Full 2016 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championship coverage can be found right here.

The age group race reports are brought to you in part by Verge Sport.

#CXNats race reports from Wed-Saturday are brought to you in part by Verge Sport.

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.

Nicole Mertz leads Jessica Cutler and takes the Women's Singlespeed Championship race, 2016 Cyclocross National Championships. © Cyclocross Magazine

Nicole Mertz leads Jessica Cutler and takes the Women’s Singlespeed Championship race, 2016 Cyclocross National Championships. © Cyclocross Magazine

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

1Nicole MERTZISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice44:42.
2Jessica CUTLERJamis Pro Cyclocross45:14.
3Melinda MCCUTCHEONCanyon Bicycles-Shimano45:17.
4Emily KACHOREK45:54.
5Jennifer NOWLINPower Fix CX47:52.
6Ellen SHERRILL48:02.
7Campbell STEERS48:25.
8Rebecca BLATTVan Dessel Factory Team48:36.
9Meghan KOROL48:41.
10Margell ABELEvol Elite Racing49:56.
11Nicole DUKESRAM50:10.
12Katrina DOWIDCHUKColavita Midatlantic Womens Te50:15.
13Heidi WOOD333fab CX Factory Team50:17.
14Kristal BONIRapid Racing50:52.
15Allyson TUFANOPatapsco Bicycles50:53.
16Cristienne BEAM50:55.
17Shannon GREENHILL51:02.
18Kelly CHANG51:03.
19Paula BURKSPeachtree Bikes51:03.
20Jennifer MAXWELLColavita Midatlantic Womens Te51:08.
21Julie BAIRDOlympia Cycling Team51:14.
22Ali KNUTSONSaltAir Cross Fever52:19.
23Desiree WHITEOKCVC Bike Lab52:54.
24Amanda SCHAPERGiro Sport Design53:39.
25Tracy JONES MARTINBayou City Racing54:00.
26Deirdre GARVEYBoulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo44:12.
27Dorothy WONGThe TEAM SoCalCross45:03.
28Lupine CRAMERRoosters Bikers Edge45:20.
29Evie EDWARDSSpokesWomen Syndicate Inc.45:55.
30Erin STONE46:34.
31Tammy WILSON46:57.
32Marni HARKERColavita Midatlantic Womens Te47:29.
33Jenna LATOURNICHOLSRutgers University-New Brunswic36:03.
34Shauna SWEETCrosshairs Cycling36:46.
35Rhea ALDRIDGERouler Racing38:04.
36Vicky PABONSugar Cycles/Wholesome Sweetene39:02.
37Rebecca BUBPVogelzang Velo Club43:58.

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2016 Women’s Singlespeed National Championship Photo Gallery

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Nicole Mertz drops in. © R. Riott / Cyclocross Magazine

Nicole Mertz drops in. © R. Riott / Cyclocross Magazine

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