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tara parsons

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Personal Information:

What is something most people don’t know, or would be surprised to learn, about you?

I am in love with my dog, Jessie the wonderdog. Wait, maybe that isn’t surprising, at least not to those who follow my social media feeds?

What is an accomplishment that makes you proud?

I am really happy that I have kept this sport in my life, and I am really proud to help others achieve their goals in the sport we mutually love.

What motivates/inspires you?

Watching others reach their goals. I no longer focus on my own racing, but coach others for road racing. I am totally motivated by the enthusiasm and excitement of my athletes, and I love encouraging and nurturing it.

What is your personal mantra?

Just keep pedaling.

What person has most shaped your life, why?

Jessie the wonderdog, LOL!

Where are the best places to follow you online?

Facebook: Tara Parsons
Twitter: @coachTPar
Instagram: @TaraLeeParsons

What is your favorite Amrita Bar?

Pineapple Chia

What is your day job?

Teacher

Where are you located?

New York, NY

Are you plant-based, why or why not?

Mostly, yes. Although now I do occasionally eat some swimming fishes. But I became a vegetarian when I was 17 and spent my racing career (10 years) primarily as a vegan (boy, do I wish there were Amrita bars back then!). I believe that the nutrition quality of a plant-based diet is better for my body, and it is definitely better for the planet. I also happen to love vegetables!

Athletic Information:

What sport do you compete in?

Cyclocross racing

How did you get started in your sport?

I began road racing in the mid 90’s after a winter spent as a bike messenger, and then rode at the elite level for many years. I now race ‘cross because it is so fun.

Why did you continue with your sport?10644534_10102988451341408_1993519082590518986_o

I love riding and cannot live without it in my life. It keeps me balanced. I also love working with new women riders and getting them into the sport.

How did you get into teaching/training others? 

A friend who I knew from outside of cycling asked me to help mentor her. I realized that I loved working with her and enjoyed seeing my sport from the fresh eyes of new riders. This brought me into coaching riders for the road and cyclocross.

What is your favorite workout, why?

Working on skills, both on and off road. Skill work is like a game, and games are always fun!

What affect has Amrita had on your training?

I love that I can grab a bar and be confident that I am ingesting something that is good for me. I stay away from “processed” foods, but I don’t always have time to hand make everything, so having an Amrita bar always ensures that I don’t get hungry and cranky [hangry]. I hate being hungry!

What is your favorite race, why?

I used to love the Tour de Toona, a 5-7 day stage race in central Pennsylvania. They gave the elite women racers the same distances and the same prize money as the men. There was also always a lot of local community support.

What is your pre-race / warm-up routine?

For cyclocross, I like to get to the race early enough that I can pre-ride the course with Jessie the wonderdog. She loves the barriers.

What gets you most excited to compete?

I love seeing friends at the races, and I love the feeling of going hard.

What gives you an advantage over your competition?

Not taking it too seriously.

What are some resources you use for information on training, diet, etc?

Regarding diet: EAT REAL FOOD. This is one reason that I love Amrita bars- they are made with whole foods.

What are your goals for 2015?

Get more people excited about riding bikes!

What are the most important races you have scheduled for 2015?

TBD

Advice to Others:

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given – and would be eager to pass along to others?

Be patient. Racing a bike well can take 3-5 years of physiological adaptations and tactical skill building.

What tip(s) do you have for new athletes?

Work on skills before focusing on fitness. Anyone can ride hard, but it takes heart to ride with finesse.

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