As if you actually needed me to spell that out for you. I don't think I have that many loyal readers anyway but for what it's worth I apologize for my lack of updates. Hopefully as we delve deeper into the bike racing season I might be motivated and find the time to try to post more often.
North Carolina was fantastic. After not going there last year it was so nice to be back riding in the beautiful mountains. It was a lot of fun staying with the hodge podge mix of alums and other random riders in our cabin on the mountain. The view was worth the long and winding gravel road and the unfortunate need to drive down said road every day to ride our bikes. Someday I need to go back in the fall when the scenery (and probably weather) is even better. Maybe I'd even consider bringing along the mountain bike for some off roading.
Teaching has been going well. I can't believe how quickly the weeks are flying by. The lesson planning and paper grading have been dominating a lot of my time but I've been enjoying getting to know all of my students. Some of them are pretty challenging but I feel like we're making progress. We're in a Genetics and DNA unit right now and I really like this stuff so it's been fun trying to get them to understand some of it.
And racing has started! March 29 was the first race of the year for me - the Hillsboro Roubaix in southern Illinois. It's a road race with a 22 mile circuit that the women did twice (unfortunately it was shortened from the 3 laps last year). There was a great turnout for the race with about 40 women at the line. A lot of strong Midwest teams were represented like Team Revolution, ISCorp, and Mercy. I had a few teammates as well with Catherine, Jess, Monique, and Imelda coming out to race. The race was aggressive from the gun with several breaks attempting to get away in the first lap. I was in a couple of those that got pulled back and eventually Bri (from Revolution) and I were off the front and I was fading when several riders (including my teammate Catherine) bridged up to us. I couldn't hold the pace and unfortunately fell back into the first chase group. As usual there were some wicked cross winds but my chase partners and I worked together in a paceline. About a mile from the finish I attacked them at the base of the climb and was able to solo across the line for 9th. A little disappointed I couldn't stick with the break but I know my top end form needs work this time of year. All in all it was a really great race and the competition was top notch. Congrats to Bri and Team Revolution for the win. Unfortunately Catherine dropped her chain coming into the finish otherwise she would have likely been in the mix for a podium spot.
The second race of the year should have happened last weekend but the course was still snow covered so it was canceled. The weather was sunny and in the mid 60's so it was a great excuse to go for a long ride instead. Dave and I actually got out on a group ride together which is something our schedules rarely allow. It was a great ride and I'm getting a nice defined knee warmer tan line on my calf - the status symbol of many Midwestern cyclists.
Also last Sunday I had the honor of being one of several teachers in a womens racing clinic put on by Capitol Velo Cycling Club. There was a good turnout and we had a classroom session in the morning followed by some on the bike skills work outside after lunch. It was a lot of fun and great to see so many women interested in possibly doing some races. Men still really dominate the sport of cycling and I hope that the numbers become less lopsided in the near future. By making racing accessible and showing women how fun it can be we can get them to give it a shot and hopefully stick with it. The clinic was a blast and I want to thank Amanda for putting so much time and effort into making it happen!
Our moody spring weather is back and possible snow showers are predicted this weekend. There's a crit here in Madison on Sunday so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will at least be dry out. I'm looking forward to getting some more races in and getting ready for a busy late spring and summer schedule.
Thanks for checking in and taking the time to read! I'll try to have more pictures next time!