Woodruff used the pro men’s Arizona state cyclocross championship as her “warm up” for nationals and landed fourth on the podium in that race.
“Cross is a really fun, often ridiculous, sport, and I find it suits my strengths on the bike pretty well,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff, who has competed in international mountain bike races in 2014, finished on the podium in several national cross and mountain bike races, including the Grand Junction Off-Road, which she won.
Woodruff is hoping for redemption after last year’s national cross championship. In that race in Colorado, she crashed and injured her thumb but still managed to finish ninth out of a field of 111 riders.
Several other Arizonans also will compete in Austin: Steve McNamee (Le Scomparse Cycling Team), Kyle Trudeau (University of Arizona), David Greif (University of Arizona), Travis Burkel, Russell LaFleur and Holly Wenzel.
We asked Woodruff about the upcoming championship in Austin, Texas:
CI: It looks like you’ve been out and about recently at some national CX races, and you’ve had some success over the summer with a podium spot at cross-country mountain bike nationals, not to mention going to several world-cup races.
CW: Stan’s NoTubes gave me the opportunity to race a modified cross schedule this fall, and I decided to give it a go after the mountain bike season. If the fall rolls around and I’m still motivated to travel and race, then, why not? Cross is a really fun, often ridiculous, sport and I find it suits my strengths on the bike pretty well. But I’m still focused on the mountain bike, and this next year is a very important one for Rio 2016.
CI: Did you say Rio 2016?
CW: There’s no ‘for sure’ until you’re actually going. But I’m giving it a shot, and the selection process lasts for some time. At the end of 2015, USA Cycling will select a “Long Team” for the Olympics which will consist of a handful of riders. From that group, one or two women will get to go.
CI: You went to CX nationals last year, crashed, injured your thumb, got up like a boss and still managed to finish ninth out of 111 riders. What are you looking to do at CX nationals in Austin this year?
CW: Yeah, that sounds familiar! That was such a fun weekend racing in my hometown of Boulder, Colo. and I actually crashed right in front of my sister, Shannon, who captured the moment on camera. I had one bike and one set of wheels that weekend so I kept my fingers crossed that the course would dry out for race day (which it did!). This year, I’m much better equipped with a second Ridley X-Fire, a great support crew from Stan’s NoTubes and Shimano disc brakes. I want to be in the race again, but this time to the finish.
CI: What and/or who do you think is going to be your biggest challenge in Austin?
CW: Well, that’s an easy one! I’m usually my biggest challenge. I’m human, and I make mistakes. I’ve also been a little nervous over that limestone staircase. I thought it was a joke the first time someone mentioned it’d be a part of the course…
CI: What kinds of advantages/disadvantages do you think the location and course will provide vs. last year in Colorado?
CW: The biggest disadvantage versus last year is that I won’t have my parents and sister running around the course in Austin, Texas. That was pretty awesome last year. But this year I have disc brakes!
CI: What are some of your likes/dislikes about CX racing as compared to MTB racing?
CW: A cyclocross race is typically very dynamic and tactical which makes it really exciting to race in my book. My husband and I have been watching the #LikeAVos and #Sveness videos by CXHairs this year, and it’s a great way to develop an appreciation for the sport. Pure cyclocross racers are tough too. I’m really not sure how to cope with racing in the winter (like Jingle Cross) and I’m a klutz on my feet.
CI: Looking ahead to 2015, what are your overall race plans?
CW: I’m racing a full World Cup schedule and focusing on the U.S. Cup races on the domestic side. In Arizona, I’ll race the Epic Rides events, a few MBAAs and possibly the Chino Grinder.
CI: What setup are you going to be racing with at CX nationals?
CW: I’m on a Ridley X-Fire with Shimano DI2 and hydraulic disc brakes. For wheels, I’m racing the Stan’s NoTubes Valors with Kenda tires setup tubeless.