More cowbell and more miles

| November 10, 2010 | 0 Comments

Kristin Wentworth is the sole female staffer at Planet Bike, a professional road and cyclocross racer, and now, a mom-to-be. She will be contributing regular stories chronicling her active pregnancy.

So I’ve made it through October; another month down – 5 more to go.

Luckily October was beautiful here in Wisconsin and I enjoyed many commutes in to work. I also enjoyed watching many cyclocross races. While I’m no longer racing, my husband has become obsessed with ‘cross and is racing a full schedule of local races this season. We joke that I get to eat for two while he has to race for two. And he’s been taking it seriously – he’s been finishing top 5 in all of the races he’s done this season and is racing better than he ever has before.  I find this awesome since I still get to be a part of the scene and socialize with the “family” of cyclists who I’ve hung around the past 5 years.  Cross is a totally spectator friendly sport and generally involves lots of interaction between fans and racers with beer handups, heckling, and lots of ringing cowbells. I’m sticking with root beer this season but I’m enjoying my time on the other side of the course tape.

The number one question I’m asked while out at the races is “do you miss it?” And I can honestly say that for the time being I don’t. I love the sport and I love competing but it really is nice to take a break and I can’t think of a better task for my body to take on than growing another human being.

If I had a broken collarbone or some unexplained illness then I would be bummed. But this feels right and it’s kind of refreshing to not have to follow all of the race day routines and deal with the inevitable stress. Not to mention that I get to be mostly clean and toasty warm rather than muddy, wet, and cold which is all too common in ‘cross racing. Don’t get me wrong, I like racing in the mud as much as the next person. But a few weekends ago while watching the riders line up post-race to hose down their massively muddy bikes and bodies I was happy to not be one of them.

This isn’t to say that I’ve given up racing ‘cross forever as there is a part of me that misses the adrenaline rush and the fun of riding around a well set up cross course. It was just announced last week that Madison will be hosting Cross Nationals in January 2012 and 2013. Yes that’s right, the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, where the average temperature that time of year is 15, will be welcoming masses of crazy cyclocrossers to duke it out for numerous age group and Elite national championship titles. And I have to say . . . I think both of us are going to give the masters races a shot.

Racing will definitely take a backseat to all the challenges of life with a newborn but by the time fall rolls around and we’ve hopefully established some routines I think it would be fun to do a few local races. I mean when Nationals are literally 5 miles from your house you might as well go for it. I love the family atmosphere at the cross races with little kids scooting around on run bikes and ringing cowbells as riders hurdle the barriers. Some friends of ours have proven it is possible, here’s Shannon (who raced earlier in the day!) and Anders pitting for dad Jim. Cyclocross is a family affair.

So I realize this is supposed to be a blog about me staying active throughout pregnancy and I’ve certainly been doing more than just walking around at ‘cross races on the weekends. Riding was plentiful for me in October and I felt especially good. A little more energy than the earlier weeks and the cool temps were refreshing. The cyclocross bike is still my ride of choice and thus far is still comfortable with the help of a shorter stem. As the tummy gets bigger I find myself wanting to be in a more upright position on the bike and I imagine baby appreciates this too.

I happen to be kind of a numbers geek and log my miles on a website (Greenlight) set up to encourage bike riding with various challenges and team goals. My Planet Bike coworkers are pretty hardcore and between the 7 of us we’ve logged over 27,000 miles this year – 17,000 of those being just riding to and from work. I find it kind of motivating to see the numbers add up and have found myself setting weekly and monthly goals as the year winds down. I was shooting for 600 total miles in October and finally reached it 2 miles into my chilly Halloween morning ride. Nothing like cramming it in on the last possible day! With sunny skies, no wind, and all the proper clothing 34 degrees really isn’t as bad as it sounds. I’m 250 away from hitting 7000 for the year so my goal of 300 for November isn’t too ambitious.  I’ve dug out all my winter gear and am ready to tackle the bitter cold but thus far I’ve yet to see the temp dip below 28 on my cycling computer in the morning. Don’t get me wrong – that’s plenty cold!

Once the icy precipitation comes I’ll cut back or eliminate the commuting and will start walking more and hopefully do some cross country skiing and snowshoeing. I’m not sure I can stand being off the bike too much though and will probably set up a mountain bike on the trainer for some good old basement riding while watching television. I’ve really found that I feel great after aerobic activity and I figure it’s got to be part of the reason I don’t have many aches and pains that are all too common during pregnancy. So onward we ride! Thanks for reading!

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Kristin

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