Rider Blog: Opportunities, Road Racing, and Change – Ruth Winder
In 2017 we have asked a few of the riders to submit entries for a blog, our first entry comes from Ruth Winder. Ruth was on the women’s team at its inception in 2014, she left the team in 2016 to focus on track racing with USA Cycling. She has come back to the team invigorated and excited, as was displayed this past weekend at the Cadel Road Race where she earned not only a 2nd place on the podium, but took home the Queen of the Mountains jersey too.
Racing on the road in January is weird! I was thinking how awesome it was going to be after Rio, to switch back to the road and have 6 whole months with no racing and no major goals! Well, of course something came up, something always comes up. That’s racing, somehow there are always opportunities to race. Opportunities, that’s one of my new favorite words when it comes to bike racing.
Coming back to the UnitedHeathcare Pro Cycling team has been great, but different. It’s the same name as 2014/15, same staff, same high performance feel, but different. Only 2 other riders are the same as 2014.
When I first left home to start racing in 2010, I’d leave for a month, and come home and things would more or less be the same. By the time I was racing in 2012 I would leave for 2-3 months come home and things would be different. I expected time to hold still for me while I was away. I’d come home and my dog would have more grey hairs on his head. My younger siblings would have grown an inch or five taller, my sisters started work and made other life changes. In my mind nothing should have changed, all of a sudden I was coming home to the same place but with a different feel.
Coming back to road racing has been like that for me. It’s still a peloton, it’s still UnitedHealthcare, but it’s different. The peloton has evolved and changed. Riders have retired and new ones have come up. This sport that I love has continued to grow and change while I’ve been gone and now I’m playing catch up.
One of my new teammates, someone I’ve raced with before and was so excited to have as my teammate, has this way of looking at races that I really enjoy: Every race is a great opportunity that we must take.