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Notes from the podium

On Saturday, I had the most amazing opportunity to stretch my comfort and race a 100k bike race around the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia.  It was stunning and quite challenging because although there are no hills, the roads are rough in parts - choppy loose gravel, pot holes, raw edges (not to mention cattle and chickens...)  

Through a little luck and a little good planning I was actually able to stand on the podium and take 3rd place.  

What a totally humbling experience that was.  I don't know how the numbers shake out yet, but there were about 1200 riders - not sure how many women I competed agains in the women's 100k.  But I do know for a fact that there were three women who looked amazingly strong.  One crashed and two had bike issues that disabled them... but hey...a win is a win, no?

It was a 4x 25k loop, and I learned a lot of lessons.

1.  Had I predicted I would stand on the podium and shake the hand of formal gvmt officials, I might have brought a hair brush.

2.  I spent $75 on new tires because I had insider information on the condition of the roads.  I knew to ride a cyclo cross and I knew to sacrifice a little speed for a continuous 100k, not marred by a flat.  (best move ever...  soooo many flats)

3.  Don't waste energy being intimidated by tear drop shaped helmets and $10,000 bikes.  I have a heavish Norco cyclo cross and I am heavy, myself.  The bike is not nearly as important as your training and determination...and strategy.

4.  Give props where due.  #2 and I worked together to conserve energy.  No one gets anywhere going it alone.  Others matter - make your appreciation known...loud and clear.

5.  Pass it on.  

What do I mean by pass it on?  Well, my circles of facebook friends and somehow other circles which overlap with mine got me thinking.  There is a photo of me (and number 1 and number 2 - all American women, by the way) on the podium with our medals and junk and a Cambodian guy wrote "You won't see any Cambodian women up there!"

I threw on my all-caps and shouted back...FOR SURE YOU COULD SEE CAMBODIAN WOMEN UP THERE - ALL THEY NEED IS TRAINING AND OPPORTUNITY!

With 7 months left in Cambodia I am totally dedicating all of my energies to shake up women's cycling here.  Stay tuned!  They won't have pretty bikes and flashy gear, but they can certainly see a finish line as cycling grows here in Cambodia.

 

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