Butler rode a commanding race, working her way quickly up from a last-row starting position and then pushing ahead to establish a strong lead halfway through the first lap. Linda Sone (Crossniacs) and Katrina Dowdichuck (Colavita Racing Inc.) led a chase with Kristen Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) close behind.
As the race continued, Butler’s lead stabilized and Dowidchuck slowly began to pull away from Sone after the two had distanced themselves from Weber. Butler’s luck – and uncertain fitness – held, and the Portland resident raised her hands in victory, clearly overjoyed to be back competing on her bike. Dowidchuck kept her bike upright, and crossed the line a few moments later in second.
“It was a lot more emotional than I thought it would be crossing the finish line, because I haven’t gotten to race all season,” Butler told Cyclocross Magazine. “I just kept it really smooth. This was technical and fun, without the misery of rain.”
Over the summer, Butler had back surgery to resolve a back issue from a crash in at St. Wendel in 2010 – this Nationals win also marked her return to racing. “I started training in the first week of November. I’m probably at 80%. I will be at Masters Worlds.”