Despite a half inch of rainfall Halloween night to make the course’s steep hill and twisting off-camber sections slick, Katerina Nash (Luna) and Ryan Trebon (Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com) had the skills to conquer day one of the Toyota Cincy3 CX Festival (C2) just across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati presented by Cincinnati Cyclocross, United Dairy Farmers, Zipp and Reece-Campbell, Inc.
The fall colors were in peak form in Cincinnati and so were the pros. As the elite women took to staging, the wind upped a notch dropping the temperature a few degrees. Most wore long sleeves. Despite overnight rain, the course proved to be fairly dry, a bit mushy but not slippery.
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At the gun, Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement) got off quick, but it was Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) who took the hole shot. Surprisingly absent from the driving end was Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective).
Early on the first lap, over the first hill, Miller strung out a first selection including Nash and Nicole Duke (Marin Bikes/Spy). Nash was the first to turn the screws. The move put the hurt on Mani and Duke who both abandoned the race later on.
Compton was quick to respond to Nash at the front and quickly slotted in behind with Miller, Duke and Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale pb Cyclocrossworld.com) in tow. Midway through the first lap, Compton attacked and only Nash could follow. Duke lead the chase only three seconds back with Miller and Antonneau. With Nash and Compton driving the front, that three seconds quickly became 30 and Duke was soon out of the picture.
With three to go, Nash began to pull away from Compton. Nash looked back, saw the damage and set to driving it out of every corner and up every hill to extend her gap. Then, a reverberating gasp could be heard around the venue. Compton pulled off the course. According to husband Mark Legg after the race, the US National Champion suffered an asthma attack. Compton did not finish the race.
Nash was now solo with well over a minute to Miller and Antonneau. It would stay that way until the bell lap when Antonneau began to fall off the pace. Miller continued to take second, a slim four seconds ahead of Antonneau.
Post race, Compton could be seen riding around seemingly recovered from a scary few moments. She confirmed to Cincinnati Cyclocross that she will ride Saturday at Kings CX After Dark.
In the elite/under23 men’s race, Trebon took the hole shot followed by teammate Tim Johnson and Andrew Dillman (Sophisticated Living p/b Bob’s Red Mill). The first selection of the day was made as Trebon attacked on the pavement going into the second lap bringing along Johnson and US Under23 Champion Yannick Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized). Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) was surprisingly absent.
Sensing the urgency, Trebon began flicking his elbow trying to get Eckmann to pull through. Johnson took note and went to the front. Johnson seemed notably quicker than Trebon and began to put in a gap to him and Eckmann. Soon, Johnson pulled away solo with a comfortable 15 second gap. As Trebon tried to minimize the damage, Eckmann was dropped.
With four laps to go and Johnson taking aggressive lines to try to maintain his lead, Trebon proved smooth behind taking back second by second to finally make contact with Johnson two laps later.
Johnson looked like he left it all out on the course and Trebon took full advantage, putting in a huge effort with the bell. Johnson couldn’t respond and took second. Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh-Clement) rounded off the podium.
Racing continues with the C1 Cross After Dark Saturday in Mason and the final C2 event Sunday at Harbin Park in Fairfield.
Complete results will be posted on usacycling.org (not available at time of publication)