In the cycling world we sometimes equate our lives to that of a traveling circus. A single month during the season can take you to five or six different countries, across border after border, finish line after finish line, and in more hotels than you can possibly remember. Planes, trains, and automobiles shuttle our lycra clad team around as we take over small towns and country roads throughout the world.
I wrote my last Equator blog one month ago while traveling to a stage race in France. Stage racing is essentially the circus within the traveling circus and this particular one was the perfect example of life on the road as a professional cyclist. We raced over eight days, with varying stages including a prologue (a short, timed, individual event, usually under 5KM), three flat stages, three mountain stages, and an individual time trial. Each day we moved hotels and start locations as we raced point to point across France. When racing in France it is imperative that your coffee comes with you and my trusty pour over kit made an appearance each and every morning.
This type of racing is my personal favorite as I am a strong time trialist and climber, which makes going for the overall win during long tours a perfect goal. I also love the team dynamics that develop throughout a tour, to win a stage race it takes hard work and unity by the entire team, one of the most beautiful aspects of cycling. My team did an incredible job of supporting me throughout that tour and I ended up 2nd overall after 8 solid days of racing.
Since then I have been to Sweden, Spain (my European home between races), a new part of France, Belgium, Holland, and then back to Spain again. In Sweden we raced a one day World Tour race that included four technical dirt sections throughout stunningly beautiful farmland. The next stop was another one day World Tour race in Plouay, France which was raced around a demanding circuit with hills, narrow roads, and technical sections. Between France and Holland my team had a short stop over in Belgium to break up the travel, and then it was back at it for the Holland Ladies Tour. This tour was a slightly different format as we stayed in the same location for a week and raced in various surrounding cities each day.
This race consisted of five road races and a team time trial. On stage four of the tour I attacked and initiated the race winning breakaway of 12 riders, which also included my teammate Sarah. This was an ideal situation for us as Sarah is a very fast sprinter, so we had two great cards to play. I attacked the break throughout the race trying to escape and go solo, but the riders in the break were keen for a sprint finish and kept it sewn together. I was all in for Sarah and rode hard on the front for the last few kilometers and delivered her to the last corner. She out-sprinted the other riders and took the stage win! We both cheered like crazy as we crossed the line and did the inevitable hug, cheer, dance, scream, and repeat routine that follows any stage win.
Holland Ladies Tour was my last team race of the season, so I headed back to Spain, packed up my apartment for the winter and am currently flying back to the States. I have been in Europe for three months so heading home to see family and friends is beyond exciting. Along with getting to see all my favorite people, it is the small things about being home that I get so excited about; shopping at my favorite grocery store, eating all the things you can’t get in Europe (salted crunchy almond butter from Traders Joes and Sol Food being the two main sources of my day dreaming), and of course my recovery rides to Equator! Nothing is better than an easy spin to the Larkspur cafe for a cold brew on the sunny patio. Hope to see you all there!
Training Tip: Fuel your ride- so often people new to cycling don’t realize how important fueling a ride can be and often end up learning the hard way with an epic bonk. Bonking is that empty, horrible, performance crushing, brain blurring feeling that hits you like a ton of bricks on rides when your calorie intake doesn’t match the output. This often leads to desperate convenient store binges! This is 100% avoidable and is the number one reason cycling jerseys were made with pockets. Stash snacks before you head out; bars, bananas, or my personal favorite baked goods! Eating every hour of your ride is a good place to start and can ward off the dreaded bonk. Eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty and it’ll keep your riding longer and stronger.
Brew Tip: Weight matters- coffee is chemistry and the amount of beans to water is critical. Using a scale, such as the Hario Coffee Drip Scale is perfect! The golden ratio is 15 grams of water per gram of coffee. One cup of coffee requires about 24 grams of coffee so that is 360 grams of water, enjoy!