Samantha Schneider on ToAD and Crit Racing
A week ago, during the Shorewood stage of the Tour of America’s Dairyland (ToAD), I was talking to some of the race staff when they pointed out that a group of girls walking by was part of the ISCorp Pro Cycling Team. I took a closer look and sure enough, there was Samantha Schneider and the team walking by, incognito in civilian clothes, taking in the race’s atmosphere. Not wanting to miss out on an interview with one of the North America’s biggest criterium racers, I caught up with them as they wandered over to the Rishi Organic Tea stand – a Milwaukee-based company and one of ISCorp’s sponsors.
When it comes to women’s cycling, Sam is one of the US Cycling’s biggest stars. Winner of USA Cycling’s 2015 National Criterium Calendar (NCC) and 2016 Pro Road Tour (PRT), Samantha Schneider’s palmarès are too long to list. In just the last few months, Sam has added to her win tally by winning at Athens Twilight Criterium and taking the overall omnium at Tulsa Tough. Sam is also the current points leader for the USA CRITS Series and the Cycling News Bell Lap Criterium Series. During the ToAD weekend, Sam had a reduced presence due to the US National Championships overlapping with some of ToAD’s stage, but she still managed to win two of the three races she entered.
So, as we sipped some chilled Rishi tea and watched the Fyxation Open fixed-gear races begin, I got the chance to peek inside the mind of one of the biggest talents of her generation.
Nathan (N): Thanks for sitting down with me to talk Sam.
Samantha Schneider (SS): It’s my pleasure.
N: You just got back from the US Criterium Nationals (Crit Nats). What are your thoughts on the race and the strangeness of the winner coming from a breakaway for the second year in a row?
SS: Crit Nationals were a bit disappointing for me, I was expecting to do a little bit better than seventh place. The late breakaway was a bit of a surprise. It just had the right combination of women [Ed. Leigh Ann Ganzar (Wolfpack p/b Hyperthreads), Kelly Catlin (Rally Cycling), and Jennifer Luebke (Hagens Berman-Supermint)]. Their attack went up the road super late in the race and at that point there wasn’t much to do except finish.
N: While you were duking it out at Crit Nats, Katie Compton, a fellow Trek-sponsored rider, has been guest riding for ISCorp at ToAD. What do you think of all the success she’s been having in these criteriums? [Ed. Katie Compton finished third overall in the ToAD omnium and scored points in every race of the series]
SS: She’s doing awesome, it’s really cool to see that she’s being so consistent in the crits and really giving the crit riders a run for their money.
N: I didn’t know cyclocrossers could perform like this on the pavement!
SS: Yeah! She’s surprising us all! A woman of many talents.
N: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
SS: Continue what we’re doing. The team is so strong that they make it easy for me to get the win at the end and hopefully we can keep that up. And maybe get some of the other girls on the podium. We had a good week at the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic, we had three of our girls on the podium so maybe one or two sweeps again.
N: That would be great. You and ISCorp Pro Cycling have really been a dominating force during these USA CRITS Series races!
SS: Thanks! It really is a great team.
N: Getting back to racing at ToAD, what’s it like to race in Milwaukee with it being your hometown? How many fans out here are either related to you or your friends?
SS: (Laughs) Quite a few! The team, ISCorp, has a lot of fans cheering for us. The girls stay at my parent’s house so they’re like family. We have one big family racing and cheering for us.
N: Sounds like you have the perfect host family!