Reigning and seven-times US Cyclocross Champion Katie Compton (Rabobank Giant) swept the Cincinnati3 Cyclocross Festival again this past weekend. Though she dominates the races, soloing to the win each time, Compton will say that it’s not easy especially on Sunday’s hard course at Harbin Park.
“Today was hard. Today was really hard, all the climbing, the mud and since we have all that rain, the grass is really sticky and hard to ride through. The mud, the sand, the hills, oh this is just a hard race especially after two days of cross racing.” Compton smiled a few minutes after crossing the line.
In the first two races of the event, Compton waited before putting in her deadly acceleration that no one has been able to match, so far. But on Sunday, she took no chances, coming around to the front early in the first lap.
“I knew that the course was going to wear on people and I wanted a clean line for the sand the first time.” she explained. “Then the front I figured you have to keep the pace up on a course like this because you let up on the pedal and you just come to a stop.”
And she kept the pace up, getting a gap which she would hold until the finish. Watch Compton through the sand where she rides so smoothly, heck sometimes it looks like she is gliding across. Though she admits that she didn’t feel that she was gliding on Sunday’s double sandpit.
“You definitely have to stay smooth on the sand and push on your pedals and not let up because it’s so hard to keep a straight line, sometimes you can do it and other times you get your weight off. That uphill sandpit it was tough, I felt like I was struggling.”
One thing she limited on Sunday was going to the pit to get a clean bike. The reason is that her father was pitting for her, and she didn’t want to make him work too much. Her usual mechanic, her husband Mark Legg, just had a shoulder operation and had to skip the event.
One of the best in the world, Compton has won pretty much everything. She is just that good. But what does make her so good?
Her reply was the same one that Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) said last year to that question: “I don’t know.”
Compton continued, “I don’t think it’s mental because I think every cross rider out there has that cross mentality where they just want to drill it because cross is never easy, there is no such thing as an easy race. We’re all out here I think to beat each other up and really turn ourselves inside out to race hard. I don’t know. I really enjoy it, I try to be smooth and work on the technical part, like you say, glide. I’m just good at it, I can’t explain it.”
But one title that Compton has still not claimed is that of World Champion. She has come close but as they say close only counts in horsehoes and hand grenades. So she’s going for the rainbow stripes, again, this year.
Plagued with debilitating leg cramps, Compton also limited her traveling this year, only racing one World Cup in Europe so far – which she won. So far so good for her.
“I’m coming off a good training block, this is the weekend that kind of put the nail in the coffin. I’m going to have a little recovery coming up and go over to Belgium before Koksijde and get a couple of days in the sand before the race.” she said.
Before flying to Belgium, Compton will race the USGP Derby City Cup in Louisville next weekend. Then it’s off to Europe for one month, back home for Christmas and USA National Championships and then Worlds.
Compton concluded. “I’m in a good spot, I need to do some more training and work on things of course but now, it’s a good start.”