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, 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.


  1. Kristen,

    You're amazing as a racer and a person! Congratulations and I hope we can get together this summer so I can hear all about it!


  2. Kristen,

    Congrats on a great weekend of racing and a huge win!