It was in 1988 and I was 18 years old when the Olympic Trials for cycling came to my hometown of Spokane Washington. I saw something about it on the local news and I thought it looked interesting so I decided I would go down and watch it in person.
When I saw the bike races I was instantly hooked. I thought it was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen. And, I thought it was something that I could do. I never knew until that day, that bicycle racing was a thing.
It was at those Olympic Trials, by chance, that I saw this really guy who I thought was the best looking person I had ever seen. That was just an added bonus.
After that experience I started by riding my bike with the intention of just getting in shape and maybe someday I would be able to race as well. Maybe. I didn’t really know what it would take but it seemed doable. Plus, bike riding is a really good way to get in shape and to lose weight and gain muscle tone.
Aside from riding, I started watching bike races on TV like the Tour de France. I found out that one of the most famous bike racing photographers was Graham Watson. I dreamt of someday being the person on the motorcycle at the lead of a bike race taking pictures of the riders as they were racing at 40 miles per hour. But on the scale of one to ten in practicability that was probably about a one.
So I started shooting bike races from the sidelines but then when I started entering bike races I couldn't do both. By this time I was 28 years old.
I raced for a few years on the road and on the track and got a few good results but then life happened. While living in Seattle I worked at a bike shop for about a year then I got pregnant. After my baby was born I still raced for a while. But then the child took up way too much time and I didn't have time to train. Fast forward to 2012. I was fifty one years old and entered my first bike race in like thirty years, in Arizona. I think it was in my first race back, I got first place. It wasn’t easy though because just a few months before I weighed in at 200 pounds and within nine months, I had lost 60 pounds.
I had a few more races after that and placed like 2nd or 3rd but then I had to move again to California for a job and I didn't have time to train and keep up with it. About 8 years later I started training again at 60 years old and entered a race but because of the air quality from the fires it was rescheduled for the next year. By the time the next year came, I wasn't ready because I hadn’t trained through the winter, so I didn't race. And that's probably the end of my racing career. I take that as a sign. It was a good run. In my next life I will start sooner.