Alison Powers, former Winter Park skier, wins second national bicycle racing title
Grand County, Colorado
For the second time this year, Alison Powers, Winter Park’s skier-turned-bicycle racer, has won a national cycling championship title.
Powers won her second national title while racing at the 2008 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships in Carson, Calif. on Friday, Oct. 3. She earned it as part of the Metro VW Cycling Team in the women’s 3,000-meter team pursuit.
The race, which was part of the four-day national championships, was held on a 250-meter indoor wooden track at the ADT Event Center at Carson’s Home Depot Center. The racers competed as three-member teams riding together using specially-built fixed-gear, single-speed bicycles. Each team had to complete 12 laps of the track with the fastest time winning the event.
Powers was racing with teammates Kimberly Geist of Emmaus, Pa., and Shannon Koch of Flower Mound, Texas, both specialists in indoor bicycle track racing. This was Powers’ first nationals racing on an indoor track.
The Metro VW Cycling Team sped around the track, earning the fastest time of 3 minutes, 43.370 seconds.
“The Team Pursuit win with Kim Geist and Shannon Koch was the most fun race of the entire Nationals,” Powers said. “The four days of the “tracking” (racing on the track) has left me feeling happy, humbled, excited and tired.”
Her victory in California capped the 29-year-old Powers’ 2008 season, which was only her second as a professional bicycle racer. During it, she earned her first national title during the 2008 USA Cycling Junior, U23 and Elite Road National Championship in Orange County, Calif., in August.
She finished the 33-kilometer course in a time of 49:18.90 in a surprise win over Mara Abbott, last year’s U23 national time trial champion.
New to the sport
Powers’ achievements in her second year of professional bicycle racing are even more remarkable when it is realized that she has only been seriously training and racing in the sport for about three years.
While growing up in Grand County, Powers had centered all of her athletic ambitions on Alpine ski racing. Selected by the U.S. Ski Team in 1997, she began a ski racing career after graduating Middle Park High in 1998. However, a 2001 ski racing accident injured her knee and she finally called it quits in 2004.
Believing her competitive days were over, Powers became ski coach in Vermont, but decided to stay in shape by bicycling. On a whim in the spring of 2005, she entered her first cycling road race as a novice, but to her surprise discovered she had a real talent for the sport. She was soon winning races and advancing up the amateur racing categories.
Moving back to Colorado in late 2005, Powers continued to improve her results. In 2006, she broke into the elite level of women’s bicycle racing, finishing her amateur season ranked fifth in the nation.
Thanks to those results, Powers signed a contract with Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, which is a professional bicycle racing team headquartered in Madison, Wisc.
In her first year as a professional cyclist on the Colavita/Sutter Home team, Powers finished the 2007 racing season ranked 103rd in the world. Some of her top results included winning a gold medal in the Pan American Championships’ time trial in Venezuela, taking third place in the Memorial Davide Fardelli Time Trial in Italy and an overall seventh-place finish at Le Grand Tour du Montreal.
Powers’ 2007 results were so spectacular that she was selected to train and race with the U.S. National Team in Europe this spring. She was also picked for a “discretionary nomination” to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Cycling Long Team.
Beginning her second year as a pro cyclist, she traveled extensively last spring in Europe as a member of the U.S. National Cycling Team. During France’s 2008 Tour de l’Aude Cycliste Feminin in May, she took second- and third-place finishes during that nine-day stage race which featured several Olympic and World Champions.
Returning home to America in June, Powers rejoined her Colavita/Sutter Home teammates to race in the 2008 Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling, which is one of this nation’s premier bicycling series held in Pennsylvania. During two of its three races, she earned third- and fourth-place finishes against a field of some of the world’s elite women cyclists.
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