With temperatures dipping into the low 50’s and a soft chilly wind Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocross World) tamed the mud, a 130 foot sand section and the LED-lit barriers to win at Kings CX. It was day two of the Cincy3 CX festival and a stop of Cross After Dark at Kingswood Park in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason.
While Thursday’s rain didn’t do much to affect racing yesterday, the course at KingsCX was mud all around forcing riders to unexpected switch tires after warm up laps. With music blaring, the beer garden rocking and the course lit up with creative illumination the crowd had a great time running between course highlights to catch the leaders in action.
The women’s start was definitely not routine. After a 200 meter stretch of dead straight pavement, the course made a soft 90 degree bend to the right and onto a gravel surface that fed into a wide grassy downhill. With the pits nearby, that area of the course became wetter and muddier throughout the day. Caroline Mani (Raleigh/Clement), Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team), Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), and Katie Compton were first to the corner. Suddenly, Mani was down with racers stacked up behind and a call went out for medics. She was visibly upset. She pulled out of the race, but after the initial scare, was uninjured.
From there, over the camel hump with the tape illuminated by LED lights and through the crowd and Heckle Hill it was Compton and Nash together for most of the first lap with Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com), Miller and teammate Elle Anderson not far back. Nash wasn’t giving an inch and stayed glued to Compton.
While Compton and Nash duked it out at the front, both riding the long sand the first two laps, Antonneau looked super strong and managed to shake the Cal Giant duo and solidified third. On the third lap, however, Nash fumbled on the railroad tie run-up at Heckle Hill. Compton pounced and opened the gap she would extend to 25 seconds and take to the finish.
Mo Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven) was delayed by the wreck to the back of the field and surged back up to finish eighth.
A familiar, but always exciting show played out in the men’s race with Ben Berden (Raleigh/Clement) in a sandwich between Rapha-Focus teammates Jeremy Powers and Zach McDonald and the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com duo of Tim Johnson and Ryan Trebon.
Berden was first to cause a ruckus edging out a measurable gap through the long uphill deep sand on the first lap. Trebon set to the chase with Johnson, Yannick Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), McDonald and Powers behind. On the second lap, Johnson sensed the danger and quickly bridged to Berden before the sandpit. Powers was next to close the gap and Trebon took the free ride. McDonald dangled in arrears. The effort taxed Powers and in the fourth lap, he began to fall off the pace.
Just as Powers was to make contact again, Johnson poured on the heat and opened up a gap that no one could touch. The move left Berden in the driver’s seat of the chase. It was also the perfect opportunity for Powers and teammate McDonald to get back in the game. When they did, it began to get a little argy-bargy in the slick corners as the four-up chase battled for position.
On lap five, up the hill to the pit, Trebon dug deep, Berden followed and Powers shook his head clearly hurting from the pace. The next time past the pit, in what may be the deciding move of the chase, Berden and Trebon pitted, while Trebon took advantage of the traffic-free downhill to pull away. Berden was quicker pitting and maintained contact while Powers fell off.
With three to go and playing perfect teammate, McDonald put in another effort through the start/finish area to launch Powers back in the game and on the wheels of Berden and Trebon. Then he said goodnight. With teammate Johnson having carved out a solid win, Trebon didn’t waste time and with the bell worked to break away for a solo second.
The chasing duo of Powers and Berden took it down to a sprint out of a mucky corner and onto the pavement. Powers nipped it for third.
Racing continues with the final C2 event Sunday on the Northwest side of town at Harbin Park in Fairfield.