Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Greenvile Open 2013 v1.0

It's hard to write about disappointments.  But cycling is full of disappointments.  Supposedly, the lows make the highs that much more enjoyable.

Last weekend we traveled to Greenville, SC for the UCI Paracyling Open. In 2014 the Road World Championships will be held in this exact place - so it was a chance for us to see the course ahead of time.  It was also a selection event for the European World Cups.

This was my first experience packing my own bikes.  The nights before I left were a little nutty since I have zero mechanical skills! They all got broken down and arrived without damage.

Ummm....do I have all the pieces?  

We arrived in Greenville after a loooooonnng flight that included spending some time on the runway.  Greenville is a great town!  The people in the airport were incredible and everyone was very kind.  We collected 5 bikes, luggage and other paraphernalia and headed to our hotel.

On Friday, we pre-rode the course.  It was a LOT hillier than I expected.  Thursday was the time trial.  I woke up feeing well, but the race didn't go so well.  Same with the road race on Sunday.   I really have no reason to be disappointed in how I rode. I am where I am at this point.  It's disappointing to lose.

BUT....it's time to move forward.  There are things to accomplish.  By FAR this is the hardest thing I have attempted to do.  Someone recently told me that I am arrogant - in all areas except bike racing.  Maybe that is true. But I'm "good" at other things.  I'm not all that great at bike racing.....yet!

I am proud of my friends on the team who did well.  Fuck Face got second in the time trial. I tried to steal his flowers, but he gave the to his mom instead.

The better part of the weekend was that people I LOVE came to see me race.  As we all know, I'm not the biggest fan of people seeing me race.  But it was OK.  My mom and dad have been my biggest supporters in this crazy endeavor and I am glad that they finally got to see me race.

Thank you Mom and Dad for coming to support me.  No matter how much I whine, I really appreciated it!

Since "Chad" aka Ocho is still in training at Guide Dogs for the Blind, he sent his wishes via text.  Thanks ChoCho!

The people who cheered me on at the time trial

Carrie Newcomb drove all the way from Asheville to see me (and really check up on Moochie!).

Once a dog raiser, always a dog rasier. Carrie did an excellent job running career change, Shelby, around the grassy knolls.

Carrie, my mom, my dad and Warren Johnson (the photographers lucky husband!)

So the weekend didn't go how I would have liked it to.  It was another drop in the bucket on my way to be a bike racer.  I learned that I'm not quite there yet.  I have a lot of things to learn.  Someday, I will wear these lucky sucks and make them lucky by winning!

The MVP of the weekend is Baby Cody. We drug him along to get him classified. Unfortunately the classifiers deemed that he is disabled, but not disabled enough to race para.  Sooooooo....he spent the weekend helping me make sure my bike didn't fall apart. He kept me calm.  He was the only person I wanted to see after the debacle of the road race.  Sometimes it's shocking to me that we have only known each other for a few weeks,  Thank you Baby Cody for keeping me sane!  

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Bridge

This past week I spent a good chunk of time on the Santa Ana River Trail.  Time Trial efforts and recovery rides on a TT bike don't go so well on the roads.  As terrifying as the river trail is (lots of people who don't pay attention, people who don't know how to ride bikes), it reminded me of a looooonnnngggg time ago when I first started riding bikes.   I was the person on the trail that had no idea what I was doing.

I took a picture of the bridge above to remind myself of several things.  First of all, how far I have come since I first started riding.  When I first started riding one of my goals was to be able to ride across one of these bridges out of the saddle. The wood is bumpy and it's not pleasant to ride across. That is what came to my mind first when I crossed the bridge today.  I easily, without thinking, got out of the saddle and rode across the bridge. I struggled with that for almost a year.  And now, it was essentially effortless. Yes, as a bike racer I should be able to do that - but it was a simple reminder that although I have a long way to go, I also have come a long way.

And that is the second point of which this picture reminds me is that I still have many bridges to cross.  I can't see what's on the other side, but I do know that I have to work hard to get there.  It's not going to come easily or on the first try.  But in order to do it, I have to trust.  I have to keep going.  A bridge is a means of crossing between two places.  Becoming a bike racer is something so radically different than anything I've done.  I have to learn to trust my body.  Learn to be patient.  Learn to push beyond that which I am comfortable.  Bike racing encompasses a lot of things that I am not necessarily good at, yet.  

But the bridge reminds me that it is possible.  It is possible to learn and grow.  

Redlands Classic 2013

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to race the Redlands Classic.  It's the first National Racing Calendar race of the year and it was really exciting to be there!  This is the first year that they included all of the paracycling categories. In the past, they only had a hand cycling category.

It was a busy week. There was a national team camp in Chula Vista. So I drove down to San Diego on Monday and then did the Honey Springs Time Trial with the team on Tuesday.  That time trial continues to get the best of me.  

We left late Wednesday morning and drove to Big Bear to ride the time trial course around Big Bear Lake.  

We drove down the mountain to the technical meeting, ate dinner and then drove back up the mountain to sleep and get ready for the time trial the next morning.

We stayed at The Robinhood Resort.  It was adorable!  I spent the morning before the time trial in the common area, in front of the fire place.  The room was a little retro, but it was comfortable.  

On Friday morning, we went to breakfast and then rode over to the time trial.  I was overwhelmed with awe because of all the pro team riders that I were next to us.  I, of course cementing my coolness, took a picture of my cyclist crush team, Vanderkitten.  Yup, super not #pro.  But I didn't care.

The time trial was short - only about 5 miles.  It had a semi-steep pitchy hill and the rest was pretty rolly.  I paced it incorrectly. I essentially rode two pursuits - one at the beginning, a crap shoot in the middle, and when I saw the 3k sign I did another pursuit.  It wasn't a terrible effort, but I still have a lot to learn about time trialing.

But, since there were no other C1-3 women competing....I WIN! First and last.  Always first and last place!

The plan was to drive down the mountain, drive to Irvine and do another time trial at Great Park that night.  When we got to the bottom, FF didn't want to go to Irvine. An executive decision was made and we got a room in Redlands. I wanted to race the second time trial, but I guess since this happened at dinner that night, FF might have had a good idea!

 The next morning was the road race in Beaumont.  To be fair, it was really a circuit race. We did 7 laps in an hour.  It was much more fun racing with others than the time trial.  I was dropped from the upright single bike guys pretty quickly. I rode alone for a few laps until Steve Peace and Monica Basicio caught up to me. We "worked together" through the last few laps.  By that, I mean I sat on Peace's wheels through the wind and then sprinted through the line so it didn't look like I was drafting off a trike. Ya, that happened.  I thought we were going to be done at six laps, but Ian announced as I sprinted through the line that we had one more lap. I was not pleased about THAT!  But it did teach me that I had more left in the tank than I thought I had.

While we were waiting for the podium, I got a chance to oggle the pros at the start of their road race.

And so we arrived at another podium ceremony.