Tag: Fahey

First Year Racing Take Aways

hopkins 2

by Lindsey Fahey

2013 was the first year I decided to race my bike, heck it was the first year I really RODE my bike week in and week out and “trained”. I learned a LOT………………..I learned about myself and my limits, both mentally and physically. I developed a huge amount of respect and appreciation for all of my teammates and the extremely strong women I competed against. I learned a ton about my bike, how to handle it better, how to ride it faster and how to take care of it. Best of all I made some great friends, met awesome people all along the way and had a LOT of FUN (duh that’s the point).

It was the best of times………….it was sometimes the worst of times. I cried, I came in DFL, I DNF-ed, I DNS-ed, I stood on the podium (and won A STATE CHAMP MEDAL!!!) I cried about that too. I got my ass kicked, but I also kicked some ass. I got horribly frustrated but had some amazing successes. Sometimes I hurt badly, but I consistently got stronger. I fell off my bike, I got filthy dirty, I got really banged up, I sometimes smelled bad, I terrified myself……but I also smiled like an idiot……and I waved……..I pushed myself harder and dug deeper at times than I ever thought I could………..and it sure was FUN!

Podium Montrose

For all of you folks out there thinking about racing, I am no expert by ANY MEANS, but I survived my first season and this is what I learned:

1. You will never be ready to race your bike…………you always could have trained harder or more, or not got sick last week, or slept more last night, or not eaten chipotle for lunch (num num num), or maybe you don’t have the right gloves or clothes or your bike is a hunk of junk. You have to, as Nike says, Just do it. If I waited until I was “ready” and all the stars aligned and I felt perfect I wouldn’t be writing this now, I would have never pulled up to the line.

2. NEVER underestimate anyone. That girl with the down tube shifters and the REALLLLY heavy bike? She just might be able to destroy you and be one of the fiercest competitors and best athletes you have ever met. (Lauren Wissman! I am looking at you!)

3. If you want to train, train with people faster than you, they will push you. Have a plan and a goal.

4. That said, burnout is for real. And it is awful, rest is your friend. Sleep is your friend. Riding slow is your friend. If you don’t feel like racing or even riding, don’t. Just stop. You don’t get fast overnight. You won’t get slow by missing one workout…….or a week of riding.

Downer 1 6-29-13 094

5. There will always be someone better, stronger, faster than you………but you will be better, stronger and faster than someone too. Focus on yourself and don’t compare yourself or your progress to others. Focus on your small successes and incremental (or huge) improvements and keep moving forward. Don’t dwell on your mistakes or failures. Maybe have a good cry or a small (ok large) temper tantrum in a bush, but then move on. Don’t throw your helmet…or your gloves…..or your bike.

6. Pick something to work on every single race. It can be tiny or it can be large, just focus on something. Learn something from every single race. This could also be applied to every single ride as well.

7. Have a pre race routine, no matter how stupid it seems. It helps you get focused and tune out all the stuff around you…..(its hot, its cold, everyone is negative around me, or excited around me, I forgot a bra, I need to use a pit wheel, that guy is hot, where is my mom? why do I have to pee……..AGAIN?) You can let distractions happen and roll off you and continue to focus on your race. You can be nervous on the line but you did your routine, so you are READY. May not be for everyone but it helps me to do the same thing at the same times before the race, especially in cross since you race at the same time each week.

8. People do weird shit when competing and the pressure is on, both before, during and after the race. Let your teammate’s have their space to do their thing. Some people get really nervous or crabby or silly or hyper. Not your concern, you are in your routine remember? Focus on you. People do and say stuff in the heat of competition that they normally wouldn’t. If you say or do something mean or crappy go apologize to the person after the race. Usually you will get a good laugh out of it.

9. Always bring your own water and lots of it. Port o potty water is not for human consumption.

10. Bike racing is expensive and takes a lot of stuff, stay organized and double check you have your stuff the day before, check your bike the day before, in fact make it part of your routine…….see #7 above

11. Racing is definitely physical, but also very, very mental (at least for me). I’d go as far to say 80% mental. You need to figure out how to get your head in the game, if it’s not, you have no chance and are just riding, not racing. Winning is even more mental. You have to WANT to win and believe you can win and know you can win. Or you never will. Some people just go in knowing this and accept nothing less (Sarah Rice), I am still learning about this.

12. Focus on what is happening in front of you, ignore everything behind you. Harder than it sounds.

After Downers

13. Beer and bike racing go hand in hand…….because racing is fun and people who race tend to be fun……and fun often involves beer (which is fun). You will get to know how to intertwine the 2….….some people can do both and just race hungover (Peter Monko). For us mere mortals you sometimes have to make the fun vs. doing well trade off decision or at least know your limit OR just accept you are going to suck the next day and keep the party going. We don’t get paid to do this after all.

14. But if you DO want to do your best and are targeting a specific race be nice to yourself……you are asking a lot out of your old bones. Lay off the sauce, eat well, sleep more, train hard and stick to your plan………you probably already know this drill if you are not still in college or Monko, in which case drink your face off and race your ass off!

15. It will be hard (it’s a race remember) and it will push you to your limits and beyond, you might even barf! Or cry! Or fall over! Or run into a garbage can! Or win! No matter what happens out there you will be stronger and let’s face it, the pro photog shots of you racing are pretty sweet!

16. Above all, if you raced 3 times or 30 times this year, finished last or won every race, IF YOU ARE NOT HAVING FUN YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!

Epic last night at peppers

Great season Spidermonkeys! I am so proud to call each and every one of you my teammates. See you out there next year!

Spidermonkey of the Week – Jenny Lynch

by Jenny Lynch

Jenny Lynch and Lindsey Fahey

Jenny Lynch and Lindsey Fahey

@Ken Dorado – I see your Big Wheel® Night Rider and raise you a Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheel®.  Nothing screams “badass” like a purple and teal “bike” with flower stickers and a basket for your toys.  (Side note: Anyone who has seen my current bike may notice that my style has not changed much over the years and I still tote around just as much luggage).

Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheel

Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheel

Growing up on a small cul-de-sac in Chicago provided an excellent training ground for riding.  My routine consisted of going around in small circles over and over and over and…..  I looked forward to the time when I could take on the wild yonder past the end of the block.  When I was finally able to graduate from my Big Wheel to the big leagues (i.e. a Huffy), I was ecstatic.  My first “real” bike was a lovely shade of neon pink.  It was, of course, adorned with handlebar streamers and spoke beads, a natural continuation of “badassness.”  Every 4th of July the kids in the neighborhood would decorate their bikes and form one large crazy train that rolled throughout the hood.  I remember thinking that life could not get any better.

4th of July Kids Parade

4th of July Kids Parade

(I’m not this old, but I found this picture online of my neighborhood walk/bike parade from back in the day.  Cool to think of how far back it has been a tradition!)

My next big bike milestone came when I outgrew the neon pink machine.  My parents got me another Huffy (nothing like building brand loyalty at an early age).  It was purple with neon pink accents and a neon pink paint splash effect on the frame… much more sophisticated than its predecessor.  This bike also had the potential for pegs.  Yes, pegs, the ultimate bike accessory!  My peg dreams were quickly quashed by my parents (and in retrospect… probably for the best).  I loved my pegless bike in all its glory for many years.  I even loved it after I unsuccessfully tried to stand up AND let go of the handlebars at the same time [fail…scars].

Come junior high, my purple bike with neon splashed paint was not as cool looking as I remembered.  It was even rejected by a bike thief in the neighborhood (three bikes unlocked and out in the open, only two were taken… hmm, was it that bad?!  How rude…).  When I started high school, I retired from my amateur bike career and sadly there was a long hiatus before my love for biking was rekindled.

Mountain Biking!

Mountain Biking!

Fast forward many years and, on a whim, I purchased my first road bike.  Similar to my Big Wheel, there was some amount of purple and flowers involved.  After a couple more years, Lindsey Fahey decided that it was time to be legit with this bike thing (reference Fahey SMOTW).  After much trepidation, I joined her and a lovely group of ladies on a Tuesday morning ride.  Despite having no clue what I was doing, I was so drawn to how friendly everyone was and how accepting they were of such a flaming amateur.  The more I went on SM rides and met people, the more I grew to love the team and the whole underground bike culture that I had previously evaded me.

Two monkey years later, I have learned a ton, I am still NOT “so pro”, but overall I have had a wonderful time and look forward to many more years pedaling away.  When I sat down to write this I was flooded with amazing memories from my childhood that involved bikes, fun, and friendship.  Reflecting on the past few years and my time with Spidermonkeys, that continues to be the theme.
wind farm

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