Team CF president and founder Dr. James Wilson recently had a chance to catch up with new Team CF Elite Team member Stephanie Swan…
JW: First of all Stephanie welcome to Team CF! You’re coming off of a really great season winning the 2012 Woman’s American Ultracross Series championship. You’re somewhat of an UltraCross specialist. What exactly is UltraCross and why do you like UltraCross as your niche?
SS: Thank you, I am so glad to be a part of this team! My team members are such a dedicated and talented group of people!
What’s ultracross? 50 to 70 mile races, usually hilly, any combination of asphalt, gravel, dirt, single-track, sand. Most people ride cyclocross bikes but it’s “anything goes”. I’m not quite a “specialist” yet, but ultracross is hands-down my favorite discipline.
Here’s my short list of why Ultracross is the best cycling discipline ever:
- Aspects of a time trial – you have to pace yourself right below redline for five hours.
- Aspects of road races like packs and drafting (in flatter races), getting aero, and being sneaky.
- The men and women race together and start at the same time.
- People are just plain chummy at ultracross races.
- You get more bang for your buck – it’s not like you are going to drive eight hours and have a 60 minute race.
- Holy smokes beautiful scenery!
- “Adventure” quality – gratifying just to finish. (More gratifying to finish well, of course.)
- A little scary – there are always sketchy sections and that makes it more exciting.
…sorry, I guess that short list wasn’t so short 🙂
JW: What are your goals for Team CF in 2013?
SS: I’d say our goal as a Team is to bring awareness about CF and the work of the CFF to a greater number of people, get more individuals with CF out on bicycles or other physical activity, and get more people involved in the CFF events, all while racing our bikes and having fun.
My personal goals are to win the ultracross series and collaborate with the Team to put on a successful Pittsburgh Cycle for Life event. I plan on racing road, ultracross, cyclocross, and mountain – and my goal is to win a race in each of those disciplines.
JW: For 2013, Team CF is proud to be sponsored by PROBIKES of Pittsburgh. You’re a longtime supporter of PROBIKES. How will this new sponsorship make a difference for you in 2013?
SS: Yes, ProBikes is my home shop. I am there so much (I live 2 miles away) that it’s like the “Cheers” bar for me. The ProBikes people are knowledgeable, helpful, they’ll talk you through all your equipment questions, and they have saved me many times after I’ve had mechanical issues out on the road. Having ProBikes as a sponsor of the team is really exciting because now they are part of the good work of the CFF too! It will make a difference for me in 2013 because I can feel confident that my bikes are in good hands, and that I will always have good help if I need it.
JW: As a member of Team CF, you are a competitive cyclist committed to the development of a cure for CF. How do you contribute toward this goal?
SS: Well, we have something very exciting going on here in Pittsburgh! The Pittsburgh CF Foundation and our Pittsburgh CF racing team are working together to organizing the inaugural Pittsburgh Cycle for Life autumn bike ride fundraiser. We will get a number of executive teams together, get the cycling community involved, and hope to make the CFL a highlight among Pittsburgh’s bicycle events – and a fundraising success.
Here is some inside information: Last week, we scouted out potential routes for this ride – and we found some of the most scenic, hidden roads in the area. I doubt even local cyclists know about these roads! It’s a secret or I’d tell you where they are. I will tell you though – It’s gonna be good!
JW: Team CF now has eight women on the elite team roster, placing it among one of the largest pro-am elite level woman’s teams. How do you fit in? Does this change your approach to racing in 2013?
SS: Well, I am truly honored to have been chosen for this team. There are so many amazing, accomplished, and community-minded women on the team and I want to learn all I can from them. This is the first season I am turning my focus from road to off-road, and I have a lot to learn – both on and off the road.
Since the other women on the team race primarily mountain and cyclocross whereas I race road and ultracross, I hope to bring awareness about our team and what the CF Foundation does to a different group of cyclists.
I’d say my approach to racing is the same – set goals, train hard, do my best, and have fun. What’s different now that I’m on Team CF is that my racing has a new meaning. It gives me a way to connect to the greater good, to turn my focus outward. I am a now part of a very large group of people – within the Team and the Foundation – who have the common goal to improve quality of life for individuals with CF, and find a cure. Many discoveries have been made for CF treatment in which the Foundation played a great role. There will be many more discoveries to come. It is an honor to contribute in my way to the Foundation’s efforts.
JW: Thank you Stephanie and best of luck at the races in 2013!