Ruts ‘n’ Guts: Hecht, Runnels close out ProCX with wins

Hecht finishes the racing series with four straight victories, while Runnels goes solo for her third series win.

Samantha Runnels and Gage Hecht closed out USA Cycling’s Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX) with victories in Oklahoma on Sunday.

Hecht continues streak


Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Co.-Groove Subaru) captured his fourth straight victory, as he won two races last weekend at the Resolution Cup and both events at Ruts ‘n’ Guts in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Racing under sunny skies with temperatures in the low 40s, Hecht and six others quickly formed a leading group on the opening lap of Sunday’s race. It grew to eight riders after two laps, and during the middle of the nine-lap race the composition of the groups ebbed and flowed as riders jockeyed for position.

With five laps left, just five riders remained at the sharp end of the race — Hecht, Lance Haidet (Donnelly Sports), Curtis White (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld), Michael van den Ham (Garneau-Easton-Transitions), and Eric Brunner (Full Cycle Cyclocross Team). From that point, the race was on as the smaller group battled it out.

White made a move two laps later after finishing second the previous day. He surged ahead of the leaders, which fractured the group and forced Hecht to go into chase mode. Hecht was able to catch White before he put too much real estate between them and then passed him.

Hecht would not relinquish his lead and eventually finished 10 seconds ahead of White for his sixth win of the 2018 ProCX. Van den Ham was an additional 37 seconds behind in third place.

Runnels does it alone


In the women’s race, four riders — Runnels (Squid Squad), Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX), Katie Clouse (Alpha Bicycle Co.-Groove Subaru), and Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team) — found themselves at the front of the race halfway through the first lap. Runnels, however, was not content to sit in the group and bide her time. In the second half of the next lap, she pushed ahead of her competitors and began her solo ride to victory.

After three times around the course, Runnels had built a 25-second lead over Honsinger, Clouse, and Gilbert as the rest of the field behind them shattered into small groups.

As the laps ticked away, Clouse mounted a challenge and tried to catch Runnels. She pulled to within seven seconds at the start of the bell lap but was unable to reach Runnels and ultimately finished 11 seconds back. Honsinger placed third at 21 ticks behind the winner.

Runnels’s triumph was her third of the series.