The first question I was asked this morning by the customs officer as I was entering Canada was where I was coming from. Maybe I got an unexpected wave of nerves since I'd stuffed a clove of garlic into my pack and just remembered it and realized I hadn't claimed it on my customs form, or maybe I've just been to a lot of places lately. Either way, I had to think for some long hard moments before I could answer truthfully, I was coming from Winston-Salem, in the great state of North Carolina. The officer didn't seem too phased by my apparent ineptitude once he realized I was in the same party as the woman directly ahead of me in the customs line, my teammate, who also couldn't recall where she was coming from.
It's been a great while since I put some words up on tinywoodenbox and my last post was riddled with some heavy winter metaphors. I will keep this update short and sweet.
A short summary of events, this is what I've raced so far this season with my badass team, Visit Dallas Cycling (damn right, we're sponsored by the city of Dallas, Texas):
Valley of the Sun : Phoenix, AZ, February : good early training race for the team. I rode the break in the road race with Olivia and a few other riders who beat us, we finished 4th and 5th respectively. Amber put in a solid TT and we all breathed in a lot of desert air. Lessons learned: crosswinds are rad. Communication is key, talk to your teammates, even when it's windy and you can't hear a damn thing, figure it out.
San Dimas Stage Race : somewhere east of L.A., March : Amber Neben smashed the opening stage (uphill TT) and so we defended all weekend. We were solid and, unbeknownst to everyone except us, Amber had some untimely super duper toe stub situation that broke her pinky toe straight through, bone cracked, gore, pain, etc. She raced in more pain than I can imagine and we all raced our hearts out to hold off the charging power of the Optum ladies, we kept yellow by some fraction of a second, WIN! Lessons Learned: fractions of seconds really matter in particular contexts (but we already sort of learned the value of fractions of things from Office Space, so old news.) Also cycling shoes double as a cast or a foot brace thanks to super stiff carbon, yay!
Redlands Cycling Classic : Redlands, CA, April : this was a really good one for us, Amber was second in individual GC, we WON team GC, and got Mango the win in the Sprint Competition. I personally had good races and contributed to our primary, secondary, and tertiary team goals with gusto. Lessons Learned: a year makes a big difference and my drivers license has at least 9 lives, lost and found again on the edge of the orange grove.
Joe Martin Stage Race : Fayetteville, AR, April : The team raced super well, Amber finished 3rd overall and everyone else smashed it hard. I crashed and got sick and didn't start the third stage. Lessons Learned and relearned: crashes are dumb but holding onto the car going 45 mph is a fun game.
Tour of the Gila : Silver City, NM, May: I 'raced' the first two road stages, came to the inevitable conclusion that I was indeed still ill, didn't start the next stage, flew home on a tiny ass plane, met some amazing people, got pretty stoked for my team racing so well, and slept for a week. Lessons Learned: You can make friends on some really hard stage way off the back. Also, don't be a dumb ass.
US Professional National Road Championship : Chattanooga, TN, May: This race was bananas (the good kind). Beth Ann and I were tasked with making an early break, so we played off each other, she went, I went and got away for half a lap, then the real TV breakaway went and BAO jumped on. From there, Amber shredded it super hard, made the very small selection happen by drilling it up Lookout Mountain the second time, and battled it out in the finish circuits, playing all her cards and finishing 4th in the sprint. This was a good day, happy team. Lessons Learned: having our events televised is super rad and Mango has the fastest pitching arm on the team.
Winston-Salem Cycling Classic : NC, May: This was like an extended criterium and it was hard. The only one of us to make the very small selection of finishers in a very high class field was Amber, she went in the winning move of two and finished second on the day to the strongest and fastest Belarusian in the whole world. She won a coffee mug and gave her flowers to some of our fans on the sidelines. Lessons Learned: some days positioning matters a whole lot more than other days and it's very humid in the South. You can also read this interview with Amber in CyclingNews.
Now we're in Canada and will be racing Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau on Thursday. A few of the Visit Dallas Cycling riders will also do the time trial on Friday. Mango and I are going to be tourists and learn all about Ottawa/Gatineau. I will snap some sweet pics and report back.
That's all for now, I've included some photos for your enjoyment.
Thanks for stopping by!
p.s. we are on a mission to find matching jumpsuits or rompers or whatever you call them. We will report back, watch the instagrams.