Cyclist Alison Powers has been the shining star of this week's North Star Grand Prix. Not only is Powers leading the six-stage race, held in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, but she has also made cycling history.
Powers, who is sponsored by United Healthcare, posted the only sub-11-minute time for the 5-mile opening course. This earned her a first-place finish for the first time trial of the race. With her wins at the USA National Cycling Championships, Powers has earned the title of the first American rider to complete a hat trick. In the sport of cycling, completing a hat trick requires holding U.S. national titles in each of the three cycling disciplines—time trial, road race, and criterium.
Powers was so busy winning that she didn't even realize she was on the cusp of such a monumental achievement until see saw three stars-and-stripes jerseys in her travel kit. In between wins in Chattanooga, packing for the Tulsa Tough National Criterium race, winning there, and then heading straight for the North Star Grand Prix, Powers didn't have time to take it all in.
The three stars-sand-stripes jerseys, along with her new record-holder title, are even more impressive considering that Powers almost retired in 2011. She sustained a serious elbow injury in a bad crash at the Redlands Bicycle Classic criterium. The following 2012 and 2013 season, Powers came back and collected the national criterium title. Now, a season later, she has accomplished more than she could have ever predicted.
"Hopefully I'm remembered forever," Powers told Cyclingnews. "But I'm just enjoying it now, and who knows what happens in the future. But this is what happened, and now I get to wear [the stars-and-stripes jerseys] for the rest of the year."