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Do things really come in threes?

For the third time in the last two years I've had the unpleasant experience of getting to a race and either not starting or pulling out right away because of illness. 2008: Mt Hood. 2009: Nature Valley. Now add 2010: Redlands.

I'm in California ready to start Redlands and the day before the race I spike a fever of 103 and am fighting off another potential bout of pneumonia. Needless to say, Redlands this year was over for me before I even had the pleasure of starting. Please let the saying that things happen in threes be true and let this be the last time my health gets in the way of me racing!

Lately my fitness seemed like it was really on track – I raced for three consecutive weekends in Oregon with my hubby and good friend Brad in the 1/2 men's field and did better than I've ever done there. My friends at www.HammerNutrition.com have really helped me out with food, supplements and awesome clothing. And I was excited to race with my cousin Kathleen, the rest of her BWM-Bianchi team, and Amber Neben. Now it's time to get healthy and figure out what to do between now and June.

For women juggling work, flying to races the night before and cutting corners just to get to the starting line – well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that those gals are much more likely to have compromised health before the race even begins. Then think about what happens during the races – the women who are on composite teams or on their own are spending energy putting their bikes together, carrying all the food/drink they'll need during the race, driving themselves to/from the race, etc. I wonder how many of the women started Redlands with compromised health or got run down from events not related to racing while at the race?

As a female consumer, I take notice if I see an ad where a healthy athlete is eating / wearing / using a product. As a mom and a wife, I make most of the day-to-day spending decisions in my household. Companies advertise because it works. When you sponsor a female cyclist you have a world of advertising opportunity available to you. . . .

So, once again, I challenge you: If you work at a company that advertises, mention the killer advertising opportunity that comes with supporting female cyclists. You'll help support your company, and you'll help support faster, more exciting, and healthier(!) women's races.

Hilary

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Follow the program's young female cyclists as they embark on their journey to the top of the pro ranks

The US Women's Cycling Development program was founded by former pro rider, Michael Engleman, as a way to help promising young women cyclists reach their full potential as athletes.

The dedicated and well spoken women of this program provide thoughtful, compelling and sometimes hilarious anecdotes of their experiences in this diary. For further reading about the program, visit the USWCDP website.