KELLI SAMUELSON HATHAWAY, LA/CA
Q: How did you end up in the cycling scene and working with Ritte?
A: I was riding my bike a lot for a few years and ended up racing some races. Together with a friend we eventually formed a team, which was just a fun thing to do and get together, since then the team grew in numbers and experiences. At that time I was working as a hairdresser, so joining the Ritte team was a bit of a leap of faith for me…I got offered a job in their paint studio and decided to go for it. I don’t work there anymore though; they had to move into smaller facilities and I ended up working for another company but I can’t tell you anything about that right now.
Q: You are doing a lot to promote women cycling. Have you noticed any change in the past few years concerning this?
A: It definitely changed to the better, people finally started to take us seriously and bicycle companies are aware of this so they are getting involved. There are companies that make stuff just for us women. I personally think that because our races are a bit shorter, they can also be more fun to watch… we really push as hard as we can and deliver a lot to the spectators.
Q: Speaking of bicycle companies…the cycling industry can get really boring, but it can also be a lot of fun. Who are the people that make it fun and interesting in your opinion?
A: For sure companies like Ritte, Chris King, Ass Savers etc. make it a lot of fun…they are selling a story with their products and people appreciate that.
Q: Tell me more about the recent collaborations that you did with Ass Savers and Sean from Team Dream Team…did they bring a positive feedback?
A: We needed a bit of a financing help to get to Ireland and these collaborations helped a lot. Ass Savers is a great company and as soon as they offered us their support we were up for it. It’s the same with Sean from TDT, everything that he comes up with is amazing and we knew that nothing could go wrong. There was a lot of interest from both men and women for our cycling kits already so this was a good opportunity to offer something to our fans.
Q: Tomorrow you are off to Barcelona for the Red Hook Crit with the Cinelli Chrome team, and after that you have an important race in Ireland (Ras Na mBam) with Ritte. Concerning that you are heavily involved in two different teams, is one of those two races more important than the other?
A: Red Hook Crit is really important to me, because of the race itself and off course because of my team, I mean…its Cinelli! They only want the best riders and good results are important. But on the other hand, I have some unfinished business with Ireland…last year I fell in the first stage and that destroyed all the hopes and expectations that I had for the race. Also it is the last race that we are doing with Ritte, the team will soon have a new name and we will focus even more on the development. So the race in Ireland is going to be full blast!
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration in cycling and life in general?
A: My biggest inspiration is every female racer that has come before me. I find inspiration in all their stories the sacrifices they have made. The chances they have taken and the losses they have suffered. It makes it all worth it and reassures me this is something I want and will work for.