“The dry, fast courses were getting old,” Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) told Cyclocross Magazine.
In Rochester, Iowa City, Waterloo, Thompson and Baltimore, hot temperatures and dry conditions made for fast, dusty racing. While there were exciting races and finishes at some of these venues, one month into autumn, racers and fans started to wonder if the season of cyclocross would ever actually arrive.
On Saturday morning in Ohio and Kentucky, the dust was gone, but with a wintry mix covering cars, racers were still left thinking autumn had gone AWOL.
Still, the racing had to go on, and Keough, just back from playing in the sandbox of Koksijde and maintaining a top-three overall standing in the World Cup, was excited to finally have some mud and technical American racing.
She wasn’t the only one. Teammate Emma White expressed similar excitement upon landing in rainy Kentucky late Friday night. Despite being an accomplished road racer and excelling in fast, pack-filled races, the consensus was that it was time to change things up, and Mother Nature was finally cooperating.
Noble First to Test Her Running Legs
Ellen Noble (Aspire) let her start demonstrate her excitement with the sloppy, heavy conditions. The Worlds silver medalist and skilled bike handler wasted no time showing that she found the conditions to her liking. Noble grabbed the holeshot and quickly stretched it out to an early lead as chasers hit the ground trying to follow her steps up a muddy, off-camber run-up.
Behind, Keough found herself chasing, but didn’t panic. “I had a slow start for me, but I rode my own race,” Keough told Cyclocross Magazine.
Even on a dry day, Keough thinks the Devou course is a heavy course, and with the overnight rain, found it doubly so. “When it’s muddy, it comes down to riding your own race, and just trying to be smooth and ride your own lines.”
Ride and run her own lines she did, and they led her to the front up to Noble, and then off the front. Keough had visibly quicker steps on the steep run-ups and unrideable off-camber sections, and by lap two had a commanding lead.
Back, Backwards and Forwards
As Keough accelerated away from Noble, others found their own paths to contest the race for second. Courtenay McFadden (Pivot p/b DNA), White and Caroline Mani (Van Dessel / Atom Composites) all had Noble in their sights and visions of a podium finish.
Mani soon took charge, surging into second after following the other three, while McFadden would suffer from back issues and leave White and Noble to battle for third in yet another beautiful duel between the duo.
Noble bombed the descents while White was left reaching on the run-ups. Noble secured third, and in the process, widened the gap in the US Cup-CX standings between Keough and White.
Eye on the Prize
Up front, Keough had plenty of time to celebrate and start to think about how she might spend the $10,000 prize if she can keep her lead in the US Cup-CX standings through the two final races.
“Starting January 1, I have to buy my own health insurance,” Keough told Cyclocross Magazine, trying not to jinx her lead.
“I’d probably use it on that.”
Full results below. Stay tuned for Day 2 coverage.
2017 Cincinnati Day 1 Elite Women’s Notes:
- With her win, Kaitlin Keough grew her lead over teammate White to 30 points.
- Keough also sits third in the UCI World Cup standings and plans to contest the rest of the races in Europe. “It’d be really awesome to try to be top three,” she said.
- Keough swapped bikes twice during the race, a far cry from the every-half-lap swaps some racers executed earlier in the day.
- Keough rode Challenge Limus Team Edition tubulars at 15-16 psi.
Women's Results - 2017 Cincinnati Cyclocross Day 1
|2||3||Caroline MANI||Van dessel /atom composites||50:41|
|3||2||Ellen NOBLE||Aspire Racing||51:10|
|4||4||Emma WHITE||Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c||51:29|
|5||5||Courtenay MCFADDEN||Pivot Cycles p/b DNA Cycling||51:42|
|6||15||Clara HONSINGER||Team S&M CX||53:17|
|7||10||Amanda NAUMAN||SDG Muscle Monster||53:36|
|8||7||Crystal ANTHONY||Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross||54:29|
|9||8||Sunny GILBERT||Van Dessel Factory Team||54:47|
|10||11||Cassandra MAXIMENKO||Van Dessel Factory Team||55:11|
|11||9||Sofia GOMEZ VILLAFANE||Pivot/DNA||55:20|
|12||16||Katie CLOUSE||Alpha Bicycle Co. - Groove Suba||55:31|
|13||14||Emma SWARTZ||Trek Cyclocross Collective||55:53|
|14||6||Rebecca FAHRINGER||Stans NoTubes p/b Maxxis / gof||56:56|
|15||17||Danielle ARMAN||Tenspeed Hero||57:45|
|16||13||Allison ARENSMAN||J. A. King p/b BRC Womens Cyc||59:13|
|17||19||Katherine SANTOS||Amy D. Foundation||59:53|
|18||31||Kennedy ADAMS||Summit Junior Cycling||@1Lap|
|19||21||Beth Ann ORTON||Team S&M CX||@1Lap|
|20||18||Luarel RATHBUN||Donnelly Sports||@1Lap|
|21||33||Petra SCHMIDTMANN||Van Dessel Factory Racing||@1Lap|
|22||32||Carol SEIPP||Orion Racing p/b Kul Chocolate||@2Lap|
|23||22||Turner RAMSAY||Alpha Bicycle Co.||@2Lap|
|24||12||Maria LARKIN||The Meteor p/b Allied||@2Lap|
|25||30||Alijah BEATTY||MARIAN UNIVERSITY CYCLING||@2Lap|
|26||20||Ashley ZOERNER||MARIAN UNIVERSITY CYCLING||@2Lap|