Neo-pro Jessica Cutler (CyclocrossRacing.com) fights off Kari Studley (Redline) and Jenni Gaertner (Motofish Racing) to take the win.
It was another hot and dusty day in the greater Seattle area on Saturday as over a thousand racers headed to the Marymoor Velodrome in Redmond, Washington for MFG’s StarCrossed event.
While this year’s twilight event lacked in stars and status (it was not UCI-sanctioned this year so no Sue Butler, Katarina Nash or Caroline Mani at this race), the enthusiastic crowd and vendors didn’t seem to mind one bit as every category got to race –even the wee-little ones on balance bikes – and the event went on long after sun down.
Seattle’s record dry spell made for a very fast, dry, bumpy and above all, dusty course with the occasional barrier, log, concrete and uphill section.
Conveniently located between a barrier section and the finish, the beer garden opened just before 4 p.m. and by the time the Elite racers rolled up for staging, the garden was packed with a good-spirited crowd of spectators and hecklers.
The fading sun cast an orange glow over the dust bowl as Kari Studley (Redline), Jenni Gaertner (Motofish Racing) and the other Elite women lined up at the start. Gaertner took the hole shot on the pavement but Studley was quick to follow. Soon, the women were intermingled with the Single Speed women and Cat 3 men racers on the course, making it difficult to keep track of the gaps and placing.
The first two laps indicated that this race would be a battle between Studley and Gaertner but soon a third contender came rushing up the course: CyclocrossRacing.com’s Jessica Cutler had elbowed her way to the front of the pack after a back row start.
While Gaertner and Studley traded places, Cutler set comfortably in third before attacking Gaertner. Half a lap later, Cutler used the grassy straightaway to her advantage and attacked again, taking the lead away from Studley.
Fighting hard to keep her lead, Cutler managed to finish a full 14 seconds ahead of her to secure the first place finish.
Studley took second, Gaertner third, and trailing just five seconds behind Gaertner was Tina Brubaker (Speedvagen Racing) from Portland. Lea Stralka from Ragnarok rounded off the Top 5.