Women’s Cycling Interview: Pro Cyclist Alison Tetrick
Professional cyclist Alison Tetrick knows what it takes to overcome obstacles. In 2010 she suffered a traumatic brain injury and broken pelvis, but the TWENTY16 Pro Cycling rider challenged herself to return to the women’s peloton, and is now climbing podiums across the world! She also works hard to advance the sport in America by serving on USA Cycling’s Professional and Women’s sport committees.
Name: Alison Tetrick
Hometown: Redding, California
Residence: Mill Valley, California
Work: Professional Cyclist, TWENTY16 Pro Cycling; Graduate School Student; Marketing/Advocacy Consultant
What are some of your earliest memories about bikes? What brought you to the sport of cycling?
I didn’t start racing bikes until after college. I played NCAA tennis, and was an All-American Scholar Athlete. Cycling has always been in my blood, but I didn’t know it until the sport found me. Triathlon brought me into cycling as I was looking for something to fulfill my competitive edge, but once I got the taste of the fast-paced thrill that road racing gives, I had to race my bike!
My grandfather Paul Tetrick, who is 82 and still racing, suggested I give bike racing a try. He has over 17 national titles and really loves the lessons that this sport teaches us, such as humility and determination. I got invited to the USA Cycling Talent I.D. camp at the US Olympic Training Center, and it was all a whirlwind from there. I will always be thankful for the opportunities I was provided and will continue to compete and give back to the sport. Although I could never have imagined where this sport has taken me, I have enjoyed the challenge and the process of becoming better at such a beautiful thing.
What do you love about bike racing? What is it about bike racing that motivates you to put in all the hard work and endure the suffering that goes along with it?
Bike racing is a challenge. You can not only compare yourself to your competition, but you can also seek to get your own best result. It is about personal satisfaction in working as hard as you can, and achieving improved strength, resilience, and confidence. It is not an easy sport, but there is something alluring about the fact that you can track your progress and your results, as this correlates with the amount of training and dedication you are giving to it.
Within the race, cycling becomes like a high-speed chess game, and you have to learn to read the race and your opponents, all while suffering and racing at speed. It gives you the ability of supreme challenge, but also ways to engage your mind, body, and spirit.
Where do you enjoy riding your bike the most?
Of all the places I travel in the world, I will still always hold my home roads of West Marin in the San Francisco Bay Area of California very close to my heart. There is something that familiarity and community give to your favorite training roads, and this attachment is hard to break.
What advice would you give an aspiring pro cyclist?
Patience. Cycling is a process, and there are the obvious dramatic ups and downs that encompass sport. Rather than trying to hurry your development, or getting too fixated on results, enjoy the process of getting better. Cycling should be fun and enjoyable. Keep a life balance and don’t forget to give back to those who are supporting you.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start racing? What advice do you give to women who are new to riding a bike?
Do it! Bike racing is a great way to track your results and improvements. Make sure to do the correct development steps in clinics and mentored races in order to get comfortable in the sport. It can be daunting, but joining a women’s club and going to a couple of skills clinics can really help your integration into such a complex and fun sport! Don’t forget to smile and have fun!
What is your biggest cycling goal?
Represent the USA at the world championships and win a national championship.
What cycling accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proud of the resilience I have had through this sport. After a tragic crash, I was able to return to compete, even though the recovery process was and is a lot longer than others expected. At that point, it becomes about internal strength and determination, rather than other’s expectations of you. All sports have their moments of greatness, and pitfalls, and it is up to each individual to be patient on recovery, and focused on what is best for you.
After sustaining a head injury, I have been recovering from this, but also learning the valuable lesson that an injury like this should not be taken lightly. There were days that just getting on my bike was a victory in itself. It is not all about the results; it is about the growth, the process, and the experiences you have along the way to achieving your greatest goals.
Other than race results, what kind of impression do you want to leave on the world of cycling?
I hope to use my cycling career to change lives. I want to inspire people to pursue their goals no matter the obstacles that get in the way. Along this journey of sport, you end up learning valuable life lessons that you can apply to other areas of your life. You can gain strength and drive that are applicable to work, family, and personal endeavors. I hope to assist in making women’s cycling a more sustainable sport by adding value and professionalism to our product. This way, we can secure future sponsorship and opportunities as the sport continues to grow and develop.
What is your favorite non-cycling activity?
Stand-up Paddle boarding in warm sun!
What do you do in your downtime?
What kind of offseason vacations do you take?
Something that involves warm and balmy tropical weather
If you weren’t a cyclist, what would you be doing?
I will always be a cyclist! I have always worked throughout my career to make it sustainable.
What non-cycling athletes or teams do you root for?
All of them! Athletes are incredible, regardless of what sport.
Do you have a nickname?
What’s your favorite movie/book/song/dance move?
If you were on the Price Is Right, what would your dream Showcase Showdown be?
Cycling training vacation with all-expenses paid in Maui, including snorkeling gear, sun block, and stand-up paddle boards!
This Article Updated July 23, 2014 @ 02:13 PM For more information contact: