Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The end of the world as we know it...

Well the world may not have ended, but my life has been a roller-coaster lately. Coming into winter break I was really struggling to find the motivation to ride, even when I was riding outside I had a hard time focusing on my workouts. On top of this I was ending one of my worst semesters in college, and the idea of spending the upcoming holiday at my empty apartment was not terribly exciting. Cue the pity party.

My motivation hit rock bottom this past Friday afternoon. After a mere twenty minutes on the rollers I gave up and headed over to my parents' where I was greeted by the news that dad was facing a medical problem that could seriously restrict racing for the rest of his life, and oh by the way Mom fell and cracked her ribs. I spent most of that evening bouncing between parents and taking notes during appointments. It was hard to be in the room when my dad got the news about how everything would affect his racing career.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve, due to a cliff diving accident we ended up driving up to Indianapolis to spend Christmas Eve there with my brother. As we said grace I realized how luck my family is that we were all together and relatively healthy. It put my lack of motivation in perspective. I don't ever want to find myself in my Dad's shoes, but if I ever do I want to have no regrets, like him. I've had to take some time off to be with my family, but I am very much looking forward to refocusing my efforts over the next few days.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lessons Learned

The weeks seem to be just flying by. A lot of little victories have occurred since I last wrote, particularly training-wise.  I had my first century, as well as a series of really strong rides with guys from the Scholar's Inn Bakehouse Team. Health wise I have lost a fair amount of weight (15lbs since end of July actually) and am down to 120 lbs. While it makes it even harder to keep up with the guys on the downhills, I can already tell I am climbing better and generally faster.

Over the past few weeks I have learned a lot though, from my teammates, my coach and myself. A few of the lessons have been small, but it has very much re-enforced my drive and focus.

1. Talk about your goals. Big and small.
A goal, no matter how small is an important steppingstone towards greater things, and keeping them inside yourself is almost like cheating. You lose the accountability that comes from having others know what you want.  My goals coming into the fall were focused mostly around Collegiate Nationals, as well as working towards a Category 2 upgrade.

2. Sometimes rest is more important than training.
A few weeks ago I was supposed to do my century, but I came down with an annoying cold. As much as I didn't want to agree with it, I knew my coach was right when he said it was in my best interest not to do the century that weekend. I got better much faster, and was fortunate enough to attempt it a few weekends later.

3. Never give up. Ever.
Two years ago I was told by my orthopedic surgeon that there was a possibility that I would never ride again due to a problem with my knee. Last Sunday I rode 100 miles, today I did 60 with over a 17.8 average. Enough said.

4. Ask questions.
Local pros have been showing up to our team rides lately and I have been able to learn a lot just from asking them about their experiences, as well as from my team director and fellow riders. Curiosity never hurt anyone.... much.

5. Things that are worth it are rarely easy.
I know what my goals are, and I know what I want more than anything. Juggling Graduate School, 15 hours of riding, and 15 hours of work as well as writing workout plans for 8 girls on a Little 500 team does not make anything easy. Friday and Saturday nights often find me going to bed early, and the majority of my socialization occurs on a bike. I've had friends call me crazy, and maybe I am but honestly right now this is worth it to me.

Anyways. Just a few things that have been drilled into my head lately. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Everything that happened in the last month....

Well, the amount of time that I spend on the rollers and the trainer has increased exponentially since I last posted, which can only mean one thing. Winter is here. Last week we saw some crazy temperatures in the 80s, and this week has seen high 30s and 40s. I don’t really mind riding in the cold, but it is still a sad task to pull out my booties and winter jackets.

October was a busy month both for me as well as Cru Cycling. Firstly I started with a new training approach that has seen my hours on the bike hover around 15 the last couple of weeks. My legs are feeling it, but at the same time I feel like I am getting stronger.

Fall Break saw me down in Tennessee to get some riding in the mountains. I was lucky enough to meet up with Kym and Mark from camp and they dragged my flatlander (relatively speaking) legs on 75 miles of climbing. I’m pretty sure the entire ride was either going uphill or downhill. This was with a 4 mile climb at the very end of the ride which I climbed solo pretty much the entire time.

View from the top of Raccoon Mountain, looking over Chattanooga. 

Hilly Hundred was the weekend after that, and I had the opportunity to ride with the Delta Upsilon Cycling team and Lyndi (another girl from Cru) the first day. They pulled us for the entire 55-mile ride at about 17.2mph and she and I were glad to be done at the end. Seriously though, it was fun to ride with such a great group of guys, and made the following day so much more relaxing. On Sunday we rode with my Dad’s old Little 500 team, Whissler 5, and even got the opportunity to see a few trophies from their 3rd and 10th (if memory is correct) place finishes.  Talk about Old Man Strength!

Hanging with my teammate Lyndi from Cru while the guys changed a flat.

Tuesday Night Race Series wrapped up last week and I am happy to say I finished the series tied for first with my Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse teammate Rachel who was riding for her L5 team, Kappa Alpha Theta Cycling. I was happy with this, but even happier to take two of the sprints on the last night of racing, especially since I do not usually sprint well on the Little 500 track.

Finally, Fall Cycling Series was this past weekend. Cru Cycling went into it just looking to have some fun but we ended up doing really well. ITTs started everything off and we had a 5th and 8th place finish for our top two, placing us in second for the first night. Cyclocross was the next day, and of course it rained the entire afternoon, creating a muddy course. Kudos to the IU Student Foundation though for creating a tough course for us to duke it out on with our single speed bikes. I am proud to say I did not go down and Lyndi and I finished in second for our team, cementing our second place spot. Saturday was the Duathalon, and I am in awe of the runners on our team, Arianna and Lyndi killed it by finishing 3rd and 5th.

Cru and our BFFs from Melenzana following Cyclocross. Muddy.

At this point we realized that we were in first place going into the last day of racing. This is crazy for a team that is only going into its third year as a team. Although we were not able to hold that place through Street Sprints, Arianna and Liz from Cru had very good finishes and we ended up in second place overall for the series. This means we get to pick our qualifications time for Little 500, which will be nice (hopefully!).

Anyways, things should be slowing down now that November is upon us. I am very much looking forward to putting aside the Little 500 bike for now. The next race I will be participating in will be at the very end of February, when Lindsey Wilson traditionally opens up the collegiate season for the MWCCC. I have been blessed to be riding with a great IU Club Cycling teammate Emma and I know both of us are looking forward to getting a chance to race the Marian team. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Fall has finally arrived here in the midwest. The trees are beginning to turn and the temperature is returning to a cooler (more tolerable) degree. With the change in seasons has come an increased amount of miles on the bike, which I am enjoying immensely  I am two pounds away from my goal weight for the upcoming season (though let's be honest, some more muscle would be nice, and keeping the weight off through the winter is always hard), and lucky me have been eating much healthier since the fall hit.

Racing is pretty much over, though the IUSF has started a series of Tuesday night races on the Little 500 track. This past Tuesday I was lucky enough to place 2nd, 2nd and 1st in the three events I entered, though the 1st place was likely due to the fact that a competitor dropped her chain. Needless to say though it was a fun evening and a good chance to fool around on the track in the middle of the rest week.

The Cru women had their first ITTs up in the Morgan Monroe State Forest on Friday. I think it was a wakeup call for some of the women on the team, but I was happy to finish only a few seconds off of my personal record for the course. Friday also saw me heading out on the IUSF social ride and keeping up with the guys, though myself and the only other girl, Emma ( a teammate from SIBH, and IU Cycling) were dropped going down Beanblossom.

Heading off for the time trial.

Looking forward I am excited to say that IU will be attempting to qualify as an omnium team for Collegiate Nationals! I thought I might have to qualify as an individual, but we have four girls who are committed and have the ability to be in the "A" Category, as well as a slew of guys who want to try for it. Should be an exciting year for Indiana University Cycling.

That's about it that has been going on in my life. I am really looking forward to the spring season, and excited for all that IU Cycling is hoping to accomplish!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Passé, Présent et Avenir

This week has been truly rewarding for me. As I've said before this past summer was a little rough, and definitely not according to plan. Coming off of the season I've had has made me work harder, and my riding is starting to show it.

I've been participating in the IUSF rides since school started, opting to ride the long route with the guys and hanging in longer than some of them. So far I've been dropped on Beanblossom and North Shore, and while that is frustrating, when I look at the data from those days I have been overall pleased. My Little 500 team usually rides Friday mornings and so I have been coming into the IUSF ride with 20-30 miles on my legs already. So tomorrow, I will be switching it around and coming in with fresh legs just to see what I can do. Along the same track of news, this past Wednesday Worlds was the 446 route. I went out (again the only girl) and managed to beat my personal record of hanging in with the guys.

Just today I got word that my power tap and joule headset will be in sometime next week, and I will be running power starting late next week. I will be finishing with my current training plan and taking a rest week at the end of September. Starting in October I will be working with Vantaggio Fitness, specifically Mark and Kim Fasczewski, the coaches from the Sewanee Development Camp. I am excited to start training based on power, and to move away from being self-coached. Although it has taken a lot of work to get to where I am today, I know the real work starts now.

Over the past few weeks I have realized how many people have helped me along to where I am today. First of all my Dad. He has been there since day one, supporting me, riding with me, and making sure I get the equipment and help I need. Also a huge thanks to Tom Saccone, and Lyle from the SIBH team for supporting me over the last two years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for my road team.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Everyone has their limits, and while some of those are defined by their physical abilities, much of it has to do with fear. Being afraid to get close to the wheel in front of you is a common fear amongst beginners and something I am working on with two of the rookies on the team. As you progress you limit your fear, becoming more and more comfortable with being in a pack, bumping, going fast, and just generally going past your comfort zones.

I've written about the wreck I was in awhile back, well unfortunately along with the injuries that has caused a new fear for me when it comes to the bike. Being from Bloomington we may not have mountains, but we do have our fair share of hills, a few of which are over a mile long, or have a grade over 14%. Historically I have been fairly comfortable descending in a group. Not any more, it could be the most experienced rider, or someone I have ridden with for almost four years, and yet I still find myself wanting to clench the breaks going down hills. This is not because the wreck was the fault of anyone in front of me, because there was nothing that anyone could have done, but rather because I saw them go down in front of me.

It has been getting better, and I am slowly getting more comfortable descending hills, particularly when I am with people who I have ridden with for a long time, but it still bugs me. Something to work on I suppose.

Needless to say I have had fear in my thoughts a lot lately, not only because of the wreck, but also because my team recently did a Full Moon Forest ride (up BeanBlossom). Ten PM at night, 7 girls (including two rookies), 14 lights and a 33 mile loop. Needless to say there was a fair amount of fear all around. For me it was the worry that something would happen to the girls and I would feel very much responsible, because it was mine and Lyndi's (the other third year rider on our L5 team) idea.

Fortunately the ride ended well. We had one dog incident and then there was a huge snake in the road, but other than that it was a great experience for the team. Overall the girls really came together, learning very quickly how important communication and trust is for a team. Plus we had all the drunk people cheering us on as we came back through campus. Anyways that's all for now, I'll keep working on descending, got to be ready for it by the time we go to TN for fall break.

Arianna and I halfway through the ride.

The entire team safely back at our apartment complex.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Summer was long. I mean really, really long. Nothing went according to plan, but in all honesty I learned a lot from the experience.

Coming off of Little 500 I was not in good road shape. I rode 70 laps of the race, and in all honesty I came off of the race and the spring season mentally and physically drained. I was not at all ready to go into the road season. Last year I had a really heavy Collegiate season, and had carried that into the summer, but this year that just was not the case.

After a short trip working down in the Dominican Republic I returned to the states with a serious stomach bug that stopped me from any serious riding for about 3 weeks, and just as I was getting back I was hit by heat stroke on one of my rides. It was an uphill battle just to get back into shape, let alone do well at races.

This brings us to early August. I was finally back on the road, feeling pretty good and had gotten some long rides in. I was fortunate enough to attend a USA Cycling Development Camp down in Sewanee, Tennessee. Honestly it was one of the best decisions I have made for my cycling career, it re-inspired me and I found myself committing to goals and coming back with a fresh perspective. The coaches, Mark, Kim, and Ryan "Bibs" were some of the most supportive people I have met in cycling and genuinely wanted to see every member of the camp succeed. The week in the mountains really was amazing, and really put me back on track.

Unfortunately it wasn't all kittens and gumdrops, on the second to last day of camp, while descending the mountain our group had a fairly scary wreck. The bad combination of a right handed turn, gravel, and a car caused a wreck in which I flipped over someone into a ditch and hit my head pretty hard. I was done for the week, and was pretty disappointed not to be able to participate in the long TT that day. Such is life, and I am thankful that there was no serious damage to my bike. This was the Thursday of that week.

Friday I drove myself from Sewanee, back to Bloomington, all the while dealing with some pretty bad headaches, and massive amounts of whiplash damage through my back and shoulders. Saturday I moved into my new apartment and then my Dad and I drove up to Ft. Wayne Indiana for the Indiana State Road Race Championships. Three days after my wreck I found myself back on the bike doing everything I could just to hang onto the lead pack, and try to support my teammate Emma.

I finished with the lead pack, and I can honestly say it was the most painful experience of my life. The two hours of racing really showed me what my limits were as far as pain tolerance, and how much I can achieve through pure determination.

That was the end of my season. It's currently four weeks since my wreck and I am no longer suffering from migraines as a result of the wreck. My focus has been completely changed and I am really looking forward to the coming Collegiate Season. In the next couple weeks I will be making the jump to a power tap system, and over Fall Break from the university my Dad and I will be heading back down south to get some long rides in the mountains. Going forward I have two goals for the coming season: Collegiate Nationals, and Indiana State Championships.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


So ends another Little 500 season. It was rough to say the least, but much was learned from the season. End of story, let's move on. I have been dealing with medical issues and am not allowed on the bike for now, though on the bright side I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow that should clear me to start riding as of Saturday.

Debut, commencement...the beginning. This begins my road season, and it is going to be very different from last year. Last year I peaked as a category 4 cyclist, competing in 20 races and finishing in the top ten 18 times. This year is going to be a cold smack in the face. I have moved up to category 3, and will be spending most of the season racing in category 1, 2, 3 races with women who have been at this much longer than I. The goal for this year isn't to win, it is to begin, and to just plain survive. At the end of the season, rather than peaking for the state championships, I will be peaking for a regional development camp. I am on the older end of the athletes who attend these camps, at 21 I am almost ineligible so I can expect a week of getting my butt kicked by a bunch of teenage boys. Oh joy.

All in all though that is the focus this year, get better, work hard, win if I can. The expectations are different but in some ways the stakes are higher. Regardless I have to begin, my time is now.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Folie is a french word for madness or insanity. At least that is my understanding of it. We had a two hour ride a few days back and someone mentioned winter riding, and how is it that Little 500 teams will get their riders to spend hours on the trainer and the rollers in the middle of winter.

My response? "It takes a special kind of insanity to ride through the winter."

Some might call it dedication, but lets be honest. Even the best or most dedicated cyclist can be viewed as a little insane for choosing to spend hours riding a bike that is going nowhere. Music and movies can only help so much.

And this is the crux of the issue. Cycling is all about handling the largest amount of pain, and boredom is no exception. Cyclists work constantly to increase the amount of pain they can handle, so that eventually their body no longer sees it as pain. They ride in awful conditions to learn their limits, because knowing your limits and being able to push them is what helps win races.

The first race I ever won was a basic four corner criterium, in the rain. I would not have done so well if I hadn't trained in the rain. The same holds true for Little 500. The majority of the training is done in the snow and the ice, so if you can't get used to that now you might as well quit.

Still, let's face it, when it all comes down to it I can't think of one cyclist I know who isn't just a little nuts for what they do. We all have a little bit of folie.