Naked Women's Racing Blog

Race reports, training tips, and our ladies' lives on two wheels.

‘Women is a label of gender, not ability’

About a month ago while watching the women’s US Pro Challenge come through Golden we all had the opportunity to watch the prowess of Coryn Rivera.  Dana Platin took the initiative to interview her for her blog on the Warmi Project

Coryn Rivera is an American racing cyclist who competes for the UnitedHealthcare Women’s team.  As of August 2015 Rivera has won 70 national titles, taking her first elite level national championship with the 2014 USA National Criterium championships.

Coryn Rivera is one of the fastest sprinters in the United States. Still in the early stages of her career, the 23-year-old has quickly become one of the most decorated athletes in her sport. Rivera has 70 national titles in three disciplines: road, track and cyclocross.

Rivera earned 10 victories throughout the debut season of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team women’s program, one of which was the US Nation Criterium Championship.  She was the 6th fastest rider to the line sprinting on the legendary Champs-Élysées in the first-ever La Course by Tour de France, an effort that earned Rivera the Best Young Rider title in the race.

Please join us for this blog interview with Coryn Rivera who shares about her experience racing the most recent US Pro Challenge and her views on the future of women’s racing.

Coryn, you were recognized as the tour’s most courageous rider.  Where does that inner strength and confidence come from and do you feel this is something that has been innate for you or something you had to work at to lose the fear and gain the courage?

I think I ride and race with courage for every training ride and race that I am in. Personally, I feel like you should put 100% into everything you do.   If not, why do it? It must be something that is natural for me because I’ve had that same attitude for most everything that I put my mind to.

What is going through your mind those last 500 meters before the finish line, could you share any mental skills training that you use to get you to that finish line?

It really depends on the kind of finish, but mostly positioning is important. You have to know where you have to be and when is the best time to be there. Everyone is different, so you have to work with your strengths. But staying calm and being confident in what you have to do are some good mental skills for the final 500m.

This was a big step to have the U.S. Pro Challenge inaugurate 3 stages for women, how did you feel it went? 

I thought it was a great weekend! To have a 3-day stage race with a TT, road race, and circuit is a well rounded stage race. It was cool to race most of the same roads as the men and have the same crowds, but I do have to brag that the crowds in Golden were amazing and so enthusiastic. The way they gathered on the hill to see the finish was unreal, I tried to high-five as many people as I could after the finish line! I hope the race will be able to grow the race by days and level of competition in the future.

Any advice for how we can do more to promote gender equality in racing and get us a full tour?

I think to get a full tour is really up to the race promoters. I hope this year they were able to see a return on investment and what it does for the sport in general to include a women’s race. I hope they and the fans were able to see that just because we are female doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of racing our bikes, we sacrifice just as much or more than the men to ‘live the dream’ and I don’t know a good enough reason for why we shouldn’t able to have the same opportunities and rewards as the men.

What does it mean to be a strong woman to you?

Confidence. I think to have confidence in your abilities is what makes you strong. To add woman is a label of gender, not ability.

Outside of cycling, what are some of your favorite hobbies?

I’m in my last semester at Marian University, so a lot of my free time for hobbies is taken up by school at the moment. But I typically like to enjoy being outside. I’m a huge lover of good coffee and good food as well.