Monday, February 15, 2010

My new ride!!

Most of the new team bikes are here and they ROCK. Thanks Trek for the hook up on the killer bikes and thanks to Tyler, Mike and Taylor at Trek Store, Chattanooga for all the help getting them set up.

Here is a picture of my new road bike, a Madone 6.9. It is so fun to ride; it's fast, responsive and light weight (sub 15 pounds). in fact, it was so fun that I had to keep reminding myself to slow down coming off the mountain Saturday on the maiden voyage. It made a cold day fun.

Ride number 2 was even more of an adventure and the bike rose to the occasion. We rolled out in 35 degree weather with snow flurries. I assured Mark that the weather was going to hold as we'd be fine. About 30 minutes from home we encountered what could only be described as a blizzard. It was snowing so hard we couldn't see, there was ice sticking to the bikes and it was blowing like crazy. Fortunately it was still above freezing so the roads didn't freeze. It was an adventure and the bike did great. Mark, on the other hand, was not so thrilled with me. Happy Valentines Day, hon.

I am looking forward to more rides on my new road bike, hopefully in a little better weather. My new mountain bike arrived a few days ago too... I am DYING to ride her.

Thanks for reading...

New Sponsor, New Team Name, Same AWESOME girls!!!

We are officially now Grace Law-Trek presented By Vantaggio, Elite Womens Mountain Bike Team. Yep, long name but with the incredible support we have this season, I'll scream that team name repeatedly from the roof tops.

As of February 12th Steve Grace, Grace Law, Nashville has become our title sponsor. Thanks Steve, you are our hero!!! I hope that we can promote your law firm like rock stars and bring you lots of business (not first hand, of course) this season. We will win lots of races with your name on our backs. And of course, we'll do it with a smile.

So, any of you out there reading this; if you need an attorney, we know a good one. Check him out for personal injury, employment law, and criminal defense.

Thanks for reading...

Monday, February 1, 2010

We are the Champions!!!

Still clean, it must be the first lap!!!

The TN State Cyclocross Championships were this past weekend in Johnson City, TN. Of course, no one told Mother Nature of the event so she decided to unleash the worst winter storm that Tennessee has seen in 13 years on Friday. Neat. 5 inches of snow, freezing roads, closed roads, power outages, etc. Our friend Margaret is visiting from NY; I think the weather is her fault. As we watched the snow fall Friday afternoon, we anxiously awaited word as to wheather we needed to start packing the car or cancel the hotel. Finally the word came at about 4pm; the race was still happening. Okay, time to figure out how to get to Johnson City before Sunday. The plan was further complicated at about 10pm Friday night when my power went out. I had my fingers and toes crossed that EPB would get it back on before morning. I couldn't leave town for the weekend if it was still out. I tossed and turned all night long hoping for the best.

Passing the boys...

At 5am my power came back on so we loaded up the truck and headed to Johnson City. We had a full car with 4wd and a lot of bikes. Weather reports said the roads were questionable and there was a LOT of snow north of us. The drive that normally takes a little over 3 hours was going to be much longer today. If we were lucky, we'd get there in time to race today; if not, we would be there before Sunday's race and that was the important one. Saturday night was supposed to get REALLY cold and all the water and snow that was on the roads was going to be ice. As long as we were in Johnson City before that happened we were golden.
Star's podium. Congrats!!!

It took 5.5 hours to get there but we did it. We missed Mark and Star's races but got there in time for Margaret and I to race. What FUN!!!! The snow was soft and melty (techinical term) and it was a mixture of mud, slush and water. It was like riding in sand and skiing all at the same time. I won and Margaret took second. WooHoo!!!! I did have a funny moment on my last lap when I was thinking to myself "Hey, I haven't even crashed yet"... Yep, you guessed it. about a minute later I went sliding down a hill; taking out a couple of poles, tape and myself. I laughed out loud.

Riding the hill in the slop.

Saturday night was spent cleaning bikes (thanks Mark) eating a really YUMMY dinner, and relaxing. The anticipation for Sunday's Championships was never far from our thoughts. We went to bed early and slept well. While we were sleeping, it got cold. Not as cold as they predicted, but still well below freezing (20 degrees). The course that was fun and slushy Saturday was frozen and rutted on Sunday. At 9am when I went to pre-ride it, it was about 50% rideable. Yikes. Mark and Star raced at 10:30... it was not going to get much better by then.

Star making the best out of a bad situation.
They postponed the first race until 11am to let the pavement sections that were covered with ice thaw out but the frozen ruts were still abundent. Fat mountain bike tires might be an advantage today. Let's hope for the best, we've been planning for this one for way too long.

What kind of bike is it?? Funny, the tires are clean!!!

It became aparent very quickly that mountain bikes were faster on the frozed course. Star fought a valiant fight and was the first rider on a cross bike to finish, third overall in her field. She was disappointed until she realized that neither of the girls ahead of her were elligible for the state title. SHE HAD JUST WON THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!! It is so awesome to realize a goal like that after so many miles of hard work. Star is a true champion. She works harder than anyone I know and deserved the win. Congrats!! We are so proud of you. Mark struggled with frozen cleats and finished 8th. I know he was bummed but he had a great attitude and raced as well as he could with what he had to work with. Sometimes things just don't go as planned. That's racing...

Kym and Margaret all smiles after the race.

Margaret and I lined up two hours later in TOTALLY different conditions. The course was a muddy, mucky mess. The "Great Thaw" had begun. It was so sloppy that it was marginally rideable for a different reason. I took the hole shot and worked hard (at a comically slow speed) to get a seperation from the rest of the field. It worked. And then I got to the first non-rideable section. I ran. Unfortunately, there was still enough snow that when you ran, you got ice frozen hard in the cleats. Oh no!!! I suddenly could not clip into my pedals. SO I RAN. And ran. And ran. I got to the pavement and smacked the ice out of my shoes, got clipped in, and decided that I was NOT going to do that again. I still had a small lead and it was time to get back to the task at hand; winning the race. I rode the next three laps better than I could have imagined. I used every bit of mountain bike skill I possessed and rode almost everything. I was one of only three people all day to ride one of the steep, off camber sections. It's funny what riding scared can do for you. The one small uphill that was a run-up I ran on my toes. I looked silly but it worked. I won. State Champion for the third year. AWESOME!!! Margaret took third; it was a great ride for her.

Mark looking fast.

Our poor bikes were not recognizeable as bikes by the time we were done. Everything was frozen. In fact, after I stopped and looked at mine, my rear brake cable wasn't even attached... apparently I didn't need it. After all, brakes only slow you down...

A picture of cross at it's most extreme.

Dwayne in Johnson City put on a class act event in true "Euro Cross" conditions. Thanks for a great event. It was a blast, in spite of the weather. Instead of sitting at home all weekend being bummed that it was too nasty to ride outside, we raced in epic conditions. I LOVE CROSS!!!

Thanks for reading...