Tara McCarthy is celebrating her eighth year at USA Cycling and a recent promotion to senior national events manager. But one decade ago, she wouldn’t have predicted a career in the sports industry. “I saw myself working for nonprofits outside of the sports industry, even though I’d been involved with sports all my life,” McCarthy says. “It’s been really great because I’m a very active person and it’s been nice to have a career in something that I love.” McCarthy played rugby for 12 years and never expected to get involved with cycling. In 2011, a race instructor certification program she was implementing at USA Triathlon caught the eye of USA Cycling. The member-based organization then offered her an events position. Now, she has gone from managing a few national championships a year to managing all 15 of USA Cycling’s national championships, along with its entire events calendar. The races focus on the disciplines of road racing, track racing, cyclocross racing— which features obstacles and varying terrain —and mountain bike racing. The races draw in a range of 200 to 1,800 athletes from across the country, and this year the participant ages will range from 11 to 86. McCarthy’s role is zeroed in on the logistics of each race—securing permits, creating schedules, hiring timing companies, and setting up registration. However, her main goal at each race is to give the athletes a memorable experience. In 2018, McCarthy helped to do just that when an older cyclist who faced medical issues prior to the race and almost couldn’t compete. “He was not sure if he was going to be able to race at our mountain bike nationals… he actually got fifth place, and so he was fifth in the nation after having almost a year’s worth of challenges,” McCarthy says. “He lost his medal going home and his wife emailed me asking if I could send another medal. I was able to do so right before the holidays.” Moments like that keep McCarthy excited about her role, and about working with her team of three national events mangers to put on the best possible programs.