Has another racing season really come and gone already? I can’t believe that I am sitting here at my computer, looking out the window at the snow falling, while thinking back on the 2011 road racing season.
It all happened so fast – I was competing at the Cyclocross World Championships in St Wendel, Germany on Jan 30. Two and a half weeks later I was at training camp with Team TIBCO in Carpinteria, CA. Whoa. A week after camp I was in Washington DC wearing my cycling advocacy hat at the National Bike Summit. Three weeks later the racing season was underway at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
I chuckle to myself when I think of the number of times I have raced Redlands. I smile when I think of all the different families I have stayed with and continue to look forward to seeing year after year. I think of how the race has changed from ten years ago when it was a 6-day event to the 4-day event that it is now. I can remember numerous courses that have come and gone, some that I wish were still in existence, but the two that have always remained the same are the downtown criterium and the Sunset circuit race – two of the hardest races on the calendar all year.
April was a big racing month – Redlands, Sunny King, Sea Otter and SRAM Tour of the Gila. It was a good month of racing in regards to the races themselves, but it was a tough one for the team. Several of our top riders, Ali Powers, Erinne Willock and Carmen Small, were home nursing injuries. As our team leaders, they left a big gap to fill. Luckily the rest of the team was up for the task. We raced hard. We didn’t get the results we wanted, but we didn’t give up either.
May – Joe Martin and Tour de Grove. The team got a win at Joe Martin and we cleaned up at Tour de Grove. We were happy for sure.
June was another huge month of racing. We were at the Liberty Classic in Philly, Clarendon in Washington DC, Nature Valley Grand Prix in MN, and US Road Nationals in GA. Junes was a mixed bag of emotions and results. We had good days, races that went well but didn’t yield the final result we wanted. And we had bad days. Races that just went wrong, days when we just didn’t click. But, that’s bike racing. Things don’t always go your way, but when they do it’s magic.
What I remember most about July is how little I was home. About 5 days total. It was a loooong month on the road. I was all over the place. We started with Tour de ‘Toona, a race that once had been a premier stage race and was now resurrecting itself from a three year hiatus. I was happy to be back in Altoona, PA. From there I went to Sun Valley, ID with my husband, Ben, to support him at US MTB Nationals. And maybe I snuck in a little time on my mtn bike, too. Next thing I knew I was in Bend, my home away from home, for Cascade, one of my favorite races all year. Bend is where I won road nationals. I’ve had some notable cross results there, too, so Bend has a special place in my heart. The team’s results at Cascade were good, not great. We could have done better and we knew it.
The last race of the month and the last race of the season for me was the Presbyterian Classic in Charlotte. It’s a prestigious criterium with a lot of money on the line. My teammates and I did everything we could to get that result that had been eluding us all season, that one BIG result. We didn’t get it.
We may not have gotten a big result, but we did take something meaningful home with us. The day before the race we visited the pediatric cancer ward at the Presbyterian Hospital where we visited with several inspirational, courageous and tenacious kids who may have been sick but didn’t want us to know it. They smiled when they met us. They wanted to watch the bike race. They enjoyed our company. For a little while, hopefully, their sickness was forgotten.
The road season was over. My race season was not. Cross season was a month and a half away. I had a couple weeks off the bike completely, a few weeks on the mtn bike and then before I could say ‘boo’ I was lining up for the first cross race of the season – CrossVegas. But that’s another story…