At Vanderbilt, I didn’t learn to race a bike. No, I was studying running. But the managerial studies classes did teach me that where there is a need, there is an opportunity. And, surprisingly enough, for all those minutes that I squirmed on painful hamstrings in a classroom, those studies help in what I’ve chosen to go after with my degree. Bike racing.
I graduated in December 2011, crippled and spending 90 minutes on the spin bike in the locker room every morning. I couldn’t run, but I could do a number on that bike. Unfortunately, you can’t race a stationary bike. And, unfortunately, you go semi-insane pedaling nowhere every day. So, when I returned home to California, I gave up my spin bike for a road bike. I didn’t know what opportunities it would present, but I was hopeful that it would fill my need. I needed a new sport to compete in, one that brought me happiness rather than pain.
By the end of the 2012 season, I had racked up some Cat 3/4 results as the solo racer on Big Orange. I was clueless, but I was happy. I enjoyed my 4-hour recovery rides, and I thought I could win a crit by starting my sprint a lap before everyone else. Soon enough I realized that I was not going to keep rising in the sport if I didn’t begin to listen to some people that had more than a season under their belt. I recognized my needs and opened myself to opportunities.
Going into the 2013 season, I had my eyes set on more than happily competing. I wanted to start to tap into my potential, and I wanted to do so on a women’s team. First came the bike fit with Ron Peterson, and then came the training. Next came the search for a team and confirming that I was not the only So Cal racer in need of a road racing team. I saw a need, and SPY made the most of the opportunity, helping me form the SPY Giant Ride team. Early in the season, we collected numerous podium spots locally and I had my first try at a stage race.
Stage races and my first NRC event exposed me to what seemed like a whole different sport than the local road races, and I fell in love with national level racing. I knew I would need mentors to help guide me in the right direction, and local Olympians Dotsie Bausch and Amber Neben provided me with all the encouragement and tough love that I needed. After a couple podiums at Sea Otter, I was looking to continue the 2013 season with some NRC races. I also knew I would need teammates and staff to help me learn to race effectively at that level. Team TIBCO saw my needs and created an opportunity for me.
I could not be more grateful to Team TIBCO for not only recognizing my needs and weaknesses, but for seeing them as opportunities. Cycling is full of talented and driven young women who are just looking for a chance to pour their hearts into the sport and see where it takes them. I look forward to sharing my journey on Team TIBCO and hope to keep other young racers believing that there ARE opportunities in women’s cycling and more are coming.