Clara Honsinger Secures Her Fourth Elite U.S. Cyclocross Championship

By Monica Buck

In an impressive display of skill and resilience, Clara Honsinger of Team S&M CX claimed her fourth elite U.S. cyclocross national championship title in Louisville, Kentucky. Overcoming a strong start by Katie Clouse of the Steve Tilford Foundation, Honsinger demonstrated her dominance in the field.

The race commenced with a quick lead by Clouse, who surged ahead early. However, Honsinger, closely followed by Raylyn Nuss, a teammate of Clouse, soon mounted a chase. Nuss initially kept pace but eventually fell back, as did Clouse after an unfortunate misstep. Honsinger capitalized on this, extending her lead and maintaining her composure through the course.

Crossing the finish line with a significant 29-second lead over Clouse, Honsinger solidified her status as the top cyclocross racer in the U.S. Nuss completed the podium, finishing 1:48 behind Honsinger to take the bronze.

Reflecting on her victory, Honsinger shared, “It’s kind of like first year, then second and then third was a special number – trying to get that fourth – putting it together … there was so much pressure going into this race.”

Clara Honsinger
Honsinger in action. © Profimedia

Honsinger’s journey to this fourth title began with her first win in 2019, breaking Katie Compton’s 15-year streak. Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Honsinger continued her winning streak in 2021 and 2022.

Balancing her athletic career with academics, Honsinger returned to college to complete her degree and rejoined her old club team. Her performance remained stellar, evident in her successes in Ohio and Montana, and a second-place finish in the Pan American Championships, only behind Canadian Isabella Holmgren.

However, her latest triumph was bittersweet. Honsinger revealed the personal challenges she faced leading up to the race, saying, “My boyfriend’s father passed on Wednesday and so I honestly haven’t ridden my bike in like four days. I could barely get out and I just felt so exhausted. Even the thought of going to Nationals took a moment that kind of get my brain into it … but I have such a fantastic team both at home and here and they really helped me get into the zone and be conscious of what was going on.”

The 26-year-old Honsinger now sets her sights on Europe, aiming to compete through to the World Championships.

CX CN USA results

  1. Clara Honsinger – 48:22
  2. Katie Clouse – +29
  3. Raylyn Nuss – +1:48
  4. Natalie Quinn – +2:29
  5. Amelia Shea – +2:49
  6. Lauren Lackman – +2:56
  7. Jennifer Malik – +3:13
  8. Brenna Wrye-Simpson – +3:27
  9. Anna Dorovskikh – +5:01
  10. Charlotte Lellman – +5:16