Youphoria Productions is proud to welcome 2016 female champion Caitlin Bernstein back to the Blueprint for Athletes Tahoe Trail MTB on July 15. Caitlin took first with a time of 5:10:17, but she has some serious competition this weekend. Pro cross country racer Larissa Fitchett and 2016 Blueprint for Athletes Leadville Trail 100 MTB third place pro female Jenny Smith are joining Caitlin in the fight for first.
Though they all have different riding styles, it’s clear all three riders share an intense love of the sport. Read on to meet them and see what keeps their wheels turning both on and off the trails.
2016 Tahoe Trail champion Caitlin Bernstein grew up skiing the slopes of Vermont. After making the move to the San Francisco Bay Area, she landed a gig with Strava and started volunteering as a mentor for Little Bellas, a mentorship program that encourages girls to start biking from a young age.
“Bikes can be an empowering way for girls to build confidence and skills that go way beyond the sport,” Caitlin says. “It’s been great to see the sport evolve and become more accessible for females of any age.”
Caitlin’s dad taught her to ride the trails as a kid, but the lack of competition from other girls her age caused her to focus on competitive skiing and later running. She returned to biking a few years later and hasn’t stopped since. “I love training and racing my bike and plan to keep doing it as long as I’m having fun!”
Source: Little Bellas
You’ll typically hear Larissa Connors on a trail before you see her. “I cannot help myself but to giggle, squeal and laugh my way down pretty much any trail,” she says, “and I think that pretty much sums up my relationship with the bike life.”
Larissa started riding as a professional cross country racer in June of 2016 after leaving her job as a high school math teacher. What started as a childhood fascination of exploring state parks via bike in her hometown of Santa Rosa, California eventually turned into a career spanning races in six countries, six world cups, a pro series win and a spot on Team USA at the XC World Championships.
“The bike gave me something big to get excited about and work for,” Larissa says. “At the end of the day though, I’m still just a girl who gets a kick out of riding.”
Source: Josie’s Bike Life
New Zealand native Jenny Smith has always excelled at sports, including road cycling, mountain biking, triathlon and running. She represented New Zealand in track and field, mountain biking and XTERRA triathlon in the World Championships, and she carried her passion for riding overseas after moving to Gunnison, Colorado.
Jenny continues competitive road cycling and mountain biking, and she took the third place pro women’s spot at the 2016 LT100 MTB in 8:04:19. She utilizes her 25+ years of experience to coach endurance athletes around the world through her own company, Jenny Smith Coaching. She also co-manages the Stan’s/Kenda Elite Women’s Team, a women’s cross country and endurance cycling team.
“Our mission has always been to advance women’s cycling while also racing at the highest level,” Jenny says. “We are rider owned and operated and represent a powerful combination of professionalism and passion for cycling.”
Source: Jenny Smith Coaching
All three ladies are lining up to race this Saturday. Are you? If you haven’t registered yet, get on it.
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