You probably might know me as "that woman that gets into camp first." Rick always tells me I need to stop and smell the roses more, and I think I do, I just sniff faster! Here is my story:
I've been riding a bike nearly my whole life. I took the usual post-adolescent years and early adulthood off in favor of a vehicle, but re-ignited my passion for riding about eight years ago while living in upstate New York watching bikes go by on their way up to climbs in the Adirondacks.
I grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania, and my family refused to be a taxi service, so I had to ride my bike everywhere, including school, sporting events, practice, or friends' houses. My earliest bike was a 1970s green banana seat bike I inherited from my older brother. It came "equipped" with baseball cards in the spokes (probably the Orioles or Phillies, who I hated). By time I reached sixth grade in 1982 I had saved up enough paper route and lawn mowing money to buy a "real bike" from a bike shop, a Raleigh Rapide mixte. This bike I equipped with the mousetrap bike rack, and the rescue dog seat bag. I owned this bike for about fifteen years before I finally gave it away, and didn't ride for another five years.
When I lived in Albany, NY, I bought another Raleigh, a hybrid. After a few years of riding and several customizations to this bike, predictably, I had to upgrade to a road bike, and did, to a Specialized Dolce, in 2005. I wasn't familiar with the new fangled integrated shifters, having grown up with stem shifters. Bikes had come a long way since 1982! I still have this bike and it is my bad weather and commuter bike. Since 2005 I have put over 23,000 miles on this bike.
In 2006 I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, which as everyone knows is the best place for bikes in America. It's also a good place for riding hills similar to those you see on many of the local tours. I had already been riding quite a few miles per year, but by 2007 I was riding 4,000 miles a year, which included commuting about nine months of the year, and long rides on the weekend on my own or with the local club (Bombay Bicycle). However, beginning in 2008 I have ridden over 5,000 miles a year every year. For my 40th birthday in 2010, I bought a custom-made steel bike made by Ellis Cycles, a small, one-man, national award-winning shop right here in Wisconsin. This is the most perfect bike ever made and is the bike you've seen me ride on tours.
Caitlin and her custom made Ellis
I have done the Tri-State ride with Shuttleguy three times. I have also done a few weekend organized tours, but Tym and his crew are the best. On my bucket list are Dalmac, Candisc, and bike tours in Vermont, Maine, Canada and New Mexico. Because of my work schedule, it can be difficult to schedule tours in certain years, depending on when the tour week occurs. The Shuttleguy rides are just the ticket and the timing is usually right.
|Enjoying a "cinnamound" caramel roll on the |
2011 Tri State Ride
I also am a runner. In this past year I have competed in two 10k races, and a five mile race. For the first time, in September, I completed my first duathlon (run-bike-run) in Dousman, Wisconsin. Combining the two sports is a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of practice and work (and a little time away from biking for training, unfortunately). Here's a picture of me competing in the run portion of the duathlon.
2001 Dousman Duathlon
Also, for the first time, I got coerced into a bike race this summer. I competed in a sprint time trial (seven miles) organized through the Centurion events held in Middleton, Wisconsin. I finished first in my age group!
My husband and I ride together regularly, including commuting, but he prefers long-distance running to long-distance riding and touring, so like some, he becomes a tour widower when I hit the road for my tours! Luckily, I have my instant friends I meet on tour to keep my company!