Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chapter 2 - College

Tomorrow is the big day! I am traveling to my new home; a place where I had always dreamed of living and in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people.  Tomorrow I am, yet again, putting myself out of my comfort zone and moving in to college!

Yes! I can't believe the date is already here!  I can turn back to a new experience like this one.  At the age of 16 (last year) I joined a professional women's team (NOW) thanks to my coach Robin Farina and my director Kurt Stockton for believing in me; I put myself in a position of unfamiliarity. 

I was used to being a typical South Charlotte teenager, living in your typical South Charlotte suburb and had the typical teenager dreams of wondering where life is going to take me.  It finally hit me that my life was going to be different when signed my contract and wrote the letter "T", the last letter of my name.  I packed my bags for several weeks on the road and took on the journey of living the dream of a professional bike racer. 

I wasn't really sure what I was in for, to be honest, I didn't really think I was ready for the new experiences or the big races that I attended.  I wasn't really sure what my team mates or my director would all be like (who are all adults).  There were many times I did not have an adult chaperon with me and I had to figure things out myself (like surviving the New Zealand customs).  I had to trust in God and stay strong and know that everything would be alright.  I am pretty lucky to have a dang good set of parents too, who just let me go off and experience life and support me!

If you have been following my blog through the past couple of months, than you probably know exactly what I am writing about.... if this is your first time reading my blog, well than you have something to keep you occupied!

 To those who follow, you know that I went on a mission trip to Haiti earlier this year.  It was such a challenging week: physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I am not going to write about how life changing it was; don't get me wrong it was very life changing.  Going to Haiti put me far out of my comfort zone.  Once again, I had to stay strong in my faith.  I learned so much from that experience and I couldn't be more optimistic about searching for the next time I can go again and serve.

Some people would call my life so far 'living the dream' others might say 'you live in a fantasy land'.   However you describe it is your choice; I call it 'The School of life', thus, the name of my blog.  Today, I am ending Chapter 1 of my life.  I am beginning a new journey, a new life with new friends, and in a new town.  The life of college, or, Chapter 2.

There are so many people to thank for all the love, support, cheers, Facebook messages and status likes, Tweets, encouraging letters, phone calls and chatting over coffee! The list of people to thank goes endless, so thank you.  My life, proving the statement: it takes a village to raise a child!

A lot of people ask me  So do you think you're ready for college Addy?

My answer:  Do I think I am ready? I know.

I love challenges; the more I can mess up and learn from it, the better.  I couldn't be more ready to move out of the house and take on this new experience of being unfamiliar. Period.

Good bye Chapter 1, hello Mars Hill College!!!

Chapter 2 begins....  many more posts to come!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mars Hill Cycling Camp Day 1 & 2


 It's been a great, yet long, 2 days of MHC Cycling Camp.  We start every morning with a nice yoga session with Andy Crater, a pro cyclist and yoga instructor.  From there we head out to the parking lot for a couple hours of skills and drills with Coach Leslie Meadows.  She was the coach at a USAC camp I did a few years back, and she is still doing a great job on teaching kids skills!

Below a rider attempts to puck up a water bottle.
 The juniors focused on trying to get low and hold a straight line wile picking up a cone!
 Leslie teaching how to go through a feed zone!
 Madison (age:12) barrels through a narrow path while accelerating out of the saddle.
 Isabella Brookshire (age:12) giving her first interview to a local  news report about the cycling camp!

Corina (age: 10) practicing her skills!
 Weaving through the cones.
 Bumping and touching wheels drill.  This is one of my favorite drills, coming from a family of a lot of brothers, the boys don't notice how aggressive I can be, and it's great learning for them!
 Practice crit, working on counter steering and fast cornering.
After all the skills and drills, we went had lunch and headed out for a endurance ride.  The kids got to pre ride the road race course for the French Broad Omnium race this weekend and experienced the 3 mile finishing climb!

These kids have so much energy, it's crazy, but some don't mind the occasional push from the back to help them get up and over the climb.  I am building my arm strength this week, for sure!  Having lots of fun being 'Coach Addy'.

Stay tunned for more cycling camp updates!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Forever A Junior!

 Above is a photo of me in 2005; I was 10 years old.  I was doing a charity ride with my dad called 24 Hours of Booty, then, it was a fairly small event where the cycling community came together to raise money for cancer.  Now, it brings together the whole community of Charlotte and people from around the nation, raising money for cancer and awareness of bikes in the Charlotte area!

You might notice I have a stars and stripes jersey on, maybe someone passed down to me, and I wasn't a national champion then, but I dreamt about it.

Eight years later, I am capping off my final year as a junior.  Never did I imagine winning 5 national jerseys, obtain a national track record, and a handful of medals.  With the help of so many people like Robin Farina, Uptown Cycles, NOW Pro Cycling team and of course my parents, I am able to have achieve so much in just the start of my career.

They, among many others, have helped me achieve my dreams and now I move from the big fish in a small pond to a shrimp in the ocean!

Above is the podium for the 2k Individual Pursuit at the Junior Track National Championships last week. 

 The next day, I competed in my last National Championship event as a junior with the women's team pursuit with Alexis Ryan and Nadia Latzgo.  I pulled on my 5th jersey with excitement, and remembering all the hard I have put on and off the bike to become a National Champion.
 I stepped off the stage with joy and a bit of sadness, knowing it was my last Junior Nationals.
 Because so many people have helped me through the years, why not inspire/ mentor as many young girls as I can?  Isabella Brookshire from Asheville, NC starting her scratch race (10-12 age group).

She is a champion in the making, winning 3 bronze medals this week!
Above, keeping her calm before she starts the 500m Time Trial.

 On the last night, I decided to make and event for junior women by getting as many junior women who were competing at the championships to celebrate success by having an Ice Cream Party at a local creamery shop.  About 15-20 girls showed up and we enjoyed the night talking and sharing experiences of bike racing, school, and  much more!

 It was a great feeling to have all the competitors together making friendships, eating ice cream, and having a really good time.  I encouraged all the girls to train hard for next year and come back to T-Town, PA and have another ice cream party!

I hope to impact some one's life where they can be inspired to be a champion, not matter if they win medals or not!

My good friend and 2011 Track World Championships team mate, Jen Valente.  She won the the 2011 Junior Scratch World Championships, a true world class athlete. We chatted all night about how we can encourage young girls to race their bikes, have fun, and become champions.  We want to change junior women's cycling for the better by showing how dedicated we are to the sport, how hard we are willing to work and how we want to grow the sport for girls!

Great ideas to come! I may be leaving the junior field as a racer, but I will never leave the junior field as an ambassador!

What am I doing now?

I am currently at Mars Hill, NC for the Mars Hill junior cycling camp.  I am a camp counsellor, here, empowering kids the potential this sport gives and teaching kids how to be a great bike racer.  In the past, I have been to so many junior camps, as a camper.  Now, being a counsellor, it feels so different, but I love the role!

  Isabella Brookshire (age 12) and Sophia Brodwell (age 13)  are getting ready for the first group ride together!
Most of the juniors of the camp.  So exciting to be able to mentor the next generation of US cycling! 24 boys and 4 girls!

Stay tunned for more junior cycling camp updates! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Junior Track Nationals

Where am I?

I am in Trexlortown, PA at a GREAT track cycling center!

I am competing in the Junior Track Nationals this week and I couldn't be more excited!

I am doing the Individual pursuit on Thursday and the Team Pursuit and points race on Friday.

Last year, I won my first national championship in Frisco, TX in the individual pursuit, and won again the next day in the Team Pursuit along with Jacquline Denny and Kate Wilson.  We set the national track record together and qualified for the Jr. Track World Championships where we placed 6th and broke the national track record again by 3 seconds!

This year, I am doing the team pursuit with my partner in crime Alexis Ryan and Nadia Latzgo.  I hope to accomplish more this time around (as my last year as a junior!).  Our team name this year is the Viking VanGarderen Wonder Women (pronounced like vonder vemen). 

When you put a group 17-18 girls together, you great names like this!

Anyways, cheer me on Thursday morning and Friday night!
More updates to come.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gold in Augusta

A National Time Trial Champion. I am a bit speechless.  I am overcome with so much excitement, motivation and focus for this accomplishment and for punching my ticket, automatically qualifying for the 2012 Junior Road World Championships in Limburg, Holland.  

This victory was monumental for me!  Twice, I have fallen short from the top step and twice, I had to go home with a silver medal, rethinking the entire race about what I could have done differently to make up only a few seconds.  

Since last year, after getting second place, I have been thinking about how badly I wanted to win.  Not only to get a national title on the road, but to see how God can use me in the cycling world as a leader.  

This year started off by getting the opportunity to race the women's Tour of New Zealand with the US Women's National Team.  I raced alongside Olympic gold Time Trial Champion, Kristin Armstrong as well as Evelyn Stevens, the US Elite National Time Trial Champion.  I observed how they raced and what they did leading in to the time trial.  I saw how in tuned they were to every minute detail of the course.  

Next, I got to race as the youngest rider in the inaugural Exergy Tour.  "Wow! That was amazing", I thought to myself as I finished the final stage.   I got to practice my time trial skills there where I finished 49th out of the 94 starters of the time trial stage and thanks to the amazing media coverage on the Tour Tracker, I got to watch myself time trial on video.  

I pin pointed everything during my race.  My form, my position, and my pedal stroke, I wanted to perfect everything.  I  even watched how I crashed on the turn around by coming in to the wet U-turn too fast and how I can be more careful and not take so much risk next time while at the same time, not losing time by being overly cautious.

The Exergy tour was amazing prep for my National Championship race due to the similar course profile and length of the course.  I knew I had to be on top form that race.  After the racing was over, I met up with Amber Neben at the post race party.  She told me a lot about time trialing and like Evie and Kristin, I heard very similar things.

I was steadfast to listening to these time trial champions.  Like a sponge, I absorbed everything they told me and apply as much as I could to my own time trial performances.  

Two weeks before the national championships, I was very nervous about what I was about to do.  I knew I had to win.  I couldn't sleep very well because I kept thinking about the race and the possibility of winning!  I visualized myself in the race.  I visualized myself winning the race.  I saw myself ride across the finish line and having the face of leaving everything out on the road.

When the day finally came, I exploded off the start ramp, gave it my all and not missing a single beat.  I focused on nothing but my breath and the course ahead of me.  I had done possibly everything I could to have the best performance and race of my life.  I gave the rest up to God to let Him decide.  I crossed the finish line with noodle legs and I came in with the new fastest time.  For a couple minutes, I sat in the hot seat, literally, being in Augusta, until all my competitors finished. 

When my director told me I won, I was overcome with emotions.  When I found out how much I won by; I was almost in tears.

I was so happy.  I had a lot of people watching me race; my whole family, my team mates, the coach from the college I will be attending in the fall, my director, and more.  When they all came to the tent to congratulate me, I just couldn't believe it.  All the hard work I put in finally paid off!

Now I am shifting my focus for the Road World Championships in September.  Last year I got 14th place in the time trial just under one minute off from the winning time and I was very shocked to even achieve that!  This year, I have developed so much.  I have international races under my belt and more to come! Who says I couldn't get in the top 5 this year or even get on the podium?  I am ready.  I am excited to take this victory and add more to it.  I am honored to represent junior women's cycling, and being a future champion in professional cycling. 

Many thanks to all the friends, family and sponsors who have helped me get to this point in just the beginning of my career.  All the cheers and fast wishes go a long way.  And to all the professional women racers who might be reading this, your advice and words of wisdom that you give to me and other young riders are like treasure to us.  Please continue to mentor, thank you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Blog Worthy Weekend

Friday and Saturday, I made the short drive to Asheville, NC to change up the training scene a bit.  It was the first weekend off from racing from for a while and I was so stoked to go to my soon to be home!

The picture above is taken from Old Hwy 70 which is a 7 mile climb, closed off to cars AND it has fresh new pavement for a bike path!  The route I did (starting from my dad's house in Black Mountain) is my new favorite route.  It's so beautiful!

I went to do a charity ride with the Specialized Lululemon team for the Right to Play project.  The project is about changing children's lives in disadvantaged places through sport and showing them role models and encouraging behavior change.   To find out more, or donate to the cause click here:
Loren Rowney (the Aussie on the team) and I did a training ride afterwards; it was so cool!
Lululemon Asheville:

I went to visit my buddies from Beer City Cycles, which is one of the most diverse bike shops I've ever seen!  It's a pub, salsa bar, training center, and bike shop! They will be hiring me when I move to Mars Hill for college (Aug. 10th).  Jay Hirst is the main man there and who knows... maybe it will have a coffee bar when I move in :)
All the thanks to Uptown Cycles for raising me to be a bike shop kid!

If you are buying new wheels, you might as well get a jar of salsa or pickles: genius.

Hot sauce! Compliments of Beer City Cycles

My step mom's dog Rena enjoying the ride through the country!

Got some fresh beans from Crossroads Coffee House in Waxhaw,NC. I was pretty sad to leave Asheville.

This is what I feel like when I am in Asheville:
Moving to Mars Hill for college in 8 weeks!

CONGRATS to my team in Tulsa, OK at Tulsa Tough this weekend.  They KILLED it!  Gokey was 3rd on Friday, Robin wins from a break on Saturday and Alison Powers and Olivia Dillon go 1 and 2 on Cry Baby Hill (Sunday's race).  View results here:

What's next for me? Junior Road Nationals in Augusta, GA.  I race June 21-24 go to this link for more information:
I am racing women's 17-18 and Elite women!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chi-Town Crits

I got home from Exergy Tour on Tuesday night, spent one great day at home, then went to Chi-Town (Chicago) on Thursday. 

The team went to Glencoe Central Junior High to tell them a bit about bike racing and bike safety. 
We had a huge group of 5th graders, 170 kids and only 1 did not ride a bike! A lot of them raised their hands that they did NOT wear helmets, which was a bit shocking to me. 

I showed them what can happen if they don't wear a helmet by demonstrating a bike 'crash'.  I told them how cool it is to wear a helmet and they must wear it on every ride!

 The kids were very interested on our bikes and had many questions, some we ran out of time to answer.
 The start of the first Lake Bluff Criterium.  It was a great race, the whole community of Lake Bluff was cheering us on and it was nice to see so many families with kids on bikes!
 Devon won in a break with Liza Rachetto from Primal/Map My Ride getting second and Kaitie Antonneau from Exergy 2012 getting 3rd.

Christina got 3rd in the field sprint.  It was a great race for us!
 On Saturday we went to race the Glencoe Grand Prix.  The Glencoe Central Jr. High Band came to play the national anthem for us.
 We tried so hard to get a break away but sometimes the rubber band just can't break!
Laura Van Gilder from Mellow Mushroom/Rose Bandit wins from a field sprint.  Followed by Erica Allar from Ride Clean/Patent it and our very own Christina Gokey-Smith getting 3rd.  The podium boy was some famous dude: Matt Modine; actor!
 It was a fun and great weekend for us! Devon finally got to celebrate her win from Friday by having her very own ice cream treat~
Whats up next for the team?
One of my favorite races, although I will not be racing; I will be cheering from home!
Help me cheer on the team by following our team director on Twitter @Kurt_Stockton OR go to the website:
** Show your support for women's cycling and click the top left hand corner, make a donation to the "Pro Women's Crowd Prime Challenge"!

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Le Exergy Tour

 From the thousands of dedicated spectators, to the thousands cheering from home using tour tracker, the Exergy Tour was by far the biggest and best race I have ever been apart of.  The Exergy Tour is a top notch international bike race, and did I mention it is women's only?  The organization, the volunteers, the officials, the whole Exergy staff, and announcers (Dave Towle and Connie Carpender).  Everything about this race is outstanding!!! Yes, 3 exclimation marks; that is how amazing this race is.
 The picture above is one dedicated fan, dressed like Nacho Libre and his 8-year old side kick.  I am on the far right.  (
 More fans on the side of the road.  This guy painted himself red and he is wearing a thong; he dressed up like a devil. Plus he also has a side kick dressed in an oreange speedo.

 Thanks Lyne Lamoureux from she covered all of the stages with amazing pictures, interviews, and a major supporter in women's cycling, traveling to tell the world about our racing!
 Roger the massager came all the way from Dallas, TX to help Emily (our swanny) with all of the massaging! It was his first go round at being a swanny, and he did great!
 The NOW clan!

 Above, Robin tells the audience what my job is on the team: get bottles, and get up to change the channels on the TV, because our remote control was broken. Thanks RF :)
 The characters on our team.
 Thanks to the BYRDS Junior Cycling Team and Grace Alexander for cheering us on the final stage!  They wrote "Go Addy" on one of the climbs.... it made me ride faster!
 The tour tracker was AMAZING! Showing results instantly, live video of the race, pictures, commentary and much more.  Everyone in the world was watching thatnks to the Tour Tracker!
 After the final stage, we went to a Rodeo on Chicken Dinner road.  It was a celebration dinner for a very successful tour!  They had mechanical bull riding and you could enjoy a ride on a horse!
 Beth won the most aggressive jersey on the first stage for on amazing break from the field! Which can be viewed here:  she goes so fast, if you blink, you might miss her!
 That's a lot of fans! Thanks Idaho!
 Another random shot of our clan!
 Kids from a local school in Nampa, ID got to miss 10 minutes of class to cheer for us! I'm pretty sure it was the loudest screaming anyone has ever heard!
This is my favorite shot by Brian Black Hodes of VeloImages.  The race and Idaho's famous crop: the potato.

Top 10 amazing moments of the Exergy Tour:

10-   Getting a present every night after finishing a stage.
9-      Racing past a shooting a range in the country and hear all the Euros scream and Ina Yoko- Teutenberg saying "God bless America!"
8-       Making it to the start line on the final stage.  There were 118 women started and the final stage had 69 starters.... I was 69th #proud.
7-      Watching Kristin Armstrong crash, break her collar bone, and she still finished 11th place on the prologue!
6-      Beth taking home the most aggressive jersey and Alison Powers was 5th overall on GC
5-      Going to a Rodeo on the last day and getting massive Exergy Tour bedazzled belt buckles
4-      Seeing hundreds of dedicated fans cheer for us in the freezing cold and rainy stages (stages 1 and 2)
3-     The fly over of the jets to start off the final stage on Memorial day.

2-     Participating in the inaugural Exergy Tour.  Potentially the best stage race in the world AND it's on American soil.

1-    Talking with Amber Neben, world champion, Olympian, and Christian.  Over the past couple of months, I have been doing a lot of praying to find a Christian mentor in cycling.  God has answered my prayers and it's a very powerful feeling!  To follow her along, visit her website:  Check out her Dare To Be project, were she donates bikes to homeless children!

I feel so honored and blessed to have been able to participate in this race! I can't wait for more opportunities to compete in this race in the future!

What's next for me?  Glencoe Grand Prix in Chicago, IL.  To follow along, go to: