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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

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Leland Kermesse

Photo Credit John Firak

It was with much trepidation that I started the Leland race. I am not a fan of gravel. While it was definitely a road race, it was an unusual road race because it boasted 3 serious gravel sections. By serious I mean there was one line of semi rideable gravel and the rest was sloshy and thick. I was told "if you ride too far into that it will be 200 watts harder" !?! I didn't race it last year because it conflicted with another race on my team's schedule and I was given a lot of crap for that so I felt like I had no choice, sucked it up and went to the line.
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First of all let me say that I did not do much of anything to help with the race. But I know how much work my husband and the other guys put into it and was so pleased that it went off without a hitch. As a competitor I tried to be extra critical of everything and what I saw was the Flatlandia team and friends running a fantastic event and all the competitors having a great time. Super tough conditions made for super hard racing.
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This was the first race of the year that all 4 of the Flatlandia women were racing together! Since only about 10 1/2/3 women showed up, they combined all the women's fields, which meant that we could all work together. So exciting for us. We knew the wind was going to be a huge factor and also the gravel. Since it was so difficult to pass on the long gravel sections if you got behind the wrong person (s) that could be the end of your race. I was so proud of our teamwork. We made a plan and we executed it! From the start we controlled the race and they got me to the gravel section in second position behind Jessica Hill, the '09 Chicago Cyclocross Series winner. It was a safe bet that she was going to kill it on the gravel and sure enough she took off on the first thick gravel section and I was terrified but forced myself to stay on her wheel. At the end of the gravel, there were 4 of us. Jessica, Tamara from XXX and Jannette from Cuttin Crew. We immediately started working together perfectly. The wind was brutal. With my teammates behind us blocking, our break's cohesiveness could not be matched and quickly established a huge gap. I was terrified every single time on the gravel but being with only three other riders made it so much less complicated. We also knew we needed each other to work through the wind. Jessica did the lion's share of the work in the gravel and still took strong pulls on the concrete. She showed no signs of fading until at the end of the 3rd lap she just disappeared. I still thought she might catch us in the gravel but I guess I underestimated the wind because she was out of sight fast. Tamara, Jannette and I were so thankful to be in a break! It was one of the best race experiences ever. We hit the turn for the finish and rode three up down the long finishing stretch. I came across first, with Jannette in second and Tamara in third. Just as soon as we could safely pull over we all hit the brakes and gave each other a big hug.
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Leah got third in the field sprint, and Kim was second in the fours race! Molly flatted but luckily after she had done some good teamwork.
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At first I was so glad it didn't rain, but after the race I rethought that because in the dry conditions I really inhaled quite a bit of dust!
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Great job everyone and thank you for putting on such a great race.
Photo credit Steve Hansen

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