Today I attended the Women's Track Clinic and had my first experience riding a track bike.  Besides learning the ins and outs of track racing and that riding a track bike is not as terrifying as I thought,  I learned a few other important things.   A little training goes a long way and a good attitude goes even longer.  Last year I put my butt on a mountain bike for the first time and each race was both my fitness training and learning time.  Results, what are those, I was happy to cross the line in one piece and did so usually in the bottom.  Then came cross season.  I'll try it once turned into six and there was a small curve upwards in the results.  A hard effort once a week seemed to be doing something.  Over the winter I attended Pedaling with a Purpose twice a week, my first attempt at workouts/training.

So here we are, a new season starting, more ladies in the scene and on our team, great support and energy out there, why not try more types of races.  I have to be honest, I mostly joined the team because I liked the social aspect of it all.  Sure I liked riding my bike but having an excuse to eat and drink more was even better.  The racing was just a vehicle for those rewards.  But as I've gotten a few races and rides under my belt in the last month I find that I'm no longer that pokey gal who needs to walk her bike up that hill or can't ride the lakefront path without needing to be in traction the next day.  Hmmm, that training did something, it made me stronger.

Here's where I find myself.  I've got more strength literally to push myself harder but now I need to find the attitude.  Today I loved hearing the other ladies saying 'this is so much fun', 'I want to just get out there and go', 'I'm competitive and want to get better'.  Besides in Apples to Apples I've never been a competitive person.  Sure we all want to do well and winning always feels better than losing, but it's a drive I've never quite developed.  Fear?  Laziness?  Stigma?  But I find myself now in a crossroads.  Whereas last year it was about getting over the fear of the unknown this year is starting out to be discovering what kind of rider/racer I want to be.

What's my point?  Ask me in a few months.  All I know now is I need to accept that I've become a better rider which in turn will make me a better racer.  I don't see any podiums in my future but I do see some hard efforts.  Amazed and honored am I to be riding with such great women and I hope that we all can strike that balance of commradery and drive both in ourselves and each other that I am now trying to embrace.    As for the track?  We'll just have to wait and see.


-Erica Chianese