Katie Compton (KFC Racing-Trek) wasted little time stamping her authority on the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships Sunday in Hartford, Connecticut, taking a dominant win to earn a 13th consecutive US title.
"I take every year one at a time, and don't think about the last ones I've won. They're all special," Compton said. "It felt really good to win today."
The lead changed hands a few times on the opening lap, with tight racing on the snow-covered course along the Connecticut River. Antonneau took the hole shot before giving way to Elle Anderson, who looked strong out front in the early goings and potentially primed to challenge Compton's streak.
As Compton began to find her stride, however, Anderson crashed and crashed again on a technical course made all the more challenging by icy surfaces. Before long, Compton was clear and rapidly building an advantage.
"I knew I wanted to get a good start and get to the run-up well, but I was just making small mistakes on the first lap," Compton told Cyclingnews.
"When you're racing on the snow, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the rhythm of it. Pedaling hard is one thing but using the finesse and the technique just to pedal hard but not have wheels slip around underneath you, or slip out and fishtail. So it just took me a little bit of time to get my rhythm. Once I did, then I felt much better the second, third, fourth lap, and I found I was a little smoother."
By the third lap, Compton had cemented a convincing gap over the rest of the field. Behind, Miller worked her way into the battle for second place with Antonneau as crashes left Anderson making up ground.
Powering through the last few laps of the tricky course mostly mistake-free, Compton rolled across the line with no one else in sight on the finishing straight.
After battling neck and neck in the last two laps, Miller finally distanced Antonneau towards the end of the race, nabbing runner-up honours 28 seconds after Compton's finish. Antonneau crossed the line 40 seconds back for the final spot on the podium, with Anderson nabbing fourth just over a minute later.
Compton noted that the icy circuit put Sunday's race among the more challenging championship rides she's pulled off. Still, she managed to enjoy the battle for number 13.
"This was hard. Mainly because you had to really keep your focus," she said. "It's super slippery underneath the snow. The lines were pretty similar from lap to lap, but they were changing from pre-ride. If you got off of them, it's pretty tricky and the bike kind of moves underneath you a little differently.
"It was probably one of the harder, more technical courses, and in a different way. Last year was slippery dirt and climbing. This year it's ice and snow and a little bit flat but you have to accelerate fast. It was fun."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katherine Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek/Panache)||0:49:25|
|2||Amanda Miller (Boulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo)||0:00:28|
|3||Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld)||0:00:40|
|4||Elle Anderson (Elle Anderson Racing)||0:01:46|
|5||Courtenay McFadden (American Classic/Zones)||0:02:11|
|6||Crystal Anthony (Maxxis-Shimano)||0:02:36|
|7||Arley Kemmerer (Fearless Femme Racing)||0:04:10|
|8||Rebecca Fahringer (Amy D. Foundation)||0:04:14|
|9||Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team)|
|10||Melinda Mccutcheon (DNA Cotton Sox)||0:05:54|
|13||Emily Kachorek (Squid Bikes)||0:06:53|
|14||Laura Winberry (Speedvagen Family Racing)||0:07:04|
|15||Danielle Arman (Tenspeed Hero)||0:07:19|
|16||Kathryn Cumming (Jalapeno Cycling)||0:07:32|
|17||Samantha Runnels (Squid Bikes)||0:07:42|
|18||Gray Patton (Freddie Fu Cycling Team)||0:07:56|
|19||Cassandra Maximenko (Van Dessel Factory Team)||0:08:07|
|21||Caitlin Bernstein (Vive la Tart)||0:08:17|
|22||Regina Legge (Green Line Velo)||0:08:23|
|23||Allison Arensman (J.A. King p/b BR'C)||2 Laps|
|24||Emily Shields (Hearts Racing Club)|
|25||Natalie Tapias (JAM Fund / NCC)||3 Laps|
|26||Kathleen Huff (Joe's Garage)|
|27||Jennifer Malik (American Classic Cyclocross Team)|
|29||Erin Faccone (Back Bay Cycling Club)|
|30||Rachel Rubino (Fearless Femme Racing)|
|31||Heidi Wood (333fab CX Factory Team)|
|32||Katherine Shields (Hearts Racing Club)|
|33||Elizabeth White (Bicycle Express)|
|34||Chelsea Weidinger (Mash SF)|
|35||BrittLee Bowman (House Industries - Withings)|
|36||Leslie Lupien (Green Line Velo)|
|37||Rebecca Lewandowski (Rare Disease Cycling)|
|38||Nina Baum||4 Laps|