One of the good warriors of the US women peloton has decided to retire this year. After 11 years of racing, training, and traveling, the very talented sprinter, Kelly Fisher-Goodwin (formerly Kelly Fisher Benjamin) of Colavita/Forno D’Asolo, announced her retirement. We checked in with Fisher-Goodwin to get her thoughts on leaving road racing and her future.
What went into your decision to retire at the end of this road season?
Honestly more than anything, the reason I decided to retire is that the baby is coming. It’s really hard actually. I used to feel that I would race forever. Especially this year with the team being phenomenal. I felt like I never wanted it to end. I have been racing for 11 years and full time for seven years. With Kristin being pregnant I really feel this is the right time. I just feel ready. It’s not the racing or the training, it’s all of the travel. If I could race year round in my hometown, I would. The thought of getting on an airplane to get to a race is repulsive. I think if I didn’t have the baby on the way, I am pretty sure I could be talked into doing another season. I talked to Rachel (Heal) and I miss my team mates. They want me to race but we have a really big job ahead in taking care of the baby.
What are your fondest memories of being a professional rider?
There are so many great memories. There are not that many women who get to race full time. I feel so blessed to have been able to do this for as long as I did. I was on Cheerwine for 3 years and we were twice the best team in the country and I have been on Colavita and we were the best team in the country. I have had the opportunity to be on the best team with the best staff. I learned a ton. I spoke with my former team mate Tina Pic when she retired. She kept saying that you are not going to remember the bike races. There are so many bike races. You are going to remember the girls and the experiences. There have been so many fun times. I love talking with girls and we remember when we laughed so hard we couldn’t stand up, or the time we were pissed about losing a race.
What is your most memorable achievement?
Of all the races I have done the most gratifying was watching Tina (Pic) win the 2009 National Criterium Championship. This was by far and away my favorite accomplishment. That race in particular was special. We raced eight girls. Not one of us finished but Tina did and she won. We knew that with 2 laps to go that she was going to win. There was no doubt. We had talked about it. If anything goes wrong it was going to be me to get her there and I did. Tina was like, “Let’s do this.” To see her come across the finish line, ten years older than everybody, in her last race. She is such a good friend and gracious champion. It really was the best. Everyone did their job. The reason I was fresh at the end for Tina was because everyone did their job. It was a really special day.
I have a lot of good experiences when I was racing with Cheerwine. 2008 really stands out for me. It was my best year personally. Laura (Van Gilder) was winning everything and I was learning how to do great lead outs. I was winning a lot of races too. Winning the USA Crit series was great. Going to the Pan Am games and winning a gold medal was special too. There has been so much.
Why do you think Colavita was so successful this year? Why do you think your team remains so close?
I have been asked that a lot. I have been on a lot of teams and I know what we had was special. The 2008 Cheerwine team was amazing. I thought that was the pinnacle but now looking back on it this Colavita team has more. The chemistry on this team is something special. Here’s the thing…it’s actually quite simple. From day one Rachel and the staff came aboard knowing their exact role. There was no hierarchy, no ego. Everybody knew their deal from the beginning. The whole point is for the team to win. I think people just assume that Teresa (Cliff-Ryan) is pushing to win, or me, or Cath (Cheatley). Our competitors can’t defend our whole team and our whole team is out there to win. The teams who are suppose to know how to race, we watched the infighting during the race. While they are busy doing that, we were winning. It’s not that hard. Maybe it’s because Rachel picks the riders who are team players and are selfless. She demands honesty. If you are not feeling 100% or not comfortable with your role then you have to speak up. The team is dependent on the riders honesty. There are too many good riders on our team. You can’t take up a spot on the roster if you are not 100% there.
You are starting to race cyclocross this year….
I have been racing cyclocross this year. Racing the USGP and CrossVegas was like being tossed in the deep end. Honestly it was too much for me. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have the right skills. I didn’t even know how to get off my bike and then I realized I would be racing against Katerina Nash. Really? I was getting discouraged because I am not used to sucking at anything. I never felt, in the big races, like I could race. I came back to Missouri and won some local races. It allowed me to ride and learn. Every week I am getting better and better. Now that I have done some local regional races, I can concentrate and work on the turns and barriers. It’s been a blast because it’s all new. I am committed to racing. I’ll not put so much pressure on myself this year. It’s fun for me right now. I am coached by Alison Dunlap.
What are your feelings about being a new parent?
We planned everything about this baby. You’d think we would be ready but you are never ready. This has been the most amazing journey. We are both first time parents and knew nothing about birthing and breast feeding and maternity clothes. I mean holy shit, I have PhD in this stuff now. I am by nature a researcher. I am reading everything about being a parent. We are feeling more ready today. I can’t wait for the baby to get here. It’s starting to become a reality. Our friends and family have been so generous and have been so supportive.
- 2010 Member – US Pan-Am Games Gold Medal Team
- 2008 USA Crit Series Overall
- 2008 Tulsa Tough Omnium
- 2008 1st Austin AT&T Downtown Criterium
- 2007 Member – USA National Track World Cup Team
- 2x International Cycling Classic — Overall
- 3x Beaufort Memorial Criterium winner
On a personal note….Kelly thanks for being the consummate professional. You always made yourself available to us…always had a smile and a fantastic quote. Many, many thanks Kelly!! See you at the cyclocross races with your little one.