State champs…

I haven’t written in a while due to the chaos of buying a house/getting the place ready to move into/training/working. It has been slightly insane the past few weeks but despite the chaos it has been a really good few weeks. This past weekend was the Low Country Race Weekend sponsored by Low Country Elite Racing and might I say they did a beautiful job of putting on the weekend. These two days of racing are the crit state championships as well. I was not sure about racing, especially Saturday.

The course for Saturday happens  to be very technical and I had a chance to ride it with my team on Thursday and was like “Oh, hell no!”  then later I started considering it and had Daniel look over my bike and make sure everything was in running order and got a bonus pep talk. He told me that it seemed like I wanted to race, I just needed to go do it. He said take your stuff and if you get there and aren’t into it then don’t race Saturday, fine, there are races on Sunday and isn’t this was to ride/train for? GO DO iT! And he was right… 

Friday night the rain was pouring down and I had decided that if the course was wet and I was nervous I wouldn’t handle the bike as well so I would opt out if the course was still wet by race time. It was so I didn’t race Saturday, but one of U18 kids braved the weather and raced his first ever races in Juniors and Men’s Cat 5. I felt like a proud mama, I was so nervous for him but he did awesome!

Sunday’s course was much less technical and I had actually run the course before when a friend of mine lived in the neighborhood that is attached to the West Ashley High School. I raced women’s cat 4 at 8:30 and had the privilege of racing with some really amazing girls and a few bitches. The race went well no crashes and I placed 9th out of 11. I raced again at 3:55 in the women’s open cat and had the privilege of once again racing with some of the girls I had teamed up with in the earlier race. There were four of us racing and we split off into two groups of two and Shelby from team Massage Envy and I took .7mile pull turns and then on the last lap we rode side by side trying to play it clean and I out sprinted her on the last stretch grabbing 3rd but she put up a fight for sure. It was an awesome weekend and lots of great race experience.Image

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The spark…

I love getting to work with new riders. It refreshes my passion for the sport and it is so wonderful to watch the love story begin between someone and their bike. For those of you who have no idea what it is like to be in love with a bike let me explain to you. Your bike is your baby and you spend more hours with this machine than any one person. The relationship you have with it is a very intimate one, you are literally attached to it and you feel every slight movement and can tell when things are millimeters off. Watching that love between a cyclist and their bike develop is beautiful magic. 

This weekend I was given two very wonderful opportunities to interact and mentor new riders. Saturday I toted my dad out with me to help with a ride for the under 18 team which my team, United CHS, is developing. It was a beautiful day, slightly windy but the sun was out and the temperature was mildly cool. We had four of our eight kids that were able to get out and they are great! Callie, United CHS team directors daughter, is the only girl on the team and I am THRILLED! She is a great kid, as they all are, but she is a girl so she gets some extra kudos for being brave enough to tough it out with the boys. I have really taken her under my wing and try to make a point to hang out with her and stay back with her when she needs it. I ride because I want other girl to know that they can be strong, girly, and completely themselves and keep up with the boys, having a blast to boot! Anyways, we had three of the boys show up and they are going to be dangerous! They are fast and really haven’t had any proper training. Jimmy and I let my dad loose with them and he gave them a run for their money! I was impressed because the boys held on for most of it too. All of these kids have the spark, they were grinning ear to ear and having an absolute blast, it was just so exciting. 

This morning I went to the Charleston Bicycle Company’s new ride which my friend Daniel is in charge of heading up. It is a ride he designed to encourage new riders, specifically women, to get out there, get on a bike and experience group rides (in a good way). There were two ladies that showed up (besides me). One of the ladies had just purchased a bike Saturday and hadn’t really ridden besides the childhood variety. The other lady was on a mountain bike and was actually a pretty decent rider. We cruised through neighborhoods and chatted about ridding and other various subjects. We got back to the shop and I said to the lady on a new bike “You just did six and a half miles, great job!” Her face lit up and she was just so proud of herself, I love that it really makes me happy inside! Daniel texted me after the ride and thanked me for coming even though it was “really lame for me” but it really wasn’t. I was so stoked that TWO women showed up even though it was 34 degrees out. 

I went into the shop later today to get the boys to sand down my new break pads so they would stop squeaking so much and Daniel said that she had come back in the shop this afternoon and was still really excited and was planning to go ride downtown more this evening! 

Dad and I were able to get out Thursday morning and take our new wheels for a spin and they are wonderful! I have never ridden on carbon wheels but they are fantastic and ride really smoothly. The wind was pretty crazy but the sun was out which was a miracle after weeks of rain. Dad Kicked my ass, he is in such great shape and has been doing a ton of climbing since he is going to do the Assault on Mount Mitchell again this year. It was great to have him down here and have a competitive riding partner that really pushes me. I miss getting to train with him. I have a great group of guys and gals to train with here but there is something about training with your family. Anyways, I will end my rambling and return to my evening of watching Despicable Me, goodnight.

All will be well…

Yesterday I had one of those moments where you just walk in the door and sink down onto the kitchen floor and stop putting up a front for the world and just let the tears fall. There has been so much going on in the past week, I feel as though my world is crashing down around me and all I can do is try and catch the pieces as they fall. I was finally able to get out on my bike today after almost a week. I was in Miami over the weekend for a conference and once I flew back in the rain had settled in to stay for a few days. Today I was able to catch a brief dry spell and steal an hour on the bike. There is nothing else in the world that makes everything feel as though it will be okay, there are few things that can bring such peace to the soul. The rhythmic hum and the consistency of the peddles turning just make it seem like everything will be alright.

On a lighter note, I got a Garmin Edge 500 today and I am in love!!! How have I been training all this time without one? I have speed, average, power, heart rate and anything else you could dream up right on one tiny little  device! I’m so excited to have this new training tool. I am glad I was able to get it before racing this weekend, it will be really nice to have that information documented so that I can look back on it to fuel my training for future events.

Overload…

You know those times in life that can make or break you spirit, your belief system, and your perception? Well I have had a week with many such encounters piled one on top of the other, except they are threatening to break me. I feel disappointed by people that I trusted and thought were good people and it turns out they are not indeed what they appeared to be.  I feel stressed and so I bake because it is raining and I can’t get out on a bike. Baking is my other stress reliever besides cycling because if you put these ingredients in at this temperature this will happen. It is measured, precise, and you know that everything will be fine. Thankfully I am not one who is easily broken so I am going to pull it together and push through and just worry about what kind of representation I am putting out in the world. 

Another stressor that is coming up is racing this weekend!!! I am currently giving a teammate a pep talk over Facebook chat actually. I am giving myself the same pep talk as I type it to her. I think I’m going to be fine. Something clicked in my head yesterday and I’m ready. A teammate totally dominated taking second Saturday and first Sunday, now those of us heading up for the second week of the series have high standards pre set for us. 

Thankfully even through all the craziness I got to hit up a spin class with my friends Ray and Rach. Our instructor was very clearly Australian from the moment he walked in and started talking. Ray looks over and Rach and I and says “Is he from Boston?” Rach and I were like “Um…. G’day mate? Boston? NO!” Hysterical! Poor Ray, he was given so much grief. And with that I am off to bed 4am was a long time ago.