With Issue 23 hitting mailboxes and newsstands, we’ll be bringing you “sneak peeks” from the pages. You can get a look at what’s inside by visiting our Issue 23 page, and if you aren’t already subscribed, make sure you check out our All-Access Digital Subscription so you can see all of the past issues that we have available as digital copies.
We’d be remiss if the first story we shared wasn’t our piece on Amy Dombroski, and we’ve elected to share it in it’s entirety. You can also read our full Issue 21 profile on her here, and read about her induction into the Wooly Mammoth Cyclocross Hall of Fame here.
On October 3, young cyclocross racer Amy Dombroski was tragically killed in a collision with a truck while training in Holland. Since she started racing in 2006 (and won U23 Nationals the same year), Dombroski had a remarkable rise to cyclocross fame, racing for teams from CrankBrothers to Telenet-Fidea, and was one of the only American racers to reside—and race—primarily in Belgium.
It was a story that physically hurt to write. It was a blow to the cycling community at large, and a reminder that, no matter how careful we are, horrible accidents and tragedies like this can and do happen. To have such a thing happen to one of the most vibrant, well-loved talents in the pro cyclocross scene… Well, it hurt and shocked our entire community.
The three-time U23 National Champion hailed from Jericho, Vermont, and while she resided primarily in Belgium and Boulder once she began racing, the New England scene can also lay claim to Dombroski.
When the accident happened, it was so awful to contemplate that most refused to believe that it could be true. A steady stream coming from Twitter first confirmed that Amy Dombroski, only 26 years old, had been killed. And then, the stunned and devastated reactions of racers, industry members, and virtually anyone who had ever had the privilege of interacting with Amy, or simply watching her race. The stream continued for hours, as everyone recounted the many ways that Amy touched our lives. To some, she was an inspiration, to others, a friend, to others, family. Everyone remembered her smile the most.
To say that the news hit the cycling scene squarely in the heart is an accurate statement. It is a testament to Amy’s sparkling personality the number of tears shed across the world when people heard the news.
The world hadn’t lost just a rising athlete, many had lost a friend.
Her career trajectory is legendary: Dombroski was one of the only U.S. female racers to elect to race primarily in Europe, even racing for a Euro-based team. She was steadily moving up the ranks in the technical courses of Europe, had raced three World Championships, and last December, Dombroski took home her first second-place title in a major European event at the Soudal Classic Leuven.
Other palmares included: 11th in 2013 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, second in 2011 Cross Vegas, many podiums in the USGP race series and the Providence Cyclocross Festival, and in her third year of racing, a fifth place in Elite Women’s Cyclocross Nationals. She also won both days in Gloucester in 2008, a weekend which could be considered her break-out result.
Dombroski was an inspiration to many, and we will miss her greatly and respect her passion for life and her dedication to her dream. When you ride or race next, be inspired by her, and be safe.
Rest in peace, Amy.
Here, we looked back at some of the tips, tricks, observations and general wisdom that Amy shared with us over the years in interviews with us and in her racer diaries.
The World Cups were eye-opening to observe all the areas I need to improve. While being somewhat of a shock, it’s also exciting because it’s similar to that excitement of starting a new sport or sitting down with a pen, fresh sheet of paper and the first line of a poem you want to roll with. There are so many ways to grow and learn and, really, any step toward improving you take will be “the right step.”
My bike handling has improved over the years, but I think it is more about learning the mental side of it. The more I ride into something technical that I may be scared of and stop, the harder it becomes to initially ride the section. I begin attempting to wrap my head around the scary bit and thinking doesn’t come naturally to me… So everything becomes harder. I’m much better with white noise and clouds in my head—that constant and steady humming buzz of “nothing much.”
Marianne Vos is fast—she has everything: skills, speed, smarts, power, drive, motivation, mentality, strength, form, timing. She is an entirely complete bike racer. She’s friendly and sociable, humble, professional, a spokesperson for the sport and looks good in white. I feel for her though—if she were a guy, she’d be set money-wise for life. She’s unstoppable in any event she starts but will still need a day job when she retires; it’s a shame.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s easy to contact other pros, whether current pros or ex-pros local to you, on websites or on Facebook. When I was new to the sport, the big names seemed so intimidating and serious and I was petrified to ask questions. But I have found so many humble cyclists who are a wealth of knowledge and are so willing to share and laugh. Behind those flash Oakleys is someone who has her own story and insight.
The highs were very high and the lows were very low. I learned a lot about myself, about racing, courses, conditions, competition, training, and I reckon next season I can keep the lows at a “high low” and more importantly, make the highs higher more often.
My best advice? Positive self talk. It’s amazing how abusive we can be to ourselves, so when you find yourself unable to hold a wheel or navigate a corner, try to focus on what you’re doing well or how strong you know you are.
It was a solid race, some good, some bad, as is all racing.
Donate to the Amy Dombroski Memorial Fund
100 percent of donations to the Amy Dombroski Memorial Fund will go towards supporting youth cycling
Learn more: facebook.com/amydmemorial
EDITOR’S NOTE: Those of you who have the print issue may noticed that we mistakenly wrote 2003, not 2013, on the photo. It was a typographical error, and we apologize for the error.Get your free digital issue of Cyclocross Magazine here.