Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dirt Night at Booker T with the Chiks

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.

Thanks for a great night....

Rolling again....

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.

...and tomorrow is race day....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Time Trial and Crit at River Gorge

The Time Trial:

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.

The Criterium:

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.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pictures from River gorge RR

Paula, Kym and Gina looking ready to race!!!

Kym climbing to 2nd during the road race.

Queen on the Mountain!!

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!!!

More later on the time trial and crit....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Updates from Leadville, CO

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...

Can't wait to hear all about it ladies...

Catherine WINS Georgia Series Overall

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.

Congratulations Catherine!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

SERC Finals

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.