Orem fights off rust to win at Asheville


First Posted: 7/24/2009

ASHEVILLE While taking on a new job as a nurse practitioner at Northern Hospital of Surry County and settling in to a new area, Sheila Orem hasnt been able to compete as a cyclist as much as she would like. Once she hit the road again, the old saying about riding a bike rang true.
At the French Broad Cycling Classic held in Asheville from July 17-19, Orem, a club member of Mount Airys Ridge Rollers Velo team, won the overall title from a field that included both men and women. Orem, who moved to Mount Airy in January, hasnt been training as much as she would like to while settling in to her new home. That made the win take her by surprise.
I didnt expect it just because I hadnt been racing this year, she said. Training and racing are definitely different. Its hard to get that kind of fitness training on your own. I expected to do mediocre to good. I wasnt expecting to do great.
The Classic was composed of three different events that ran over the course of a weekend. The first event, Orems lone victory, was a time trial. She averaged a speed of 26 miles per hour over 12 miles. She did well enough the next two days to finish atop the overall leaderboard.
After competing in local events like the 3 Mountain Metric, Tour de Mayberry and Tour de Vino, the Classic was a different challenge for Orem. Many of the local races consist of a lone event. Partaking in three races in as many days made recovery one of her biggest challenges.
Part of the reason I didnt do as well in the road race (Saturday morning) is you race Friday night. I got done at like 8 p.m. … then youre back on the bike less than 12 hours later getting ready to race again. Your bodys not acclimated to do that.
That the victory occurred in Asheville is fitting as that is the location that drew Orem to North Carolina. Orem and her husband, Robert, took cycling vacations to Asheville while the couple was living in Sarasota, Fla.
The triumph for Orem, who just recently reunited with her husband, marked an end of the hectic lifestyle she had been living. While Robert was still living in Florida, Sheila was traveling nearly every other week to visit. Her job shifts involve seven days on followed by seven days off. Finding the time to train was difficult for Orem, as she split her time between work and travel.
Thats not really conducive to having a good training program, she said. Racing and training are both very time consuming.
Now that she has her life in order with the exception of buying a house Orem can cycle more freely.
Contact Ed Phillipps at [email protected] or 719-1921.

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