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The incredible disappearing female cyclists...
By Staff
Date: 5/8/2003
The incredible disappearing female cyclists...
- by Laura Weislo of the Spin Cycle/Triangle Radiation Oncology Team

I often wondered why, over the course of the racing season, the local women's fields seem to dwindle down to nothing by mid-summer. Maybe women have a harder time staying motivated or get burned out easier than their male counterparts. Or, maybe there are just more male racers, and there is an equal attrition rate but it's not as noticable. Regardless, I'm afraid that I've become one of the statistics - one of the disappearing female cyclists. I'm at an all-time low - my energy sapped, my legs are strong but I am unable to get any power above lactate threshold. End result, when the going gets hard, I get dropped. It's embarrassing. It's frustrating. It's downright depressing.

This spring, I raced two big stage races - Pomona and Redlands, and in between those two I did a five day mountain training camp. I expected to come back from that heavy training load as superwoman. I expected to put the smack down on some local racers. Instead, things haven't been the same. Right after Redlands, I took a bit of a rest, and my legs felt great - no more pain, nice and loose feeling and strong. Then I started back into the hard training and racing and ! Legs-be-gone. My body is rebelling.

Maybe I should have taken a hint from the numerous DNF's on the last stage of Redlands by the most elite of racers. Did all those big names drop out because they were wimps? Because they couldn't ride any more? No. They were smart. They were out of contention, probably not getting stronger over the course of the race so they did the smart thing and bailed. Pushing past the breaking point like I did may have been what has set me back so far. The Saturns, T- Mobiles, and Ronas can't afford to take the entire month of May off to recover. It's also hard to watch women who got dropped while I hung in those races get stronger and start winning while I get slower...

Being in a slump is really hard, both physically and mentally. I'm disabled by some random process going on in my body and unlike an illness or broken bone, I don't have any idea how long it will take to heal. Until then, patience. Patience. Patience. The legs will come back one day, and when they do I'll be ready to make some people hurt, dammit.

So in lieu of race reports, I'll offer some observations...

I've been reading Kim Bruckner's diary. She wrote about how her teammate Kristin Armstrong gets asked all the time if she's Lance's wife. Call me dense, but I never once associated her with Lance - the fact that her name is exactly the same as his wife's never once occurred to me. I've always just thought of her as someone to fear in the peloton...

Did one of those women really actually pee through her chamois while racing??? I don't think I could bring myself to do that no matter how badly I had to go. Well, guys, you wondered how women dealt with the call of nature during a race, there's your answer.

What is it with the guy on the beater bike in his tube socks and t-shirt who tries to race you up the hill while you're rolling along at an easy tempo? I usually just let them do their own thing, but in my weakened state, I hammer past them just to make myself feel like I'm faster than SOMEBODY.

Can all horseflies fly 25mph or more? Or was it just some nuclear plant accident that was chasing me last week?

And finally, is there anybody that DOESN'T love 50 Cent? I was riding into work the other day and was passed by a shiny black pickup truck booming with music. It stopped at the red light, and as I rolled past the open window and spied the gun rack mounted behind the work-shirt clad Bubba inside, it took me a moment to realize he was blasting the latest 50 Cent CD... Don't know why, but that just made me giggle.

I didnt' realize I was stealing my "until next time..." signature from Floyd Landis, so I'll have to come up with something else to end these diaries with...

You can check out Laura's website here.

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