Nicole Duke taking charge. © Janet Hill

Nicole Duke takes charge. © Janet Hill

For full Cyclocross National Championships coverage and information, visit our 2010 USA Cycling National Championships Page.

Nicole Duke (Hudz-Subaru) got the hole shot in the women’s 35-39 race, and she held the lead from wire to wire. Kerry Barnholt (Scott-Ritchey) was the early chaser and hung tough for the first couple of laps, but Duke was able to stretch out the gap to as much as 25 seconds.

“I got a good start, I was up there with Nicole, I just couldn’t hold her pace,” Barnholt said. “She powered away from me and I was just in survival mode.”

“It’s cold and sloppy – the air’s not that cold, but the water’s really cold. It’s slow, so it was a lot of power, which was killing me today,” said Barnholt. “It was super-fun conditions though.”

Barb Howe (Ibis-Danger Twins) told Cyclocross Magazine that she’s typically a slow starter, and today was no exception. But the former US national cyclocross team member picked up the pace as the laps unfolded, and she caught and passed Barholt in pursuit of Duke.

With three laps to go, Howe closed to within 15 seconds. A lap later she was within eight seconds of Duke and the front of the race, but she’d get no closer and the Hudz-Subaru rider would have plenty of time to celebrate the win and post up for the photographers as she crossed the line.

Duke’s win capped off a stellar season, including two second places and a third at Jingle Cross. She was third in last year’s 35-39 Nationals. “I feel relieved,” said Duke. “I just tried to stay with Sally Annis, and then she bobbled and I was able to take the lead. I got caught up in the tape once and got really nervous, I lost like ten seconds but I just tried to hammer it back down and had a clean race after that.”

“It feels really good having a second go around,” she said about coming back after a professional downhill career. “I feel a lot more relaxed about it. I was really young when I raced downhill, and this feels really good.”

“I expected Nicole to win,” said Barnholt. “She’s been riding super strong all season, and there are a lot of New England girls here who have been riding really fast, so I knew it was going to be fast.”

Sunday will be Howe’s last Elite race, and she plans to focus on local races during the season while finishing up school and preparing for a career as a clothing designer. Howe was the 2009 Masters 30-34 champ while riding for Vanderkitten, and this year put together her own race program.

Expect Duke to battle for a top-five result in the Elite women’s race on Sunday, and both Barnholt and Howe could very well prove to be factors in the marquee women’s event.

Photos by Janet Hill:

Full Results:

Place Points NameCity, StateTimeLicenseBibTeam
1150Nicole Duke (1 – Cat2)Boulder, CO0:36:1183337460Hudz-Subaru Cycling Team
2135Barbara HoweBerkeley, CA36:29:00129067455Ibis And The Danger Twins
3120Kerry BarnholtMountain View, CA37:02:00150226451
4105Sara Bresnick-ZocchiArlington, MA37:19:00166426474
590Sally AnnisNashua, NH37:46:00225263472Northeast Bicycle Club (Nebc)
685Linda Sone (2 – Cat2)Northfield, MN38:30:00224939452Minneapolis Bicycle Racing Club
780Lisa HudsonGolden, CO38:44:00223636461
875Kristal Boni (3 – Cat2)Erie, CO38:56:00238717463
970Nina BaumAlbuquerque, NM39:04:00180986483
1065Renee ScottBend, OR39:09:00302548462
1160Amy Frykman (4 – Cat2)Bozeman, MT39:27:00265248478Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club/Ga
1255Jennifer GaertnerCoeur D Alene, ID39:40:0022279456Coeur D ‘Alene Velo Racers (Cda
1350Kimberly FlynnHixson, TN39:53:00122752481Scenic City Velo
1445Sarah Max (5 – Cat2)Bend, OR40:35:00320284464
1540Evie EdwardsBaltimore, MD40:37:00254664466Spokeswomen Syndicate Inc./Perf
1638Megan Lawson (1 – Cat3)Bozeman, MT40:38:0020579475
1736Kristi BergArlington, WA40:54:0087266476Sound Velo Cycling Club/Team Gr
1834Allison Snooks (6 – Cat2)Westboro, MA41:06:00247307477Minuteman Road Club/Ladies Firs
1932Hollie McGovern (2 – Cat3)Nevada City, CA41:18:00166824480Sert/Sho-Air
2030Jennifer Jordan (7 – Cat2)San Francisco, CA41:33:00250459484Team Affinity/Team Ipass
2128Deb Sweeney WhitmoreSylva, NC42:23:00189097470Team Card Womens Cycling
2226Jadine RileyKirkland, WA42:51:00187804482Sound Velo Cycling Club/Team Gr
2324Anna Vaughn (8 – Cat2)Portland, OR43:04:00303423453
2422Kristi Carver (3 – Cat3)Boston, MA43:28:00323350459Northeast Bicycle Club (Nebc)/N
2520Margi Bradway (9 – Cat2)Portland, OR44:36:00330698467
2619Kimberly Thomas (4 – Cat3)Belmont, MI45:56:00300926465River City Velo Club/Fusion It
2718Camille Terhune (5 – Cat3)Olympia, WA47:16:00298157457Cbc Racing
2817Amanda McNabb (6 – Cat3)Lynnwood, WA48:20:00236233487Sound Velo Cycling Club/Team Gr
2916Angelina Salerno (7 – Cat3)Bend, OR@1Lap210265473
3015Erin Lindheim (10 – Cat2)San Anselmo, CA@1Lap251958468Team Affinity/Team Ipass
3114Maren Nelson (8 – Cat3)Bend, OR@1Lap302785469
DNS0Sarah JordanScotts Valley, CADNS158037454
DNS0Carlie SpenceFircrest, WADNS315548458
DNS0Becca BlayBoulder, CODNS174258471Mafia Racing
DNS0Beth BurnsPortland, ORDNS302532479
DNS0Ann MitchellOlympia, WADNS285673485Cbc Racing/Olympia Orthopaedic
DNS0Elizabeth MarzolfSeattle, WADNS198270486Lake Washington Velo/Hagens Ber
DNS0Katherine SherwinHeber City, UTDNS173633488Hudz-Subaru