U.S. Pro Womens Championship Check In
We catch up with Allie Dragoo and Jess Cerra prior to the road race
The U.S. National Championships is the one race that every professional cyclist dreams of winning one day. For the opportunity to wear the coveted stars and stripes jersey for a full year to represent their country is a feeling that many will never be able to experience.
Heading into the big day we caught up with two top women’s racers who will be gunning for those stars and stripes. We checked in with them prior to the big day, and will also follow up with them following the race to see how it played out for them and their team.
Name: Jess Cerra
Team: Hagens Berman Supermint
Specialty: Domestique Extraordinaire, All-around, technical courses, punchy climbs
Jess, what is your plan heading into the road race?
Of course the plan going into the race is to win or to have someone from our Hagens squad win. We as a team plan to race aggressively and not just be there to take a passenger seat but really to race hard. You can also tune into the live stream on Sunday to see us girls in action!
With you being a California resident, did you do any specific training for this east coast race?
Knowing it would be hot and humid here, I took advantage of some really hot days in So Cal and would often wait until the hottest time of day to train. Upon returning from Tour of California, I took a little rest and then did some big miles to check back in with endurance. My boyfriend, who is also racing pro nats, and I did 3 pretty massive rides, where I would sit on his wheel for 5 hours with up to 10,000 feet of climbing. This type of endurance and just being slightly uncomfortable all day really sets me up for my intensity block. Two of these rides were done in mid 90 temps. This is a good time to test your nutrition. I stick with GQ6 Green Apple in my bottles. I can digest my JoJé bars really well, and also have Honey Stinger gel blocks.
For intensity, I raced one Mens Pro/1/2 crit. I used Double Peak, which tops out at over 20% for a day of specific interval prep. I did this last year and it worked well for the Knoxville climb. Simulates the steep short climb in Knoxville. I also depend on the group rides, the Wednesday Ride and Swamis Saturday Ride. The local guys are super fit right now and really push me. Plus having the ability to and support of someone who rides at an elite level makes coordinating and being accountable for training a lot easier.
Do you have any daily rituals for the day of?
It’s pretty standard for me, coffee, pancakes (with butter and real maple syrup), plus my favorite music of course. For me my pre – race is pretty simple.
Can you share us your personal goals for Sunday?
I really just want to race aggressively and be there over the final climb. My biggest goal is to make it over the climb 9 times! And to help whatever teammate has the legs at the line.
Name: Allie Dragoo
Team: TWENTY20 SHO-AIR
Specialty: All – arounder
Allie, the morning of the race how does that look for you?
I spend my morning alone in prayer and journaling. Coffee and breakfast. One last course review. I try to keep it calm and not overly complicated.
Can you fill us in on your goals for the race?
To win of course! Everyone wants to be national champion. To be national champion you have to be patient and smart- my goal is to read the race well and relax. To stay with the lead group.
Does your team have a plan for the race?
We will not be first to cover moves as we will be patient and let the race happen at first. Though we haven’t had our team meeting yet so as far as tactics though we still need to go over those.
How has your training been for this weekend?
Since I’m living in Birmingham, AL now I am training in the heat and humidity which has been a big plus for this race. I have been doing my structured workouts – anything from intervals to motor pacing and resting. I do my activation movements and core as well. Reading for the mental side of things, too.
Any day of rituals for race?
I really try to keep everyday the same, I just eat a little bit more. I usually have a little cry before the race and give thanks and praise for all of my blessing and opportunities. I pray for safety, strength and endurance. I also pray for the officials safety.
Fill us in on some personal goals you have?
Well it’s pretty straight forward I want to win, lead my team well, be patient and aggressive when the timing is right, push my pain threshold to the next level and walk away knowing I gave it everything I had.
*We will check in with the girls post road race and see how it worked out for them and their teams.