EASY Non-Dairy Broccoli Slaw


Let me start by saying what makes this recipe EASY is my food processor. If you're into health and fitness or eating raw or prepping your own meals- GET A FOOD PROCESSOR. You seriously will never regret it. 

Ok, time to make lunch. Here's what you need for my recipe (although feel free to get creative!!)

1 Full Broccoli bunch (stalks n all!)
1/2 Red Onion
1/2 a cabbage or 5-6 Brussels sprouts
1 Apple
Braggs Aminos (to taste)
2 tbsp Olive Oil (or to taste)
2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
appx 1/2 cup Raisins, walnuts and sunflower seeds (for topping)

1. Shred the veggies, onion and apple in the food processor.
2. Place in a bowl and add the liquids: Olive oil, Apple Cider Vinegar and Braggs
3. Top w/ nuts, seeds and raisins
4. Store in the fridge and eat over the course of 1 week!

I would wait at least 6 hours to eat it as it takes a little while for the flavors to mingle and the vinegar to break down the broccoli's chewy-ness.  And since this recipe is non-dairy it truely can last you a solid week. So go ahead and double the recipe and feed the whole fam a healthy side dish for a week! 

How Dyslexia Led Me To Do My 1st Mountain Bike Race

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A few months ago, I was invited to race around a Glacier in Iceland. sounds rad, right? After a quick glance at the website I said “I’ll do it!”  It was weeks later until I realized I’d flipped two important letters around while reading about the 3-day course: I read “XC” as “CX”.   wtf brain.

CX (or Cyclocross) I’ve done before! It’s fun and pretty manageable for someone who rides mostly track bikes. But XC is something entirely different. Along with Enduro, trials, dual, and so many other things I knew absolutely nothing about, Cross-Country is a category in mountain biking. Right, so here I was with a flight booked to Iceland and I didn't even own a mountain bike.

the photo of a mountain bike on the splash page should have tipped me off...

the photo of a mountain bike on the splash page should have tipped me off...

I did have a teammate though. Juliet Elliott is a multi-discipline bike racer, journalist and fellow  Youtuber from across the pond. I’d asked her to be my teammate bc I knew she’d ridden on dirt plenty but now I was sending frequent whatsapp’s inquiring about bike preference, hydration packs, clothes, etc.  She patiently answered my questions while I low-key freaked out. I don’t think she knew it was my dyslexia that had gotten us into this mess.

My teammate to be: Juliet Elliott

My teammate to be: Juliet Elliott

I had just a few months to prepare but I also had a bike tour and a cross-country move to do, crits to race, and lots of work travel. But every chance I had, wherever I was, I would rent or borrow a bike, find a trail and ride. I rode with anyone available. I rode alone. I even got my little brother to take a break from being a gym rat to ride a rented MTB with me. We tackled tree roots that day. It was awesome. My confidence grew slowly. Trails were much more manageable with a real MTB instead of riding them with a cx bike like I’d been doing. I should thank my friend Hern for making me ride the Santa Monica mountains on a cx bike because it truly made my handling skills better- despite the experience being mildly terrifying.

one of my many practice sessions from the road on a rented bike

one of my many practice sessions from the road on a rented bike

Fast forward to the race. Juliet and I arrived in Iceland the day before for the race meeting. I’d finally purchased a Liv Pique advanced just a week prior and I was going to race 300k on it. I bought a camelback hydration pack off Amazon. And as Juliet pointed out- I was using a road helmet. I didn’t know they were different??!

In the meeting, the organizers stressed that we needed to bring along food, water and emergency kit because we would be riding through very remote areas. I thought of my mishap in the Dirty Kanza the year prior and noted I should pack a pen in case I needed to make a tourniquet.   After dinner and a dip in a hot pool, I drew the blinds on the still-sunny night and we tucked in for our last sleep in a bed before race start. 

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coming soon: Glacier360: "This is really really hard. On my butt."  (...I might wanna rethink that title.)


Easy Sweet Potato & Spinach Salad

You guys know me- I'm not a gourmet chef but I *do* make 80% of the food I eat! Why? Because it's the most affordable and simple way to eat clean. You know exactly what you're putting in your body and how it was prepared. This is important info! 

This recipe is 3 steps, super easy (like all of my recipes) and also- super nutritious. Here's what you need

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 bunch of clean spinach leaves (baby or grownup;)
  • your favorite spicy mustard
  • crushed walnuts (optional)

Step 1. Cut the sweet potatoes into easy-sized cubes. You know, not perfect and not super tiny. 
Step 2. Boil them until you can easily put a fork thru them. 
Step 3. Drain potatoes and then toss all the ingredients together. The amount of mustard you use is up to you!

See??? Super easy and so good for you. Ok now you try. 

Mission Crit 2017

Sometimes being nonstop involves some compromises. Like not having a place to sleep. My friend Aish and I were headed up the California Coast once more to race the Mission Crit in SF- and right on the way was Sea Otter in Monterey. We'd never been. We knew a guy who knew a guy who had a pass. We decided to give it a shot.  After a tour of Stinner frameworks in Santa Barbara, we headed to Monterey late in the day. Everything was booked up- but we had the Prius and decided last resort- we'd sleep in that. 
Midnight rolls around and we'd reached our last resort. A lovely resort it was: rolling green mountains and a winding road we could barely navigate in the dark (Robinson Canyon-- great place to ride if you're ever in Monterey!). We laid the seats flat, rolled out the sleeping bags and looked up at the stars.  It was pretty great. Until the next morning. Kinda painful. The Prius-Camper still needs improvements.

Traffic in and out of Sea Otter wasn't nearly as bad as people had made it out to be. (But then, these are cyclists who probably don't deal with traffic ever.) I did see a lot of people riding into the event which would be a v. nice ride on a road or cx bike (hilly, decently long). I love the heat and the sun but if you don't- make sure you bring sunscreen and a light cover up!  Aish says it's like Coachella for cyclists. It was so awesome I forgot to vlog it. I stole some footage for my vlog from the youtube channel of French pro-mtb'er Cedric Gracia and PinkBIKE- (both really awesome youtube channels you should watch if you're into cycling.)  One take away:  Sea Otter is NOT do-able in a day. It took me a day to navigate the whole thing!  If I go again it will be 3 days: A day to explore, a day to race and a day to demo and party.

We left around 7pm to head to SF. I got to the Fixie Mansion around 10pm and went straight to bed, exhausted, only to wake up a few hours later with fever. NOT ideal for racing the next day. I managed to get Advil/Tylenol in my system eventually and lots of emergen-C to feel race-ready by my 6pm Qualifiers.  The format was like Red Hook years past- 20 minutes to post your fastest lap time.  I kinda suck at this format.  It's especially hard if you're working without a team. But the field wasn't too big so I figured my qual time didn't matter too much. 

I was wrong. First lap, the hairpin was pretty congested and badass Jo Celso was pretty far out by the time I even made up 7 positions. Of course she gunned it from "go" due to a $200 first lap prime.  I would!  The race got SO strung out in fact that by the last lap she lapped everyone but the top 4.  I managed 7th place, finishing 12 of the 22 laps. In the end, Jo had 30 seconds on Christina Peck, who had 40+ seconds on Sydney (3rd) and Veronika (4th).

My Aventon Factory teammate, David Santos, faired a bit better managing 4th place in a VERY fast men's race. But the biggest upset of the night came from Cesar Valenzuela who took the win out from under favorites like Colin Strickland (2nd) and Addison Zawada (3rd).  Cesar is just 18 years old, racing for local LA team Engine 11. I imagine there will be a lot of eyes on him next week at Red Hook Crit Brooklyn.
Phenomenal night of racing! Big thanks to James Grady, the volunteers and organizers, and everyone that brought racing to the Mission.


#FourBefore CHALLENGE!

#FOURBEFORE is a 4-week workout plan that targets 4 areas in 4 workouts.  Begin this week and the final workout will be released on the day before Thanksgiving... the ultimate cheat day!  
Today I posted Workout 1: Arms.  Here is the plan for this week:

Complete Arm Workout Video 3x
Complete 5 sessions of Cardio (20min or longer)

For example, my workouts are scheduled like this:
Wednesday Nov 2- ARM VIDEO + 2 Spin Classes
Thursday Nov 3-  1 Spin class + 3mi jog
Friday Nov 4-  Training ride (cycling 4hr) + ARM VIDEO (w/o jumping jacks)
Saturday Nov 5- REST day (short commuter ride only)
Sunday Nov 6-  AM + PM Spin classes
Monday Nov 7- Spin Class + ARM VIDEO
Tuesday Nov 8- Spin Class + Yoga

Diet Tips:
All-you-can-eat veggies. 
1 serving of lean protein in the morning and after each workout (min 10g)
Eliminate fried foods, chips and candy.
Pre-workout fuel: Fruit and Black coffee or Red Bull
All-day: Water!
Alcohol: no more than 1x/wk

#FallFit Update: I'm SO HUNGRY

#TBT to 2007 San Francisco 4 hr North American Cycle Courier Championships! eating-on-the-go...

#TBT to 2007 San Francisco 4 hr North American Cycle Courier Championships! eating-on-the-go...

Teaching 11 spin classes/week, commuting by bike plus race training means nutrition needs to be on point. I have to eat enough to keep my energy up and choose the right things that won't cause me to crash and burn.  Now adding in #fallfitnonstop workouts and I find that my hunger level  at meals has skyrocketed. In these moments-- I would anything I could get my hands on. Which is why I've given myself a plan for handling the hunger. These are the rules: 

  1.  BEFORE heading into my workout, I have a healthy snack packed and waiting for me on the other side. Today it was low-fat string cheese! Just enough hold me over until my healthy post-workout meal.
  2. DRINK LOTS of water.  It helps me recover from the workout, keep me hydrated and helps my belly feel full. Lemon water is my jam. I've been filling an entire jug of water and keeping it in the fridge with tons of fresh lemon slices. 
  3. EAT the meal I planned. Avoid going out to eat post-workout unless you know exactly what (healthy meal) you are going to order before you workout! Today the post-ride meal was a GIANT bowl of fresh spinach topped with 2 eggs and 1 egg white, with a side of delicious in-season apple slices w/ almond butter.  the bomb.
  4. AFTER I eat, wait 30min.  I finished my spinach and eggs and apple and I wanted more food.  I feel this way almost EVERY meal. At the end, I want more. That's when the 30min rule helps SOOOO much.  Drink some of that lemon water, clean up your dishes, listen to a podcast, answer some emails, but DO NOT PUT ANYTHING MORE in your mouth until 30min has gone by.  Chances are the hunger will subside and you will have moved on. 

I hope this helps. Onward #TeamNonStop--- together we got this!



For the challenge- you will want to bookmark the #FallFitChallenge playlist on Youtube FOUND HERE. Organize the workouts on any day/ time you want, depending on your schedule and rest days.  Many of these workouts are short and can be done first thing in the morning with no equipment (Sally Up for instance--- the perfect wake up video).
Much of this challenge will require 2-a-day workouts but will NOT require more than 90min of working out per day.  +For Limited Mobility options- please scroll to the bottom.

5-6 days per wk/ focusing on HIIT w/ Resistance training.
Take 1 rest/restorative day per/wk. 
Video 1 is a warm up- (good for anytime). Use throughout the challenge as needed!

1 entry per check in or hashtag use
Oakley lifestyle shades, 6KU single speed, and more. 
Winners will be announced on Friday October 7th
**Prizes will be shipped to US, Canada and UK ONLY.** but if you're outside those regions, I will totally send you an internet HIGHFIVE


__ Video 1 Dynamic Warm Up
__ Video 2 Buns & Guns
     Video 3 The Quickie (3x's this week)
     __ Quickie (1)
     __ Quickie (2)
     __ Quickie (3)

__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more
__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more
__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more

__ Video 1 Dynamic Warm Up
 Video 5 Mike's Extreme Burn  2x this wk
     ___ Mike's Extreme Burn (1)
     ___ Mike's Extreme Burn (2)
__ Video 3 The Quickie   *AND*   Video 2 Buns & Guns (same day)
     Sally Challenge (pushups Video 4 *OR* leg raises Video 13)  2x this week
    ___ Sallys (1)
    ___ Sallys  (2)
__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more
__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more
__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more

___  Video 2 Buns & Guns w/ dumbbells   PLUS   Video 6** (full sets of each move 2x)
**if you don't have access to a gym- sub with video 11 Summer Abs
___  Video 7** -- 3 sets
**if no gym- sub with Video 5 Extreme Burn
 Sally Challenge 2x this wk
___ Sally 1
___ Sally 2
___  HIIT Videos 8 & 9  (same day)
Plus 4 Cardio sessions:

__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more
__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more
__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more
__ Cardio of Choice 20min or more

Video 12 Mike's 60 Min Meta-Shred   2x this week!
___  60 Min Meta-Shred   (1)
___  60 Min Meta-Shred   (2)
Sally Up Challenge  3x/wk (pushups or leg raises)
___ Sally 1
___ Sally 2
___ Sally 3
___ Video 8 & 9 (in same day)
___ Gym day: Video 11& 6 (in same day)
**no gym sub Videos 11&10  (in same day)
3   30minute (minimum) cardio sessions, each time finishing with Video 11, Summer Abs
__ Cardio of Choice 30min or more, finishing w/ Video 11
__ Cardio of Choice 30min or more, finishing w/ Video 11
__ Cardio of Choice 30min or more, finishing w/ Video 11



- CARB ALLOWANCE: You don't have to cut carbohydrates completely. Somewhere around 150-200 grams will help fuel your bodily functions and your workouts without any excess being wasted and converted to fat. For every extra full hour you spend exercising, you can add on 50-100 grams of carbs. 

-WORK OUT WHEN YOU HAVE THE MOST ENERGY: You want to have plenty of energy for your workouts, so timing is important. If you find that your energy levels are high without eating carbs before your morning workout, then you don't need the carbs. If you find your energy levels waning during your workout, then a protein shake and an apple before your workout can work well because they are easy to digest while fueling your body with ample protein and carbs. 

- EAT CARBS W/ PROTEIN Save your carb allowance for when you are eating protein. After a workout, eating carbs with protein in a roughly 2:1 ratio can help your body utilize the protein most effectively. 

- DRINKING: For this month- CUT caloric beverages (including alcohol and coffee with sugar) to 1 day/wk

- SUGARS ARE CARBS. That includes fruit, sauces, alcohol, sweets (duh). If you're going crazy missing sugar, try prunes, dark chocolate w 75% or higher cocao, or raw coconut/cocao powder treats (just read labels! some contain dates which are a great source of energy but also HIGH in natural sugar.) Artificial sweeteners are not encouraged, but you can use them if they help with cravings.

1 entry per check in/hashtag use
Oakley lifestyle shades, 6KU single speed, and more. 
**Prizes will be shipped to US, Canada and UK ONLY.** but if you're outside those regions, I will totally send you an internet HIGHFIVE


Video 14 20minutes of the 20-40min Workout  -2x/wk
Plus 3  20minute (minimum) cardio sessions/wk

Add in two more vids...
Video 15 No Crunch Abs 3x/wk
Plus 20min of Video 14   3x/wk
Plus 3 20minute (minimum) cardio sessions

Video 15 No Crunch Abs 3x/wk
Plus 40min of Video 14   2x/wk, finishing with Video 17 5min Abs
Video 18 Pilazies 2x/wk
CARDIO: 4,  20minute (minimum) sessions

Videos 14-18, 2x/wk PLUS
3 30minute (minimum) cardio sessions/wk plus, finishing with Video 17 5min Abs


STEP 1. Enter your email here:

STEP 2. Visit The Challenge Playlist: 

STEP 3. Read THE PLAN and follow:

STEP 4. Check-in in the comment section of the workout videos and via social media with the hashtag #FallFitNonStop to WIN PRIZES 

Mala Bruja Alleycat Recap

I woke up well before sunrise on Friday to teach a 6am/7am double at SoulCycle.  I *hate* early mornings.  I can barely get dressed let alone eat. I downed a glass of lemon-water followed by a Red Bull and headed out the door.  Classes went on without a hitch: sprints, climbs, and a lot of jumping around to hype up the drowsy masses.  By 8am, work was over. I walked down 18th street a deli egg sandwich and the goal of driving to deep PA to visit my sick grandmother. I figured I might miss the all-women's alleycat set to happen later that night, but it’s a chance I had to take. 

I drove for hours on highways lined with trees bursting with Autumn listening to War On Drugs. At the hospice, family was coming together for her last days. I stayed a while to hold her hand, speaking some loving words into her morphine dreams. By 3pm it was getting crowded and I decided to head back. As I drove, I realized I might just make it to this race I'd been hearing so much about.  It'd been years since any all-female races were organized in NYC and I was pretty keen on supporting this one so I pressed my foot a little harder into the gas pedal.

Miraculously I got back to Brooklyn by 7:10 and without a speeding ticket.  I dropped the car, grabbed my bike and raced to the start line. Sarah Roosevelt park was packed with people. Registered racers already had manifests in hand. I stripped off my jacket, borrowed a lock from Tak, a pen from Crazy Nick and x-street/order notations from Alex and Heidi (dressed as a cuba diver) to which I made a few changes.  It felt like mere seconds before we were lining up for the Le Monde start. I put my bike against a van, turned to line up, and faced a wall of women. WHOA.  WHO ARE THESE GIRLS? Where did they all come from???  Never in 10 years of alleycat racing had I seen this kind of turn out for a women’s race.  It was incredible. I couldn’t help take out my phone to snap one single blurry picture right before I heard “3,2,1 GO!”

a pic of the running start shot by Cordell (StayAliveNYC)

a pic of the running start shot by Cordell (StayAliveNYC)

I turned and ran- suddenly grateful for Nikes on my feet. I didn’t have time to change anything on my bike so I was riding my track gear and toe cages for this race…

The checkpoints were all over Manhattan and could be done in any order. This was the route I took:

1. St. Pauls Cemetary: Fulton & Bway
2. Pier 40 (at Houston)
3. Wash Sq. Park Arch
4. Marble Cemetery (2nd St b/n 1 & 2nd ave)
5. Bellevue Insane Asylum (30th + 1st)
6. Pet Cemetery (81st + East End Ave)
7. Park Central Hotel (56th & 7th Ave)
8. 666 5th Ave (@ 53rd)
9. 210 E. 46th St
10. East River Bar (Wburg/ Brooklyn)

Manifests ran out due to the massive turn out.  25 racers had to handwrite theirs.

Manifests ran out due to the massive turn out.  25 racers had to handwrite theirs.

Despite the shockingly large crowd of women and bikes running and rolling every which way, I managed to get out of the park without any pileups. I was planning to cut straight over to Broadway until I hit Centre street. Right. shit. Hester doesn’t go through. (I’d been out of the city for 2 years and forgotten a few things.) So within 30 seconds of the race I was already speeding wrong-way down Centre street in spite of my older/wiser self’s belief that wrong-way riding is a terrible idea.  But then again, that self can’t keep up in an alleycat race. So Older/Wiser Self got dropped by my Nostalgic/Rebellious Self.

It’d been a long time since I’d shredded the city like that and DAMN it was fun!  After a long season of crit racing and road training, I was reminded me what got me into bike racing in the first place. Street racing is FUN!  I pulled up to my first checkpoint. A pack of guys took my manifest and wouldn't return it until counted every fencepost lamp on the block.  I circled, counting quickly while my adrenaline-fueled dyslexic brain rearranged the numbers. "8, 9, or wait- 9...shit"  Skidding back onto Broadway I shouted “10!”  They laughed. “We’ll take any number since you did the lap!” One mark on my manifest and I was off. 

St Paul's cemetary where we had to count every fencepost lamp

St Paul's cemetary where we had to count every fencepost lamp

Every checkpoint had a posse of volunteers and some activity we had to complete before moving on.  A true old-school-style alleycat!  Everyone was positive and cheering us on. No madness or egos.  (I’m sure somewhat due to the fact that the racers were all female.) The only mistake I made was on my sixth checkpoint because I didn’t read it correctly and thought I was going to 33rd and East end.  Eh… I figured it out after taking a tour of the East side Helipad shouting "CHECKPOINT!"

What I love most about alleycats is that the entire race you have no idea how you’re doing.  Since the checkpoints can be done in any order, it's impossible to know who’s first, or last for that matter, until the end. The only thing you’re actually racing is the traffic and yourself. Self-motivation is necessary.  I had some good music on and was truly enjoying just blasting down the avenues, so that part was easy.  As I knocked out my last few checkpoints, nearing that finish line sprint, a question swirled in my mind: Car path or nah?

photo by Marc McQueen shows the car/bike path grade difference

photo by Marc McQueen shows the car/bike path grade difference

The finish was East River Bar, just over the Williamsburg bridge.  The car route is shorter with significantly less climbing. But it’s also pretty dangerous.  Four lanes of cars who aren’t expecting bikes to be there and not much of a barrier between the road and a long drop to the water. Plus, the image of one of my best friends nearly getting creamed by a car on that very bridge is forever engrained in my memory thanks to Lucas Brunelle.  Older/wiser self was like “nah.” But as I sped down 2nd ave toward the bridge I noticed someone tailing me about half a black away. Turns out a guy named Wa-de had decided to follow me from the last checkpoint. Hell yeah, Safety in numbers, I thought. Besides this may be the last time you get to do this, Nostalgic/Rebellious Self reasoned. “Car Path!!” I shouted as we cut left on Delancey, merged with traffic and pedaled straight onto the bridge. 

Predictably cars honked. A minivan swerved, but I just kept my cool and my music on and everything went smooth. Turning off the exit ramp toward the bar I didn’t see my shadow anymore. Assuming he was good, I finished my 2 block sprint to the bar.  At the finish I was greeted by Caro wearing a massive purple gorilla suit and a bunch of flashing lights. I handed my manifest to Kenya as Wa-de rolled up from the bridge.  “FIRST PLACE!” people yelled as I high-fived Wa-de and thanked him for being the extra push I needed to get on that bridge.  Only seconds passed before Iliana and Becky rolled up, placing 2nd and 3rd, and only minutes until I was getting texts from friends: 


Huge props to organizers Caro and Kenya. Two relatively new girls on the scene managed to organize not only one hell of a race but the BIGGEST all-female alleycat NYC has ever had.  They got so much support, they were able to give away prizes to the Top 15 women!  I won 1st place and 1st track and the confidence of knowing that after all these years, I still got it ;-)  Nothing like a great race to make you feel alive and present in the moment-  a feeling I'm ever more grateful for each day that goes by... 


Red Hook Crit Race Report: Barcelona

The Aventon team arrived in Spain on Thursday morning. Traveling from California made jet-lag hard to ignore.  We spent a couple foggy-headed days and restless nights building bikes, riding around Barcelona, eating tapas and drinking cervesas with friends. Most racers sign up for the Red Hook series for the travel opportunity and the unique challenge that brakeless crit racing offers, but there's one more reason I do it.  It reunites the friends I've known for nearly a decade through messengering and alleycat racing. We've essentially grown up together- from getting our kicks in anything-goes illegal street racing to competing against road and track pro's in a crit organized by a former alleycat racer himself.  I don't think we could have predicted this future when we were delivering our first few packages in whatever city we called home 8 years ago. Now we greet each other with hugs and high-fives at the Friday night parties held before each crit.

Race day started nice and late.  Women's qualifiers were at 3pm which gave us plenty of time to sleep off the preparty and charge the go-pros. Since the first Red Hook crit in Brooklyn, the Aventon women's team had grown to include Trina Jacobson and Esther Walker from San Diego, Sammi Runnels from Austin Texas, and Gretchen Stumhofer from whatever city she's kicking ass training in last.  In our one-room hostel quarters, we'd fiddled with ratios, charged our go-pros, and hid the evidence of our smuggled vodka bottle. Now we were kinda organized and pretty stoked to crush the crit. At noon, we packed up and rode (brakeless) through the city to the race course just steps from the beach at Parc Del Forum.

                                                                                              An odd lunch before the main event.

                                                                                              An odd lunch before the main event.

After warm-ups on rollers, qualifiers, strange lunch options (squid ink sandwich anyone???) and brief tactic talks, it was time to line up. Sammi and Trina qualified on the front line, with Esther, Gretchen, and I not too far behind. 

Though the course was technical and a little narrow at times, we found places to move up. Like most Red Hooks, it started (and remained) fast. I had a decent start and moved up to 9th wheel by the 1st lap. Trina and Sammi remained consistently in top 8. This race was noticeably faster than the last two and a few squirly riders were making it difficult to push up. I nearly made contact with the same rider twice in the 3rd lap. She was trying to push me out in the corners. It worked. I dropped back, lacking the guts to push back.

                                                         Trina and I working our way up with Esther close behind.   PHOTO: Chiara Redaschi

                                                         Trina and I working our way up with Esther close behind.   PHOTO: Chiara Redaschi

12 minutes in and the pack is still super tight, only breaking up momentarily to maneuver around an already-lapped racer.  Within seconds, my position would change from 8th to 20th and back again. Attacks were quick to be contained and positions were guarded with elbows every turn.  Coming around turn 4, Fleur Faure made contact with another rider and went down. My teammate Gretchen ran over a bike, clipped out, but managed to recover. I swerved right to narrowly avoid the bike as it bounced straight toward me next. A small pileup ensued without any Aventon racers in the mix.  As we finished the lap, there were red flags waving. A re-start had been called. We were halted at the start/finish. After a waiting a few minutes, Dave announced that Fleur was going to rejoin the race. My first reaction was to clap, relieved that she wasn't seriously injured.  I noted that she was restarting on the front line. The restart hadn't required anyone to get back into positions. I was lined up next to Ash Duban in the second row and the front line was now crowded with riders. After a 5 minute wait, we restarted with 12 laps to go.

Before the restart, my legs felt great.  After stopping for several minutes, my legs hated moving again. Esther shouted at me to get on her wheel as she passed me fast on the left but I didn't catch her. It took me several laps to wind back up. With 10 laps to go, it felt like I was slipping off the front pack. I was busy feeling sorry for myself until Jo Celso and Fleur Faure passed me, breaking up my mental pity party. I knew what strong riders they both were and if they had been behind me, I wasn't doing as poorly as I imagined.  This realization snapped some sense into me and reignited my fight. I pushed up and rejoined the back of the front pack.

The pace seemed to slow with 7 laps left or maybe I got a second wind.  Headed into the 4th turn I saw a clear line and sprinted.  I passed everyone, making up 16 positions.  In just a few laps, I went from pity-party-of-one to attacking off the front.  Ainara was on my wheel within seconds, but with Gretchen close behind. On the next lap I found myself sitting 3rd wheel. Then with only 5 laps to go, I was back on the front, this time with Gretchen right on my wheel- great positions but just a little premature. Everyone sprinted with 2 laps to go. I was feeling a little burnt but Gretchen and Sammi advanced.

                                                                         Off the front with 7 laps to go.  PHOTO: ArrièreduPeloton.com

                                                                         Off the front with 7 laps to go.  PHOTO: ArrièreduPeloton.com

On the last lap, I found myself 12(ish) wheels back.  I took a tight inside line on the hairpin to make up ground. This had worked well for me a in the laps prior. This time it saved me from the last lap crash involving Sammi, Ash, a Poloandbike rider. Esther and Trina had taken the outside line and ended up in the haybails.  I involuntarily paused for a millisecond, scanning who from my team was down. Obviously my instincts suck and I should've sprinted instead. The crash has split the field. As I rounded the last corner, the top 7 were already finishing. Kasey Lloyd had out-sprinted Ainara for first, ending Ainara's winning streak.  Gretchen finished 3rd. I crossed the line 9th while Esther was extracting herself from Trina's frame at the pile-up Sammi had been buried under.  But hey, that's bike racing.  This story still ends on a positive note:  After a very fast and exciting 3rd race in the Red Hook Series, Aventon got a podium result.  The women's team is now leading in the team standings by 41 points and Sammi and I are ranked in the Top Ten in the individual standings.

                                                        Women's podium.  Kacey 1st (center), Ainara 2nd (left) and Gretchen 3rd (the one that looks wayyyy taller than everyone on the right)                                                          Photos by Rachello/Mavian and Daniele Falcone, (borrowed from Red Hook Crit official photo blog)  

                                                        Women's podium.  Kacey 1st (center), Ainara 2nd (left) and Gretchen 3rd (the one that looks wayyyy taller than everyone on the right)

                                                         Photos by Rachello/Mavian and Daniele Falcone, (borrowed from Red Hook Crit official photo blog)