Katie Compton has kept a much lower profile than usual this cyclo-cross season, but she's lost none of her dominance and showed it in Hartford, Connecticut on Sunday, cruising to her 13th straight USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championship title.
The 38-year-old stayed stateside in December, choosing to skip the busy travel and racing schedule to save energy for another push at the World Championships in Luxembourg.
"This year I wanted to have a bit more energy in January," Compton told Cyclingnews in Hartford. "I've won the overall World Cup twice, I know how that feels, I know how hard it is, and I know it definitely takes the energy out of me by January."
Compton racked up a dozen victories this year, including the Pan American title, and was the top rider in USA Cycling's Pro CX series.
"I think for me, I just wanted to try to win as many as I can have some good races, but I wanted to have time to go home in December to train, be at home at Christmas and then build up again for January, and cut down on the jet lag because I'm getting older and I'm tired," she joked.
"Four trips across the ocean, it wears on you. And the time change, I try to stay on the Euro time change, it's tough to get up at two in the morning every day. So that just made it easier. I feel good, have more energy. I'm looking forward to the rest of January."
Across the pond in the Netherlands, Compton's old rival Marianne Vos claimed an equally dominant victory in the Netherlands national championships, showing that she's found her old form.
"She's such a great bike racer, she's so fun to watch. She's great technically, she's speedy, she's strong, she's smart. It's good to see her back on top," Compton said.
"I'm not surprised. I know the way she is. When she's out of shape she's still really fast, so when she's in shape she's that much faster than everybody else. I know she's gunning for Worlds. She doesn't do anything at 80 per cent, I know if she's racing she's doing it to win.
"I think Luxembourg will be maybe snow, hard, fast course, good for her. I'd love to have another head-to-head battle with her. And obviously [current world champion] Thalita [de Jong] is strong and Sophie de Boer is strong. Katerina [Nash] obviously, she's in California training. I think our world championships, the elite women, it's going to be really good exciting racing."
What kind of expectations Compton has for herself at Worlds are still to be decided.
"I feel good. I'm still building up for Worlds. I feel good but you never know, there's still travel over to Europe, hopefully I won't get sick. There's always that chance, but I feel good and hopefully I'll have a good race at the end of January."