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, April 11, 2011


I haven't really wanted to blog much about my poor winter of training. How many entries of "not feeling good" can a reader take? Also I didn't want to let the competition know my fitness is not up to par!! :) After my results at Hillsboro, the cat is out of the bag:( Not really sure what the cause was but this winter I seemed to catch every little sickness that was going around and I spent all of February and even much of March not training. It was very frustrating. However other than a nagging back issue I'm feeling great and now have had 3 solid weeks of good training. +========================================================= For spring break Jason and I took the kids out to Pennsylvania to my parents house and even though it wasn't the greatest weather, (40 and overcast) I was able to accomplish some great training in the mountains. ==========================================================Then because my husband Jason kicks ass at work, they rewarded him and 149 other employees with a trip to Miami Beach to stay at a fancy resort. He got to bring me as a guest! This is a big deal for us as normally "vacation" in our house involves some kind of bike racing or a trip to grandma's house. My wonderful parents (the reason I'm able to do any mid-week bike racing involving travel) took care of our kids while Jason and I were able to jet off to Miami. ===============================++++++++++++++++++++======= Originally I had planned to take the time off the bike and just enjoy a vacation. But things changed given where I'm at in my training and I really wanted to continue to build on my fitness. Since they flew us United, it was going to be super expensive to fly my bike, so I decided to try renting one. I was a little nervous how that would work out, never having done that before. It went great!! Thanks to a great tip from Elena I brought my power tap on the plane for no charge and was able to rent a nice road bike from a local shop. I got in three glorious days of riding on Key Biscayne and while I had a very nice aluminum bike, it was much heavier than my carbon fiber Trek Madone. It's nice to ride something a little less nice every once in a while just to make you appreciate how great you really have it! It was beautiful, sunny and warm every day and I even ran into a fellow bike racer I had met at superweek last year!! =+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The last two days I was there I had to return the bike so I did a private yoga class out on the lawn and just hung out and "luxuriated".
Getting into the hang of Miami Beach resort life!

Now I'm back home and back to reality, but the break was great and I'm looking forward to racing at Leland this weekend, and doing the clinic with Greg Meeker on Sunday.


Jessi and Stacy take home bricks and cold hard cash for their 2nd and 3rd overall placings!


Hillsboro is the first big regional race of the year for us Chicagoans. This year it served as a debut for my new team; Athlete's by Design (ABD). It was the first time we'd be together as an almost whole team--we are still missing Jeannie, who lives in New Zealand for much of the year and will be joining us shortly. But then we will be losing Jessi, as she would be leaving us the following Tuesday after the race for several weeks of racing in Europe, then home for a couple days, and then off to a tour in China.

We were all very excited to get to race together and we planned to stay overnight at a local farm b&b and get some riding in the next day. Our race was 58 miles consisting of two laps over a beautiful country road course with a couple of rollers thrown in, and one sort of kicker climb at the end of the lap heading into a cobblestone final circuit. After my non-existant winter of training I knew my fitness was not really there yet, but we knew Stacy and Jessi were feeling good after having spent a good part of the winter in Tuscon, AZ. Sarah and Elena were just going to test the legs, and I agreed sitting in and hanging on should be my plan.

This went out the window about 5 minutes into the race when Jessi threw out the first attack. It was countered by the heavily represented IS Corp team. Two of their riders got away, and although I'm sure it would have been fine if they had, I didn't want Jessi or Stacy to have to cover it. So I tried to bridge. Sarah had the same thought and we attacked simultaneously up the opposite sides of the road. We didn't successfully bridge but we did succeed in pulling the field back together. Unfortunately for me that effort did me in and I went off the back.

Since I'm in full on training mode right now I just rode the course as hard as I could and picked people off. I finished off the main field by quite a ways but around the middle of the results. It was terribly exciting to see Jessi and a Mercy Specialized rider off the front with a considerable gap on the field starting their second lap when I was finishing my first lap!! I didn't see anything else, but what I heard happened was that Jessi and the Mercy rider got away very shortly after I was dropped. They rode almost the whole course together. Stacy was then able to initiate a second break from the field, and she and two others rode together until the final hill when she was able to gap her breakmates to finish with a considerable lead for third. Elena finished in the field and Sarah and I finished a little ways back.

It was a bit of a bummer to get dropped but honestly it wasn't a surprise and having teammates who kick butt when I'm not up to it is great! Hopefully I'll be back on track before long.

Jessi and I hanging with Abe Lincoln the night before

We then spent a second night at the farmhouse, a cosy little house that had one bedroom, two couches, a "summer kitchen" that served as another bedroom, and a barn that had a converted hayloft set up as a bedroom. Jason and I took the barn. Since he is always trying to get me to camp I figured this was the closest I cared to get to that. It turned out to be quite pleasant, except that we were visited in the night by a stray beagle.

Jason and I's housemate

The next day we told the b&b owners and they took the dog in and we heard later they had found it a home.Team bonding around the campfire. From left: Sarah, Jessi ,Stacy, Kristen, Elena

With their race winnings, Jessi bought the makings for s'mores and Stacy bought some wine (for the over 21 crowd of course) and we celebrated around the campfire that night.

The next day we headed out to get in some miles and were treated to an even more beautiful day! The only problem I had was I started the day with arm warmers and did not apply sunscreen under them first. When the temperature soared to over 80, I ditched the armwarmers and fried my arms. Small price to pay for a gorgeous day of riding in the country. What a great start to what is sure to be a terrific season with a wonderful team!