Katie Compton (Spike) added to her collection of stars and stripes jersey in Kansas City, Missouri this weekend with a characteristically dominating ride over Georgia Gould (Luna) and Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry). While all of the earlier fields enjoyed relatively warm temperatures, the marquee events of the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships were contested in bitterly cold and windy conditions.
Arctic air descended upon the Tiffany Springs Park course, dropping the balmy early morning temperatures well below the freezing mark and sending riders dashing back to their camps to put on extra layers of warm clothing. The women's race got off to a quick start thanks to the efforts of Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team), who got the hole shot and forced the pace for the early part of the lap before being passed by Compton.
With a long and draining climb up the grassy slope to the top of an embankment, Compton split the group with a steady, powerful effort. One bobble by Georgia Gould (Luna) on the S-turns at the top gave Compton the opportunity to break clear from the other contenders, and once she gained a handful of seconds on a chasing group with Gould, Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry), Amy Dombrowski (Velo Bella - Kona) and Laura Van Gilder (C3-Sollay), there was no bringing her back.
"I was a little slow on the chicane at the top, and that was where the gap opened up," explained Gould. "As soon as [Compton] saw she had a gap she turned it up."
Compton took the title for the fifth consecutive year, equalling the record of Alison Dunlap. With tears streaming down her face not from joy or the emotion of winning, but rather from the stinging cold, Compton was relieved to have come through the race without incident to take the win. "It was hard - when it's this cold you can't feel your fingers to brake and shift, so I'm really happy to have had a clean race and not crash and shift and brake at the right times," Compton said.
Both Compton and Gould will now head to Europe to contest the World Cup in Belgium in preparation for the World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands at the end of January.
Also see the full race report, results and photos.