Alison Powers demonstrating her well practiced victory salute. Photo via Amgen Tour of California.
If you’re a fan of road racing, you’re no doubt familiar with Alison Powers. If not, you certainly should be. In her eight year professional career, Powers was consistently dominant, winning four national championships, a Pan American championship, two National Race Calendar (NRC) overall titles, and many, many more. Last year, she became the first American woman to win all three road national championship titles–criterium, time trial, and road race–at the same time. Powers followed up that tremendous feat by retiring from professional racing. And though she’s burnt out on being an athlete after 20-plus years of high-level ski and bike racing, Powers’ passion for cycling continues on through her coaching business, ALP Cycles Coaching. I spoke to Powers about her entry into bike racing, her lightning fast rise to the professional ranks, the glacial growth of professional women’s racing, her race career burnout, and her new life as a retiree.
Posted in Interviews, Racing
Tagged alison powers, alps cycles coaching, carmen small, corinne rivera, half the road, kristen armstrong, national championships, professional women's cycling, time trial, uhc pro cycling, united healthcare cycling, women's cycling
Katie (center) with the United Healthcare team. Photo by Jonathan Devich via uhcprocycling.com.
Katie Hall is the sort of person who makes you question your time management skills. As a first-year professional for the United Healthcare cycling team, she’s racing a full American road season and dipping her toes into the waters in Europe at the Women’s Tour of Britain and the Giro Rosa. She’s also a full-time graduate student working on a PhD in molecular toxicology at UC Berkley. I spoke to Katie in a brief moment of spare time after she returned from Britain about her experience in Europe, late entry into the cycling world, balancing life as a neo-pro and grad student, the on-going evolution of women’s professional cycling, and much more.
Photo by Michele Zebrowitz.
Cycling in the United States has a pervasive gender gap. Solid numbers are hard to come by, but some studies suggest that there as many as two or three men riding for every one woman on a bike. A search of “cycling’s gender gap” brings up a slew of articles theorizing the root cause, from gear to safety issues to infrastructure to socioeconomics. In the last few years, the conversation on why there’s a gap and how to address it has been elevated–if not to the mainstream, then certainly a lot closer to it. Accompanying efforts are popping up around the country to help get more women on bikes. National, state, and local advocacy groups are launching women’s initiatives. A new documentary called Half the Road examines the current state of women’s professional cycling and their struggles for equality. This year’s Tour de France feature’s a one-day women’s circuit race on the Champs-Elysées (admittedly a baby step towards an equal Tour de France for women, but a step nonetheless).
Sarai Snyder is an active and prominent voice among these women’s cycling efforts. She is the founder of Girl Bike Love, an online publication dedicated to all aspects of women’s cycling, and Cyclofemme, an annual, global cycling event celebrating women and bikes. I spoke to Snyder about her work with Girl Bike Love and Cyclofemme, the opportunities and challenges she sees for advancing her cause, the potential power of unifying cycling’s separated voices, and much more.
Posted in Bike Industry, Cycling Media, Interviews, Racing
Tagged boulder colorado, cyclofemme, gender gap in cycling, girl bike love, professional women's cycling, sarai snyder, women and bikes, women and cycling
Amy at the 2012 Cyclocross World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium. Photo by Mat Howie
Note: This interview was conducted in May 2012. In October 2013, Amy was hit and killed by a truck while on a training ride in Belgium. It was a tragedy that rippled through the American cyclocross community. I’m just glad I was able to capture this glimpse into her life and career. The Amy D Foundation was launched in the wake of her death to support young women racers.
When Amy Drombroski gave up ski racing for a new found love of bike racing in 2006, she didn’t mess around. She won the U23 Cyclocross National Championship her first full year of racing. In 2009, she took the U23 National title in cross country mountain bikes and then, just a week later, took the title on the road as well. Now, Amy’s spending her cyclocross season in Europe, chasing world cup titles and learning to race in their deep, fast, aggressive fields. We talked about the ups and downs of Amy’s short but full cycling career to-date, how she earned the nickname “Cross Diva,” the growth of women’s cyclocross, and more.
Brian at the Tour d’ Afrique, the subject of his film Where Are You Go? Photo from Good Problem.
Brian Vernor has a cool thing going for himself. The fourth-generation Santa Cruz, CA resident is a photographer, filmmaker, and adventurer who travels the world using his cameras to tell stories (and very frequently, ones about bikes). Sometimes it’s companies like Rapha or Jamis who send him off on a job. Other times its for his own projects like The Cyclocross Meeting and Where Are You Go, films that he shot in Japan and across Africa respectively. I spoke to Brian about his start as a filmmaker and photographer, his love for cyclocross, his adventure on a “rail bike,” the subjects currently catching his eye, and more.
Posted in Art, Cycling Media, Cyclocross, Interviews, Racing
Tagged brian vernor, Cyclocross, professional women's cycling, pure sweet hell, rail bike, rick hunter, the cyclocross meeting, tour d' afrique, where are you go, women and cycling