Last week cycle-cross riders from all over the world descended on Asheville, North Carolina’s iconic Biltmore Estate for the annual USA Cycling’s Cyclo-Cross National Championships.
Cold weather and muddy conditions only seemed to infuse racers with energy as Katie Compton and Jeremy Powers successfully defended their women’s and men’s national elite titles.
Compton, who hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado and represented Trek Factory Racing, tore through the finals in 46 minutes and 56 seconds, just ahead of Georgia Gould of Fort Collins.
Gould, who raced for the LUNA Pro Team, finished the multi-lap race in 47:18.
Third-place went to Kaitlin Antonneau (47:30) of Racine, Wisconsin. Antonneau raced for Cannondale Cyclocross World.
For much of the five-lap race, Compton, Gould and Antonneau battled it out, but toward the end, Compton’s reserve energy kicked in to propelled her across the line in first place.
Jeremy Powers of Easthampton, Massachusetts, finished the slightly longer Men’s Elite race with a time of 56:45, just 10 seconds ahead of fellow Easthampton resident Stephen Hyde.
This was Powers’ fourth national title in the past six years. Hyde and Powers, had challenged each other much of the way. Later, with Hyde not quite on his wheel, Powers only needed to avoid costly falls to place first.
“No doubt, this is one of the most hotly contested nationals that I’ve won,” Powers told Cycling News after the race. “This one is special because it was really talked about, Stephen and I have been going head to head and doing good battles all year.”
Competition began January 5, and came to close Sunday January 10. Recent rains added extra challenges to climbs descents and turns, but riders adjusted and persisted. Just before the finals, Elite men and women took advantage of a practice slot on the course, to help them fine-tune their plans.
Other January 10 class winners included Ellen Noble (Kennebunkport, Maine/JAM Fund-NCC-Vittoria), who defended her 2015 women’s age 17-22 crown in 44:09. Tobin Ortenblad in the men’s Pro/Cat 1/2/3 19-22 (53:19). Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./Alpha Bicycle Co.-Vista Subaru) repeated as the junior men’s 17-18 with a 39:23 run, while Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah/Alpha Bicycle Co.-Vista Subaru) won the junior women’s 15-16 championship in 36:34.
In the Under 23 women’s race, Hanna Arensman (Rutherford College, N.C./TWENTY16 Pro Cycling) clocked the top time junior 17-18 time of 47:20 to take the division win. Katie Clouse of Park City, UT, took the women’s junior 15-16 title in 36:34, riding for Vita Subaru. In the women’s 1/2/3 Junior 17-18 category, Hanna Arensman (Rutherford College, NC) riding for TWENTY 16 Pro Cycling won in 47:20.