Tuesday, April 28, 2009

SERC #4 Fort Yargo State Park, Winder GA

Catherine models the new clothing on the 2nd place step.

Sunday was the 4th stop for the SERC series. While the endurance ladies were recovering from Cohutta on Saturday, the rest of us were screaming around the trails at Fort Yargo State Park. The trails are super fast and fun; kind of a roller coaster through the trees. Emily, Helen, Catherine and I represented Vantaggio for the weekend.

Let me just start by saying that the weekend had way too much stuff crammed into it. Winder, GA is only about 20 miles from Athens, GA where the famous Twilight Festival was going on. Twilight is a weekend of fun and fast NRC crit racing. Huge crowds and lots of good times. We were going to have to make an appearance and do some cheering. One of these years we'll even race it again but it is tough with so many mountain bike events the same weekend.... so much racing, so little time.
Catherine started the weekend off with the morning 3/4 womens crit (she took 5th) and then went and did a pre-ride of the mountain bike trail with Helen. Mark and I pre-rode the course and then did a second lap while teaching a beginner clinic. We then all went to Athens to watch the night racing... what a great time. Whew. It was a long day for everyone. We were EXHAUSTED by the time we finally got to bed.

Catherine claps for the competition.

Sunday morning came WAY too early. We were all a little bit tired after a long day on Saturday, but we were also all fired up after hearing about how well our teammates who raced Cohutta finished the day before. It was a really fun course and the sun was shining so the racing was going to be a blast....

The Pro/Expert women's field was one of the biggest and strongest we have had all year. 7 pros and a whole bunch of Experts (okay, USA Cycling is now calling them Category 1 racers). Emily and I lined up for what was sure to be a really fast race. Immediately upon "go" I could feel that I did too much on Saturday. Oh well, suck it up and pedal. It was still a really fun trail and my Specialized Era was the perfect bike for it. Fast and smooth.... just what was needed. I rode to a slightly disappointing 4th place finish; not a bad placing but personally frustrating. I know that because of my own doing I was slower than I should have been.

Emily, on the other hand, had the race of her life. She rolled to the start line and said to me "I feel good today, I'm going to have a great race". She did!! She took 6th, finishing ahead of 3 Pros and was the second Expert rider. At 16 years old, she schooled a lot of women twice her age. Congrats Emily, we are so proud of you!!!!

Catherine demonstrated her ability to suffer by taking a strong 2nd place in the Sport race. And as always, she did it with a smile.

Helen got the award for the most spectacular crash of the day and she did it while we were all watching. Right at the start of the race there was a sharp uphill 90 degree turn. Helen went into it third wheel and the girl in second came to a complete stop right in front of her. Helen grabbed her brakes only to do a SPECTACULAR endo in front of the entire field, causing everyone to stop. She got back up and chased the rest of the race to finish 9th. Good recovery Helen.

Helen after her race. "Please put the camera away..."

All in all it was a great weekend. Both at Fort Yargo State Park and Cohutta. This is already shaping up to be an incredible season.
Thanks for reading...

Cohutta 100

The Cohutta 100 and 65 was this past Saturday. This race is the first stop on the national endurance 100 calendar and a number of the girls have been training and focusing on it. Paula, Gina, Star and Lisa have been training hard and doing a ton of course recon. They were as ready as anyone to mix it up. The biggest question on race day was going to be the sudden heat we are FINALLY experiencing. Hydration was going to be key.

Paula lined up for the 100 with the goal to make the podium. She definitely had the fitness and knew her competition. Our friend Carey was the girl to beat and Paula knew it. Paula was feeling good and riding strong until an unfortunate flat tire took her hopes for a win away; she did manage to ride a strong ride and finished an impressive second place even after the flat tire and a broken spoke. Congrats Paula. That is an awesome ride. Congrats also to Carey, she rode an incredibly strong race for a convincing win.

Gina, Star and Lisa lined up for the 65 mile version and were hoping for the best. Gina has been practically living out there on those trails for the last two months so she should have been ale to ride them in her sleep. All that recon paid off. She won!!! Congratulations to Gina. Star rode a VERY strong race to take 7th; finishing 45 minutes faster than her goal time and 15 minutes faster than her "if everything goes right" time. She lost a couple of spot due to some dehydration and cramping issues near the end, but still had a personal best on the day and rode like a rock star. Congratulations!!! Lisa rode a strong consistent race to finish in the top 10.

Great job ladies. That was a tough race and you all made it look easy. We are all so proud of you!!!

Catherine wins GSC #2

Catherine raced the second race in the Georgia State Championship series last weekend and took the win!!! It was a rainy wet weekend of racing and she rose above to dominate the Sport women's category. Her husband Reid won the Expert race so it was a good weekend for the entire Peacock family.

Congrats Catherine!!! (and to you too Reid...)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shannon gets on the Podium at Sea Otter!!!

Shannon traveled to California to Sea Otter this year and did the team proud. She took 4th in the Super D and 5th in the Cross Coutry. Great job girl!!! We are proud of you....

Hopefully she'll get me a full race report with pictures... (HINT).

Monday, April 6, 2009

SERC #3 Knobschorcher

Knobschorcher is one of the biggest, longest running events in the Southeast. EVERYONE seems to come out for the weekend. It is also my least favorite race course of the entire season. It is fast, non-technical (think super-highway), and usually has bike-swallowing mud holes. I have won there in the past but it is really NOT my type of course. I headed over there looking forward to a great weekend of hanging out with my teammates and hoped for the best.

We took a good squad over to race: Paula, Shannon, Amanda, Emily, Helen, Catherine and Myself. I rented a kick butt cabin about 30 miles away and we had a super fun weekend. We were once again spoiled by Sharron Jackson's cooking; she sent a huge dinner with Helen for all of us. She also sent chocolate chip muffins but they didn't make it to dinner time. Mark, Helen and I finished them off after the pre-ride. Mark was a bit concerned about his "girlish" figure but Helen reassured him by saying that it was race weekend, he could eat anything "except maybe soap" and be fine. So the Emily quote of the weekend came from someone else.....

Helen raced first on Sunday and she got the team off to a great start; Second place!!! Great job. The rest of us all raced at the same time which was really fun. I love being on the course and having teammates out there. A friendly face is great mid-race.

Paula and I lined up in a STOUT pro women's field that included Willow Koerber (yes, the rest of us were racing for second place...). It is great to have world class pros race our regional races but wow did that start hurt. I struggled for the first half of the race. My mind and body were having disagreements about both motivation and action. Finally, at the end of lap one when Paula caught me, I found my motivation and kicked it into gear. Thanks Paula for pushing me!!! you ROCK. Paula, who is focusing on endurance events this year, raced very well, even if it was about 70 miles too short for her tastes. I ended up 4th and Paula was 5th.

Amanda, Shannon and Emily were thrilled that they go their own expert race instead of having to race with the pros. It was so great to finally have Shannon out of retirement and racing again. We have missed her. She's had life get in the way of fun for about a year but it all changing now for the better. Welcome back!!! Amanda and Emily both had great races; with Amanda taking 2nd and Emily taking 4th. Shannon finished solidly in the field and was all smiles.

Catherine was her usual stellar self and finished solidly in 3rd place in the sport field. And she did it with a smile and only one giant crash. Catherine, we thought this was the year of NOT crashing?? So far you are off to a challenging start.... although you wear the bruises better than anyone I know!!

Fun weekend ladies. Thanks for the great racing and ton of laughs!!!