The Elite Women fight for the best lines up the first hill. © Cyclocross Magazine

Most of the elite women finished up their season at Nationals, but what now? © Cyclocross Magazine

by Molly Hurford

Our Women’s Wednesday column is back, and this time we’ve asked around to find out what it is that female racers are doing in the off-season to prep for the upcoming cyclocross season. We checked in with racers like Kaitlin Antonneau, who also races road while going to school, and Olympic hopefuls like Georgia Gould, who focus on MTB-ing in the off-season.

Kaitlin Antonneau:
During the off-season, I do a lot of core/plyo and yoga. I race on the road all Spring/Summer so I’m already onto that, but I’m continuing to do the core and yoga. I stay motivated in the off-season because I know that what I do now matters and will make a difference for the upcoming ’cross season.

Christine Vardaros:
Since I am lazy by nature, I schedule myself an off-season kickoff event where I need basic fitness to compete so I don’t let myself go too much. The Tour of Cyprus works well for me since it is usually held a month after my last ’cross race. It is a stress-free event, but I need semi-decent fitness so I do not completely embarrass myself.

Nicole Duke:
I participate in downriver and lake Stand-Up Paddleboarding for cross training in the Spring and Summer. I also have been riding to prepare for the road season, in which I race some stage races, crits, etc. I will also be participating in the BWR SPY 122 mile tough-man/woman benefit race/ride. Its a really cool event! It’s April 15th in California. I will also be racing the Crusher in the Tusher in Utah. These are newer types of events for me, as I am usually not an endurance racer. I also do a bit of running and work in the gym. I actually am feeling better on the bike than ever. It’s been a while since I have compounded season upon season and I can feel a huge difference, the strength is still building year after year. Surprising for an old lady with kids. I think so, at least.

Gabby Day:

During the off-season, I do mountain bike racing. I only started doing it properly last year as previously I always raced on the road in Europe. I really enjoy mountain biking, it is exciting and challenging! I found it really helped me improve this year in my cyclocross racing. I had more strength and my skills improved too. I also mix in some road racing and crits, as it is important for speed. At the moment I am doing base training, I have been riding now for about three weeks and am gradually building up my hours. Once I have a good base in I will start doing intensity stuff. I have also been doing some core work and I did some running during my break just to keep in shape!

I don’t really find it too hard to stay motivated during the off-season. I still race and I enjoy it, as there is a lot less pressure during the Summer, so I find it more relaxing! What keeps me motivated is knowing that all I have to do now is get ready for September. That’s what keeps me focused!

Georgia Gould:
I run a lot in the off-season, but I try to focus on staying mentally fresh so I just kind of do what sounds fun. Sometimes it involves a bike, sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t have much of an off-season though, since I race a full MTB season March through September. I do yoga year-round for strength and flexibility.

And from some of the other elites and age-groupers:

Liz Lukowski: Having fun putting in miles and working on strengthening my bod.

Ella Truffles: Doing physical therapy and barely being on my bike.

Kate Powlison: Lots of long mountain bike rides!

Meghan Korol: Road and mountain bike racing …

Arley Kemmerer: Road racing and CrossFit classes.

Nikki Thiemann: Lots of long rides and mountain bike racing.

Andrea Smith: Mix of mountain and road rides … and throw in 18 holes of golf once a week to keep things fun!

Stacey Barbossa: Eating chocolate and, oh yeah, getting ready for Battenkill!

So let us know in the comments: what do you do to stay in shape and stay motivated in the off-season?