Marne Smiley (Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross) made her trip to Tennessee count as the Chicago resident soloed to victory at the Kingsport Cyclo-cross Cup. Smiley's teammate Meghan Korol finished as runner-up for a Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross 1-2 atop the podium while Emily Shields (SmartStop-Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley) rounded out the top three.
With their sponsor headquartered in Bend, OR, the city hosting this weekend's Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross series finale, the Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross riders had to make Kingsport, and its UCI C2 ranking, count big and they did exactly that.
"We were both hoping we would go one-two today," said Smiley. "I was feeling good about this race even a few days ago. I just feel dialed in.
"I've had a rough season. I got hit by a car earlier in the season so it's been a little bit rough coming back. Physically I was OK, but mentally, it just took some time to be like, ‘Oh, it's OK to be on my bike.' So, coming into the race I was feeling pretty good. I'm really happy I came here!"
After her teammate Meghan Korol, took an early lead, Smiley bridged the gap alone and the two rode together briefly. The teammates talked strategy and Korol told Smiley to take the lead, but nothing was pre-planned.
"We didn't have much of a tactic we just wanted to each have our best race," said Smiley. "I'm Meghan's biggest fan, I adore her! I'm always super excited when she rocks, which she's been doing the whole season."
Smiley began to create an advantage on a log obstacle, hopping over it each time while Meghan and rest of the field ran it. "A key factor was being able to be aggressive in the chicanes and riding the log, which is in there twice," said Smiley. "Each time, that's six or seven seconds if you can ride it. I pre-rode yesterday. There are always a few factors on each course that if you can ride, you can separate yourself and I decided that was one of them. I rode [the log] 10 or 15 times yesterday until I felt comfortable."
Korol leveraged her strong start to keep a second place finish, crossing the line 31 seconds behind Smiley. Emily Shields (Smartstop-Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley) took the third podium spot 36 seconds later.
|1||Marne Smiley (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross||0:38:00|
|2||Meghan Korol (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross||0:00:31|
|3||Emily Shields (USA) SmartStop-Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley||0:01:07|
|4||Katie Arnold (USA) Echelon Cycling Team||0:01:28|
|5||Katherine Shields (USA) SmartStop-Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley||0:01:49|
|6||Cara Applegate (USA) Asheville Bicycle Racing Club||0:02:00|
|DNF||Nina Elliott (USA) Greenville Women's Cycling|
|DNS||Allison Arensman (USA) Fiets Maan CX p/b Studio7Multisport|