Monica Lloyd’s third grade class at McKenny Elementary in Olympia is proud of their teacher’s title as the 2017 Cylocross National Champion. While many may be surprised to learn that we have a champion in our midst, her students have been rooting for Lloyd all along.
After a few weeks of sharing her weekend racing adventures, Lloyd’s students began asking her on Monday sharing days, “How was your race? Did you win?” Lloyd’s students enjoy learning about her races, and she now keeps her medals and leader jerseys in the classroom so that the students can see them and be a part of her cycling journey.
Monica Lloyd began competing as a runner and joined the Thurston County running group Guerilla Running. She ran several races and enjoyed her progress, even placing near the top of her age category in a few races. Lloyd had never thought about competing as a cyclist, however. Cycling was the domain of her twin sister who raced cyclocross and had been a professional bike rider for years. “I never really considered cycling, but I would run the course to support my sister and my husband while they competed,” shares Lloyd.
Somewhere between road biking and mountain biking, cyclocross athletes hurdle 24-inch-tall obstacles while carrying their bikes, adding to the rigor of the sport. The serpentine route that includes trails, pavement, a sandy portion, often a large ditch and a very challenging camber. Lloyd continued to view the course and riders as a spectator at one point saying to herself, “I think I can beat some of these women.” She decided to give it a shot and entered the Deschutes River CX sponsored by Olympia Orthopaedic Associates.
Lloyd placed second in her division in her very first race. At the time, her sister was transitioning out of professional cycling and began coaching her in the sport. “My sister found that competing was stressful and brought negative energy to her life,” shares Lloyd. “I realized that I enjoyed setting goals and the motivation that training for a race provides.” Lloyd had long admired Rachael Jamison, founder of Guerrilla Racing in Olympia for the inspiration she gave so many runners in the community. “I discovered that I could be motivating to my own students,” shares Lloyd.
A cyclocross rider must quickly dismount and carry their bike over various obstacles on the course and remount without using up too much time. Lloyd has brought her bike to school and demonstrated her remount technique for the students in her classroom. Recently a student shared with Lloyd that she started practicing her own remounts at home as well. The students ask Lloyd often about the color of her jersey or if there is any prize money in the race.
The rainy season in the Pacific Northwest is the time that cyclocross riders do their racing – the muddier the trail, the better the race. The origins of cyclocross are somewhat unclear, but the sport’s folklore says that in the early 1900s bikers raced each other from town to town cutting through farms and pastures. Bikers in the Tour de France used cyclocross during their off-season as a way to stay in shape. Today, the sport is growing in popularity in the United States with both male and female athletes.
Lloyd enjoys the support of her local cycling team in Olympia that is sponsored by Olympia Orthopaedic Associates. One of OOA’s goals is to help patients and athletes return to healthy lifestyles, and sponsoring the cycling team is just one of the many ways that OOA promotes an active lifestyle. For Lloyd, being a member of the OOA cycling team has been a big part of her success. The OOA cycling team provides not only jerseys and pays for race entries, they provide support and camaraderie. “It is so wonderful that we have this local team supporting amateur athletes,” shares Lloyd. She won the 2017 National Cyclocross Championships for her age group (40 – 44) in Reno, Nevada with her team watching the live feed and cheering her on from home.
“It is exciting to have a Cyclocross National Champion on the team,” says Dr. Bill Peterson of Olympia Orthopaedic Associates. “It takes a lot of work and dedication to rise up to this level.” By recognizing Lloyd’s achievements and supporting her goals, Dr. Peterson and OOA hope that others in the community will be inspired to become more active in their own lives.
Monica will be defending her title at the 2018 National Cyclocross Championships next December in Louisville, Kentucky. She will proudly display the Olympia Orthopaedics Associates logo on her jersey knowing that her sponsor, along with her teammates and the students of McKenny Elementary, will be rooting for her.
For more information on Olympia Orthopaedic Associates and the OOA cycling team or to schedule an appointment, visit their website or call 360-709-6230.