USA Cross Champion Katie Compton (Rabobank Giant) continued to dominate the American cross racing scene with another solo victory. In front of an very enthusiastic home crowd, Compton took the win at the Boulder Cup at the newly opened Valmont Bike Park.
It was an interesting course, with the upper section offering a lot of ups and downs, a steep staircase and short sandpit – all dry and then a wet muddy lower section with a longer sandpit and a muddy slog. Wanting to try out her second bike and different tires, Compton was actually changing bikes twice a lap, always having a clean bike.
A beautiful warm sunny day and the racing started off fast with Nicole Duke (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) taking the holeshot. Compton, Caroline Mani, Sue Butler (River City Bicycles) and the rest of the field was single-filed on the fast dry upper section of the course. But a bobble on the lower mud section and Compton was off the front solo. She kept applying pressure, growing her gap.
Behind her, the duel was on for the podium between French National Champion Mani and Georgia Gould (Luna). After a slow start, Gould surged up from about 12th spot to join Mani. Recovering from the effort, Gould stayed on Mani’s wheel, watching where she was faster and then made her move on the final lap to secure second. Mani held on to third.
As is wont to happen in cross, another battle was going in the next group, this time it was a trio. A couple of laps into the race, Butler, Meredith Miller (CalGiant) and Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus) were together, taking turns at the front of their group. With less than two laps to go, Butler suffered a mechanical and had trouble shifting. Krasniak set the pace with Miller on her wheel until the final meters to the finish line where Miller used her road experience to come around and take fourth.
Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant). “Nicole got to a good start and I was just following her and then I made myself push on the stair section each time, and got the gap. It wasn’t so much like a planned attack, I really wanted to attack the stairs today.”
About the course. “It was really tricky because the mud was super heavy and thick and then you had the sandpit to ride through and then that climb. I was actually pitting because I wanted a clean bike and actually different tires for the top and the bottom half, I was pitting twice a lap. The pit was really fast, I didn’t lose much time. But I needed to ride both bikes, to get a feel for them, getting the second one dialed it but I need to race it to make sure it’s right. Things feel right in training but I never know until I’m racing hard. Today was good.”
“I made a few technical mistakes early. Mis-shifting, I tripped on the run-up, I took the wrong line in the sandpit a couple of times, it took me a little time to get it all dialed in. I hit the sandpit once and came to a standstill and I was like ‘oh no, that’s not how to do it’ (laughs) So the next lap, I found it and I was like ‘okay that’s where it is’.”
Georgia Gould (Luna). “I don’t really know what I was doing at the start, it was definitely longer than I expected, and so I lost a bunch of places at the start. I just started in the wrong gear, definitely was not a very pro start today. You know, I just was patient, once I got to the front, it took me a little bit to catch my breath. A couple of times Caroline looked back, ‘are you going to take a pull?’, and I was like ‘you can sit in behind me if you want but I can’t go any faster than you’re pulling, unless you want to slow down, I’m sitting on your wheel’. Then, after riding with her for a couple of laps, I saw where I was faster and sort of capitalized on that.”
Where did you make your move? “The first time was on the stairs, the second time was over in the mud. She had to put a foot down and I was able to stay up and then I was able to hold it, she was pretty close but not close enough to sit on my wheel and then, I put in a big effort up this hill and I knew I was faster on those stairs. Then I did the stairs fast and tried to keep pressure on in the places I knew I was a little bit faster.”
About the course. “It was good. There were a line of sections where your line made a big difference. Yesterday there weren’t really any sections where any one person could go that much faster than anyone else. If you took a bad line you weren’t losing five seconds. Here, the mud, the stairs, the sand, the sand down there, there were a few places that if you made a few mistakes each lap, all of sudden you’re ten seconds back.”
Meredith Miller (CalGiant). “It was fast. I rode a lap of the course at about 12:15, and it was slick and slippery. Got on the course again at 1:30 or something, it was so much dryer already and then another hour later for our race it was of course even dryer and it was getting faster and faster. For me, the sandpit, I don’t know what my problem was today in the sandpit, the mud and everything else I was fine with, it was just the sandpit that kicked my butt today for some reason. I had a great start, I was third wheel coming into the sandpit and I was like 12th coming out of it (laughs) And then the bottom sandpit too, I think I only rode through the bottom sandpit twice. Other than that, I felt good on the course and it was fast.”
About the battle with Butler and Krasniak. “At one point I thought we might even catch Caroline and Georgia because I think Georgia was just sitting on but once they started racing again then they opened up the gap a little bit more. And then Sue ended up having a mechanical, I was surprised when Julie came through and then I was just trying to stay with her when we dropped Sue and Kaitie (Antonneau) wasn’t too far behind, so I was like ‘okay we got to keep this going’. Then, I was on her wheel coming onto the finishing straight and I was able to outprint her to fourth.”
Top 15 Results
1. Katherine Compton (Rabobank-Giant)
2. Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)
3. Caroline Mani
4. Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized)
5. Julie Krasniak (Rapha Focus)
6. Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com)
7. Susan Butler (River City Bicycles/Ridley)
8. Amanda Carey
9. Alison Powers (crosspropz)
10. Heather Irminger (Subaru/Trek)
11. Chloe Forsman (Raceclub 11)
12. Alice Pennington
13. Kelsy Bingham (Roosters/Bikers Edge)
14. Flora Duffy
15. Rebecca Blatt (TeamKenda p/b Geargrinder)