Compton Q&A: Staying sharp for nationals

The World Cup champion says she has confidence in a 10th national title, but that anything can happen on race day

BOULDER, Colo. (VN) — To say Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) is the favorite to win a 10th national title this weekend in Boulder is putting it lightly. Compton secured her second World Cup title in a row with a victory in Rome last weekend and now looks to the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships on Colorado’s front range as a goal, but also a means to an end: another crack at a rainbow jersey later this year at the world championships, Feb. 1-2 in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.

We spoke with Compton on the telephone on Wednesday, soon after she returned to Colorado Springs from her most recent European campaign.

VeloNews: Congratulations on the World Cup overall win. How are you feeling leading into the weekend? How do you stay sharp for something like that because you’ve been on form for a while now?
Katie Compton: I’ve just been getting a little bit faster all the time because I came in a little bit slow, we know that. I’ve just been working on strength and strength work and not doing time and intensity yet. So, I think I’m coming into form instead of out form, but I think I’m still getting faster. Mostly because I’m planning for worlds to be riding as fast as I can, so I’m still building and then just being really smart with the rest and the quality of workouts.

VN: How’s the leg? [In previous seasons, Compton has dealt with recurring leg cramps brought on, in part, by travel. —Ed.]
KC: Fortunately good. I traveled back [Monday] and I didn’t have any leg pains during travel. I’m going to go ride today and I’ll know today. If all’s good, today will be good.

VN: I’m sure you don’t like hearing this, but you’re such an overwhelming favorite in the women’s field. Does that get to you at all, the fact that if you didn’t win, if would be considered a huge upset by a lot of people?
KC: Yeah, but that’s bike racing. I have the ability to win and as long as everything goes well, I’ve got a really good shot at it. You never know. I could have mechanical issues. I could have leg issues. … The World Cup’s been harder and racing Marianne [Vos] has been really hard. I’ve got that confidence to work, to build on and to work with, but you never know with nationals.

VN: Who would you watch for particularly?
KC: To be honest, I think, I always look at Georgia [Gould] because even though she’s not really focusing on ’cross, she’s still really strong and she’s a great bike racer. Depending on how she’s riding and how she’s feeling, her and then, of course, Elle [Anderson], and then Meredith [Miller] and Crystal Anthony, Kaitie Antonneau. Everybody’s riding pretty well. I think, actually, the top five would be a good battle. Then also Chloe Forsman; she was riding well early. She’s got a really good turn of speed on her and technical skills. So, I’m curious to see how she’s doing, too.

VN: What do you make of the Valmont course? You’ve raced it several times I know.
KC: I think it’s good. It depends on how much singletrack there is. They always tape it off nice and wide, but sometimes there’s only one line anyway. I’m curious to see how that turns out and then also how the course just holds up to all the racing, if it breaks down or if it’s snowy or wet or dry. Right, now, I’m not really thinking about the course until I see it on Sunday. Just with the weather and the racing, I think it’s going to be … I don’t know what it’s going to be, if it’s going to be wet or if it’s going to be dry. Either way, we’re ready for both.