For Noble, it’s still a bit of a dream come true. She won the under-23 title last season and Reno marked her first crack at the elite race. She fought Katie Compton, American cross royalty, throughout and used technical skill to keep pressure on. She led on and off through the first lap as the two immediately gapped the field.
“I was ready for anything. I was ready to fight and duke it out for the win, but I also knew there was a possibility I wouldn’t even be in contention. I was ready to roll with the punches,” Noble said. “When it came down to it and I was four seconds down with half a lap to go, that was more than I expected.”
Of course, it would have been easier to sit up and cede the race to Compton on reputation alone, but she battled on and finished seven seconds down on the 14-years-running champ.
“I think a lot of people expect second place to be disappointed,” Noble said. “For me, it was one of the best races I’ve had. Not even in this season – in my career. To be so close to Katie Compton in the last lap is a good feeling for me, and it’s motivating going forward.”
A few days later, she found herself cooking pancakes in a pot on a camp stove outside of a rental house in Santa Cruz, California, fitting in warm-weather miles before a return to Europe for Hoogerheide and Worlds. “I’m actually just starting to really have fun. This season taught me you have to make it fun if you want to keep doing this. You can’t always rely on the results.”