HUY, BELGIUM - APRIL 18: Evelyn Stevens of USA and Team Specialized Lululemon celebrates victory during the women’s race of La Fleche Wallonne on April 18, 2012 in Huy, Belgium. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
On the second day of team camp here in Italy, we got caught in a rainstorm during a brutal interval session. As we battled a cross-headwind, spraying rooster tails of red mud from our wheels, our legs and kit became heavy with wet and cold. Still, we pushed on through the blur of splattered glasses and cold spray, fighting the sour ache of loaded legs over rough road, chasing each other through mud, effort after effort. Boy it was ugly! And by the final set of efforts my legs felt even uglier. After, we filed into the entryway, dripping with grime, quiet and empty, gratefully accepting the hot tea prepared by our souigneur.
It ain’t pretty, but it is. This is the time when an exhausted, ugly pedal stroke isn’t just ugly: it’s perfect. It’s when success means failing over and over again, because pushing to failure is the whole point.
And that is why these are also the most beautiful kilometers of the year.
Lovely blog on the Diadora Pasta Zara’s training camp - with photos that make me green with envy!
It was Daphny van den Brand’s final race before she retires, so apparently Marianne Vos suggested all the riders wear Daphny-style plaits, in honour of her - such a sweet idea!
Let me finish. You got kicked in the heart. You got kicked in the head. You got kicked in the soul and in the spaces where disappointment hurts an athlete most. But you still have your legs. So kick back.
The switch flips. My sadness turns a corner and runs smack into self-reliance. No matter the mental obstacles, an athlete is still in control of her body, and that has to be enough. I do have my legs, and should the UCI ever rip them off, I’ve got plenty of duct tape. So, here and now, I’m kicking back.
On the bike today, I kicked out the last of the sadness. I kicked out the burden I cannot control. I kicked myself into a reestablished dream. I kicked out higher watt averages than I have all year. I knew nothing good would come from kicking the governing body of my sport. What’s done is done. So instead, I kicked where the sun don’t shine. And laughed while it cried.
So go ahead, UCI, take my points away. I’ll get more. And while you’re at it, take my disappointment, my heartache and my frustration. I don’t need those, either. Here are some other things you can take: take the high road when it comes to helping federations that are still growing in the sport of cycling. Take caution when taking away what an athlete’s earned. Take care of your cyclists, fight for them and not against.
Kathryn Bertine has been documenting her quest to get to ride for St Kitts & Nevis at the Olympics - but it’s taken a blow when she found that the UCI points she thought she’d won had been rescinded. Read the link for more, but I think it’s completely insane that the UCI are on the one hand promoting “internationalisation”, and on the other, penalising riders who rode a women’s race in South America! It’s hardly their fault that the sport isn’t big, or other teams don’t travel to race there! Aaaargh, it makes me so cross! I hope Bertine can get it sorted out - and huge props to her for her positive attitude in the face of all this!
CYCLING Australia has issued Chloe Hosking a punishment of sorts - a suspended $200 fine - for calling the head of the sport’s world governing body “a dick”.
“We took into account the fact that the women, and in particular Chloe, earn bugger all from the sport. And if in fact we imposed an immediate $200 fine that would be a very severe penalty.
“For the blokes a $200 fine would be a slap on the wrist. And if the guys earning the big bucks did something similar they could expect a much more savage outcome, but Chloe would be on 10,000Euros or something a year, she has to pay for all her own accommodation, all her own living expenses.
“Chloe was very contrite and we said to her ‘we respect your right to savagely criticise the attitude of the UCI and things that Pat McQuaid has done and said, but you can’t attack the messenger. You can attack the message, and we respect her right to do that, but calling someone a dick or a dickhead just doesn’t elevate the discussion at all and she knew that.’”
This is probably my favourite story this week! Remember Specialized-lululemon cyclist Chloe Hosking called UCI President Pat McQuaid “a bit of a dick” because of his comments about women cyclists at the Worlds? Well, Cycling Australia have decided her punishment… in a way that not only has some uniquely Australian phrasing, but also recognises that she was making valid points. I love the Aussies! This put a huge grin on my face - well, apart from the last paragraph, but you can’t have everything - have a read, it’s a lot of fun