Alone again, naturally: Katie Compton off the...

Katie Compton claims 10th U.S. ‘cross crown

Was there ever any doubt? Compton took a gap on the first lap and never relinquished it, powering to her 10th national title

Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) made it 10 in a row on Sunday, winning the elite women’s race at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.

Compton diced briefly with Elle Anderson (California Giant-Specialized) on the first lap at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado, but after that it was a one-woman show.

Going into bell lap the defending U.S. champion had 50 seconds on Anderson, while Crystal Anthony (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) found herself battling Meredith Miller (Cal Giant) for the final spot on the podium.

The gap held at 50 seconds at the Belgian Steps on the backside of the course, and shortly thereafter Compton sailed across the line in the best way possible, with nobody else in the photo.

Anderson hit the line for second at 51 seconds, while behind, Miller slipped past Anthony on the backside of the circuit, then led out the sprint for bronze and took it.

Compton said it felt “pretty good” to take No. 10 after a week of nothing but talk about it.

“It’s a little more pressure; it builds every year,” she said. “It was amazing. Everybody was so loud, cheering the whole way around. It took some time to take it all in and appreciate it.”

Compton said that not having spent much time at altitude while racing — and winning — the UCI World Cup, she was careful not to go out too hard. And she praised Anderson for her runner-up effort.

“She was riding really well,” Compton said. “She was strong at the beginning, and I knew I had to stay consistent.”

For her part, Anderson said she had “a great day out there.”

“It was an honor to ride with Katie today,” she added. “I just gave it my best shot. Katie came steamrolling by me. Kudos to her, because I could not hold her wheel.”

Miller, meanwhile, was happy to finish on the podium, and likewise praised her rival for the spot.

“Oh my God, let me just say, A, she made me fight like hell for that, and B, if not for this crowd … I never could have done that,” she said. “This was just phenomenal. I heard my name all the way around that course. Going up the stairs was deafening.”