On the Road with Lauren Edwards

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lauren (Hall) Edwards, a former St. Aloysius and Mississippi State soccer standout, is participating in competitive cycling around North America. She will be contributing updates on her progress.

Oct. 28, 2009

First off, it is a lot harder and 10 times more fun than it looks. My first experience of cyclocross was this year at Cross Vegas, I was a spectator cheering on my teammates and just taking it all in, the fans, the barriers, the hurt. I couldn’t believe how much fun I was missing out on all these years. Coming from Mississippi there isn’t a prominent cyclocross series, group or anything to easily accessible so I didn’t even know what the sport was until now. 

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I have been given this beautiful opportunity from the Hudz-Subaru team to be a development rider for their women’s team which is full of talent that I can learn from and be a part of. After Cross Vegas, I received my Blue frames and two kits, it was all falling into place, now it was time to learn what it means to race cyclocross. Once the bike was all together, I had taken it on a couple of easy dirt road rides just to get a feel for the bike and the difference of road versus trails versus a mountain bike, what a combination of a bike. Next up was to learn how to mount and dismount and jump over barriers, so off to Durango I headed for some help. I met up with Chad Wells and a couple of girls from the Fort Lewis College and he gave us a quick lesson on the mechanics of throwing the leg and where to grab the bike when jumping off, then we practiced in the grass and then gradually made our way to the barriers. It wasn’t pretty but I managed to slowly dismount, make it over the barriers and then back on, a small goal obtained.

After a couple of weeks and lots of practicing, lots of falls and more bruises than I can count, I wanted to go back to Durango to try my hand again, this time at the practice races. I was nervous, even if it was practice I like to see how far I can push myself and I didn’t want to embarrass myself or interfere with someone else’s rhythm.  I was slow, sloppy, choppy and wasted so much energy trying to make it all come together.  But over the next three days of these practice  races, I became more fluid, more efficient, more comfortable pushing myself to the limit and still managing to make it over the barriers. 

It is a different hurt but like Rebecca Much said, it is so much fun hurting that bad when it is cyclocross. 

So here goes, my first pro cyclocross season, my first race this weekend and I can’t wait.  So come  back in a week or so and check out the progress of the team and see if I survived my first race.

Sept. 22, 2009

I’m driving to Las Vegas to watch the cyclocross race that my team is participating in. I was supposed to race but I’m still pretty bruised from the crash in St. Louis so I will watch from the sidelines and cheer my team on and hopefully learn a thing or two! Another huge event going on in Las Vegas this week is Interbike. 


Interbike is a convention with anyone and everyone in the cycling community there to share all the new, latest and greatest in bikes, gear, products, etc.  I’m hoping to have time to go check out everything and hopefully run into a couple of friends/sponsors and give my thanks! 


I’m itching to get out and ride my new Blue cyclocross bikes, I’m still getting parts together to finish the bikes so I can give it a try:) The weather is turning cooler here, so that means cross races are about to really get cranking. I will post more later, check back in to see how I’m doing!

Sept. 8, 2009

I’m in St. Louis participating in the women’s series and it is 4 days of criteriums (short races, 45 minutes, Nascar-like, lots of corners, fast and super close to each other). The first race was Friday night and it was a perfect evening and some racers had some interesting lights on their bikes for fun! The race was fast and fun because of the shadows, you were kind of  thrown off but that made it all the more fun!  The crowd was wonderful and everyone was really cheering us on. The last 2 laps are so fast, you are pushing as hard as you can and then you have to think about sprinting when you have nothing left and it just takes everything you have!  Team TIBCO was making the pace so hard, as usual, for their sprinter Brooke Miller and I was close behind them.  I ended up getting 7th! My best finish all year! I was really excited.

The next criterium was Saturday afternoon in another part of town, again, a great showing of support from St. Louis, the crowds were wonderful! This crit was a lot like the one on Friday night, fast and lots of people trying to get some things going but we all pretty much stayed together.  Sometimes teams try to get a “break” with a specific rider in the break and hopefully for a small moment in time, if each team is represented in the break it will usually stay off the front and the others in the chase group will slow down because it is bad etiquette to chase down your own team.  At one point I saw a break and each team was represented and you don’t have a lot of time to think about trying to get to that break, so I went, all by myself.  It is so hard because you have to push with everything you have to get there, then try to maintain that high speed! But as I got to their break, I guess teams weren’t happy with what was there so they all just started riding real slow(soft pedaling) to wait for the main group to catch back up.  That all happened with about 7 laps to go, so I had really put a lot of energy into that, so trying to finish strong would be really hard.  But I hung in there and I haven’t seen results but I’m hoping for top 20, we will see. 

Today, we have another criterium and then another one in the morning and then I fly back to Colorado.  The weather has been ok, it started raining yesterday morning which makes racing very interesting.  Think about going 25-30mph on a bicycle with tires less than an inch wide, on city streets, cornering hard! Yes, it is dangerous so you hope everyone is doing their best to keep it upright but sometimes it just doesn’t work with 50 people trying to win a race




Sept. 1, 2009

I’m headed to St. Louis this weekend for four days of criteriums. Then in September I’m starting cyclocross racing for the pro team Hudz-Subaru and my first race will be in Las Vegas (Cross Vegas), the biggest cross race in the country. And I’ve NEVER done cyclocross! Apparently there is a lot of technique! So we will see, I’m hoping the soccer skills will play a big factor here.

Aug. 26, 2009

“I did Cascade Cycling Classic July 21-26 as a guest rider for the professional team ValucAct Capital.  My job was to be a “worker bee.” My job was to chase down riders trying to sprint off the front, bring our riders to the front and protect them from the wind or  bring up water bottles from the team car, which was a big one. When you have a race consisting of 120 riders, trying to

Click here for the U.S. Women’s Cycling Development Program

filter back to the back of the group and then wait for your team car to come through about 15 cars to get to you, it takes some time and in that  time individuals can try to attack off the front and the speeds can get real intense really fast, so I figured if anyone could be sacrificed for the team, why not me right?! We had two girls on the team, Chrissy Ruiter and Kristen McGrath that were in contention for general classification (GC) of being in the top 3 for sure, so we made sure they were always at the front  ready for anything that came at us.  Plus, once you get to the car, then you have to fill your jersey with water bottles and then head back to the front of the pack. I think I can carry 7 bottles back to the front and that weight adds up after you’ve been racing 50 miles.

“Anyway, the team did well overall. On three days we had one of our teammates on the podium and our team got 2 in team classification overall. I did my job and hopefully the team will ask me back for more racing, or maybe to sign a contract is what I’m hoping.

“So Nationals was the following week, so most of the racers, me included stayed in Bend, Ore., until the following Thursday, when road and time trial nationals were. I was really tired from Cascade racing so I didn’t do well in either races but I had to do them seeing that I’ve never been to Nationals before and it was a beautiful experience and I had a great time meeting the girls I met.  I got to spend time with Mara Abbott, she is one of the best riders in the world, racing for Columbia High-Road and she is just a hoot!

“I’m back in Colorado training for more criteriums in St. Louis, Missouri on Labor Day weekend and I’m also joining a professional cyclo-cross team, Hudz-Subaru for the fall.  Cyclo-cross is a mix between road racing and mountain biking, the bike looks like a road bike but has mountain bike, like components and the race is held in grass, mud and sand and has barriers that you have to get off the bike and run and jump over, right up my alley coming from soccer and all.”