It’s been a while!
Since my last race in 2018, I enjoyed a nice block of rest during the “off season.” Then this winter, I was lucky enough to spend three months logging some long base miles in Europe. On December 1st, Zeb and I set out for our long-awaited trip with the bikes in tow. Our OruCase bike bags had been a great investment since they were padded enough to prevent any damage, but allowed us to pack our bikes down small enough to not have to pay any bike fees the whole time (even when we flew 13 different times!)
We worked on olive groves in Spain through a WorkAway program, visited friends in Vienna and Amsterdam for Christmas and New Years, and toured Nice and Florence by bike with a friend from North Carolina. Zeb and I were able to ride in four different countries (five if you count Monaco) 🙂 and I got to set a lot of personal cycling records during our trip. While we were working on an olive grove in the Tabernas Desert of Spain, I rode my first century ride. While we were staying in a caravan on the island of Mallorca, I rode my most miles in a single week. While we were with a friend in the Tuscany region of Italy, I climbed my most feet in elevation in a single week. Every week I was lucky enough to have another opportunity to push myself, reach new goals, and see beautiful new views. It was an incredible experience, and I continue to feel fortunate for all the places my bike has taken me over the years.
By the end of the three months, we had traveled to Spain, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Monaco, and Portugal. Zeb and I also got engaged on New Years Eve in Amsterdam! During the 10 weeks we had our bikes, we rode 2058 miles, spent 152 hours on the bike, and climbed 165,560 feet of elevation.
Though that trip deserves a whole blog to itself, (Zeb actually kept one up if you’re interested! velodendron.com) I hope this short summary gives a glimpse of the riding I’ve been up to since my last post. Even though the views from the road were stunning, I can’t wait to trade the skinny tires for knobby ones and get back out on the dirt!
We’ve only been back in the U.S. for a little over a week, but we’re already gearing up for the first race of the season – This Saturday, Zeb and I will be at the Croatan Buck Fifty gravel race, and I’m hoping the long base miles over the Winter will have prepared me for my first 100 mile race!
The most exciting part about this first race is that it will be the first time I wear my brand new team kit! This year, I’m excited and honored to share that I’ll be a part of the CTS Cycling Team, a team filled with racers that I have admired for a long time. Today it was surprisingly warm out, allowing me to ride in shorts and without a jacket for the first time in so long. I got to show off my new CTS kit and enjoy a long gravel ride to get everything dialed in for the 100 mile race at the Croatan. I can’t wait to line up on Saturday in my new CTS kit, ready to start the 2019 season with a bang!