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Making Colorado Home

My name is Starla Teddergreen. I have been a pro cyclist since 2009, and I’m currently a UCI Pro on Team Illuminate. For the previous three years I raced on UCI team Hagens Berman Supermint. In 2019 (the last true race season) I won the overall USA Crits title, and stood on the podium more times then I can count, (but if I’m trying to count at least 16, and i’m a domestique). I’ve won Sprinters Jerseys, Climbers Jerseys, my weight in beer (twice, and I’m celiac so my husband got it all), and a big pro wrestling style belt twice at the San Rafael Twilight criterium.

For 2020 I signed with Team Illuminate as team captain. Our calendar was scheduled to start in Thailand, then to China, all over Europe, Canada, US and on to Columbia. Then our season was cancelled. We found it irresponsible to bring riders from 5 different countries together, and then travel. Early on as a team, we cancelled the season so we could all stop feeling so anxious about what was next, and instead focus our energy on preparing to be ready when the conditions were right.

Now with the 2021 season ahead I returned to wondering what will things look like. I still had questions and anxiety around will racing even be possible. So I started reaching out to other athletes, and directors for their take on things to come, having hard conversations, and then one conversation that was a turning point for me.

Here are a few points from that conversation that I found particularly impactful.

  • Astronauts tirelessly train, preparing, confident and ready for when their time arrives and they are called up.
  • My time is not right now. I am waiting for the right conditions. A great metaphor was to look at a surfer. She goes out ready, takes a look at the water, she assesses the waves and makes the call. There’s no swell today, so she packs it in to go about her day, because she knows that the conditions will be right eventually, just not right now.
  • Keep that competitive fire burning but don’t let it burn your house down.
    I have been on a schedule and followed a calendar for 15 years now, and it’s hard, but not impossible, to break free from that, to relax, asses the situation, and internalize that conditions are not right, but they will be and I will be ready.

As a goal driven person, I am determined to not allow the situation to define who I am as a athlete or a person. I have been allowing my self to explore the possibility of new challenges, thinking about challenges that scare me, and secretly plotting to go big, to go really big and maybe just maybe announce going for a course record not in my discipline but in the dirt. Why? Because I’m an athlete. As an athlete its not about winning races (but its pretty freaking fantastic to!). Its about knowing that I put in the hard work, that the universe was in my favor on a given day, and I gave it my all and pushed myself to the limit of my ability. And it’s that level of ability I am always looking to expand, to push further. It doesn’t matter how young or old I am, or how I’m defined in my sport. I’ve already proven that a sprinter can climb, and that when I bet on myself I can win, so in 2021 I’m writing the rules, and looking to inspire others to do the same.

I’m returning to Team Illuminate in 2021 but we have no answers as to what our season will look like, and that’s ok because we are going epic, creating an alternative season, because lets be honest, things are not going to go back to “normal.”

I am embracing these challenging times and enjoying where I am at. Just about every day I find my self in a situation where I turn to my husband and say “buddy, we live here” with a big smile on my face and true excitement because we get to call Colorado home!

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