Taking it to 11 with Laura Winberry


(11….more like 18 hard hitting questions with Laura Winberry, OG Speedvagen Family Racing team member. Wordsmith, poet, and all around amazing human being. )


1. Where are you right now?

I'm never not in the middle of a snowstorm, among the tall-tall trees, looking up. Expansive & everywhere, but also nowhere.  

2. Can you give us what a Race day looks like for you today. How is it different from when you were super focused on racing? What's your routine from waking up to racing? 

I still get the shits. Well, not the shits. But rather race shits (I write about them in one of the poem's in bell lap, ha!). In other news... after deciding to not race UCI this past season, the first local (Oregon) race I went to felt different. In a good way. I felt extremely thankful and happy to be there. I was genuinely psyched to race. And it was fulfilling to see folx from the community whom I love, and to just be surrounded by this mellow grass-roots scene. I think feeling these things, in this way, also helped me to have a decent race on nominal training. Training? Yeah. That's another thing that was different. Mostly because... my "training" was going surfing and skateboarding at the coast with Mr. White. Sure, I was still riding bikes. But it was not the priority by any means. Hm, race-day routine? Eat something, drink something (coffee and H20), stay pumped, stay positive. Don't take myself too seriously. Make frequent trips to the bathroom. Get really tired on the start line (not sure why this happens; I have my theories, but perhaps someone else can tell me why). Go. I would probably benefit from being more methodical in the hours leading up to a race, but that's not me. I would call my pre-race routine a free-range kind of experience.   

3. State of the racing - whats working? whats not? what do you want to see more of??

Ah... I wish I could say "Go see 'The State of Cyclocross.'" Because that's the film where a bunch of us 'cross racers wax poetic on the state of cyclocross. But, the film was only available for viewing, in person, for a short period of time. In lieu of seeing TSC, I'll just say that women's 'cross is stronger and more dynamic than ever right now, domestically and internationally. And that's a beautiful fucking thing. In other words: the future is female.

4. What Races/Rides will you be attending this season?

TBD. Maybe some crazy thing called Landrun? Though, on the party train, not the focused race train. 

5. You've been on your custom cross bikes for years now. What are your thoughts, does anything about the bike surprise you anymore?

Yeah. It still surprises me how I can descend on that thing like a motherfucker. I'm not talking about my skills in going downhill, because I ride with plenty of women who are the same, if not more proficient at this than me. I'm talking about the solid platform that is my rig. I'll take it out on the local trails with folx who are riding mountain bikes, and keep up. Even lead sometimes. Which is half neat-challenge and 87% the ways in which the SV's frame geometry holds up as a platform. Yeah, this thing is S O L I D without being heavy. And having something you can trust beneath your body is not only important but, I'd wager, more enjoyable.

6. Give us a cycling "Pro Tip" that has made an impact on you?

From Marcel Russenberger: no matter what, don't let that gap open up; just stay on the wheel. Applies to racing and a lot of other things in life. 

7. Tater tots or Fries? Fries.

I always like tots (I almost wrote tits), but then I eat too many and feel slightly ill. The tot to fries eating ratio, in terms of speed, is probably about the same. But I think maybe the tots hold a bit more grease and a bit more undercooked potato than fries do, so maybe that's the reasoning behind the early-onset stomach churn with tots versus fries. 

8. What do you put on a bagel? 

B U T T E R + S A L T. Endless amounts of salted butter. Plus extra salt. 

9. Who or where was the best cup of coffee you have ever had? 

The Route 4, exit 17E Dunkin' Donuts in New jersey. Either that or the Mobil on West 145th in Manhattan. It's a tossup. 

10. Last book you read?

Breakfast of Champions

11. Go to after race treat? 

 After races, I'm sugared out and nothing actually sounds appetizing. Later on, though... intermittent bowls of cereal at weird hours.

12. Hardest race you have ever done?

Shenandoah 100 on a hardtail? Maybe that one. And maybe because ten minutes into the race a bee flew into my gaping mouth and stung the back of my throat. Things started to constrict and close a little. I pulled over and yelled for Benadryl, something, anything. And this sweet-sweet lady stopped and gave me two vials filled with homeopathic pellets used for bee stings (I will never forget that, or her), which she let me keep and which I proceeded to take every half-hour or so for the remainder of the 100 miles. 

13. Favorite race you have ever done?

Oh. So many! Maybe... any race where it's not too hot? Grinduro was really good time. Racing in Japan was awesome. China was insane. Ohhh... I know, Cyclocross Nats in Hartford, CT (2016?), because there was so much snow, and the pre-ride took place in the absolute middle of a blizzard. What we do is absurd, and that tipped the scales beyond absurd. I loved the magic of it.

14. Favorite Cyclist all time?

Tina Brubaker.

15. What's next?

More snowboarding. More skateboarding. More multi-day gravel/dirt routes with good friends. Into the ether.

16. Favorite movie all time?

Richard Linklater's Waking Life

17. Soup... true or false? Why? 

True. Miso with Shiitakes. Because: Jersey Strong. 

18. I heard you were going to Landrun 100, Ive also heard you are a big fan of driving the Money Truck, any interest in driving it out?

HahahahaHA! Yeah, right. I've had my turn at that wheel. No regrets and excellent memories from the Chicago to Portland road trip But. I ain't driving that shit across the country again!