Meet Katie Compton, known to her fans as KFC. Trust us, the “F” isn’t for Francis. Compton earned her middle initial the hard way, powering through nine grueling seasons of cold, muddy Cyclocross mayhem. Turns out powering through is sound strategy: Compton was the first American to win the Cyclocross World Cup overall title. F’n cool.

Tell us your story in 140 characters or less:
Wife, dog lover (especially Rottweilers), bike racer, lover of the outdoors, wine enthusiast and foodie with some food allergies. A delicate body but strong will.

Tell us about your best day on a bicycle:
That’s a hard one to answer, I’ve had a lot of really good and fun days. I want to choose a specific race where I felt great and had great legs but those, unfortunately, don’t happen as much as one would like. The one that stands out the most for me is winning the 3k tandem pursuit at Paralympics in Athens in 2004 (I was a pilot for a blind athlete). I had great legs that day and just felt fast. My tandem partner and I had a perfect race to win and it was just a great day. Other than that, winning a Cyclocross World Cup in Roubaix, France after a bad start. I had great legs and only passed people the whole time. Winning on the Roubaix velodrome is also very special.

What is your favorite travel destination and why?
It’s probably Japan. We were there for a short trip but the country is beautiful, the people are so nice and polite, and the food is amazing. I loved everything about that trip. It snowed and was cold while we were there, and I was really happy to find hot tea in vending machines as well as heated toilet seats in every bathroom, even in highway rest areas. I also had the best Unagi I’ve ever eaten in Tokyo.

If you were a trip designer at Trek Travel, where would you design our next bike trip?
I’d create a trip in New Zealand, probably riding through their wine country. I love their wines and both of the islands are beautiful. The food is also really good no matter where you go. It would also be fun to take a few days, rent a boat and sail around the northern coast of the north island. I think that’s the best way to see the coast.

What is your favorite hotel and why?
A high-end hotel in Tokyo, Japan. The service was above and beyond and the room and bathroom were amazing. The hotel offered so many amenities to enjoy, along with the view of the city. The breakfast was also one of the best I’ve experienced.
Learn more about professional cyclocross racer Katie Comptopn
What is your favorite unnecessary travel item?
I bring my aeropress coffee maker and coffee beans. A good cup of coffee is the best way to start a day of travel and you never know if the hotel’s coffee is drinkable.

What is one thing you never fly without?
My Westone earbud headphones. They cancel the noise and have the best sound quality. They also pack small and don’t take up much room in my carry on.

What is your favorite type of post-ride beverage?
I love a nice bottle of wine, usually I choose New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs in the summer and California Red Zinfandels in the winter. If I didn’t have to worry about my weight then I would add White Russians to my list of go-to drinks. I love those, but I can’t stop drinking them.
Meet cyclocross world champion Katie Compton
What and where was the best meal you’ve ever enjoyed?
It’s a tie between two. The first is Unagi in a very small and hard to find restaurant in Tokyo. The eel is fresh everyday and the place closes when the cook runs out of it. They only sell Unagi and the only choice you make is how many pieces you want. The second is a breakfast at a hotel in Prague, Czech Republic. They had an amazing buffet of fresh food all professionally prepared and it was the best breakfast I’ve ever had. My husband and I actually stayed long enough to eat two breakfasts that morning.

What is your personal motto or mantra?
Never quit. Do what makes you happy and what makes you feel good.

Who inspires you the most?
I don’t really have any one person who inspires me, I get the most energy from anyone who struggles to accomplish something difficult or challenging, and anyone who has true grit to work hard for something they want.
Trek Travel interviews cyclocross champion Katie Compton