Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) wrapped up three days of UCI racing in the Cincinnati metro area with their second wins of the weekend at Harbin Park during the final day of the Toyota Cincy3 CX Festival presented by Cincinnati Cyclocross, United Dairy Farmers, Zipp and Reece-Campbell, Inc.
A high pressure system brought sunshine and crispy mid-50 degree weather which dried up the cyclocross track making it fast and tacky brown stripe racing. Today’s course highlights were an uphill paved start finish straight, a long and treacherous downhill sand pit, a challenging climb with three logs across the course and a tricky tight off-camber turn around a tree directly followed by the barriers. With the fast course, mistakes by racers cost an immediate dismissal from the group they were racing with.
From the holeshot, Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) drove hard from the gun with Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) in tow. That didn’t last long as Compton established a solo gap the first time through the long sand pit lined with spectators. Only Nash could react. She chased in earnest, but Nash wouldn’t close till the beginning of the first lap. Behind an alliance of Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), the Cal Giant/Specialized duo of Miller and Elle Anderson, with Nicole Duke (Marin Bikes/SPY) dangling behind with Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement).
Nash and Compton rode the front the entire race, trading pulls and testing with small attacks but neither budging more than a wheel length. Into the third lap, Nash and Compton had pushed out a 20 second gap on the chasing trio. However with three laps to go, Mani had given up 13 seconds to the chase group of Miller, Antonneau and Anderson. With two to go, Anderson attacked the chase on the uphill pavement through the start/finish, leaving Antonneau sitting with Miller on her wheel.
Nash and Compton brought it down to the bell. Nash put in a hard dig on the twisting descent leading into the sand and, with multiple accelerations out over every corner, continued to push out a gap through the playground area and into the log hill. Compton wasn’t relenting and Nash only managed a two second margin going into the barriers.
As the two hit the pavement, Nash had one more effort and stretched her two seconds into four for the win. Compton’s dug in for a moment. Then her head sunk. Anderson cruised in for third. Miller out-kicked Antonneau for fourth.
With a super fast course, the men lined out single file in a big group of 12 riders for the first few early laps. All the heavy hitters and their teammates were present: Ryan Trebon and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Ben Berden and Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh-Clement), Jeremy Powers and Zach McDonald (Rapha Focus), Justin Lindine (Redline/NBX), Cody Kaiser (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), Dodge Cameron (Scott Cross Team), Ryan Knapp (Pony Shop Cyclocross) and Drew Dillman (Sophisticated Living p/b Bob’s Red Mill). While Trebon, Johnson and Powers each took turns turning screws at the front, the train of 12 remained intact.
Going into the third lap, once again, Trebon lit it up on the paved uphill under the finish line clock taking Driscoll with him. Powers gave chase with Johnson in tow around the gazebo and into the downhill sand. However, it would all come together again heading into the fourth lap, no one was willing to stick their neck out too far, everyone afraid of making a mistake at the high speed.
Finally Powers drove hard into the sand. Johnson and Trebon answered the call, but there was damage behind. Powers kept pushing through the logs. Perhaps because of his early efforts trying to break up the train, Trebon seemed to struggle with the move. With six laps to go, Powers and Johnson had seven seconds on Trebon.
Trebon kept fading and, as he hit the sand with five to go, was eventually was caught by the group behind containing McDonald, Driscoll, Berden, Lindine and Kaiser. Meanwhile at the front, Johnson was putting the hurt on Powers. Both at the log hill and through the off-camber leading into the barriers, Johnson eeked out a gap with three to go.
Behind, Kaiser was the first victim to fall off the pace of the chase group. Driscoll wore the hurt on his face as Berden, Trebon and Lindine rode the logs in front of him. Sitting in for a few laps, Trebon got his mojo back and attacked the group in his favorite spot, up the pavement to the finish. Only Berden could respond.
With the bell, Berden and Trebon stuck together like Nash and Compton earlier. Johnson cruised in for the win with a big grin. Powers took 2nd. With 100 meters to the finish, Berden and Trebon came off the grass sprinting side by side. Berden went left, Trebon right. The crowd was uncertain, but the official’s photo at the line showed Trebon’s wheel just inches in front of Berden’s.
Next week, OVCX UCI level action continues with the MudFund Derby City Cup races Saturday and Sunday at the home of the 2013 World Championships, Eva Bandman Cyclocross Park in Louisville.
Complete results (to be posted) on usacycling.org