It has been snowing for the last 15 hours, and I cannot see the ground. I can't ride outside either, but I'm feeling strangely calm, grateful, and happy. Someone once told me that it's impossible to find a cycling team in which you get along with everyone, and that you want to train, ride, and race with everyone. Well, I think this team has that, and so much more. The key may lie within the word "balance." Cycling isn't the first and foremost priority in any of our lives; family and friends are. Having this perspective strengthens our relationships with one another, and we always support each others' decisions, even if we don't agree.
The intention of this blog entry wasn't to share our philosophy; most already know it through observation. It's to show that our "wins" are not limited to what's accomplished during the racing season. Like our training, our teamwork is in action year-round. Friday morning USA Cycling announced the 2009 Team of Year awards, and I had learned that our team had won it for Division III. Thanks to our talented, dedicated, and selfless secretary, Robin Meidhof, we got our binder, documentation, and application in on time and put forth - as always - our best.
So why did we win? I think the secret is simply passion. Our energy is focused on being the best, on giving back to the community, and on promoting women's cycling because the only feeling better than winning is winning together. All of our sponsors are part of this team just as much as the cyclists. They happen to be the ones "behind the scenes," but we share the same philosophy.
A peloton of green descended on Philadelphia this past weekend as Badger, Chicken and Sonja came up to visit the northern contingent of CAWES! The plan? Get together for a weekend of riding, eating, drinking, and schmoozing with our favorite Specialized rep, Mike Abrams! Of course, as expected, some hi-jinx ensued.
One of the really important issues to be deal with this weekend, was the plan for our new 2010 kit design. We spent much time trying on the box full of clothing sent by Verge to make sure that we were happy with the cuts, sizing and quality.
We also needed to decide on one of a few concepts drawn up by the great Carlos Cabalu and then we began to discuss our color scheme. Would we keep with the standard double green and yellow or move on to a new scheme to take us into the new decade?
Alaina suggested that we take a cue from her undies and add a lovely magenta to the kit! This is, of course, a scientifically proven way to successfully choose kit colors!
Sonja also wanted to help us out with the recent cycling protests against new city legislations...
Saturday morning rose with chilly temps but BEAUTIFUL blue skies that called to us and our bikes! We bundled up and got ready to head out for a 50 miler. Joining us on the road was Mike from Specialized and we were lead by the great team of Maria and Mischa.
Robin had an unfortunate mishap with her shifter and we attempted to stop by High Road Cycles to try to see if there was a possibility for a quick fix. Since the situation was deemed unrepairable, Robin decided to grab another Specialized for the rest of the ride. I think she was mostly drawn to the color.
Despite the chilly temps, we were nothing but smiles after riding through some gorgeous areas of Philly. Lots of rolling hills and curvy roads took us out to Wayne, PA and back into Manayunk. Somewhere along the way, we took this great shot of us with Mike.
That night, Mike and Maureen were gracious enough to have us all over for dinner. When we asked what we could bring, Mike said - wine and dessert. So, we brought him both! :) Note the Specialized "S" that appears on Mike's Carrot Cake!
Not to mention the scarf and Davy Crocket hat that the wine wore (Cycles Gladiator wine, no less!).
We had a great time sitting, eating, drinking, and chatting with Mike and Maureen...
And snuggling with the adorable Maggie...
And we also found out that Mike went to the trouble of finding us the PERFECT moto-pacing vehicle. Turns out, it's just been sitting in his garage waiting for us! :) Now, if that doesn't have CAWES written all over it, then it SHOULD!!!
Thanks again to Mike and Maureen for a very fun evening!
And thanks to Alaina and Hoover for opening up their house to everyone for the weekend! Even if it does appear to be haunted by this strange spectre that was captured on camera....or is it just the elusive Grimace coming out due to the chilly temps?!?!
Juniors' Day Out and Maryland Special Olympics Fall Games
The chicas of Team CycleLife p/b Specialized helped out at the Junior's Day Out event September 26. For most of the team, it was the last cycling event of the year (though the girls weren't racing). It was also an opportunity to finally give back to the sport in a very small, but hopefully significant way. The CycleLife members donated together lots of cycling items including clothes, tires, gloves, socks, hats, and other equipment for the purpose of this event. Although the weather was a bit chilly and raining in the afternoon, the women rode with the special olympic cyclists in every event throughout the course of the day ensuring that they were more than motivated to get to the finish line. More importantly, the team helped monitor the safety of the riders and tried to provide as much support on and off the course, at the registration table, at the awards table, and even serving as podium girls! Overall, the event proved to be a success, and the promoters did a fantastic job with the race.
A quick recap of the season
Cyclists are known for their discipline, focus, and near obsession of training and racing. It's really a sport that doesn't allow much time for relaxing and slacking (even during the off-season). Each year, most riders improve from a year of intense training and racing, but there's always room for even more growth when looking ahead at the upcoming season. The strong women of Team CycleLife ended this year with a bang; Leslie won the Senior Women BAR, Christina won the Cat 3 BAR, and Sara, Robin, and Jen all upgraded to Cat 2. Despite stresses from work, injuries from races, and the ups and downs in life, the team was able to perform well and deliver fantastic results throughout the year. With the exception of one or two races, the team consistently placed in the top 3 in every local race. Furthermore, the girls were competitive racing among the best in the country in the National Calendar Races (NRC professional races).
Sponsors are awesome (So awesome Sonja raises a bike in your honor)
This year couldn't have been possible without the strong support through the year of our sponsors. Sometimes people just think it's all about the money; it's not at all. It is helpful to have the financial support, and it relieves the team from individual burdens that come with the high costs of the sport. More importantly, it keeps the team focused on what's important: racing together and achieving great results as a team because we aren't wasting time worrying about funding. The money you give us keeps us going, and believe it or not, it helps keep the team solid, strong, and together through tough times too! It's also great to know that there are other people who believe in what we do - people who support us, and people who understand why we choose this lifestyle. Thank you to all of our sponsors! We never take you for granted, and we hope you've enjoyed working with us as much as we have with you.
We're psyched to be co-sponsoring the Junior's Day Out & Maryland Special Olympics Fall Games with T.E.A.M. FUJI on Sept. 26th in Sykesville, Maryland. Tons of racing opportunities and prizes. See flyer below (if any problems reading it, click on the flyer and it will expand). Register at SportsBaseOnline here.
That pretty much summarizes the trip to Austria to compete in the Masters Worlds. Having gotten my feet wet last year, I came back this year to win the Masters World Championship. It was the race that I'd thought about all year. The race that motivated me when I sat on my trainer in the basement all winter long. Every other race this year was preparation.
I was competing in three races, the World Cup, the World Championship, and an "elite" race to finish out the week. I'd learned my lesson last time and decided to forgo the stress of trying to do the time trial too.
So the results... 2nd at the Master's World Cup race, 3rd at the Master's World Championship, and 1st at the elite race.
I was thrilled overall, but have to admit that I was disappointed with the Championship race. It's hard to come that close and know that something was within your grasp, but you just didn't do what you needed to do. I've replayed the finish a million times thinking of all the things that I could've done differently.
And the damn advice that I was given at the beginning of the season kept coming back to haunt me..."the little things are what will make the difference when you're sprinting against someone who is just as strong or stronger than you are." I screwed the finish up royally.
After that I figured that I'd just race the elite race and see what happened...wouldn't you know that the sprint finally came together and I got the win.
That was the racing part. The rest of the trip is what's its really about. I can't do the experience justice though so hopefully the pics will...
Downtown St. Johann in Tirol
The top of the climb on the road race course where hundreds of fans hang out, yell, and get drunk. Seeing a pack of 80 year old+ riders digging deep and getting over this thing is one of the most inspiring things you'll ever see.
World Cup Prize = Giant beer. Me = a drunk bridesmaid.
On the podium with Michella Gorini (Italy) and Sarah Storey (Great Britain) for the Master's World Championship ceremony. That's me rocking a Sarah Palin updo.
Sarah Storey (left) was a gold medalist at the Paralympics in cycling and crushed the time trial at Worlds. At the elite race she gave me a world class leadout!
At the start before the last race...lots of chaos in the background. And the mountain that we'll soon be climbing.
The podium after the elite race next to Martina Ruzickova (CZE) and Jacqueline Hahn (AUT). They actually had to stage this cause I missed the real ceremony... we had gotten bad information about the ceremony running late and had returned to the hotel. Oops!
My first international win! I'm keeping this.
The photographer finally has the camera turned on him.
One final random comment...they drug test at this race. The woman who won the 30-40 year olds race last year ended up getting disqualified because she failed. The penalty is a 2 year ban from the UCI. Supposedly, out of 20 athletes tested last year, three were positives! That's outrageous! I hope they start publishing the names of every athlete that fails. Dopers suck.