Pro cyclocross racer Elle Anderson has stepped away from her racing career to become the head coach for Killington Mountain School’s endurance cycling program. We last heard from Elle back in January when she announced that her struggle with mono would take her off the start list at Cyclocross World Championships in Bogense, Denmark.
“When this past cyclocross season drew to a close in February, I felt something significant had changed for me,” Anderson admitted. “Whether it was burnout, a loss of passion, frustration due to sickness, or all of the above, I no longer had the motivation to race. The next few months were a tough transition. The opportunity with Killington Mountain School has re-ignited the passion for me, but this time it’s to see other racers succeed, instead of myself.”
Anderson continued, “In the last year, I stopped my side gig working at Strava, and I gave cycling 100% of my time, attention and effort. I trained harder than I had before and dedicated myself to the best preparation. When I became sick with mono in November, it meant the end of any kind of race performance and the end of what I had worked so hard for. Going through that kind of disappointment at that point in my career may have been too much. It was time for something new.”
This change also marks a homecoming for Anderson to her native state of Vermont. After living in Belgium full-time for the last few years, she and her Belgian husband relocated to Vermont in July and will now be based out of Killington.
In describing when she made the decision, Anderson explained that “there was no exact time that I decided to stop racing cyclocross. It was a long and difficult process to walk away from my racing career. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I wanted from my life. At the time, from March until May this year, I was living with my husband Niels in the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura, Spain. It was a chance for me to escape from the environment of cyclocross in Belgium, to have the space to think, and to stay busy with some other activities like hiking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and mountain biking.”
“Slowly, over the spring, I realized that I no longer had the passion or the motivation to be a top racer in cyclocross. So after that, we started preparing for our move to Vermont and I started looking for a new job.”
Taking the job as head cycling coach at Killington Mountain School will be a lot of work, Anderson said. “There is a lot of responsibility and the expectation is to grow the program, recruit junior cyclists, especially female cyclists, and to elevate the cycling team to continued success going forward.”
Regardless of the workload and expectations, Anderson is up for the challenge. “This chance to inspire the dreams of future cyclists, to nurture the next generation and watch them grow is the best next chapter I could hope for.”
On looking back on her career, Anderson said, “I will most remember my best races and the moments I was happy with my performance. I will remember my favorite courses like Spa-Francorchamps, Diegem, the Koppenberg, Valkenburg and Gavere. I will remember the feeling of my legs burning through the deep mud, cleaning my dirty jersey after the races, and feeling the mud stuck inside my eyes. The muddiest races were always my favorite, and in a way, I will miss them the most.”
Along with her wealth of knowledge from a lifetime of being a successful athlete and student, Anderson aims to bring a strong vision and a holistic perspective to the KMS Cycling Team.
“What I’ve come to realize is that sport often occupies such a short and fleeting phase in life. To make the most of it means committing to values, dreaming big, enjoying the journey, and being surrounded by the people and the resources that can support all of those things. That is what I hope to cultivate, nurture, and develop at Killington Mountain School for their cycling program.”
Covering cyclocross, road and cross-country mountain biking, Anderson joins downhill mountain bike coach Jason DiDomenico to offer a full range of cycling disciplines at Killington Mountain School. For more information about the KMS Cycling Team and other athletic programs or academics, visit killingtonmountainschool.org