The men started their 60-minute StarCrossed race under the dark evening skies at the King County’s Marymoor Park and Velodrome. The event marked the first of eight rounds in the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) series.
Among the stellar line up was Francis Mourey, Trebon(KONA FSA) and Chrisitan Huele, plus Page, Barry Wicks (KONA-FSA), Troy Wells, Derrick St-John, Adam Craig and Geoff Kabush. Noticeably absent from the field was the Cannondale-Cyclorossworld.com trio who were competing in various other races around the country including the USA Cycling Pro Championships held in Greenville, South Carolina.
Mourey showed his European ‘cross pedigree when he opened up a sizable lead in the first 10 minutes of the race. Some 20 seconds back, Page dug deep to reduce the margin to the leader. Trebon found the legs to catch and pass Page for second place, both on the hunt to reel in Mourey. When the trio finally united starved-for-cross fans turned wild under the beer tent at the sight of a tactical start to the first race of the season.
Mid-race, Trebon did much of the work for he and Mourey to establish a slim lead ahead Page. Several laps later, Craig and Huele assumed the third and fourth place spots in the chase for the two leaders. Trebon orbited the final lap with Mourey in tow. The Frenchman made his winning move in the final hundred metres on the Velodrome in a two-up sprint to the line.
Katerina Nash (Luna) kicked off her cyclo-cross season with a solo victory at Starcrossed p/b Stanley, the world-class ‘crosser finishing with nearly a 40-second margin ahead of Wendy Simms (KONA-FSA) in second and Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru) in third.
The twilight event marked the first of eight rounds in the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) series as Nash’s win gave her the early series lead.
Fifty of the nation’s top cyclo-cross specialists lined up under buckets of rain to start their 45-minute race. Highlighting the call ups was former Canadian national champ Wendy Simms (KONA-FSA) who has returned to competition after taking time season off to welcome her first child into the world.
Defending champion Helen Wyman (KONA FSA) was not on the start line but last year’s runner up Sue Butler was ready for a battle against Nash, defending NACT winner Natasha Elliott, Kari Studley, Wendy Williams and Barbara Howe.
Butler is known for her aggressive starts and set the tone of the race early on by forging a path through the slippery mud that only Nash, Studley and Simms could follow. Nash muscled past the small group and gained a solo lead roughly 20 minutes into the race. Nash extended her lead to roughly 30 seconds ahead of Simms and several additional seconds to Butler.
The Next Day.
Katerina Nash and Francis Mourey took their second wins in as many days at the Rad Racing GP outside of Seattle, Washington. Held on a new, flat course with a long beach section, the course showed that last night’s StarCrossed wins were no flukes.
In the women’s race, Nash once again kept her lead over Wendy Simms (Kona) in messy conditions, while Mourey took an early lead and didn’t look back. Behind, Jonathan Page and Christian Heule resumed their Rad Racing battle from last year, with a similar result, only this time Page outsprinted Heule for second instead of for the win.
Typical Pacific North West weather, ranging from warm and sunny to cold torrential downpours, left riders second-guessing both clothing and tire decisions. Although the course was quick to dry out, a steady rain during the Masters 1/2 race made sure the twisty surfaces, off-cambers and rooty sections were treacherous by the time the Elite fields were up. The first of the two long sand sections along Lake Sammamish had been a sloppy run for all earlier categories, but was widened for the Elites, allowing for many of the riders to stay on their rigs – and gum up their drivetrains in the process. The second sand section was a leg-strength-sucking-affair, however, for all challengers.
3 Kona Riders in the top 15 with trebon 4th, Wicks 8th and our latest addition, Sean Babcock in 13th. Not bad start to the season.