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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Inspirational Cyclist: Sandy Kessler

Meet Cassandra (Sandy) Kessler!

In addition to being an Account Clerk in the Finance division of Parking & Transportation at the U of I, Sandy is the Mercy/Specialized women’s team captain and the director of the women’s division of the Iowa City Cycling Club. As if that wasn’t enough, she also coordinates and directs the Chamois Time race series alongside Cara Hamann. Needless to say, Sandy has played an integral part in growing the women’s cycling community, and like the other Inspirational Women I have posted about, she played a key part in my very own start in cycling.

I can still remember clearly (ok, maybe a little fuzzily from the wine…) when she asked me if I wanted to join the Iowa City Cycling Club a few years back. It was the most incredible feeling ever and I was so happy I jumped on her! Anyone can join the club, but it felt so special to be asked. Really, you want me, who can barely keep up on a beginners ride, to join? That was all the motivation I needed to really get into racing!

Read below to learn more about Sandy and how she got her own start in cycling!

How long have you been riding and/or racing?
Starting mtb'ing in 2000. Raced one race (the Scramble) every year until my first date with Dan: Snake Alley in 2005.
Startline of the 2008 Scramble

How did you get your start in cycling?

Mountain biking every day at Sugar Bottom after I graduated from college and wasn't working much more than 30 hours per week
 What bikes do you have?
Specialized! Tarmac, Stumpjumper, Crux, and Dolce plus two super sweet Townies (Raleigh and Klein) and a Schwinn cruiser
Do you have a favorite race?
tie: Chequamegon 40 and Old Cap Crit
2010 Chequamegon

What has racing done for you (how has it shaped your life)?
It has created a dirty, neglected house but a sense of focus spring through fall topped off with extreme relaxation in the winter. Hurry up and get to work so that I can get off by 5 so that I can run to the group rides, when do I squeeze Sugar in? oops need to get to the grocery store, I'm starving so let's eat out anyway, rinse and repeat.

What is your favorite aspect of cycling?
The friendships I've been lucky enough to find.

Any goals for the season?
To suck it up and find enjoyment in racing cross again. A pretty new red Crux has got to help, right?

Who is your favorite cyclist or racing team?
As far as the pros go I like them as a whole, watching the Tour and not caring who is who. My true favorite cyclists are my favorite people and a lot of them live right here in IC.

What other hobbies and interests do you have outside of cycling?
Reading on the porch, playing sloppy gardener, traveling, yoga, wine.
Sandy & Dan in Colorado 2008
Germany 2013

Anything else to add? Any tips for women interested in starting riding or racing?
Women that are at all interested in riding/racing simply need to meet our group. It's daunting at first I'm sure, but it's worth it. Whether you're interested in towny-ing to the local wine & cheese shop or racing in the most grueling of races... there's a girl in Iowa City that does it.

Sandy, you have just perfectly described my life! Life is chaotic, yet focused, and everything except cycling tends to get neglected – but I wouldn’t have it any other way! And the people I have met and the friendships built are truly the most rewarding. Thank you so much for inspiring to me not only with your racing, but also with you involvement and commitment to get more women riding!

I can’t wait to see you at all of the ‘cross races this year!

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