Meet Elite Rider Chris Tommerdahl
USCF: Category 2
Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC
Current: Still in Chapel Hill, NC
Chris is a swimmer at heart, but began cycling in order to take up triathlon several years ago. After a few years of improvement on the bike, her swimming and cycling were finally strong enough to offset her running deficits so that she could turn pro. As practice for her draft-legal triathlons, she decided to give bike racing a try in 2009. After learning that it’s difficult to race individually against several teams and that you can’t expect to win if you pull the entire race, she was able to find enough good results to upgrade to a Cat 2. In the end, she decided that cycling races are a pretty fun way to get a brick workout in, so she’ll give it another try in 2010.
How long have you been racing?
1 year for cycling and 5 years for triathlon
Who or what inspired you to start racing?
In 2009, I got my elite license for triathlon, which meant that I could do draft-legal races. I started bike racing as a way to practice for these triathlons, but I liked it so much that I kept competing.
What do you do for a living?
I work for Fleet Feet, Inc. and I’m a swim coach for Carrboro High School.
What race are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my race at Triathlon Collegiate Nationals in 2008. I was happy with my times for the swim, bike and run and I was 2nd undergraduate overall. For cycling, I was really happy with my finish at Hanes Park in the 3/4 race last year. I ended up getting away from the field by myself half way through the last lap and I was able to hold my lead for the finish.
What do you do for fun when you’re off the bike?
Swim and run. But when I’m done with all of my training, I mainly just like to relax.
What was your first bike?
A tricycle, but my first road bike was a Cannondale that I got as a graduation gift from high school.
What’s your dream spot to go for a ride?
I went to San Francisco for a triathlon last summer and after the race, I got to do some riding in the Headlands area. There were plenty of hills to climb, beautiful scenery, and the weather was awesome. I’d love to do some more riding along the coast in that area when I go back again this year.
Any pre-race rituals or routines? Something you can’t race without (pre-race meal, warm-up, lucky charms)?
Nothing specific. I just like to make sure I get to the race with plenty of time to spare so that I can get in a decent warm up.
Favorite music to train to?
Anything, but I’d much rather ride outside without music than have to use music to entertain myself while riding inside!
What are your goals for this upcoming season?
I’d like to improve my sprint and get better at attacking so that I can get in some breaks this year.
Any advice for an aspiring racer?
Don’t try to sit at the front for an entire race and then expect to do well in a sprint finish! (That was my mistake my first road race last year)
Read more about the Performance Bicycle Racing Team.