Twice a month, the Women’s Cycling Association showcases an inspiring rider from the women’s cycling community. This week we’re excited to introduce junior racer Aliya Traficante.

Women’s Cycling Association: How did you become involved in cycling?

Aliya Traficante: Before I was involved with cycling, I rode horses. I began to train my first horse for barrel racing when I was 11 and since my horse was too young to barrel race, I took the summer off to concentrate on training her. That opened up some time for other activities. My Step-Dad found out that there were some local criteriums in Chico and he thought it would be a good idea for my brother and me to try them out.

To be honest, my first race was horrible. I rode a 40 pound, fire engine red, impossible-to-shift mountain bike and was lapped countless numbers of times during my first race. I don’t remember what urged me to continue racing week after week for the entire summer, but slowly I began to ride faster each race and was lapped less. At the end of the summer, I was named one of the top 3 juniors in Chico and was sponsored a Gary Fisher road bike to ride for a year.

In 2010, I began to race sanctioned races throughout Northern California which presented a whole new challenge. I think that is what I like about cycling, the continuous challenge and how rewarding it feels to accomplish your goals.

Vital Stats
Name: Aliya Traficante
Hometown: Chico, Ca
Racing Age: 17
Category: 3
Primary Discipline: Road
WCA: What has been your most memorable experience in the sport?

Aliya: Last year I raced my first international race, Tour of Rimouski, in Quebec, Canada. It was my first experience with host housing, guest riding for a team, being in a different country, and so much more. My team and I placed third in the in the team time trial and also won the overall team classification. Both were incredible to me being that I got to ride on a team with girls I had never met before and we all worked extremely hard together for the same goal. I felt accomplished, and it was even more rewarding to share that feeling with a team.

WCA: What challenges have you faced in cycling?

Aliya: One of my largest challenges was keeping my emotions in check when racing. Aggressive racing scared me a bit and I let it get in my head. I have learned to shut it out, focus on the positive, and concentrate on what I need to do. I have also learned to push back and that usually what happens on the course, stays on the course. People do what they can in order to win, and most people are so high on adrenaline during the race that anything can happen!

Aliya Traficante

Aliya Traficante

WCA: What do you enjoy most about the sport?

Aliya: Cycling has provided so many opportunities that I would not have had, had I decided not to race. I think what I enjoy most is the amount of traveling I am fortunate to do and the people I have met. I have been to many amazing areas that take my breath away along with places that I am fine with just seeing once! Through this sport, I have been lucky to become friends with some inspiring people. Their friendship and wise words have helped shape who I am.

I also enjoy the amount of time I spend outdoors riding. I get to experience each season to its fullest and I look forward to the variety of my training that comes with each season.

WCA: What are your goals in cycling?

Aliya: Of course, I want to become a pro and race in Europe, but in the short term I will focus on getting my category 2 upgrade. This upcoming season I will concentrate on Tour of Rimouski and since international traveling is not new to me anymore, I am really hoping to improve my results there. I would also like to experience some of the NRC races this year and place on the podium at Nationals in the road race.

WCA: What are some of your goals outside of the sport?

Aliya: Currently one of my goals is to try to keep up with my younger brother when running. It’s hard. He is a fast little guy, plus I am not a big fan of running. Also, one of my goals outside cycling is always to be the best student and person I can be.

WCA: What do you like to do in your off season?

Aliya: I like to do yoga and core workouts, hike, and mountain bike. I also like to do activities that I don’t have much time for during the race season such as painting, reading, and riding my horse.

WCA: What do you think you can do to help women’s cycling grow?

Aliya: I love to mentor young riders. I think of myself when I was younger and how awesome it felt when an older junior girl or a pro congratulated me on a good race or went out of their way to talk to me about cycling and life outside of cycling. I go the extra mile when I see a young junior girl or a beginner, to talk to them, congratulate them, and give some tips. I believe we grow the sport by being positive role models and by showing that riding a bike (and the cycling community) is a fun and welcoming entity to be a part of.

Aliya Traficante is an up-and-coming junior racer. You can find out more about her on her blog at http://aliyatraficante.blogspot.com/.

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