by Jordan Villella
Katie Compton has the won the Elite Women’s title at the US Cyclocross National Championships title every year it’s been held since 2004, missing just one year, 2011, like everyone else because of the move of the USA Cycling National Championships from December to January. Compton has sixteen World Cup wins under her belt, three medals at the Cyclocross World Championships, and 75+ UCI wins. This makes Compton the most successful US cyclocross athlete, male or female, in the sport.
She’s won races on a number of different bikes, including Primus Mootry, Stevens, Giant and now, Trek. We spent some time with Compton and her Trek cyclocross bikes right after her record-setting ride on Sunday. The mechanics, bikes and component selection played a huge role in how the athletes would be able to handle the very technical course and tough conditions, and Compton came prepared with three bikes and numerous wheelsets.
Compton and husband Mark Legg-Compton are famous for their manic attention to detail in their builds, bikes and components, and some of Compton’s choices were not off-the-shelf items.
Compton rode a custom prototype Trek aluminum frame built to her specific geometry requirements, painted with a color scheme similar to the Trek Ion Pro. The aluminum frame is mated to a Trek carbon fork with a tapered steerer. While Trek has a top-of-the-line carbon Cronus available, Compton opts for custom geometry available to her in an aluminum model.
Compton also piloted prototype Bontrager Aeolus 3 wheels to win her ninth straight national championship win. She’s been riding Aeolus 3 wheels for much of the season, but in Verona, her Aeolus 3 carbon rims were given a special coating developed in part with Compton that helped with stopping in the icy conditions. It gave them the appearance of looking like aluminum rims.
In addition to Bontrager wheels, more Trek-owned componentry was seen, including a Bontrager XXX-Lite carbon seat post and XXX-Lite carbon stem were also seen, a change from Compton’s usual choice of Thomson.
Compton’s Trek was equipped with a 2012 SRAM Red Exogram crank, rear derailleur, shifters, and front derailleur. Compton is one of the few pro cyclocrossers we have seen to be running the new all-carbon hollow SRAM Red crankset, and the new SRAM Red front derailleur YAW (see our review of SRAM Red 2012 with Yaw here). Other SRAM-sponsored racers have been racing a rebadged SRAM S900 crankset with aluminum spider and a Force or 2011 RED front derailleur, as on Jeremy Power’s Focus Mares we profiled earlier this season.
On the 175mm SRAM Red crankset were WickWerks chainrings in a 34/44t combination, Compton’s favorite sizes, and one of two combinations now offered by WickWerks for the 2012 SRAM Red compact crankset.
Although she was spotted using a prototype SRAM 1090-CX cassette earlier in the season, the winning bike we photographed featured a standard SRAM PG-1070 cassette.
A big decision for all on Sunday was which tires to run. Compton went for the FMB Super Mud cotton tubulars, with some of the special Pink latex versions as well; with either white and black treads depending on the bike and wheelset.
While Compton has her own signature handlebar made by Thomson (see our profile of the Thomson KFC bar from Interbike here), her Trek sponsorship provided her with the Bontrager RXL (Race Lite Blade) carbon handlebar to match her other Bontrager cockpit components.