Alison Powers announced last week that she’s retiring from professional cycling, ending a highly successful career in which she won one Pan-American and five National Championship titles.
Riding with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, this final season was probably also her most successful, winning the U.S. National road race and time trial championships as well as the Tour de Gila criterium, Amgen Tour of California time trial, overall classification at the Tour de Femenino de San Luis and more.
In fact, in her eight-year career, Powers has won or been part of a team that has won almost every single big race in the United States. And now she’s ready to close her racing chapter and open another.
"It doesn’t feel hard at all to leave cycling," said Powers. "Despite being on a really great team, I have known all year that it was going to be my last. All the success I had this year was icing on the cake. I 'm leaving with a smile on my face."
A former professional Alpine skier, Powers began her professional career for Colavita-Sutter Home in 2007, winning the Pan-American time trial title that very first year.
She went on to race with the USA National Team, Team Type 1, team TIBCO and NOW and Novartis for MS before ending her career with the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team.
Powers saw many victories along the way but her dominance in the domestic peloton really shone when she won the national road race in Chattanooga, TN, this past May and became the first American cyclist to win consecutive national titles in the criterium, road race and time trial.
"This year, with winning the national TT and road race, stands out," said Powers reflecting on her career highlights. "Then there’s the Tour of California win and the PanAm title back in 2007 – I still have that jersey and medal hanging in a frame on my wall."
So why retire this year, after all that success?
With cycling being her second professional athletic career, Powers had one overarching goal when she came into the sport: to enjoy what she’s doing. After eight years of professional cycling, the joy has faded.
"I no longer enjoyed the training, the traveling and even the racing anymore," said Powers. "I just wasn’t into it anymore so it was time to move on...I just want to ride bikes for fun without a computer telling me how hard to go."
And while she’s excited to see women’s cycling gain momentum with the recent announcement of a women’s Tour of California and a rumored women’s Pro Challenge, there’s no race that could draw Powers out of her retirement.
But that doesn’t mean she’s planning to leave the sport for good.
"If women want to grow the sport of cycling, they need to stay in the sport and help build women’s cycling," she said.
And that’s exactly what she’ll be doing.
In her retirement, Powers plans to spend more time with her friends and family and to grow her coaching business, ALP Cycles Coaching.
"Riding bikes really is my passion and I enjoy helping other people with their passions," she said.
Fun fact: Two of her clients, Raquel Miller (Zimmer Capital p/b Foundation ) and Jen Whalen (SPY-Giant-RIDE), raced alongside/against Powers in the national road race.
Powers leaves the sport of bike racing happy, accomplished and grateful.
"I had the privilege to race bikes for a living and there are a lot of people who made that possible for me," she said. "I want to thank my fiancé who put up with me being a very anal bike racer for seven years. And then there is a long list of amazing teammates, directors and sponsors –too many to call out. "I feel really lucky to have had this kind of support, camaraderie and success in my life."