Monday, August 24, 2009

SERC Banquet

After the final race in Fontana we had some celebrating to do. Vantaggio put a rider on the podium in each of the three women's categories. The series finished as follows:

Pro/Expert: Kym 1st
Sport: Catherine 3rd (despite missing a bonus round to podium at Nationals)
Beginner: Helen 3rd

Other notes: Emily was 4th in the Pro/Expert category and was recognized as the top female expert rider of the series. We also finished 5 of the top 10 women in the pro/expert field.

Great season ladies!!!!

Catherine finshes GA series with a BANG.

So Catherine did it again. I know, none of us are surprised but she won the final race in GA series, and in doing so won the series handily.

Great job Catherine, we are SO proud of you!!!!

GA Series final standings:

Catherine: 1st Sport
Kym: 3rd Pro/expert

I didn't do the finals, I was racing elsewhere, so I was ineligible for the series podium (more on my travels to race with the "Big Girls" later...) It is still cool to be in the overall standings!!

August has a been a LONG busy month so far!!

Whew. I have been on a whirlwind tour of the east coast this month. I've hardly had time to sleep, let alone keep everyone updated on the travels and racing. I am going to try to get caught up on my postings this week. Last week was spent getting caught up on bills and work. Sorry, the blog post falls somewhere behind that.

So, where did I leave off???

SERC banquet.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another SERC series in the books.

And a WIN at the finals!!! Kym is all smiles.

Yesterday was the SERC finals in Fontana, NC. It is always a great weekend punctuated by a slight bit of sadness than we aren't going to see some of our race friends again until spring. The weekend is usually a bit of a party and a ton of racing. There is a Downhill race Saturday afternoon and a night Short Track (complete with costumes). We had girls racing in all the weekend's events and we were well represented. What a great time!!!
Fontana had gotten about 3 inches of rain last week leading up to the race so it was going to be a little damp. Fontana is always slightly slick, but if the rain held off, it probably would be alright. Personally, I race well in the mud so I was secretly hoping for some mud. The forecast was iffy, I might just get my wish....

Catherine battled the mud and the competition for second place.

Our pre-ride was good. The trails were slick but not too muddy. Bike handling was going to be important but it wasn't sloppy. I had put the mud tires on for the weekend so if the rain didn't roll in I was going to be a little bit slow on Sunday. Come ON rain!!!!
Shannon started off the weekend for us by entering the Downhill race. She raced well, and did it with a smile, finishing 2nd. Great job Shannon!!! She then suited up in her angel wings (yes, actual wings that are part of a Halloween costume) and got ready for the Short Track that evening. She was definitely the cutest one out there and got a ton of cheers, even if her legs were really tired after the Downhill and pre-ride earlier in the day. She faded from 2nd to 4th but was smiling the entire race.

Saturday night my rain dance worked. It started to fall about 10pm and rained ALL night long. It finally stopped about 10am, just in time to warm-up. They shortened all the races by one lap and Dave Berger, the promoter asked me if I thought that 14.5 miles was too short for a pro women's race. I asked how bad the trail was; his response: "As bad as I've ever seen it". In that case, two laps will be plenty. The mud tires were a great choice and all of my bike handling skills were necessary. It was like riding in peanut butter.
The race started and in the first minute we were off the bikes running/pushing/slogging up the first climb. Anina ran at a fast pace and gapped Shelly and I. I tried to stay focused: "just be smooth and pedal once you get back on the bike". We re-mounted at the top of the first hill and I quickly caught Anina with Shelly right on my wheel. I passed her on a slight uphill and attacked at 6 mph. It was actually pretty comical to think about in retrospect. Three girls racing as hard as they could in slow motion in the sloppy mud. The rest of the field was nowhere to be found. We had dropped them on the first walking section. As it was so many times this year, the finals was going to come down to a battle between Anina the climber, Shelly the bike handler and me the all around-er. I took my chances at the front and slowly built a gap over the two of them. I didn't know if I was going to be able to hold it, but I figured it was now or never. I was feeling really good, the bike was floating through the mud with ease and I was pedaling over and through sections that I was watching everyone else struggle with. I was having a great ride on a seriously miserable day!!! I've never won Fontana so today was a day that I REALLY wanted to win. Not to mention that I wanted to show one last time why I was the one winning the series. I did it. I won with over a 5 minute gap on second place. Anina and Shelly had a tough battle for second and ended up very close, with Anina taking it. Great job ladies, it's been a really fun season and the competition has been intense.

Emily and Shannon also raced in the pro/expert field and they both had great days. Emily had an amazing ride to end an amazing season for her. She has been racing in a combined pro/expert field as a 16 year old all season and she's held her own. She finished the season as the top ranked expert in our category, besting a number of pros and taking 4th overall for the year. Sunday she capped of her dominance by finishing 5th, she was the first expert and was only 2 seconds behind 4th place. Shannon raced a great race even as tired as she was from all her racing the day before. She rolled in right behind Emily for 6th.
Catherine also rocked it in the mud for 2nd place in her race. She ended up 3rd overall this season due to her absence at one of the bonus point rounds. She was traveling to Nationals at the time where she stood on the podium so it was an acceptable trade off....

It has been a great series, one of the most competitive I can remember and we put a rider on the series podium for each women's catergory. Look for a complete report on the Series Banquet coming soon.

Thanks for reading...