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CX Athlete Feature: Katie Compton

By: Angelina Palermo  December 05, 2019

By now you should know who Katie Compton is. If you haven’t heard of the cyclocross legend, she is currently on a 15-win streak at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.

Katie Compton, 40, has twenty-three World Cup wins, four medals at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships, and 130+ UCI wins, making her the most successful U.S. Cyclocross athlete, male or female. She is also the Elite Athlete Representative for the USA Cycling Cyclocross Sport Committee helping to grow the sport. In 2004, Compton competed in the Paralympic Games as the sighted rider, riding a tandem with her blind partner Karissa Whitsell. The pair won medals in every event they entered and set a world record in the 3 km pursuit event. We talked to Compton more about her enormous success in bike racing, as well as her plans for the future.

How has your season been going so far?

My season has been good once my broken arm healed up completely. I had a slow start for the first 2 World Cups, but I’ve been feeling better since October and have earned some good results and have been able to train well.

What has been the most memorable race of your career?

Winning the World Cup in Rome in 2013 to secure the overall WC win too. I felt great that day and had a perfect race.

What other hobbies do you have beyond the bike?

I like to bake and ski and drive track days and race autocross in our Porsche.

How do you come back from health issues and injuries?

Lots of research on how to get better, I make sure my nutrition is good and I’m sleeping well. Being patient is important and persevering. I take one day at time and focus on what I can control to improve my health and allow my body to heal.

Do you ever see yourself getting back into Paralympic events?

Probably not, but I also wouldn’t say no. I really enjoyed racing on the Para team and have a lot of fond memories from that period of my career. Racing on the tandem is just pure joy and speed.

What is your relationship like with your husband who is also such a huge part of your cycling career?

That one is hard to describe. He’s my best friend and partner. My biggest supporter on and off the bike and someone I really love to hang out with and travel the world with. He takes care of all my mechanical work and my equipment and a lot of my sponsorship and media stuff. I couldn’t do this alone, and he is an integral part of my success. I’m just lucky and happy we found each other so many years ago. He’s also the one to blame for getting me back into cross at the elite level on 2004.

What riders do you see as your biggest competition going for your 16th national championship?

Kaitie Keough is probably my biggest competition, she is riding really well and is stronger both physically and technically this season. Clara Honsinger and Becca Fahringer are also having great seasons and riding really well.

What’s the best advice you would give to a younger racer trying to make cyclocross a career?

Find a job that is flexible and allows you to work while you travel and race. Find and nurture relationships with sponsors that can support you for the long term. Be active on social media with positive and sincere posts. Riding well and getting results also helps a lot. Never stop learning and trying to improve.

What else are you looking to achieve in your career?

The only thing I haven't done is win a World Championship in cross, so that would be the biggest. I also recognize I'm getting older and that is getting harder to achieve, but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying until I retire.

What is your ideal vision for the future of cyclocross in the U.S.?

I would love to see strong regional competition that has a deeper talent pool than we have now so riders don’t have to fly to races in order to race against each other. More live media and tv or live streaming of races.

To cheer on Katie throughout the year, follow her on Instagram and Twitter @KatieFnCompton.

Visit USACycling.org for more information on the athletes, events, and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.

Cyclocross Nationals is around the corner! Don't forget to register today! https://www.usacycling.org/events/national-championships/2019-usa-cycling-cyclocross-national-championships