December 09, 2017 (Garland, Texas) – The course at W. Cecil Winter Park for the Resolution Cross Cup featured steep climbing and wooded single-track sections, as well as a new 110-foot sand pit. Courtenay McFadden (Pivot Cycles DNA Cycling) of Bellingham, Wash. and Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz/Donkey Label) of Santa Cruz, Calif. proved to be the best in the woods and through the sand to win the Category 2 competitions in Garland, Texas.
It is the sixth year for the fourth consecutive season that Resolution Cross Cup has been part of USA Cycling Professional Cyclocross (ProCX), and it is the only UCI cyclocross race in Texas this year. In addition, Saturday’s amateur ‘cross races are the fifth and final event of the statewide 2017/18 TXBRA Texas Grand Prix of Cyclocross Race Series (GPoTX).
“It’s always a confidence booster,” McFadden said about getting a win. “I feel like I was on the front the entire race. I tried to get Crystal (Anthony) to come around, but she wouldn’t really come around. Crystal was really strong. She rode the power sections really well. Sunny is super strong and was able to claw her way back to us.”
By the second time through the woods, the separation had clearly been made on a sunny, dry day in Texas. Crystal Anthony (Maxxis Shimano Pro Cyclocross) secured herself to McFadden’s wheel, and Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team) of Missouri dangled close behind in third. The threesome continued to circle the course until Anthony stubbled in the woods and McFadden got away.
“I knew I wanted to lead in the woods, through the technical, flowy stuff,” McFadden said. “And then Crystal went in that last lap. I thought my only saving grace would be in the woods. I knew whoever hit the pavement first would most likely get it (the win). You need to be in those twisty woods before the finish because there is absolutely no passing in there. She tried to ride the run up and crashed, so I ran right by her and got the gap and pinned it from there.”
Anthony would remount and sprint to the finish with McFadden, but finish second. Gilbert, who finished third last year in this race, would secure third place again, just four seconds back. Twenty-year-old Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) of Portland, Ore. would finish fourth.
There would be a threesome of Elite Men who captured center stage at Winter Park with three laps to go – ProCX points leader Ortenblad, Eric Brunner (EVOL DevoElite Racing) of Boulder, Colo., and Canadian Michael van den Ham (Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare). Both Ortenblad and van den Ham consistently rode the sand areas. With two laps to go, Brunner would be dropped in the signature sand section. Then Ortenblad set his sights on dropping van den Ham.
“The plan going in was to just ride the sand as fast as I could for one lap,” Ortenblad said after the win. “I knew no one would be able to get away in the tree (section) because it is so tight. I figured my best shot to open up a gap was on the other parts of the course. So I sprinted into the sand and made it to the top, and Michael (van den Ham) just wasn’t able to make it quite as far. I was able to twist the throttle and get a bit of a gap there.”
The newly-crowned Canadian Cyclocross national champion would finish eight seconds behind Ortenblad for second. He was on the podium at Resolution Cross Cup both days last year, getting a silver and bronze. A surprising push was made on the final lap by Jack Kisseberth (JAM Fund / NCC) of for third place. Brunner would finish seventh.
It has been a breakout year for Ortenblad, who may have just sewn up his ProCX title for the year with Saturday’s win. “That was number 10 today, so that was definitely big,” Ortenblad said about the number of ProCX wins for the season. “Last year I had a couple of wins for sure, but nothing dominant. I started super strong, and built a lot of confidence. It’s the season we were training for.”
The 2017 ProCX season concludes on Sunday with races at Resolution Cross Cup, as well as the Hunter Subaru North Carolina Grand Prix (NCGP) in Hendersonville, N.C.
1. Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz/Donkey Label)
2. Michael van den Ham (Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare)
3. Jack Kisseberth (JAM Fund / NCC)
1. Courtenay McFadden (Pivot Cycles DNA Cycling)
2. Crystal Anthony (Maxxis Shimano Pro Cyclocross)
3. Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team)