BROKEN ARROW, Okla. – Danny Summerhill and Travis Livermon narrowly missed the top step of the podium this past weekend at Ruts N’ Guts with Summerhill claiming second place on Saturday and Livermon grabbing the same result the next day
Summerhill, fresh off a three-week break, said he was completely surprised by his result.
“Prior to the race, I had didn’t think I could crack the top ten, but somehow after the first lap I found myself off the front by about 20 seconds. That lasted for all but the last two laps,” Summerhill said. “It came down to tactics, luck and some guts, but unfortunately heading in the last corner, luck was not totally on my side.”
“I’m still in shock and pleased with second although after putting in the work for the whole race, a win would’ve felt much better,” he added.
Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz Factory Racing) took the win while Maxxis-Shimano’s Livermon picked up a solid fifth place.
Despite being new to Ruts N’ Guts, Crystal Anthony held her own in the UCI women’s event. Anthony claimed fifth place on Saturday after a crash set her back a few crucial positions.
“The course was fun to race, with several choose-your-own-adventure creek crossings and twisty technical sections,” she said. “There was a pretty cool up and downhill sand pit and a few power grass sections.”
Katie Compton went off the front from the start on Saturday, with Anthony making the lead chase group. A strong acceleration on the final lap saw her finish in fifth.
Sunday’s C2 race belonged to Livermon, who crushed the competition to finish a close second behind Ortenblad.
“I felt like I had better legs than everyone in the front group, but just couldn’t get separation,” Livermon said. “I led the last few laps and could tell I had everyone on the ropes but Tobin was able to come around me with a couple turns to go and that was it. I’m happy with the result, but frustrated to miss out on the win by so little.”
In the women’s event, Compton rode away again while Anthony had a back and forth battle with Becca Fahringer, Katie Antonneau and Sunny Gilbert before a few unfortunate crashes had her chasing hard and left her in sixth place.
“The bikes worked great and the support was awesome as always,” Anthony said. “I’m looking forward to getting back on my game next weekend in Asheville.”
Next weekend, the racing heads back east for North Carolina Grand Prix in Hendersonville, N.C. Having lost last year to his Summerville, Livermon hopes that he’ll see the top step of the podium in 2016.
“Being from NC and having many friends in the Asheville area makes this feel like a hometown race,” Livermon says. “I’ve been second the past four times I’ve raced it really eats at me that I’ve never won. I’m working hard to try and make sure this is finally the year.”
With Summerhill and Anthony both hoping to repeat their 2015 wins in Hendersonville, this event could turn into a fantastic success for the Maxxis-Shimano squad and a great way to lead into the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford Connecticut once the calendar clicks over into 2017 a few weeks later.