I think one of the coolest things in cycling is when the famous pros take a minute to encourage the ‘up and comer’, junior, or even the casual cyclist. Towards the end of our trip to Europe, Amber Neben was in Limoux recuperating from a stage race and getting ready for Tour de l’Aude. We went to have coffee at the square where we sat for a while chatting, asking questions, getting advice. The first thing Amber asked me after I introduced myself is if I wear sunscreen. She talked about the importance of distinguishing between race and training blocks, finding a good coach, finishing school. During the Tour de l’Aude, she was in the yellow jersey for several of the stages. It was so cool to have a superstar like Amber take the time out of her day to come and chat with us youngsters.
I got the chance to race with the National Team in Luxembourg for the Elsy Jacobs Grand Prix. That was such a great learning because I was racing with and staying with such experienced women who were very willing to offer advice.
Getting back from Nature Valley pretty recently, the race is still fresh in my mind. Being in Europe really helped me with positioning and moving through the pack. Compared to fields of 230, Nature Valley’s 130 was nothing!
Just a couple weeks after getting back to the US, I got an email asking if I wanted to go to France again to race the Route de France. YES, of course I do! I loved everything about Europe and I can’t wait to go back.