what you as a cat 4 racer got out of the North Star experience with CWEC?
When I began training this winter, road was far from my mind. All plans revolved around gravel racing, and I didn’t expect to see a tire thinner than 700 x 34 for awhile. However, as winter dragged on and signs of a sloppy spring emerged, I began to get stir crazy. Although weekend gravel rides were enjoyable, I found myself craving new challenges to make it through the less than ideal Chicago weather. So, when registration for the local crit series Skyway Classic opened, I decided to commit to racing every night. To my surprise, I performed well. What’s more, I found the strategy, teamwork, speed, and strength involved exhilarating. Maybe pavement wasn’t so terrible after all. Shortly after Skyway, Cathy Frampton reached out and suggested I volunteer as CWEC’s soigneur for North Star Grand Prix. As a Cat 4 racer with limited road experience, I didn’t know what to expect, but my interest in road was piqued, and I wanted to learn more. Learn more I did -- my time at North Star would prove to be invaluable. I witnessed the lows and highs of racing and observed the immense physical and emotional strength of the racers; I mastered feed zone technique; I learned racing strategy; and I began to understand the tremendous amount of work required behind the scenes. In a way, bike racing is a lot like learning a language; you have to immerse yourself to truly gain fluency. Team meetings, feed zones, camp warm ups and cool downs, morning spins -- all of these moments, whether I participated actively or passively, offered me insight. I left Minnesota inspired and eager to apply and share what I had learned. I’ll be forever grateful to CWEC for this experience, and I can't wait to volunteer again.