CX Athlete Feature: Kaitie Keough
Kaitie Keough, 27, got her start racing on the Washington Park Velodrome in Kenosha, Wisconsin at 5 years old. Now, she is among the top Cyclocross racers in not only the United States, but the world. In 2010, she finished 8th in the UCI Junior World Championships while racing for the U.S. National Team. Shortly after, she joined the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld team, winning the U23 Cyclocross National Championship and getting her first call up to the Elite Women's national team at Worlds. Fast forward to 2019, Keough places 7th in the Elite World Championships, and is currently 9th in the UCI World Cup Rankings. Keough is also a Marian University graduate, where she medaled in numerous national championships, across multiple disciplines. After graduating college, she moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband and fellow professional cyclist, Luke Keough.
What was it like growing up in Racine, Wisconsin?
Normal Midwest town. I participated in basically every sport possible, both winter and summer sports. Always playing outside until we were told to come back in for dinner. I had a very small but quality group of friends and liked to hangout with my parents. 😊
How has your season been shaping up so far?
This season has been going well so far. It’s my first time basing myself in Europe for the entire season versus traveling back and forth four times. Spent a lot of the offseason trying to plan all of the logistics as best as I could for the move to Belgium and it’s all paying off so far. Our set up here is very comfortable and I’m glad we took the time to figure out how to do it right. The World Cup series is going well and my goal for that series is within reach. Training is also going well and I’m having fun.
How has moving to Colorado Springs helped your training?
The riding in Colorado Springs is wonderful. Both on the road and on the trails. It’s also nice to have some great people to train with. Although, I would want to live in Colorado Springs even if I didn’t race bikes. I love town and the group of friends my husband and I have there. It’s such a great place to have set up our home base.
What is your biggest focus this season?
My biggest focus this season is the World Cup Overall series. My goal is to win the overall. I’ve been second and fourth the past two seasons. It’s a difficult goal, but I feel that it’s realistic. Nationals is also a target.
Describe your perfect cyclocross race.
My perfect cyclocross race is whenever I’m seriously able to drop into that flow state and really be present with what I’m doing.
How do you mentally prepare for big races?
I like to meditate, read entertaining books, and visualize the course as well as visualizing myself riding a lap & certain technical sections.
What is one thing you would tell a junior considering collegiate cycling?
If you have the opportunity, do it!! It is so rewarding
and so much fun to be a part of a collegiate cycling team. The community and friendships you find during that four or so years you are a part of the team are priceless. You’ll learn a lot about bike racing and different cycling disciplines. It’s the perfect opportunity to continue to explore your cycling passion while studying to earn a degree. If you can earn an athletic and/or academic scholarship at one of the many collegiate cycling schools, even better. Graduating with little to no studying loans is seriously a life changing thing once you graduate. I would not still be racing my bicycle if I had student loans.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Managing our rental properties with my husband and hopefully a step closer to living on a farm with a handful of farm animals!
To cheer on Kaitie throughout the year, follow her on Instagram @KaitieKeough.
Visit USACycling.org for more information on the athletes, events, and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.
Cyclocross Nationals is around the corner! Don't forget to register today! https://www.usacycling.org/events/national-championships/2019-usa-cycling-cyclocross-national-championships