Redemption at Boulder Cup

Another Noosa CX race report copied/pasted below. It’s been a crazy, hectic two weeks (wedding! first team race! crossvegas win! big hometown debut!) and I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to catch my breath, refresh and reflect on it all soon. Until then – the team reports are going to have to to the trick!

(photo credit: Dejan Smaic)

Meredith Miller out-sprinted Georgia Gould (Luna) to finish runner-up to ten time U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) at Boulder Cup on Sunday. Compton soloed to victory at Valmont Park while Miller battled a spirited chase group for the second position on the podium. It’s Miller’s third podium out of four races in the last eight days –including her ‘cross career best win at CrossVegas only five days earlier.

“This has been a great start to the season,” said Miller. “Everything has really come together for the team practically perfectly, and both Allen and I are performing at a really high level – probably higher than either of us expected. We’re definitely happy with this past week.”

Miller’s disappointment over her ride at Saturday’s C2 race was eased by her stellar performance at the C1 race on Sunday. Miller rode a strong, tactically smart race from lap one to the finale.

(photo credit: Dejan Smaic)

“It probably goes without saying that I was looking for a little bit of redemption after what happened yesterday,” said Miller. “I talked to Katie Compton today and asked her how she backs up a big win with continued high level performances. She told me to savor the win but let it go a little –to keep the forward focus. It was good advice.”

“It’s hard after Vegas,” Miller admitted. “It’s a really late night race, and we have to be at the expo pretty early the next day. I didn’t get much sleep, and there was a lot of chaos and attention still coming in after the race. It was hard to shut that all down and prepare well for Saturday. I also put a lot of pressure on myself to back up the win in Vegas with another big result. Katie told me not worry about backing up results and reminded me that no one can take that accomplishment away from me.”

“Valmont is a much better race venue for me,” Miller added.“I had a great ride there at Nationals last year, and I’ve finished on the podium at Boulder Cup a couple times, including another second place a few years ago. I’m able to use the hillside and power climbs to my advantage. I felt much more confident about today’s race. I also had a better sleep last night, and I showed up with my head screwed on straight today – which usually helps!”

Miller was quick off the line and immediately found herself leading a large group behind Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement), who parlayed the hole shot into a small gap off the front.

(photo credit: Dave McElwaine)

“Caroline just took off right away,” said Miller. “I wasn’t really willing to put in a big effort to chase her at that point. I know it’s a demanding course, and it was hot out there today. I suspected it would be a race of attrition, and I didn’t think it was necessary to put too much into the first lap.”

The lone leader steadily built her advantage as Miller set a brisk tempo in her wake. By lap two, a handful of other riders were taking pulls. Compton overcame a slow start and made her way to the front of the field.

“Katie put in a good effort to shut Caroline down,” said Miller. “The pace she set split the group. Before we caught Caroline, there was a group of four of us – Katie, Georgia, Chloe [Woodruff] (Stan NoTubes) and I. The chase was whittled down to three, with Chloe falling off pace, before we caught Caroline.”

Compton launched her attack mid-race and easily opened up a gap. Miller attempted to bridge across to Compton. Initially her effort looked as if might prove successful.

“I got kind of close to her there for a little bit,” said Miller. “She eventually stretched it out a bit more, and Georgia and Caroline caught me back. From that point, it was the three of us chasing Katie.”

“It’s tricky,” Miller explained. “You think – should I bury myself to catch the leader and risk blowing? Do I ride steady but hard and hope it’s enough to catch her? Is someone else going to put in the effort to bring her back?”

(photo credit: Dave McElwaine)

“I took one good pull early,” Miller said. “Georgia came around me on the stairs, and I think Caroline was resting, recovering from her big early effort. None of us were putting in a really massive effort. I don’t think any of us were willing to really throw down to try to close the gap. I know I was riding the speed I knew I could maintain to the line.”

With two laps left to race, Miller was forced to put a foot down on a tight, off-camber turn in the second half of the course. Gould saw the opportunity to distance Miller and picked up the pace.

“I’m not really sure what happened there,” said Miller. “I was behind Georgia, and I don’t know if I hit her wheel or just took the wrong line or what but I had to put a foot down. Georgia realized that I was fumbling around behind her, and she put in a hard dig that allowed her to open up a gap.”

“She held the gap all the way through that lap up until the longest hill on the course,” Miller added. “I tried to drop Georgia and Caroline there earlier in the race, and I made an effort at the same place again. I almost shut her down but not quite. I finally made it across to her on the last lap.”

Miller allowed Gould to lead on the first half of the last lap. Mani had been distanced by that point but was putting in a big fight to regain contact with the chase for second.

“I knew I wanted to be the first rider through the section where I had to put a foot down,” said Miller. “I let Georgia stay on the front during the first part of the last lap, but I came around her on the back side of the course. I gave it everything I had left to make sure she wouldn’t come around me from that point.”

“I was confident that if I came out of the last turn first, no one would come around me,” Miller added. “I just had to make sure that Georgia couldn’t pass me through the stairs and on the twisty stuff coming into the finish.”

Miller’s strategy proved successful. She held off Gould through the course’s technical elements and each twist and turn. Miller was the first of the two to hit the pavement, and the first of the two to cross the finish line.

(photo credit: Dave McElwaine)

“It was pretty great,” said Miller. “It feels good to redeem myself. I’m really proud of what Allen and I have done already this season, and I’m happy to share that all in Boulder with my hometown crowd. Showing off the team colors and feeling the excitement everyone has about the team and Noosa, especially with how well we’re both riding – it’s a really cool thing. Our hard work is already paying off in a lot of big ways.”

“I’m a little bit surprised with just how well it’s all going,” Miller admitted. “I knew I had the fitness but I didn’t know I would have the speed. I think the little bits of racing I did this summer really helped. The endurance is the hard part. The speed work comes back fast.”

“Having a more relaxed approach because I wasn’t constantly traveling and racing has given me a much fresher outlook on the season,” Miller added. “I had a lot more time to ride with friends, explore new roads, line up for new races and just do what felt fun. Because I didn’t have a training plan during the off-season for the first time in six years, I could ride what I wanted, when I wanted and with the people I wanted. I think this off-season was the most fun I’ve had on the bike in years, and it’s really neat to see that all that fun has translated into my best early season ever.”

This entry was posted in Race Reports. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

      latest news

      Meet Your Newest VeloNews Columnist
      (posted on 09-24-2014)



      Follow Meredith on Twitter

      • Events are coming soon, stay tuned!