If you bike regularly in Marin County, chances are you’ve seen a long blond braid sticking out the bottom of a bike helmet as Alison Tetrick rides blazing fast past you. Well-known in the area for her speed and the hours she spends out on the roads with local riders, Tetrick is also known on the world scene for riding on the United States National Team and podium finishes at nationals in the time trial every year of her professional cycling career.
Tetrick is fast. But, in true California fashion, she also likes to have a little fun. How do you do both? It’s easy. Wake up early and combine your favorite things. Tetrick shares what it’s like to be a professional cyclist and some of her favorite places to bike and eat (or do both) around the North Bay.
Who do you race for?
TWENTY16 Pro Cycling . This team is based out of San Anselmo, in Marin County, and is owned by Nicola Cranmer, who lives in San Anselmo.
I started racing in 2009 for Team TIBCO – a South Bay professional women's cycling team that’s still in existence. In 2011, I started racing for Nicola's team at that time called Peanut Butter & Co., then TWENTY12, then Exergy TWENTY16. My team has sent three girls to the Olympics and more to the World Championships. We also have a junior development team.
How do you balance racing and training?
I race and train full-time, but this doesn't limit me from working elsewhere, as well as going to school. I teach cycling classes at Endurance Performance Training Center in downtown Mill Valley. I also attend graduate school at Palo Alto University, and I work as an independent consultant in marketing and communications for advocacy and branding in cycling-related endeavors. Basically, if there was a PhD in cycling, I would have one, but I am on my way to get one anyway!
When did you start cycling?
I started racing in 2008-09, on a local Bay Area club team. Following a NCAA academic scholar-athlete All-American collegiate tennis stint at Abilene Christian University, I got into triathlon. That then turned into bike racing. I was invited to the Olympic Training Center for a Talent ID camp for USA Cycling , and was soon added to the USA National team and got my first pro contract.
My grandfather, Paul Tetrick, 82, from Evergreen, CO, told me that I could go to the Olympics in cycling. I didn't know anything about cycling, but it turns out he was right. By the way, my grandpa still races his bike at 82-years-old and loves following my career. He gives me advice and a great amount of support.
Tell us what your average day is like?
My day starts fairly early, where I can work in the morning before heading out for my training around 10 or 11 a.m. I do have the luxury of starting my rides when it is warmer and in better conditions, but I also can be very productive in the morning, as long as I am on my bike at the "critical limit" of caffeine and rest. After riding, it is important to recover appropriately, but then I can get back to work and finish the day within the working hours. I usually ride my bike about 20-25 hours per week, which does give me enough time to work in other areas and disciplines.
What are your favorite rides?
I love riding out to the Elk Reserve in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore. Any of the roads in West Marin are absolutely breathtaking and definitely worth some exploring. Limantour or Pantoll are my favorite climbs. I also like to do a Marin/Sonoma cheese tour that involves stopping at the Marin Cheese Factory, as well as Nicasio Valley Cheese Company and Spring Hill Cheese. There are so many incredible places to visit and see in Marin. No matter how many places I travel to race, Marin is still one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The San Rafael Twilight Criterium presented by Project Sport is one of my favorite races to compete in, and I did win the race in 2012. That was my World Championships for sure. They put on an incredible race and party surrounding the spectating and taking over downtown San Rafael. I would not miss this race for the world!
Favorite things to do or places to eat?
Fish in Sausalito is one of my favorite secret places to dine, but sometimes after a ride it is all about just frequenting Marinitas in San Anselmo for great Mexican feed. Of course, there is Bovine Bakery in Pt. Reyes Station in case you need a mid-ride energy boost. The Armando buns and gluten-free muffins are the best that you can imagine. During the off-season, I make a habit of started mountain bike rides in Bear Valley and finishing just in time for happy hour at the Farmhouse in Olema, polenta-crusted fried oysters and artisan cocktails! Yes, please!
Do you have any tips for visiting cyclists?
You have to ride up Mt. Tam at least once, and you also have to take West Marin for what it has to offer--scenic views, great food, and challenging terrain. There are so many sights to see, and so much food to taste! The incredible thing is that you can ride into the middle-of-nowhere so quickly and have no idea there is a thriving city within 15 miles of your tranquil coastal ride. Climb over the ridgeline of Tam, called the "Seven Sisters”. I have also heard other more harsh terms for these seven steep successive rollers, and the view is priceless and serene.