In Australia and New Zealand, it’s cyclocross season. And what better way to launch a series than by having Katie Compton race in it? International cyclocross superstar Katie Compton has been confirmed to take part in the New Zealand Cyclocross National Series this July – a fast and furious frenzy of mud, sweat, and tears.

The 33-year-old American is one of the world’s most successful cyclocross athletes, amassing 12 World Cup wins and three medals at World Championships. She has also won the elite women’s title at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships each year for the last eight years.

Cyclocross involves an action-packed, ‘down and dirty’ 40 to 60-minute lap race through mud, sand and even snow, with riders having to hoist their bikes over a series of obstacles throughout the course. Laps are usually around 3km in length. The sport draws huge crowds in Europe (60,000 spectators at the World Championships in Belgium this last January) and is also the fastest growing two-wheeled sport in the United States.

Compton will race in the first New Zealand National Series race in Queenstown on July 1 during the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival. She will run a workshop at the Napier race a week later.

“To secure a world leader of Katie Compton’s stature and expertise for the first race series in Queenstown is extremely exciting both for the National Series and followers of the sport in this country,” says Queenstown Mountain Bike Club race series organizer Carey Vivian.

“Katie really is the Lance Armstrong of elite women’s cyclocross, and it will be a privilege to be overtaken by her – probably several times – in the race!

“Katie is an icon, not only in cyclocross but also in the work she does with the Paralympics movement, where she’s competed for gold both at the Athens Paralympics and the 2004 Paralympics World Championships by piloting a tandem with blind partner Karissa Whitsell,” Vivian says.

Compton is being sponsored to race here by world-first meal bar One Square Meal. A patented Kiwi invention, One Square Meal is part of the Cookie Time Limited (CTL) portfolio and is a nutritionally balanced total meal in a bar, containing all anyone might need for breakfast, lunch, or whenever. Compton will be accompanied by her ex-pat Kiwi husband Mark Legg-Compton – a highly regarded cyclocross champion himself who represented New Zealand in 2002.

“One Square Meal is delighted to be bringing Katie Compton to New Zealand to compete in this relatively new but exciting and emerging sport,” says CTL co-owner Michael Mayell.

“Being associated with the first woman of her calibre to ever race here in the sport is an opportunity too good to miss, and a perfect fit for the nutritional fuel values that One Square Meal provides.”

One Square Meal is also setting up the ultimate challenge for the Cyclocross series – a prize pack of product for a month for any competitor who can beat Compton’s best lap time set in Queenstown.

Compton is the highest ranked cyclocross rider ever to compete in New Zealand. In 2007, she became the first American woman to podium in the Cyclocross World Championships in Belgium, and spent last year signed on with the Rabobank Giant Offroad Team. Compton will undertake clinics with competitors while in New Zealand and will offer advice on course set-up and design gleaned from racing in Europe and the United States.