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This blog documents the racing, training, & riding experiences of the participants of PWP

Pedaling with a Purpose

My name is Kristen Meshberg and I am a former category 1 bike racer. I competed nationally in both road and track. I am a USA Cycling Coach, and help individuals develop plans to achieve their goals. To survive the Chicago winter, I developed an indoor workout program called "Pedaling with a Purpose."

I now have various locations across the United States. To find out more about Pedaling with a Purpose or Coaching, email Kristen at: kmesh.pwp@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NEW TEAM!!!

I'm excited to announce I will be riding for Athletes By Design for 2011.

ABD has a rich history of supporting women, and I'm proud to be part of it. There's possibility of a few more, but so far here's our team:

Jessica Prinner
Stacy Appelwick
Sarah Demerly
Kristen Meshberg

Looking forward to another great year of racing!

New Chicago PWP Tuesday Open Ride Time

Tuesdays from 4-6 pm until the end of March, the PWP studio will be open for unstructured riding. Bring your ipod and ride for as little or as much of the 2 hours as you would like.

Cost for this is a $5 drop in fee

OR

FREE for 46 session pass holders.

Yoga/CORE class following at 6:30

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pedaling With a Purpose Chicago info......... IT's HERE!

PWP will be held in the same building as last year, 1821 W. Hubbard, but in a new bigger and more awesome space on the first floor.

New and exciting for this year we are adding a Sunday Endurance With Molly ride from 9:00-11:00am, for a total of 3 classes per week. Paying for the sessions is still done in the same punch card format. You can attend any of the sessions you like until you run out of punches.

Dates:
Workouts start Saturday, December 4 and we'll meet every Saturday and Wednesday until March 27. No PWP on Christmas or New Years which fall on Saturdays.
Sunday workouts begin on Sunday, December 12 and meet every Sunday until March 20**
**Sundays start a week late and end a week early


Times:
Saturday 8-10:30am 2 hours on the bike, 30 min of core work and stretching afterward
Wednesday 7-8:30pm an hour and a half on the bike
Sunday 9-11am 2 hour endurance ride with Molly

Check out the brochure for all the details. Email Kristen for registration information.






Friday, October 22, 2010

PWP Featured on the Chainlink

Click here to read an interview about PWP

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pedaling With a Purpose Chicago Info

A new bigger and better space at 1821 W Hubbard has been secured for 2010-2011 PWP.

stay tuned.....details coming soon.......

Pedaling With a Purpose Oak Brook Info

To Register, call OakBrook Racquet and Fitness (630)654-2442


Click here for a printable version of the brochure






Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm Done!


I went into this year not sure what I wanted to do, or if I even felt like racing. I ended up racing more than I ever have and had the best year ever! Some highlights of the year were experiencing Arizona in February racing Valley of the Sun stage race, getting to be a part of the Nature Valley Pro Ride, racing 16 days in a row ending up second overall at Superweek, and winning a crit solo off the front.

It's been a great season and although I was hoping to hang on for a few more events this year I've decided that I'm done. As I enter the off season I am ready to relax, reflect about this year, and plan for next year.
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See you all at Pedaling With a Purpose!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gateway Cup Report: Mia Moore

I was hoping to go down to St. Louis to race Gateway Cup, a four day race series over labor day weekend, but I decided to pull the plug on my season. I was super bummed not to go because I love these races, but it was incredibly exciting to get reports of PWP participant Mia Moore's experience there. Mia is the manager/mechanic at Ciclo Urbano bike shop in Humboldt Park in Chicago. She's had a wonderful year racing as a cat 4 for Chicago's XXX racing team and had hoped to upgrade by the end of the year. Gateway Cup offers a 3/4 category for women that is always competitive..... Read on to hear about her fantastic experience!
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Kim Gialdini (Flatlandia) and I drove down to St. Louis for the 19th annual Labor Day weekend Gateway Cup, four days of racing all over St. Louis. We were so lucky to stay with an amazing hostess, Marsha, and her cat Ivy. We were treated well and had a great time. This weekend was the end of my road season, and I'm so glad I went.

Gateway Cup Friday "The Tour de Lafayette"

Kim and I roll up to the course fresh off a five hour drive to St. Louis. It's breezy and warm, but NOT HUMID, which is great. Our race, scheduled to go off 15 seconds after the cat 4/5 men's race, is the first wave of races all weekend, so we have the very nice opportunity to warm up on course every day. I take advantage of this, trying to ease the car ride out of my legs and assuage my nerves. The course is a wide open square with a significant amount of headwind on the backside which is also ever so slightly uphill. I do my warm-up, feel ok and roll around to the start finish. It's a bit nerve wracking to be in a group of 30 and only recognize four or five. The men start, we start. I stay fourth wheel for the first lap, then decide to attack and see who bites. everyone. rotate through two riders. I attack again, get a little gap, the field is brought to me. wait wait, around and around, Prime lap. I jump before corner four and carry it through to win the $25. I keep going, but get caught. I slow down. I decide for the rest of the race I will just try to keep the pace high when I'm in front, and see who in this group will do any work and who I can maybe work with later in the weekend. In the final lap, the woman who shows herself to be the strongest sprinter, and who wins the overall for the 3/4 women, jumps out of corner two and in an amazing show of power, sprints through the course to win the race. I am impressed. I do not consider myself to be a sprinter, and I am aware it's something I need to really work on. I know that I will have to try harder to break up the field if I want to beat her and the other top sprinters tomorrow. I come in tenth. I feel good, and my legs feel good.

Gateway Cup Saturday "St. Louis Hills"

Kim and I get to the "Tour Des Hills" race to warm up on course. This time, it's a longer rectangle with an incline for about a block right after the start finish. It's not a hill, but it's an incline. The top of the rectangle is flat, then the backside is downhill-ish, and into turn three, another slight incline, then downhill-ish in a headwind to corner four and the straight to the start/finish. I want to attack today and try to break up the field. I feel like it's my best shot to place well. I warmed up well, and the weather is absolutely perfect. It's about 75 and breezy. The men 4/5 go, we go. I am immediately in front. I lead the first lap, up the incline, I push the pace, then someone else pulls through. We go through turn 2, down the longer backside and turn three. I attack and pull through the start finish, on girl is with me but it's obvious the pack is coming. I slow a bit and let her pull me up the last part of the hill. I recover quickly and for some reason, decide to just jump immediately after the pace starts to settle. I guess if no one else is going to counter, I will counter my own attack??? I dunno. It works though, and when I get back in the saddle and look behind me, the field is just a group of people in a clump behind me. I am shocked. I keep going. No one is coming???? I push really hard for the next 3/4 lap. I hear my name yellowed out by the announcer "and Amelia Moore, number 222 is off the front". I push it up the incline. I keep pushing ooooh crap am I really going to try and tt this whole race? Can I actually do this? am I really committing to this right now? YES! I can do this. This is just like the so called "fitness check time trials" I do with my team, right? I know how it feels to push myself for those 30 minutes, whats another 20? I can't stop now anyway, the moto ref just told me I have a 15 second gap....oh man I keep going. I have to say, it is amazingly encouraging to have your name and number yelled out over the loud speaker every 3 minutes and to have people all along the course cheer you on, dogs barking and cow bells clanking. "This young lady from Chicago has a great pair of legs on her today". Gah, I hope I can do this. Once the clock gets to 27 minutes to go (plus 5 laps) I imagine that I am on the lake front path, following the Fitness Check Time Trial route, passing things I know to mark the time. 23 minutes, oh, the ducks, 20 minutes, that low tree branch that I almost hit my head on. I stand up every time I hit the incline for optimum cheering from the crowd. The moto ref tells me I am holding 45 seconds. wow. and I am like almost to the long open curve out to the lake in my mind's TT. I keep going. 10 minutes (plus 5 laps) to go. "number 222, I'm looking at her shoulders and it looks like she just started, doesn't look tired at all" YEAH RIGHT! Ten plus five, I can do this, it's just like turning around at the bridge. All I have to do is make it back to Randy, those last five laps are nothing. The moto ref tells me I am too far ahead to get splits any more. Thumbs up ! I keep going. 5 laps to go. 4 laps to go. 3, 2, 1 lap to go. The moto ref comes up to my side and says, "it's been a pleasure working for you" we bump fists, and I finish the race well over a minute ahead of the pack. I cannot believe that I did this. What a way to win my first race, only one in the picture :)

Gateway Cup Sunday " Giro dell Montagna"

This course is much narrower than the past two wide wide open courses. There is a hill which is not steep but covers about three or four blocks, a short flat top to the rectangle , a downhill to the start finish and a fast tight corner one. My legs feel pretty good after a nice warmup in the hilly neighborhood surrounding the course and a bunch of laps of the actual course. The setting is an old Italian neighborhood. The community loves the race so much that they have pooled together extra prize money for the pro fields. There is a Bocce Club on the downhill which will be serving a free pasta and meatball dinner to all the racers. At 10 am, people are already setting up chairs and BBQ's all around the course. Today is the 25th anniversary of the race. The officials have decided to shorten and separate the men's 4/5 field and the women's 3/4 field today. I am happy about that. I watch my teammates race really well in the 4/5 race. We line up and are off. I am in front for the first lap. I push it a little up the hill to see if anyone drags. Doesn't look like it. Someone else pulls through. I try to attack a couple times up the hill, but it's not really steep enough to be a climbers hill, and the course is short enough and with enough downhill that separation is going to be tough, and take a lot of energy. I try to spin easily up the hill and keep pushing the pace right after the up hill corner two and through the start finish. I figure this will tire people out and maybe I can attack on the final climb and outlast the girl in the leader jersey. Last lap. I take my position behind the two strongest sprinters. Perfect. In corner one, I get passed on my inside (I am already on the inside line) and she can't hold herself up after the corner and slides out right at my wheel. I have nowhere to go but over her. Luckily, my dive and roll instinct from childhood tumbling classes seems to be still intact! I jump up, shake appropriate bones to make sure they're ok, assess minimal skin loss, and bike scratching and get cleaned up. I am bummed that I couldn't finish. Now I HAVE to do well tomorrow.

Gateway Cup Monday "Benton Park Classic Criterium"

This course is really nice. It's a two mile circuit course shaped like a figure 8 with 10 turns. the route goes through an up hill start finish, across the freeway, past two breweries, back across the freeway, through a nice little neighborhood, an s bend, a downhill, two more corners and a long straight slightly uphill finish. I know I want to stay in the top three positions for this race. No more malarkey in the corners. I warm up on the course and assess the best places to attack. I know that I am marked and no one is going to let me get away, but I hope that I can a least break up the field. The race starts, again, I lead the first lap. This is fine. A couple other girls and I attack and counter attack and we are left with a small group of 8 or 10 including a 12 year old Tibco girl, who races really well the entire race. I jump a couple times right before the 's; bends and try to separate the group further, but no one is having it. I look up 2 laps to go. I am pulling through corner 2 and I hear Newt yell, "NO MORE FAVORS". He's right. I have to pick a plan for the last lap. I fall back and position myself behind tow strong sprinters and a group of two Momentum women which I know will turn into a leadout. I lap to go. The woman leading the series gets stuck in front after corner five. The little group slows down after the s curves and into corner 8. As they all try to jockey for good position into the final corners, I feel like it's my chance. I pull to the left side of the course and attack as hard as I can. I fly around the downhill corner and no one is on my wheel. I keep going. downshift, down around corner 10 no one is on my wheel, I stand up for the final 300 meters to the finish line. I DID IT! I won. I CAN sprint! wtf?

aaaaaand those are my upgrade points! I am so glad I came to do this series. It was very well put together and all the courses were awesome and fun. The people in St. Louis are a friendly bunch, my host housing was amazing, and we ate the best deep dish pizza ever. It was fun to race in a field of 30 women and get to know a new set of strong racers. I will be back!

Congratulations Mia!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

end-of-the-year-itis

It's nearing the end of the year and a lot of folks have already ended their road seasons and are gearing up for cyclocross. I still have a couple more events to my year:
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*Tonight I'm heading up to Northbrook Track for the Elaine Nekritz Race
*St. Louis for Gateway Cup over labor day
*4 person Team Time Trial on Sept 12
*My last race of the year will be the TD Bank Mayor's Cup Criterium in Boston.

I'm really struggling with a bad case of end-of-the-year-itis. Trying to stay fresh and enthusiastic is difficult. I'm also having some lingering pain from my crash at Elk Grove. It's really not bad, but it's grating. Rest is key, and I'll be laying low and just trying to finish the year on a positive note.

Since I don't really have any recent race pics of my own I will leave you with some photo's from Peg, Sue and Diane's excellent adventures to New York this Summer. Three awesome PWP'ers who do some serious touring!








Thursday, August 19, 2010

Glencoe GP/US Pro Crit Press Conference

From left to right: Ben Kersten, Fly V Australia 2009 Pro Crit Winner; Alison Powers, Team Vera Bradley 2009 NRC Points Champion; Rahsaan Bahati, Bahati Foundation 2008 Pro Crit Winner; Me :); Karl Menzies, United Health Care; Devon Haskell, Team Tibo 2009 Glencoe Grand Prix Winner; Ivan Dominquez, Jamis Sutter Home

We fielded questions from the internet and a live audience consisting of media, sponsors, and the public. I was incredibly nervous, but by all reports it went well and was a ton of fun!!

Photos courtesy of Jay Marisol
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Here's a video excerpt from Lyn @ www.podiuminsight.com


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Glencoe Grand Prix

For as long as I've been around bike racing Downer's Grove, Illinois has been the home of our National Criterium Championships for the Men' s Elite and Pro categories as well as the Women's Elite. Being someone who considers myself a crit rider, I've always had Downer's Grove as the highlight of my year and my career goal to win that race. I live within riding distance of it and the tradition of having everybody out to watch the big names of both men's and women's cycling is huge! In the last couple years I've actually been able to ride and hang in the race and each year I've crept closer to being competitive. The news that Downers Grove would no longer be hosting the championships, or even having a race hit me hard. From my understanding the town just got tired of it and decided not to host the race this year. All of the Championships except the pro men were held in June in Bend, Oregon. I was pretty bummed about this and since I could not afford a plane ticket out to Bend I was not able to compete.

Glencoe Grand Prix Race is a local race that is now in it's fourth year, and having a reputation of being incredibly well run, was able to host the Pro Men Championships! Even though it wasn't our national championships, or even on the National Race Calendar for the women, we had a large prize purse and rode the same course--a new longer version-- as the pro men. Vera Bradley, Tibco, and Colovita were well represented as well as some other strong individuals including Laura Van Gilder. Not sure exactly how many started but though strong, the field was fairly small. It was a long course, and there were lots of corners but 3 that were narrow and downhill and proved especially challenging. Even though I knew that positioning was everything I found myself struggling to stay in front. I don't take a lot of risks in races and tend to ride where I feel safe and while I think it's one of the reasons I don't really crash that often ( I know I know --Jinx!!) I often find myself wasting a lot of energy closing gaps. This was the case for the whole first half of the race. We had some good breaks go and get caught and I only watched. At four to go, I found myself gapped and was not able to close it. I really thought I was dropped and almost threw in the towel. It was so disappointing, but the screaming crowd which consisted of tons of friends, was highly motivating so I decided to make the effort to catch back on. I was able to go so much faster by myself through those corners that I did catch back on. At this point the break was in sight and when we hit the start finish at 2 laps to go I went to the front and made one final effort to bridge. I knew if I failed I was kind of blowing the field sprint, but with those tricky corners I didn't want to risk getting gapped again. It was covered immediately and although leading it out that early was not a great position I was happy to be in front through the tricky corners. Unfortunately I led for the whole lap until 1 to go when there was a huge surge and my effort had left me without resources for a sprint. I finished at the back of the pack, but was elated to find that I got the last money spot!

I had mixed emotions about the race. It would have been so much better to be in a break!! I felt pretty good and was mad that I had spent so much time in bad positioning and missed the breaks. It was exciting to catch back on and still be able to make a positive effort at two to go and just wish it had panned out.

Friday night before the race I was invited to participate in a press conference since I'm a "local". It was a lot of fun and I hope to be posting some pictures of it soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Elk Grove Village

I love Elk Grove Village. Nice Payout. 30 min from the house. Everybody's there. Fun race.

My cousin Lynn from Minneapolis was hired by the production company to write the copy for the hour long Comcast special on the race so she was there all weekend documenting everything. It was awesome to get to see her and hang out a bit. Also super cool was she asked if they could hook up a camera to my bike to film the race. It turned out great. They promised to send me dvd and as soon as I get it I'll try to post at least some parts of it.

We had two races, Sat & Sun on the same course. I have never cared much for the hairpin turn in corner 1, and mid race on Saturday I crashed in it. In ten years of racing this is the second time I've crashed in a race....I know I know, I'm totally jinxing myself. I was going pretty slow, smacked mainly my elbow and only got run over by one person. I got minimal road rash, a little soreness, and a headache. I'm fine, but it was unpleasant and I hope I don't do it again soon. When I got back in after my freelap I was nervous in the corner so I was finding myself struggling to stay connected after it. At 2 to go I moved up with the intention to hit the corner first so I could maintain a good position. After the hairpin I looked back and had a pretty big gap. "Oh $#(^!! " I thought. Now I have to go. So I went for it, as hard as I could. I held the gap until the final 1/4 of a lap. When the leadout train came by I had the right instincts to jump in but was not strong enough to maintain it and got knocked out. I fell to the back of the pack and that's where I finished. I got a gambler's prime at 1 to go, and it was a glorious feeling to be off the front so late in the game. Thanks to everyone who was cheering! It was really fun and I only wish I could have pulled it off. Jen Purcell won, Laura Van Gilder was second and Lauren Tamayo was third.

Sunday other than being a little sore I felt alright. The race was fairly fast, and we quickly whittled our field down to about 20 or so riders. At 1 to go I was in second position (perfect!) into the hairpin turn and felt good about things until the final stretch when things got slow and we all bunched up. I got boxed in and had no where to sprint. When I checked the results I was twelfth and felt lucky to get that. Carrie Cash won, Laura Van Gilder was second and Sam Schneider was third.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Superweek!

Final Podium, 1st Nicky Wangsgard, 2nd Kristen Meshberg, 3rd Sam Schneider
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Jason and I started a major home improvement project the week before superweek. I figured I'd race a couple of the races that were close to home, and then "play it by ear" and be around the house the rest of the time to get things in order. Last couple years I've found myself a bit burnt out this time of year and haven't done that well at superweek. This year, I talked it over with my coach, and we decided a little break after Nature Valley would be in order. Turns out it was just the ticket! Mentally I was fresh and ready to go. Physically, I had pulled a muscle in my back at Nature Valley- I was sore and knew I wasn't at full power. The rest break really helped my back but I think I could have used about 3 more weeks to be totally healed up. I really didn't know what to expect heading into these races. My teammate Kim Gialdini, who has a four year old boy, was racing the women's 3/4 series and she had a similar attitude: We'd just see how it goes and if it works out for us to do any of the midweek races, we'd watch each other's kids.
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The first day, in Geneva, IL I got second place!! A woman had gotten off the front and I won the field sprint! I was pretty excited. My back was very achy, and even though I was thrilled I still wasn't thinking about the series....
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Over the weekend Nicole Freedman , former national road and crit champion, and Olympian in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, showed up to race. She's someone I'd always thought was super cool but never had the pleasure of meeting. We got to hang out a bit and it was really fun to race with her. In Monday's race at Richton Park I was particularly happy with how things went. I was very active and after two riders got off the front, a group of about 5 of us got off the front of the field and went hard enough to almost catch the two. We didn't and I got second to Nicole for fourth on the day. After that race I found myself in the yellow jersey!!!
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Yellow Jersey after Richton Park! Lucinda on the podium with me. Second Karlee Gendron, Third Nicky Wangsgard
Getting the yellow jersey was a big deal for me. It went straight to my head and I got the superweek fever. The next day was Willow Springs, a beautiful course so close to my house but with a longish hill in it that because of my aching back I wasn't planning on doing. But getting the yellow jersey changed all that. This race was crazy slow. At the time I wasn't sure why, but I appreciated it--until I screwed up the sprint for the finish. I was in decent position but just didn't make the right split second decision and ended up 6th. Nicky Wangsgard won, and there went the yellow jersey, never to be worn again by me.
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After making it through that race I started to entertain the idea of fighting for the overall. Turns out Nicole was heading back to Boston after that race and since she was taking off I asked her for some advice. I wasn't sure what to make of the tactics that were going on. She told me, "I think they want to win the overall" when I asked her why things were shaping up the way they were. I asked Nicole for some tips on "how to win this thing" She was awesome and told me it could be a bit of boring racing here and there, but to really try and race each race and just go for it.
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Racing a points series is kind of like a stage race, but it's totally not a stage race. In a points series, you can pick and choose which races you want to do, and only your placings count. Lapping or gaining time on the field has no advantage. Placing consistently day after day is what matters. Superweek was 16 days for the women this year. This is more than double the number of consecutive races I'd ever done. My back was aching, but I bought a huge bottle of ibuprofen and started to make plans. Usually I plan my racing well in advance and have outside child care (usually my mom). Since I was winging it, things could have gone up or down. Turns out Kim was doing really well in her series and was deciding the same thing. Every day we planned out how we could work out child care, where the races were and who would drive and when. It worked out so well. There is NO WAY I would have been able to do this without Kim and she said the same thing for me. It was pretty cool and we felt like bad a$$ bike racing moms. The kids had a good time playing together too.
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Here they are playing in Lake Geneva at Kim's friend's lake house. This day I raced first so Kim took the kids up to the lake house, and I met them there after my race so she could take off and do her race.
When the races moved up to Wisconsin, logistics got a little tougher and I had to call on the help of Auntie Reenie and Uncle Danny who graciously housed our entire family for a couple of days. My friend Ellen and her husband Dave who live in Racine, WI were also especially cool housing both Kim and I and all of our kids for multiple days.
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By the middle of the series I was getting pretty tired, but I was hanging in there. I started marking people and would only care if someone in contention for the overall was off the front, and I could tell the other women were doing it too. None of us had teams so it made for a little negative racing at times. Finally during the second week my body just got used to racing every day. I felt fine in the races and was able to still be consistent and place mostly in the top ten. We saw new, fresh legs daily which included the New Zealand National Team, Erica Allar who was guest riding for Dolce Vita, Sam Schneider from Tibco, another New Zealander, Laura McCaughey, and a lot of other really good riders. Nicky Wangsgard rode very consistently and built up quite a lead. I learned a lot from watching her throughout the series. It became apparent I was racing for second, and while there were several riders that came close I was able to hang onto it. The second to last day in Humboldt Park, WI I sealed the deal and went into the last race with a 22 point lead so I could have skipped the final race had I felt like it.

pain face pretty much sums up a lot of the races. We got lucky with no rain, but it was HOT every single day!!

photo courtesy of Douglas Fox

Of course I didn't. The last race, Whitefish Bay was really fun. I decided to help out my buddy Jeannie Kuhajek who was in contention for the sprint points--not that she needed it-- but since I had nothing to lose I thought it would be fun to lead her out for the sprint laps. It was fun and I think I did a pretty good job! She ended up third in the sprints, and won the series top amateur jersey. I was tired from the lead outs, but still felt good on the last lap. When it came down to the final two corners, I was in decent position but when I got pinched I chickened out and sat up. After 15 days of fighting for position, I had nothing to lose and just sort of gave up. It's the one thing I regret (only a little) about Superweek this year.

I gotta say I've never had so much fun racing!! Racing day after day in the hot hot humid heat sometimes can make people very crabby. Not so! We raced well, were respectful, and just had a blast. I love racing my bike, and couldn't have a nicer bike than my BH Cristal. I've now been home for 4 days and my house, though still not totally in order is a lot better than it was. Thanks to Bob Marshall from ABD for doing such a terrific painting job. Thanks to the superweek folks for running a nice series. Last but not least, Congrats to Kim who ended up winning FIRST PLACE in the cat 3/4 series!!!! Her positive spirit really motivated me, and she totally earned her win. Way to go.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hi from Katie


Katie Tomarelli is a Chicago PWP'r with a swimming background who prior to this year did some sprint distance triathlons. This year she joined Half Acre Cycling and has been doing some great bike racing this summer both on the road and track, and did her first Olympic distance Tri. Until being recently sidelined with a fall (not bike related) she's been having a great year! Here's her report from the triathlon:
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"'Lady do you want to be sprayed?' the kids yell as I am running up towards them on the last mile. My face barnyard red, (they must have learned in school what heat stroke victims looked liked), I nod yes as I approach the kids who were taking turns cooling down racers at Johan's triathlon. On Saturday, June 17th in a small town called Hopkins, Michigan, I participated in my first Olympic distance triathlon. I was pleased with the results, 4th in my age group (25-29) and 24th out of 75 women, but even more excited about my average splits which were equivalent or even faster (cycling) than my previous speeds from sprint triathlons.
Thank you for letting me share! And thank you Kristen for your encouragement in cycling (and for even writing this post, cheese)!"
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Thank you Katie! Hope you heal fast and we see you back out there before the end of the year.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Catching up with Cathy

2 PWP'rs make the podium at the IL State Cat 3 Criterium Championships! Cathy Frampton (Project 5) in first and Mia Moore (XXX) in third WELL DONE!

Cathy Frampton is a PWP'r who has been having a fantastic year. After racing the entire Tour of America's Dairyland, she took a gamble on her third place overall there and skipped the last day of the series to swing down to Peoria last Sunday and pick up the Women's Cat 3 Illinois State Criterium Championship jersey. Here's a note from her on how things are going:

"It was last year March, as my 2nd PWP 'season' was coming to a close when Kristen told us about the inaugural Half Acre week-long criterium series for beginners as she softly encouraged us to, 'Just give it a try.' What simple words that have unleashed so much unexpected fun!
I joined Project 5 Racing at the middle of last season. The premise of the team is to take beginning racers-cat5-and help them develop into stronger racers so they can move up in a race category. At the end of last season, I had moved from a cat 4 to a cat 3 racer. Part of the development is also learning to function as a team. So much of cycling is the team strategy and effort - something that I crave from having played a variety of team sports.

With more teams on the line this year, strategy has become more important. With some effective teamwork early in the season, my teammate Ginger consistently finished well in the Half Acre series and was able to cat up to a 3. She then helped me win the Urbana Criterium. A few weeks ago, I helped her win Sherman Park. What a great feeling for the team to win - regardless of whether or not it is you on the top podium. Without the team component, I don't think I would enjoy racing as much.

Last week, my teammates and I spent the week racing in the Tour of America's Dairyland (ToAD). In its 2nd year, this exceptionally well run series of 11 races was held in a different Wisconsin location each day. With approximately 30 women on the line for each race, some races getting up to 45, the competition was deep. Chicago PWP'r Jannette Rho was phenomenal as she has been since we both lined up for our first race ever at the Half Acre series last year. I have been chasing her ever since! Unfortunately Jannette and I were both chasing Whitney Gaggioli who won the coveted "cow jersey" for all but two of the races. Although I had not locked up third place, I knew that the cow jersey was most likely unattainable so I left ToAD to travel to Peoria to make an attempt for a different jersey, the IL State Criterium Champion.

Ginger agreed to join me in Peoria. We devised a strategy that we hoped would result in a win for Project 5. Nearing the mid-point of the race, it looked as if Ginger would be in a successful break. But as happens in racing the circumstances changed. With that it was my attempt to establish a successful breakaway. Remember the 30 on/30 off drills in the final moth of PWP? Well that is the pattern I followed along with my 3 break mates. Nearing the end of the race, I decided to go for the finish earlier than my competitors - what does Kristen say? You can do anything for a minute. So I pushed it as hard as I could towards the line and WON! Not only did Ginger help me win the IL State Championship Jersey, but with that win, I also secured 1st place for the IL Cup Series. Oh -and I then learned that I secured 3rd place for the ToAD series - the gamble totally paid off!!!!
So what's coming up for the rest of the year? There is Superweek, another weeklong series of races that spans both IL and WI in the middle of July. Then there are the premium races in the Midwest: Elk Grove Village and Glencoe's National Criterium Championships. After a hiatus from racing from late August through September, the fall bicycling part starts--Cyclocross! What a blast! If you haven't seen or tried 'cross, put it in your calendar to check it out-and be prepared to laugh and have a good time-otherwise stay home ('cause you will laugh and have a good time! It's unavoidable.) And the PWP starts in December as we prepare for the next round of fun in 2011.
So do you think you want to 'Just give it a try'? "

Thanks Cathy!! Congratulations on your fantastic season. Best of luck for the rest of the year.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Peg and Diane's (and Sue's) Excellent Adventures

Here's what PWP Particpants Peg and Diane (and Sue B.) are up to this summer. This is from Peg Gramas:

"Diane and I went trekking in Peru on the Inca trail, which terminates at Machu Picchu. We were part of a group of 18 hikers that completed the hike. I am not sure of the distances, but we hiked for 4 days and crossed over several passes in the Andes mountains, including a mountain pass at 14,000 feelt! It was pretty cool. amazing scenery. Ancient ruins. Beautiful people. Here is a photo link.

Sue Butler and Diane and I will be bicycle touring in New York State from July 25-31. The ride is in the fingerlakes region and called the Bon Ton Roulet. It should be a challenge with the hills and keeping Diane and I out of the wineries.

I am training to run the Chicago Marathon. Earlier this year I created a mental "bucket list". Two things populate my list. #1 complete a marathon. #2 ride my bike from coast to coast. This year it will be the marathon because that is actually the bigger challenge for me and won't be easier for me as I age. It is now or never for that goal."

Have fun in New York (not that you guys are ever in danger of not having any!) and I'm sure that the marathon will be great. Keep us posted and thanks for checking in!

Friday, June 25, 2010

One more Nature Valley Pro Ride Post....

My Pro Ride Teammate Emily wrote this up on her post race wrap up and I love it!

"...my biggest accomplishment at Nature Valley was that I allowed myself to really enjoy the entire experience. While nervously awaiting the gunshot that would initiate the race, I would force myself to take a deep breath, pause and truly appreciate the moment. I was possibly the most fit I have ever been, I was racing against some of the best women in the world, and cheering crowds of people were lining the streets to watch ME race my bike!"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nature Valley Pro Ride

Director: Michael Engleman
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I wasn't really sure what to expect from my Nature Valley Pro Ride experience. How is a fully supported team run? How would we function as a team since it was safe to assume there would be a variety of abilities among us? What exactly does a team director do? I was really looking forward to getting to know some new people and finding out the answers to these questions.
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As someone who ran my own team last year (as well as tried to ride) I can tell you it's a LOT more fun to be on the supported side of things! We had a team manager that coordinated all the logistics. We had a team director that handled all the race specific details, provided tactical advice and in general made sure we knew what to do. We had mechanics that made sure our bikes were running, provided spare equipment and did all the loading and unloading everyday. We also had drivers who coordinated when and where we needed to be and just told us what time they'd be picking us up. Not to mention all of the people who opened up their homes for us to stay, all the folks in marketing at Nature Valley who want to support such an event, and all of the local Nature Valley racing team that came out in full support.
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I really got to know and like my teammates. What a cool bunch of gals. We are used to hanging out as individuals in our respective regions so it was interesting and refreshing to exchange ideas with them. In one conversation where we all pretty much agreed that we wished we had done better, the topic of intrinsic motivation came up and how important it is to keep the focus on your own goals, acknowledge how far you've come , and not focus on where you are compared to other people. That struck home with me when I was thinking about my own racing.
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When you think about everything that goes into it, the actual racing seems like an afterthought, but here's how it went for me: I rode 3 seconds faster than last year in the tt using no aero equipment. I avoided multiple crashes and survived the St. Paul crit. I felt good in the Minneapolis crit and finished according to plan with no additional time on the field. In the Menominee road race I rode as hard as I could and finished within the time cut. I overcame some physical issues and wasn't really full strength the next day for Stillwater but I made it through that brutal course for a GC finish. I had an absolute blast being taken care of by everyone and Michael Engleman called me tough. I was proud of how everyone on the team rode and handled themselves. I made some friends for life and just want to say THANK YOU to everyone involved with this unique and cool program.
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The view from the top of the hill at the Stillwater Criterium the final day of the Nature Valley Grand Prix:


The upclose and personal view of the hill at the Stillwater Criterium:
Thanks to my cousin LeAnne for the pics!
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I also would be remiss if I did not mention and give a huge shout out to my entire family who were the reason I was able to do this. My mom who flew in to Minnesota to take care of my kids. My sister in law Andrea who provided bikes and helmets for all the kids so they could race in the St. Paul crit. My cousin Molly and family who hosted us first, and my Aunt Sue and Uncle Tim who hosted us later in the week. And thanks to all my other cousins, aunts & uncles who entertained, hosted and in general made sure my kids had fun while I was out racing my bike!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic

The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic was the weekend before Nature Valley, and is sponsored and promoted by the same folks. Since I was going to be up there anyway I figured I'd go up a little early and give it a shot. I've never raced anything but local track racing before and it is something that I've been wanting to do for a while. The Nature Valley people were awesome and I got to wear the Nature Valley Pro Ride kit! They brought over boxes of granola bars and I was treated with Rock Star Status!

I was very intimidated having only raced a 250 meter track, or anywhere other than northbrook , once. 2 years ago I went up to Blaine in Minnesota and tried it out. I remember being absolutely terrified. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like a roller coaster. You have to keep your speed up so the centrifical force can keep you on the track. If you go too slow, you fall over and slide down--which I learned the hard way. Blaine is a wooden track made of special African wood and if you crash you end up with splinters.

The event was to take place on Friday night, all day Saturday and all day Sunday. On Friday during the day, they offered a clinic with Colby Pearce, a national champion and olympian. The morning was supposed to be a Madison clinic on the track. The Madison is a points race done with a partner. Only one partner is racing at a time, and while one partner is racing, the other is riding as slow as possible (remember you have to go fast enough to not fall over) around the top of the track. When it's time to switch, the resting rider slams down the track and the rider who is going out grabs their hand and slings them forward on their way out. Since it was pouring rain Friday morning, we ended up having the clinic inside.
Here's Colby demonstrating a Madison exchange with chairs. Not exactly the same as on the bike but for a beginner like me I think it was almost better to have some classroom time first.

The afternoon part of the clinic was on training for endurance events. Colby is the former National Track Endurance Coach, and I learned so much! There is talk of him coming to Chicago for a clinic and I'm really hoping that happens. There was just a lot of really basic stuff I didn't know and he patiently explained everything and didn't make me feel dumb for asking questions.


Regarding the actual event, I honestly did not know what to expect. I was told that there was a sprint omnium and an endurance omnium and I could race as many or as few races as I liked.

Since I didn't know what the events were I just signed up for everything. I think had I not been racing the Nature Valley Stage Race later in the week I probably would have raced everything just to try it out, but in the end I decided to race all the endurance events as well as the Kierin, the race where you start out following a motorcycle, which is a sprint event. Carrie Higgins, one of our country's best track racers raced all the events and won both the Sprint and the Endurance Omniums!

Here's the start of the women's Keirin final. You draw a number for a starting position and then you are started with a holder. You are started with a gun when the motorcycle comes around and you can ride anywhere you like as long as you don't pass the moto. They gradually go faster and faster until they pull off at two and a half laps to go and then it's an all out sprint to the finish.

It was fun hanging out with some other Chicago folks. Al Urbanski, Jason Garner, Jeff Whiteman and Franco all came up. Here's Jason and Jeff about to do an exchange in the "Madison Kilo" which is a time trial with exchanges.

They did awesome and missed winning first place by tenths of a second!
Jason ended up winning second in the Sprint Omnium!!



I did all right but for the most part I was trying to learn and figure things out. I knew I was a little nervous and didn't quite have the technical skills so I would have to get away if I wanted any points. It worked in the first points race and I ended up in fourth place and getting some press!
It was a grueling event and by the time we did our final 60 lap points race on Sunday I was exhausted. I tried to motivate myself by realizing that we were all in the same boat--everyone had been there all weekend and was tired.
All in all it was a fantastic experience. I met some great women from across the US. I learned so much , got some confidence and feel like I would definitely like to do more and get better at this!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nature Valley Video

The staff at Nature Valley Pro Ride team sent us video cameras and asked us to make a video about our lives and how cycling fits in. Here's mine: Nature Valley Video


You can also view it on the Nature Valley Pro Ride Website

From PWP

I love getting emails like this from PWP Participants. This is from Paul-Brian McInerney:

Hey Kristen,

"It's Paul-Brian from PWaP. I just wanted to give you a brief update on my early race season. So far, so good. Just last weekend I rode/raced the HAC/NCC Gravel Metric Century--65 grueling miles of gravel farm roads through and around DeKalb. I'm embarrassed to say that 65 miles is the longest I've ever ridden a bike. I'm not embarrassed to say that I came in 10th out of 50 riders, finishing the ride in 3:40. In terms of my proper discipline, mountain biking, I haven't had too many opportunities to race. A couple of weeks ago I rode a race in Winona, IN. It's one I've done a couple of times before. Last year I came in 7th in my age group (which translated to 53rd overall in cat 2). This year, I came in 3rd in my age group (a bigger, more competitive age group at that, which translated to 17th Cat 2 overall). I'm racing again this coming weekend--a race I did terribly in last year. Lots of climbing. I'm looking forward to the race this year. I'll let you know how I do.Thanks again for your help and encouragement this winter.-PB"

Way to go PB Keep up the great work!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is a big regional weekend for us in the Midwest. The three criteriums in Iowa are all very different and offer some of the best most unique crit racing in the United States!

This weekend was awesome fun. Jason decided to stay home with the kids and let me be a bike racer this weekend. I missed them terribly but had a blast with the folks I was traveling with. We had a group of 7 of us travelling together and stayed at Molly's parent's mansion on the hill overlooking the river in Davenport, IA. Our group consisted of teammates Molly, Kim and Leah, Jannette from Cuttin Crew, Mia from Triple X and Molly's husband Josh who gets mad props for travelling cheerfully with 6 ladies :). We were a great mix of people. Kim's gifts in the kitchen, Leah's mechanical skills and Molly and Josh's awesome hospitality made for a great time.


Snake Alley
I am aware that I am not physically built to do snake alley, but there's something appealing about doing something so challenging. I did surprisingly well there last year and have been training as many hills as is possible where I live, and I admit to having high hopes for the snake this year. When we raced, it was very hot-95 degrees, and I felt very affected by it. I got a great start and got the "hole shot" hitting the hill first but was immediately passed by, well, everyone. I did finish but got slower and slower every lap. I was very disappointed. Local star Amanda Miller who now rides for Tibco came back from international racing to reclaim the title. Lisa Vetterlein, the fellow mom who I had raced with at the Iowa City races earlier in the year was a dominating second, and Ashley James from Kenda rounded out the podium.
Even though I was not sure what to think about my performance, it was great being seeing some PWP folks doing great out there--Cathy Frampton from Project 5 on her first Snake Alley ride, and Jannette in her first Snake Alley ride in the women open both finished well. Mia and Kim, who were doing snake alley for the first time in the cat 4's had fantastic finishes.
This guy gets an A+ for his amazing attitude. Molly's husband Josh is a cat 4 who loves hills and was really looking forward to riding snake alley for the first time. At the line, his tire went flat, and could not get a new wheel in time to start the race. So devastating. All of us were impressed with how he handled the situation we were all pretty sure that we would not have been as good spirited in that situation.



Also worth a mention is Avi, from Cuttin Crew. Here he is at the start line on his first of THREE snake alley races on the day. A glutton for pain, he is a living legend :)
Melon City
The next day was the Melon City Crit. A unique crit on a path around park, with a sweeping descent finishing on a speed bump, heading to a slight uphill that doesn't seem like enough to hurt, but somehow does. At the top of the hill is a hairpin chicane that leads to the finish. I do not have good feelings towards this race and just did not have my head in the game today. It was another scorcher of a day and I ended up pulling out of the race 4 laps in. Mia and Kim raced hard in the cat 4 race, immediately in 6 person break. Jannette finished great in the main pack of the women open and was second in the women cat 3's! Leah lasted a couple laps longer than me, but pulled out as well. The race was won in style by Lisa Vetterlein who went solo fairly early and had a commanding lead, lapping everyone but the main pack.
Quad Cities
After Melon City I was having some nagging thoughts about what I was doing away from my family on memorial day weekend. I was having a good time with the folks I was with, and can't even tell you how appreciative I was about that, but I was still feeling a bit sorry for myself. I called my awesome husband and he told me to call my coach. I love my coach but I wasn't really sure what she could say that would make me all of a sudden start riding better... She called me that night and said exactly the right things to me. It was the most amazing pep talk. I was laughing and really pumped up after I got off the phone.
I got to the venue early because Molly, Jannette, and Leah were racing the women's 2/3 race early in the day. It rained just before their race turning their race into a crash fest. Molly was feeling fantastic and looking amazing at the front of the race but crashed!! She wasn't hurt but when she got back in and tried to ride, her derailleur was too bent :( Even though she's bruised and probably sore today, she was really happy with how she felt. I know she would have finished great had she been able to! Leah and Jannette thankfully stayed upright but got caught behind crash after crash. Leah really wanted a second chance to race but she is also a mom, and needed to get home right after her race. Kim raced next in her last race as a cat 4. Our little mountain goat on a flat course rode with an aggressive fierceness that was awesome to see!! She did fantastic and ended up 6th.
After sitting around for 6 hours, I was plenty nervous when our race started but Coach Christine told me if I was gonna stick around I should go for it. I went into that race ready for battle. At registration I basically hijacked the #1, since I knew Meredith Miller, last year's winner wasn't going to be there. :) Kenda had quite a few riders in the race and I was really hoping to get in a break with a couple of them. I was aggressive from the get go and attacked and bridged up to some promising situations. Nothing stuck and I tried a final solo attack at 4 to go but was caught. At 2 to go Kristin Wentworth from Kenda started the leadout. I was happy to be on her wheel but I was nervous because I didn't see any other Kenda around and knew she couldn't hold it for the entire two laps. Sure enough at 1 to go there was a swarm and I found myself boxed in at about 6th or 8th position. I pretty much bullied my way out (sorry Emily) but I went up the outside not really sure what I was going to do next. Right when I hit the front, in front of the Holiday Inn, Trish Black attacked hard. She got a gap and it took me until the 2nd to last corner to catch her wheel. Thankfully she went wide and I passed her on the inside line. I went as hard as I could and didn't look back. I really expected to be passed at the line but I was able to hold off the chasers! I can't even tell you how happy I was!!!! I have always wanted to win this race and it felt great! Thanks to everyone for their kind words and support. I really appreciate it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Track Season!

photo credit Ed White
Northbrook Track Season opened last Thursday. I'm really excited about racing as much track as I can this year. I LOVE the track! It's deliciously scary, hard and always FUN!
It's a great place to practice race tactics. Every category gets three races per night, and women are allowed to race in the corresponding men's category (or one lower) so there's the opportunity for 6 races/night.

On Thursday, it was great to see some PWP women trying the track for the first time this year.

Women are welcome to just show up on Thursday nights. All you need is a track bike which you can borrow for free at Turin or Albertos. Men need to earn their cat 4 upgrade on Friday nights before racing on Thursdays. If you want to practice beforehand, there are clinics every Monday and Tuesday. Friday night is practice racing where you can ride a track bike and/or your road bike. That starts on June 4th.

If Thursdays don't work out there's lots of weekend stuff too. Check out the website for more info, and don't be afraid to just show up! It's a super friendly place and people love helping you get started.

Monsters of the Midway and Fox River Grove

Jessi, Stacy and I on the podim at FRG
Leah and Molly hanging out at FRG

On our way out to FRG we encountered some water on a trail so we had to get off and portage!


What an excellent and fun weekend of local racing! The women's scene here in Chicago is really getting big! Sat was the famous Monster's of the Midway race at University of Chicago. Long flat course but really hard (for me anyways) to gage the sprint correctly. We had yet another fun active race, and this time I had a teammate! After several breakaway attempts, Leah strung things out on the final laps and I ended up in second.

Sunday was Fox River Grove. I've never done this race, and didn't know it was in it's fifth year, I think it's been moved around a little on the calendar, but this weekend was perfect for this race. What a COOL race. It was a long course with a huge hill in it--perfect training for Snake Alley and Nature Valley. The course resembled the finishing circuits at the Road Races for Nature Valley so I decided to make it a full on training day. JRW, Molly and I rode the 50 miles to the venue, (thank you John for the gorgeous route!) and got there just in time for the race. They raced us with the 50 + men. Jessi Prinner fresh off some European racing, was immediately in a break off the front. I was doing allright the first three times up the hill, but then after that was struggling. The amazingly strong Stacy Applewick, in her second race of the day, caught me and I hung onto her wheel for dear life to the finish. She really made me ride a lot harder than I wanted to! In true suffer fest fashion I think everyone finished in groups of 1 or 2. Leah and Kim (also in her second race of the day) finished well. We were happy with our effort, but that was definitely the kind of race you are happy to be done with! What great training!


It was fantastic that both of these races were within riding distance of my house. If you're from out of town, this would be a great weekend to visit Chicago for some racing. Mark your calendars for next year!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Inspiration

This is inspirational for anyone who does a sport.

A great read written by Kristin Armstrong--(as in used to be married to Lance, not the cyclist Kristin Armstrong)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Joe Martin

Here's me with some fellow lawbreakers, prisoners who get out of jail to help set up the race





I wasn't really planning on doing any stage racing this year but I won that pro ride spot at Nature Valley and I'm terribly excited about it! I'll finally get to see what it's like to be totally supported at a race! Wanting to be fit for that, I figured I should do something hard before hand. I had hoped to do Speedweek, but that didn't work out.

The weekend before I got a little sick. Maybe I should have just cancelled the trip; but by then my parents were already on their way to help with my kids. I didn't mention it to my coach that I wasn't feeling great because I know what she would have said.

Without going into too much detail, on the way down, about an hour from Fayetteville just on the Missouri side of the border, I ended up in a police station in handcuffs getting my mug shot taken and fingerprinted. I got to sit on a bench next to a guy being arrested for drugs who told me , "rehab is for quitters." Needless to say it's important not to ignore letters from the state regarding your drivers license. I had to pay to get my car towed off the highway, but they were all very nice and they let me go saying that what I did after I left was my business but I better not get pulled over again and maybe it was best if I just didn't come back to their county.

I pulled in to the hotel just as the manager's meeting was starting. As daunting as it is to show up entirely by yourself at an NRC stage race with no team or support, the organizers and everyone involved with the race really try to make you feel welcome. Even so, after the meeting I went up to my room, unloaded my stuff and took some time to decompress from the exciting events of the day. I was daunted by the logistics of the weekend. How was I going to get to all the starts of the races? The time trial was a 45 minute drive each way? One false move and I'd be back in the slammer.

The next day everything was brighter and once I got to the tt location safely I felt much more settled. I happened to run into a super nice guy who was hosting another individual rider from Canada and it was after he generously offered his house for me to stay he mentioned that the XXX Chicago folks were going to stay there too!! Kevin and his wife Pam, the Canadian rider, and all the XXX folks were terrific! We had a fabulous time together and I could not believe my good fortune running into them.

I wasn't feeling great, I never had a fever, but I was manufacturing an amazing amount of snot and coughing a nice deep productive cough. I'm not exactly a good stage racer to begin with, and in top form I'm hoping for field finishes, so my expectations were not high. Even though I gave it my best, my time trial was a full minute slower than the year before.
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In Friday's 65 mile road race I lasted about halfway through and then found a nice group to ride in with, hoping to make the time cut. There's a lot of funny stuff that goes on off the back in a stage race, and today there were various degrees of cheating going on. Two riders drafting off a car passed the group I was with and we all jumped on. After going 30mph for a couple miles and shredding all of our group except me and the original two riders and getting no response when I asked a couple times, "isn't this cheating?" I dropped off. I rode by myself until other cars came by bringing two Bicycles of Tulsa riders up so we had a group of three who rolled in just barely making the time cut. When I checked the results I noticed that the two original drafters were given field finishes. I didn't really know what to make of that but I wasn't exactly innocent so I kept my mouth shut.

Saturday was another 70 mile road race. I was dropped on the second significant climb and resigned myself to finishing the race. I found a nice group of 5 to ride with. An Australian national rider, a Canadian rider, and the two Bicycles of Tulsa riders I had ridden with the day before. The Australian, Canadian and I were sharing the work evenly and the Tulsa riders were struggling, skipping pulls and falling off on the climbs. We waited for them so we could stay together and after a bit I asked if it would be ok if I stopped and took a "nature call", and the Australian and Canadian said they were going to drop out of the race so they would just keep going. The Tulsa riders said that was fine and would wait for me. But when I pulled over only one stopped with me. A little confusing, but I figured the other woman was just going to drop out of the race and didn't really care. While I was stopped on the side of the road we saw the Sram car come by towing a rider who had gotten a flat. The remaining Tulsa rider and I continued together but when we hit the turn around point, she told me she was going to turn in. I still had about 35 miles to go but was determined to finish and was in a seriously positive mood considering the circumstances. I had driven all that way, was in gorgeous rolling Arkansas country and was going to finish that race. I did finish, alone, and when I crossed the line I ran into the girl who I had waited for but didn't wait for me. She told me that the Sram car had pulled the girl that had flatted up to her and the two of them finished the race together. Turns out the two of them had made the time cut and I didn't. This derailed my "ray of sunshine" attitude and I had a few dark moments. Luckily I was able to come around. In reality, who really cares, I shouldn't have been off the back in the first place. I had been arrested in scary hillbilly country and survived, I did get to meet some super cool people, and ride my bike through some beautiful country. No I didn't get to race the crit but I was super happy to be able to get home (safely, without arrest) on Sunday in time to see the family on Mother's day. Gotta say I've never been so glad to get home safe and sound!