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Wise beyond her years

Being 17 and racing is a tough act to balance. But how often are kids my age able to travel the world doing something they absolutely love? Racing has given me the opportunity to develop the discipline to succeed along with the adventure of traveling the world. I am so grateful and blessed to be involved in such a great sport thanks to my supportive parents who have gotten me into riding and racing.

Being a junior at Pacific Coast High School has been a great time. They are super flexible with my racing while still providing me with education. When traveling, I am able to study, complete assignments, and take tests online. Everything is due every Friday by 3pm. Currently, I am not exactly sure where I want to go to college but it is most definitely in the plan. I have a few colleges in mind, but haven't decided yet.

Racing with Proman Hit-Squad last year was such a blessing. I got on the team in April during Sea Otter and since then I have progressed race after race. I truly feel lucky because I knew they didn't exactly have the space for me, but accommodated me anyway. And I am even more excited to be able to race with such a dedicated team in 2010.

Analyzing the number of junior women by age group, it seems like the numbers get smaller as the ages get higher. It is sad to see that happen, but by age 16 or so there are so many things that need to be focused on. Things like school, homework, being with friends, spending time with family, the occasional boys, having fun, training, racing, and traveling are only the major things that can split your focus to smaller portions.

It is really tough to juggle all those things evenly, but it isn't impossible. If you truly love the sport, you'd have the desire to stick with it and challenge your self to take the path towards your dream.

The leap from junior racing to elite racing is a big gap to clear. There is a fine line between pushing your limits and over-doing it. For me it was all about the baby steps and getting my feet wet. Going from cat. 4 to cat. 3 to cat. 2 to racing internationally has all been a great learning experience.

But the most important part of it is guidance. It is key to have someone tell you what might or is about to happen. Taking advice from some of the best minds is what really gives you that extra bit of confidence. And being exposed to the kind of racing I would eventually get involved in is a good reference to see how much work I have to do.

I had said this many times before, but sometimes you just have to try something you have never done before. Whether it is going back for bottles in a stage race, attacking, leading-out a teammate, setting up for the sprint, or bringing back a teammate who has flatted back to the peloton are things you will eventually do, so when it is time to get a job done for the team, stick your foot out there and show them what your full potential is. And when the task done correctly it is always a great feeling of accomplishment that flows throughout the team.

This past weekend Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12 made its team debut. Some of the riders have been racing already but this was the first team race. Kristin Armstrong flew out from Boise to direct us. What an amazing experience the weekend was. It was a chance to show the other teams and public what we are about.

Racing with no radios was going to be different for sure but with Kristin's knowledge of the field and of race scenarios we were really prepared and had to rely on communication between team members. Shelley loves racing without radios, she said it reminded her of her soccer playing days, we should be cool as most of our team are former soccer players!

The team rode as a team, we wanted to keep together for sprints so Shelley could sprint against the world's best, Ina Teutenberg. For a group of riders who had never raced all together it was a really great feeling to come together when we needed to. I am so proud to be a part of a team with such dedicated athletes and management. Our success will come from our teamwork and that includes riders and staff.

As you may have seen, I got peanut butter in my body weight delivered to my front door. I just woke up from a nap and I was heading out the door to pick up my younger sister from school. Then I see three huge boxes on the floor. I thought it was one of my dad's gadgets that he ordered, but it was for me! I could barely lift the boxes through the door and when I looked that the shipping label it said it was from Peanut Butter & Co.!!!

I am uber stoked to have Peanut Butter & Co (opens in new tab). as our title sponsor! Not only is their peanut butter the best EVER, but they are going to support our team towards our dreams! My all time favorite flavor is the 'Dark Chocolate Dreams'. But really all of the flavors are deeeelicious. After every ride since I've gotten my shipment of peanut butter, I make a Peanut Butter-Chocolate Recovery Shake!

Thanks for reading,
-Coryn Rivera (AKA: 5 Foot Assassin, Grasshopper, Cricket and G)

The elite athletes on the team inspire me; the juniors inspire me too. Adding the junior squad to the team last year added depth to the program, It made me laugh, when the elite riders look at a course profile they look at the climbs first when juniors look, they check the descents...with junior gearing this is a huge consideration. You will be hearing a lot about Corny this year, although racing for seven years, she really put a stamp on the USA scene last year, winning several bigger criteriums against the best sprinters in the US and on junior gears.

Coryn is a great team player and for being just 17 years old, one of the most professional riders in the peloton both on and off the bike. Coryn holds 25 Junior National titles in road, 'cross and track. Some notable 2009 results for this youngster include first place at Cascade Cycling Classic Stage 5, the San Rafael Twilight Criterium and the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. This will be her last year as a junior but she is well prepared for the leap ahead into elite racing.

-Nicola Cranmer

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The Exergy/Twenty 12 riders will be contributing on a regular basis to Cyclingnews, although content will have a team emphasis, its my hope to create a hub for women cyclists fun stories, informative articles, health and wellness tips and the occasional peloton gossip column.

The Exergy/Twenty12 team: Kaitlin Antonneau, Kristin Armstrong, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Jackie Crowell, Andrea Dvorak, Cari Higgins, Kristin McGrath, Greta Neimanas, Jessica Phillips, Coryn Rivera, Lauren Tamayo, Alison Tetrick Starnes and Tayler Wiles. International riders include Canadians Rhae Christie Shaw and Heather Logan-Sprenger along with Switzerland's Pascale Schnider.