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

Hail Queen Julia

So I got an email this morning:

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 11.11.52 AM
I understood the TRL reference, but I did have to Google it to figure out how one does a TRL-style shout-out. Apparently this is what it means to be old. Next I will be confused about The Facebooks and then start asking people to chew my food for me.

I wanted to fulfill her request, but needed a picture to go along with the post, so I Googled her name. A Twitter handle popped up (@MsJuliaSteele…NSFW) along with an assortment of related results.

And WHOA. THAT IS NOT MY SISTER-IN-LAW. My sister-in-law would describe herself in many amusing ways, but it is likely that none of them include the description “ASS WORSHIP QUEEN OF ATLANTA!”

But because she is my favorite sister and because she joined me in laughing recently when our waiter described a steak preference as “warm and pink on the inside”, this may have to come up in a toast at her wedding.

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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

Never Gonna Give You Up

There have been a lot of things that have gone wrong this season. I’ve struggled, cried, freaked out, and lost my head a few times, but in the end, I have come to this: I love to race my bike. It is easy to love racing when it is fun, when things are going well, when your results and your physical health are glowing. It is another thing entirely to come to the brink of quitting, to fail repeatedly and be totally broken down, and then claw your way back and decide you still love racing.

I still love racing. Love training. Love riding. I am still here.

Some people will probably remember me as the fragile person that imploded for several months this year. The rider with the eating issues who cried at race starts and backed away from challenges. I can’t change everybody’s minds. You can’t win ‘em all.

But hopefully more people will see that to fall apart and then willingly rebuild is an awesome thing. To nearly walk away and then decide to come back and embrace the sport fully feels to me like a deeper, stronger love than what I felt when everything came easy. I know now that I can love bike racing even when I suck, when I am afraid and weak and publicly humiliated by my failures.

Each race start since Philly has helped to reconstruct the foundation of the racer I used to be. I suffered, swore, gritted my teeth, even cried a little from pure exhaustion, but I wanted it again. To be part of the action, to work hard and support my team and be in the race. When I came home at the end of last weekend, it was with genuine excitement that I found and registered for a race for this upcoming weekend. There was a time a few months ago when I didn’t know if I’d ever feel that way again.

To my teammate Olivia, I want to say this: Admittedly, you can be kind of a bicycle dictator. I wasn’t kidding when I told Tayler that you scare me a little. But you have also been such an inspiration recently, because no matter what, you always show up and race your heart out. The fire and passion you bring to every race start has made me realize that we are so lucky to have these opportunities and we should make the most of them all. We joke that every race is your favorite, but I honestly feel like there’s some truth in that. You find a way to love each one and fight through it 100%. I want to be like that. While you have your scary moments, I am learning to appreciate them as you pushing me to be the best I can. Please don’t stop. It’s finally working and I’m so grateful.

Posted on in Cycling, Life, Sadness 2 Comments