Shortly after moving to Colorado, Katie joined the Colorado Women’s Cycling project and found that it was more than she could have expected. The experience of finding her home, and her place on the team was easier than she expected. Read more to see how it all plays out.
Ever find your mind wandering? Ever feel like there is a place calling you and you shake it off or put those thoughts off for another day? Some of us find ourselves in the position to take that risk and pursue something we’re not 100% sure will play out as planned. Here’s the truth, things will never go as planned but, it’s the journey that’s worth it all.
Let’s go back to my apartment in Michigan, I found myself working a job that I enjoyed and had a great group of athletic and like-minded friends. However, in my mind’s eye I had always seen myself in a place with mountains and in a bigger city with more opportunities. I’ve lived in a couple other states and hadn’t found a place that truly felt like home to me.
Through a seemingly odd play out of events, I found myself in Colorado in August of 2013. I’ll spare you the details but, there was a guy, some mountains, and endless variety of roads, paths, and trails that I knew spoke to me in a language I could truly understand. I moved with no job in hand but luckily a roof over my head which counts for a lot.
As I drove across the U.S. I began to truly let it sink in that I was moving to this purported mecca of sport. I mean, the Olympic training center is in Colorado Springs, this place has got to be littered with old leathery pros and every weekend 5K would be under 15 minutes, and the criteriums would surely cause any flat lander an immediate heart attack.
Once I got settled in I began searching out groups and clubs. I attended rides, meetings, and at first didn’t really catch the vibe of any of the clubs. Be it timing or divinity but, I was ready to go unattached in 2014 and as I was about to put it away for another day I found the Colorado Women’s Cycling Project. They had a ride later that week for prospective members. After packing up my bike and driving home, I knew that I had found my second home with the Naked team, plus the name made me giggle.
I participated in the team rides, I went to as many clinics as possible and I got to know the ladies on the team. Some are fantastic road riders, others off road specialists, but all had something to share to the group. After a short winter (in comparison to Michigan’s 6 month winters) it was time to get on the bike and race what I could only imagine to be a finely tuned, monsters of the mash. I lined up for the TT expecting to get passed like I was standing still. By some graceful magic I managed to survive without getting pushed off the road by a speeding estrogen bullet. In fact, I managed to take a respective 5th place. On the way back home I couldn’t help but feel a little jaded that it’s early in the season and everyone was just getting back to racing so my placing today was a total fluke.
As the spring and summer passed I found myself on or near the podium and found that the playing field is definitely tougher than Michigan; which wasn’t a bad thing. It required me to work harder, race smarter, and use all the skills I’ve learned in my career to my advantage. I felt very fortunate to be part of this great group of women who were always willing to share their knowledge of the sport. They were also willing to sacrifice their own race results for good of the team. They reminded me how important team work is in the sport of bike racing and believe me it was a lot of fun to roll up to the start line of a race seeing all the purple kits next to you.
The resounding theme since moving to Colorado has been to expect the unexpected, and ultimately not let my initial perception defeat me. I wouldn’t be here writing this for the Women’s Cycling project blog if I wouldn’t have taken a chance and hoped for the best. Maybe this theme fades as we get older but, for now I’m going to embrace it.
As I said before, I’ve found my home here. I love this team, these ladies, and the cycling scene. These women were so instrumental in welcoming me to this state that I can’t do enough to thank them for their support and love.