Dec 17, 2022
This week we have Pro/Master’s Cyclocross racer Kirstin Weber joining us. She won two Master’s National Titles and three podiums at Master’s Cyclocross World Championships. Kristin has been bike touring all over the world, including Costa Rica, all over Europe, New Zealand, and the United States.
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In Today's Show
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Feature Interview: Kirstin Weber
Kristin got into cycling when she took a job as a Graphic Designer at Schwinn Cycling & Fitness. She had just done a 10-week cycling tour of New Zealand, and she rode that passion all the way into a career as a Pro/Master’s Cyclocross racer. She won two Master’s National Titles and three podiums at Master’s Cyclocross World Championships. Kristin has been bike touring all over the world, including Costa Rica, all over Europe, New Zealand, and the United States. In the late 90s, Kristin was a wrangler at a guest ranch in the beautiful rustic mountains of Wyoming where she honed her fly fishing skills and wrangled a herd of 75 horses and 50 cows. Mostly recently, Kristin has become passionate about ski touring and earned her Avalanche I training certification this past winter. She loves people, she loves to travel, and she loves sharing her passion for spending days outside getting to know a place. Kristin has 3 teenage kids, so her ability to do 10 things at once is well-formed. She can’t wait to share the road with you.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — U.S. Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen today announced her plans to return to elite short-course triathlon competition. Jorgensen in 2016 won the United States’ first-ever Olympic gold medal in the sport of triathlon, and in 2017 transitioned to a professional running career following the birth of her first son, Stanley. This October, Jorgensen gave birth to her second child, George.
Together with her husband and chef (and former pro cyclist) Patrick Lemieux by her side, the family works seamlessly as a team. A relatable and accessible working mom, Jorgensen continues to inspire throughout her athletic journey, with her family’s support every step of the way.
“I am thrilled to announce my return to the blue carpet. I’m collaborating with my team to return to form and look forward to the work ahead as I invest in myself and USA Triathlon. I am inspired by the U.S. Mixed Relay team’s silver medal in Tokyo and aspire to contribute to that team in 2024. I believe Team USA can be one step higher in Paris!” Jorgensen said. “But this return is about more than just me. As a mom of two and long-time supporter of USA Triathlon, I strive to set an example that motivates and inspires my family and Team USA.”
“Gwen’s Olympic gold medal and incredible sustained success at the highest level of the sport lifted triathlon’s profile to unprecedented heights throughout her remarkable career,” said Victoria Brumfield, USA Triathlon CEO. “We, along with many multisport fans, can’t wait to follow her journey back to the sport.”
Jorgensen looks to rejoin a U.S. Women’s Elite Triathlon National Team that has produced unprecedented results on the global stage. 2022 marked the eighth consecutive year two U.S. women have placed in the top four in World Triathlon overall rankings and in 2021 the U.S. became the first country to place five women in the top 12 in World Triathlon overall rankings. Six different U.S. women have placed in the top four in the World Triathlon overall rankings since 2014. U.S. women captured two medals in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and its four total Olympic medals across six Olympic Games are tied for the second-most of any country.
“Our Elite Women’s Triathlon National Team has proven itself year-after-year to be among the strongest and deepest in the world,” said Scott Schnitzspahn, USA Triathlon High Performance General Manager. “As our team builds toward Paris 2024, we are excited to welcome Gwen back to the sport.”
An All-American track and cross-country runner for the University of Wisconsin and a member of the Badgers’ swim team, Jorgensen was recruited into the sport of triathlon in 2010 by USA Triathlon through its newly developed Collegiate Recruitment Program (CRP). That year, she balanced work as a Certified Public Accountant at EY (formerly Ernst & Young) with training and learning the basics of the sport, eventually earning her elite license in her first competitive triathlon.
Ahead of the 2022 USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships in Hartford, CT, this past week, organizers, racers and fans alike braced themselves for another showing of protests against trans athletes competing in women’s categories.
During the 2021 championship event in Illinois, a group of “Save Women’s Sport” demonstrators took to the cyclocross grounds holding signs and heckling trans athletes.
The group is “a coalition that fights to preserve sex-based eligibility standards for participation in female sports” and strongly opposes USA Cycling’s admission of trans women athletes in its women’s races.
The protests at that time were part of a nation-wide campaign that had sparked a social media outrage. Some condemned the protestors, but most condemned cycling’s governing body, USA Cycling, for either not putting a stop to the protests or conversely, for allowing trans women to compete in the women’s categories.
This led to USA Cycling amending its Fan Code of Conduct this year to include prohibiting “displaying signs, symbols, images, using language, or making gestures that are threatening, abusive, or discriminatory on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, ability, or sexual orientation.”
In the end, the pre-event worries never materialized. Instead, last year’s hostilities led to a showing of love and support with images of kids in rainbow hats and signs bearing “We love our trans athletes” messages coming out of Hartford this year.
Online, however, the anti-transgender sentiment and protests continued across social media. Twitter in particular was a buzz after Austin Killips (Nice Bikes) —a target of last year’s protests— made history when she rode herself into the bronze medal in the women’s elite race behind three-time winner Clara Honsinger (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) and Raylyn Nuss (Steve Tilford Foundation Racing), thereby becoming the first transgender woman to podium at this event. Jenna Lingwood (Point S Nokian), another trans athlete, rounded out the top five.
“We braced for the worst but the only energy that filled Riverside Park was love and support for everyone racing their hearts out. Sometimes, thanks to careful planning and kind souls the best possible outcomes happen,” Killips commented in a post-race message.
“I just want to live in and help make a world marked by love, solidarity, and grace and the cyclocross community was able to realize that for an afternoon here. I'll hold days like this close to my heart when my faith in the goodness of others wavers.”
With two trans women in the top five of the cyclocross national championships, transgender athletes have rarely been so visible. And while the internet is easily incensed, the question of fairness in competition ought to be posed to the athletes currently competing with and alongside trans athletes.
And so, Cycling Weekly reached out to Anna Megale of Comp Edge Racing, who finished just outside the top-five in sixth place.
When asked if it matters to her just who the five racers in front of her are, Megale responded with a simple, “no it doesn't.”
“This is a super hard topic and there's a little part of me that feels conflicted on what women athletics should and shouldn't be but at the end of the day, I'm super supportive of all athletes out there,” the 32-year-old Oregon native said.
“I think we all deserve an opportunity. I'm so happy for all five athletes and I'm proud of them. I think they worked just as hard for it as anyone else did. This is what the game is right now so, what does the sixth person think? I think we all raced well."
Fifth at last year’s event and sixth this year, Megale has been a consistent performer since breaking through the UCI ranks.
She grew up a swimmer and like so many cyclists out there, started cycling due to an injury. She was introduced to bike racing by her husband in 2014, and quickly started making her way through the local scene in Boise, Idaho.
In 2018 she began tackling national level UCI races, chasing that first UCI point. She garnered an impressive 57 UCI points that first year and by the end of the 2021/22 season, she was sporting a USA skinsuit and lining up at the UCI World Cyclocross Championships.
Megale said the controversy and protests surrounding nationals these past two years not only detract from the racing, she also fears for her fellow competitors’ safety.
“I'm glad USAC put out a Code of Conduct for that because it's scary. I worry that it's not safe and I want it to be safe for everyone,” she commented
“I truly believe we all need a safe place to discuss this topic. I want all people, no matter who they are, to feel heard and loved. Like most things, there is no perfect answer and continuing to work towards fairness for all is most important. I am grateful for my cycling community and feel every athlete I have lined up with this year has raised the bar and pushed us all to be better. Most importantly, there is no room for hate, ever."
Ahead of the race, Pan American Champion, Raylyn Nuss, called the trans athlete debate "the big elephant in the room” and also championed further discourse on the matter.
"I almost wish we could just have a panel discussion with [the trans women] in a safe space. And we could all just ask a bunch of questions, and just clear the air more or less, and then just proceed on as normal,” she told Cyclingnews.
"The rules are what they are. So we cannot sit and just think about what advantages she might have."
These rules Nuss is referring to is the UCI's policy on eligibility and regulations for transgender athletes, which USA Cycling has adopted. Last revised in July 2022, these regulations state that those who transition from male to female (MTF) are eligible to compete in the female category as long as:
- the athlete has declared their gender identity as female,
- the athlete can demonstrate that their total testosterone level in serum has been below 2.5 nmol/L for a period of at least 24 months,
- and their total testosterone level in serum must remain below 2.5 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.
Not all cycling nations have adopted this policy, which has led to conflict and confusion for elite trans athletes. British Cycling even went so far as to block trans riders from competing until it has reviewed and decided on a new licensing policy.
In the U.S. however, trans women are allowed to compete at all levels as long as qualifications are met, and for most cis women riders in the field, it's an accepted addition of competition.
"[Trans women] are just competitors that I want to beat every single time I go to the line, someone that's strong, and is really giving me a run for my money," Nuss commented.
With the national championships now behind them, a contingent of American racers, including Megale, Honsinger, Nuss and Killips, now head to Europe for a block of racing. The riders will contest celebrated events like Superprestige Diegem, X2O Trofee Koksijde and the UCI World Cup in Zonhoven.
What's New in the 303:
The Jensie, Jens Voigt talks about retirement, reflects on his professional career, professes his love for Colorado, and shares his enthusiasm for Napoleon Dynamite (2004) and Lindsey Vonn
By Kate Agathon
Jens night in Denver at Campus Cycles November 21, 2022
Jens Voigt is surprisingly relatable.
He gets starstruck.
He listens to Metallica.
He considers it a good morning when he wakes up and his back and knees don’t hurt.
Now that he is no longer obliged to tell his legs to shut up, he tells his body to shut up instead. “I hate to admit it, but now I’m getting older. Now, instead of shut up legs, it’s shut up body!” exclaimed Voigt.
Voigt recently made a whirlwind trip to Denver, where he visited Campus Cycles and Primal.
On the same trip, he also made a quick stop in Arizona to participate in the El Tour de Tucson 2022 Prologue and tour ride along with Bob Roll, Kristin Armstrong, Christian VandeVelde, Bobby Julich, and George Hincapie.
During the last leg of his visit, the King of Breakaways himself stopped by Campus Cycles for VIP Night and took some time for an impromptu Tireside Chat.
Voigt has a thing for Colorado. His favorite area to ride in is Durango, and he likes to watch American Flyers (1985). Most importantly, Colorado is where some of his most cherished pro cycling memories took place. “Colorado is a wonderful state! You guys are actually pretty blessed: great road biking, mountain biking, and hiking all in one place,” Voigt remarked.
Voigt’s professional cycling career spanned nearly two decades and took him around the world. However, he chose Colorado and the 2014 USA Pro Challenge for his final professional race. “It felt right to end my career here. Colorado has been good to me. It’s such a wonderful place!” said Voigt.
Voigt has many fond memories of Colorado. It’s the place where he went fly fishing with his Trek Factory Racing teammates. The place where he momentarily got starstruck when skiing legend Lindsey Vonn awarded him a lifetime ski pass to Vail/Beaver Creek for winning Stage 4 of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge.
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