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Thursday, November 19, 2015

More Rest and New Approach Help Elle Anderson Get Back on the Podium

Elle Anderson is back amongst the top Elite Women of U.S. cyclocross. She has a new one-person team, SRAM/Strava, and a new approach this season. The early results are impressive. Anderson placed third in the UCI C1 race Nov. 7 at the Derby City Cup in Louisville, Ky. She also was third last weekend on Day 2 of the Subaru Cyclo Cup in Lakewood, Wash.

All Images @ Wil Matthews Photo

We’ve eagerly followed Anderson’s career over the last few seasons, including her ups and downs in Belgium a year ago. After racing cyclocross and road for multiple seasons, Anderson took more downtime this summer to be fresh for crunch time this year. Anderson, a Vermont native who now lives in San Francisco, also balances her race schedule with her position in tech support at Strava. At the recent races in Louisville, pro photographer Wil Matthews captured Anderson in her new SRAM/Strava team colors. Between photos, we talked with her about her different approach to this season. Below are edited excerpts:

Time Away from Training

“I took a big break this summer, and I think it was great in a lot of ways. I had kind of packed in three solid years previous to that of road and cyclocross, so it felt really good to take a good solid break. I ended up taking six weeks completely off the bike, doing some other things… some yoga, light running, taking it down to the foundation. It felt really great. I’m just slowly building back up now, getting back into training intervals.”

Approach to this Cyclocross Season

“I’m getting a late start. But I’m super fired up about December and January. So it actually feels kind of nice and refreshing to get the opportunity to have a bit more of a compact cyclocross season. I’m not going to say I’m going to do it every year, but this year it’s kind of nice to be able to focus on a bit of a narrower window, at least for training purposes because it is really difficult to spread your race fitness over five months.”

SRAM Force 1 Setup

“I’m typically riding a 42 (tooth chainring) in front and 11-32 in back. If it was a really steep hilly course, I might go to the 40 tooth chainring. For now, I really like the ability to sprint and have that 42-11 for the flat stretches. The great thing is, I’ve been training on 1x on the road to prepare for cyclocross, and I’ve really been enjoying 1x for that as well. I just feel it’s so versatile and I really don’t miss any gears.”

Lessons from Belgium

“One of the things I took away from going to Europe last year is just how important the mental and physical components of being an athlete are. In a lot of ways, the break I took this summer was a lot of mental recovery as well as physical. I would say the majority was mental recovery. The season can be so intense. It can be so long, especially living aboard for five months and racing in Europe. I learned to really appreciate that relationship – that I wasn’t going to feel good physically on the bike until I felt good mentally.”

We wish Elle all the best this season. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ellebellerina.


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