By Kenton Berg and Evan Schmitt
Stop number five on the Seattle Cyclocross Series brought riders back to Steilacoom Park
for the second time this season. The race proceeds benefitted the St. Jude Children’s Research
Hospital and this year marked the 11th year of the partnership. The course was ran in reverse of
the course from a month ago and featured a long run-up with three barriers scattered through the
run. The course would favor the climbers with two significant climbs and a hair-raising descent.
The elite men’s race quickly separated on the first lap. Three riders formed a lead group
that was chased by two riders. Logan Owen (Redline), Steve Fisher (Revel Consulting/Rad
Racing) and Morgan Schmitt (Cyclocrossracing.com) were in the lead group and were being
pursued by 15 year old Nolan Brady (Old Town Bicycle) and John Christian Flack (Olympia
Orthopedic). On the final lap, Owen and Fisher dropped Schmitt and left the victory to be
decided in the sprint. Fisher came out of the final barricade with a 5 meter gap on Owen but he
closed that down. Owen ended up taking the sprint by hundreds of a second, verified by the
photo finish camera. Schmitt would roll in for third. Brady would win a tight sprint for fourth
The Elite Women’s race would play out in a similar fashion to the men’s race and would
feature tight racing as it has all season long. Courtney McFadden (Cycling NW), Mel Lewis
(CycleU/PopCap), Jessica Cutler (Cucina Fresca) and Kristi Berg (CycleU/PopCap) would be
the four protagonists for the duration of the race and would leave the rest of the field behind on
lap one. McFadden moved the front and by lap 2 had created a small gap the other three girls.
By the time the lead four would start working their way up through the men’s masters and single
speed fields the gaps were getting smaller and things looked to be coming back together. While
they did for a brief bit, McFadden and Lewis would prove to be too strong for Berg and Cutler
and would find themselves together on the final lap to decide the winner. With a solid kick
after the pre-finish straight barrier Lewis would surge and take McFadden towards the line but
McFadden would be unable to come around her and in what looked very much like a dead heat
to the crowd would have to be verified by the finish camera. Lewis would be declared the winner
by less than 6 inches with McFadden second and Cutler would roll in to round out the top three.
Going into the final two races of the season McFadden will have her work cut out to hold off
Lewis and take the series win.
The Seattle series takes a week off and comes back to Sprinker Park on November 20th.