BikePortland.org

Portland’s Clara Honsinger wins cyclocross national championship


She did it!

Honsinger at Bridge City CX last month.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The best women’s cyclocross racer in America races on a Portland-based team and is a former Portland resident.

22-year-old cyclocross phenom Clara Honsinger has taken the next step in her career with a national championship victory at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championship held at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, Washington on Sunday.

Honsinger, supported by Team S&M/Sellwood Cycle Repair, won the under-23 race last year and was a favorite to win the elite category today. But that victory was anything but assured because she lined up next to legendary racer Katie Compton, who had won 15 straight national championships.

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(Photo: Oregon Bicycle Racing Association)

Honsinger showed patience beyond her years at the start of today’s race. Despite a front-row start she was outside the top five for the first several minutes and seemed comfortable watching the fast start unfold in front of her. Compton shot off like a cannon and led the race during the first lap. The battle at the front soon became a three-way duel between Compton, Rebecca Fahringer and Honsinger. Fahringer was the most aggressive rider of the day and likely had a lot to do with putting Compton in a spot of bother. Eventually, Compton fell off the pace. Honsinger proved too smooth and strong for Fahringer and rode away from the pack for a solo victory.

Honsinger had all the expectations on her shoulders today and she still rode a flawless race.

During Honsinger’s post-race interview, Team S&M manager and Sellwood Cycle Repair owner Erik Tonkin could be seen wiping tears from his eyes. He was one of many Portlanders in the crowd today rooting “Lil’ C” on to the win.

What a great day for Oregon bicycle racing! Thank you Erik! Thank you Clara and the rest of the S&M crew for giving us so much to be proud of.

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CORRECTION: This post initially said Honsinger lived in Portland. That is incorrect. She has lived in Portland in the past but currently lives in Corvallis. I regret any confusion.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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