The success of 2013 was both remarkable and unexpected. Even the makings of that season began in a rather unusual way. On July 28th 2012, a freak mechanical hurled my body to the asphalt faster than one could blink. Days later I was released from hospital and proceeded to sit very still for weeks, watching nearly every televised hour of the Summer Olympics. Nursing a broken shoulder blade, three broken ribs, a contused lung, and plenty of road rash, inspirational displays of human excellence was just what I needed.
Along the tiresome road of recovery, a colleague asked if I would organize an event for a non-profit organization called CycleKids. The more I came to know about the CycleKids mission the more I wanted to get involved. This particular event was also slated to celebrate their newest athletic ambassador and local Olympian, Evelyn Stevens. I was excited and intimidated by the prospect of organizing an event that would both honor Evelyn’s commitment and spark an interest in local NYC CycleKids initiatives. On November 18th 2012, I finally reunited with the bike in an effort to spread the word about CycleKids. I rode along 9W posting event flyers in every bike shop and coffee stop along the heavily cycled route.
What Its Like To Be A CycleKid (video)
Through the effort of inspiring others, I too became inspired. Revitalized with resolve to reach a potential only attainable through training, it was time to get a coach. After much consideration, I was certain that the most qualified person for that job was Matthew Koschara. When we first met, it was my intention to interview Matt as a coaching candidate. However the table quickly turned as it became apparent that I was not in fact the interviewer but the interviewee. Due to the level of dedication Matt provides each of his clients, he is wise not to spread himself too thin by taking on too many athletes, and as a result is quite selective about who he works with. Understanding the time and resources Matt invests motivates me to give 100% everyday. We entered 2013 after working together for a month and with two simple goals in mind, enter NRC/NCC races in the Mid-Atlantic region and don’t get dropped. Neither of us could have imagined what would unfold.
Though we got a glimpse when I began consistently placing well in men’s spring training races. By the time the season officially kicked off, I was raring to go. With a few wins out of the gate, I began setting my sights further. Hungry for a challenge, Glenn and I drove to Missouri for the MO Pro Series. Each race was contended by national level competition, and yet I placed within the top 10 in each. This became a trend and others started taking notice. When it came to my hometown race, the Tour of Somerville, I had the distinct honor of guest riding with team Colavita to 2nd place.
By June, Lauren Stephens’ tremendous success earned her a pro ride with team TIBCO. This turn of events resulted in an incredible opportunity for myself with team FCS|Zngine. Thanks to the dedication of an incredible boyfriend, we drove once more to the Midwest for the Tour of America’s Dairylands. Unfortunately I had the poor luck of contracting pneumonia. As a result, my first guest ride experience with team FCS|Zngine was a flop but they didn’t give up on me. After ailment took its course, I resumed focus taking a number of podiums and a win throughout the series.
With continued support of incredibly generous sponsors on EPS CSS Riptide Cycling, I was afforded the opportunity to contend the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix in CA and the Andersen & Banducci Twilight Crit in ID. While the spontaneity of all these opportunities was extremely exciting, it also made Matt’s job very challenging. We had deviated significantly from the original regional race plan. Matt did his best to keep me fit and rapidly respond to the ever-changing demands. We were agile yet cognizant of areas for future improvement, where greater foresight could be of advantage.
With my first cycling contract signed and delivered, I entered the Pro Crit National Championships on July 27th as an official member of team FCS|Zngine. Now with the support of teammates, I was able to achieve an unthinkable 4th in the field sprint for 6th overall! We then went on to the Tour of Elk Grove in IL and Gateway Cup in MO. Along the way; I touched down at home base and became the NJ State Criterium Champion! Team FCS|Zngine reunited in Las Vegas for the USA CRITS Finals, then zipped over to Boston in celebration of teammate, Amy McGuire’s retirement at the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup. That Sunday I capped the season off with a 15th and final win at the CT Cycling Festival.
After a daunting 65 road races, criteriums, and time trials the season finally ended with a sigh of relief and delighted satisfaction. I was able to conquer so many new challenges, while balancing the responsibilities of a full-time Project Manager. There are so many people to thank for each success. Those who went out on a limb and believed in my ability to deliver if only given a chance. The tireless dedication of my coach, Matthew Koschara. Those who have trusted in the sound judgment of Teresa DiSessa and her incredible women’s cycling program. The winningest female professional cyclist, Laura Van Gilder, who despite managing a demanding year round schedule of national competition still makes time to take a vested interest in developing riders. I want to thank team FCS|Zngine and all the Texas based club members that make it possible for top women cyclists to pursue their dreams. A big shout out to every local NY/NJ/PA cyclist that inspires me to work hard everyday. And a hug to Julie Idlet for continuing to share the CycleKids experience with me. Here’s looking at 2014.