When 6-time and reigning US National Champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike/Stevens) lined up at the start of the first race of the Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclocross, she barely had any training rides in her legs for the past month. Compton was forced off her bike following a crash on the Mountain Bike World Championships on September 1.
“I crashed at the relay Mountain Bike Worlds. I bruised the kneecap and cut through to the bursa and so I’m just waiting for that to heal. It’s more annoying than anything, mountain bike just keeps on giving it.” Compton laughed after her win on Saturday, “I’m so ready for cross season and mountain bike yet again.”
And she was ready to embark on the cross season, an easy transition from mountain biking. “It’s half the effort of a mountain bike race, definitely it’s faster but there’s less traffic at the start. I find that I have a lot more fun racing cross than I do mountain bikes, so I like the transition into quicker racing.”
Following her injury, the 32-year old had her first ride on Monday September 20, and decided to skip the CrossVegas race with a eye on her end goal. “I was right on the edge of having the pain subside and I just didn’t want to rush it since it’s a long season and I want to do well at Cross Worlds this year.”
The decision to race the Planet Bike Cup in Madison was made just the evening before the first race. “I was still on the fence whether I was going to start but last night I felt good. walking up and down the stairs at the airport was fine and I thought it was a good sign to start.” she explained.
With her injury on her left leg, the one that usually hits first when she dismounts, Compton was a bit worried about the barriers, so she took it somewhat easy in the first laps of the race. But then she felt no pain, and went off on her solo flyer, once again to win on Saturday. And then repeated again on Sunday to sweep the weekend and take over the USGP lead with a 20-point margin. On both days, she set the fastest lap time in the Elite Women race, a 6:06 on Saturday and 6:05 on Sunday.
“The knee was fine today and every day is better than the last so I can’t really use that as an excuse anymore.” Compton added with another smile on Sunday.
The USGP series overall win is still up for grabs as Compton will not be racing the 4-races in the USGP series, only Fort Collins Cup in on her schedule. Having issues with travel-linked fatigue last year, she is changing her schedule this year. It’s all about the World Cross Championships.
“I finally decided that I’m not going to do so much traveling this season, I’m going to stay stateside a little bit. I’m still going to do a few World Cups to make sure I have enough UCI points for a good start at Words but I’m not going for the World Cup overall. I’m just going to try to get some good training in, race well and win some race instead of just hope for a podium at the start.”
She will also race the 3-day UCI3 cross festival which she dominated last year. And once again, Compton and her husband Mark Legg will hold a women’s only cyclocross clinic the day before the event.
And of course, the other race penciled in on her calendar is the USA National Cyclocross Championship in December, in Bend, Oregon. “I always love Nationals, it’s very special. If I can win there again that would be awesome, I’d love to do it for seven.”