Despite heavy rains in Austin that led city officials to delay the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships for a full day, competitors turned up in prime form on Monday. Cyclocross specialist Katie Compton turned in a dominating performance, notching her 11th national title, and Jeremy Powers successfully defended his 2014 win.
Though Compton started out in a pack of women, by the bell lap she had pulled away, positioning herself to cruise in uncontested in 41:01. Kaitlin Antonneau finished 25 seconds back for runner-up, followed closely by Rachel Lloyd in 41:40 to round out the top three.
“The course was still technical and still hard, and it definitely wore on you,” Compton told USA Cycling. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t go too hard. I always had the people behind me in mind, but it helped having a gap because that way I could relax and focus on the lines.”
The men’s race broke open early, with Powers, soon to be a three-time title holder, gapping eventual runner-up and four-time champion Jonathan Page after the latter lost ground coming out of the pit (where riders can swap out dirty bikes for cleaner rides between laps). Powers would finish at 1:00:33, with Page 31 seconds back at 1:01:04. Zach McDonald would finish a decisive third in 1:01:45.
“You’ve got to really stay on top of it and you can’t look back,” Powers told USA Cycling. “You’ve got to stay in your own race, and I never looked back.”
According to USA Cycling, the races, originally scheduled for Sunday, were postponed by the Austin Parks and Recreation Department after heavy rains exposed the root systems of the park’s 100-year-old heritage trees.