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Back 11.20.2017

CX Profile - Kaitlin Keough Finds Her Balance Pose

All photos by Wil Matthews Photo

Kaitlin Keough maintains her passion for racing by also embracing hobbies as diverse as baking, yoga, and keeping chickens.

Kaitlin Keough began racing bikes as an elementary school student. That means she’s is a veteran racer at the still-young age of 25. That blend of youth and experience is truly evident this year, as Keough is enjoying her best cyclocross season yet with multiple UCI C1 victories and a World Cup podium placing. She also is the 2017 Sho-Air USCUP-CX Overall Series Champion. We sat down with Keough, who rides for the Cannondale p/b team, to talk not so much about racing, but about the interests she’s developed outside of cycling. In the end, those outlets have helped Keough stay motivated and fresh when it comes time to race:

How old were you when you started racing?

10 years old.

All those years, how have you kept things fresh and avoided burnout?

It’s been a struggle. Last year I got to the point where it was like, ‘what the heck, why am I still doing this?’ kind of deal. But riding is my passion. I love riding my bike. Mentally, it’s an escape for me from everything else that I’m doing. I just really love it. I find it to be therapeutic. But there have been peaks and valleys over the years. Sometimes there are hard moments, but you just have to go back and remember why you love doing it.

Have you also cut back on road racing to focus more on cyclocross?

This past year I really cut it back and really found that it to be really helpful. Mentally and physically I’m not able to keep going like that all year. Cyclocross, that’s my favorite discipline, and I have big goals that I want to try to accomplish over the next few years. In order for me to do that, I had to pick.

You’ve always been someone who had hobbies outside of cycling. You love to decorate cakes and bake. Now, we’ve heard that you keep chickens in your yard? 

 Yes, we have six chickens. We started with eight. One was a rooster, so we posted about him on Craig’s List and he lives on a farm now, and the other one passed away. They’re awesome. They tear around our yard and escape to the neighbor’s yard, and we have to lure them back with treats. They’re fun.

So you’re practicing a bit of urban farming? 

In Colorado Springs you’re allowed to have 10 hens, and you’re allowed to have two goats, which our neighbors at one time did have two goats within city limits maybe a half a mile of downtown, so I think that’s kind of funny. 

Do you still decorate cakes?

I do. I like to bake a lot. I don’t make cakes as much anymore because someone has to eat the cakes, and it’s only me and my husband. But I’ll bake cookies and banana breads and all that kind of stuff.

Cycling can be all consuming. Is it important to have hobbies away from the bike? 

For sure, and this past spring I took my 200-hour yoga teacher training. I’m certified now, and I started teaching a bit and subbing when I’m home. I’m not home much now. In February after the season is over I’ll probably start up with that again. It’s fun that I found a community outside of cycling in my hometown. I taught this past spring and summer before the season started. 

That was a very interesting and eye-opening experience to do that training and to teach people.

Did leading yoga classes put you out of your comfort zone? 

It was very out of my comfort zone, but once I did it a few times it got a little bit more comfortable.

Was yoga something you started doing as a cyclist?

I did my first yoga class at Marian University. Dean Peterson (Marian’s cycling coach) had a teacher come and do yoga for the team and that was my first experience. As I traveled around I’ve popped into classes at studios. When we put our roots in Colorado Springs I found a studio. I’ve wanted to do the teacher training for a long time. Thankfully this studio had a format I was able to make work with my schedule. I wrote the check and signed up right away and was like, ‘I’ll be here.’ It was a special 200 hours of my life and very life changing. 

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