Over the years, one of the best things about my job at Austin Fit Magazine was meeting people and developing relationships, and perhaps one of my all-time favs was deepening my friendship with Carrie Barrett. Barrett is an unstoppable positive force of fitness energy rolled up in a tiny ball of girl power. Naturally, I tapped her to write a monthly column (“Coach Carrie”), which debuted January 2013, two years ago. My, how time flies.
There are some people who simply make you better by association. I love partnering with Barrett — she could ask me to scoop dog poop and I’d sign up in a heartbeat, thrilled about the possibilities of a shared activity. Magic happens (at least, in my eyes) when we work together.
I was very flattered to be included in a small group that Barrett put together for dinner with the team from Specialized. She’s been a Specialized ambassador since 2013; the team is in town for the USA Cycling National Cyclo-cross Championships going on here in Austin (check out these photos of the course from Cyclocross Magazine).
At first, I questioned my inclusion. Yes, I am a proficient cyclist — I trained for and completed an Ironman, so I’ve ridden my share of centuries — and I even biked from Berlin to the Baltic Sea, providing my own support. However, I am an extremely reluctant rider, one who is petrified of mass starts and car traffic. I haven’t been on a bike for years for that very reason. So what did I have to bring to the table?
It turned out to be a fascinating and lively evening, full of fabulous fitness conversation. Stephanie Kaplan, who started out as an ambassador and now has a staff position overseeing women’s products, lead a free-ranging discussion at our end of the table: everything from how did we buy our bikes to is “women-specific” important to us in purchases? We laughed over “shrink it and pink it” policies, bonded over training experiences, and discussed much-needed updates to anthropometric data. Yeah, I had valuable input. And it was a blast.
My take-away on this evening (aside from making new, stimulating acquaintances) is that, yes, I need to get back on a bike, perhaps one that helps me overcome some of my insecurities with an even better fit. And, man, I love talking training with a bunch of like-minded women.
Go check out the USA Cycling National Cyclo-cross Championships, Austin’s Zilker Park, through Jan. 11, 2015; see schedule for events. Thanks to Bicycle Sport Shop, local sponsor.
Inquiring Minds Want to Know: why is it sometimes written “cyclo-cross” and in other instances “cyclocross”? I figure USA Cycling and Cyclocross Magazine are leaders in the sport, and yet they disagree.