“The thrill of the experience is there for sure: first big race on home soil, first time at nationals.”
In a year replete with firsts, Leah Thorvilson will this weekend race her first individual time trial at UCI level when she represents CANYON//SRAM Racing at her first ever appearance at USA Pro National Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday 24 June. Thorvilson will join teammate Alexis Ryan, competing in her fifth elite national championships, when they line up together for a tilt at the stars and stripes jersey on the following day for the national championship road race.
Thorvilson won the 2016 Zwift Academy with CANYON//SRAM Racing, a talent identification project using Zwift, a digital destination for cycling fitness, to win a professional contract with the CANYON//SRAM Racing team for the 2017 season. The learning curve has been steep and after two stints of racing in Europe with the team already this season, Thorvilson says she is excited to see how her race experience transfers to an all-American peloton this weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to the ITT. I think the one strength I had coming into this season was power. Power alone isn’t enough to be successful in a UCI pro peloton, but it is a big part of a time trial. Yes there are other things to consider, like technique, pacing, handling, but I think if I ride smart I can do well in a time trial and this will be a good test!”
“The road race will be interesting. It will be my first time in a large pro field in the US. I am excited to see how the experience I have gained overseas will translate over into a race of the same level but different roads. It will also be the first time for me to race with a teammate in the US and I’m looking forward to working with Alexis. Helping her to get on the podium would be incredible and that’s my goal.”
“Every single race so far has held a new experience for me,” Thorvilson adds. “Some of them have been good, others have been humbling and terrifying. I’ve found that any time I think I might know what to expect, or I might be in a position to have a confidence-building race, I’m usually thrown a curveball of some sort and it never pans out the way I thought it would.”
Thorvilson says she will go into the national championships weekend cautiously optimistic. “I know that there are potentially some things that will play into my strengths, but I am also mentally prepared as I can be to ‘expect the unexpected’.”
“I’ve said that I should write a book about this year with CANYON//SRAM Racing and I have a feeling this weekend will be a great chapter. I just hope it’s a chapter about a personal breakthrough and insurmountable joy rather than another story of bruising my confidence, breaking bike equipment or adding a few scars to my body!” joked Thorvilson.
The 23.2km ITT starts at 11:00 DST Saturday 24 June while the 102km road race starts at 09:00 DST on Sunday 25 June.