Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com swept the men’s podium and Katie Compton (Planet Bike) swept the weekend by winning Sunday’s Boulder Cup, the second round of the fourth North American Cyclocross Trophy weekend.
Heavy snow earlier in the week forced a venue change, from the grassy hills of Harlow Platts Park to the sandy Boulder Reservoir. But by race day, the snow was melted and the runoff evaporated, and temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s made for comfy spectating.
The course featured loose, sweeping switchbacks and lots of sand. The far end of the course dipped down to the beach and sent riders over a dock that some rode and others ran. For the men, the most physically demanding section may have been a sandy horseshoe that if ridden poorly meant 70 meters of running — and if ridden well meant only about 40-50 meters of footwork. The women gave this bit a miss.
Dombroski drills, Compton crushes
Amy Dombroski (Richard Sachs-RGM Watches) went hard from the gun, leading into the first couple of loose gravel switchbacks. After the quick dip down to the beach Compton and Alison Dunlap (Luna) took over.
And then Compton, the five-time national champion, rode away from the field and never looked back. By the second lap she already had a 30-second advantage on a hard-driving Dombroski, who said she did everything she could to hang with the Planet Bike rider, but to no avail.
For a while it looked as if Kelli Emmett (Giant), Saturday’s fifth-place finisher, might hang with Dombroski and even overtake her. But by the third lap Dombroski had almost 10 seconds on Emmett, and six-time national champ Dunlap was even further behind after a mishap in the barrier section.
Compton crossed the line first and Dombroski’s persistence gave her the runner-up spot at 2:42 back. Dunlap crossed the line third at just under three minutes back.
“Today stayed together a little bit longer,” said Compton. “Dombroski, Dunlap, Emmett and I were off the front for the first half lap and then I got a gap on them in the sand section and then the gap just grew from there.”
Sunday’s Boulder Cup was Compton’s last domestic race until the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Bend, Oregon. Until then, her schedule is filled with World Cups, other European races and plenty of travel time. Next weekend she’ll be racing at the UCI World Cup in Nommay, France.
“I think my fitness is better than the last few years,” said Compton. “I haven’t had any leg-cramping issues, so that’s been a big bonus. This year I’m trying to come in a little bit slower. It’s hard to tell how my fitness really is until I go to Europe.”
Racing is training
Unlike Saturday’s Blue Sky Velo race at Xilinx in Longmont, the elite men’s event wasn’t entirely a solo performance by Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com). Teammate Jeremy Powers put in a big move on lap two that left Johnson chasing some eight seconds back.
But Johnson eventually caught his teammate, and the two probably would have stuck together until the end had Powers not tumbled over the dock down by the beach.
Johnson continued to drive the pace, building a gap of 11 seconds with four laps to go. Meanwhile, a third teammate, Jamey Driscoll, was in no-man’s land between his two comrades up front and a chasing Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis).
In the end, Johnson was first across the line, followed by Powers and then Driscoll.
“Anytime that you have a string of good fitness and health you have to be thankful for it because it can go away in a heartbeat,” said Johnson. “That’s what bike racing is all about.”
Johnson praised Powers, saying he “was killing it in the beginning. The only thing that really separated us was a little bobble at the dock. From then on we were separated.”
And if the race looked like a Cannondale-Cyclocross.com training ride, well — racing is training too, said Powers.
“The plan today was to race our hearts out and try as hard as we could,” he said. “This is training too, so if we’re not racing hard then we’re not doing ourselves any favors. I don’t think Tim and I said a word to each other the whole time.”
Driscoll, meanwhile, took a spill today that cost him valuable time.
“I lost my front wheel and did a little bit a body surfing on the dirt,” he said. “I got back up and my bike was doing all right but I swapped it out in case anything was wrong. Kabush was closing in but I was able to get back in the zone and hold him off.”