2024 Catch Up

I’ve been meaning to do an update for a while, and I’m glad I’m finally getting around to it. Better late than never, I guess? Quite a bit has happened since my last post and the season is already well underway, with DNA team camp, Valley of the Sun stage race, and first racing block in Europe already checked off the list. However, before I dive into racing updates, I want to touch base on a couple other things.

The off-season was a great time to reset the mind and body, while immersing myself in the crazy football culture of the Buffalo Bills. This was my third winter spent in Buffalo and thankfully I was able to ride my bike outside for most of December due to the very mild/delayed winter. Although once winter really hit in January, I was on the trainer for three weeks straight. We also got to escape the cold weather for a couple days in November when we visited my brother, sister-in-law and newborn niece in Houston during the Bills bye-week. Of course, the Bills had yet another heartbreaking ending to the season, but we’re hopeful that next year will be even better. Eli and I decided to take a road trip to Glamis, CA for some sand duning right after we got back to Florida from Buffalo. I was a bit hesitant at first since I wasn’t sure how it would work with my training schedule and it being so close to season starting, but thankfully we planned it out well and managed to make it work. It’s hard to describe how exhilarating it was to fly through the dunes. My best attempt at describing it would be that it feels like you are on a rollercoaster on the sand. This trip was super special because it was the first time Eli and I got to do a trip across the entire country. The group we were with included a few of Eli’s teammates and their friends who are duning regulars, so needless to say, it was a very fun crew. Overall, the dunes definitely lived up to the hype and I cannot wait to go again next year.

Picking up where I left off from my last blog…Last summer was a bit of a whirlwind. I attended a track camp where I got to swap my pursuit bike with a bunch race bike for my first mass start race (Omnium) on the track. I felt surprisingly comfortable for my first time on a bunch bike and first time racing in a group, and I had a blast mixing it up in a strong field of men and women. After going to Worlds and not getting to race with the pursuit team on the track for some disappointing reasons, I was more than eager to race again with DNA in Europe. Our first race in the Europe block was GP Oetingen, a UCI 1.1 technical and punchy one-day race in Belgium with a good amount of cobbles. This race was originally supposed to be in the spring, but was postponed to the summer due to crazy winter weather. The course suited me quite well and I loved every minute of it up until I flatted on a long cobble section 3/4 of the way in, and unfortunately never made it back into the race. Soon after, we raced Egmont, another one-day race in Belgium ranked at a 1.2. It was pretty special being able to compete in the first ever women’s edition of the race and even more amazing to witness my teammate Heidi take the win from a small break! It was also nice seeing my other teammate Sarah get 5th and myself 12th in the end.

The next race on schedule was the Tour of Ardeche in France. This would be my second time racing this 7 day stage race and I can say with confidence that it’s the hardest stage race I’ve ever done. The first day featured my teammate Anet in a break for most of the day, but sadly the finish didn’t pan out how we wanted (mainly due to poor positioning) with myself finishing 11th from the bunch sprint. Stage 2 was much better with Sarah finishing 3rd from the bunch sprint, myself 12th, and my other teammate Kaitlyn scoring the most combative award. After that day, Sarah and I had managed to move up to 5th and 6th in GC respectively. Stage 4 was a breakaway day for me. At km 14, I put in a solo attack and was soon joined by a couple other strong riders. Later on, our group of 3 turned into a group of 8 and we managed to stay away until the finish. Sadly, I didn’t have the legs to stay with the front few on the final climb and ended up rolling through the finish line in 6th, moving up to 5th in GC. The next few days were filled with mountains and plenty of climbing. Frankly, those were the days I was just trying to survive. After getting a concussion on stage 6 in Ardeche the year before and not finishing the race, it was great getting some redemption this time around and walking away with some decent results.

Five days after Ardeche ended, we raced the final road race of the year: Tour de Gatineau in Quebec, Canada. This was my first time doing this race and my first time wearing the lucky #13. It was a fast and mostly flat circuit with a false flat drag to the finish–a course that definitely suited me well. Despite hoping for a better finish, it was still nice to come away with 7th and have a couple other teammates in the top 10. The highlight of the weekend though was getting to see Eli’s family who came out to watch the race. I hadn’t seen them in over a year, so it was special getting to catch up and meet my baby nephew for the first time.

In October I got to compete in the team pursuit at the Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile. It was my first time to South America and my first time competing at the Pan Am Games. This event was super special mainly because it was essentially a smaller version of the Olympic Games. Staying in the athlete village was quite an experience and exchanging pins with athletes from other countries was a blast. Overall it was an experience I’ll never forget and finishing 4th was quite the bittersweet end to a tumultuous season that included more race days and travel than ever before. We went in with high expectations, so falling short of our goal definitely stung a bit, however, I’m still proud of the effort we gave. To be honest, my body was more than ready for a break by the time Pan Am Games came around, so to say I was excited for the off-season would be an understatement.

Fast forward to the present moment and I’m already one team camp and five races into the season. DNA team camp in Phoenix, AZ in February was a blast. We have a few new girls on the team this year so it was fun getting to know them, along with catching up with old teammates I hadn’t seen in months. Team camp led into the Valley of the Sun Stage Race which featured stellar teamwork all around that helped teammie Sarah win the road race and get 2nd in the crit. Personally, I felt better each day, with feeling the most terrible on stage 1 for the TT and feeling the best on stage 3 for the crit. Pretty typical for the first race of the year!

After VOS, I went home for a couple days and then headed off to Europe for a month-long block to do a couple races with USA Cycling and a couple with DNA. This was my first time getting to race on the road in Europe in the spring, and it definitely lived up to the expectations. The first classic on the schedule was Omloop van het Hageland in Belgium. This race was a real shocker mentally and physically with plenty of chaos and crashes throughout. I went down three times (a new record for me) but thankfully didn’t sustain anything too serious and was able to get back into the mix and finish. Shoutout to my teammate Maeghan for helping me get back into the race more than once. Never have I been in a more chaotic race, but as they say, “that’s just how spring racing goes.” A couple days later was another one-day classic in Belgium called Le Samyn. This race was a bit less of a shocker and featured some punchy climbs and fun cobbled sections. I was feeling great and in the front group until the second cobbled section on the first lap where I had an untimely flat and sadly never saw the front of the race again. My teammate Maeghan also had some bad luck and we found ourselves in the same group that rolled together until the finish.

After the bad luck I experienced in the first couple races, I was more than ready to give it a good go at GP Oetingen with DNA. I was a bit nervous about how I would feel for this one since I was just coming off of being sick with a cold, but thankfully, luck was on my side this time and I managed to have good legs and a smooth race. I felt like I was floating over the cobbles throughout the entire race and when the group was whittled down on the final lap, I found myself in perfect position behind the SD Worx train. Sadly, I didn’t have the legs to respond when attacks went just before the final climb, and I found myself in a chase group within the final few kilometers. Maeghan managed to bridge to my group from behind and help me with a lead-out at the end, but unfortunately we got swarmed and I couldn’t execute a proper sprint. On the bright side, I managed to get 20th and snag a few UCI points, a solid bit of redemption after the disappointing DNF I had at this race the year before.

The final race of the Europe block was Tour of Normandie, a four-day stage race in northwestern France that was as mentally challenging as it was physically. Similar to Oetingen, I was a bit nervous going in to this race since I had suffered from a stomach bug the week before. The first day featured a 10.4 mile time trial and the other three days featured road races ranging from 138-140 kilometers. I raced stage 1 on a road bike and it was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had during a TT. Though the result didn’t show it, I managed to surprise myself with a decently strong ride. On stage 2 I had a couple ill-timed flats (one early on in the beginning circuits of the race and one mid-way through just before one of the longer climbs) and found myself chasing most of the day. On stage 3, despite feeling pretty good, Sarah and I got caught up behind a crash on the final circuit and sadly never saw the front of the race again. Stage 4 featured lots of elevation gain and my legs officially exploded on the steepest climb of the day. From then on, I found myself in a chase group which worked well together until the finish.

Despite some bad luck, plus a couple bouts of sickness during this Europe block, there were plenty of positive takeaways and life-long memories made. I really can’t express how grateful I am to DNA and USA Cycling for providing these race opportunities. I’m already looking forward to racing again in Europe later this summer, but first, it’s time for some racing in the States!


  1. Mixwell on April 9, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    You’re doing great 🙂 keep it up

  2. Jen on April 10, 2024 at 7:23 am

    Nice work Shayna.
    Best is success for the remainder of this season. Can’t wait for Nationals and Pan Am Games updates too!

  3. John e walsh or walsheee on April 12, 2024 at 1:37 am

    good luck with the rest of the year

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