With six-time and reigning US National Champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike) in the race, the battle quickly moved on to the rest of the podium. Yep, Compton remains undefeated in the US as she soloed to win at Panther Stampede presented by Darkhorse Racing, day 1 of the UCI1 Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival. It was a good day for the household as her husband Mark Legg also won in his category.
“Compton-Legg Ws.” smiled Compton after the race.
Instead of powering away immediately, Compton waited, not long though, but long enough to be part of the selection at the front.
“She always does that, she’s not in any hurry she knows she can beat us all. ” Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru) said with a smile. Butler took 2nd and DeeDee Winfield (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) 3rd.
What a difference a year makes. Last year, we had mud and rider slipping and sliding all over Devou Park on the off-camber sections, this year, it was sunny and hot – in the mid 80s – on a completely new course with the majority in a bowl. So lots of ups and downs and off camber turns.
A slow start caused by a missed pedal put Compton in fourth wheel. Even though she didn’t mean to, Butler once again got the holeshot followed by Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mill/Seven) and Winfield. Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) slotted in right behind her coach, Compton. Unsure about her form due to an earlier shoulder injury, Winfield made her way to the front of the first lap as the five riders pushed the pace up to create a gap. Behind them, a chase group was formed that included Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) who bobbled on the first lap and Barbara Howe (Ibis and the Danger).
Compton waited and then pounced, making it look effortless as she came around the others to power away. The four others settled down to battle for the remaining podium spots with Butler spending the majority of the time at the front of the group. Antonneau was the first one to falter, fading back until she was felled by a mechanical and had to run back to the pit. She ultimately finished 17th.
The 3-way battle was on between Butler, Bruno-Roy and Winfield. Not interested in sprinting, Butler hit it with less than two laps to go and kept the pace high with the pair behind her chasing hard. The battle for third was won by Winfield.
The racing continues on Saturday with the Java Johnnys Lionhearts in Middletown, Ohio. It should be another hot and sunny day.
Katie Compton (Planet Bike). “I missed my pedal at the start so that didn’t help. It took a couple of pedal strokes and by that time I think I got in the third row, whatever girls behind were probably not happy (laughs) but I tried to move up as I could. I just slotted in in fourth or fifth and I followed wheels. It was so hot out here today I just didn’t want to drill it from the start and have it in me. Once I got a gap, I think Mo slid out on one turn and then I think Sue struggled on one of the hills and I just got and just stayed on it.”
Where she powered away? “On the steep off camber grassy hill, you can come in really hot and you can lose your front end easily, I almost slid out a little bit but I caught it.”
About her knee. “My knee is okay, it’s just the strength needs to come back. I feel I needed to work on the accelerations because I’m a little slow out of the turns (laughs) or I’m having to work a little harder and I’m like ‘wait a second’. It was easier last year.”
About this year’s conditions. “I liked last year better, I thought the mud was super fun. It was my first mud race of the year, I was crashing, not riding things and by the last lap it all came together, I felt better but it was definitely fun to slide around and have a soft landing.”
Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru). “It’s bumpy, dry, a lot of cornering, you just have to be smooth, that’s the biggest part of this course, you couldn’t hammer too hard any one way. Be smart about it. It was fun, it was good.”
About her fast start. ” I actually didn’t try. I went slower than I usually do but I think everyone was playing a little bit conservative. I figured okay, I’ll get that corner first it will be good. I just relaxed through that first lap, I’m having a little hard time breathing out there actually, it’s just so hot, I’m not used to the hot weather so I carried a bottle. Every time I had a hard time, I took some water and it helped a little bit so that was nice. I knew they were with me and I thought you know I’m going to rest a little bit, sit on them and be smart about it and save a little bit. ”
About 3-way battle. “I tried to go slow enough so someone would go around me, I got a few breaks in there, sat on Mo for a little bit. With one and a half laps to go, I’m like ‘oh I better go because I don’t want to leave it to a sprint because I don’t think I have enough for that right now’. It’s a strong field this weekend, it’s probably the strongest it’s been minus Georgia is not here this year, she usually comes out and plays with us. It will be a good weekend. ”
About her final attack. “On the pavement down there [before returning to finish line], I tried to put in some time. They were closing it down, I knew I couldn’t let up. I just got off the plane last night at midnight so it was nice to get those cobwebs out of the legs for tomorrow.”
DeeDee Winfield (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes). “It’s kind of a surprise actually. I just didn’t know where my fitness was, I’ve only raced twice, mechanical one time. I didn’t have a great race the first time, hadn’t done any intensity for a couple of months. You do that and like your body goes ‘whoa what is this?’. ”
About Compton going away. “That’s to be expected. You’re waiting for it to come around and I decided to do everything that I could – not that I thought I was going to hold her off – but to do the best I could. I knew everyone was probably content to stay behind her because they know she is the fastest and I always get in trouble when I do that because I don’t have that jump speed that a lot of then do so I just wanted to ride my ride, I knew that she would come around sooner or later.”
About 3-way battle. “Sue was on the front a lot, then Mo. Like I said, I just didn’t where I would be so I tried to sit in as much as I could and do what I could and tried to make the use of each corner, sweep around and take the momentum through. I think that was huge on this course because there’s so much up and down, and just breaking slightly in the corner, you could lose so much. ”
About battle for third with Bruno-Roy. “She was leading and then when we got to the stairs, I know she’s a pretty fast runner so I wanted to be in front of her because I thought she could come back to me. So I did everything I could and then tried to push it from then on and it worked.”
Top 10 Results (Complete Results)
1. Katie Compton (Planet Bike) 37:35
2. Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru) +01:27
3. Deidre Winfield (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) +01:39
4. Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mill/Seven) +01:46
5. Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) +02:46
6. Barbara Howe (Ibis and the Danger) +02:52
7. Kimberly Flynn (Grace Law-Trek) +03:19
8. Kristin Gavin (Team CF-Elite) +03:44
9. AnnaJean Dallaire (Alderfer Bergen) +03:46
10. Linda Sone (Planet Bike) +04:06