Mia Manganello Kilburg Interview
National Championships

Mia Manganello Kilburg Slides From the Ice Back to the Bike

By: Julie Goldsticker  June 16, 2022

Two-time Olympic speedskater Mia Manganello Kilburg is also a massive cyclist and will be in Knoxville for the Elite Women's Criterium National Championship.

Two-time Olympic speedskater Mia Manganello Kilburg has utilized cycling as cross training for speedskating since she was just a child, and the 32-year-old has a true love and passion for the sport. As a professional speedskater, she is focusing on her cycling skills with DNA Pro Cycling at the upcoming USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships taking place June 23-26 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Manganello Kilburg picked up cycling at eight years old, and the lifelong athlete made the move to her current home of Salt Lake City when she was 13 to pursue her goals in speedskating and her focus on cycling also became serious following the move.

While she has competed as an athlete for most of her life, she stepped away from her pursuits both on the ice and her bike in 2010. After being away from sports for a year, Manganello Kilburg joined a group ride. That small decision quickly resulted in a return to cycling. “I joined a group ride and they talked me in to going out for a Tuesday night crit series and I was completely hooked. At that moment in my life, I was still very young, and I had this sense that I was still an athlete. I had this big hole missing in my heart for sports and cycling filled that for me. It grew into something a lot more than just filling a void. I developed a love and a passion for it. Not just the instant gratification of you work hard, you go faster, but also the team camaraderie and the team sport dynamic of it all,” she said.

An established two sport athlete, Manganello Kilburg initially focused solely on cycling during her athletic comeback, racing bikes for six years before returning to the ice.

“Ultimately the regret of not making the Olympics brought me back to speedskating,” she said. “I had made every other team (in speedskating), but after those six years of developing on the professional level of cycling. I found myself in the most fit mental and physical position I’ve ever been in.” 

After watching the 2014 Olympic Trials for Speedskating, Manganello Kilburg decided that she had another run in her, and she was right. She went on to make the 2018 Olympic Team and win a bronze medal in long track speedskating in Pyeongchang, Korea. She made her second Olympic experience earlier this year in Beijing at the 2022 Olympics.

Her speedskating season continued for several weeks following the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and she is currently in the thick of her hard-core summer training with June, July and August being her “death” months. Despite her busy schedule, she still found time to return her competitive juices to a bike. While Manganello Kilburg utilizes cycling as cross training for speed skating, she also feels that the strength she builds in her in glutes and quads on the ice benefits her performance on the bike as well.

Although she was a road racer during her previous professional cycling days, she believes the crit is the best event for her to compete in at this point in her two-sport career. “I think I’m good at them. When I was training as a professional cyclist, I loved road racing. My role was the stage race sprinter. I won three green jerseys at a few different stage races, I really loved that, but you have to train for that. What I’m able to put into my training currently really caters best to crit racing. Speedskating is a power sport, and my longest race is eight minutes so it’s really difficult to jump out there for a 60-80 mile race and expect what I used to be able to do,” she said.

Like most of the competitors in the 2022 Pro Road National Championships, Manganello Kilburg is getting ready for the heat that Knoxville will bring to the event, but she’s not concerned about the warm temperatures following her appearance in the recent Tulsa Tough event. “After this weekend in Tulsa, I’m not worried because I pretty much melted this weekend. I’m sure it’s going to play a factor, but I feel like I have a better understanding of how to prepare for that,” she said.

The consummate competitor, Manganello Kilburg wants to put on a good showing in Knoxville. “My goal is to get on the podium. I want to prove to myself that I still have a little in me as well,” she said. “I want to enjoy it. I want to enjoy what I love about cycling, which is racing hard, racing on your limits, taking fast corners and trying to enjoy it because you don’t know how many you’ve got.”

Both she and the fans in attendance will see exactly what’s she got when Manganello Kilburg and DNA Pro Cycling race in the Elite Women’s Criterium on June 24 at the USA Cycling Professional Road Championships in Knoxville.

Photo Credit: Adam Koble / DNA Pro Cycling