Let me introduce myself………
By Robin Farina
I’m Robin Farina, 2011 US National Road Racing Champion. I’m also co-owner of Uptown Cycles in Charlotte, North Carolina and I am currently a pro rider for NOW and Novartis for MS Women’s Professional Cycling Team.
Thankfully, I am not a new or young rider anymore and consider myself in the prime of my cycling career. At the age of 35, racing age 36…I have been racing bikes for a little over 10 years. It all started on a hybrid back in Nashville, TN on the Belmont Blvd when I was about 24yrs old. I had suffered some reoccurring injuries through soccer, tennis and running and was forced to either “get a bike or get in the pool”. The choice was a no brainer for me. My need for pushing my limit and my love for the outdoors motivated me to visit a local bike shop, Cumberland Transit. I remember walking into the shop and actually being taken seriously and encouraged to give bike racing a shot. I didn’t know jack about bikes back then but years later it has made me realize how I want every person especially women treated when they walk in the door at Uptown Cycles (the bike shop I co-own in Charlotte, NC) and are interested in buying a bike.
Throughout my cycling career and experience with owning a bike shop/training-coaching center, I have been lucky enough to be mentored by several top cyclists and highly successful individuals. They have taught me the importance of teamwork, communication and giving 100%. I have taken this advice and tried extremely hard to help “raise the bar” for the teams that I ride for, the riders that I coach and anyone interested in hopping on a bike. It’s the love of the bike, the people I have met and the places I get to go that inspires me to keep racing and help get more people on bikes.
My goal for this column is to inform you of how a professional women’s cycling team operates, the experiences we have on the road during race time (which can be highly entertaining if you ever follow my twitter Robin_Farina and/or facebook) and introduce you to the amazing riders and staff of my team, NOW and Novartis for MS.
The past three years I have been fortunate to race for the same team. The team has grown from 6 riders to a strong force that has multiple national titles and international experienced riders that continually support striving for parity in women’s cycling and development of young riders. The NOW and Novartis for MS team does not only show up to win races but we also participate in Bike MS events around the country and captain a tandem bike with a person who is living with MS. It’s a very inspiring campaign and I encourage you to check our team out at www.togetherinms.com so you can start to see what positive role models and bad-ass bike racers we are!
The more exposure and fans we can bring to professional women’s cycling the stronger our sport will become. My interest is to grow cycling as a sport and spread awareness that women’s professional cycling should be given a chance to operate, gain media exposure and pay salaries like professional sports such as tennis, golf, hell even NASCAR!
As the NOW and Novartis for MS team begins our “real” racing season next week at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, I encourage you to follow us through my weekly column here on cyclingillustrated and on twitter @nooppwasted. We have all the excitement and DRAMA that Euro teams have but we don’t have to race in the snow and ice, which honestly doesn’t make you tougher. It just makes you miserable and cold!
Next week I will introduce some of my witty and charming teammates so you can become fans of them and follow them too. We won’t bore you with the play-by-play race report but offer up some scoop on what goes on in the women’s peloton during the races, on the team van, while riding our super sexy Specialized Amiras and anywhere else that provides the laughs and fun that I have enjoyed during my cycling career.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you want to know about Women’s PRO Cycling!
**Robin Farina is the former 2011 US National Road Racing Champion, Co-owner of Uptown Cycles in Charlotte, NC and current pro rider for NOW and Novartis for MS Women’s Professional Cycling Team.