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Off the beaten path

By JANET RAASCH

February 28, 2012

Mequon's Corrie Osborne races her way to victory on a muddy course in Madison during the 2012 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross Nationals in January.


Taking her place on the front line of the 2012 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross Nationals last month in Madison, 17-year-old Corrie Osborne was already among the nation’s cyclo-cross elite. The Mequon teen was there to defend the title she won last year in Bend, Ore., in the 15-16 age group.

Racing in the 17- and 18-year-old category, Corrie again claimed victory, finishing more than a minute ahead of the second-place finisher. After the race, she told Cyclocross Magazine the muddy course played to her strengths as a power rider.

The International Cycling Union-sanctioned sport is popular in Europe, and is gaining traction around the United States. There is a push to make it a winter Olympic sport, but efforts are hampered because snow and ice are not required to compete, though participants say those conditions amp up the experience.

Breaking it Down: What began in France around the turn of the 19th century as a winter sport to keep road cyclists in shape during the off-season, cyclo-cross is a bike race over paved roads, muddy areas and obstacles designed to break up the rhythm of the rider. Around these parts, cold, snow and ice are sometimes added challenges.

Mud Equals Fun: Corrie was doing road racing when her dad learned about cyclo-cross three years ago. Corrie was hooked immediately. "Road races can be pretty long — up to two hours on your bike just riding," she says. "But in cyclo-cross you get to run up steps, pick up your bike and get muddy and stuff."

Day In, Day Out: Though she has done running and weight training in the past, Corrie’s regimen consists of interval road training up to two hours a day, six days a week. She trains via the internet with Katie Compton, the No. 1 ranked female cyclocross racer in the world. During the race season (September through February), Corrie races just about every weekend, mainly throughout Wisconsin, and travels to bigger UCI races around the country, where she works on her bike-handling skills on course.

Future Forecast: The Eastbrook Academy junior is considering a biomolecular engineering major. Her cyclo-cross goal is to compete in the World Championships, and she loves the Olympics buzz. "That would be really cool if I could go to the Olympics."

 


This story ran in the February 2012 issue of: