Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Team Clothing

We are still waiting on our new clothing but I though I'd give everyone a sneak peak of what it is going to look like. We are REALLY excited.

Thanks to all of our sponsors; especially Grace Law, Trek and Vantaggio Fitness!!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hell of the South

Any race named "Hell of the South" immediately gets my attention. As I put on my bad idea jeans I think, "this is my kind of course..." -Kym

Kym, Shannon and Kelsey on the starting line.

We made our 2010 forray into road racing this past weekend in Berlin, TN (no, I had never heard of it either), just south of Nashville and it was a blast. The Hell of the South was advertised as a Paris-Roubaix type road race with rough pavement and dirt roads. Those who train with me know that it sounded just like another day of riding with Kym. I was excited. Even better was the fact that Swiftwick, one of our sponsors, was a big sponsor to the event. Yep, we were going. We were not only excited to race our kick butt new Trek road bikes, we were also excited to meet Rachel and the rest of the Swiftwick gang.

Shannon, Kelsey and I headed to Berlin under cloudy skies with a forcast of 70 and sunny later in the day. Perfect. It was going to be an intersting day. They were only running 3 races, A, B, and C. The 1/2/3 women raced the B race with the Category 4 men but we had a $100 bonus for the first woman. Hmmm. I was not exactly thrilled to be thrown in with them. Nothing personal to the guys, but Cat 4's can be a bit sketchy and tend to have a bit more testosterone that I prefer to race with, especially in a sprint. There was no significant climbing on the course (my specialty) so I figured it was going to be a day of paying close attention and staying near the front of the pack. I was really excited that my friend Andrea from Memphis was racing too. She's always a tough competitor and has a way of owning me on the road in the same way I tend to own her on the dirt. I was hoping that her and I could hurt some boys together and then battle it out at the finish for the $100 women's bonus. I figured with two teammates to help, I had a pretty good chance.

After a COLD warm up (where was the sun that they promised us??), we were lined up and ready to go. I was at the front of the field and planned on staying there for the day. They said "go" and a rider put in a solo attack off the front. Everyone look as each other and decided we'd see him again soon enough. It was a full on battle to stay near the front. The roads were chip and seal, pot hole filled, narrow and gravely. Being a 125 pound girl in a field of big boys, it was a battle to hold my place. It was awesome. The first dirt section was 9 miles into the race and I knew that was where things were going to split up. We hit the dirt and the race was ON. Suddenly the cross racer/mountain biker in me took over and I took some hairy lines through the pack. I almost felt sorry for any true roadies that were on my wheel. We exited the gravel and I was at the front of the selection (and we had caught solo attack man...). I looked for teammates and didn't see any other women except Andrea. CRAP. Things were so sketchy in the gravel I hoped they were safe and still rolling. I found out after the race that Shannon got caught behind some slow boys and ended up in the first chase group. Apparently she worked those boys over. Kelsey (who is still waiting on her new Trek) dropped her chain and was chasing solo behind Shannon's group somewhere. I was on my own. Andrea then informed me that her ulnar nerve was giving her troubles and she was pulling out. CRAP. It was now me and about 25 boys. Yep, I am out numbered. I tried a couple of attacks (I did shell a few boys, hehe...) but I went nowhere and eventually resigned myself to the fact that I was sprinting with a group of big men. Not so good for me. As we turned to the 2 mile run in to the finish things got dicey. The testosterone came out in full force; there was a lot of bumping, close calls and yelling. I drifted to the back. It just wasn't worth it to try for the win; I already had the $100 women's purse and chances were good that this climber girl wasn't going to win a sprint against these boys anyway. As the guys blew up I picked my way through the field to a respectable 10th place finish. Shannon schooled the chase group and won the sprint and Kelsey rode solo for a lap and a half to be the third woman to finish. Great job ladies.

Grace Law- Trek p/b Vantaggio goes 1,2,3 in the women's field.

This event rocked. I can't express how much fun I had racing with my teammates and the Cat 4 guys (who were not nearly as scary as I was anticiapting...). Thanks to the boy who referred to me as "pretty lady" while we were racing; you made my day!! And a HUGE thanks to Swiftwick and all the other sponsors and individuals that made this race happen. The only request I have is MORE DIRT next year. But I think that is the mountain biker in me talking. And I definitely have my bad idea jeans on....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

SERC #1- Look out Florida, here we come...

Three of the top 5. What a great way to start the season!!

It has been a long COLD winter, the worst one the Southeast has seen in 15 years, and training has been less than "ideal". We are all excited for spring and race season but this year, we were also little unsure of the level of fitness we have maintained. It was with this sense of anticiaption that we loaded up and went in search of the warmth and sun of Florida for SERC (Southeast Regional Championship Series) #1. Florida is always tough for a few reasons; it is the first race of the year, it is hotter than our bodies are used to, and the trails are completely different than anything else we ever race. Think BMX track through the trees. It's a ton of fun but not my forte. This year the cold winter was going to compound the shock of racing in the warmth and sun. With all that being said, I was really just excited to race my new bike and get to do it without wearing a ton of clothing.

Emily, Mark and I loaded up Friday afternoon and began the long journey to FL where we were meeting up with Anina and Amanda. Our drive was plagued with Spring Break weekend traffic. It took FOREVER to get to our annual stop in Valdosta, Ga. We were hoping that Saturday's drive was going to be shorter (theoretically we were within 2 hours of the race course) and less traffic filled.

We woke up to perfect weather and good driving conditions. It took us almost no time to get to the course and it was so great to see all of our racing friends that we haven't seen since last fall. Everyone was worried about their fitness after such a harsh winter so at least I was not the only one who feels a bit "behind" in training. After saying our hello's and getting the tent up, it was time to RIDE.

Have I mentioned that I love my new bike?? My Trek Top Fuel WSD 9.8 is by far the fastest and lightest bike I've ever ridden. I was definitely not going to lose the race on Sunday because of the bike. The pre-ride reinforced this feeling of speed. I felt good and had a blast. The trail was tough but it flowed nicely. The hardest part was in the beginning of the lap; the end was more about fitness and even a little bit of climbing. Hmmm, this might me my year. About that, I have only won Florida once in all my years of racing and it was not against any of the Florida girls. Both Shelly and Caroline are strong competitors on any course but in their own back yard in March, they are almost unbeatable. Both of them were going to be there this weekend. They have been riding and racing all winter and they are so fast on the Florida trails anyway. Even on my fast new bike it was going to be a tough race.

Kym, Amanda, Anina and Emily model the new Tifosi glasses and Giro helmets.

Saturday night was full of two other race weekend rituals that we have missed, ice baths and hotel dinners. The ice bath is a must the night before the race, my legs always thank me the next day (although they are not so happy the night of...). Our non-heated hotel pool was perfect for the job. I am sure that the other hotel guests though we were crazy standing in the shallow end of the pool in swimsuit bottoms and sweatshirts in the 50 degree weather at 7pm. The dinner was our reward. I was "mom" for the weekend and before we left home I made individual serving pasta dishes for all of us. With Anina contributing the salad and Emily entertaining all of us we enjoyed a relaxing dinner in our room. No Saturday night waiting for a table, no suprises, just good times and good food. We did learn that our over priced hotel had a towel shortage and it paid to be one of the first to shower. Emily got to use two shower floor towels to dry off with. After a fun relaxing evening it was bedtime.

We awoke (after loosing an hour to daylight savings time) ready to race. The sun was shining and it was going to be warm, but not hot. Good, I might not melt. Fortunately we had the 11:30am start so it wasn't as bad getting up as it could have been. We had a strong field of women and the prize money was big, $1000 to the top 5 finishers plus $150 bonus for the fastest lap of the day. I wanted that money. I don't race to make money but it sure does help when I do.

They said "go" and I went on auto-pilot. Yep, I still know how to race. It was the same scene that played out last year a dozen times. Shelly got the hole shot and I was hot on her wheel. Damn that girl has a kick at the start.  I settled into my pace and hoped for the best. I resigned myself to the fact that she was probably going to school me on her turf, but that never stops me from trying to win. About halfway through the first of our four laps it was Shelly and I still together. Hmmm, there are some hills at the end of the lap. I think I might be able to get that fastest lap prize if I attack in the right place. I went for it with everything I had. I attacked on the last climb out of the quarry and tried to make it look good. Ouch. It worked!!! I had about 10 seconds going into lap two and my fist lap was ended up as fastest lap of the day. Yay me!!! $150 in my pocket. Now, back to the task at hand, racing. I figured I was going to see Shelly pretty quickly after that attack but I never did. Apparetly my attack hurt her worse than it did me. I won!!! In Florida. In March. After a long cold winter. Against the locals. Every stinkin' trainer/roller ride I did in my living room was worth it. Yes, those days still sucked but it was worth it. My total paycheck for the weekend was $500. Race season is off to a great start.

Kym showing off the Swiftwick t-shirt on the podium. LOVE their socks!!!

Anina also had a hard fought battle with Caroline (another screaming fast Florida native) for 3rd. They beat each other up for all 4 laps and in the end Anina attacked like a mad woman and took the sprint. She looked super strong across the finish line and I was proud she was our teammate. She too has had a strong winter of training. Congrats girl, you are going to school us all this year.

Amnada was the first non-pro in the field and 5th overall, beating at least one of the pro riders. She was all smiles when she finished and is off to a stellar start to her 2010 season. It's not going to be long before she is racing as a pro if she keeps up those kind of races.

Emily, at 17 years old, is always impressive to watch. Not only is she racing against adults, she is doing it in a combined pro/expert field. And she does it well. She took 10th and looked strong the whole day. Emily, please remember the little people when you are winning the big ones someday.

Florida was a huge success for the team and a HUGE reminder of how great my teammates are. We have the best team ever this season. Not only are the girls all EXTREMELY talented, they are a ton of fun. Thanks ladies for making racing bikes so awesome.

Check out Emily, Anina and Amanda's race reports on their blogs.

Thanks for reading....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Be there. Enough said.

NC Team Camp

This past weekend was our second team camp of the season. We hold this camp in NC, just outside of Brevard at our great friend and sponsor Scott's cabin. Scott Wagner, of Wagner Research, is AWESOME. Thanks Scott, we had a wonderful weekend hanging with you.

As most of you know, this winter has not been kind to the Southeast. We have had more snow, cold and wet than the past 10 years combined. Not only has this made our winter training miserable, it has left our trails under lots of snow. Now one of the reasons we go to NC the end of February every year is to ride on some of our favorite trails. WE LOVE PISGAH. Well this year mother nature was having none of it. I arrived in North Carolina Thursday evening to snow. The mountains over there were even harder hit than Chattanooga. They were still under many inches of snow. And even if the trails were somehow miraculously rideable, there were so many trees down that there was just no way it was going to happen. We were not going to ride our favorite trails this year. Boo. I guess we've got to go to "plan B".

One happy team.
Camp "officially" started Friday night but Anina and I were there and ready to ride on Friday morning. Scott had been talking to the locals and the word was that if we wanted REAL, dry, rideable trails we needed to drive about 40 miles to South Carolina. Clemson was close, not in the mountains and had some fun trails. The same ones we race on mid-season. Ok. I'm game for the drive. We loaded up and off we went.

Happy brithday Emily.
What a great idea. It was so fun to FINALLY get to ride my new bike on actual trails. I felt like I was flying. I had to keep reminding myself that we were on a fun ride and I needed to slow down a bit. I was like a kid on Christmas. My new bike, a Trek Top Fuel WSD 9.8, totally ROCKS. I cannot wait to race her.

All smiles while the dirt was still frozen.
By Friday night, we were all there except for Catherine who was still recovering from wisdon tooth removal and was joining us in the morning. We played a really fun game that Emily had gotten for her birthday called Scrabble Slam. It is essentially speed Scrabble with cards. The whole game is played with four letter words (yep, we MIGHT have been a little inappropriate at times). We were all amazed at how good Shannon was at it until we realized that she had been cheating the whole night. To her credit is was unintentional.

Still calm and correctly spelled...
Saturday we awoke to cold temperatures but the sun was shining and the weather man said it was going to warm up. We decided to hit the "trails" (open fire roads) at DuPont State Forest before it thawed and got too muddy. We went on a nice 2 hour ride and saw some really pretty waterfalls. As things started to get muddy we were heading back for lunch and a swap to the road bikes. Catherine arrived mid-morning and her teeth (or holes where the teeth used to be) were feeling much better.

Emily enjoying the view atop Ceasar's Head Mountain.
The afternoon ride had been revised to a road ride up and over Ceasar's Head mountain. Wow, what a view. It was an awesome long climb and then we descended to South Carolina. We then turned around and headed back up and over the mountain again. Fun times. It was great to have Amy driving sag for us. She's still recovering from surgery and is not allowed to ride outside so she was our "support crew". Amy, you were AWESOME. Thanks so much for driving our food and warm clothing around behind us.

The Team with a view behind.
Saturday night was more yummy food, birthday cake to celebrate Emily's 17th birthday, (Amy and I had some "issues" hiding on the porch trying to get the candles lit. We accidentally blew it out about four times and laughed so hard we almost peed ourselves...), and good times playing more Scrabble Slam. Amy made up her own words and gave us definitions to go with them. She also somehow kept winning.... Hmm.

Amy, what does this word mean????
Sunday we did a four hour mountain bike "adventure" at DuPont State Forest. We actually pedaled our bikes for about 2 of the four hours we were out. It was still a great day with good friends. And you all know how I feel about ADVENTURE!!!! I am covered with bruises and scratches from hiking over a downed FOREST of trees, but it was worth it. Catherine also got the award for entertaining us for the day with the most "girlie" scream I have ever heard. And it lasted forever. She was riding over a frozed puddle and the ice slowly began to crack. As she started to fall through she screamed. And screamed. And screeeeeaaaaaamed. She never got wet or came off the bike. Impressive.

And then our weekend was over and it was time to go home. I had such a great time with my teammates. And such a great time seeing Scott. I am so excited for the season to start so I can spend more time with everyone. The racing is just an added bonus.

Some things we learned about everyone this weekend:

1. Amy is quirky.
2. Next year Scott is registering for Leadville as "Scottina" in hopes of getting in.
3. Shannon knows a lot of 4 letter words
4. Catherine had a lot of stuff stuck in her hole all weekend.
5. Anina determined that the 2 man luge is the "gayest" sport in the olympics. Watch it, she has a point.
6. Emily LOVES ice cream.
7. Emily HATES Withering Heights.
8. Kym is writing the list so we don't get to pick on her... :)

Thanks for reading...