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Pastries, Pros, & Last Minute Racing - A Jingle Cross Recap

A year ago at Jingle Cross 2016 I truly fell in love with cyclocross. It's hard to watch the pro women race (sorry guys, I think the women's races are more fun) and not fall in love with the beauty of it all. The technical climbs, daring descents, and fun elements (think sand pits and run-ups) make Jingle Cross as fun to spectate as it is to race. This year, I was totally bummed to realize I had an event for my new job the Friday of Jingle Cross and wouldn't be able to attend. I had made my peace with not going months ago, so, imagine my joy when my boss told me to take the Friday off since I had been putting in so many hours. There was one problem, due to my new job and being sick I hadn't trained at all for the season. I finally settled on just spectating for the weekend. A nice weekend of watching the pros rip up the course sounded the like the best stress relief.

I found out I could head to Iowa a week before Jingle Cross started and after chatting with Rachel, wh…
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Before CX, Gravel Worlds

Gravel Worlds, a 150-mile gravel race around Lincoln, Nebraska, is a must-do for many local cyclists, including those on GPCTCX, who if they didn't ride (Jen, Rachel, Allison, and Russell), helped out and cheered others on.

Brian Waters

This was my second Gravel Worlds. The first half was mostly on roads I had never been on before, which was lots of fun. I was pleased to improve my time by 3 hours 22 minutes compared to 2016, on a course that was 7 miles longer than the 2016 course. Rachel Gehringer-Wiar
While I couldn't ride Gravel Worlds this year due to a health issue, I had an incredible experience volunteering and providing support. My friend and I staffed a "roving oasis," where we popped up on various remote roads with snacks and water. I've never seen so many people greet sliced watermelon with such enthusiasm! 
Volunteering flipped my Gravel Worlds experience by 180 degrees. As a racer in endurance events like this, I'm focused only on personal survi…

Dirty Kanza 200: 1% At A Time

If you’re into gravel riding, you’ve heard of the Dirty Kanza. You’ve heard stories of beautiful landscapes in East Central Kansas, you’ve heard of amazing people, and you’ve heard of mental and physical perseverance like you’ve never experienced. And after my first try of the Dirty Kanza, I can tell you the stories are true. The Flint Hills of Kansas are uniquely beautiful, the people of Emporia are unbelievably kind, and I had to dig to a level inside myself that I’ve never experienced before. My Dirty Kanza journey started on a cold January morning where I was continuously clicking refresh on bikereg.com to try to snag one of the coveted 1300 positions for the 200 mile event. As 8am hit I was already clicking through to the checkout page in hopes of getting a position. 2000 total positions sold out in a record 8 minutes and I was very fortunate to have snagged one of them. Within 2 hours the excitement had worn off and the first thought of ‘Oh no, what have I done’ set in. By the ti…

March 2017 - To the border and back

At least once a year, a group pedals to the Kansas border and back. This known sufferfest usually happens in March, which in Nebraska, is a truly blustery month where the wind whips, mornings crack with subfreezing cold, but afternoons feel hot in the 70s. This year was no exception. We met up at Meadowlark Coffee on 17th & South and rolled out in the dark, illuminating the quiet streets with brilliant headlamps. The frosty chill required gloves, arm and leg warmers, and several wore jackets.  I did not and tried to drive the pace a little to stay warm.

We took the Homestead Trail to Beatrice, which turns into Standing Bear Trail which takes you right to the Kansas border where it turns into the Blue River Trail.

This was my first big ride of the season, but I'd been doing a lot of "sweet spot" training (Tempo-Threshold steady efforts) in February, so even though I hadn't spent a lot of time on the saddle, I was confident I could do a flattish hundy at endurance…

February 2017 - Don't try this alone

I ride a lot in my own basement, but was grateful when Josh, local Star City CX hero, proposed early morning trainer rides twice a week in his basement.

Even when you're self-motivated, being around others with similar goals and positive attitudes gives a big boost. Also, it creates accountability, especially after the start-of-a-new-year-gung-ho-ness wears off and the length of winter dreariness asserts itself.

I found myself looking forward to seeing my friends and on days I didn't feel so excited about stepping out into the cold, I felt like they'd expect me to be there, even if they weren't. Those perceived expectations got my butt out of bed and down the street to that bike and those rollers more days than I care to admit.

My partner in mischief and motos, MFD, also helped keep me on schedule. If I didn't act like I was going, he'd ask, "Don't you have your spin club or something," knowing full well I did and that I would be disappointed in …

December 2016 - Brrr

Winter in Nebraska can be harsh, especially on those "no-exposed-skin" days. Here you see me and teammate Sara sporting similar looks to get around town. 

Training sessions are restricted to basement rollers. 

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October 2016 - Hiring a Coach

Coaches can be enormously helpful if you know what you need from them. They offer knowledge, accountability, perspective, encouragement, and support in different doses. The trick is finding a good match with your needs and your budget.

Having used Chris Carmichael's book, The Time Crunched Cyclist, extensively in 2015 and 2016 and been quite happy with the results I decided to work with a coach from Carmichael Training Systems. It might seem odd to pay for a coach when I was happy with the book and am quite knowledgeable about training, but the difference was the starting point.

After surgery, I had been completely off the bike for three months and had a lot of physical therapy to go and felt like I was starting from zero. It wasn't just re-activating existing fitness, it felt like I was rethinking my cycling identity - completely beginning again as a 47-year old woman who wants to race CX at the highest age-group level. At the time, looking at my dismal power numbers in my ba…