Monday, February 23, 2009

The perfect end to a perfect Cross season...

Cyclocross season is over. Finally. I am a bit sad about that but also excited that we start racing our mountain bikes (did I mention that my new bike rocks??) in two weeks.

This past weekend was the last two races of the TN cross season in Knoxville. It was really more "urban assault with a number" than cross but it was still fun. The course was about 80% pavement and the only dismount section took us up 4 flights of stairs. I really liked the stairs (sick, I know...); for some reason I was really good at them. I passed Mark while running up them on day 1. I won both days. Helen is still recovering from a shoulder injury a week ago so she was my cheering section, along with Amanda. Thanks ladies for coming out. It is always great to have teammates out there to help with the motivation. It was a great way to end the season. I am again the TN state series champion. I think next season I am going to focus more on the bigger UCI events so this might be the last season to win that title.

This winter while racing cross I have accomplished a number of things that I never have before. First, I podiumed at Nationals. I also got UCI points and consequently an international ranking. I also went an entire season undefeated in the Southeast. The only cross races I didn't win were UCI races and Nationals. Wow. That feels really good. I think after all these years I found my sport!!! Not that I don't love the mountain bike or the road bike, I do; I just seem to be best at racing the cyclocross bike.

Speaking of my other bikes, it's time to get out on the dirt some more. I can't wait!! I love my new bike and I can't wait to spend the summer racing her.

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Team Camp

All smiles at the top of the mountain.

This past weekend we went on one of our favorite weekends all year: Team Camp in Pisgah with Scott Wagner. Scott's company, Wagner Research is one of our team sponsors and the best part of his sponsorship every year is the cabin in NC.

Enjoying a beautiful day.
We lucked out on the weather. The forecast was for 65+ degrees and sun all weekend. AWESOME!!!

Star demonstrating some of her other talents.
Helen, Star and I loaded up in my car and headed to NC on Friday afternoon; Gina, Paula and Tanya were meeting us up there. Catherine and Shannon held the fort down and raced Snake... we missed them but they kicked butt. After a quick bike hand-off to Emily in Knoxville, (we now all have our bikes and LOVE them) we were on our way. Emily had a band competition this weekend but we all know that she was dreaming of her new bike....

Tanya, Scott and Gina in front of the falls.
Friday night was spent eating Mexican food and grocery shopping for snacks and breakfast. We were really lucky this year, Helen's mom Sharron sent enough food for the team for the weekend. All we had to do was pop it in the oven and follow her instructions. THANKS SHARRON. If we are lucky, we just adopted a team chef. Paula and Gina got in late and we quickly went to bed with dreams of single track in the morning.

Helen shows off her first ever snowball.

Saturday was Scott's day to play tour guide to the team. We decided to spend the day at DuPont State Forest (after all, it's across the road from where we were staying) and we had a blast. 4 hours, tons of sweet single track and 5,000 feet of climbing later we were ready for dinner. Everyone had a great time riding. I demonstrated how to submerge one's self in the mud (I really am just around for everyone's entertainment) and Helen rode her longest ride ever with a smile. She is really coming along nicely. Star, Paula, Helen and I were all on our new bikes and in LOVE with them. Specialized ROCKS!!!! Thanks guys for another year of great bikes.

Paula and her new ride enjoy the falls.

After inhaling our dinner, we decided that we needed to participate in another team weekend tradition: SHOPPING. We are girls after all... We called Nali, our favorite outdoor store in Brevard, only to find out that they were about to close for the day. Gina turned on her charm and the owner stayed late to let us shop. We of course repayed him by spending lots money in his store. If you are ever in Brevard, check the place out. Great stuff, great deals, and kick butt owner.

I love my new bike.
We ended our evening with Helen studying (and maybe talking on the phone to a certain boy) and the rest of us enjoying good friends and good wine. It is always good to see Scott and get to catch up.

Time for a break and snacks.
Sunday was another big ride. One of my favorites actually, Pisgah!! We climbed Clawhammer and then hit some killer single track. I got to really push the limits of the new bike for the first time and she responded and asked for more. Okay, I admit that there MIGHT have been some boys that passed us as we waited to re-group and Paula and I MIGHT have been a bit more motivated to go fast and catch them, but the bike was begging me to do it!! Yes, we did catch the boys (and passed them... on a downhill). It was hard to turn around and head to the car. In fact, Helen, Tanya, Star and I went out for more after we got back to the car. We decided to drive late, we wanted to ride!!!

It wouldn't be Pisgah without a little hiking!!
After some sad goodbye's and a quick packing job, Star, Helen and I were headed home. Helen was craving Sushi so I turned on my "sushi radar" in Knoxville and found a restaurant that I remembered seeing last year while up there for a race. Yes, I remember things like that.
We arrived home tired and late but it was all worth it. I wish we could do it for about a week!! Maybe next year...
Thanks again Scott for a great weekend. You are the BEST!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Snake TT #2

This past weekend Shannon and Catherine raced the second Snake TT. Catherine was out for redemption after getting lost last month and Shannon has been tearing it up with her training this spring... she was out for a personal best time.

Both ladies kicked some major butt. Catherine won her category, staying on the course for the entire race. Shannon took second in her category and set that personal best that she was looking for.

Quote of the weekend from Catherine: "I missed the rock garden last month. It was like a punch in the face."

Congrats to both ladies!!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chatt-cross. Finally.

Kym in action.

Okay, so I promised a report AND pictures of the Chattanooga Cyclocross weekend that was two weeks ago. I know I'm delinquent again. The pictures are the part that always gets me. I take them but somehow it seems to take so long to get them from the camera to the computer. Anyway, back to the race.

Most of Helen... oops.

We started the weekend on Friday with a clinic/set-up/pre-ride day. I spent most of the day at the park and running errands. Mark played "course guru" all day and designed a kick butt course. I taught a beginner clinic in the afternoon and Helen, along with a handful of other ladies, came out and gave the course, and my clinic, a try. She lucked out for the weekend; a friend of ours works for Blue Bikes and had a loaner cross bike for her to borrow. Thanks Cleve!!

Star all smiles.
Saturday we woke up to rain. UGH. Luckily it stopped before we headed up there but it was going to be slick. I had a small field but there was no lack of talent. I was going to have to be on my "A" game if I wanted to win. We started 3 seconds behind the Master's Men so there was also the carrot of seeing how many of them I could pass. I had a great ride. One of my best all season. I took the lead in the first lap and I never looked back. I also caught all but the guy who won the men's race. Go Girl!!!!

Helen and lined up in a big Category 4 women's field and both ladies rode well. Star rode a hard fought battle for the front of the race while Helen held third for the first half of the race. Star eventually conceded the win to finish a respectable 2nd.
Sunday was just Helen and I and we fought hard. I won the women's race and Helen raced really well. She kept the bike upright the entire race (a big change from Saturday) and finished in third. It was a very exciting race and I was EXHASTED by the time it was over.
Thanks to Ken and Mark for a great event. Can't wait for next year.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New bikes and Snow...

Me and the new ride in the snow.

Our new bikes came in last week and I got one ride on Ruby (who is AMAZING) and then it was off the CO for meetings at the Olympic Training Center. Mark runs a USA Cycling junior/U23 development road camp here in TN and this year they called and asked me to run a mountain bike camp. I am so excited. The best part: it's in VT!!! Anyway, we had a camp manager's meeting at USA Cycling all weekend. Think good friends, great food and sitting inside all day looking at the beautiful mountains while it is 60 degrees outside. Oh well, still a great trip. They didn't fly me out there for a vacation. It would have been perfect if Delta/Northwest hadn't lost my luggage BOTH directions. My poor suitcase went on a very different journey than I did.

Anyway, we got home Sunday night and I had to work all day Monday so today was THE DAY for the ride on my new Era. I LOVE IT. It was a little different, the suspension is not the same design as last year. I love the improvements but it took a little bit to get used to. It is so nimble and fast; I've got no excuses this season....

We went to Chilhowie and pedaled our way into the snow. It was so fun. Even in the slippery conditions the bike was a rock star and took everything I threw at her. Even the "skiing" technique that I perfected in the snow covered corners. Nothing like laying "first tracks" in the snow on your BIKE. every day should be "new bike day".

Helen also got to ride both her new bikes this weekend. She's hooked. Apparently she spent the weekend riding and sleeping. Sunday she even did a double with a morning road ride and an afternoon mountain bike ride. Our developmental rider has jumped in head first. I'm sure the awesome new bikes don't hurt.

Team camp in NC is this weekend and I will have more new bike reports after that. Along with a bunch of pictures and great stories.

Thanks for reading....