Tag Archives: Women’s Cycling
Racing with a plan is amazing when it works. And that’s just what our Cat 3s did at Wheels of Thunder over the weekend, taking the primes and a 2nd place spot! Kat breaks it down for you…
I (Kat) have been racing my bike for some 8 or 9 years, way too long to recall exactly. After many long lonely seasons, 2013 marks the first time I have teammates. Women’s cycling in Colorado has grown tremendously over the last few years, and it’s no longer uncommon to have teams of 10+ women and multiple teammates in a race. When I first started racing, it seemed that women’s racing was much more of a sport of lone racers, which was great for teaching street smarts and how to be cagey in a race, but not so good for camaraderie, learning team tactics, or quite frankly keeping women in the race scene past 1 or 2 seasons. To be fair, I did have 3 teammates a few years back (2 of whom are now also Naked women), but it was few and far between when more than 2 of us could make it to the same race. So imagine my surprise when we had 8, yes you read that correctly, 8 Naked women line up for the Wheels of Thunder crit this past weekend. With numbers on our side, we formulated a plan to be aggressive. Sorry, no, I won’t be revealing the exact plan here. If you want our team secrets, you’re going to have to bribe me with something pretty special. I could use a new frame or some wicked race wheels, or a new power meter. Anyone?
Starting fairly early in the race, we threw out a lot of attacks. I think the whole field was as shocked as I was when early in the race Amanda Cyr launched a decisive attack, got a decent gap very quickly, and managed to stay away for a full lap. This was Amanda’s first race as a Cat 3 having just upgraded the week before. She very loudly put her stamp on the race and showed everyone that she is clearly ready to be a Cat 3. Up until this point, Amanda has been known as Amanda 2.0, or just simply “2.0,” based on her twin affiliation with Amanda 1.0. Well, that attack earned Amanda a new nickname. No longer 2.0, everyone please say hello to Amanda THE HAMMER Cyr. Keep your eye out for great things from that one during the season.
A little later in the race, Susan caught the field off-guard and attacked a few hundred yard from the finish line to snatch the second prime of the race. As she crossed the line, the bell was run for another prime lap. Does anyone else feel like the promoters really hate us when they run back-to-back primes? It must be fun for them, because it certainly isn’t fun for me to spend two laps sucking wind on the rivet barely able to breather. We caught Susan halfway up the hill after the first corner, where I promptly yelled to Lanier “Lanier, go now.” And boy did she! Lanier took off and no one could keep up with her. She got a huge gap as the rest of us worked hard to block the field from chasing. Lanier easily grabbed the prime and managed to stay away for 2 laps. Once she was back safely in the pack, with only 3 laps remaining in the race, we all tucked in to recover a bit. We checked in with each other and determined that Lanier was recovered from her flier and on fire and would have a go at the finish. She tucked in behind Susan, who got a very untimely flat. Ever the magnificent bike handler, Susan held her bike upright without an issues, but unfortunately there were no more free laps so Susan was out of the game. But in an amazing display of selfless teamwork, Cathy, who was right there when Susan’s tire blew, tried to give Susan her wheel, and when that didn’t work, offered up her WHOLE bike so Susan could at least finish. Teammate of the race award definitely goes to Cathy for that one. Good thing Susan didn’t have to jump on my bike as with about 4 inches separating us in height, that would have been quite the comical last lap for Susan. Coming into the finish Mama Madison sat on the front driving the bunch, which was enough to launch Lanier into second place. Every member of the team contributed to the team result and worked together. Team work accomplished and podium spot achieved! Look out world, here come the Naked Cat 3′s!
Another great post from the newly crowned Cat 3, Amanda Cyr. Maybe you shouldn’t have gotten that “4 4 Life” tattoo? There’s something in this post for everyone, so enjoy because these are the best years of your life. Go make the most of it!
When I was in high school (just a couple of years ago) people would come up to me constantly to tell me how “these are the greatest years of your life and make sure you do ____ and don’t do ____ and this is how you should _____.” The only thing I remember from high school is acne, trying to fit in, drinking Boones Farm out of a Sonic Route 44 cup, and listening to “Tiny Dancer” on repeat. I don’t consider those super awkward years to be the best years of my life. They definitely served their wallflower purpose but I wouldn’t call them “the best years” by any means… I mean who really loves holding their friends hair while they return the wine spritzer they bummed off of you onto your Converse?
While in college people had more pearls of wisdom about how “these are the greatest years of your life and make sure you do _____ and don’t do _____ and this is how you should ______”. Wanna know what I remember from college? Acne, trying to fit in, drinking PBR, and listening to “Tiny Dancer” on repeat. BTW, I would also not call these years “the best.” Sure I went to a great school (GO GATORS) and made great memories but again who cherishes holding another friends hair while they ralph the last round of beer pong onto your Tevas?
Last weekend I got the pleasure of volunteering for the BRAC women’s clinic. 50 women came seeking bike skills, information, and ultimately other friendly females to ride with. It was an awesome day of cornering, cackling, and camaraderie. This past Friday, I got the pleasure of being a part of another way to give back. Our team hosted its Ride for Reading book delivery where nearly 3,000 books were delivered by bike to two lower income elementary schools in Denver. Another incredible day getting to give back to the community in a practical and yet hugely important way. And then Saturday at Wheels of Thunder I got to give back in yet another way. I was able to help strategize, encourage, cheer, congratulate, high five, and share in the excitement with all the new cat4’s who rocked their first race!
All of those people from high school and college were wrong. THESE are the best years of my life. I am getting to play a small role in something that is making a difference. Women’s cycling is growing. Women’s cycling is giving back. Women’s cycling is changing. There is a new tide rolling in and it is good. More hands helping out in the community that we ride through, within the community of fellow riders, and within the community of future racers.
It is a very exciting time to be involved in women’s racing from the jazzed up Junior level to the nervous newbie Masters racer. Be warned though blog post reader: people are watching us and our words and actions make huge imprints on the future of our sport and community. I am sure we have all had some less than friendly moments in races where people were just *#$#(*&$ and then we reacted or thought negatively about racing because of it. Good news though, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can change the vibe and perception that is out there. There is new blood that wants to make racing accessible and fun for every woman that comes out to play. We all work hard and we want to do our very best. We can do those things while remaining good people and helping each other… don’t ya think?
I want to help women’s cycling grow but need your help. Come play and let’s be the change we want to see. I promise I will even hold your hair after a TT while you purge all the lactic acid build up onto my bike shoes.
Vive la revolution y allez allez allez!
Megan and Kimberley raced this weekend in Fort Collins and both not only kept rubber to the road, they kicked butt and got a podium finish. Great job to represent the Naked ladies this early in the season.
After an exciting weekend in Moab with the Naked team, I was primed and ready for my first race of the season, which happened to be Cobb Lake Circuit Race in Fort Collins CO. I was nervous because it was my first race in the SW Open field, which meant any female of any category in the region could show up. I was nervous about getting last place and letting down the team. I was nervous because I just had my hardest week of training in 6 months and was fatigued.
However, the race ended up being a lot of fun. And there is nothing like racing to make you stronger, or to teach you how to be a better racer! Here is my recap as well as lessons learned:
- Entrants: 18 women, 6 Cat 1-2, 6 Cat 3, 6 Cat 4 registered.
- Course: 48 miles (6 x 8 mile loops with a 1/2 mile finishing climb on each one, plus ~1 mile section of dirt to boot).
- Finish: 8th. 3rd Cat 3. (Top half finisher)
Within the first lap, one girl had attacked the field, and launched a tremendous pace on the rest of us. We ended up all grouping up in the 2nd lap into smaller groups of 1-5 riders. Luckily I found a group of 5 to work with, though we were sitting 8th-12th in the field at the time. Each lap was harder but I had to concentrate on the race within the race. Rotate, eat, drink, hammer, etc. On the first race of the year, it is hard to pace, so there is always a learning opportunity! Eventually the race ahead was won by my teammate Kimberley in a sprint to the line. My group of 6 broke up in the final 2 miles (on the dirt!), so there were 4 of us going up the final climb. I tried to sit on the 3rd and 4th girls’ wheels and went around them both on the final steep section to finish. I was lucky to finish 2nd in our group the line. For once I made a “move” at the right time. It was fun! The rest of the field trickled in over the next 10-15 minutes.
- Cat 1-2 women are really strong! They all but one dropped me within 30 minutes So proud of teammate Kimberley who won the race!
- Whatever you do, find other people to work with. Even if you are racing for 7th place! The race was over two hours long and it was extremely beneficial to have a “pack” of 4-6 riders to work with, in the wind, up the hill, etc. It helped with focus, and definitely helped with speed.
- You might like what you least expect. My favorite part of the course was the dirt! I have always hated dirt, but I powered through it quite well and used it to my advantage here. I found myself less tired than those around me when I got to the hill each lap. Which was helpful for the finish!
- Never underestimate a sprint! Going into the race I had no particular goals for finishing, except don’t come in last place By the last lap I was thinking it would be Awesome to finish in the top 3 of my “Group” of 5-6 girls. I out-sprinted a few on the steep uphill to the line and finished 2nd in the group, which was a small victory for me. This really helped my confidence for standing uphill and for sprinting, which in turn made me more excited and confident for future races.
- Every race is a great workout, and is great recon for future races. You learn who is fit, who is climbing well, who doesn’t like to corner, who Really likes to pull into the wind, who is the best sprinter etc. It helps so next time you know who to best draft where and how they can make you a better rider. We all have strengths and weaknesses and can learn from each other.
- Hydration and nutrition is always tricky in a 2 hour + race, especially when it is during lunchtime! I was VERY hungry and thirsty by the end, and wished I hadn’t skipped lunch. Cramping hamstrings reminded me of such throughout the race.
- The best bike racers can respond to attacks. This is something I’m not great at and need to work on if I want to keep up in Cat 3. I especially have trouble going hard in the first 10-15 minutes of races, so I was hurting BAD early on, and wished I had warmed up more, or done some openers the day before!
- You never know What will happen to others (or you) in the race. In this particular race day I saw the following occur in various categories: DQ’ed riders for crossing center-line (on the dirt!), DNF riders that dropped out, DNS rider that missed race start (almost 2 miles from registration!), riders with flat tires who got behind, rider who crashed out and broke his fork. The list goes on! So even if you think you are doing poorly it can always come back to you so never give up.
I love road races and the challenges and the teamwork that is required (across teams too!), and this was a fun way to kick off the season. I encourage you all to do some road races in 2013!
Thanks to Dejan Smaic for some awesome photos: http://www.sportifimages.com/RoadRacing2013/CSU-Cobb-Lake-CR/Pro-12
In light of recent (read as gone on way to freakin’ long) news and interviews in the world of cycling I thought I would add some positivity to our beloved sport. Things to know before reading…
- I have not been a “competitive cyclist” for a year yet so what the heck do I really know
- I hate drama so I pretend like it is not happening by shoving my fingers in my ears and tap dancing
- Coffee is really kicking in already so this could be like reading a crack junkies journals
Remember when you were a kid and you learned to ride a bike? What an accomplishment that was and the world was immediately different. You had wheels and freedom and speed and streamers on your handlebars if you were really lucky! At first just riding up and down the street under parental supervision was all it took to make life so exciting. Soon my riding turned into meeting friends and riding to the boundaries our parents had set up for hours and hours. Then of course we had to build ramps and try catching big air that was probably more like 3-5 inches but hey I felt like I was flying. Riding bikes were fun and that was the end of the story. I was hooked.
A little later in life I found other hobbies that took me away from any physical activity whatsoever so there went bikes all together… sad face but hey this will come around I promise. I eventually (a year and a half ago) began cycling for exercise and that was the first time I had been on a bike again since I was probably 12. Did you know that even though it had been (cough 16 years cough) a large amount of time it was just like riding a bike. I knew that in order to stay upright I just had to keep moving forward. Side bar: Ok is it just me or is that some kind of analogy for life?
Anywho, I immediately loved riding my bike again. My lady parts maybe not so much but Helga has come to terms with my new hobby and hates me and my bike less. Since I was a “runner” at that time (read as a woggler = walk/jog) I started to see the differences pretty quickly when I got back on the saddle. Those differences then turned into me joining a team and becoming a racing junky. But here for you now I shall bullet point some of the reasons why I feel so positive about this wacky sport we call cycling.
- Some of my best thinking happens when I am pedaling. It can be just you and your bike with an open road/trail ahead of you with miles and miles of thinking/de-stressing. It’s like therapy but cheaper.. kind of… sorry Dr Amanda 1.0
- While biking you can opt to not pedal for a moment or six and still be moving along. If you were to stop running and try to coast you would now be standing still. Sometimes a coast or draft is a beautiful beautiful thing. Thanks again Lanier Allen, Tami Burke, and Sharon Madison for the view of your Naked butts yesterday…I enjoy them more than you probably know!
- Even on your hardest day on the bike you still just got to ride a bike and that is a priceless privilege that should not be forgotten
- You can make a ton of friends and if you are as lucky as I am some of those friends become your family.. not in a polygamy kind of way but more like a Sister Sledge “We Are Family” way .
- You get to see parts of the world from view points many people don’t get to. Yes you might have to climb to see them but it is ALWAYS worth it at the top
- Flying down a mountain pass that you just conquered makes you feel like you are 9 again ramping off of a dirt mound with your wonder woman cape on
- Pushing yourself to your limits and overcoming something you weren’t sure you could is unlike any other high
- Getting to sport your team kit for the first time is the coolest feeling. I raced several races this year before my kit came in and I remember so badly just wanting to squeeze my bod into that Naked lycra… it was like Christmas when they came in! I took off of work early so I could go pick them up myself because I wanted mine first.
- Lining up at the start line with all the training time, preparation, nutrition, dedication, adrenaline, nerves, vomit that is running through your brain and veins at that moment can seem unnerving but then at that very moment when you are considering wetting your chamois your teammate leans over and makes some smart @$$ comment about planning to rock out with her _____ out and you forget all that other stuff and just crack up laughing. It’s the funnest time.
- Getting to be a part of something NOT about yourself but about your teammates/friends/family and their aspirations and dreams is so rewarding. If you can then help them in any way it’s the icing on the Powerbar, which are delicious btw. It’s not about you anymore, it’s about your team and those wonderful individuals who love cycling just like you do and work as hard (or harder) which makes you want to ride even more and with your whole heart.
So yeah I went all kind of sappy and off topic and I made another pot of coffee but hey don’t judge me. What this all boils down to is I have decided I like bullet points when writing and wanted to try it out. No really seriously yeah there is some junk clogging the engine of the sport but it is so not about that. It is a weird and hard time to be called a competitive cyclist but it’s not about that. I didn’t start riding my bike to be cool like, insert any pro name you would like, I started riding my bike again to get some exercise and to feel like a kid again. Because of those two reasons I have found out who I really am as a human being. I am a dork, a bit OCD, have a fake it till you make it mentality, not a climber but secretly like it, a team player, a wee bit competitive, a Facebook stalker, a need for speed wanna be sprinter, flats are my friend, curbs are not my friend, my high fives cure many problems, start line jokes are my thing, I like a challenge, I like to be pushed, I love my bike on a good day and on a bad day, I love the sport, I love love love my team.
This sport is so exciting and contagious I only wish more people knew that and then everybody would be doing it! This team is unbelievable and I tell people all the time I feel like I won the lotto by getting to be a part of it. The friendships on the team and from the other women racing out there… I don’t have the words to describe. It is a community of hard work and respect and smiles and laughter. You get out of it what you put in to it and it can be life changing. Can you tell I am biased and hooked?
There is my attempt at positive rambling today. I really hope you get to ride your bike today. If you need someone to ride with let me know. I love riding my bike.
Naked Women’s Racing says they’re bringing more women to the sport
By Sarah Kuta firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Scott and her two Naked Women’s Racing co-founders were tired of women’s cycling’s reputation. The sport is male-dominated, and when it <comes> to female cyclists, it’s known for catty, aggressive women who don’t get along, Scott said. That makes other women hesitant to join a team or start racing.
So, Scott and two cycling friends, Vera Divenyi and Joan Orgeldinger, created their own all-women’s team based in Boulder <correction Denver> to address that stereotype. Finish reading here: http://www.coloradodaily.com/outdoor-recreation/ci_22306637#ixzz2HG580fxs
Side note: We started the team as a Denver-based team; however, we’ve expanded to the entire state of Colorado. We still state Denver-based, but have women all over the state representing Naked Women’s Racing. Also, the quotes expressed in this article are misinterpreted and out of context. For example, many of the quotes are perceptions of women’s cycling and there are many factors that influence this perception. In addition to the quotes, the two misspellings are beyond our control and passed through the editorial process.
Susan Adamkovics and Rachel Scott hosted the 2nd Annual BRAC Women’s Summit at Boulder Beer. Great to see so many women wanting to grow and improve the sport in Colorado! Plenty of Naked ladies made the trek to Boulder Beer too, showing their support.
This year’s summit had about 50+ more participants than last year–including staff, board members, promoters, officials, the ED of OIWC, new and seasoned racers–and adopted four initiatives for 2013. Also, 2012 was our largest year for participation across the board in every senior and masters category (32.8% growth over 2011). SW4 and SW45+ saw the largest growth percentages. Retention from Cat 4 to 3 was a focus of the evening as statistically many come into the sport as a beginner to never be seen again. 2012 is no different than any year prior for BRAC or other LA’s across the country. But also nationally, retention rates for nonprofit membership-based organizations for 1st year new members hovers around 70%. It’s a problem shared among organizations like BRAC.
Overall, the feedback thus far from the summit has been very positive. Colorado has a great group of passionate, strong female athletes who want to grow the sport for women and are willing to work to make it happen despite raising families, working full time, and fitting in training where they can. I’m continually impressed by the stories women share, insight they offer into the sport, and willingness to work whether impacting one person at a time or influencing a room full of people. I know I’m excited about it and have experienced growth first hand with our team growing from 6 in 2010 to 60 women for 2013, with many of them never having participated a bike race in their life as of yet.
Susan and I are preparing a recap and survey during the holiday to send to participants and registered BRAC riders. This will also be published on coloradocycling.org.
And also, a HUGE thank you Jennifer Triplett for being a genuine keynote speaker and starting us off in a positive direction. Colorado is lucky to have you!
Megan tackled the first-year Guanella Pass Hill Climb in some serious winds and was rewarded (and surprised) along the way with motivation from our teammates.
Guanella Pass Hill Climb was this past Sunday. Why would anyone race their bike up a 12,700 foot mountain for fun?
1. The pavement was like butter (says Janet Uhde)
2. Hill Climbing is perhaps the best (humbling) test of your fitness.
3. The scenery could not be beat.
PLUS an unexpected reason: the Naked TriBella SuperFans!
This past Sunday, Kimberley, Janet, and I all raced the Guanella Pass Hill Climb, in SW2, SW3, SW4 respectively. We all achieved top 10 in our competitive categories and each overcame our own battle. Kimberley is returning from a serious wreck at City Park Crit and a bruised sternum. Janet is wrapping up swing shift rotations at her Denver medical residency, and I was battling a slow leak in my front tubular. Anyhow, it was a beautiful (albeit windy) morning, and we all enjoyed a good challenge.
Little did we know, our AWESOME teammates Amanda B and Amanda C were up at the crack up dawn riding the climb and chalking in with their support. Not only that, but they cheered from the top for over 2 hours for almost every finisher. I commend these girls for their undying support of the team, whether they are racing or not, and commitment to the sport and sportsmanship.
I was prouder than ever to be a Naked Tribella team member this past Sunday, thanks to my wonderful teammates, who continue to pleasantly surprise me with their undying commitment to the sport and this team. Plus, did I mention they now know personally almost every other girl on the women’s peloton?
Thanks for bringing a smile to my face at 12,700 feet!
Susan‘s take on E-rock. What a fun course with lots of support from fans and the city!
I woke up feeling odd; a bit on the dense side. I don’t prefer to race late in the day, but I guess when you run or shall I say bike with the big dogs that is how it goes. As the day progressed a storm front approached from the mountains…yuck who really wants to do a criterium in the rain or wind. However, none of us really knew what the weather was doing in Castle Rock. I got a text message from Vera asking if we are still a go and I said I was “in”, so I packed up my things and headed to her house.
Since it was raining, we opted not to take our sweet team car provided to us from Prestige Audi and instead took my van. Rachel, Vera and I loaded everything and headed down south. In route, we got a text from our teammate, Joan, saying that she was not going to make it, because she had spent all day volunteering at her son’s school.
It is hard at times, to juggle full time demanding jobs, parenting, household chores and spending time with our spouses. Usually we are able to squeeze it all in, but there are times when we have to say no I’ll sit this one out…which is really hard because we love to race our bikes. Joan was the teammate we were to “work” for today, but since she wasn’t coming I was now the elected one….ummm okay. I wasn’t prepared for it and like I already stated I was struggling with mental sharpness today. But we are not a one women show, which is what is so great about being on Naked Women’s racing; we care more about creating bonds then winning every race. But we end up on the podium nearly every time, so that says something. The race itself was a great experience. My teammates attacked, attacked and attacked. They made sure I was in the main pack, telling me to hop on their wheels as they pulled me to the front.
The finish did not go quite as we had wanted, but races often don’t go as expected…one small mistake can be a game changer. In the end, I did not end up on the podium (my teammate Kimberly did), but that is was not what it was about for me today…it was something much more cherishing….it was about teammates willing to sacrifice their egos to help me succeed and overcome some personal fears. For me, this day, this experience, will last a lifetime.
In lieu of writing several separate blog postings, we figured we’d just share a team email from the busy weekend. Give you an insiders view of our team culture.
Just wanted to say thank you for everything over the weekend and leading up to it. It was a very exhausting weekend I’m sure for all of you, and I apologize for all the emails leading up to this team weekend. Vera, Joan and I appreciate your patience and responsiveness. It helped make our team weekend a success. Now that it’s over, we can focus on racing a bit!
I wanted to recap what we accomplished this weekend and brag a bit about how ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and AWESOME our team is.
With your help:
*we collected over 2500 books over a two month period and donated them via 30+ bicycles to two schools in need, got GREAT publicity for our sponsors and Ride for Reading, forged a new partnership with the Bike Depot to donate a book to every child who receives a bicycle, received $125 in donations for Ride for Reading (thanks Ingrid and anonymous volunteers!), and even have next year’s school and date tentatively picked out (Smith Elementary and Friday, May 10, 2012). AND I’m pretty sure we hosted the largest Ride for Reading delivery to date across the nation! See pics from our delivery HERE.
*we had an excellent showing at the Wheels of Thunder crit. Amanda Cyr led Sharon out to a third place podium spot, the 1/2 girls all worked hard and I was able to stay rested for the sprint to a 2nd place spot, Kat finished with the lead pack in the Cat 3 race, Renee got a third place podium spot in the 45+, and Berta raced TWICE (P1/2 and the 35+). We had representation in every women’s category out there except 55+ which we could not do anyway (but if we could I’m sure we would!). I believe our 1/2 team will now be in first place for the Rocky Mountain Road Cup after the weekend, which is one of our goals for the season. In addition to racing, Joan and Susan mentored the Cat 4′s in this race, along with veteran racer Anne Lannan. Thank you for your time to do this!
*we hosted the first Heels on Wheels pub crawl despite the rain and had a blast! We brought nearly 35 people together. Actually, Megan is responsible for bringing half of those folks:) It was a great time and we’ll receive proceeds to our team from that event as well. I’m all for another one this summer when it’s guaranteed to be sunny and at least 70.
*unfortunately, the Boulder Canyon shoot for the Buffalo Bicycle Classic was canceled last minute, but thank you to those who were still trying to participate. If anything changes with this, I’ll let you know. We are working on back up dates with the videographer.
*thank you for making pictures painless, especially on Mother’s Day. They are great, and I’m still shocked we got everyone on their way in an hour. You’ll be happy with them; we look fabulous. There’s a teaser on Facebook, and we’ll have them up on our team site soon. Thank you Peter!! We had everyone together with the exception of Marisa, whom you will meet next weekend at the Superior Morgul. We’re excited to race with her if we can keep up!
You ladies rock and I want you to know it. I’m very thankful to have you as teammates. You are all great representatives to the sport of women’s cycling. Thank you.
Kim and I have had quite the adventure so far getting to Silver City, New Mexico for the 26th Annual Tour of the Gila big girl race, aka pro race with the likes of Kristin Armstrong and Alison Powers to name a few. Though I don’t quite deserve to be here since cycling is my hobby, and I most certainly don’t get paid (nor could I) to do this as my day job, it’s fun to challenge yourself. Like my friend Alli told me, “even if you don’t have a great race, it’s the cheapest and most effective climbing camp you’ll ever do!”
I’ll do my best to summarize the start of our saga; however, I’m quite exhausted after racing and thumbing for a ride following the point-to-point race.
Sunday-Spun on my rollers for 45 min before swinging by Kim’s to load up the car. The day before, we spent the entire afternoon taking off our generously provided Thule rack on our generously provided team car by Prestige Imports, and outfitting it with longer bars, 5 roof racks, and two wheel mounts (stolen from Kimberley’s car). Before we knew it, our journey began. We drove nearly straight through to Albuquerque. A howling bloodhound on the loose in Trinidad held us up at the gas station. We did what we could to find the owner, but gave him to a panhandling man for safe keeping. Then dinner stop in ABQ at Farina Pizza and Wine bar for dinner, before driving to Socorro, NM for the night.
Monday-Kim and I are great at GSD (Getting Stuff Done)! We both woke up, and got an easy spin in from our hotel room. We both showered, packed back up, loaded all the bikes on the car and were out the door within 25 min. of our ride. Now that’s fast! We arrived early in Silver City, after both of us got car sick from the weaving drive into town through the Gila National Forest. Since we are both about GSD, we drove the sketchy descent everyone has warned us about on stage 2, and confirmed our fears. It’s a doosey. Then went to the grocery, stocked up on plenty o’calories and p’haps a lil’ wine. Unloaded everything at our A-MAZING hosts’ house. Denise and Steve are great folks and we couldn’t have picked better hosts, and a better pad to relax between races. If I get the nerve to do this race again, I’d love to come back here. We have yet to see Javelinas, but make up for it in hummingbirds on their amazing porch with a picturesque view.
Tuesday-Eat and pre-rode the TT course. This will be ridiculously tough. 1500 feet of climbing, yet mostly doable on a TT bike. No one said it would be easy though. And if anything, this is my cheap climbing camp I’ve always wanted to go to:)
Wednesday-Eat and Race. Stage #1, 73.1 miles and too much climbing (4500 ft though my Garmin says more). Our field consisted of 60+ super strong women, mostly comprised of pro’s. After the 2 mile neutral start rolling through town, the gas was on full blast. Several small attacks occurred one after the other, with one sticking through the end of the race. And these aren’t those attacks that I attempt to throw out at a race-this was the real deal. Aaaand if you got dropped on these rollers, you’d kiss your chances of finishing anywhere near the time cut goodbye. On one of the rollers, a girl attacked so hard, I think she wiped herself out. That’s what appeared to happen as I narrowly missed it, running right up on her tire while trying not to dart out of the way causing another crash. Unfortunately, she wiped out some teeth too in her crash. I hope she has a speedy recovery!
Most of the race for me was trying to find a good place to hide and stay out of the wind. Kim did a great job at this. At about our half way point, the entire field agreed to a pee break, since our mechanics don’t allow for us to go from the bike itself. Because the lead group was led to take a wrong turn, this was the prime opp to get her done. So after relieving ourselves, we were neutralized until the lead group could get their time back from the break, and then allowed to go. All very new and very interesting to me.
All was great for me with the exception of my normal leg cramps I can never seem to shake. I’ve learned I can push through them and sometimes if I’m lucky they will go away. They came and went in this race starting at mile 40. Other than the cramps, I felt great…until we got to the last feed zone before the climb. I tried to grab a water but the rider in front of me got it and the volunteer only had 1 bottle. Then I rode very slowly to grab another one from a volunteer reloading….and then it happened. Kaboom-I couldn’t go anymore as the group was pulling away. I chased and chased but alas, I couldn’t do more without walking on the last climb. I kept the group in my sights for the next mile until the climb. Lost a lot of time and should have never stopped at the feed zone.
In starting the climb, I worked with a couple other dropped riders, but was too worked from chasing by myself. They finished a couple minutes in front of me on the 6.7 mile climb (that averaged 11%!). I honestly contemplated walking my bike because it would have been faster than I was riding. I did see a couple other male riders doing this. As I crossed the finish, my only hope was that I made the time cut off (and didn’t get last, but at that point I was just glad to be done!).
Besides the last climb, the hardest part was attempting to hitch a ride back after riding 80 miles and climbing nearly 4,600 ft! It was a point-to-point race with the end being about an hour’s drive from town. And us not being that pro and all, had to beg for a ride because the shuttles that they promised were no where in sight. Awesome. Luckily, Kim hitched a ride with Tibco since they had one spot, and I gave my spot in another vehicle to John Klish. I then hunted with Cat Johnson (who took 9th!) and Amy Charity for a spot and asked the UnitedHealthcare pro team to take us back. We had to wait till they finished, but fortunately and unfortunately they won the stage which means they had to stay for interviews and podium! So we had to wait another hour after the hour we spent searching for a ride before Rory Sutherland got back and then his teammate who took 6th. We finished at noon and didn’t get back home until 4 pm. But thank you to Alex, the United’s amazing soigneur who gave us chocolate, water and chairs to sit in while we waited.
Poor Kim had to wait 2 hours for us to get back in a random guys hot RV because I had the car keys! So much for recovery! We’ll see how this will affect the rest of our race:)
Time to shove more food in my face!