Katie Compton (Planet Bike) showed why she is the number one ranked female cyclo-cross rider in the world with a winning performance at the Blue Sky Velo Cup held in Longmont, Colorado. She outpaced Team Luna duo Georgia Gould who placed second and Alison Dunlap in third.
"Everyone is super excited and super supportive," said Compton who recently won the World-Cup opener in Treviso, Italy. "Even when I was warming up, people were coming up to congratulate me. It feels really good. I love the support here and I love racing here."
Colorado ‘cross attracts roadies
Unexpected winter storms and freezing temperatures two days prior left a five-foot blanket of snow and ice on top of the Xilinx Campus circuit located in Longmont, a short distance outside of Boulder, a cycling hot spot. The sun broke the morning of the race and melted much of the snow leaving behind a hodgepodge of mud well-suited to Compton's technical prowess.
"The race was harder than I thought, but warming up, I thought that today was going to be just one of those days," Compton said. "But then I got out there and it was all about skill today and less about power - not sliding, taking corners smoothly and bike changes. I was able to save a little something for tomorrow. It was really fun and I enjoyed it."
Compton kicked-off the race with a five-second lead over Gould and Dunlap. All three rode cleanly through the off-camber muck while the line of riders behind them slid into one another causing major blockages en route. Facial expressions showed mixed reactions to the muddy circumstances ranging from determination to big smiles and the occasional look of sheer frustration.
"It was a real bike handlers course and really technical," Dunlap said.
"But it got dry as we raced and there were more lines so that helps for sure. Even still we were just sliding everywhere."
Dunlap is a former mountain bike world champion who retired from professional bike racing in 2005. She recently made a return to racing at the start of this cyclo-cross season in September. Her form has increasingly improved after each weekend of racing as works the rust out of her technical game.
"My skills are getting better, every day getting better," Dunlap said at the finish.
"Today I didn't feel that great so I was just really happy to be on the podium. I think my handling was good and I was lucky to have my husband as my pit person so I was able to change bikes every lap."
Colorado is packed with cycling talent and it was plain to see at the state's marquee cycling event. Notable road riders jumping in on the ‘cross fever included US National Champion Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms), National Racing Calendar winner Alison Powers and teammate Kori Seehafer (Team Fuji) and Rebecca Much (Webcor Builders).
"For me it's nice because I can race and have fun without thinking of it as training," Miller said. "It's something different to keep the motivation high especially in Colorado where you have to do a lot of turbo training in the winter."
The race behind the three leaders included Powers, Miller, Kelli Emmett (Giant), Amy Dombroski (Webcor Builders), Barbara Howe (Vanderkitten) and Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher). Miller displayed her versatility slowly moving forward each lap until she reached fourth position.
"I like the road parts, there was a lot of pavement," Miller said. "Any time I can use my power through sections, which helps me. I'm getting better in the mud even though I couldn't figure out the off camber section. Every race I'm getting more comfortable riding through the ruts in the mud. "
Compton rode in with a convincing victory nearly one minute ahead of Gould and two minutes ahead of Dunlap.
|1||Katherine Compton (USA)||0:37:00|
|2||Georgia Gould (USA)||0:02:07|
|3||Alison Dunlap (USA)||0:03:29|
|4||Meredith Miller (USA)||0:04:03|
|5||Kelli Emmett (USA)||0:04:36|
|6||Amy Dombroski (USA)||0:05:08|
|7||Heather Irmiger (USA)||0:05:19|
|8||Barbara Howe (USA)||0:05:54|
|9||Alison Powers (USA)||0:06:12|
|DNF||Lisa Strong (USA)|
|DNF||Lynn Bush (USA)|
|DNF||Sarah Maile (USA)|
|DNF||Kori Kelley Seehafer (USA)|
|DNF||Kristal Boni (USA)|
|DNF||Lora Heckman (USA)|
|DNF||Kathleen Hannon (USA)|
|DNF||Cristina Begy (USA)|
|DNF||Lauren Costantini (USA)|
|DNF||Melanie Long (USA)|
|DNF||Lauren Hall (USA)|
|DNF||Susan Prieto (USA)|
|DNF||Lianna Miller (USA)|
|DNF||Catherine Johnson (USA)|
|DNF||Rebecca Much (USA)|