Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized) captured a convincing victory at the UCI C2 Carousel Volkswagen Jingle Cross Rock 1 on Friday in Iowa City. The Fort Collins native outpaced Hudz-Subaru duo Nicole Duke, who placed second, and Amanda Miller in third.
“I had a lot of fun at this race last year and it’s getting a lot bigger, “said Miller who is currently leading the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT). “But I was torn between doing this or the last NACT race. I’m excited to get the win here because it was strong field and competitive.”
Duke led the majority of the race by a 30-second margin. However, race officials penalized the novice ‘cross racer by holding her for 30 seconds in the mechanic's pit for not touching a foot down as she passed into the pit zone on the previous lap. The officials allowed her to jump back into the race as chasers Meredith Miller and Amanda Miller passed by.
“I made a mistake in the pit and they took my advantage away,” Duke said. “It was a rookie mistake I made. I thought I was getting a flat so we went into the pit to get a bike but the guy who was supposed to have my bike didn’t have my bike, it was someone else’s, so I didn’t touch down and kept going. It’s my first year of having a second bike so I’m not great with the pit yet. The officials pulled me in on the next lap.”
Rock 1 was held at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in the evening as temperatures dipped below freezing. Riders were treated to a twilight affair under the festive lights and flood lamps courtesy of event sponsor, Musco. The spectator friendly course offered plenty of vantage points and one in particular was at the top of craggily peak.
“It was a pretty technical course and definitely to my advantage because of all the corners,” Duke said. “I’m so extremely bummed that I made that mistake. It is what it is but I might have had a win. I will race on Saturday and Sunday but today the course was to my advantage and might have been my day but I messed up. I won’t make that mistake again.”
Duke led the start of the race through the technical twists and turns, into a set of stairs steep descent and through the Grinch’s Lair sand pit. She gained a 30-second lead over the Mt Krumpit ride-up and down the technical descent where she was greeted by a set of barriers. Chasers included her Meredith Miller and her teammate Teal Stetson-Lee and Amanda Miller.
Not too far behind, the young Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) negotiated the technical sections of the course and the Grinch’s Lair with speed trying to regain contact with the leaders.
Duke rode through the mechanics pit in need of a spare bike with three laps to go. When she noticed her mechanic was holding a different bike she proceeded through the pit without touching her foot to the ground. Officials penalized her approximately thirty seconds on the next lap.
“Nicole got penalized in the pits and that is what definitely allowed me to catch her at that point,” Miller said. “I’m not sure if I would have eventually caught her or not. I was able to gap her on the uphill and hold enough of the gap for the last half lap.”
With the group of four riders back together at the front, Meredith Miller used her powerful pedalling to shake her chase companions from her wheel. She picked up some speed over Mt Krumpit forcing Duke to chase down the descent.
“Meredith would gap me on the uphill and I would pass her on the downhill and that’s how it went for the last two laps,” Duke said. “On the last lap she got a bigger gap and I couldn’t close it.”
Miller attacked on the final ascent and arrived to the finish line 10 seconds ahead of Duke in second and her teammate Amanda Miller in third. Antonneau rode in with a respectable fourth place ahead of Amanda Carey in fifth.
|1||Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:44:11|
|2||Nicole Duke (USA) Hudz-Subaru||0:00:10|
|3||Amanda Miller (USA) Hudz-Subaru||0:01:10|
|4||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:01:49|
|5||Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda-Felt|
|6||Lisa Curry (USA)||0:02:16|
|7||Kari Studley (USA) Redline||0:02:18|
|8||Ashley James (USA) Team Kenda||0:02:25|
|9||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) California Giant-Specialized|
|10||Devon Haskell (USA) Bike Station Aptos||0:03:12|
|11||Samantha Schneider (USA)||0:03:23|
|12||Linda Sone (USA) Planet Bike||0:03:29|
|13||Robin Williams (USA) Mercy-Specialized||0:04:48|
|14||Brittany McConnell (USA)||0:04:49|
|15||Corey Coogan (USA)||0:06:41|
|16||Catherine Walberg (USA)||0:06:53|
|17||Darcy Sanford (USA)||0:07:48|
|18||Emily Thurston (USA) Missing Link|
|20||Emma Bast (USA) Team Plan C|
|DNF||Sydney Brown (USA)|
|DNF||Megan Elliott (USA) Black Mountain Bicycles|