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USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships - CN
Mt. Snow, Vermont, USA, July 17-22, 2008
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Race 17 - Sunday, July 20: Elite women short track
Compton rides solo to victory
By Dave McElwaine in West Dover, Vermont
United States of America Cyclo-cross Champion Katie Compton (Spike) put on a display of power that none of the other women could match today as she won the national short track cross country title at Mount Snow, Vermont. Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven) attempted to bridge across Compton's considerable lead, but had to settle for second place. The podium also included Lea Davison (Trek/VW) in third place, while Kelli Emmett (Giant) and Willow Koerber (Gary Fisher/Subaru) rounded out the top five.
Although not as hot as Saturday, the weather today at Mount Snow was quite warm and humid. "Riding in the heat is really hard," said Compton. "Cross is easier for me because it's colder and I do better in colder temperatures.
"Today was definitely a hard effort and I dug deep the whole way through," she added. "Mary was right there so I couldn't ease up. I had to stay on it the whole time."
Many racers seemed fatigued as a result of the long, hot cross country race on Saturday. Georgia Gould (Luna) and Heather Irmiger (Gary Fisher/Subaru) had made massive efforts during the cross country event appeared to be off their normal pace.
Compton increased her lead throughout the race over her rivals. Both she and McConneloug had to face the wind alone, while the chasers often had different riders on the front of their group.
Davison had the best ride of her young career and admitted she has been targeting the national championship race. "Basically I've been thinking about this race since January," she said. "My plan was to try to win because it is a home crowd and I have nothing to lose.
"It would be the icing on the cake after yesterday's (fourth place) finish, so I figured I would just go for it," added Davison. "I felt like I had good legs, which was why I was so aggressive."
The short track course at Mount Snow is deceptively difficult. While there is only one steep, loose hill, riders also face energy-consuming grass sections and long stretches of headwinds. A false flat up to the last 180 degree turn to the finish was the scene of several passes during the race.
How it unfolded
Davison won the start with Gould right behind her. Gould quickly came around Davision at the top of the climb and it started looking like every other short track race this season.
That quickly changed at Compton bolted to the front 100 feet later, passing all the leaders on a wide, grassy traverse of the ski slope. Gould attempted to follow but a gap quickly opened. Davison took up the chase and for a while was the only rider near Compton.
McConneloug realized that neither Davison or Gould were going to shut down the gap on lap three. She accelerated and dropped the entire field in pursuit of Compton. Compton had a 200 foot gap by lap four, but McConneloug seemed to be closing it down. Davison, Sue Butler (Mona Vie), and Willow Koerber (Gary Fisher/Suburu) were all chasing hard behind.
McConneloug brought the gap down to 100 feet by the fifth lap but that was as close as she would get. Davison, Butler, Koerber, and Emette were the main chasers behind McConneloug. The gap to Compton by lap six was 200 feet and showed no signs of reducing.
Things remained status quo until lap 10 when Emmett, Koerber, and Davison broke away, dropping Gould and Butler. With three laps to go it seemed that the chasers had begun to bring back McConneloug, but that was temporary.
Compton and McConneloug had their heads down at the front and were summoning every ounce of energy they had. Compton won by 34 seconds over McConneloug while Davison attacked the chase group with one lap to go and rode across the line in third place.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
Images by Jamie Lau/www.jamielau.com
1 Katie Compton (USA) Spike Shooter 26.15 2 Mary Mcconneloug (USA) Kenda/Seven Cycles 0.34 3 Lea Davison (USA) Trek/VW 0.46 4 Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant MTB Team 0.49 5 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 6 Zephanie Blasi (USA) Kenda Titus Hayes 2.17 7 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team 8 Jenna Zander (USA) Sobe Cannondale 2.18 9 Sue Butler (USA) Monavie/Cannondale 10 Pua Sawicki (USA) Ellsworth 2.19 11 Chloe Forsman (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team Pulled 12 Rachel Lloyd (USA) Proman Racing 13 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 14 Heather Holmes (USA) Kenda/Titus/Hayes 15 Caitlyn Tuel (USA) Trek/Vw /Rocky Mountain 16 Jamie Dinkins (USA) Devo/Vantaggio 17 Judy Freeman (USA) Tough Girl/Contessa 18 Krista Park (USA) Kenda-Titus-Hayes 19 Emily Van Meter (USA) Sobe/Cannondale 20 Lindsey Bishop (USA) Mafia Racing/Felt 21 Kyia Anderson (USA) Ekho/Cannondale 22 Nina Baum (USA) Sobe-Cannondale 23 Kimberly Flynn (USA) Vantaggio/Specialized 24 Tanya Nestvogel (USA) Vantaggio/Scv 25 Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) 26 Joy Duerksen (USA) Cole/Marten Transport 27 Theresa Richardson (USA) Sobe Cannondale 28 Shannon Edson (USA) Velo Bella 29 Tracey Wallace (USA) Team Bent DNF Annajean Dallaire (USA) Sobe-Cannondale DNF Patricia Buerkle (USA) Vanderkitten DNS Kathy Sherwin (USA) Sobe-Cannondale DNS Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (USA) Pedalpowercoaching.Com DNS Susan Haywood (USA) Trek/Vw