by Tanner Culbreath
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma hosted the first UCI event in the state with Ruts N Guts this weekend. The event is its sixth year but 2015 marks the first time the race is on the UCI calendar as a C2 event. Read how it went down, and be sure to keep an eye out for our race report from Ruts 'n Guts day two.
The Elite Women started out full gas with Meghan Korol (Team Handmade) snagging the holeshot. A quick u-turn, and 120 feet of sand quickly helped to mix things up a bit on segment one of the course. Lap one had a few back-and-forths with Korol, Emily Kachorek (Squid Bikes), and Amanda Nauman (SDG - Muscle Monster). Nauman was the one to set that pace early and came through the line on lap one with a 10 second gap over Kachorek, slowly opening that gap as the race progressed. Korol set a solid pace in third, and was able to open a gap on the fourth place group, at least temporarily.
As the race progressed, Erica Zaveta (Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team) chipped away at that third place position. The race would end with Zaveta third, Kachorek second, and Nauman taking the victory.
Want to hear how it went, firsthand? Check out this interview with Elite Women's winner Amanda Nauman.
For the men, Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo Cycling Team) snagged the holeshot with a ripping effort down the start pavement. The same sand section that served as a decision-maker in the Women's race was a chance to string the men out from their bunch sprint to the grass. Skyler Mackey (KCCX Elite Cyclocross Team) was on the front of this train straight out of the sand and into the woods through the first set of technical turns. Mackey led Durrin, Joachim Parbo (Challenge Tires), Tristan Ulh (Giant South), Yannick Eckmann (Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team) and Andrew Juiliano (VOLER/HRS/ROCK LOBSTER). At this point Craig Richey (Red Truck - Garneau p/b Easton Cycling) was sitting 14th or 15th. Richey had a front row start, so a possible hang-up in the sand set him back.
Durrin made his move, pressing the pace, leaving the others behind. His gap was up to about 10 seconds by lap three and he seemed to look comfortable riding the course. Unexpectedly, he went down hard through the sand and the chasers took back that lead quickly. At this point Eckmann and Mackey had closed the gap, and jumped to gap Durrin. Richey had moved from 14th or 15th all the way into fifth place.
With Eckmann driving the pace, Ulh, Mackey and Juiliano formed the chase.
Richey made his move up to Eckmann with Uhl in tow. At this point the other riders started to come unhinged and the trio opened an even bigger gap.
The gap stayed consistent at 15 seconds until Eckmann bobbled in the sand, and with two-and-a-half laps to go. Ulh went hammer down and had the race winning gap. Despite their solid effort, the chasers, Eckmann and Richey were unable to make contact, and Eckmann dropped Richey in the last lap. Day one's Elite Men's race would finish Ulh, Eckmann, Richey.
Check out an interview with Elite Men's Winner Tristan Uhl.
Stay tuned as we give you full coverage of day two of Ruts 'n Guts.