Race Report: Creature of Comfort

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March 1, 2015 – Cherry Pie Crit – Napa, CA – 23/30 place
Sunday morning, near perfect weather conditions, brisk, cold, sunny, full of potential. Grateful for my friend Brandy, who I picked up at the shop, kept my mind occupied on the drive over. Park and find the Velo Wrench tent set up with bikes, trainers, and bros. The races have already started. I have an hour before my catagory takes the coarse. Head over to the register table. They ask for my racing license number (good question). After bumbling around I track it down online. Newbie lesson #1 – Know your racing license number (or at least where to find it online, thank you smart phones). Back at the tent I get assistance pinning my number on my jersey. Pinning, a ritual that asks you to trust your helper not poke you, as let me remind you, your jersey is skin tight. Reminds me of pinning the corsage to my prom dates jacket, all the nervous excitement channeled through to the tip of a tiny metal pin. A quick round on the stationary trainer to raise the heart rate, warm up, and break a little sweat.

At the start of the coarse I greet some of the other racers. Best advice I’ve gotten from a veteran racer was to make friends with the girls I race with because most likely I will be riding with them all season (I’ve already found this to be true).

Christopher Stricklen (who has a beautifully curated Instagram feed @creedub), raced the Men’s Cat 5 at Cherry Pie and posted this video below. It’s a great preview of the coarse and gives you a sense of the energy and sounds that go on when your in a race. You’ll hear a lot of “Hold your line” which when riding in close quarters it’s important to be predictable and not sideswipe your fellow riders (same idea as when driving your car in lanes on the freeway). Not that you have to watch the whole video, but I would suggest at least checking out the last few minutes as Christopher’s sprint at the end was quite impressive.

Back to my race. This being my first official race I have so much to learn and not just strategy but also discovering my own strengths and weaknesses. Like one such weakness … I’m a creature of comfort. I found a wheel I was comfortable staying behind and stuck there. The pack road wide and I couldn’t see much opening for me to move forward, so towards the back I stayed. And let me just be clear … being in the back of the pack sucks. Not only is it actually the most unsafe spot, but you also end up using more energy surging then braking (what I like to call the yo-yo effect). As the laps started counting down I could hear my coach yell “MOVE UP”, but how, and where, and who, and when? So I stayed comfortably uncomfortable once again. Also, not helping the situation about halfway through the race there was a crash right behind me and although I could not see a thing, the pure sound of metal to cement shocked me right out of any focus ‘zone’ I might have been trying to perform in. It was like a tin can being crunched by Paul Bunyan’s boot. To say the least, unsettling (although I’m happy to report the girl was able to walk away from the crash ok). So the final sprint came and the race was over … and I felt … eeh. I felt clumsy, chaotic, and not that great. All the self defeating thoughts rushed to my brain. I’m not good enough. I’m a wimp. Scaredy-cat. Weak. BUT WAIT!!!!!!!! I had just finished my first race EVER. Give me a break. I mean really … Emily, give yourself a break. Freakin’ celebrate the face you finished a RACE. A race that one year ago you would have only dreamed in competing in. In fact, you did dream about racing in.

Fascinating right? The brain. The power of our thoughts. So, I decided to stop picking on myself and rather pat myself on the back. Gathering all the lessons learned (cause, oh my, there was many), I’ll come back again stronger. I’ll continue training. And for heavens sake … I will have fun in the process. So with that my friends, love yourself and please be patient in your process, cause there’s so much good work to be done.

Now time to go ride my bike!

Weekend Warrior: Palm Springs did not disappoint

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I’ve been drooling over images from friends’ vacations to Palm Springs for the past few years and finally this weekend I was invited out to the desert oasis for a dear friends birthday celebration. A house was rented and poolside with cocktail and many a wonderful conversations I did stay. With trips into town for tiki drinks and food and fresh faces at hipsters paradise (aka Ace Hotel) it was a memorable weekend that I can now surely say … Palm Springs, you did not disappoint. And now for your viewing pleasure … a few fine photos.

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Race Report: In the beginning

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While on Instagram attempting to post a picture of my most recent bike race I noticed a difficulty keeping my caption short. As I try to keep my words few on Instagram it seemed like a more obvious blog post was necessary. So here we have it … Race Report . Art blog, now also bike blog.

My racing interest began June 1, 2014 with the completion of my first bike challenge, Americas Most Beautiful Bike Ride (AMBBR), a century (100 mile) ride around Lake Tahoe. I signed up with Team In Training, an awesome organization that trains participants for endurance sports in exchange for fundraising to support blood cancer research. Over the course of four months my team slowly increasing in endurance during weekend rides starting at 15 miles, then 25 miles, 35 miles, until we hit 75 miles. The day of AMBBR I woke with immeasurable anticipation. It was magic and hard work all in one. Breathtaking views of the lake, thousands of riders, and almost 7 hours of saddle time. It was in the truest sense … epic.

AMBBR

Yes, that is a wine glass (plastic don’t worry) on my helmet. As part of the North Bay chapter we had to represent Sonoma/Napa wine country. They called it our ‘GPS’ so my other teammate could spot me riding in the crowd. Oh, yeah!

So there I was, post 100 mile ride, back at my hotel floating in the pool, and I noticed something had awakened in me … a fire in my belly (to quote Joe De Sena). I had the realization that I could focus on a far off goal, commit, put in the hard work, and complete what I set my mind to. “I am capable”, a simple statement, however for me it was a huge mental hurdle over the more frequent thoughts of self-doubt. I have dreams, damn it! So there I was, my first bike challenge done and a hunger for more. But more what? I’ve experienced endurance, now I wanted speed. Speed? Like racing? No way, couldn’t be for me. I mean, it’s too dangerous, I’m not fit enough and I would have no idea what I’m doing. Sounds like a challenge … a challenge! Well, challenged excepted. Stay tuned friends cause the RACE … IS … ON!

I used to write poetry

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Last night I saw a shooting star so bright and big it scared me.
I need to get out.
This is no longer my tribe.
Play your classical music louder, LOUDER.
I’m avoiding your text.
TEXT
TEXT
Instant Messaging are you ruining my communication?

I don’t blame you. You who were clear from the beginning.
Unavailable.
Your friends vs my friends
Can we still be friends
after all this
history?

Give it time and they’ll adjust the textbooks.
Or the kids won’t care.
You have to want to care.
It takes energy to care.

You don’t feel like it?
Perfect, do it anyways.

I used to write poetry.

EOW

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HAPPY SEPTEMBER my long lost blog. Let’s fill you in on some new projects like EOW which stands for ‘Every Other Week’. EOW is a song challenge with friend Nick Riedell to encourage each other to write, record, and share more of our music. Here are two tracks I’ve posted so far. Happy listening and again … happy September!

When I see your face will I recognize your voice?
Will I know when you call my name?
Will it sound the same?
Darling, don’t fear.
My darling, don’t fear.
Oh darling, don’t fear.
My darling, don’t fear.
 

 

 

Remembering to share. At a friends request…

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Remember when I used to post on this blog? Oh, yes. Thanks to a certain friend who reminded me last weekend that in fact some do check this site. What better way to start back up the relationship then to share  photos. Shot on 35mm film with a lomography Fisheye and a Polaroid disposable. Special thanks to Walgreens for being the last remaining developer of film in my hometown! Here I’ll make room on the couch, just poured us some lemonade

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