My New Mountain Bike–3rd Time is the Charm

As many are well aware, I love PINK and really love riding pink bikes.  It was no surprise to anyone, especially not to Ironman Danish, that I would want to replace “Ma,” my 26er hardtail mtb with an even pinker replacement when the time came.  That time was approaching fast all summer, as I noticed small cracks in the seat tube of my frame.  Safe to say, after a summer that included ORAMM, riding in Breckenridge, and the Leadville Trail 100 mtb, “Ma” was ready to retire.  The small cracks were becoming big cracks, and one day the seat post just poked through the frame while working on jumping and wheelies with my MTB Coach Bob McCarty (of AG McCarty Factory Racing/McCarty Training).

"Ma" enjoying the view and fresh air at 12, 000 feet atop Wheeler Pass in CO.

“Ma” enjoying the view and fresh air at 12, 000 feet atop Wheeler Pass in CO.

So the search began.  Ma and I had a real attachment, it was not going to be easy to find a replacement.  I tried to get my hands on some pink bikes, but none seemed to be coming to fruition.  I was about to give up all hope and just order a run of the mill black bike and accessorize it with pink until I got a text from Bob.  He rides for this bike company, based and built in the USA (and not just in the USA–in MIA…that’s right there is a little ‘dale’ in my bike)–AG Bicycles.  AG has been developing their custom brand for a little while now and were excited at the idea of making a pink MTB (which I also was pretty excited about).

Bob and his AG (not sure he names his bikes...)

Bob and his AG (not sure he names his bikes…)

Now, obviously, I had to first see if I even liked riding their bikes.  Since I had been bike-less since the seat post incident and had been living on borrowed bikes (and racing on them–thank you Darren from the Scoot, Skate, Bike Co aka Miami Bike Shop for EVERYTHING he did and does to get me out on the trails), I had a pretty strong feeling for the type of bike I like.

Me racing on one of the sweet-ass bikes Darren let me test.

Me racing on one of the sweet-ass bikes Darren let me test.

I knew that I liked the way the Jamis that Mike has rides (at the time, he was riding the 2012 version of this bike, now he is on this sweet machine).  It was stiff, snappy, and didn’t feel like a 29er.  So upon my next lesson at the trails, Bob and I traded machines for a lap at Amelia Earhart Park (he had Mike’s Jamis and I had Bob’s AG–that’s right, I got to ride Bob’s bike–we are all the same size as luck would have it).  I was SHOCKED.  The AG FELT LIKE HOME!!  It felt like if I closed my eyes and you told me it was Mike’s Jamis, that I would believe you–only it felt a hair lighter (granted, this could have been the fact I had an empty water bottle).  I was sold–this would be my bike AND IT COULD (and WOULD) BE PINK!

Hot damn! Hot pink!

Hot damn! Hot pink! (note: this is not just a primer)

It could not have turned out any better.  In fact, I sort of wanted to cry because the guys at AG Bicycles were so amazing (including Bob and local MTBer and AG McCarty Factory Racing Team Manager John Koch who provided me with status updates).  The care and detail that went into this bike was unreal.  The AG guys even took me to the paint mixer to make sure it was a pink I liked!!  Amazing!  But nothing could compare to when I saw the finished product.  They went ABOVE and BEYOND….and so, with no further ado, I introduce you to Babs:

Babs

Babs, aka a nickname for Barbara, is inspired by several strong women in my life who have owned this name.  Babs because in my head I always secretly referred to every Barbara I knew as Babs.  One of them had the strongest handshake anyone has ever encountered.  She was and is a powerful woman.  The other was outrageously outgoing who was not afraid to tell anyone who she was and was all about having a fun time.  Strong, confident, and fun? What could be three better attributes to a sweet ride?

Now to face the facts–riding a hot pink bike in Cat 1 racing–I have NO CHOICE but to ride this bike as fast as I can and show the power of pink!

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Cinco

So, the last weekend in April marks 5 years.  5 years since my Ironman Danish and I tied the knot (weird right? It seems like yesterday…).

Quinn joining us for the wedding pics

The last weekend of May marks 5 years since my best friend lost her battle with Breast Cancer (also weird, I feel like I just got off the phone with her).  I know I have said it before, but it is the reason I ride pink.  It is hard for me to think about one anniversary without thinking about the other.

Mom at our wedding rocking her beard....

Some people might say they want to grow up and be just like their mom, but, for me, as long as I can remember, I wanted to grow up and be the person my mom wanted me to be (which, is a person eerily similar to my mom).

Everything I did (and do) I did in the vision of who she saw me to be.  I give everything I do my all (and then some) because that is how she approached life and how she wanted me to approach life.  She was diagnosed with cancer and instead of crawling into a corner and resigning to the disease, she gave the battle her all for 10 years.  Because of this, a little zone 5 pain, a little muscle soreness after a race, or an accidental dehydration headache became small potatoes and I force myself to push harder in everything I do.

A piece of art I wanted to give her but never got the chance....she knew it though....

When they said “for better or for worse and in good times and bad” on our wedding day, no way did we think that in the first month of being married we would face the worse and bad all at once.  Ironman Danish was an Ironman for me before ever actually competing in the sporting event.  There are a million cliches for the role he played for me and a million more for what it is like to loose your mom.  But a few things remain true and that is there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her more than anything.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her.  There is not a that goes by that I don’t talk to her and hear her voice telling me I am doing what she would want me to do (including those times when I can hear her breathing deep and asking me “why?” after my telling her I rode 112 miles for fun in one day).

Ma Voicemail

So…five years.  You take the good with the bad.  And, the good is that I have had an awesome 5 years with Ironman Danish.  I have two happy and healthy furry babies Quinn and Margarita.  I have healthy and happy dad and brothers (thank you God everyday for this),  great friends, and more.

The Fam in MIA for Christmas

I am truly lucky.  Hopefully this luck spills over into some more great results that I can tell my mom (and everyone) about.  So, on this five year mark, Happy Anniversary to my Ironman Danish.  And, also on this five year mark, I miss and love you mom I will continue to race and ride pink (starting this weekend with SERC #4).

Rizzo gets leid!!!

The day started out as anything but what locals would call your typical Kona day….it started with torrential rain and grey skies….ruh roh.  Our plan for a morning swim was pretty much foiled by this weather, and the coffee barge had apparently also decided to postpone their presence until the rain subsided.  Lucky for all, the weather has cleared and it is a BEAUTIFUL day–might be more beautiful than any other day so far.  In fact, the wind has backed off at the Upolu Airport, maybe an all time low of 8mph!  Let’s hope it stays this way for the race!!! I actually was able to take Rizzo out for a spin this morning and she went hog wild in the beautiful sunshine:

Rizzo got a tattoo!!! (at least it's not an Mdot...phew!)

Riz got laid at the beach (at the swim start...man she is loose!)

She got laid by the surf....

and then she got laid by the pool....

So, it was a pretty full morning for Riz out on the town…but, we decided we would gear up and head out on a pre race ride with Danish.  We suited up and headed out and we are happy to report that Ironman Danish is ready to rock tomorrow!  Our little no heart rate zone (for him) 20 minute training ride averaged 20mph!  Sweet!!!  This time we took the more scenic bike course (rather than going on the IM bike course, Danish wanted to head on a more pre race scenic ride).  Rizzo and I stopped to snap this sweet shot:

Damn straight...respect this beeeeeach!!!

Why I Ride Pink…

I have pink bikes, pink bike lights, pink race wheels, pink sports bra, pink socks, a pink chain, and my team’s primary color is, well, naturally, pink.  I am fairly certain that some people think I am completely crazy or a girly girl that has always loved pink more than anything else (and probably played with Barbie–not the case I promise).  My affinity and dedication to the color pink has not been life long.  I actually was quite infatuated with orange for a brief period in High School…anyway, pink for me is about more than the color, it is about the cause.  In 1998 my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 Breast Cancer.  I was a freshman in college and was naturally devastated.  I felt helpless and like there was nothing I could do to help except be there for my mom, pray, and wear the official color for the cure–pink.  As I soon found out, I could purchase pretty much everything in pink, I did, and almost every time, proceeds went to the cause. (for instance, my AWESOME ltd Pink Standup Mixer)

My mom was lucky to have an amazing doctor, treated by Dr. Lawrence Schulman of Dana Farber Cancer Institute and his AMAZING nursing staff.  With his help and the clinical trials my mom swore to be a part of from minute one she was diagnosed, she was able to ENJOY ten years of living with stage 4 Breast Cancer.  In the winter of 2005 I became engaged and undertook wedding planning with my mom.  I also would check in with my hubby’s mom and his two sisters, one of whom, a mom of two in her mid thirties (who through phone conversations became close with my mom), was also living with stage 4 Breast Cancer.  In the early spring of 2006, my husband’s sister passed away.  Shortly after her passing, I purchased “Rosie”:

Glam shot of "Rosie"

In 2007, just one month after my wedding to my husband my mom was also taken by the disease.  It was at this point I went all-in with the color pink and with roses.  (my mom was an avid pray-er, specifically to St Theresa, the little flower…)  In 2008, Danish (my hubby) and I moved to Miami, in 2009 I ran the breast cancer marathon and in the fall of 2009 puchased “Pinky” to complete my first Half Ironman:

"Pinky"...a speed machine

Shortly after realizing I enjoyed the cycling portion of triathlon much better than any other discipline, I purchased my 6.9 SSL Project One WSD Trek Madone, “Rizzo” (with the intention of someday racing–I hoped):

"Rizzo" enjoying a nice little beach day...

And then once realizing (aka being talked into it my my husband) that mountain biking was a fun and awesome way to train for power on the road (cross train for crits) I started riding more mtb.  I signed up for the ORAMM and before racing, purchased a blank carbon frame, got a custom paint job of a pink ribbon that jumps off the frame at you and at the seat tube a pink rose withmy mom’s initials hidden in the rose– FINALLY having a bike completely dedicated to the cause and, my mom…I call her Ma:

"Ma"

“Ma” is complete with pink SRAM noir, pink Hope brakes, pink SRAM XO, a pink saddle, a pink lady chain, pink egg beaters (that are actually the titanium ones with pink replacement parts), pink lock on grips by Token, and of course the must have obligatory pink tire levers and water bottles…

So, why do I ride pink?  Because I want to kill breast cancer…and I intend to do so one training day, one race day, one pink day at a time….