Under the Cross After Dark Series disco lights, through deep wet mud from an all-day rain, and to the smears of the HeckleOnline.com Heckle Ghoul, Ryan Trebon (Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld.com) and US Champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Colllective) again soloed to wins, this time at the Lionhearts International at Kings CX in Mason OH p/b Toyota and Siemens. The drama of the day unfolded when Cross After Dark Men’s Series leader Ben Berden (Raleigh Clement) lost the rear end on a wicked slick off-camber which ripped his wheel and derailleur from the dropouts.
Elite women. With light reflecting from the tape-to-tape mud, Katerina Nash (LUNA) took to the front early with Compton and Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld). As they came through the sloppy railroad tie run-up flanked by throngs of heckling fans (one with dollar hand-ups hanging from a fishing pole), they were followed closely by Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill) and Nicole Thiemann (Team CF-Elite). Not too far off separated and solo were Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement), Amanda Carey (Volkswagen Boise), Andrea Smith (Ladies First), Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel) and Katie Arnold (Bob’s Red Mill).
Compton made her first dig on the “Camel Hump,” a 30 foot slick off-camber steep lump which had to be climbed and descended three times in succession. She was one of few who cleaned all three sections every time. Gapped, Nash dug deep over the DeFeet flyover. A half lap later, she made contact just before the Heckle Zone run-up, only to have Compton pop her 200 meters later, again at the Camel. From there, Compton continued to increase her gap for the win.
Behind the riders strung out with Carey and James both going down in the slick mud. Nash would take 2nd followed by Antonneau. Mani would pull out mid race, still not feeling well after a hectic travel schedule. Compton cleaned up well for the podium, but joked the mud was still caked under a layer of clean clothes.
Elite Men. As the Elite Men sloshed their way to the soft hole-shot, Mike Sherer (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit), Berden and local Drew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill) showed their colors at the front. Trebon confided after the race that he had a poor start.
Through the run-up on lap one, Trebon managed to make it a loose group of three at the front with Berden, and Ryan Knapp (The Pony Shop). Then they hit the camel hump and Trebon pulled clear with Berden on his wheel. Riders gapped behind included: Dillman, Brad White (Moms in Tow Cyclocross), Trebon’s teammate Jamey Driscoll, Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bicycles), Knapp, Sherer, Craig Richey (SponsorConnected.com), Robert Marion (American Classic Pro CX Team), and Kevin Bradford (Emde Sport-Fitness Fanatics)
Then disaster struck for Berden. Watching from the nearby Heckle run-up, fans were shocked and couldn’t believe the carnage. On a series of slick slow hilly off camber turns between the pit and the run-up, Berden washed out. As he picked us his bike and began running, the rear wheel caught for a moment on the chain, then fell cleanly to the ground. A fan shouted, “Ben! Ben! Your wheel!” Berden pressed on without it, shouldering two-thirds of a bike for a death-slog to the pit, a half lap away. With a free pass, Trebon was gone for good.
Behind riders slid and wrecked. Dillman went into the tape on the same off-camber that took out Berden. Many chose to run the climbs of the slick camel rather than chance a mid-hill dismount. Travis Livermon (Mock Orange Racing), who wasn’t in the top 10 early on, now was clawing his way through traffic. With four to go, Trebon crested the run-up and a rooster tail of mud flew from his rear wheel as he turned on the gas on the paved golf course path.
Driscoll worked his way into a solid 2nd position, with a few seconds separating White, Livermon, Sheppard, and Dillman. Further back was Knapp, in front of the Krughoff/ Richey duo by a few seconds. With three to go, Livermon continued to shine, working his way through the muck up to third. Dillman continued to hop the low LED lit barriers every lap to the cheers and cowbells of the crowd. However, there was a shake-up in store in the closing laps.
Trebon crossed the finish line at 1:07:47. Apparently the early fast laps skewed the lap timing, perhaps resulting in a slight miscalculation by the officials and a rather long race. It was just what White needed. With the extra real estate he closed and passed Livermon to take third. Dillman showed his young budding strength, endurance and skills to finish with an impressive 5th among riders vying for National and Worlds team selections.
The Cincy3 Cyclocross Festival concludes Sunday at the big C1 finale p/b Reece-Campbell and United Dairy Farmers at Harbin Park in the suburb of Fairfield.