When USA Cycling announced its selection of riders that will compete at the upcoming Amgen Women's Race from May 17-19, many were surprised to see the addition of world-class cyclo-cross talent Katie Compton.
In an interview with Cyclingnews, Compton said that she is ready for the challenge of a three-day Women's WorldTour event and prepared to do whatever it takes to help teammate Megan Guarnier secure a second overall title.
"I can't wait," Compton told Cyclingnews. "It'll be such a great experience, and I'm happy I get to be part of it. I love all types of bike racing so having the opportunity to race such a big race domestically for the US national team is pretty great."
Guarnier, who won the Amgen Women's Race in 2016, will lead the USA Cycling Team in an attempt to win a second title. The team also includes sisters Skylar and Samantha Schneider, Christina Birch and Jennifer Wheeler.
USA Cycling asked Compton if she was interested in joining the team at the Amgen Women's Race, at the end of a talent ID camp on the track in March.
"I wasn't planning on racing in California, but the opportunity was presented to me, and I thought it would be a great experience," Compton said. "It will also help with early-season 'cross prep."
Compton claimed a record 14th title at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships in Reno, Nevada in January. It was one of many highlights of her 2017-18 season that also included securing the silver medal at the World Championships in Valkenburg and finishing second in the overall world ranking; both won by Belgium's Sanne Cant.
The Amgen Women's Race will cover challenging terrain that includes a flat, fast stage in and out of Elk Grove on May 17, the Queen Stage in South Lake Tahoe on May 18, and a circuit race in Sacramento on May 19.
"I haven't seen the routes, but I've looked at them online," Compton said. "I'm not too familiar with the roads and terrain but know how much climbing is involved on stage 2, and the mileage for the flat stages. I'm looking forward to racing on some nice California roads."
Compton has picked up road racing in the past, such as the Tour of America's Dairyland, and last year she raced with ISCorp at the Colorado Classic. "I liked it, and the racing was good preparation for my 'cross season," she said.
Compton said that she's done the best she can to transition to road racing this spring, while also giving herself some time to recover from the cyclo-cross season, which only ended in February.
"I'm at the part of my season where I'm doing long base miles and endurance rides," she said. "I've added some more climbing and some intervals a little earlier than planned in preparation for doing this race but being fast in September is still my focus.
"The mental part is harder than the physical part for me since I need that downtime after the 'cross season to recover from six months of race intensity and travel."
Asked if she knows what her role will be on the USA Cycling Team at the Amgen Women's Race, Compton said she is not entirely sure yet, but that she expects to be doing a lot of work.
"It'll be something within the realm of domestique work," she said. "I'll do whatever I need to do to ride in support of Megan and the Schneider sisters."