Sunday, September 30, 2007

Muddy, muddy, muddy cross. Battle at Barlow: Sunday, Sept. 30,2007

Back in Oregon, the cross season is off to a muddy start. This makes it easier when the races aren't sunny and nice. No sense getting used to nice weather! This is definitely what makes Oregon cross racing what it is! I have really never seen such a muddy course. Well, maybe Hillsboro would rival the slop we saw today, but it was trenches and puddles of mud like I have not seen in a while. It made it pretty darn interesting. Sorry, no pictures. It rained the whole time and I took off after my race to ride home, only watching part of Tim's race. I actually won my first cross race ever. Wendy decided to take the day off. Smart? Maybe, but this is what will make you stronger, especially mentally. I had one of the worse starts of my life, but it didn't cost me too much. Then I fell a few times and Bridgete got ahead of me at the huge railroad tie run up, but I got passed her and led the race for the rest of the race, lapping a huge portion of the field. Tim had an excellent start and a great race. Unfortunately he got a flat and had to use his pit bike, which was his brand new bike and still finished 7th. I am so glad we don't race an hour like them. Yikes! He beat me home driving, so he didn't stick around too long.
Oh, it's good to be back in Oregon!!!


Muddy Cross back in Oregon!

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas... September 25-29, 2007

Barely recovered from the previous weekend, Wendy and I took off for Cross Vegas on Tuesday evening. With bikes assembled Wednesday a.m., we checked out the venue and did a little ride. We also made a quick stop at Interbike, the big bike industry trade show. What a show! But come evening, it was showtime! A 7:00 p.m. start, it was a stacked field. Wendy and I were both called up on the second line. A much different experience to our last year beginning of the season. Had a great start, but that was about it. I let the lead chase group go early on, but Wendy hung in. It was brutal. The grass was like velcro. It was hard. Looked easy, but it was an energy sucking hard push through the grass. It was crazy that it would be hot and then you would get pockets of cold air and then hot again. It was so dry, I was choking on my own spit. Not so fun. I ended up battling it out with Ann Trombley and sitting in behind her wheel b/c I was suffering and then we caught Melissa Thomas and she hung on with us and then Kerry Barnholt was in with us at some point. On the last lap, I had had enough of the slowing down, etc, so I went out front and tried to get away, but they hung on my wheel, but I didn't let them get me at the sprint. I finished 13th, which I will have to be satisfied with, b/c I don't think I could have gone any faster. Wendy ended up 7th and had an awesome race, hanging with the lead chase group! A great effort by team River City Bicycles!
The rest of my Vegas stay was pretty mellow. We spent a lot of the day on Thursday at Interbike and then I volunteered with Cannondale to help lead dealers on a night ride. It was a blast and I tested my new race bike for next year: the carbon Scalpel! It is SWEEEET! Got to hang out with Cass a bit too. Then Friday a.m. I met early and helped with a road ride through Red Rocks! It was gorgeous. A bit too early, but amazing. Then back to Interbike, hung out with people I knew, to bed early and then out of that hell hole! And remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...







Pre-race self photo! We are ready to give 'er!!!













A little post race beer drinking! A short cool down and then to the beer garden to watch the men.

(Wendy, Sue & Cass)


The mens race! A great crowd!

The rest of my Vegas stay was pretty mellow. We spent a lot of the day on Thursday at Interbike and then I volunteered with Cannondale to help lead dealers on a night ride. It was a blast and I tested my new race bike for next year: the carbon Scalpel! It is SWEEEET! Got to hang out with Cass a bit too. Then Friday a.m. I met early and helped with a road ride through Red Rocks! It was gorgeous. A bit too early, but amazing. Then back to Interbike, hung out with people I knew, to bed early and then out of that hell hole! And remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cross season is underway...

I didn't really feel ready for cross racing to start, but it came quickly. My cold had passed and I had a few training days under my belt, and then the test of truth was here. A weekend of racing. Star Crossed is always exciting, but this year it was 2 weeks earlier and also a UCI race, so drawing a bit of a larger field. We had 2 races up North. Seattle on Saturday night and Tacoma on Sunday. Tim and I drove up to Seattle Friday night and stayed with our dear friends Pam and Seth. An added bonus to our race weekend. Here is how it went down:


STAR CROSSED: Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Tim raced at 5:00 p.m. He was still feeling the affects of this darn cold we both caught, but he did an amazing job of hanging in the mix of the top 10 racers. Granted, the Masters 35+ world champion was in his race and a few ex-national champions, so he had his work cut out for him. An amazing race and he finished 11th in a field of 39 fast riders. Excellent start to his season.

The elite women went off at 7:00. I was more nervous than I thought I would be, but it was the first race of the season. I went into it with pretty realistic expectations, that being pretty much none, except I wanted to at least be able to keep Wendy in my field of vision. Well, I exceeded my expectations and ended up in the lead group, often right behind Wendy. There were 6 of us that left the rest of the field behind. I was holding on. The last lap the final group was down to four and I was still there and was fourth into the last turn, just far enough back to not be able to contest the sprint, which my teammate Wendy went and blasted by the other 2 gals and took the win. It was way too exciting!!! What a great night and a great way to start the season. I couldn't sleep that night!

Star Crossed Podium: Me, Sarah K, Wendy Williams, Wendy Simms & Kristi Berg

The River City Ladies: Dani Dance, me, Wendy & Brigette

RAD RACING GRAND PRIX: Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Another great venue in the Pacific NW and totally different from the night before. It turned out to be a gorgeous day. Tim raced at 1:15 and had another great race. An amazing start and then it happened: the infamous Kona Knapp time run up. A great way to lose a few places and a bit of time if you are not the greatest runner. But, despite the suffering on the run up, Tim finished 15th! Job well done!

The women went off at 3:00. I was less nervous, but still not looking forward to that darn run up. I knew it was going to hurt. And hurt, it did! It was a much different race than the night before. Although I was first off the gun, it didn't take long for the rest to follow and then by the run up, I watched the top 3 run away, literally. I worked my way back to 4th and there I sat for the entire race. The top 4 were settled in and with gaps between us for the entire race, up to 30 seconds. The only time I saw someone was after Wendy Simms had some technical issues and I caught her and then she lost me again. I had no more go. 4th was going to be where I stayed. Again, a podium finish with no complaints. A great way to start the season. Tomorrow it is off to Vegas. Yahoo!

Rad Racing Podium: Megan Elliot, Wendy Simms, Rachel Lloyd, Wendy W & Me

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mountain air.

Well, Tim finally caught the cold I had, so we were both in pretty poor shape going into the weekend. I was starting to feel better and Tim was towards the tail end of the really bad part. We decided not to race the Kremasse on Saturday and headed out to the cabin on Saturday afternoon. Lucky for me, I got to stay until Monday. It was also Emily's 30th birthday on Saturday, so she and Wendy came out on Saturday night. Mountain air always seems to make everything better...

Saturday late afternoon we took a spin on our cross bikes to Cloud Cap for some inspiring views of Mount Hood!

Stopped at the amphitheater for a self timer photo.

One of our favorite winter haunts: the Tilly Jane shelter.

Riding singletrack on the 'cross bikes. Good for the soul.

Saturday we went back to the mountain bikes. Beautiful fall day. A bit chilly!
The crew at Boulder Lake.
The girls at Boulder Lake. All smiles before cross season starts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

not exactly what I had in mind...

Well, today was my birthday! Originally we had planned on making our way down to the McKenzie River trail and do an epic mountain bike ride. It had become a tradition. Dani, Wendy and I had spent the past 2 years doing great birthday rides. BUT, this cold got a hold of me and it wasn't in the stars. I had to make do with an easy ride with the group up to Pier Park and turn around and ride home. Oh well. It is just another day. But I had a nice dinner with friends and actually had to do something, so I got a haircut. Tim was on his way home from NYC and arrived home shortly after 10. It is good to have him home.

The birthday dinner crew.

Short hair. Don't I look 10 years younger? Don't answer that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Home Sweet Home

The best thing about going on vacation is coming home. Unfortunately for me, it has meant getting sick and not being able to ride. But, before I succumbed to being sick, I managed to get one great mountain bike ride in. On Saturday, September 8th, Tim and I went to Falls Creek. It is one of our favorite rides and neither of us had rode it for a very long time. Ran into people we knew on the trail and had a great time. Tim left Sunday a.m. for NYC and I slept 14 hours and am just now trying to feel better. Being sick makes me anxious, especially with cross season upon us. Oh well. What can you do???

Tim & I by the falls.

Big sink hole.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

TIM'S TRACK DEBUT

It is not often I can go to a cycling event and not participate, but this was an exception. Although I think riding on the velodrome is a blast, I haven't attempted it post knee surgery, and right before cyclocross was probably not a good time to try it again. This was Tim's night on his brand new track bike. I drove it over there so he could ride his bike for a warm up. I played photographer and tried out new settings on my new camera! Fun. It was a points race, so you only can accumulate points on certain laps when they announce it. It doesn't matter how you finish, except points are awarded to the first 4 to the line on point laps. Unfortunately there was a crash with 17 laps to go, so the race got cut short. Tim ended up 3rd. Not a bad way to start his track career. Unfortunately it will have to wait until next year, b/c the season is pretty much over. CONGRATS TIMMY!!!

Tim holding the wall before the start.

Dragging the group around.

Looking good.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

THAILAND: A non-cycling vacation! August 22 - September 3, 2007

It is not often you will find Tim and I leaving for a vacation without our bikes, but for this trip, we figured when we did bike, we would just rent. So much easier! And a real vacation. I was on a 'break' from cycling, so the timing was perfect and a great transition from mountain biking to cyclocross. My good friend Sarah and her husband Mark were over there for their last year, so it was about time we made it to Thailand. We were really excited.


Our vacation got off to a rough start. I managed to make a MAJOR screw up and thought our flight departed at 7 a.m. Imagine my surprise when, after getting Abi and Alec set up in line with our friend Patrick and waiting for over a half hour in ours, getting to the counter and saying "we are on the 7:00 to Vancouver" and they say, "There is no 7:00 to Vancouver. There WAS a 6:00." Stupid, stupid, stupid. It was a few hours of major stress and a close call to calling off the whole trip, but finally they managed to contact Cathay Pacific and we were set to leave and would get to Thailand, albeit 8 hours later than anticipated. BUMMER! Especially since the travel essentially eats the first 2 days of your vacation with the time change and flying West. We arrived at midnight on Thursday after leaving early Wednesday morning and Sarah had graciously arranged a pick up and a hotel for us, since I didn't expect her to stay up that late for my mistake. Despite the rough start, we had a great trip. Here is a picture journal of all that we did. I will also host a large portion of the pictures at snapfish, if you don't get enough here, you can see more. And you can click on them to make them bigger, just FYI.



First stop: KRABI, or more exact, West Railay, which is the beach.


We woke up Friday and headed out to Sarah's house, got a quick 1 hour foot massage and then met Sarah and Mark at their school. Directly after their work day, we headed to the airport to fly down to Krabi and spend some time on the beach. I know, the Butlers at the beach. An odd concept, but it was 3 great days of relaxing and reading and eating. Check it out...





Our friends Sarah & Mark

We did some snorkeling






Chillin' at the beach, waiting for the sunset


It was worth the wait



Yep, that is Tim by the pool. Where is the speedo, you ask?

Not a bad view or set up.



Next stop: CHIANG MAI, the mountains.
Chaing Mai, although a quarter of a million people, is a 'smaller' city up in northern Thailand near the mountains. This is where we would check out some mountain biking, among other things. We flew out Tuesday and arrived by noon in Chiang Mai. Found our way to our hotel and then started exploring. We set up our mountain bike tour and visited some Wats. We really crammed a lot in in 4 days. I'll let the pictures tell the story...








1st day was tourist stuff. Here we are in our first Wat. Many pictures later and a few more Wats, we were 'wat-ed out'. Until Bangkok, that is...






Had to get massage every day...

And hit the night market 2 out of three nights.



Tuesday we went mountain biking.






And that night we went and saw Muuy Thai.






Thursday was Elephant day.






Literally, hanging out with them.

They painted pictures.


Thursday night was cooking school. It was more like eating school and really yummy.


Friday before flying out we did the unthinkable. We spent 4 hours in a spa together. I don't think you will see that happen state side when we have bikes to ride.

Last stop: BANGKOK
It was kind of sad to get back to Bangkok, but also exciting to spend some time with Sarah and Mark. Unfortunately Mark was going golfing and being back in Bangkok meant our trip was almost over. Saturday morning the three of us headed downtown and would spend the night at a hotel that was featured in Dwell magazine. Figured it couldn't be too bad. We crammed a lot in in two days, but started with a lost taxi driver that didn't exactly get us to where we wanted to go. Oh well. I should have better Thai...


Wat Arun by day...

...and night. The view from our hotel.



Tim and Sarah hanging out on Wat Arun





We had drinks at the highest bar in Bangkok. Not a bad view, eh?


A quick visit to the flower market! What an amazing sight.


Street treats...



and street meats...






Sunday morning visit to the Grand Palace.



A quick visit to the Chatuchak Weekend Market & Soi Cowboy






Dinner with fellow ex-Lincoln HS compatriots


Our gracious hosts we had to bid farewell to.


An uneventful but long travel day on Monday led us back to Portland and to our bikes, where we resume life and pedaling. The trip was awesome and unforgettable, but we were glad to be home.