Podcast Podcast, Season 4, Episode 2 : Cory Williams

Today, our guest is Cory Williams, a Belizean-American cyclist who helped create the UCI Continental L39ION team with his brother Justin, also a pro cyclist. Together, they work to increase diversity and inclusion in cycling. Cory Williams talks about his relationship toward competition, working with his family, and the changes happening in the world of professional cycling.

Our guest this time is elite cyclist Cory Williams. In 2019, Cory established the UCI Continental team, L39ION of Los Angeles with his brother Justin Williams. Their goal? To increase diversity and inclusion in cycling. In this episode, Cory relives the key moments that shaped him, including his team’s domination of the 2021 Tulsa Tough. He also talks about what it takes to be an elite cyclist, his team’s impact on the cycling community, and his vision for the future of the sport. Presented by your host Naomi Schiff, this is The Edge, a podcast by TAG Heuer.

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Here are a few snippets to put you on the starting line and get the adrenaline pumping. But don’t forget to subscribe to our Podcast so you can listen to the full, unfiltered episode later. The Edge is a series of conversations with extraordinary people operating at the edge of possibility. It’s about the thin line between taking part and tipping into victory; it’s about what gives us our edge and what we can do to go beyond it.

How his love affair with cycling began

My dad was a cyclist growing up. Basically, I just wanted to be like him, like a lot of other kids. He used to do bike races on Sunday, and I used to ride around on my little bike all day. They would literally have to call me inside to get dinner.

Cory Williams’ origin story

Mine is my first bike race. I got lapped maybe four times. I remember thinking, there’s no way that this can continue. And I’m so competitive that it just sparked something in me. It was a fire that burned and it’s still burning to this day. I’m not being lapped anymore, but I still want to always get better.

What it takes to be an elite cyclist

I think a lot of sacrifice with time. Cycling is an all day thing, right? You get up, you go ride, and then recovery starts right after that. And that’s literally, what you eat, how you sleep and a whole bunch of things. I think you just have to have a lot of time to dedicate to the sport.

About L39ION, the team he created with his brother

I remember getting the lack of opportunities on other teams. No chances to prove myself. And we got tired of it. We wanted to do our own thing. It turned out to work as, sometimes, the right thing to do is to bet on yourself. We had a team before called Concept Team. Justin was on a pro team, like Miles who was going to retire. He ended up having more fun racing by himself. We wanted to make sure that our friends try to do cycling in another way, not being so strict. We’re all competitive. We wanted to get rid of the extra stress of having team owners, team directors and to provide a home for our friends to also enjoy cycling in this new way that we found awesome.

Working with his family

There were a lot of arguments. We always sit down and try to come up with the best ideas. Sometimes, you think your idea is better than the other one, and that can sometimes butt heads over that. The pros are : it makes a closer bond. And we can see the effect that we’ve had on people. That’s a great thing.

Inclusion in cycling

I see a lot more people of colour showing up to bike races. There’s a cool story about that. In Tulsa in 2021 there was two little black girls that came up to me and told me they came to watch the race because I was there. It was so special to me because, growing up in the sport, there’s not always a lot of black people there, or people of colour. To see right before the race these two little girls coming up to me, was a very, very special moment.