Katie Compton seeking variety in Eagle
Katie Compton is a legend in the world of cyclocross racing, having topped the podium at more than 20 World Cup races and winning the overall title in the 2012-13 International Cycling Union cyclocross World Cup women’s elite rankings. She visited Eagle this weekend for the Eagle Outside Festival, taking part in the Firebird XC mountain biking race where she finished second. The Vail Daily caught up with her following that race on Saturday.
Vail Daily: What made you want to do the Firebird race?
Katie Compton: I have to put the training in, and doing all of the climbing makes me stronger, it makes me a better bike rider. I may not be as good at it as I am at cross, but it’s still a good challenge, it’s hard, and I need to do it to be better. And I love Eagle, it’s such a cool little town with great trails, and I’d really enjoy coming here, it’s not such a bad drive from Colorado Springs. I drive through Breckenridge and even if there’s traffic it still goes fast and it’s still pretty. I camped here last night, there was so much stuff to do, the bands, the block party, the downtown stuff, the gear sales, it’s a cool town.
VD: How long will you stay for and what’s next?
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KC: I wish I could stay longer but I’m going to race the Beti Bike Bash on Sunday, that’s in Morrison, then probably some recovery and then I’ll be back in Eagle for the enduro at the GoPro Mountain Games. I’m going to race the Tour of American Dairyland’s which is 10 days of crit racing in Wisconsin, so I’m trying to pick races that fit into my training but also have some variety. I’ll do a couple of enduros, some cross country, I’ll do the Breck Epic and hopefully the variety will help up my speed.
VD: Cyclocross has had its ups and downs as a sport, has it not?
KC: I think, honestly, that’s the way the bike industry is in general. It depends on how much money people have to spend on bike gear. And it goes in stages where you’ll be really in to cross and then you’ll get tired of it, and then you’ll be full into mountain biking then get tired of it, then you’ll think ‘I’m going to do some road racing’ then get tired of it. So I feel like it changes depending on how much you have committed to it and if you want to adjust because you’re bored or you want to try something different. That’s why I race all of the disciplines, because it’s fun and it keeps it entertaining and I wouldn’t be doing this for as long as I have if I was simply a cross racer. I need the mountain bike, I need the road, I need the track to keep changing it up and keep having fun.
VD: The Vail Recreation District puts on a little cyclocross town series here, have you seen towns that do that?
KC: I think it’s awesome.
VD: Are more series such as that what the sport needs to get big as it is in Belgium?
KC: That and it also takes more marketing, more advertising and more dollars for sponsorship. And honestly, if we had more live streaming and TV, then that’s what we need. I think a lot of it is having the cameras course in the right spots and having the camera guys and the TV knowing what to watch, when. Because a lot of times people will follow a rider but not really know who’s winning. So the director and the announcer always need to know what to watch for and always be explaining.
VD: You came here from Colorado Springs, but where will you be based out of during the fall cyclocross season?
KC: It’s tough to travel back and forth, this year I’ll be based out of Belgium, so I can do a lot more Belgian racing. This year will be cool because Trek is going to live stream a lot of it, so it’s going to help a ton in getting people interested.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.