What: 2013 USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championship
When: May 25 & 27
Where: Chattanooga, Tenn.
More info: http://usacycling.org/2013/pro-road-time-trial-nationals
The Tour of California time trial and Superior Morgul Classic road race last weekend were like dress rehearsals for road nationals for Alison Powers.
Powers, 34, of Pinecliffe, flew to San Jose and took second in the women's individual time trial at the Tour of California, which doesn't have a women's stage race component. Then, Powers flew back home and won the Superior Morgul Classic road race -- the Morgul Bismark -- by almost two minutes.
For Powers (who races for NOW and Novartis for MS), the current national racing calendar points leader, it was all practice for this weekend's road nationals, which includes a time trial on Saturday and a road race on Monday.
You used to be a ski racer -- how did you get into cycling?
I ski raced for almost 20 years, if you count when you start when you're 5. I was on the U.S. Ski Team for seven years and had a pretty bad knee injury in 2001, and that was the beginning of the end of my ski racing career. I kept skiing after that but I got more and more into riding my bike, because riding my bike did not make my knee hurt. I enjoyed it very much, and I quit ski racing 2004 and started road bike racing in 2005.
What was that transition like?
It was weird. It's actually a pretty nice change, because I'm still being an athlete and I very much like being an athlete and the lifestyle that you have to do to be an athlete. I love training and competing, so that switch was really easy. Going from a strength and power sport to an endurance sport, that was a little different.
You're the NRC points leader, and you've had some great results lately. What's changed?
I've had very good results in the past and just, I think, being a little smarter of a racer, too. My fitness is good, but ... each year you race bikes, you hopefully learn how to race your bike better and smarter, and then that can lead to better results.
What are your expectations for nationals?
I hope for hard racing in both the time trial and the road race. I expect my team to be ready to fire on all cylinders. I definitely expect my best performance, whether that's a winning performance or not. I just want to come home knowing I did my absolute best.
The Tour of California doesn't have a stage race for women. How do you feel about that?
(Equality's) definitely not there. But I don't feel like anything has changed or has gotten worse. We're treated as seconds, that's for sure. Distant seconds, and it's frustrating. It's frustrating. At the Tour of California, one of the men's teams, they've got this big bus that they go to the starts and finish(es), like a giant motorhome. The first stage race we went to, a motorhome was our host housing. That was kind of like, wow. They travel to every race in this giant motorhome and that's where we stay. (The equality) is not there, but it's not there for a lot of sports.
What can be done to create more equality in cycling?
I don't know the answer. I think we need people to make races just for women. That's how it was with ski racing. The men and women went to different races. We didn't all go to the same races. There are races that do offer very much equality and really good opportunity for women, but there's not very many of them.
I've heard you really, really love coffee. How did that start?
My love for coffee started when I first started dating my now fiancé. We started going to coffee shops for dates, and when we didn't go on a date in the morning, I couldn't figure out if I was missing the coffee or missing him. I love it. I love learning about it. I love making it. I drink it every day.
You're also a cycling coach, through your business ALP Cycles. Who do you work with mostly?
I'm about 90 percent women, and I also do a lot of skills clinics with several local teams. I very much enjoy that. I love riding bikes and I feel like you can love riding bikes more if you know how to do it better, so teaching people how to tide their bikes better is very rewarding.
--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.