Prescott’s Olympic mountain biker, Chloe Woodruff, attributes her success to diligence and patience—and the passion to share her sport with others
By Hilary Dartt • Courtesy Photos
Olympian and professional athlete, Chloe Woodruff travels the world on a regular basis; but every time she comes home to Prescott, she thinks, there’s no better place to live and train.
“It just blows me away, the quality and quantity of trails we have,” the professional cyclist said during a recent interview.
Chloe—who competed in the cross-country mountain biking event in the 2016 Rio Olympics—moved to Prescott with her husband, Travis, in 2013. She said this town, with its miles of mountain biking trails, contributes to her career.
“I feel like it’s a privilege to live here,” she said.
The City of Prescott features more than 250 miles of trails, according to the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance’s website (www.prescottMTB.com). Prescott is also home to the Whiskey Off-Road, a set of mountain biking races that begin on Whiskey Row and wind into the Prescott National Forest. Chloe won the race in 2014 and 2015.
Mountain biking is growing in popularity here in town, and Chloe said racing at a high level is an opportunity to entice more people—especially young girls and women—out onto some trails to give it a try.
Even though her Olympic experience was “incredibly unique,” and, “the race itself was a very neat experience” (see The “Incredible” Olympic Experience, page 43), her career isn’t necessarily dedicated to Olympic competition.
“I have to laugh sometimes,” she said, “I’m an Olympian.”
She said she grew up in an active family, but no one was an elite athlete, and she didn’t have early exposure to intense training.
“It took a long time for me to learn the discipline required to put in the work day after day,” she said. “I don’t believe you’re naturally born to do something, or that each of us has a natural, innate talent. I do believe that the mind is incredible, and each one of us has the ability to learn all these different things. Of course, there are genetic variables, but the reality is it’s the discipline you need to practice, get better at skills, go out and put in the training. And anybody can learn that.”
That being said, there are lots of reasons Chloe has become a professional cyclist, founding and running Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis, and that she continues to compete at a high level.
For one, she said, “It’s dedication to the process. I’ve been doing it for ten years and I continue to make progress. It’s painfully slow at times, but it’s a very rewarding sport if you have a willingness to look, not just for what you can do this week or this year, but if you’re looking a year or two ahead.”
Mountain biking, she said, “rewards diligence and patience,” and it’s taught her many lessons over the years—since she first encountered the sport on a junior high field trip to Moab, Utah.
Not only is it a great way to explore her own backyard, but it’s also a fun sport to share with other people.
Plus, Chloe said she’s learned strategies to overcome fear, and to build confidence.
“Fear is a totally normal response to things, and it can help you sort out information that’s relevant,” Chloe said. “Fear tells me I need to review the skills required to ride an obstacle. That’s one of those strategies. Do I have the skills to do this? It’s fine if you don’t. What you have is something to work on.”
But if you do, then why not try it?
“As you work to improve on a mountain bike,” she said, “you learn to appreciate challenges and to kind of manage fear. Those things can benefit an individual off the bike, too.”
It is those fear-conquering strategies Chloe would like to share with others.
She earned her bachelors degree in community health education from the University of Arizona, and is interested in helping with programming that encourages people to get out of their cars and walk and bike to different places. Part of that is making sure people have good access to multi-use trails.
While she foresees staying active in the mountain biking community and putting her college degree to use, for now, Chloe’s enjoying racing for—and running—the Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team, which she said is “a unique way to make a living.”
She also has her sights set on the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Although she trains six days per week, which, she said, sometimes feels like a job (when the weather is 40 degrees and snowing and she has to get in a ride), she still finds time to do what she loves: cooking, reading and hanging out at her favorite downtown spots: The Barley Hound, Peregrine Book Company, and Cuppers Coffeehouse..
Visit www.chloewoodruff.com for more info about Chloe.