Friday, January 29, 2010

Team Training Camp, Chattanooga

I have to say, I have the coolest teammates EVER. Every year things get better and this year we have taken another HUGE jump in both talent and fun factor. This weekend was the first team training camp of 2010 for the Vantaggio/Trek ladies and it was awesome; food, fun and lots of great riding.

The whole team looking good!!!
Our January team camp is a road riding camp. We use it as a way to catch up with old friends, get to know new ones, distribute cool new sponsor products, and work on team cohesiveness. Whew, it was a FULL weekend. We ate, rode, socialized, ate more, rode more and generally just had a great time.

All smiles...
We decided to start things out Friday night with a "Thanksgiving in January" at my house. Our good friends Karen, Rachel and Foye came up with the idea of hosting our little party in conjunction with the team weekend and it ROCKED. I spent Friday cooking, cleaning and running errands in anticipation of the fun. The food was incredible and the company was even better. No one lost any weight Friday night. Other than Amanda and Catherine, the whole team made it in time for dinner and the fun began.

Catherine, you are killing us with that gearing!!!

Saturday morning was breakfast at my house and then time to RIDE. January weather can be so unpredictable; we have had many a team weekend that was freezing, wet and miserable. We lucked out for Saturday's ride. It was mostly cloudy but 54 degrees. I'LL TAKE IT!!!! We had a really nice 4 hour ride with 5 flats (all mine... yes, I know, new tire time) and a kick butt support vehicle. It was all talking, catching up and fun.

Reily "team dog" supervises during the ride.

The flat tires put us behind schedule so we had to rush to get ready for the next part of our weekend.... sponsor relations at the Trek Store. There is nothing quite like 9 women on a schedule and ONE bathroom!!! Sponsor realtions involved pictures, socializing, picking up new bikes and BEER. Thanks again to Tyler and Mike; you guys rock. This is going to be one killer season with such a great shop supporting us!!!

The team with the guys from Trek Store- Front row: Catherine, Kelsey, Anina, Shannon, Star; Back row: Mike, Amy, Emily, Kym, Amanda, Tyler

From the shop we went to our dinner meeting that MIGHT have been not-so-productive due to the "socializing" we did earlier but we sure did have fun... After that it was bedtime. Whew, were we tired.

Anina mastering the rollers with Emily's help.

Sunday we awoke to rain. It was more of a monsoon really. Strong winds, 2-3 inches of rain. Yep, this is the January team weekend I remember. We WANTED to ride outside, really we did. There was just no way to do so and stay safe. So we did the next best thing; trainer ride in Star's basement. This isn't just any basement, it is a media room wit a projection screen, sound system and the works!!! It rocked. We rode for almost 2 hours and barely even noticed we were inside. Anina mastered the rollers and everyone had fun. We definitely made the best of a bad situation.

Enjoying a movie while getting our ride done.

After everyone left  I went home and naped. WHEW. It was a really fun, really long weekend. I am super excited about this season. I really do have the best teammates EVER. It was so good to get to see everyone and get to know some of the new girls better. Watch out world, we are READY to race!!!

Thanks for reading...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pictures from Chattanooga Cross

Star leading the women's CX 4 field

That isn't a smile, it's a grimace of pain.

Is that SNOW on the ground??!!

Okay, that might be a little smile about making those boys work...

Kym making the barriers look easy.

Thanks to Prashant Rawate for the photos.

...and the boys chased the girl.

So yesterday was one of those miserable TN winter days. Not too cold (55 degrees) but foggy, wet and just plain gloomy. Not a day that screams "training ride". I had no motivation to ride my bike. Now racing cross on the other hand, sounded like a blast. This is PERFECT cross weather!!!! We (Mark and I) packed up the truck and headed to Columbia, TN to see what other crazies were looking for some wet, muddy fun.

The turnout for the race was small, as expected. Mark and our friend Steve lined up with about 10 other guys and were the first race of the day. Mark won!!! Great job. Steve took 6th, which was a great ride for our "roadie" friend on a wet muddy day. It was exciting to watch. I was fired up for my race after watching them.

Unfortunately, I was the only woman who showed up. I was scheduled to race at the same time as the Masters 35+ and 45+ men and the Category 3 men. Okay, I'll just race them. I lined up on the front line (which always makes the boys look at me funny) and got the hole shot. That was fun... let's see if I can beat these boys today. Two of them passed me on the flat power section but I stuck with them and did my thing on the long hill. This used-to-be-sprinter-turned-climber, climbed away from the front of the men's field. Hehe.... I pushed hard every lap on the hill, taking my lead to over a minute by the finish. I have raced with the men many times and feel that I am fairly competitive near the front of their field. I have NEVER ridden aways from them in a race so completely. It was an awesome feeling. I lapped two of the riders at the back of the field and ended up having the BEST day in crappy, miserable conditions.

I guess it just goes to show, sometimes it's not the weather but what you do with it that matters....

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chattanooga Cross and THE NEW BIKES ROCK!!!!!!

This weekend was a double whammy of a weekend for us. Not only were we racing on our hot new bikes, we were doing it at home in front of everyone we knew. AND to top it off, Vantaggio Fitness and Scenic City Velo our sponsor and our sponsoring club, were the promoters. No pressure, but we REALLY wanted to win.

Star and I are the cross racers of the team so we took the reigns on the racing front with the rest of the girls acting as volunteers and cheering section. Let me tell you, it was a kick butt race. (And I am not just saying that because Mark was the race director.) We had music, an announcer, and host housing with a pot luck dinner Saturday night. It was so much fun. Don't get me wrong, I am exhausted and ready to DROP, but it was such a great weekend.

Back to the race report.... Star started off the weekend right with a win for the team (she only took one wrong turn on the course.... yes, she helped design it but "tunnel vision" can hit hard in the heat of battle). She took control of the race up the starting hill and never looked back. Star has become the girl to beat. Great job, we are SO proud of you! She was even more convincing  with sunday's win, and it was minus the wrong turn too! That makes 6 wins in a row. Go Star.

Saturday I had no girls to race against. I started with the cat 3 men and it was fun. I got the hole shot off the start and made it look good for the crowd. I ended up 4th in the field and had a blast. I was reeling 2nd and 3rd in fast but they got me by about 10 seconds at the finish. Thanks for making me work boys....

Sunday we had a good strong field in the 1/2/3 Women's race. My biggest competition was my friend Andrea from Memphis. Andrea is a kick butt road racer and she kills me when we race crits. Historically I have beaten her fairly easily off road but Andrea has a new found love for all things dirt and has been riding her mountain and cross bikes a ton. I know how strong and talented she is and I NEVER underestimate my competition, especially someone as strong as her. I was going to have to be on my "A" game. It had been a very long tiring weekend (being married to the race director automatically give a person a TON of responsibilites and little sleep on race weekend), finding my legs was not as easy as I hoped. I got a good long warm-up in and I was as ready as I was going to be. They gave us a minute gap to the cat 3 men so we didn't have to worry about passing them early on, and we were off.  I started hard and took the hole shot. I figured my best bet was to get a gap early and hope that my body held up for 45 minutes. It worked. And I held up better than I thought I would. I built a decent lead early on and then slowly continued to build on it. I won by a large margin and had a blast. The new bike rocked. I forgot I was riding something other than a trusted old friend. That is the biggest compliment I cna give to a new ride. Thanks Trek!!!!

Thanks to everyone that came out to the race this weekend. It took a ton of work to make it happen and all the volunteers, sponsors, racers and specatators made it possible. And especially thanks to Mark. He made it one of the best races in the state of Tennessee!!!

On that note, it's long past bedtime for me. Thanks for reading...

Friday, January 8, 2010


Today I got the first of my new team bikes; a 2010 Trek XO2 cyclocross bike. Mine and Star's arrived yesterday and thanks to Mike at the Trek Store, and Shawn from Trek, we will be racing new bikes this weekend. I am SO excited. It is a really sexy red, white and black bike. I am looking forward to the first ride today.

I will post pictures here soon...

Starting out 2010 right

So it is COLD here. Really cold. Wisconsin cold. Almost too cold to ride outside. My solution; race of course...

With that being said, last Sunday Star, Mark and I decided that there is still cross racing going on and we should give it a try. It was 21 degrees when we woke up and wasn't supposed to get above freezing all day. Time to pack the warm clothing. All of it. we loaded the car and headed to Columbia, TN.

The fields were small. Apparently the cold scared off a lot of racers. I would much rather race cross that do a long cold training ride this time of year but apparently everyone does not share my sentiments. Star had some girls to race with but I was alone in my quest in the 1/2/3 women's field. That's okay, I raced at the same time as the Cat 3 and the Masters men. I'll just race them!!!

Star continued her dominance and rode away from the cat 4 women's field. She's ready to race as a category 3; she's got two more weekends as a cat 4 then it is time for the State Championships and an upgrade. Great race girl!!! Star has really come into her own ths year with cross. She's the girl to beat right now in the southeast in the cat 4 women's field.

I lined up with about 15 men. Fun times. I started at the back; I didn't technically have anyone I was racing so I didn't want to get in their way. They said go and I threaded through the men quickly and soon found myself riding comfortably in the top 5. Okay, this is fun. And then I passed another one. And another one. I rode a very steady pace and as the guys started to fade I was catching them. In fact, all of my laps were within 10 seconds of each other. I finished 3rd overall. Jordan, a friend of ours and a cat 2 roadies was gone; I wouldn't have caught him on an open course like this one, regardless of how strong I rode. Second place however was one lap away from me catching him. I finished 15 seconds down and I was closing fast, I just ran out of real estate. So, me, 15 boys and I beat 13 of them. For a girl that has been traveling and not doing much since Nationals, I feel really good about that. Thanks guys for making me work!!!

We've got a few more weekend of cold weather and winter cross races. This weekend is the local race. Mark is the promoter and I am his helper. If the ground thaws long enough to get the course set up it is going to be fun times.

Thanks for reading...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Good bye to a great friend and hello to a new era.

As of today, January 1, 2010, we say goodbye to an "old friend" and usher in a new era of the team. We have decided for 2010 to race with the support of Trek Bicycles. Specialized has been awesome to us over the years and makes incredible bikes, the guys were wonderful and it has been difficult to say good bye. Thanks for the years of help and support, WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!

As difficult as it was to end the relationship with Specialized, we are extremely crazy excited about the new relationship we are forming with Trek. As many of you know, a new Trek store opened up in Chattanooga this past year and I am employed there. They are GREAT guys. Killer service and outstanding mechanics. I have loved every minute of my employment there and am really excited to have the support of the shop and Trek for the team going forward. Tyler, Mike and all the guys are psyched to have the team and ready to support us any way they can. THANKS GUYS!!!!

Here's to 2010 being the best year yet...