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Back 3.12.2013

TWENTY16's Alison Tetrick talks time trialing, more

California native Alison Tetrick of Team Exergy TWENTY16 is a time trial specialist with a pretty cool source of extra motivation – her grandfather. In his 80s, he’s a multi-time national champ who still competes and also encourages Alison in her races. Check out our recent conversation with Alison to learn more about one of the top riders in U.S. women’s cycling:

What was your main training and preparation focus this offseason, and how does it relate to your specific goals for this road season?
Cycling is such an all-encompassing sport, both physically and mentally. Each time I ride, I have a purpose and a goal for the day. Although I do train my strengths, I spend a large amount of time working on my weaknesses as well. Since I want to keep fine-tuning and improving in my time trial, my training does focus on building these strengths while looking toward my ultimate goal in this event.

You’ve had thrilling experiences, such as racing for Team USA at the Pan American Games, but also great adversity, such as coming back from a severe concussion. Pro cycling is full of highs and lows. What keeps you motivated day after day?
I love the challenge that cycling provides, and I am constantly searching to get better. Although the road is a tumultuous path of devastation and elation, there is something that is still inspirational at the end of each day. Did I get better? Did I exceed my expectations? What can I do differently? Cycling never fails to completely humble me, yet, it still gives me an outlet for my determination for the challenge.

I have struggled through my recovery process from a TBI, knowing that I am not invincible and my mind is an invaluable asset, but I also know I have more to give this sport. The challenge of getting better gets me out there day in and day out.

Team Exergy TWENTY16 has a junior team with girls as young as 10 but also has seasoned pros and Olympic medalists. What’s it like to race for such a diverse team? Do you end up being a mentor and protégée at the same time?
Exactly! Throughout my entire cycling career, I have benefited from learning from talented mentors within my team and the sport. Exergy TWENTY16 has a very diverse team and mission statement that is not all about racing, but is also about one of the most important missing components -- development. I continue to learn from those on my team with more experience, but I also learn through teaching these newer riders on the team. I have made many mistakes in bike racing, and I hope to save others from making those same mistakes by teaching them through my experiences and lessons.

You’re a time trial specialist who also rides lots of road races and criteriums. How do you select your wheels for each specific race?  
My choice? I want to choose every wheel in the arsenal! I love all the options that Zipp has, but if given the chance, I pick a wheelset that suits my strengths as a time trialist and opportunistic rider. The Zipp 404 Firecrest is my favorite wheel for all-around use from rolling road races to criteriums, and I get to use those for the important team races. There is nothing like it!

I loved racing the Zipp 303 Firecrest in the cobblestone European spring classics, knowing those Firecrests were bulletproof over the treacherous terrain. My time trial bike is set up superhero-style with an 808 Firecrest front and the Super-9 Disc. There is no faster combination. Oh, if only I could choose them all!

For the first time, professional women will take part of the USA Cycling Pro Road and Time Trial National Championships (May 25-27 in Chattanooga, Tenn.) and will compete for equal price money as the men. How important of a step is this for women’s professional cycling?
There have been some major initiatives in order to provide women with equal opportunity in cycling, and this is a great step forward by USA Cycling and the UCI. Although there is much more work to be done, I remain positive by each step this sport takes in the right direction in order to provide a sustainable future for women's cycling.

It is through sponsors such as Exergy Development Group, SRAM, Zipp, and Felt Bicycles that have encouraged the growth of women's cycling, and our team, Exergy TWENTY16 is providing a brighter future through the development of the younger generations as well. I am very excited to race in Chattanooga… and hope this paves the way to even more opportunities.

We heard that your grandfather, in his 80s, is still racing. In what ways has he motivated and encouraged you?
My grandfather's race age is 82 years old and he now has 17 national titles, and the majority of those coming from the time trial. He is an incredible motivation and encouragement in my life. He has given me some of the best time trial advice I have ever received, and he is constantly analyzing my courses and performances. He has taught me to never settle for less than the very best I can do, as well as teaching me that competition and sport can be a lifestyle.

He will be at USA Cycling Master's Nationals this year, and I will be out there cheering him on once again! If he can be out there racing, there is no excuse for any of us not to get out there and ride (it doesn't have to be racing)!

Alison’s Zipp equipment 
Bar: Service Course SL, 42 cm
Stem: Service Course SL, 120 mm
Go-to road wheel: 404 Firecrest
Favorite time-trial setup: 808 Firecrest, Super-9 Disc
Aero-bar: Vuka Bull base bar, 0 mm drop; ski-tips extensions

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