I've never been a team kind of person. In fact, the last team I was on was when I was six, and they had to have my mom come get me because I wouldn't stop crying. So my experience with group sports has been pretty limited. My experience on a bike, however, has been going on since I was just an infant, dating back to the days when the only way to put me to sleep was for my dad to take me out for a ride in the baby seat affixed firmly to his old .
I eschewed for my first mountain bike, since I was in hot competition with my boy neighbor to see who could ride first. We tied in that, and spent the next ten or so years racing around our small town together on our bikes. My dad says that I was born to ride, since my legs never seemed to get tired.
So, when I got to Rutgers, I came with my dad's old Cannondale, just a hair too big for me. Building a fixed gear soon followed, and after that, a few attempted alleycats. Then, a new bike, bought solely to compete in… Triathlon. What followed was the transformation of a nonathletic and noncompetitive girl into someone who trains three or four hours a day and races as hard as humanly possible. I learned to push myself harder than I thought I ever could, and I saw results.
I blame a bike team alumnus for my foray into the multisport world (he knows who he is!) I started racing in tri's last summer, and managed to do reasonably well, getting third in my age group in my second race. The swim was scary, the run was painful, but the bike was just fun. I decided that while triathlon is my first love, I wanted to concentrate on my biggest strength- the bike.
So, for the first time in my life, I'm doing the "team" thing, and it's scary! While I may have the legs and the stamina for the riding, triathlon has in no way prepared me for racing strictly on two wheels.
I thought that joining the team would be hard in and of itself, but with people like Chris and Mark helping me navigate through the various paperwork and membership rules, it was actually surprisingly easy.
My first ride with team members was a bit of a disaster, I admit. Going out in 2 layers on top, 1 on bottom and just my triathlon shoes on my feet was my first mistake. I survived the ride, but the 20 degree weather took its toll on my system, and when we stopped at a park mid-ride, I got off the bike and started seeing in Technicolor before things started to fade out completely. Thanks to Chris and his bottle of Accelerade, I managed to recover and finish the ride, only to discover later that night that what I thought had been a tiny spill on the ice had actually caused a gigantic bruise on my leg that two weeks later is still healing.
The next ride saw me outfitted with neoprene booties, Assos legwarmers, tights, underarmour, and my new Rutgers long-sleeved jersey- 2 layers on bottom, 3 and a half on top. Much warmer, and the ride went much smoother, though I still have a lot to learn about riding in a pack. It's hard to get a knack for drafting when you're used to a time penalty for drafting in triathlon!
In the meantime, I also learned that the team does just about everything together- I've been to a team meeting, I've weightlifted, rode on trainers in an attic, and swam with members. It's a whole new world of training for me, one where I finally have a group to talk to, finally have friends that actually know exactly what my body is going through because theirs are too. I can't believe I missed out on such a dedicated group of people for three years! It seems like such a waste.
So I have a couple years to make up for, and with races starting in a little over a month, I'm incredibly psyched to get started.
Oh yeah- my name is Molly, and I'm really happy to be on this team!