One of the next stars of U.S. cycling is already a household name in the cyclocross world.
Katie Clouse is just 17-years-old, but she is already a star in U.S. Elite Women's cyclocross. This season, the Utah native won her first C1 at Ruts n' Guts and finished on five Elite UCI podiums. She also finished third at U23 Pan-Ams in Midland and became the youngest U.S. rider to ever start a World Cup at Jingle Cross.
Clouse added to her palmares with her second-straight Junior Women 17-18 National Championship in Louisville. Clouse took the title while finishing second behind Clara Honsinger in the U23 race.
The win was Clouse's 7th cyclocross age group title in 7 tries and her 26th national championship across cyclocross, road and mountain biking. Earlier this year, she won a title in the short track race at XC Mountain Bike Nationals and twin titles in the road race and criterium at Road Nationals.
When the mud and ruts come calling, Clouse races for the Alpha Bicycle - Groove Subaru team that has established itself as a top U23/Junior program, with Gage Hecht, Brannan Fix and Turner Ramsay also wearing the team's green kit.
Clouse and the Alpha Bicycle - Groove Subaru team race on the titanium Moots Psychlo X RSL frame built in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Today, we profile Clouse's well-decorated Psychlo X from the 2018 Louisville Nationals.
Katie Clouse's 2018 Louisville Nationals Moots Psychlo-X RSL
The Alpha Bicycle company is based in Denver, Colorado and had an existing relationship with Moots when the team formed. The relationship with a fellow Colorado company is an ethos the Alpha Bicycle - Groove Subaru carries through to other sponsors as well.
The team has been riding the company's titanium frame for years now. We first profiled Hecht's bike in 2015, and in 2016, we looked at Clouse's Nationals-winning Psychlo X.
In a cyclocross world where carbon is still king, the team's choice of titanium frames stands out. Bjorn Selander and his Bingham Built bike and the Bitchn Grit team's partnership with Firefly are among the few other domestic programs on titanium bikes.
According to team manager Adam Rachubinski, "For us, the titanium frames offer unmatched durability as the team races around the world and a ride quality that only titanium can offer."
Moots custom builds each frame in Steamboat Springs. The bikes are fully modern with 12mm rear thru-axles and its own Moots Flat Mount Disc Cross Carbon fork.
Accents such as the company's name, bike name and sponsors' logos are anodized to match the colorful headset.
Clouse finished the race on her B bike, which has a slightly different build than her A bike. This profile looks at the B bike she finished on.
The Alpha Bicycle - Groove Subaru riders get to customize their rides a bit based on aesthetic and functional needs. Each rider gets to choose their headset color and 1x or 2x front chain ring setup.
Clouse opted for a turquoise Chris King headset on her bike—teammate and fellow U23 podium finisher Brannan Fix chose green.
The eye appeal of the team's Moots bikes is enhanced by the bright matte punch Chris King R45 hubs on the wheels built by Alpha Bicycle using a prototype carbon rim and ProLock alloy nipples. Clouse's wheels have 24 spokes front and rear and a lighter build in the rim profile and carbon layup than her teammates.
Rims on her B bike were 25mm deep, while they were 30mm deep on her A bike. Clouse pitted every half lap, so her goal was to have the lighter wheelset from Pit 1 to Pit 2 where all of the course's climbing was.
Donnelly—another Colorado company—is a team sponsor, so Clouse ran tubular PDX mud treads front and rear.
For her drivetrain, Clouse opted for a 1x setup, with a 38t Wolf Tooth Drop Stop chain ring mounted to a Shimano Ultegra FC-R6800 crankset. A Wolf Tooth GnarWolf chain guide helps keep the chain in line.
For rear derailleurs, the team used what it had and what was available when it built this year's bikes. Clouse got an XT Di2 RD-M8050 model while Fix ran a Di2 Ultegra RX805 rear derailleur with a 2x setup. Clouse used an 11-34t HG800 Shimano rear cassette to give her a spinny gear ratio for the Joe Creason climbs.
Clouse stopped her bike in the Louisville mud using Ultegra BR-R8070 flat mount calipers paired to Ultegra ST-R8070 shift/brake levers. Her rotors were 140mm Shimano XTR SM-RT99 models.
Clouse's contact points were an alloy Pro PLT compact handlebar, Fizik Arione Donna saddle and Shimano XT SPD pedals. Moots provided a titanium zero-offset Cinch Post seatpost and Ti Stem.
Clouse's Moots Psychlo X RSL will next be called into service at the 2019 World Championships in Bogense, where Clouse will represent Team USA as part of the U23 Women's contingent.
For more on Clouse's Psychlo X RSL, see the photo gallery and specs below.
See our bike profile archives for our growing collection of Nationals bike profiles.