Since I couldn’t figure out any way to embed this clip currently on the Velonews homepage, I screen captured it and uploaded it here. This is Katie Compton interviewed by cyclocross announcer Dave Towle just after the medal presentation in the media tent at the World Championships. It’s emotional and for fans of the hard-as-nails Compton, it’s tough to watch her break down a bit when describing the frustration and disappointment in how the day went. I was hesitant to post this interview or mention it because I think we’ll see some great interviews and analysis with Katie in the coming weeks as she travels home, relaxes, and gets back into the groove.
I watched the entire race live from start of finish at home via video feeds. Katie started off a little slow, taking some time to clip in and get going, spending most of the first lap around tenth place in traffic. By the second lap she was onto the lead group where she stayed throughout the race. In other races this season, around lap 4 or so she’ll motor away and leave her competitors in the dust and hold the lead through the end, but on Sunday that didn’t seem to happen. I could tell the course was really tough but that’s normally an advantage to Katie as attrition sets in faster for other riders, but she didn’t seem to have the drive to pull away from Nash and Vos.
By the last lap seeing them riding together I was starting to get really worried because if it went down to a sprint, Vos was likely to win, so I was hoping for a quick break early in the lap from Compton, but she’d be pushing the front for so long I was wondering if she had the additional strength to ride the other women off her wheel. When Vos attacked partway into the last lap and neither Nash nor Compton could answer the surge, I could sense the frustration from Compton at not having the legs to go and as Vos grew her lead I felt immense disappointment for Katie. She’d dominated all year, only losing to Nash once in a sprint finish months ago. After watching Vos ride so fast in previous World Cup seasons, it was amazing to see Katie just crushing her week after week in the World Cup races. Also, Katie went five wins in five starts at the uppermost level of the sport, the World Cup series. That’s an incredible feat and why Katie sounds disappointed in the video and why all her fans were surprised on Sunday.
There must be immense bonuses on the line for the World Championship stripes, as both Vos and Stybar won on a day after months of strong, but not winning, performances. I was a tad shocked to see both riders winning when they’ve been beaten time and time again in the second half of the season, choosing to rise to the occasion and beat the day’s odds-on favorites of Compton and Albert.
As we slide into the Cyclocross off season, I have high hopes for Katie Compton’s 2011-2012 season. It’s only been one season of her riding without muscle cramping issues after the discovery of low thyroid function. She showed tremendous power and consistency all this past season and she’s certain to build upon it for next year and take her talents further. She’s no slouch on a mountain bike (she is the current US MTB Short Track champion) and will be killing it on dirt all summer and certainly attacking the next cross season with the precision and power she showed this year, along with additional wisdom, training, and planning it takes to win the whole damn thing.
Again, thank you Katie Compton for your entire dominating, winning season. Bouncing from city to city in the US and abroad is no small feat, and you went from airports to start grids and won. And won. And won some more. You’re an inspiration to all riders and we will continue to cheer very loudly for our favorite Elite Women’s Cyclocross and MTB rider. We all wish you even more good luck in 2011-2012.