Amy Dombroski had a smile for everyone. © Nathan Hofferber / Cyclocross Magazine
Today, 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 has had a remarkable rise to cyclocross fame in the past few years, racing for teams from CrankBrothers to Telenet-Fidea, and was one of the only American racers to reside—and race—primarily in Belgium.
The three-time U23 National Champion hailed from Jericho, Vermont, and while she resided in primarily in Belgium and Boulder once she began racing, the New England scene can also lay claim to Dombroski. She was a regular Rider Diary contributor to Cyclocross Magazine, most recently recounting her race in 2013 World Championships at Louisville, with the title “No Crying in Bike Racing.” She wrote of her 11th place finish: “I was gutted as I rolled across the finish line, missing my goal of a top-10 by a matter of seconds from a risky decision. But when I finally let go the focus and heard the roar of the crowd, saw the familiar faces of reporters and photographers who have become friends through the years and saw my ecstatic coach Russ (crowned masters World Champ the day prior) the disappointment dissipated and the emotions returned with a calming relief … I could have a couple/few glasses of wine. Thank you’s all around..”
Dombroski continued to express gratitude to the many who helped her:
“To Simon for your never-ending & selfless support. To Russ for your patient coaching & keeping me confident. To my family for your love. To my friends who have become like family. To Vic for taking me in like a daughter. To Telenet Fidea for the support all season long. And in particular at this race, to Barb for a relaxing place to live leading to Worlds, to Jose and SRAM for completely rebuilding my bikes, to USA Cycling for a good team atmosphere and in particular Matt & Mo, and of course to everyone (and there are a metric sh!t-ton of people) who made Worlds in America a reality.”
She was no stranger to the Worlds team, having been on it in 2012 as well. Of her time in Belgium leading up to Koksijde, she had said, “It is starting to wear on me! Living over here is really great, I have learned a ton, met a lot of new people and challenged myself, but we all know the human likes his/her comfort zone, and there is something to be said for a familiar hug or familiar pillow to lay your head on… That being said, I wouldn’t change this season – I need to remember the highs, a sixth place finish at a World Cup, consistent top-10 finishes at the Superprestige and GVAs … when it was good, it was very good.”
She was steadily moving up the ranks in the technical courses of Europe, and last December, Dombroski took home her first second-place title of the season at the Soudal Classic Leuven. (Here, she explained how the race went, and how it felt to stand on a Euro podium.)
Other palmares included: 23rd in 2012 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 were struck by the poignancy of one particular moment in her 2012 Worlds interview: “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.”
We’ll 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.