Wow, what an experience!!! I haven't had as much fun as I did at Cross Nationals in a LONG time. Cross racing is just so much fun. I am hooked. And yes, I am a cross racer. No more denials.
Sunday was the Elite race and we had 85 women registered, plus a few late registrations that weekend. It was going to be fast and hard. My call up position was 42 so it was going to be interesting.
We woke up to 62 degrees and clouds, with a little wind. Hmmmm... that sounds like perfect race conditions for me. After loading up, it was off to the races. 25 minutes later we got out of the car to 35 degrees and 20+ mph winds. UGLY!! The temperature kept plummeting and by race time it was in the 20's. I was FREEZING. I was prepared for 62 degrees and improvised for about 42 degrees.
I got a good warm-up and the course conditions were awesome. If only I could thaw out long enough to enjoy it.... They said "go" and it was total mayhem. I got boxed out of three turns in a row and was suddenly way too far back. Okay, time to get moving. I spend the entire race moving up and was cross eyed but I did it. I was DONE by the end of the race; I gave it everything I had, finishing 36th. I was also the top rider from the Southeast all weekend.
I never got warm.
The crowds were incredible. I haven't experienced cheering that intense since racing San Francisco a number of years ago.
I will post some pictures soon.... I am still sorting out the travel mess.
Looking really focused (or just trying to not slide out in the mud...)
Okay, goal one accomplished. I WON A MEDAL AT NATIONALS TODAY!!!!! Okay, I'll calm down a little bit now.
I took 4th in the Masters 35-39 race today. I had the ride of my season. We had an incredibly strong field, most of the girls will be in the Elite race on Sunday with me, and I had no clue what to expect. All I knew is that I came a long ways and I was not going home empty handed. I got a front row call-up and when they said "go" I decided to really make it count. I got the hole shot. I really wish Mark had been there to see it because he is FOREVER giving me grief about my inability to start races hard. Well today I proved that I could do it. After the start I don't really know what happened. There were girls out there from the 30-34 race at the same time so I really had no idea exactly where I was. By the time I finished I knew that I was somewhere between 3rd and 5th bu I wasn't sure where.
Running the hill...
Tomorrow we chill out and watch the races all day and Sunday is the Elite race. I am beat.... it is time for bed.
Thanks to Mark for all his love and support... I couldn't have done it without you!!!!
We are in Kansas. Finally. It took a little bit longer than planned to get here; yesterday was a long day. I met Kim Bishop and Dave Hutton in Nashville Tuesday night and the plan was to hit the road early and do the 8ish hour drive to Kansas City, arriving by dinner time. So after driving on the wrong interstate in Kentucky (not completely my fault....) and stopping every 15 minutes for a really well hydrated Dave, we got here at about 9:30pm. We were beat. It was a short night, racing started today at 9am.
My first impression of Kansas is that it is COLD. Today was REALLY, REALLY cold. We had to be at the course by 7:30am to get numbers, pre-ride, and race (Kim was the first race of the weekend). It was 15 degrees when we got there and the course was frozen. It was fun to slide around on the SNOW and check out the course.
Kim had a great race and I was everywhere.... I found a good little loop in the middle of the course that allowed me to cheer for her every lap about 5 times (which apparently was her worst nightmare.... no slacking when the coach is yelling). She was a little nervous about the ice and snow at first but after I yelled at her to take off her "sissy pants" she really turned it up and rode to an impressive 14th place in the B women's race. Dave crashed 6 times during his race (only twice were his fault) ended up really muddy (by 10am the ground was thawing out and it was WET), and took 20th in the B men's race. It was very inspiring for me to watch them race.
Tomorrow is my master's race. I am really excited. I felt good on my pre-ride and although I don't like racing in the mud, I tend to be pretty good at it.
It is one week from Nationals (actually less now) and I am psyched!! We raced in Georgia at the GA cross series final yesterday and I had an AWESOME day. If I can ride like I did yesterday at Nats. I will have a chance at the podium in the Master's race and hopefully sneak into the top 20 in the Elite race. Okay, I've said it. Those are the goals. YIKES!!!
So, as you might have surmised, I won yesterday. We lined up 10 girls in the A race, including some really tough competition. There were a couple of the girls that I have never raced before so I really did not know what to expect. We started fast and I battled for the front. I attacked on the fast power section right before a tight twisty area, in hopes of getting a gap and using my bike handling skills to my advantage. It worked. I got a gap and just kept building on it. I felt great and rode well.... now let's just hope that trend continues.
As a side note, Georgia has an incredible series. They have awesome courses, good prizes and HUGE fields (Mark had 68 in his race). I will definitely go back.
I leave tomorrow for Nationals... I'll keep you posted.
So last weekend we went over to NC for a last ditch effort in collecting some UCI points for Nationals. Now regionally, I have been rocking the cross scene this year; at the UCI races, not quite so much.... I have been holding my own (actually at least as well as I ever do in the dirt or on the road), but there has not been any phenomenal, break-through type performances. Everyone is fast at a UCI weekend.
Attacking the steep hill.
It was COLD. Not cold like it gets up north, but cold for my "I've lived in the South for 12 years" blood. The course was not really my style, it was fast and open. It was a good cross course, it just didn't really play to my strengths. All of that added up to no real big expectations for me. I was just going to race my bike and have some fun.
I surprised myself. Saturday's race quickly had me in the front group driving the race and attacking the group. In the end, I used too much energy and didn't get away but I still raced really hard and did something I have never done at a UCI event before, I helped control the race. WOW. I ended up 6th and got UCI points!!! SWEET. Sunday I was TIRED. I didn't get the right recovery food in me and did not get enough sleep, and along with Saturday's effort, I was spent. I struggled the entire race and ended up clawing my way back up to 8th after a dismal start. I also managed to pile myself onto the ground at the top of the steep hill in front of the crowd. I guess I got some good style points anyway.
It was a really great weekend and I am still a little bit in awe over the way I rode. This off-season obsession of mine is really turning into a sport that I love and am good at. I am getting really excited for Nationals. Less that 2 weeks.....
This past weekend was the TN State Championships for cross in Memphis. Now, I know that I am just doing cross for off-season training and that I keep saying that it isn't my thing, but we all know better. I wanted to win. I won it last year and I really wanted that jersey again.
We made the trip to Memphis and were lucky enough to stay with some friends over there. Thanks again to Ryan and Andrea for the hospitality. You guys are great.
It was the first cold miserable weekend of the winter.... finally some real cross weather. I didn't really know what the women's cross scene was like on that side of the state but I was pretty sure that Andrea was my biggest worry. She's a REALLY talented road and crit racer. I've never raced cross against her but I was hoping the mountain biker in me was going to give me the edge.
We lined up in the "B" race, behind about a zillion men's fields, including Mark's. The promoter informed us that we'd have our own start, 30 seconds behind the beginner men. Hmmmm. Okay. This is going to get interesting. They said "go" and it took me about 1 minute before I was in the back of the men's field. I also was in the lead. Good. Go with it. My secondary goal was to catch Mark who was talking all kinds of trash the night before about how he was going to kick my butt. It took 3 laps. If you look closely at the above picture, Mark is the little red dot BEHIND me. Too bad, so sad... your wife is still kicking your butt!!!! (sorry couldn't resist....) I rode into 12th place overall in the "B" race, with a 30 second delayed start. I felt pretty good about that.
I rode well, it was a fun day. And I am still in LOVE with my cross bike. That Tricross is the best bike I own... it is SO FUN. If you've never tried cross, you are missing out.
This past weekend was more cross racing for me all over the South. There are too many races and not enough weekends and it means that I find myself doing a lot of driving. There were two TN races this weekend in McEwen, TN that I wanted to check out and there was also a GA cross race in Rome, an hour from home. I decided to split the difference and do the TN race on Saturday, sleep at home Saturday night, and then head to Rome on Sunday to check out the GA scene.
Saturday was fun but challenging. It was a bit of a "mountain bike" type course. I am a mountain biker and all so that was good for me, but it was still not exactly what I was hoping for. That is the neat thing about cross though... some weekends you LOVE the course and other weekends, you deal with what you've got.
The race was at a farm and there was a "bowl" that was actually a cow pond. It was muddy and gross. There was also a log that 99% of people were running over. A few guys were jumping it and I was (the only one) threading the bike around it. It was doable as long as you were okay with letting the rear wheel hop around the log as it bounced off of it. Again, I am a mountain biker so I figured it was faster than running (since I am NOT a runner). That worked out AWESOME and I was gapping people there every lap. And then there was an "incident". I did a slight endo and scraped myself up and got a bit of a headache. I still won the race but I felt a bit stupid.
Sunday was a GREAT course and we had a good size field. I don't know the girls down there so it was a whole new experience. I had no idea what to expect. I was also really excited Star came along for her first cross race of the season. They lined up a HUGE field for her race.
Star did great. She hasn't raced cross since last spring so it was a a bit of a shock to her system. The first one of the year is always rough. She had a challenging start, getting tangled in the tape in the first turn. After that she turned on the afterburners and started picking people off. She ended up 8th which was awesome. And she had a blast. She can't wait for the next one.
I attacked at the start and never looked back. I rode hard and strong and I felt good. I was "on". And I won!!! What a great day. I am getting really excited for Nationals.
As a side note, not only did they pay pretty well, I also won a freshwater pearl necklace from Greene's Jeweler's in Rome. Thanks!!!
Okay, first I apologize for my delays in the updates. Life kind of got away from me the past two weeks. I'll try not to let that happen again!!!
Shannon Looking professional. All smiles after a fun day of riding.
The first weekend in November we had our first team weekend of the 2009 season. We went camping at the Ocoee and spent the weekend mountain biking. WOW. What a fun weekend. We are going to have such a great team next year. We had ALMOST everyone there (we missed you Tanya, Lisa and Emily), and there was lots of giggling and consuming chocolate. I am quite sure that the entire campground not only knew we were there, but were really tired of us by Sunday afternoon. Star and Shannon even got the campground host to park the pop up camper in the site (something about backing it up that was the problem...) and then come back and hook it to the car again on Sunday. I guess sometimes it's good to be a cute helpless girl.
I am having so much fun I can't stand it!!!! Everyone rode really strong. We did tough trails and even young Helen tackled them with a smile. She only "threatened" to throw her old bike off the mountain. I have never seen anyone so excited to get a new bike. I bet she has Specialized pictures up all over her bedroom right now!!!
For 2009 we are adding a couple of new faces and saying "goodbye" to a much loved friend and teammate.
Jamie has decided to pursue other options, primarily concentrating on Graduate School. We will miss you Jamie!!! And please know that the door is always open if you want to put the team kit on and join us on the trail or the road. You will definitely be missed!!!
We have added a couple of great ladies for next year. Amanda Green from Knoxville, TN will be joining us. She has a strong road background and has recently taken up mountain biking in a serious way. Look for her to be a force to be reckoned with next summer. Welcome!!!
We are also starting a true developmental program next year and our first rider in the program is Helen Jackson. Helen has recently moved to Chattanooga from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. If she doesn't freeze to death before spring arrives she's going to be tearing it up with us. She's done great so far in her training and even won her first race!!!
The 2009 Vantaggio Team Roster:
Kimberly Flynn Paula Burks Shannon Mathis Star Affolter Lisa Thompson Gina Tolbert Emily Parker Catherine Peacock Amanda Green Tanya Nestvogel Helen Jackson- developmental
Sunday was the TN High School Mountain Bike Championship race in Sewanee, TN. As our developmental rider, Helen has been dying to get her first race over with... this was her chance. She went up there a couple of times this past week to check out the course and she was borrowing my bike for the race.
Helen sticks it to the boys at the start!!!
Helen and I got up there early and did a lap of the course for the warm-up. I am sure she was nervous but she remained composed and never showed it (Everyone forgets their address while registering, right??). We practiced the start and she was READY. At the start a boy came into her and she almost crashed but then recovered quickly and started passing people like crazy. GO HELEN!!!
Post race celebration...yes, Mark does have a stop watch around his neck!!!
I think Helen had the biggest cheering section out there (we were definitely the loudest). She WON the women's race. Helen is our newest champion. She also beat half of the boys. Go girl!! You are going to fit in just fine with us.... Lots of Hardware from our new State Champion.
The last Saturday in October is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Not only is fall PERFECT riding weather, Halloween is close and the best 12 hour race on the planet happens.
For those who have never done a 12 hour race, you are missing out on a ton of fun (assuming that you do it with a team instead of solo...). Haw Ride Park in Oak Ridge, TN has the BEST race the Saturday before Halloween every year. It is aptly named "The Hill of Truth", after the steep miserable power line cut that the course climbs about 3/4 through the loop. The weekend can best be described as a big Halloween party with a bike race that happens in the background.
We normally put together a women's team for the event but this year logistics prevented that from happening. I got recruited to race with Mark and some "old guys" on a master's team (35+). This was not a co-ed category so we would find ourselves racing against teams that all had 4 boys. Amanda, our new teammate for 2009, raced with a women's team and Emily decided to try her hand at solo racing.
It POURED rain the day before so we were all a bit tentative about what we were about to partake in. We really lucked out. It has been SO dry that the ground soaked up all the rain and other than some slick roots and corners, it wasn't bad; just enough wetness to keep you guessing but not really muddy. Lucky for everyone from Chattanooga that was racing, Mark went up Friday in the rain and set up our "compound". We had a great area with a ton of room and pop up tents. And he didn't melt from the rain so all was good....
Emily had 8 tough women to race against and she ROCKED. She quickly settled into second place and never looked back. Carey, the woman who won, is awesome and a nationally ranked endurance racer so taking second to her is ALWAYS something to be proud of. Emily did 9 laps of the 7 mile course in 12 hours. She then promptly went to sleep and missed the awards. She is still feeling like she got hit by a truck today. We picked up her awards and cheered loudly for her accomplishment.
Amanda and her Knoxville women's team took a commanding win. Great job Amanda. You looked great out there!!! It is going to be so fun racing with you in 2009.
Mark and I had a great team. It was his team, I was just along for the ride. We had a VERY exciting race, going back and forth with one other team for the entire 12 hours. We were never more than 5 minutes either ahead or behind them. YIKES!! Things were made more exciting by the untimely demise of our lights. Mine went out on my second night lap right at the end of the lap. The bad news was that it was on the last fast descent. Talk about freaky... one minute I was flying down a hill, the next minute it was BLACK. Fortunately our friend Jon was right behind me and let me follow him back in, only losing a couple of minutes. In the end we WON. The team with the girl beat all the teams with 4 boys. That was fun!!!
What an awesome weekend and what a great showing for our team. If this is any indication of 2009 we are in for a great year!!!
I lived through it. That is the best description I can think of for the weekend. It was a BLAST and yes, I am a cross racer. I think even a decent one. I had so much fun it's hard not be converted.
Saturday's race was a struggle for me. I don't think I recovered enough after my killer ride on Friday and it was tough. From the moment they said "go" I struggled to race my bike. I did alright, actually 18th which was a good placing, but I was not happy with how I rode; and the sand pit did NOT help. It was more like a cruel joke than an obstacle. I looked like a 6 year old trying to run underwater while carrying a bicycle. I am sure that I entertained the crowds. It was still fun in that painful, it-feels-so-good-when-you-stop, sort of way. The fields were bigger and so were the cheering sections.
Sunday. My last chance at redemption; I really wanted to end the weekend on a good note. There was a lot of climbing and it was a FAST course. And of course a sand pit...although a fun one. I managed to not look quite as "challenged" while running it. They said "go" and my legs decided to cooperate. I went. And it was FUN. I rode really well and ended up 16th. Not exactly where I had hoped (one spot out of the money) but it was a really good ride for me in a tough field. I was really pleased with it.
In fact, I was really pleased with my entire weekend. I have never really raced out of the Southeast against anyone on a cross bike so it was great to see that I stacked up as well as I did. I am now REALLY hooked and can't wait to do more....
So I lived through what can only be described as torture on a bicycle yesterday and did alright. I obviously packed the bad idea jeans for the whole weekend because I am going back for race two in a little while. It's hot and dry here which is good for me; that's what we've been racing in all summer. And the field is FAST.
We started a very stacked field yesterday and anything above last place would have been a success. I stated hard (so did everyone else...) and at one point was as high as 10th place. Hmmm... not sure how that happened. Go Kym!! I got some really bad side stitches and had to sit up for a couple of laps. I got passed by a number of girls when that happened but there was nothing I could do about it. I haven't had that problem since I was a runner. I am hoping that it was just the combination of the heat, going really hard and the EXTREMELY bumpy course. We'll see today. It is not as bumpy so let's hope for the best.
I ended up 15th, which I am extremely happy with. I even made money. They paid 15 deep!!!!! I made money at a UCI race... that amazes me. Wow. I seem to be better at this cross thing that I thought.
Cross season started last weekend and this year I am much more ready than I was last year. We went up to Parrotsville, TN for the first TBRA race. I had NO idea what to expect; especially since there was a strong field of women there... women who routinely kicked my butt last year.
The plan was to just hang on and see where I stacked up. Half way through the first lap I attacked the group I was with and suddenly found myself off the front of the race. WOW. What is this??!! I dug really hard for the rest of the 40 minutes and I WON!!! Awesome.
Somehow, this mountain biker has become a cross racer. I still don't want to admit it, but I do love it and seem to be getting proficient at it.
This weekend is a UCI Cross race weekend in Ohio. Not sure what bad idea jeans I was wearing when I signed up for it but I guess we'll see how I stack up against the best. YIKES!!!! All the "big girls" are going to be there....
This past weekend we raced the Black Bear Rampage mountain bike race at the Ocoee Whitewater Center. These are some of our "home trails" and we love them. The race was somewhat of an endurance event with the course being 44miles long for all categories. We are all way past the end of "race season" but this one was too much fun to pass up. I helped build these trails and I LOVE them... I was racing.
Star, Lisa, Gina, Paula, Shannon and I all signed up for the race and did some course recon in the past couple of weeks (including a camping trip up there last weekend). We were all excited about the race. It was not a USA Cycling sanctioned event so Lisa decided to try her legs in the expert race with Shannon. Gina and Star were our contingent in the Sport field and Paula and I rounded out our squad in the Pro race. There were some very talented women registered in every field so it was going to be a tough race for all of us. Mark graciously volunteered to be in the feed zone for us (I'm sure it had nothing to do with an excuse to get out of racing a LONG race) and he promised some "entertainment" while we raced.
Gina and Star 1st and 3rd on the Sport podium
We ROCKED!!!! Paula and I worked together for the first half of the race (Did I mention that they started us with the pro men??? OUCH). It was really fun having her to race with. Ultimately, she had better climbing legs than I did and ended up slowly pulling away from me just past the halfway point. I had a long stressful week coming into this race and my legs did what they could do. I am so glad that my teammate stepped up and took the win. GO PAULA!!!
Gina and Star killed it from the very start of their race and Gina never looked back. Star got passed by Grace (a REALLY strong racer friend of ours) and held on for third. It was a GREAT day for Star... she finally put it all together on race day and raced "like a tiger".
Lisa had a challenging day, missing her start. In her defense, the start was confusing and there were LOTS of people that missed their starts. Lisa got to start with the "Burley Bear" category (over 250 pounds). We all found that funny... I would have loved to see a picture of skinny little Lisa lined up with those big boys. Shannon has been off the bike and off of racing for a good part of the summer due to personal issues. Her goal was to put a number plate on and finish. She did that with a smile. Shannon, it is SO GOOD to have you back!!! Mark in his "feed zone" gear. No, we don't know "why".... Mark wore his "party shirt" (that is what happens when he goes shopping alone) and a black Afro wig. None of us are sure why he decided to wear it but we are going to call it his "dumb shirt". He managed to lose his brain and mess up 2 of my three feeds. I am NOT complaining... any time anyone stands out there and gives me bottles I appreciate it, but it was really funny that he lost his brain so badly. We all enjoyed teasing him. Shannon and Mike enjoying the "bouncy slide" We ended the day with good food and some fun on the inflatable party toys. Shannon gets the award for the best form.
Thanks to Scott's Bikes for putting on such a great event and thanks to all the spectators that were out there cheering us on.
Chattanooga has become a really cool place to live as a cyclist. We had a road a week ago, a road race this past spring, a mountain bike race this summer and mountain bike race this past weekend. And that is just local!! Take that radius out to just under an hour and we had tons more racing this summer. I love this place!!!
So, back to this weekend... Booker T mountain bike race was our last local hurrah for the season. Ken and the SCV volunteers did a phenomenal job putting on the race and we had a ton of fun. It was a high class event and Ken should be really proud of the whole thing. Thanks for such a great day!!
Lisa was the first wave off and she took the lead from the start and never looked back. She won the Sport race by a convincing margin. Go Lisa... you rock!!
Emily and I lined up in the Pro/Expert race and we really wanted a good showing for the local crowd. It was awesome. I took the win, with Emily taking second. AWESOME. The highlight of the day was me catching Mark in the feed zone at the end of lap 2. In true Chattanooga fashion, our friend Mark McOmie announced the pass over the loud speaker. My husband just LOVES it when I pass him in front of everyone....
Things are winding down for a few weeks... the race season is about over. Of course Cross is just around the corner.
Last weekend Tanya raced the Shenandoah 100 mountain bike race in the mountains of Virginia. Shenandoah is known to be the most technical 100 mile mountain bike race in the country. Where Leadville had killer altitude for Paula and Gina, Shenandoah has roots and rock and TONS of single track.
I am still waiting on the full race report but from what I have heard, it was WET and slippery. Tanya kicked butt and took 6th!!!
Wednesday evening Star and I went out to Booker T to help the Krystal Chiks, a local developmental women's club/team, with a skills clinic. Everyone is getting ready for the race out there on Sunday and the girls wanted to do some skills before the weekend.
What a fun night!!
We had 6 ladies show up for the clinic, from beginners to racers and it was great. Everyone learned something and I was not only the instructor, but also the entertainment. I rode the trails on my cross bike because the mountain bike was in the shop being "healed". I managed to not crash but at times it was a bit interesting. It was also a great way to emphasize to the girls that the trails were rideable.... after all, if I could do it on a cross bike they surely could do it on a mountain bike.
Afterwards we went out for mexican food and good conversation.
So after a long season of abusing my bike,it finally called "uncle" on me at the end of last week. It was in desperate need of some help from the "mother ship"...better known as my local Specialized dealer.
Now to make things really interesting in all of this, I needed a part from Specialized and I needed it installed and I needed it all done in less than a week because I have a race this weekend. Wow. Talk about being "that customer". It is the crazy busy time of year for bike shops and they are swamped. Not to mention getting parts from the west coast in less than a week.
I called Shane at Bear Creek Bikes in Dalton, GA and explained the situation. He not only agreed to help, he went out of his way to get me fixed up with a day to spare!!! THANKS SHANE. You are awesome and I really appreciate it. Specialized, as always, was great in getting me the part overnight and I am now ready to roll. Tomorrow is the TBRA race here in Chattanooga at Booker T State Park. My bike is ready; hopefully I am too!!!
Thanks again to Shane and Specialized for the help. It's people and businesses like these that make me love this sport so much.
After the road race we had some quick recovery to do and then there was the time trial that afternoon. I HATE time trials. I do about 2-3 a year at most. I do not own a time trial bike, helmet, or even areobars. I think owning any of the above would make me: 1. a serious road racer and 2. obligated to do more time trials.
Gina has a kick butt TT bike and she showed up looking fast. In fact, everyone in our field except for myself and one other girl had TT gear. Uh oh. Time for me to minimized losses. The weekend was an omnium so it was figured out on placing not overall time. That is a good thing for the girl out there doing the TT "Eddy Merckx" style.
The short version: it sucked. I did okay, actually pretty well for not having the gear. I ended up 4th and Gina was 8th. Going into the crit I was in second place overall. Not bad at all for someone who had no expectations for the weekend.
Rain. Yuck. We have been in a drought for the past year and a half so we are really getting spoiled with sunny race day weather. The crit course was in beautiful downtown Chattanooga...complete with pretty (faux) brick intersections. Let me tell you about those pretty intersections; they turn into ICE when it rains. Not good for skinny little tires.
It stopped raining before our race started and we were about to be really happy until the rain started up again. We took turn 4 at about 10mph and still had two crashes (including Gina...she's okay. More on that later). We had a strong field and early in the race they called a prime (a prize for the winner of the next lap), I went for it. It was a pair of $120 trail running shoes. With cyclocross just around the corner I need new running shoes.... I WON IT. Unfortunately, right after that Andrea attacked and although I chased her, a lapped rider got in the way at the wrong time. No one else in the field wanted to help bring her back and Gina was gone after her fall. I was very VERY irritated. I hate negative women's racing. We had plenty of people that were strong enough to work and bring her back but I wasn't going to do all the work so someone else could then attack. I ended up getting really frustrated and attacking on the last lap. The theory was "fine, if you want to beat me then you'll have to catch me". Only one girl got me at the line. I took third, which gave me third for the weekend.
After Gina's crash she forgot to take her free lap (if you crash in a crit you get a free lap and get to get back in where you were when you went down), chased the whole race, and passed out afterwards when she looked at her skinned up knuckles. Because she stuck it out and finished the race she ended up fourth overall for the weekend. GREAT JOB GINA!!!!
It was a ton of fun. I am so glad that the SCV guys talked me into racing it. They put on a top notch event. And the hometown crowd was incredible.
The River Gorge Road Race weekend in Chattanooga is this weekend. I, along with Gina and Paula got guilted into racing it, against out better judgement. The race is a climbers race. Not just sort of, completely. The road race course has over 4600ft of climbing in just under 40 miles. It ends in Raccoon Mountain which is STEEP (average of about 8%) and long (4 miles).
We are all still very tired from a long season and none of us had any expectations and HOPED to not get dropped on the first climb where the QOM (Queen of the Mountain) bonus was. For those who are not familiar, QOM is a point at the top of an intermediate climb in the race where there is a monetary (or time) bonus. For us, it was $40. we got to the first climb and I sat at the front to try and control the pace. with 200 meters to the QOM I was still on the front. hmmmm... I can sprint for 200m and then recover on the downhill. I went for it and WON it. WOW!! I am a self proclaimed "non-climber" so winning the QOM was huge.
Paula controlled the climb up the "stair steps" on Hwy 41 (a little too hard but she can't help it...she's so strong). There was a group of about 12 of us left at the base of the final climb. Everyone started attacking and I let them go. I knew I couldn't surge on that climb and make it to the top so I gambled that everyone else would struggle too after such an attack. My strategy worked!!! I slowly started passing girls and I ended up 2nd!!! If I would have had more road I think I could have gotten the girl that won (all 90 pounds of her....). I was gaining fast but the finish came up too quickly. Paula took 3rd and Gina was 5th. It was so fun and I am so proud of the three of us.
I can't explain how happy I am about today's race. It was definitely a personal victory for me. I have spent my cycling career working on going up hill. I am not built to be a climber (too much muscle) so climbing has always been a struggle for me. To be able to come out to the hardest climbing race of the season, without being anywhere close to "on form", and be able to not only hang on but be able to control the race and finish so well is HUGE for me. Thanks to all the SCV guys for talking me into racing!!!
Gina and Paula have spent the summer training for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race and this weekend was THE WEEKEND. We have all been holding our breath in anticipation and they did not disappoint. I am still waiting for a full report but the results were great!!!
Paula was 9:50ish and Gina was 11:30ish. Both ladies met their goals and ROCKED in the crazy thin air of Colorado. The entire race is between 9,000 and 14,000 feet. Better them than me...
Just a quick update on our rising mountain bike star Catherine. She won the GA series overall without even attending the last race. She was on vacation visiting her family in upstate NY and missed the final evet, HOWEVER her scores from the rest of the series held up and she took the title.
SERC is over for another year and Vantaggio/Specialized has done it again. Catherine won the Beginner field and I won the pro/expert for the series.
Fontana was the finals and it was awesome. Even as tired as I was we had a blast. Saturday night was a Short Track and Emily decided to race it. SHE ROCKED. She raced really hard and finished an impressive second place.
Sunday was the cross country and it was hot and humid. Once again we were thrilled to have Bull Frog as a sponsor. Sunscreen is a cycling team's best friend in July. Catherine did what she does best and won. Not only that, she then raced the sport race after her race and took third!!! Lisa raced sport and finished 4th... she was happy to have Catherine racing with her and cursing Catherine for her talent the whole race!!! Emily and I race the pro/expert field and it was a bit ugly for me. As soon as we started I knew I was still exhausted from VT and it was going to be rough. I led the first half of the race but ultimately couldn't hold it and struggled to take second. I am NOT complaining about second place, just that I did not ride as well as I am capable of. Given my state of exhaustion it was AWESOME that I finished on the podium. Emily took 5th.... she has really come into her own this summer. YOU GO GIRL!!!
The series banquet was great.... it was fun seeing Vantaggio on the top step for 2 of the 3 women's categories. It was my third year of winning the SERC series and I was also thrilled and surprised to be given the "Female Rider of the Year" award. Thanks as always to Dave and Terri Berger for putting on such a great race series.
Whew. it has been a CRAZY month. After the 18 hour drive straight (yes, I personally drove 18 hours non-stop to get home) we rested for a few days and then it was off to Fontana for the SERC finals. Needless to say I am exhausted and really tired of being gone. I have seem my husband 12 hours in the last 28 days. I want to be home. But what a summer!!!
With that being said, I had an INCREDIBLE summer. SERC is now over. Nationals are over. I am home...for now. The state road race is this weekend and I think I am going to pass. That is tough for me to say, especially since I won it last year, but I need a little break. Paula and Gina are talking of going and they are both VERY strong and capable of carrying the team colors without me.
The fall will once again bring some great off road epic type races and of course CYCLOCROSS!!! I am already getting excited. If I want to be ready, I need to take August to chill out a bit and play.
While I am playing and recovering, Paula and Gina are getting ready to leave for their BIG goal of the summer. They are going to Leadville to race one of the most well known 100 mile mountain bike races in the world. They have both been training and racing SO HARD. They are going to ROCK. We can't wait to hear about it.
My personal focus this year was a repeat for the SERC series. It was a tough goal; the women's field gets tougher every year. This year we had a total of 40 women that raced our field, including 11 pros. It was made more difficult with the bout of pneumonia I had half way through the season. I suddenly had NO races to drop (only 7 of the 9 count for the overall; you get to drop your lowest scores) and I had to do well at the make-up race to have a chance. No pressure but at one point in the season, a flat tire could have been the end of reaching my goal. Somehow I did it and had one of the best seasons I have ever had. I attribute it to having the BEST teammates on the planet and an AWESOME coach that worked miracles when I figured all was lost. Not only did I win the SERC series for the third year in a row, I was given the "Female Rider of the Year" award. Wow, talk about a tough year to live up to next year....
My teammates also rocked the SERC series. Catherine finished the series with a perfect score. And to top it off she raced the sport race AFTER racing the beginner race on Sunday. She took 3rd in Sport. Look for our "reformed roadie" to be racing in the expert field next year. She is "officially" part of our road squad, but after having done ONE road race this year she will probably be on the MTB squad next year. At different races, every one of my teammates made podium appearances. The highlights for me were at Tanasi where I handed out bottles (that pneumonia thing...) to NINE Vantaggio ladies and Chattanooga where we went 1,2.3 in the Pro women's field. Everyone was so impressed that we had such a big strong women's team this year.
Thanks also to all our sponsors, friends and family. You are the people that make it possible for us to do what we do. THANK YOU!!!
After a two week trip with Emily we have come up with some GREAT quotes. Never let it be said that we were at a loss for entertainment...
Here are the top three:
1. I can drive just fine I just can't back up or park. (Emily, what do you do with the car when you are done driving??)
2. (After seeing a sign for a place called "Potts") There is guy at school we call "Potts"; maybe because that is his last name.
3. There must be some really dumb people in Pennsylvania, I haven't seen any schools. (I hear they often put schools right on major highways... We reassured her that there were schools and pointed them out for the rest of the drive).
Thanks Emily for making it such a fun trip. We love ya!!
Emily won the Super D today. She is a National Champion... complete with jersey and medal. Not only did she beat all the junior women, she was the fastest non-pro time of the day. I'll post pictures as soon as I get them from Margaret.
We are leaving for home now.... I'll post more updates on today along with pictures as soon as we get home tomorrow. I'm off to drive for the next 17 hours....
It rained last night. I awoke to a HUGE storm and quietly did a happy dance. I race well in the mud. It was sunny and warm by morning but the woods were still just slippery enough to make things interesting.
Tanya and I lined up in a STACKED pro field. It is the National Championships after all. It is a bit unnerving to line up against women that are getting ready to leave for the Olympics next month. I felt good this morning and was hoping for a good day. It was so hard!!! The rain the night before made it a much slower trail than during the pre-ride. It was good for me and my bike handling skills but it made it a longer day than I originally planned. Tanya had a great race and took 25th, I was 30th (tentative results, we haven't seen the posted ones yet). We were both happy with that.
I felt like a "real pro" with all of my teammates and friends cheering for me. Thanks guys it was really motivating. There were so many people out there that knew us.
At the finish I did a really cool "happy dance" just for Alex. I promised her I would and it was great. I got some laughs from spectators. I am not a stellar dancer, expecially after a long cross country race. It was UGLY. At least I had a fun; now that it is over anyway...
Tomorrow is short track for Tanya and I and Super D for Shannon; then we head home. I am ready to be home.
What a day!!! Emily, Star and Alex raced today and it was non-stop excitement.
We started our day with Emily's race at 9am. It was already hot and sunny by 9am. She lined up in a stacked field. It was the "who's who" of junior expert women in this country. There were previous national champions and national team members in the field with her. She was also the youngest girl in the field by two years. The age group is 15 to 18 and she is just 15 this year. Emily was so nervous. She ROCKED!!! She took third. I was so excited for her. She made the podium at nationals. Not bad for a 15 year in her first year of expert racing.
After her exciting finish we had some more excitement: DRUG TESTING. USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) is here doing random drug testing because it is the national championships. They are almost always at the big races to test the pros (I've peed in a cup more than once at races) but rarely do they test amatures. With the state of cycling as of late there has been a push to do more testing. I think it is a great thing except when it is one of us that is getting tested... I love the concept of it but it is a PAIN when it is you they pick. There is nothing worse than finishing a 2 plus hour cross country race and then being told that you have to pee in a cup. Talk about asking the impossible (can you say "dehydrated???"). Needless to say, Emily was completely dehydrated and it took a while before the "urge" returned. I went with her as her "athlete representative"; I figured she could use the moral support and I have been through it so I could help her with what to expect. The USADA people are always really nice so it was as good of an experience as can be expected. Now Emily has had the complete experience of nationals!!! We rushed from drug control straight to her podium where we got a bunch of pictures. They are not on my camera so I will get those posted ASAP.
Star and Alex were racing while I was waiting for Emily to pee so I missed most of their race. Fortunately Margaret, Tanya and Shannon were there for support so I didn't feel quite as bad. They both had great races and Star missed the podium by one spot!!! For the girl that was terrified to ride this course three days ago she ROCKED. Star, we are all so proud of you. She took 6th. Alex took 7th in her field (they are in different age groups) and our friend Grace from Huntsville took second in her race. All the girls had big fields and should be extremely proud of themselves. Anytime that you crack the top 10 at a national championship race you should brag about it.
Tomorrow Tanya and I race the pro cross country race. I am excited about it. I will not be cracking the top ten but I will go out there and give it everything I've got. wish me luck; all the big dogs are here. It is going to be a hard day.
We are in Vermont. It is hot and dry. Very strange. I have only raced here ONCE when the conditions have been like this. It is ALWAYS cold and muddy.... I was even looking forward to the mud.
The course is in great shape and we have all had a great time riding it. They have changed the course some from years past but it is as STEEP as always. I don't know why it is that the trail designers here feel the need to take us straight up the ski slopes, but they do. The downhills are a blast and make the miserable climbing worth it.
Jamie raced today and took second in the U23 women's field. I know she was really hoping for that national champion jersey but we are all very proud of her. She raced a fierce race and second place at nationals is not all bad!!! We love ya Jamie!
Star and Shannon got here yesterday and we now have a condo full of girls (9 to be exact). It has been a ton of fun. Emily, Alexis and Star race tomorrow... the rest of us will be out there cheering for them until we lose our voices.
We are still working on that list of "Emily quotes" from the trip. Between her and Alex I have found a whole new refreshing outlook on life. Thanks ladies for making me giggle.
We had a really exciting ride today. I hit a bird that looked suspiciously like a large quail. I screamed. Emily screamed. And then we laughed hysterically.
Okay, let me back up a little bit. Margaret has really fun trails right out her back yard. We are leaving for VT tomorrow, but today was a fun little spin on the "local secret" trail in Clinton, NY. I have a history with "bird encounters" at Margaret's house; two years ago I did a kamikaze run at a flock of geese in her pond, scaring them away for days!! We have decided that the birds of New York are out to get revenge on me. So today we were riding along minding our own business when we had the encounter with the quail. Apparently I should be proud of myself. A certain man I know can't hit a quail while shooting at it....
Tomorrow we leave for VT. Look for a list of "Favorite Emily Quotes" to be posted soon. She's had some good ones.
What a FUN trail. It was hard, really hard, but quite possibly one of the most fun trails I have ever ridden. We had a great weekend and everyone kicked butt. Jamie had the ride of her life and took 13th in the pro cross country; I took 30th. Not the best day for me, the heat got me, but still respectable considering the tough competition. Emily took second in the junior expert race to the girl who just got back from World’s as part of the US National team; Alex won her cross country race. Jamie and I held our own in the Short Track (not sure on the placings, they didn’t have results up before we left) and Emily did the Super D and took second again. It was a fun weekend and we are beat. It is now time for a couple of days of relaxation at Margaret’s house (Thanks for the hospitality!!!) before we head to VT to meet up with the rest of our teammates.
Pennsylvania sucks. We got stuck in traffic for HOURS. We finally got off the interstate (as we were exiting I was informed that my co-pilot did not know how to read a map… it was about to become an “adventure”) and took our own little detour through the middle of nowhere. Alex learned how to read a map and two hours later we were around the traffic and 39 miles down the road. It is never dull….
On a side note: Emily was very concerned that we had a huge part of the population that was uneducated because she didn’t see any schools. We have now spent the last two days pointing out schools to her so she can stop worrying.
Road trips are always fun and this one is no exception. It is a “girls only” trip that will be two weeks long and more entertainment than I have had in a while. My car is FULL. It is myself, Emily, Jamie and Alex (a friend and one of the athletes that I coach). We are meeting my friend Margaret and some other girls in NY. After that, we head to VT where we will meet up with Star, Tanya and Shannon, along with some other friends.
July 4th weekend there was not a lot of racing going on but there was a TBRA road race weekend (in the form of an omnium) going on and it was in Dayton, TN only about 30 miles from home. I haven’t done too much road racing this year so I figured that I might as well give it a try. Most of the team had family/ holiday weekend type obligations but Star, Gina and Paula said they would come out and help me for the road race anyway. I was on my own for the time trial and the crit.
The road race was a 2 lap race, 30 mile loop with a BIG climb (3 miles long) at about 7 miles into the loop. We had a plan. There was one girl that was a threat so we really wanted to control her. MY TEAMMATES ROCK!!! They worked so well to keep me out of the wind. We hit the climb the first time and Paula and I set the pace on the front of the group. It was perfect. After the climbs I again sat at the back and tried to not work. Everything was going PERFECT. Our feed zone personnel did a wonderful job getting all of us bottles at the end of the first lap (thanks Mark and Helen!!) and we were ready to head around for another one when the officials pulled us over. The road was closed due to a horrific crash in a different category. Our race was over. OVER!!??? We had two choices, either decide who just won or go back about ½ mile and sprint for the win. Neither option was ideal but it was hard to argue when someone else was getting a helicopter ride out of there. We decided the sprint for it (I liked that idea… I was a sprinter in a former life). It was a drag race. We started way too early and it was ridiculous. I WON!!! My teammates were a huge help and I was sitting in a great position to win the overall for the weekend. Thanks for coming out.
The time trial was awful. I hate time trials I avoid them at all costs and I do not own a time trial bike or even aero bars. I was going to do it on my road bike full Eddie Merkx style. That isn’t good when my competition was on full tt bikes. Oh well…. It was the most painful thing I have done in a while but I took 3rd. I was still in first overall by one point. Yikes. The crit was going to be interesting….
The crit was really just stupid. It was Sunday at 7:20pm. No one stayed for it except the three of us that were in the hunt for the overall. GREAT. That meant that I was either going to take first of second for the weekend. I had to beat one girl to win. The trick was that the two of them were on the same team. Hmmm. Do I chance it and go for the crit win or do play it conservative and just focus on the overall?? I decided that I was going to go for the overall and mark the girl that was in second. Her teammate attacked and I let her go. It came down to a sprint between the two of us and I took it. Second on the day but I won the weekend!!! Not bad for a girl that doesn’t race the road much anymore. It was a fun weekend. I am excited to race a bunch more road races after the SERC series is over in July.
Thanks again to my teammates. You guys were great this weekend; I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.
The last weekend of June was the SERC race we have all been waiting for…. Chattanooga. Raccoon Mountain is our home trail and we have all spent time building the trails, maintaining the trails and riding them. We had most of the team out there and were hoping for some good results at home.
I spent the week before the race working as a coach for the USA Cycling Development Camp that Mark runs. It was an incredible week. We had an AWESOME group of kids and I got a ton of riding in. Way more riding than I needed to get in right before such a big race… I WAS EXHAUSTED!!!
The women’s fields in all categories were HUGE. The biggest one’s we’ve seen at a SERC race this year and they were strong. Everyone had come out for the race. I love a good race so even as tired as I was it was exciting.
The beginners went off first and Catherine did her thing and won convincingly. She is really ready to race sport but now that the series is almost over she is going to finish it out as a beginner and win it. GO GIRL!!! We have completely turned her into a mountain biker.
The pro/expert and sport fields went in the late wave and it was HOT. Luckily we only did 2 laps (still a 2 hour race), the men did 3. Bummer for them… It was a pavement start and it was FAST. Too fast. My legs were NOT happy. I quickly found myself in 7th place. Hmmm… “Get it in gear Kym, you are about to get your butt kicked on your home trail…” Jamie was off the front like a rocket and everyone else was chasing. I finally found my legs about 20 minutes into the race and started to actually race. I picked off riders slowly and Paula kept me motivated. I could see her just up the trail. If I could just stay with her we could work together…. I finally caught Paula and took the lead for a bit. We were riding along nicely one minute and the next she was gone. Where did Paula go??!! I found out after the race she was looking at my pretty pink Era (Thanks again Specialized….love the bike!!!) and did a huge endo. I continued at my pace and eventually ended up catching everyone except Jamie. It ended up being a good day for the team. Jamie won, I took second and Paula, even with the endo, took third in a sprint. Emily took 10th in a combined pro/expert field that lined up 6 pros.
In the Sport race Lisa and Gina had a hard fought battle. There were a lot of really strong girls. This time of year is tough….everyone is fit and fast and many are ready to upgrade to expert but are waiting until after Nationals are over. Lisa took 2nd. She had a GREAT ride. Gina rode a strong solid race (even though she was distressed that there were so many rocks on the trail. Yes, it is mountain biking Gina, there are going to be rocks on the trail.) She took 6th. Not bad for a roadie.
It was a great weekend for the team. We had a blast and we kicked butt. We did our best to show off our local trails and show that they are OURS.
We won the bike race!!! That sums up this past weekend in GA. It was the SERC make-up race so Catherine and I were hoping to do well and help our standings. Lisa decided to come along for some racing fun and Karen, one of my athletes, was there to round out our "girl's weekend".
Catherine at the start.
Catherine and Karen raced first and Catherine did what she does best... she kicked butt!! She won convincingly. When she got done she didn't even look like she had done anything. Way to go Catherine!!! Karen also had a good day finishing in 6th and kept the rubber side down the entire race.
Kym on the podium
Lisa and I had the later start and it was HOT. The course was really fast (big ring) for most of it with a couple of very new cut, slow technical sections to really mix things up. They said "go" and I did that thing I do... I went hard from the start in hopes of getting a gap. It worked and this week I kept it. I won!!! And for the first time in a a long time I felt good for almost the whole race (Does anyone really feel good at the end of a two hour race in 90 degree weather??). Lisa had a hard fought battle in her race and took the lead going into her second lap. She raced hard and won convincingly. Great job Lisa!!
What a great weekend. Three girls, three races, and THREE WINS!!!! As an aside, I also won the prime for the fastest female lap of the day.
Catherine, Lisa, Emily and I headed the Clemson this past weekend for the sixth round of the SERC series. We had a time trial and a cross country race to contend with for the weekend. The weather was HOT and the sun was shining. It is a good thing we are sponsored by Bull Frog Sunscreen, we used a ton of it this weekend. That stuff is the best for riding with. It lasts and doesn't run into your eyes when you start sweating, and we did a LOT of sweating this weekend!!!
What a surprise, Catherine WINS again!!! Saturday was the TT and I felt like CRAP. This whole coming back from pneumonia thing is getting OLD. I feel pretty decent most of the time, but the whole 6 weeks of bad things living in my lungs has taken much longer to really get over than I figured it would. I can race, my endurance is GREAT, but my top end speed is taking a while to return and it is REALLY frustrating on race day. I either seem to feel good and be slow or go fast and really hurt. I went fast for the TT, I won, but it was not fun. Catherine won the beginner TT and Lisa was third in the Sport. Emily was 5th in the Pro/Expert. Great job to everyone.
Kym enjoying her win from Saturday's Time trial. Sunday was hot and I was hoping my legs were feeling better than the day before. They said "go" and I WENT. I felt GREAT!!!I immediately gapped the field and it felt like I was flying. Before I knew it there was no one around. AWESOME!!! That lasted for about a lap and then suddenly I still felt good but was going really slow. I HATE THIS!!!! I ended up a disappointing third place; nothing to complain about but still not what I hoped for. Lisa was 5th in the Sport race and Emily was 8th in the Pro/Expert field. Great job ladies.
Catherine was once again our star of the day. She WON. She now has a commanding lead in the series and is going to be throwing one hell of a party with all the bottles of champagne she has won so far.
Clemson is becoming one of "those races" for me. It is a fun race and great trails, but I always seem to have a lackluster performance there. I am trying not to get too jaded about my race season but after such a great start before my illness I am struggling with the "be patient" thing. I know that it will come back and that I was really much more ill than I realized, but it does not make things any easier. And I know I really should not complain about a 3rd place finish. It was a strong field and the girls that beat me are some of the best in the Southeast, I just hate feeling like I didn't perform to my ability, whether I finish first or last that is my number one goal always.
Last weekend was the Georgia Championship series race in Ellijay, GA at Carter's Lake. It is a course that is known for it's relenting short steep climbs and rugged descents. As most of the team opted to take a weekend off (we've been going non-stop since March) Catherine, our newly converted mountain biker (who has not raced her road bike since she started the mtb thing...) headed to GA.
It was HOT. Record highs. I rode to the river and went water skiing with Susie (former teammate turned lawyer type who also happens to be Catherine's sister). We spent the day in the water wondering how Catherine was faring. Apparently heat does NOT slow that girl down. She won. Not only did she win, she convinced the girls that they wanted to race an extra lap. I am sure they all LOVE her. She is well on her way to winning the SERC series and placing in the Georgia series.
Okay, so I have been slacking in the "blog update" department. Things here are CRAZY between racing, coaching, and getting ready for the USA Cycling development camp that Mark is running next week. It's all great exciting stuff but it seems to leave me little time for life. I will try to do better. I know you all hold your breath with anticipation for my updates....
Two weeks ago was BUMP and Grind in Birmingham, AL. It is a GREAT event. One of the biggest in the Southeast with equal pay for pro men and women and separate categories for different age groups for the ladies.
Emily was our star for the day. She won the Junior Expert women's category. We are so proud of her!!!
Jamie and I lined up with a HUGE pro women's field that included some big names (Anyone ever hear of a girl named "Shonny"??). When they pay 10 deep with first place being $700 EVERYONE shows up. It was going to be a FAST race. Jamie and I were in the front selection for the start and we both held there for the first 30 minutes. I am not sure what transpired after that because I had to pull over and puke. Breakfast was a bit of an experiment (I know, I know, NEVER try anything new on race day...) and it did not work so well. In my defense, at a certain point when something works in training taking it to race day is the next step. After I visited breakfast for the third time, my race was over. Being the "girl that does not quit races" I pedaled slow and easy through another lap of the course to finish a disappointing 8th. Jamie rode a strong race for a 4th place finish.
BUMP and I will have another go around next year. I LOVE that race but have had some of my worst (and a couple of my best!!) days there. At least this year I kept the rubber side down, inflated, and rolling for two whole laps.
Okay, so I'm still not 100% but after last weekend's dismal performance at Stumpjump I am just so happy to feel almost like a bike racer again I can hardly stand it. I felt strong this weekend, still not fast, but strong.
The SERC series is half over and even after being sick I might have a shot at the overall if I can put together a few good results. There is a make-up race and two dropped scores so there is still hope. I went to Athens, GA this weekend hoping that it might be my turn around. I did it!!! I WON!!!! It felt so good to win a race, especially after being sick for so long. I raced as hard as I could and although I was still not as fast as I was before getting sick, my endurance was GREAT and I felt strong the whole race. It was a good day.
Catherine wins again!!
Catherine is hooked on mountain biking. She raced her 3rd race ever and WON. It was wet and slippery and so it was that much more impressive. She is not fond of the wet roots or tight trails and there was an abundance of both. Great job girl!!!
Emily was also there and held her own to finish 9th. She is doing so great this year, it is so impressive to me that at 15 years old she is not only racing in a combined Pro/Expert field against adults but that she is competitive. It is going to be so much fun to see her race at nationals against girls her own age.
Thursday May 15th I was cleared by the doctor. I now am once again healthy. The pneumonia is GONE. My immediate reaction was "does that mean I can race this weekend??". The answer was "yes" so I immediately started packing. Before I go any farther with this little story let me just say that just because the mind is willing does NOT mean that the body is able. 6 weeks of being sick takes a bit of a toll....
There was a lot of racing that happened in a two day time period. 6 girls did 3 different races in two states. We ended up with 8 podium appearances. It doesn't get much better than that!!!
Star and Lisa went to the greater Nashville area for some road racing Saturday (where they took 3rd (Lisa) and 4th (Star) in the category 1/2/3 women's field. They obviously had not had enough racing because they then went and raced on the dirt the next day at Montgomery Bell State Park and took 2nd (Lisa) and 5th (Star). Both ladies had a great time and represented well.
Jamie, Tanya, Emily and I went to SC to Stumpjump; a big AMBC mountain bike event here in the southeast. They were running separate Pro and Expert women's categories (as well as a Junior Expert Women's category) and they paid REALLY well. We were going to have our hand full with the competition.
Emily started us off on the right foot by scoring a win in the Junior Expert Women's race. Jamie, Tanya and I lined up in the Pro race and we were off. OUCH. I knew that the first race back was going to hurt but DAMN THIS HURTS!!!! It is amazing how badly one can suffer while going so slowly. Jamie took the lead with one girl on her wheel and never looked back. Tanya and I were in a chase group of three and we worked together for about a lap. Tanya eventually dropped me but I never lost sight of her. Jamie won, Tanya took third and I was 4th, 15 seconds behind her. Had it been anyone else I might have dug a bit harder at the end but I was very content (and very much blown....) to get beat by Tanya. It was a really great day for the team but a really tough ride for me personally. I am glad the first painful one is over. Hopefully the next race won't hurt quite so bad.
This past weekend was the Tanasi SERC race. It was significant for a number of reasons. First, we had the ENTIRE team there. Everyone raced except me (more on that in a minute) and we had numerous podium appearances. Second, those are some of our "home trails" and we had a great local crowd and cheering section. We even got Bill out with his "fancy camera" to get some team photos. It was a GREAT day.
Tanya and Emily on the starting line.
Okay, first my disclaimer: I have walking pneumonia. I have been fighting this "mystery desert funk" since the trip out west 5 weeks ago and it started getting MUCH worse after the Winder, GA race last weekend. After two trips to the doc I have been diagnosed and I am feeling almost 100% again for the first time in what feels like FOREVER. Because of this I was not allowed to race this weekend (Doctor's quote was "chill out"). I asked if that meant racing was out and he said YES. I can't race again until after I go back to see him next week.
Lisa and Gina with their "game face on".
The morning started with us trying to all get in the same location for 10 minutes for some pictures. Easier said than done!! Jamie lost the car (she rode with Star and didn't remember what it looked like after she ran to the restroom when they first got there) and everyone was getting ready and running in circles. We finally got some shots of all of us that are GREAT. Too bad the new clothing showed up today instead of before the weekend.
Jamie on the top of the Pro Women's podium.
The first wave was the Pro/Expert women's race and the Sport women's race. Because this was a SERC bonus round I had to "start" to get my bonus points. I lined up, in my kit (no bottle...) and when they said "go" I buried myself and blew the field apart for the first 30 seconds, got the hole shot, and then sat up and quit. It was kind of fun. I got some really strange looks from the other girls in the field. I then handed out bottles to all my teammates and a few of the boys. I was running in circles in the feed zone for two hours!!! The girls kicked butt in what was arguably some of the strongest fields we have seen in a long time. Jamie won the Pro/Expert race. Paula was sitting third until she blew the sidewall of her tire and had to quit. Tanya took 6th and Emily was 13th. Shannon had some trouble and ended up pulling out and helping me cheer and hand out bottles. Our "roadies" took to the dirt convincingly this weekend with Gina taking second in the Sport race and Lisa taking third. Star gets the award for the day for the biggest bruises and most blood. She took a SPECTACULAR fall and got up and finished in 10th.
Catherine is all smiles after her win.
Catherine lined up in the later wave at 11:30 to race the beginner women's race. Since she just started mountain biking two months ago we agreed to let her do the beginner thing for a while. She ROCKED. She took the lead when they said "go" and never looked back. She won by 6.5 minutes. I see sport racing in the near future for her!!
Emily on her pretty new PINK Specialized.
We ended the weekend with a great lunch and fun race stories. It was really a bummer that I didn't get to race but it was still one of the most fun race days I have had in a LONG time. I was so proud to be part of "that women's team with all the fast girls". Everyone was so impressed with our racing and the size of our team.
Kym wishing on the starting line that she could go race today...