Cyclocross

Interview: 2019 Tracklocross National Champion Sammi Runnels – Cyclocross Magazine

Sammi Runnels enjoyed the party in the woods while racing to a 2019 Tracklocross National Championship in Oakland. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

“Aww man, I love racing tracklocross!” -Sammi Runnels

Despite two crashes, Squid Bikes’ Sammi Runnels was all smiles after skidding her way to a 2019 Tracklocross National Championship in Oakland two Sundays ago.

The title was Runnels’ second cyclocross title in seven months, after she claimed the 2018 Collegiate Varsity Cyclocross National Championship in December in Louisville, Kentucky last December.

Runnels is no stranger to Nationals podiums, having finished second in the Collegiate Varsity in Reno, third in the singlespeed race in Hartford and third in the 2019 collegiate road race and omnium. However, when the brakes are off and no coasting is allowed, she’s even better. She’s undefeated.

Runnels is two-for-two in the tracklocross races she’s entered, adding a National Championship to her earlier tracklocross victory in San Francisco.

Sammi Runnels ran and skidded her way ahead of Michelle Willcox to claim the 2019 Tracklocross National Championship in Oakland. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

While the Tracklocross World Championships is heading to Japan, Runnels will not attempt to continue her winning streak with a world title. She’ll be adding gears and brakes to her bike to get ready for Rochester Cyclocross and the U.S. World Cups. The Nationals winner won a flight to Japan to contest Worlds, but Runnels will pass the flight prize to second place Michelle Willcox.

While some readers may not have heard of tracklocross, Runnels equates the fixed gear sub-genre as being true to the “spirit of cyclocross” and found the Nationals being similar to her first-ever cyclocross experience because of its inclusivity and “party in the woods” nature.

She offers up some advice to the curious emphasizes the main difference. “Skid stopping is your friend,” she said.  “Throw a little skid in the dirt. Rip it up!”

Sammi Runnels isn’t afraid to stray from the beaten path to win a 2019 Tracklocross National Championship in Oakland. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

See the full interview with Runnels below, including a perfectly-timed skid stop demo, and stay tuned for an interview with men’s winner, Kell Mackenzie, a photo gallery and winning bike profiles.