[messengers] Purcell makes the break from bike messenger to national champion

Date: 2 Jun 2010 00:01:11 +0200
From: Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx>


Purcell makes the break from bike messenger to national
champion

 

By Tom Held

 

Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel, June 1, 2010

 

Although she's now based in Wichita,
Texas, Jennifer Purcell proved to be quite
comfortable with her Wisconsin roots when she won the 2010 USA Cycling National
Collegiate Criterium Championship in Madison.

 

Racing for Midwestern
State University,
the Milwaukee
native added a ninth place finish in the road race and placed fourth in the
overall (omnium) points standings.

 

Purcell told Madison
freelance writer Robyn Perrin that she found the 45-degree, windy conditions
for the road race only “a little daunting” – perhaps indicating that she is
still in touch with her inner Badger. Joking about her choice to shed leg
warmers prior to the race, she said, “I’m glad I did. I needed that extra room
to move, you know.”

 

In Madison,
Purcell’s performance caught the eye of John Barron, Team Manager of the Fiber
One Collegiate All-Stars women’s cycling team. He selected Purcell as one of
six top female collegiate riders to compete against professional cycling teams
in the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 16 to 20.

 

She will join Elle Anderson (Dartmouth
College), Rita Klofta (DePauw University),
Flora Duffy (University of Colorado-Boulder), Leia Tyrrell (Oregon State
University) and Kimberley Turner (Seattle Pacific University).

 

Team members receive housing, coaching, and logistical
support, and many All-Star alumnae go on to race professionally. “The chance to
give these opportunities to undiscovered collegiate women is so important,”
said Barron.

 

Q: You mentioned that you weren’t into cycling at all while
in Milwaukee [focusing on cross country and
swimming while in high school], and only picked it up after becoming a bike
messenger in Dallas.
Could you comment briefly on events that inspired the shift?

 

"Winning the street sprints at the North American Cycle
Courier Championships was the event that led to the
“bike-messenger-to-competitive-cyclist transformation.

 

"Being my first win, it helped me realize that riding
at work could translate into criterium racing. The following summer I did
Superweek and after the first day was offered a scholarship to Midwestern State University
and their excellent cycling program. I really owe it all to MSU."

 

Q: Aside from the races already occurring in the region, how
could the Milwaukee and greater Wisconsin region best support women’s collegiate and pro
cycling?

 

"I think the Milwaukee
and the greater Wisconsin region have played a dominant role in defining the
history of the cycling in the United
  States. When I started becoming more
familiar with competitive cycling, I realized how much of its American history
came from Wisconsin.
Superweek and the origin of Trek to name a couple mainstays in our cycling
culture. I’m proud to be a Wisconsin
girl!"

 

Q: If you had to pick the greatest challenge facing women
collegiate cyclists, what would it be and why?

 

"I think the greatest challenge facing emerging
pro-level female cyclists is the first steps in networking to participate at
higher-level events more often. Once an emerging rider has the chance to meet
the racing community on the pro circuit, the planning and logistics aren’t as
overwhelming. The Fiber One All-Star team allows riders to do so."

 

What advice do you have for emerging collegiate or U23
(under age 23) pro women’s cyclists?

 

"My advice is to have fun and don’t hesitate to laugh
often. Finding happiness throughout the sport is the secret to going
fast!"

 

 


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