by Dave Sheek
Kendal and Alexis Ryan, while two years apart in age, are a dominating force in the Elite Women’s category of their local Southern California cyclocross series. Both race in the kit of the local Team SoCalCross/CICLE and their main competition locally is Coryn Rivera (Proman Hit Squad) and their team organizer Dorothy Wong. If you know anything about Rivera and Wong, one can understand how they have learned to excel from the sisters’ challenges each week. And don’t expect to look for just one Ryan member at Nationals this year as they come from a family of racers. In catching up with the girls they gave me the family category run down, “Alexis: 15/16 Women, Kendall: 17-18 and Elite Women, Morgan: U23, Kevin (Dad): 55-59 Old Men.”
These girls have a lot of racing experience as they have both been competing on the bike since they were in the 10-12 year old category. But they do not limit their racing to just ‘cross. Kendal explained they both “use the track for interval training and leg speed, not really racing.” And both really enjoy road and mountain bike racing too, which shows as Kendal was invited to road Worlds this year.
While the Ryan’s have big goals for the future, like racing Worlds and looking towards the 2012 Olympics, they have their current sights focused on Bend. Kendal expects to finish in the top three as her main competition will be the same as last year with Coryn Rivera and Kaitlin Antonneau, who are both riding well right now. And, Alexis expects the same and looks for some strong competition from defending champ Sarah Huang and Catherine Maier. But, the biggest factor for these two at Nationals will be the weather. It is hard to race in the cold temperatures when you are used to racing in the 70-degree Southern California cross weather.
I asked if the weather in Bend scared them and while Alexis exclaimed, “I’m not afraid of anything!… Besides spiders.” Kendal was a little more apprehension and admitted she did not know how well she is going to handle the weather.
Regardless of the nasty conditions in Bend we expect to see some Ryan family members on podiums at nationals. The girls had a few last words as Kendal thanked, “Dorothy Wong for supporting our family throughout the years,” and Alexis simply just spoke the truth about her interview, “Cyclocross Magazine is AWESOME!”