Tag Archives: Sharon Madison
Last report from Israel from Sharon at the Macabbi Games Road Race…and spoiler alert! She brought home the gold!!
It’s time to drink, celebrate and tour the country.
Today was the road race. 6 laps over a 6 mile course. The course was very hilly (perfect for me) with fast downhill’s and sharp turns.
Only 9 girls raced. 8 Israeli’s and me. I have no clue what happened to Australia, Argentina and Canada. I think the course scared them. So many of these people, both men and women, do not race or train on hills and it was a very tough course.
We started a couple of minutes after the master’s men. It was balls out from the start. I told myself to hang on. I knew they were all going to blow up because there was no way we could hold this pace for 6 laps. We were even passing several of the men.
Once we got into the second lap, just as I thought, everyone blew up. A pro athlete and a junior took off but I couldn’t hang on. A 30’s master tried to hang on but she couldn’t so I said to her let’s work together. You’re ahead of your competitor and I’m ahead of mine. She was lovely. We worked together for the whole race. I would not have wanted to be on this hot course alone.
She knew people all over the course so we were constantly getting handed water to drink and thrown on us. We knew the time gaps because they kept us informed. There were people cheering for USA all over the course. It was such a great feeling. USA men and several of the other men from the other countries were dropping like flies. The heat was hard on so many of the riders. I trained in the heat before I came here so I was prepared.
I passed my other master lady around 3 laps so I knew I had the gold if I stayed upright. They were suppose to pull her from the course but didn’t. The other 2 juniors got lapped and were pulled.
I pushed myself up the last hill and sprinted to the finish to win the gold. The girl with me who was in the 30’s came in 1 sec. behind me. I was 1st in masters and 3rd among all the women.
It was amazing to see all the people at the finish and all the USA men who were thrilled to see me pull off another great race.
This has been a great experience. I have met so many wonderful people but I am excited it is over. It is very hard racing in a foreign country and it makes me appreciate what we have back in the states.
Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and love you have given me over the past year.
The adventure at the Maccabi games continue. I was up until 1AM getting both bikes unpacked and set up. Training on the TT course was taking place on Thursday. We were supposed to meet in front of the hotel at 7AM to catch a ride to the course, which is 2 1/2 hours north of Tel Aviv. I waited and waited and waited but no bus. Later in the day I found out that the bus did show up at another hotel. No pre-riding the course for me. I did go for a short training ride with a triathlete from Boulder and his training partner.
Tel Aviv, a beautiful costal city, is anything but biker friendly. We tried riding on the boardwalk, which runs along the Mediterranean Sea. Between the mom’s with strollers, joggers, and folks walking their dogs, I felt like I was in a game of dodge ball. Riding thru Tel Aviv is like riding thru New York City. I was lucky to make it back to the hotel in one piece.
Thursday night was opening ceremonies at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. 9000 athletes from 77 countries marched in. I have never seen anything like it. The show was put on just like the Olympics. Team USA had almost 1200 athletes. Israel had the largest with over 2000 athletes. The energy of the athletes and crowd was unbelievable. The entertainment, fireworks, and lighting of the torch were very cool. The politicians took full advantage of the opportunity to speak to 35,000 people and to a national TV audience. It did not matter that I had no clue what they were saying because there was such electricity in the air. The camaraderie of the US team was great.
We finally got back to the hotel at 2 AM. We ate and got to bed at 4. So far sleeping isn’t in the cards. I am living off adrenaline.
Not wanting to risk another screwed up training day, my new found Boulder friends and I set up our own training. I talked with Howard (Boulder tri person) and Geoff (worked at Multi Sport in Boulder for 5 years) and we decided on Friday to rent a driver and go out to the country and train where it was a little safer. We did a 20 mile loop. Then we turned around and did the same loop in the opposite direction. I finally got in a good workout. I love riding at sea level. It’s like natural doping.
Saturday we did an easy spin to make sure TT bike is working correctly. Getting all my stuff together because I have to get up at 2:30 AM to catch a private shuttle with another cyclist. It’s a 2½ hour drive from Tel Aviv and my start time is at 7:15. That means a very quick warm-up. Lets see how I handle this since I like to be at races 2 hours before start time. All bikes are being checked and need to abide by all the rules of UCI. I’ve never had to go thru this process before.
I will give it my all tomorrow and I hope to report to you next time with good news and a medal in my hand. My field is small. We only have 9 women in my age group. To be continued.
Love from Israel,
The Maccabi Games or The Maccabiah is the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition in the tradition and values of Maccabi, emphasizing the centrality of the State of Israel in the life of the Jewish people. The Maccabiah takes place every four years in Israel – “the Jewish Olympics” as they are often called, are Maccabi World Union’s largest and most famous enterprise. Naked Women’s Racing competitor Sharon Madison is representing the USA (the sole female to do so in cycling)!
The time has arrived I’m on my way to Israel to race in the 19th World Maccabi Games known as the Jewish Olympics. These games are Olympic style competitions for Jewish athletes around the world. 8500 athletes from 80 different countries including Cuba, India and Chile will be showing up in Israel for 2 weeks of competition with 1200 being from the United States. This will be the biggest games so far. The Maccabi games are held every 4 years.
The day started with us having to be taken to the airport in 2 vehicles. Yes, 2 not one. I have 2 bike boxes, a wheel box, and a bag full of bike gear and my personal bag. My husband and both boys each have one bag.
We got to the airport 3 hours ahead of time because that’s how I operate. Race day I’m always there 2 hours before the race starts so why should I be any different flying out. A little OCD but it works for me.
After checking in, they tell me they want $200 per bike. I gave them my certified letter from the Maccabi committee and they looked at me like I was crazy. United does not fly anything or anybody for free no matter who you are. So I suck it up and pay the $400. United should be glad they didn’t have to deal with Mean Mama Madison though!
Since we had 3 hours to kill we decided to go to the United lounge. We show our ticket to get in and then I see a 12:30 departure. We were supposed to leave at 2. It was 12:00. I guess they changed our flight but didn’t contact us. Off we ran to the gate to make the flight. Luckily, we arrived at Newark, but then find out our flight is now leaving at 1:00 AM instead of 10:30 PM. What’s up with that? They needed an extra seat on our last flight so I could have had one of the boys give up their seat for $500. That would have at least covered the bike fees.
We arrived in Israel at 7:30 PM on Wednesday. I have a training ride on the TT course at 6 AM on Thursday so it will be a late night getting the bikes built up and unpacked. I never sleep anyways so I guess I’ll be okay:)
Opening Ceremonies are on July 18th. 32,000 people are expected for the opening ceremonies. More people then my hometown of 70. If you go to www.JLTV.TV you can watch the opening ceremonies live. Keep in mind Israel is 9 hours later than Denver.
My first race is on Sunday the 21st and it’s a 16 miles Time Trial. If you want to follow my adventures you can go to www.maccabiusa.com for racing updates, www.nakedwomensracing.com or Colorado Women’s Cycling Project on Facebook for my blogs.
Thanks for all the good wishes and thank you to all my friends and great teammates who have trained with me all year long for this adventure.
Seven Naked Ladies traveled to Laramie, Wyoming to compete in the 25th Annual Dead Dog Stage Race. Many podiums were won in Cat 1/2, 3, and 4 fields all due to uh-mazing teamwork. Here’s Sharon’s perspective over the three-stage weekend.
If you want to test your mental and physical toughness you need to sign up for Dead Dog Stage Race. The Amanda’s did it last year but fled to another state this year so they wouldn’t have to race it. Chicken……….
Day 1: Road Race 53 miles
The 3’s started with the pro 1/2’s in this race. I told myself it’s better because I had Joan, Susan A, and Rachel to try and work with along with my Cat 3 girls Susan H. and Lanier. Trust me I was shaking in my pants and worried that I was out of my league. Take in mind my Cat 3 race record hasn’t been so great this year. Wheels of Thunder, 12th place, Superior TT, 12th place, Superior Crit 12th place, Superior RR, 12th place. I needed to get out of this rut or go buy a lottery ticket full of 12’s.
First 11 miles-easy. Everyone wanted to warm-up. After we made our left hand turn things picked up a little and once we hit the climb everyone took off and the field split up. I went as hard as I could but take in mind I was up against a tough field. After a few minutes of being alone I saw Susan A. and knew she was going to be my savior and get me through this tough hill climb race. I can’t tell you how wonderful she was to work with and has a great wheel to follow. In other words she was my “butt of the day”.
Susan and I hung together, grabbed a couple other girls and next thing we know we hear mama Joan asking us to slow down so she can hop on. Now I was really happy. Two teammates to try and hang onto for dear life. Whatever they told me to do, I did. We went up hill, we went down hill, we did 11 miles into a nasty wind and we made it to the end. Actually I had to have a little coaxing from Joan to stay on her wheel and she pulled me in (and pushed me up that last hill). I could never have raced this well if it wasn’t for these 2 wonderful teammates.
When Susan H. finished I asked her if she was going to kill me because I did talk her into coming and doing this race with me. She looked at me and said, “Yes, I’m going to kill you. “ I was so proud of her that she conquered this race. The last 11 miles which are the worst, she did on her own. Congrats Susan.
Day 2: Crit
This started with Rachel taking me through the course a couple times and showing me the correct turns and where to be and not to be. This helped immensely on one of the corners. Rachel went into this crit being in 3rd place overall Cat 1/2 and I went into this crit being 3rd place overall Cat 3, so Rachel, Joan and Susan A. came up with a great game plan for Lanier, Susan H. and myself. These are great girls to learn from, and they are good at strategy.
The 3’s started right after the 1/2’s turned left on the corner. The goal was to have a slow start and eventually after a couple of laps let the 1/2’s catch us so we could jump in and work as a team. Lanier and Susan H. did great making this happen. After a couple of laps the 1/2’s were passing us. I immediately jumped on Rachel’s wheel. I told myself this was going to be my butt for this race. My goal was to stay close to the front and keep my contender Meg H. in close contact at all times. The best thing Rachel said to me before we started racing was, “remember when you are hurting everyone else is also hurting so don’t give up”. I can’t tell you how many times this ran through my mind. Three laps to go Lanier went to the front and picked up the pace. I just held on to Rachel’s wheel and in to the final lap, Rachel told me to stay on and I hung on for dear life. She got me across that finish line. Thank you Rachel for all the tips, having a great wheel to follow and believing in me.
Day 2: TT (yes, straight from the crit to a TT)
After the road race I realized I forgot my skin suit. Oh no, should I go on the computer and see how many seconds I’m going to lose not wearing a skin suit? Should I have my husband drive it up to me? What am I going to do? Lanier came to my rescue. She wanted me to keep 3rd position and try to get into 2nd so she gave me her skinsuit to wear. Is that an awesome teammate or what? I can’t thank her enough for that kind gesture. That’s what is so great about this team. Someone always steps up to the plate for a teammate.
I knew the TT was going to be tough because my legs were spent. All I could do was give it all I had. I knew it was going to be almost impossible to get 2nd overall but I didn’t want to lose 3rd position. It was hard, I was tired but I finished and kept my 3rd place position overall and took almost 3 minutes off of last years time. I thought age was catching up with me and I was slowing down but after this weekend I realized I’m stronger. I’m racing in a much tougher field this year but now I know I can do it.
I want to give a big thank you to all my wonderful teammates.
Susan H. was my co-pilot all weekend. She took care of me and watched out after me before, during and after every race. She told me I didn’t snore but if any of you hear anything differently please let me know.
Lanier, where do you find all this energy and enthusiasm for racing? You amaze me. You are there for me at every race and willing to help me out. You loaned me your skin suit to keep me on top and I am forever grateful.
Joan, you are a worker dog. You are there for every teammate and you were there for me. You gave me great tips you guided me and most of all you believed in me.
Susan A., what a joy to spend the day racing with you. I’ve never had the pleasure before. You have some a great steady wheel and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed being with you for those 3 hours. You helped me get in to the position I needed to be in for the next 2 races.
Rachel, warming up with you today helped calm my nerves. You told me exactly what I needed to do and I listened and raced well because of it. Thank you for dragging my butt all the way into the finish line.
All of you girls who have never done a stage race think about it. You will realize “it’s all about team work”.
Sharon, Melissa, and Lanier finish up Ride the Rockies strong and leave it all out in the mountains. Read the recap on days 6 and 7 here. Go to www.ridetherockies.com to view videos and pictures of all 7 days.
Day 6: Salida to Canon City. 93.5 miles, 4,455 elevation gain, Hardscrabble Pass
Today we started at Big Dog Coffee shop, in Salida. Today was our reroute day. We ended up doing 105 miles because we ride to the hotel. It was the most beautiful of all the days. We went through Westcliffe and up Hardscrabble Pass. In my 9 years of doing RTR I have never done this pass.
Lanier didn’t ride with us today. She had to rest her engine for state TT and was heading back to Denver. We started with our group of 6 including Kris (303 cycling). He took the day off from the Naked girls the day before but really missed us so jumped back on the Naked train today.
Today we all split up after the first aid station because Dr. Sean was having mechanical issues. We made Melissa stay with him so Sam and I didn’t have to kill ourselves going up the pass with that Mtn. goat. Smartest thing we did all week. We all regrouped at the next aid station and finished together. We were so excited to get out of our chamois. We had a lot of chamois time today.
Day 7 : Canon City to the finish in Colorado Springs. 47 miles and 2243 elevation gain.
Today we rode to Florence so everyone could have their coffee. Since today was a short day to the finish we decided we had to leave it all out there. Sam was talking smack to me last night telling me I wasn’t pushing myself this week as hard as I could. Don’t tell Mama that. I was out to kick butt today. I knew we had some climbing so that was where I was going to have to put the pressure on.
I was talking with Ron Kiefel this morning, so he knew Melissa and I had a plan of attack on the climbs. First big climb kept pace up, but couldn’t shake anyone. I picked up more steam and everyone attacked. I thought I had it, then Sam flies by me going over the crest of the hill. Urgh!!! All of a sudden Ron appears and said, ” get on my wheel you have another hill and another chance.” I grab his wheel and we pass my group. He pulled me for a long time then when the next climb came he went over and said,” go get it.” Away I went and the only one who could stay with me was Dr. Sean and we hoofed it to the next aid station. He let me suck his wheel and gave me the win. I had to win one of the stages of RTR.
We finished the day with a few more attacks but pretty much stayed together. It was another great year with Melissa and Sean. Sam was a great addition to our group and we loved hanging with Kris ( 303 Cycling) for the week. Sean’s teammate Todd from Alchemist rode with us all week, and Erik from Aspen joined our group letting the Naked girls drag him around all week. I highly recommend this event to everyone. You meet great people, eat, drink and ride your bike everyday. Can’t get more pro then that.
Thanks for following us all week and reading our blogs.
Ride the Rockies Day 5. Alamosa to Salida, 84 miles, 1631Elevation gain, on a never ending road.
The day started with our usual start at Milagros coffee shop to plan the attack for the day. It was basically a very flat ride through ET country. At one point we thought we heard a UFO.
The Naked girls have become very popular this week. Today’s writing on the road was “Naked Team show us what you’ve got. Wink! Wink!”
The train stepped into high gear at the second rest stop. It was day 5, we were all missing our companions so we found the next best thing on the road, a giant rooster…..(see photo below)
Sam was so excited at this rest stop that she had to show these country folks how we dance in the city. (see photo below)
The ride was pretty uneventful. As we were chugging down the road we spotted a fire on the mountain side. Not sure if they got it under control or not but we hope so.
Tomorrows route has been changed. Our 67 mile day is not happening. We are now riding 94 miles with a 4,455 foot elevation gain into Canon City. We will be riding up Hardscrabble Pass. They had to reroute us because of the fire in Canon City. We are not sure how this riding into smoke is going to go.
Day 4 of Ride the Rockies. Pagosa Springs to Alamosa, 92 long windy miles with 4,678 elevation
Coffee shop start again. Late start again. No one listens to Mama when it comes to our start time. Lanier ditched us. She beat us up for 3 days then decides to save herself for the state TT. What’s up with that?
We’ve not only caught the attention of all the riders this week but the RTR crew as well. Agent Orange writes all over the road with jokes, caution signs etc… he does this the day before we ride the route. It is to keep you entertained as you ride. A couple nights ago his 11 year old daughter and a friend had dinner with us. We told Sam she had to filter because of the young ones. Needless to say, she dropped a few words which she shouldn’t have. Today, within a mile out of the shoot, on the road in big orange letters is “filter Sam filter”.
After we did a P&P (pee and peel) we headed up Wolf Creek Pass. Going up I saw an old arch rival and a full on testosterone fest took place. Melissa and Sam hung on for dear life. Then I settled back into a tempo pace but Melissa took off to win Queen of the Mountain.
After a couple photo ops at the top we started our descent. Someone took a picture of the Naked Train descending but we have no clue who. It was posted on Facebook.
At about mile 32-92 we had a pretty flat ride into Alamosa. On this section the Naked Train attracted way to many people. We kept having to slow down or speed up to break up the train.
Ron Kiefel (owner of Wheatridge Cyclery and 1985 stage winner of Giro d’ Italia) came up to me and said, ” Sharon can I have a one day pass and join your train”. I said, “hop on”. He’s a great person to ride with on the flats. The wind was nasty so Ron took control of the group of 10 and told us where to rotate into the wind and had us echelon in a quick rotation.
The last 10 miles were a sufferfest because of the wind. Everybody dropped off and imploded. I had a massage at 2 which I wasn’t going to miss, so Sam and I pushed it in grabbing a couple of guys to help us. With 5 miles left I started falling apart so Sam put Mama on her wheel and brought me in with 5 minutes to spare for our massages.
It was a long windy day in the saddle but it was a fun day by all. Tomorrow we head to Salida. Another long day. 84 miles with 1,631 elevation gain. We will be heading up Poncha Pass.
Day 3 of our Naked ladies at RTR. Durango-Pagosa Springs 86 miles 3,635 elevation gain.
At 7:00 we met up at Durango Coffee. We were going to leave at 7:15 but it takes awhile to round up the troops. We had 9 people riding in the Naked train today.
Right out of Durango we had a 15 mile climb. Rumor has it from Roger (Melissa’s uncle) who runs Stadium Ambulance that people were saying we were passing riders on the climb like they were standing still. After the downhill we ran into some problems on the flat. Everyone wanted to jump on the Naked train. We wouldn’t let them rotate with us because the pace line was getting way to long and unsafe.
At mile 70 and 3 hours and 30 minutes later we all wanted to be done. At that point Kris from 303 Cycling was even done with us and the pace we were doing through the morning. He was trying so hard to ditch us but Sam and I wouldn’t let him. Mama says “no man left behind”. We were happy to slow down the pace and just hang with Kris.
We didn’t have time to take any “Fashion Don’t” pictures today. We’ll try to do better tomorrow.
Tomorrow is another long day. We ride up Wolf Creek Pass then head into Alamosa. It’s 92 miles and 4,678 elevation gain.
Day 2 of RTR: 64 miles and 3,442 elevation gain. Catch Day 1 here.
Melissa and I survived the night without getting bed bugs. We were a little concern about that. Not the best conditions in that place.
The Naked train consisted of a few more people today. Sharon, Lanier, Melissa, Sam, Kris (303Cycing), Dr. Sean, Sean’s friend Todd and Melissa’s friend Ryan.
We met at Spruce Coffee House in Cortez. At 7:30 it was time to head down the road. We had a steady 50 mile climb ahead of us. After a 15 minute warm-up the testosterone kicked in. We set off at a blistering pace. We had several people try to jump on the train but none of them could hold the pace. Finally, Sam went up to Ryan, who was pulling, and told him to dial it down. We thought about alternating boy and girl to keep the boys reined in. We were not very successful.
When we got to the top of Hesperus Hill, our 50 mile point, Lanier decided to take off. The only thing I could do is buckle down and grab her wheel. Melissa stayed on mine. Next thing I know, 3 guys hop on her wheel and they kept going faster and faster. I let them rotate and just hung on. When we got back, I asked Lanier to check her Strava to see how fast she went and it was 55 miles’s per hour! I prefer not to go over 53. Apparently, she got 6 QOM today as well as the fastest descent. Do not get in Lanier’s way on any descent.
Dr. Sean is our man slave this week. Several people have already commented that he needs to be in a Naked kit. Problem is yesterday he leaned his bike on someone’s car, left to go to the bathroom and we got yelled at. Today, Dr. Sean was leading the Naked train passed a couple of dudes without saying “passing on the left” and Lanier and I get chewed out and had to apologize. We pretended we didn’t know him. I think we are better off if Dr. Sean stays in his Alchemist monkey kit.
It was a great day that ended in massages, food and drinks. Sam told all the boys that tomorrow they need to leave their testosterone at the door.
The highlight of my day was when a woman came up to me at the massage tent and said, “I idolized you last year and your beautiful riding skills and I’ve been training this past year thinking of you and how you ride.”. She said she was so excited when I passed her today and she saw that I was here again. On RTR there is a lot of passing and at times you feel like a rock star. Then it’s back to racing and back to reality. What’s up with that?
Tomorrow we ride from Durango to Pagosa Springs, 86 miles and 3,635 elevation gain.
Sharon and her Naked buddies
Day 1 75 miles and 2,218 elevation gain.
Sharon is back for her 9th year of doing RTR. Melissa is back doing her 4th year and Lanier is on her 5th year.
The Naked girls started the day in Telluride with Sam Anderson and Sean Bender. Out of the shoot we started our climb up Lizard Head Pass. Mama Madison needs a good warm-up and that didn’t happen. Then came Chris Thompson from 303 Cycling to my rescue. He asked if Rachel was here. I told him no. He asked if I knew Ingird, I said yes. He asked if I did the Sunshine challenge, I said yes. Now we were instant best friends. He took care of me the rest of the day. If I started falling off the group because of a guy who jumped on our train and sped up he came to my rescue and pulled me back on.
I was great in the front on the uphills but when we hit the down hills, Lanier shoved me aside and took over with Sean. This is where Kris said lets just stay tucked in and pretend we are in the yellow jersey. He started feeling guilty, so he went out to pull but it was so windy, it got us nowhere. I told him to get that yellow jersey back on and tuck in with me. Heck, if Lanier and Sean wanted to dominate the downhill, let them. That was my philosophy.
We were keeping a great pace. We passed Nelson Vails and we heard George Hincapie was trying to chase us down all day, with no avail.
There were definitely a lot of people who jumped on our train for the free ride. There were also the occasional one trip ponies who sprinted for the finish line 20-40 miles before the finish line. Not to worry, Lanier was on it and reeled them back in.
As you can see we were tempted by the free wine tasting in Delores but we decided we better stick with our water. Save the wine for later.
We decide to do this Spine One photo because we were told by a stranger that since Spine One was our sponsor, we better stand up straight and have great posture. Dr. Haney from Spine One usually does RTR with us but had another commitment this year. He is missed.
We finished the day at the beer garden where everyone enjoyed their beers except Melissa (Princess in Training) and Mama Madison who don’t drink beer.
Tomorrow we go from Cortez to Durango where massages will be waiting for us. We have 64 miles and 3,442 elevation gain.