American Amber Neben was a winner long before today's Stage Two race of the Exergy Tour. She's a cancer survivor.
"In October 2007, I found a speck on my back," said Neben. "While I was waiting those two weeks before my operation, I asked myself, 'Is this it?' But I was lucky. It was stage one melanoma. I get my skin checked regularly and I'm good now, but it's something I live with."
She can also live with the fact that she led the pack in Saturday's time trial, completing the 10-mile straightaway through Kuna's farmlands in 21 minutes, 37.5 seconds. American Evelyn Stevens came in second, and Canadian Clara Hughes took third place.
Neben is a former world time-trial champion and is still hoping to make the U.S. Olympic team.
"I did the Women's Challenge [the former Idaho women's cycling competition] back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth," Neben joked. "It was 2001 and 2002 when I raced here. It's so much fun to be back here in Idaho."
Neben is 37 years old.
"Knowing you're going to have mountains and valleys, you just can't ever give up," she said.
Neben will have some new mountains to face on Sunday, when she and approximately 100 other elite cyclists race 60 miles from Crouch to Idaho City.