What makes it the “big show”?
Photo By Jon Devich
Some days it is because the result is pivotal for a later selection, and it is do or die. Win. Make the break. Get the pick. Other days it is because you feel like a million dollars and your friends are watching. You want to beat them up the climb for your own personal world championships or Strava KOM on a humble Tuesday morning ride. Yet even other days it is those personal successes when no one is around. It is only the landscape that witnesses your “big show”. Whether it is a local TT, a twilight crit, the national championships, the Giro Donne, or a solo training ride that you just feel like you clearly won the big prize…it all can be interpreted as the “big show”.
I love the “big show”, no matter what form it takes.
I love my personal world championships, when no one is looking, and I win. In my mind, I win it all. A trophy the size of France, a champagne bottle the size of my (5’1″ )teammate Coryn, and podium men in full regalia. I love my local TT race where I compete against myself and whoever else I verify as my competition (for goodness sake, it is called a “smackdown” for a reason).
Yet, yesterday was an entirely different experience. It was the “big show”. Thousands of fans, and a terrific 18.4 mile time trial course under the blistering sun and hair dryer wind of Bakersfield and the Amgen Tour of California. We were racing for prize money. We were racing for representation. We were racing because we could. We were racing because there was a start line and there was a finish line in place. We were racing to merely race. We were racing because we love to battle each other and the clock.
AEG Worldwide stepped up to the plate once again and invited 10 elite women for the AEG Amgen Tour of California Women’s Invitational Time Trial. It was an invite to the “big show”. The tents were even bigger than anything we have at a women’s race, and better even they were filled with fans and food. There was nowhere to hide on the course, and only the strong survived. The terrain appeared to be used in an end of the world film, and as you were finishing the time trial you believed it. The world was surely ending.
While DZ won the men’s TT, KStrong won the women’s. I placed 4th and would love to do it again to find those 10s necessary for that podium. 10s in 30k. I know where they are, but the hard thing about a time trial is that you are never satisfied. Why stop at only 10s? Why not more? You always want more. More speed. More preparation. More power. More time to make it right.
It was the “big show” yesterday, and it was a great milestone to build into the rest of my year. I was honored to be there among such elite time trialists, and cannot thank AEG enough for providing us the opportunity to race. We love to race our bikes, and we love to represent women’s cycling. Thank you for all the well wishes, the support, and the cheers on the way yesterday from either Bakersfield or afar. I took each note to heart and used it to fuel the fire on a sweltering day in the sun.
I am already planning my next “big show”, and who knows, maybe the world will be watching, or maybe it will be no one else but me and my thoughts. Next time you recognize that “big show” feeling, embrace it. Just don’t slip off the start ramp on your way.