I have been at this racing thing for about 1.5 years now. Crazy, eh? It has been a wild ride. I am learning and actually starting to think and feel like a bonafide bike racer. I feel at home on that bike.
With that being said, as I have been spending more time on my bike, I am noticing that I am also getting stronger and more comfortable. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that my bike and I are one. No, she definitely has a mind of her own, but she likes to race and she likes to go fast. I am learning to trust her.
Back to that stronger part. I am just starting to feel the benefits of the racing block in Europe. Not only was I able to literally just focus on racing my bike, training, and eating the local food (chocolate included)…I was able to RECOVER. It makes a huge difference. I returned from Europe, thanks to the US National Development Team and Chris Georgas, stronger and more aware of how a bike race should be.
Upon my return from Limoux, I have raced locally 4 times. I am noticing that I am now chomping at the bit to make it a bike race. Make it hard. Make it fast. No, it doesn’t always end in a 53 mile solo win, but it does make you stronger. The greater the risk, the greater reward. If you play it safe, you will be unable to reap the benefits of racing hard.
I can only giggle at some of the comments that I have been receiving lately at some of these bike races. I was warming up for the low key Beat the Clock TT on Canada Road near Woodside, California. A man approached me…
“Wait…were you the girl in the Pro Men’s Race on Memorial Day?”
“Yeah, that was me…”
“No way! I was behind you barely hanging on! You were just trucking. Wow. You are a horse”
Now…let’s think about this. A horse? I think he meant it as a compliment, but can we think about how we should rephrase this to make it more…complimentary? What about strong? I will even take “diesel engine” or “motor”… or anything other then a big farm animal. Maybe he meant a dainty race thoroughbred, not a huge Budweiser draft horse. I bet if he had specified what kind of horse, I would have felt better.
My response: “Hmm..I’m not sure what you mean, but I am going to take it as a compliment….”
What else do you say? Thanks!?
Next story. Towards the end of the Spring Hill RR, The Masters 45+ 1/2/3 peloton was behind me. All I could see was riders. I didn’t know if there were any females in the mix, and on mile 50 of a 53 solo break, I was not about to take any chances. On the final climb, I put the accelerator down to create a bigger gap between myself and the men. Heaven forbid someone accuse me of drafting them, or anything. I wanted to take no risks as I approached the finish. So, I went a little hard up the climb… After the race, one of the men approached me…
“Did you solo win? We were trying to catch you, all of us, and we couldn’t! Oh my gosh, I think you may just have more testosterone then me! Wow! That was impressive!”
Now, let’s think about this. Is that a good thing to tell a girl? Can’t you say, strong? Umm… I actually pride myself in trying to keep this sport feminine, and maybe even a little hot. Testosterone? Hmm… I don’t really know what to say about that…besides, just think about it before you say it. I figure it was meant as a compliment, but….just think…
“Well, I am a professional cyclist (pat on my back, considering this is a new realization for me…and I just wanted to say those two words simultaneously) and I train very hard…I would hope I am getting stronger…as far as more testosterone…I may, but that isn’t for me to say…You said it”
Anyways, it is all in good fun. The comments are entertaining to say the least. It is just interesting to figure out how to respond, and learn the proper correction if any is necessary. As a girl, I don’t really like being told I am resembling a male. I would prefer that I am strong…or…? I don’t know. I just thought we could think about it for a second…the next time you are tempted to call a girl a horse…maybe say filly?
A great example. As AFR and I were at the finish of the Mt. Hamilton RR…a man walked up who had finished behind us. He reaction was as follows:
“Ladies, let me just tell you that the best part of my day was finishing behind you. Cycling does something to a women. And as they say, if you got it, you got it. If you don’t, you better get it. Ladies, you got it. Cycling does you well…”
I can take that. Nicely put. Maybe a little far fetched…but let’s just think about it…