Brooke Miller broke into tears Saturday shortly after race commentator Chad Andrews announced on the start line that the Chris Thater Memorial Criterium would be her last professional race ever.
“It was just a flood of emotions, like wow, this is my last race,” Miller said, tearing up again. “I’ve known for a while that this was going to be my last race, but it makes me just want it to be special. But we raced. it was just a perfect day for us.”
Miller, known for her dominance in criteriums, won the 2008 National Road and Criterium Championships. She was the 2008 VeloNews Roadie of the Year, was a member of the U.S. National Team and has more than 50 career wins under her belt.
Oddly enough, her own accomplishments did not place as her favorite professional racing memories. She ranked training rides, and races where she helped teammates succeed higher.
“I always say this and I know it sounds cliche but it’s absolutely true, but Meredith winning national championships,’ Brooke Miller said of her teammate winning the road championship in 2009. “I had been covering breaks early in the race, so I was off the back and came rolling to the finish and I saw her there saying ‘we won?'”
Tina Pic, Brooke Miller’s top criterium rival in past years as a racer for Colavita, retired after out sprinting Brooke for the 2009 National Criterium Championship.
Circumstances beyond Miller’s control interfered with her 2010 criterium championship aspirations.
“I don?t know if I’ve ever been more motivated to win a race,” Miller said. “I wanted to be able to win and go out on top the way Tina did, and a rider decided to lay out on the pavement in front of me with one lap to go. I’ve never been as out of my mind angry before because I really felt robbed.”
Miller, regardless of her success, hopes she’s remembered for something more than how she raced a bike.
“I’m a big sucker for anything that makes anyone laugh,” she said. “I know I have a reputation for being loud and probably obnoxious, but as long as I can entertain some people and make them laugh and not take things so seriously, that’s what I hope.