Mother. Crit Racer. Athlete. Cyclist.
While all of these words describe Lisa and Rachel, current members of the STKD Women’s Crit Racing Team, they still don’t do enough to truly define these amazing women.
Both Lisa and Rachel are members of the Schwinn-sponsored STKD!!! Racing team - who also happen to be mothers. With moms at the top of our minds this May we wanted to talk to Rachel and Lisa about how they first got involved in crit racing, how motherhood changed their training, and what their biggest cycling goals are this year.
Hey, Rachel and Lisa! Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Lisa: I was born and raised in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, but found my way to Chicago after college to work in design. I now call Chicago my home with my husband, our 11-year-old son and our dog. Living in the city and raising a family has its challenges but it's fun. Being passionate about design and cycling, it is fitting that I work at SRAM as a graphic designer.
Rachel: I am a new mom to a beautiful 9 month daughter who loves adventure and the outdoors and competition just like her mom. I am a physical therapist and I love gardening, cooking, and traveling. One day I would love to bike across the United States. I am also a USAT level 1 Triathlon coach and love to compete in triathlons as well.
What role does biking currently play in your life?
Rachel: Biking is the easiest way for me to do some high intensity indoor workouts when my baby is taking a nap. Without good pool access I don’t think I will do any triathlons this season, so biking is going to be my source of competition this year.
Lisa: When life seems semi-balanced, it includes family, work and cycling. It'd be amazing if I could figure out how to combine all three more often! Cycling has given me a community that is like a second family and am grateful for that.
How did you first get involved in crit racing, and when did you first join STKD?
Rachel: I had thought about getting into crit racing since I became a professional triathlete in 2016. I wasn’t sure how to do it, and then I got injured and couldn’t run for 3 months so it pushed me to figure out a different way to compete. I gave a ride to a local girl I had never met who had an amazing passion for crit racing and taught me the ropes, and I was hooked.
That girl was Anna (who founded STKD) and I have raced with her since, so when she told me about this team, I was in! I had to skip their first season because I was pregnant, so this is my first season with STKD.
Lisa: My first crit was in 2016 after a friend suggested I give it a try. The Chicago cycling community is supportive in that way. I joined the STKD Racing Squad in 2020.
How do you balance motherhood with training?
Rachel: Training used to be 100% planned. I worked closely with a coach who tailored each session to what we felt I needed, and I could be selfish – it was all about me. My priorities have completely shifted since becoming a mother.
Now, I have a general weekly plan and some workout “suggestions” that I try to fit in when I can between work and naps and family time. I am trying to get better about not worrying when I cannot get a workout in, when I have a bad workout, or when I need to adapt because I got no sleep the night before.
Lisa: When my son was younger, I didn't have large blocks of time to train. Instead, I'd have 30 minutes to do something active, so squeezing in a run or strength training was doable. As he got older, I started to carve out more time and I got more consistent with training. I like to train early in the morning before my family wakes up.
Do you have any advice for other women regarding riding or training during pregnancy or during postpartum?
Rachel: I loved riding during pregnancy, but kept to my trainer out of an abundance of caution and my doctor’s recommendation. During pregnancy and postpartum I prioritized strength training, especially core and pelvic strengthening and stability. Riding with a few adjustments throughout my whole pregnancy certainly helped, and I was back on a bike within a few weeks of giving birth.
What are your biggest cycling goals for this year?
Rachel: To start and finish a race in front of my kiddo.
Lisa: Doing some full race series with my STKD teammates. The idea of being at the start line with other women that I love racing with will be great. I'm also interested in mentoring women cyclists who are just getting into the sport.
Do you have any tips or advice for women who are interested in getting involved in crit racing?
Lisa: If possible, seek out a local crit race and go to spectate. Also check out cycling clubs by area on usacycling.org and reach out to others about your interest.
Rachel: Connect with someone who is doing it. Women’s cycling is a small but very welcoming and friendly community. There is a lot to learn about categories, race logistics, and small things that keep everyone safe. For me it was really daunting. Small local one day crits are a great way to learn the ropes, experience crit culture, and see if you enjoy it.
What is your favorite thing about racing on a women's crit team?
Lisa: There are lots of positive things, but one is that you get more opportunities to find your strengths and weaknesses when on a team. You learn more about yourself and how to work together.
Rachel: Support. I love learning race strategies, choosing things to try out during races, helping teammates achieve their individual goals as part of a team, and getting that back in return. I hope it helps encourage more women to try the sport. It took a while to understand that it’s not always (or often) about winning, it’s about the journey, and I think that is pretty unique to Crit racing.
Do you think your little one(s) will become a cyclist too?
Rachel: She loves rocking on her little balance bike, so who knows! My family loves riding bikes, and I’ll take her on the bike trail with me as soon as she’s big enough, so she will grow up around bikes for sure!
Lisa: My son is really into skateboarding and riding his trick scooter. He does head out with me to our local bike park for fun on the single track and jumps on his mountain bike.
When is your first race this year?
Rachel: Tour of America's Dairyland in June, fingers crossed!
Lisa: The Muskego Park Circuit Race on May 8, 2021!
Follow @stkd_racing_squad on Instagram to keep up with the team this year, and visit their website for more information!