For the second off-season in a row, six-time Cyclocross National Champion Katie Compton is in another long search for a title sponsor for this upcoming cyclocross season. Her one-year contract with Planet Bike expired this winter and the company pulled out of sponsoring its Elite cyclocross team. After a much drawn-out sponsor search last year, she’s mixing things up and offering any potential company double the exposure of a typical Elite racer in exchange for sponsorship. In an exclusive Cyclocross Magazine interview also confirmed on her own blog, Compton explained her big plans for this coming ‘cross season.
“For the coming season I’ve decided to race the Elite Men’s races, starting with Cross Vegas, to give any title sponsor double the exposure,” Compton says. In addition to sponsor exposure, there’s certainly a financial incentive for the Colorado Springs-based racer, especially with sponsor uncertainty in this economy. “It’s no joke. The 10th place man earns more prize money than the winning woman, and so I’m going to race both races for the extra prize money and UCI points.”
While her sponsorship exposure will double, her equipment needs are likely to double as well. The National Champion famously stated she typically needs five bikes from an equipment sponsor, but with the back-to-back women’s and men’s races, her husband and mechanic hopes to land ten bikes this year. “Due to the minimal time between the women’s and men’s races, Katie will need an extra two bikes in both the States and Europe, with bigger gears and stronger brakes to race with the men,” Mark Legg said. But it’s not just gears and brakes that make Legg want more bikes.“The later time in the day, different course conditions, and slight air loss in the latex tubes of the tubular tires makes tire choice and pressure different from what I’d set Katie up with for the women’s race, and it’s unrealistic to swap all that stuff between races.”
Legg says that with the hectic race day schedule and extra bike prep needed, he’ll likely be too busy to work the pits during the women’s race. “At the early races, if we get all the bikes we need, Katie will be able to pit for herself and find a clean bike,” he explains. “As most women’s races are only five to seven laps long, Katie will be able to ride into the pit and grab a clean bike on every lap.” She of course will have to obey the six steps limit rule that U.S. officials are strictly enforcing again this season.
Compton is not completely without sponsorship for the season, however. She did pick up a secondary sponsorship from LiveStrong starting with her mountain bike season. The Livestrong organization has sponsored a development men’s team, but had not yet supported female athletes until adding the most decorated American woman cyclocrosser.
Joining the LiveStrong team as their first woman is a breakthrough for Compton, and she found it to be a logical choice. “Since Lance rides so well with just one huevo, we thought maybe someone without any would race ‘cross even faster.” It’s not all bravado though, as Compton has raced many local Colorado races with the men in the past, proving the theory that if two is ok, one is good and none can be even faster.
Excited to see Compton battle with the men? Or think it’s a dangerous plan, considering her history with late-season leg cramps? Drop a comment below.