I am determined, I can make it real, I do practice, I will capture my Gold.
Track cycling champion Christine D’Ercole translates her winning strategy to Peloton classes and I got to see that strategy live, as she took to the track to win the Gold. Along with her cycling, Christine conducts WordShop’s™ in which you attack debilitating self-talk, changing the words that don’t serve you. I am both her indoor cycling student and attend WordShop’s ™, which have showed me that even a 70+ year-old cyclist can capture their own Gold.
Valley Preferred Cycling Center, in Breinigsville, PA (T-Town) is regarded as one of the top cycling tracks in the United States, cycling is my lifelong passion, and July 13-15th was my first time at a real track a place where top competitive cyclists race, and amateur cyclists train and race.
I am determined; I can make it real
For the past 2 years, Coach Christine D'Ercole has been at the forefront of my Peloton indoor cycling experience. Just one short year ago, she returned to the track after a 7 year break from racing. During that time she was raising her daughter as a single parent, coaching indoor cycling, and presenting WordShops ™Now that her daughter was about to leave for college, a long-time Track cycling friend, Camie Kornely encouraged, Christine to race again,. The timing was perfect. With scant hours for serious training she raced successfully in the 2017 season, winning impressive Silver and Bronze medals, but the Gold remained an elusive dream.
I do practice
Returning from the 2017 Worlds last October, Christine committed to a comprehensive training program. She began to teach her indoor cycling classes for Peloton by incorporating heart rate, power, warm ups and cool downs, and adding off the bike strength training and stretches. Along with her classes, Christine spent many days racing at tracks in different parts of the country and training hard, finding the formerly familiar flow and aiming for the July Nationals in PA.
A group of Peloton riders coordinated coming to the Nationals to support her and see her strategies in action. Our group sat together and everyone was in high spirits and relished the opportunity to watch amazing cyclists ride the track. T-Town was a friendly place, and unlike other sports venues, not cost prohibitive for spectators. My ticket was all of $8.00 for the evening of races.
When we arrived, Christine was already cycling and getting accustomed to the track. Each and every race that we saw was exciting, watching the cyclists, so strong and skillful, meet every turn with keen strategy and extraordinary mastery. Track Cyclers have to have a bit of the daredevil in them; to ride at top speed on a bike without brakes. Christine was in her element. Laser focus and determination were evident, the result of the exacting way she personally trains and shares in our Peloton classes.
Competing in the category of Masters Women’s 45-49, Christine won a Silver in the first race of the day. Her major competitor, a fast and really skillful cyclist, turned out to be the rider that she had lost to in the 2017 Worlds. The pivotal race was a true nail-biter, and it was impossible for me to sit down; my heart was pounding out of my chest as I witnessed a powerful cyclists. Every second was planned as masterful cyclists sped around the track, so close to each other I was sure they were going to crash. And then it happened; with tremendous skill, Christine powered across the finish line. Gold was hers.
We were screaming! Our coach- who we had trained with for a year won the Gold! We were overwhelmed with pride and love. Several more races were scheduled until the ribbons were awarded, and when the time came and the winners took the stand, the egalitarian nature of cycling was evident. The eldest winner was over 80 and the youngest in their thirties. Christine, took her place as the once and future competitors hugged and congratulated one another.
When the medals were given out, Christine was helped into the jacket emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes. This amazing woman had achieved her goal of winning the Gold, Silver and Bronze- a winner who, in the coming months, will be preparing for the World Championships in California.
I will capture my Gold.
Stepping off the podium, Christine walked over to where we were standing and we presented her with a card each of us had signed expressing appreciation. She read each note carefully hugged each one of us and cried.
As the Nationals came to a close in T-town, she had competed in a total of 7 events. 500 Meter Time Trial, 200 Meter Time Trial, Match Sprints, Points Race (Gold), Scratch Race, Team Pursuit and a Team Sprint (Gold).
Christine’s returning to cycling and winning the Gold after a seven year break, encourages me as well.
I Am, I Can, I Will, I Do
Rachel Shane’s Racing prints are available at christinedercole.com