Jeremy Powers (CyclocrossWorld.com/Cannondale) and Katie Compton (Planet Bike/Stevens) both took a solo victory at today’s Cyclo Stampede, the opener of this year’s Cincinnati UCI3 Cyclocross Festival. But the race was truly dominated by Mother Nature, as she delivered days of rain prior to the race to turn the off-camber straights and turns on the course into a muddy slip and slide.
Good training. World Cup leader Compton continued her domination as she prepares to go back to Europe on her quest to win the World Championships next year. Today’s conditions were perfect preparation for the next World Cup race in Nomay, France.
“Today’s mud was really tough, a lot of off camber. I got to ride low pressure, lots of ruts, lots of sliding around.” said Compton. “It’s actually great race for the next World Cup which is always really muddy, similar to this. It’s definitely good training. ”
With only one bike available, Compton never pre-rode the course and was content to let Sue Butler (Monavie/Cannondale) grab the hole shot. For the past two years, the race conditions had been dry and warm so Compton was not expecting rain and mud for the race.
“I left one bike with a friend of our Belgian family to take back to Belgium, I left it in Italy to take back to Belgium because last year this race was really dry and I didn’t a spare bike so I figured ‘ah looked at the weather, it’s supposed to be dry it’s going to be fine’, ” said a smiling Compton, “and then I get here and it’s been raining for three days. ‘I should have gotten the spare bike’.”
On the first lap, when Compton tried to pass Butler on the low side of the hill in the first off-camber section, the two riders slid around which set Compton into the tape. She came to a stop to unhook her bike which set off a chain reaction when the rest of the field came through and seven riders went down. But that didn’t stop Compton long as she had a 93 second lead by the end of the third lap to Butler who was chasing solo.
“Once Katie was so far from me, I just relaxed and just riding my race.” said Butler who also had a solid gap to the next group on the course, “so I didn’t need to really push it.”
With only one bike at her disposal, Compton was “delicate” in her riding. “I left it in the little ring because I was getting chain suck, I used three or four gears in the back and just left it. It wasn’t the optimal gearing but it worked.”
Butler enjoyed the muddy course especially as it was a great opportunity to practice skills.
“It was muddy but it was fun. It was slow, well it wasn’t that slow because you’d be slipping pretty fast at times,” laughed Butler, “it was just super muddy, it was challenging and you just had to be smooth. This is a lot of skill work that I think we lack because we don’t have so many muddy races so you just had to relax and let your bike flow. I didn’t go down at all so I knew when I needed to dismount and run a little bit. I felt pretty good and had a little snap in my legs so that was good and it worked alright.”
The battle for third raged between Deirdre Winfield (C3 Sollay) and Linda Sone (Planet Bike) and the outcome was decided on the final lap with Winfield crossing the line first to grab the final spot on the podium.
“Awesome”. Powers claimed his second UCI win of the season after his victory at USGP #1 in Wisconsin two weekends ago.
“It’s always exciting to win, anytime I can win, I’m psyched so that was awesome.” smiled Powers.
“Today was gross but it was really fun because there were a lot of rollers you could keep your speed throughout the course which is really good for me. Some courses in the mud are really easy for me to ride and keep my speed and be technical and it’s when it’s really boggy and hard, I have a harder time and it’s something I’m developing as a rider.” commented Powers. “There’s always stuff to learn, that’s what keeps it fun, but today was definitely cool, I liked the course a lot, definitely treacherous out there.”
The slip and slide continued for the men’s race. Powers grabbed the hole shot and went straight to the front where he was joined by KONA teammates Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks. The trio pulled away from the field with Danish National Champion Joachim Parbo (CCV Leopard Cycles), Mark Lalonde (Planet Bike) and Troy Wells (Clif Bar) chasing behind them. Wells fell off the pace and the battle between Parbo and Lalonde continued until the final lap.
“Stay steady” was Powers’ plan for today. “The thing you want to capitalize on are guys getting fatigued and then when they fall down, you want to try to make up time when they don’t. So that’s the type of racing in these conditions, you stay the same speed and hopefully other people don’t.”
On a grass-to-pavement transition on the third lap, Trebon flatted his front tire and had to run over half a lap. Powers jumped on the opportunity, and was able to get and keep a gap to Wicks until the finish.
“He took a little bit of a different line and it didn’t work for him. He took the inside on the grass in one of the corners and when he came back on the pavement, he just wacked his tire really hard.” explained Wicks about his teammate’s flat tire. “We were riding together before that, this course is hard, you basically try to battle the course and not make mistakes. I may a couple of bobbles and Powers got 10, 15 seconds and that was it, the same gap the whole day.”
The gap from Wicks to the duo behind him was also steady and over 20 seconds. “I’m trying not to mess up and stay conservative.” said Wicks about his strategy halfway through the race. “You don’t want to crash, we have two more days of racing. It was fun, days like this, it’s just so fun to ride your bike. Contrary to what you would normally think.”
Battle for third place. Parbo was self-admittedly “a little rusty in the beginning” as he’s been traveling a lot and has been racing back to back since StarCrossed. “I think I caught up pretty well, some of the other guys made mistakes and I poached on them. I tried to ride a little bit smarter in these conditions and I try to save my energy for spots where it pays to invest. ”
Which spots you may ask? “Those places where you might skid up a little bit on the off camber either uphill or downhill so if you can kind of get a little momentum you can not think of pedaling but just put your feet out and balance through it and then after that, start pedaling again.” explained Parbo. “Because once you slid, you get shocked and you lose about five beats in your heartrate and that hurts you next time you accelerate.”
Straight out of the pit, Trebon chased hard to rejoin Parbo and Lalonde but he dropped back with two laps to go as he had difficulty running after chainringing his calf.
“Trebon came up a bit and then he fell back, he had trouble with his pedals, he had trouble turning and lanky as he is, he has bigger trouble keeping it straight in some of the corners and off camber, he was sliding out. ” said Parbo.
Parbo kept his cool and used his experience to pull out third place. Lalonde was fourth and Trebon finished fifth.
“The other guy, he was riding really strong at the beginning, I think he made a mistake or two and he lost motivation to hurt even more. I just tried to play it cool in these conditions because I’ve seen so many times that all of a sudden, if you can just keep through it, you can catch up to people. ” said Parbo.
The Cincinnati UCI3 Festival continues with Day 2 on Saturday with the Java Johnny’s Lionhearts International presented by Queen City Wheels in Middletown OH. The UCI Elite Women Cat 1/2 starts at 2:30pm and the UCI Elite Men Cat 1/2 is at 3:30pm. Weather prediction is calling for sunny skies.
“I never wish anybody bad luck and that sucked because I was looking forwards to having a good battle but it’s okay we all have bad days and things happen. I’m looking forwards to tomorrow with Ryan.” said Powers.
Complete results here
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UCI Elite Women Cat 1/2
UCI Elite Men Cat 1/2