Arguably the biggest race in the United States is the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships held last weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee. The nation's top professional and elite racers compete in the time trial, criterium and road race disciplines for the honor of being named the USA National Champion and wearing the Stars & Stripes Jersey. This year, Bethany Matsick (Warrington) and Sam Smith (Doylestown) represented our team and our community .
Bethany Matsick Racing at the Easton Twilight Criterium earlier this season. Photo: Ron Short
Bethany raced all three disciplines at US Pro Road Nats, beginning on Thursday with the 14.5 mile Women's Elite Individual Time Trial Championship. An "ITT" is an event where the cyclist races individually against the clock. Bethany placed 13th out of the 26 competitors just +3:44.77 minutes behind winner and 2020 Olympian, Leah Thomas of the Trek-Segafredo Pro Cycling Team. See the full results here.
On Friday, Bethany competed in the Women's Elite Criterium Championship, which was a 70 minute race on a 1.1 mile closed-circuit in downtown Knoxville. Bethany placed a very strong 17th (out of approximately 50 competitors) just 7 seconds behind Kendall Ryan, Skylar Schneider, and Alexis Ryan of the powerhouse L39ION Pro Cycling Team from Los Angeles, CA who swept the podium results.
The Women's Elite Road Racing Championships were held on Sunday, and consisted of 10 laps on a 6.8 mile loop including approximately 6,500 feet of vertical climbing including the 10% gradient Sherrod Road hill. Bethany survived 7 laps of the course before succumbing to the broom wagon. The race was eventually won by Emma Langley of the EF Education/Tibco/SVB Pro Cycling Team in 2 hours, 57 minutes and 12 seconds. You can see the full results here. I spoke to Bethany briefly this week, and she was predictably exhausted. No doubt she got the attention of the pro women's field this weekend.
Sam Smith (Doylestown) earlier this season at the Wilmington Grand Prix. Photo: Ron Short
Sam raced in the Elite Men's Road Race Championship on Sunday in the middle of a Tennessee summer afternoon. The men's race included 17 laps of the same loop raced by the women, including the Sherrod Road climb for a total of 115 miles. Sam survived 10 laps of the race before being forced to retire by the broom wagon in a race eventually won by Kyle Murphy of the Human Powered Health UCI Pro Cycling Team in a time of 4 hours, 27 minutes and 48 seconds. You can see the full results here. Kudos to Sam for going toe-to-toe with the nation's best in a race in which less than a third of the field survived.