Tuesday, April 29, 2008

SERC #3 Winder, GA

Emily, Jamie and Kym on the starting line.

This weekend was the third round of the SERC series in Winder, GA at Fort Yargo State Park. It was definitely a rough weekend for me, although as a team the Vantaggio ladies did great.

Catherine, who is the teams only "true roadie" got herself a mountain bike this year. By this year I mean three weeks ago. She entered the beginner race and although she had some nerves at the start, she did AWESOME. She took third in a three way sprint for the finish; they started 14 girls. She probably would have fared better but went to the "start" line instead of the "finish" line in the heat of battle. I think we have converted her, she's scheduled to race 3 more SERC races this year.

Emily showing how it is done!

In the Pro/Expert women's race it was Jamie, Emily (who is 15 and went to prom the night before in Knoxville) and myself. I led from the gun and after about a half of a lap Jamie took over and never looked back. My fever and cough were a bit of an annoyance but I am chasing the series and can only miss two races. I already have those two scheduled for National Series races so I raced against my better judgement (It's those darn "bad idea jeans again...). I held on for second (barely) and Emily took 10th. Ah, youth. I tried to race a couple of years ago on two hours of sleep and about killed myself. She rode with a smile and had a blast!!!

As an after note: I have been feeling generally miserable and ill since our trip out west. I contracted some weird desert "funk" in California and have been training and racing for the last four weeks with an on again, off again fever and cough. Every time I think it is gone it comes back. Well after lining up AGAIN with a fever this weekend I decided that it was time to go see the Doc. I have a nicely developed sinus infection. He gave me lots of drugs and has told me that I can ride and race but that my "performance will be less than optimal". Really??!! I think I have adequately demonstrated that fact...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tanya is ROCKIN' in NC and SC

While the TN part of the team has been sticking close to home the past few weeks, Tanya has been showing off our team colors in North and South Carolina. Here is her report on the past couple of weeks....

By the way, she also took second at the AMBC Tiger Rag in Clemson two days ago.... I don't have the details yet.


April 12th Caraway Hill off road omnium part of the Maxxis Southern Classic Series

Short Track and Super D:

The short track was a 20 min. sufferfest as usual. A half mile course with lots of single track and climbing. I had single speed superstar Rebecca Tomaszewski on my tail the entire time. Managed to grab 1st and I was beat!Once again a horrible thunderstorm moved in right before the super D. What a technical course too. Rocks, roots , huge drop offs, you name it. This thing could have passed as a NORBA downhill course!!!I pretty much rode the whole thing in my preride but after the thunderstorm decided it wasn't worth killing myself riding it in the rain! After the lemans start and getting the hole shot I managed to still get a first even with running the tech sections.

Sunday April 13th Cross Country:

No rain and some great trails! For a race in the middle of NC this course was awesome. Had some super steep climbs and even a section with 6 steep switch backs. Stared out once again with Rebecca on my tail for the first whole lap. We'd managed a pretty good gap over the other girls, then she stared loosing air in her tire which she later said went completely flat. I got a bit too comfortable with my lead and ended up almost being reeled in by some of the other gals! Had to pick it up again in the last 4 miles and managed another first and first overall in the omnium!

Rock Hill Omnium

Friday Night April 4th- White Rose Sprints

I headed down to York SC in the middle of a horrible thunderstorm with tornado and hail warnings posted for the entire area. Stubborn as I am if I've paid/registered for a race I'm doing it no matter what.I couldn't believe we still had over 22 girls show up for sprints in the rain!By the time we took off for our first 500 m sprint it had stopped raining but the streets were still wet. I managed to easily win my heat of 8 racers and advance straight into the finals.By the time the finals rolled around so had another lightning storm. They postponed the race for about 30 min and by 9pm finally decided to just let it be. It was dark, pouring rain and lightning all around!I don't really remember much, I pretty much took off right from the start and gunned it to the end for another first place. I just wanted to be off the streets and into the safety of my car!

Sat April 5th Rock Hill Crit

The weather was still not cooperating and once again being my stubborn self and determined to complete the entire omnium I decided to race unlike most others who decided in was in there best interest not too. The course is one of the most technical on the local race calendar with 6 tight turns and medians you have to navigate. The course plus the rain made for a very nerve wracking day of racing. Crits are not my favorite to begin with. I'm just not comfortable out there even when its dry. I was determined to survive the entire race no matter what. Once again about 20 of us lined up in a complete downpour. After a few attacks we dropped about 5 gals and I wore myself down trying to reel in a 2 person breakaway pulling the whole group for a few laps till I was able to reel them in. The group was going to let them get away and I wasn't about to let that happen! This coupled with my lack of wet road handling skills and another attack on my part in the next to last lap left me in dead last place for the sprint. I got 11th in the field sprint.

Sunday April 6th-Brattonsville Road Race 45 miles

Finally no rain but we still had wet streets. Got to chase down a bunch of breakaways did a few myself and spent way too much time doing too much work. Funny another gal from the Ashville area mentioned on her blog how I was one of the few out of over 35 girls willing to do ANY work...I just use it as training for my mountain biking! oh well. I just get frustrated when no one will pull so I just go do it myself!! Once again ended up pulling the whole field to the finish and watching them sprint around me. Still managed a 9th place. The teams really worked together in this race, sending racers up the road and blocking etc.

Great Job Tanya!! We're so excited for you... can't wait until next weekend when we get to race with you.

Shannon Wins at Cohutta 35

Saturday was the Cohutta 35 mountain bike race. It was part of the National 100 mile series and although there was a 65 mile and 100 mile option, Shannon the cross country racer decided to stick to what she trains for and raced a more sane and manageable distance. It was a smart choice and it paid off....


Shannon won convincingly in what can only be described as nasty, miserable conditions. It rained the night before and the trails were WET.

Great job Shannon!!!

Dogwood Crit-Knoxville, TN

Sunday was the Dogwood Crit in Knoxville. It was a fun day. I love that course so even though I am STILL fighting a lingering illness I picked up in California, I decided to head up there and see just how close to recovered I am. Star and Lisa, newly upgraded to Cat 3's, were also going so no matter what happened it would have been a fun day with my teammates.

After getting to Knoxville and seeing the start list, it was going to be a tough day. There were two or three really strong girls there, including Deb and Cara from BMW-Bianchi. I spent all winter chasing them around while racing 'Cross so I knew we were in for a good race. Once the race started, it became obvious that no one was going to let anything get away. We were going to come down to a drag race at the finish. I have raced Dogwood enough times to know (through my own trial and error) that with the downhill finish the sprint needs to go EARLY. I am sure I not only caught a bunch of people off guard but made at least one or two swear at my "going too soon". The gamble paid off and I was spun out ahead of the field at the finish. I think my legs and lungs are finally coming back to me and I had a great time.

Star and Lisa did great, both also finishing in the money at 8th (Lisa) and 9th (Star).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chattanooga Stage Race

This past weekend was the Chattanooga Stage Race and as one of the "local" teams, we were excited to race at home. I am STILL trying to kick the end of this stupid "desert funk illness" that I got out west so I begrudgingly decided that I would do team support all weekend. I promise you I was the loudest cheering section out there.

The weekend consisted of a time trial and a criterium on Saturday and a road race on Sunday. They ran two different women's categories, a 1/2/3 race and a 3/4 race. Gina, Star, Lisa and Catherine are all trying to get upgrade points so they raced the 3/4 race and Paula, Shannon and Gina (without me...) raced the 1/2/3 race. We were hoping for some great results in both categories. We did not disappoint!!!

Gina won the time trial, took second in the crit, and took third in the road race. Star, Lisa and Catherine all worked hard to help her and finished strong in their own right. Way to go girls. We were the team to beat in the 3/4 race.

The ladies in the 1/2/3 race had their work cut out for them. There were a number of pros in the field and it was going to be tough to see the podium. Without time trail gear, we were content to try and minimize our losses for the first stage. The crit was another story. Jamie came out swinging and after a number of attacks, got off the front and eventually took second against a national caliber sprinter. We love you Jamie but there was NO WAY you could have won that sprint!!! She ROCKED. Great finish... that attack was a gamble and it paid off. The road race was even tougher... 68 miles of rolling hills and 3 times up the longish climb. Jamie again made the selection and eventually took 5th in a tough field. Shannon and Paula were great workers and helped get her there. Teamwork was crucial and we rose to the occasion.

It was a great weekend of racing. I handed out bottles and was ALMOST sad that I wasn't out there. The wind contributed to the "almost" part of the equation, it was brutal. You ladies worked REALLY hard. I was proud to be your water girl!!!

Thanks for reading....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Emily ROCKS at a muddy Tsali!!

This past weekend, while I was hallucinating in the desert, Emily decided to brave the rain and mud to race at Tsali. The "Konbschorcher" is one of the longest running MTB events in the Southeast. Doing well there is definite bragging rights for the season.

Even with the rain they lined up a strong Expert Women's field (remember that Emily is 15 and racing with the adults...) and a strong Pro field as well. Emily showed why she is racing where she is... SHE KICKED BUTT!!! She took 5th in the Expert field and 8th overall.

GREAT JOB EMILY!! We are really proud of you.

I hope to find some pictures of the mud to post. I hear it was epic.

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cross Country in the Desert

I "officially" have some weird funk desert type disease. Okay, it is probably just a chest cold but the timing sucks. I was hoping that getting a ton of rest and taking it easy the past couple of days was going to make it go away (or at least that it was just some weird allergy to the cacti), but no such luck. I woke up today feeling worse. So bad that I was even considering not starting. Unfortunately, I put on my "bad idea jeans" and headed to the race course.

Today was HOT and we didn't start until 11:15am. When the sun comes up at 6am and there is nothing except very short, pointy, sharp vegetation, that makes for a HOT miserable race. Add to it the fact that I was running a fever and hacking up a lung and it was sure to be a long day. I convinced myself to start by saying that I could always quit. Beautiful theory but I don't quit races, EVER. I am too stupid or stubborn or something so once they said "go" I was in it for the long haul. The "dumb pants" (as Mark calls it...) were in full force today. I felt like keeling over in the first 2 minutes. My legs felt good, I just couldn't breathe. By lap two I was hallucinating and thinking the cacti were talking to me. I would almost have considered stopping but I was not in last. I was DEFINITELY not racing to my abilities (when well) but I was still holding my own.

I FINISHED!!! I was 36th out of a strong field of around 60 riders. Not at all what I hoped for but considering the circumstances I am thrilled with it. I was chilled and couldn't talk by the time I finished but I did it. Never let it be said that I can't suffer. It was not fun. At all. In fact, starting that race was the worst idea I had today. And yesterday. It was also the best thing I have done in a while. Now I know I can suffer way more than I usually do. AND... I beat people even while miserably sick. That makes me feel really good about where my fitness is. Once I get well it is GAME ON!!

Thanks for reading....

Short Track

Okay, so I don't have a lot to say about my racing today because I stayed strong and did the smart thing; I didn't race. It was really hard and I ended up deciding to not go and watch Mark, Mike and Foye race because it was just too hard to go out there and see my field warming up. Instead I napped at the house and went for a short spin on the canal path. BORING. My legs felt great... my lungs, not so much. It was probably smart not to race today but sometimes smart isn't fun.

So, the highlights of my non-race, race day: Rachel made her return debut to racing this morning and we all cheered her on. She took 7th!! It was SO FUN seeing her out there again. Mike had an awesome Short Track, finishing 23rd out of about 60 guys in the Semi-Pro field. His desert experience is now complete, he brushed a cactus and felt the repercussions. Mark flatted today on his first lap and still beat two guys. He also had a "desert experience" but he walked into the cactus. It seems that maybe he's been hanging around me too long...

After spending the afternoon hacking snot and watching girlie movies on TV I am hopefully ready to RACE tomorrow. Wish me luck...

I talked to some friends back home today. It has poured non-stop for two days. Tsali is going to suck. Emily is the only one going. Good luck girl; remember, people pay big money for mud treatments!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Super D in the Desert

We are back in Phoenix for another weekend of racing that started today with the "Super D", basically a cross country, slightly downward sloping time trial. It was short, but long enough to really hurt. More on that in a minute...

This weekend is sort of a stage race. I say "sort of" because they made everyone register for all the events but you don't have to actually race all of them to get scored individually in each event. You only have to do all of them IF you are concerned with the overall weekend results. This is slightly annoying because they didn't tell us this until we got here, forcing everyone to register for the entire weekend of racing. This wouldn't be such an issue except the cross country, the event I came here for, is last. AFTER I am worn out from two days of racing events that I don't really care about or focus on. Hmmm, we'll see what I decide...

All of this is magnified by the fact that I seem to either be allergic to the desert or I have a cold. I thought it was a cold except EVERYTHING is blooming out here and everyone (even those who don't have allergies) seem to be having a tough time with things. I have never been allergic to anything but the last two days I seem to have low grade cold type symptoms. They aren't getting better or worse, which leads me to the allergy thing. I guess I won't know for sure until I get home. If it goes away immediately, it was allergies. If not, I have a cold. Either way, racing is miserable. I am hacking and snotting EVERYWHERE. Tons of fun for everyone around me.

So, back to Super D. I went out to the race site unsure if I was going to start or not. I did a pre-ride of the course and decided that we were still two days from the Cross Country and a 20 minute effort might do me good. The plan was to take it a bit easy but have fun with it and see how my body responds to the intensity. OUCH. I started too easy and by the time I realized it I had to bury myself to try and make up for it. My legs felt good but my lungs were burning. I did not put out what I would call a stellar time but I did alright, taking 37th. We had a big field so it was not too bad, again, just not where I wanted to be. Oh well, Super D isn't why I came here.

Tomorrow is Short Track and I have decided to not race it. That was a tough decision for me; I enjoy Sort Track but with my health being questionable and the race being 15 hours before the start of the Cross Country, I am trying to do the mature thing. I am a competitive person by nature (anyone who knows me is laughing right now at my ability to state the obvious), so it is ALWAYS hard to decide to not compete. However, I will be really mad at myself if I race STXC and then have nothing on Sunday for the XC. I will spend tomorrow cheering for my friends and husband and doing an EASY ride. BORING.

On another note: Mike had a KILLER Super D today, taking 13th in the Semi-Pro field, even after hitting a Jack Rabbit. Go Mike!!!

I guess it has been raining non-stop back home. My teammates were all planning on racing Tsali but being that Tsali is the worst course on the planet in the mud, they are all either finding a road race or staying home. It is supposed to rain all weekend so even the road racing may suck... Sorry guys, I miss you but I don't miss that weather!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Vegas baby....

Night time in Vegas...

We spent Monday to Wednesday in Las Vegas. Mark used to live there and there is some good riding (I know, who would have thought??!!) and old friends to see. A good time was had by all. Mike had never been to Vegas so of course we had to do some of the tourist things also. A couple of his buddies from Florida were also in town between races and were "Vegas virgins" so Mark and I took it upon ourselves to be their tour guides.

The Florida boys ready for a night out on the town...

Monday we arrived, got checked into our hotel (a little dive just off the Strip) and decided that the first order of business was a buffet. No Vegas visit is complete without one... We went to the Palms and Ryan and Luke joined us. Hungry cyclists can EAT. They definitely lost money on us.

From there we went sight seeing. The three boys from the south were amazed by the craziness. There is really nothing quite like it. They all collected the "trading cards" that were being handed out on every corner, even offering to trade with complete strangers. It was a fun night.

Tuesday we rode at Cottonwood Canyon. It is one of my favorite rides, complete with the descent down Red Valley. AND THERE WERE JOSHUA TREES!!!! I took my picture with them.

Kym and the Joshua Trees!!

That night we took Mike past the wedding chapels (we saw Elvis doing a singing drive through wedding) and down to Freemont Street for the "old Vegas" neon experience. It was fun.

The rest of the Vegas experience falls under: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas..."

Wednesday we rode at Blue Diamond, another favorite, and had a blast. It was hard not to ride all day but we needed to get driving back to Phoenix. On our way we stopped at Hoover Dam and took the Dam tour. Way cool... It was our educational experience for the week. The best part of the tour was the gift shop; they sold Joshua Tree SEEDS!!! I can grow my own tree. I will let you know how it goes...

We got back to Phoenix about 10pm after a long three days in Vegas. We were all beat and ready for a little rest before another weekend of racing.