From recreational riding to racing


Racing found me. Or rather, I found racing.

By Jennifer Triplett

Jennifer Triplett on the way to third place in the women's omnium scratch race
Jennifer Triplett began as a bike commuter before moving up to become an elite cyclist.

Growing up I tried every sport: basketball, softball, volleyball, soccer, track and field, skiing, boxing. It was all in attempt to keep up with my older brother. Whatever he did I had to do that much better, stronger, faster and quicker in order to compete. As we aged, my brother and I moved apart and I pursued athletics on my own. On a whim, a friend suggested I commute to work by bike. I promptly bought a Novara hybrid from REI, complete with flat handle bars, disk brakes and grip shifters. Commuting provided a sense of freedom from being stuck in traffic, and I loved finding new routes on my hour commute.

Clad with a backpack full of food, one of the benefits of morning commuting is a boosted metabolism, squeaky horn to warn three abreast pedestrians I might run them over, and my Cookie Monster jersey (yes, I’m a kid at heart). I started to enjoy the commute more than the work itself. And I really like passing people.

I spent the previous summer riding recreationally in addition to my daily bike commute. Half-centuries, centuries and double centuries filled the weekends. At one point during Ride Seattle to Vancouver and Party, I glanced at my speedometer and saw I was averaging 26 mph, and then I realized I was passing more and more men. Being a born-and-raised competitor, I felt ready to dabble into racing, though I had no idea where to start.

I searched the web for local races and happened upon the Washington State Bicycle Association. Their website provided links to resources such as race fliers, meet-the-team rides and other events. The next weekend I attended a meet-the-team ride and met several women who were encouraging and welcoming to the racing scene.

I had a lot of questions about what to wear, what to eat, how to train, how to get my USA Cycling license and how to warm up. While I could have figured the answers out on my own, veteran racers who attended the rides shared their knowledge and shortened my learning curve. I was open to their suggestions and implemented their ideas, adopting the ones that worked best for me.

It’s been a little over ten years since I started my racing journey. I love the community, the learning, and of course the competition. I am now one of the veteran racers who love to answer questions and encourage others to start their own racing journey. To all those new budding racers out there — try it! It could change your life.

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This Article Updated May 17, 2014 @ 02:12 AM For more information contact: