Rider Diary: Katie Donovan

Rider Diary: Katie Donovan

By - 1424149200

Planning Ahead

Dear Diary,

Gretchen convinced me to stick around San Diego after team camp to race the locally infamous Boulevard Road Race. The last time I had attempted to race Boulevard, my car, Rhonda Honda, died before I even got to Costa Mesa. Actually, the tow truck guy informed me that Honda Civics don't die, and that I killed her. He also offered me 500 dollars for her. I took it.

So, driving to Boulevard this year, I felt like I had my shit together. I was less than an hour away from the race when my gas light went on and I received a notification that I had a 25 mile range. I googled the nearest gas station and it was 27 miles away at the Golden Acorn Casino, where the race was.

I immediately had flashbacks from the year past, sitting at a donut shop, depress-eating a bear claw while waiting for AAA to arrive. I had learned the hard way that if your car starts making funny noises, you should check the oil. Turning up the radio to drown out the noise of your dying engine is a very temporary solution. I started to sweat thinking of how I was going to learn the hard way about running out of gas 1 mile from a race. Or maybe I was sweating because I had to turn my air conditioning off.

I called my boyfriend and mom and made them tell me that I would be okay. With this false sense of security I motored on. I was able to draft off a large diesel truck for most of the way, but then he dropped me on the final climb to the casino. I had to climb the last mile solo. I could see the Golden Acorn Casino with its inflated gas prices way up on the hill. I could also feel my car suffering and I pictured myself riding my Bianchi with one of those 2 gallon gas containers down the last quarter mile of highway to my abandoned car. Mary told us that we should show up to every race looking professional and I was pretty sure that wasn't what she pictured.

Luckily I made it to the gas station and I can still proudly say that I've left running out of gas to my college days. Just kidding, I ran out of gas not that long ago. In a Prius. I assumed it would just switch to electric mode. It doesn't work that way though. I learned about hybrid vehicles the hard way too.

Dec. 15th

Dear Diary

In the off season, I tend to disconnect from the cycling community. I spend more hours at work, I actually check off things from my to-do list and I remind my "civilian" friends that I do in fact exist and live in Southern California. During my 3 months as a normal person, I start to miss my cycling family. They get me and my jokes. So when Bianchi suggested hosting a ride out of my local bike shop, Metalmtn I was stoked. I figured it would be a good opportunity to catch up with my local cycling friends, support some of my favorite brands in the cycling community, and start looking forward to team camp.

The ride consisted of two loops. A hilly 50 mile ride around Lake Casitas, and a shorter out and back along the Ventura coast. A lot of people showed up from out of town and it was nice to show them what riding is like where I live. Jim Stevenson and Pua Mata from Bianchi came out and brought along a slew of goodies. I will always hold a special place in my heart for Bianchi. After my big wheel, Bianchi was the first bike I ever owned. I was drawn towards the celeste bike but could only afford a red Bianchi. I still loved it and the bike shop gave me celeste pedals for free. I got made fun of for not matching but at the time I was still wearing t-shirt to train so I clearly didn' t realize how big of a deal cycling fashion was yet. Jim is always a pleasure to ride with. For some reason we always end up on rides with a lot of climbing but we were able to chat a bit about the upcoming season and he told me that our home bikes should be arriving soon (!!) We are very fortunate to be able to work with a sponsor that is so involved with our team and routing for our success. This past season Jim was able to watch the team race and win at Dana Point.

OjioSport, a local plant-based food company out of Ventura, showed up early to set up a pre-ride nutrition station. People could grab Ojio's new Rawnola Bars for their pockets, some electrolyte mix for their bottles and/or take a swig of a pre-ride energy drink that is better than a cup of coffee. They were a hit. After the ride Kyle from Ojio had Brown Rice Protien recovery shakes for everyone. On top of that Khrystle and Trevor from Metalmtn had coffee and a whole buffet of food for the riders. Those in the know could grab beer from the fridge in the back. I got a chance meet some new people in my community and catch up with friends whom I hadn't seen in awhile.

The event finished with a raffle and I was secretly hoping that I could win the Colavita gift basket. There was chocolate in it, but I knew I couldn't enter. Instead, I stuffed a bunch of mini bottles of Colavita olive oil that were being given out for free into my pockets because they were so cute and I only get the big bottles. Below are a few photos from the day. I know more photos were taken. People promised to send them to be but they lied. I would have taken more photos except I dropped my phone somewhere in the parking lot and didn't find it until I was packing up to go home.

Oct. 1st

Dear Diary,

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. I think it comes with being a morning person and the fact that the hardest kitchen thing I have to do for breakfast is boil water for oats. One morning during the ProChallenge, our Boulder host watched as I mashed Wheatabix, bananas, apple sauce. cinnamon and almond butter into a mixing (cereal) bowl. Mary thought I was over-doing it a little, but I told her that I love mashing food together and that in 2 hours I'd be hungry again. She then pulled out her favorite granola recipe and shared it with me. She said it was her go-to when she wanted a big breakfast.

All the ingrediants looked delicious so I took a picture of the recipe and said that I was going to make it when I got home. Mary then turned the recipe card around to show me the baking instructions. What?! I didn't know you had to actually cook granola. I thought it was kind of like trail mix but as cereal. It's not.

A few weeks later I received a postcard from our hosts Mary and Tom and hearing from them inspired me to make the granola recipe. For the first time ever, I went to Whole Foods with a list of items. The only item I had at home already was the Colavita Olive Oil. I was only stumped by one thing - the difference between rolled oats and non-rolled oats. Still confused. I followed the directions perfectly (I only forgot the one about adding salt) and I must say it was a success! I ate all the burned bits and then divided the rest of it up to share with family and friends. I even received requests to make it again. ( If you live alone, you might want to cut the measurements in half:

Olive Oil and Maple Granola:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1 1/4 cup raw pecans (whole or chopped)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Colavita Olive Oil

Yields 7 cups


  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (NOTE: i only owned one baking sheet and I didn't know if it was rimmed or not because I had nothing to compare it to. I also don't own parchment paper so I used some more olive oil. This probably accounts for the burned bits )
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, both seeds, coconut, pecans, brown sugar and salt.
  3. Stir to mix.
  4. Add Olive Oil and Syrup and stir until well combined.
  5. Spread mix in an even layer on prepared sheet pan.
  6. Bake, stirring every 15 min, until granola is golden brown ( about 45 min)
  7. Remove from oven and season with more salt to taste (Note: I didn't do this because I forgot to)
  8. Cool completely on a wire rack. (NOTE: I didn't do this either because I don't own a wire rack)
  9. Store in an airtight container (NOTE: I do own tupperware!)

Sept. 14th, 2015

Dear Diary,

I'd much rather eat my protein shakes than drink them, so I often skip adding water or almond milk to my shakes. I just pile all the ingrediants into a bowl and eat it with a spoon. Sometimes I just eat protein powder straight from the container. I've only met one other person that does this, but I'm sure there are more of us out there. Initially it started because I find cleaning blenders to be tedious. I also have the tendency to get half of anything I drink down the front of my shirt. Once I realized that protein powder is delicious is dry, I gave up shakes while traveling. If I don't feel like eating it completely dry, I mix it with some apple sauce. On airplanes and long van rides my go-to mixture is as follows:

  • 1 coconut-banana-mango Clif Bar packet or 1 4oz applesauce cup
  • 1 packet of Justin's almond butter
  • 1 scoop of Ojio Protien powder

All three of these items are easy to pack and easy to pull out during travel. I call it the lazy person's smoothie. Afterwards you can just lick the spoon clean which is way easier than carrying around a dirty blender bottle.

If you don't share my distain for cleaning blenders, or if you have someone to make your smoothies for you, I suggest the following recipe for a normal person's smoothie (A friend made this smoothie for me and I asked for the recipe in case I ever wanted to have someone make me a smoothie again):

  • 8oz almond milk
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Scoop Protein Powder
  • Flax Seed
  • 1 large spoonful of Almond Butter
  • 2 Dates
  • 4 ice cubes

Aug. 26, 2015

Dear Diary,

(1) People always ask me who my favorite teammate is on Team Colavita. Hands down, my favorite is Morgan Brown (2). Morgan spends a lot of time in her hotel room. For the first half of the season, I was never fortunate enough to be her roommate. I had to spend the majority of the time admiring Morgan from afar, seeing her for only a few hours each day when she'd make an appearance at team dinners with perfect hair and shinning lip gloss. What she did during down time at races was a mystery to me.

Then, for the Boise Twilight Crit, we were paired up as roommates for the first time. We watched you-tube videos together, did couple's yoga (I was there for her first unassisted head-stand), and gossiped deep into the early evening, aka, my bedtime. Morgan would then have to go find real crit racers to hang out with, which wasn't hard, because she has so many friends. In the mornings, I would wake up at 5am, tip toe out into the lobby and wait for Morgan to finish getting her 10.5 hours of beauty sleep. Over the course of the weekend I watched Morgan drink 24 cans of La Croix. We got hot water from the hotel bar to brew some smooth move tea that our teammate had given us and then spent the rest of the weekend vowing never to do that to ourselves again. Morgan taught me that melotonin is NOT bed-side candy and restricted me to two chew tablets per night. I no longer have weird dreams.

Needless to say, my weekend with Morgan was the highlight of my season. We only have a few races left and I hope I can room with her again. I promised her I would. Not that I don't enjoy my other teammates (1) company. Whitney and I are very in-sync and both enjoy a quite room. She answers my questions about coffee and doesn't get annoyed when I time-and-again explode eggs in the microwave. Jess is way more organized than I am and when I forget something like sports bras and pants, she is always there to offer hers up. She also documents my life via Instagram which is nice because then I don't have to take embarrassing selfies.

I should wrap this up. It's been 15 minutes since I last sent Morgan a text and I need to let her know that I miss her. I'll sign off with my favorite picture of Morgan eating a cheeseburger at Joe Martin (all my favorite photos of my teammates involve them eating hamburgers - my next entry will be a photo collage of all these pictures)

Foot Notes:

1 - Morgan Brown

2 - She forces me to say this

July 10th, 2015 - Dear Diary,

I've watched countless you-tube videos and pinterest tutorials on how to pack efficiently. Most of them involve rolling up t-shirts --something that I'm never going to be bothered to do. You would think packing would be easy for me by now, but it's not. I hate it. However, I have learned a few things over the years, here are my tips:

    1. To start, wash every piece of clothing you own. You need options.
    2. While you're at it, you might as well wash all your towels and sheets too because coming home to a nicely made bed is worth it.
    3. After doing 5 loads of laundry you will not have time to make your bed. Just throw everything on top of your mattress and deal with it when you finally make it home and all you want to do is sleep.
    4. Bring none of the laundry you just did. Pack light. You don't need pants. Freeze.
    5. Bring ALL your riding gear. Unless you think it might rain. In that case, pull out all your rain gear and leave it at home.
    6. Charge your Garmin before you leave home. Bring the cord. Better yet, bring two cords thinking that one is for your iPhone.
    7. After you leave your fully charged Garmin at home, you can periodically ask your teammates what mile you are on.
    8. If you want to make a good cup of coffee in your hotel room you need to bring the following items: a french press or aero press, hand grinder, electric kettle, a mug and most importantly, the coffee. That's a lot to remember so I like to admit defeat early and bring VIA packets from Starbucks. Bring enough packets to share, but you won't ever have to because every other cyclist is too good for your instant coffee.
    9. Pack at least one pair of pants that aren't sweats and a top that isn't a t-shirt just in case you go out to dinner one night. It's okay if these items don't match, you are most likely in the middle of nowhere.


I exercised these packing skills on our last trip to New York for the Farm to Fork Fondo. I was cold and unstylish, but I survived.

These are the things I wish I packed for the weekend but didn't:

  • my foam roller
  • a hat
  • clothes (practical warm clothes)
  • a razor (the hotel provided me with a disposable razor which should only used if you want to lacerate yourself while shaving)
  • peanut butter (because hotel peanut butter is the worst)

These are the things I packed and never used:

  • two pairs of sunglasses
  • 3 necklaces
  • a contour/highlight make-up set from sephora
  • my hair brush
  • 8 pairs of socks
  • 2 novels

6/30/2015 - Dear Diary,

As much as we travel, arriving home never gets old. There is nothing like stepping outside at LAX and breathing the fresh California air. I swear I can feel the beach from the airport. My teammates and others might question my use of the word fresh to describe the air at LAX. Like the other day when I was telling Jess and Whitney that my white cycling shoes get a yellow hue from riding in the sun and they had to rain on my parade by pointing out that the yellow is from pollution not sun exposure. Whatever. To me it's home.

The one bummer of arriving home is that it costs 60 dollars for the 6 mile cab ride to Santa Monica. I'm not joking. Uber is banned at the airport and asking a friend to get on the 405 during rush hour ( 6am - 9pm) will soon find you with no friends. So you would think that you have no other option than to let the cab companies win on this one. But that's not true ! Here is what you do. (Consider this a recipe for saving 50 dollars on cab fees.)

Upon exiting baggage claim, you walk to the middle island and wait under the sign that says hotel and parking shuttles. It only takes a second for a shuttle to arrive and most of them work. There are only a few you can't take, like the Custom Hotel Shuttle. They ask you for a ticket. But the Custom Hotel picks up in a Mercedes Sprinter Van so as a rule, try to get on the cheapest looking bus. Personally, I like the Marriott shuttle because the lobby at the Marriott is very pleasant. It's also usually pretty crowded so no one notices that you are taking a free ride.

By far, my favorite shuttle is the Parking Spot shuttle. These are super easy to spot because they are yellow and covered with big black dots. There are two - one takes you to a parking garage on Century and the other takes you to a parking garage on Sepulveda. When the driver asks you for your valet ticket you just say no. The one time I was rejected from the Custom Hotel Shuttle, I got right on the Parking Spot Shuttle and the driver asked me "Are you sure you parked with us?" and I was like, "I'm not sure of anything" and we both laughed and that was that.

The main reason why I love the Parking Spot shuttle is because the Sepulveda one LITERALLY drops you off at In N' Out Burger. The only thing that can top fresh LAX air, is the aroma of In N' Out. Instead of walking to your pretend car, you just exit the parking garage with your bags in tow and let them judge you all they want because it's pretty obvious at that point that you were only on the shuttle for the free ride to In N' Out. Nobody cares, especially if you tip the driver, which you totally can because of all the money you are saving.

I like to order my Double-Doubles first and then request an Uber pick-up. It takes about 10 minutes for Uber to arrive and there is a nice grassy oasis in front of In N' Out where you can sit and wait. Anywhere outside of LAX, you can get an Uber car for less than 2 dollars per mile. Which means, in my case, I save 50 dollars AND I get to keep my friends.

4/24/15 - Dear Diary,

I might be the worst cook on our team. We have Whitney who is an amazing baker (my favorite are her bacon maple scones). Amanda came to visit the California coast and grilled me up a mouth-watering hamburger on a homemade english muffin bun. At team camp Morgan set fire to the chicken she was grilling and it still tasted delicious.

As for me, right now my favorite thing is to cut up a bunch of veggies, put them in a Ziplock steam bag, add some Rachel Ray Spices (the right seasoning can make anything taste good) and microwave myself a salad. At our current host house, the 3-year-old boy, Carson, saw me do this and asked me if my dinner was a mistake.

Colavita being our title sponsor, people always ask me what I do with the all the olive oil I get and the truth is, I keep most of my oils in my bathroom. Olive Oil is rich in antioxidants and a great moisturizer for your skin. It's probably the best eye make-up remover i've ever used . Anyone who has spend time with me knows I'm a big fan of natural beauty products. I'll spend more time whipping up a body scrub than I will making breakfast. One time, I was making an avocado face mask and a former teammate of mine asked if she could have some. I was excited that she was expressing interest in my beauty regime until she came at my concoction with a tortilla chip. When I said it was for her face, she told me I was wasting avocados.

Anyway, here is my current favorite "recipe" for body wash:

  • 1 cup-ish Liquid Castile Soap (I say cup-ish because you don't need to be spot on with measurements)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 Tablespoons of Colavita Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Colavita Olive Oil
  • 50-60 drops of essential oil - I like Tea Tree Oil

3/30/2015 - Dear Diary,

I just wrapped up team time trial camp in Athens, GA and I'm flying back to California. I'm on an evening flight and I passed out in my seat before the plane even took off. I could have slept the entire flight but I kept waking myself up with my own snoring. After the third snort-jolt-awakening I decided to ask for a coffee and write this entry to occupy my time. I can't be THAT person. I was already THAT person this morning...

I intended to sleep today, but there was a new episode of my favorite TV show, Community, up on YahooScreen and I was too excited to watch it. I grabbed my lap top and tip-toed down the stairs of the house we were renting. I was trying to be really quiet like my teammate Jessica Cutler. She has mastered the art of being quiet. Anyway, I didn't realize that Mary Zider was sleeping on an air mattress in the living room until I heard a rustle. I was like, "Oh crap, I will just grab my peanut butter and a spoon and creep back upstairs and watch my TV in the spacious landing area."

As I was tip-toeing back to the stairs my foot ever so lightly kicked something that was on the floor. I must have hit it right on the power switch cause all of a sudden this thing turned on. It was probably the loudest thing in the whole house I could have activated at 4:45 in the morning. At first I thought it was a Roomba and that I was going to have to chase it. I don't know why in 2015 I thought I had encountered a Roomba. Those things were the dustbusters of the 2000's. It wasn't until I dropped to the ground so I could catch it that I realized the thing wasn't moving and that it was actually the air mattress pump. I saw it was plugged into the wall so I yanked the cord and silence resumed. I thought MAYBE Mary had slept through it but then I heard soft laughter as she asked me if I was okay. She said I could stay downstairs and make noise and it wouldn't bother her but I was so mortified I went upstairs and stayed there until the sound of the coffee pot lured me back down to the kitchen.

I was hoping the other riders and staff in the house either slept though my debacle or thought they were having a bad dream that involved a vaccum. In any case, I figured they'd think it was Mary since, after all, she was the one sleeping on the air mattress. But then as I was getting ready to leave for the airport I overheard Mary telling the story to everyone. So now I'm sitting here drinking freshly brewed instant coffee and staying awake because you're only a snorer when someone else hears it.


Dear Diary,

Last month at our team camp in Florida, a plantain went missing and I'm the one that ate it. It took me a few days, but I ate it.

In my defense, someone had bought plantains to cook and put them in the fruit bowl. It was an hour or so before dinner and I was getting hungry so I grabbed what I thought was a banana from the kitchen and went upstairs to read. I took one bite out of that thing and thought it was the worst banana I had ever tasted. It was like biting into an uncooked potato. I figured it needed to ripen more so I left it on my dresser.

I didn't think about it again until the next day. I was on my computer and I heard Erica say from the kitchen "A plantain is missing, who ate it?" To which Amanda, our soignuer, replied, "You can't eat a plantain raw, you have to cook it."

As they went on about the missing plantain, I sat there thinking about how that thing in my room wasn't going to ripen on its own. My entire life I thought a plantain was just an ugly looking banana sold individually at supermarkets and in chip form at Trader Joe's. Then I heard Erica say, "Well if you can't eat it raw, then someone has it in their room."

Uh oh, she was onto me, but it was too late to confess. I had sat there thinking too long about how I needed to google plantain. Erica is a very observant person. Nothing gets by her. It's probably one of the things that makes her such a good crit racer. She has an ability to take in everything at once. I knew I had to finish eating the plantain. All evidence had to be consumed.

Luckily I'm a morning person and wake up hours before everyone else. The next morning I microwaved the rest of the plantain and chopped it up into my cereal. It still didn't taste all that great. I think you need to actually cook it in the oven but I didn't have time for that so I put a lot of peanut butter on it and did the best I could.

Next month we go back to Florida for the Gasparilla Crit. It's the first NCC crit of the season. After that we head to Athens for TTT camp. When it is my turn to cook for the team, I'm going to make a dish with plantains. That way everyone will know that I know you have to cook plantains.