Ramblings, musings and generally boring stuff. Mostly about bikes...

Friday, October 22, 2010

What I've gained along the way....

I've always been quiet and somewhat shy. I had the small group of friends throughout young adulthood (many of them 10, 20 years older than me!). I started riding my bicycle regularly with this group when Phil and I first started dating in 1994. I was so comfortable in this small group. It's hard to have much drama when only 2-3 people are involved! Around 2004, when I graduated from Grad school, I expanded my group, but only a little.

It wasn't until 2006 that I ventured outside of this group. It was at that time that I stumbled upon Team Revolution and Carrie Cash. I can't remember how I found out about the Wednesday night rides, but all it took was one ride and I was hooked. Phil remembers me coming home after that first one and talking a mile a minute. I continued to make it to rides whenever I could but my job was getting in the way. These rides were part of the reason for my job change in December 2006. My new schedule would allow me to make it to any Team Revolution Ride I wanted!

2007 brought a whole new world for me. I started riding with Carrie and Chris again in the spring, while continuing with Mary Kay and the Maplewood crew on Saturdays. On Wednesday nights, I was meeting new ladies each week ~ Ruth and Jamie and Allison and Teresa and Nicole (and many more...). Wow, these girls were STRONG and they loved cycling as much as I did!! I fondly remember several wednesday nights when, after chasing Teresa for 16 miles, I begged her to come back next week so I could do it again.
I was challenging myself physically and emotionally. I was gaining new friends and a new figure (I lost about 35 lbs that year). With Carrie and my Team Revolution Racing 101 class, my confidence was boosted and I started racing at Gateway Cup, Tour De Lafayette in August 2007.

In 2008, I continued to ride and race with Team Revolution. I joined the development team for racing and became more involved with the club, planning happy hours, events and helping out at clinics. I've never been a leader in a formal capacity and was proud of the work I had been doing. In late 2008, early 2009, I joined the Team Revolution board in a more official capacity. I was promoted to President in early 2009.

Over the last two years of racing and running Team Revolution, I have continued to grow and be challenged in new and often exciting ways. I have also found some of the less than delightful challenges working with a large group of women and have had moments when I want to go back to my little group where it was safe. I admit that I am not an angel and I have talked about someone in their absence when I should not have.I have tried to make amends for any wrong doing. I have witnessed how hurtful women can be in relationship to one another and how easily I can get sucked into to the "Drama." As a leader, I have had to hold myself to a higher standard and watch what I say. As a leader, I have fallen victim to some of the gossip (and backstabbing?). As a leader, I have been excluded and had my feelings hurt, but needed to take the high road and only address it as it affects the club I am responsible for. As an individual, it really hurt sometimes.

As an individual, I have made mistakes. I have stumbled into success without much of my own doing. I have created great things and watched as others create great things. I have taken credit and passed credit along. It has been wonderful and exhausting all at the same time. Running the club has been as exhausting as racing my bike. I continue to grow emotionally and physically each day.

My point to all this is to say that I am still, underneath all of my growth, challenges, mistakes, joys and defeats, I am still the same quiet person I was before I ever even knew about Team Revolution. Yet, this quiet girl has been challenged within an inch of my life and has grown exponentially. I have gained more experiences, strength and most of all, friends. As a leader, I have met a lot of really cool people. As an individual, I have made some really cool friends.

The true friends I have gained along the way know my heart and know what I am capable of doing, what I am capable of faking and what I should not ever really attempt. They challenge me in nuturing and supportive ways. They hold me up when other people seem to want to push me under.

As I prepare my transition away from leader at the end of this year, it's easy to look back on the trials and tribulations instead of the success. But I realize that I would not have gotten through thick or thin without picking up these wonderful friends along the way!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Half the harm that is done in this world
Is due to people who want to feel important
They don't mean to do harm
But the harm does not interest them.
Or they do not see it, or they justify it
Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle
To think well of themselves.

T. S. Eliot

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ronde Von Jakob- My First Cyclocross Race

Ok, so my first cx experience for 2010 started a little rocky. I have a new bike (Felt F1X) instead of the bike I borrowed from Stewart M. Good start there. I did a little Thursday night Forest Park practices, preceded by a little get pre-practice skills clinic with Susan K. (That's Kube!). But, despite the best efforts of the new bike and my friend, I could not do a decent dismount. (Susan will fondly remember my fears of the imaginary barriers!)

So, off to the Team Revolution Cyclocross clinic I went. After 4 hours of skill learning and drills... viola! I could dismount and sort of remount. I could jump barriers with or without a bike! I could do a modified run up, sort of carrying my bike and sort of hitting myself in the head with my seat!

I was ready for my first Cross race.... Hermann Cx Sunday.....

Mother Nature intervened. Boo! This was NOT to be my first cx race.

Ok, no big deal... I'd prepare for the Pride Race on 9/25 to be my first race.....

God intervened.... I got a call that my Momma was in the hospital! Boo! Off to Colorado for a week off the bike and caring for my mom.

So.... Ronde Von Jakob.... You ARE my first cross race!

Kelly M aptly prepared us for the course, after she assisted with the set up. She described it as not being a Kelly friendly course. Hmmm...

Suzanne J and I had a plan to travel together. The worlds best... or at least Columbia's best Soigneur, Sam drove us, with only a slight detour!
We arrived, registered and prepared. Chris provided some excellent advice on clothing for this chilly weather (low 50s and windy) and pinned my number on for me!!
Suzanne and I were then off to preview the course.

WOW! Kelly had warned me about "the cliff" and while it wasn't a 40 drop, it was an accurate description in my book. There was only one good line for this little descent.
I ran down it on warm up lap one. Cory and Suzanne were quickly getting ahead of me as I navigated this bumpy, twisty, curvy terrain. What was I getting myself in to?? Warm up lap two. I tried to ride down the cliff, but ended up nearly wiping out and sticking my nose of my saddle firmly into my right buttock cheek. OUCH.

The rest of the course featured some s-curve like sections, some off camber stuff, with off camber S curve climbs and descents.
Some flats and straights, barriers with a quick U turn into a pretty grapevine section, more s curvy stuff (photo guy- Eville Mike there. I swear I almost ran into him more than once!)
Then a long headwind flat section, more turns, climb, tall grass, descend, tall grass, FENCE! climb through orchard, turn and climb a gravel road. The finish section wound around the side of the winery with some more fun off camber stuff and a nice flat wide finish.

There were 10 women on this chilly autumn day when we lined up (Carrie, Allison, Cory, Suzanne, Sally, Soli, Me, Beth, Kelly and Flavia). We were off! Early on, I told Soli that she probably shouldn't stay behind me. She obliged and moved up. I was last.
But I stayed on Beth's wheel. I had to dismount where she rode down the Cliff but I caught back up to her in the straight sections. I was surprised at how much more skilled I got at the s curve stuff as the race wore on.
Soon, I passed Beth. After playing some cat and mouse, I started to pull away from her. I was also gaining ground on Kelly. I managed to pass her with a little cat and mouse too but then started to gain ground on her. With 2 laps to go, I saw Carrie approaching Kelly behind me. She was gonna lap me, it was just a matter of when. I realized that before the start/finish would be great, thus shortening my race from 2 to go to 1 to go! Woo Hoo. I was having fun... but also very tired.

Carrie passed on the gravel section and was headed away by start finish. I confirmed one to go with Mark and Larry (officials) and cherished this last lap. I was enough ahead of Kelly to take it easy on a couple of sections. I continued to dismount and run down the cliff and pick up speed on the flat/straights. My dismount was less than stellar but would suffice and I sort of walked/jumped the barriers one last time. As I turned through the orchard section, I was really starting to run out of steam. I told myself "Don't stop." But then quickly switched to the more positive "Keep going". This helped me through the last two little climbs and I finished my first cross race!

5th place for Women's Cat 4 (I am still a 4 for cross!!!) Not too shabby! (Cory Won the 4s race! Suzanne got 2nd, even after a nasty encounter with the cliff and her hand and the ground!)