Updated: Jun 18, 2022
In Upstate New York, the winters are long and hard. There is snow on the ground for much of the winter and the temperatures reach lows that I wouldn’t have been able to imagine when I lived in the UK.
That means that training takes place inside. My bike goes on a trainer, for the non-cyclists out there, I’ve included a photo for you to see what that looks like. This winter I’ve worked incredibly hard to remain consistent in my training and since November, there has only been two days where I didn’t get on the bike. Getting on the bike each day can be incredibly tough. Motivation comes and goes so I rely on building routines that make it hard for me not to do my workouts and also benefit from accountability from my coach Rob Lee.
Last week I got a little mid winter treat, an unexpected outdoor fat bike race. A fat bike is a type of bike with really big (or fat) tires. This allows it to go over snow, sand and mud with greater ease than you’d get on a bike with smaller tires that would cut into the snow rather than float over it. I’m apart of a wonderful women’s race team, Syracuse Bicycle Women’s Race Team, and one of the other cyclists was kind enough to lend me a bike (I only own a mountain bike currently). I was particularly drawn to do this race because there were 21 women signed up. Thats a huge number in women’s cycling and I couldn’t miss the chance to race alongside so many badass women, many of these women I have raced against since I started doing triathlons. To get to be apart of such a huge women’s field was so fun.
The race went really well when I consider that this was only my second time on a fatbike and the last time was about 2 years ago. I borrowed a really fun Growler fat bike, which I loved. It was certainly a learning curve. Riding in snow is different to anything else and I made a few rookie errors in the process of figuring that out. Like the edges of the trail might look nicely groomed but you sink quick in that snow! Anyway, I was happy to finish in second place behind a really strong rider, Emily Flynn. She’s a great competitor and I’ve really enjoyed racing her over the last year. She’s fast, and unapologetically competitive which I always respect.
Often as women we’re put in a position where we end up feeling bad about being fiercely competitive, and thats tough for those of us who have that competitive fire. I’m increasingly trying not to suppress that. Its an asset and served me well in show jumping. In my experience, sports where women compete equally against men (like show jumping) don’t have that culture where competitve women are viewed negatively.
All in all, a great end to February. Let's hope the snow eases up over the next month so I can get outside on my mountain bike.