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Official Website of the Women's Cycling Association of Arizona (WoCAA)

Life and bikes

SO, if life is like a pizza, then as an “elite amateur” cyclist, training and racing is only one small part of the pie, like maybe the tomato sauce and the pepperoni (or mushrooms if you’re like my vegan teammate). And while pizza may be less zippy without the tomato sauce, sometimes we need to stop and get our hands dirty, mixing the flour and yeast and water to make ourselves a tasty crust for the pizza (pizza recipe available on request). And that has been my life for the past month+, since a fabulous trip to race Gila and collegiate nationals. SO, I will take a post to show you a slice of the pizza that is this cyclist’s life.

Anna M in the crit at collegiate nationals

Step one: win fancy new jersey in the road race at collegiate nationals. Finish respectably in the criterium.

Step 2: Finish writing Ph.D. dissertation. Print copies for members of my committee. Note, this process involves several intense weeks of very long hours in lab and in front of a computer, following nearly 5 years of research.

Writing, writing, writing...

Step 3: Immediately after turning in said thesis copies, pack up my car with my stuff and some Harvard teammates and go race bicycles with Anna B. in Vermont. We came to the realization that extreme jet-lag and a similar thesis-induced sleep deficit lead to less than stellar performances, but this fact did not stop us from having fun times with friends and putting in quality racing hours.

Step 4: Go hike up a mountain while in New Hampshire for a wedding.  (Other days of the trip involved riding my bicycle up and down notches, including the morning of the wedding).

Anna and Sasha on top of a mountain

Step 5: Defend my thesis.

Title slide of my thesis talk...I'd be happy to give you the long or short version later!

Step 6: Drive to Colgate University and ensure that I have a place to live and that I will indeed get paid next year.

Step 7: Present poster at the Boston Bacterial Meeting and listen to two days of scientific talks.

Step 8: Fly down to elite nationals, to meet up with Judy and Rachel (more details to follow).

Whew!  So there you have it.  I know that my teammates have many similar stories, as do many of our peers in the elite amateur ranks.  While we may not be able to pursue cycling with the same focus as true “professional” athletes, I am proud that we are able to sustain complex and balanced lives.  Our metaphorical pizzas are quite delicious, in my opinion.  And I am truly grateful for the opportunities, when they come, to have days or weeks where my sole task is to race my bicycle to the best of my abilities.  What a privilege!!




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