Monday, February 12, 2018

Drunk Athlete Podcast Interview with Coach Erin!

I had SO MUCH FUN (maybe a little bit too much??) chatting with Erin Truslow of Drunk Athlete Podcast over Nuun-a-ritas this weekend!

We discussed a little bit about my athletic background, how I fell in love with the bike and got started bike racing, my recently discovered Ultra Racing niche, National and World Championship Wins, the Zwift Academy, and my aspirations for the future! #ProInTheMaking ?? #Olympics2020 (hahaha)?? #AnythingIsPossible!

Check it out HERE! (Also available on iTunes)

Monday, February 05, 2018

Pace Bend Ultra 2018: 6 Hour - Race Report

Castelli had me covered head to toe!
6 Hour Race Nutrition: Nuun, Nuun performance,
Larabar Bites, Jelly Belly Sports Beans,
& French's Mustard of course!

I'd like to start by sending a HUGE shout-out to Holland Racing and Special Events - boy, do they know how to put on a race! From Registration, pre-race communications and instructions, race bible, and parking vouchers, to packet pickup, course markings, venue, announcing by Big Mouth Announcing, On-Site massages by Austin Massage Company, post-race food and beverages, and awards - the day could not have possibly run any more smoothly! Thank y'all for taking so much of the pre-race stress out of the process of prepping for and racing an Ultra Distance Race!

Secondly, I want to personally congratulate and give kudos to Nicole Volek, who completed (and WON!) her very first Ultra Distance Bike Race, completing 24 laps/149.04 miles in 11:40:29! Nicole won the Traughber Nutrition Sponsorship, and worked with Shane Traughber in the months leading up to the race to dial in her nutrition and training, and boy did it pay off! I'm so happy for her, and proud of the hard work and dedication that she put into preparing for this event!
Christopher Bean Coffee saved the day!
To Jacket or not to Jacket? Brrr. ..

In the week prior to the race, I had gone back and forth 100 times about whether to race my Road Bike (Cervelo S5) or TT bike (Cervelo P3). I'm perfectly comfortable with the mileage on either one, but this course is just sooo hilly, and even though the hills roll into each other fairly well, I was concerned that the additional weight of the P3 would end up fatiguing me earlier than my S5, and slowing me down toward the end. . . I left it to a last minute decision on race morning. . .as we were packing to leave the house, it was still raining outside. I'd just had my P3 overhauled for the 2018 season by the awesome Mechanics at Austin Tri-Cyclist, and I'm racing my first big Stage Race of the year in 2 weeks (Valley of the Sun), so I opted to leave "Wicked" at home because I didn't want to grime up her bottom bracket with a bunch of road spray on the back of my car. . .this ultimately was not the best decision. . more on this later!

The day started off on the chilly side, misting heavily during our drive out to Pace Bend Park, but beginning to clear by the time that we got there. The 6 Hour race went off at Noon, so #TeamTracyATX rolled in about 9:15am to set up our tent in the VIP area, pick up packets, do a final check of the bike, and of course share the warm, delicious goodness of Christopher Bean Coffee with fellow racers! Pro Tip: Fastest way to make friends at a chilly bike race: Bring Good Coffee!

I knew that there was a pre-race meeting at 11:45, but didn't realize that we'd be rolling straight from the meeting into the start of the race. . so I had to do a bit of last minute scrambling to stuff my pockets w/ gels, throw on my helmet, and grab my phone/headset. . at 11:44 . . oops! In the rush, I somehow managed to forget chamois cream. . .but THANK GOODNESS the Chamois in my Castelli SanRemo 3.2 Speed Suit was kind to me, and I didn't even realize that I'd forgotten the Chamois Cream until after the race, and was fortunate to escape without any chaffing or "issues" - phew!

As I stood at the start line, there was a noticeable chill in the air, and I couldn't decide whether I wanted to start with my jacket or not. I knew I'd be a little chilly for the first lap if I shed it prior to the start, but was worried that I would have to stop and put a foot down to ditch it, and didn't want to stop at all during my race, so I decided to start without it - good call! I was plenty warm by 1 mile into the race :-)

Another thought running through my head at the start line: "OMG - nearly every single person is on a TT bike. . . yikes. . did i make the wrong call? Oh Well. . .too late now!!"

This race was non-drafting, but we were allowed to draft through the end of the first lap in order to allow the mass start to naturally break up, as everyone found their own pace and settled into it. The race started fast and furious, and I went off with a group of 3-4 guys that surged off the front from the start line. Our little group naturally broke up about half-way through the first lap, and when I glanced briefly over my shoulder, I didn't see anyone else in sight, which meant that I had the lead in the 6 hour female division.

My plan going into the race was to hold a steady ~190W (3.15 W/Kg) from start to finish. I knew this would be a tall ask, as I got a super late start to my base training as a result of the Zwift Academy Semi-Finals, and haven't done any rides longer than ~3 hours since the WTTC in Borrego Springs in early November . . but I wanted to push my limits to see what I was capable of, so that was the plan! I also hoped to complete 1 lap more than last year, for a total of 19 laps, before the 6 hour time cutoff. Of course, I hoped that holding these #s would result in the win, because those sweet Beast Mode Trophies are the best things ever!

Despite my careful planning and calculations, I found myself settling in comfortably at ~200-205W after the madness of the 1st lap. My HR was behaving, and my legs felt great, so I thought to myself "What the hell... I'm just going to hold it here for a little while". My husband, Jamie was texting my gaps to me each lap, and they would display on my head unit, so I knew that I was holding about a fairly steady 1:30-2:00 gap on Christina Bonnington in 2nd. 4 hours in, I scrolled through my screens on my Edge to find that my Normalized Power race-to-date was just over 200W, with an Avg Pwr Output of 195. . .my legs were really starting to feel the effort, so I decided to back it down just a hair.

About the same time (3-4 hours in), the wind started picking up significantly. We had a head wind down the back side of the loop, which was more down then up, and significantly favored those on TT bikes. . .I was fighting so hard just to push into that wind, even when going down hill, and despite being on a super Aero Road bike, I just didn't feel like I could get tucked enough while still pedaling. I could almost feel Christina gaining on me every lap down the back side, but there wasn't anything that I could do about it, so I just kept tucking as much as I possibly could, while trying to keep my power up, which was becoming increasingly difficult as my legs continued to fatigue, and the headwind became more and more vicious. I was mentally kicking myself big time for leaving Wicked at home at this point!

About 5 hours in, both of my calves started to severely cramp to the point that I could barely put any pressure into the pedals without excruciating pain. Shortly thereafter, my inner thighs (knee to groin) joined the party, and then my abs, of all things. . crap!! I shouted at Jamie my next time through the pit area to have some mustard packets taped to a bottle for me the next lap to help kill the cramps, and just did my best to keep pedaling through the next lap, but my power fell off significantly. I took the mustard handup at the start of lap 17, but the damage was already done. My leg muscles were convulsing like crazy. When the cramping finally settled down, I was able to put a little more power into the pedals, but found that my muscles were literally bruised from the severe cramping, and I just couldn't pick it back up to 190W despite my best efforts. Christina had made up 1:30 on me during lap 16, and I knew it was only a matter of time until she passed me.

Sure enough, about 1/2 way through lap 17, she went flying by, looking as strong as ever, and despite my best efforts to keep her in sight, my legs just wouldn't give it to me. I poured everything that I had into that last 1 1/2 laps, hoping that I'd still manage to cross the start/finish line with 18 minutes to spare so that I would have a chance of hammering out a 19th lap, but the best I could manage was 18 laps in 5:43:37. My fastest lap of the day had been ~17 minutes, and that was the "drafting" lap when I was 100% fresh, so I knew that there was just no way that I'd be able to complete another lap in the 16:23 remaining on the clock, and called it a day with 18 laps / 112 miles under my wheels. I finished in 2nd place, 1:14 down on Christina, who raced a super smart race, held a steady pace throughout, and 100% earned that epic Beast Mode Trophy!

Post Race Smiles w/ Teammate, Missy & The Vegan Athlete, Kyle!

After rolling through the finish line, I briefly congratulated Christina on her win, and then got a little assistance from Jamie dismounting my bike! Smiles and Hugs were shared by all, and it seemed like pretty much everyone that I chatted with post-race was pleased with their performance and the way that their race had played out :-).

As the race adrenaline started to fade, the chill settled back in, so I stealth changed into some warm, dry clothes, helped Jamie break down the tent and pack up the gear, and then headed over to grab a plate of post-race BBQ. The awards ceremony started shortly thereafter (it was held promptly after the race. . it was so nice not to have to sit around shivering for > an hour waiting on awards!)

I have to take a moment here and shout from the rooftops my appreciation, gratitude, and love for my amazing husband, Jamie Tracy - the backbone of #TeamTracyATX. Saturday was our 17th wedding anniversary, and he never even thought twice about sacrificing his entire day for the least romantic thing possible: crewing a bike race for me! LOL. In the weeks prior to the race, he ensured that all three of my bikes were overhauled by Austin-Tri Cyclist for the 2018 season - he scheduled all the service appointments, dropped the bikes off, picked them up, coordinated the upgrades with the ATC Mechanics, and cleaned and treated my Connex Chains with our special Speed Wax Paraffin blend. He did a thorough inventory of my nutrition and support gear, and picked up supplies and such as needed. On Race Day, he packed up the car, chauffeured me to the race, set up the canopy and all of the gear, tracked my nutrition and hydration carefully, communicating clearly with me when I needed what throughout the day. He gave perfect Nuun Hydration handups all day long, keeping me rolling through the full 6 hours with no stops needed. He texted me gaps each lap, as well as info on how my competition was looking, and late in the game as I started to fade, he shouted and texted words of encouragement, doing everything in his power to help will me to hold on to the lead through those final laps. When the race was over, he patiently helped me off my bike as my legs were TOAST, and then did all the work of packing up the gear, canopy, and car as I stuffed my face full of food and took selfies with friends. This man loves and supports me more than I feel I deserve, and I really don't know how I got so lucky.

World's BEST Crew Chief AND Hubby!
Women's 6 Hour Podium:
1st: Christina Bonnington
2nd: Christie Tracy
3rd: Allison Atkinson

I also have to send a quick shout-out to Coach Extraordinaire Matt Seagrave, who apparently ran not just one, but TWO trail races on Saturday, yet somehow still managed to make the time to stalk my progress online and text me words of encouragement throughout my race. Talk about going above and beyond!

Looking back on my race, I am VERY happy to have averaged 190 Normalized Power for the duration of the race, and thrilled with the metrics improvements across the board from Pace Bend Ultra 2017 (my first Ultra Race). That said, I could and should have done a better job off holding a STEADY 190W from start to finish rather than starting out at 200+, and fading to the point that I could barely hold 160W by the finish.

While I didn't meet my goal of 19 laps, I DID average 0.25 W/Kg more over the entirety of the race at only 3bpm higher avg HR, knocked ~6 minutes, 30 seconds off my time, averaging 0.3 mph faster in windier conditions, improved my average cadence from 85 to 91, and "lasted" a bit longer before my power started to fall off this year. I honestly feel that if I could have managed to avoid those horrid cramps, I could have finished the race much stronger, and held ~190W through to the finish. (coulda, shoulda, woulda, right?)

2017 Ride File
2018 Ride File

Okay, so now for Lessons Learned:
  • If I'm on the fence about which bike to race, TAKE THEM BOTH! I kicked myself SO HARD for leaving Wicked (TT Bike) at home once those winds kicked up 3-4 hours in!
  • Practice What I Preach! DON'T GO OUT TOO HARD! I already knew that holding 190W over ~6 hours would be pushing my limits, so I don't know WHAT I was thinking when I decided to just settle in at 200W. . . I really think my cramping was much more due to over-exertion/pushing too hard than it was to any kind of nutritional, electrolyte, or hydration issues. IF I had dialed it back just a little more from the 2nd lap on, there is a good chance that I wouldn't have cramped up to the extent that I did, and would have had more left in the tank to finish strong with, possibly resulting in holding on to that lead through the finish. . . .learned this one the hard way!
  • The Ultra Racing Community is AMAZING, and I love the fact that I had the opportunity to help cheer on many of my fellow racers throughout the day, and their encouraging words out there on the road helped pull me through some tough times too!
  • I can't "win them all", and I truly CAN be happy with meeting my performance goals, even if it doesn't result in a top step on the podium! I'm genuinely thrilled with my ride (outside of the cramping).
Well, that's THAT! Glad to have the 1st race of the year under my wheels, and very much looking forward to what 2018 has in store for #TeamTracyATX!

Photo Credit: Rob Jan Martinez

Friday, January 26, 2018

My Secret for Ultra Racing Success!

Power Profile - 4 laps of Pace Bend Ultra Race Course (Pre-Ride)

I've had several people ask me recently about the Pace Bend Ultra Race coming up next weekend:  What the topography is like? What is my strategy? Have I stalked my competition? How am I feeling about my first race of the year?. . .so I figured I'd answer all of that with a blog post, and hopefully help some fellow Ultra Racers out with their strategizing and planning in the process!

**Disclaimer** - 

I don't technically consider myself a REAL Ultra Racer. My personal definition of Ultra Racing (for me, and for now) is somewhere in the range of 6 to 12ish hours, or ~100-250 miles. I haven't done anything longer than 12 Hours / 250 miles . . YET. . . so this "secret" may not apply for REAL Ultra Racing (think multi-day races like RAAM, RAW, or NCOM 1,000). This little "secret"  is VERY applicable for the 6-12 hour range though!

Why give away my secret for success? 

Well, I really have found something that I'm passionate about in Ultra Racing, and I try every day to share this wonderful world with anyone that will listen. I'd love to see more people (especially women!) get involved/give it a try! The more people that fall in love with this sport, the more competition there will be. . and I see that as a GOOD thing!

My Ultra Racing Secret/Strategy = STEADY EDDIE

I'll get straight to the subject of this post first . . . my personal secret for Ultra Racing Success? STEADY EFFORT LEVEL!! For me personally, this means holding a steady power output throughout the duration of the race.

Notice that I did not say that I hold a steady SPEED for the duration of the race. My speed varies greatly depending on the terrain, wind direction, pavement surface, etc, but from the time that I take my first pedal stroke, to the time that I cross the finish line, I do my best to maintain a smooth, steady, and consistent power output/effort level, whether I'm riding up or down a hill, or am on hour 1 or 10.

Speed Profile - NOT Steady! LOL
While the statement "hold a steady effort level" sounds simple enough, there is a lot of forethought and planning that goes into it:

  • It means starting out at an effort level that I feel I can maintain for the duration of my race. This is a lot (mentally) harder than you'd think! I ALWAYS want to start out harder than I do because I feel SO GOOD, and have to remind myself constantly over the first several hours to dial it back, because it is a loooonnnngggg race. 
    • It also means listening to my body, and adjusting as necessary, but staying smooth and steady no matter what. For 12+ hour races, my power output inevitably declines a bit from start to finish, but it stays fairly smooth, and I don't burn a ton of matches with spikes and dips.
  • It means shifting into one of my easiest gears, and riding up hills A LOT slower than I know in my mind that I'm technically capable of, but then also carrying my momentum and effort level over the crest of the hill, shifting back into my big ring, and riding back down the hill putting just as much effort into the pedals as I did on the way up so that I don't find myself in a cycle of spiking my HR on the climb, and then coasting the descent as it recovers.

Pace Bend Ultra Course Profile - "Rollers" or "Climbs"?

This segways into answering the question about the 2018 Pace Bend Ultra Course Profile.  . . I personally feel that the hills at Pace Bend roll into each other fairly well. None of them are pitchy enough that they require that I stand up, and I can carry my momentum from a descent of one to the crest of the next on all but 2-3 of them. For the 2-3 hills that are a bit too long or steep to fully carry my momentum over, I am still able to hold a cadence of about 80-90 seated in my easiest gear, and spin up them (granted I have a 32 tooth granny gear. . .hahaha).

That said, I live in Austin now, and I've learned how to ride hills/rollers MUCH more efficiently than I used to, and the hills at Pace Bend definitely feel a lot "flatter" now then they did the first time that I rode them, when visiting from Corpus Christi. .  . . so "hilly" and "rolling" is relative - and don't hold it against me if you don't agree that they're "rollers"!
Cadence Profile - Notice that it does dip a bit on the climbs, and it's not as steady as my Power Profile, but I keep it pretty much in the 90-100 range, dropping to maybe 85 on 1 or 2 hills per lap. Avg Cadence for this ride was 95rpm.

Stalked the Competition? / How am I feeling about my 1st race of 2018?

Nope! You see, I got a really, really late start to my base this season as a result of the Zwift Academy Semi-Finals and the 12 Hour World Time Trial Championship in November . . . so I'm still buried pretty deep in base, and am treating this first race of the season more like an end cap to my base training :-) My coach and I will analyse where I'm currently at, decide on a Wattage Output that we think is reasonable for me to hold for 6 hours, and then I'll go out and hold it. For 6 Hours. Period. If someone from my field rides away from me? So be it. If I end up riding away from everyone? Cool! But I'm not going into this particular race with the primary goal of "winning" it. I'll consider it a successful race for me if I am able to settle in at the prescribed effort level, and hold it steadily and consistently for the full 6 hours. 

That's the beauty of Ultra Racing. Often, every single person racing goes into the race with a different set of goals that they hope to accomplish, and at the end of the day, even if they didn't "beat" the rest of the field, they can still consider their race a "win" if they successfully reach their own individual goals!

That said, I do hope that I'm able to improve on my mileage and/or finishing time from last year, confirming growth and improvement over the past year. . but SO many things outside of my control can affect speed (wind, temps, pavement surface, etc), so if the conditions next Saturday end up being worse than they were last year, I may have to throw that little mini-goal out the window from the gun!

Want to join me? Set a baseline for yourself? Dip your toes in the Ultra Waters?

Pace Bend Ultra 2017 was my very first Ultra Race, and the one that hooked me. I feel that it is the ideal race for:
  •  A USAC Road Racer who wants to wrap up their off-season with a nice long steady ride
  • A person that has been building their distance/time in the saddle, and wants to push themselves to the next level, but in a supported environment (A 6.2 mile loop means the opportunity for a Pit Stop every 20-40 minutes!)
  • Someone that just wants to go out and ride their bike for 6, 12, 18, or 24 hours straight on super smooth roads with next to no traffic
  • Someone that has considered Ultra Racing, but just really isn't sure it's for them, and doesn't want to get half way through a race and decide they're done and hate it, only to find themselves in the middle of nowhere with a LONG ride back to the start!
  • The seasoned Ultra Distance Racer - super smooth pavement, professional staff, a live announcer, and passing through the pit area every 6.2 miles for fueling or just a little pick-me-up from the cheering crowds make this one of my favorite Ultra Distance Races of the year!
As of the time of writing, it's not to late to register! Registration is open through Wednesday, January 31st at 11:59 CST.

Here's the Registration Link

AND, if you're a female new to Ultra Racing, or just considering maybe giving it a try, but you've got some questions or just want to chat about it, send me a DM through my Instagram Account w/ your contact info, and I'd be happy to schedule a call to chat and answer any of your questions ;-) 

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Sunday Sponsor Spotlight #1

Sponsor LOVE!

I'm starting a new feature on my blog this week: Sponsor Spotlight Sunday! Each Sunday, I will highlight one of my current sponsors, and the services or products that they provide. This being the first week, I've created a dedicated Sponsor Page (linked here, and in the menu bar), with a listing of my 2018 Sponsors below :-) I'll feature each of these awesome companies in the upcoming weeks and provide more details on the services that they provide and/or their products.

As we all know, Racing Bikes is NOT cheap. . . My husband is retired military, and I work a full-time job in finance for an amazing company, however Race Registration Fees, Coaching, Travel Costs (Fuel, Lodging, Food, Airfare, Bike Shipping & Boxes . . . the list goes on and on), Training & Racing Kits & Speed Suits, Socks, Cycling Shoes, Bikes & Components, Wheels & Tires & Tubes, On & Off Bike Nutrition, and Recovery Services & Tools all add up fast, and it would be nearly impossible for me to cover all of these costs, so I am beyond grateful for the generous companies who are sponsoring me for the 2018 Race Season!

For those of you that aren't familiar with the Cycling Community - finding sponsors, especially sponsors for female racers and teams, who typically receive less exposure than their male counterparts, is extremely difficult . . . and when we find a company that believes in us and wants to support us in chasing our dreams and reaching our goals, we want to do everything we can to give back! So please consider patronizing these companies - "giving back" a bit by expanding their customer base goes a long way in helping me thank them for their support!

2018 Season Sponsors

Austin Tri-Cyclist

Best Bike Shop in Austin, and the only mechanics that touch my bikes 😎


An affordable adventure van specifically created by adventurers of every kind so that anyone can utilize the convenient, customizable design. This is a vehicle (literally) into a new way of adventuring.

Atom Composites

Atom Composite Wheels are handcrafted in the Long Beach, California area from carbon fiber and complimentary lightweight components to offer a smoother and more reliable ride which allows for better cornering and greater performance

Nuun Hydration

I'm proud to announce that I have been selected as a 2018 #NuunElite Ambassador! 

I've loved and used Nuun long before being selected as an Ambassador, though! Nuun Vitamins keep me hydrated daily without the added salt needed for hydration during activity. Nuun Hydration Tabs keep me hydrated during training and racing, and Nuun Performance gives me carbs in my bottle to help fuel my longer races & training rides, without upsetting my super finicky tummy! 😋

Cryo Wellness

Throughout September, October, and November of 2017, after an already jam-packed race season racing both USAC and UMCA (Ultra) events, I found myself competing in the Zwift Academy Semi-Finals with the hopes of clenching the 2018 spot on the CANYON/SRAM Racing WWT team. I juggled the demanding workouts and tests required by the Academy alongside a full race schedule including National and World Championship races and the accompanying travel/road trips, AND my full time job, and it inevitably took its toll on my body. 

Cryo-Wellness to the rescue! They generously brought me on as a sponsored athlete late in 2017, and regular Cryotherapy, Norma-Tech Compression Therapy, Hyperbaric Chamber Sessions, and Infa-red Sauna treatments helped me stay of my recovery efforts, and prevented me from falling apart at the seams, when my race season was unexpectedly extended by 2 months!

I'm grateful to be sponsored by this amazing company again for the 2018 season!

Austin Massage Company

More Recovery! I am sooo Stoked to be brought on as a Sponsored Athlete by Austin Massage Company for the 2018 Race Season! Michelle Hittner and her amazing team of Therapists are hands down the best Sports Massage Therapists in Austin, and so very supportive of the Austin Cycling Community. I can't wait to add regular, focused body work to my Recovery Regime in 2018!

BEMER Mat (Rep Sherri Kirklin)

MORE Recovery! Blood Flow Rocks! I performed a test in early August where I completed a specific workout with 5 x max effort intervals. I did the workout before having used the BEMER mat, and then repeated it again a few days later immediately after a BEMER Mat session. The results speak for themselves (more info on sponsor page, and in this BEMER Mat Test Review)

Christopher Bean Coffee

Christopher Bean Coffee is an small, Artisan Coffee Roaster based in Volusia County, FL. They source, roast, and serve a wide range of exotic, as well as flavored coffees, and only roast to order (online orders aren’t roasted until the order is placed). 

Friends, Family and Followers of mine can save 25% on their first order with code: Christie25

Sunday, December 31, 2017

#2017BestNine (+ a few!)

I'd like to preface my 2017 Best Nine by mentioning that, while this year was a dream come true, and better than I could have ever imagined that it would be, it most definitely did NOT start out that way, and it was not ALL puppy dogs, rainbows, and sunshine . . My year got off to a crap start when I was diagnosed with SEVERE Anemia a few days before leaving for Valley of the Sun Stage Race in AZ - my first big race of the year. I'd been feeling run down and tired for quite a while, but trained through it until I just couldn't anymore, and went to the Dr. . . (Pro Tip: DON'T DO THIS, KIDS!!). . . Anyway, long story short, my performance at VOS and the early season local TX Road Races was pretty dang crappy. Anemia for me is like pouring diluted gas into a high performance engine. . . I'm used to being able to just motor my ass off, and with Anemia this severe, my engine was barely sputtering along, and would unexpectedly just cut out on me with little to no warning. I followed my Dr's orders though, and worked with my coach to train my way through it without running me further into the ground. I refused to throw in the towel for the year, and was positive that I could salvage some good performances by mid to late season. . . Let's just say that I'm glad I'm a stubborn, hard-headed cuss that isn't deterred that easily, because boy, did my year turn around once we had my health squared away! That leads me to my 2017 Best Nine. . 

#2017bestnine: I customized mine a bit because it was SUCH an incredible year, that 9 just wouldn’t do it justice... :
  • Winning the USAC Master’s Nats TT claims the #1 spot because of the long multi-year journey behind it 😊
  • Winning the 12 Hr World TT Championship in a US National Champ San Remo Speedsuit rushed through production by Castelli Cycling , coupled with the hands on support of my Hubby & Coach, & everything that my friends, sponsors, & the Austin, TX Cycling community did to help me realize that dream is #2
  • FINALLY claiming a TX State Championship Jersey in Saturday’s WP12 RR, and then having the opportunity to race with so many of my ATC Racing Teammates in Sunday’s AG RR Championship & celebrating teamwork & success together!
  • The Zwift Academy: the camaraderie, community, and support of so many women from around the world, and watching/cheering as so many within this community met and exceeded their goals was definitely a high point of my year!
  • The Driveway Series ... ALWAYS a highlight of my year! From meeting & greeting so many within the TX Cycling community at registration to throwing down w some of the strongest ladies in the country, “playing with the boys”, and rounding out Thursday nights w a celebratory Austin Eastciders ... The DW Series will ALWAYS have a spot near the top of my highlight list!
  • LOTOJA..traveling cross country w my #1 supporter, crew chief, & Hubby Extraordinaire (who hates cameras...) bridging solo to the break, & then working over so many miles w Lindsey Stevenson to build our gap, all the while soaking in the beauty that surrounded us throughout the UT mountains. . . Definitely an experience that I will cherish for a lifetime!
  • Letting Elyse at Frenchy's Beauty Parlor use my head as her canvas for a beautiful work of art! I'm very analytical and not creative AT ALL, but I had seen some pics of colorful undercuts and mentioned to my hairstylist, Becca, at Frenchy's that it would be fun to cut a few lines into it, or have some fun w/ color one of these days. .  . .she introduced me to Elyse, an artist and hairstylist, who I have "free reign" to create whatever art she wanted to on my head. She broke out the paint brushes, razor blades, shears, and hair color, and the end result was more fun and beautiful than anything I could ever have thought up in a million years :-) 
  • Sponsor LOVE 💚!! The support that Cryo Wellness provided throughout the year, culminating in the awesome “Send Christie to Worlds “ Party that they threw for me ... I burned matches at both ends this year, juggling Ultra Racing, USAC Racing, & the Zwift Academy. By the end of the year, I should have been falling apart, but regular Cryo, Compression, & Hyperbaric Chamber Sessions kept me at the top of my game ALL YEAR LONG
  • Continued Sponsor LOVE!: Christopher Bean Coffee Company kept me caffeinated all year, which DEFINITELY helped w alertness during some of those 15+ Hour Road Trips, and also helped get my rear in gear for early morning races and training rides!
Y'all. . . with a year like THIS behind me, I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store!!

SO, SO MUCH THANKS to Jamie Tracy, Austin Tri-Cyclist, Matt Seagrave, Andrew Willis, Cryo Wellness, Christopher Bean Coffee Company, ATC Racing & Austin Tri-Cyclist, Castelli Cycling, nuun hydration, CANYON//SRAM Racing | Zwift Academy, ALL of my friends, family, and the ATX Cycling Community, and ALL of the awesome and supportive Zwift Academy Ladies for everything that you did to help Push, Drive, and Support me in chasing dreams in 2017!