Your first of a season are always nerve wracking. First group ride. First wreck. First long ride and so on. First are scary for the unknown and for the stress you put on yourself.
Tomorrow is my first race of 2013. The first race of the Charlotte Winter Short Track Series. A training race if you could call it that. A 45 minute interval set in the middle of a 3 hour ride. Riding to the course, pre-ride, race, and then another hour of riding after.
I can tell you now that I’m nervous, but in a healthy “I can’t wait to get my adrenaline pumping” kind of way. This afternoon, after I drive home from Chattanooga/Atlanta, I’ll be swapping out a front tire and riding down to the course to preview. From there I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, I don’t know where my legs stand against the girls that will show up and in a hyper focused way – I’m not too worried. This short track series holds so meaning to me and I’m super stoked to be able to race all 5 Sundays of the series!
This is going to totally happen this year. Now the question is, who’s going to drag me around??
A 50 mile road race featuring 10 miles of unpaved roads including the Koppenberg of the High Country will test riders, while the breathtaking scenery and unmatched hospitality will combine to make for one of the most memorable races of the year.
Super decent price ($35) and I would guess the ride will sell out.
It’s that time of the year that I’m doing slower and longer miles, mostly by myself. Having lots of time to think through intervals and the long road in front of me I seem to reflect the most on the bike from January to March due to the speed and lack of companionship (my choice.)
Yesterday I struggled through my workout for many reasons. #1 As I’m getting towards the end of a couple blocks and haven’t had a threshold test so I’m stronger than where my zones are set. #2 The gearing on a cross bike with slicks is much different than a standard compact. It’s my own doing and I can fix both of these things. Regardless, the workout left me frustrated with finding the right gear and terrain for workouts.
Today I entered my 2.5 hour ride with a bit more optimism. Without any intervals to chase after I stopped looking at the Garmin page that listed watts and went off my Perceived Exertion scale that I have internally built in me from 15 years of cycling. I focused on pedaling strokes, enjoying jumping the potholes and digging deep into the turns.
Then I focused on shifting.
Shifting covers so many pieces of our lives. Often in cycling I find that I allow myself to sit in the gear I’m in. Maybe even falling behind the cadence I need to turn over my gear comfortable. Then there is the fear of the shift to a harder gear as it may be too hard. Maybe I’ll need to shift back? Maybe there will be a miss shift at the wrong moment or maybe it will show that I’m weak?
Shifting gears is as much about the mental feeling as it is the physical. Picking up your cadence and finding that you can push the new, harder, gear just as well as the easier. Your speed increases and often, especially off road, you find that it is easier to ride at this faster pace as momentum and speed is your friend.
Much of life is learning when to shift, when to push yourself, when to be happy with your pace or when to slow down. As I pedal around for the next couple months my thoughts will be focusing on the shift. Shifting the bike, shifting my mind and shifting how I live my life.
It’s an amazing thing, the first day of a new year and everything that it allows a human to feel. You are able to have closure for the year past and take a deep breath to move forward into the next 365 days of progress.
First to Look at Personal Ties
Behind the scenes I took the past week to plot out a lot of restructure, efficiencies and honestly cleaning out clutter (including storage with lots of wheels for sale!)
Pulling back from the things that stretch me thin with small results and honing down on key things for more impact. Turning my personal life more to an in person life, while still utilizing social media aspects in my personal life. I’m focusing more on push channels such as Instagram, Spotify and Twitter which pushes out my content (or consuming music which pushes out the feed of what I am listening to.) An outsiders view of my Facebook wall will look active, populated with photos from Instagram or Flickr, my Spotify tunes in the corner, and morning inspirational quotes that I am timing out through Hootsuite two weeks at a time to deliver around 7am EST to both my personal Facebook and Twitter accounts. I won’t be on Facebook though, I won’t be sucked into looking at hundreds of photos, liking post or reading random post that get me riled up and losing time that I didn’t have to lose.
Pushing Bike Shop Girl into 2013
In the past I’ve spoken about finding my words for Bike Shop Girl now that I work as a rep within the industry. Reviews have to be sparse, advertising limited as I’m really trying to promote local bike shops, and I don’t want this outlet to only be a personal blog for rants (those will always be apart of the structure.)
Motivation, Inspiration and Empowerment
Three words to live by in our daily life. To leave this world a better place then we found it, that is how we all should look back at our life!
In 2013 my goal is to motivate, inspire and empower you as a cyclist and maybe even a bit as a human being. We are an interesting group, those that chose two wheels for hobby, transportation or passion. At the end we use the same style of vehicle to move us forward in life. Let’s all pull together and focus on making our community stronger, smarter and safer.
Design and Feel
One of the pieces that kept me up late over the past few weeks was the look and feel of Bike Shop Girl for 2013 to support the above goals. What will the site look like, a personal blog, a magazine and how will that flow? I’m pulling in a couple friends to consult on this and you should see the end result soon.
While I’m still focused on women, I realize that guys will come along for the ride. All of us need motivated, inspired and empowered! Looking at the demographic of my followers on Facebook it is split pretty evenly women to men. The reviews, product and mission of this site is not changing, but you may see more guys writing as guest authors.
Guest and Monthly Columns
Bringing in guest writers and friends to author columns will be part of reaching more computer screens, minds, interest and people.
Focusing on specific topics for a week, month or quarter of time. The first series will be from now through first quarter focused on keeping people riding when the weather is crappy. Articles of motivation, tips to keep your bike running, ideas of staying warm and maybe just great photos of playing in the snow.
If you are interested in helping feel free to drop me a line! arleigh at gmail.com
Let’s Do This!
Keep the words flowing, keep the ideas and questions pushing at me. Let’s make 2013 our best year yet, together we can motivate, inspire and empower each other.
When people ask me what time of rider I am normally say a mountain biker. It isn’t true though. I started out fascinated with road biking and racing, and happened to enjoy the adventure of mountain biking a lot over the past 5 years.
Recently I picked up a Foundry Auger B1 as a rep sample. Built as a cyclocross bike I took the knobs off and put on some Michelin Pro4 tires and have been treating it as my road bike. The miles of bonding with that bike are growing, at the end of the rep sample season it will be hard to let it go. The 25c tire on the front and powertapped wheel on the back have become my main vehicle of training next to my prized Salsa Spearfish.
The Moral of this Rant
It is funny that I live in the bike industry and yet it has taken 5 years and a cyclocross bike to make me fall back in love with road riding. Less than a month on it and I’m already looking forward to my next road ride. When training plans say to go either MTB or Road I am now torn on which to go with. This is an exciting twist in my cycling life and a door that has opened back up with passion and love for a sport I grew up in.
Once you’ve been riding for awhile you often forget the fun you had on your first bike, you also forget how a new bike – the perfect bike – can harness so many emotions and create a great motivation to ride further and faster than before.