Kate Marshall of White Plains recently won a birth in the finals of the United Cycling International Amateur World Tour in South Africa by winning the 50-54 age group in the Berkshire Classic on May 6th. Finishing 5th overall, success of this type must simply be the extension of a life well lived as a
dedicated athlete. "No, I was a soccer mom. I did not do anything athletic until the age of 40," says the Scarsdale Elementary School teacher, and what got her off the sidelines is almost as improbable as the amazing opportunity she'll realize in August.
"I hadtwo dogs and they needed to be walked," she says. "I just decided I wanted to try to run a mile and I couldn't."
Taking weeks to reach that plateau, a friend suggested getting involved in racing. "I loved the whole energy off racing," she says, and as might be expected, her new found athleticism did far from stopping there.
Doing 10K runs for a few years, running triathlons would have to be seen as a natural progression for the mother of three. As it turned out, she said, "I realized the part I was good at was cycling so I stuck with that."
She started with ultra distance racing three years ago and set a record in Saratoga at the Hudson River Ramble . "I did 207 miles in 12 hours," she said.
Building on that, she doubled down in tandem with her husband and did not let him slow her down or bring up the rear. Another record, she says, "355 miles in 24 hours at Sebring, Florida."
The accolades have even managed to accelerate her bottom line. At least a little, she says, "I won $100 in Harlem Valley Hill Climb Time Trial."
More impressively, 2010 saw her win a silver medal in USA Cycling's championship race in New York State in the over 45 age group, but seeing records fall and ribbons raised aren't the only rewards she gets out of having the world race by. Getting together and touring with other enthusiasts, she says, "You're talking to people, they're talking to you, it's the perfect speed to see the world."
Kicking the endorphins into gear is also a side effect she craves - especially when she's in it for the finish. That said, Marshall approached the Berkshire Classic more from a social and scenic perspective. "I was not taking it as a race at all," she says. "I was just thinking of having fun."
That held up until she found herself among a group of very strong riders at the outset. Likening the momentum to being pulled by a freight train, her adrenalin got the better of her. "It was just exhilarating," she says. "I didn't want to stop."
Unfortunately, in only packing for a countryside spin, she had to punch her ticket and let the express leave her behind. In other words, her carry on luggage didn't amount to enough food and water to sustain her through the race. "If I didn't have to stop, I would have done a lot better," she says.
Still, the outcome implies that just because she had to defer to survival instincts doesn't mean shewas able to remove herself from the mind set that can't help but keep her going. "For people who love competition, it's kind of a game. It's physical but it's also mental so you're just constantly challenging yourself to stay with the pack, to go a little harder, to get past that next person," she says.
Of course, it helps if the bike is working to the rider's advantage. "You have to pace yourself, learn to corner and aerodynamically cut through the air so it's not working against you," she says.
Her finish among the leaders had her aware that the wind was mostly at her back. Officially learning that she won her age group at the after party, Marshall had no plans of going to South Africa. "I'm a school teacher with three kids - one going off to college in the fall," she said. "So there's no way I could afford it."
Not expecting anything going in so not let down, she communicated her situation on her blog and innocently asked if there was any financial help forthcoming. "Right away," she says, "people reached out and said, 'we're going to sponsor you. We want you to go.'"
The money now raised, the good will didn't stop there either. Through her blog, the Westchester Cycling Club and Tarmac Cycling, the fellow travelers found out 29 year old Megan Cea and 51 year old Jodee Novak also got the call and efforts are now off on their behalf. "There's no way we would go if it wasn't for the people in the cycling community who got beneath us and lifted us up to do this. That's what's so special about this community," she says.
Especially when taking into account Megan's case as Marshall sees it. "We're really excited about the opportunity for her," says the school teacher. "She has a lot of potential, while we're sort of at the end of our cycling careers.
Of course, seeing South Africa come full circle in wake of recent history is what's most inspiring for Marshall. "When apartheid ended, it was very exciting, and now I get to see it for real," she concludes.
If you are interesting sponsoring the cyclists contact Robert Hermann email@example.com
More Westchester Sports
Rich Monetti originally published piece at :