Inaugural TSH racer in residence: Laurel Rathbun

Photographs by Luke, Sam and Alex

Words by Luke

Katherine Bertine’s film Half the Road created a more dynamic argument for women cyclists share of the road, and we want to help continue this inspirational journey by encouraging near hypnotic, romantic fandom for the sport we love and for the riders who have committed their bodies and souls to elite racing. We are convinced, with tifosi fervor, that if women join men in sharing the road, there are no limits to what anyone can do in this sport.

Cycling needs more fans, women’s cycling needs even more fans, and fandom propelled us to ask Laurel Rathbun to be our first rider in residence. This nineteen year old racer boasts four national championships and stars on the Raleigh Clement cyclocross team. Check out Lauren’s USA Cycling Page and read this interview at Pretty Damned Fast — she’s pretty amazing. If you’re still not convinced, watch this interview and follow her on Instagram. Keep your eye on the UCI CX schedule and yell her name when she goes by!

Laurel Rathbun! Laurel Rathbun! Laurel Rathbun!

Laurel Rathbun: Racer in Residence

Tenspeed Hero’s racer in residence program provides support for up and coming riders. We invited Laurel to be our very first rider in residence around the time of the Tulsa Tough. During her three weeks with TSH, Laurel raced seven times as part of the Intelligentsia Cup, worked at the TSH studio in Chicago, attended our CX camp in Idaho and helped us model our Fall CX collection. Extracurricular activities included a Taylor Swift concert (she knows every song by heart and and sang along to prove it), kayaking on the Chicago River (her arms, back and neck still hurt) and chess (she won every game – relying on middle school chess club tactics).

What do we know about Laurel Rathbun after three weeks?

Laurel is a part of a large wave of junior and U23 women bursting onto the scene in elite racing. Week in and week out they battle veterans twice their age for podium spots. Their resumes show their dedication — many still teenagers. It bodes well for the future of our sport.
Laurel: “The Teenager.” Her smile beams moments after finishing a criterium in 100 degree weather, even after finding out the prime she sprinted for was not $200 but a simple bag of coffee. On road trips, she sings with the rest of our summer interns. She also happily sings alone. In quiet moments she perches in a comfortable chair in a perfectly lit corner reading a book. Before races she prefers hip hop, and when the road turns more pastoral she sets up a playlist of contemporary country music peppered with George Strait classics. Laurel can also ride her bike down a hotel hallway, swipe the door key while doing a track stand and enter the room with no assistance. Oh and she loves bacon. She really, really, really loves bacon though to be honest she may have eaten more lox than bacon when we were with her. She also loves fruit. By the end of the residency she became our friend, our muse on the bike and our goofy pal trying to make cycling as joyful as possible.

A Gallery of Laurel Rathbun’s residency