so, I find myself not racing this weekend, and am using a little of that extra time I have not driving to the middle of nowhere to reflect on what cycling has done for me in the past 9 months. Last month, Trek had a contest where you had to write a 500 word email about what cycling has done for you. They seemed to be looking for women to test new products, be part of ads, etc. I certainly don't think I won the contest....but at least I can re-use the essay I wrote on my blog! :-) Of course I had a feeling I wouldn't win..because all the photos I sent them were me on my Giant Bike...not exactly showing brand support..oops!
Without further adieu...(with a few extra comments added in parenthesis):
Why would I be a good choice for a “Women Who Rides?” Well, because I love what cycling has done for me. In the past 9 months I have 1. Bought my first real road bike 2. Ridden about 6000 miles, 3. Finished my first race (and wasn't last...) 4. Placed well in every race I have entered, 5. Achieved the best fitness level of my entire life 6. Encouraged many other people to become passionate about cycling (the LBS loves me...I give them lots of business by convincing everyone around me to buy fancy bikes), 7. Crashed and came back stronger (broken collarbone, grade 3 separation, 1 broken rib, 2 weeks off the bike), and 8. Love to talk about bikes and all things cycling!
By many measures, 3 years ago I was successful. I was 31 years old, a tenured professor of Mechanical Engineering, living in Santa Barbara, and yet I was suffering from undiagnosed hypothyroidism. I was so tired all the time, about 30 pounds heavier than I wanted to be and I just attributed it to overworking. Thus began a journey of treatment, which was resolved in 2005. Now, you may ask, where does cycling fit into all this? This is where the story gets interesting!
Once I got my energy back, I started running to lose weight. I was running so much that I was a bit worried about ruining my knees. I had friends who cycled, and so completely out of the blue, on the 5th of July in 2006, I bought a road bike. The very next day, I headed for the biggest climb in the area (known for it’s similarity in grade to Alp d’Huez), and up I went! It was exhilarating. The next week, I showed up for the local racing club ‘women’s ride’, and had a blast. A couple weeks later, I went on the co-ed club group ride, and surprisingly could keep up on that, too! So of course the next thing to do was enter a race! It was the end of the season, but exactly one month to the day after buying my bike, I completed my first road race. It was a Pro/1/2/3/4 race with 4s scored separately, and little did I know how hard that would be! I ended up in 6th place, and completely hooked on racing!
In the fall I went to camp, and trained hard all winter, and have had good placements in my races so far this season and I'm having a great time! I’ve done a lot of things in my life, and I love to talk with people about most anything. Cycling is this huge new thing in my life, and a new outlet for stress-relief and enjoyment, on some of the best roads in the country. I have new friends all over the country that I would never have known without the bike (and even more through the blogs). I can’t even remember my life before cycling. I can’t believe what I had been missing out on for so long!
So why should I be a Trek ‘woman who rides?’ Well, because I ride! And it has changed my life.
ps. and on racing notes (since i'm not racing this weekend, I have to salute the people who are)... at the Tour of the Gila, my friend and mentor Dotsie Bausch won stage 3 yesterday! Yeah Dotsie, and best of luck in the GC (she is currently third after 3 stages). And my friend from bike camp, Christina, is racing the 3/4's race there, and after stage 1 yesterday is in third place! Yeah Christina! (she always could smoke me on the hills..)