Charity, team shine in nationals event |

Charity, team shine in nationals event

— It’s Arkansas this weekend, South Carolina earlier in the week, California last week and there’s been a dash of Colorado in the midst of all of that.

The race schedule has been demanding for Steamboat Springs professional cyclist Amy Charity, but its been rewarding, and earlier this week she said she accomplished one of the biggest achievements of her career.

Charity is riding with Optum Pro Cycling and was with the squad earlier this week when it won the United States Team Time Trial National Championships in South Carolina.

“This was a pretty big one. It’s been a big focus for our team,” she said. “It’s still sinking in that it actually happened. In my cycling career, this is the best moment I’ve had.”

The event sent squads of six riders onto the course to race together in a time trial.

Optum has spent several training camps working on every detail of the race, from the start to the finish. They developed a strategy and rode with radios to help communicate on the course.

“We were all on time trials bikes and all had aero bars. We were wearing speed suits and aero helmets, shoe covers and everything you could possible have to be as aero has possible,” she said. “Our average speed was just under 30 miles per hour, and it was a hilly course. We were flying.”

It paid off, and they crossed the finish line ahead of their main rivals in the event, a team from United Healthcare. They finished in 42 minutes, 35.21 seconds, nearly 35 seconds ahead of the competition.

That doesn’t change the team’s travel plans much for the season, but it does change what they’ll be packing.

Any time the team races in a team time trial from here on out, including at the world championships in Richmond in the fall, they’ll do so in United States-themed stars-and-stripes speed suits.

That’s one of the perks of winning.

“It’s pretty cool,” Charity said. “It gives me chills just to think about that.”

It’s not just that one race that’s been strong for her and her team, either. Charity is in 11th place overall this weekend in a race in an international Arkansas and was 10th overall in at the Redlands Bicycle Classic last week in California.

“Three of us were in the top 10 there, which was really good,” Charity said. “For a race that size and with that caliber of riders, we were really pleased. Everyone’s strong. Everyone at some point delivers. It’s pretty cool to be a part of it.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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