The Trek Cyclocross Collective rider is looking forward to her third Cyclocross World Championships
Talk to any competitive cyclist and competing at the World Championships would be high on their list of goals. For Trek Cyclocross Collective rider Emma Swartz this will be her third-time racing at the pinnacle of the sport after being selected to represent the USA at the upcoming Cyclocross World Championships in Valkenburg.
It hasn’t been an easy ride for the 20-year-old Marian University Biology major. After two years of pre-season bad luck, including a major concussion in 2016 and a broken elbow in 2017, she’s fought back to find late season form.
"I was really worried this season was going to be pretty rough. Before the season started, I had set the goals of placing top 15 at a C1 event, podium at a C2, top 5 at U23 nationals, and make the World Championship team."
Five months later and Swartz had surpassed them all.
"I wasn't willing to let those goals go and worked incredibly hard to make up for lost time and was able to achieve them all. I also got to race the World Cup in Waterloo, Wisconsin which was an added bonus."
2017 has seen some significant advancements in women’s cycling, and it’s had a substantial impact on the U-23 racer.
"It's been amazing to see the progress that has been made for women's equality in racing this year, and the past couple of years. Equal prize money is a huge deal and will open doors for women to be even more successful as well as continue to grow the sport. It feels really good to roll up to a start line and know the promoter of a race and all the people who helped them, believe in, and support women's cycling.
"The World Cup in Waterloo with the support of Trek is a great example of this, and I hope to soon see the rest of the World Cup calendar have equal prize money. I look up to the women who've worked so hard to make the cycling world a better place for us, and it's time for my peers and me to step forward and continue even more of that advancement."
The past two world championships haven’t gone quite to plan missing out on a top 30 placing both times.
"I've learned that European cyclocross is much more aggressive and that every mistake you make will cost you. The starts are really important and to hold your position. It's challenging but fun, just like bike racing is supposed to be. My goal for the race this year is to place top 25 and finish my season happy with all that I've accomplished. There will be quite a bit of climbing and running in the race plus it wouldn't be cyclocross if it weren't muddy too, so I'm sure it will be very challenging!"
You can follow Emma on Instagram: @emma_swartz24 and Twitter: @eswartz24