CXM: Now that we are headed into cyclocross season, do you have any special incentives to go to the World Championships this year?

KN: Yea, I’m working out the schedule. Last year I skipped it and ended up really missing it. It’s now on my watch. Sometimes I think stepping away is important so you can look from the outside and remember how much you want to race and even need it. It was a good break. Right now I don’t have a set schedule though, and I need to work out all the details with my team. We need to get through the mountain biking season first, and then see how the body is feeling and what’s left in the tank. I’ll have serious plans in August. The one thing I know for certain is that I will be racing domestically like I did last year, so I will be racing in the US quite a bit.

Nash runs the sand. ©Janet Hill

Nash dashing through the sand. Her technique and athleticism often keeps her as a major contender in every race. ©Janet Hill

CXM: Last year, just before the Providence Cyclocross Festival, you put on a cyclocross clinic. Are there any plans to teach more skills and drills heading into this season?

KN: Yea, a broader part of the Luna program has what we call Luna Ambassador Chix, which are all across the country. It’s a group of women who put on bike rides or runs, or any kind of outdoor activities in their community. Typically it’s not race oriented; just a bunch of women getting together for a good exercise. We talk about healthy lifestyles and try to have fun out on the trails. Last year we did put on a clinic for this program. We got 40 women out there to tune-up their technique, you know, dismounts, remounts. Most of them ended up racing the next day. It was a good fit and I hope to do it again. I have yet to hear from the local team, but if the opportunity comes I want to do it again.

CXM: What do you think are the most important skills to take away from a clinic?

KN: I try to share the little I know about racing. Women are always willing to learn the details. Cyclocross is all about the technique. Getting on and off the bike is key, and I like to see riders get quick and comfortable with dismounts. One of the coolest parts about last year was when we had a block of time where we had the Providence course to ourselves. We could go around and practice competing. It was really helpful.

CXM: What does your typical race day nutrition look like?

KN: I feel like our races are late in the day, like mid-afternoon. If I’ve flown to the East Coast, I try to have one good meal. I like to have a good breakfast, and at least three hours before a short and intense race. I try and snag something right after the race and then have dinner. I find myself skipping a few lunches, but I’d rather have something after the race than feel nasty during it. I try and get some granola, yogurt, fruits: your usual breakfast. Of course sometimes I’ll have two breakfasts!

CXM: Talking about traveling, you live in an area with a lot of riding trails but it’s a little off the beaten path. How do you cope with traveling from home?

KN: You have to build a schedule carefully. We do so much traveling throughout the year, so if you see two East Coast race weekends back-to-back, you might not see us. We just can’t do it after mountain bike season. We have to be crafty about scheduling, and staying home enough to train hard and rest up. It is a fine balance, but sometimes you can’t stress about it. My body is good at adapting to time zones. I mean, we have great jobs where we ride our bikes and then rest, and we have to make the best out of it.

CXM: What roles do you provide Luna with, and will this change during cyclocross season?

KN: The roles will be the same. Yes, we’re out there to win races, but the bigger focus is to attract as many people as we can to exercise. We want to show people that you can have a lot of fun along the way, whether it’s on your bike or swimming, hiking. You don’t need your typical travel, dress up, work out at the gym. You can make it enjoyable: that’s the message we are trying to spread. It’s amazing to say that’s my job.

CXM: As developing and ever-changing sports in the United States, what are the biggest differences between mountain biking and cyclocross?

KN: I think that there are great roots in both. I always see so many little kids competing in cyclocross.  That’s great. Mom and Dad race later in the day, and the kids complete the whole affair where you can enjoy it. As far as mountain biking, I see plenty of high school groups getting opportunities from great organizations. Ultimately not everyone goes to the traditional sports of football and baseball, and now there is a place where kids can compete on mountain bikes, get custom jerseys, and travel with a team. That’s how I started my career. I started with an academy and went on with a scholarship. I look back at those high school years as some of the best times I had. We were just out in the mountains, racing and traveling. Those are the people I stay in touch with. And I think it’s good there are those kind of opportunities. Hopefully it’s not getting too serious and people are keeping it fun.

CXM: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Good luck next weekend in Vermont [for the Specialized Catamount Classic] and at the upcoming World Cups before cyclocross season!

KN: Thank you!

Stay tuned to for more pre-season news from elite riders!