You may have noticed that that I affectionatey refer to Michelle as PIC. It stands for "partner in crime", I'm not really even sure when it came about. Maybee when she started her blog? I don't know. She calls me PIC too. It's rather fun. Sometimes I call her Fordy-Ford, or Michelley-Elley. Michelle and I met shortly before our first ever trip to USAT Age-Group Nationals in 2007. That was way back when I had only done two sprints and Michelle was still riding this red bike with like Shimano 105 on it (I don't mean to offend anyone...well maybe I do a little bit).
We were roomies in this totally cheep extended stay hotel right next to Nike in Portland. We both had what I would call super solid races, but even bigger than that we began a friendship that both of us never realized would be so much fun.
We trained together occasionally, mostly on weekend bike rides. Michelle was a working girl with a demanding job, but she was focused and nailed her workouts.
We went through a Twinkie phase (identical, comes in a pack of two). Almost all the group pictures we were standing next to each other, and we had matching helmets, blue bikes (she got rid of the crummy red one...no offense) and ponytails. Check it out.
We came back to nationals in Portland in 2008 ready to kick ass, and qualify for Team USA. We had Australia on our minds. For the first time we allowed another person into our nationals lair, Tyler.
He proved to be an acceptable addition. It also meant that PIC and I shared a bed for the first time. And we learned that we sleep well together, who would have thought? Probably a fact that our husbands try not to think about too often...or maybe they do. I don't know and this is going south...
So we both really rocked the house at Nationals, it was the same course as the year before and PIC knocked 16+ minutes off her time, and I took off a little over 6. PIC nabbed that Team USA slot, and I missed it by one, but got it back in the lotto.
Several months after Nationals, the best thing EVER happened to my athletic career (and let's be honest, it's all about me). PIC got laid off, SWEEET, full time training partner. I think this is when the term "PIC" came about. That year was about becoming super stud kick ass athletes and helping each other get there. We started on the bikes.
We really learned a lot about each other. Usually we knew more about where each other was at than we knew about ourselves. I knew when she was blitzed, she knew when I needed to eat. We shared gels, we took turns on each others wheels, and we had so much fun.
We raced across the county, heck the world, together. We always found a way to get our PIC time even if we weren't rooming together. We found a camaraderie that year that was sorta "the next level". I think in the beginning we may have felt a little competitiveness against each other, but any and all of that dissipated throughout last year. When we became PIC's things changed and we helped each other through the hard times, and the hard races, and we celebrated with each other through the good ones. It helped that we had numerous good performances through the year. At Kansas, we qualified for Clearwater together.
We went to Nationals for a 3rd year together, we added Beth and Tyler to the room, which meant again...PIC and I were sharing a bed. Which apparently meant great races for the both of us. PIC taking 5th in her AG, and me 14th, both earning TEAM USA spots if we so choose to take them. Seeing her on the podium made me feel like I was on the podium, I kid you not.
We went to Worlds in Australia with our different families, but we found a way to hook up and train everyday together. Training in unfamiliar adds a whole different crazy factor to things, but when we were together we seemed to have so much more confidence. It didn't matter that we were riding on the wrong side of the road, we handled it together and we laughed a lot. Meeting up with Michelle was like a having a piece of home with me.
I think having each other there at World Championships paid off, we went 19th for PIC, and 30th for me, in our age group, in the world. And you know, PIC slept over in my hotel room the night before, I'm thinking that's why we raced so well.
And at the end of the season we found each other in Clearwater, out there on the race course, and ran together for part of the race. It was almost poetic.
Michelle and I have learned through the years the value of having a training partner. I don't think either of us could have ever imagined just how tight we would become. Going forward this year we have switched coaching, and we have switched team affiliation. It was a process that we relied heavily on each other to get through. Lots of leaning on each other, and a fair amount of tears.
It wasn't easy, but you live, you learn, and you try to move forward with an open heart. With Michelle, I'm not afraid to tell her the truth, and she knows I'm in her corner 100%. I'm so extatic that the recent changes in our athletic career have brought us even closer together. I couldn't imagine racing in a uniform that is different from hers, so I'm pretty stoked that this year we will be Twinkies again.
Having the same coach will enable us to continue to train together and to help each other achieve our goals. We have been very upfront with our new coach (who likes upfrontness) and he has instructed us to tattle on each other to our heart's content (when it pertains to training). He seems to "get" our relationship and has an idea on how to use it to make each of us stronger.
We feel like we are a little mini-team this year. Our sponsors are the same, we represent them together, and although we are training towards different goals (as we have most years) I have no doubt that this year will yield lots more fun and silly pictures.
Thank you PIC, Michelley-elley, Fordy-Ford for all of your support, for being my "honesty" meter, for not making things harder than they need to be, for traveling with me, planning with me, schooling me in swimbikerun, for not holding it against me when I school you in bikerun, for sharing recipes, and photos, and lessons learned.
Here's to another year of fun, we're gonna kick ass!