By Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D. —
Anthony Nocella: Could you tell me how you got into cycling and if any women supported you in the beginning?
Tiffany Schwartz: I got into cycling when I met my late boyfriend in 2013 and told him that I won an entry into a triathlon. He convinced me to do the duathlon because I don’t have a swimming background and a duathlon is a run-bike-run, something I got use to doing when I was getting over an achilles injury. I would run on a treadmill, go to spin class and jump back on the treadmill. He laughed at me when I didn’t have a bike to compete with, or at least a decent one. He went with me to look at bikes and helped me pick one out. He passed away before the race, but during the race I was on my bike, cages and all, passing other women and they stared at me. The biggest memory I have was a lady looking at me and said, “if you get clips you would be flying even more.” I ended up averaging over 19 mph. During 2013 I competed in a couple of women only duathlons, but it wasn’t until 2014 when I started riding with a really strong group of ladies out of New Jersey. My first meeting with them was during a women’s only 100 miler. They convinced me to ride with them on Thursdays. Because of the Hilltop Women’s group I learned to ride in pacelines, climb quickly and learn how strong women riders can be.
AN: Tell me a bit about your racing history, such as your podiums and other accomplishments, including the teams you have ridden and raced for.
TS: Here is a list, but there is also a link to the results that I may have not mentioned here.
I started racing in duathlons in 2013, I competed in local New Jersey duathlons (won all that I entered), USA Duathlon National Championships (2014, 2017), competed at ITU Duathlon World Championship (2015). All-American in Duathlon (2015). New Jersey Cyclocross State Champion (2015). Utah Hill Climb State Championship 3rd place (2016). Utah Time Trial State Champion (2017). Crusher in the Tushar 3rd in age-group (2018). Utah Super D State Champion (2018). Mountain Bike Nationals XCO Women’s Cat 1 3rd place (2019). Mountain Bike Nationals Short Track Women’s Cat 1 6th place (2019). Utah Cyclocross State Championship 3rd place (2019).
I crashed during a race during Midweek this summer and separated my shoulder so I spent my year running. Just ran a 3:03 marathon at California International Marathon, a 16 min Personal Best, so it was a decent year despite the crash.
I love being able to switch disciplines in the cycling world, though I love cyclocross and mountain biking the most.
- 2013-2014 — Origin Performance (now called Ian O’Brien Coaching)
- 2015-2017 — Elite Endurance and American First P/B P-Town CX
- 2018 — 3B/P-Town/Euclid Outdoors
- 2019 to current — Bingham Cycling Peak Fasteners Elite Team
AN: As a competitive cyclist can you tell me how your personal life or family life is shaped to support your racing and training?
TS: My family has always loved watching and hearing about my races ever since I started competing in track back in the 7th grade. They never really care about the results as long as I am happy throughout training and do not overextend myself with work and school. In addition to family, the support system around me has always been strong and that includes friends, SO’s, coaches and other competitors or athletes on all different kinds of platforms. Because of all that the pressure all comes from within, which has been difficult to manage at times but most of the time I tell myself to believe in the coaching, the training and what is done is done it’s time to just put it all together.
AN: When training and racing with other women what are some key differences that you see as the best part of the women’s cycling culture?
TS: The laughter! Post-ride/race chats, laughter and hugs are always the best. We always seem to challenge one another or fire each other up before the race, but afterward being able to have a great chat with the ladies you have pushed around or ran into on the course is a big difference I have noticed. The women’s field always seem to come together. If someone is having a bad day, check in with them to make sure they’re going to be okay and not just blow by and ignore them.
AN: In your opinion, how can the industry, race promoters, and bicycle shops be more inclusive to women and girls, besides hiring them as is much needed?
TS: Be more open to listening about what women have to say and do not expect that every woman that comes in knows just the basics or hasn’t been riding for very long. Having equal or more pay for women’s fields does make it more fair as well, I have been in a couple of running races that have a bigger pay field for women then for the males field. Having women-only tech sessions at shops to teach how to do simple mechanic services would be great.
AN: How can the general community support upcoming girls who want to be elite racing cyclists like you, and what do you have to say to young girls?
TS: It’s really okay to take a break from racing and it is also okay to be in multiple sports! Being in multisports, it can prevent burnout and also bring joy coming back to the main sport. I have been running in competitions since the 7th grade, so when I found cycling it was a very nice switch. Now when I take time away from one sport I miss the other one, so when it’s time to embrace the training it fills me with joy. Therefore I say that community should embrace the acceptance of multisport.