Milica Wren, Cat 3
Years in cycling: 6
Profession: Post Production Lead- Photo Studio
Why do you race: Cycling is such a beautiful sport. I love the hard work- the risk and reward. I love the competition during a race and how it becomes camaraderie once you've crossed the finish line. Also how varied it is- big mountains, suburbs, downtown, farmland- it stays interesting. Plus there's always some new thing to learn or way to improve.
Racing goals: As a cat 3 I'm motivated to support my teammates wherever possible and be a factor in races where I can. Also coming back from a lingering injury, my individual focus is to improve while staying healthy.
Best day on a bike: Any day with good scenery and company! Ive spent some incredible days climbing (and descending!) in France where you're just non-stop having your mind blown. Also riding quiet country roads with coffee stops. I've had a few races where it all clicks; right place at the right time with good legs. That's an awesome feeling.
Worst race you've had: I usually try to do that psychology trick and call bad races "learning experiences" but… the year I got hypothermia at Killington was pretty bad. All I learned from that was that whatever layers I wore weren't enough for 37* rain.
Favorite events: Road races, stage races, any crit where there are both left AND right turns.
Other interests: Photography, animals, traveling, design, color and pattern, nature.
Other sports/athletic history: Currently just cyclocross. Former hunter/jumper equestrian, travel and high school soccer, various swim teams from when I was little through high school.
Best advice for new riders: Being new to cycling can be hard. There's a lot of tech and mechanics to become familiar with, not to mention building strength and endurance takes time. Before my first ever road race my dad(who used to race) told me "Expect to get dropped" and of course I was like "How dare you doubt me father!" and then I proceeded to get dropped real hard.
It's a process. Know it. Accept it. Embrace it. Recognize your small victories. Get something useful out of your mistakes and shortcomings. Onward and upward.
Ask a million whats, whys, and hows, but keep in mind that you'll get a lot of opinions back. It's important you figure out what works for you. Don't settle for an uncomfortable saddle. Carpool to the next race. Get to know your bike community- racers and non-racers. And of course, keep at it, it takes hard work and perseverance to improve.
Jennifer McCarthy, Cat 3
Years in Cycling: 3
Profession: Domestic Engineer
Why do you race: I did my first race to basically see where my fitness was in relation to other women. The feeling I had when I finished was something I had never felt before! I felt like I definitely could have done better, so I decided to do another race. The idea of improving my results every time I raced became a bit of an obsession. The way you push yourself both physically and mentally during a race is something I had never experienced before, becoming addictive I guess you can say. Also, just being out there with other women who share the same passion as you is absolutely awesome! There's a feeling of sisterhood I feel with these girls, and it's something I really really cherish.
Racing goals: My biggest goal right now is to get my Cat 2 upgrade ASAP! I'm so close at this point, so it's basically all I can think about.
Best day on a bike: Any day that I get to ride with my friends is a GREAT day! Add warm temperatures and sunny skies, and life is just perfect!
Worst race you've had: Last year at Purgatory my chain dropped and got stuck towards the end of the race, but thankfully the support car was right there and was able to get it fixed asap! I was able to catch back on to the field, but the felling of thinking that my race may be over for me was one of the worst feelings ever! All the work I did to keep myself in a good position in that race, and to think that I was out of it because of a mechanical was NOT a good feeling at all. That was my first mechanical issue during a race, and hopefully my last!
Favorite event: I did Tokeneke for the first time last year, and I absolutely LOVED it! It's 65 miles of constant climbing and pure hell, but some breathtaking scenery to help distract you from the pain. Not only was that race super challenging physically, but more so mentally I think. Girls were dropping outta our race like crazy, and it began to feel like a game of pure survival. I was a bit delirious when I finished, but swore I'd be back next year to kick it's ass!
Other interests: I'm a big home body. I like just spending time with my family and carpooling my son to hockey and his other sporting events. When I'm not riding my bike, I'm usually in a hockey rink somewhere¦..drinking coffee, LOTSA coffee:-)
Athletic history: I grew up playing competitive softball, but right now everything I do revolves around my bike training. Sleep...Eat...Ride...Repeat:-)
Best advice for beginners: Learn from other cyclists. When advice is offered, listen and learn from it. If you can come away from every race a little more knowledgeable, you're succeeding.
Leave your ego at the door! Racing is about having good days and bad days, but being able to brush yourself off after a bad race and learning from it.
A mentor once told me to NEVER EVER EVER abandon a race! If it's just too hard and you don't wanna finish last, you can't just quit. I've seen too many cyclists use this as a cushion and just give up when it gets too tough out there. If you do this once, it then becomes too easy to fall back on. My coach has definitely instilled this mentality in me. ALWAYS FINISH, if circumstances allow.
Finally, and probably most importantly, ALWAYS show respect and decency towards other (female) cyclists. We're all out there because we share the same passion as one another. At a race last year, a girl introduced herself to me and said that she only knew me as the girl that's always smiling. You can still be fierce and determined and ready to kick everyone's butt out there, but to do it with a smile on your face is so much more rewarding in my opinion. Smile, be happy and enjoy the ride!
Chris McBurnie, Director
Years in Cycling: N/A
Why do you Direct: We’ve exposed a lot of athletes to a level of racing they wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. Where they go from there is their decision. I’ve burned a lot of gas, seen a lot of America and met scads of groovy people. I’ve got winters to spend on the couch watching TCM.
What are your directing goals: In part I play a role of devil’s advocate in that, consciously or not, a lot of otherwise well intentioned people can squash your aspirations. I’ll keep learning and looking for opportunities to expose the sport to the next generation. We also need to work more to dispel the grab and go image of the sport.
Best day at an event: The event I’m at.
Worst day at an event: I have no recollection of a bad day at any cycling event
Favorite event: Gotta go with the Battenkill there, timelessly epic…
Other interests: Tea and a biscuit, a good book - solitude and Snickers bars. Few other things I shouldn’t mention.
Best advice for new and aspiring athletes: Ask a lot of questions but filter the answers. Be persevering, buoyant, and genuine. It’s an amazingly small scene and when it’s time for decisions to be made, personality and character often count more than results.