Coryn Rivera struggling at Portland USGP. Photo courtesy of Coryn Rivera.

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At 18, Coryn Rivera already has more national titles to her name than most retiring pros. Can she add a U23 Title to her over-flowing chest of jerseys? Read on to see what she thinks.

by Dave Sheek

At 18 years of age, Coryn Rivera is stepping out of the Junior rankings and looking for her first national title in the U23 category. The young high school graduate has already added seven national titles to her impressive palmares this year, bringing her total to 32 stars and stripes. Rivera is coming off a strong road season with the competitive Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty-12 team and has big plans to do the same next year in the United States and Europe.

As the champion in the 17-18 category at cyclocross nationals last year, Rivera is excited for another opportunity at a championship title, but knows the U23 category is going to be a bigger challenge. She also had a long road season and took some time off the bike after the Road World Championships, entering the ’cross season slowly. In contrast, her biggest competitors – such as Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b – have been training and racing hard since the road season ended. Last weekend in Portland, for example, Rivera came in over two minutes behind both Antonneau and 2009 U23 Champion Ashley James (Team Kenda). Commenting on this, Rivera said she realized the time off has nabbed her of some needed experience at the national elite level.

After the shock to her system last week in Portland, Rivera said she ideally is shooting for a good result but has to see what happens. At Nationals, she says, she tends to have better results and hopes she can step it up for the occasion. Ultimately, though, her goal is to progress in cycling and ’cross is more for fun at this point. Her main goal? The big road season ahead.

CXM Caught Coryn for a quick interview as she readies herself for her race this weekend, read below for her response.

1. You’ve had such an impressive streak at Nationals, but this might be the first time you’re coming in as an underdog. What do you think your chances in securing another title are?

Yeah I’m in a different situation this year. And now that I am no longer a Junior and I didn’t race a full ’cross schedule collecting UCI points, I am definitely an underdog. The elite women and U23 women race together, but are scored separately. And I know my main U23 competition will be lined up on the first or second row and I will be starting probably in the fourth or fifth row. Last year at Elite Nationals I started in the fifth row and was able to get up to 12th before crashing HARD on an icy section and I couldn’t risk getting hurt over 20th place, so I just settled in where ever I was after I crashed. But if I am able to get a good first lap in and have some good luck on my side I am hoping to bag my 33rd National title.

2. What’s your ’cross season been like?

My ’cross season this year has been really low-key and just super fun. I usually start the season with Cross Vegas and build fitness for Nationals, but this year I was still off the bike during Cross Vegas and didn’t start riding until a couple weeks later. I took a solid four-week break after Junior World Championships and slowly built up some fitness for ’cross with team pursuit camps at the velodrome and local cross racing. I had some good local wins and got 5th in a local UCI ’cross race at Griffith Park. Portland USGP and Nationals is the height of my cyclocross season. I had a rough time at Portland last weekend. The first day I had a bad start and couldn’t find a rhythm until halfway through the race. The second day I had a pretty good start and parked myself in 4th wheel behind the Luna girls and Sue Butler, then I crashed into one of the stakes and from there it was hard for me to regain my position. As much as I am frustrated about how I did at Portland I still had a lot of fun and it was great to see everyone at the races. I love cross because it is just so fun and everyone is so laid back and having a great time…that’s what it’s all about.
3. How do you feel your competition is riding right now?

I know my competition is really strong. Kaitie Antonneau is one of my best friends and we’ll be rooming together in college next fall and she will be on Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 next road season. She has been riding awesome all year, from helping me as a teammate to my bronze medal at Junior Road Worlds to kicking ass consistently in the elite field at the USGPs. I totally respect her as a rider and friend, but when it comes down to racing it’s business time. I also know Ashley James has been riding strong winning a UCI race on the east coast. I’ve got some good U23 competition this year. I won’t be on the front row with them, but I will definitely be racing as an underdog.
4. If you don’t win the title, planning on trashing another hotel room? (Joking, of course)

If I don’t win my 33rd National Title, I am going to trash my hotel room (that I’m not staying at because I am actually staying at a host house). And good thing Nationals won’t be in Bend next year because I will be going ape-s&!t on my hotel room if I don’t get #33. I will make the maids quit their job…. Nahhh, I’m not violent like that. If I don’t win the title at least I will know that I had a fun time. I love Bend and I know I am really going to miss coming here for any of the National Championships. I’ve got next year to focus on than getting butt-hurt over my first non-junior title, if you will. I have a long road season ahead of me, so it’s not the end of the world if I don’t win. I can’t win everything.

Team: Peanut & Co Twenty12

Hometown: Tustin, CA

Date of Birth: August 26, 1992 (Racing age: 19)

Highlights: 32 National Titles, 2009 Junior 17-18 CX National Champion