For those of you that know me, its been a rough winter. Crohn's disease has been kicking my butt (no pun intended) since the stress of my prelims for my PhD caused a flare back in November of 2007. Fighting fatigue and GI issues left my base training...well, lacking. Luckily, I seem to have experienced a turning point physically and mentally while down south for Speedweek. I went from getting popped within a lap or 2 of a pro race and never having a podium finish to finishing my first pro 1,2,3 race at Waltersboro and winning the Sandy Springs Crit in a 7-lap solo break. I feel that a lot of people are owed a shout-out for that...especially since, for some of these people, their knowledge and experience can do a lot for the average cyclist (not just those with a broken belly).
First of all, my teammates and coach, Spencer Beckett, are the absolute best. I don't know how many people can say this, but I race every weekend with my best friends. There is nothing to compare to that. Having Michelle, Leslie, Sonja, and Jen Ras (honorary teammate) screaming for me in my 3,4 races at Speedweek was like a hand pushing me through the race. And of course I always heart racing with Wendy, Jen, Robin, Christina, and Mel who stayed back to represent CycleLife at home and at Gila. Leslie has especially been such an amazing mentor the last couple of years. She helped me strategize before every race last week, teaching me how to relax and be in control of the race. Spencer has also been a great fit for me as a coach since I started working with him 3 years ago. His philosophy of lots of base training and long tempo/threshold efforts has definitely made me a stronger, more powerful rider.
Jen, Sonja, and Leslie came to the race early to cheer me on at the Sandy Springs Crit.
Josh Frick at CycleLife USA (http://www.cyclelifeusa.com/index.php) did a Retul bike fit for me the week before we traveled south. I can't believe what a difference that made. By just raising my seatpost, changing my saddle, and slapping on smaller bars, I felt comfortable on my bike for the first time in...I can't even remember. I felt comfortable enough to ride in my drops for the first time, which helped me feel in control of my bike and confident through the corners. I definitely attribute finishing the Waltersboro Pro 1,2,3 crit to this bike fit...being comfortable enough to corner like the big dogs made all the difference. Having Leslie in the back teaching me the art of being the Grim Reaper didn't hurt either :)
Leslie and me surfing the back of the Sunny King peloton
I also go to a lot of doctors...but Dr. Steven Horowitz (http://www.marylandsportsinjurycenter.com/) is definitely the man to see for any athlete. He is a chiropractor who is an amazing athlete himself, has been a "jock-doc" for past olympic teams, and works with a variety of local sports teams in the Montgomery County/Washington DC area. Trust me...he knows his stuff. He has kept my back, neck, wrists, and legs in good working order while advising me about nutritional supplements, weight-training, post-workout recovery techniques, and stretching. He always seems to be taking new training classes in yoga, kettle-bell lifting, etc...and passing on the lessons he learns to his clients.
Ok, I know this sounds a heck of a lot like an acceptance speech for an Academy Award, so I'll shut it. Its amazing how a few good races can make you feel so much love. Speedweek was a great week...and thanks to everyone that helped make it great.