Cowgirl Up, Madera!

I recently wrote for Cycling Illustrated to report on my Madera County Stage Race.   Check it out here!

Sometimes putting a little pressure on yourself isn’t such a bad thing.  Complacent bike racing doesn’t make you stronger. But riding with purpose and intent does.


The Madera County Stage Race is going on its 27th year.  Twenty seven years is longer than most of our marriages, and that in itself shows dedication to a great race and a great sport.  They used to give a cowboy hat to the winner of the race, and perhaps that is why I keep coming back, or maybe it is that I favor events with a solid time trial.  Regardless of my motivation, I signed up for the Madera County Stage race to challenge myself against some of the larger regional teams, gain more fitness and experience, and continue to build into the rest of the season.  As if I didn’t put enough pressure on myself to perform, the women definitely came out to race aggressively and competitively.  I really enjoyed the challenge of racing with a mighty field in Madera that was very well represented by the Northern California women’s teams.


I always enjoy racing my bike and taking every opportunity to do so.  During the criterium–which was a mere three hours prior to the time trial–I was able to go for a mid-race time bonus, and keep that solo lead into the finish.  Every time trial matters, and I use each race to continue to build on the base that I am establishing.  All of us can only go as hard as we can on that day, and preparation and pain is key to a successful time trial.  I did win the time trial, but I am always looking to improve my own personal performance.  Every athlete at the time trial in Madera–regardless of category or result–is learning more about her body and getting better just by pushing herself to her maximum level.


You never know what you can accomplish until you try.

Keep challenging yourself.

Don’t get complacent.


During the road race, the women challenged my every move and raced very hard.  Although I felt like a human punching bag, I was finally able to establish a break going into the last lap.  I attacked with 1k to go and won the road race.  Some people call that a hat trick.  I call it really hard bike racing, no matter how you slice it.


Taking a little bit of a gamble and testing yourself and your fellow competitors doesn’t always get you the win, but it does always make you stronger.  Don’t be afraid to put a little pressure on yourself.  Go for the hat trick.  Go for the break.  Go for the front of the race.


It was a wrap at the 27th Madera County Stage Race, and once again it was run beautifully.  Thank you to all the women who came out to race their bikes, put pressure on me, and get stronger as well.   See you at the next one.  Cowgirl up.

Photo by: Alex Chiu

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