ASK A PRO
Q&A With Rally Cycling’s Erica Allar
Name: Erica Allar
Hometown: Fogelsville, PA
Residence: Tucson, AZ
Strengths: Sprints, criteriums
Pro Since: 2008
Erica Allar began racing in 2001 as a track racer. She won two U23 national criterium championships and multiple collegiate national track titles while attending Penn State. When not racing she loves being outside, drinking coffee and laughing.
We recently threw up a post on our Facebook page requesting our fans to ask Erica a question about being a professional cyclist. We selected our 10 favorite inquiries and had Erica answer them below. We also offered up a Lezyne Mini GPS Special Edition to the person whom Erica felt asked the best question: Congratulations B. McAlister!
What is your favorite interval training session? ~D. Morales
Let’s be honest: All interval training sessions suck. I don’t think anyone goes into VO2 efforts thinking, “This is going to be so much fun.”However, I appreciate them because I know they’re making me a better cyclist. But, if I had to choose one session, I would go with Strength Endurance intervals—long, slow cadence muscle builders. Power!
Who is your biggest cycling inspiration? What would you like to pass along to the next generation of aspiring female cyclists? ~T. Work
Cliché, I know, but Jame Carney is my biggest inspiration. He believed in me before anyone knew who I was; before I knew I could do anything in this sport or in my life.
I would pass along the importance of having fun. It needs to be fun, and there needs to be balance.
What was the main facet of cycling that drew you in, and encouraged you to want to pursue a professional career? ~P. Molnar
Track racing in T-town is what drew me in. It was fast, fun and different. I was good at it, but there was no way to make a living doing it. I had to swap over to the road, which resulted in a professional career.
I’ve heard you’ve earned the nickname “Always There.” Does that have to do with the fact that you’re always in the mix at the sprint finish? ~B. Jones
Let’s go with it’s because I’m always in the mix for race finishes. If it’s not, than it must be because I have a hard time dropping back any further than fifth wheel while in the field. Or, maybe someone who is taller than me coined the nickname because each time she turned around, I was their enjoying her draft. There aren’t many girls my size in the peloton, so I tend to gravitate toward the same riders for a draft.
What is your favorite pre-, mid- or post-ride snack? ~I. Audrain
I don’t like to eat during rides (unless I’m racing, which in that case it’s Clif Bar). But I love chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I read an article on FoxNews that says cake for breakfast may help keep weight off, so I guess it’s my favorite pre- and post-ride snack!
What would you advise to a lady who is considering going pro? ~J. Sanchez
Take your time. Ask questions but don’t be afraid to make your own choices based on what is right for you. Prioritizing your happiness is not a bad thing; you should. And then make choices in your cycling career to reflect what will make you happy. Oh, and have fun. It should always be fun. Be happy. Have fun. Sounds a little simpler than it is. But it’s true. A happy racer is a fast racer.
At that moment during a race when you are maxed out, what do you think about in order to keep going? ~B. Ticknor
“Man, if I am suffering THIS bad, then everyone else must REALLY be struggling!”
What’s the hardest part of professional cycling that no one ever talks about? ~E. Vrtis
It’s easy to become so involved in cycling that it consumes every part of your life. There has to be some sort of balance in your life. It is important to have a life and things to do outside of the sport that are not bike related.
On long rides how do pro cyclists occupy their minds? ~P. Houston
Ride with friends who are interesting to talk with. Or, listen to music, podcasts or books on tape.
What is your most memorable racing event? ~A. Chavez
I have so many great memories. My first big pro win in Macon, Georgia, in 2007 was pretty good, but so were my two U23 Crit National titles [2006 & ‘07]. Or 2012 when I topped three Optum riders and Laura Van Gilder in a breakaway for the win at the Sunny King crit. Also, winning the Cannon Falls stage of the 2010 North Star Grand Prix was a great memory.
How can we encourage youth girls to become active cyclists? ~B. McAlister
I’d like to suggest that the girls considering going pro race with their local men’s fields in an effort to challenge their skills and abilities. I also recommend that they travel outside of their local race scene; it’s important to travel to some of the larger more known races in the US in order to showcase their skills and potential to pro teams.
Stay tuned for more editions of ASK A PRO!