BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — After one and half laps, it was never in doubt. National champion Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) was on fire, winning the U.S. Open of Cyclocross by a mile.
Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement) took the hole shot, and led for a lap, but halfway through lap two Compton tested her legs, and the results were ample. Mani eventually finished runner up.
“It’s hard riding in fourth or fifth. It’s so bumpy out there. There’s so much rubber-band effect,” Compton told VeloNews at the finish of the race, held at the Boulder Reservoir. “I attacked, just thought I’d put an effort in. And I got a gap. And once you’ve got a gap, you’ve gotta commit.”
And commit she did. Compton was smooth through the sand and technical corners at the reservoir on a banner Colorado afternoon. After a third at CrossVegas — she lost in a sprint to Meredith Miller (Noosa) and Katerina Nash (Luna), Compton has said she aimed to start slow this year and peak later in the season. She’s not as fast as she hopes to be… yet.
“And that’s good. I know. It’s hard to race when you haven’t put in all the intervals you wanted to and you’re just like holding back a bit. .. I feel like I’m suffering the same, but not necessarily going as fast… but it’s coming back,” Compton said.
As far as Saturday, it serves as a test for the looming UCI C1 Boulder Cup race, held Sunday at Valmont Bike Park, where Compton won a national title earlier this year.
“I knew they were gonna chase. I tried to be smooth. I wanted to make sure I could ride the sand sections, just not make any mistakes, work the technical bits. … It was just so bumpy out there. My goodness,” Compton said. “I actually felt way better today. Vegas is tough. It’s the first race of the season. I’ve been doing a little bit of intensity, but not enough. The grass is just so hard for recovery. I definitely felt better today, but the course today was way more fun.”
Compton said she is looking forward to Sunday’s race.
“I won there, nationals last year. I like the course, like the venue. [Luna rider] Georgia [Gould] is racing tomorrow, that will add another factor — but yeah, it should be good. We’ll see.”