Rachel Langdon recently signed a contract to become a pro cyclist. LWSN caught up with the star to see how her life has changed.
What is the process to get to sign as a pro cyclist?
Riders are assigned a category based on their skill level. Women start as a category 4 and male riders start as a category 5. They typically race against cyclist of the same category, and earn “upgrade” points as they land results in races. Riders then upgrade to the next category once they have earned the requisite number of points, from 5 to a 4, 3, 2, 1. Most riders who are signed to a pro team have been racing at the highest level – category 1 or 2 and have obtained solid results in those races. More generally, riders make a natural progression starting at the local/regional level races to racing in bigger national races. Usually the national races have anywhere between 60-100 riders in the field,including 5 or 6 pro teams and the rest of the field is made up of elite level teams or individual riders hoping to make the jump to a pro team. Some of these ladies have been racing bike since they were teenagers but at 28 years old I am a little late to the party. I first came to the US on a soccer scholarship and I have been solely racing bikes for just over a year. ‘
What’s going to be the biggest change now that you’re a pro cyclist?
The biggest change will be the travel, the level of races and my role as a rider. My team (Team Illuminate) is based out of San Francisco, we will be travelling out west and across the country for a couple of weeks at a time to train. Unlike my prior race schedule, which was primarily in the Midwest, my race schedule on Team Illuminate will include races all across the country and even potentially internationally. In addition, I will be racing at a higher level than I have raced before and will have a specific role or “job” to do during the races.
To be a pro cyclist, what is a regular training day like for you?
During the winter months it is all about time on the bike. Right now my day is scheduled around rides, food and work. I get up early and eat breakfast. Then do my scheduled ride for the day (anywhere from 2 to 6hours). I then eat a second breakfast. I usually do a strength session in the afternoon as well as work part time at a local bike shop – VO2 Multisport. I also do some digital marketing/social media marketing – this work is great because I can work from home or while on the road – usually while resting and recovering.
What are your goals for 2017?
I am still new to this. So my goals are to learn as much as possible,continue to grow as a rider, and give everything I can to help the team achieve success.
Who helped get you to where you are in cycling?
Please include all. It is a testament to the local cycling community that 18 months ago I came into this as a total newbie who loved riding my bike. With the help of this huge support system I signed a pro contract.
Over the last 18 months I have had an INCREDIBLE support system in the local cycling community in which I could write 5 pages of thanks yous to.
If it wasn’t for Erik Fagerberg I wouldn’t be racing bikes, we rode a couple of group rides together and he came up to me as said “you HAVE to race”. I hadn’t even thought about bike racing until then. I have been on the bike since.
I had a huge amount of help and guidance through my first races on the road from Ray & Shera Smith and the Clarksville Schwinn Team.
Racing with Bri Clark & First Internet Bank in Indianapolis at bigger national races. She has been a huge part of this process. Giving me the confidence and encouragement to throw down against the pros. Going to bigger races with her also enabled me to race against the pro teams.
The new VO2 Multisport crew who have supported me and allowed me a flexible schedule to focus on racing.
Last but certainly not least. This huge next step would not be at all possible without my family. My wife Cortney has been my biggest supporter, she is always by my side cheering me on and willing me to do my best. And My Mom and Step Dad Kev who are back in England and have always pushed me to achieve my goals, even if they are on the road less traveled.
Who motivates you?
I motivate me. I absolutely love being on the bike but also love working hard and being the best athlete I can be. I am now incredibly lucky that I get to call my passion, my job.
Any New Year Resolutions personally or professionally?
My New Years resolutions include reading 5 new books, Skypeing home once a week and embracing every opportunity.