When I decided to do these races last year I was hoping to be fit and ready to race! Unfortunately given that I was off the bike all of February and much of March, Speedweek became a "race into shape" experience. Also, what better way to get to know your almost complete stranger teammate than going on a 10 day intimate road trip with them? Sarah and I were both a little nervous and figured we'd either be best friends at the end, or it would be very quiet on the way home.
Luckily for us we became best buds!! We both were kind of in the same boat in our results; Sarah who had been in good form, had suffered a pretty bad crash that put her off the bike for a while, so she was trying to get some form back too. Every day was much of the same. Fighting hard, lasting a little longer, and struggling to stay positive. We were so thankful to have the full support of the amazing ABD team behind us so we kept pushing forward and we saw improvement with every race. We both felt very lucky to have the opportunity to be there.
One of my favorite things about bike racing is calling up random friends and asking them for huge favors. My old friend Brian Coll who is a Chicago Cycling Legend, moved down to Atlanta with his lovely wife Diane a few years ago. He is a racer, cycling coach and personal trainer. He did everything from providing us with a lovely condo to stay in, chauffeuring us, making us breakfast, taking us on rides in the gorgeous countryside, as well as cheering for us and giving us motivational pep talks. Thanks so much Brian!! As always it was great to see you.
I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures, but other fun stuff I got to do was stay with my cool cousin Melanie who lives in Charlotte, NC and have dinner with my old friend Susan who I have not seen in over 10 years since she moved to Columbia, SC. Sarah got to hear a lot of stories about "the old days" and catch up on who was doing what. :) But it was wonderful to see them and I was thankful for bike racing bringing me into their neck of the woods.
It was really neat to see Theresa Cliff-Ryan with full backing of her Colovita team dominate things. However, when Theresa left mid series to go compete in the Pan-Am games, Laura Van Gilder took over the series lead and won it racing as an individual. She is so cool!! Also of note, Tibco sprinter Sam Schneider was hit by a car and knocked unconscious in Athens before the first race of the series! She came out of it just fine and still managed to finish fourth overall. Simply amazing.
All in all not our best results, but we're hoping that it will pay off later in the season. So look out!