Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Holidays from the 2009 Div III Team of the Year

It has been snowing for the last 15 hours, and I cannot see the ground. I can't ride outside either, but I'm feeling strangely calm, grateful, and happy. Someone once told me that it's impossible to find a cycling team in which you get along with everyone, and that you want to train, ride, and race with everyone. Well, I think this team has that, and so much more. The key may lie within the word "balance." Cycling isn't the first and foremost priority in any of our lives; family and friends are. Having this perspective strengthens our relationships with one another, and we always support each others' decisions, even if we don't agree.

The intention of this blog entry wasn't to share our philosophy; most already know it through observation. It's to show that our "wins" are not limited to what's accomplished during the racing season. Like our training, our teamwork is in action year-round. Friday morning USA Cycling announced the 2009 Team of Year awards, and I had learned that our team had won it for Division III. Thanks to our talented, dedicated, and selfless secretary, Robin Meidhof, we got our binder, documentation, and application in on time and put forth - as always - our best.

So why did we win? I think the secret is simply passion. Our energy is focused on being the best, on giving back to the community, and on promoting women's cycling because the only feeling better than winning is winning together. All of our sponsors are part of this team just as much as the cyclists. They happen to be the ones "behind the scenes," but we share the same philosophy.

Happy holidays from our entire team and sponsors!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

City of Specialized Love

A peloton of green descended on Philadelphia this past weekend as Badger, Chicken and Sonja came up to visit the northern contingent of CAWES! The plan? Get together for a weekend of riding, eating, drinking, and schmoozing with our favorite Specialized rep, Mike Abrams! Of course, as expected, some hi-jinx ensued.

One of the really important issues to be deal with this weekend, was the plan for our new 2010 kit design. We spent much time trying on the box full of clothing sent by Verge to make sure that we were happy with the cuts, sizing and quality.

We also needed to decide on one of a few concepts drawn up by the great Carlos Cabalu and then we began to discuss our color scheme. Would we keep with the standard double green and yellow or move on to a new scheme to take us into the new decade?

Alaina suggested that we take a cue from her undies and add a lovely magenta to the kit! This is, of course, a scientifically proven way to successfully choose kit colors!

Sonja also wanted to help us out with the recent cycling protests against new city legislations...

Saturday morning rose with chilly temps but BEAUTIFUL blue skies that called to us and our bikes! We bundled up and got ready to head out for a 50 miler. Joining us on the road was Mike from Specialized and we were lead by the great team of Maria and Mischa.

Robin had an unfortunate mishap with her shifter and we attempted to stop by High Road Cycles to try to see if there was a possibility for a quick fix. Since the situation was deemed unrepairable, Robin decided to grab another Specialized for the rest of the ride. I think she was mostly drawn to the color.

Despite the chilly temps, we were nothing but smiles after riding through some gorgeous areas of Philly. Lots of rolling hills and curvy roads took us out to Wayne, PA and back into Manayunk. Somewhere along the way, we took this great shot of us with Mike.

That night, Mike and Maureen were gracious enough to have us all over for dinner. When we asked what we could bring, Mike said - wine and dessert. So, we brought him both! :) Note the Specialized "S" that appears on Mike's Carrot Cake!

Not to mention the scarf and Davy Crocket hat that the wine wore (Cycles Gladiator wine, no less!).

We had a great time sitting, eating, drinking, and chatting with Mike and Maureen...

And snuggling with the adorable Maggie...

And we also found out that Mike went to the trouble of finding us the PERFECT moto-pacing vehicle. Turns out, it's just been sitting in his garage waiting for us! :) Now, if that doesn't have CAWES written all over it, then it SHOULD!!!

Thanks again to Mike and Maureen for a very fun evening!

And thanks to Alaina and Hoover for opening up their house to everyone for the weekend! Even if it does appear to be haunted by this strange spectre that was captured on camera....or is it just the elusive Grimace coming out due to the chilly temps?!?!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

End of the season wrap up

Juniors' Day Out and Maryland Special Olympics Fall Games

The chicas of Team CycleLife p/b Specialized helped out at the Junior's Day Out event September 26. For most of the team, it was the last cycling event of the year (though the girls weren't racing). It was also an opportunity to finally give back to the sport in a very small, but hopefully significant way. The CycleLife members donated together lots of cycling items including clothes, tires, gloves, socks, hats, and other equipment for the purpose of this event. Although the weather was a bit chilly and raining in the afternoon, the women rode with the special olympic cyclists in every event throughout the course of the day ensuring that they were more than motivated to get to the finish line. More importantly, the team helped monitor the safety of the riders and tried to provide as much support on and off the course, at the registration table, at the awards table, and even serving as podium girls! Overall, the event proved to be a success, and the promoters did a fantastic job with the race.

A quick recap of the season

Cyclists are known for their discipline, focus, and near obsession of training and racing. It's really a sport that doesn't allow much time for relaxing and slacking (even during the off-season). Each year, most riders improve from a year of intense training and racing, but there's always room for even more growth when looking ahead at the upcoming season. The strong women of Team CycleLife ended this year with a bang; Leslie won the Senior Women BAR, Christina won the Cat 3 BAR, and Sara, Robin, and Jen all upgraded to Cat 2. Despite stresses from work, injuries from races, and the ups and downs in life, the team was able to perform well and deliver fantastic results throughout the year. With the exception of one or two races, the team consistently placed in the top 3 in every local race. Furthermore, the girls were competitive racing among the best in the country in the National Calendar Races (NRC professional races).

Sponsors are awesome (So awesome Sonja raises a bike in your honor)

This year couldn't have been possible without the strong support through the year of our sponsors. Sometimes people just think it's all about the money; it's not at all. It is helpful to have the financial support, and it relieves the team from individual burdens that come with the high costs of the sport. More importantly, it keeps the team focused on what's important: racing together and achieving great results as a team because we aren't wasting time worrying about funding. The money you give us keeps us going, and believe it or not, it helps keep the team solid, strong, and together through tough times too! It's also great to know that there are other people who believe in what we do - people who support us, and people who understand why we choose this lifestyle. Thank you to all of our sponsors! We never take you for granted, and we hope you've enjoyed working with us as much as we have with you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Junior's Day Out Sept. 26th

We're psyched to be co-sponsoring the Junior's Day Out & Maryland Special Olympics Fall Games with T.E.A.M. FUJI on Sept. 26th in Sykesville, Maryland. Tons of racing opportunities and prizes. See flyer below (if any problems reading it, click on the flyer and it will expand). Register at SportsBaseOnline here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Master's Worlds

Epic. Fantastic. Heartbreaking. Inspiring. Cool.

That pretty much summarizes the trip to Austria to compete in the Masters Worlds. Having gotten my feet wet last year, I came back this year to win the Masters World Championship. It was the race that I'd thought about all year. The race that motivated me when I sat on my trainer in the basement all winter long. Every other race this year was preparation.

I was competing in three races, the World Cup, the World Championship, and an "elite" race to finish out the week. I'd learned my lesson last time and decided to forgo the stress of trying to do the time trial too.

So the results...
2nd at the Master's World Cup race, 3rd at the Master's World Championship, and 1st at the elite race.

I was thrilled overall, but have to admit that I was disappointed with the Championship race. It's hard to come that close and know that something was within your grasp, but you just didn't do what you needed to do. I've replayed the finish a million times thinking of all the things that I could've done differently.

And the damn advice that I was given at the beginning of the season kept coming back to haunt me..."the little things are what will make the difference when you're sprinting against someone who is just as strong or stronger than you are." I screwed the finish up royally.

After that I figured that I'd just race the elite race and see what happened...wouldn't you know that the sprint finally came together and I got the win.

That was the racing part. The rest of the trip is what's its really about. I can't do the experience justice though so hopefully the pics will...

Downtown St. Johann in Tirol

The top of the climb on the road race course where hundreds of fans hang out, yell, and get drunk. Seeing a pack of 80 year old+ riders digging deep and getting over this thing is one of the most inspiring things you'll ever see.

World Cup Prize = Giant beer.
Me = a drunk bridesmaid.

On the podium with Michella Gorini (Italy) and Sarah Storey (Great Britain) for the Master's World Championship ceremony. That's me rocking a Sarah Palin updo.

Sarah Storey (left) was a gold medalist at the Paralympics in cycling and crushed the time trial at Worlds. At the elite race she gave me a world class leadout!

At the start before the last race...lots of chaos in the background. And the mountain that we'll soon be climbing.

The podium after the elite race next to Martina Ruzickova (CZE) and Jacqueline Hahn (AUT). They actually had to stage this cause I missed the real ceremony... we had gotten bad information about the ceremony running late and had returned to the hotel. Oops!

My first international win! I'm keeping this.

The photographer finally has the camera turned on him.

One final random comment...they drug test at this race. The woman who won the 30-40 year olds race last year ended up getting disqualified because she failed. The penalty is a 2 year ban from the UCI. Supposedly, out of 20 athletes tested last year, three were positives! That's outrageous! I hope they start publishing the names of every athlete that fails. Dopers suck.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Winner x 3

Jen Cheng wraps up her season with a hat trick in the 540 Development W3/4 Series.

540 Series Part II - Jen Cheng - 1st place
540 Series Part III - Jen Cheng - 1st place
540 Series Omnium - Jen Cheng -
1st Overall

Congrats Jen!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Congrats to Our Newest Cat 2!

Go Robin! She's worked her arse off this year and deserves it. And in case there was any question . . . her palmares include a win at Bike Jam, Grandview Grand Prix, and a 3rd in Tour of the Gila crit. And yes, and all this while planning her wedding and baking a mean cherry pie. I think she practices law on the side, too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Congrats to Our Newest Cat 2!!!

Go Sara! She's worked her arse off this year and deserves it. And in case there was any question...this photo is of her winning the Cat 3 Crit Championship (photo courtesy of Jim Wilson)... And yes, she can beat you at arm wrestling too, why do you ask?

Tyler & Me... a Couple of Bridesmaids

Yep - that's one of my favorite pictures! Tyler Farrar and me at CSC last year. I wish his sprinting abilities had rubbed off. Unfortunately I think he caught my bridesmaid condition.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hagerstown and Dawg Days

So its Monday after a hard weekend of racing. Am I the only one who feels hungover?? Granted, I'm allergic to alcohol and technically don't know what it feels like to be in the said state of "hungover", but I imagine it feels like this. Dog tired (like I actually fell asleep at my desk today). Puffy face. Bad headache. Gotta love this hobby of ours. But I digress....

Saturday was the MABRA criterium championships in Hagerstown, MD (what a great venue. thanks AVC!). We knew going into the race that the tactics would be a bit tricky because there were two jerseys to be for the 1,2s and one for the 3s. The plan was to keep things aggressive while ultimately protecting our sprinters and overall BAR contenders in each category. Sonja started things off hard with a long initial attack/pull. I countered in what I thought was just going to be one in a chain of attacks that would keep the pace up...but only Erin (Artemis) went with me. So, we just decided to hang out for a bit up the road (by "bit" I mean 50 freaking minutes of pain). We worked super well together with her pulling through the longer, curvier back side of the course and me taking over for the windy straight-away through the start/finish. The officals consistently gave us time gaps of 20-30 seconds from what we thought was the entire field...but turns out they were giving us splits from Sonja and Leslie and then just Leslie as they tried to bridge up to compete for the 1,2 win. I definitely pulled like a crazy person every time I heard the gap go yep, maybe time to get out the race radios again. Erin and I were able to hold the gap , literally proclaiming our love for each other throughout the last lap (bet that doesn't happen too often in the men's fields). She took me in the sprint, taking the overall win...but we both got to walk away with our first big championship wins! Leslie finished second for the 1,2s as the sole chaser, and Jen took the field sprint for second in the cat 3s. Special thanks to Sonja and Christina for controlling (and dealing with some frustrating tactics) back in the field.

Check out the nice article about the race in the local Hagerstown paper (and check out the pain grimace in the pic from the article).

On Sunday we welcomed Michelle back after a few weeks off nursing an injured knee . Michelle, Sonja, Christina, Jen, Leslie, and I lined up in a much larger field for the 1st Annual Dawg Days of Summer circuit race. What a fitting name for the race. The open, unshaded course was mucho hot and windy. With the heat, wind, and sprinter phenom Sarah Caravella in the field, we knew it was not going to be an easy day. Michelle led it off followed by a number of failed attacks from CycleLife, Sarah, Team Kenda, Artemis, and others. It didn't seem like anything was going to get away until Leslie countered a strong attack from Jen late in the race, taking Amanda (Artemis) and Chris (Kenda) with her. The trio would ultimately stick it (seriously guys, I don't know how you did it) with Leslie taking the win. Back in the field, we settled in for the field sprint after pulling in the only chase group. Sonja drove the lead out for an entire lap...allowing Jen to take over with a RIDICULOUS acceleration to take the field sprint. In the end, we walked away with two primes (Michelle and Leslie), first (Leslie) for the 1,2s, and first (Jen) and second (Christina) for the 3s. All and all, not a bad weekend if I do say so myself :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Independence Day - literally

After an exhausting week at Nationals where LJ and Sonja consistently placed top 5 in all three of their races, a successful weekend for the Cat 3s locally, the team happily took a long rest weekend to regroup, chill out, and do some fun stuff. Chicken and Jen ventured out on the 3rd to Rock Creek Park to take advantage of the closed roads and stopped for some fresh cantaloupes and peaches along the way.

Riding with Chicken is entertaining because she talks about her "rest weeks" and how they included a spontaneous Goon ride, Arlington Hill ride, and a Kelley Acres ride all in one week. Jen's rest week looks nothing like that...

Jen's rest week included a lot of fun team rides, BBQs, and learning how to ride other "bikes." Although she wasn't used to riding in so much heavy gear, it's still fun to ride at 100 mph. Speed is under-rated!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sports and Spinal Bike Clinic at Hains Point

In conjunction with Sports and Spinal PT, Cyclelife racers Sonja Evers and Christina Briseno put on the first of many bike clinics which will be held Wednesdays from noon to 1 PM (excluding next week.) Today we practiced double and single paceline drills and discussed proper group riding etiquette. In two weeks we will practice cornering and bumping (in the grass.) The turnout today was great and we all had a lot of fun! Come and join us next time at Hains Point at noon on the Wednesday, June 8th. 

Tour of Washington County

Worker Chicken with Goat and LJ in tow

Last laps of the TOW crit

 TOW was a great success! Cyclelife powered by Specialized put it down and dominated. Check results here:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fat knees and bruised hips

As the events of last weekend slowly fade into memory, two more items to share. The above picture is one. And second, Michelle informed me last night that as I was sitting in the middle of the hot pavement, post-crash, shell-shocked, I made the comment: "I knew I was going to run over either a person or a bike..." It was only after Mitch got home that she realized I chose her.... I blame that decision on my alter-ego.

Mitch's fat-knee is healing up nicely. Fortunately, I did not require any stitches in my fat-hip, but the bruising is still pretty darn awful looking....and feeling.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I ran over my teammate today

So it's a great day when you can get off your bike and walk, knowing tomorrow, you have the ability to get back on and ride. Unbroken, but for your spirit.

Considering the recent wrist fracture our teammate Wendy has had, I cannot complain about a severely bruised hip, a little-bitty road rash on my elbows and waist and an egg on my inner right knee. The advil and Pinot are already helping me along. Unfortunately, Michelle had to make the dreaded hospital visit for some stitches to her knee. I think some of her knee skin is still on my 53 tooth chain-ring.

Church Creek: Women's Open Team Time Trial. All we had to do was finish to win. Even if one of us got a flat, just two had to finish....

15km from the finish, Sonja riding in the front hit the lip (1 inch drop) on the surface of the road and with the skinny tires on a TT bike and less ability to maneuver to stay upright, it was a slide onto her left shoulder as she slammed into the paved road. Michelle, second in line, and an inch from Sonja's wheel, hit the pavement next. She likely would have survived more unscathed, but for me, third in line, on aero bars, an inch behind in her draft. I recall hearing screaming, some carbon scraping, and then watching in slow-motion as I rode over Sonja's new Specialized TT bike (on loan from Chicken, sorry Chicken!) and those nice wheels. It hurt me to ride over those wheels, in the half-second my brain thought about it, before it hurt more to fly my Specialized ass over handlebars onto the black sticky-tar road.

Big thanks to Michelle from All American Bicycle Club (?) who scooped me up from the burning pavement to place me in the grass. More thanks to the local couple driving by in a large pickup truck who picked us all up and put our three bikes and Sonja and me in the back of their truck bed. There was a lot of blood in this truck bed. Not ours. It was deer blood, some guts, and smatterings of deer hair...and a big trash bag of beer bottles, which I grasped onto so it wouldn't fly out into the road as the couple carted the three of us back to the school and our cars.

We tried to think of a cool story.

Yeah, we were out there pacing at 27mph and all of sudden these three deer darted across the road and took us out. Yeah, that's what happened. You think we look rough? You should have seen the deer.

You'll note my chain ring tracks on Michelle's skinsuit. Unfortunately, I left a chain-ring tattoo running from her torso straight down to her knee... (see above picture) ; (

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

So we don't take ourselves too seriously...

Courtesy of the Washington Post ( Thanks to Maile Neel for sending my way.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Vengeful Mistress

Bike's addictive, all consuming, when it's good there's nothing better, and when it's bad it can boil your bunnies.

On the plus side for the team this weekend...

The 1/2's had a large, competitive field at the RFK crit. No crashes. A very generous prize list. All the ladies worked hard and CycleLife had a top 10 placing. A very good day. Oh and in case you care about the actual results...LVG 1st, Tina Pic 2nd (ed. note: copy & paste for future race reports).

Click here if you want to see the video of the finish hosted on Hub's website.

Even better, our Cat 3's dominated their race at RFK...

With one lap to go Sara launched a solo move that stuck all the way to the end!

Jen won the field sprint for 2nd place and stared down the competition. Meanwhile Robin came in for 5th and Christina followed after putting the hurt down.

On the downside...

After having a good day at RFK, Wendy, Melanie, and I traveled up to Somerville, NJ. The race is not the most selective and ended up with dangerous mushrooming on the backside. With two laps to go a huge crash took out about 15 riders ...including Wendy. A second crash on the last lap almost took me out too, but I was lucky and had just enough room to squeeze through. I like to think it looked ninja-like, though probably not so much. Tina Pic won.

We spent a few hours at the hospital where we learned that Wendy had broken her wrist. After hours of waiting, they then performed what can only be described as medieval medicine - yanking Wendy's arm back into place. Wendy is very, very brave. I cried much more than she did. Though Mel swears she could hear the yells in the waiting room.

The good news - Wendy may not need surgery and is taking good drugs. The bad news - the drugs only do so much and she won't be on the bike for a while.

Wendy with a sad face at the hospital. Note the puke bucket. Fortunately it's empty.

This is a rough sport. One day you can be on top of the world, and the next you question the point. For now, we take it one day at a time and hope that Wendy heals fast.