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By VeloNews Interactive
The 2003 U.S. National Cyclo-cross Championships kicked off Friday in Portland, Oregon, as collegiate and under-23 women and several masters categories slalomed through the soup toward the stars and stripes.
It being December in the Pacific Northwest, the weather was gray and damp, and the course at Portland International Raceway slick and muddy in spots. Still, the track was relatively fast and flat, with a few off-camber bits to keep things interesting.
The 40-minute collegiate and U-23 women’s races were run concurrently. Defending U-23 champ Megan Monroe (University of Wisconsin) rode conservatively in the sketchy conditions to cross first and claim a new crown – that of collegiate national champion.
“We all just stuck together at the beginning of the race and took it easy on the off-camber sections,” she said. “There were a lot of riders sliding out, so the mud really made the race. One slide-out and you were out of contention. Basically, I just slowed it down a notch and rode a clean race.”
Jennifer Gersbach (University of Colorado) took the silver, followed by Elizabeth Schauer (University of Pittsburgh) in third.
Home-state fave Alice Pennington of Hood River won the U-23 category, despite a first-lap flat that forced her to switch bikes and chase back to the front.
A former national mountain-bike champ, Pennington said her off-road skills served her well on the relatively open course. “I usually struggle with getting off the bike and the run-ups,” she said. “There wasn’t a lot of that on this course. I think my mountain-bike experience helped a lot.”
Runner-up was Jennifer Franklin (San Marcos, California), with Eszter Horanyi (Boulder, Colorado) third.
Meanwhile, in masters racing:
Men 45-49 – Karl Kiester of Denver, who spent the Colorado season flogging the masters 35’s, claimed a national title ahead of hometown favorite Dean Lucas of Portland and the ageless Paul Curley of Taunton, Massachusetts.
Men 50-54 – Northwest legend Dan Norton collected another stars-and-stripes jersey, 45 seconds ahead of Harold Parker (Lenexa, Kansas). David Rath (Williston, Vermont) claimed the bronze.
Men 55+ – James Wagner (Auburn, Washington), put more than a minute on Keith Gregory of Alfred, New York. Frank Cuaresma (San Jose, Califfornia) crossed third for the bronze.
Women 40-44 – Maryann Martinez (West Mystic, Connecticut) won over a pair of Northwesterners, Wanda Howlett (Kent, Washington)And Karen Kenlan (Bend, Oregon).
Women 45+ – Lisa Given (Mercer Island, Washington) defeated Susan McLean (Plaistow, New Hampshire) and Kim Lucas of Portland.
Racing continues Saturday with juniors, collegiate and U-23 men, and most masters competition. Stay tuned to VeloNews Interactive for stories from associate editor Neal Rogers and pictures from photo editor Galen Nathanson.
1. Megan Monroe (University of Wisconsin)
2. Jennifer Gersbach (University of Colorado)
3. Elizabeth Schauer (University of Pittsburgh)
4. Eszter Horanyi (University of Colorado)
5. Catherine Dudley (University of New Hampshire)
1. Alice Pennington (Hood River, Oregon)
2. Jennifer Franklin (San Marcos, California)
3. Eszter Horanyi (Boulder, Colorado)
4. Megan Elliot (Tama, Iowa)
5. Catherine Dudley (New Ipswitch, New Hampshire)
1. Dan Norton (Tukwila, Washington)
2. Harold Parker (Lenexa, Kansas)
3. David Rath (Williston, Vermont)
4. Robert Bieterman (Boulder, Colorado)
5. Mark Schwyhart (Portland, Oregon)
1. Doug Squires (Boulder, Colorado)
2. James Wagner (Auburn, Washington)
3. Keith Gregory (Alfred, New York)
4. Frank Cuaresma (San Jose, California)
5. Walt Chudleigh (Park City, Utah)
1. Maryann Martinez (West Mystic, Connecticut)
2. Wanda Howlett (Kent, Washington)
3. Karen Kenlan (Bend, Oregon)
4. Julia Bestland (Portland, Oregon)
5. Andi Mackie (Walnut Creek, California)
1. Lisa Given (Mercer Island, Washington)
2. Susan McLean (Plaistow, New Hampshire)
3. Kim Lucas (Portland, Oregon)
4. Pam Reid (Portland, Oregon)
5. Shelia Sneft (Cincinnati, Ohio)
1. Karl Kiester (Denver, Colorado)
2. Dean Lucas (Portland, Oregon)
3. Paul Curley (Taunton, Massachusetts)
4. Randall Root (Sterling, Virginia)
5. William Sawyer (Arlington, Massachusetts)