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Archive for the ‘motivation’ Category

No matter how vexing!

Got this ‘thought of the week’ from Dr. Wendy Borlabi, the USOC Sports Psychologist assigned to work with the US Sprint Program.

“Each Warrior wants to leave the mark of his will, his signature, on important acts he touches.

This is not the voice of ego but of the human spirit, rising up and declaring that it has something to contribute to the solution of the hardest problems, no matter how vexing!”

–Pat Riley

It feels fitting. Some days I feel like a warrior. Today I felt like a wounded warrior after two hard weeks of training.

Somebody called me a pioneer once, which I found both flattering and laughable. Pioneers are people like Joan Benoit and Fannie Blankers-Koen. If a woman racing bikes in the year 2011 is considered a pioneer, the feminist movement stalled when it got to the sport of cycling.

But it does have me thinking about what solution I’m working towards.

Is it doing my part to move the US women’s sprint program forward? I’m working hard to qualify a spot for the World Championships and Olympic Games. I know  my experience is an asset to a young program.

Some days, I think it may be just reminding people it’s never too late to dream or try something new.

Hmmm? Leg speed or OTB strength . . . photo by Sandra Geroux

As an athlete I have it easy. My problem is to figure out how to get myself, my bike and my partner up to max speed from a stand still as quick as possible.

Lately, I’ve been hitting 60-62kph in 19.6 to 20.2 seconds, depending on the track and training phase. As (wo)man 1 in the Team Sprint, I want to accelerate all the way through the line at the end of the first lap so my (wo)man 2 gets a slingshot effect in the exchange.

Blistering speed at the end of lap 1 translates into a faster first half of lap 2. The goal of (wo)man 2 is to carry or improve on that speed  to the finish.

Throw on a 90.6 (47×14) and get off the line quick at the (potential) cost of valuable kph in the last 60-80 meters. Or ride a 92.6 (48×14) and — while you may reach higher top end — the gear could slow you down out of the gate, adding 1-2/10ths to your first 125meters.

Then there’s the relationship between your gear and your partner’s . . .

In training, the puzzle is finding the right equation of big gear work, little gear work, explosive short efforts, longer efforts, weights, time on the road and equally important, time away from training to recover.

The US women need to go faster and get there quicker. The best women in the world are covering the first lap in just under 19 seconds. The next tier comes in between 19.0 and 19.5.

I did a 19.6 standing lap at the Pan Am Games, which was a HUGE personal best. But going 250 meters in 19.4 to 19.7 seconds consistently would be better.

I know enough about elite sport to realize I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have something to contribute.

And I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was important.

Adjusting chain tension, dialing in the gear. photo by Sandra Geroux

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I’ve been looking for an opportunity to get back to writing regularly, so I’ll start with right now.

I’m sitting in bed with my coffee. My dog Bruno is snoring at my feet; his fur catching the sun streaming through the window.

I just returned from Los Angeles where I spent the week training and posting times at the ADT Center in Carson. It was a really great trip, though hard to be away with Masters Nationals being held at my home track.

A lot of friends and guys I train with were competing this week, so I was bummed I didn’t get to see them perform live. We keep each other honest and motivated in training. And I’ve long realized the value of having good people with similar goals, abilities and work ethic to train with.

Good people help you show-up and keep you going, especially when the heat index is off the charts! Plus, it makes the work productive and the suffering manageable when you enjoy the company between efforts.

But between Facebook, USA Cycling & the event photographers, I kept on top of things & pieced together the action.

There was tons of excitement about Masters Nationals coming to T-Town. The one question I kept getting asked was if I were going to compete which means 1/There are more people interested in track racing then ever before; and 2/ They’re on to me and know I’m not a junior.

For the record, I turned 42 this year. I also signed a contract with Black Dog Professional Cycling, and as a member of a UCI Professional Trade Team, I’m unable to compete in masters events.

When I started this science experiment of one, my goal was to take the sport as far as I could go. To reach my potential as an athlete.

For a million reasons, I didn’t know I could be competitive at the Elite level until my late 30’s. The irony being it took success at the Master’s level for me to realize my potential in open competition.

I’ll write about my trip to LA, but I have to get to work, which today means over-geared starts, a road spin and getting settled and ready for 8 weeks of high intensity & volume.

So I’ll leave with huge props to all who came to T-Town to race, and beg forgiveness for not being here to cheer you on. I’m both proud and thrilled for everyone who shared their goals, aspirations or insecurities with me . . . then came out & rocked it.

Check out this article, featuring a bunch of friends:

MORNING CALL PIECE ON MASTERS’ NATIONALS

And if you have the chance and are looking for some inspiration . . . flip through the photos on USA Cycling:

USA CYCLING MASTERS SUPERHEROES

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I don’t know how many of you folks have been paying attention to women’s racing lately, so I’m going to share a few highlights…

Last week, Sarah Hammer (of the United States) set a new World Record in the Individual Pursuit at the Panamerican Track Championships.

Photo: © TeknoBike-Mexico

Then the following day, Sarah, Lauren Tamayo and Dotsie Bausch dropped a wicked fast time and ripped open a 3:19.569 to set a new World Record in the Team Pursuit in Aguascalientes, Mexico. For Sarah, that’s two world records in as many days . . .

photo by Benjamin Sharp

This is so freakin’ cool . . . . Here’s another great shot by Photo: © Wenceslao Rodriguez/ WRS IMAGENES . . . click on it to read the story. I’ve never seen Dotsie Bausch smile so large.

Photo: © Wenceslao Rodriguez/ WRS IMAGENES

Come to think of it, they all look pretty happy.

Then a few days later . . . T-Bird (aka Theresa Cliff-Ryan) lapped the field twice to win the women’s points race at Panam’s. She’s out of control. Let me say that again . . . lapped the field twice to win GOLD at Panamerican Track Championships.

Then, of course . . . on Sunday of this week, 17-year old Coryn Rivera won the women’s crit at the Amgen Tour of California . Here’s a pic of the finish if you missed this little nugget on the interwebs . . .

Photo: © Mark Johnson

Seems to me 2010 is cookin’ up to be the year of the girl. At least for the home team.

Just sayin’.

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As an athlete working towards personal goals, it’s so easy to get into the mind-set of me, me, me . . .

When do I need to be at the gym? What  should I eat? What was my time?  I need rest, I need sleep, I need to ride, I, I, I.

Then I look at this video and realize what a luxury this is and how different my daily reality is from the people of Haiti and really so many people in the world. People who are waiting in line for food, who don’t have clean drinking water, who don’t know where their kids or family members are and don’t know where they’re sleeping tonight or if they’ll be safe.

It brings new meaning to the idea of sacrifice and challenges.

I love the remake and think it’s amazing it came together so quickly. And I’m in awe of the power of god-given talent, and that people find ways to use theirs to help others and make a difference and provide hope to people  surrounded by devastation.

And I love that people and kids still manage to dance and raise their hearts and smile when their world has crumbled around them.

There are a million ways to help.

For me, Verizon just lowered my cell plan by 20$. I figure I should be able to give $10 of that to the Red Cross each month for awhile.

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Wow.

Pink talks about doing this crazy st*ff in her Women’s Health interview.

If you missed this from last nights’ Grammy Awards (as I did), it’s worth the watch:

This one’s going into the inspiration file.

Amazing what the human body can do . . .

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And I will. Promise.

But first I want to say congrats to all the track athletes on their performance at Elite Nationals last week. I watched from the cheap seats (the internet) and there was some really exciting action. New events, breakthrough performances and the first ever women’s Madison—very cool. Nice! Watching made me hungry to get back on the boards at the ADT Center.

I also want to wish my buddy Matt, aka the Bald Bomber, good luck at Masters Worlds in Sydney in a few weeks. We had our last training session today before he flies to Sydney, and the guy is F-L-Y-I-N-G. Literally. He gets on a plane tomorrow and he’s leaner, meaner and in the best form of his life. Matt Diefenbach’s his name. Watch for him.

I’m gathering years of training journals and came across some fun things I wanted to share.

From the race program for the 2004 Masters World Championships, the organizers in Manchester asked for our most admired sportsperson (very British of them). My response was:

Sir Roger Bannister: For breaking through pre-conceived ideas about what was possible.

First man to break the 4 minute mile. I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Roger while  working for Runner’s World magazine. My brother and I approached him like a couple groupies. He was a charming man. If I find the picture, I’ll post it.

Fanny Blankers-Koen:  For breaking through what was thought possible for a woman.

World record holder, Olympic gold medalist, European champion, unbelievable athlete. Her list of titles is a mile long. She won 4 Olympic Gold medals in 1948 as a married mother of two! This woman was a Goddess. I don’t think gals were even supposed to run back then, lest we faint. They called her the “Flying Housewife.”

And finally, when my husband and I started dating he used to leave or send me these notes. On April 29, 2004 he sent me one of his ‘cookies’, soon after I committed to winning a Masters World Championship that year:

One of the redeeming things about being an athlete—one of the real services we can perform—is to redefine what’s humanly possible.

We cause people to reconsider their limits, to see that what looks like a wall may really just be an obstacle in the mind.

I have to thank Sir Lance for that one. It’s particularly useful for what I’m doing.

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Pay it forward

This might just be my favorite moment of the past season.

A few Sundays ago, I got to pass along the beautiful carbon fiber Teschner frame a good friend bought for me to race the LA World Cup last year. “You can’t race a World Cup on an aluminum frame,” my benefactor said. 

I got picked up by Giant Bicycles this season and still pinch myself that I get to ride their super-sleek, super-stiff TCR Advanced track frames (aka the ‘Bullet’ and ‘Rocket Ship’); which meant my Teschner was gathering dust, waiting for the right person to pass it along to.

Enter Miss Mary Costello, who stepped up this year and really put the work in. You could see it in her results, and in the well-earned swagger she now carries herself with both on and off the bike. She’s been racing for a few years. She used to be shy, and now we can’t get her to be quiet. Sweet and good-natured off the bike, . . . ferocious killer instincts on it. It’s a beautiful thing. 

Mary’s targeting a Junior World Championship next year, so no hoping about it. This frame will bring her all the motivation, confidence and success it brought me!

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