After a disappointing last USA Cyclocross National Championships last year where she crashed out of the race, Kari Studley (Team Redline) took over the race from the first lap and never surrendered to win her first Stars & Stripes in the Women Singlespeed race earlier today.
“I’m excited because last year I was gunning for it and I didn’t make it to the end of the race because I separated my shoulder on the first lap so I wanted it. It felt great. Last year unfortunately I spent it on the year, it was great to finish the race today.” Studley told podiuminsight a few minutes after crossing the finish line with her arms raised.
A small field of 12 women lined up for the first Championship race of the four-day event in Madison, WI at Badger Prairie Park. The course can be best described in one word: power. With its wide track, lots of ups and downs and no really technical sections.
“You just have to really respect it, you can’t get cocky because it’s greasy especially in the afternoon you could see it icing over with every lap so you had to just be careful with your lines.” Studley said about the course.
The big question is how will the temperatures fluctuations impact the course conditions? Even throughout the day, it was changing. Studley continued, “There’s usually two lines, the middle was kinda fresh but you could just see the ice coming up. It was fun. You want to go faster but you have to keep in check because it’s faster if you stay upright.”
Jenni Gaertner (Raleigh) took the holeshot but Studley quickly came around her on the first lap and just powered away from the rest. Then, she focused on herself.
“Jenni had a great start and then on the hill, I decided to just go for it. And that was it.” Studley said. “Just tried to race myself, pretty much just watched the top board, tried to keep the same time every lap.”
With one lap to go, it was in the bag, and Studley was thinking one thing, keeping it clean. “Just clean and safe and conservative.”
Behind, Meghan Korol (Bob’s Red Mill) quickly settled into second, giving chase but the gap kept growing every lap. Riders battled for third with Lauri Webber pulling away to claim the bronze medal.
Studley is not done racing. Her schedule still includes a Masters race on Friday and the Elite Women’s race on Sunday.
Top 5 Singlespeed Women
1. Kari Studley (Bothell, Wash./Team Redline) 41:26
2. Meghan Korol (Asheville, N.C./Bob’s Red Mill) 41:54
3. Lauri Webber (Newark, Del.) 42:45
4. Nocole Borem (Warsaw, Ind./Bob’s Red Mill) 43:31
5. Jennifer Maxwell (Washington, D.C./Van Dessel Factory Team) 43:33