Thursday, July 31, 2008

Home again... for a minute.

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!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Emily Quotes from the trip

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!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


On the top step...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Photos of Emily...

We made it home.... 18 hours straight through. I'll write more on that after I recover. For now, I have a few pictures that I wanted to get up.

Emily on her way to the WIN!!!

Emily shows off her jeresy and medal after awards.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


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....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vermont... IT RAINED!!!!

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.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Racing in VT, Day 2

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.

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, July 17, 2008


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.

Thanks for reading....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some Photos from Raccoon SERC race.




Kym before the pain began...

Jamie off the front.

Paula, Emily and Jamie relaxed at the start.

Catherine winning with style.


Catherine wins again!!!

Watch out for the birds!!!!

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.

Thanks for reading....

Monday, July 14, 2008

East Coast National: Windham, NY

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.

Thanks for reading…

The Road Trip, Part 2

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.

The Road Trip...

We are on our way to NY and VT.

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.

Wish us luck…..

Fourth of July on the Road Bike

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.

SERC Chattanooga

Vantaggio Ladies take 1,2,3....

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.

Thanks for reading….