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

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.
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!


  1. Thank goodness and God bless you. You are a trooper. Now rest up .. we have more racing ahead of us. Cheers from your little mountain goat!

  2. K-Mesh: Kim told me the jailbird story. That beats every "pulled over for speeding on the way to my race" experience I've ever had! Good going for showing up, riding while sick, and surviving the race. Bravissima!

  3. Way to go. You are really amazing. I know i have been out of touch for a while i like the Nature Valley page on Facebook ...and there you were. LOVE IT!!!