While nearly everyone around Whatcom County likely has groused a time or two about the snowy, icy, cold conditions that have gripped the region for much of December and January, you won’t hear Bellingham resident Courtenay McFadden complaining.
Not that she’s necessarily enjoyed the conditions. In fact, she’s been out in the elements as much as anyone, training for the 2017 United States Cycling Cyclo-Cross Nationals held last week in Hartford, Connecticut.
“I put in a lot of effort in December – trained a ton,” McFadden said. “The weather was not quite optimal, but I stuck it out. It was often snowy, cold and icy, but in the end, that ended up helping me, because that’s what we had at nationals. We raced on a sheet of ice. It was like 20 degrees the day we raced, it was snowy and the course was a bunch of icy ruts. I felt very prepared.”
McFadden ended up placing fifth in the CX Women Elite Pro/Cat 1/2/3 division Sunday with a time of 51 minutes, 36 seconds.
I think it’s exciting to showcase our talents and let people see what Bellingham can bring to the world stage, because our training grounds are so fantastic.
If ever there was a time for a strong finish, this was it. Her finish helped McFadden earn one of three discretionary selections Tuesday to USA Cycling’s women’s elite team for the 2017 UCI World Cyclocross Championships.
“It’s something I’ve wanted for a couple of years,” McFadden said from the airport awaiting a trip to Europe for her chance to represent Team USA. “It means one of my goals is accomplished. ... I think it’s going to be pretty special representing Team USA. It’s something I haven’t ever done before, so it’s exciting and it’s special. Everyone I talk to says it’s like nothing else.”
McFadden is one of six women on the elite team, joining California’s Elle Anderson, Colorado’s Katie Compton and Amanda Miller, Wisconsin’s Kaitlin Antonneau and New Hampshire’s Rebecca Fahringer. Anacortes’ Calder Wood, a junior men’s qualifier, was the only other Washington rider on the 30-rider roster USA Cycling is sending to the Jan. 28-29 championships in Bieles, Luxembourg.
“I know it’s going to be top notch,” McFadden said of her expectations for the world championships. “Every country’s best riders will be there, so it truly will be the best of the best racing in the world.”
I think it’s going to be pretty special representing Team USA. It’s something I haven’t ever done before, so it’s exciting and it’s special. Everyone I talk to says it’s like nothing else.
McFadden plans to ride in a World Cup event in Rome this weekend and another in The Netherlands next week, as she said she hopes to “keep high-end sharp” and get acclimated to Europe so she can have a top performance in Luxembourg.
Making Team USA’s world championships team is particularly rewarding for McFadden, considering she recently stepped away from working as a physical trainer with Trailhead Athletics to focus her full-time efforts on cycling.
Now she’s looking forward to representing the strong Bellingham cycling and cyclocross communities on a world stage.
“I think it’s pretty exciting for the community to see that,” McFadden said. “I think it’s exciting to showcase our talents and let people see what Bellingham can bring to the world stage, because our training grounds are so fantastic.”