As a Chicagoan, Sydney Guagliardo (Psimet) always gets excited about riding cyclocross courses with a lot of elevation change, but Thursday’s tough layout at Hartford was a little different than she expected, “I was excited, but once I saw the elevation change didn’t actually involve climbing, it involved running, I got a little nervous.” Guagliardo was able to overcome her nerves about the running to run out to an early lead she would not rescind en route to her first National Championship in the Women’s Masters 35-39 race.
Guagliardo kept the theme of big early leads going by blasting out to a 40-second advantage after the embankment off-camber and ups and downs on the levee. The early lead was not what the Psimet racer was expecting, but oftentimes cyclocross requires riders to call audibles on the fly.
“That was the last thing I was expecting today. I was kind of hoping to sit in for the first lap and assess the girls in front of me. Once I took the lead on the run-up I was like ‘Wait a second, what do I do? I’m going to just keep pedaling.’ So that’s what happened. I just wanted to ride really clean through the first technical section and once I felt confident in that, I just let it open.”
Let it open, she did and Guagliardo never looked back during the 40 minute race. She held her lead near a minute as she cruised home as the 2017 Masters 35-39 National Champion.
There has been talk on the internet lately about leg warmers, and Guagliardo made her offering to that conversation during the race. Halfway through the race she ditched a loose right leg warmer halfway through the race and she joked about it after, “I think that might have been the key, that might be why I won. Like a lucky thing. No, I just didn’t pull them up high enough I guess.”
While Guagliardo was cooking up a Stars-and-Stripes jersey, an epic battle for second between Alexandra Campbell-Forte (Vanderkitten CX) and Sarah Kaufmann (Stans NoTubes Womens Elite) was breaking out. The two quickly formed a chase duo and engaged in an epic back and forth tussle into the last lap.
The section of off-cambers and climbs along the levee were open for the first two races of the morning, and in the Women’s 35-39 race it appeared the levee sections may be decisive. During the penultimate lap Kaufmann took a small lead into the section and extended it to eight seconds through the series of climbs and frozen, rutted off-cambers.
After Kaufmann opened up a gap, Campbell-Forte was able to battle back and eventually took the lead back during the next lap. After surrendering seconds to Kaufmann on the embankment during previous laps, she put everything she had into getting up the hill and into the technical woods section first. It worked, and she took the lead heading into the technical back half of the course and held it through the finish line for silver.
Campbell-Forte spoke about her back-and-forth with Kaufmann, “Sarah [Kaufmann] and I kept going back and forth. She had me on the hill every lap and then I’d catch up on the flat coming around and then we’d switch again. Last lap I knew I had to just get up that hill, get over, and get into the woods and just go for it. I knew I could find my line in the woods because it was pretty packed down by then.”
Kaufmann finished third, Allyson Tufano (Patapsco Bicycles) took fourth, and Stacey Richardson (unattached) finished fifth.
2017 CX National Championships Hartford Day 3 Results Masters Women 35-39
|3||178||KAUFMANN||Sarah||Stans NoTubes Womens Elite||41:11:00||1:15|
|6||184||SCHEIFELE||Cati||West Chester PA||43:43:00||3:47|
|7||171||BURTON||Alexandra||Portland Bicycle Studio||44:00:00||4:04|
|8||189||YEH||Nicole||Keep It Tight||44:06:00||4:10|
|10||176||HOLICKY||Breeze||EVOL DevoElite Racing||44:28:00||4:32|
|14||180||MINERY||Jennifer||Pedal Power Team-MA||45:52:00||5:56|
|18||173||GOULD||Valerie||Guys Racing Club||40:22:00||13:53|