Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The first weekend in June is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Not only is it one of my FAVORITE races, it also has the coolest race name: BUMP and Grind. It is my kind of trail and I usually either do very well or go down in a flaming ball of greatness (flat tires, broken wheels, broken body, etc). Last year I won BUMP for the first time ever (after many years of being close and having "issues") and it felt great!!! I was really hoping to repeat again this year but my miserable cold had turned into a full blown sinus infection. I didn't feel horrible I just had no high end or pep. Not ideal for a race weekend...

I decided to do the entire omnium (XC, STXC and Super D) because it is part of a bigger three race series that includes other events I will be doing. As long as I'm there, why not?? (Okay, I know: sinus infection. But besides that..) We arrived Friday and I rode part of the course; I wasn't going to ride the whole thing before the race regardless - it was a 32 mile loop. I'm not a fan of the 3+ hour pre-ride.

Saturday I was the only pro woman doing the short track so I lined up with the pro men. I held on to them for about 20 seconds and then I settled in to a moderate pace and got some good pre-ride jumps. I did pass one of the men at the end who was also saving his leg for Sunday's big show. Later that afternoon I lined up for the Super D and I was the FIRST rider off. Yikes. Nothing like racing down the mountain knowing that the pro men are right behind you. I got to the Blood Rock section of the trail and dropped my chain!!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I tried to shift it back on but it was jammed up. Apparently really jammed. I got it fixed but it wouldn't stay on the bike after that so I coasted to the finish slightly bummed about my run. I then found out that my chain got bent and twisted and I needed a new chain. Great. Fortunately my awesome hubby ran to the local Trek dealer and got me rolling again.

Sunday it was time for the big day. Paula and I lined up and after a short pavement start we went into the woods with her on my wheel. I felt strong but not fast so I tried to just stay steady and strong. We rode 3/4 of the race together and then the heat got to Paula. She came off my wheel on the last climb up Oak Mountain and I was solo for the last 6 miles. I rode in alone to take the win. Paula came in a few minutes later for second. Star was also out there racing in the pro field in order to get the distance in preparation for BC. She held her own and had a blast.  Oh, and she got the hole shot at the start!!

We even had Bruce from ProGold Lube fly back for the weekend to call the race and be the ultimate lube fairy (he loves it when I call him that...). The only thing the weekend was missing was one of the fabulous grills US Stove makes out there grilling burgers after the race. Maybe next year.

I won the omnium and went home feeling like I got run over by a truck. But I won. So it was worth it. And Monday I went to the doc. Time for some antibiotics to knock this thing out. I am obviously not capable of healing on my own. Call it a personality flaw.

Thanks for reading...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer time fun and another 1,2 finish for the team!!!

Well, summer is here. It's hot, I'm done with school, and that means lots of riding and racing. Or at least that is what I thought it meant. Being a marginally employed graduate student in between finishing my Master's and Starting my PhD means that when work finds me, even if it is 60 hours a week for a week here or there, you take it. I really like the work I have been doing, but between that and a sinus infection (more on that later), I have not gotten in much training these past two and a half weeks. Fortunately, recovering from the sinus infection means time off the bike anyway, so the lack of pedaling due to work (although bad for my mental state) has actually not been too bad of a curse.

Two weeks ago we loaded up and headed to the Dauset Trails in Jackson, Ga for SERC #6. I had been fighting a slight cold that I thought was gone and I was hoping for the best. Dauset is a super fun trail but one of my least favorite places to race. It is ALWAYS hot and the course does not play to my strengths. Last year I took a serious beating from my teammate Catherine, who always seems to rock this course. Saturday afternoon was a time trial (not part of the SERC series but part of Georgia  State Championship Series). In year's past I didn't do the GSC series because it meant too much travel and racing and not enough recovery, but this year SERC and GSC overlap for half of the races so I am going to try for both of them. This meant doing the TT.

Well it was HOT. Just like I remembered. And in order to pre-ride the TT course, I didn't get to see the whole XC course for Sunday. Hmmm... things are not off to a stellar start. I felt like absolute poo during the TT and although I was going hard, it felt like I was riding in quicksand. Catherine also felt like she was in quicksand and so we spent the evening arguing over who raced slower. Results in Sunday morning showed me besting her by 8 seconds; we still went 1,2 in the TT.

After exerting myself Saturday I slept about 2 hours Saturday night and felt like total crap by Sunday morning. I guess my cold wasn't gone. Okay, this is going to be a long, hard day. UGH. I felt so poorly that I didn't even want to race. Of course I did, but you know things are bad when all I want to do is go back to bed. I was pretty sure that today was Catherine's day and not mine.

They said "go" and I quickly assumed second wheel behind Catherine with Heather and Tiff in tow. The four of us rapidly distanced ourselves from the rest of the field. After taking a quick turn on the front I let Heather pass me. She obviously was still flying after her return the week before from the Xterra World Championships and I was suddenly starting to struggle. I needed to sit in and just survive this one. Well, that worked for almost a full lap. And then it didn't. All of a sudden I was coming apart. I think the whole park heard my explosion as I blew up. I let Catherine and Heather ride away, Tiff was a short ways behind me. Now on my own I settled into a more reasonable pace for my ailing body and decided that quitting wasn't an option so I needed to suck it up and continue on. Shortly after that I got to the feed zone at the end of lap 1 and yelled to Mark that I needed water. He knows it is not a good sign when 1) Kym is not at the front of the race and, 2) she comes through asking for water instead of her energy drink. He scrambled and got a me a water and yelled something encouraging that I don't remember. The water did something good for me and I slowly started feeling like myself again. and suddenly I could see Heather in the distance. I was gaining on her!!! I kept telling myself to stay steady and be smooth. Before I knew it I had passed her. I was back in second place. I figured Catherine was long gone but as bad as I was suffering I was ecstatic that I was where I was. And then I saw her. Catherine was right up the trail from me. I focused and tried to ride as strong as I could. I passed her near the end of the race and she hung on to my wheel. This was going to be an exciting sprint finish between teammates. Well we did not disappoint. We sprinted to the line and I got her. And then I collapsed. Whew. What a race.

It is amazing at how far you can push your body when you try. I managed to win a race where I was afraid at one point I was too spent to even finish. Of course the other side of that is I spent the following week recovering from being ill. And working...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cycling etiquette

I have been riding and racing bikes for a long time. In that time I have developed some personal "rules" to live by in order to best promote cycling to the general public, set a good example for other cyclists, give my sponsors positive exposure, and ensure my safe return back home at the end of the day.

Kym's Cycling Rules to Live by:

1. Be courteous to other cyclists, no matter what equipment they ride, how fast they are, or if they race or not. We all love bikes for our own reasons and who's to say my racing passions are any better than someone else's commuter,Sunday ride, hipster, or cruiser bike enjoyment?? Remember we ALL ride bikes because we love bikes.

2. Remember that not everyone "gets" it. Kill them with kindness. Smile and wave at every car, kid, dog, and grandma on your rides. Make the world think that cyclists are some weird, friendly, smiling cult. You never know when you might need help in the middle of nowhere.

3. Obey all traffic laws ALWAYS. Don't roll through lights, blow stop signs, cut through parking lots, jump curbs, or do any of the other urban assault craziness that makes cyclists look bad. You may think you are riding safely but; A.) You aren't. Being unpredictable to cars is never safe, and B.) You are making the rest of us look bad. Every time I get on a bike I am representing not only the incredible companies that sponsor me but also every cyclists out there. We expect cars to treat us with respect and share the road. That comes with a responsibility on our end also. We must ride in a responsible manner and obey the laws. All the laws. All the time. Is your ride really going to be ruined if you have to wait on that lights?? Come on.

4. Do trail work. If you are a mountain bike rider, you use the trails. Help build them and support your sport. I love riding the sections of the many trails in this area I have helped with over the years. It makes me sad that in the past two or three years I haven't had the time I used to have to dedicate to trail building and maintenance. I will be back and I hope my past participation has a lasting impact on my sport for years to come.

5. Don't quit. Quitting races makes you, your sponsors, and the sport in general look bad. Everyone has bad days... turn them into learning experiences and good training, not an excuse to run away with your tail between your legs. Set a good example for tomorrow's riders, stand up to adversity and suffer like a dog!!!

I know I have more than this but this is a good start.

Thanks for reading...