Sunday, December 13, 2009

CX Nationals Day 4

The fourth day of Nationals culminated with the Elite level races. The two most honored events of Cyclocross in the United States and Planet Bike had riders poised to potentially win both the mens and womens categories. A solid team of Planet Bike riders in both races and the excitement was in the air. Huge crowds formed to spectate the races to see who would slip on the coveted stars and stripes jerseys at the end of the day.
photo by Ben Ross

First up was the Elite Womens race and Planet Bike rider and 5 time defending national champion Katie Compton was the odds on favorite.

The three other Planet Bike women were seeded in the second row and junior rider Kaitie Antonneau was another rider to watch after an incredible season of UCI racing.

Over 100 women on the start line marked the largest field ever seen in a US womens cyclocross race. The armada of Planet Bike women visible at the start of the race was striking.

From the gun Compton took the lead into the first corner and never looked back. A ten second gap quickly grew as Dombroski, Miller, and Dunlap battled behind her.
photo by Mark Legg

The race proceeded to get spread out as riders soon found themselves riding in small groups or alone. Ice still lingered beneath the mud and grass and the slippery course challenged riders to stay upright.

Compton rode a smooth race save for one slip before the stairs. Her power and technical skills were no match for riders in this field.

Behind the top 7 riders a chase group of 5 emerged including Kaitie A who was having an impressive race.

Just behind this group were several riders including Linda who was having a strong race in about 15th place.

Kristin was struggling a bit further back with the technical conditions and was riding around 20th place.
photo by Jeff Edwards

Compton continued her domination off the front of the race and the result so many predicted and expected soon became reality.

Katie crossed the line over a minute ahead of second place finisher Meredith Miller.

A herd soon formed around Katie to congratulate the now 6 time national champ and get her thoughts on the race and her goals for the remainder of the season. After finishing 3rd last year at Worlds, Compton will travel to the Czech Republic at the end of January in hopes of slipping on a World Champion rainbow jersey.

photo by Amy Dykema

The rest of the Planet Bike women soon crossed the line with Kaitie A. finishing in an incredible 12th place, Linda in 14th, and Kristin in 22nd.
photo by Amy Dykema

Congratulations to Katie on her incredible show of strength and a record tying 6 straight National Championships.

photo by Amy Dykema

Womens race reports
CX Magazine, Podium in Sight, Cyclingnews, Velonews, Cyclingdirt

Next up was the Elite Mens race and with Planet Bike rider Jonathan Page fresh off an 8th place at the World Cup in Igorre, Spain many were curious to see how JP would fare against other US riders.

Also racing for Team Planet Bike were LaLonde brothers Mark and James. Mark was hoping to improve on his 11th place finish at Nationals last year and James, winner of the 2009 non championship single speed race, was eager to prove himself in his first Elite Nationals race.

From the start Jeremy Powers pushed the pace opening up a gap. Page was chasing hard in second position.

Meanwhile Mark who had been riding in the top 15 faced some bad luck and flatted on the first lap and needed to ride nearly half a lap before getting to the pit.
photo by Amy Dykema

James was riding well in the top 40 riders.
photo by Amy Dykema

Page had some problems with the tire pressure on his bike and went to the pit on the second lap. He traded bikes again later that lap and dropped back into fourth place as Johnson and Trebon both passed by him.

Mark couldn't seem to catch a break and got flat tires on three more occasions.
photo by Amy Dykema

James continued to ride a strong race and had moved up a bit further.

photo by Amy Dykema

Powers suffered a crash and Johnson took over the race behind a chasing Trebon. Jonathan was left racing for 3rd with Todd Wells and was able to get a gap on him before the finish stretch. Page had a good showing and took his second straight 3rd place at Nationals.
photo by Amy Dykema

Mark, despite his bad luck, was able to finish 26th and James not far behind in 34th.

A smiling Jonathan post race. His season is far from over as he continues World Cup racing this weekend and looks to Worlds on January 31st in Tabor.
photo by Amy Dykema

photo by Amy Dykema

Mens race reports
CX Magazine, Podium in Sight, Cyclingnews, Velonews, Cyclingdirt

All in all an incredible four days of racing in Bend, OR by the Planet Bike team. Huge thanks to all of the sponsors for the support throughout the long season - Planet Bike, Edge, Ridley, Lazer, TRP.

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