Laura Abbey is from Paramus, NJ and is currently a middle school band and orchestra director. Laura ran track and played tennis as a kid and slowly fell in love with distance running at the end of the college. While slowly working her way up through 5ks and sprint triathlons, Laura worked herself up to marathons and Ironman competitions. Then in 2016, looking for a new challenge, Laura began racing Cyclocross and absolutely fell in love. She currently races for Colavita-Whole Foods Market Racing Team and she hopes to see you at a race. 🙂
Race Weight: 125 lbs.
Birthdate: August 18, 1988
Childhood Heroes: Sally Ride – the first American woman to go into space
Hobbies and Interests: Biking, exploring, cooking, laughing
Favorite Movies: Sister Act 1 & 2 – so hokey, so 90s, so perfect
Musical Tastes: As a music teacher, this is a tough question. I’ll listen to anything but I highly value music written and produced by the artist. Electronic stuff is ok if its produced with creativity but mindless repetitive pop music drives me crazy. Top for me is real instruments with lyrics and harmonies that suck you in.
Favorite TV Shows: Parks & Rec, 30Rock, The Office, The Daily Show
Favorite Meal: Lasagna, and specifically my Mom’s Christmas Day lasagna for our Merlino family gathering. I wait all year for this year. The sauce, the cheese, the layers…. perfection
Favorite Breakfast Cereal: Trader Joe’s Maple Pecan Clusters Cereal
Favorite Pre-Race Meal: Bar, Banana, and UCan
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: This is a very serious question… I like to rotate between chocolate chip cookie dough, any variety on a peanut butter, and mint chocolate chip. This all depends on brand, temperature, and setting.
Childhood Dream: My earliest dream was to be an astronaut and explore the unknown!
First Car: Red 1994 Toyota Carola – the doors didn’t match the rest of the car and it was beautiful symbol of freedom
First Job: Savino’s Pizza answering the phones and serving up slices
Favorite Vacation Spot: National Parks – we are slowly working out way through the country. Glacier, Arches, and the Tetons are top choices.
Pre-Race Feeling: Quiet and focused – thinking about all the training that led to this moment and mentally reviewing the game plan for the day.
Early Racing Memory: 2009 Delaware Distance 15k Classic – I ran track as a kid but this was my first real race and the furthest distance I had ever run. I had just started training to run again and it felt amazing to push my body to get faster and run further. This race really caused me to catch the distance running bug.
Funny Racing Memory: A few years ago at the Wyckoff/Franklin Lakes Triathlon, my friend Patty was attempting to finish her first triathlon ever. While this is special for anyone, Patty had survived a brain aneurysm a few years earlier and finishing this event was a huge deal. This event would take her a bit of time and as the last runner in the field, she knew she would get a police escort to safely finish the race. After finishing our own races, myself and 3 of our friends put on suits over our tri gear, wore dark sunglasses and fake earpieces, and pretended to be secret service agents escorting her through the run course. We spent the entire 5 miles jumping out behind trees, doing fake karate moves, and rolling on the ground to make her laugh. It was hysterical but also amazing to watch her cross the finish line.
Greatest Racing Moment: Finishing Ironman Lake Placid in 2016. This was a huge goal for me and race day had gone perfectly. The finish line is in the Olympic Oval and running down that final chute with my family cheering for me and Mike Reilly calling my name and announcing I was an Ironman was absolutely incredible.
Most Painful Moment In Life: Getting that phonecall that my wife’s blood test results weren’t normal and just being so helpless to help her. The uncertainty of it all was terrifying. Luckily after some surgery and help from amazing doctors, she is doing well now.
Worst Injury from Racing: During my first season racing CX, I got caught in a giant crash with a bunch of other racers. I was down on my right side with my hand still on the handlebar and I’m not really sure what happened but my whole right arm basically got twisted out of place. I got up and knew something was very wrong but didn’t see blood and adrenaline is a hell of a drug so I finished the race and came in 3rd. As soon as the race was over and my body could calm down the pain flooded in and I realized I couldn’t lift my arm. I had sprained my wrist and elbow and tore my labrum. I was lucky nothing broke but it took forever for the soft tissue to heal. My entire right arm was useless for weeks and the rehab to be able to lift anything on that side was awful.
Closest Racing Friends: I have to throw a lot of thanks to Stacey Barbossa, who is like the best racing friend anyone could ask for. Always encouraging, always a model of excellence, and always knows when to yell “Move your fat ass!”
Funniest Racer: My dog Zion. Running with him is hysterical.
Favorite Race: Boston Marathon – there is absolutely nothing like it
Embarrassing Racing Memory: One of my first CX races had this slight dip and then a steep climb out of it on a bank and I totally messed it up. As I’m falling down the hill and unable to get back up from the mud there was a trombone player who just kept making the whomp whomp sad trombone sound every time I tried to get back up. It was a terrible scene for me but hysterical for the crowd.
Toughest Competitors: There is no one tougher than CX lady racers. It is a privilege to race with these badass ladies.
Favorite Athletes to Watch: I love watching freestyle bike tricks. There is something so mesmerizing about watching these riders balance on one wheel and jump around and just have so much control of their bikes.
Qualities You Most Admire in People: Honesty, Passion, and Dedication
What You Love Most About Riding Your Bicycle: The absolute freedom.
2019 NJ CX Cup – Cat 123 Women – 2nd place
2019 USA Triathlon All American
2018 NJ CX Cup – Cat 3 – 1st place
2016 Ironman Lake Placid – 11:32:17 – All World Athlete, Silver
2015 Tri-State Spartan Sprint Open – 1st W
2015 Wyckoff/Franklin Lakes Triathlon – 2nd place W
2014 NYC Marathon – 3:28:54