Catching Up With Rally Cycling’s Katie Clouse

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Congratulations on your recent signing with Rally Cycling. We will get to that in a little bit, but first I’d like to ask you a few background questions for our readers. First a few quick shots, and then into the real questions.

  • Nickname(s): KT, KTC, roommates call me Kat
  • Favorite food: Tacooossss!!
  • Favorite coffee/tea beverage: Cappuccino
  • Favorite book: Animal Farm
  • Favorite movie: Talladega Nights
  • Favorite music: I love old country, George Strait is one my favorite artists
  • Favorite quote: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Utah's Katie Clouse has joined Rally Cycling for 2021. Photo courtesy Katie Clouse
Utah's Katie Clouse has joined Rally Cycling for 2021. Photo courtesy Katie Clouse

SLS: How did you first get into cycling, and when did you realize that the sport is something you really have a talent for?

KTC: I first started riding MTBs outside off my backyard around 8 years old. I grew up skiing and always thought that was where I would end up. I really was not great my first few MTB races but as soon as I got the gist of it, it’s like something clicked for me and I went from and 8 year-old who basically just got off training wheels to winning a national championship the following year.

SLS: Who are your heroes and inspirations as a cyclist?

KTC: I had a lot of heroes and role models growing up. The whole Utah cycling community were my heroes. I raced with girls who pushed me to be better every race. Women who were still congratulating me at age 12 when I was racing against them. Cole Sport, DNA Cycling and Hangar 15 (Canyon Bicycles at the time) were my heroes because they put me into this sport and gave me the pathway to succeed for the rest of my career. Though, if I had to choose one person as my inspiration it would probably be Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. I think I was around 13 when I saw her win Worlds in every single discipline she did. That lit a fire inside me because I knew that is what I wanted to do when I was older, even if people said it was not possible.

SLS: You are just 19 years old, but have already won 31 national championships, across various age categories and disciplines. Is there a particular championship race that really stands out against the rest?

KTC: All of them are so special to me. I, and everyone around me, has worked so hard to be able to get where I am today and have 31 National Championships. If I honestly had to pick one result, it would be the race I won at collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships (in 2019). I won in the short track with a stacked field of MTB racers.

I was nervous because I hadn’t raced much MTB that season and didn’t have a good weekend at regular MTB Nationals earlier in July. I came into Collegiate Nationals off my training from Road Worlds, which was probably the hardest and most dedicated I’ve ever been on a bike. Road Worlds went poorly for me with crashes and not being able to show my true potential. So being able to go into Collegiate Nationals and take a win with such high-level girls in my field felt amazing. It put me right back on track heading into cross season!

SLS: I got to know you when you were just starting out doing the Utah Cyclocross Series, but I understand you had already been mountain biking for a couple of years before that. When it comes down to it, what is your favorite discipline in the sport; when are you the happiest on the bike?

KTC: Racing my cyclocross bike probably gives me the most joy while racing from any of the other disciplines. But riding my MTB is probably when I have the most fun on a bike. While I’m in an off-season, I usually will take that time and go explore and ride my mountain bike for fun. It’s a good reset going into a new season of racing. I love riding my road bike as well, I have the best time on all three.

SLS: Cycling is an expensive sport, not just with equipment, but with travel as well. What kind of support have you had through your career thus far to get you to where you are?

KTC: I was lucky that my dad knew multiple people already in the cycling community before I started. I grew up racing through Cole Sports which gave me the capability to race and travel. Since it’s such an expensive sport, I really got lucky with the amount of people that were looking after me and supporting me even from when I was a little girl. Even with all this support, my parents put an immense amount of time and money into my brother and I. I am so grateful for all my sponsors and team and community that has been there supporting me, but I couldn’t of done all of this without the support of my family.

Katie Clouse is moving from DNA Cycling to Rally Cycling in 2021. Photo by Cathy Fegan-Kim

SLS: You have spent the past couple of years splitting your time between the DNA Pro Cycling Team on the road, Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com for cyclocross, as well as racing collegiately for Colorado Mesa University.

How did the contract with Rally Cycling come about? Has making this step been in the works for a couple of years, or is it a more recent event?

KTC: I had talked a little to Rally in previous years, nothing serious just some conversations. I think at the time they were looking for someone to really commit to all road and I was still racing ‘cross and mountain bikes at the time. DNA also was the best fit for me at the time. I wasn’t looking to do any bigger races than what I was at the time, and DNA was giving me the perfect schedule and flexibility to do all three disciplines.

This year Rally reached out to me about 2021 season and with all the uncertainty of racing next year, especially in the US, I felt like I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to race in Europe.

Katie Clouse raced the U23 Cyclocross Nationals in 2019-20 for Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld. She will continue to race for the team in 2021. Photo by Meg McMahon
Katie Clouse raced the U23 Cyclocross Nationals in 2019-20 for Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld. She will continue to race for the team in 2021. Photo by Meg McMahon

SLS: How will racing for Rally on the road affect your ability to still race collegiately while you’re in school, and cyclocross in the winter (and will you still be racing with Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com or will you be racing cyclocross for Rally as well)?

KTC: I talked a lot with Rally before committing, because I know they wanted a rider who could commit to the road. I also wanted a team that would allow the type of flexibility that I needed to race Cyclocross and Collegiate with my CMU team. What drew me to Rally was the ability to be in Europe and allowing me to still race with my collegiate and cyclocross teams. I will still race ‘cross with Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld when the road season is over!

SLS: What does your program with Rally Cycling look like? How much time do you expect to spend racing in Europe in 2021?

KTC: Depending on racing, it sounds like there will be about 3 trips to Europe, about 2-4 weeks long depending on what races we get invited to and what races are able to be held with COVID-19. In between European trips, we hope to be able to race the North American stage races, Pro Nationals, etc.

SLS: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Katie. Is there anything else you’d like to let the readers of Cycling West know?

KTC: Right now [mid-November] I am recovering from a shoulder surgery I had about 4 weeks ago caused by multiple dislocations of my shoulder. This will be my first cyclocross season that I’m not racing due to a torn labrum. My Cannondale teammates are actually over in Europe right now. I have about 2 more weeks in a sling and then another 12 weeks of PT. I’m moving forward though and feeling better everyday!

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