Katie Compton on the stairs on Friday

Katie Compton on the stairs on Friday ©Dan Seaton

by Christine Vardaros

We caught up with Katie Compton, one of the clear favorites for the title in St Wendel, Germany, to see how she’s feeling just before tomorrow’s big race. According to Compton, she’s more prepared this time around than ever before. Her leg cramping issue, which has plagued her for several seasons, is finally resolved – thanks to an Endrocrinologist who prescribed her a T3/T4 hormone blend – she has done the proper training leading into the big day, and she’s very excited to race. The only concern she had after her preride on Friday was over those icy ruts that riddled the course. As the organizers have taken a bulldozer to all those technical sections, she no longer has to worry about that either.

As for the stress level going into the event as the indisputable favorite, she drinks a bit of red wine, Compton says jokingly, adding, “All that resveratrol has got to be good for stress, right?” Another solution to stress could have come in the form of her “tripod princess” Pixie, the family’s three-legged rescued Rottweiler, if the travel weren’t too logistically impossible. Compton explains, “Pixie is a sensitive girl and that kind of travel is just too much, although we would love to have her with us all the time. Now I can understand why people pack their little dogs in their carry-ons. Rottwielers simply don’t fit!”

Looking back on her season thus far, specifically regarding her choice to put it all on Worlds and sacrifice the World Cup overall title by skipping two races, she muses, “It was unfortunate; I was a little disappointed, but I just can’t do everything I want anymore. I’m still really happy I finished second and won the five World Cups I started. I would have liked to race Pont Chateau since it looked like a super fun course, but it was just too much travel for me right before Worlds. I would like to make the full World Cup schedule a goal at some point; it’s such a great honor to win.”

When asked if she expected to have so much success in the World Cups she did race, Compton responds, “I was surprised to win those World Cups because they weren’t necessarily goals of mine. I raced around training and travel periods with the focus on riding well at the World Championships, so feeling good and winning the World Cups I started was a sweet bonus.”

Joining Compton in her upcoming 40 minutes to glory is husband Mark Legg-Compton, who is expected to be in the pits wearing his traditional cowboy hat. That hat has gotten almost as much attention as Compton during the race, with guys lining up to take photos of him. In Legg-Compton’s defense, Compton explains, “It’s actually very useful, it keeps the rain off well, I can pick him out easily in the crowd of black and gray jackets, and he likes it.”

On Saturday morning, the buzz in the press room still has her as the clear favorite. With Daphny van den Brand skipping the event due to severe bronchitis, the biggest challenges for Compton are expected to come from Marianne Vos and Hanka Kupfernagel. At this time, only the order is viewed as possibly changing between the three. But as in any bike race, especially ’cross, anything can happen, and riders like Sanne van Paassen and Katerina Nash will certainly pounce on any opportunities.

On a side note: German TV is covering the Elite women live in its entirety while the Elite Men’s event will only get 20 minutes or so in the evening. It’s solely because of German hero and four-time Worlds winner Kupfernagel. She learned this earlier in the year, at the European Championships held in Frankfurt when she tried to skip the race due to an injury. She was told that if she didn’t start, the cameras wouldn’t come. Kupfernagel realized the networks were serious, and with women’s ’cross – as well as the sport in general – in mind, she took the start line. She figured she could always pull out if she needed to, but despite the injury went on to finish fourth. What an ambassador!