Tuesday, September 28, 2010

USGP #1 & #2: Madison/Sun Prairie, WI, September 25-26, 2010

The USGP openers fall on the weekend after an already hectic week, making it 5 races in 9 days for me, starting the season with a huge BANG! The USGP crew really has the series dialed. It is ran so well. I started my visit to Wisconsin with a visit to a grade school with my teammate, Kathy Sherwin to talk to 120+ 3rd and 4th graders. Unfortunately I didn't have time to pick up a bike, but they had great questions and made me realize really how obscure this sport can really seem to an outsider. To make my weekend even better, I had 2 of my siblings, my mom, my niece and nephews and my brothers girlfriend and her family come to cheer. It's a 4 hour drive, so an effort to get there. I also stay with a friend from college and Tim races too. It is a packed full weekend.

Number presentation interview.

Eirik and I were both lucky number 5.

With Tim racing at 11:15, we had to get there early. And I got to pit for Tim, Tim pitted for Eirik and both Tim and Eirik pitted for me. Quite the system. Not to mention, the Organic Mechanic/Feedback sports for their awesome support, gluing up tubulars, etc. They rocked!!!
So, how did the races go??? SATURDAY was a fast start. I blazed to the front, taking the hole shot, waiting for someone to go around, because it was windy. I kind of knew better not to get the hole shot, but it is hard not to when you know you can. So, on the front I sat. Waiting. Knowing someone would eventually go by. And go by they did. I didn't want so many people to go by, but by the end of the race, I was sitting 5th and that is where I ended up. I was satisfied with the result. I wasn't totally disappointed, although I knew a podium was in reach. In the back of my mind, I wondered how I could have done it differently.

Going for the hole shot. (and getting it.) Photo by Lyne/www.podiuminsight.com

Over the barriers... (for more photos go to Lyne's website.

Tim with Alec & Abi post race.

The family. And Mattie.

SUNDAY, I did it a bit differently. I didn't gun for the hole shot, although I could have very easily. I played the game smarter. When Georgia made her move, I followed her and I sat on her. Eventually Georgia, Katie and I got a gap. I don't really know how many laps this lasted. Katie did make her move and with the increase in the pace, I fell off, then so did Georgia. So Georgia, Katie and I sat evenly spaced for a few more laps, all riding on our own, with a large group chasing. But then never got dangerously close. The course went back on itself enough that I knew exactly where I was. I was thinking, "if you screw this up and don't get 3rd, you are in big trouble." It was a great feeling. I hung on, raced hard and finished 3rd, earning myself the last podium spot and the Most Aggresive Rider award. For my 5th race in 9 days, I felt pretty strong and satisfied with my performance. It was awesome to get to the finish line and have my proud husband there smiling with satisfaction and having my mom, sister, brother, the kids and everyone totally excited to see me on the podium. It was the least I could do for them, after driving all that way. It delayed their departure a bit, but I don't think they minded.

The run up. It hurt every time. (photo by Lyne. Gallery from day 2 here.)

Excited for my 2nd USGP podium ever. First in PDX in 2008.

A sweet little bonus.

A good place to be. (photo by Dave McElwaine.)

Cross Vegas & Amazing Sponsors: September 22, 2010

Cross Vegas is one of those races you love to hate. You sort of have to do it. It isn't that fun. It is a HUGE suffer fest, but the fans are great and it is under the lights and all of your sponsors are there, so no pressure, really. I have actually raced every Cross Vegas there has been. This was my fourth year. My new team, HUDZ-SUBARU, with new sponsors made the race pretty exciting. It is like the 3 R's. Ridley, Reynolds and Rotor. Yes, there are other very important sponsors, like Hudz and Vista Subaru, our namesake, but our equipment is the 3 R's, plus Vittoria. I would like to thank Ridley for awesome bikes to ride, Reynolds for great wheels, Rotor for some stiff cranks and then Hudz for adding some bling and for making the team happen along with Vista Subaru. It is going to be an awesome year.
Cross Vegas started well. I made the front group and hung on for dear life as long as I could until the rubberband snapped. There were 5 of us out front. 3 Luna, Mary and me. I was in good company, but on the back of the train, I was working that much harder out of corners and could not sustain. Plus, I was dying. The air was burning my lungs, but I didn't give up. The thought ran through my head, but the suffering went on. I continued to push myself and held off the group behind me. A 5th place finish. I'll take it. Sure, I wanted a podium, but don't you always? It was a solid effort, a good race and maybe the last Cross Vegas ever.

And we are off... (photo by Dave McElwaine)

To the barriers with Mary on first lap. (photo by Jayne Furman)

Dying. Sweet bike. (photo by Dave McElwaine)

Digging deep. (photo by Jayne Furman)

Are we done yet??? (photo by Jayne Furman)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And it has begun... CX season 2010. Starcrossed & Rad Racing: Sept. 18-19.

An amazing muddy weekend to kick things off. All the stress and anxiety getting new bikes built, new team, and just not knowing how it was going to go all turned out fine. It always does. My first race with my new team, HUDZ-SUBARU was one of my favorites, Star Crossed. And it was muddy. Although mud is a lot of work, it is much more fun to race.
As soon as the gun went off, the anxiety and stress was gone. I took the hole shot, just b/c I didn't want to have to worry about anything in the first corner, led the first lap and then settled in for the race. A few issues with slipping gears made it challenging, but with no time to pit, I just held on for the last spot on the podium. Simms is my new idol, although I've always thought she was amazing. 9 months after having Tycho, she is back in top form. Mical Dyck gave me a run for my money, but thankfully it all worked out.

And the season has begun.... photo by Joe Sales

Barriers all alone? I assume I was in 3rd at this point. Photo by Joe Sales

Led the first lap. It was fun, but not as fun as winning. 3rd was my destiny this time around.

Sunday's Rad Racing has traditionally been drier than Star Crossed, but this year, monsoon like weather persisted. The venue was a new one and it was muddy. Although there was no Knapp time run up, there was a nice sand run. The course was flat, technical and pretty darn fun. I took the whole shot, but did not lead for long. By the time we went by the pits, it was the same order the night before. I followed Wendy's amazing lines through the off camber and roots, but by the second sandpit had lost the wheel. My bike was doing the same thing as the night before (apparently it was not the cables/housing or anything. Perhaps my hub?) but I hesitated to pit, b/c I hadn't tried my B bike on the course and it was slick. But on the second to last lap on the last swing by the pit, I was forced off my bike about 10 meters before due to a dropped chain. Tim and I had a horrible bike change and I lost two places. No panic. I relaxed and decided I did not want to lose that way. I got ahead on the straightaway and then powered the last lap. Bike was working great. Tentatively I made my way over the roots and off camber sections, but had no problems, so I started to push the limit a bit more and with success. I finished in 3rd again. A solid weekend of racing and now it is off to Vegas. Stay tuned...

Hole shot.

Right before I settled into 3rd.

Rad Racing podium.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Older, wiser, faster, better? Right? September 11-12, 2010

Birthdays seem to happen every year even when we don't want to get older. And the same things seem to fall on them. Like Tim's annual conference in NYC and Pain on the Peak out in Hillsboro. This year, b/c Tim actually had to fly out on Sunday (my birthday), he wanted to race the short track Friday and the XC mtb on Saturday. I joined him, but the real deal was Sunday. My first CX race of the season! For which, by the way, I have a new sponsor and new team. Granted, I didn't have my new kits or new bikes complete yet, so I didn't want to make it too public. I will be racing the 2010 season for Hudz-Subaru. I am very excited and hopefully everything will come together this week, b/c the season starts for real this next weekend up in Seattle!
So, this past weekend I CRUSHED the field. DOMINATED. No one else even finished. Or bothered to show up. It was disappointing to have no other cat1/elite women show up for each of the 3 races. It made winning easy, but not as fun. I do love racing and riding, but felt kind of guilty for the 3 day sweep, claiming the big prize. I guess half of winning is showing up. I did that.

Tim's podium for STX. He crushed everyone, winning the overall.

Fun times on Friday night.

MTB racing on Saturday. Or riding in my case. (photo courtesy of Pat Malach)

Tim leading the xc mtb race.

My lonely podium on Saturday for the mtb race. It looked much the same Friday and Sunday.

4 sets of barriers, so I got good practice in at least. (photo by Pat Malach)

Ahhhh. Fun on the cx bike. (photo by Maria Patla)

Me chasing Seth in the golden fields of Bald Peak. (photo by Maria Patla)

The reward for showing up. Plus a nice stash of cash! (photo by Pat Malach)

My actual birthday ended with a very nice quiet bbq on the patio and a cake with 39 candles. Ouch. I don't think another one can fit. Ever. So I will stay 39.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend: Riding, eating, drinking. What else? September 3-6, 2010

The only thing laborious about Labor Day weekend may have been the stinking intervals I had to get out of the way on Saturday. Other than that, super fun riding and good friends, good food and good fun. We had the rotating guests this weekend. Friday night we had the Weemans, along with Graeme and Jamie. Then Saturday the Standish's replaced them, along with Kendra and Melissa and Kris and Maia, and then Sunday, Emily and Wendy made it up. The only brave souls to stay the entire weekend were Lisa and Doug Turnbull. It was fun.
Friday night we took to the trails by foot, as we were babysitting Indie Punkin' (the Wenborn's dog), then Dawn and the boys took over the kitchen and whipped up some fabulous pizzas. It was amazing. Saturday everyone went their separate ways. Tim joined me for a cx ride, where I squeezed in some intervals. I love riding on the forest roads around Mt. Hood. I didn't bring the camera though. It was a workout. Who needs pictures of that? Returning from our ride, the fun began. The Standish's brought up some Salmon their son Zach had caught and it was Zander's birthday. A big weekend. Dinner, drinks, and darts. Then I had to shove a cupcake into Zanders face for his birthday. I am such a grown up.

Yummy salmon dinner.

Zander wearing his frosting compliments of me.

Sunday it was sweet singletrack. One of my favorite rides. We did not supersize it this time, But did Boulder Lakes, climbing up from Pocket Creek and then finished with Gunsight and Gumjawic. Of course, this time I forgot my camera, so Jeff was kind enough to be the photog.

Kendra, me, Melissa, Lisa, Doug & Tim.

Riding my favorite rocks in Boulder Lakes. Nice pic, Jeff!

Boulder Lakes.

So scenic, I can put 2 pics in from the same place.

Being dorks.

Kendra in her domain. With Indie.

Monday, we headed out and did 15 mile and trail 450. Last time we rode this trail, there were trees down and it was pretty unfun. This time we verified it was clear. Aside from a few down trees on the descent, it was in great shape.

Girl picture. Emily, Lisa, Wendy and me. (apparently posing. What a dork!)

Lisa didn't like the ride at all. Can't you tell???

This time of year is always bittersweet. I am soooo excited for cyclocross, but yet know that my cabin time will be limited and I will not be seeing as much sweet singletrack in my future. I may make a few mid-week getaways, so if you want to join me, let me know. Stay tune for some CX updates!