Family

Hasta Luego

Late one night in October of 2012, Andrew and I stopped at a Mexican restaurant in Vienna for a drink. I’d read about the place a few weeks prior, but our visit was just a random answer to the question of what to do that evening. The bartender (who had been called “surly” in the review I’d read) was friendly and made good drinks, so we decided to come back again soon and have dinner.

Our next visit was equally enjoyable. The food was great and the atmosphere was lively and welcoming. We became regulars, stopping in at least once a week, and gradually came to know the staff and other frequent visitors. Fernando, the bartender and manager, became a good friend. Andrew had a dish in the restaurant’s computer named after him and I stopped having to ask for guacamole because it would appear shortly after my arrival, along with a glass of wine or tequila. We brought our family and friends to try the place and established friendships with many of the regulars. It was our version of Cheers and my favorite place to spend an evening.

When Andrew and I got married a year ago, we couldn’t think of a more fitting place to hold our post-wedding dinner than Alegria. We celebrated birthdays, stopped in on Christmas Eve, rang in several new years, and toasted our first wedding anniversary there. When the place transitioned into Bazin’s Next Door, we kept coming and found new dishes on the menu to love (not a hard task, considering the talented chef Yuri). We danced away the Salsa Nights and stayed well past last call on more than a few occasions. It felt like home, but with better food and drinks.

Then we got word a few weeks ago that the place was closing and would only be open for private events going forward. This past Saturday was the end, and we spent the entire night going out with a bang. So many friends gathered around the bar and shut the place down in style (so much style that I’m still recovering a few days later). We made plans to keep in touch, to meet at the restaurant next door, and to try to hang on to the spirit of our collective watering hole, but it was still sad to say goodbye. Alegria, although you were hell on my liver at times, I loved you and will miss everything you came to represent. Thanks to everybody for the wonderful memories.

Celebrating my fake birthday in the summer.Shots from our friend ScootsZach, looking great.The famous chocolate cake on my birthday.Clowns at the bar on my birthday.Cinco de Mayo sombrerosGetting into the spirit of Cinco de Mayo. Dessert from Yuri on my fake birthday.Happy fake birthday to me!Ringing in a new year with multiple drinks.Fernando working his magic.Alegria people at Madison's Homecoming.Salsa Night!Family fun with Dad.Lindsay and Dad at the bar.Partying away the last night.A very sad final farewell.Everybody loves Alegria.

Posted on in Family, Friends, Life 1 Comment

Acknowledging marital bliss with rancid food

Happy anniversary! We made it through our first year of marriage without killing each other, so let’s eat some really old cake and see if that does it instead.

2014 Anniversary 1

Nothing like Harris Teeter sheet cake fresh from a year in the back of the freezer.

Posted on in Family, Life Comments Off

In which I totally like communed with Mother Earth

I camped and, despite my initial apprehension, it turned out to be a really good experience. Yes, it was freezing (literally) and I slept for a total of fourteen seconds. But I also discovered that there is something wonderful about the simplicity of being in the middle of nowhere but nature. Before going to bed (and with inspiration from a hefty dose of wine), I convinced Andrew to go on a midnight hike and lay down in the middle of a field to look at the stars. (I would also like to note that it was HE who fussed, “But I’ll get my jacket dirty if I lay down!“) The moon was so bright that everything was illuminated and the only sound was wind rustling the nearby trees. In that moment, I couldn’t figure out why I’d want to go home again.

Now I’m back here and grateful for the return of feeling in my extremities, but admittedly, I miss being that tiny speck in the vast everything.

IMG_2534

It was 30 degrees warmer at my house and in a large percentage of America when we arrived at the campsite. WHY DID WE DRIVE TO WINTER TO SLEEP OUTSIDE.

IMG_2543

When we first arrived, Andrew used the remaining daylight to set up the tent. I used the time to put on all of the clothes I’d brought, including tights, lined pants, sweatpants, two pairs of wool socks, a tank top, two baselayers, a hooded sweatshirt, a wool coat, a neck gaiter, a hat, and thermal gloves. You could have hit me with a truck and I’d have simply bounced off with a soft thud.

IMG_2545

Caitlin laughed at my coat, saying, “You’re probably the first person ever to go camping in a pea coat.” Dude. I don’t own non-cycling outdoor apparel.

IMG_2549

I spent 90% of my waking hours at the campsite glued to this fire. At one point I was so close to the heat that my shoes started to smoke. Apparently $7 sneakers from Target are highly flammable.

IMG_2553

One of several hikes I took while camping. (That is not a sentence I expected to write at any point but life is all about evolution.) Other than actually enjoying the experience of hiking, it was also the only time I stopped feeling cold. The land we were staying on was breathtakingly beautiful.

IMG_2559

Of course I roasted vegetables in addition to marshmallows. I’m a cyclist with an eating disorder. Duh.

IMG_2563

Because my life is an indie movie, one of the guys pulled out a ukelele and played/sang for the group around the campfire.

IMG_2564

Andrew and I awoke to a beautiful fall morning that was still absolutely fucking freezing.

IMG_2574

Hooray! Caitlin did not die of hypothermia overnight.

IMG_2583

I got restless after breakfast and set off into the wilderness without telling anybody because that always ends well.

IMG_2589

It’s like every autumnal landscape stereotype threw up to create this moment. It was incredibly beautiful.

IMG_2597

I found a patch of cottony flower things that were very Dr. Seuss-like.

IMG_2607

Taking one last moment to soak in the natural beauty before getting in the car to head back to summer.

IMG_2609

Coffee stop in Thomas, WV. I wanted to go to the counter and be like, “Hi, can I get every ounce of boiling hot caffeine you have here just poured directly onto my face?” but instead settled for a large Americano.

IMG_2613

One final stop before crossing the VA line towards home. I’m not sure what shiny object had caught my attention in the woods. Also, those enormous $12 sweatpants from Target quite literally saved my ass this weekend. They’re so warm and soft that I’m going to wear them until April.

Posted on in Friends, Life, Travel 1 Comment

All of this talk because BOOBS

There are a number of people complaining that the women’s World Championship road race this past Saturday was not sufficiently exciting to watch. I’m sorry; did you confuse the race with your Netflix queue? The race happened the way it did because that is how the race happened. The racers shouldn’t have to implement tactics to make it more “interesting” to watch. I find baseball to be excruciatingly dull, but I am not going to say the the pitcher should be required to juggle and sing while also doing his job just so I am entertained. That is why Gossip Girl is streamed online.

Somehow this conversation – like every other that relates to women in cycling – has circled back into the dialogue about equality in our sport. Equality is good. I don’t believe a professional male racer is better or worth more than me simply because he’s a dude. Frankly, his parts look weirder than mine and I probably smell better. But I am pragmatic and outside of my cycling career, I work in business, an industry where nothing happens “on principle” or just because it’s right. Business is impersonal, fiscally-motivated, and controlled by economic logic. Because that’s the mindset in which I operate so much of the time, it is also the basis on which I form my opinions on the current conversation about women’s cycling.

Here is what I believe. Women racers are equal to men racers. Not better, not worse, not any more or less interesting to watch or support. Women racers are more interesting to me because [a] I am one, so they are my peers (hahaha Marianne Vos is my peer, lemme just marinate in that fantasy for a sec), and [b] economic and life factors have led a majority of women racers to be highly educated and have fascinating careers outside of cycling. Lawyers, scientists, doctors, PhD students, etc. It adds depth to these racers that I find compelling.

I also believe that women’s teams should not have salary minimums. Yes, there are men’s teams that do and it’s unfortunate that our sport and the surrounding industry isn’t such that women’s teams are equal. But if you enforce salary minimums, then what happens to the teams that can’t afford to meet them? They go away. The last thing professional women need is fewer teams.

I believe the same thing about race prize purses. If an event offers equal payout, then that event is AWESOME and I want to support and praise it. But if an event can’t (and, as the treasurer of a cycling club that puts on races, I do know that sometimes there simply isn’t the money), I don’t want the event to disappear entirely. I’d still like a chance to race, and for other people to have that chance as well. I don’t want to punish other racers – pro or amateur – just because it’s not a fair situation. I’d rather show up and speak up and ask for better in the future. It is so wonderful that the NCC races in 2015 are required to have equal prize purses for men and women, but I’m also afraid that the calendar will lose some beloved events that couldn’t afford to pay out that money. I want equality, but I also want racers and spectators all over the country to have opportunities to be engaged in our sport, and losing events works against that.

My underlying feeling is that there must be economic drivers for everything. It is not enough to just ask for financial equality, because that doesn’t answer the question of where to get that money. I don’t want teams and events to disappear because we legislated monetary requirements that they can’t meet. I think the conversation should be about how to enhance and display the value of women’s cycling to both the industry and the world so that the price tag represents something tangible. We have the supply; now we need to show why there should be demand.

That doesn’t mean the women should throw away their races in pursuit of putting on a show. I think it means creating race events and courses that are interesting to spectators. Finding ways to engage the audience and showcase the athletes to give fans somebody to cheer on. Convincing our governing bodies within the sport that they must see women as equal to men. At a personal level, racers should work to engage people and sponsors outside of cycling. Create fans, don’t wait for them to come to us. Calling for equality is a start, but developing a sound, fiscally-logical approach for reaching it is the only next step that will actually work.

Posted on in Cycling, Employment, Life Comments Off

The care and feeding of feelings

So here’s the thing about this past season. I want to put it behind me and focus on the great things that lie ahead (new team! more racing! the holidays! turning 30! GAHH), but to be honest, I’m struggling to let go of residual feelings that have been festering for months. Anger, disgust, and disappointment to name a few.

When I have a lot of feelings, I try to do normal things to manage them like cry, lash out at my loved ones, or eat all of the food in the house. But sometimes that’s not a sufficient release, and I have to resort to more drastic measures. I tried coloring my hair red in May using a $6 box of dye from Target because that sort of thing never ends badly. It was dramatically bright at first and got lots of, “WOW, you dyed your hair…” remarks with a notable lack of “…and I love it!” follow-up. It also bled red dye onto everything for a week, before eventually fading into a borderline respectable color that had sweet old ladies clucking over how my orange-haired husband and I looked alike. Um, thanks.

2014 Redhead Lindsay

Still filled with angst, I started obsessing over getting a new tattoo. I have a bunch already and all of them can be tied to some pivotal moment of crises – a serious injury, separation from a spouse, the realization that I was not good at law school. I became convinced at some point in July that I’d find inner peace as soon as I committed to new ink.

And that is the story of how I came to have a large bird on the back of my neck.

I already had a small, faded tattoo there and loved this neat bird design I found, so it seemed like a great idea to cover the old work with something new. The tattoo artist, however, had a different actualization of the design than I’d expected, and I nearly fell over dead from shock when he handed me a mirror to see the finished work. But what do you say at that point…”No, let’s try again”? UNDO! UNDO! My father was standing there watching (because cool kids bring a parent to hang out during tattoo appointments) and I felt like the only acceptable response was elation. Hooray ugly bird!

2014 Bird

So then I had feelings about stuff going on in my life and the bird. People were like, “Hey! I want to see the new tattoo!” And I’d think, “SHIT. THE BIRD.” Now I laugh at the whole thing, because I usually don’t even remember that it’s back there and when I do, it’s kind of funny to think I got so pissed off at this jackass in my life that I put a bird on the back of my neck forever. I SURE SHOWED HIM.

One might say I gave him the bird.

Anyway, my hair is tinted copper and I’m stuck with bird this now, but also still quite a few feelings. Rearranging my furniture, giving away my belongings to charity, saying mean things to small children; nothing seems to be helping me let go. It seems unhealthy to carry around this resentment, but I don’t know how to put it down and walk away. The best I’ve managed is to channel it into more positive pursuits, like training and resting harder. Things are good now. I’m happy. It’s going to be a damn good 2015.

Posted on in Cycling, Life 4 Comments

Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner

This past weekend was the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup in Boston and the official end of my racing season. Normally at this point I’d do a recap of the year, but I’m not interested in looking backwards. The first half of the season was a disaster; I struggled badly on and off the bike and considered quitting racing entirely. I never want to feel that way again.

After the Intelligentsia Cup races, I asked for permission from Colavita to race independently for the remainder of the season. It was a sad moment but also a huge relief, like taking a 300-pound crap. I raced the Chris Thater Crits on my own and was overwhelmed by the warmth and support from the rest of the women’s peloton. Fearless Femme’s director Arounkone Sananikone asked me to guest ride for their team the next weekend at Gateway Cup, and after Gateway they asked me to stay on for the remainder of the season’s races.

It was the best thing that could have happened. These last four weeks of road trips and races have been some of the best I’ve ever had. This team races because they love it and it makes them happy, not just because it’s their job or they don’t know what the hell else to do. Arounkone wants his team to win, of course, but it’s more important to ride boldly, give 110%, and enjoy the wild ride. That attitude brings out the best in the riders. It brought out the best in me. I wanted to be fearless for the team, to take chances and fight for the win, to be happy with excellent performance even if it wasn’t a 1st place, and to graciously celebrate our competitors’ successes.

Saturday’s race was perfect. Tina and I worked together so well and I loved telling her to get the hell out of the wind and rest while I did my job of covering things. I even got some time off the front collecting primes before pulling the plug to play more defense. It was a blast; I couldn’t stop smiling even when it hurt. At the end, Tina launched an awesome sprint to finish 2nd. Sure, we didn’t win, but I can still feel the joy of that moment because 2nd was damn good against a lot of excellent sprinters. As we stood at the finish line after the race, Arounkone leaned over the barriers to hug me and say with absolute sincerity, “Thank you.” I’ve never felt happier to be part of a team. Fearless Femme isn’t just a name, it’s a philosophy that I don’t want to ever forget. Don’t be afraid to seize the moment, to go big, to walk away from something that doesn’t feel right with confidence that everything will be okay.

I learned so much this year. How to race my bike and how not to race my bike. Who to keep in my life and who to keep out. What’s worth it and what isn’t. I learned how to be fearless and how to kick ass, lose gracefully, and always finish happy and wanting more. To the people who helped me along the way – my husband and tireless mechanic, my endlessly supportive parents, my coach Sue Hefler for saving me during my mid-season downward spiral, Arounkone for urging me to light it up and enjoy the fireworks, my forever teammates Whitney Schultz and Olivia Dillon for their strength and support, Tom Steinbacher from Stradalli for making certain I was still equipped to ride, and to my dear friends in the cycling community – thank you. I have never been so grateful for this support system and never felt so excited to come back and race again in 2015. Let’s tear some shit up!

2014 FF at Finish2014 FF with Car
Fearless Femme Stradalli Lindsay BayerIMG_2306
Working the FrontIMG_2297
2014 Tina Pic Lindsay Bayer
Grouplove
2014 Boston Us
2014 Boston Podium 2014 Boston Teamwork

Posted on in Cycling, Family, Friends, Life, Travel 2 Comments

Orange is the New Black: Gateway Cup Edition

Four weekends ago, I raced the four Gateway Cup crits in St. Louis, MO. Three weekends ago, I raced the Criterium National Championships in High Point, SC. Last weekend, I raced the Thompson Doylestown Criterium in Doylestown, PA. This weekend, I’m in Boston for the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup Criterium. It’s been a lot of time in the car (because why fly when you can drive and hit every Wendy’s along the way) but I have used approximately none of that time to catch up on race reports. And so now here we are, four weeks past Gateway Cup and I’m just getting caught up. And really, even that’s a lie, because I’m only posting a bunch of photos. If you want to read about the actual races, allow me to suggest a visit to CyclingNews.com, your #1 source for extremely light and intermittently factual coverage of women’s cycling.

So, brief backstory: After racing unattached at the Chris Thater Crits, Fearless Femme asked me to guest ride with them at the four Gateway Cup crits. I happily accepted, not least of all because they have the greatest bright orange Vie13 kits on the planet. Our squad for the races consisted of Tina Pic, Erin Silliman, Christina Birch, Morgan Patton, and me, and together the five of us had a great time riding together in rectangles. Tina ended up with some great sprint finishes and I ended up eating everything in St. Louis.

Andrew Driving Badly

Andrew did not seem to realize that he was driving a 2006 Madza 3 hatchback (sportiness rating = -3), and insisted on nearly drifting sideways it through curvy mountain roads while saying, “Wheeeeeeee!”

Meal on Wheels

Rolling through the McD’s drive-thu for a very late-night dinner after the first race while rocking my new Vie13 kit. I was waiting at a traffic light on the way back to the host house after picking up dinner, and a thug tried to hug me. Evidently he was very excited to see a cyclist out at 11pm. I said no.

Fearless Femme

Fearless Femme working together at the Giro della Montagna.

Fearless Femme Tina Pic Lindsay Bayer

Getting set up to lead Tina out for another fast finish.

Good Hair Day

Continuing to wear my Shimano hat everywhere, all the time. We had to take a moment to reflect on how nuts my hair was looking after six hours of driving with the windows open.

Andrew is Cranky

We had a nine-hour trip from Louisville to home, and I suggested that we do a recovery spin at some point along the drive as a nice break. That break came along a highway in West Virginia, a highway that was lovely and scenic and perfect…and apparently far busier than Andrew thought was safe. He grumbled behind me the entire time until I surrendered and went back to the car.

Victory

Once I agreed to stop riding on the highway, we ended up doing laps of the park where we’d left the car. Each lap took exactly one minute, which meant my brain was leaking out of my ear with boredom almost immediately. On the final lap, Andrew sprinted for the win and was very excited.

WV BBQ Dinner

I found a roadside BBQ place that had five stars on Yelp, so we went there for dinner and I ordered all of the meat.

Salad Hold the Dressing and Cheese

This is what you get when you are in rural West Virginia and order a salad with no dressing or cheese.

Posted on in Cycling, Friends, Life, Travel 1 Comment

Tour of Utah Bicycle Awesome Fun Time

When it was time to fly to Utah last Saturday, I didn’t want to go. Traveling this year hasn’t been the joyfest it was in the past. I sat with my bike bag and backpack in front of the check-in counter for nearly thirty minutes, stifling tears and unable to find the motivation to get up and go. “Check in,” came the blunt text from the friend I asked for advice. So I did.

He was right. Check in. Move forward. Give things a chance to happen. I am so glad I did. This trip was wonderful.

Team Colavita had a small squad for the Utah races consisting of Olivia Dillon, Whitney Schultz, myself, and a guest rider, Anna Grace Christensen. Everything about the trip was perfect – our group dynamic was great, we stayed with incredibly cool people, the racing was hard and fun, the scenery was beautiful, and we had so many good meals, glasses of wine, and strong coffees. This kind of experience is why I love this career. It was a short trip, but enough to remind me of how amazing this life can be when you’re with the right people focusing on the right things.

Team Colavita Lindsay Bayer

What I love most about this photo is that Olivia is in black socks. We’ve spent a season debating white socks (her preference) versus black socks (my preference). When I poked fun at her choice of black socks for the day, she looked at my dingy old white ones and said, “Well, it looks like you’re wearing black ones anyway.” LOVE HER.

Descending Small Mountain

Descending a small mountain with Whitney.

Utah Skies

Utah is gorgeous. Also, behold my new cell phone wallpaper.

The Great Slide

We got to the downtown Cedar City race venue and there was this monster slide. So of course I had to take a trip down. As I climbed up the ladder into the highest part, there were two kids sitting up there looking really surprised to see me. “Just need to go down the slide and then I can race my bike,” I explained, seeming not at all creepy and weird. Then they told me not to be nervous about the slide and to keep my feet up on the way down. It was awesome.

Team Colavita Podium

Then we raced hard and worked together to win the sprint jersey and a 5th place finish for Olivia. That was awesome too.

Wild Wild West

While driving from Cedar City back to Salt Lake City, we stopped to take pictures in what Olivia thought was the Wild Wild West. That was my cue to be ‘wild’.

The Time She Threw Food

Then Anna Grace (accidentally) threw a rice cake slathered in almond butter and bananas at Olivia.

Tour of Utah Women's Edition

Our circuit race was held at the Larry H. Miller Motorsports Park where the men did their finishing laps for the day’s stage. Each women’s team was assigned a spot in a garage bay to use pre- and post-race. It was a cool venue, but the wide-open, windy course made for a challenging day. I realized that when there are no corners, I miss them.

Velociraptor Attack!

Because every front yard needs a velociraptor.

Posted on in Cycling, Friends, Life, Travel 1 Comment

In Which My Father Parades

2014 Knights 1

My father was in a 4th of July parade as part of his senior role in the Knights of Columbus. Somewhere around fifteen THOUSAND people came out to the event. Things I never thought I’d say: “I’m here because my dad is in the parade.”

2014 Parade

Just because he had to be serious and sword-wielding (he’s the one behind my extremely white exposed shoulder) didn’t mean I couldn’t photo-bomb the moment.

2014 Parade Family

Fun for the whole family! We’re really proud of my father for his accomplishments with the Knights and also for not passing out after standing in the sun for hours in a tux, hat, and heavy cape.

2014 Mom with Float

I told my mother I’d give her $100 to run off with one of these star floats. She was thwarted by the fact that they were firmly tied down.

2014 Lindsay with Float

Then I stood in the path of the wildly blowing float and got whacked in the head repeatedly by an enormous white star.

2014 Knights 6

When I first walked up to the group this morning where they were gathered, I tried to get my father’s attention by yelling, “Hey Dad!” 95% of the Knights turned around.

Posted on in Family, Life 1 Comment

A Happy Anniversary

My cycling career began seven years ago today. It was the second race of the Wednesdays at Wakefield mountain bike race series, but my first race ever after only owning a mountain bike for a few weeks. Clipless pedals still freaked me out. I distinctly remember the race not being very fun; it felt like taking an activity I enjoyed and adding urgency to it. Why would I want to do that? Life is urgent enough; why do I have to ride fast too?

Lindsay at Wakefield 2007

Wakefield Park, circa 2007. This outfit and my posture are amazing.

But then the results were posted and it turned out that I’d finished 3rd in the beginner women field. WHOA. I placed, which meant I was actually decent (!), but also that two women had ridden faster than me. I collected my bronze medal and free water bottle and then went on to let cycling take over my entire life and now I ride professionally.

It’s been a wild seven years. I can barely remember life before cycling; if you told me eight years ago that I was going to walk away from law school, become a professional athlete, and purposely blend spinach into my drinks every day, I would have laughed in your face. But here I am. It both scares and thrills the crap out of me to wonder where I’ll be in another seven years.

2014 Air Force Classic 3

At least I’m no longer riding in 100% cotton garments.

I’m still the treasurer of Potomac Velo Club, the group that puts on the Wednesdays at Wakefield series, which means I drop by the races every summer to distribute prize checks and collect registration fees. While I was there tonight, I handed out medals and water bottles to the three women on the podium for the beginner women’s race. All I said to them was ‘congrats, nice job, good work,” but what I really wanted to say is, “This could be the beginning of the most wonderful thing you’ll ever do with your life.”

Posted on in Cycling, Life 3 Comments
1 2 3 4 5 ... 38 39   Next »