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US Women's Cycling Development Program diary

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The US Women's Cycling Development program was founded by former pro rider, Michael Engleman, as a way to help promising young women cyclists reach their full potential as athletes. The USWCDP networks current and former women pro riders with up and coming athletes through mentoring and coaching.

With experienced mentors like Olympians Dede Barry and Mari Holden, along with current pros Amber Neben, Tina Pic, Kim Anderson and others, the USWCDP helps young riders like Mara Abbott, Katharine Carroll and many more to race better, find teams and become professional bike racers. The dedicated and well spoken women of this program provide thoughtful, compelling and sometimes hilarious anecdotes of their experiences in this diary.

For further reading about the program, visit the USWCDP website

Index to all entries

December 6 , 2007

Instead of Kisses, we get Kicks

By Rebecca Much

An appropriate icon
Photo ©: US Women's Cycling Development Program
(Click for larger image)

This past year I have been attending the School of Hard Knocks and learning that the lessons are never ending if I decide to continue to attend. So, with that in mind I think I have learned all I care to learn and will now adapt to this school of thought instead:

"Learn from the mistakes of others, there isn't enough time to make them all yourself."

If someone would have told me that about two years ago it would have saved me a lot of trouble, but at least when you learn the lessons yourself they stick with you a lot more vividly. I think in school they called me a Kinetic learner... I learn by doing, that's my nature. Now its time to fight nature and listen to the lessons that others have learned so I can move forward with hopefully fewer bumps in the road. While visiting the home base of USWCDP in Dolores, CO, I can share a few of these cases in point:

1. When you crash in a cyclo-cross race and get 18 stitches and a minor concussion as a result, learn this lesson: Rebecca, you are hurt. Time to slow down and assess the situation and fix what has been broken so you can continue at full strength rather than ignoring aches and pains and starting to ride again the second it doesn't hurt too bad to walk.

2. When Michael tells you that the sheriff in Dolores is always watching and strictly enforces the speed limit through the town center, don't drive 53mph in a 35 and expect not to get pulled over. Dyslexia cannot be used as an excuse for driving too fast and mixing up the 3's and 5's... or just not paying attention.

Well, you catch the drift of my lessons and I'm already bored of reciting them because its sounds way too much like school, but I definitely have been learning some mad painful lessons lately. On the other side of the coin however, its hasn't been that bad with the incredible support that people around me have been giving. For this case in point, let me tell you a little bit about Dolores, Michael, and the USWCDP:

The Dolores River Brewery
Photo ©: US Women's Cycling Development Program
(Click for larger image)

1. Dolores is pretty rad. With a population of around 900 that is full of enthusiastic people it is hard to go wrong. My first night in town visiting Michael we went to the Dolores River Brewery for dinner and some hometown brews. For reference my favorite was the ESB, which I often ordered as the EBS... it's the oral dyslexia...gets you every time.

The brewery was fantastic. I sat there in awe for an hour or so just watching families with kids and all the other locals interact. Everyone knows each other and that's the coolest part. The other great part is that so many people in Dolores are wicked excited to have the USWCDP in town. I met all sorts of awesome folks and can't wait to get back there again. By the time I left I felt like Dolores was home with the hospitality that everyone showed me.

2. If you must be hurt, Michael and the Durango area community are tops in the medical care field to get you back on track. After the setback from the crash, it was hard to be too bummed out when I was getting all the proper care, and realize that in hindsight as the result of this care I will probably recover better than ever as the core roots of all problems get discovered. Having a high pain tolerance is a blessing and a curse, so here we go back to the lessons to not ignore pain and instead do everything in your power to fix it.

Missy, the USWCDP mascot
Photo ©: US Women's Cycling Development Program
(Click for larger image)

3. Last point: Missy, Michael's dog, is the coolest. I got to hang out with her a lot and that filled a much needed dog void that I was feeling in my life. I love dogs. Dogs make everything better.

To round things up, The School of Hard Knocks is no longer in session. I'm going to try to learn from the mistakes of others and most importantly use the support I've had all along to move forward and on to the 2008 road season... AAAAAAAHHHHHH!


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Images by US Women's Cycling Development Program