Now in its fifth year, the Amy D. Foundation has supported the professional careers of young women cyclists. This release from the team highlights what’s new for the cyclocross program in 2018/19, including its two Elite riders.
The Amy D. Foundation was created to honor the memory of Amy Dombroski, who was tragically killed while training in Belgium in 2013, by supporting young women cyclists in their efforts to pursue professional careers.
The program recently announced it will be sponsoring two riders for the upcoming 2018/19 cyclocross season. KK Santos returns to the team for her second season, and Emily Shields joins for her first year of wearing the Amy D. blue.
The Amy D. Foundation program has also added a new manager and equipment sponsor and adopted a new format for the program. Continue reading for more about what’s returning and what’s new for the Amy D. Foundation cyclocross program in 2018.
Santos, Shields Named 2018/19 Elite Cyclocross Athletes
The Amy D. Foundation has chosen to support two elite riders this upcoming season: Emily Shields, 25 of Advance, North Carolina and returning racer, Katherine Santos, 21 of Louisville, Kentucky.
Despite being only 25, Emily Shields is an experienced, longtime cyclocross racer. She and her twin sister, Katherine, decided to give the sport a try for the first time as 10-year olds, after watching other children compete in a cyclocross race their dad promoted. Emily started road racing shortly thereafter and added mountain biking in college.
Shields earned her bachelor’s degree at Lees-McRae College, and during her senior season, she won the 2015 Collegiate Division 1 Nationals in Austin, Texas. During graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she added a Collegiate Club National Championship to her palmarès, taking the win in Hartford, Connecticut in 2017.
Shields outstanding 2018 results include third at Hendersonville UCI C2, seventh at Jingle Cross UCI C2, third at USA Cycling Singlespeed National Championships, and 24th at USA Cycling Elite Nationals.
All along, Shields has balanced academics with bike racing, first in high school, then in undergrad, and finally en route to her Masters in Nutrition. Having finished her dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian in May 2018, Shields plans to take a year off from school and work to race full-time. Without the obligation and “juggling act” of school, Shields is determined and focused to see what she can accomplish as an elite racer.
She explains, “The Amy D. Foundation represents a unique opportunity for me to fulfill a lifelong dream of racing at the elite level with support and no other conflicting obligations such as school or work.”
Completing school and earning the Amy D. Foundation Cyclocross Elite Team slot are just two highlights in what has been a busy and exciting year for Shields, as she also recently married fellow cyclocross racer Kerry Warner. Shields shares, “This year has already been so fantastic with marrying Kerry, graduating with my master’s in nutrition, finishing my dietetic internship, and now to top it all off, I have been given this amazing opportunity to race for The Amy D. Foundation.”
Shields’ future teammate Katherine Santos, who goes by “KK,” is in her second year with the program. As a last-year U23 rider, Santos is aiming for a breakout season, “It’ll be my last year as a U23, so I’m hoping to make the most of it. I’ll be gunning for the Worlds selection.”
Santos is also a longtime cyclocross racer, as she started the sport at age 13, and developed through the well-known Louisville Red Zone Cycling development team. After winning cyclocross nationals in the 17-18-year-old category, Santos signed with Marian University, where she will be a senior this fall. Santos is a Marketing and Entrepreneurship major, who wants to start who own company when she graduates: “Whether in the cycling industry or not, I’d like to start a company that does good.”
In 2017-2018, Santos placed eighth at USA Cycling U23 Nationals and ninth in the Pan Am U23 Championships. She also placed ninth in the Collegiate Varsity race.
Mo Bruno Roy Joins as Manager/Mentor
The Amy D. program aims to build opportunity and provide mentoring that promotes strong personal development. Mo Bruno Roy joins the team as “manager/mentor,” and her role within the team will be a holistic one.
Mentorship has always been a key component of the Amy D. Foundation model. Former team members Erica Zaveta and Rebecca Fahringer had breakout seasons riding for Amy D. Foundation. Some credit for their success is certainly due to the professional mentorship provided by the partnering pro teams. Both these athletes were mentored by Caroline Mani, as well as other members of the former Raleigh-Clement program. In turn, Fahringer, then headlining Stans NoTubes, went on to mentor KK Santos and former team member Christa Ghent last season.
While Bruno Roy should need no introduction to the cyclocross world, the breadth and depth of her experience deserves mention. Competing from 2003 to 2015, Bruno Roy competed in 301 career cyclocross races, including 216 UCI races, and 18 National Championships (11 Elite, three Masters and two Singlespeed), 16 World Cups and 2 World Championships.
She recorded 41 wins (nine UCI races, three Masters National Championships, two Singlespeed National Championships and one Singlespeed World Championship) and eight times finished in the top-10 at USA Cycling Elite Nationals. Finally, and perhaps most importantly for a future mentor, she recorded just two DNFs in 12 years of competition.
Surprisingly, Bruno Roy’s first introduction to elite cycling was actually not as a rider but as a soigneur for the Timex and Saturn pro cycling teams. She explains how she plans to draw upon her soigneur/competitor background for her new Amy D. Foundation role:
“As a soigneur, I learned how to best support professional racers through caregiving, emotional support and stress management. This allowed me to manage my own racing/life/work balance with a clearer head and tied in with my now 20-year career as a Muscular Therapist. Being able to understand the needs of racers from both perspectives will hopefully enhance my ability to both logistically manage and supportively mentor the Amy D. Foundation Cyclocross Racing elite team.”
Bruno Roy is honored for the opportunity to help mentor and shape the CX Team, calling it a “passion project.”
“I’m most excited to re-enter the sport after retirement in a new role supporting this passion-project. I’m thrilled to be working with our elite racers KK and Emily and with our amazing staff, Dan Dombroski, Desiree and Steve. I hope that working with the Amy D. Foundation will allow me to fulfill the idea of helping other women achieve their goals through my own racing and professional experience, passion for promoting equality and diversity in sport and to encourage women to always lift one another up to pursue the loftiest dreams in this one little precious life we have.”
New Model for Ground Support
In an exciting move forward, this fall the Amy D. Foundation will be taking sole responsibility for the teams’ on the ground operations.
Historically, the foundation partnered with other professional teams to provide ground support, first Raleigh Clement Professional Cyclocross Team from 2014 to 2017 and then Stan’s NoTubes cyclocross professional team during the 2017–2018 season.
This year, in a logical next step for the organization’s maturity, Amy D. Foundation is moving to an autonomous model for race day support. To this end, the foundation is pleased to announce the addition of Mo Bruno Roy as Team Manager/Mentor. Bruno Roy will share responsibility for on the ground operations with returning staff Executive Director Desiree Simon and Chief Mechanic Steve Donovan, whose Amy D. experience ensures continuity.
In launching the cyclocross team as a solo endeavor, The Amy D. Foundation will leverage their experience providing professional support to road composite teams at the nation’s most prestigious road races. The Amy D. Foundation Road Racing program, which has been in place since 2015, has provided a fully-supported professional experience to approximately 70 unique athletes in its 4-year lifespan.
Industry Partnerships and Ground Support
Industry partnerships have been key to Amy D. Foundation’s success since its inception. This year is no exception, as riders will benefit from a new partnership with Donnelly Bikes, as well as continued support from Lazer Sport, Pearl Izumi, Handlebar Mustache, Shimano and BikeFlights.
The team will be racing the new Donnelly Bikes C//C bike in “Amy D blue,” including Ushuaia wheels and Donnelly tubeless tires. Besides outfitting the riders, Donnelly is investing still further by making a donation to the foundation each time the Amy D Blue C//C bike is sold.
Each Donnelly bike will be equipped with Shimano parts. Shimano is a long-standing supporter of the program and parent company to Pearl Izumi and Lazer Sport.
Pearl Izumi will once again be providing the team’s distinctive blue and orange kit, including the heart with a lightning bolt logo. The lightning bolt symbol recalls Amy’s distinctive lightning bolt wrist tattoo memorializing her mother.
Amy’s long-time sponsor Lazer Sport will be providing riders with the new Bullet helmet, whose open/close airflow system is ideal for the changing conditions of cyclocross.
The Elite team’s schedule has them racing across North America. BikeFlights will assume the all-important task of moving riders’ bikes and team equipment from venue to venue.
While industry partners are instrumental in providing equipment, clothing, and bike transport, much of the funding for this successful program comes from fundraisers and donations to the Amy D. Foundation. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Also, new this year is the opportunity to support the foundation and fly the team’s colors via the Amy D. Foundation Grassroots Team. The grassroots team is a community-based team open to all genders, ages, and abilities. The team is registered with USA Cycling and membership includes a jersey.
Visit amydfoundation.org to follow the Amy D. Foundation Cyclocross Elite Team and to learn more about the Grassroots Team.