Shelley Olds brought the USA a second UCI World Cup medal this season during round two of the series held in Melbourne, Australia. She attributes her success on the track to a remarkable debut with the US national road cycling team during the summer months.
"The transition this year from road to track has fortunately gone exactly as we planned," Olds said. "Towards the end of the European road season, I knew I was using those races as preparation for the early part of the track season. My goal was to come into the World Cups with a lot of fitness and hit the first two with the greatest chance of success."
Olds jumped off the road bike and onto the track bike for the US National Track Championships in October, where she won a national title in the women's scratch race. She went on to win a bronze medal in same event at the UCI World Cup round one held in Manchester, England.
"Nationals, and both the Manchester and Melbourne World Cups were all very positive experiences for me this year and I am confident that I can take a much needed break now, before beginning to prepare for the second half of the track season," said Olds, who is taking some time off to be married in December.
"I wanted to get some good results early and establish myself as one of the stronger riders in the field," she continued. "When I return, I intend to be stronger than the start of the season and as physically prepared as possible for the rest of the season."
Her new position with the US national women's road cycling team began mid-summer. She transfered her speed gained on the track to road racing with the ProMan-Hit Squad this Spring and turned heads when she won the overall title at the Tulsa Tough by out-pacing the legendary road sprinter Laura van Gilder. Furthermore, she captured her first National Racing Calendar (NRC) victory during the three-stage event held in May.
"The road season definitely went well for me this year, better than I anticipated," Olds said. "I chose a lot of good races for me and was given some great opportunities with the national team to get some experience and good training on the road. I have a new found appreciation for the road after racing in Europe. It is definitely something I want to pursue further."
She went on to wow the nation with a podium performance at the famed Liberty Classic held in Philadelphia in June. She displayed a talent for road racing over the lengthy and challenging circuit, placing third out of a field sprint behind world-class stars Ina Yoko Teutenberg and Joanne Kiesanowski. Her performance landed her an invitation to the women's Giro d'Italia where she further bolstered her resume with a second place in stage eight.
"I anticipate finding a nice balance between road and track and continuing with both disciplines for the next couple of years," explained Olds. "With the Olympic track program changing, it's hard to say whether there will even be a race suited for me on the track come 2012, but the bottom line is, I race the track because I love the sport and I am still eager to win a world championship some day."
Next year, Olds will return to road racing hoping to improve on a successful 2009 season. Her success on the track as a sprinter coupled with podium places in some of the world's most prestigious women's races will likely land her a regular spot on the US national team.
"Next year, my race selection may be more geared towards races that I could potentially win," said Olds. "I haven't had a chance to select specific races yet, but I will be looking for opportunities more suited for my abilities in Europe. Also, I will be racing in the U.S. with a very strong team and we will be selecting a handful of prestigious national races to compete in.
"The team is changing and we are all very excited about the prospects for next year," she continued. "We will all have lots of flexibility to race on the national team in Europe over the course of the season and the value of those opportunities are unparalleled by anything we can do in the States."
In December, the ProMan-Hit Squad will announce changes to its title sponsorship, roster and race schedule for the 2010 season.