T&T Q&A with Chloe Woodruff (@chloewoodruff)

Growing up in Boulder, CO, pro mountain biker Chloe Woodruff was exposed to riding at an early age. Her early introduction to the sport has led to a successful amateur and pro career. Her highlights include 1st place at the 2013 US Cup Bonelli Park Super D and a spot on the US National Team. Chloe is also one of the only American women to earn a World Championship starting spot as a junior, U23, and elite athlete.

Chloe spoke with Trail & Tarmac recently and shared a lot of great pointers about training and nutrition. Keep reading to learn more in this week’s Q&A:

[Trail & Tarmac] How’d you first get into cycling?

[Chole Woodruff] In middle school, I used to ride my bike 3.5 miles to and from school with my twin sister, mostly on bike paths in Boulder, CO. That was when I first learned that I had a competitive streak on a bike (we used to ‘race’). Then I was introduced to mountain biking on a class trip to Moab, UT and forced to write about the experience (an assignment for school). I still have that paper and I summed up the next 15 years of my life pretty well in my conclusion, “mountain biking is definitely a sport I want to get better at.” All these years later, I’m still getting better at mountain biking, and I’m still riding bike paths whenever I find them. I also have to mention that there were people and coaches every step of the way that all had one thing in common: an eagerness to share their love of the sport with others.

[T&T] What was your first race?

[CW] My first race was the 24 Hours of Moab in 2002. I teamed up with three other girls from Boulder who really needed a 4th rider to complete their team. During that first race, I experienced an entire spectrum of emotions and even broke down into tears while out on a solo night lap. It was this incredibly rewarding experience in the end, and I came away feeling strong and like I’d found this great, crazy family out in the desert. I now realize how lucky I was to share my early race experiences with other girls.

[T&T] What was your first bike?

[CW] I found my first bike at a large swap meet in Denver, CO called VeloSwap. It was a very used ’96 Trek 8700, but it was carbon, light as a feather, and PURPLE. I ended up racing that bike at the World Championships in 2004 in Les Gets, France on a set of wheels that Sue Haywood once raced. The bike is still hanging on a hook in our garage, but I wouldn’t let anyone ride it now—that carbon is a little too beat up!

[T&T] What is something you wish you knew when you first started mountain biking?

[CW] I wish I knew that running 40 PSI in my inner tubes was NOT fast. I mean, Stan’s was already making a tubeless mountain bike system back then, but I didn’t understand the point. Just a few months after I met my husband, he set me up tubeless with Stan’s rim strips and sealant and the experience was mind blowing—so THIS is traction. I still see a lot of beginners and occasional riders using tubes, which is crazy.

[T&T] Do you have a piece of cycling gear you can’t live without?

[CW] Obviously, I can’t live without my quiver of Niner bikes and all the gear required to pedal them safely. But one thing I rely on pretty heavily is my tire pressure gauge. I always like to know how much pressure I have in my tires because running too much means you’re sacrificing traction which is very coveted in the desert where I live.

[T&T] Can you share one tip for amateur riders looking to elevate their game this year?

[CW] I’d recommend working with an experienced cycling coach. There’s a steep learning curve in racing in all sorts of areas (training, skills, equipment, nutrition, stress, rest, tactics, etc.) and an experienced coach can help sift through all the chaos and pinpoint factors that contribute to improvement and things that may set you back. A good athlete-coach relationship takes time to develop, but it’s worth the investment. My husband is a professional coach, and it’s really impressive to see him work with his athletes. He’s very patient, analytical, and listens well. Plus he has the race experience and educational background to supplement the other qualities, and the whole package makes him really good at what he does. So I have a lot of respect for good coaches and what they do.

[T&T] What’s your favorite race of the year?

[CW] The Whiskey Off-Road (in Prescott, AZ) or the US Cup in Fontana, CA.

[T&T] Can you describe what you eat before, during, and after a ride or race?

[CW] Well, I really like to mix things up at home…but here is a somewhat typical overview of a hard training or race day. For breakfast, I like to eat an egg sandwich (fried eggs on good bread with avocado). I’ll also have coffee. If it’s a big training day, I might also have some oatmeal with fruit or waffles. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

While on the bike, I use Clif Electrolyte Hydration Mix in my bottles and a variety of Clif Bars, Clif Bloks, and homemade snacks for training. I stick to Clif Gels for racing–with caffeine!

The post-ride meal is key, and I try to refuel quickly after training. I prepare a recovery smoothie first thing after a ride (Clif Recovery with fruit, nut butter, and some sort of milk). Then I eat a big, late lunch. I’m a huge fan of stews and soups and chili for winter training as there’s nothing better to eat after a few hours in the cold (and it’s easy to make a large batch that will last a few days).

For dinner, we usually start with a bowl of greens and add a carbohydrate source (sweet potato, quinoa, or rice), a protein source (egg, fish, or bacon), and throw in a dried fruit, avocado, sunflower seeds, and a good Parmesan cheese. This often turns into a ‘one bowl’ kind of meal. Or we scavenge the freezer for something pre-made and quick!

[T&T] Who do you most enjoy following on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook?

[CW] Sonya Looney on Twitter. Niner Bikes on Facebook. And Katerina Nash on Instagram. Check them all out.

Chloe Woodruff resides in Prescott, Arizona with her husband and coach TJ Woodruff. Look for Chloe at the Missoula, XC (June 20), US Cup #5 – Colorado Springs (June 27), and MTB World Cup # 3 – Lenzerhiede (July 4). We appreciate her taking the time to answer our questions. Keep up with Chloe on Twitter, Instagram, Strava, and Facebook

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