Things my dog thought would be helpful this week

1. It is cold outside, so I took off half my fur and spread it around the floor so we can all be warm.

2. You might not know that the Comcast technician is here since he just knocked on the door, so I will howl and growl.

3. Did you know that he is still here? I know. I will bark incessantly to make sure you know, too.

4. I have been barking and howling for twenty minutes and you do not seem to notice, so I will poop on the rug because then you will notice that the Comcast technician is still here and I have feelings about this.

5. I’ve seen you regularly inspecting the hole I’ve picked in the carpet, so I have made it bigger just for you.

6. You have brought out the vacuum and this is a bad thing, so I will whine and bark to make sure you know this is bad.

7. The vacuum is a menace and I am concerned, so I will bite the vacuum repeatedly.

8. Oops, you did not move your ankle out of the way in time.

8. I am now tangled in the cord. SEE? I told you the vacuum was a menace.

Kobe

Posted on in The Pets 2 Comments

Observations from the Trainer

The trainer has a bad reputation. I’d know; I’ve spent a solid chunk of time this winter on Twitter perpetuating it. It’s an easy target: the trainer is boring, uncomfortable, sweaty, and tedious. It’s cycling distilled to the pure mechanics, absent most of the camaraderie, competition, and stimulation that comes from riding outside. I say most because there is something unifying about sharing the misery of a trainer workout with somebody else, be it physically or only through commiserating. There’s also some perverse thrill in comparing sufferfests: “You did two hours? I did four.”

For the record, I have never ridden four hours on the trainer. I don’t hate myself enough for that. My historical max is 2.5 hours, at which point I basically wanted to get off and slam my head in the door a few times for a fun diversion.

But for all the complaints, the trainer deserves some acknowledgement for what it can do for a cyclist. An article made the rounds on the Internet recently about how a willingness to suffer is more important than talent for an aspiring elite athlete. If there is a better place to suffer than the trainer, please show me. (Do not send me a link to a village of starving children or a battlefield; that was rhetorical.) I truly believe that sitting through workouts on the trainer helps you become tougher in ways that riding outside cannot. How much misery can you take? How much time can you sit and pedal with no outside stimulation, no sense of speed, no excitement? To complete a trainer workout is to ride purely out of dedication and a willingness to suffer for the sport.

When I’m stuck indoors for a workout, I don’t exactly mind because I know I’ll get a more steady, consistent effort and will feel more accomplished when the workout is done. Sure, my spirit is broken and my soul is crushed, but I’m a tougher athlete for it (right? RIGHT?!? please say yes).

I used to pass every trainer ride watching movies or television shows. Now I can’t watch anything. This doesn’t make any sense, but for whatever reason, trying to pay attention to a movie/show feels impossible and irritating. The only things I can watch are the numbers on my Garmin and a blank wall. Literally. My bike faces a wall and I stare at that wall for every second of the ride. If I can suffer and stare at a wall for 1-2 hours, think how much easier it will be to suffer while distracted by the stimulation of a race! This is what I tell myself.

Really hope I am not wrong here.

The trainer has also helped me discover that deep inside my body is a reservoir of onions. It’s the only logical explanation for why, after riding and sweating profusely for over an hour, my previously cocoa butter-scented skin starts to smell like onions. It’s not a very strong onion smell, but it’s there and I’m basically a corn tortilla and some chicken away from being a fajita.

After some conversations at team camp and a shared Facebook video of people making their indoor riding a more magical experience, I decided to pass part of today’s ride by making my own video:


You will watch this and think I look ridiculous and you are not wrong. But I made over three whole minutes of trainer time go by and it was almost FUN. This is how I roll…while stationary.

Posted on in Cycling 5 Comments

Sisterhood of the Traveling Leftover Fish

stradalli-colavita-29

This is the 2014 version of the Colavita/Fine Cooking photo shoot we did at camp last year. Since I became violently ill less than an hour after the photo was taken that time, I was more than happy to sit back and provide creative direction this time around. Plus it was fun to see how long we could get Lenore to pretend to cut an onion.

Stradalli Colavita Lindsay Bayer Ride

Team Colavita out for a final spin at the end of camp. We stopped by Flywheel to support our director, Jame, as he was participating in a class.

Stradalli Colavita Girls

Representing in our Stradalli/Jaco tee shirts while out on the town. Apparently I messed up the photo by being the only one in shorts with legs exposed. Dude, it’s January and warm enough for shorts. WHY WOULD I WEAR PANTS.

Stradalli Colavita Camp

Seriously, though, why wear pants? I don’t even know which part of this photo to love the most. Lenore’s expression? Scoots? The red shoes? So much to choose from, so many laughs.

Stradalli Jaco Colavita Girls Lindsay Bayer

We love our new team shirts. I plan to wear nothing else for the rest of the year. As you can see from the photo above, I mean that literally.

Stradalli RP14 Bike Colavita

Our race bikes for the 2014 season. They used my bike for this photo shoot, so please feel free to silently have all the opinions you want about my bike fit. This bike is a sweet ride – stiff, responsive, and light. I’m sold.

Stradalli Lindsay Bayer Princess 2

Princess (Tom’s dog) is now our official team mascot. Holding her is sort of like cradling a warm, uncooked chicken.

So that was camp and now I am back in Virginia where there are no palm trees and exposed skin is an invitation for frostbite. It’s always a challenge to switch gears between being at home and being on the road; both have upsides that I miss when I’m not there. I already miss everybody from the team and can’t wait to see them again. Camp was a non-stop adventure with endless riding up and down the A1A, too much time spent in our chamois (like, 8-10 hours a day), lots of good food and coffee stops, so much new stuff, and at least a half dozen times where I nearly peed from laughing so hard. If camp is like a trailer for the movie that is the upcoming season, I think it’s going to be a very good year.

I would be remiss if I didn’t end this post by thanking Tom Steinbacher, head of Stradalli Cycles, for making the Team Colavita camp an awesome experience. When I first heard of Stradalli and looked up the company online, I was skeptical; the image was questionable and I wasn’t sure about riding bikes made by a company with an unknown reputation. But now I’ve spent a week with Tom and the guys behind Stradalli and spent countless hours at their HQ/warehouse. I’ve ridden my training and racing bikes hundreds of miles and asked lots of questions about how the company got started, how the bikes and wheels are made, and why cyclists should choose Stradalli. I left camp feeling confident in my bikes and the brand as a whole, and also really lucky to have somebody like Tom supporting our team. He was endlessly generous, providing all sorts of gear, showing us around the town, and taking us out for multiple meals. Female professional cyclists – at least from what I know – aren’t used to getting the red carpet treatment, but Tom welcomed us, spoiled us, asked for our input, and did everything he could to promote our team. That kind of support in women’s cycling is rare and I’m so grateful to have him and Stradalli as part of Team Colavita.

And now I can hook you up with discounts on olive oil AND carbon bicycles!

Posted on in Cycling, Friends, Travel 1 Comment

What happens at team camp now ends up on the Internet

Stradalli Colavita Ride

What makes me the happiest about this photo – other than seeing my team looking fierce in our new Colavita kits on our new Stradalli bikes – is realizing that it’s January, I’m in shorts, and there are palm trees.

Stradalli Awesome

Here’s me with Tom, the owner of our new bike sponsor, Stradalli Cycle. I’d say more here, but the picture is doing a far better job than I ever could.

Stradalli Team Ride

Team Colavita rode out to support some of the Team Stradalli boys at a local crit. While we were there, we met some regional Colavita riders who agreed to jump in some photos with the team (although I hope that it wasn’t too hard of a sell).

Cooking Dinner

Cooking dinner with Colavita products at Tom’s house. I can’t think of better sponsors than Colavita and Stradalli – food AND bikes! Is there anything else in life that matters?? Not pictured: me cooking. That’s because I’m better at spectating and snacking in the background.

Stradalli Colavita Beach

The team rode up the coast and stopped for lunch on the beach. My favorite part of this ride was when we jumped on the bikes immediately after downing fish tacos, coffee, and fries to ride hard back to the hotel. As Mary so delicately put it when we finished riding, “I didn’t know I’d be having those fish tacos twice.”

Stradalli Rolls Royce

Tom drove us to dinner in his Rolls Royce one night. He left it unlocked and (briefly) unattended and that is how I got a picture in the driver’s seat. Sadly, no actual driving was involved in this moment.

Stradalli Team Squint

Team Colavita and Team Stradalli together after a short morning ride and long morning coffee stop. We were facing into the glaring morning sun which explains the squinting, but all I can think when I see my face is, “McKayla is not impressed.”

Stradalli Gold

Stradalli makes great, affordable carbon road bikes and I’d probably hand over a minor organ in exchange for this sweet gold and black frame.

Hummus at Camp

After a long day on the bike, I was starving by the time the waiter brought my hummus appetizer. It tasted fantastic, so I  offhandedly commented that it was so good I wanted to stick my face in it. When Tom offered to buy my lunch if I followed through, it didn’t take a moment of hesitation. Frankly, I’d have done it for free. The only regret was that the spicy seasoning burned my skin, but it’s a small price to pay for a face full of delicious.

Underwear on head

The owner of this underwear tried to push me into the pool when I came to show the group my new purple hat.

Stradalli Dinner

We went out for Italian food one night and had Colavita wine and olive oil. The waiters brought out platter after platter of delicious food that we inhaled, assuming that was the dinner. Then we were handed menus so we could order entrees. This was the same night somebody asked me what kind of rider I was, followed by saying, “Not a climber, huh?” THANKS.

Stradalli Warehouse Team

Team Colavita at the Stradalli warehouse with some of the Stradalli guys. It was such a man-cave until we showed up with our piles of stuff and our loud giggles and inappropriate jokes. These guys will probably never recover.

Rudy Project Selfie Lindsay Bayer

Mary and I duck-facing in our new Rudy Project casual sunglasses.

Stradalli Mary Princess

This is Princess, Tom’s pet and new Team Colavita mascot. Also pictured: a small dog.

2014 Stradalli Girl Edited

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Stradalli has used scantily-clad women in their promotional materials in the past. It’s not my favorite use of the female body, but sex sells and that success had led to my team having a great sponsor for this year. I’m all for supporting any company that supports women’s cycling. From what I’ve experienced so far, Tom and the whole Stradalli group have been great and I love the feel of my new bike. And as you can see from this picture, we’re redefining what it means to be Stradalli sexy one pleather leotard at a time.

Posted on in Cycling, Travel 1 Comment

Prologue

I’m in the air on the way to Fort Lauderdale, FL for team camp. People have spoken recently as if this marks the beginning of the season, but I’m not ready for that yet. This off season has been long and filled with challenges, but I’m not ready for it to be over. The beginning of the season means big things: nonstop travel, long stretches of time away from home, and expectations to perform. There’s a time and place when all of that feels normal, but that’s called the beginning of March.

Nevertheless, this is the beginning of something. The same team but with new riders, new leadership, and new sponsors. It’s comforting to have familiarity while exciting to have changes. At this point last year, I was a wide-eyed and eager neo-pro with no idea of what to expect. Showing up at camp felt like the first day of high school; I wanted to fit in and be cool while dropping watts and impressing everybody. Instead, I got norovirus, threw up on the driveway a few times, broke the plumbing, went to the ER, and was the weird girl that put raw egg whites in her recovery drinks.

I still do that. Live dangerously, always my motto.

Last year’s camp didn’t go as planned and I cried in the car on the way home from the airport, both out of disappointment and because my insides still felt like a nuclear wasteland. But as the season progressed, things sorted themselves out (as did my digestive system). I found my place amongst the team and it started to feel like home. While everybody still thought I was weird, it was okay and even welcomed. Well, either that or everybody is really good at keeping me in the dark.

I’m excited to get back to that place where I travel all over with my quirky adopted family like a spandex-clad circus, and happy to come into it with the benefit of last year’s experience. I’m not worried about trying to be cool or ride like I’m going to grow up to be Marianne Vos. All I want to do is show up, see my friends, make new ones, and blend all the raw eggs I can.

Also, I now know to live in mortal fear of norovirus.

But while this trip feels like an adventure and some kind of start, I’m not ready to let go of the winter yet. The polar vortex can go to hell (insert joke about freezing over) and I’m over bundling up and shivering through rides, but I still feel like a work in progress and need more time. My eating issues have been better – no throwing up or restricting excessively – but food is still a minefield and source of endless anxiety. People have been so supportive and I couldn’t have made this much progress without their wisdom and nudging. But I want more time to feel more confident about eating everything it takes to get through a long, hard season successfully.

I’m also not ready to say goodbye to Andrew just yet. Of course the season starting won’t change anything or really mean goodbye, but things will be different. Spending so much time apart is difficult and makes both people work harder to stay connected. We’re just over three months into our marriage and so much of the time has been focused on my eating disorder, several bouts of respiratory illness, the holidays, and that time I accidentally stabbed myself in the hand. I need the extra month between camp and the real start of the season to be at home, enjoy the perks of being married to my best friend, and find ways to enjoy life in spite of the challenges we face. Andrew makes me so happy and I want more of that before I join the traveling bicycle show for six months.

So camp will be great and I’ll share details and stories of the experience here (sure, if there are pillow fights, I’ll let you know but don’t hold your breath). But I’m also excited to return home to savor the final weeks left before the ride really begins. I suppose that, much like Florida in January, this is a good place to be.

Posted on in Cycling, Life 2 Comments