Allie Morgan looks back on how her training as a runner brought her to the start line of her first cycling race. From learning the basics to racing with the pros at Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
A year and a half ago I was training for my first marathon. After ten years of distance running and six half marathons I felt ready for this new challenge. But two weeks before the race I found out that I had a stress fracture in my foot. This was the fifth marathon that I had signed up for but couldn’t start because of an injury. I had been taken out by everything from sprains to torn muscles and I finally decided that enough was enough; I needed to find a different sport.
Several of my friends at that time were cyclists and encouraged me to get on a bike while I healed from my fracture. The first month was difficult, but all of the barriers that had kept me out of cycling seemed to disappear as I learned more about the sport and spent time on a bike.
After going back to the basics and learning how to use clipless pedals and how to change a flat tire, I decided to sign up for a race that I had always wanted to do, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Having grown up in Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak was the 14er in my backyard. I had driven up it, taken the tram to the top and hiked it twice so it seemed fitting that I should also make my way to the top on a bike.
I was terrified the morning of the race, but I was also excited. After months away from competitive running, I finally had the chance to race again. Although the climb was grueling, the sights were incredible and the other racers were supportive and kind. After that race I felt like I had regained a piece of myself that I had lost when I stopped running.
Because of that first race, I decided to commit to cycling and was fortunate enough to join Naked Women’s Racing for the 2016 race season. Through clinics, group rides and mentorship these women made the transition into cycling safe, easy and fun. I completed over 10 races with the team this past season and returned to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb where I raced with some of the fastest women in the country a few weeks ago. Racing in a new sport has been challenging, but with the support and friendship I have found on this team it has been incredibly rewarding.