Careful application of her considerable power brought Compton to the win. © Janet Hill

Careful application of her considerable power brought Compton to the win. © Janet Hill

Be sure to keep checking our complete coverage of the 2009 Cyclocross National Championships Center as we continue to update the page with more updates, tech pieces photos, and videos.

by Christopher Bagg

Glancing through the start list of the Women’s Elite race here in Bend, Oregon, the question was, as it has been for years now, whether or not anyone would be able to stay with Katie Compton (Planet Bike). Compton currently leads the World Cup standings and has steadily burnished her European resume through the fall. Compton was looking for championship number six, which would equal Alison Dunlap’s (Luna) mantel of trophies. Dunlap lined up in Bend, too, hoping to put some distance between herself and Compton, as she said in our issue seven profile. Dunlap had hoped to win CrossVegas but managed third behind a dominant Compton. The two live in Colorado Springs and train together – but a race is a race, and both of these superstars wanted another championship.

Amy Dombroski (Primus Mootry – Schlamm), fresh off two strong rides in Portland, also looked possible for the win, as she had hung tough with a brilliant Katerina Nash (Luna) for most of last weekend’s Portland Stanley Cup. Mary McConnelong (Kenda – Seven Cycles) has strung together an excellent season, and perhaps the slick conditions on this cold morning in Bend would suit the mountain bike star when the gun fired. Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms – Specialized), too, after some difficulty and then redemption in Portland, figured to be in the mix on the quickly-thawing course nestled against Deschutes Brewery.

On the gun Compton took the holeshot and the sporting fantasies of the contenders, as they usually do, faded quickly into reality as Compton had three bike lengths on Dombroski only a few hundred meters into the two-and-a-half kilometer course. “I wanted to have a better start than that,” the diminutive Vermonter said afterwards. “I got caught behind some riders and had to make up ground.”

As the women came up the stairs for the first time, Compton slipped and elicited a gasp from the crowd. That would be the only weak moment of the day, however, and the superstar from Colorado Springs already had more than five seconds as she headed into the deceptively slick grassy section of the course. Chasing her was Dunlap, Dombroski, Miller and Laura Van Gilder (c3 – Athletes Serving Athletes), in that order.

Compton came through the first lap in six minutes and 45 seconds, equaling the pace of the U23 men from Saturday. As they came through the start/finish, Dombroski continued to have a great race, dangling about 10-15 seconds behind Compton. A group began to form around third place with Dunlap, Miller and Van Gilder coming together. Compton rode so fast that, as we moved from one side of the course to the other trying to follow her, she would often beat us back to the central area. “I started to calm down a bit after those first two laps,” she told us later. “The course was really technical, with all that ice under the mud and the course changing every lap. I slipped a bit on the stairs but after that everything kind of came together.”

After winning the Junior race, Coryn Rivera stepped up to the big leagues. © Janet Hill

After winning the Junior race, Coryn Rivera stepped up to the big leagues. © Janet Hill

Compton finished the second lap stretching her lead to 17 seconds as Meredith Miller began to stalk Dombroski for second place. Dunlap dropped off of Miller’s wheel but continued to ride bravely ahead of Van Gilder. It was on the third lap that Compton would push the pace hard enough to put the outcome out of doubt, moving more than thirty seconds ahead of second place, which had turned into a true battle as Miller and Dombroski rode side by side.

Miller attacked Dombroski through the start/finish and that pressure jarred the tough Vermonter: she went down about three-quarters through the lap in what she described as a “slick, shady area on the grass.” Under more pressure now, she “rode stupidly, taking bad lines and riding all nervous.” Miller quickly took advantage and was soon riding alone in second place.

That finish order would hold up through the final two laps, with Compton’s eventual margin of victory just under a minute. Meredith Miller, national road champion and now national ‘cross runner-up, looked all smiles during a post-race interview, while an upbeat Alison Dunlap discussed her fourth place finish. “It was fun,” she said, smiling brightly. “I mean, I went down once, but other than that had a lot of close calls. Yesterday was soft and wet, today was a lot more frozen. But then it kinda warmed up and you didn’t really know what turns were going to be frozen and what turns were going to be soft…it was crazy.” When we asked her about the battle for third she lauded Dombroski and Miller, saying brightly, “they’re just a little bit stronger, and they’ve been that way all season.” We asked Dunlap if she would consider returning next year and she demurred, but hinted that it wasn’t a strong possibility. “It’s just a lot of work getting back to racing shape.” Behind her, in 5th, a defiant Laura Van Gilder said, “I knew that I had my work cut out for me, and I had to bring an A game. No one thinks I have technical skills and I was pretty determined to show that I had enough technical skills.”

The course, as Compton remarked, was technical today, and Van Gilder showed some grit keeping Dunlap in sight throughout the day. As Compton said about her huge lead, “if you mess up on this course, you’ll lose so much time, so there’s only so much relaxing you can do.” We’re certain that Compton, owner of six consecutive national titles, was the only person relaxing on the deceptively difficult course in Bend today.

Check back for even more photos and reports from Bend.

Full Results


Women – Elite
1Katherine ComptonPlanet Bike141:12:00
2Meredith MillerCalifornia Giant Berry Farms/s842:08:00
3Amy DombroskiSchlamm P/b Primus Mootry/clem742:13:00
4Alison DunlapLuna Pro Team1043:08:00
5Laura Van GilderMellow Mushroom643:23:00
6Andrea SmithMinuteman Road Club1143:25:00
7Mary McConnelougKenda-seven-notubes243:41:00
8Kelli EmmettGiant Bicycles1743:55:00
9Maureen Bruno RoyMm Racing P/b Seven Cycles344:16:00
10Susan ButlerMonavie-cannondale.com444:23:00
11Deidre Winfield944:30:00
12Kaitlin AntonneauPlanet Bike10444:31:00
13Alice Pennington4344:52:00
14Linda SonePlanet Bike1245:05:00
15Anna BarensfeldMinutemand Road Club1845:08:00
16Kari StudleyVelo Bella1945:08:00
17Kristi BergRedline Bicycles5145:24:00
18Ann D’AmbruosoMinuteman Road Club2445:28:00
19Arley KemmererHub Racing2645:46:00
20Sally AnnisNebc/cycleloft/devonshire Dent2945:54:00
21Kathy SherwinVelo Bella – Ellsworth6045:55:00
22Kristin WentworthPlanet Bike1346:00:00
23Ann Knapp7146:00:00
24Kristin GavinTemple University2146:05:00
25Kathleen Hannon6846:22:00
26Kris WalkerChurch Of The Big Ring/realcyc3946:39:00
27Elizabeth FryeBoone Velo3246:43:00
28Nicole Duke9046:51:00
29Ashley JamesTeam Kenda65246:57:00
30Beth Lyndon-GriffithHagens Berman Cycling6147:02:00
31Coryn RiveraProman Hit Squad4747:03:00
32Nicole ThiemannPabst Blue Ribbon2247:04:00
33Emily Van Meter4047:05:00
34Kristal BoniBlue Sky Velo5047:13:00
35Crystal AnthonyMinuteman Road Club3347:29:00
36Abby JenkinsEmbrocation Cycling Journal8847:31:00
37Megan Faris9247:34:00
38Lisa CurryGallatin Alpine Sports/intrins5647:41:00
39Barbara HoweVanderkitten2047:45:00
40Marne Smiley3547:52:00
41Kimberly FlynnVantaggio/ Specialized Scv2847:55:00
42Beverly ChaneyTeam Roaring Mouse5447:59:00
43Joele Guynup4447:59:00
44Tina BrubakerThe Vanilla Workshop-speedvage10548:00:00
45Elizabeth MarzolfHagens Berman Cycling Team5848:12:00
46Corey CooganRidley Factory Team3848:13:00
47Anissa Cobb10248:21:00
48Sunny Gilbert6248:29:00
49Katrina (Trina) BaumsteigerTeam Rambuski Law4248:31:00
50Katrina DowidchukTeam DRT/Deep Blue8048:39:00
51Mary “Evie” Boswell-ViltInland/back To Dirt Racing4948:40:00
52Serena BishopSunnyside Sports5548:40:00
53Laura WinberryCampmor9948:42:00
54Amy FrykmanTeam Delphine6748:54:00
55Kristine ChurchHumanzoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon4149:02:00
56Lauren HallHudz-subaru8349:23:00
57Devon HaskellBh Usa451Lap
58Kendall RyanSocalcross931Lap
59Dayna DeuterChurch Of The Big Ring751Lap
60Michele BlissChipotle-titus741Lap
61Deb Sweeney WhitmoreBmw/bianchi481Lap
62Allison SnooksMinuteman Road Club851Lap
63Becca BlayMafia Racing961Lap
64Emily CurryJoe’s Garage6531Lap
65Rhonda MazzaUnattached1071Lap
66Megan ElliottBlack Mountain Bicycles1031Lap
67Shannon HoldenVanderkitten821Lap
68Veronica VegaSunnyside Sports791Lap
69Dorothy WongTeam Cicle701Lap
70Jessica CutlerCucina Fresca952Laps
71Susan Prieto972Laps
72Lee SmithTeam Group Health642Laps
73Christina TamilioMinuteman Road Club782Laps
74Margaret ThompsonTeam Hammer Nutrition1082Laps
75Suzan Falvey1062Laps
76Sami Fournier1012Laps
77Emily ShieldsCarolina Masters Cycling Club772Laps
78Emily ThurstonTeam Vegan912Laps
79Katherine ShieldsCarolina Masters Cycling762Laps
80Natalia GardiolCambridge Bicycle / Igleheart1002Laps
81Elizabeth WelliverVello Bella – Ellsworth572Laps
82Karen OppenheimerBend Bike N Sport522Laps
83Sarah LukasGear Grinder/hyundai6542Laps
84Audrey BrownTeam S&m723Laps
85Arielle FilibertiDartmouth College6513Laps
86Beth MasonVerge Test Pilot873Laps
87Annette PadillaCelo Pacific593Laps
DNSAmanda CAREYKenda/trainwitheric.com14
DNSAlison PowersTeam Type 136
DNSRachel CieslewiczMonavie/cannondale53
DNSLora HeckmanPeloton Cycles – Specialized73
DNFRebecca MuchWebcor Builders27
DNFWendy Williams34
DNFJennifer GaertnerRiverstone Women’s Racing Team37
DNFSarah MaileVentana Mountain Bikes46
DNFLea Stralka63
DNFJulie BatesTeam Roaring Mouse65
DNFKaren BremsWebcor Builders66
DNFMarissa AxellTeam Roaring Mouse69
DNFAllison BaumhefnerUnattached81
DNFBrenna Lopez-OteroBend Bike N Sport84
DNFPatricia DowdTeam Delphine94
DNFMarian JamisonVelo Bella98
DNFLinnea KoonsOctober Factory Racing25
DNFShannon GibsonVelobella86
DNFErika PowersRevolution / Peak Fasteners89

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