Woodland Park GP Race Report

By Tuesday, November 24, 2015 2015, Cyclocross

The day dawned bright, clear and cold as Seattle settled in for a lull between storms. Sunny and clear isn’t the stereotypical weather for the MFG finale at Woodland Park. Years past the race has been rainy, or, at the very least, wet. Held later in the season to make room for a weekend of UCI racing, this year’s Woodland Park GP was surprisingly dry. The revamped course featured tricky corners, and a deceptive leg searing barrier forced run up. Sections of course remained slick throughout the day, but by the time the elite women took to the course, large portions had dried out. Spectators clustered in groups at both run ups to cheer for their local favorites, and a group dressed as escaped zoo animals (Woodland Park is also home to a zoo) offered encouragement and mini muffin hand ups.

The women’s race started off fast, with only a few of the usual suspects making a group of four that forced a quick separation. That group included series leader Kristen Kelsey (AXIOM HVAC/Cycle U), her teammate Melanie Lewis, and Monica Lloyd (Olympia Orthopedic Associates) the Athletic’s Abby Watson and Richard Sachs’ rider Elizabeth White. Within two laps however Monica Lloyd was off the front of the group and gaining time on her competitors. She would cruise to what seemed like an easy victory with a flawless, smooth ride, finishing the day with nearly fifty seconds in hand. Behind her Watson, Kelsey and Lewis weaved through lapped traffic and battled for position. In the end Lewis would best Watson in a sprint to the line, and Kelsey would roll in for fourth, and synching the series overall in the process.

Temps had warmed significantly by the start of the men’s field. The men took advantage of a dryer course, cruising through several sections with a ton of speed. The opening laps saw Russell Stevenson (Trek CXC), Raleigh/FSA CX’s Steve Fisher, and Zach McDonald (Source Endurance) and Rad Racing’s Scott Funston take control. The junior couldn’t hold on however, and soon it was Fisher, McDonald, and Stevenson animating the race. With four to go Fisher had fallen off while McDonald kept Stevenson behind him. “My goal today was to just ride the front and not let anyone else take a turn.” McDonald said afterwards. The rider tried several times to dispatch Stevenson, but the elder rider held on to McDonald’s wheel over the courses rolling climbs and sharp corners, but in the end it was McDonald who would still take the victory from the former Master’s World champ Stevenson. Fisher would eventually finish third.

The series ends this year with Kristen Kelsey taking the women’s overall, followed by Hedi Wood (333FabCX) and Monica Lloyd finishing third for the year. On the men’s side of things Steve Fisher, had his win locked down by the fourth race of the season, Stevenson—who missed two races this year, while competing elsewhere—finishes the series off in second, and Dyna Racing’s Mitchell Thonton finishes third, in a two way tie with Scott Funston with 96 points.

The series is over, but the party is not. On Monday, November 30th, series sponsor Brower’s Café will host the post season awards party from 6:00 pm till 9:00 pm. Brower’s Café is located at 400 N. 35th St. in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.