|Tiffany gave this interview to Becky Leidy for OhioOutside.com as January's "Athlete of the Month." It is reproduced here with their permission.|
Tiffany Kenny, courtesy of Eddy’s Bike Shop.
Team: Team Ford Outfitters
Residence: Akron, Ohio
Birthdate: 5/4/1974 Age: 28
Height: 5’ 7”
Weight: 137 lbs
Discipline: Mountain Bike
Becky Leidy: Where did you grow up?
Tiffany Kenny: Akron, Ohio.
BL: Did you participate in any sports?
TK: Softball, basketball, tennis, and skiing. Does a lot of backyard "war", sledding, home-run derby, tent-building and swing-setting count?
BL: Ooh, I think so! Was there any moment in particular when you were a young athlete that you were especially proud of?
TK: None really. I was pretty good at softball but never a real standout at anything. I would often win team running sprints so I looked forward to those. My dad wishes he would've put me in soccer and track, we just never picked up on it at the time. When I was growing up, which really wasn't that long ago, girl's and boy's sports were at a lower level and much less serious, with fewer teams and options. I'm amazed at the level of the teams and opportunities my 13-year-old sister has had, much different. Watching her and my brother play their sports is a "proud moment" for me, even though I really have nothing to do with it.
BL: How did you get started in mountain biking?
TK: My then boyfriend started riding with a bunch of his fellow Swenson's [local drive-up burger joint] curb-boys. He talked me into buying a bike and joining them instead of going to aerobics class or lifting, which I was doing a lot at that time at Ohio State. It killed me to spend $300 on a bike, which was an absolute fortune for me then that I didn't have. But I did, and after a week I had trashed the bike. I then bought a used Cannondale "Beast of the East." I thought it was just the coolest thing. I loved mountain biking on my very first ride. I was in awe of what you could do and see outside.
BL: How long were you at it before deciding to go out and find sponsorship for yourself?
TK: About a year. I raced that first year on the Ohio State Club team. I also did beginner MTB races, really just so I could tag along with my boyfriend. That Fall, I decided to jump right to Expert because I figured if I could finish I'd get a chance at getting my entry fee back. That next spring I went to Eddy's bike shop and introduced myself to Nick Laenen, then the manager. He was in the process of making a shop team and took me on. I was in the right place at the right time. I rode for Eddy's for the following 5 years and it was great.
BL: How did you come to ride for Ford?
TK: Lisa Matlock, a teammate, rode for them last year and she thought I may have a chance at getting on, so I sent her a resume and she put in a good word for me. I then forwarded one to the team manager. About a month later I got an offer.
BL: Did you have a favorite race moment last year?
TK: No doubt it was getting on the podium at the Sea Otter Classic. I've been at the front before and didn't have enough years in my legs to stay there very long, but that day everything was clicking perfectly. Nobody even knew who I was, and I like it that way. The Sea Otter actually ties with the WV Wild 100. I went down with a bunch of my riding friends and "raced" with them for their first 4 hours. The backcountry there is so pristine and untouched, and experiencing it with all your friends in that atmosphere was a glorious, epic adventure I'll never forget. Afterwards, the organizers had a great feast, mix a huge crowd of post-enduro racers with free microbrew all in the middle of God's country, and you can imagine my entertainment.
BL: What is your "day job," and will you be giving it up to race full time?
TK: I'm an Obstetrics nurse at Akron City Hospital (Summa Health System)and manage our clinical information system. I don't foresee giving up the job, not to mention the much needed health insurance. My boss and everyone there is very supportive and excellent at what they do. I love the excitement and teamwork of working in a hospital, especially at Summa. If you gotta work, it couldn't get much better or more flexible than what I have.
BL: When do you find the time to train?
TK: I make the time. My daily life is my training. Finding the time and patience to rest and sleep a lot is the bigger, and much more boring, challenge.
BL: Is there a special "diet" that you follow?
TK: Basically, whatever my mom makes. Yes, you can laugh. My family makes really nice dinners every night, and my mom usually calls me to tell me what's on the "menu." Luckily, they are very healthy eaters. I just try to not eat that much and not eat after 6 pm since I go to bed early. I do stay away from processed crap and anything fried. I eat a lot of vegetables, salads, red meat, eggs and whole-grains, mainly because that's just what I like.
BL: How do you feel about Team Ford Outfitters?
TK: It's a great group of very talented, fun and hard-working girls. I'm looking forward to riding and traveling with them. Besides results, ambassadorship and community involvement is a priority that I'm happy to be a part of. The sponsors, especially Ford, are interested and supportive. Eddy's is gonna be a tough sponsor to beat but I'm optimistic about each rider contributing to the team goals and what all we will produce.
BL: Are there any particular races that you are looking forward to this season?
TK: All of them really. Every race on my schedule will be unique in it's own right because of the terrain and potential weather and I like that, think it shows your true riding ability and makes for a quality series. The National Championship Series races are probably my favorites. Those are my real targets. Snowshoe in June is especially inspiring because it's so close, and my family and everyone I know that rides a bike will be there cheering.
BL: Thank you very much Tiffany. We wish you the best of luck with your new team in the upcoming season!
Team Ford Outfitters Women’s Mountain Bike Sponsors:
Ford Motor Company