Monday, September 29, 2008

The weather is too nice for cyclocross.

It was certainly a toss up on what to do this past weekend, but Tim really wanted to race at Barlow. I had been on the road for a week straight (SLC, Seattle, Vegas), so not going to the cabin was an o.k. option, especially since the fire was still burning up there. A great compromise was a great mountain bike ride on Saturday (Falls Creek) with a bunch of friends and then CX on Sunday. I still haven't had enough mountain biking for the year, so Saturday was a nice break from racing and a total blast. Falls Creek out and back is one of my favorites and we hadn't had a chance to ride it all summer, so it was perfect. About 33 miles and almost 5000 feet of climbing. A great warm up for Sunday.
I think we have a half dozen pictures over the years at this same spot. Why stop now?

The crew!

Battle at Barlow was the only local cx race I won last year, only because Wendy didn't show up for the mud fest. This year I rode out there from home and arrived with 15 minutes to spare. Darn head wind almost killed me. Plus, it was hot. I didn't bother putting on my skin suit, because I really didn't have a lot of time. The course was bone dry. The exact opposite of last year, but still a fun course. My start kind of stunk, but I focused on my skills and had a good race. On the last lap, going through the start, however, trouble was in the making. My rear tubular went flat. But I gently rode it through the side hill and debated, should I run in my carbon shoes on the pavement or gently coast on a flat tubular? I chose the latter. I coasted gently through the finish line to victory. This is only the second local race I have ever won. I have never won a cross crusade. Definitely a career goal at this point.
I cheered Tim on through his A race. He decided not to race with the masters and after his endo on the first lap, he crawled back to 15th. A respectable finish and I have never seen so much salt as I did on him after that race. We took a nice ride afterwards and headed to Rogue Brewery to celebrate the last days of indian summer.

Man, my husband is hot! And salty, it turns out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas... except when racing CX!

A but fuzzy, but seeing how drunk most people were, they probably saw it this way!

I reluctantly decided to make the trip to Vegas again this year, even though Wendy Williams would not go with me. Vegas alone... not so fun. BUT, once there, being that it is interbike, you aren't alone for long. My parents set me up with a sweet host family (Thanks Greg & Shauna Walch) they met in MN at church. Crazy stuff, but a nice place to rest my head and not be on the strip. It was a short trip. Upon arrival I picked up Terry, Tinkers wife and we headed to an autograph signing at McGhies bike shop. Great place if you ever need anything while in Vegas. And Tuma Cross re-glued my tubulars quickly for me. Such great service. One big win and you get treated like a rock star. So I hung out with the other Cannondale riders and watched them sign autographs, although it may have been Tinker that signed the most. OK, I signed one or two.
The crew: Front row: Jamey Driscoll, Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers, Me & Tinker in the back

Cross Vegas, much like Star Crossed, is late. I'm not sure I like racing my bike after 7 p.m. Desert Breeze is a tough venue, with power sucking grass that zaps you. Plus it was hot. I think it may have dropped to the high 70's after the sun went down. There was no good place to warm up, so sans trainer, I did what I could. I relaxed, went to the line fourth, had an o.k. start until the first corner and then it was a shit show. That start loop was scary and super aggressive and I was just focused on not going down. I need to be MORE aggressive, but I figured I would lose more time if I was on the ground, so I relaxed. I didn't see the ground until a straight away after the cement climb when someone decided to just clip me and run me into the tape. Down I went. Oh well. I had lost some time and the lead group was gone. They had made the break whileI was checking out the grass, up close and personal. Not the best place to be, eh? Now there was only one place to go and that was forward. I was angry, hot, miserable, tired and wanted to get back in the race. I kept moving forward and making time on those in my sights. When I caught Wendy Simms, I was psyched, b/c I thought we could work together to bridge the gap back to Kelli and Rachel. No such luck. Afterwards she told me she had nothing. So I was on my own. And chase I did. I was at a disadvantage, because I was alone in the wind and they were working together, but I managed to close the gap down to 7 seconds. (ALTHOUGH CYCLINGNEWS ADDED AN EXTRA MINUTE TO OUR TIMES!?!?!). I finished right behind them with them in my sights. It was frustrating, but still a great race after 2 hard races over the weekend. No complaints! Plus, I got to see Lance Armstrong get his butt kicked in cyclocross. But he finished higher than his start position. I can't say the same.
Interbike was my pre-departure destination. I visited some of my sponsors, thanking them, ran into lots of familiar faces and checked a few things out. Getting out of there was the hardest thing to do, because there is always one more person you see that you know. But now home at last and for a while. Whew! It has been a whirlwind. More photos to come, so check back, but here is what I have for now...

Me and my adoring fans. OK, it is Coach K and Melissa, but Matt set the tent up for me. Nice! I feel like a pro.

Talk about determination. I wanted to catch Rachel & Kelli really bad!
Photo by my buddy Dave McElwaine.
A nice shot by Eric Saletel.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

On top of the podium, finally.... Star Crossed 2008!

That is a BIG smile on my face! I did it!!!

And they say that dreams don't come true! Actually, I never did dream of this, but winning Star Crossed was about as sweet as it comes. It actually took a long time for it to sink in. I kept saying to Tim, "I just won Star Crossed!" I went into this knowing I could win, but for it to actually happen! And I thought my time in Salt Lake City was surreal. This past weekend was pretty amazing. It was my first big win and although I have stood on top of a few podiums, none compare. Wendy Simms and I basically powered away from the rest of the field both days. Saturday night I came out on top and Sunday, Simms traded me and I had to settle for the second step. A great weekend of racing. The season opener for 'cross. Tim also had a great weekend, taking second in the master elite race at Star Crossed and although he had some bike issues on Sunday, still a 9th place finish.

Wendy, Emily & I. My kit doesn't match anymore, but we are still team in spirit.
Inteview with velonews.
Bart had to get stitched up by Dr. Seth
Podium on Sunday. I'll take 2nd!

The weekend was even better, because we got to spend time with friends. We stayed with Pam (my best friend from college) & Seth and their kids in Seattle. They are the most gracious hosts and I fill their house with bike racers and mud. Pam and Seth were our number one fans on Saturday and our friends Paul and Andrea came to Tacoma with their twins, Hannah & Theo on Sunday to cheer us on! It was great! I love racing my bike!
Kirin, Seth, Evie, Pam and I
The twins with Tim and I.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rock Star Status: Monavie annual conference in Salt Lake City

It was a surreal experience. I can not even begin to explain. Thursday I flew to Salt Lake City for the annual Monavie conference. What is Monavie? It is a acai berry juice. Highly concentrated antioxidants. Amazing stuff that is sold and marketed directly in a multi-level marketing format (some would say pyramid) with distributors from all over the place. The best part about this company is that they are psyched to have a cycling team and I am fortunate enough to be a part of this. We visited the headquarters and had a quick tour and then we went to the opening mixer to meet the who's who of Monavie. It was a bit overwhelming because it was over the top. The party had fountains, ice sculptures, bands, ping pong tables, life size chess, etc, etc, etc. They know how to throw a party.
Friday was the main event. We had about 5 minutes of stage time later in the morning. A video was shown from the American Mountain Classic, highlighting what we do and then we were raised out of the stage and were projected on the dozen huge screens in the room, and 6,000 people went crazy! I felt like a rock star! One big difference, I was standing there in spandex and a jersey. Afterwards we signed over 3000 autographs for over 4 hours. The line never ended. And most didn't know the difference between Tinker Juarez and Sue Butler. It was a crazy two days. Bart and I had to high tail it out of there around 4 to get on a flight to Seattle. CX season was about to start!!!
Thanks to Bart and Rosie for hosting me for my night in SLC!!
The president/founder came out in style.
I'm telling you, it was like a rock concert.Backstage waiting for our appearance.

Team autograph session.
The line never ended.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Double Kermesse must mean double the fun!

Although I did the same thing last weekend on Sunday/Monday, it didn't make the blog. Tim was out of town last week too, so of course it wasn't quite as fun alone. These two races were unlike cyclocross in many ways. NO dismounting your bike, NO mud and HOT weather. Heck, we did the Monday night race on our road bikes. But Sunday it was riding the new cx bike!
Sunday Tim and I headed out to Kreuger's farm on Sauvies Island, via the St. John's bridge. We saw a lot of fellow Kermesse-ers heading out and hooked up with some pals for part of the ride. It was hot. Arriving at the farm, it felt 10 degrees hotter, but we lined up for our 2:00 race with smiles on our face. Sure, the legs were a bit tired from the epic mountain bike ride Saturday, the birthday ride, but Tim raced with the A's (instead of the master A's) and killed it! 8th overall. I rode with the ladies and had another victory, but this time on my new bike! It is sweet. I forgot to take a picture, darn it. You can sort of see it in the picture below. During my race, I actually lost my water bottle 2 laps in. This was a problem. Once I discovered it was gone, I spent a whole lap scanning for it and finally located it. On the next lap, I actually stopped for it, but it was no longer where I saw it the lap before. I asked the people there, "have you seen the green water bottle that was here?" Unfortunately I had to take it back from a less than thrilled 4-year old, who shyly handed it back, but I really needed that water. After the race, awards, etc, we helped tear down and then headed to Weavers for a party. It felt like the who's who of Portland cycling! Thanks Megan and Ryan for a great time and good grub.
It was a 'farm crit', so the white t-shirt was a good call. Too hot for a jersey with black!
Tim leading the train.

Monday night we were back at it again. After Tim got off work, we headed to PIR for the 2nd Vanport Kermesse. OK, by now you are probably still wondering what the heck a kermesse is. Well, it isn't in the dictionary, but according to Kris Schamp, our Belgian buddy who put on the Sunday races, it is an annual, local celebration, typical for the Low Lands (of Belgium) and northern France, accompanied by feasting, dancing and sports of all kinds, or a Belgian style summer bike race, staged during local kermesse festivities. Good times, on and off the course! So basically, we went for more good times! PIR was not as well attended as the weekend race, but a fun course on and off dirt and bad pavement. A great workout on a beautiful evening. Hopefully you saw the moon. It was amazing!
Next stop: Salt Lake City. I have to go to SLC for the annual MonaVie meeting Thursday/Friday and then up to Seattle for the first real cyclocross races of the season. I am scared!!! Wish me luck! Hopefully helping again at tomorrow evenings cx clinic at Alpenrose will get my mounts and dismounts dialed.

*pictures borrowed from jose brujo Sandoval. He has an amazing eye. Thanks for sharing!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Age is just a number, right?

It is true. I am now my racing age. But then again, for cyclocross, per UCI rules, I am already 38. I can't win. What is age anyhow? I had this discussion with Emily riding out of Smith Creek today. Who cares what the number is, it's about how we feel, right? So I guess I am 25. Well, maybe 29. I didn't know Tim when I was 25. :) At any rate, I celebrated my 37th birthday on Friday. Thank you to everyone who called and sent cards. It was a nice day. I started with intervals on my cx bike at pier park. Who wouldn't want to do that on their birthday? Then off to a massage (much better than intervals!), then a haircut and then to the River City to pick up one of my two new Monavie Cannondale cx bikes. (I hope to have the other one together by Star Crossed next weekend. Yikes.) Tim surprised me with a nice little pedicab ride to our dinner date. It was a beautiful evening. Unfortunately we were a little heavy for our driver, so Tim had to help push a bit on the way home. I guess he could have offered to pedal too!
On our way to dinner. We dined at the Wildwood. Very yummy!

Beautiful Portland from Steel Bridge

Tim pushing up the small hill on the esplanade.

Home sweet home.

To keep the tradition, one has to have an epic birthday ride. I chose Plains of Abraham/Smith Creek loop at St. Helens, since I hadn't done this ride for 2 years to the day. Pictures tell the story best...
The crew: Dawn, Anna, Tim, Emily, Jason & yours truly.

Lot's of eye candy. See the ledge on the right where the people are standing for perspective.

Me riding the ledge.


St. Helens behind us.

Tim getting artsy fartsy with the camera.

I'm not flexing, really. (Tim made me do this & post it.)

The spine.

Spirit Lake

Emily (also the birthday girl on Monday) in the aspen grove on Smith Creek.

My father-in-law wished someone who loved me would have a cake for me, and Anna brought me a very scrumptious Zucchini bread cake. She must love me. Don't worry, I shared.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Too busy to blog?

As a rule, I don't really like to blog just to blog. And if I don't have cool pictures, what is the point? It's not as if nothing has happened since being home from Brian Head. In fact, just the opposite. Too much to do, not enough time. Driving back took me two days, with a 'layover' in Boise again, this time to get my CX bikes fit by Tom Coleman. It was not quick and easy, b/c my bikes were not quite built and we did some videotaping and movement analysis. Pretty interesting stuff. I appreciate all of his help and wisdom. When I finally returned home, here is what life has looked like:
Wed: Jury duty all day, help with cx clinic in the evening
Thurs: start catching up with mail, phone calls, house stuff, etc., ride bike
Fri: same drill. Lot's to do. bikes washed, reorganize storage, ride bike, run, etc.
Sat: spent a.m. re-figuring out tile for master bath in new house (was way over budget); Tim & I took a bike ride in the afternoon and then, poof, the day was gone
Sunday: Tim left at 7:40 a.m. for NYC, I left at 9 to go out to Sauvie's island and help volunteer for Krueger's Kermesse. Raced at 2, rode home with Coach K & got burritos, passed out, snack for dinner and day was done.
Monday: Tile crisis continues. Final decision to be made by noon. Oh, the stress. In the evening, raced the Vanport Kermesse.
Tuesday: left early a.m. for cabin. Got trailer & back to Hood River. Met Anna and her CYC crew (27 h.s. kids) at lumber yard, picked up materials for a wood shed, Anna got kids going on various projects at cabin, went for a run, dinner and hung out with kids, etc. WHEW! exhausted.
Wednesday: at cabin still. up early. Kids out by 8:45-ish to go hike Cooper Spur. Did some things, down to Hood River, rode my bike, got home, out to Alpenrose for the CX clinic. Dinner with friends and Tim finally got home.
TODAY: I am exhausted!!! I spent the a.m. trying to get my cx bikes figured out and other things, but almost there. Just waiting on parts. Tried to relax a bit and now I am back on the road to tie up some loose odds and ends.
So, you see, nothing really fun. Nothing really worthy of blogging about. But now you know if you spent the time to read this picture-less dribble. Life has been busy and lot's of planning for the upcoming cyclocross season! Yahoo!!!