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US Women's Cycling Development Program diary

US Women's Cycling Development Program diarist Kathrine Carroll drives the pace in 'Toona"
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

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 programme, visit the USWCDP website

Index to all entries

October 9, 2008

The beauty of Vermont

By Amy Dombroski

There is even the chance of a non-muddy cyclo-cross race
Photo : Mark Suprenant
(Click for larger image)

Not now, but maybe in like, five minutes. Vermonters live by the saying "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." I left a sun-filled Colorado sky last Thursday and didn't see the sun again until over a week later. Muttering and complaining about east coast weather, my dad kept telling me to wait five minutes. I waited and I waited, and sure the weather changed; it changed from rain, to sprinkling rain, to mist, to down-pouring. Wonderful I guess it changes, but never in the direction you're hoping.

Knowing that I was to spend four hours in what could be every weather condition under the sun (or not), I suited up in what seemed to be an excessive amount of clothes. I sadly left the warmth of the fireplace, slid onto my saddle, and peddled down our muddy road. As I rode north the sky was looking less frightening and the rain was letting up.

I rode through Jeffersonville and Smuggler's Notch where smoke was puffing from chimneys and families were chopping and hauling wood for the frosty winter to come. Finally the sun was peaking through, lighting the colourful leaves of the maples, glistening with the cool fall beauty.

When the fog lifts the beautiful fall colours are fully visible
Photo : USWCDP
(Click for larger image)

I began to wind up the notch road and the rain started again. Soon I could see my breath and as the leaves were oscillating in my path, snowflakes pitter-pattered on my jacket. With a huge grin on my face, leaf-peepers were staring at me in disbelief.

Just a bit later the snow turned to hail and was pelting my face as I attempted the descent, on the brakes in dire hope that I wouldn't lose traction on the slick, leaf-covered skating rink of a road. Next it was pouring rain, seeping through my once warm legs, feet and hands.

Colder and colder, the road wound down and down. Knowing I wasn't even half way through the ride and my extremities were transforming from sponges into ice cubes, my blue lips trembled with cold and worry. All of Stowe had finished an elegant brunch and were warm in their fur coats and immaculate Lexus sedans. And I was cursing them.

It's guaranteed that after five minutes the rain stops - maybe...
Photo : USWCDP
(Click for larger image)

But soon the road was bone dry and I felt warmth on my back, almost burning through my jacket. Flabbergasted, I stopped to clear my sand-sooted eyes, and saw a picture perfect blue sky, bright sun, and hillsides of vibrant foliage. This magnificence lasted for about five minutes before the sky opened up to rain again.

I was warm enough and I knew that the cookies and bacon that my dad has been feeding me the passed week would keep me going. A few miles up the road was a turkey crossing, and a dozen turkeys dilly-dalleyed across the road. It made me really think that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

With the state our world is in right now, with seeing how much ugly growth is taking place, and with just riding through all the new-fangled construction in and around Stowe, I was feeling like a forgotten splattered rain- drop. But the turkeys made me smile. The enormous pot-holes that I dodged for 60 miles kept me alert. The fact that it is near impossible to ride for 30 miles and avoid dirt roads, and the myriad of smells, ranging from cow plops, to burning wood, to maple syrup, to cider, all served as a calming reassurance. I am happy to know that most of Vermont is still the Vermont that I have known and grown to love.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mark Suprenant

Images by USWCDP