Midsummer Update: Ellen’s Road Racing & Girl’s Cyclocross Quest

Ellen has had a busy offseason leading up to the 2017-2018 race season with Aspire Racing. From racing on the road to hosting a week-long clinic for young girls to school them in cyclocross, she hasn’t had a lot of off time!

“I’ve been racing the pro road tour with my road team, Colavita-Bianchi. I’ve had a tough season on the road but getting lots of fitness and really looking forward to the shorter cyclocross events this fall,” she says. “I’ve had several crit podiums at some of the big US crits this summer. ”

But for her, the biggest accomplishment was the camp she ran. “I just finished up the inaugural Ellen Noble youth women’s cyclocross quest, which was a week-long summer program devoted to developing the next generation of women’s cyclocross!”

5 months ago, I had a dream. I wanted to create the first-ever youth women’s CX camp. On multiple occasions, I believed it wouldn’t happen. In April, I called it off entirely, vowing to get a head start for 2018. But thanks to friends who know me better than I know myself, I was pushed to “just make it happen this year.” At the time, it was just supposed to be a few friends on air mattresses in my apartment. 5 days later, I had a rental house, a set date on my only free weekend of the summer and a BikeReg page that had filled 9 out of 12 spots in 36 hours.*If you build it, they will come*. 3 weeks before the “camp”, I was faced with some challenges that were bigger than anything else I had faced throughout the journey. I was so close to losing everything that I had worked for. After some stress and admittedly a couple of tears, I came out on the other side as the EN CX Quest. *Not a camp*. Between the change to Quest & a location change the same week, I began to realize that absolutely nothing would stop me from making it happen. *Nevertheless, she persisted.* 

Ellen was also featured as a Real Life Shred Girl on Shred-Girls.com and offered some great advice for getting over obstacles—in life and on the mountain bike!

What’s next? “I will be ending my road season after Boise and doing the Grand FUNdo, as well as the Mont Sainte Anne world cup for MTB,” she says.

After that, it’s full steam ahead towards cyclocross season, which will kick off in Rochester, New York, in early September!

Ellen on UMass.edu

Ellen shared her  challenges, successes and advice for balancing academics and athletics with UMass.edu.

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Champion cyclist Ellen Noble ’18 has a challenge most students don’t have. As a professional cyclocross racer she competes at the edge of high cliffs, carries her bike across rivers and other barriers in events that are part cycling and stunt riding. Her schedule, balancing a professional career and college studies, is also different from most students. A typical day includes a two- to five-hour bike ride, a few hours of stability and strength training, classes and school work, and time for relaxing, followed by a run capped by meditation before a good night’s rest. Her rigorous training regimen and passion for the competition have put her among the elite in the sport. At 21, she has won four national cyclocross championships and two Pan-American championships, and in January, she finished second at the world championship in Luxembourg.

She has made her mark in cyclocross races—45 minutes of riding at breakneck speed while traversing pavement, wooded trails, grass, mud, sand, ice, and steep hills. It is tough and messy with the rider dismounting and carrying her bike over or around obstructions. Noble’s next cycling challenge is to expand her repertoire and tackle road racing, like the Tour de France races. She has set her sights high with ultimately competing in the Olympics as her goal.

“If you want to do something but feel like you can’t, learn what is holding you back. Ask yourself, ‘What is stopping me?’”

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Noble has managed her successful professional racing career while keeping on track to graduate in four years with her bachelor’s degree in public health. She is now a University Without Walls student taking online courses while training in Málaga, Spain. Earning a college degree is a priority, and she chose a public health major for the opportunities to improve lives. “I was attracted to the idea of helping people and educating them on how to have healthy and happy lives,” she said recently.

UMass Amherst, she says, is a perfect place for her. The Kennebunkport, Maine, native was seeking a larger school with many majors to explore, not too far from her hometown, with a diverse student population, and in an area with a vibrant, elite, and professional cycling community. When enrolled in campus courses, Noble lives in nearby Easthampton, a home to many other competitive bike racers, including current and former men’s national champions.

Noble, who began to race professionally at the age of 16, is disciplined in her roles as college student and an athletic superstar. “It is second nature for me to go to school and race at the same time,” she says. Her parents, who were elite bike racers, registered their daughter for her first race when she was five years old. That first race has been followed by hundreds of others. “I am having a ton of fun,” she says. “I enjoy racing and traveling the world.”

Her advice to others comes with sage wisdom. “If you want to do something but feel like you can’t, learn what is holding you back. Ask yourself, ‘What is stopping me?’”

Ellen Second at U23 Women’s World Championships

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The dust has settled from Cyclocross World Championships in Luxembourg this weekend, and the Aspire Racing team is back in the US after an eventful few weeks. Ellen Noble scored the silver medal in the U23 Women’s race, making her one of the very few Americans to finish on a World Championship podium.

“It was always my dream to create a program that helped riders reach their dreams, with more ease and more opportunities than I had coming up. To watch Ellen be in the fight for the win of the women’s U23 World Championships was a big moment in my world,” teammate and team owner Jeremy explained. “The energy that we’ve put into the JAM Fund over the past eight years has been a complete passion project and to have something that not just me, but our entire community, was able to be a part of—including those reading this—is, for me, one of the biggest achievements of my racing life.”

“The World Championships were really the ribbon around an awesome season,” Ellen added. “With the help of my amazing team, I met—and exceeded—all of my goals for the year. I feel like I had the best race of my career on Saturday, and it resulted in a silver medal. I am still smiling! Overall, the season has been so fantastic and I feel so fortunate to have has Aspire pushing me and supporting me every step of the way.”

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“I’m really proud we have a World Championship result to hang our hat on with our effort to provide a better way to get to the top of the cross totum pole, but truly, without any of the results, we already had a lot to smile about,” Jeremy concluded. After a full season of amazing racing and results, it’s easy to see that the JAM Fund program works—and that Aspire Racing provides the pro platform to help riders excel. “To see the next generation coming in… It’s a different kind of happiness that just makes you feel good and look forward to what the future holds,” he adds.

What’s Next

Ellen’s cyclocross season is done, and she’s off to Spain to build up a base and start training in earnest for her upcoming road season.

Read about the races here:

Ellen Secures U23 World Cup Overall, Gets Ready for World Championships

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Last weekend in Hoogerheide, Ellen cemented her overall U23 World Cup Series win, took 39th, and prepared for the week ahead, at Luxembourg’s World Championship race.

“Hoogerheide wasn’t the race I was hoping for, but I’m feeling great with a little more rest this week, to head into this weekend,” Ellen explains. The fast track at the Dutch race made the groups large, and drafting became an important element of the incredibly speedy race.

“I’m not going to let the weekend’s results get in my head going into Worlds, I’m feeling really good. It’s my last year as a U23, so I’m looking to have my best result at the race.”

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In addition to the U23 overall series win, she finished sixth in the overall for Elite Women, an impressive endeavor, especially for a 21-year-old. “I’m really excited to have won the U23 overall. It was especially exciting because it’s the first year the UCI has had this category so it meant a lot to win it. I’m so thankful to my team and everyone who helped me get here,” she added.

And sixth overall in the Elite field was great as well. “It leaves room for improvement,” she added, “But it’s great to have finished there in my first year doing all of the World Cups.”

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The Aspire Racing team heads to Hoogerheide tomorrow, and make sure you follow Ellen’s race on Saturday at 1:30 PM CET.

Read more about Hoogerheide here:

Ellen 8th at Fiuggi World Cup

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This weekend, Ellen raced near Rome in Fiuggi, Italy at the penultimate round of World Cups for the year. She finished strong in eighth place, which propelled her into fifth in the World Cup overall while extending her U23 women’s lead in the series.

“Fiuggi was one of the most fun, yet also challenging races I have ever done. The slick, frozen course made for an unpredictable and exciting race,” she says.

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“I had a great start, getting the hole-shot and then settling into second in the first lap, but a few mistakes moved me back to fourth,” she explains. “I was feeling confident and fought hard to maintain position, but a few more mistakes and fatigue moved me into eighth place on the day.”

“All in all, it was a great day and I’m really happy with my racing and how well the team worked under a lot of pressure!” she concludes.

Next up, the team is heading to Hoogerheide for the last World Cup, where Ellen will defend her U23 title.

Check out more from Fiuggi here:

Ellen Wins U23 Nationals

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The Aspire Racing team had a great time racing in a practically hometown venue for National Championships in Hartford, under an hour from their homes in Easthampton. Ellen retained her U23 Women’s National Championship title, while teammate Jeremy Powers’ race was marred with an early crash that landed him in 24th place.

“Nationals this year was so great!” Ellen enthused. “The venue, the crowds and the course were all amazing, and really a point of pride for a New England cyclocross racer like myself. To come away with my third consecutive U23 national title was really a dream come true.”

A flawless race from start to finish had Ellen establishing a gap by the end of the first lap, and growing it as the race wore on.

“It’s a testament to the hard work of all my ‘people’ and I am so thankful for the support of the team during this season,” she added. “The race showed me I’m on good form for the rest of the season, including the World Championships, and I’m feeling motivated to race more than ever!”

“It was so awesome to have family  and friends there for the race in Hartford,” her teammate Jeremy said. “It’s nestled in the middle of the two places I’ve called home my whole life, and so the day was very special.”

Jeremy Powers had a rough day at Nationals.

Jeremy Powers had a rough day at Nationals.

“A big thank you to everyone who came out and supported our team this weekend!” Jeremy concluded. Stay tuned to see how the last round of European racing for the season goes.

Read more about the race here:

Ellen Scores 19th in Zolder, Maintains U23 World Cup Series Overall

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The Christmas week of racing in Europe has come to an end for Aspire Racing’s Ellen Noble, after two weekends of World Cups, first in Namur and yesterday, in Zolder (host to last January’s World Championship race). Ellen had a great start at Zolder—with a front row starting position—and a strong first three laps of racing in the lead groups as race favorites including Ellen Van Loy, Sanne Cant, Sophie De Boer, Katerina Nash and a recently-returned Marianne Vos battled for position.

“The Zolder World Cup yesterday was a very exciting, but also one of the most disappointing of my season!” Ellen says. “I had a really great start, and found myself in the top three for most of the first lap. In the second and third lap, I was racing in the chase group in the top 10 and feeling extremely strong.”

Ellen’s strong start and comfortable position remained until halfway through the race. “Unfortunately, at the end of the third lap, I suffered a mechanical that lost me some serious time,” she says. But she managed to work her way back up to a 19th place finish.

“I am so happy with the race overall, as I put out extremely consistent lap times and felt very strong. The experience garnered over this past week of racing is so valuable for nationals and the end of the season. This trip put me in a great headspace for the final weeks of racing, and I’m so thankful for the support that made it such an outstanding trip.”

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On January 8th, Ellen will be racing for another National title, so make sure to follow along!

Read more on the race here:

Ellen Scores 16th at Namur World Cup, Maintains U23 Lead

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This weekend, Ellen raced to 16th place at the World Cup at the Citadel of Namur in Belgium. The start line was stacked with top racers, from eventual winner Katarina Nash to current World Cup Overall leader Sophie de Boer, plus several American racers including Ellen.

The technical, hilly course challenged all of the racers, and Ellen explains, “I’ve always regarded it as the toughest World Cup of the year, as it’s a long, steep climb to the top, followed by a very technical descent. Compared to my result and race last year, I know that the race showed a lot of improvement which I am extremely proud of.”

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The result also extended Ellen’s U23 Series lead.

“I’m pretty pleased with my result yesterday at the Namur World Cup,” she added. “I further extended my U23 World Cup lead, and I pushed my limits physically and technically. So, while I would have liked to be a little farther up, I know I raced my best race and I am very happy with that!”

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Next weekend, Ellen heads to Zolder for another round of World Cup racing.

For more on the race:

Ellen Retains U23 World Cup Lead at Zeven, Races Flandriencross

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After a disappointing World Cup cancellation at Koksijde due to wind, Ellen and Jeremy headed to Zeven in Germany for the most recent round of World Cup racing. The weekend didn’t disappoint, with chilly temperatures and an interesting course.

Ellen took 10th place in the Elite Women’s race, and retained her U23 Women’s Overall lead in the World Cup series. Jeremy finished in 47th.

“This weekend was yet another amazing weekend of action-packed European racing,” Ellen says. “While both courses were surprisingly dry, compared to other courses that I’ve raced on, they were both extremely technical and favored a good starter and technical rider. On Saturday at the Zeven World Cup, I had a great start and maintained that position through the first lap. Unfortunately a bump-in with another rider lost my contact on the lead group, but I still managed to place 10th, which is an exciting result and I am happy with my consistency.
Maintaining the World Cup Overall is so exciting. I hadn’t imagined what it would be like to maintain it for this long into the season, but now I am preparing to do everything in order to maintain it.”

The next day, the winners of the Zeven World Cup—Sanne Cant and Mathieu Van Der Poel—repeated their wins in Belgium. Jeremy and Ellen also raced at Hamme in Belgium for Flandriencross, where Ellen finished 15 in the UCI C1 race and Jeremy finished in 23rd.

“Sunday, at Hamme-Zogge was not my best result of the season,” Ellen admits. “I felt fatigued from the long trip and a hard race the day before. I am happy to be at home now and regroup for the next trip to Europe for even more amazing cyclocross racing.”

After a long journey home, the Aspire Racing team is ready to rest up and prepare for the next big block of racing ahead of Nationals!

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More info on the races:

NoHoCX Serves Up Solid Home Race Weekend for Aspire

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Cycle-Smart International has been happening in Aspire Racing’s hometown for 26 years now, and the iconic NoHoCX race, as it’s now referred to, is one that the team all too often is forced to miss. But this year, the crew was home for the weekend and able to toe the line for two days of fast, fun UCI racing just minutes from home.

Ellen had a good weekend, taking fourth on Saturday and second on Sunday. “Northampton always holds a special place in my heart,” she says. “It was the first cyclocross race I ever did, and it really sparked my love for the sport.”

Both days, Ellen found herself in the lead group with Maghalie Rochette, Emma White and Crystal Anthony. Saturday’s race found the four riding together until Maghalie and Emma attacked and rode away, with Maghalie eventually taking the win. Sunday’s race played out similarly, but Ellen was in great racing form, and she and Emma were the two to take off midway through the race. Emma eventually finished with the win, but the battle was fierce.

“This weekend, despite some trouble on day 1, was equally as great. I always love racing at my hometown event, and seeing so many friends before heading over to Europe. Getting on the podium on Sunday was great, and gives me confidence heading into the next World Cup block.”

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“It’s such a great atmosphere and group of people, which made it a highly enjoyable weekend with friends and family 15 minutes from home,” Ellen’s teammate Jeremy Powers adds.

Saturday’s race played out tougher than he anticipated, thanks to a busy week and a fast group of racers on the front for the bulk of the race. Jeremy sat in the lead group for most of the race, until Curtis White attacked off the front about two-thirds into the hour of racing, and Jeremy worked with Jeremy Durrin and newcomer and JAM Fund rider Jack Kisseberth to chase back on. “With sponsor commitments on Wednesday and Thursday last week in NYC, I felt a bit off on Saturday and didn’t quite have a the snap I wanted for the race,” he explains, and he finished in fourth place.

Jeremy surprised the crowds by lining up for Sunday’s race as well, and he spent the race dueling with Curtis White. “Sunday, I felt good racing from the front for a majority of the day and ended up missing the win in the sprint finish with Curtis White,” he explains.

He handily took second place, and felt good about the result. “Tactically, I maybe didn’t ride my best race and came up a bike length short, but I got in a great effort and it was nice to be racing at the front again, pushing the pace and racing hard.”

Aspire Racing heads to Europe tomorrow for Koksijde and Zeven World Cups so stay tuned for updates!

Read more about the race here: