Loving the Race

We’ve got a new teammate here at Loving the Bike, and her name is Ashley Irving.  Find out more about her by checking out Ashley’s bio, and watch for her posts coming at you each week here on the site.  To start things off, she’s here to tell you about racing at the Tokeneke Classic.

photo

Loving the Race

by Ashley Irving

Last Wednesday I lined up against former Olympians, national champions and general bad-asses in a 40 minute ‘all you’ve got’ effort around downtown Salem, MA. This was also known as the Witches’ Cup. On Sunday I entered a 44 mile spin around the Barkhamsted Reservoir in Connecticut, aka the Tokeneke Classic.

What rides were they? They’re actually bike races, and I know it’s not a familiar subject on this site, but I aim to get some of you out racing your bike.

For me, racing is mental therapy. Sure you can put in a really hard effort solo on the bike, or even on a group ride, but there’s nothing better than being part of the peloton and doing the absolute best you can. Whenever I enter a race, even if I get dropped after a few laps or several miles, I still aim to go as hard as I can. There’s something pure about being able to put all your worries behind you and focus on going as fast as you can, about the camaraderie that the sport can have and the feeling that you’re out doing something that, honestly, not many people do.

I started bike racing about three years ago. The first couple of years I only did a few races, due to life getting in the way, but I was hooked. This year, even though life is even more in the way, I’ve managed to triple the number of races, and do everything from weekly crits to seriously hardcore road races.

I’m nowhere near the fastest, in fact I’m generally dead last or thereabouts, but the first years of racing aren’t about results or winning, but getting smarter and better on the bike overall. I know a few people who are focused on results, and those that do great love it, but those that don’t get discouraged. I’m just loving racing in general, and if I work at it, eventually those results will come.

So, here’s some questions for you! Have you raced before? If so what kind?

If you have any questions about racing, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer!

Photo: Ashley during Sunday’s Tokeneke Classic. Completely shattered and loving it. Photo by BASE12PHOTO

  • Eric Hutchins

    Nice post Ashley, great to see a new contributor to an already awesome site.

    • http://aerochick.com/ Ashley

      Thanks Eric!

  • AmandaGaleKotyk

    I just wanted to pop over and say Welcome to LTB! Great article…I look forward to reading more. And good luck with your big move (as I see in your bio, you’re doing it with a dog & a cat…I’m an animal person, and think this is beyond awesome).

    • http://aerochick.com/ Ashley

      Thanks! Unfortunately the animals are coming over here a month later, but it’ll give us time to get settled, et al. While I’m over here my CX bike is my primary method of transport, and I already have my pup trained to run alongside me (on the lead).

  • MTSINTERNATIONAL

    Ashley, I encourage your making a decision to begin participation in bicycle racing. Although I’m an old timer now and did a little USCF racing some 35 years ago, now that I am retired in Thailand and have taken up cycling again, mountain biking that is. I have found a great group of local bicycle riding and racing enthusiasts of various ages and ability that I am now riding and traveling to various competition event with. Most of the competitions are being able to complete the 50/70/100 kilo circuit with in a given time period. It’s always fun and everyone is always trying to improve their riding level. Keep up the good work and keep us posted as to your progress in meeting your personal goals. Cheers.

    • http://aerochick.com/ Ashley

      Hey thanks for the comment! I’m actually in the middle of relocating to Malaysia (in Hong Kong right now) and will be visiting Thailand sometime this year.