By : Chloe Woodruff
In 2009 I learned what it’s like to lose a National Championship when you’re racing to win. That year a road racer passed me on the outside of a loose, high-speed, fire-road descent in the last minute of racing at the U23 National Championship race in Sol Vista, Colorado. That racer was Amy D and she had way bigger ovaries than I did. And that’s how I first met Amy. She went on to become one of my biggest competitors, a teammate, and later a close friend. Recently, I revisited a blog post she wrote about that race. It’s worth a read, and in my-case, a re-read or two. It was the perfect race and getting ‘mad props’ from Amy still pus a smile on my face.
I now realize that winning a big race is more of an affirmation for people around you, sponsors, friends, and family. There are a lot of people who own a part of this win. No doubt, TJ gets the biggest share as he’s had to deal with the tears and the tired-cranky-athlete and has patiently coached me through it all. I have an incredibly supportive family. My Mom wakes up at 2:15 am, puts on a Team Stan’s-Niner t-shirt, and then tries to identify my helmet in the chaotic first few minutes of Red Bull TV race coverage. My in-laws understood when we didn’t make it home for Christmas this year and they still drive four hours, each way, to see me and TJ race for an hour-and-a-half in Wisconsin. And my sister’s race heckles can still inspire more effort out of me somehow. Then there’s the entire crew over at Stan’s NoTubes and Niner Bikes. Neither company is big but they are innovators in the industry and companies that I’m proud to represent. Then there’s Amy D, my friends, and my competitors. I have a lot of love for you all.
It’s going to be tough to learn how to race with this Stars & Stripes jersey but I’m up for the challenge and if it happens on “Chloe-time,” so be it.