My primary mission was to meet with Michael Engleman of US Women’s Cycling Development Program and Dave Varrechia of Vanderkitten Racing, as, in addition to racing myself, I am seriously considering the notion of working to promote women’s cycling in various capacities.
Goal #2 was to meet as many of my cycling sisters as possible…and watch a really good race. For all the women I met I will say this: they are really warm, open people, FUN, dedicated and SMART. I found myself in a sea of EXTREME multi-taskers. Nearly all of them have very complicated lives that include husbands and children, college degrees to finish, careers to maintain. They count the bruises and scars on their bodies with a shrug as just part of the journey. Almost all are surprisingly under compensated for what they do and sacrifice far more than time and energy to be part of the sport. Each would make a wonderful role model for young women any day of the week! It makes a girl feel privileged to be in the midst of such dynamic women and they are all so welcoming to newcomers like me.
Some of the girls were having a hard start to the season. Some were getting over the flu. Some were just beginning to feel symptoms of the flu. Others were still not quite recovered from injuries sustained in the races of recent weeks. A few were all smiles and at the top of their game. Liz Hatch who was still recovering from that nasty spill in Visalia was “…just happy to be back on the bike” but DNF the first stage. My USWCDP girl Kris Keim (Kenda) who had mechanical issues early on never quite got in the groove and said ‘enough’ during the crit. Heather Sborz seemed to be struggling through the last laps and no wonder, she got sick soon after reaching home. It’s early yet.
One thing is certain, the season has just begun to ramp up and anywhere the ladies are on the course it’s guaranteed to be a great show!
One thing I discovered on this trip: I love to get out to a part of the course where there aren’t a lot of spectators cheering. I love that sound of the peloton, 100 or more wheels all whirring together at 25mph or more. I love that whirring sound!
Some photos from the course – imagine the whirring sound for yourself…
If I get names wrong or leave anyone out please leave a comment and I’ll correct it immediately.