Sunday, November 30, 2008

UCI Cross in NC

Cornering hard...

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.

Looking fast!!!
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.....

Thanks for reading.

Emily is famous!!

The newspaper in Knoxville recently did a great story on Emily. They did a really awesome job showing what a talented and impressive young lady she is. Emily, we are really proud of you!!!

All I have is the scanned copy that Emily sent me so I apologize if you can't read it. I will see if I can track down a link to post.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

TN State Cyclocross Championships

Running the logs in Memphis.
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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cross Racin' in TN and GA

Riding the "cow pond" in McEwen, TN

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!!!

Team Training Camp

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!!!

All photos by Mike Viertel. Thanks Mike!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

2009 Team Announced

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

Here's to an AWESOME 2009!!!!!