Last year in Reno, Sarah Sturm (Specialized - TenSpeed Hero) turned a few heads while riding to a second-place finish in Reno while wearing a pair of jorts. #sscx, and all that.
Saturday in Louisville, Sturm upped her costume game with a rather flashy outfit.
"This is my lucky singlespeed corset," she said. "I wore it at Singlespeed Worlds and was just washing off the mud from that. One of the women organized a costume theme called G.L.O.S.S. "The Glamorous Women of Singlespeed."
Having a little extra luck was probably not a bad thing on the muddy Joe Creason course punctuated by treacherous descents and long climbs up and down the bowl. However, the way Sturm rode, luck was not necessary.
Sturm took the holeshot and quickly got off the front of a field that included defending champion Meredith Miller (RCCBDR) and Masters 40-44 champion Melissa Barker (Feedback Sports Racing), among others.
Sturm's lead was 18 seconds after one lap. It grew from there as Sturm ripped, slipped and ran around the challenging course.
The other secret to her success?
"I suffer through enduro racing," she said. My boyfriend is an enduro racer, and I get dragged to these terrifying enduro races. It paid off. No braking."
The Glamorous Women of Singlespeed
Singlespeed cyclocross is known for taking the sport's alternative roots to the extreme, but at Nationals, it gets a much more serious vibe.
A few podium hopefuls, however, decided to have a little fun with the race. They dubbed it "The Glorious Women of Singlespeed." Sturm wore her lucky corset, Kristen Legan (TenSpeed Hero p/b Bitch Stix) went for the gold with shiny gold pants and other riders got in on the fun as well.
Sturm kicked off the race in her lucky corset by taking the holeshot. "I’ve been working on my starts this year," she said. "It’s been my first UCI season, so I’ve been starting in the back and I just really worked on clipping in and that seemed to work today."
After taking the holeshot, Sturm did not rest, racing out to an early lead. When she hit the limestone steps for the first time, she already had an impressive lead. Behind her, Legan, Miller, Barker and Carla Williams (Deschutes Brewery) lined up to chase.
The chase group quickly broke up on the second and third climbs of the first lap. At the end of Lap 1, Sturm led Barker by 18 seconds, who in turn led Williams by 21 seconds. Miller was back a bit further.
In the second of three long, muddy laps, Sturm extended her lead, while Miller bridged up to Barker at the midway point of the trip around the course. The two stayed wheel-to-wheel into the climb. Barker was a bit quicker on the run-up, and at the end of the lap, Sturm led by 40 seconds while Miller and Barker still jockeyed for second.
The next lap, Sturm stayed safe and crossed with a comfortable margin to win the Singlespeed National Championship.
"I really wanted to have a good race," she said. "I got second last year after not really racing [during the season]. I wanted to see what I had."
In the last lap, Miller got a jump on Barker on the upper part of the course and extended the margin on the final climbs to take home second. Barker rounded out the podium in third.
For more from the race, see the winner interview, photo gallery and results below.
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Sarah Sturm: Winner Interview