The “penis” league…

I have been a slacker in the blogging department for the past few months and it’s embarrassing but I’m back now! I’ve been riding five days a week doing some pretty intense interval training and working two jobs which has been quite the juggling act but I’m making it work so far. I know many cyclist run into the problem of being “too busy to ride” because cycling is a time consuming sport, but I find it more than worth it to loose a few hours of sleep to be able to get my ride in because I feel that riding is a constant in my life and it makes me a better person.

Recently a local cycling team, Mrs. Rose’s Racing, has a training crit series of four crits held every other Tuesday for the months of August and September. I am planning to participate in all of them come hell or high water because I really want to get more race experience under my belt before the season is over. The one catch to these races is that they are open categories which means I’m racing with the men. Yeah, that’s right. One girl, thirty dudes. I have managed to do the first two races and I was really nervous to race with the guys. Not because I was nervous to ride with guys (that is nothing new) I was nervous because I wasn’t sure how I would be treated as the only woman in a competitive situation. I figure the response I would get would be “What the F#$! is this? Who does this girl think she is?” but much to my surprise the guys have been very respectful and actually cheer me on. Of course I have a few allies out there on the course because I do ride with a lot of these guys but there are also some guys who do give me the “Are you serious?!” look. But the only way to gain respect from these guys is to go out there and take the shit and ride your ass off. 

The first race was crazy hot, I believe it was 100 degrees that day and of course the race starts at 6pm so the asphalt has had the whole entire day to soak up every bit of heat the day has been able to supply. I was dehydrated by the third lap and we had a 50 minute race to complete. I was in pain by the time we were done. I got lapped approximately 5 times, but I am okay with that because a quarter of the guys that started didn’t finish. I also had a mom come up to me after the race with her young daughter and the mom said to me “She was SO excited to see a girl racing!” and the little girl looked at me and said “You are cool!”. This is why I have a rule for myself, no DNF’s unless you are hemorrhaging, there are little girls watching you. And also in this situation there are thirty guys waiting for you to buckle under the pressure. 

The second race went much better, the heat index was nowhere as high as the previous race and once again I was the only girl out there. I was only lapped 3 times, so hopefully next week I will continue the trend and my speed will increase and my times lapped with also decrease. I have an awesome coach who has been supporting me ever step of the way and encouraging me to get out there and get it done. He sent me this email after the first race and I had mentioned to him that I did feel a bit defeated after the race. 

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New developments include I’M GETTING A POWER METER!!! I’m so excited, I should have my power meter by the end of the week and It should be in working order for my next race this coming Tuesday! I will keep you guys updated about how that is going once everything is all set up and running.  

 

Until then xoxo

 

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Home, nothing sweeter….

I just got back from four weeks of vacation in Italy, which was undoubtedly fabulous, but I was extremely ready to be home. My dad and I flew over and met my sister and mom, who had already been over there for several weeks, in Milan and we all headed to Lake Como. It was absolutely breath taking! I have never seen the alps, except out of a plane window. It was amazing to see them in person and you feel so small next to them. My dad and I were able to hire bikes for the day while in Bellagio and we did the Giro di’ Italia TT course, which completely kicked my ass! I have never experienced riding at that high of an altitude and I almost threw up a few times, but I made it!

The next week we spent in Cinque Terre, which was surreally beautiful. It is so colorful and charming there but everything was on a hill! I’m pretty sure I have never done that much hill walking in my life, but we did spend a lot of time at the beach and also got to go sailing so that made up for that walking a bit.  My dad had to leave after the second week and head back home to work but my mom, sister and I continued onto Cortona for a week and then to Siena. 

Siena was amazing, I had been there once before but this year we were there during the Palio. If you have never heard of the Palio please look it up, it is an amazing tradition which has been going of for centuries. There are 17 neighborhoods that make up Siena and each has a coat of arms. Each year in July and then again in August there is a horse race held in the main piazza. Everything about this race is left up to chance and luck. Each neighborhood is given a horse which is determined by a drawing process and then they must scramble to find a jokey and make arrangements for the next three days. There is an incredible sense of excitement in the air you can just feel it, it’s amazing. 

Italy is amazing but I learned that two weeks is my limit, I’m such a home body and I was so homesick for my bike, friends, work, and my bed. I also learned that when you love your life you really don’t need a vacation from it. Now that I have been back for a few days, I have had a chance to ride and every time I get back on my bike after being gone I fall in love all over again. There is no love like the love of cycling, it runs deep and true. It also keeps me sane which is a bonus 🙂 

Rachel and I have ridden a couple of times and the traffic has just been horrendous! The tourists are now in town enjoying our beautiful city and beaches and I’m glad they are here, but boy is it terrifying to ride with them on the road! We almost got hit several times by people who were not paying attention and this was all within the period of an hour. Please be respectful of cyclists, this is our home and we welcome you so please don’t hit us! Okay my rant is over, glad to be back 😀

Team time…

As I have mentioned I have been very unmotivated to spend time on the bike. It’s all I can do to get out the door with a kit on and bike in hand but I’ve been doing it anyway. Sunday was a much needed ride with the majority of my team. We participate every year in the After the Bridge Run Ride sponsored by the Trek store here in town. My dad, mom, and sister all were in town and all rode in various distances that were available. Dad took on the 100 miler with a couple of my teammates, I took on the 70 miler with the remaining crew and  my mom and sister did the 25 miler together. 

It was an absolutely glorious day and I had a blast. It was really exactly what I needed. I just needed to be surrounded by my teammates and the support and fun and love that comes with that and the joy was back. Sometimes I just need a reminder of why I do this, why I work so hard, and why I put my body through such harsh training. I love it! My mojo isn’t back in full swing but it’s at least having a come back.

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After the ride dad and I went to get some food and my mom and sister joined us for a bit. They started talking to us we asked how their ride was and they said it was quite wonderful until a dog came after them. Andrea said “I was riding at about 20mph and then this dog came out of nowhere and was being really aggressive in chasing me so a sped up and started screaming.” then Andrea continues to tell us that mom ended up climbing a fence in attempt to get away from the dog! We were all laughing hysterically, my mother climbed a fence… Oh dear.

Thursday I rode with Mike who has been put on a strict training schedule, by our in house exercise science PhD, of riding everyday at a very low heart rate for at least two hours for the next eight days in preparation for a 100 miler our team will be doing in a couple weeks. I decided that I would drive up to Summerville and keep a poor chap company on a lonely ride. We had a lovely ride and I now have been written a training schedule for the next two weeks by Joachim so I begin that tomorrow, wish me luck!

Over it…

I never thought I would hear myself say these words but I have. I am over it. I am sick of sprinting, long rides, fast rides all of it, over it. I don’t want to go to the gym or run, I want to get fat. Well not really but what I really want is to eat like a fat person and not workout like an athlete and not get fat. The worst part of this is that my double trouble partner is also over it so there is no outside source of training inspiration currently besides the fact that we are right at the beginning of the season which is proving to not be any motivation at all. I honestly want to buy a beach cruiser. 

This weekend I was able to take two days off and do absolutely nothing and spend time with my family which was wonderful. I made the three hour drive home for Easter and was able to see my girlfriends that I hadn’t seen since New Years. On my way back to Charleston I took a brief stop in Summerville to meet up with my co-workers/friends to celebrate Sara’s birthday. We went to Accent on Wine and More and it was absolutely lovely. The weather has finally warmed and we were able to sit outside on the sidewalk and drink our wine. So wonderful to be surrounded by good company. 

Tuesday I made myself go out to ride laps with Daniel at Edgewater. Which wasn’t too bad considering the company was good, but it still took a little effort to get myself on a bike. Tuesday night was team sprints at Hampton Park which is gorgeous! I had never been out there but it is a beautiful place. Rachael and I got there at 5:30 which is when it is supposed to start and we started riding and we did several laps and no one was there so we decided that no one was there and we were not feeling this so we were going to go get fat. So we pulled into the parking lot and low and behold Jason and Timmy were behind us. Damn it. Then we had to confess our plan and Timmy gave us shit about it and then told us we had two minutes to decide and well we went and got burgers. We were sitting down eating and we get this text from our team director Jimmy:

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Timmy tattled. 

Yesterday I decided that I would start running again thinking maybe if is start doing something I really hate exercise wise then maybe I will want to ride again. We will see how this works out over the next few weeks. I do know one thing for sure though, I am not riding today, it is ridiculously windy. 

F*$#@%* wind…

So after the torrential down pour that was Sunday a bright and beautiful Monday came to be. I was so excited I looked out my window and was stoked, I was finally going to be able to ride outside in the sunshine! Oh just kidding, after I continued to look out the window I noticed that the trees were straining to stay upright. 30mph wind all day…. Yeah, no riding outside especially with it being heart rate interval day there was no way that I would be able to keep my heart rate where it should be, so it was off to the gym for weights and then back home to be banished to the trainer. But I did have freshly wrapped bars thanks to Daniel and they are absolutely beautiful 🙂 my other bar tape was falling off and disgustingly dingy. 

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Tuesday was not much better in the wind department but we had team sprint drills on Daniel’s Island so I ventured out in more clothes that I wish to admit and thought “Just suck it up and do the hour of sprints.” I sucked it up for 30 minutes and 8 miles. So miserable, it felt like someone had their hand pressing on my forehead I was done the boys had left me in the first lap and turned around and went back to find our team director sitting in his car in the parking lot. He was all like “Have fun?” with a smug grin and I replied with “Bite me.” So we proceeded to go secure a table for team meeting and soon enough the other guys came in and where all “Where did  you go?” I was like “To where the pizza is, duh.” 

Yesterday was so much better! Much less wind and a much more laid back companion on the bike which is a wonderful change of pace. Daniel and I did laps around edge water for about and hour but it was pretty cold so we rode until we couldn’t feel our toes anymore and then headed back towards home.  While we were riding Daniel was asking me, like always, that doesn’t all the racing and training just ruin riding form me? Sometimes it does… I get sick of the grind and the having to do this work out on this day in this way no more no less and the pressure to be good (mostly put on myself by myself) and frankly it can. I’m kind of worn out right now I think I just need to take a week and step away from the bike but it’s racing season and will that really happen? Probably not, but for today, I’m taking today off. My legs feel like lead and I am sick of being cold when I ride so I’m going to take the day and do a 70 with Rachel tomorrow, it’s supposed to be much warmer and less windy. Fingers crossed that I can shake this complete lack of motivation.

 

Assholes…

Okay I will warn you in advance that there will be cussing in this post, there is absolutely no way to avoid it so buckle down. This is one of the not so pretty and wonderful parts of being a woman in cycling and it seriously pisses me off. Okay now to the story…

 

So I am good friends with the mechanics over at Charleston Bicycle company and they are always nagging me to come and ride with them on their Tuesday/Thursday rides. Now that the time has changed and it is light later I decided that hey I’ll go ride with my peeps from the shop, so Rachael and I went to the ride and we left a little late so it was going to be getting pretty dark by the time we got back. I thought oh it will be fine all the guys have lights we can just smash in-between them and people will be able to see us. 

So we start out and everything is fine, there are a few young guys so you figure the pace is going to be pushed a little. Of course it’s Rachael and I and ten guys, which is normal. We cross the connector and it goes crazy I’m riding 27mph and not keeping up so I say screw it and let them go and it ends up being me, Rachael, Brian, Barry, and Jeff. We all looked at each other and said “We aren’t playing that game tonight.” So eventually they slow down and we catch them and then we all fall into line together. I’m second in the pace line and the little fucker in front of me would look over his shoulder and pick up the pace, look over his shoulder I was still there so he’d pick it up again, look over his shoulder I was still here and he’s pick it up again…. This continued on and on until we hit 30 mph my legs were screaming after standing up at work for almost 9 hours that day so I decided that I should probably drop of if I had any intention of walking the next day. 

I have had this happen on many a ride, a girl shows up and it either turns into a game of “drop the girl even if I’m dying inside because that would be awful if there was a girl who was just as good or better than me” or it turns into a show off contest of “who’s penis is bigger” Well we eventually come around a conner and low and behold the little fucker got a flat. Normally I would have putty on such and incident but not after that so Rachael and I continue on and Brian and Barry stop to help the kid out. 

Well it turns out that Rachael had to get back to her kids so her ex could get to work, which I had no idea of, so I scream out to Jeff who was waiting on the others that we are fine and we are going to have to keep riding to get back on time. So Rachael and I continue in our black kits with no bike lights to speak of and the sun is rapidly setting. Awesome. We left late because the boys weren’t ready might I add. We get to the connector and It is black out. There are no lights and I am for sure that we are going to get hit. We pull over and I hear the panic in Rachael’s voice. ” This is it Caroline, we are going to die. ” I tell her that there is no point in us sitting here and that we will ride the sidewalk over the connector and then once we are over there are lights from various business and we should be able to make it. So we turn on and iPhone flash and make due with that. There were many close calls and loads of cussing but we made it back alive (barely) and Rachael’s first response is “WE ARE GETTING DOUGHNUTS NOW!” Thankfully there is a Krispy Kreame right next door to the shop and we go to the drive through and I think she is going to order like four doughnuts we pull up and she goes “I need a dozen doughnuts.” I die laughing I’m all like “Fat Rachael I’ve missed  you” (she has been being good and eating clean for almost a month now) Anyways by this point the boys finally made it back and we go over and tell them we are back and alive  and they are like “Do you want to come in for a beer?” we are like “Um, no we have doughnuts” they ask if they can trade and we shoot them down and drive off. So anyways, a little more adventure than I was looking for in a nice evening ride but hey it happens. I’ve had a day to cool off but it makes me mad still. Anyways, until next time…

Grown up tiered…

This week has been crazy busy and exhausting. We were running on a bare bones staff all week this meant long days. Not that this was horrible, I love my job, it just left me tiered. I did however get to ride more this week thanks to the time change. Tuesday I did a weight session in the gym and then rode over to Edgewater to ride heart rate intervals. I was misting rain and extremely windy but I survived the elements. 

Wednesday was another round of laps over at Edgewater after work and the wind was still absolutely horrendous. In Charleston from January through March there is some of the worst wind (other than hurricane wind) that you will ever see. Because it does not get cold here the winter curse is the wind. This wonderful wind continued into Thursday which was sprint intervals with the team on Daniels Island. We have been working with the U18 kids, getting them on bikes and teaching them the ins and outs of road riding. It has been a blast, they are really fun kids but I got stuck pulling in the front for about thirty minutes because every time I would “pull off” they would stick on my wheel. I guess the only instruction they were giving was to find a wheel and stick to it. 

I was so exhausted Friday that I didn’t even get on the bike. I had an hour and a half before I needed to get ready for work and I just couldn’t make myself get on the bike. I know I’m exhausted if I don’t even want to ride, so I opted for a nap instead. Sunday however, I rode out to Kiawah, me and 25 boys. Being a woman in cycling you get really used to this being the case. It was a really great ride met some new riders and chilled with the team boys which is always nice. I let the boys alone and turned around at the last intersection before Kiawah as I had to get back for a St. Patrick’s day run that one of my friends was putting on. I actually averaged better on the way back without the boys 🙂

I didn’t actually run the run I ended up getting to ride on the moped with Jason and then helped set up the water station. We ended up on Sullivan’s Island and Rachel and I stayed with Kevin’s kids after his stroller got a flat tire. The kids were so cute and the older of the two was a talker. He told us about his grandmas and how he had two of them and all about his shoes. Rachel got cracker sneezed all over her by the cutest one year old on the planet as well. 

We went and ate over at Poe’s Tavern which I might say has the best burgers in the world! Although our drinks came before we ate and I was so hungry and that didn’t go well with the alcohol as you could imagine. So they took my home after that thank goodness. I haven’t hardly been in my house all week except to sleep, I was just so ready to be home. Awesome day with friends and it was a stunning day to be able to spend outside 🙂