Peeling myself out from the warm covers early Sunday morning, the light wasn’t out yet and as I stumbled my way through getting dressed. It was going to be a long day as my knee and body screamed in pain due to the prior days 5k race efforts.
Record time into the car, hitting up McDonalds for a Muffin, sausage, egg and cheese breakfast. 25 minutes later I am sitting in a Super Walmart parking long waiting for my friends and fellow EM:PWR teammates to arrive for our car pooling. Many good topics, a couple moments of daydreaming and we arrive in Spartanburg, SC finding the Va Du Mar park quickly. Chatting, dressing and registering. I probably should have warmed up more than the 30 minutes on the road that I did. During my pre-race course preview lap I dismounted tweaking my knee even further. This would sum up the next 45 minutes if you want to finish reading now.
On the start line there was 4 women and maybe 8 men. A very sad showing for the cyclocross community in South Carolina. The women’s field even had cash payouts! As I stumbled around the course, carefully getting off the bike, somewhere on the backside of the first lap I was questioning what I was doing and how much pain in every down stroke I was feeling. I finished though, slow and at least 8 minutes behind the person in front of me.
The course was fun other than the lack of pavement, and a good amount of grass riding. There is a jaunt through the woods that stumbled up some of the roadies. As the course was worked over the dirt became more and more loose. The park was gorgeous, tons of parking, and new bathrooms that were heated!
Finishing Thoughts and Goals
I need to ride my bike more. Too often I get done races and simply realize I need to ride my bike and I would be better. It isn’t the nutrition, mental, or bike, I just need time in the saddle for progress.
Questioning to continue to pay $20 a race to realize this. Maybe go to simply photograph and ride the course before I have to pay!
Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!
What’s your name and location?
Stephanie Cole, Charlotte NC (EM:PWRteammate and motivator)
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
Road, Mtn, CX – Cyclocross is my favorite!
What is your first cycling memory?
My Dad gave up on teaching me how to ride a bike because I didn’t want him to let go of the seat, I had to teach myself. Yes, I have always been stubborn!
Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?
I can find inspiration everywhere; it might be someone improving their riding, someone coming back from injury/illness or someone just starting to ride again as an adult.
What has been your best moment on the bike this year?
Every time someone says ‘you’re riding well…’
All About My Bikes
Cannondale Hybrid, Giant TCR Road, Specialized Epic full suspension, Giant TCX CX, Gary Fisher Rig
Have I mentioned how excited I am about the cyclocross season that is coming up? 50% excited about the racing and 50% excited about the environment, friends and culture.
Last night was the first cyclocross “practice” of the season. It really is a reason for friend, George Berger, and I to get out to Fisher Farms with barriers and ride around in circles. Another one of our friends, Mark, showed up to crush us.
Eye Opening Fitness
It is always easier to feel fast when you ride alone, and then you ride with folks that have been consistently riding…that’s when you realize you are slow as a snail!
All I can do is put my head down and plow ahead with training and efforts. Riding with folks that have had solid seasons, and consistent riding for over a year…it isn’t fair to judge myself next to them. Hell, I need to stop judging myself.
Be proud you are out doing it, be proud to be on the bike and keep moving forward!
Lately when I race and people ask how it was I simply can’t answer as I don’t feel like I am really racing. I feel like I’m riding around in circles, trying to find the next gear within my own. I’ve finished mostly last for the past year of my cycling life. I argue with myself that this place is better than not starting which I had been doing for the year prior. I struggle with the mental piece, knowing I am better than this, knowing that I am the puppet master and only allowing myself to fall.
Racing for the past year has been motivation. At the finish line when I knew I could have done better, that is motivation. I pay the race entry fee so that the other girl doesn’t come in last, and that I get a small kick in the ego…large enough to want more, but small enough not to do anything about it.
Doing Burn 24 Hour was this. There were moments on the trail I was questioning my sanity. Especially at 11:30pm when the roots were wet, my chamois was sweaty and my glasses were so fogged up from the humidity I was simply praying the whole 7 mile lap not to bust my face open.
I question why I slept for 5 hours. I question why I didn’t bring my full suspension bike with more “wet root friendly tires.” I question if I could have done 12 laps instead of 8. I question if my pit crew thought I was a pain in the ass and realize how much I appreciate them.
Looking back at this event I question myself, my strength and my will to do better in life.
Maybe that is the point of racing? To question yourself and everything that leads up to the moment. How else can you become better if you don’t question and change yourself?
I believe that bikes can solve many of the worlds problems if we put enough energy behind it to do so. I know I am happier on the bike than most anywhere else in the world. In honor of May being National Bike Month the fine folks at People for Bikes have created a short film.
I believe in bikes, and I believe that we can find ourselves out there on them.
I have a very humbled and sad feeling inside when I type this. If it doesn’t come across well, if my grammar stinks and spelling is horrid I am sorry. This type of message is one I never want to relay, it is one that pains me before I even begin.
Last Thursday morning I woke to an email from Benjamin Wilson. Ben is not only a club member, but is a main sponsor of em:pwr with his company Delivery Path. The email went something along the lines that he was hit the evening before in downtown (Uptown) Charlotte. He was fine, just was released from the ER but very shaken up and freaked out. He then asked me to call him ASAP.
I called Ben as soon as I could to talk through his worries and fear. His bike was totaled. He had a police and witness report. He was okay. He was scared. He was freaked out. Everything he explained was exactly how I felt 6 months earlier. I did my best, explaining that it is all needed and what I did to get through it..
Over the past week I’ve been trying to keep tabs on Ben. Keeping his spirits high, or as best as I can. Hoping that talking to someone that has been there and is back on the road would help!
Fast forward to today… A little after lunch I get a call from George Berger. He has been added to the list of Charlotte based bike accidents. I haven’t gotten a full story but he’s fine. He somehow “dismounted” his bike during the accident and now the frame and rear wheel are the only thrashed parts, not him.
Somber. Sad. Feeling for my two friends as I know exactly how they are feeling. George sounded like he was in better spirits than Ben. We’ll get through this guys and hopefully em:pwr others to fix this!
As a human I try not to stress about the small things in life, only when I am highly intoxicated do I start to worry about all the things in life that I am juggling. A few days last week I started to stress out majorly about the upcoming 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
Worries are for Pussies
And I’m a pussy. Here’s a small list of things I stressed about over the course of the week prior to the race.
Lack of riding in the mountains
Lack of gears
Lack of suspension
Lack of pre-riding the course
Girlfriend would be in the pit with a broken foot, could she make it to the bathroom…up the road..?
The car was packed, we were ready and in the car by 5:45am and at the gate (7th in line) waiting by 6:45am. 10 minutes from the course there was evidence of a rainstorm with puddles of rain on the road and limbs across the shoulders. Not good, not good at all.
Quickly, my trusty pit chief Kimberlee and I setup our spot that was to be shared with my team mate Melissa, her pit chief, Shelley, their dog Darby, a teammate racing solo, Stephanie, and Namrita/Eddie from Team Ergon Racing. Oh, you can’t forget Team Dicky who pit next to us but poached some grass from our pit area.
Stephanie and I pre-rode 2 miles of the course to see how much rain was left, and to contemplate switching tires or single speed gearing. I regrettbly forgot to do many things. 1. Put toe spikes on my shoes, 2. Switch tires, 3. Switch gears.
Actual Race Recap
This could be the hardest and stupidest thing I have done on a mountain bike in a long time. The first lap, which I happened to be doing for our team, was the hardest. The course is super fun and fast when dry. Tons of berms, switch backs and as long as you stay in front of your gear..it is great fun. For the 13 mile course I probably walked 4 miles. Most switch backs were so muddy and rutted by the time I got to them, my front tire would slip through and my gearing would cause rear tire slippage. I was simply left to walk up the short up hills.
My calves screamed.
My brain was frazzled.
It was not fun, at all.
By the time my lap was finished I was so mentally beat down that you couldn’t have paid me to get back on my bike that day. I’m not ready to be racing single speed or single speed fully rigid for multi lap racing. I’m also in better shape than this time last year, but that did not show up at the mud wrestling I dealt with.
I probably wouldn’t of done anything different. You learn from every race, and I can atleast say I didn’t quit. Yeah, I could have done another lap but I didn’t. I’m looking forward to having gears and some suspension in my future thanks to Airborne.
At the end of the day we came in 3rd place for our division at 6WC, not at all thanks to me. I owe that completely to Melissa my awesome partner in crime. A podium place, swag and a cool coffee mug. It could have always been worse… I didn’t crash or break anything!
A Monday morning tradition that we are starting to keep you motivated and to be striving for your goals even during a hard week or long hours at work. Do you know someone that motivates and inspires you? Send us your answers and photo to girly@BikeShopGirl.com
1. What’s your name and location?
Pam Sayler, the cold frigid Minnesota. (Pam is the North American Sales Manager of our newest sponsor, Kinetic Trainers.)
2. What type of cycling do you enjoy?
Commuting, road and mtb
3. What is your first cycling memory?
On the farm, had a Schwinn Bantam with the convertible bar. We set the bike’s training wheels on cinder blocks, because mom would not let me ride down the dirt road. I was about 3. I rode that thing for hours every day. It was GRAND
4. Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?
Riders: Amy Xu, Ironman and RAAM, because she never gives up. Millie Tanner because she is so enthusiastic and humble. Meredith Miller because she does everything and does it amazing. Industry: Linda Jackson, because of all she does for Women’s cycling. Georgena Terry for womanizing bikes – decades ago. Elysa Walk for tackling a man’s job in a man’s world and doing it better than any one could. My husband, because he puts up with me, AND because he serves all cyclists equally with his shopTrailhead Cycling and Fitness; first time comfort riders to World Class Athletes, he treats them all with the same respect and listens. Must be why he is so successful.
5. What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?
A Century with my husband and our 8 year old son
6. In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2011?
Commute more often, actually enter one crit and one mtb race. Complete the MN Ironman and Headwaters 100. Increase my cadence – spin circles better.