Tayne Andrade, who currently rides for Team Rio Grande Racing and is wrapping up his final season with CSU had a remarkable and diverse 2022 season. Riding for CSU, he managed to climb on the podium at collegiate road, mtb and cyclocross nationals. Riding for TRGR he won races or at least podiumed in each of those disciplines throughout the season. Tayne wrote the following article about his Cyclocross Nations experience for the TRGR blog and allowed YGR to rerun it.

Nick Carter, Isabel Naschold and Tayne with their CX nats hardware.

Written by Tayne Andrade:

If I’m being honest, I really struggled to find motivation during this cyclocross season. After a huge year of racing across the disciplines starting back in February, dealing with sickness and covid, I kind of felt like I was just going through the motions when I started the season back in October. The one thing that kept me going was the knowledge that after finishing on the podium at Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals, I finally had the engine and the skills needed to be in the fight for a podium at CX Nationals. And honestly the season leading into Nationals was my best ever, with 1 win, 2 podiums, and 2 top 5 finishes against some stacked fields. Despite this, I didn’t feel like I could mentally be engaged for the 2 collegiate events and the Elite race at nationals. If not for the insistence from my mom that I HAD to do it after watching me race at Cross of the North, I would never have done it.

Regardless, I was beyond excited for the collegiate race and the team relay when we arrived in Hartford. The course was muddy, the course had a lot of variation, and it was warm (for now)!!! The first test of the weekend was supporting my team mate Isabel Naschold in the women’s collegiate event, her first-time racing cyclocross nationals. And my god she crushed it!!! Despite the worlds worst pit stop debacle because she only had 1 bike, she finished in 4th place. I couldn’t have been prouder of her, as I’ve seen her build her confidence this fall in her first year at CSU to recognizing that she is an amazing bike racer.

It felt like a partial weight had been lifted, easing the mind for the men’s race, where myself, Nick Carter, and Quentin Loxtercamp were amongst the favorites for the podium. We all had amazing starts, with all 3 of us finishing the first lap in the top 10, with Nick in the top 3 duking it out with Lance Haidet and Dillion McNeil. I was stuck in the group just off the top 3 for the entirety of the race and settled into a battle for 4th with a rider from UC Berkely. I had the advantage over the Berkely rider until the 2nd to last lap when a crash threw away my gap, and a nagging leg pain sapped the legs for the last lap. But god damn it felt so good to finally be on the podium at a nationals in an event I’ve been in love with since I started racing. And to share it the Nick who got 3rd was even sweeter! Our performance that first day was an enormous confidence boost for the team relay, since Nick, Isa, and myself had all handily beaten the riders from University of Vermont and Arizona who were our only competition.

It’s not often in cycling that you have a perfect race, but our relay event was one of those days. Because we only had one women, Isa had to race 2 laps, so she started us off and was the only women on that first lap. She held her own to beat some of the other collegiate men that first lap, after which it was my turn to close the gap to the UVM team. I caught their first women before the midpoint of the lap, and laid on every ounce of effort I had to extend the gap for Isa’s 2nd lap. By then, our gap was established, and only extended, especially once Nick set off for our last lap, bringing us to our 2nd national championship of the year! While winning a national title in an individual event is an incredible personal achievement, winning a title in group event is like nothing else. Knowing that on that day, your small group of people that you’ve trained with, heard life stories about, and suffered with, were the best team is special.

After these incredible successes, I was content with the trip out to Hartford. It was a totally new experience for me to go into a race with zero expectations and any real goals, and it felt good. I was mentally sooooo ready to hang up the wheels for the year, but had 1 more epic race to suffer through. Each day we had been in Hartford the course had changed as the weather got progressively colder, and the mud began to freeze. For those that have never raced on frozen mud, it’s probably some of the hardest conditions to navigate, because its qualities are simply unknown. The only certainty is that it will be slick, and you will need luck, which became apparent on the first lap of the elite race. The absolute carnage and franticness present on the final descent off of the levee made for the kind of stories people would be telling for many years. After a pretty solid start, I immediately was checked out of the race when it became clear that the guiding force on the hill was luck rather than skill. I suffered through 6 laps of a progressively more difficult course and did something I’ve never done, wished for them to pull us. While I wish I could have better represented Rio that day, I had nothing left to give for the year, and was content that I tried.

Reflecting on this last year with Rio, incredibly grateful for the support the team has continued to provide for myself and the rest of my teammates. Because of them I have been able to travel across the country and ride/race through some of the most incredible places, and meet incredible people. I am beyond excited to build on the successes we had in 2022, and achieve more in 2023!

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