Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Some Photos from our Training Camp

Okay, sorry for the delay in the posting of these... winter holiday travel and "computer probelms" have slowed me down a bit. Mark and I are in the great white north visiting family right now... these pictures really make me miss home and my teammates!! Bill took 300 pictures so I will try and post more over the next couple of weeks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Team Training Camp

Whew. I am tired. We had what could only be described as the best team weekend EVER this weekend. And never let it be said that we don't know how to throw a party. We threw the Christmas party of the season... I'm quite sure people will be talking about it until next year. More on that later...

So we started out the weekend at my house with Mark's famous pancakes. For those of you who have never had them, they are a MUST for any big ride day. With the weather threatening rain, we headed out quickly for our excursion into the hills and mountains of Northern Hamilton County. We did a ride that is best described as "parts unknown" and like all good rides, it involved a few dogs (thanks a ton to Mark in the follow car for the "horn action") and a dirt road. It was a good thing the rain held off until after we were past the dirt. Bill Parsons, our "team photographer", braved another day of hanging out of the back of a support vehicle driven by Mark-the-mad-man-Fasczewski to get some great shots of us. I'll post those up as soon as I get the final cut. Everyone rode strong and we lucked out on the weather. It started raining just as we pulled back into the house 5 hours later. After a quick burrito we all parted ways to go get cleaned up for the "evening festivities".

THE PARTY: Okay, we all decided as a team that we needed to do something to say "thank you" to all our sponsors, friends and family that have helped support or crazy cycling habit this year. Without them, we would not be as successfully as we are. Paula had the killer idea that we should throw a holiday party. PERFECT. Shannon volunteered her house and we all brought food. After a few "beverages" we even had our very own dance club in the downstairs complete with a strobe light. There was much dancing by everyone and we had 40+ people attend. All our guests seemed to really enjoy themselves as was proven by the LATE night. Hey, don't we have a ride planned tomorrow!!??? UGH. Did I mention we had a "kissing bandit" at the party? I'll leave it up to you to decide which Vantaggio/Specialized lady took that title for the night. I also will have photos from the party as soon as I get them off of Gina's camera.

Sunday morning was a bit slower than we had planned. It was COLD and damp outside and everyone was feeling the effects of the party. We started the morning with a long but necessary team meeting over bagels. We found out some really cool stuff like WE ARE RIDING SPECIALIZED BIKES AGAIN FOR 2008!!!!!! This made every one's weekend. We have loved our bikes so much this year and were really hoping that we'd have the opportunity to ride them again in 2008. Much of our morning was spent pouring over bike catalogs and trying out each other's bikes. We are going to go with more of the women's specific products for 2008 and we cannot wait.

After the meeting we loaded up the cars and headed toward Raccoon Mountain for some mountain bike riding. WOW IS IT COLD. Okay, for those of you who live in the great white north (hi mom and dad) it would have been a heat wave, but for us, it was by far the coldest day of the year. 34 degrees with 25 mph winds and snow flurries. Wow, makes a bunch of tired girls want to ride. We toughed it out for about an hour and a half and decided to call it a day and head to Lupis for pizza. YUM. My favorite.

Unbeknownst to me, my AWESOME teammates surprised me with a birthday cake and a gift certificate to my favorite shopping experience, Rock Creek Outfitters. I LOVE YOU GUYS. We all pigged out on chocolate cakes and went home with full bellies and a great weekend of memories.

The only thing that could have made the weekend better was if Catherine could have been there too. She was moving into her new house this weekend and could not sneak away. We missed you!!!

Thanks to everyone for reading and for all of your support. Look for those photos to be posted soon.

Finishing out the MSG Cross series in style!!!

I am FINALLY getting the hang of this cross thing. I guess even an old dog will learn a new trick every once in a while!!

We showed up to Johnson City last weekend and it was 45 degrees and spitting rain. FINALLY real cross conditions. Being the mountain biker that I am, I live for cross races that require the roadies to "handle" their bikes. I have not had too much luck with that this season, it has been a lot of dry, fast stuff out there. The slick, off camber conditions made me do a secret little "happy dance" when we got there.

The girls that race the MSG series are what I call "real" cross racers (as opposed to a wanna-be-I'll-use-it-as-training-in-the-MTB-off-season cross racer that I am...) and they were all using the race as their tune up for Nationals the next weekend. Yikes. This could be UGLY. I was pleasantly surprised with myself. I was smooth over the barriers and kicked some butt up the run up. I even passed some of the men in those areas. I NEVER pass anyone in barriers. Hmmm. Maybe I am getting better at this. I ended up third, my best result at the MSG races this year, and had a blast. The mud helped me, it was nothing compared to what I do on the mountain bike.

Now I take a little break from the cross thing for a few weeks. Things start up again in January and I am excited. Next up is the team training camp and I cannot wait to spend a weekend riding with the girls. We are also planning a killer party to thank everyone who has helped us throughout the season.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Chattanooga CX Racing

Sorry I have been a bit lax in publishing as of late. I got really sick for about two weeks (I even missed my FAVORITE trip of the year....Pisgah over Thanksgiving), it's been a struggle catching back up to life.

Once I determined that I was going to live to race another day, I started looking for an event. Lucky for me I did not have to look far. Scenic City Velo (our team's club affiliation) was hosting a cyclocross race right here in Chattanooga. GREAT!!! I am almost well (only a slight fever and congestion...) let's do it.

Shannon and I lined up in the category 1/2/3 women's field, myself still a bit weak and Shannon never really having raced cross before, with no expectations and ready to have fun. It was just like fun only different. OUCH. I was still sick, not too bad, just enough to not be fast. I finished second and Shannon took third. We were not graceful, we got in good laughs at ourselves, and have great stories to tell.

Thanks to SCV for a great race. Once again the club has gone above and beyond to put on a quality event. I can't wait for the next one!!