US 'cross champ cross-trains in Los Angeles
As most of the US cyclo-cross community descends Massachusetts, for the Grand Prix of Gloucester, there will be one conspicuous absence, National Champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclo-cross Coalition). Compton, who also skipped Cross Vegas, will be on her way to Los Angeles for the US Elite Track Nationals on Sunday September 30. Compton is scheduled to ride the Madison with fellow Colorado rider and multiple track national champion Cari Higgins (Exergy-Twenty12). In 2010, Higgins partnered with Olympic medalist, Jennie Reed, to win the first US Women's Madison Championship.
Compton is no stranger to the track, having raced competitively as a junior on the east coast, and as a pilot for a blind partner at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. At the Athens Games, Compton and her partner won multiple medals at the track, including a gold in the pursuit, where they set the world record.
"I grew up racing on the track, the Madison is one of my favorite events," said Compton after winning Day 2 of the Planet Bike Cup in Sun Prairie Wisconsin. "It actually complements 'cross racing pretty well. I've never suffered like I have in a Madison, realizing I have 40 laps to go and thinking 'Oh my god, I'm never going to make it.'"
The biggest threat to Compton's upcoming cyclo-cross World Cup campaign is likely to come from current World Cyclo-cross and Road Race Champion, Marianne Vos (Rabobank Women's Cycling Team). Vos is no stranger to the track herself having won both Olympic and World titles in the points race in 2008. "She's so strong, and talented, and she works amazingly hard. She's probably the best women's bike racer we are going to see in a long time and it's unfortunate I'm going to be racing her the rest of my career." said Compton with a laugh as she discussed taking on Vos this fall. "She's got a hell of a sprint, and she's so strong and speedy."
Compton has frequently integrated training at the velodrome to help build up her speed, which will be a necessity should a race come down to a head-to-head match with Vos. The partnership with Higgins, a friend and training partner from Colorado, came at a good time.
"I've been racing Madison with Mark (Legg-Compton) quite a bit, and Cari and I have raced the Madison before together at the Colorado Springs track. She's out there racing nationals, and just sent me an email 'What do you think - would you want to race the Madison with me?'" said Compton about heading to track nationals. "I think we'll be a really good team. She's one of my good friends and we complement each other really well."
US National Track Nationals are taking place at the VELO Sports Center from September 27 to September 30 in Carson California. The Women's 25km Madison Championship is scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday September 30th. Scheduling and ticket information can be found on the USA Cycling website at http://www.usacycling.org/2012/elite-track-nationals.