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CX Athlete Feature: Clara Honsinger

By: Angelina Palermo  October 30, 2019

Clara is the latest up and comer on the cyclocross scene and this only the beginning for her. She tells us more about what’s to come for her cyclocross career.

Clara Honsinger, has played a major role in the USA Cycling development pathway. As a U23 racer, she claimed both Pan-American and National titles in the 2018-2019 season, as well as a top 10 finish at the World Championships. With these impressive results, she has moved up to the elite category this year with the help of Team S&M and USA Cycling Foundation’s Mud Fund.

What was your favorite part of attending the Bentonville Cyclocross Camp with USA Cycling?

Camp was fantastic! We had some really great skills practices with Matt Timmerman. He was able to break down important 'cross skills into the fundamentals so that we could practice them in some really fun drills. We also learned about off-the-bike strength training from the US Ski team trainer, Michael Bingaman, which I think is very crucial aspect of cyclocross racing.

What is it like racing for Portland-based women’s cyclocross team, Team S&M?

It's very professional yet familial. We all have rolls to play on the team whether as the athlete, mechanic, driver, or manager, and we work really hard to reach each other's expectations. But, at the end of a long race day, we are all able to come together as friends and share the experience over a good meal.

How are you managing your expectations coming from racing U23 last season to being first-year elite?

In the racing itself, there is honestly not that big of a difference between elite and U23 riders; we all race the same races except for Pan-Ams, Nats, and Worlds. For myself however, I feel the drive to graduate from "category racing" and perform as one of the best overall riders. I put in a lot of work on and off the bike last spring and summer, and am continuing to seek improvements through this season.

Are you excited for Nationals to be close to home in the Pacific Northwest?

Heck yeah! Steiliacoom was the first UCI race I ever did and I have a lot of great memories from it. In fact, I think a lot of riders from across the country have had some significant experience with racing CX in the PNW-- I hear a lot of reminiscing of the thick mud in Portland or the frigid temperatures in Bend. I think Nationals this year will spark those memories and hopefully start to bring USA cyclocross back to the Pacific Northwest.

How do you feel your season has been shaping up so far?

It has been going really well! I feel that I have elevated my performance from last year, due in great part to some heavy training in the off-season, and it has resulted in a few podiums and even a couple wins now. Still, I finish each race with a list of motions I want to practice for the next race weekend. There is always room for improvement, especially in a sport as versatile as cyclocross.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

I am looking forward to finishing up the second half of the North American CX season with some races in Canada, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Nationals, of course. Then it's off to Europe for the Christmas block through Worlds. I am really looking forward to the Kerstperiode racing-- it seems quintessential to traditional greasy and rough cyclocross.

If you could give advice to a new Cyclocross rider, what would it be?

Don't be afraid to ask for help or guidance from others. The cyclocross community is comprised of a bunch of fantastic people and most folks are happy to lend a hand or give a word of advice. Also, always pack extra socks.

To cheer Clara on throughout the year, follow her on Instagram and Twitter @ClaraHonsinger.

Developing young talent like Clara would not be possible without the help and support from the USA Cycling Foundation's MudFund. If you would like to be a part of the future of American Cycling, consider donating today:

Visit for more information on the athletes, events, and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.

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