InstaFund Racing endured their busiest season yet through 2021 taking on an action-packed schedule of racing that saw them jumping from the USA across to Europe where possible and when Covid restrictions allowed.
Having only established themselves in 2019, the team have taken leaps and bounds this year, after suffering a highly uneventful 2020 due to the pandemic and no racing.
Throughout the season, they raced in seven different countries, stood on the podium 17 times, started two World Tour stage races, hosted 5 community events and impressively won the overall USA Crits series. On top of that, the team grew and developed immensely together as they took on their very first races in Europe in amongst the world’s very best. They were also able to progress with their mission based goal of racing a carbon neutral season, taking their first big step forward mid-season by becoming a single-use plastic free zone.
Here, team owner, Adam Korbin reflects on the season that’s been and new ambitions looking ahead to 2022.
Photography by Drew Coleman and Laura Fletcher (The Peloton Brief)
Q & A WITH ADAM KORBIN
What were the season highlights for the team?
Seeing riders on the podium is always special, but a clear highlight was being able to reintroduce in-person community events.
As Covid restrictions slowly started to lift in North America, the team were thrilled to be able to get back into these events. Early on in the season, we hosted two clean-up rides; one to celebrate Earth Day, and the second following the Boise twilight criterium. Then a little later season when things further opened up, at the Intelligentsia Cup we saw the return of family rides between races. This provided a really fun opportunity to pick one lucky rider to receive a team jersey and spend some extra time riding with our riders. Prior to the Joe Martin Stage Race, together with the Breakaway Women’s Cycling Team we also held a parking lot women’s skills clinic followed by a fun rider Q&A enabling our riders to get involved and help encourage young women to get out there on their bikes and give it a go.
We are crossing our fingers that next season we can have regularly scheduled community events, as these moments are really what make our season!
Challenges faced throughout the season?
The ongoing, ever-changing Covid travel restrictions were a big challenge for the team this year, particularly with not being able to freely travel between Europe and the USA. The team also had quite a large number of unfortunate crashes resulting in broken bones, meaning many riders had long seasons without much of a break. It’s difficult to pin-point specific challenges as in any given cycling season, they will always come up! It certainly was not an easy season, but everyone went with the flow so all of the good memories far outweigh the challenges.
When does the team’s pre-season preparations begin?
The team will have its first camp from January 7th – 9th. The camp will be a bit of fun, focused around snow activities and team building, with a second more structured on-bike camp scheduled towards the end of February. To ensure we get the best out of our riders, we have decided to play to our strengths and slightly delay the start of our race season and will then plan to instead race later into the season.
2022 team goals and ambitions?
The first half of the season we will be focussed on the North American Calendar – UCI Road Races, Pro Criteriums, and Gravel Races, including the BWR California and Unbound. The team will then shift its focus to a big block of European road racing. We will always race to win and strive to continue improving as a team from race to race, particularly when we move to the European calendar. The team also has a big goal off the bike, to successfully have our first carbon neutral season as a professional cycling team. This is something we have been working towards and are all really excited to see it come to fruition through 2022.
Who are the new riders joining the team in 2022 and what are their strengths?
We have a very exciting, dynamic and highly motivated team lined up for 2022 from four different nations. In terms of new riders, Heidi Franz is a strong edition to our roster. She raced aggressively in Europe this past season, winning the points jersey at Setmana Valenciana and finished on the GC Podium at Joe Martin, while also standing on the podium in the gravel scene at BWR Utah. Doris Schweizer is incredibly experienced, particularly on European roads, while younger riders like returning rider Holly Henry, and new riders Rylee McMullen, Maddy Ward, and Stella Nightingale are all eager to showcase their skills. Also returning to the team is past team rider Helena Coney. Helena was a key member of the team in its very first year, finishing 3rd on stage 4 of the 2019 Redland’s Bicycle Classic – it’s great to have her back. All in all, there isn’t a course profile that won’t suit at least one rider on this roster, so bring on 2022!
2022 TEAM LINE-UP:
Doris Schweizer 🇨🇭
Heidi Franz 🇺🇸
Helena Coney 🇨🇦
Holly Henry 🇨🇦
Isabella Bertold 🇨🇦
Maddy Ward 🇺🇸
Rylee McMullen 🇳🇿
Stella Nightingale 🇳🇿
We wish the team all the best with their on and off the bike missions in 2022. Follow them to keep up to date with their season progress and race updates: