13 Questions with Kota Nutrition x Alliance
1. So, you guys are a St. Louis based cycling team. Tell us a little more about that.
-We actually avoid calling ourselves a ‘Team’. It’s more of a network, a union, a pact between teams…. Alliance is a ‘Team of Teams’ that seeks to create more opportunities for cyclists from St. Louis and also to showcase our collective strength on bigger stages. Rather than roll to big events with a bunch of splintered local squads we pool together, rock a united kit, share resources, and strive to put the city (not one individual) on the top step.
2. What is your favorite part about being in St. Louis?
-From the outside this place gets a bad rap but its got a ton of potential and momentum in so many ways. The cycling community is just one area of momentum but a huge asset and a big reason we started this program. St. Louis might be pretty disconnected from a lot of things but it happens to be primly located for cycling. We are an epicenter for racing but also within a 5 hour radius of some of the biggest races in the country.
3. Tell us more about Alliance. What is Alliance, when did you guys create it?
-Alliance as an idea was spawned in the winter of 2019 and launched at the start of the 2021 season. It began with five category 2 racers, all registered for Tulsa but on different teams. We realized we had little shot of success alone, but together a chance. There is always chatter in the peloton of informal alliances but we knew we needed to make it formal and tie it together under a unified kit. That turned out to be a great call and a huge asset for unifying our agenda and telling a collective story.
While it began in a small group focused on performance, it quickly grew to include nine more category 3 men, women, and juniors to our core squad. This added a whole new community and development aspect to the program. We became a traveling circus that raced, trained, traveled, and hung out together. All that time between races became huge opportunity to learn, share, and get to know each other off the bike. People who had ridden and raced against each other for years but had never seen the other in anything other than lycra were now having beers, sharing meals and getting to know one another. Racers partners were becoming invested and building relationships with each other and the team. This came to define the future of Alliance. While it’s about performance, it’s also equally about community. We rent a huge house, carpool, make meals, etc. We target specific races not just because they are high quality but because of the opportunity they present before, during, and after each race for mentorship and community building.
4. What is your long-term goal with Alliance?
-We want to showcase St. Louis as the best cycling community in the country. Long term we plan to establish Alliance as an official domestic elite team with USA Cycling, anchoring Alliance as the direct professional team for the St. Louis region and building a development program with strong local ties. We envision this in an academy style like many European soccer programs that establish a clear trajectory for new and young riders from all over the city to the top of the sport.
5. Why the name Alliance?
a union or association formed for mutual benefit, especially between countries or organizations."a defensive alliance between Australia and New Zealand"
6. What is the importance of teaming up with local brands for you guys? If you guys have a favorite Kota product, which one is it?
-St. Louis is so much more than just cycling and we want to spread the whole message. So many passionate brands here like Kota, Rockr, 4Hands and more that epitomize STL pride and we are honored to share with a larger community around the country. One of our biggest missions is to help promote brands we love with strong local pride but national marketing interests.
Historically we are huge fans of the Byron pre-workout. Its the perfect race prep nutrition to get you hyped to perform at your best. Lately we have really been enjoying the daily nutrition component of the Greens and Reds for general health and immunity! It’s great new addition to any nutrition lineup!
7. What’s your favorite bike ride here in St. Louis? What is your favorite local race?
-Lately we have been organizing these Alliance & Friends rides that have been so fun and a huge opportunity to get together. St. Louis has so many great regular group rides sponsored by shops. We never wanted to compete with those so on special occasions we pull together something big and epic and invite the whole community to join! They have been a huge success and such a blast.
It is hard to not to favor Gateway Cup. A huge event that pulls people from all over the country to our city. Its always an amazing way to wrap up the season on home soil!
On the other side, our weekly Tuesday night races in Carondelet Park are a blast. Not many other cities have as strong of a weekly race program. Now that we have this opportunity to race together with Alliance, racing against each other every week is so much more fun.
8. How’s the 2022 race schedule look like?
-Last year we targeted high quality multi-day races (Joe Martin Stage Race, Tulsa Tough, Intelligencia Cup, and Tour of America’s Dairyland). This year we are adding the Alabama Cycling Classic, La Crosse Omnium, and our first official gravel race at Belgian Waffle Ride.
9. What are you guys most excited about this year?
-Tulsa Tough. Its always the highlight of the year!
10. What’s your favorite St. Louis “thing”?
-A free zoo that serves beers!
11. What is the idea behind putting together local clubs and making a national racing team representing St. Louis?
-Alliance is a pact between our local clubs. We never intended to create a new team. We are all so grateful and loyal to our amazing clubs and the shops that support them like Road Crew, The Hub, Maplewood. When we are home we do everything we can to promote those clubs. This duality makes racing so much more fun both away and back home. We have always had a blast racing against each other but now there is a bit more on the line. The frenemies game is strong and we race each other even harder than before, all the while making the entire city better for when we team up again.
12. How many riders do you guys have?
-This season we have a full time elite roster of 7 and a community of more than 40
13. What’s the best results you guys have so far?
-Last year at Intelligencia Cup we had 3 races where we put 2 Alliance riders on each podium. Those were complete team wins and really showcased the power of a united plan.