PEDDLING A CAREER: Vicksburg native experiencing international cycling success

Published 11:40 am Monday, May 16, 2016

When Lauren Hall set out on her bike for her first training ride nearly a decade ago, it turned out to be on a road that would take her around the world.

The 36-year-old Vicksburg native is now preparing for her seventh season as a professional cyclist. She recently signed with the Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank team for the 2016 season, has several race and stage wins to her credit, and has become one of the top American riders on the women’s pro circuit.

“It is funny to hear other riders talk to me about showing up to races and seeing my name on the list thinking that’s the rider to watch,” Hall said. “That was never my goal to make a name for myself but I think by being a genuine person off the bike and an honest rider on the bike, people recognize who you are.”

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The St. Aloysius graduate once dreamed of a pro soccer career, but it never panned out. She turned to running, and then to triathlons, to stay in shape and scratch her competitive itch.

While training for her first triathlon she fell in love with cycling. Hall moved to Colorado in 2009 and signed her first pro contract in 2010. She’s moved up in the ranks from a support rider who helped her teammates by blocking opponents and setting the pace to her current role as a team leader who still helps teammates but also races for the win.

In the 2015 season, Hall won three stages of the Women’s Tour of New Zealand and one on the Boles Rental Ladies Tour in Holland. In 2014 she won the Gent-Wevelgem, a prestigious one-day sprint race in Belgium.

This season she’ll compete in pro events throughout Europe as well as the U.S. National Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Hall, though, is proudest of her work to start the CYCLEkids program in Madison. CYCLEkids is aimed at teaching elementary school children about bike safety, nutrition, and the benefits of riding for exercise. The Madison chapter is, she hopes, the first of many in Mississippi.

“It means a lot to me to be able to bring this wonderful sport to kids in Mississippi. I don’t really remember growing up riding a bike too much, but now seeing all the programs available for kids, it’s another avenue for education, transportation, exploration, active lifestyle and general fun,” Hall said. “And by the time I finish in this sport I would love to see this program in Vicksburg.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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