Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whirlwind CX: Vegas & USGP 1&2 in Madison, WI

A big week of CX racing. 5 races in 9 days. After the Seattle weekend, I packed my bags and bikes for Vegas and Madison via MN. A week on the road with different weather. Vegas was a quick in and out, hanging out with Coach K and Melissa, an evening race and a quick visit to Interbike. Then off to MN to drive to Madison.
Cross Vegas went o.k. This is not my favorite race, as it is so dry and hot and hard. I managed to hold my own, but did not improve my finish from last year. I was stuck in 6th. I tried to claw my way to the top 5, but Mary was too quick and my legs just said 'no'. But a clean race this year and I did not have to chase back into 6th. I was just kind of there. Georgia flew by me and I could not hold her wheel and then Kelli was on fire. As much as I hate it, I keep going back. I was happy to get out of Vegas and head to the midwest.

Cross Vegas

Coach K: she makes me fast.

Post racing fun: Amy D & Tony T.

I arrived in MN on Thursday evening and was anticipating driving to Madison early on Friday, but my bikes had a different idea. They went to Omaha, then had to go back to Denver to find their way to Minneapolis. So a slight delay, but we made it to Madison in time for the number presentation gathering. Madison was fun. It is a cool town, made even cooler by staying with a good college friend I had not seen since I visited her in Paris. Crazy that racing cx gets me to places I wouldn't usually get to so I can see friends.

College pals: Karine Saylor Sloan & Meghan Hoffman

Our gracious hosts: Karine & Tom

Tim's new best friend, Mattie (Karine & Tom's eldest daughter)

The familiar USGP signage.

As far as the races go, the weather stayed dry, thus the races were super fast. The course was twisty and fun on both days. Saturday I had an appalling start, missing my pedal and having to work a bit hard to get back on the train. I got there, but ended up in a group fighting for 4th. I made my way to the front with 2 to go and pulled them around. Amy D. made a fierce and very smart attack on the last straight away and got in front of us, thus taking 4th and then Sydor and her mad skills rode the stairs on the run up and snuck around too and I could not close it down. My tired legs did not like running on Saturday.
I worked so hard, just to get passed.

Sunday I fared better. Great start, taking the hole shot and the course only had a set of barriers for me to screw up, so I was able to ride clean. I led a half lap until the inevitable happened and Katie and Katerina went around, along with Georgia and Sydor. I reeled her back in only to have her sit on me for a few laps. I knew she would attempt to get around, so I attacked out of every corner with every last little bit of attack my legs had. I tried to close to 3rd, but Georgia was far enough ahead, there was no chance without help. So, I sprinted it out for 4th and took it, despite my pedal coming out when I stood up to sprint. I scared myself but a very satisfying finish.
A good place to be.

There was no shaking Sydor off my wheel.

My parents came to watch. Mom enjoying the men's race.

Midwest family and friends.

We drove back to MN in the windy, rainy evening after dropping Tim off at the Madison airport. Monday I took Kari Studley, my travel partner, on a little 'neighborhood' spin on the backroads near Prairie Island. Then to see my grandma, my sister and nephew and then my brother and his puppies. A bonus visit back home.
My nephew and his new birthday shirt I bought him. Jeans to go with too.

And the puppy that almost made it into my luggage...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cyclocross season has begun!!! Star Crossed & Rad Racing GP, Sept. 19-20, 2009

The west coast season opener up in Seattle is always fun! Star Crossed was my second race ever in 2005. A lot has changed, except it is always a bit nerve wracking, not knowing how you are going to 'stack up' to the competition. And this year I felt some pressure. I had won the previous year and now I knew I had the capabilities to win. I went into this race for the first time with expectations, and not only from myself. This year Star Crossed drew a pretty deep field and I knew a win was going to be extremely hard. My main competition last year, Wendy Simms, was there, but not to race, due to her current condition. Yep, she is preggers. She did cheer loudly!

Oregon gals prior to the start.

Star Crossed was not my smoothest race, but it ended well. I had a good start, got on the Wyman train and then it rode away without me. Alison Dunlap bridged to me and I got on her wheel where we eventually picked up Sydor. Then it was Helen off the front and me with the Alison's. Not a bad place to be. I did do my best to try to not be third wheel, but any move was countered. Man, racing with seasoned racers is hard. Makes me realize I have a lot to learn. And I learned a lot in that race alone. So, I sat on 3rd wheel, Dunlap doing most of the work. I was a disaster clipping in with my new shoes and new pedals I forgot to back off the tension. No excuses. I know better, but after yo-yo-ing off the back, one bad corner after clipping in and I was 'dropped' and in 4th. Or so I thought. I was going to do my best to close the gap yet again and as I was standing up out of the saddle, I watched both Alison's go down in front of me on the Velodrome. I sneaked past them while they picked themselves up and took 2nd for the night.

Going hard...

My best Seattle fans: Pam, Seth & Kirin.

Rad Racing GP the next day was the exact opposite conditions and a totally different course. Last year the run up was my nemesis. This year I was prepared and determined to not let that be the deciding factor of the race. Well, it was in a way, but not a good one. First lap, I took the hole shot and then Helen came around and then Dunlap. Up the run up, I passed Alison and Helen and I were off the front. I was determined, tooth and nail to not lose her wheel. We continued on lap 2 off the front, did the run up and then at the top she said, "I think I've punctured" and I went around and never looked back. It's never good to win because of someones misfortune and I would have like to have 'tested' myself against Helen, because she is screaming fast right now, but a win is a win. And it was fun to win. Opposite placings from last year. A good way to start the season! Now off to Vegas...

My little buddies & best Tacoma fans: Hannah & Theo.

Monday, September 14, 2009

BIRTHDAY WEEKEND, September 12-13, 2009

Cyclocross racing, hot weather, sunshine, bbq at the house, mountain bike ride with good friends. What more could a girl ask for??? It was an amazing weekend. Saturday we slept in and then headed to the Pain on the Peak. A scorching 90 degree cyclocross race. CX is a winter sport for a reason. One hour of pain. In Oregon now, the A women get to race with the men and suffer for 20 minutes longer. Yikes. But it was good to get the first race out of the way and winning $200 and a free pair of Keens just sweetened the deal! Not to mention milkshakes afterwards for a 'recovery' drink.

Tim attempting to lap me. I didn't let him. (remember, he started a few minutes before me.)

MMMM. Recovery drinks.

Saturday evening we decided to just grill at home. The gathering grew and it was a really nice evening on the back patio. I really love our house. And for the first time, we slept on the roof top deck. I can't believe it has taken this long, but I guess it is one of the first weekends in nice weather we have been home. It was pretty cool.

Mark & Sarah were visiting from Nebraska. Sampling the crisp. Yummy.

The rest of the crew.

Good night. Sleeping on the roof.

Sunday we headed off to what has become the traditional birthday ride. It is Emily's birthday tomorrow, so a group of us went to St. Helen's to do Plains of Abraham and Smith Creek. Weather was nice. Not too hot. Windy on Windy Ridge, go figure. But an awesome day of mountain biking. It may be my last for the season. CX is about to take over.

The girls. Erin, me, Wendy, Emily & Anna.

The best husband ever.

Our friend Tony Torrance few in from Boulder for the birthday ride. I don't think he was disappointed.

Every birthday I really have a chance to reflect and realize how amazing my life is. I am blessed. Thank you to everyone who called, emailed, facebooked, etc. Life is good. I have had a good 38 years and am looking forward to many more...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day weekend wetness.

This past weekend was definitely 'cross weather. A soggy, wet weekend got us ready for a season of mud, using our great gear and always having a good attitude. It may have been a bit chilly at times, but the singletrack was still sweet. Saturday we had a nice outing in the pouring rain, but stuck on the road. It wasn't too bad. Sunday and Monday, however, it was all about fat tires with friends. Not many brave souls came. Wendy and Emily toughed it out for 2 great days of mountain biking and Erin Ford joined us Monday. Sunday it was up pocket creek to do Gunsight Ridge & Gumjuwac. A bit chilly on the descent, but big smiles prevailed. Or was that frozen fingers and feet??? Monday the weather improved a bit and we did our Boulder Lakes special loop from White River side. It was simply amazing. This may be my last 2 consecutive days of mountain biking this season. Big ride planned for next sunday, but the weather was feeling very cyclocross like. It is that time of year...

The rain started again shortly after... But see, we are smiling...

Ahh, the ever changing weather... Not many pictures taken after this due to weather conditions.

Tim didn't waste any time post ride on Sunday getting a fire going.

Monday was much nicer. The girls at Boulder Lake.

Tim comforts me after I acquired my 'third knee'. I hit my knee on my stem when a rock forced me to clip out. I rode through it, but ouch. It hurt. And it looked pretty cool when I finally stopped.

Cutest guy ever.

It takes a real man to dress like this.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Family, friends and fun...

Tim's parents, Ralph & Jada, came for a week long visit to Oregon. Lot's going on for them that week. 2 nights with Ralph's sister in Vancouver, our long overdue housewarming party/open house, a trip to the cabin, a race at PIR and a nice lunch date before leaving with Aunt Margo and Roxie. It was a busy week, but a lot of fun.

Airport arrival.

Tim showing off his latest addition to the fleet, his new cx bike.

Ralph finds a bike that suits him: the daytripper.

Tim & his mom enjoy the Friday evening party.

Ahh, the cabin.

Deck photo before we leave.

Dinner in Hood River.

Beers and dinner after PIR.

Jada, Ralph & Aunt Margo at Ft. Vancouver.