Samantha “Sammi” Runnels (Squid Squad) took advantage of the windy conditions Sunday in Sacramento to pull away early and ride solo across the finish line for her second WSCXGP victory in as many days.
A group of five pulled away from the 19-rider field early in the first lap of the Elite Women’s Event. Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) who fell out of contention in Saturday’s race due to mechanical, set the early fast pace after getting the holeshot. On her wheel were Runnels, Caroline Nolan (Voler/Easton/HRS/Rock Lobster), Raylyn Nuss (Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek) and Amanda Nauman (SDG - Muscle Monster).
“It was very similar to yesterday, just a group of us on the front, riding there for the first two or three laps. And then Sammi came around. You try to hold that wheel for as long as you can but going into these headwind, even sitting on a wheel. She’ll get a little gap before we hit it and she’s just able to power through them, so strong,” said Honsinger.
Runnels used skills learnt this past spring in Missouri to push the pace at the front, dwindling the lead group to three riders after one lap.
“I think being in St Louis for so long, you just get used powering through it,” Runnels said of her skills in riding in strong wind. “Knowing that if you can ride hard in the wind, it’s hard for other people to go as hard in the wind because I know that the wind for me was hard until I get better at it I guess.”
Honsinger said it’s nice to have a wheel in front of you to sit on but it’s not always there.
“At some point, it was even blowing you into the stakes almost, you had to really be attentive to that,” Honsinger said.
The trio continued to ride together, taking turns on the front until Honsinger pounced when Nuss bobbled on a short steep climb.
“I think with three laps to go when I did a lot of pulling in the wind and I kind of flubbed up on the steep 180 turn and ended up having to get off my bike and hop back down. I don’t know, I had a hard time coming back from that mess up,” Nuss said.
“Raylyn fell in the hill and then I had to put my down as well and Clara attacked. When I got back up to her, we were kind of riding, and then I was seeing Raylyn getting close and I was like ‘I should just attack right now’. So I attacked on the downhill before the sand section up against the water. I just attacked, got a gap and just went from there,” Runnels explained.
With two laps to go, Runnels had a solid gap to Honsinger. Nuss was chasing in third.
Runnels took her back to back victory in a time of 45 minutes and 4 seconds. Honsinger crossed the line 22 seconds later for second place. Nuss took third place, 32 seconds back
“I’m pretty happy with my weekend, it’s awesome,” said a smiling Runnels. “I’m taking two weeks off just to train and then I’m just going for the next two months. Cincy, Pan Ams and then three weeks to Japan, I’ll do some UCI races there.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Samantha Runnels (Squid Squad)||0:45:04|
|2||Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX)||0:00:22|
|3||Raylyn Nuss (Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek)||0:00:32|
|4||Caroline Nolan (Voler/Easton/HRS/Rock Lobster)||0:00:53|
|5||Amanda Nauman (SDG - Muscle Monster)||0:01:35|
|6||Beth An Norton (Team S&M CX)||0:01:56|
|8||Natalie Smith (Bicycle Heaven)||0:03:24|
|9||Terra Kier (Square 1)||0:03:32|
|10||Meghan Newlin (Full Cycle Boulder)||0:03:47|
|12||Rebecca Gross (Zero D Racing)||0:04:28|
|13||Lisa Cordova (Cycle Sport Specialized p/b Muscle Milk)||0:04:48|
|14||Gabriella Sterne (Vanderkitten Entourage Racing)||0:05:30|
|15||Leslie Ethridge (ORNOT)||0:05:54|
|16||Heidi Wood (HiFi Sound Cycling Components)||0:06:02|
|17||Barb Blakley (Velo Club La Grange)||0:07:41|
|18||Hayden Gizinski (NWCX Project)||0:08:37|
|19||Juliann Vander Haegen (NWCX Project)||-2 laps|
|DNS||Brooke Lyman (Exhale Bikes)|
|DNS||Courtenay Mcfadden (American Classic/Zones)|
|DNS||Emily Kachorek (Squid Squad)|