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Pro cyclocross racer Raylyn Nuss of the Steve Tilford Foundation Racing team is our first guest on the Zipp Speed Podcast in 2024. The former college basketball player loves the chaos of cyclocross. She recently finished third at the USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals. Raylyn is a fun and passionate advocate for CX and STF Racing. Below are edited highlights of our Zipp Speed Podcast episode with Raylyn:

What was your career path into professional cyclocross?

I played college basketball, and as soon as I graduated, I jumped straight into the workforce, I was bored. I got into triathlon because I was a swimmer growing up. I had done an Ironkids triathlon when I was in seventh grade. My dad had bought me a road bike. It was 49cm Giant and still fit me. Triathlon was really my segue into finding cycling. Someone recommended cyclocross to stay fit during the triathlon offseason. I did one ‘cross race and it was like, this is incredible. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this my whole life! It’s not like basketball, but it’s chaotic and fast-paced. You’re jumping on and off the bike. You must be agile. You must have finesse. There was just so much more to it I was mesmerized by it in a way.

What have you learned about Steve Tilford and since creating a team that honors his legacy?

It’s cool; I can go anywhere in the country, and if someone sees the van or the jersey, they’re like, ‘Oh, Steve Tilford!” Everyone has as story about him, and they’re always alluding to what a good person he was. What really resonates with me with the stories I heard about Steve is it’s beyond the results. It’s, what type of an impact can you leave on somebody’s life at an event that they’re going to remember. That’s the legacy of Steve Tilford and something that this program tries to replicate and keep alive.

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Do you have a favorite cyclocross course in the United States and Europe?

In the U.S., Trek Cup is for sure my favorite. … The course is so much fun, and Trek knows how to put on a cyclocross party.

In Europe, I’m still trying to decide what my favorite course. Namur is iconic.

How do you evaluate tire pressure?

That is something I am getting more and more accustomed to with different terrain and different tracks. For cyclocross that is important. 

You rode bikes with former NBA star Reggie Miller, right? What was that like as both a cyclist and basketball player yourself?

He’s so wonderful, such good energy! He had done a breast cancer ride out of Indianapolis and invited to be on his team for it. It was roughly 100-mile ride…. He took us to the Pacers practice facility, and we got to shoot around. He was like, ‘OK, Ray, you ready? We’re gonna play a game of HORSE. Also, a sidebar, Larry Bird was there watching. I had not shot a basketball in a while, but it was game-mode, and I’m nailing all my shots. I am almost to E for the game of HORSE, and he’s training these baseline three-pointers, and I’m matching him. Then we go to the free throw line, and he makes a free throw, and I miss on a free throw! It’s really cool to have someone like that come in from another sport and just be a really cool voice for the sport of cycling.