Katie Compton (KFC Racing-Trek) claimed a record 14th title at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships in Reno, Nevada on Sunday. Despite dealing with some fatigue, the 39-year-old dominated the elite women's race, soloing to her victory ahead of world-ranked rivals Ellen Noble (Aspire) and Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld).
"I wasn't feeling that awesome today," Compton said to race commentators in a post-race interview. "It was a hard course and Ellen was riding really strong. I had to work hard through the first half of the course and then kind of kept it upright in the second half. I bobbled on the last descent, and Ellen was pretty close, so I had to drill it to the finish.
"I was also trying to catch my breath, trying not to have an asthma attack, and managing the finish, the excitement and not getting caught."
The race was held at the Rancho San Rafael Park on a 3.4km course that had a powerful first half and a technical second half, all-in-all suiting powerful riders. It had sections of off-camber descent, a sandpit, run-up, railroad-tie stairs and a set of barriers.
The front-row calls included Compton, Keough and Noble along with Courtenay McFadden (Washington State Bicycle Association), Rebecca Fahringer (Amy D. Foundation), Crystal Anthony, Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team) and Arley Kemmerer (Fearless Femme).
Noble, ranked 15th in the world, did not disappoint crowds, showing off her strong technical skills by riding the Belgian stairs on course. That is where she took the early lead of the women's race, creating a small gap on everyone but Compton, who sat tightly and comfortably on her wheel.
Compton, wearing her Pan-American champion kit, powered to the front through the first half of the first lap, found an open line and built a slight lead. Noble took back her lead on the run-up, and the pair stayed together through the off-camber descent.
"Ellen had a really good start and she is riding really strong," Compton said. "I made a few mistakes, fishtailed my back end and had to remember to slowdown."
Keough, currently ranked second in the world, had a notably slower start. She fought to close a gap of roughly 10 to 15 seconds on the first lap but remained in third place with no one else around her.
Compton has spent most of her season overseas, is ranked fifth in the world and won the DVV Trofee series. She proved her dominant form, pulling away from Noble on the second lap. Compton smoothly handed the technical sections and powered through the straighter runs. She rode that much faster than her rivals through the off-camber sections and sandpit.
Compton had a small bobble in the last lap on the off-camber descent but rolled over the line with a comfortable victory. Noble, with a fast last lap, raced in for second place. Keough, who struggled on course, finished further back in third.
"I was concerned the whole time [about Ellen Noble]," Compton said. "She has been riding really strong and has had some really good races. I know she wants to win, she is young and has a ton of energy, and technically she's good. She was always there. I had to be smooth and make as few mistakes as possible. I wasn't easing up."
Compton has never won the elite women's cyclo-cross world title and didn't want to speculate on whether this was her year. "I'm looking forward to going back to Belgium and doing the final preparation for the Worlds. But honestly, I've had tons of good seasons and bad world championships. It could go either way."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katherine Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective||0:49:51|
|2||Ellen Noble (USA) Aspire||0:00:07|
|3||Kaitlin Keough (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||0:01:40|
|4||Courtenay Mcfadden (USA)||0:03:17|
|5||Amanda Nauman (USA) SDG-Muscle Monster||0:03:34|
|6||Rebecca Fahringer (USA) Amy D. Foundation||0:03:43|
|7||Samantha Runnels (USA)||0:03:51|
|8||Lily Williams (USA) The Pony Shop||0:04:52|
|9||Rebecca Gross (USA)||0:05:01|
|10||Caitlin Bernstein (USA) Vive La Tarte||0:05:22|
|11||Arley Kemmerer (USA) Fearless Femme Racing||0:05:38|
|12||Sarah Sturm (USA) Ska Zia||0:05:47|
|13||Caroline Nolan (USA)||0:05:54|
|14||Beth Ann Orton (USA)||0:05:59|
|15||Jennifer Malik (USA) American Classic Pro Cyclocross||0:06:02|
|16||Raylyn Nuss (USA) Maplewood Bicycle St. Louis||0:06:10|
|17||Crystal Anthony (USA) Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross||0:06:22|
|18||Cassandra Maximenko (USA) Van Dessel Factory Team||0:06:33|
|19||Emily Kachorek (USA)||0:06:36|
|20||Sunny Gilbert (USA) Van Dessel Factory Team||0:06:46|
|21||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) Kynd Cannabis||0:07:01|
|22||Erica Zaveta (USA) Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions||0:07:21|
|23||Kristen Legan (USA) EVOL DevoElite Racing||0:07:22|
|24||Emily Shields (USA) Hearts Racing Club||0:07:26|
|25||Christa Ghent (USA) Amy D. Foundation||0:08:00|
|26||Rachel Rubino (USA)||0:08:27|
|@1Lap||Regina Legge (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective|
|@1Lap||Laura Winberry (USA) Speedvagen Racing|
|@1Lap||Anne Usher (USA)|
|@2Laps||Anna Megale (USA) Team UpCycle|
|@2Laps||Allison Arensman (USA) JA King|
|@2Laps||Erin Faccone (USA) B2C2 Cycling Club|
|@2Laps||Gabriella Sterne (USA) Vanderkitten CX VKCX|
|@2Laps||Leslie Lupien (USA) B2C2 Cycling Club|
|@3Laps||Leslie Ethridge (USA) Topo Designs Cycling Club|
|DNF||Heidi Franz (USA) UCI WPT: Rally Cycling|
|DNF||Campbell Steers (USA) Rock Lobster|
|DNS||Dani Arman (USA) Tenspeed Hero|
|DNS||Katherine Shields (USA) Hearts Racing Club|