I’ve been home for a couple weeks now since traveling to the inaugural Tour of Utah Women’s Edition (TOUWE) with the fine Colavita Crusher squad. A huge thank you to the one and only Olivia Dillon for bringing me along to complete the lineup with Lindsay Bayer and Whitney Schultz. It was the first time in the 10 year history of the race that professional women were invited to participate. We raced a 30 mile circuit race on a mostly flat car racing track finishing about an hour ahead of the dudes.
But, first things first. I am still stoked that it’s so darn easy to ride my bike to the airport. On my way, I scooted past cars backed up for close to a mile, they were barely moving, and I was able to ding my bell and fly by them on the side pulling my trailer with Popsicle, my city bike. This isn't the first (nor the last) time I’ve used the smartest form of transportation to get to the airport, but it is the first time it was actually faster than it would have been in an automobile. Bikes are best, that is all.
Upon arriving in Utah, I was flabbergasted to find my bike had been severely damaged by the apparent oversight of some Southwest baggage personnel. Either this thing was attacked by bears, or dragged for a great distance behind a baggage cart. Either way, I am in the process of making sure I am appropriately compensated for this damage:
Back to Utah racing. I would like to express my heartfelt thank-you to the organizers and those who are fighting tireless hours to elevate womens cycling. The momentum is increasing, the fans are flocking (sort of, I signed a few jerseys, not because they knew who I was, just because I was smiling and about to race my bike for a team that is pretty legit), the world is starting to pay attention to women racing bikes and I will do what I can to help keep the momentum going.
The National Racing Calendar originally included a 157 mile 10,000 feet of climbing race to take place in Park City, Utah (for women) in August. It was the race that I wrote on my calendar with about 10 exclamation points after it. But alas, it was canceled and a criterium was sketched in in it’s place. It felt a bit like this one time at a local crit they announced a $50 cash prime for the winner of the lap and then realized they had made a mistake, that was for the men and we were all sprinting for a couple of gu packets.
As it turned out, however, the race was really fantastic (and overall much better than sprinting for a couple gu packets). Strong teams came out and I got to race beside some of the cycling legends of our time. I felt an enormous amount of excitement to be a part of the two events. We raced Monday at the Cedar City GP on a tough criterium course. While not officially a part of the Tour of Utah, it was affiliated and we raced under the banner and used the same podium. The finishing straight was slightly uphill into a strong headwind and the elevation somewhere slightly over 6,500 feet, so my sea-level self was in the pain cave for the better part of the hour, but managed to help accomplish our predetermined goals of getting Olivia in the Sprinters Jersey and set her up for a good finish. She sprinted to 4th and made us all proud!
In Cedar City, we stayed with a lovely family with 3 daughters. As it turns out, they own the only natural foods store in town so Olivia and I were spoiled with Kombucha. We were also treated to a glorious view of the whole city and surrounding mountains.
Wednesday the 6th of August we raced the official Tour of Utah Women’s Edition (TOUWE) on the Miller Motorsports raceway about an hour outside Salt Lake City. It was a fun and fast race with lots of action, you can read all about it here. We raced hard and aggressively and Olivia finished a solid top ten on a superfast day.
In Salt Lake we stayed with the most wonderful hosts; Cort and Rick Wiles! They have a lovely home close to good eats and good coffee, which is really all I need. Cort owns my favorite kind of restaurant - a breakfast place called Millcreek Cafe and Eggworks! Since eggs are my favorite food, I was very happy to eat a hearty breakfast here with the Colavita Crushers. We were even gifted souvenir t-shirts to bring home stating ‘Bacon makes everything better’ on the back, so true.
Another feature of the neighborhood was this T-rex crafted out of metal and living in the front yard of a nearby neighbor, Olivia demonstrates how to do a proper T-rex pose, so good, take note.
We made copious amounts of food (many veggies from Cort’s voluptuous garden!) and dined on the outdoor patio during our stay in Salt Lake. I even managed to cross paths with an old and dear friend, Anonabird, while she was wrapping up her first of two internships for her chosen profession of Occupational Therapy. It was so good to see her and, as always, I tried to convince her to come back to road racing, but I fear we’ve lost her to the dirt for good (where she does plenty of crushing). We used to race together back in the day, she’s a darn good teammate and super smart and ferocious bike racer.
I am stoked to have racing opportunities at such large events as Tour of Utah and I am looking forward to what the future holds. I’ve heard snip bits of an idea to create a wicked cool womens event and make it so damn good that everyone will at least raise their eyebrows in curiosity (what are those chicks doing over there? looks awesome and they are on TV, I want to go to there). The media will flock to watch the worlds strongest humans battle it out in true cycling fashion over some of the most challenging terrain this great continent has to offer and it will be broadcast for all the world to see!
The daydream of a world-class, well publicized (on the TV!) women’s cycling event in its entirety might be a few years down the road (or maybe not?), but I've heard of some great additions to the women’s calendar in 2015. It’s going to be good and always getting better.
I’ve been enjoying a few mellow weeks at home before I am off for one more racing block at the Gateway Cup in Saint Louis next weekend, August 29-September 1st, followed by USA Pro Criterium Nationals in Center Point, North Carolina, on the 6th. I am stoked to be racing with the FSC/Zngine squad for one final hurrah in this 2014 road season! I’ll be sure to report back on my findings.
Happy August, get yourself some adventure!
PS: I think we proved that Utah is the Wild Wild West (see below).