Heavy Travel, Heavy Mud, and a Win: A Mark Legg-Compton Report
Building on her successes at Koksijde World Cup and the US National Championships in Kansas City, Katie Compton continued her winning ways Sunday at the World Cup in Nommay, France. Following her dominant performance, Cyclocross Magazine got the inside scoop on Compton’s successful weekend and travels from husband Mark Legg-Compton. Here is his report:
Katie and I arrived to Belgium Friday morning after traveling from Colorado Springs via Amsterdam and a train ride to Belgium. We drove down to France Saturday with Sue Butler for a pre-ride on the wet Nommay parcourse. The course looked thick and fun but Katie’s legs were feeling heavy from the long flight and six hour drive. Katie and Sue tried to find some smooth roads to spin out the legs before number pickup and the manager’s meeting. The meetings are usually a short affair however in France it turned out to be a bit long winded. Thankfully the English translations were brief. Once the meeting finished up we busted out with the van to find our hotel that had kindly been booked by Ken Whelpdale formerly of USA Cycling (if anyone needs to find a hotel in Europe he can find you a selection of hotels and book one for you).
Katie woke up with good legs and was hopeful for a good race after the long flight and drive the day before. Katie’s legs will cramp after sitting for long periods of time so we have to be careful on these long travel days. That’s where we made a mistake for the first WC in Kalmthout, we tried sleeping on the flight over from the US. We recently started using Skins compression tights which Katie feels is helping with her legs on long flights. She’s also racing with a Skins compression sleeveless shirt for the race efforts.
The race day pre-ride revealed a nice, heavy, wet course with a lot of grass and mud buildup on the bike. I was expecting a busy day in the pit from the mud and grass. Sue was still feeling the effects of jetlag and didn’t sleep very well and woke up feeling tired. Katie and I were completely exhausted from the flight so we managed to sleep all night.
After getting the pre-ride bikes washed up and prepped for the race I recruited a local French guy who didn’t speak English to pit for Sue. It worked out nicely. The locals were really friendly and were interested in testing their English on us. During the race Katie heard her name a lot during the race while cheers for Hanka were not so abundant. I suspect the French were happy to see an American beat a German.
Katie got off to a comfortable start in fourth position before the stairs then moved up into third by the first pass by the pit. Unlike Koksijde, where Katie was bumped offline and lost a several positions and was forced to regain the positions back to the head of the race, this time Katie was able to relax at the front of the race. As the race headed toward pit 2 on lap 1 Helen Wyman briefly led the race until opting to pit for a fresh bike. That gave way for Hanka to take the lead with Katie up the muddy slope making it a two horse race.
For the rest of the race Katie and Hanka traded pulls at the front of the race until Hanka allowed a small gap to open just before the start of the last lap. When Katie hit the pavement heading into the last lap she made a seated acceleration so it didn’t look obvious that she was attacking and quickly increased her gap. Katie applied a little more pressure to increase her lead heading into pit 1 on the last lap holding just a 6 second gap. Katie and Hanka both pitted in pit 1 on the last lap giving the riders fresh bikes for the last push to the line. It didn’t take long for Katie to increase her lead on the final lap. Hanka looked very uncomfortable doing all she could to hold off a late charging Georgia Gould.
Katie took her second consecutive World Cup win comfortably in front of the receptive French crowd while I busted arse over to the finish line to hand Katie her podium jersey and hat. Once the podium ceremony and interviews were completed, Katie headed off to doping control while I ran to get her a set of rollers to ride while waiting to complete the control. Katie commented to me after the control that it was the strictest protocol she’s ever seen. We suspect it was due to the French-run Doping Control rather than the lax procedures run in Belgium.
Overall we’re really happy with the race. Katie beat Hanka, dropping her on a heavy mud course, which we’re expecting to see for the World Championships in Holland. During lap three Katie noticed Hanka’s pace dropping off. It was evident in the slow lap time. Katie bided her time until applying the pressure and dropped Hanka by a considerable amount in one lap.
Equipment report: I would say something about the new drivetrain but…we paid money for it! On the wheel front, the Edge 68′s and 38′s performed really well! Both have yet to see a spoke wrench this season.
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