Saturday, September 27, 2014

The jam-packed race week was such an incredible way to start off the season. Clocked in SIX races for the week! Here’s a summary of an awesome week.

Sunday’s Castlerock 3/4 race was my first of the year. Boy, cyclocross is tough! Fought my way to 3rd place, crossed the line, and immediately lined up for the P/1/2 race, which followed right after. Didn’t have a stellar finish, but learned a lot.

On Tuesday, we headed out to CROSSVEGAS! I finally got to meet my amazing teammate Sarah Lukas. I really enjoy racing with her and look up to her as a racer and a strong woman. I can’t wait to get to know her more as the season progresses. CrossVegas was an interesting day. I started off with the boiler room USAC race and was killing it – I was off the front with two laps to go and was excited. However, bike racing as we all know doesn’t always favor the predicted winner or even the strongest cyclist. At 1 lap to go, my crank arm FELL OFF! I was disappointed that I got a mechanical, but my mechanical gave me the drive to enter the UCI race. My first UCI race was pure insanity! I learned so much, most likely reset my max heartrate, and felt so special getting to race alongside (well, behind, haha) the best of the best.

We then returned to Boulder for a weekend of two more UCI races. On the first day at the reservoir race, I unfortunately got a mechanical and had to drop out early. I was disappointed, but it gave me all the more fire to fight hard on Sunday at the iconic Valmont Park. Still yet, I got 3 dropped chains which was incredibly frustrating but a great learning experience. Once I realized that the bike wasn’t going to cooperate, I took it as an opportunity to practice racing with and dealing with mechanicals under pressure. No race will ever be perfect and you can’t give up when an obstacle comes. I know Amy would not.

I’m now on the east coast for a few weeks of racing out here, starting with Gloucester this weekend! Absolutely loving the beauty of New England fall and the intensity of New England racing. I even got to interview Kaitie Antonneau after she got 2nd place in the race today! Hope you enjoy the interview.

What have I learned so far this season? Cyclocross makes dinner taste GREAT.

Also – big thanks to Bike Flights for helping me get my beautiful bike to the east coast!

Michelle Khare


Monday, September 15, 2014

The whirlwind continues as we are already over four UCI races into the cyclocross season. My season seems to start earlier and earlier each year, and this season is no exception. A quick trip over the North Pole and the first race of the season was upon me at the C1 UCI Qiansen Trophy Cup in China. My second time back over there for racing, China can be a great way to start the season on a really fun course, and getting to spend time with Telenet Fidea rider Ellen Van Loy. Unfortunately, it took an exhausting toll on me and I came back to the States mentally and physically smashed. Not to mention, the new respiratory/head cold I acquired came back over too. While the racing was great and my fitness seemed to measure out alright for the early season, I was dreading the next race on the schedule out in Vegas.

Rider Presentation      Ellen Van Loy    image

Cross Vegas and Interbike are a bit of a different animal. It growls, and bites, and sometimes snuggles…but more growling and biting this time. With a stacked field, some horrid travel delays, and some nasty illness, Vegas was not my race.

What was more exciting was our upcoming weekend in Boulder for the US Open of Cyclocross and Boulder Cup. This would be a great opportunity for me and Michelle to head to the roots of the Amy D. Foundation and get to spend time with an amazing and supporting community. After a tough few days in Vegas, I think both of us needed it. This was my debut on Amy’s Orbea from when she raced on Luna. LTD Cycleworx was great in getting the bike set up within the hour before the race and making sure the fit was as close as possible and I really appreciated their patience in the time crunch. The racing was fun, the spectators so encouraging, and our Amy D. Foundation crew helping us the entire way. This carried over to Sunday’s awesome race out at Valmont Bike Park put on by DBC Events. While it is a challenging and technical course (and so well designed!), which I can appreciate so much, I would have moments of relief where I could shake the tunnel vision and look around at the spectators. So many people wearing the Foundation t-shirts by Handlebar Mustache, remembering Amy, and loving seeing her bike back out racing at Valmont again. It was impossible to have any feelings of disappointment in a race result knowing the bigger picture and having Amy pushing me the whole way.

The weekend was special as we could all feel as we got together for a dinner at fellow racer Chloe Woodruff’s family’s house in Boulder. It brought a lot of us together and it’s those moments when you really can take a break from the numbers, the data, the UCI points, and just enjoy our moments. It was the most exhaustively refreshing race weekend I could have had, and it just set such a positive tone for the rest of what is to come. So thankful for Bike Flights helping to get Amy’s Orbea back to Salt Lake City for me this week and Victory Circle Graphix for our Amy D Foundation stickers for our helmets and bikes for the season.

Sarah Lukas

Orbea


Friday, September 5, 2014

Being chosen for the Ride Like Amy D. Program quickly became the greatest, most unexpected surprise of my summer. Every day, I am getting more and more psyched for the upcoming CX season, the Amy D. Foundation, and for being a female cyclist, at a time when I was unsure if I was cut out for cycling. Although I am coming off a strong collegiate and summer road season and a U23 national title, I still lacked confidence in my place in this sport. Because of the Amy D. Foundation, I know that I have a place and a purpose as a female cyclist.

I never met Amy D., but I admired and still admire her from afar. Discussing crashes and death is taboo in the cycling community – it’s like saying “Voldemort” – we just don’t do it. Every day a cyclist returns home safely from a group ride, a race, or even just a commute, is a blessing. While death often brings silence and stillness, Amy’s did not – it brought together a community of voices to speak out. To these people, to Amy, to the Dombroski family, I am eternally grateful. Having spent just one week in Boulder, I have already met many of the people whose lives she touched; it’s hard to not have someone start a conversation with you when you’re riding the most beautiful bike in the world – Amy’s custom-made titanium Mosaic cross bike.

To that end, riding Amy’s bike admittedly has to be one of the weirdest but most awesome things I’ve been fortunate to experience, a little bit like wearing one of Michael Jackson’s million-dollar-valued Thriller costumes – it doesn’t belong to me, I’m totally not worthy, it’s absolutely sick, everybody on the street notices how awesome it is, and I still feel the radiance of its former owner.

The Amy D. Foundation has broken ground by providing a program to support both exceptional female cyclists like Erica Zaveta, as well as developmental cyclists like myself. Yesterday, I had my first ever professional bike fit at the Retul HQ with Todd Carver. It was so cool! They put sensor stickers all over my body and took really precise measurements of everything – I learned so much about my body and was able to see (via 3D imaging technology?!) how micro-adjustments to the bike completely transformed my alignment. Todd spent two hours with me working on every detail. Now, I have no excuses to go slow! Thank you, Retul!

Training in Boulder has been fantastic. This past weekend, I participated in the FasCat Coaching Jeremy Powers CX skills clinic. We reviewed all the basics (dismounting, remounting, etc.) but got into some pretty technical off-camber turns and descents! For a roadie, this was all new (but exciting)! I can’t wait to put this to work in a race-filled week next week! Sunday, I’m racing Castlerock; Wednesday, I’ll be racing CROSSVEGAS!; and that weekend I’ll be racing the Boulder Reservoir Race and Boulder Cup!

The life of a cyclist is never static, and while it’s been a crazy journey, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Michelle Khare


 

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