Being Kristin Weber | Lessons Learned from an American Masters National Champion

Starting her cyclocross racing pursuits later in life, Kristin Weber has found success in a balanced, curious, and dedicated approach that helped her land a second masters cyclocross national championship jersey in Louisville this past December. Her first  title came in Austin in 2015 in the 40-44 age bracket, and after consecutive silver medal efforts in Hartford and Reno, she was able to seal the deal a second time by repeating on “hero mud” early in the week in Louisville, this time in the 45-49 age group. I recently had a chance to catch up with Weber and talk about some of the tools and habits she has developed and used along the way to her second stars and stripes jersey. Certain themes materialized that I think many could learn from, regardless of age or category.

Balance

As a mother of three, many of her masters peers can relate to the constant push and pull of family, work, and training, but Weber has found a way to keep them all in balance. As an avid runner, she uses it “just for fun and fitness…and I’m actually not a fast runner, I’m a fast short distance runner.” Activities like running, regular yoga, and a family-first approach to training help her maintain a healthy attitude. “If you have an engine and a tank that you’ve fostered over years, it’s just about honing those skills. That’s why cross is good – I don’t have to ride my bike 27 hours a week…I just have to be fast for 40 minutes. Three years ago I rode an obscene amount. I was obsessed with riding…I think that gave me a good base, but then I was kind of burnt out.”


After taking some of those lessons to heart early on, she learned from those experiences. “I’m not gunna do that (now) when I have my kids – I try to ride my bike less than an hour and  a half when I have my kids. I’ve changed the way I train. When I have my kids I barely ride, or I’ll go for a run…and when I don’t then I’ll do big rides.”


Cyclocross and cycling in general also help her maintain work balance as well. As a self-employed graphic designer (Sugar Design Inc.), bikes help her make and keep work connections with like-minded clients. “I just went through this whole process of analyzing who all of my clients were, (many) of them have some touch point to cycling, so that’s my network for my business too…which means I work with a lot of cool people!”

Take home message: don’t neglect your relationships, mix it up, connect with cyclists at work


A Scientific Curiosity

Let’s face it – “training” can be a drag. Slavish devotion to a training plan may yield results, but it can become tedious and difficult to follow when motivation wanes. To battle this, Weber has developed a curiosity about nutrition and the training process in general.


One habit she’s developed is to constantly be challenging herself. “I consider my cycling career to be a science experiment. I would much rather ‘race up’ to find out how fast you can get and how far you go.” Besides registering for the most challenging races she can do locally during the season, she also extends that philosophy to training during the week by maximizing limited time and staying efficient. “As Pete Webber always says, it’s quality, not quantity.” Weber takes this a step further by describing her overall training philosophy as, “…how do I ride my bike as little as possible, and be as fast as I can be?”


The tinkering also extends to nutrition in Weber’s routine. As a big proponent of beets and beet juice for maximizing cardiovascular performance, she reflexively included beets when recounting how she handled pre-race jitters in Louisville. “I had a good day – just drank my beet juice and went for it!” As for the rest of the season, “when I start training a lot I’ll drink it, and definitely when I’m racing…I think it makes a big difference.”

Take home message: hit it hard when you train, race up, and drink your beet juice

Showing laser focus at the US Open, 2018, day 2. © Neil Schirmer

Determined and Dedicated

One thing is clear after you talk to Kristin Weber a while about cyclocross – she’s a serious competitor who brings focus and a full-throttle determination to everything she does. Recalling the championship effort this season, “I just went and I kept going…and I just kept opening it up…that course suited me so well…lots of climbing, and enough technical stuff that if you screw up you can lose ten seconds.”


While she is certainly grateful and humble about her most recent championship win, Weber maintains a true competitor’s perspective on the bigger picture. “To me its not satisfying to win and win and win, that’s not why I race. I want to race to be better.” Perhaps it’s this ultimate character trait that surpasses all others in importance. Life balance and trying new things in your training routine can certainly help, but none of it means anything if you aren’t motivated to bring a dedication to the process, to love training, and love of the process of self-betterment.

Take home message: learn to love the process 

2018-2019 U.S. Cyclocross National Championships. Louisville, KY. © 2018 Ethan Glading

Next season, Weber will continue her training and race routine as part of the Boulder-based Full Cycle Cyclocross squad and will set her sights on a repeat performance in December in Tacoma.

Feature photo © 2018 Ethan Glading.

Additional photos © 2018 Neil Schirmer.

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