Julie Higgins

Julie Higgins

Mountain Cat 1, Cross Cat 2, Road Cat 3, Former Collegiate Swimmer

Julie Higgins joined Women’s Free State Racing in 2012, but her story starts much earlier.  Julie has always been competitive, you could say it started when she was 14 months old, the day her Brother was born because they were/are ALWAYS competing.  Her racing career began in a swimming pool at 6 years old and continued through college, a 20-year endeavor.  She also dabbled in Soccer in her youth and joined the Women’s Lacrosse team during her Junior year of college when it switched from a club sport to a varsity sport to comply with Title IX.

After graduating college and realizing she couldn’t eat everything she wanted anymore without putting on weight she knew she had to find another outlet for her competitiveness and her food habit!  Enter triathlon.  She liked triathlons and pushing herself but hated running.   After trying multiple times to train and then race a half-Ironman, she realized that her scoliosis just would not allow her to do long runs.  So with advice from a doctor, who told her, it would be better for her to just do the first two sports of the triathlon, and since she hated running, it was a no brainer and a cyclist was born.

After some group rides, long tours, some road races and even some crits, Julie’s fate was sealed.  Only a couple months later, at the advice of friends, she was told she would LOVE Cyclocross and to come out and try a race.  Boy were they right!  Julie jumped full force into racing after that first cross race.  Julie believes that Cyclocross is the ultimate “gateway” into cycling.  Racing Cyclocross improved her handling skills and got her REALLY psyched for cycling in general.  That first year she raced just about every weekend until she tore her gastrocnemius calf muscle which ended her first season in 2010.

In 2011, She took it up a notch and entered into multiple road races and her first couple mtn bike races.  But Cross was her true love at that time and she dedicated herself to improving and racing regionally as a Cat 4.  Some Ladies in NE had developed “The Stitch Series” to motivate cyclocross racers to get out of their comfort zone and also build up participation.  The Nebraska Ladies traveled to KC and a contingent of KC Ladies traveled to NE.  This was Julie’s biggest interaction with WFSR riders to that date.  They sent a contingent up to support the efforts of the Stitch Series organizers.  (WFSR has always traveled well!)  Julie had competed with them locally but she started hanging out with them after the races in NE and then was invited on to the team for the 2012 racing season.  She was very happy to start representing the fine Ladies on WFSR.

Becoming a Cyclist

It wasn’t easy to become a cyclist as at the beginning I didn’t like riding in groups on road rides and after crashing off a cliff at Landahl during my first mtn bike ride with my Husband, I didn’t want to do that again either.  However, I did enjoy riding and got used to riding in a group with my husband, his friends and did multi-day touring rides like The Bicycle Tour of KC.  I got stronger and more confident.  Thus, I got talked into doing the Sunflower Games TT in 2010, which led me into doing the Crit and the RR the next couple of days.   That was my first taste of Road Racing.  I was competitive and because of my competitive nature I wanted to do more.   Enter Cyclocross a couple of months later.

-Julie Higgins

Julie, 3rd place

2016 Mountain Nationals in Georgia

I loved racing at Bear Creek in PA for the USAC XC Nationals in 2013 & 2014.  It was my 2nd year of racing and although I was completely out of my league. I learned a ton and was determined to come back the next year and improve.  When I returned in 2014, I accomplished that goal!  I rode technical bridges and rocks that I was totally intimidated by the previous year.  Sometimes it isn’t about where you finish but the accomplishments that brought you there.

I really have too many bikes to list them all…ALMOST too many to count, really,  but I’ll tell you about a couple…..

Candy – Specialized Camber – first 29er.  As soon as I rode her I got faster.  Her name is “Candy” because she likes to get dirty.

“Diesel”  is the newest bike to my stable and is a Specialized Camber Evo 29er.

They are the only bikes I’ve named, which tells you how special they are.  (Don’t tell the others though because I don’t want them to be jealous and buck me off at an inopportune time.)

Before donning WFSR jerseys, I used to wear my Spam jersey for every race.  I figured everyone else was sponsored so I should give back to the company that helped raise me.  You see my Dad worked for Hormel for 35 years so technically I was sponsored by Spam for a long time.  So, I was called “Spam” for a while, luckily people have forgotten about that.

Since the beginnings of my cycling career I have gotten more and more into mtn biking and now consider that my favorite of the cycling disciplines.  The joy I get conquering my fears, growing as a technical rider and just plain racing fast at different courses around the Country just fuels me.   That doesn’t mean you won’t see my throwing down for the team at a road race, as I love the strategic aspect of road racing and nothing compares to the lung burning, adrenaline rush of going as hard as you can for 40 minutes in a Cyclocross race either.  Overall, I just love racing my bike and flying the WFSR colors.