Founding Board Members
In May, 2013 at the USA Cycling National Road Championships in Chattanooga, NOW and Novartis for MS team member, Robin Farina and Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies team member, Janel Holcomb, met briefly to discuss the idea of creating an organization to support women professional cyclists, in order to help grow the sport of cycling, and ensure sustainability in women’s cycling for the future.
The movement began to gain momentum, and the next weekend on June 2, 2013, a small group of professional women cyclists met in Philadelphia to discuss how to create equality in women’s cycling through increased media exposure, equal prize purses, and a minimum salary structure which would allow women to focus on the sport of cycling as a viable career. As a result of the meeting in June, a strong group of six women from the professional peloton put their team allegiances behind them, and joined forces to propel the sport of women’s cycling forward with the creation of the Women’s Cycling Association.
Robin Farina Robin began her cycling career over 13 years ago after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Sports Management. She has raced on several professional teams throughout her career and is the 2011 U.S. National Road Race Champion and a 2012 U.S. Olympic long team member. Currently she races for Team BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental Care.
When not on the bike, her time is spent overseeing the newly formed Women’s Cycling Association (WCA) grow and become a global movement for women’s equality in sport and life. After several years of racing at the highest level, Robin saw the need to help Women’s Professional Cycling become a stable platform for future cyclists. The main goal is help achieve equity and help people see the health benefits through riding bikes. Robin’s main objective is to help grow cycling at the grassroots level. “The sport of cycling will gain more fans and more exposure which will in turn give more women the opportunity to race.” Her passion for sport and the sport of cycling drives her to stay dedicated and lead the charge for a positive change. Through the WCA, she dedicates her efforts to helping various philanthropic organizations such as World Bicycle Relief and the American Diabetes Association – Tour de Cure series. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the US Bicycling Hall of Fame.
Robin also is co-owner of a bike shop/training facility, Uptown Cycles, in Charlotte, NC. Her passion for teaching the sport of cycling and helping athletes achieve their athletic goals motivates her to give back to the sport of cycling. Robin’s athletes range from junior women who want to learn the sport to masters cyclist who want to take their racing to the next level.
When Robin has downtime, you may find her in the yoga studio, or traveling NAPA, as a connoisseur of great wine and food!
Jade Wilcoxson Jade grew up in Visalia, CA, playing soccer as her main sport. Six years ago, she started racing mountain bikes and was a purely recreational, off the couch racer until she discovered road cycling four years ago. In September 2011, she signed with Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, based out of Minneapolis. Jade obtained Bachelors in Human Function and a Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Pacific University. She currently calls Talent, OR, her home and works as a physical therapist in a skilled nursing and rehab center with an older adult population.
Janel Holcomb Janel’s professional career began as a Chemical Engineer but she soon transitioned into teaching high school chemistry, math, and physics to help teenagers get excited about learning. During her time as a teacher in San Diego, Janel discovered road cycling by riding and raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with her husband. Cycling friends and a local coach encouraged Janel to take the next step and start bike racing; it turned out to be the right path as Janel turned professional in 2008, just one year after her first bike race. Janel has raced for three pro teams and the US National team in the US, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Qatar. Her breakout year was in 2011, when she won the overall NRC title and three NRC stage races: Cascade Cycling Classic, Tour de Toona, and the Joe Martin Stage Race. Janel was honored to be selected as a member of the US Olympic Long Team for the 2012 London Olympics and will continue to race through 2016 with the goal of qualifying for the Rio Olympics, helping the US earn a gold medal at the World Championships, and winning more races along the way.
Lauren Rauck Komanski Lauren is from Winston-Salem, NC, and became a professional cyclist in 2013 and currently rides for the women’s professional cycling team Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air. Lauren was a Division I athlete at Columbia University in New York City, and ran cross-country and track all 4 years. After a few years away from competitive sports, her parents and husband encouraged her to try bike racing. With a little bit of serendipity, she also met Robin Farina (2011 US National Road champion) at a Christmas party, and Robin became her coach. Her first bike race was in 2012. That summer she attended the USA Cycling Development Program camp. During her first professional season, she rode in support of Allison Powers, who won the NRC and Criterium Nationals. Lauren placed 3rd in stage 5 of Cascade Cycling Classic. In May 2013, she graduated from veterinary school at N.C. State University.
Alison Tetrick Alison is from Redding, CA, and has been a professional cyclist since 2009 and currently rides for the women’s professional cycling team, ExergyTWENTY16. After playing NCAA tennis, she realized that cycling was her calling. She was an All-American Scholar Athlete and graduated with the highest honors with a B.S. in Biochemistry. She was inspired by her grandfather to begin bike racing and dream big. She has represented the USA National Team at the Giro Donne, Tour of Qatar, Tour of NZL, and Pan American Games, among many other races. She is a gifted time trialist and won the 2012 San Rafael Twilight Criterium, the 2011 Merco Cycling Classic, the 2013 Valley of the Sun Stage Race, and two stages at the Tour of America’s Dairyland, as well as placing 2nd at Chrono des Nations. She also won a silver medal at USA Track Nationals in the team pursuit. She is currently in graduate school studying neuropsychology.
Laura Van Gilder Hailing from Cresco, PA, Laura has seen nearly 400 career victories in her 22 years of professional racing. What began for Laura as a fitness quest has since morphed into a lifetime passion. Laura began her cycling career with a charity ride for MS. Mountain biking came next and she was hooked. Meeting a road bike racer was the turning point and she hasn’t looked back since. Laura has had the pleasure of racing across the United States as well as abroad in New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic, including four trips as a World’s Team Member. Laura was NRC Champion in 2000 and 2008, the USA Crits Series Champion in 2008 and 2009, and second overall in the NCC series in 2012 and 2013. She held her standing in the Top Ten of the NRC Overall series from 1998 to 2011. In her spare time, Laura volunteers at AWSOM, a local animal shelter. She also enjoys hiking and cross-country skiing with her own pack of dogs.