Monday, June 4

Chasing Unicorns

I have been on a quest of sorts. But first, I have to mention a Unicorn Brian caught yesterday. I say unicorns, as they really don't exist. They are mystical creatures, and even in that world, quite elusive. When stuck in dreamland, you can chase unicorns for hours and come into a meadow just as you see the beast dissolve into a thicket.

Brian caught his unicorn. He wrangled him and rode up all the way up to the finish of the State Road Race Championships. 100 miles in 100 degree heat, the conditions that he thrives in! His team is amazing and they have won so many races together over the past 2 season, this one fell on him. And it was a great success. He has strived to win a Bear jersey since a cat 5 racer, and this victory was quite delicious. Not gonna lie, I got a bit misty eyed!

This month will bring quite the chaos for us. Thursday Brian flies to Tulsa, OK for Tulsa Tough. I fly to Minneapolis, MN on Friday for Nature Valley Grand Prix which Brian is skipping. I will fly home on the 17th and he leaves a few days later for Atlanta, GA for Road Nationals where he will meet up with his team who is driving to all these events. Phew. It's gonna be nuts! And I haven't told Moto yet...

Off to my unicorn....

My Colorado trip was rooted in a unicorn chase. I have had on my "shoot for the moon" goal list since last year to qualify for the Nature Valley Grand Prix Pro Chase - 6 races across the country where the top amateur finisher, male and female, each qualify for a spot on the Pro Chase team for the NRC event. The week would begin with a training camp and include a professional set up. A director, swanny, mechanic and the works. Now this chase was lofty for me! I am a well rounded rider, but my results haven't catapulted me to the top of the rankings. I am a worker by nature but we wanted to give it a shot this year.

Since CO is full of family, a trip there and an attempt to qualify at the Superior Morgul Omnium event was the solution. But for me, these paths are never straight forward and simple. I lack the ability to just ride away from people, so strong arming it just won't work. I was in CO without teammates which is never brilliant and I created a few more barriers for myself. I went to a horse show and twisted my knee in a pasture. Cool. I then found I was having a difficult time in the altitude. Although we live at 2,500ft, the 6,000ft of our ride to Lyons left me sluggish and just plain slow. The altitude was setting in!

I took 2 days off the bike. And opened the flood gates to illness. I hadn't taken a true "break" this year, and we have been going consistently since February. I was due getting sick. Back in the MTB days I used to race sick all the time. Must have been working in Junior High, someone is sick all the time and passing their ick onto me. Working from home must have made me a weenie again! The gunk settled in my lungs and head and created for quite the snot fest mingled with a ton of fatigue and feeling just really really bad.

The event began with a fun time trial. I finally dialed in my position and my mental approach to this event. Although my head and chest didn't cooperate, I was very pleased success with all the other aspects of the TT. It is such an art form, it is really exciting to gain improvements. And the landscape was breath taking!

The crit was wet. On the first lap a rider t-boned my rear wheel as I turned right and she kept going straight. She crashed as other riders started screaming. Here we go! The ins and outs of the crit and road race were pretty standard. Minus the fact that I had FAMILY at the race! Cousins with their kids, cheering me on! I sure hope I didn't hit one with my snot!
Gnarly steep climb "The Wall" is part of a legendary race course!
Highlight of the event: A rider leaned over, shook my hand, and said "Hey, you must know Suzanne." She recognized my jersey from Suzanne's facebook and was instantly a friend. I love this community!! Gwen and her husband and teammate invited me to lunch post road race, quickly embracing me in their cycling family. This was a much needed "hug" on a really hard weekend, mentally and physically. My brother and his wife had needed to make an emergency trip to WA on Thursday and I almost headed home at the same time and skipped the race. Having new friends in the peloton and grabbing some food together while rehashing funny race stories and the oddities of our sport was truly a highlight. Brian and I would totally do that for foreign racers in our peloton and it was very refreshing to have the offer handed my direction.

And here's where I found my Unicorn! I received the first ever Coach's selection to join the Nature Valley Grand Prix Pro Chase Team! For me this is a huge honor and nods to my work ethic and dedication to the sport.

I am extremely excited to take part in this event and be able to go to training camp this weekend! My eyes are wide open, ready to accept new information, make new friends of my new teammates for the week, and to become a more well-rounded cyclist, racer, and teammate!

I will do my best to document this new adventure and share the wisdom I have the honor of learning! And I will ride my Unicorn as well as I can!

1 comment:

allison said...

Love it, Joy. So stoked for you!!