Ed. note: Dennis Crane photography reported on CXNatz in the PNW 2019 for Bike Hugger.
Starting on Tuesday 12/10/19, the nation’s best cyclocross racers converged on Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, WA. They arrived to compete in the 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championship. They came with dreams of battling for the top podium step, jerseys, and medals. And, for the right to claim supremacy over mud, cold rain, quad-busting climbs and descents reminiscent of off-camber slip and slides.
Many left with no more than epic stories, dirty and broken gear, tears and disappointments and public vows to bring it on full gas at next year’s championships.
The well-prepared went home with jerseys and medals, and cheers from the cyclocross nation. Enjoy some highlights of the final day of racing that featured the “premiere’ elite events- U23, Elite Women and Men. Races were won and lost on the four climbs and descents so mastering them was critical for any chance to be a contender.
1st Place- Eric Brunner (Boulder, Colorado Blue Stages Racing) “surfed” his way through the descents on his way to a 44-second gap and the top step.
2nd Place -Caleb Swartz (Madison, Wisconsin Linear Sport RT/Trek)
3rd Place- Scott Funston (Maple Valley, WA The Hold Fast Project)
1st Place- Clara Honsinger (Corvallis, Oregon Team S&M Sellwood Cycle Repair) dominated from the start, crushing the climbs, smiling on the descents, eventually soloing off the front with 2nd Place Rebecca Rahringer (Concord, N.H Kona Maxxis Shimano). Their move forced 15-time National Champion Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, CO KFC Racing p/b Trek/Knight) to fight to regain contact for the last half of the race to finish in 3rd overall.
To say that the pilots at the front of the Elite Men sonic boom-paced race are superheroes of speed is an understatement. They made the course look flat. The tough climbs and descents seem more like a smooth putting green rather than the monsters they were. Explicitly, this race went FULL GAS from the green light as the leaders left everyone else in their jet wash.
1st Place Gage Hech (Parker, CO Donelly Aevollo) mentioned after the race that it took him a lap to get this bottom of the 4th descent breaking the course tape mishap into the crowd out of his mind.
2nd Place Curtis White (Delanson, NY Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
3rd Place Stephen Hyde (Easthampton, MA Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com)
Afterwards, end of the fun—Team Mechanic working into the golden hour.