It was a cloudless 64-degree day with no wind and the terrain was dry. The wisest racers left their mud tires at home and mounted up file treads (“Oh darn, did I bring them?”). Eight hundred cyclocross competitors gathered at MFG’s race #4, held at Magnuson Park on the shores of Lake Washington near Seattle. This race course was mostly flat and fast, and featured one long but gentle gravel hill climb, with a grassy descent shortly before a bottom turn and the officials’ stage and finish line. Over the day, spectators watched the course grow even faster as elite talent rolled by, and then disappeared in a whoosh, bouncing across grass, dirt and gravel, and finally a paved section that passed the finish line,
where racers could unleash all their remaining energy into in all-out sprints.
This venue has its own distinctive look-and-feel, with a closed-off roadway running straight through all the teams’ and vendors’ tents. This layout breeds, almost enforces, social interaction, which is, after all, the main reason many racers come to cyclocross, isn’t that true? Threading through this little tent city made one feel like they were getting lost in a street bazaar. It really was a perfect circus where riders and visitors could walk along and touch or drool over a lineup of cool bikes, hung on racks. The calamity of people and bikes occasionally squeezed the roadway into a narrow alley. Racers could also sheepishly peek into team tents where recruiters were openly canvassing for new talent, and then pretend to ignore vendors showing off some of their latest bike tech products. And finally, all could smell and
consume from the various aromatics of peddled food items (not pedaled), for sale from the food trucks.
As mentioned, nearly 800 racers turned out, including 119 youth, large fields of women, and a brave group of 33 beginner women and 49 beginner men. Top finishers of the elite men were Spencer Paxson (Kona Bicycles), with Steve Fisher (Mcgovern Cycles / FSA CX) 42 seconds behind, and Derek Parsons (Cliff Bar) another 38 seconds behind. Fourth place was an exciting high-speed sprint finish tie between Garrett Sczechowski (Dyna Racing) and 14-year-old Adrian Magun (Apex Racing).
The women’s elite was won by Mindy McCutcheon (DNA Cotton Sox), who led by 19 seconds after the first lap, holding that gap evenly until the last lap, beating second-place Monica Lloyd (Olympia Orthopaedic Assoc) by 18 seconds. Trailing Monica’s wheel almost the entire race until the last lap was Stephanie Taplin (Indigenous Wheel Co.), who finished 36 seconds behind for third.
This race was sponsored by NUUN, who shared their cool hats with podium winners. Most competitors loved this race day, especially when that familiar digital lap counter at the finish line flashed its big letters, “YOU’RE ALL DONE!”