resurrected: part 2

I only took a month off from cycling during my illness but it felt like an eternity.  I had been volunteering weekly with Trips for Kids but had a hard time keeping up with the kids…that was a huge bummer!

preparing for a mountain bike lesson!

I accepted that my summer race goals were dashed but the worst thing was not being able to ride for fun.  Short, easy rides felt like the hardest challenge and many times I had to turn around and go home only a few minutes into the ride.  I would start to make some progress only to set myself back; there were no warning signs when I surpassed my limit.  Nevertheless I listened to my body and did my best to respect what it was telling me…

The summer flew by and before I knew it cyclocross season arrived.  I returned to Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross for my fourth season.  The team and its partners were like family and offered tremendous support.  For the first time ever, the Cyclocross World Championships were to be held outside of Europe-in Louisville, KY, the team’s home base!

The beginning of the season held a ton of anticipation, pride and excitement for us:

I wanted nothing more than to represent well; I gave racing my best try but felt like a shell of myself.  I tried so hard to stay positive and patient; progress would come but it happened so slowly and at miniscule increments.  It was tough to keep it all in perspective.

With Worlds coming to the US, everyone was faster than ever–eager to make the highly selective national team.  Many European riders came over to race and prepare as well.  I had earned a lot of UCI points in 2011 and had decent starting positions.

Tired of sitting out I gave a few USGP races a try:

The Smartwool Cup in Fort Collins; photo: Blair Fraley

The Derby City Cup in Louisville; photo: Blair Fraley

I could stay on pace for two laps and then completely ran out of gas but I was so grateful to have the chance to try.  Even though I only started with them it was awesome to be part of such strong and large women’s fields!

Halfway through the season I made the tough decision to take another break from racing.  I was satisfied by finally seeing some improvement in my health but I needed a lot more time to fully recover.  I transitioned to a support role and helped Dave in the pits:

Despite my personal disappointments the season ended on a high note when two of our riders made the junior Worlds team and we got to see them race on home soil in February.  I had never been to a World Championship before and the experience was like none other!

our friends from WI and NC!  photo: Bryan Frazier

our friends from WI and NC! photo: Bryan Frazier

my new friends Billy and Bobo from Belgium!

my new friends Billy and Bobo from Belgium!

The World Championships were incredibly inspiring and boosted my motivation when I was very close to giving up.

I was excited to return to Pepper Palace for 2013:

photo: Paul Christopher

photo: Paul Christopher

Three months turned to eight months turned to twelve and while I finally began to feel normal in my everyday life I still struggled a lot on the bike.  I had lost so much strength, fitness, confidence, patience…however I was slowly getting better and there were occasional glimpses of the rider I used to be.    The support from my boyfriend, coach, friends, family, and teams kept me going!


So…I was terribly wrong in my last post when I wrote that the next update would come quickly.  I thought for sure that my illness would be brief but that wasn’t exactly the case.  More than a year later, I am finally healthy and ready to write again.  Let me take you back…way back….

The quick and dirty summary of my year begins with the Blythewood Omnium a week following my last race report of the 2012 Mellow Johnny’s Classic.  I won the time trial, criterium (my first ever) and circuit race:


I felt confident going into the SERC opener at Tsali and took the hole shot:

never looking back…

It was my first Pro win and first time leading a race start to finish.  I was stung by a bee on the pre-ride; the swelling rapidly spread to my knee:

There was no time for bee stings and luckily I recovered in time for the Presbyterian Invitational, the most prestigious criterium in the country, and my second crit ever.  It was the first time I signed in for a race on a huge board and I enjoyed how important that felt.

I was told to position myself at least halfway in the field from the start.  I did so but never expected all of the riders behind me to drop off within the first few laps!  Suddenly I was in the worst place to be: yo-yoing at the back.  I made it through most of the race but blew myself up and got pulled before the finish.  I was terribly disappointed but had a decent race the next morning.

A week later I had a chance to redeem myself at another national criterium: Sunny King.  I was working for my teammate and was in the mix the entire time:

Five laps to go I thought I was going to die, but I remembered my disappointment from Presby and that allowed me to dig deeper.  I definitely did not want to let my teammate down…she won the field sprint and I finished a few places behind her.

I was very, very sick the rest of the evening and might have scarred some families during the men’s race…let’s just say, bad idea:

Even so I raced a hilly road race the next morning and rode surprisingly well; I found myself in a paceline with some legendary riders.  I was nervous about making a mistake but everything was fine; before long it felt as though I had always been there.  I knew most of my matches were burned before I started the race but I gave everything I had for my teammate until I had to stop.

A few days later it was off to Arizona for the Whiskey Off-Road.  I was absolutely thrilled to see my first Saguaro cactus:

This event was one of the best I have been to!  The festival atmosphere was full of excitement; it kicked off with a fat tire criterium downtown.

 The tires I had planned to race the crit on were no match for a short desert spin but luckily I found some MTB slicks in a dumpster.  No joke:

I was excited to put my newfound crit skills to use but the course was more selective than tactics or drafting.  It was painful!

image: Cyclingnews

image: Cyclingnews

I swapped my tires back to my xc race setup and enjoyed the views, suffered my way through the infamous 13 mi. climb and cramped on Cramp Hill in the 50 mile race.  I didn’t have a great result but I loved the course and the challenge.

Through this early season my focus was always on the World Cups and Nationals.  I had planned to race Mont Sainte Anne and Windham once again for mountain bike and Namur and Heusden-Zolder for cyclocross.  All of the hard work was paying off and I was racing better than ever…

Three days after I returned home from Arizona I got a fever that didn’t go away for a few weeks.  I woke up every night soaking wet and shivering, couldn’t eat, ride, do much of anything.

I didn’t have insurance and had a ton of tests done that turned up nothing.  They thought it was encephalitis, mono, dengue fever…countless other diseases.  A month of this and it got to the point where I couldn’t walk without support and I knew something was terribly wrong.  I was treated for Lyme Disease though it was never diagnosed.  The treatment helped, but it was miserable to take.  I was really grateful that Dave took care of me.

I watched all of the World Cups live online and substituted race weekends for weddings, tubing, hikes, swimming holes, things that I wouldn’t have had time to do if I was racing.  Those moments were a silver lining but I was still in a tremendous amount of pain.  Still I never doubted that I’d be back by the fall for cyclocross…

Catching Up…

When my last post was published in the beginning of May I was about to race the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, Arizona.  My season was off to a great start and I had a queue of race reports to write up.  Three days after I returned to North Carolina, I was hit with the worst illness I’ve ever experienced for several weeks (more on this later).  Now a month has passed and I am finally starting the road to recovery, ready to write again…

For much of May I was too sick to blog and when it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to ride, much less race anytime soon I was too discouraged to write my reports.  Currently the rest of the summer season is on hold and my big plans for the  Mont-Sainte-Anne/Windham World Cups and MTB Nationals are canceled.

As disappointing and frustrating this has been, I have had lots of time to think and renew my outlook on and love of racing.  It demands so much more than simply training and showing up at the starting line; with Dave’s support I’ve really worked hard to shape my life (our lives, really) around the sport, both making sacrifices so that I have a chance to rise to the next level.  It’s been a huge struggle and I am so lucky and thankful to have the additional support of our family, friends, my coach, Gordy Paulson and Speed Cycling, massage therapist Tavis Cummings, Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training team sponsors Jay Hirst and O’Neill Ryan.

Hopefully the entire road/mountain bike season is not compromised but there will be more to look forward to once I am healthy again.  In the meantime, I still have lots of stories from the early season to share.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned…I promise the next post will come quickly!



ProXCT#1 Mellow Johnny’s Classic

March 2 came (and went) very quickly; before I knew it I was headed to Texas to see if I could remember how to race my mountain bike.  I wasn’t quite ready mentally or physically to jump into racing at that level so soon after cyclocross (most racers had been preparing since November and only one other lady had completed a full cross season), but Mellow Johnny’s puts on a great event and I had been to the previous two editions.  I knew I couldn’t miss it!  Plus it was only halfway across the country and not all the way like most of the ProXCT races…

This was my first time at a season-opener (during an Olympic year, nonetheless) and I anticipated a very fast race with guns blazing.  I had reasonable expectations and looked forward to gaining some good experience.  Thanks to my team’s support I was able to fly into Austin and avoid what had started to become an annual 20-hour drive each way.  It made a world of difference; I arrived early on Thursday and had some time to relax,visit with some friends in town and build my bike.  Later I met up with my new teammate, Mariske, the South African U23 champion and we traveled west to Johnson City…

It was really nice to travel with a teammate–I tried to learn Afrikaans and Mariske (who moved to the US in January) noted that Texas looked a lot like home.  There were even zebras at the exotic animal farm in town!

We pre-rode the course on Friday and it was great to see everyone on the circuit…I am finally starting to feel “at home” with my mountain bike family and less of an outsider at the ProXCTs.  Here is a video from Team Jamis/the promoter’s website that provides a good idea of what the 5k course looked like:

I was more excited than nervous though at the start I admit that I felt a bit like I forgot my books on the first day of school.  My call-up was decent and I lined up first on the second row, right behind the World Champion.  I’m not sure when that will happen again but it was pretty cool to look up and see rainbow stripes straight ahead!

The course was very technical and tight with little opportunity to eat or pass.  A good start was critical and I had a decent one-sitting in the top ten with Mariske:

photo: MTB

photo: MTB

I held my position for a while but didn’t quite have the kick for the steep climbs and lost a few positions.  I kept the riders ahead of me in sight and tried to stay patient and smooth.  The new course was really fun and my skills were pretty solid at the high pace; I started to feel more confident as I made a pass.


This was one of my first real efforts on the new BMC and it was just awesome!  Really stiff, responsive and nearly 5 pounds lighter than my full suspension bike.  I just made the switch to a 2×10 gear set-up as well and it was a very easy transition.  My stock bars look wide on the small frame, but they’ve offered so much more control and help with positioning on climbs.

photo: C.Denise Shaw

The weather was perfect; a little on the cool side, actually…SO much better than the triple digits of previous years!  I never doubted that I would continue to move up until I lost both of my contacts midway through the race.  It was very dusty and windy and when I blinked, they just popped out.  My vision isn’t too terrible but enough that on such a technical trail my depth perception was thrown off quite a bit.

From then on, it was just damage control to get through the race and not crash.  Fortunately I knew my lines; I just had to be more cautious and that cost me a lot of time.  To do well at a race this level chances have to be taken and there is no room for caution.  Mariske had a very respectable race and I was really proud of her.  I still finished on the lead lap but not exactly where I hoped or knew I could be.

It’s really tough to race year-round and impossible to be on top form the entire time as well.  Aside from the inability to see clearly I felt more positive than negative about the experience and considered it really good and valuable training.  We had some more time to catch up with friends in Austin and then it was back to North Carolina in a heartbeat!

As chasing the ProXCT series is unrealistic from a logistical standpoint this year I am sort of feeling things out and building fitness, form, skills, experience…It is only my second season training with structure and though I have already seen tremendous progress from working with my coach, Gordy Paulson, I feel that I have no limits and am only getting started!  I am excited to see where racing can take me and have a lot more opportunity to excel with my team this year.

Thank you to Pepper Palace, Spin-Tech Training/Beer City Bicycles, Speed Cycling and Omnium Bodyworks for supporting me and making racing possible!

Greenville Spring Training Series

Almost exactly a month after CX Nationals I found myself in on the starting line again–a familiar place, but this time I would stay on pavement with skinny tires…unknown territory for me.  The first Greenville spring training race at the Donaldson Center Airport was my third road race ever and first with a team.  I was pretty excited to have a role/work for a common goal and hoped I wouldn’t make any rookie mistakes!

A lot of colds were going around and I was feeling under the weather.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from myself or others as forty of us casually rolled off the line.  It took some restraint not to blast out of the gate with a cyclocross start!  The course was pretty straightforward; relatively flat with some rolling hills and a lot of wind.  My job was to cover breaks, attack and lead out our sprinter with the goal of getting one of our girls upgrade points.  Our team had never ridden together before but we communicated well enough to maintain control of the race.

I was aggressive but smart and was able to cover any move with confidence.  Halfway through our captain on the day asked me how I felt.  I had been working hard with little rest and was tired, but I knew other riders could hear me, so I said I felt good.  She told me to go ahead and not look back so I did..somehow saying I felt good out loud made me believe it was true and I attacked hard up a hill on the backside of the 7 mile loop.  A minute or two later I started to feel the effort and thought for sure that I’d be caught right away.  I looked behind and couldn’t see anyone so I kept going and pretended it was a time trial.

I figured I had at least forty minutes/cyclocross’ worth of very hard effort in me and passed a rider from the men’s race ahead of us who only had one leg.  Suddenly nothing hurt anymore and my strength was renewed.  My gap extended to over a minute and lasted just over a full lap…much longer than I anticipated given that the course did not suit breakaways.  Besides my intention was always to help out my teammates in the field.

To my dismay it was one of my girls who had brought the field back to me and she had another rider on her wheel.  The three of us had a bit of a gap but it was not sustainable with one lap to go.  I directed our efforts towards our key rider and eventually my teammate stopped working for the wrong girl; the field came back together.  A few riders tried to get away but I did my best to bring them back.

Our lead-out did not exactly work as planned and I was not fresh enough to sprint for the win.  Luckily our key rider was rested and got a high enough placing in the bunch sprint that she earned her points.  The goal was met even if it didn’t happen as we expected!  There was more positive than negative to take away in our first try.

The Spring Training Series is sponsored by Hincapie Sportswear and though Big George doesn’t always show up, he was there with his BMC development team:

We couldn't deny his request for a photo op...!

A week later we had another chance at Fork Shoals.  This race had constant rolling hills and was very windy.  The wind seemed to pick up more as the race continued.  Before the race Dave had warned me to stay out of the wind but of course I found myself in it nearly the entire time.  I ended up chasing down attacks throughout the race and controlled the pace for much of it since no one wanted to work.  Besides I felt safer in front and the pace was so slow it was getting boring.  I still rode within myself and no one tried to attack me…

I was able to protect my teammates and we finished first, third and I was eighth in the sprint so I was really happy with that.  We worked well together and again, met our goal.  It was refreshing to try something totally different in a race scenario and satisfying to play a role in something larger.  I was surprised at how much I liked racing on the road and started to reconsider a few weekends on my race schedule…my Cat 2 upgrade and the team’s Domestic Elite status were approved, so it looks like I’ll be diving into a few pro road events this season!

I wouldn’t have ever considered much of a future on the road if it weren’t for Pepper Palace, Spin-Tech Training/Beer City Bicycles, Studio 7 Multisport and my teammates.  Up until now I’ve been riding an aluminum 9-speed road bike (my first “real” bike ever), and while it is a solid bike and has never disappointed, riding my BMC Road Racer is inspiring to say the least!

However my dreams of road racing remained just that as a few days later I found myself on a plane to Texas with my hardtail for the first national mountain bike race of the season…

my “off season” recap

Every year it seems that the off season flies by and is as busy as ever!  This winter was no exception as the cyclocross season ended a month later while mountain bike began a month…earlier.  Hmm.  I am always sort of planning ahead while sorting out logistics for the current season but I still had a LOT of work and catching up to do…

On top of that, “winter” never really happened this year in Western North Carolina.  I took a few weeks off from structured training but couldn’t completely avoid the trails.  There were more than a few occasions where I was comfortable in short sleeves!  In fact I was able to mountain bike on my birthday in February-a first!

my backyard...

As much as I love winter (and I really do!) I love trail riding year-round even more…

I’m happy to announce that in 2012 I am riding for a new team, Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training p/b Asheville Bicycle Racing Club.  It is primarily a road team; in fact, we just earned a designation as one of eleven women’s “Domestic Elite” teams!  HERE is the press release from USA Cycling.

But wait, since when have I raced on the road?  The answer is basically “never” and my focus this summer continues to be the North American Mountain Bike World Cups.  The ProXCT (domestic professional race series) has five stops this summer, similar to last: Texas, California, Colorado, Montana and Wisconsin.  Then Nationals are again in Idaho.  And I live in North Carolina..on the eastern half of the country dismissed by USA Cycling.  It is not exactly practical for me to chase the entire series from a financial/logistical perspective.  Moreover, due to the Olympics this year the timing of the schedule is difficult to follow: two races in early March; one each in mid-June, July and August….

However, the Southeast has outstanding opportunities on the road circuit.  I mean, there is a reason that United Healthcare and Colavito have bases in Asheville and pros from BMC, Kenda/5-hour Energy, Exergy Twenty 12, Specialized Lululemon…to name a few…live or train nearby?

For the first time I have a local team to work with and I feel strongly that some more time on the skinny tires will aid my weaknesses off-road…  I am very fortunate in that my team supports my goals in multiple disciplines and I have the flexibility to choose my schedule.  I’ll be racing the BMC Team Elite TE01 hardtail and Road Racer SL01 bikes:

ready to ride!

Every year Asheville plays host to a number of cycling team camps.  We were fortunate to have camp in town, as living in these amazing mountains is like being on vacation every day!  Unlucky for us our camp took place on the only weekend it snowed ALL WINTER!  Spin-Tech Training has a nice studio with computrainers and we were able to utilize the equipment and snack on delicious Pepper Palace products!

We spent three hours in the freezing cold for our photo shoot with Paul Christopher (Christopher Graphics) and Kristi Eidson Hedburg.  Beauty is pain, right?

here are some behind-the-scenes shots:

Cara-giving Paul some tips!

Kate and I forgot our spray paint!

coffee break in the car to warm up!

we were joined by a random zombie:

you know, just the usual zombie..

model zombie joins the fun! (photo: Paul Christopher)

Asheville was a finalist to host the 2014-15 Cyclocross National Championships and like tons of others we showed USA Cycling our support:

photo: Paul Christopher

As it turns out, all three potential hosts earned bids and after Boulder and Austin, Asheville will host Nationals at the Biltmore Estate in 2016.  It’s a long way, but I am already excited!

the Biltmore Estate. photo:

The team photos turned out wonderfully–HERE is a link to Paul’s gallery.

presenting 2012 Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training! (photo: Paul Christopher)

Left to right: me, Cinthia Lehner (USA), Janet Trubey (USA), Klara Rossouw (RSA), Bergen Watterson (USA), Erica Chard (USA), Cara Applegate (USA), Kate Ross (USA), Stephanie Bunnett (ZW), Amy Alexander (USA), Mariske Strauss (RSA) and Allison Arensman (USA).

Our talented roster includes riders from three countries, covers junior, U23, collegiate, elite and masters levels.  I am looking forward to a great season with these ladies!

Thanks to all at Spin-Tech Training, our team director, Sonni Dyer, Paul and Kristi for a great weekend at camp.  I am pleased to continue working with my coach, Gordy Paulson (Speed Cycling) and massage therapist Tavis Cummings  (Omnium Bodyworks).

And just like that, break was over, training resumed in full swing and the first races began in mid-February…

USA Cyclocross National Championships

Going to Madison for Nationals was like returning home in a way and I did my best to let go of my disappointments and embrace my last two races of the season.  I was very familiar with Badger Prairie as I used to race and train there often, but the new course was quite different and I wanted to capitalize on some valuable time to dial in my lines.  Since I had the entire week I decided to try the singlespeed race in preparation for the Elite race.

The winter had been surprisingly mild by Wisconsin standards.  Instead of the snow I had hoped for, rain and rider traffic turned the course into a thick sheet of ice!

On Monday this is what the entire track looked like:

photo: Heidi Beck

I managed to get a lap in without crashing but much of the course was very difficult to walk on.  With my complete lack of singlespeed experience and inability to ride at race pace I made a guess at what gear to use and rode without shifting to simulate it.  Hardly anyone was at the venue (most were smarter) but I did run into a couple of friends!  Leave it to the Wisconsities to harden up and embrace the elements!  I knew the course would be perfect by the weekend for the Elite races, but I was very worried for my first race on Wednesday, the opening day.  Especially when I saw volunteers use blowtorchs to soften the ground so signs and stakes could be inserted…

photo: Brian Nelson/CX Magazine

Dave arrived in town very late that evening and we had one day to covert my Stevens and learn to ride singlespeed (something I had only tried once on a short mountain bike ride).  For the second time this season he pillaged the parts from his bike so I could race.  Best Boyfriend Ever.

The course was still pretty treacherous on Tuesday, but it was slowly melting, as in the worst interest of wildlife ecology, the promoter had salted the entire thing.  I got in a couple of laps with a huge smile on my face.  Singlepeed was FUN!  It was so different than anything I had tried before and suddenly I was really, really looking forward to the race.  As luck would have it the gear I picked (39×18) was very appropriate and I didn’t even try another option.

Race time came very quickly and to my delight my coach stopped by during my warm-up.  It put me at ease to know he was there and finally I was back to my usual self and excited to race.  Racing is supposed to be fun, after all!  I was seeded first but called up dead last.  The start list had 15 riders so I stayed calm and knew I had time to make the selection.  I didn’t expect to miss my pedal at the start and wasted some time fumbling around.  Then I forgot that you can only sprint so fast with one gear so I spun like crazy to get up near the front.

I was second into the first turn but soon after in a bizarre way my hat slipped over my eyes and I couldn’t see very well.  I sat up to take off my glasses and adjust it through the first chicanes, passed Jennifer while Kari came around me onto the first climb.  I had a hard time making up those seconds but at least I could see!

photo: Lyne Lamoureux

photo: Lyne Lamoureux
















From then on I remained in second, holding steady to first and gaining on third.  It was a bit lonely but I was able to ride everything, never crashed and only tried to shift once in the slippery mud.  I had a blast and the result was secondary.  Finally I kicked myself out of my funk and felt like a bike racer again!

photo: Tim Westmore/CX Magazine

finished! the houses in the back look like NC mountains...

It would have been awesome to earn a National title, but considering where I was days before, I was happy to finish and thrilled for Kari (a former teammate), who dislocated her shoulder while in the lead at the same race last year.

Here are articles on CX Magazine, Podium Insight, Cyclingnews and here’s my frozen, muddy post-race interview:

My teammate Nicole got fourth, so it was a great day for Bob’s Red Mill in the first National Championship race of 2012!

photo: Greg Ferguson

oooh, very exciting!

I had a few more days of catching up with friends, working the pits for other racers and attending various National Championship events around Madison, including a Women of Cyclocross discussion and a party at my former employer, Machinery Row Bicycles:

straight from the pits to the party!

Then it was on to the biggest race of the season.  The field was huge with 80-90 women and I earned a great call-up on the second row: #15 (call-ups are based on world ranking; I was 66th at the time).  Now that I had my edge and renewed drive, my goal was pretty simple: to finish in the top 15.

The course had changed pretty drastically from Wednesday; it became deeply rutted and frozen with a slippery layer of mud on the top.  Dave told me that if I made it to the first pit in one piece I’d be ok…

The start had an enormous amount of energy and excitement:

photo: Sara Kroenke

I made it around the first three turns and suddenly a girl cartwheeled in front of me.  I thought for sure I was going down, but when I opened my eyes I was still upright and narrowly missed her.  I passed the pit in relief, only to get slammed from behind and jammed into a stake on the beginning of the first climb.  It was pretty hectic:

photo: CX Magazine

That cost me a lot of spots but I kept at it and slowly picked people off.  I felt awesome on the run-up–like I could fly.  Then, right before a big descent, two riders crashed around me and I had nowhere to go.  It was a fairly minor tangle and they got up and took off right away.  I tried to follow suit but my front wheel was completely locked up!  I looked down to see a jumble of cables and brake parts.

My brake’s barrel adjuster had broken and one side shifted up and onto the tire!  It was really stuck and took some fighting to knock the wheel out of the bike.  Luckily a friend was near and offered encouragement to stop fixing it and just get to the pit, which was past the barriers at the bottom of the hill.  I left the brake open and descended the sketchy ruts with no brake.  At least that was fast!  I was near the very back of the race at this point and had lost a couple of minutes.

Dave and Derek, my super mechanics! photo: Sara Kroenke

From then on, I just went into damage control mode, avoiding more mishaps and furiously passing as many people as possible.

photo: Sara Kroenke

photo: Roxanne King

I felt really awesome and didn’t give myself a chance to think or feel sad.  The singlespeed had re-energized me and I approached the course with a different mindset.  I passed nearly forty people but the officials started pulling riders extremely early–earlier than I’ve ever seen–and I was done.

I was a little heartbroken afterwards, as it’s tough to be taken out by other people (versus screwing yourself up).  However, it could have been a lot worse and I was happy to have my legs again.  I really felt good enough that day to meet my goal but it was just not meant to be.  The singlespeed experience was good enough to make up for it and I took away lessons from both races.  Finishing my first full UCI season was full of surprises and mixed emotions…mostly good ones.  I learned a lot about myself!

I am incredibly grateful for the experience and to those who offered support and made it possible: our many homestays, friends, family, jobs, my coach Gordy Paulson and Speed Cycling, Bob’s Red Mill, Tavis at Omnium Bodyworks, Joan Hanscom and all of the race promoters, Stevens bikes, Carroll Composites, Panache clothing, Uvex helmets, Adidas Eyewear, Challenge Tires, Mad Alchemy Embrocation, Squirt lube/Feedback Sports, Princeton Tech lights, Shimano shoes, photographers, journalists, fellow racers and those I have met along the way.  THANK YOU!  It truly means the world to me.