Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team) put on a world class 'cross racing clinic Sunday afternoon in Wisconsin's Badger Prairie Park, taking command of the elite women's championship not long after the gun went off and riding away to her eighth straight national title.
A second Katie, 20-year-old Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), who is coached and mentored by Compton, uncorked another remarkable ride in a breakthrough season to win both the silver medal in the elite championship as well as successfully defend her U23 title, run concurrently. Just shy of two minutes after Compton soloed to victory, Antonneau rolled across the finish line and shared a warm embrace with her coach.
Moments later Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com earned a second medal as Nicole Duke captured bronze eighteen seconds after Antonneau, the best elite championship result ever for the 37-year-old Boulder, Colorado resident, in a spirited finale against Teal Stetson-Lee (California Giant-Specialized).
Another phenomenal young talent, 19-year-old Coryn Rivera (Exergy-Twenty12), rounded out the top five and claimed second in the U23 ranks.
"It feels really good. It feels good to be done but also have a good race," said Compton. "I don't think it’s really sunk in yet, but I'm pretty excited to have eight national championships in a row. I love wearing the stars-and-stripes and competing in Europe. I get a lot of respect for that."
Conventional wisdom suggested that a 'cross championship held near Madison, Wisconsin in January would be a frigid, snowy affair, but unseasonably warm weather created its own challenges as a slick sheen of mud coated the deep ruts carved into the parcours over five days of racing. While Compton was very much amenable to the warmer weather, the course put her considerable technical skills to the test.
"It was really tricky, because the course was changing and getting harder each lap," said Compton. "When I pre-rode it was a little more firm. When we started it was thawing a little bit and by the last lap it was alot muddier, and it was slippery mud on top of hard ground.
"I'm pretty happy it's not cold and snowy here, but I'm sure next year they'll make up for it with a blizzard or something where we'll need skis for the run-up."
Despite opening up a comfortable margin over her closest pursuers on her five-lap championship performance, Compton kept the pressure on through to the finish line.
"If you back off at all you make mistakes and you crash," said Compton. "I wanted to make sure I kept pushing and pushing on the hills."
It was a dream weekend for Antonneau, who had already won the Division I collegiate women's championship on Saturday and whose Marian University team clinched the overall Division I team title after the collegiate men competed earlier in the day on Sunday. Additionally, the Wisconsin native was urged on by the effusive cheering of numerous family members, friends and supporters lining the course.
"This past week I envisioned exactly what happened in my head and it was perfect," Antonneau told Cyclingnews. "I made a few mistakes, I crashed a couple of times, but I'm really happy with how it went. I'm proud of myself.
"It was so loud and that's what helped me so much. Everyone was cheering and it was amazing. The support was there, it was awesome, and over the top."
While Nicole Duke rode in second place behind Compton for the first two laps, Antonneau eventually made the juncture with her teammate and the pair enjoyed a spirited back-and-forth.
"We were riding together and pushing each other, going back and forth, for about half the race," said Antonneau. "She rode really strong today, too, and I'm happy that we were able to be on the podium together."
Antonneau pulled away from Duke for good, however, on the first climb of the penultimate lap and almost immediately Teal Stetson-Lee passed Duke on the same ascent, dropping her back to fourth...for now.
"The last time she passed me she was so strong," Duke said of Antonneau. "She gapped me so hard that I kind of sat up and raced my own race and that's when Teal came around.
"I stayed calm, raced my own race, and saw that she was kind of slowing down," Duke continued. "I knew that I had a better time through the technical sections. On the last lap I was patient and waited to pass her on a section I knew where I could gap her, and it worked."
Like Antonneau, Duke had plenty of partisan support throughout the race venue.
"There was so much noise and intensity in the crowd. It made it really exciting. Alot of my Boulder peers were here and they were out running up the hills with me which made it really cool and really special.
"It was a really dynamic course, it was fun and it was way, way better than I expected. These frozen ruts really made it interesting."
Steadily moving her way into medal contention, Teal Stetson-Lee eventually found herself in hot pursuit of the Antonneau-Duke duo.
"They were a tough match today," Stetson-Lea told Cyclingnews. "They both had great starts and they were up there gapping the field early on. I was chasing for the longest time. That was the majority of my race today."
Just as Antonneau dropped Duke for good on the penultimate lap, Stetson-Lee, too, passed Duke on the same climb and moved into third place.
"I finally just pushed super-hard on my second to last lap and I got up to Nicole and I passed her on the first super-steep hill. I felt strong and then when I came into my final lap I could feel my legs start to cramp up on the climbs so I knew I was running out of fuel.
"She was just super-smart," continued Stetson-Lea. "I went by her but she stayed with me and kept working her way back up. She caught me in the techie sections and she is a way-impressive rider in those sections, she's got those downhill skills."
Rounding out the top five was Coryn Rivera and nobody seemed more surprised than Rivera regarding her best performance in the elite 'cross ranks.
"I was hoping for a top-10, just to finish my 'cross season well, but I totally surprised myself. I'm pretty speechless," Rivera told Cyclingnews. Rivera had already finished second in Saturday's Division I collegiate women's race, one place behind winner and Marian University roommate Kaitlin Antonneau, and likewise shared in the squad's collegiate team title.
While Rivera's 'cross schedule was relatively light in advance of nationals, the quality of racing was substantially higher than in previous years which she believed made a difference.
"It was actually heavier than usual in the kind of races that I did. Before I would mostly do local races and maybe one USGP before nationals, but this year I did Louisville as well as Bend and I also did Jingle Cross so I had alot more depth of racing in me compared to the years before."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katherine Compton (Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team)||0:46:42|
|2||Kaitlin Antonneau (Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale Cyclocrossworld)||0:01:59|
|3||Nicole Duke (Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale Cyclocrossworld)||0:02:17|
|4||Teal Stetson-Lee (California Giant Cycling)||0:02:32|
|5||Coryn Rivera (Exergy Twenty12/Exergy Twenty12)||0:03:39|
|6||Meredith Miller (California Giant Cycling/California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)||0:03:52|
|7||Susan Butler (River City Bicycles/Ridley)||0:03:53|
|8||Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob's Red Mill pb Seven Cycles)||0:03:57|
|9||Laura Van Gilder (C3 p/b Mellow Mushroom Racing)||0:05:01|
|10||Arley Kemmerer (Charm City Cycling Llc)||0:05:14|
|11||Kelsy Bingham (Roosters/Bikers Edge)||0:05:30|
|12||Sally Annis (Crossresults.Com/Crossresults.Com P/B Jra Cycles)||0:05:41|
|13||Carolyn Popovic (Team Cf/Team Cf-Elite)||0:05:53|
|14||Andrea Smith (Minuteman Road Club/Ladies First)||0:06:25|
|15||Alice Pennington (Team S&M)||0:06:43|
|16||Rebecca Blatt (Team Kenda Presented By Geargrinder)||0:06:45|
|17||Crystal Anthony (Minuteman Road Club/Ladies First)||0:07:05|
|18||Lisa Curry (Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club/Gallatin Alpine Sports/Intrinsik Archite)||0:07:21|
|19||Samantha Schneider (Cyclocrossracing.com p/b Blue Bicycles)||0:07:26|
|20||Kari Studley (Team Redline)||0:07:39|
|21||Nicole Thiemann (Team Cf/Team Cf-Elite)||0:07:42|
|22||Stacey Barbossa (Elite Endurance Training Systems)||0:07:47|
|23||Serena Gordon (Silverado Gallery)||0:08:05|
|24||Rebecca Gross (Tough Girl Cycling)||0:08:10|
|25||Linda Sone (Cycle-Smart Inc.)||0:08:43|
|26||Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport)||0:08:51|
|28||Abby Strigel (Cyclocrossracing.Com)||0:09:03|
|29||Ellen Noble (Trek)||0:09:13|
|30||Emily Shields (Mock Orange Bikes/Smartstop / Mock Orange Bikes P/B Ridley)|
|31||Shannon Gibson (Stan's Notubes Elite Women's Team)||0:09:18|
|32||Katherine Shields (Mock Orange Bikes/Smartstop / Mock Orange Bikes P/B Ridley)||0:09:53|
|33||Alyssa Severn (Cyclocrossracing.Com)||0:09:59|
|34||Kristine Church (Human Zoom Cycling/Human Zoom)||0:10:11|
|35||Allison Arensman (Fiets Maan Racing)||0:10:30|
|36||Alice Henriques (Zanconato Racing)||0:10:39|
|-3laps||Elle Anderson (Minuteman Road Club/Ladies First)|
|-3laps||Lisa Hudson (Feedback Sports Racing)|
|-3laps||Christina Tamilio (Minuteman Road Club/Ladies First)|
|-3laps||Brittlee Bowman (Crossresults.Com/Crossresults.Com P/B Jra Cycles)|
|-3laps||Corey Coogan Cisek (Plan C p/b Stevens)|
|-3laps||Ellen Sherrill (Bike Station Aptos)|
|-3laps||Corrie Osborne (Iscorp Cycling Team)|
|-3laps||Marne Smiley (Bob's Red Mill)|
|-3laps||Kimberly Flynn (Ussc-Trek P/B Vantaggio)|
|-3laps||Molly Hurford (Colavita Racing Inc./Colavita Racing)|
|-3laps||Margell Abel (Tough Girl Cycling)|
|-3laps||Meghan Korol (Ocd Cycling/Bob'S Red Mill Cyclocross)|
|-3laps||Elizabeth So (Team Tati)|
|-3laps||Bailey Semian (Mid-Atlantic Cycling Club)|
|-3laps||Amber Rydholm (Gs Boulder/Trek Store)|
|-3laps||Hannah Finchamp (The Team /The Team - Socalcross)|
|-3laps||Kaila Hart (No Tubes Elite Womens Racing)|
|-3laps||Jennifer Nowlin (Peace Coffee Racing)|
|-3laps||Victoria Gates (Tenet Racing/J.A.M. Fund / Ncc)|
|-3laps||Jeanne Fleck (Velo Duluth)|
|-3laps||Cassandra Maximenko (Silver Bull/Target Training)|
|-3laps||Michelle Bishop (Cadence/Cannondale Women'S Racing Team)|
|-4laps||Dorothy Wong (The Team /The Team - Socalcross)|
|-4laps||Sierra Siebenlist (Indiebike.Com)|
|-4laps||Lindsay Zucco (Team Bicycle Heaven)|
|-4laps||Sarah Fredrickson (Bikereg.Com Cycling Club)|
|-4laps||Shannon Greenhill (Peachtree Bikes)|
|-4laps||Kimberly Thomas (Fusion Cycling Team/Fusion It)|
|-4laps||Patricia Dowd (Coeur D 'Alene Velo Racers (Cdavr)/Team Rep)|
|-4laps||Catherine Hollibaugh (Team Nebo Ridge)|
|-4laps||Cory Redmond (Black Sheep Cycles/Black Sheep Cartel)|
|DNS||Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt)|
|DNS||Jennifer Gaertner (Coeur D 'Alene Velo Racers (Cdavr))|
|DNS||Christina Probert (The Team)|
|DNS||Jennifer Herrell-Rhoades (Bicycles Of Tulsa)|
|DNS||Antonia Leal (Planet Bike)|
|DNS||Nicole Alexander (Kitchi - Mi - Kana/Chocolay Ace Hardware Cycling Team)|
|DNS||Christina Birch (Tenet Racing/J.A.M. Fund / Ncc)|
|DNS||Katherine Sherwin (Stan's Notubes Elite Women's Team)|
|DNS||Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers Race Club)|
|DNF||Katie Arnold (Echelon Cycling Team)|
|DNF||Sarah Huang (Exergy Twenty12/Exergy Twenty12)|