This has been a year of saying “yes” to opportunities that present themselves and exploring new adventures. When the opportunity presented itself to race and represent the Amy D Foundation for 3 single day races in Boise, Idaho came up, I couldn’t imagine how grateful I would be for this chance to say “yes,” and have a new adventure. Last year, I met Beth Ann Orton. She introduced me to the Amy D Foundation. After meeting Beth Ann, I looked into the foundation and submitted an application, hoping for the opportunity to represent and race for Amy Dombroski. I was excited when I received an email from Desiree, the Amy D Foundation director, asking if I was interested in racing the 3 races in Boise, Idaho. As a wife, mother of three younger children and fulltime fitness manager, I am grateful for the foundation supporting women, like myself, to pursue dreams of racing at an elite level and giving us the opportunity to race at professional level and team. I said “yes” to the opportunity to race in the Chrono Kristin Armstrong UCI 1.2 Time Trail, the Boise Twilight Criterium, part of the USA Crit Series, and the Chicken Dinner Road Race. I was thrilled to say “yes,” but also torn, because I was asked to ride in honor/memory of my close friend Marika Stone, who was tragically taken too soon while on a road ride at the end of last year, at a local Bend, OR fundraiser ride the same weekend. After talking with Marika’s family, I graciously said “yes” to the Amy D Foundation and rode for both Amy D and Marika Stone.
I drove to Boise from Bend, filled with emotions of excitement and nervousness about the level of racing. Upon arriving, I met Scott, the team mechanic who happily welcomed me and two of the other team riders, Marta and Anna. Scott gave us the awesome Blue and Orange Amy D kits from Pearl Izumi, two helmets and a pair of sunglasses from Lazer. He also quickly went to work on our bikes while we changed to get ready for an easy team spin. I was appreciative to have the support of Desiree, Katheryn and Scott throughout the weekend, with getting my TT bike UCI regulation legal, race registration, logistics and race wisdom, encouragement and support. Since this is a year of saying “yes,” I said “yes” to racing the UCI Time Trail and I am grateful I did, because it helped calm my nerves and got my mind in race mode. I learned so much on and off the bikes and made wonderful friendships.
Ron and Amy Miller and their two kids were our host family. They were so kind and welcoming, and I am happy to be able to call them friends. I was beyond grateful to have the support and belief of Desiree, Katheryn, Scott and all the other Amy D team riders, Manuela, Anna, Marta, Tori and Jane throughout the races in Boise. I went into the Boise Twilight Criterium nerves and enthusiastic, racing on the Amy D Scott team bike, because I cracked my fork on a team easy warm up spin Saturday morning. I had so much fun racing in the crit Saturday night in downtown Boise because I was racing for Amy D and Marika, I knew my Amy D team believed in me, I pushed myself and worked hard throughout the 60 minutes of the crit striving to test my limits reminding myself how blessed I am to be riding and racing. Katheryn, said to the team before the crit,”you don’t want to be the last Amy D rider.” That was a huge motivator and seeing my teammates in the bright orange Lazer helmets gave me a rush of energy and joy, knowing how many races it’s just me, no teammates. The field was beyond strong, and my husband told me before the crit, “make Amy D Foundation proud and get as much visual time in the front, give all you have, don’t finish wishing for more.”
Coming from Bend, OR, I was worried about the temperature for Sunday’s Chicken Dinner Road Race, 63 miles starting at 12noon with expected temperatures above 100 degrees. I normally like climbing and feel strong on courses like Chicken Dinner RR, but Sunday was not a normal day for me in the heat. I felt strong on the first two laps. On the second lap teams initiated attack after attack. At the base of the steep hill another attack went, I started seeing double and felt sick. I thought to myself, “push it and not finish” or “race my own race and finish.” I didn’t want to let my Amy D team down, but I couldn’t go with the attack. I pushed on seeing the Amy D heart on the Scott team bike and worked with a group of four other riders. We persevered together working hard to not let the lead group increase the gap. I had moments where I thought about quitting, but I would look down at the bike to get more water and see the Amy D heart and remembered “the why” I was racing, for Amy D, Marika and my teammates. I finished 11th place chasing down the 10th place women just seconds ahead of me. I was happy I raced and persevered to finish.
In all, the five days in Boise with the Amy D Foundation team was an experience I will never forget. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to meet amazing people, make wonderful new friendships, push beyond limits and find confidence within myself. I grew more as person not just from the racing, or from being the oldest rider. I had the opportunity to share life wisdom with my teammates, reminding our Boise team that without the Amy D Foundation, Dan Dombroski, Desiree, Katheryn, and Scott, none of us women would have the experience to pursue our dreams. Thank you all.