Riding bicycles uphill is kind of a metaphor for my life. Riding uphill is extremely hard work. Summiting is a unique and extreme joy. I love the combo.
This whole cycling thing is a complete surprise and mystery to me. I hardly feel it is me - perhaps instead I'm just channeling some athletic avatar. But I will admit that all my life I thought I could have "been a contender" and somehow I pulled it off in my 50's.
HUGE credit is due to my coach, Marti Shea, who is probably the greatest uphill woman racer of all time. I am not in her league in terms of performance, NOT REMOTELY. Nor would I have framed the goal as she did. I didn't consider myself a contender or even a very serious cyclist. She said I could do it if I worked for it. I had the potential - did I want to use it or not? That scared the heck out of me and it took a couple weeks to buy in. I knew how hard it would be. I had already worked harder than in any physical endeavor in my lifetime of athletics. But I stepped up. It was worth it.
My biggest brag is my Mt. Washington standing. The first time I climbed on top of the podium in 2013 was the athletic thrill of my life. And it is only bested in terms of life experiences to being a mother.
2013 1st place age group, 5th place overall and in the age/gender adjusted standings - #1 woman and #17 guy . To my additional great surprise, I also finished second overall in the BUMPS series in 2013. It’s a series of uphill time trials on the largest New England Mountains. Yep. Click here for 2013 BUMPS Series Results
2014 The year started super strong then devolved into injuries and multiple surgeries. It also included a driver plowing his car into me. He never looked left to take a right turn on red. Didn't hear my screams. I was slowly turning at about 5 mph. My bike was totaled though I limped away. I narrowly escaped going under his wheel. It happens. Miss that bike. We need to make the roads safer for everyone, somehow! One terrific highlight for 2014 however was being there at the summit to cheer everyone on. I'd never been a Mt. Washington spectator and it is a particular thrill. Can't describe - you have to experience it.
2015 I struggled back and ran out of time to hit my time goal but managed 1st place age group, 12th place overall Women, and in age/gender adjusted standings - #1 woman and #12 guy . I LOVE how older athletes move up in the rankings if they can hang in there. Nature is not terribly kind on our bodies but it's worth fighting for fitness...pays many dividends. I didn't race the BUMPS series in 2015.
WOW. Just rereading this, as I add in my 2015 results, gives me shivers. I have some new goals for the 2016 season. Come on up to the races!
2016 It's December 30th and I'm just getting around to posting this. Been a busy year! It was an intense and exhausting lead up to the race with an extremely demanding work life, lots of travel, a move to Guilford from Boston, many changes, also struggles with challenging mechanical issues. Such a list! For a time my life was pretty simple. Work. Train. Recover from training. Lots of body work and a crazy amount of ice baths. I have ice baths worked out to a total science. Must publish my methodology... I went into Mt. W with a package of goals. Topmost objective was to finish with absolutely nothing in the tank regardless of my standings. Done. I also wanted to win and set a record for my age group. Done (by 2.5 minutes). Also wanted to set one for the next one down. Missed by a mile. I realized early in the race that I was not having a peak day but I hung in and rode that race like my life depended on it. At the summit I felt wasted, happy, proud, very emotional ... and aware that I might not be quite finished yet with this thing I have going with the Rockpile. We'll see.