BOULDER, Colo. (VN) — Elle Anderson may not be a household name in the world of cyclocross. Yet.
Anderson, 25, of the California Giant-Specialized squad, has been tearing through the ranks of elite cyclocross women for the past two years. In the last few weeks, she earned two victories at the Trek Cyclocross Collective Cup and two more at the Gran Prix of Gloucester, besting top riders such as Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing), Meredith Miller (California Giant), and Gabriella Durrin (Rapha-Focus).
Anderson, who is entering her third season of cyclocross racing, is thrilled with her recent success. “I didn’t necessarily go into [Gloucester] with any inkling that I could possibly win,” Anderson told VeloNews. “I have a lot of respect for many, many of the racers who took the line both days, like Helen Wyman. I just remember even last year, Helen won by so much, she’s such an amazing, talented rider, and it was a little bit of a change of experience for me to finish in front of her.”
The Vermont native is relatively new to the world of cyclocross, hailing from a background of alpine ski racing and road cycling. Anderson attended a sports academy for ski racers and was recruited to Dartmouth College for her talent on the slopes, but after her second ACL injury, she sidelined her ski career. In the spring of her freshman year of college, Anderson picked up a bike and never looked back.
“Every year when I get to cyclocross season, I say, ‘Wow, this is what I really love.’ I love road racing, I love competing and going out there and doing my best, but the end goal is ’cross season,” Anderson said.
Anderson currently works at the Strava headquarters in San Francisco and feels fortunate in that the company understands what it takes to race at the elite level.
“Strava is giving me an opportunity to work part-time during the cyclocross season. It shows they support their employees who are elite athletes,” Anderson said. “I was able to travel from Vegas to Wisconsin to Boston to Providence and work throughout that time.”
By working three days a week instead of a full five, Anderson hopes to have more time to travel and race, which can only help her cyclocross rankings.
Even in light of her recent wins, Anderson says her cycling goals have not changed from those that she set this summer. “I would like to be top five at nationals this year,” she said. “I was 12th last year with a chest cold.”
Cyclocross season is long and includes a myriad of races, complicating any predictions about how a rider’s season will unfold, but Anderson is eager for this season’s challenges. “I think it’s going to be really fun.”