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.


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.


The wildlife is friendly around here!


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


Now he’s just being overly forward.


This tree doesn’t miss a thing.


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


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


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


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:

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.


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 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

O Canada!

Polka Dot Jersey Bike Shop

One of the guys at the Polka Dot Jersey Bike Shop in Seattle was kind enough to lend me his bike for a few hours. It was great, but not nearly as cool as the helmet from 1992 I borrowed from our host’s garage.

Crossing the Border

I promised not to make jokes when it came time to cross the border, but when the border patrol officer asked why Zanna and I weren’t staying together, “She snores,” slipped out before I could filter. He was not amused.

Lindsay Bayer BMW Happy Tooth

New kit, new bike, new van, same fun. Or as Kingery captioned this photo, “Look…a butterfly!”

2015 Delta White Spot Road Race Lindsay Bayer

Oh right, I’m up here in Canada to race. Look! Racing!

2015 Vittoria Shoe Models

This photo brought to you in part by every color ever. I am crazy in love with these neon orange Vittoria shoes because it’s like Halloween exploded on my feet.

2015 Host Pups

While they’re not tiny pink pigs, Hunter and Dexter make great companions at the host house. Dexter likes to steal my shoes from under the kitchen table, even if he already has a mouthful of tennis ball.

Ride to the Beach

Our extremely intense team training session today consisted of a spin to the beach.

 Team at the Beach

Wait, you don’t wear your helmet at the beach?

BMW Happy Tooth Team Dinner

Team dinners remind me of Thanksgiving. Tons of food, lots of laughs, a surplus of alcohol, and everybody is a little quirky and a lot lovable.

Posted on in Cycling, Friends, Life, Travel Comments Off on O Canada!

New Kid on the Block

We got another dog.

I couldn’t decide whether to say “I” or “we” there because while he is definitely our dog, the half-baked planning and dogged (zing!) obsessiveness around getting another Shiba Inu were all mine.

Searching for another Shiba to adopt became my life’s sole focus shortly after Scout died. Early on, people asked if we were going to get another one and I recoiled in horror at the very idea of trying to replace Scout. The body wasn’t even cold yet! JESUS, PEOPLE.

But then I found myself in the Pets section on Craigslist, looking for a dog to adopt. Also Petfinder, Adopt-a-Pet, Petango, various county/city animal shelters, SPCA sites, the Humane Society, and every Shiba Inu rescue group in America. It was psychotic; I’d search every site and then start all over again automatically because maybe the right dog had been listed since the last search…eleven minutes ago.

I knew without a doubt that I wanted to rescue a needy dog rather than getting a puppy. I also knew that it had to be another Shiba because the breed is well suited to our lifestyle. We live in a condo, I do not enjoy drool, I like emo dogs with holier-than-thou attitudes who prefer to spend their time writing poetry and cleaning their feet. While there are many wonderful dog breeds out there that are great for other people, I know we can keep a Shiba genuinely happy.

However, it turned out to be really difficult to find one to adopt. As soon as I’d locate one on a shelter site and make an inquiry, I’d get a response saying the dog had found a home. You know things are getting desperate when you’re like, DAMNIT, the damn dog at XYZ shelter found a damn loving family, damnit! 

After a few weeks of compulsive searching, I found an available 8-month-old boy in Tennessee. I arranged to meet the owner’s driver at a gas station off the highway halfway between our homes to collect the nameless dog, and a nine-hour road trip later, I was back home with Tanner. He was filthy from living outside, Kobe hated him instantly, and he peed in the house within hours. And with that auspicious beginning, I knew our family was just a little closer to whole again.

Tanner is not impressedDriving around with the boys
Tanner peeks over Tanner is freaking adorable

Posted on in Family, Life, The Pets 2 Comments

What do you get for the guy who is everything?

Hi Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

Remember last year when you gave me a helpful suggestion for what to get you for this special day?
2014 Dad Suggestion
Once again, that did not happen. I’m sorry. Surely it’s some consolation that I left my M Coupe at your house a few months ago with strict instructions to drive it regularly. Happy Father’s Day, here’s my car to babysit? Children really are a gift that keeps on giving.

When I thought about other things I could get you, I drew a blank because you already have the one thing you wanted most over the last few decades:

2013 Dad with Rubber Chicken
I didn’t think “the more the merrier” applied to rubber chickens, so I did not get you another one. Besides, I’m pretty sure you already have one of everything else in the universe:

Dad In Office
Instead, I made you a card and dinner (although we both know I ordered the steak from a restaurant because the only grilling that happens in my neighborhood is when the police come to question another suspect). I don’t really know a better way to thank you for being my father. There isn’t a gift or card that covers “hey, thanks for life and then teaching me to be a person and helping me solve every problem ever.” Although Starbucks keeps sending promotional emails to convince me otherwise.

So, thanks for life and so on. I couldn’t have gotten here without you. I’m also very grateful for this:

Learning to Bike
Who would ever have thought we were engaging in some early career development? Thank you for showing me the ropes and running alongside as I figured out how to not crash. I have gone on to find so much joy in cycling (while unfortunately only earning slightly more from the sport now than in that picture). I will never forget who first launched me on two wheels.

I will also never forget what you did for me recently. On the last day of Scout’s life, you were the rock for the rest of us. You held steady as my world was collapsing and helped the vet place our sweet puppy in a box so that he could be carried home and laid to rest. I wish I could erase that day from my mind forever, but in the absence of that ability, I am so grateful to at least be able to remember how you carried him out of the office and placed him gently in your car. I didn’t have the strength to handle any of his arrangements but you took Andrew to your house, got out the shovels and the whiskey despite the rain, and laid my dog to rest. You gave me the comfort of knowing that he was at peace when everything he left behind was so crushed and broken.

You have always stepped in to help me through the worst of my life’s moments. There isn’t a chicken or dinner or car enough to thank you for that. Thank you for being my father and for making sure that when I crash, I always land on something soft and safe.


Posted on in Family, Life 1 Comment

Fail to Win

I raced Philly. We packed Kobe into the car to join us for the trip, I showed up and only cried three times, and then I raced. It was somewhat surreal; my first World Cup and I couldn’t even engage enough to feel anxious. At one point during the race, Lauren Hall made a comment about how I wasn’t smiling and so I replied, “my dog died,” and started to cry. She then pointed out the moto with the camera that was filming us. Good times.

Before the race started, I noticed my teammate had “FAIL” written on her bars. That seemed like an interesting tactic and for a moment I thought about writing “YOU SUCK” on mine in solidarity, but instead asked for an explanation. “It’s a reminder,” she answered. “Fail to win. It reminds me to go out and give everything I’ve got to win.” I mulled that over as we lined up to start (because it was an improvement over the endless loop of my-dog-is-dead-my-dog-is-dead that I had previously been using as a motivational monologue) and then went out and did just that. Every time it was even slightly possible to pull off, I attacked. Sometimes it wasn’t that smart, sometimes I didn’t feel great, one time I even came straight through from chasing back onto the field to go right off the front.

It wasn’t conservative and I didn’t care. It felt good to ride hard and not worry about the consequences. It felt good to think, “Holy shitballs, I’m attacking at a World Cup.” It felt good to not worry about what would happen in a lap or the next day but to just race the hell out of each moment. I failed to win and it was excellent. When I made the final trip up the Manayunk Wall – alone, after having detached from the field on the previous ride up the wall – I got high-fives from spectators the whole way because why the hell not? I was so thankful for their cheers and so damn grateful to have found the balls to finish the whole race. It may have cost me an extra 30 seconds, but it was worth it.Lindsay Bayer Philly Cycling ClassicFast forward a week and I was home racing the Air Force Cycling Classic. Another week of living without Scout has made things hurt less acutely (partly because I’ve made a full-time career out of looking for needy Shiba Inus to adopt), but I can’t shake the slightly detached, depressed feeling. It’s starting to feel awkward to tell people that I’m still sad about my dead dog, but awkward is sort of my thing and it’s not like I can magically feel better on schedule.

Last Friday night before Air Force, my teammates and I went to an event at Green Lizard Cycling to meet people and answer questions about what it’s like to be a professional cyclist (short answer: like being a regular cyclist, but with more kale). There I got to meet a few young female cyclists who were so excited about racing and the chance to meet me, which blows my mind because I do not see myself as an aspirational figure in any way. I giggle at my own farts. But they were excited and that made me excited and I went so far as to autograph somebody’s bag of chips.
2015 Autographed ChipsLindsay Bayer at Green Lizard
Pepper Palace at Green LizardThe next two days of racing went well. I don’t feel quite like myself yet – and maybe the definition of ‘myself’ is going to be different now that I’ve lost something so dear – but I was able to ride hard, give everything possible, and fail to win. For Saturday’s race, that was enough to earn the Most Courageous Rider jersey. It was an honor to receive that award at my hometown race in front of my family and friends.Lindsay Bayer Most Heroic Jersey Pepper PalaceLindsay Bayer Air Force Most Heroic Jersey
For Sunday’s race, we had a team strategy and I wanted to hug Julie in the middle of the crit (despite the logistics of that) for being completely spot-on in nailing the plan. She was everywhere she needed to be at every moment, freeing me up to play my part in the plan. It didn’t work out – I was supposed to go up the road with a Tibco rider and never managed to get away – but it was great racing nonetheless and we did our best. If there is one lesson I want to share with the girls who are kind and crazy enough to look up to me, it’s that you should always do your best, even when you’re hurting, even when you’re sad, even when life does not go your way. There may still be heartache when you fail to win, but at least there is no regret.

Posted on in Cycling, Family, Friends, Life, Sadness, The Pets 1 Comment

Racing at Half Mast

Tomorrow is the first World Cup of my cycling career, the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic. While I’ve done this race every year since 2011, this is the longest, hardest version yet and also the first time I’ll be doing it as a World Cup. You can learn more about the significance of the World Cup series here. I have been eager and anxious all season to step up to competing at the highest level of the sport with the best women in the world.

But to be honest, I am struggling to give a shit.

I miss my dog. Racing my bike seems frivolous and empty at the moment, as does just about everything else. Work? Ugh. Training? Ugh. It feels like a chore to even care about things like getting the mail or shaving my legs. I just want to sit on the floor with Kobe and wait for time to pass.

The worst part is that I feel obligated to ride and race because of how much time I sacrificed with Scout to be elsewhere in the country riding my bike. I missed several months of time with him this year to travel for cycling, and now he is gone. Was I too selfish? Is it even worse to not care about riding right now, after sacrificing so much?

I don’t know if it’s normal to feel this broken and sad over a dog. It doesn’t matter; this is how I feel. There is a hole in my heart and in my family and nothing except time will ease that sorrow. I don’t feel ready to get fired up about anything, World Cup or not.

But I think that is okay. Just because tomorrow is an important, prestigious race doesn’t mean the rest of life should cease to exist. I will go and race, while respecting that right now my heart is a little too broken to fully engage in the moment and the competition.

Thank you so much to everyone who has offered kind words this week. You have all reminded Andrew and me that is okay to be sad, that we made the right choice for Scout, and that in time the sorrow will be replaced with wonderful, happy memories. Thank you for understanding and for being our friends.

Posted on in Cycling, Life, Sadness, The Pets 5 Comments
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