BROKEN ARROW, Okla —Athletes returned to Chisolm Trail South Park in Broken Arrow for UCI Category 2 races on Sunday at Ruts n’ Guts Presented by Team Air Assurance/AVB Bank. The two final contests of the weekend were the final events on the USA Cycling’s Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX). In its ninth year, Ruts N’ Guts delivered fast and exciting racing under sunny but cold conditions with highs in the low 40s F.
In the Elite Women’s event, Samantha “Sammi” Runnels (Austin, Texas/Squid Squad) pulled away early and ride solo to her third ProCX victory of the season. Runnels swept the West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix on Oct. 6-7.
Continuing his winning ways, Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./Alpha Bicycle Co./ Groove Subaru) took his sixth ProCX win of the season in the Elite Men’s race. Hecht has claimed the last four ProCX races of the season, sweeping both races at Resolution ’Cross Cup on Dec. 2-3 in Garland, Texas and Ruts n’ Guts this weekend.
Runnels Rails the Ruts
A group of four pulled away from the 22-rider field halfway through the first lap of the Elite Women’s Event.
Clara Honsinger (Portland, Ore./Team S&M CX) quickly took over the pacemaking in the front group from Saturday’s winner Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah/Alpha Bicycle Co.- Groove Subaru) who claimed the holeshot. Runnels and Sunny Gilbert (Ellisville, Mo./Van Dessel Factory Team) also made the selection.
Seeing an opening, Runnels immediately went to the front when Honsinger bobbled on the backside of the course the second time around the circuit. Though Honsinger recovered quickly to give chase, Runnels was able to stay away. Halfway through the six-lap race, Runnels had a gap of 25 seconds on Gilbert, Clouse and Honsinger.
Behind them, the field shattered into groups of one and two riders. Caroline Mani (Besancon, France) was chasing solo in fifth place followed by Raylyn Nuss (St. Louis, Mo./Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek) who has moved up six spots to sixth place in two laps, Beth Ann Orton (Bend, Ore./Team S&M CX), Amanda Nauman (Laguna Hills, Calif./SDG – Muscle Monster), Jennifer Malik (Columbus, Ohio) and Bridget Tooley (Frisco, Texas/Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare).
Knowing that she was running out of time, Clouse charged ahead solo to catch Runnels and managed to close the gap through the barriers. With one lap to go. Runnels was still holding on to a seven-second lead on Clouse while Honsinger was pulling away from Gilbert.
Runnels finished solo for the win in a time of 42 minutes and 38 seconds.
Clouse followed in second place 11 seconds later for her fifth ProCX podium of the year. Honsinger took third place, her second of the weekend and her fifth ProCX podium, 21 seconds back.
Hecht Doubles Up
Under the impetus of Cody Kaiser (El Dorado Hills, Calif./LangeTwins / Specialized), a group of seven riders separated themselves from the 30 rider-field in the first lap of the Elite Men’s contest.
Joining Kaiser in the front were Hecht, Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld), Lance Haidet (San Luis Obispo, Calif./Donnelly Sports), Michael van den Ham (Brandon, Manitoba/Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare), Anthony Clark (Feeding Hills, Mass./Squid Squad) and Jack Kisseberth (Westhampton, Mass./Garneau Easton p/b Transitions).
By the end of the second of nine laps, van den Ham had taken over the pace making while Andrew “Drew” Dillman (Fairdale, Ky./SDG Factory Team) had made his way into the group.
The composition of the front and chase groups continued to flow and ebb over the next four laps.
With five laps to go, the front group now consisted of Haidet, White, Hecht, van den Ham and Eric Brunner (Boulder, Colo./Full Cycle Cyclocross Team). Chasing 15 seconds behind were Kaiser, Clark, Brannan Fix (Fort Collins, Colo./Alpha Bicycle co. / Groove Subaru), and Spencer Petrov (McKinney, Texas/Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld). Due to mechanical, Dillman had fallen back to 12th place, 31seconds behind the leaders.
One lap later, the front group was down to three riders after Brunner and Haidet dropped back. Going into three laps to go, Saturday’s runner-up White attacked forcing Hecht to chase and close the gap. The move dropped van den Ham, the reigning Canadian Cyclocross Champion. Hecht quickly responded to not only catch White but to go around and push ahead.
With two laps to go, Hecht had a seven-second lead on White and 29 seconds on Haidet. One lap later, the gaps were increasing while the fight for fifth place raged between Petrov, Fix, Kaiser and Dillman.
Hecht took his back to back victory in a time of 56 minutes and 44 seconds.
White crossed the line 10 seconds later for second place and his 13th ProCX podium. Van den Ham took third place, 47 seconds back. Haidet was fourth and Petrov, fifth.
The USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships for the 2018 racing season take place in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 11-16. A total of 45 competitions will be contested at Joe Creason Park. Following five non-championship races for men and women on the opening day, 38 winners of the coveted Stars-and-Stripes award jerseys will be determined in Junior, Senior, Collegiate, Under-23, Masters and Elite categories.
Live streaming will be available on USA Cycling’s YouTube channel on Sunday, Dec. 16. You can catch the Junior Men’s, U23 and Junior Women’s (ages 17-22), U23 Men’s, Elite Women’s and Elite Men’s races LIVE beginning at 9 a.m. ET.
All races will be covered starting Tuesday on Twitter via @USACyclingLIVE. Galleries will be posted nightly on USA Cycling’s Facebook Page. The official hashtag for the event is #CXNats.
Elite Women's Results: 2018 Ruts n' Guts Day 2
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
Elite Men's Results: 2018 Ruts n' Guts Day 2
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|3||3||VAN DEN HAM||Michael||CAN||0:57:31|