Chicago Fitness & Recovery Center

EDGE April Athlete of the Month - Annie Byrne!


Meet our April EDGE Athlete of the Month - Annie Byrne! We’re so pumped to follow her cycling season after a helluva lot of hard work this winter, she’s hot out of the gates (seriously, this gal has been sweeping up first place podiums at the early season races!)

How many years have you been racing?

I started racing in 2012 so this is my fifth year. I raced a lot my first year, then started training and raced even more my second year. Then we opened BFF Bikes so I couldn't get out as much or really train during the last two years with the shop bring brand new. Now I'm training again and hope to do some bigger races this year.

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How did you get started in cycling?

I rode a bike as a kid and in college to get around, but when I moved to Chicago I did not touch my bike for several years. Then in the spring of 2007 my place of work was participating in the city’s annual Bike Commuter Challenge. My employer was the reigning champion of this competition and took it very seriously so everyone was STRONGLY encouraged to participate. I borrowed a crappy bike that was too small for me and rode to work. Within the first five minutes, I realized I must get a bike ASAP. It was a FAR more enjoyable commute than the train, took less time, not as scary as I thought it would be, and was great to be outside and get some exercise. That summer I started doing longer recreational rides on the weekends, and it just gradually escalated. The more I rode, the more I loved it.

 

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What was your first race?

My first race was the Gapers Block criterium, now known as the Skyway Classic. It’s a very beginner friendly race, so was a great experience. It’s four nights in a row and I raced all four nights. I was hooked after the first lap on the first night.

What is your favorite style of racing?

Last summer I did a fixed gear criterium and it was amazing. On a fixed gear bike there is no coasting or shifting so it’s very different from typical road races, and it’s longer and more technical than track racing on a velodrome. I loved it.

 

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Least favorite workout

Sprints, no question.

What's your favorite post-race meal?

Currently, scrambled eggs with spinach with sweet potato hash with avocado.

What’s your proudest accomplishment?

I’m really proud of what we’ve done with the BFF Bikes Racing team. I love seeing so many women get into racing, set and reach goals for themselves, and do things they never thought was possible.

 

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Any Mantras?

One mantra that always seems to do the trick when I’m really hurting is “You got this, you love this, this feels goooooooood.” Convincing myself that I enjoy the pain-- that it actually feels good-- helps me push harder.

What are your 2016 Goals?

I need to reassess my goals! I just had a great first race and reached a goal to win a race and successfully breakaway from the pack. I *should* really have a goal focused on improving my sprint… that is a limiter for me and I want to reach my full potential so I have to address that. Also I really want to learn to do the Madison race on the track, which is a partner race where racers take turns riding laps and fling one another to exchange. It terrifies me but looks so fun.

Your bike team - BFF Bikes - won Women’s Club of the Year in 2015, what can we expect to see from this kick ass group in 2016?

I think in 2016 the team is going to reach new levels of team strategy and tactics and you’ll see lots of podium photos! Also personally I hope to get more teammates racing with me at the track!

 

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Your favorite activity at EDGE:

Drinking coffee in the boots.

Your least favorite activity at EDGE:

Ice bath.

The Best Part of being an EDGE Athlete:

It’s made me a better athlete! I love the environment at Edge and knowing I can go there makes me excited to workout and train harder. I always look forward to days I get to go to Edge.

One thing that would surprise us about you:

It took me a LOOOONG time to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. I finally got it when I was 10 years old!




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