Thursday, December 24, 2009


Although bittersweet that I am home for the holidays, I am making the most of it. I actually got off boxes to all the niece and nephews (read: MIRACLE) and spend some time in the crazy Christmas mayhem. Last weekend I relaxed at the cabin and did a lot of knitting, reading and my first XC ski of the season. This past week I put up and decorated our gift of a 10 ft. tree. Our friends Tom and Terri own a tree farm and they didn't want to see this one go to waste. Tuesday I went up and did some alpine skiing with a good friend and the next day got a sparkly red pedicure with her. We have had people over for dinner and now we are headed up to the cabin to celebrate the holiday with friends and snow. If this is as bad as it gets for ending my cross season early, I am lucky.

Tim is glad I am home for the holidays.

The 'neighborhood loop' up at the cabin.

Found a tree for the cabin. Kris Schamp is a "Sue Butler Supporter" through and through. Not just for CX.

He helped me cut the tree down with his "Sue Butler Supporter" hat from '09.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The End in Bend: Cyclocross National Championships: 12/13/09

Oregon definitely did it right! Bend was an amazing venue for the CX National Championships. What a great weekend of racing on varied terrain, mostly dictated by weather, time of day, etc. The course was never the same! Although the actual race is only 40 minutes for me, the weekend was a lot longer and a good one. We rented a condo minutes from the course with Katie & Mark and Wendy & Emily. With Wendy, Emily and Tim doing masters races, every day there was action. Friday was the women's masters races, with mad cheering for friends and Wendy claiming a silver, outsprinting our buddy Beth, who got bronze. Saturday was Tim's race, which ended in disappointment, and then Sunday was the main event. Of course, Katie walked away with the National Championship and now will continue her domination at the world level! My race, well, that is another story, and since it is my blog, I guess I should tell it.

I was optimistic going into the race. I loved the course, and although nervous, I was excited. I felt there was a lot on the line for me. I started calmly, knowing a crash would cost me more dearly than a few extra seconds through a slippery corner. I was in good position. I was right where I wanted to be. I felt pretty good. I stayed focused, passed Mo, putting myself in 2nd, knowing there was a line of women waiting to open it up a bit. And open it up they did. Digging, I stayed with the train, but towards the end of the first lap, it proved to be too much. I could not breathe. Not in the normal, racing cx kind of way, but in the 'my airways are closing and I think I am going to die' kind of way. I throttled 'er back a bit, concentrated on oxygen in and oxygen out and was able to hold on to salvage my race for a 10th place finish. I wanted to quit. And when I saw two laps to go, I wanted to cry. Not my normal cx emotions. Tim met me at the finish line, we spent some time in the medical tent and lots of tears later, my season was over! Although it took me a day or two to decide.
I have canceled my euro campaign in order to take a break and get to the bottom of these issues. I withdrew my worlds petition and decided it was best not to represent my country when I do not feel I am racing at my best. I have a lot of mixed emotions about this, but as I sit and type this and the rain is falling, I can not allow myself to think about snow, skiing, Christmas at home, time off the bike and heading somewhere warm in spring to train! Don't worry. I'll be back!!! Stronger and better than ever! Looking forward to nationals in 2010! Let's do it up again big in Bend!

Tim done with his 2009 season!

The massive women's field! Amazing.

The crowds were awesome!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

USGP Final Weekend: home court advantage! Portland, OR, December 5-6, 2009

USGP Portland is a special weekend of racing for me. It is always a blast to be racing in front of the home crowd. Add nationals a week later in the same state and people that always don't bother to fly to the WEST coast actually come and play. Including old friends and additional house guests. Unfortunately we could not provide the epic mud and rain that has become synonymous with USGP Portland, but the weather was anything but mild. Plummeting temperatures proved challenging, but the sun kept shining and it was a great weekend of racing.
I was a bit nervous going into the weekend, being the first time racing after the asthma attack in New Jersey, except for Kruger's, I guess, but it was all an unknown. I had gotten my TUE earlier in the week, did one day of intervals to experiment with my new 'puffer' and Saturday was game time. I wanted to be able to ride at the front and make that podium like last year, but it was not in the cards this year. I hope I am saving that for next weekend. It was, however, a good weekend of racing.
Saturday I focused on my start and was back in the game. I was in the lead selection, but soon was dropping off and racing my race. Mostly in no man's land. I tried to keep Emmett's wheel as she surged passed me, but I was riding in 7th and finished there. It was a good solid race. The field is strong and I raced smooth, clean and no mistakes. And I could breathe.
Sunday, I again got the 'hole shot', but then decided not to pull in the wind. I made the lead group, but at some point there were small separations and I was dangling after the first lap. I was still making progress. Sydor was in my sight and Dunlap not that much further ahead of her during the penultimate lap, and I was determined to close it down, but that last lap, I started making little mistakes that added up and I could not. Another 7th place.

So, some lucky number 7's for the weekend. It was cold, fun racing. A great course and great fans cheering. I think, however, when it is muddy and raining there are more fans. What's up with that??? Nationals this weekend!!! Riding in the snow. My favorite.

Post race libations. Dave Frye (met at Trans Rockies '06. From NC) and Tim.

Our buddy Drew (from Louisville, KY) and Tim in his new hairdo.

Me and Beth Frye at our post race weekend night out. Buffalo burgers at the Fir.