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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

Friday, August 9, 2013

PWP's Cathy Frampton; ABR State Road Race Champion


Sunday, Aug 4th, I drove south towards Kankakee and proceeded to get lost along following a beautiful river looking for the ABR Two Rivers race course. My luck for the day turned when Project 5's Marilyn Powell pulled alongside me and re-directed me to course.

I heard last year there was only 1 woman at the race, but this year, there was an ok turn-out. Some 4 or so for the 40/50's and another 4 for the open. We would be racing together, however, the open was doing 3 laps of an 18 mi course while the 40/50's were doing 2. I had signed up for the 40/50 race not realizing the difference. My attempts to convince the 40/50 to do 3 laps were unsuccessful, so I changed to the open. 

Within a couple miles from the start, we quickly formed a pace line with everyone taking turns pulling through. The pace wasn't fast, but the atmosphere was friendly and supportive for the newer racers.

Liz So was in the open race. Her cyclocross fast twitch muscles were twitching. She was not satisfied with the pace. She tried desperately to get one of us in the open race to jump with her early in a break. I wasn’t ready to go anywhere yet, still trying to warmup. Noone else seemed inclined to take up her offer so early in the race. 

Well, not even ½ lap into the 3 lap race, Liz jumped - attacking on her own and getting a gap. Our group continued the paceline, keeping Liz within reach. As we went on, the 40/50’s racers were less inclined to pull through, so the three of us in the open race, myself, teammate Katie Isermann, and XXX’s Sue Wellinghoff, traded turns. Nearing the end of lap 2, the 40/50’s asked that we keep out of the way of their finish. Ok. They lunged ahead. It was fun to watch their lead-outs and sprint efforts. Congratulations to Imelda March on her 40+ win with Shannon Pookie-Keaton and Ginger Stephens right on her wheel and to Marilyn Powell for the 50+ win.

Continuing into the final lap of the open race, we weren’t sure if Liz was tiring or not. She was doing a significant amount of work staying just off the front. We got our answer when she reintegrated with the group with ½ lap to go – she was still strong. Looking at the 4 of us, I decided it was not in my best interest to wait for a sprint finish. My teammate, Katie, on the other hand would do well in that situation. So, I started attacking. Each time, Liz was attached to me like glue. I did get a slight gap after one attack, but with a cry from Liz that I might have unfairly crossed the centerline to gain the advantage, I sat up. As the four of us lulled into a pace that made it difficult to keep our bikes upright, I attacked again – but this time I held it out there for a good bit, got a gap, and put my head down to time trial to the finish.

Along the way, I kept looking over my shoulder for the ever-charging Liz So to be on my heels. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Katie did win the field sprint finishing 2nd and taking home the Cat 3 IL State Championship jersey.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

PWPers Annette Isom and Ann Corvino checking in from Colorado


Greetings!  Just wanted you to know that Ann & I and our team finished the Copper Triangle Road Ride in Copper Mountain, Colorado last Saturday, August 3rd.  The ride was 78 mi and 3 peaks......lots of long up and long down.  Reminded me of one of the Tour de France mountain stages.....could have been my imagination when I was losing it going up and up!  I enclosed a picture.....Ann & Paula from Hinsdale, Margie from Oak Park and me (Glen Ellyn).  
Looking forward to PWP this year!  
Annette Isom

 They said it was 8000 feet!  Chilly!  Awesome Job ladies! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Master's Track Nationals July 30-Aug 4 Indianapolis, IN

After competing at Elite Nationals last year, I decided I wanted to take track seriously and really train for it and learn how to do it right.  Yes there's cross-over between road and track and doing the weekly racing at your local velodrome is awesome crit training, but competing nationally is completely different.   Everything  from the "scene" to the training to the specific technicalities of each event, including the equipment needed was so foreign to a roadie like me.  This year I've been working with a track specific coach and have been putting in some serious effort.  I picked master's nationals as my one focus for the year because it was in Indianapolis, IN, and would not require a plane ticket.

The kids went to my parents for the week.  Their week involved hanging out on my brother's farm, showing Jersey dairy cows at the 4-H fair with their cousins, feeding calves,  playing with kittens and catching minnows and crawfish in the creek.

Jason had to work so he took the megabus down on Thursday night which happened to be the best stroke of luck.  My new Zipp wheels showed up on Wednesday (I left on Tuesday) and Jason was able to glue them up and bring them down on the megabus.  Thank you so much to SRAM/Zipp for making this happen!!  They are super awesome, and definitely the nicest wheels I've ever ridden.

These wheels are worth more than my car  


My #1 goal was to come home with a national championship jersey and I was going to try for it in 6 events.   While I did not reach this goal, I did a lot better than I would have last year at this time, and came home with 4 second places, 1 third, and 1 fourth.  The 333 meter concrete track in Indy is awesome!  I felt really comfortable there and would love to come back for more racing there.

Tuesday:  Points Race
I am most experienced in mass start events as that's the kind of thing I've been racing at Northbrook for 14 years.  They are also the only kind of races where I've had any serious cycling injuries.  The points race was the first race of the week for me and I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was pretty nervous.  There was no time to get on the track before my event so the first time I put wheels down on the track was at the start of the race.  I took the first sprint and managed to get points in every one.  I did a good job at keeping track of the math and knew the race hinged on the final sprint between me and a rider from Georgia.  She and another rider started to lead it out and when I tried to get in position I got freaked out by another rider and completely backed off.  It really wasn't anything sketchy and had I been aggressive it would have (maybe) been fine.  I was mad at myself for lacking confidence but I finished the race upright and able to compete the rest of the week. And I got a second place at a Masters's nationals.
       Points race podium


Wednesday: Scratch Race
The scratch race is my favorite race which made it all the more sad when I screwed it up.  Because of the points race the day before me and the other rider who got most of the points were watching each other and we let a rider from Texas go.   Turned out  she was an awesome time trialist and we never saw her again. We finally chased but it was too late.  I ended up third and was very bummed with this result.  

Thursday:  Day off  
Jason took the bus down after work and got to hang out with me for the rest of the weekend!  We had a really good time and it was cool for me to have full support.

Friday:  Individual Pursuit
Time trialing does not come naturally to me and I have worked very hard on this event.  Before today, every other time in my life where I've done a standing start I've completely botched it.  Today I nailed it!  And I was faster than we had anticipated.  I was thrilled!!  I definitely gave my best effort.   The Texas rider that got away in the scratch race was faster, but I took second.  

All  ready to TT

Saturday:  Time Trial (500 meters)
This is a sprint event, and to be good at sprint events you really need to specialize.  I am an endurance rider, but decided to jump in and do it since I was there.  I loved it!  It was fitting that Dee Dee Scadron who is a former master's world champion in this event and now a USA Cycling official was my official at the start line.  I gave this my best effort, nailed the start again (!) but know exactly what I need to work on if I want to be a sprinter.  It was super fun going that fast, but only good enough for fourth place.  

Sunday:  Team Pursuit and Team Sprint
Ever since watching Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch, and Jennie Reed do the team pursuit at Elite Nationals in Los Angeles, I've wanted to do this event. They went on to earn a Silver medal in the 2012 olympics.   My teammate Stacy and I had planned on doing it with another Chicago rider (and PWP'er) Dena Eaton, but Dena ended up having to unexpectedly move across the country for work literally weeks before  the event.  Luckily Stacy's teammate on the road, Jane Vanni-Noone who lives in Indianapolis was able to do it with us.  Our practice for the event consisted of 30 minutes during open track time the morning of our event.  Given our lack of knowledge about each other, we did really great.  We ended up second.

Dena and I had also planned to do the team sprint as well, so Jane graciously offered to fill in again.  Neither of us being sprinters, we actually nailed it, did the best we could and finished second!  We were happy with this result.  

In conclusion, it was super cool to see in person all the other Chicago/Midwest riders that I've known for years but never actually seen competing at their specialized events.  There were bitter disappointments and thrilling victories.  Lovely to meet Jane and all the awesome people in Indianapolis.  I felt a world of difference in my preparedness and gave it my best effort.  Luckily I love training and working hard........ !

I'll end with one of the best victories of the weekend:  The men's 35+ team sprint with Robbie Higgins riding with my Garner Teammates Jason Garner and Jeff Whiteman: