Hometown: Mariette, Georgia
Education: University of Alabama
Least favorite event: individual pursuit
Follow Cari on her blog: carihiggins.blogspot.com/
Boulder cyclist Cari Higgins said she was disappointed about not making the U.S. Cycling Team for the 2012 London Olympics, but she got over those feelings pretty quickly as this year’s season began.
At the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Higgins came face to face with 2012 Olympic champion Laura Trott of Great Britain, along with other Olympic cyclists. Higgins said it was an honor to race with London Olympic athletes, but as the lone American racer at the event, Higgins wanted to represent the U.S. well, and she finished 10th overall in the women’s omnium competition.
We caught up with Higgins to talk about her season so far.
Was it difficult mentally racing against athletes who competed in the London Olympics, or did it serve as extra motivation?
Yeah, I mean, I was so close to making the Olympic team and it was definitely a disappointment, but it inspired me again. Some people, at that point, thought it might be the end of my career and it was going to be something that was too upsetting for me to carry on, but the truth is I really respect the girls who made the squad and were able to compete in London.
It’s an interesting position that I’m in. I respect them as my counterparts, but I also look up to them as amazing athletes. It was quite an honor to once again be on the track with them. Most of them I’ve raced against before so just to size myself up and say, ‘OK, I didn’t make the Olympic team, but I’m still here and I’m still competitive.’
Are you happy with your 10th place finish at the Track World Cup in Glasgow?
I had a fourth-place finish in Cali, Colombia, on top of getting some food sickness down there, it was supposed to be my World Cup before I took a break. But I was disappointed at the unlucky nature of getting food sickness and said I’m going to do one more before I take a little break. I rallied and went to Scotland and did the World Cup there and the results were just average for me, but just as little redemption for not doing well in Cali.
How are you feeling about your season so far?
All in all, the track season has been great. I took a little break over Thanksgiving and I’m back at it. When everyone else in Colorado is talking about how much fun the off season is, I’m training seven days a week at full intensity.
Your plan is to live full time in Boulder this winter, instead of splitting time between Los Angeles and Boulder like last year. Anything prompt that decision?
You just can’t compare the lifestyle of Boulder and L.A. One makes me happy and one doesn’t. The key for any pro athlete is finding that balance. Eating healthy and sleep is the key. If I sleep well and eat healthy, it just makes me keep going. But that is why instead of living in L.A. part time this winter, like I did last winter, that’s why I’m home in Boulder when I’m not racing. Leading up to the Olympics it was important for me to live part time in LA. This year I’m trying to find the balance of being home and enjoying Boulder as well as keeping my racing going.
What’s your training regimen look like these days?
Pretty much six days a week, full on. I’ll lift weight in the morning two days a week. Right now I’m putting in about 16 to 22 hours on the bike.
As well as part of that is coaching some classes at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and that is just such a fun way for me to get time on the bike — as well as just be with different levels of athletes and having fun with the community. It’s way more fun; I like being part of the cycling community and people that I don’t normally ride with, I don’t train with them. It reminds me of my perspective of where I’ve come from and it’s like renewed energy.
–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.