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US Women's Cycling Development Program diary

US Women's Cycling Development Program diarist Kathrine Carroll drives the pace in 'Toona"
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

The US Women's Cycling Development program was founded by former pro rider, Michael Engleman, as a way to help promising young women cyclists reach their full potential as athletes. The USWCDP networks current and former women pro riders with up and coming athletes through mentoring and coaching.

With experienced mentors like Olympians Dede Barry and Mari Holden, along with current pros Amber Neben, Tina Pic, Kim Anderson and others, the USWCDP helps young riders like Mara Abbott, Katharine Carroll and many more to race better, find teams and become professional bike racers. The dedicated and well spoken women of this program provide thoughtful, compelling and sometimes hilarious anecdotes of their experiences in this diary.

For further reading about the programme, visit the USWCDP website

Index to all entries

August 27, 2008

Pleasant surprise

By Chrissy Ruiter

Chrissy Ruiter enjoys the taste of success. Chrissy Ruiter Chrissy Ruiter
Photo : Chrissy Ruiter/USWCDP
(Click for larger image)

Most of us feel it: the tingling in our legs, the pounding in our chest and the desire to challenge our bodies to go just a little bit harder. That is just in the warm-up, before the time trial even starts.

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to race with both ValueAct Capital in the US and with the US National in Europe team this year. Last week, I flew from Europe into Orange County, California, to race the US nationals, expecting a lot out of myself, but at the same time not knowing what to expect. Sometimes you can do everything to a T and nothing seems to go right. Then, other times, you do nothing by the book and everything seems to go just the right way.

In the grand scheme of things, I was actually glad I was in the air on a plane to the US. It is not because I don't like Europe, but because the car ran out of gas on the way to the airport. Thank goodness, the gas station was so close to where the car took its last guzzle before shutting down.

This was just the beginning of the adventure. After late departures, missing flights, standing in 39,839 lines, I was on my way to Orange County, fast asleep before we even took off. I arrived around 10PM the night before the time trial. I was not sure if I still had ankles from the long plane ride, but happy I was there.

The next day, I woke up nice and early, lying in bed waiting for someone else to get up. To be honest at this point I wasn't sure if I was going to race the time trial, but once I got to the course I thought "why not?"

TeamVAC joke for the camera.
Photo : Chrissy Ruiter/USWCDP
(Click for larger image)

After talking to Michael, Lisa, and my team-mate, Martina, I had an idea of what the course looked liked since I had not seen it.

I didn't want to go out too hard since it was going to be a long time trial. Well that pretty much went down the tube since in the first five minutes or so I thought to myself, "you better slow down because this is going to be longer than 10 minutes!"

I didn't have a speedometer and I forgot to start my stopwatch so I really had no idea how long I had been out or where I was on the course. I knew at the turn around there would be a hill and I remember thinking "where the heck is the hill?" and then "oh, sweet, this has to be the hill."

I finished about 51 minutes later not expecting anything and surprised I ended up third. I like surprises! At least, the good surprises!

Chrissy Ruiter, who has logged many frequent flyer miles this year, races for the ValueAct Capital Cycling Team, as well as the US National Team in Europe. When she's not travelling across the globe, she likes to relax in her hometown of Bend, Oregon.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Chrissy Ruiter/USWCDP