Monday, April 9, 2012


I'll start this blog just like the race announcer started every race at the presentations of the Energiewacht Series. "And now we have...(sing) TIBCO to the top! TIBCO to the top!" Also imagine him dancing on his tip toes and moving his index finger up and down to his original medley. "Nummer 53, 'Hennifer Wheeler'..." or Wheleer as it was spelled on some results.
TIBCO to the Top! TIBCO to the Top!
After a disappointing flat tire 30k into Flanders right before the first set of cobbles, which made it impossible for me to catch up, I was excited to start the Energiewacht tour. The race was six races in 5 days with two time trials and four races. Funny thing is that I had looked forward to the time trials all winter and neither went well for me, but each road race, I got progressively better and ended the tour with a 7th place. My teammate and I got into a break about 2k into the race, so we rode with 8 other riders for 137k for 3:30 hours. That's a long time. I remember about 40k in feeling like I really needed to go pee and imagining all the possible scenarios of me somehow relieving myself. I thought about how much pee a chamois could hold and then imagined the unbearable chafing that would occur. I imagined pulling over and just getting off my bike, calling it quits, explaining I had to pee. I imagined that wouldn't go over well with my team or director. So then the rest of the race I spent sucking in and repositioning myself to try to comfort my bladder. I really wished I had a penis so I could go to the back of the break and pee--it was that bad. That was the only time in my life I wished I had a penis so I wanted to note it in this blog.

Anyway, once we were on the final lap of 34k and our gap had suddenly gone from 4:00 minutes to 1:25 minutes, the thoughts of having to go to the bathroom quickly passed and it was motor time. As the finish approached, I knew I was supposed to attack with 5k to go, so I did and I didn't get anywhere, so I sat up and drifted back and attacked again at 3.5k to go. This time I got a huge gap, about 200m and just hammered as hard as I could at that point. Nicole Cooke, former world champion, soloed up to me and passed me just outside of 2k, the rest of the break quickly on her tail. Then I caught them and attacked again, getting another big gap. I thought for sure this time I had it but was so in pain and shock that I couldn't think of anything but riding as hard as I could. Around 700m, Nicole Cooke comes flying by me on the left (I should have been on the left.) and I stood up to chase her but quickly sat back down, as I wasn't going anywhere. My mind was like GO GO GO GO! but my legs were saying No. (Isn't that an R.Kelly song? Oh wait, that's my mind is telling me no, but my body...yeah, my body is telling me yes! I wish, that were the case for me in this situation.) Then the rest of the group that was left comes flying by me at 200m. Nicole had stayed away and captured the win--she is amazingly strong. I rolled in 7th and my teammate sprinted for 4th. We couldn't help but feel utterly disappointed that after 3:30 hours, we rolled away with no win, no podium. So, of course, we hugged it out! Girl power! No, we talked about it for a little bit, but decided the what if scenarios would just make us crazy and waited to get wise words from our director, who had some for us. She is really amazing. I leave her nameless because she doesn't like to be on blogs, especially not mine--not after I rode on the Dutch freeway illegally in a TIBCO jersey! Eye-yi-yi!

It's funny how on the first road race I was dropped, the second road race, I unsuccessfully attempted to lead out my teammate in the final sprint (but I was there), the third race I missed the break of 11 that went about 3k into the race, and then lead my teammate out for the field sprint. And finally in the last stage, I go for the win but feel more disappointed in myself then any of the other stages. I think when you actually get a taste...or I should say a distant sniff...of what winning a stage at a huge European race would feel like, you forget about all your other baby step achievements. But I guess that's what makes people good is to always keep looking forward.

Confession! I was so discouraged after Flanders that I started listening to "motivational" videos recommended by a friend. Yep, imagine me and Tony Robbins just cruising around Holland (I almost typed Tony Little there." No, I'm joking. It wasn't Tony Robbins. Sometimes, though, when you're real down on yourself you need more than a good pump-up song to get you going. You need to take it up a notch and dig into the Rocky and Arnold files.

Here is my one of my favorite videos that I downloaded and listened to about 10 times during Energiewacht.

My favorite line is about how winners aren't the ones who can hit the hardest but are the ones willing to take the hits and get up, and not point the finger and say you're not where you want to be because of anyone or anything--cowards do that.

I think that line captures mantra I really try to follow after every failure--Note: I may allow myself 1 to 1.5 days of wallowing in Speculous and Stropewaffles. If I crash, it's because I didn't have an out or I put myself in the wrong place or I couldn't hold my bike up. If I don't win, it's because I couldn't sustain my effort or I played the wrong card or I let myself get pushed around. These are all things I can control and change. If I blame others for my failures in races, then I'll go crazy trying to change things I can't fix. Honestly, I think that's the only way to have a pattern of success in life--well, for me.

To close the blog, I will include some of my favorite photos thus far!
Jennifer Wheleer #53

Lauren Hall and I snagging the front row for Energiewacht Stage 5

Custom laundry bag and Flanders Race Bible

Team presentation--before every race

Flanders--Look at that scenery

More Owls--Hooty Hoo!

I am Specialized Dutch style!

Jezus Leeft the Building!


  1. Krab, you're amazing. I'm so proud of you! Eat a waffle for me...

  2. Oh, I thought the pros all just let it whizz. What's the alternative, sweat all that liquid out? If you are burning 1000 cal/hr, I guess so.

    It was not until now that I realized you were sponsored by a provider of "real-time, event-enabled software infrastructure." Way cool. Usually it is some fruit bar or bike manufacturer.

    Hang in there - you could be at a desk 40 hours per week like the rest of us...

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  4. It's always fun reading your insights and recaps JW. Stoked on that video too. Keep fighting and safe travels.