“Racing is easy, anyone can do it. True grit is found in the training” -Unknown
There are some training rides that you don’t even have words for. Maybe that’s because you are too exhausted to form complete sentences. At the end of my final big training schedule before a major endurance event: I collapsed on my front porch covered in grit, completely soaked and unable to walk. My only coherent thought was: WTF? I was at a complete loss for words.
Fortunately, (to my husband’s frequent dismay) I rarely stay at a loss for words long.
Continue reading The Training Ride from Hell | Grit & Gravel
The Rocky Road to Rebecca’s Private Idaho
As 2017 passes like a speeding train and 2018 looms ahead with the bright light of hope: I reflect upon a seriously transformational year as a cyclist. At some point in the Spring of 2017 I realized that there was this event called Rebecca’s Private Idaho. RPI is 100 miles of gravel grinding goodness with 5,299 feet of climbing starting from Ketchum Idaho (elevation 5,853’ above sea level). Having missed the sign up for the Dirty Kanza (Thank God) with its demanding 200 miles of gravel grinding, I was determined to set my sights on something challenging.
I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into.
Continue reading An Unlikely Transformation: Sprinter to Endurance Gravel Cyclist
I was in deep, so deep I didn’t even see the landscape bouncing by. Not deep in sand or washboard. Sure, there were plenty of patches to jar your brains out. No: I was in deep inside a dark place. A dark place where your inner critic tells you how much you suck, how you’ll never be good enough, and how you won’t make it. That little hateful voice gives you every reason to quit while obsessing about the detail of things you could have done differently.
Continue reading Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn: True Grit in Gravel Racing
Lost in Time
After the second day of our 7-day adventure of cycling the C&O Canal through the GAP (Great Alleghany Passage) from of Washington DC to Pittsburg – I had found that time had become a meaningless blur of green foliage and the endless crunch of tires on gravel. I was lost in time and I felt as if we had been on this gravel path for months.
Perhaps it was the rich history of the C&O Canal pulling me away from reality or perhaps it was the strong and steady pace we maintained through the continuous tunnel of forest. Time moves differently here. To the green tunnel, it was just another summer on planet Earth without a particular year. It could have been 1817 or 2017. However: in 1817 we may have terrified the mules on the C&O Canal towpath.
Continue reading Adventures of Cycling the C&O Canal Through the GAP
The allure of gritty adventurous fun awaits those intrepid enough to eschew asphalt and pedal down roads less traveled. Less traveled by motor vehicles (to be specific) and, until recently, self-powered 2-wheeled steeds of freedom. Being relatively new to the fine art of gravel grinding I am learning something from every expedition and I would like to share some notes to gravel grinding newbies!
Continue reading Notes to Gravel Grinding Newbies
Gravel racers that are successful can usually thank the trifecta of gravel rides: Preparation, Skill and Luck. Typically, most of us hope for at least two out of three in order to come in ahead of most of the gritty and dusty pack. I would have to say that my first gravel race was awesome because I got two of the three right … and one of those wasn’t Skill.
Continue reading The Trifecta of Gravel Races
Criterium racing has always been a favorite of mine in the world of competitive cycling. The speed, the adrenaline and the social atmosphere appeals to me. I love sprinting and I love spending time with my fellow cycling peeps. However: there’s an uncertain side to competitive cycling. The darker side of injury. Multiple concussions have reshaped my life. Even eight months after a significant concussion I have to admit that I’m not sure I will ever be the same again.
Continue reading How Concussions Have Reshaped My Life
Glazed crinkly warm sweetness and fresh moist dough that melts in your mouth. Iced delicacies of sugared perfection with sprinkles and dainty sweet sparkles. Richly plump delights filled to overflowing with fruit flavors that burst at the first bite. Cinnamon rolled with gooey icing that sticks to everything it touches with cloying sweetness. Daring chocolate confections that hide iced pudding under sugared dough or flaky crunchiness. Reds, cherries, blueberry filling, apple pie tarts, and icing surprises all before me: tempting and tantalizing.
Continue reading Ode to Donuts
As most avid cyclists know: it can be difficult to find the necessary motivation to get out and push yourself when you are riding solo, especially when the weather isn’t playing nice. The group training ride served as a fantastic motivational forum for more experienced cyclists to stretch athletic abilities, gain strength and skills. Until quite recently, the group training ride was also a great experience for beginning cyclists to learn the ‘rules of the road’.
So, why is it that many group training rides have now evolved into some sort of awful etiquette-vacuum of mindless sprints, general chaos, and savage mayhem?
We might need to add structured training rides to the Endangered List.
Continue reading Endangered: Group Training Rides
January 24, 2017: Tommy Ketterhagen
November 23, 2016: Missy Hardeman
Over the past three years a 143 cyclists have been struck and killed in Texas by motorists. In over 70% of the cases no traffic citation is recorded by police for the motorist involved and the majority of incidents go without any justice at all. The current level of frustration and anger is prevalent in the cycling community as we mourn yet another needless loss of life. The big question is “WHY?” Why isn’t there justice and why are people so hateful, callous, or uncaring? As an avid cyclist as well as a continuous student of culture and sociology: I believe we are seeing the deadly impact of an impatient society.
Continue reading The Deadly Impact of an Impatient Society