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
Place Name Team Bib Time
1 Katherine Compton Planet Bike 1 41:12:00
2 Meredith Miller California Giant Berry Farms/s 8 42:08:00
3 Amy Dombroski Schlamm P/b Primus Mootry/clem 7 42:13:00
4 Alison Dunlap Luna Pro Team 10 43:08:00
5 Laura Van Gilder Mellow Mushroom 6 43:23:00
6 Andrea Smith Minuteman Road Club 11 43:25:00
7 Mary McConneloug Kenda-seven-notubes 2 43:41:00
8 Kelli Emmett Giant Bicycles 17 43:55:00
9 Maureen Bruno Roy Mm Racing P/b Seven Cycles 3 44:16:00
10 Susan Butler 4 44:23:00
11 Deidre Winfield 9 44:30:00
12 Kaitlin Antonneau Planet Bike 104 44:31:00
13 Alice Pennington 43 44:52:00
14 Linda Sone Planet Bike 12 45:05:00
15 Anna Barensfeld Minutemand Road Club 18 45:08:00
16 Kari Studley Velo Bella 19 45:08:00
17 Kristi Berg Redline Bicycles 51 45:24:00
18 Ann D’Ambruoso Minuteman Road Club 24 45:28:00
19 Arley Kemmerer Hub Racing 26 45:46:00
20 Sally Annis Nebc/cycleloft/devonshire Dent 29 45:54:00
21 Kathy Sherwin Velo Bella – Ellsworth 60 45:55:00
22 Kristin Wentworth Planet Bike 13 46:00:00
23 Ann Knapp 71 46:00:00
24 Kristin Gavin Temple University 21 46:05:00
25 Kathleen Hannon 68 46:22:00
26 Kris Walker Church Of The Big Ring/realcyc 39 46:39:00
27 Elizabeth Frye Boone Velo 32 46:43:00
28 Nicole Duke 90 46:51:00
29 Ashley James Team Kenda 652 46:57:00
30 Beth Lyndon-Griffith Hagens Berman Cycling 61 47:02:00
31 Coryn Rivera Proman Hit Squad 47 47:03:00
32 Nicole Thiemann Pabst Blue Ribbon 22 47:04:00
33 Emily Van Meter 40 47:05:00
34 Kristal Boni Blue Sky Velo 50 47:13:00
35 Crystal Anthony Minuteman Road Club 33 47:29:00
36 Abby Jenkins Embrocation Cycling Journal 88 47:31:00
37 Megan Faris 92 47:34:00
38 Lisa Curry Gallatin Alpine Sports/intrins 56 47:41:00
39 Barbara Howe Vanderkitten 20 47:45:00
40 Marne Smiley 35 47:52:00
41 Kimberly Flynn Vantaggio/ Specialized Scv 28 47:55:00
42 Beverly Chaney Team Roaring Mouse 54 47:59:00
43 Joele Guynup 44 47:59:00
44 Tina Brubaker The Vanilla Workshop-speedvage 105 48:00:00
45 Elizabeth Marzolf Hagens Berman Cycling Team 58 48:12:00
46 Corey Coogan Ridley Factory Team 38 48:13:00
47 Anissa Cobb 102 48:21:00
48 Sunny Gilbert 62 48:29:00
49 Katrina (Trina) Baumsteiger Team Rambuski Law 42 48:31:00
50 Katrina Dowidchuk Team DRT/Deep Blue 80 48:39:00
51 Mary “Evie” Boswell-Vilt Inland/back To Dirt Racing 49 48:40:00
52 Serena Bishop Sunnyside Sports 55 48:40:00
53 Laura Winberry Campmor 99 48:42:00
54 Amy Frykman Team Delphine 67 48:54:00
55 Kristine Church Humanzoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon 41 49:02:00
56 Lauren Hall Hudz-subaru 83 49:23:00
57 Devon Haskell Bh Usa 45 1Lap
58 Kendall Ryan Socalcross 93 1Lap
59 Dayna Deuter Church Of The Big Ring 75 1Lap
60 Michele Bliss Chipotle-titus 74 1Lap
61 Deb Sweeney Whitmore Bmw/bianchi 48 1Lap
62 Allison Snooks Minuteman Road Club 85 1Lap
63 Becca Blay Mafia Racing 96 1Lap
64 Emily Curry Joe’s Garage 653 1Lap
65 Rhonda Mazza Unattached 107 1Lap
66 Megan Elliott Black Mountain Bicycles 103 1Lap
67 Shannon Holden Vanderkitten 82 1Lap
68 Veronica Vega Sunnyside Sports 79 1Lap
69 Dorothy Wong Team Cicle 70 1Lap
70 Jessica Cutler Cucina Fresca 95 2Laps
71 Susan Prieto 97 2Laps
72 Lee Smith Team Group Health 64 2Laps
73 Christina Tamilio Minuteman Road Club 78 2Laps
74 Margaret Thompson Team Hammer Nutrition 108 2Laps
75 Suzan Falvey 106 2Laps
76 Sami Fournier 101 2Laps
77 Emily Shields Carolina Masters Cycling Club 77 2Laps
78 Emily Thurston Team Vegan 91 2Laps
79 Katherine Shields Carolina Masters Cycling 76 2Laps
80 Natalia Gardiol Cambridge Bicycle / Igleheart 100 2Laps
81 Elizabeth Welliver Vello Bella – Ellsworth 57 2Laps
82 Karen Oppenheimer Bend Bike N Sport 52 2Laps
83 Sarah Lukas Gear Grinder/hyundai 654 2Laps
84 Audrey Brown Team S&m 72 3Laps
85 Arielle Filiberti Dartmouth College 651 3Laps
86 Beth Mason Verge Test Pilot 87 3Laps
87 Annette Padilla Celo Pacific 59 3Laps
DNS Amanda CAREY Kenda/ 14
DNS Alison Powers Team Type 1 36
DNS Rachel Cieslewicz Monavie/cannondale 53
DNS Lora Heckman Peloton Cycles – Specialized 73
DNF Rebecca Much Webcor Builders 27
DNF Wendy Williams 34
DNF Jennifer Gaertner Riverstone Women’s Racing Team 37
DNF Sarah Maile Ventana Mountain Bikes 46
DNF Lea Stralka 63
DNF Julie Bates Team Roaring Mouse 65
DNF Karen Brems Webcor Builders 66
DNF Marissa Axell Team Roaring Mouse 69
DNF Allison Baumhefner Unattached 81
DNF Brenna Lopez-Otero Bend Bike N Sport 84
DNF Patricia Dowd Team Delphine 94
DNF Marian Jamison Velo Bella 98
DNF Linnea Koons October Factory Racing 25
DNF Shannon Gibson Velobella 86
DNF Erika Powers Revolution / Peak Fasteners 89

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