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, September 26, 2011

PWP's Don Hanke & Krystian Weglarz rock the fall fling!

ABD's fall fling, a 4 race points race spanning two weekends started last weekend. In addition to regular prize money for each category, they are offering a new $2000 cash prize team prize to the team that has the most points. Really neat and fun way to rally a team effort! What a great way to reward late season fitness.

Here's a report from two PWP participants, Krystian Weglarz (Flatlandia) and Don Hanke (Tower Racing).

From Don: News flash, Mr. Krystian Weglarz killed it in a field sprint to win the first race in the Fall Fling!!!! 1st Place!!!

Congrats on Saturday, you looked great. Perfect position behind one of the strongest guys. Couldn't tell from my angle (turn 4) but I knew you were close.

You're the MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately in my race I got caught behind a crash which forced me to brake hard. Two years ago I would have tried to jump over him, but two years ago that sent me to the emergency room and into a shoulder sling. So I am glad to be safe and will be ready to kill it (in my category) next weekend.

From Krystian: Thanks. It was an epic race for me. Felt really good and rode smart. Sunday I rode the TT and got 3rd. I am still first overall.

Hoping for good things this coming weekend.

Way to go guys!! It was great to see you both and good luck with the rest of the series.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Para Track Nationals

This summer I was approached at Northbrook by Coach Steve Thordarson and asked if I would like to pilot a tandem at Para Track Nationals. One of Steve's athletes, Kim Borowicz, was a visually impaired rider looking for a pilot. I was thrilled to be asked and immediately excited about it. I didn't really have any idea what this would be about but luckily I have some great resources with ABD in Mike Ebert and Mike Farrell. They encouraged me to do this and have been helping me train for it. I also put in a quick call to my teammate Stacy Appelwick who held the Masters National Pursuit title and she gave me an overview on what is involved in the Pursuit. When I first met Kim we hit it off and went a couple of times to train at Northbrook.

Since the velodrome in LA is a 250 meter track, we figured we'd better get up to Blaine, MN and ride the National Sports Center Velodrome to practice, since it's the only 250 meter track within driving distance. It's also my teammate Elena Dorr's home track and she's been a great resource about all things track. We did that last weekend it it was a great confidence builder. Riding at the new 166 meter Chicago Velo Campus track on the South Side has also been incredibly confidence building for me. Suddenly a 250 meter track doesn't seem so intimidating.

It's been really cool learning about all of this with Kim. This year Para Track Nationals will be combined with Elite Track Nationals so we will all be in LA this weekend. Kim and I will be competing in two time trials: The 3K Pursuit, and the 1K. Both standing starts. The Pursuit is on Friday and the Kilo is on Sunday.

We have only been working together for a short time, but we've come a long way and we are both really excited. I'm honored to participate in such a cool event and I'm really grateful to Kim for the opportunity.
Kim and I training at Blaine

PWP John Cline Rider of the Year at Kenosha!

Congratulations to PWP Participant John Cline. John is one of PWP's most dedicated trackies.

Here are his results at the Kenosha Velodrome:

2011 Rider of the Year cat 4
2011 Rider of the Year cat 4/5 Masters
2011 Rider of the year Mini Main Event

Read more about his endeavors on his blog

Congrats on your fabulous year and your cat 3 upgrade!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gateway Cup St. Louis, MO Sept 2-5

7 year olds are cute with missing teeth.

Gateway Cup is a 4 criterium series in St. louis held over labor day every year. It's at the end of the year and there is usually a good vibe to the races down there. The courses are great and there is usually good competition. Sarah and Elena decided not to go, Jeannie has gone back to New Zealand, Jessi is in Texas at College and Stacy is out for the rest of the year so I ended up traveling with my friend Leah and staying with Marsha, a woman I'd gotten hooked up with through host housing a couple years ago and now consider a friend. Marsha opened up her home, and shuttled me to and from most of the races since Leah and her teammate Katie were racing the 3/4 series and there were several hours between our races every day.

We had close to 40 riders in our field, not a lot, but there was quite a lot of talent there. Colovita, Primal Map My ride, and Vanderkitten all had full squads as well as some very strong smaller teams and individuals represented. Tibco, Melllow Mushroom and Revolution to name a few.

I really didn't know how I would feel and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself feeling pretty good! Friday nights's race under lights is a fun course with an electric feel to it and I had so much fun! I finished in the money and was happy with that.

Saturday right before our race there was a huge rainstorm and while it stopped before our race, a lot of debris was blown onto the road. The slight elevation change in the course suited me and I was really feeling good in the race. Colovita threw down attack after attack, but in the end we were all together as a field and halfway through the last lap I remember thinking, "I am in awesome position and I feel great!" In the next split second out of nowhere "Wham!" my bike slid out hard and my face hit the concrete. It was a total surprise. I was in the middle of a corner, but I wasn't touching my brakes and I don't remember anyone running into me. I think I must have hit some wet leaves and slid out. I didn't cry like I normally do but I could feel my front tooth hanging out of my mouth. Not a good feeling. I stayed calm and waited for the medical help to come, and assessed the rest of the damage. Nothing major, just some nice road rash on seemingly all sides of my body. Luckily one of the local firemen working the race had a dentist who agreed to see me at 7pm on a Saturday night. Marsha drove me over to meet the super nice guy at his office and he was able to take care of the tooth, which was a fake tooth anyway. But he told me I should wait until I got home to take care of it, so I was left to walk around without a tooth for the rest of the weekend. I contemplated going home but Jason told me to "embrace the freak show" and just finish out the series. What else was I going to do after all?

40 year olds are not cute with missing teeth.

I finished out the series on a positive note, finishing well on Sunday at a race called "The Hill" in 15th. Monday's race was a new course for me. It was long but with lots of technical turns. I knew that positioning would be key and for the first half of the race did great riding right near the front. Then for second I took a slight breather at the back and got into the bad area where gaps open up. I spent a couple laps closing gaps and then finally lost contact. I rode by myself for awhile until I was caught by a chase group and we finished the race riding hard together. Slightly bummed for that lapse in concentration.

On the whole it was a really fun weekend. I had a great time hanging out with Marsha and her friends, and Leah and Katie. For the most part I felt like my riding had taken a step forward. Losing a tooth in a crash has always been one of my worst fears, and it turns out it wasn't that bad.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Grand Cycling Classic NRC August 20-21

Monarch caterpillar that Jason and the kids found on a hike

Finally I got to head up to my teammate Sarah's neck of the woods for some racing. Sarah is from Michigan and always seems to have another 3 hours attached to any travel we do as she's always driving out of her way to come to Chicago so she can travel with us.

Jeannie, Sarah and I raced the NRC Grand Cycling Classic in Grand Rapids, MI on Sunday and the Gaslight criterium, a very nice, well attended local race on Sunday.

Sarah graciously invited me and Jason and the kids to stay with her boyfriend Robert Hughes, one of the sponsors of the Bissell Cycling Team, who just happens to have a lovely home within 15 minutes of both races. We arrived at the race venue during the men's race and it looked a bit dark. We parked in Robert's office garage and as we started to walk to registration, Sarah asked if I thought we should grab an umbrella. "Naw" I said......within 5 minutes it was sprinkling and we arrived on the course to see the first of the multiple crashes happening as the light sprinkling caused the oil to be lifted front he streets making a slippery mess and crash fest for the men. Soon the skies opened up and all hell broke loose! The wind came and knocked over the barricades and they had to stop the race with 6 laps to go. It went from being humid and hot to pretty darn cold. Sarah and I registered and then went back to Robert's office to stay dry and get warm clothing.

They restarted the men and gave them an additional 30 laps. Our race was scheduled directly after theirs and we ended up being delayed by only an hour. We were at the start finish in time to see the amazing sprint of Team Bissell's Eric Young come across the line for the win in the Pro Men's National Championship! At the start of our race it was not raining, but the streets were still damp, though not so slippery since it had rained hard enough to wash them clean, and there were a few puddles here and there.

Sarah, Jeannie and I went to the line. For me personally, I had no idea why to expect. I had gone off coffee the Tuesday before and had a terrible week training and a dismal night at the track the Thursday before. However once the race started I felt ok!! It was a small field and I had no trouble staying attached and moving around. At one point I found the front of the race and as we crossed the start finish they announced a prime so I turned it up a bit and was able to lead Jeannie out to snag $100. I didn't see Sarah for a bit and then there she was. I asked her if she was down a lap and she said no, that she'd had a mechanical. So exciting!! In the final lap I felt good but got nervous in a corner and allowed myself to get pinched and had to slam on the brakes and lose a ton of momentum. As a result I skated in at 20th place which stunk but actually I was quite happy with the race given the year I've had and especially the week. Jeannie finished in 9th and Sarah was right there in 23rd.

That night we headed back to Robert's house and got to help celebrate the Bissell team's win at a super fun party with the riders, staff, and friends of the Bissell Pro, Elite, and Amateur teams. What a fun experience!! Good times.

The next day we headed over to the lovely area of East Grand Rapids for the Gaslight crit located right on Reeds lake. There was a nice turnout for the women's race. Mainly due to a strong local presence plus a few of us leftover from the previous day's race. It was a fun race. Sarah and I raced for Jeannie, covering all the moves and throwing down some ourselves. I took a flyer for a lap and a half but was chased down. jeannie was 5th, I was 11th, and Sarah was 14th.

I really haven't spent much time in Michigan and it is such a lovely place. Props to Robert and Sarah fro putting up our entire family, and I can't wait to go back next year!!

Elk Grove Village Aug 5-7

Jessi starting the tt

Elk Grove Village has been a controversial race from the start with lost of disparity between the men and women's races, both in ranking and prize money. It's taken some time, but the promoter (the mayor of Elk Grove Village) seems to be interested in making some changes for the women. This year the women got 3 days of racing; a time trial on Friday, and crits on Saturday and Sunday combined as a timed stage race, and on with National Race Calendar points on the line. This meant that we'd have a top notch women's field right here in our back yard. With the disappearance of Downer's Grove, this is a big deal for the bike racing women of Chicago!

Going into the weekend I was cautiously optimistic feeling that I had gotten some fitness at Superweek. While the fields were small, we as a team had ridden hard. I thought Friday's time trial should be a good course for me being a short flat power course with a couple of tight turns. I gave it my all but still turned in a fairly poor time. Jessi was our best finisher, riding well and finishing in the money!

I had a great start in Saturday's crit. I was in awesome position for a few laps--good enough to get sworn at by Tibco--which I took as a compliment that I was right were I should be--but unfortunately I did not last very long. I was sad to see that with the exception of Jeannie, the rest of our team was not in the pack either. The general consensus was that we were tired.

The next day we rode almost the same course, the only difference being an extended stretch making the hairpin turn further out. Jeannie and I went to the line and the pace was much slower. I lasted longer, about half the race, but still ended up dnf. Jeannie finished well in 6th place.

As a side note, Stacy was saying over the weekend that she didn't feel well, and she did not start the race on Sunday. She was chalking it up to being tired and late season fatigue. We now know that she was suffering from some rather serious head injuries relating to previous crashes. She underwent treatment and is recovering well, but it was a serious scare, and the lesson learned is to take head injuries very seriously!