Thursday, November 13, 2014

SoCal & #womenscycling

Racing LoCal in SoCal & Thoughts on #womenscycling


Local Racing Recap:
          #socalcross O’Melveny Park Weekend ~Recap
          #socalcross Cross at the Beach – Long Beach ~Recap
          #SPYclocross Chino ~Recap
          #socalcross #SPOOKYcross Weeekend ~Recap
          #SPYclocross #UdoCross
                  & USAC SCNCA District Championships ~Recap




          After racing the Trek CXC Cup, I was sidelined on the West Coast and stuck racing at home. Stuck? Unfortunately, yes.

          Don’t get me wrong… I absolutely love racing at home. The O’Melveny Park weekend felt like homecoming and it was so good to see everyone in the SoCal ‘cross scene back together again, racing their bikes around a taped off park on the side of some hill.

          But as awesome as it was to see friends and familiar faces on bikes again, I really really wanted to be racing my bike on the pro CX tour with the best in the country. I had quite a few people ask me why I was home and not on the east coast when the New England Holy Week of Cyclocross kicked off and it was hard to explain to people that I simply can’t afford it.

          So I wasn’t “stuck” in the sense that I wasn’t able or not allowed to go race with the big dogs… I was stuck financially because I didn’t want to go in the red in my own bank account from racing. I don’t have the team support that some have and I want so badly to have the opportunity to race my bike and not worry about the stress that comes along with the rest of the logistics. David has been an amazing help and when it comes down to it, I would be absolutely nowhere without him. It would be impossible to try and be a one-man show cyclocross racer. Cyclocross is a team sport on so many levels and I appreciate everything David does to help and push me to be the best I can. Racing bikes isn’t cheap and cyclocross especially requires so much support to tackle appropriately

          I think aspiring professional female racers are in an interesting place in the cycling world right now.  We are here. We exist. We want to race. We want the opportunity to be the absolute best we can be and race against the best in the country and rest of the world. And we want to do it without taking money from our savings accounts to do it.

          Let’s take Erica Zaveta as a shining example of this scenario. Last year she had some support but not a full team support like she has this year. She raced decently, traveled when she could, and had a pretty good year. But there was nothing unbelievable/astonishing about her year… she didn’t win a race or get on the cover of Cyclocross Magazine. But look at her now! She was given an opportunity to race with one of the best teams in the country, represent the Amy D Foundation, and worry about one thing only: racing fast and throwing down everything she’s got on the cx track. She’s since won a UCI race, had an amazing display of finishes in the Pro CX tour so far, and has completely proven that if you give a strong woman the support and tools she needs to excel, she will! Courtenay McFadden is another example of how to take the bull by the horns, create your own opportunities, and do your own damn thing. Read more on her blog.

          I’ve had a handful of great finishes at UCI races, I’m well-known and I do well in my local ‘cross scene. I’d like to consider myself a good ambassador for anyone who sponsors my team or me personally. I’m so proud of all of those things and I’m extremely happy with where I’m at right now. But I guess the question comes down to wondering at what point it no longer becomes worth chasing points and looking for a good overall finish in the Pro CX standings. When does the scale tip from more money going out than in to actually making money or even netting zero?

          There are more people talking about Equal Pay for men and women, there are more opportunities for women to race (i.e. AmyD Foundation!), the bike industry realizes the potential market growth from the female customer… and the fact that women are being talked about in every cycling discipline is awesome. The discussion is far from over, but it’s happening and we’re in a good place to see potential change. Yeah, there are going to be bumps in the road like the flesh-colored kits, but if they lead to more thoughtful discussions like that article, then we'll head in a more positive direction.

          If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts on the real struggle of racing cyclocross and raising awareness for the aspiring professional female racers who just want a chance to race fast and not worry.


Check out the Notes section of our #SDGteam Facebook page for more individual race recaps from the past couple months... Click here >> NOTES


Monday, November 10, 2014

Flyover Practice

PB sent in this video of me practicing my flyover skills...

Enjoy!




#SPYclocross

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2014 #Cincy3CX

2014 Cincy3 CX

Travel Recap:
          Wed FlyFrontier LAX-CVG
          Thurs Ride around Ohio
          Fri #Cincy3CX Day 1 Harbin
          Sat #Cincy3CX Day 2 Kings
          Sun #Cincy3CX Day 3 Devou
          Mon FlyFrontier CVG-LAX

Hotel & Food:
          Super 8
          Kroger
          Remke Market
          Field & Stream



Friday C2:

          MUD!

          We woke up on Friday morning to a damp Ohio scene outside our lovely Super8. This meant one thing for sure: Harbin Park would be muddy. Sure enough, we arrived at the race to see everyone in rain gear, umbrellas on the sidelines, and rain boots galore. The routine for the day of a muddy race is something I need to plan and think about more. It’s difficult to juggle appropriate clothing with pre-riding laps, finding space in the van to change a few times, staying as warm as possible,
          Luckily David spotted Cody Phillips a couple hours before his race and he graciously agreed to help him out in the pits. That was a blessing because I wouldn’t have to stand there and help David switch bikes in the race directly before mine any longer. Thank you, Cody!
          I had a decent third row start on a slightly uphill cement starting shoot. I didn’t end up where I wanted to be after the first few turns, but throughout the first lap I watched a handful or girls slip-n-slide in front of me while I narrowly escaped running people over and snaked my way around the mishaps. I eventually rode my way to 11th place behind Duke and was so stoked about being there in muddy conditions that I have zero experience with. Highlight of the day was when Compton rode by me and I was able to ride with her for a bit before she completely gapped me out by riding the logs at the top of the hill. Second to last lap I dropped my chain TWICE and lost 6 places from the full minute of fumbling with my chain. Mud/shit happens during racing and that’s that, but I was extremely happy with playing in the mud and racing my Daily bike with the best of the best!



Saturday C1:

          NIGHT RACE!
          The curse of dry eyes: Part 1. I had been sick the week prior to Spookycross and it was one of those sicknesses that never gets extreme, but lingers for too long because I never let myself fully recover due to riding/racing. After the Fri race I woke up on Saturday and could tell my eyes felt drier than usual but didn’t think anything of it. During the preride when the sun was still shining, the course was really fun and the “Camel” mounds were a real kicker. We lined up just as the sun disappeared and I quickly realized that starting on the inside of the first righthand turn was a bad idea. Immediately I was in the back third of the field and trying hard to make up for it.
          I remember thinking to myself to just keep blinking during the first lap when they started to get dry. I’ve had a few instances in the past on hard interval days where I’m so focused on pedaling that I literally forget to blink and start to dry out my contacts. But never have I ever just blinked one of them out before! I’m quite blind, -5.25 in both eyes, so I immediately went half blind in a dark and not-so-well lit course. I couldn’t believe it was happening and I was so angry. Corners that I shouldn’t have been braking through I was losing seconds on because I had to baby myself around them hoping I wasn’t going to hit an unseen bump/ditch/rut and hurt myself. All I could do was go hard on the power sections and keep losing time on the technical stuff; therefore I was going nowhere but backwards. I did my best given the conditions and I was extremely proud of riding the steep climbs on the Camel every single lap. It was the cheers of the spectators up there that kept me going. I mean you can’t possibly let them down while they’re screaming their lungs out for you to get to the top!



Sunday CC:

          Pan-Am Champs!

          The curse of dry eyes strikes again. This time it wasn’t dark so it wasn’t quite as bad as the night before.. but the technicality of the course definitely required two eyeballs and I suffered tremendously when it happened. On the first lap I came close to blinking out the right one and thought I was in the clear. On the second lap I blinked it out. I rode by the pit and yelled to David that I lost a contact and immediately was riding timid and braking like crazy. On the second to last lap I probably grabbed too much brake on the Pan Am Plunge and slid out on to my left quad and scratched myself up pretty good.  Luckily no one was directly behind me or else I would’ve been run over. After that I just got through the next two steep sections and decided to just pull out at the pits. My motivation plummeted, my leg and finger were bleeding, and I was in disbelief that I lost a contact AGAIN.
          I guess there are firsts for everything and this weekend I learned that after being sick, my eyes are more prone to dryness in 40-50 degree temps, and I’m really good at blinking them out when I’m racing. I’ll remedy this at Jinglecross with some eye drops. Hopefully that will help!


Takeaways:

         I’m not too shabby at racing in the mud
         Practice hopping smaller logs
         Hotel showers don’t have the best drains for mud/grass
         The ORV racing scene is quite stellar
         Buy dry-eye relief eye drops
         Consider lasic surgery


Around the ORV:





Sidenote:
We were excited to see our favorite Krema Peanut Butter in both the Kroger and Remke Market. Kroger is one of the original market homes for Krema.
If you have any suggested markets or grocery stores where you'd like to see Krema Peanut Butter, please let me know and I'll get you a product suggestion form to send their way!