College Road Trip to the Pros: TWENTY16’s Allie Dragoo
Allie Dragoo’s ascension to top-level collegiate and pro cycling was a result of planning everything from her bike fit to nap schedule while also embracing unexpected opportunities.
This weekend Dragoo helps lead the Zipp-supported Marian University Cycling Team at the 2014 CapTech USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Richmond, Va. Dragoo, a senior, has been part of a collegiate cycling’s dynasty – the Marian Knights are winners of the past four Division I team omnium national championships.
The 24-year-old Dragoo also is a first-year member of TWENTY16 Professional Cycling, a women’s team supported by Zipp, SRAM and Quarq. That door of opportunity opened after Marian teammate Coryn Rivera introduced Dragoo to TWENTY16 General Manager Nicola Cranmer last fall at a cyclocross clinic in Indianapolis.
“I was like, I’m going to graduate and I’m going to find a job, and I’ll ride for fun. That was the plan,” Dragoo said. “I started training harder the last year and a half and when I was interviewed with Nicola, I was like, ‘you know what, I need to take advantage of all this hard work I put in.’”
Dragoo, a native of Grand Rapids, Mich., grew up racing BMX. She’d compete in road, track, mountain, cyclocross and even BMX while at Marian in Indianapolis. Her current on road and track makes her a perfect fit for TWENTY16, a team with a roster mixing world-class track and roadies with still-developing riders.
“I’m still learning, and I have a lot to learn. I’ve told the girls on TWENTY16, ‘Tell me when I do something wrong, tell me when I do something right,’” Dragoo said. “Being on TWENTY16 for the first time, my first pro team, I have every person I need to help me grow. I wish that every female athlete in any sport had the opportunity that I have here because when you’re in the right hands you’re probably going to do all right.”
Dragoo already has made great progress. She credits the atmosphere and her teammates at Marian. “Each year I’ve learned so much, just a crazy amount of information,” she said. Marian Coach Dean Peterson “really makes us hold each other responsible for training and getting our schoolwork done. That’s what really helped me the most.” Part of that approach is to adhere to a schedule to stay on task with training, school work, eating – she’s lost roughly 50 pounds since late 2012. Dragoo even tries to schedule naps, though not always successfully.
Dragoo said more aspiring female racers should consider collegiate racing. “Collegiate racing is so much fun. I’ll miss it because it’s a tight bond.”
Photo © Brian Hodes