On Friday, April 11th, two female cyclists came to Chattanooga to get out of the Chicago cold and checkout the Vixens playground.
Imelda March found us on Facebook and sent the Velo Vixens an email about her upcoming April visit. It’s exciting for us to meet new people and to show visitors around. The weekend of Imelda and her teammate Stefanija’s visit just happened to be the weekend of the famous Firehouse Ride 100k & 50k in the Cohutta area. Our road cycling coordinator, Lynn, was more than happy to provide Imelda and Stefanija with information about the ride & this area. Imelda and Stefanija were super excited about the Firehouse ride, as they didn’t want to climb our BIG mountains in the South.
Upon their arrival, Lynn hosted Imelda and Stefanija for several days. The Firehouse Road Ride was the featured event of their visit. The Firehouse Road Ride, however, collided with the 6 Hours of TNT: Night Shift mountain bike race, so many Vixens were bummed not to meet and ride with them (due to participation and volunteering for the mountain bike race). Not to be deterred, Lisa, Elizabeth, and Rina decided to set up another Velo Vixens “Spin & Grin” ride for Sunday afternoon. In retrospect, it was quite difficult for Elizabeth & Rina who had participated in the night mountain bike race and only got a few hours of sleep, but the two gals were grateful for the “recovery” ride in the scenic countryside and a chance to meet Imelda and Stefanija! Over their entire visit, Imelda and Stefanija spent a lot of time on bikes, visited and viewpoints, and ate really awesome Chattanooga fare – they had an awesome visit!
We followed up with Imelda with a short interview about her time in Chattanooga…
Imelda: We wanted to come to Chattanooga in part because the USA Cycling National Road Championships were recently held there and from the race stream I saw it looked like the type of place that warranted giving a spin opportunity. In addition, another rider I know who lives in Indianapolis often escapes the cold to train in Chattanooga.
Are you planning to come back? We had such a great experience that we are definitely adding it to our repertoire of training areas. The Velo Vixens made life real easy for us while in the Chattanooga because they immediately suggested that we join them on Saturday, April 12 for the Cohutta Firehouse Ride (50Kand 100k ride options). Stefanija and I pre-registered for the 100 kilometers option. On the day of the ride the Vixens made sure that we would not end up as farm help by telling us who we should follow on our 100 kilometers journey.
From questioning we learned that the Cohutta is ridden on open roads with lots of “rollers.” As you can imagine “rollers” in the Tennessee and Georgia area are no comparison of what we (Illinoisans) consider “rollers.” So that tidbit became a little bit of a chuckle for all of us.
The Cohutta Fire Ride did not disappoint by dishing out rollers upon rollers with enthusiastic volunteers, sag helpers and that great chili offering at the end of the ride.
On Sunday, April 13 the Velo Vixens ushered us to their own ride dubbed “Spin &Grin.” This was a smaller group and again the ride allowed us to practice our climbing skills in earnest. We even had to sprint into action from the roar of a pack of angry dogs!
Two highlights of the trip stand out to us, first the hospitality of Lynn and her husband Rocco; and second seeing that a group shot that included us ended up as a background photograph to the VeloVixens Twitter page –https://twitter.com/VeloVixens
What race are you currently training for? We recently completed the Hillsboro Roubaix Road Race in Hillsboro, Illinois and that race itself dishes out the top rollers in the Midwest. Moving ahead on the schedule is a number of local races and the Tour of America’s Dairland (TOaD) in Wisconsin.
Unknown to us was learning that Imelda March writes for the Daily Peloton Cycling news, so we ask that you check out her content by visiting www.dailypeloton.com. In addition, she races for Team Cloud – Cloud Racing
Thanks for visiting Imelda & Stefanija! We hope to see you again soon!