35||Rhea ALDRIDGE||Rouler Racing||38:04.|
|36||Vicky PABON||Sugar Cycles/Wholesome Sweetene||39:02.|
|37||Rebecca BUBP||Vogelzang Velo Club||43:58.|
2016 Women’s Singlespeed National Championship Photo Gallery