Before I started bike racing in 2010, the year before I eventually made my way up to riding the Fleetwood Derby to prepare for my triathlon races. I remember how intimidated I was, and how difficult it was at times to even make it with the main pack. Going as far back as my very first derby, I remember getting popped immediately at the turnaround; also thinking that the first bump was an actual hill. I remember saying to someone next to me, "Are there more hills? Crap…"
Now, in 2012, even riding in the middle of the pack seems awkward to me. I try to rotate in the front with the guys, as much as it sucks sometimes, almost like I'm sending the message to the boys that I can hang with them. It requires more work and grit on my part, because I'm a girl (I'll explain this rationale in a bit), but it's all worth it because it has improved my fitness. When there are times that I can't rotate in the front or miss a small break, I get really pissed off. But then I think to myself, wait, I'm a girl.
I know it sounds sexist, but think about it. Take the most fit endurance guy racer, and the most fit endurance female racer, the guy will always win in perfect circumstances. It's the human body. Testosterone vs estrogen. That's what I'm making reference to, not because "I'm a girl." I, along with other female elite cyclists, am outnumbered no matter what. If you know cycling and who all lives in and around the Lehigh Valley, the derby/training races here are no joke--from pro's, to ex-pro's, to Olympians, and champions alike, we've got it all; I work my a** off to make the most of them. Not only does it boost my confidence as a racer and athlete, but it subconsciously tells me that I can; all I have to do is believe and have faith in my strength and capabilities.
I look forward to the 2012 cycling season, as I will be taking a 5-month hiatus from triathlon training/racing. In the meantime, I am thinking about that first bike race, but I must fight back with redemption on 4/1/12. With bad luck in Panamá, followed by feelings of depression for a few days, I eventually got real hungry for my last triathlon of the racing year--Pro National Championships in Galveston, TX. I have worked so hard on the bike, have been super solid and consistent with my my running, and the swimmer in me has manifested; I'm hoping it all pays off. I'd like to thank all of those that have helped and supported me along the way, to keep me focused and driven…especially the cycling community. Without you guys and gals, my strength on the bike would not exist. All of you that have encouraged me, you know who you are…it means the world to me.