In this Rider Spotlight, I'm talking with my team, Sugar Beets Cycling. You might see The Beets sprinkled in with The APEX and wonder about what the two have in common other than cycling. Well, we're on a mission to bring more women to the sport, and we've been working together to help bring more women to events like The APEX.
Bringing an elite women’s mountain bike team together to empower other women to race their bikes was the easy part. The hard part was figuring out what to call it. Over tacos and margaritas the original five members were forged, but the team name? Well that was born on a road ride with a sweet potato.
Some riders in the peloton thought our team co-founder was eating a beet. It turned out to be a red garnet potato, which led to a discussion about how Fort Collins had a strong sugar beet farming industry in its early years. Keeping the team local to Fort Collins was important to us, and fitting of our grassroots mentality, we instantly knew. We would be the Sugar Beets.
The Sugar Beet mission is to eliminate barriers that would otherwise keep women from racing knobbies, and that is as important within the team as it is in the community. The pandemic has kept us from leading group skills rides for the past 18 months, but we have trained together and created challenges to keep the racing stoke high and improve technical skills. The Beets have stepped on a few podiums in early season racing, and we hope to land a few medals at USAC MTB National Championships next month. Beyond Winter Park, we're also looking forward to racing the gravel event FoCo Fondo, OZ Trails Off Road. And, of course, Pikes Peak APEX presented by RockShox!
Last September, four of the eight Beets raced The APEX. Celeste Cannon took 2nd, and Anna Kelso, with a sprained thumb, took 3rd in Women’s 40+. Samantha Welter and Maria Esswein were only able to complete 3 out of the 4 stages, but including pre-ride were able to experience all that The APEX would throw at riders over the 4 days. We brought those gals together for an APEX reunion evening.
We'll learn about the team and answer burning questions like these. What songs go through their head while racing? What 3 things must be carried in your jersey pocket? Why is it important for women to ride? How do you overcome any fear you might have of The APEX? The answers are here, and we invite you to watch this Rider Spotlight.
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