Current US Cross Champion Katie Compton of Planet Bike makes no bones about it, she’s going for the rainbow jersey this year. Her goal is to win the Cross World Championship to be held in Tabor, Czech Republic at the end of January.
“I’m so close to having a World Championship and I really want that, I got silver and bronze so far, I just want to finish the medals.” said Compton.
By taking the silver medal 2007, Compton became the first American woman to podium at Worlds. Two years later, she finished third in 2009 behind the two powerhouses, Marianne Vos of the Netherlands and Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany.
To help her achieve her goal, Compton changed two things this year: her schedule and her weight. For the first time, she will race all of the World Cups in Europe. “Last year I think I did five out of seven.”
But it’s not all about getting ready for the Worlds. “There’s overall prize money for the World Cup this year, last year was a nice payday so I would like to improve upon that and make some money.”
The other change is noticeable.
“I am definitely lighter this year, about 7 pounds lighter than World Championships last year and I just feel better a little skinnier.” explained the 32-year old. “ I was working on mountain biking this year and it’s pretty hard to gain weight in that sport and I’m trying to be a better climber so I figured just try and lose some weight. It helps with my accelerations and pretty much all around going fast, I lost weight to accelerate. It’s been a good change, I’ll try to keep the weight off, stay a little bit skinnier.”
So far, Compton is undefeated this year, dominating on the US scene and nailing the first World Cup of the season. She currently leads the UCI Cross Standings, the only American to do so, and this is the second time for her.
On October 4, Compton didn’t waste any time and attacked in the first of five laps of the Treviso World Cup. Early on she was joined by Daphny van den Brand of the Netherlands but on the second lap the American dropped her and continued on solo to take the win. However neither Kupfernagel nor Vos participated in the race.
“It was good test of my fitness, I know I’m coming into my season in the right spot, riding strong. It’s a long season and Marianne Vos and Hanka Kupfernagel weren’t there.” said Compton about her win. “I’m definitely confident with this win but I know that there are going to be harder races in front of me so it’s a good start but I have my work cut out for me to win the overall.”
Suffering. Compton has been using every race in the US “to get the work out in, work hard and definitely making myself suffer.”
At the first USGP in Madison, her goal was to make it hard and practice her skills. “I’m working on starting hard on the turns, and going fast on the runups and working on the barriers because I need to be that fast for the World Cups.”
And then in Cincinnati, she was able to work on her mud skills with the off camber course on the first day. “It’s actually great race for the next World Cup which is in Nommay, France and that’s always really muddy. It’s definitely good training.”
What else needs to be improved? “I think I’m there,” replied Compton.
“I definitely have to have good legs and have the right course.” said Compton about the Worlds course. “It depends because Vos has got such a great sprint, she has a lot of speed but I have better mud skills and Hanka is just a good all around rider, she’s got the speed, she’s got the strength, it kind of depends on who is going better and what the course is like.”
She is facing some serious competition in her quest for the rainbow, four-time World Champion Kupfernagel and two-time World Champion Vos who just won the European Cross Championships.
“I don’t keep in contact with them but I definitely keep track of what they are up to. I always know that it’s so deep competition with Hanka, Vos.” said Compton. “Vos, that girl is so fast and really strong so I definitely have to be on top of my game over there.”
After crushing two more races in Colorado, Compton is off to Belgium to tackle the rest of the season leading into the big race. While she would like to race more in the US, “it just makes it hard to travel back and forth to do well at everything. “ Compton added “I really wish I could but I can’t do everything, I definitely need to pick my battles.”
Ready to go.
“I’m in a great spot, I’m really happy with my form and how I’m riding. I just need to maintain and build and I should have a good World Championship.” concluded Compton after her win in Cincinnati.
The next World Cup is in Nommay, France on November 8.