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Amanda Miller’s Ryan Collegiate All-Star Experience

April 29, 2010

Amanda Miller raced for the 2008 Ryan Collegiate All-Star team in the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Since then, she has procured a professional contract on a top-flight cycling team and has even raced across the pond, strengthening her legs and learning the ways of true professional cycling. She reflects back on what the Ryan Collegiate and Nature Valley Grand Prix experiences meant to her and her career:

In 2008, I was given the opportunity to race with the Ryan Collegiate All-Star team at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The 2008 season was my first year racing collegiate. I heard about this composite team coming into nationals and made it one of my season goals to make it on the squad. My collegiate racing experience in 2008 taught me the basics of racing with a team. At Colorado State University, we had great mentors and teammates to support us.

Nature Valley Grand Prix was my first “pro” level stage race of my career. Was I nervous? Of course! Our team director, John Barron, was amazing though. The team was run as a professional squad on a very low stress basis. All we had to do as riders was race our bicycles. The team even had their own mechanic and soigneur. Prior to the start of each stage we had a team meeting. This is where John gave us the team plan for the day. It was really exciting to have a game plan and specific jobs for the day.

The Ryan Collegiate All Star team was a great stepping stone for me to take in my cycling career. Prior to the experience, I was just a local collegiate racer. In 2009, I was presented with a contract by the LipSmacker Professional women’s cycling team. I also spent a month in France racing for the U.S. National Development team. Now I am racing for the only women’s UCI team in the United States, Team TIBCO/To the Top. I don’t think I would have been able to progress as quickly as I did without the help of the Ryan Collegiate All-Star team. Not only did it provide me with experience, but it also gave me a level of confidence and motivation. After the experience, I felt that I actually did belong in the women’s professional peloton and that it was something I wanted to pursue as a career.


Sinead Miller: Ryan Alumae and USA Cyclist

April 6, 2010

Our first guest blogger is Sinead Miller, a 2009 Ryan Collegiate All-Star and Marian University collegiate cyclist. Enjoy!

Hello everyone! I am currently racing in Europe with the USA National Development Program and this racing season is already proving to be a great one. Many things have changed for me this year, from joining a new team to taking my fitness to a whole new level. Now I am proudly a member of Peanut Butter and Co./Team Twenty12. I have been training very hard throughout the past months, so that I can do my best to contribute to the team and accomplish my cycling goals. I am also still a full time student at Marian University and I race for the Marian cycling team during the spring as well.

Last year I was a freshman at Marian University and I was able to win the Collegiate Criterium National Championships. This earned me a spot on Ryan’s Collegiate All-Star team for the Nature Valley Grand Prix race. Last year I was not on a team outside of collegiate racing, so this opportunity presented to me was a great one. I am so thankful that I was given the chance to race Nature Valley with the Ryan’s All-Star team last year. This was this first NRC stage race that I ever competed in, so it was a great learning experience for me.

Everyone on the Ryan’s Collegiate team was treated like a professional and it showed me what it takes to compete with the highest-level women racers in the U.S. I gained so much knowledge about racing during Nature Valley. Each day I was able to improve and the team manager, John Barron, also played a vital role in helping me and my other teammates throughout the race. He knew all of the courses in-and-out and John was always able to provide us with helpful tips before and after each day of racing. Now I am a much more experienced rider compared to last year and I can not wait to race Nature Valley again in the future.

Next time I race Nature Valley I will know the courses much better since I was able to race with the Ryan’s Team and I will be much more comfortable there. Any collegiate rider who is presented with the chance to race with the All-Star team should take it. The experience played a very important role in my racing career. It was the first time I ever had the chance to race a stage race as a true team member. Also, my teammates and I had a great time together, from racing to just having fun at our host house, the whole trip was awesome.

Now I am preparing for my next race, which is a World Cup in Holland next weekend. It is crazy to reflect back and analyze what big improvements I have made since racing Nature Valley last year. Being able to race Nature Valley with the All-Star team really helped me to wake up and realize what type of training I needed to do to compete with the best women racers in the world. After racing Nature Valley I was so motivated to improve and now I am able to compete with the highest-level women racers in the world. I am also now a part of a fabulous team and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I could never have dreamed of all of these things happening to me so quickly.

Ryan’s Collegiate All-Star Team is such a great program. Anyone who is presented with the chance to race for the team should really consider it. The amount of information and racing experience one can gain is priceless. Also, Nature Valley is such a fun race and very exciting. I can’t wait to race there again soon.

For more information about the Ryan Collegiate All-Star team, check out


It’s Miller Time!

May 27, 2009

Amanda Miller, a member of the Lip Smacker Cycling Team, has followed a non-traditional path to cycling. She started riding a bike in the spring of 2004 to get in shape for her high school senior year of basketball. After breaking her wrist (twice!) and becoming hooked on cycling, she opted out of playing basketball and bought a mountain bike. Shortly after that, Amanda got a job at the local bike shop and eventually bought her first road bike. Amanda did her first race in April of 2005 and hasn’t stopped since. Amanda is currently studying Natural Resource Management at Colorado State University and will graduate in December of 2009. Amanda raced for Colorado State University and placed 4th in the Division I individual omnium at Collegiate Road Nationals in May 2008. Following this great result, Amanda was invited to participate in the Nature Valley Grand Prix with the Ryan Collegiate All-Stars team.

She now finds herself among the rotating professional cyclists that are posting on the Tria/NVGP blog. Enjoy!

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is just around the corner. Last year (2008) was my first year participating in the race. I was selected to be a member of the Ryan Collegiate All Stars composite team. This composite team was based off individual ominium results at the collegiate national championship held in Fort Collins, CO. I finished fourth in the Division I omnium and was excited to be given the opportunity to race for this team. NVGP was my first stage race. It is pretty special to me because I am from a small town in Southeastern Iowa (Mt. Union,), originally.

I am now living in Fort Collins, CO, so it was nice to come back to the Midwest for such a prestigious event. Everything I had heard about the race coming into it was true. This is one hard, fun race! I had a blast. The fields were huge, the spectators were everywhere, and the courses were brutal. Things started pretty slow for me, with a rain soaked criterium on the first day. I got pulled from the field and was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the race. Fortunately, the officials decided not to count the criterium and let everyone start the next day. The hardest race of the week was the 90+ mile road race. It was super windy that day and I was put into the “gutter” for most of the cross wind sections. I learned a lot of lessons that day that will hopefully benefit me this year. My favorite race of the week was the Stillwater Criterium. I loved the hill. It was also my best race of the week. The spectators lining the hill were amazing. I am really looking forward to coming back to NVGP this year!

I am racing for the LipSmacker Professional Women’s Cycling team. This is my first year on a professional team. I have been doing a lot of traveling, and am loving it. Though it sometimes takes a toll on a person’s body, I’ve been seeing many places that I never would have seen without cycling. I am very grateful to have the opportunity. I took this past spring semester off to travel to France for a month of racing with the USA National development squad. Usually, I am a full time student at Colorado State University and a part-time bicycle shop employee at Peloton Cycles in Fort Collins, CO. Myself and the rest of the LipSmacker team are looking forward to racing in Minnesota soon. Hope to see you all there!!