[From Andrew at Cyclocross Magazine]
On the women's side of things, the race was a clear open and shut case for current Women's National Cyclocross Champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike) who took a commanding win over the Luna duo of Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould. Compton defended the title she won in 2008, winning by just under a minute over Nash. Early favorite Helen Wyman (Kona ) got off to a hot start, but the dry desert air stole her power and she faded to finish in seventh place. The surprise of the day was fourth placed Kelli Emmett (Giant Bicycles), who shook off a broken wrist that she suffered just seven weeks ago, to narrowly miss out on the podium.
As the gun sounded, it was the British National Champion Wyman who grabbed the holeshot, charging off the front, as Compton and Nash tried to close down the gap. Once Compton and Nash got on board, they set off to open up their gap. Wyman was clearly struggling with the lack of humidity and with the pace at the front, and dropped off the front of the race shortly after being passed by Compton. This left Nash trying to hold on to Compton's wheel for the second year in a row, while Wyman faded back to Georgia Gould and Sue Butler, who were chasing in the second group.
Nash looked an equal match for Compton, until a bobble saw Nash lose Compton's wheel, a fatal mistake that spelled doom for the rest of her race. While Compton was head and shoulders above the rest, Nash was at least shoulders above the rest, and was opening up time on the chaser in third place, her teammate Georgia Gould. Gould, however, had her hands full with a charging Kelli Emmett, who was carrying hot form off a stellar mountain bike season with her new Giant team. Gould, having seen second place escape up the road, was content to ride with Emmett, confident to rider her off her wheel as the race progressed.
Compton continued to extend her lead, despite the appearance that the race was already decided. Another surprise came from Team Kenda/Seven/NoTubes rider Mary McConneloug, who had a last row start but was able to work her way up through the field and slot into fifth. Wyman had faded back through the field, getting caught by McConneloug and Sue Butler but fought through her wall to hold on to seventh place. Alison Powers, the current NRC women's champion, who got a last minute ride with Fuji Bicycles, was also in the group that contained McConneloug and Butler, had her sights set on Wyman as well, but ran out of room to make the catch and finished eighth, an impressive rookie ride ahead of Amy Dombroski (RGM Watches - Richard Sachs - Radix) and Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes).
Compton easily sewed up her second consecutive CrossVegas title, with Nash crossing the line 56 seconds back. Gould proved to be too strong for Emmett, who lacked fitness due to her injury break, and cracked the Giant rider with only half a lap left to race. Emmett would be happy with fourth, easily a career day for her. McConneloug had arguably the most impressive ride to round out the top five.