Life

Oh Holy Night

Back in early November, I got my nose pierced. I’d thought about doing it for a while but suddenly found the motivation to try it. My body had never adapted well to piercings, but research indicated that might be a slight allergy to certain metals and a titanium stud could circumvent problems. I found a reputable piercer and got it done one afternoon with minimal fanfare.

When I called my mother and mentioned it, there was a long pause followed by, “Please tell me you are kidding.” I knew she wouldn’t be thrilled but her level of horror surpassed my wildest expectations; I’ve told her about multiple tattoos and several divorces and gotten warmer responses from those announcements. Her barely-concealed disgust as she said, “I thought we felt the same way about facial piercings and besides, aren’t those out of style?” nearly made me weep. THANKS, MOM. (She is reading this now. If I wasn’t already written out of the will, she’s sharpening her pencil.)

We agreed to disagree on the matter and my nose piercing lived happily ever after for two months. The healing process was relatively painless and most people didn’t even notice the tiny stud (or did but were too polite to ask or point out that I might have something stuck to my face). There came a point, however, where I started to realize training and a fresh nose piercing were not working out. The site was regularly red from the irritation of sweat and snot rockets and life as a passenger on my face. While I liked the look of the tiny fake diamond, I did not like the red halo that perpetually surrounded it. I could baby the area and reduce the redness, but that started to feel like an unnecessary inconvenience: life is complicated enough so why spend time each day addressing my nose?

The final straw came here in Tucson, when I started getting sunburned around the site because I was wary of getting sunscreen in the somewhat unhealed piercing. It had to go.

The stud was a press-fit piercing, which meant the straight pin of the actual jewelry was slightly bent to create resistance inside the backing that sat in my nose. Removing it required holding the backing in place and then pulling on the stud until it popped free. Easy!

NOT EASY.

I started with tweezers and my fingers but couldn’t get a good enough grip on either side. Then I added miniature scissors, using them to hold the backing while adding a fun element of WILL I STAB MY INNER NOSE?? The more I yanked and readjusted and yanked, the more red and swollen my nose became while the stud refused to budge. There came a point – several, in fact – where I thought I should really just go see a piercer to get professional help, but instead stubbornly kept trying.

By that time, I was sweating and shaking and dizzy, because something about fidgeting with piercings makes me want to pass out or vomit.

[Jesus, as I type this there is NOTHING rational about this entire story and I want to retroactively slap myself. But alas, the tale continues.]

I decided to give one more attempt, this time with two fingers gripping the backing and two fingers pulling on the stud. Do you know how hard it is to fit two fingers in one nostril? (I hope the answer is no.) Then there was a something – pain? a popping? the ripping of the universe? – and I glanced at my nose to see the stud was no longer visible. For a queasy, spinning, hopeful moment, I searched the bathroom floor for the fallen jewelry, but it was not there.

That’s when the internal shrieking started. I realized the backing was still in place and the actual stud was lodged inside my nostril. Are you uncomfortable reading this? TRY LIVING IT.

I wanted to die. I wanted to climb into the toilet and flush myself to death, I wanted to vomit and weep and wail, such was my shock and horror. Instead I hyperventilated and tried to imagine a world ten minutes earlier in which I was smarter and more patient and still had a nose piercing located appropriately.

There are no instructions in life for what to do when you get yourself in such a pickle; I didn’t know whether I should go to the hospital or a piercing studio or just leap off the roof of my apartment building. It was after 9pm and I didn’t know what would even be open, so I started calling around to tattoo places asking if they did piercings and explaining what had happened. There is nothing so poetic as trying to accurately describe what you mean when you say your nose piercing is IN your nostril, like literally imbedded, yes, you are an idiot, please please please help.

While I did a fair bit of crying before making it to the kind piercer that ultimately bailed me out, I managed to keep it together (and only lightly kick him once reflexively from the pain) while in the parlor. Five minutes after walking in the door, I walked out with my nose stud in a tiny baggie.

Ironically, my nose has never been as red as it is today.

Moron

Posted on in Life 4 Comments

Once More Across The Continental Divide

In other news, I have relocated from Virginia to Tucson, AZ. It was so enjoyable to drive across America last year that I decided to do it again, only faster and this time with a dog. On December 28, I packed up the Chevy, put some bikes on the roof, stuffed Tanner in the back, and got on the highway. This trip, unlike the last fun, adventurous one, was all about efficiency. I had to be in Tucson by 1:30pm on December 31 to sign my lease before the office closed for the holiday, so I skipped luxuries like sightseeing, regular meals, and peeing in favor of driving as much as possible.

The highlights were few and far between:

  1. Tanner threw up only once. However, he waited until the moment we pulled up to a New Mexico border checkpoint to do so. Turns out he’d eaten a rock that didn’t agree with his stomach. There was a moment where I considered saving the rock as a souvenir before remembering that I am not a freak who collects fingernail clippings.
  2. I launched the new team from the road. Thank god I have four hands, two cell phones, and a laptop.
  3. I rode my bike alongside a highway in rural Texas and did not die. While that sounds ill-advised in theory, I knew it was safe because nobody is unfortunate enough to be killed somewhere that depressing.
  4. There was a dental floss pick on the bedside table at my Airbnb in Nashville, so I slept with the blissful reassurance that the previous occupant practiced good oral hygiene.
  5. I  learned that leaving a box of picked onions from the Whole Foods taco bar in your car for 12 hours is the perfect way to make sure you hate food.

It was close, but I arrived at the leasing office last Thursday with 20 minutes to spare. By 3pm on New Year’s Eve, I was settled snugly in my new studio, which is like an apartment where everything spent too long in the dryer on high. I bought a standard baking pan that is 3″ too wide for the oven and if I stretch out fully, my feet hang off the bed. But it’s home until March 14, or until my neighbors complain about my riding the trainer on the balcony or Tanner doing 4-meter sprints around the house at midnight.

Tanner Pees In Rural Virginia

This lovely, scenic spot was one of many options for places we could be murdered on the side of the road.

Late Night Fun On The Trainer

Tanner cannot understand why the hell I’m riding the trainer at 9pm on the front porch of an Airbnb in Nashville. Neither can I.

Apple Mishap

Make sure your window is open before throwing an apple core out onto the highway.

We Mess With Texas - Lindsay Bayer and Tanner

Not pictured: the snow on the ground in Texas.

Texas Sunset

Texas looked best after the sun went down.

Arizona Train

Outrunning a train on the final stretch of highway.

Home Sweet Home-ish

At long last, we’re “home” in Tucson.

Posted on in Cycling, Life, The Pets, Travel 2 Comments

The story behind the Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team

The news is officially out: I’m riding for the Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team for 2016, a new women’s UCI professional cycling team I co-own with Jono Coulter.

A team I co-own.

Those are words I never aspired to say. No part of me ever wanted to own a business, especially not one where profitability is irrelevant and breaking even is the goal. I’ve spoken to people in the past who were all, “I’d love to have my own team!” and I’d laugh and reply, “I’d love to slam my hand in a door repeatedly!” The idea of coordinating sponsors and riders and travel and logistics made my brain melt, especially when I watched teams struggle and fold year after year.

As the 2015 season wrapped up, though, Jono and I started talking about plans for 2016. We each had options on the table but also ideas of how we wanted to change the experiences we’d already had working for other teams. Those ideas turned into casual conversations that turned into more serious talks that turned into….wait. What? We’re starting our own team?

We had concepts, some connections, and balls the size of cantalopes, but no money. It didn’t matter at that point; our enthusiasm was enough to get the planning started for real and we each maintained the foolhardy belief that everything would work out. Alcohol and constant pep talks helped. We talked so many times a day that we may be legally wed in several states.

Our plans became more official as the weeks progressed – we started branding the team, brought on a great group of riders, and lined up initial details for a schedule. We were all in and excitement was building. The only minor hiccup was a complete lack of outside funding. Financial agreements we made were backed by our own money, an ill-advised, frightening concept but also the only way we could move forward and ensure that we fulfilled our promises. We refused to take on obligations we couldn’t already afford, but in the absence of a major sponsor, that meant we were agreeing to personally cover salaries and expenses.

I didn’t sleep in October.

My parents and friends expressed some concern over this plan. This is not wise, they’d say. Are you sure you want to back this plan with your own money? I knew it was a gamble, but a time-honored one taken by entrepreneurs everywhere. I believed in what we were building, believed in Jono, and believed that it was better to go all in on our dream than play it safe and sign up for another dissatisfying year. When it came time to submit the initial fees to the UCI and USA Cycling, we paid unhesitatingly out of our own pockets.

Meanwhile, I spent every free moment networking with, chatting up, and emailing potential title sponsor companies. Our sponsorship proposition was something new and different in the business – we had riders with professional careers off the bike and wanted to leverage those backgrounds to deliver better benefits to our sponsors. Instead of promising “clicks” and jersey space and “mentions” – frankly useless and hard-to-measure propositions for companies – we offered networking, access to riders for company initiatives, and our ability to engage effectively with customers and partners.

The proposal was strong but finding the right partner was a challenge unlike anything I’ve faced before. I’ve worked in business development for a long time, but never on the sales side. Making cold calls, pushing for meetings, and taking rejection repeatedly were all new, harrowing experiences. I was constantly bracing to take on the next target, send the next email, and explain the concept to yet another CEO. Getting shot down multiple times stung and it took a while to build up a shell; sometimes I would hang up the phone and just cry. Fatigue, frustration, and anxiety were overwhelming at times and I was perpetually on edge wondering what if it doesn’t come together? 

Our big break came in November. Steve Berman of the Hagens Berman law firm read the team proposal and wanted to come on board as our title sponsor. I hyperventilated, wept, and laughed all at once; it sounded like somebody was shaking an emotional hyena, but all I could hear was the sound of our dreams coming true. I love lawyers! I even went to law school for a bit! HAGENS BERMAN 4EVER!!1!11!!

I’d love to say it was painless and easy from that moment forward, but that would be a lie: building a team is hard. Just when you think you’re on top of things, another issue arises or the next item on the list needs to be sorted out. I’ll be falling asleep and suddenly jolt awake thinking something like WATERBOTTLES! The official team launch occurred while I was on a highway in New Mexico moving cross-country; I awoke on the first day of 2016 to remember OMG, payroll.

But this has also been one of the best experiences of my life. Jono and I had a dream and we refused to let it go, even when the obstacles seemed insurmountable. We have built a team with great riders and a cool brand and a talented creative director. We have sponsors that believe in what we are building and are giving us the support we need to represent them well. I’ve learned to take rejection in stride, to keep going even when the odds are not looking good, and to manage a million details at once without cracking.

Okay, I have cracked a few times. There is significantly less scotch in my pantry than there was in September.

While I can’t predict how all of this will turn out, there are a few things I already know for sure. HB Supermint’s riders will be treated like professionals on and off the bike. Each rider is paid the same salary, because every team member is valuable, whether they’re sprinting for results or finishing dead last after the leadout. We will not make promises we can’t keep, not to riders, staff, or sponsors. Our sponsors are the key to our success and will be treated as such. These are the principles on which we built this team and no matter where the season takes us, there will be no compromises. The scariest but best thing about being the boss is that you call the shots.

That’s the story of how I came to co-own a cycling team. It’s been a wild ride, but I suppose the fun is just getting started.

HB Supermint
You can read more about the team on the Supermint website or the Supermint Facebook page.

 

Posted on in Cycling, Employment, Life 7 Comments

Joy to the World or Something Like That

Merry Christmas. It doesn’t feel like Christmas; it’s in the 70s outside, I didn’t decorate the house, I’m moving west on Monday morning. What makes it Christmas for you? Cold weather? The promise that you might get an Apple watch? Eggnog and fruitcake?

For me, I don’t know anymore. There are no gifts that I want and my only wishes this holiday are intangible. I want Andrew to be happy. I want my parents to enjoy their lives. I want Kobe to know that I love him more than anything even though he’s staying behind when I go. I want Tanner to trust me enough to be calm as we head out into the world together. I want people to not ask questions I’m unprepared to answer in the coming weeks. I want everything to be okay.

Most of all, I want the handful of people around me today to know that I would be nothing without them. My family and friends are the best. The assortment of people that have made it to this point in my life are wonderful and funny and kind and awesome. I already have everything a person could want in them.

Whatever Christmas means to you and whatever you’ve wished for, I hope it all works out.

L

Posted on in Family, Friends, Life Comments Off on Joy to the World or Something Like That

An Update With No Actual News

Hello there! I haven’t written anything of substance here in a long time because I have been busy not giving a crap about maintaining a blog. Funny, that. I typically wait until there is something meaningful to say before breaking long periods of silence here but at this juncture, I don’t have anything I’m ready to share just yet. There IS news, it’s just not fit for public consumption at the moment.

There was this one thing I was going to write a full post about, but never made it past the first paragraph so this will have to suffice: Andrew accidentally lost the dog in the middle of the night last week and I got to spend an hour running through the woods in the darkness wearing pajamas and fuzzy slippers screaming “TANNNNNNNER!” (Weird how that hysteria didn’t entice him to come closer.) The slippers came to a soggy death right around the time they sloshed through the third ice cold, sludgy stream. Tanner nearly came to his death when I finally tearfully herded him back into the house and contemplated strangling his perky little self with my freezing bare hands.

Then last Friday I had him neutered. WHO’S PERKY NOW, BITCH?

I also read this interesting column about “Keeping on track during the festive season” on Ella CyclingTips. Festive season! Doesn’t that sound positively lovely? I feel festive just thinking about it. Unfortunately, there was nothing remotely festive about this advice, unless your idea of joy is discipline and deprivation capped off by forcing your loved ones to bend their plans to your training needs. Here is my advice for the festive season, carefully cultivated over several years of racing professionally and obsessively: GET DRUNK. EAT ALL OF THE COOKIES. Alcohol is a carb, chunky riders get down hills faster, and life is way too short to miss out on festivities because of cycling. Balance is worth pursuing.

(All of my exes are laughing laughing laughing at the irony of me saying that.)

On the subject of cycling, I have big news that will be shared in the coming days. There will be bike racing, that much I can say now, and there will be travel and laughter and tears and sweat and probably some more tears because crying is how I cope with being alive. Winter training has been hard because it’s long and isolating and the weather often feels like it’s sent here to make me reconsider just how badly I really want any of this. Sometimes I think about quitting. I had a leg workout yesterday that I put off for hours, dawdling and dreading everything as the morning slithered into afternoon and the excuses stacked up like the reps I refused to initiate. At one point, it occurred to me that I could just not do it. Nobody would have to know. In the grand scheme of training or life, it wouldn’t actually matter. But I got it done, banged it out and threw in some extra reps as punishment for the theatrics, and then today’s ride was lovely. The crisp air, early morning sunshine, decent legs, intervals that felt challenging but successful. The winter makes you tougher and hungrier and forces you to realize that you’re choosing all of this and it’s a privilege to have that choice and love something enough to keep making it over and over.

I’m relocating to the west coast for a few months right after Christmas because my hair looks better in low-humidity climates and I need a break from my flatiron.

The end for now. But as we will soon see, also the beginning.
unnamed

Posted on in Cycling, Life, The Pets Comments Off on An Update With No Actual News

In The Wild

It’s my off season from cycling and because rest is challenging, I’ve been running for fun. Other than the constant joint aches and slight limp, it’s great! Highly recommend.

I flew out to Colorado last night for a friend’s wedding and decided to start today with a nice brisk jog. It went really well for the first minute and then the shooting pains started in my back and I had to revert to an aggressive power walk. It was discouraging – who wants to walk for exercise?! – but then the road turned from pavement to gravel to dirt and my interest was piqued. When I hit a NO TRESPASSING – GOVERNMENT PROPERTY sign, I knew shit was about to get real. My best moments in life have involved prohibitive signage.

A little over an hour of hiking and climbing later, I was at the summit. It was incredible. So much beauty and solitude…so many sweeping vistas…so much poor planning. I had no food or water, had neglected to apply sunscreen to anywhere except my face, and had abandoned my sweatshirt somewhere around the base of the mountain. #someregrets

I was slightly concerned about the situation and figured the quickest way down the mountain was over the side. That sounds stupid here but it’s not like I did a tuck and roll over a vertical face; I just sort of bypassed all the switchbacks and implemented an efficient slithering technique. After only a few missteps and some spilled blood, I was off the mountain and headed home.

Finding the sweatshirt again required using the car.

In conclusion, it would appear that I am less Daniel Boone and more Cheryl Strayed, but it was a worthwhile and wonderful adventure. What was supposed to have been a 30-minute run turned into a 2.25-hour hike and, despite being hungry, cold, and sunburned by the time I made it home, my first thought was that I couldn’t wait to do it again tomorrow. With water.

IMG_7077

These elk were sitting so casually that I couldn’t help but inch closer and closer for a better photo. By the time I was 15 feet away from the one with the huge antlers, something clicked and I finally understood how those “Tourist Gored By Bison At Yellowstone” headlines happen.

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The wildlife is friendly around here!

IMG_7112

Okay, um, HELLO. Typically I expect somebody to at least buy me a drink first.

IMG_7137

Now he’s just being overly forward.

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This tree doesn’t miss a thing.

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Obligatory scenic vista. I climbed forever to get this shot and it’s not even that impressive in the photo.

IMG_7156

More trees. Trying to pretend I’m the next Ansel Adams, only less gifted and with impractical footwear.

IMG_7165

This moment – reaching the top of the mountain and standing amidst the clouds – was a worthwhile reward. Well, that and not getting eaten by a bear or collapsing from dehydration.

Posted on in Life, Travel Comments Off on In The Wild

This is how it feels to be last at Worlds.

When Richmond was announced as the location for the 2015 Road World Championships, I slapped a RICHMOND 2015 sticker on the wall in front of the trainer as a motivator. It seemed like a long shot, but the thought of competing at Worlds in my home state – I could drive there in less time than it would take to watch a movie – was incomprehensibly awesome. Unfortunately, my dreams were grander than my results in the following years and it looked like I’d be drinking on the sidelines in Richmond.

Then the idea of racing the team time trial (TTT) at Worlds came up last fall and my response was something along the lines of HERE TAKE MY ORGANS AND FIRSTBORN KID IN EXCHANGE. It seemed like an actual possibility and I spent many long rides last winter thinking that just maybe I was preparing to compete at Worlds.

Things didn’t go according to plan this year, though, and more and more it seemed like that dream wasn’t going to come true. My teammates and director wanted to go, but we lacked the necessary budget and as the weeks went by and Worlds drew nearer, it seemed unlikely that we’d be able to attend. It wasn’t until three weeks before the race that we received confirmation that yes, we were going.

So, okay. That was cool – HOORAY FOR WORLDS – but by that point, we didn’t have six riders available to race, we didn’t have TT bikes set up, and we’d never trained for or raced a TTT together. As much as I wanted to be part of Worlds, I didn’t want to just go for the sake of going, unless there would be free tee-shirts.

It was hard to get motivated in the face of what felt like overwhelming obstacles and I briefly considered calling in sick, but couldn’t bail on Jono (our team director), the sponsors supporting our adventure, or the other four riders. Instead, I packed the car and drove to Richmond the Wednesday before the Sunday race filled with a mix of excitement and skepticism. Maybe it would be incredible. Maybe we would crash out spectacularly. The only way to find out would be to go.

BMW Happy Tooth Coffee Stop

Team bonding over coffee after a training session.

We practiced as a team on Thursday and Friday. There were moments of fear and frustration as we learned to ride together but also times where excitement prevailed and it felt like we might just pull it all off. On the Saturday before the race, we did a full dress rehearsal of the event, complete with an official start and police escort on a closed course. There were crowds lining the course cheering as we went by, and suddenly my last doubt disappeared. We were competing at Worlds. WORLDS!

BMW Happy Tooth In The News

The local newspaper featured our team during the dress rehearsal.

The night before the race, I drove to the finish line and wandered around the empty VIP tents soaking up the atmosphere. In the choice between resting my legs for an extra 30 minutes or basking in the insanity of being an athlete at Worlds, there was no contest.

Lindsay Bayer and Jamie Smith

Trespassing in the VIP tents with the famous Jamie Smith.

Evening at TTT Worlds Finish Line

Enjoying the finish line before the chaotic moment of actually crossing it.

And then it was race day. Worlds. The last race of my season. A morning like any other and also uniquely overwhelming. We got to the start and warmed up on trainers surrounded by spectators and photographers, which only added to the excitement and intensity of the day. By the time we rolled to the start house, I was so nervous I couldn’t pee enough times but there was barely a moment to think before it was time to go on stage. The announcers called our names and the starters got us settled on the bikes as cameras filmed our final preparations. Then it was time to roll.

2015 TTT Worlds Start

It was so incredibly cool to be with my teammates in this moment. I may have taken that opportunity to recite the chant from Cool Runnings.

Hell Yeah Worlds

FUCKYEAHWORLDS

The race itself was a blur punctuated with moments I will never forget. Screaming crowds. The sound of our disc wheels. Flying at 50kph down a smooth, flat road. Looking at my teammates around me and thinking, “Holy shit, we are doing this.” I’ve never felt more like part of a team.

Sure, there were things we could have done better. From a technical perspective, we needed more practice to iron out kinks that would have saved time and energy. It would have been nice to have a sixth rider like almost every other team. But when we crossed the finish line upright, still friends, and with our dignity intact, it felt like a victory. We had raced the World Championships and given it our best.

It didn’t matter that we were last; there was so much to celebrate anyway. Jono had worked incredibly hard to help us be the best team we could and to give us the opportunity to race Worlds together. We rode our hearts out and did everything possible to make the best of what we had been given. It was wonderful and unforgettable and I’m so grateful for the experience and memories.

BMW Happy Tooth After TTT Worlds

Our trip to Worlds would not have been possible without Dr. Larry Moray of The Happy Tooth.

Lindsay Bayer Worlds Team Car

Driving to the start (in a skinsuit, so I get there faster).

Worlds Team Cars

A team sponsored by BMW rolls in style.

TTT Worlds Group

We’d spent four days staring at each other’s butts, so why not end with a rearview photo?

BMW Happy Tooth Team at Worlds

This amazing experience would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Jono and the team staff.

Posted on in Cycling, Friends, Life 9 Comments

Apparently this is life

In looking at this site the other day, I noticed that the page about the dogs has yet to be updated. How do I write Scout out of the plot here? It’s one thing to add a paragraph about Tanner and how he is so wonderful except for the part where I can now touch concrete through over a dozen holes in the bedroom carpet. It’s an entirely different matter to turn everything about Scout into the past tense and then cap his bio off with “…and now he’s dead.”

I like to say it that way for the shock value; not for you, but for me. Something about putting it so bluntly makes it feel like bludgeoning myself over the head with a watermelon in a pillowcase. In the days right after he died, I’d say it over and over in different ways like some weird chant. “He’s dead. HE’s dead. He’s DEAD. Dead. DEAD.” It still didn’t make it any more real.

Having Tanner around has made everything better, though, partly because he’s so sweet and partly because he’s incredibly distracting. He didn’t know anything when he first came home – for example, walking on a leash was a complete shock – and everything was a teaching moment. No, we don’t pee on the walls. Yes, that is your food. No, we are not out to get you. Yes, Kobe probably is.

I still can’t figure out how to convince him that inanimate objects aren’t scary. He’s terrified of trash cans, plastic bags, dumpsters, jackets, shopping carts, strollers, tents, boxes, etc. and when confronted with any of these, he drops to the ground or tries to bolt. Tanner panicked so badly in front of the neighborhood dumpster the other day that he shot out of his harness and sprinted into the woods. It was breathtakingly awful; my heart dropped out of my butt and I had a crying meltdown while trying to catch him. When I finally grabbed him, I never wanted to let go.

He’s a handful and a full-time project, but that’s what I needed to stop crying over Scout at inappropriate times (at the grocery store, during races, at a pop-up taco party). Now it’s hard to leave home for trips because (a) Tanner increases his destruction tenfold and (b) I’m reminded of every moment I missed with Scout because my own plans mattered more. Kobe seems a hundred years older than he did a year ago and it feels like every second with him should be savored, even when he is shrieking like an indignant parrot because Tanner is annoying him by breathing. He’ll be 13 soon; I thought he and Scout would both live forever and since I was clearly wrong about that, now it feels like every day is going to be it.

That’s morbid. But frankly, living each day like it might be the last isn’t a terrible philosophy. If I don’t have that cake because calories and don’t call my parents because busy and don’t take the dogs to the park because lazy, at some point I’m going to wish I had. Tanner is destroying my condo one bite at a time, but I don’t really give a shit because he’s also proof that life goes on and that sometimes epic disaster can be followed by boundless joy. All that said, I’m not quite ready to put Scout into the past tense yet. He can live on here for just a little longer.

2015 Destructosaur2015 Tanner

Posted on in Family, Life, Sadness, The Pets 3 Comments

LinkedIn: Strava for Female Pros

Yesterday was exhausting; a 3:15am alarm woke me in Logan, UT so I could get a 6am flight home out of Salt Lake City. By the time 10pm rolled around, I was cranky, borderline incoherent, and overly emotional about things like the dog wanting to pee on too many shrubs. It was an ideal night for an early bedtime, except that as 11pm came and went, I was on my LinkedIn page updating my profile to more accurately reflect my non-bicycle accomplishments. Or, summarized more honestly: to make it clear that I’M A BAWSS, YO.

Frankly, I don’t give two shits about LinkedIn. It’s like Facebook but even less interesting because people don’t overshare or rant inappropriately. I would rather watch my nails grow than review my LinkedIn newsfeed and fewer things elicit less excitement than finding out that a colleague wants to connect online. I hardly even want to connect with my colleagues in real life and I’m getting paid to do that. But suddenly LinkedIn seemed crucial, because it was the only way to validate publicly that I’m, like, smart and skilled and stuff.

It seems pathetic to admit this, but oversharing is pretty much the reigning style guide here. Somebody said something recently that made it feel like I needed to point out that I do more than just ride a bike. There is a mentality in this sport that women are a second act to the main show of the men, but it generally brings me some comfort to know that most professional men are just cyclists while most professional women are cyclists and something (coaches, dietitians, scientists, doctors, lawyers, so on). It’s no surprise that this is the most popular 140-character sentiment I’ve ever shared:

Tweet
While I don’t have a PhD, I do have a career off the bike that I’ve worked to establish and grow over the last decade. I am proud to be a professional cyclist, but that’s not my only job and I’m discontent to let somebody think all I can do with authority is pedal. Thanks to the nature of women’s cycling, it’s rare to find a professional female racer who is not also well-educated, already enmeshed in a separate career, or both. It’s basically a necessity to survive in a sport that offers minimal pay and no long-term security.

So I took my frustration to my LinkedIn page last night and spent too much time tweaking the content to prove something that I’m irritated about needing to prove in the first place. The irony is that the audience I’m trying to educate is the least likely to even notice or care; as long as I’m pedaling with boobs, that’s going to be what they recognize.

Okay. You can’t win them all. That’s the story of racing, right? You keep entering races and fighting knowing that more often than not, you’re not going to win. Instead of an extra hour of sleep, I fought the good fight on LinkedIn. (Dumber words were never spoken.) At least the next time I feel marginalized by some idiot or I get crushed on a climb, I can totally be like, “OMG WHATEVER, have you seen my LinkedIn?!”

Posted on in Cycling, Employment, Life Comments Off on LinkedIn: Strava for Female Pros

Putting the super in Superweek

Lindsay Bayer Gastown Roadkill

I needed a little break during the race.

Victory!

Michelle won bourbon bingo at dinner after the Gastown Grand Prix and earned a round of six shots for our table.

Wrenches at Gastown

These guys keep the pit sexy.

Burnaby Pre-Race

Hanging out at team base before the Giro di Burnaby.

Jessy

Jessy was envious of my bloody arm, so she got one of her own.

BMW Team Ride

Out for another morning spin with the team. We paint with ALL the colors of the wind.

BMW Team at Coffee

The team at a pre-crit coffee stop.

White Rock Haircut

It seemed like a fun idea to let my teammate cut my hair before the White Rock crit. Yes, we are standing in front of a salon.

Sunset in Ladner

One final evening at our lovely host house.

At the beach!

After the road race in White Rock, Suzanna and I went to the beach. I did not pack a swimsuit.

White Rock Beach

Suzanna found a crab.

2015 Chasing Seagulls

I tried to grab a seagull but was not quick enough on my feet. That is what happens after eight races.

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