Monday, December 12, 2005

that's a wrap

Things weren't quite right. I slept for 10 1/2 hours Saturday night into Sunday. I awoke to a phone call from one of my best friends and dedicated mechanic, Greg. Apparently he was in an ambulance with a finger shooting off in the wrong direction. Crashed while warming up. :( Dislocated, fractured, and tendon ripped away from the bone. Sorry you didn't get to race, G-Man. More sorry that you busted one of your digits.

When I got to the race, more wasn't right. The first time I walked up the hill toward the race, I felt something was out of sorts. My heart started pounding and I was out of breath just walking up the hill. Not sure why. But I told myself it was a good thing - that my heart was jumping fast into action and ready to work. I was nervous, too. The course looked hellish, and I studied Paul Curley to learn some lines. I was psyched to race. I wanted to have a great ride. When I rode the course at 12:30, though, I grew really afraid. I had a hard time riding the majority of the course. Many sections actually scared me! Luckily, adrenaline took over and fear dissolved once the whistle blew.

I hoped for a front row start, but the ice in the start/finish chute forced them to start fewer riders across. That's fine. I would rather have been second row than have to ride through the ice as one of the last staged in the first row! I know that I can't blame my start on anyone else. I am always told repeatedly that I just have to go around people. But I did end up behind the slowest wheel in the front row. She went sideways, and even bumping those beside me, I still couldn't get around her. It was a bad start for me. I was probably riding top 15 for awhile, then I went backwards. My legs wouldn't pedal, I just had nada. I don't know why. I didn't feel the fear I had when I was warming up (except in the treacherous off-camber) but I just couldn't go fast. I don't really understand it. Couldn't run, either, and last weekend I felt like I was flying on my feet. I guess I couldn't "get out of my own way".... (:-P) I am a bit disappointed, cuz my performance at the year's biggest race just wasn't even close to what I hoped for or what I'm capable of.

There was one amusing part of the race, though:

I see London, I see France,
Marianne Stover ripped her pants!!

Man, I wished I had a camera on the bike. I couldn't believe the sight as I rode up behind her and saw, well, more than I had expected anyway! Don't worry, Marianne, probably not too many people got the look that I did... you were so covered with mud.

Kudos to Mo, Anna, and Pauline and all others who had stellar rides! Oh, and Bill Sawyer who got 3rd in the 50-54s!!! Only 10 seconds out of 2nd and 1:17 off Curley... I also can't believe that Paul Curley has been winning national championships since I was 8 years old.... wow.

Anyway, I can't believe it's all over. I'm sad that I have to wait another 9 months to try again. But a lot will happen in between. Stay tuned if you'd like, as my blog will continue all winter into road season.

The saddest part about nationals was that the beer tent was closed by the time my race was over. I never even got to sip a frosty libation in good company. That's one bad thing about being the last race.

So Everyone, thanks for the cheers. I hope to give y'all more to cheer about in good time.

shameless self-promotion

On J.S. McElvery's website...

(I love how everyone's been spelling my name "Wellens" lately... like Bart! :)

I'll have my nats wrap-up posted later today...

Friday, December 09, 2005


When you're a teacher, everyone assumes the best part of the job is July and August... I disagree! The snow day is my favorite teaching benefit. :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Final Prep for the Big Dance

Great weather for riding at dusk tonight... 27 degrees with 14 degree wind chill and 25 mph wind gusts. Oh, and snow flurries. Actually, it really wasn't that bad, except my feet got chilly after an hour. Maybe I'll ride to school (work) tomorrow. I'm being observed by the principal, though, and have to appear "put together."

I'm having dreams about nationals already. Last night I had the race of my life and took second... yeah, then I woke up. I'm happy that I'll have a front row start. This weekend should be lots of fun!

Ok, made spicy peanut noodles and vegetables for dinner tonight and now time to put my new Frogglegs on my Voodoo.

On a parting note... check out this ridiculous truck I saw on the drive home from Saturday's race. I wish I got a better picture of the side - it had "Greenpeace" graphics printed on the side! (Right above the double fuel tanks...)

It's like a Ford V-12 or something ass'inine. It's hard to see how absurd it is just from the pic. It was crazy to drive up next to it. Freakish.

Monday, December 05, 2005

RI Race Weekend

I'm in full cooking mode now, and stirring the brown rice risotto with pumpkin gives me plenty of time to recap my weekend here on my blog.

Friday afternoon I anxiously awaited the arrival of my Voodoo frame, which FedEx finally brought at 5 pm. I was immediately upset when I saw the packing job, which consisted of some newspaper taped around the frame. Yep. I should have brought it home on the plane with me. My fears were confirmed; the rear derailleur hanger was bent pretty out of whack. The silver lining: I bought this bike because it was steel, and steel is pliable. Jason over at Ace Wheelworks bent it back for me, although it looks like it needs some more work and possibly a new hanger welded on, because I cannot get my rear wheel back out of the dropouts....
I rode the bike successfully while warming up both Saturday and Sunday, and it fits great and rides nicely. What a shame... nice frame.

So Friday night was a late one. G and me had a bike workshop cooking in my kitchen until 2 am. I was a bit tired on Saturday, especially from being on my feet for so many hours after work.

For those of you who missed the start of the elite women's race on Saturday, Marianne's arrival on the scene was that of myth and legend. After going the wrong way, hours of speeding, getting pulled over twice (leading to one $250 speeding ticket), and actually peeing in a water bottle while stuck in traffic (I think this happened before she got pulled over for driving up the breakdown lane), Marianne arrived panting, frantic, and gloveless at the blustery cold start line. She had a decent start, all pumped up on adrenaline like that, but unfortunately didn't know the course (as she had no time for pre-riding) and biffed the first run up, since she didn't know it was there. Ah, oh well. All for the love of cross.

I had a good initial start, jumping first up the road, but I took a wrong line eaerly on and watched as 3 people passed me. I just had no legs and couldn't close gaps. I slipped back and ended up 5th by virtue of another's misfortune, but I'll take it.

Sunday's race just plain ROCKED. The course was awesome, and it would have been great under any conditions. Luckily, we had snow. I looked forward to getting some snow practice. My bruises (and pride) were still swollen from crashing at Sterling, and I wanted another shot at snow this year, particularly given the decent chance that next weekend will be white. I can't believe how well I ran the sand in the race. I just felt like I was flying. I don't know if I've ever run that well in a cross race. I hope this is a new trend for me! Mo and Christine were simply fast. As we all know, Mo rides like butter. So smooth it's unbelivable. Since she's also pretty much one of the nicest people on the planet, she fills a special role as "hero" in my world.
CONGRATULATIONS to Mo for winning the Verge series!!!

I rode pretty well, catching Mackenzie as she seemed to slow. There was a group of 4 of us, keeping the pressure on each other and the pace high. I attacked in the last lap on the beach run, and got a small gap. I held it until the final corner, when I rode too defensively. I knew there were 3 behind me, and a fall would mean losing 3 places. I took the last icy corner too slow, and Mackenzie passed me. The finish was not on the road for us, and after the last corner, there was no room to catch or pass. So I missed 4th place by feet. Had I stayed ahead in that corner, I would have had fourth. I was disappointed, but that race was so fun!

Thanks to everyone who cheered for me this weekend! It's so wonderful to hear my name shouted out as I'm suffering around the course. One day I'm gonna win something for you all.
And thank you to Todd R. and G-Man for coming to my rescue and helping in the pit!! You guys were pros.

Here are a few pics:

They moved the finish to the road for the men's race, and it was an exciting sprint, with McCormick beating Johnson by a hair.

The bridge was a great vantage point for viewing.

Paul Weiss - photographers never get their picture taken!!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

waitin on fedex

new frame's still not here...
i'm cooking for myself tonight. :(
curried lentil couscous with sauteed mushrooms and spinach
this is one of my favorite dishes!

with enough requests, i might share my secret recipe... ;-) but i'd rather make it for you!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Well, my whiplash is mostly gone now. My shoulder is still sore but has full movement now. My shin and calf bruises are still swollen, but turning to a purply-yellow mix. I should be ready to play this afternoon at practice! The last one. :(
I can't believe cx is almost over...

...but Matt's blog cheers me up!

Tales of a Middle School Teacher

So today I decided it was time to show my fifth grade music classes a Charlie Brown cartoon about the history of American music. I love Charlie Brown, so it sure makes my day go easier! Kids astound me, though. I have to share a comment one student made this morning.

The video eventually tells the story of how so many immigrants came to America in the early 1900s. Irving Berlin, a Russian immigrant and musician, wrote such famous songs as "God Bless America" (yes, we have him to thank) and "Alexander's Ragtime Band."

One of my students who is usually quiet and happens to be a very patient and polite boy practically jumped out of his seat and shouted out angrily, "I just have to say one thing! I hate immigrants! Especially Mexican ones!"

Yikes. Okay, so after my stomach dropped, I tried to recognize this as a "teachable moment."
After catching my breath, I reasoned with him and the class that everyone here except the Native Americans came from somewhere else originally, right? So, his own ancestors were even immigrants, etc... We are a land of immigrants from around the world and their descendants.

Where does a nice little boy like this HEAR THESE THINGS?? It frightens me. I just hope I could make an impression on him.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Num num num num num num!

Aah... the warm scent of a pumpkin pie in the oven! I'm in cooking mode!! Pie and raisin-walnut bars tonight! In the immortal words of my hero Cookie Monster, "Num num num num num num num!!"

Still waiting for my new (well new to me, bought used) Voodoo cx frame to arrive... I may need help building it! Who near me has a headset press and a tool to install a bottom bracket? I'll trade food for help!! =D

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fridge Poetry

(forgive the blurriness and poor exposure)
homage to Greg's fridge

Gearworks Race

More extremes in racing... from last weekend's 85-degree dry scorcher to yesterday's surf through several inches of snow... crazy stuff.

Kudos to Tom for putting together such a cool course!

I arrived at the race early after being chastised for not arriving early enough at races. It was pretty cold. I can't believe how much the course conditions changed over the course of 4 hours. When I rode it before 10, it rocked. Before 11, it still rocked. I was having so much fun feeling like a little kid again out on my Huffy in the winter snow. It began snowing, adding some fresh stuff to the mix. Then when I rode the course around 1, I got worried. It was packed down in spots and and SLIPPERY beyond my expectations. I ran a front Grifo and a rear Tufo LPS with such low pressure you could push down on the tire and hit the rim. Nothing saved me. After an uninspired start, I crashed several times and just couldn't make back the time. I couldn't ride hard enough on the course to even feel like I was working, but any harder and I bit it in the corners.

I had a couple of really dramatic moments, like at the left corner around the fence before hitting the pavement. It had become as slick as sheer ice, and I went down so hard for a brief instant I thought I rebroke my collarbone. My neck hurts badly today from the hard jolt, and I have a WIKKID deep muscle bruise and broken skin at the base of my right calf that rendered me unable to walk without limping after the race. I also have a huge bruise swelled up on the base of my right shin. I'm sure everyone got some lumps yesterday.

Oh, yeah, I need to mention the other dramatic moment. Actually, I found it pretty embarrassing! This was the complete race-killer for me. The little hill after the barriers... I rode it consistently without difficulty on every warm-up lap and the first few race laps. Then, in the second to last lap, while riding up it, my bike slid out from under me. And then I slid... down down the hill. Felt like slow motion. Kicking for a foothold was useless. I found none on the slick hill. I then tried to right myself and push my bike up it, but my feet kept slipping... so, you get the idea. I can't belive how much time I lost there. And of course, it was the spot where most of the crowd gathered watching. And I believe Fries had just been exclaiming some "Ringism" on the mic about what a smooth rider I am...

Thanks, Greg, for all your help. And thanks for cheering me on as always, Dad, even in the snowy cold. Sorry your slick little roadster got stuck in the parking lot. Your nuts to be driving that thing in the snow, anyways! I guess if I had one of those spiffy lil' James Bond-like mobiles I'd be driving it all the time, too.


I just want to show off my latest KNITTING project!!!
I made this neato little backpack. (I know, I know. Don't quit racing, the modeling career isn't looking so good...)

I'm wearing other various fun easy stuff:

So all of you with Christmas lists for me, you'll have to wait.
My next project is a hat for Diane F, who just underwent surgery for a brain tumor.
She's in my thoughts, and I'm hoping for the best for her and her family.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

What was that????

So, here I am...
in sunny HOT California. Yeah, thought I'd visit CA to race in a November heat wave. Today was the worst day I've ever had on a cross bike. (And yeah, I guess it was still better than my day job...) I should have dropped out. I went backwards after my miserable start. I was going to be DEAD last, but then, sadly, I saw Steph up ahead, running to the pit with a mechanical. I offered her my bike, but her mom was up ahead in the pit with her other bike. My back ached, I was probably dehydrated, I had NO POWER, just couldn't pedal, felt like I was breathing through a dirt-filled straw, and even cried during the race. It's not pretty when you get passed by all the local riders and then fear getting lapped. It was like an out-of-body experience. The whole day. I was so out-of-sorts. I was totally NOT "in it." I was as "out of it" as you can get. Pinch me!! Where am I??

Monday, November 14, 2005

Still Can't Get It All Together

This weekend's courses rocked, and the weather was awesome.

So I'm still not able to put it all together yet and come away with a top 5 at a N.E. Verge race. I really want to be consistently placing a couple of spots higher. Although I'm making improvements every weekend and learning and getting smoother, I still have yet to put it all together successfully.

Saturday I bombed the start. The twisty section of the road and the descent into the left-hand 180 into the dirt... it just wasn't my day. With my luck, my own teammate endo'ed right in front of me on that turn, and I had to come to a complete stop and unclip to get around her. (It was a helluva endo, too!!! Full-on over the bars and laying out on the dirt!) Well, I managed to fight my way back for 8th place, but that wasn't exactly the result I was hoping for. I rode the dirt "run-up" by the tennis courts and damn I love that sand pit!!! Straight and fast. I was kinda bummed I didn't finish better.

Sunday was also wikkid lots of fun. My boy did his FIRST cross race, still healing collarbone and all! He finished 12th! Here he is showin some style.

On my end of things...
I ended up 7th. 5th was SO in my sights.

Let's see...
Things I screwed up:
Although I could ride it reliably during warm-up, I decided to run the sand every lap in the race. That was fine, and probably faster than riding it, but the problem was coming out of the sand pit I was always overgeared because I had been hauling on the straightaway coming into it. {dope slap}
The slippery turn in the woods at the start. After getting a good jump up the road, I took the turn too wide and lost time. {dope slap}
After the steep, muddy run-up with slippery footing, I always had trouble clipping back in, and although I tried riding unclipped for awhile, I wanted to be clipped in for the upcoming rooty turns, and I inevitably lost time. {dope slap}
I went too damn slow through the rooty turns then around the gazebo and so I went into the drop-off descent too slow and lost time. {dope slap}
I didn't recover properly after Saturday's race. {dope slap}
When I was in the group of 4 riders, I rode in last spot, allowing little gaps to open and using my matches to close those gaps. {dope slap}
I was too careful [code for f'in SLOW] in the first gravely turns around the pine trees after the start. {dope slap}

Things I did right:
Good jump at the start.
Smooth dismounts into the run-ups.
Good running in the sand pit.
Good barriers/remounts.
Good power on flats.

I'm getting a bit anxious now, cuz I've only got a few weekends left to try and put it all together for this season....
I guess all this is practice for next year anyways.

Well, I am relaxing tonight, and I just got sushi delivered! Oh yummy yummy in my tummy!!!

I'm actually making the trip to California this weekend, and I'm all pumped for it. It will be crazy hard to get a top 10 result (money and UCI points only go 10 deep) but I hope to be up for the challenge. I'll have a great starting position cuz the UCI recalculated points, and I'm still doing pretty well.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


What a weekend. This weekend's weather was hot and sunny down in Harrisburg, PA, drawing an amazing contrast to the wintry weather in Gloucester last weekend.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share, as I forgot to put the memory card back in my camera for the weekend, but there are great shots of the races on

Saturday's race under sunny 75-degree skies felt a little too warm for cyclocross. I wasn't particularly fond of the gravel start (not fine gravel, but little rocks) but managed to get a good jump up the road and onto the grass in 5th place. I slipped back from there. Christine V. went down in front of me in the first lap, allowing me to make a few seconds on her. We ended up trying to work together to catch the lead group until she dropped out for some reason. I was left alone, feeling really flat. I had no spunk in my legs, and my HR was pegged much higher than normal. I think I made a big mistake in eating a double caffinated GU 10 minutes before such a hot race. I definitely won't do that again. I slipped back one more spot and finished 6th. I am having trouble mentally pushing though when I feel like I'm cracking. I just say in my head, "Damn! It feels like I'm popping!" and perhaps it's even a self-fulfilling prophecy. I begin to drag and lose lots of time. I have to learn how to push through it - my HR graphs look like I don't actually crack. There's usually no distinct decline in HR. I guess it's in my head.

Sunday I wanted to be mentally stronger. The course was flat and there were few technical sections, only a muddy section and one run-up. I knew getting to the top of the first hill first would be so important. I have gotten sick of blowing starts and resolved to change that. So I actually got he hole shot on this one. Someone told me after the race that I even had a little gap on the field at the top of the first hill. After that came the barriers. I was still out front. We snaked around a baseball diamond, and I decided to let someone pass me. It ended up being two people, though, Barb and C.V. I stayed in the front group of 5 - we had a gap on the rest - staying out of the wind. Then I made my biggest mistake of the race. I guess I had a little adrenaline going, rendering my brain defunct. They slowed up a little, and I got worried that we would get caught. I wanted to keep the pressure on... I attacked on the back straightaway by the water... in the wind. Dumb move. Duh! Everyone sat on my wheel in the strong wind, and then on the muddy run-up section, put the hurt on me and opened up a small gap. This couple second gap grew since I went out so hard. Their wheels slipped away as they were drafting together on the long windy flat sections. Well, live and learn. I know that I can ride with these girls, it's just that I haven't put it all together yet. I'm happy with 5th place, but definitely not satisfied. I'll just keep learning every race and try not to repeat make the same mistakes.

Other than that, I rode cleanly and smooth. I had a really smooth dismounts in the run-up section when I was able to grab the downtube, thrust the bike onto my shoulder, and step forward in one swoop. Unfortunately, for some reason, my running was really slow. I'm getting there... improvements every weekend. I don't feel so run-down and exhausted as I did the past 2 or 3 weeks, either. I'm ready to go!! More more! More cyclocross!! =D

Oh! The perspective part...

I finished 29th at the Highland Pk race last year... TEN AND A HALF MINUTES BACK and almost DFL!!! I could beat myself up about making some dumb mistakes on Sunday, but when I compare my performance to last year, I have to be happy.
Happy, but not satisfied...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Aches and Pains

Hmm... maybe I shouldn't have run so hard Tuesday...
I was really feeling it during last night's cross practice...
But the worst part yesterday was that I hurt myself IN THE SHOWER.
How you ask?? I have no idea. Really.
Just went to stretch my left quad muscle while standing, and something snapped in my back. Ouch. I am really sore. Musta pulled/strained something. (I'm too young for this!!)
At least I have luck on my side - I had a massage already scheduled for this afternoon!

Oh!! And my new wheels came in! New Ksyriums with Tufo tires... thought I'd try a different tire than the Grifo Challenge I usually use (and like). Just want to compare them to something, and I know the Tufos are popular. Can't wait to race them down in PA/NJ this weekend.

And good news, Rock Star's making a comeback...
He's got a job now, he's healing, and his pad is getting cleaned up. Yay!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

Speaking of photos...

So apparently someone I used to know submitted a photo he took of me at Fitchburg last year in this week's VeloNews photo gallery contest. It was a bit of a surprise to see it online. Kinda cool. Hope it wins.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

NE in its Glory

I love Gloucester cross, the quintessential New England race weekend. Fierce international competition, screaming fans, never a dull moment.

We raced in a 'Nor Easter on Saturday then donned the shortsleeved skinsuits the next day. I love it.

Well, okay. The snow and mud I liked. But I admit I didn't enjoy the hypothermia that pretty much killed my race on Saturday. With a little more than a lap to go, it all went to hell for me. I was sitting pretty around 12th place, but knew I would have to defend it with everything. I couldn't deliver. I made all the mistakes in the book and got passed by 4 girls. I think my core temp got low enough that my body kind of went into survival mode. I actually started hyperventilating. I couldn't brake or shift because my hands were frozen rocks. Shifting worked unreliably at best with my fisted hand banging against the lever. Visibility was nil, and as Shopgirl said it best, my feet were so cold "I felt like I was running on my ankles!" When I crossed the finish line, I collapsed on my handlebars and shook, hyperventilating, and incohesive.

Kneewarmers aren't so warm when it's 33 degrees out and they're stuck to you, soaking wet. Neither is a skinsuit. I did have my favorite long-sleeve Craft base layer on, but even that couldn't keep me going. I shouldn't complain, though, because I heard that after my race, 3 women went to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia, one in an ambulance. I was just REALLY COLD. They wereDEATHLY COLD.

Sunday was awesome. The churning 'nor Easter spun off into the Atlantic, parting the clouds and leaving crystal skies. The inches of snow melted the ground into mud, which drained and dried a little by the afternoon races. The course was fast and fun.

I started in a perfect position in the second row. At the gun. I shot between the girls in front of me and charged 5th up the road. I lost a little in the first few turns, a mistake that's becoming a habit for me now, and after passing a group of 3, I ended up in 9th place through the first lap, watching the "big girls" just a few seconds ahead of me. I felt tired and feared cracking. I defended my position until a lap and a half, when I cracked. My bike also stopped shifting properly, and I had a hard time getting in my mud infested cleats. I went for a bike exchange, knowing that I would probably concede one place to the strong NE rider just a few seconds behind me. I couldn't catch her, I felt I had nothing left to burn. Thankfully I only had to ride my awful pit bike for 1/2 a lap.

After that I got caught. :( It was the two of us, alone, for the last lap. I was spent, but I could tell she was as well. I remembered that I out sprinted her twice this season at cx finishes, but knew I couldn't take that for granted in the least. Besides, I was so tired, and one mistake could open a gap I might not have the legs to close. It came down to the chicane before the road finish. She passed me coming into it, but I knew I had to be the first coming out of the 180 degree corner after that section. I glued myself to her wheel through the off-camber chicane, but she went high coming out of it, and I cut the shorter distance, going underneath her, surging ahead and hitting the 180 first. I was where I wanted to be, but realized, DAMN! It's a long way (uphill) to the finish from here!!

I gunned it, clunking gears and all, up the hill. The sun cast our shadows upthe road and I saw her lurching shadow beside mine, creeping closer. I went as hard as I could, leaving nothing behind. My heart rate was as high as I ever see it. I beat her by a foot, totally spent. For the first time ever, I actually heaved over my handlebars when I stopped. I was nauseous for at least an hour.

I finished 13th. A great result for me at a Grand Prix race. To put this weekend in perspective, I finished 27th and 29th at these two races last year. Now I'm knocking on the top ten's door. I can't wait for nationals. I just hope I can last without cracking... I've felt so tired, and I really need to focus on recovery. I want to travel and go to big races... can I last and continue to progress?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Recalculated Rankings

On my way up. Little by little. :)
Yay! I'll have a call-up for Gloucester this year!!

I Thought I'd Seen it All...

...I was mistaken!!

Cycle-Ball is a World Cup event!!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wissi-where? (It's near Dela-where)

So when we drove up, I said to myself, "OMG! It looks like a dirt crit!!" And once I prerode it... I decided I had underestimated. The course served a refreshing complement to the mucky course with serious elevation change that we saw yesterday. Although I'm growing pretty fond of the mud and rain, today's crystal blue skies and warm temps also felt refreshing. I even donned my short-sleeved skinsuit!

When I woke I feared racing. I felt so tired - like last weekend - that I feared cracking and suffering another disappointment. My resting pulse soared all week, often seeing rates 10 bpm above my normal 40-42. This morning my legs felt heavy, but I know that never forecasts my race performance.

I had a decent start up the long road stretch, but found it difficult to take the muddy switchbacks as fast as I needed to, and I got passed. I guess Barbarella did, too, cuz she BIT IT right in front of me on one of the corners. Luckily I avoided the carnage and continued along. I just couldn't quite hold their pace though the lap. They slowly pulled away from me.

Have you noticed that the start of a cross race really continues through most of the first lap? I always thought of the start as up the road (if it's a paved s/f) and through the first couple of turns. It's much longer than that. It lasts all the way until "the selection" is made. I need to be able to push harder through that whole interval, but without blowing myself for the rest of the race.

I was in a group of 4 on the last lap. And I sooooo want to do it over!!! I was really suffering, and a little afraid that I wouldn't have anything left for the sprint. That's crap - I'm never holding back again. I knew I needed to lead up the hill barriers on the last lap, and I didn't. I didn't push through the suffering. I hit the road gapped, and lost out on the sprint, which I KNOW I could have won, cuz I felt like I blasted up the finish straight. I know what I NEED to do, but I need to practice execution. Learn from every race.

Overall, I was psyched to finish only 2:49 down from Lyne! (Forget the fact that she was probably only going as hard as she needed to maintain her lead and I was suffering like a dog....) I had a blast racing. I wasn't slogging around in misery alone on the course, I was actively RACING the whole time. That's the thrill in all of this.

After this much needed rest week, I hope to be refreshed and aggressive out there.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Wooden Wheels - Granogue

Something much larger than bike racing happened today. No matter what happens in my races this weekend, coming down here was awesome.

When I finished Granogue, I dismounted my bike and stood in the pouring rain to catch my breath. I heard a familiar but distant voice say "Becky?" And I turned to look right at a ghost. My best friend from college stood looking at me silently in the pouring rain, her toddler son I'd never met happily perched upon her shoulders. She's from very near the race and made the trip over to see me, unannounced. I can't explain how much it meant to me to see her again, and to meet her adorable little son. We used to be practically inseparable, and now have drifted apart, so far from that time in our lives. Yesterday gave me fresh perspective for reflection.

So, yeah, about the racing...

Looks like this is destined to be a muddy season! I fared pretty well today, squeaking out a 10th place, after a less-than-stellar start. I didn't realize that there was a separate starting chute - different than what I prerode, so I was in for a surprise after passing a lot of people on the long road start. The course turned uphill to the left in the grass and I went too wide right, allowing a bunch of people to come by me on the left. Oops. But I steadily worked to pass people, and blasted up the pavement every lap, finally managing to finish 10th. I rode decently despite the mud and pouring rain, even though by all accounts I am still exhausted!! I wish I could be up front with the fast girls so I could see what lines they're taking, where they're accelerating, etc. I want to know where I need to be to be competitive with them. I hope by next year I will be there. All this mud is good practice for me. I was amazed that I could still clip into my pedals when I saw how much mud and grass was lodged into them. Yay Time pedals.
I had fun racing today!

Negotiating the muddy off-camber.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


OMG I am tired. Could barely train tonight...
Hope I can recover for this weekend's trip to Delaware/Philly...

Thick as a Chocolate Milkshake!

Check out the pics on J.S. McElvery's website - if you weren't there, you won't believe how muddy it really was!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Recovery Day 2

My job is going to be the end of me. I took on the job of coordinating our private lesson program this year. I did it because I wanted the extra income, and because I thought I could do a much better job than the chick who had the gig before me. It sucks. I am incredibly busy at school now... so much so that I hardly have time to plan for my classes, eat lunch, or even use the bathroom during the day! I've been wrecked at the end of the day. So much for recovery...
I guess that's tonight - time to relax with friends and have a couple of drinks at Tuesday night's dinner party!

Monday, October 17, 2005


Recovery is
a grilled veggie super burrito at Anna's,
a nap,
a kick-ass oreo milk shake
made by my one-armed bandit. :)

I'm not minding it being Monday so much today...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Torturous Mud Slog Day 2

The fact that I couldn't sleep because my legs were aching so deeply should have been an indication that racing the next day might not be a great idea. But I was already prereg'd, and staying only 25 minutes away, so I went back to Pineland Farms, hoping the course would be different and the rain would stay away, and that I would be able to sit properly on the saddle despite my "injury" from yesterday. Well, none of these things panned out. The mass start was a bit chaotic, but the only real fun I had during the whole race. I found I was able to ride much of the course, even the long off-camber stretch of the "gauntlet" section (the course went the opposite direction through it today), but I only had two laps of that kind of riding in my body today. Then I just broke. I crawled through the course. It was so painful. I couldn't jump on the saddle properly, either.

I spent much of the night beating myself up over yesterday's result. So now, instead off beating myself up over today's ride, I'm going to think about all the factors that may have led to it... why is my power so poor right now? I felt it starting on Wednesday at cross practice when my legs felt like cinder blocks. Nights of poor sleep due to coughing from the post-nasal drip from hell that has been with me for 3 weeks... long, stressful days at work this week... all this has led to poor recovery. I just can't sit still. I always need to be doing something. Even when I'm sitting, I have to at least be knitting. I think I have two switches: on and off. I need to find the off button so much more often. Usually I can't even sit long enough to watch a movie. I need to rest more to recover better. More sleep. Speaking of that... it's time for bed. Gee, thanks for letting me work all this out in my blog. ;-)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

New Gloucester Day 1

Welcome to monsoon season. When I woke this morning in Somerville, the gale force winds and driving rain should have been a sign. Hoping the rain hadn't moved north to Maine yet, Rock Star (aka One-Armed-Bandit) and I hopped in the car and headed north. When I saw what I was in for, I took a deep breath. The mud was ridiculous. Reminded me of Nationals last year, where I didn't have a great ride. I'm just not experienced in the mud. And I lack that kind of power to grind through that stuff. My legs were so sore when I woke, from what I'm not sure. This also should have been a sign!

So I prerode the course and decided it was going to be a slogging run-fest. Much of the course was just completely unridable. I just simply died. I didn't have a good start, but I caught some people in the second lap. Then I died.

Oh!! And then disaster struck. OOOWW! I had exchanged bikes at the end of the second lap (we only did 4 laps, I think... each lap was a 9-10 minute slogfest). I was taking my favorite Stevens steed back, and when I went to mount... my soggy wet and muddy ass slid right off the back of the saddle, and I landed full force on the rear tire by the brake!! I yelped in agony and curled over my saddle, thinking my race was over. I was so stunned by the pain and the surprise of the situation that I hunched over and moaned for a few moments. I figured that was about it for me. I got back on the bike (the SLOW way, by straddling the top tube, clipping in one foot and lifting myself onto the saddle as I rolled forward) and pedaled a few strokes. My crotch so much pain I couldn't sit on the saddle properly for the rest of the race, and FORGET about jumping on to mount. I was double hopping or just lifting my legs over the rest of the race. I was too far back to chase. I ripped the crotch of my favorite and only long-sleeved skinsuit. :( Get out the needle and thread. So, to add insult to injury, I got passed by someone I know I am stronger than. Richard Fries said it all when I crossed the line... "She wishes the conditions were drier today! She usually rides with speed, but this is a power course today."

So should I race up here again tomorrow? I don't even know if I'll be able to sit on the saddle.. serious damage was done.... :(

Friday, October 14, 2005

A New Craving

I'm not a milk drinker. I don't think I've been able to drink milk since the unfortunate episode in preschool when I puked school milk in front of everyone. But after my last forced liquid diet, I discovered I have quite the affection for chocolate malt frappes. (Yeah, well, I reasoned that it was liquid... damnit I was HUNGRY after not eating for 48 hours!!! ) Anyways, I've been craving chocolate malt frappes consistently since July. So the other day I decided to try and make the leap from chocolate shake to chocolate milk. I bought chocolate milk in deference to my low sugar diet, and I found cocolate flavored malt, too! So, I mixed it up in a glass and drank it down. Yum yum! No repercussions, no gagging, no heaving. Nice. At some point I will try to wean myself off the malt, but maybe it's not bad for you. It is, after all, wheat flour, malted barley extracts (whatever that is), milk, salt, and soy lecithin (which is not apparently a bad thing). Adds sugar, but that might not be the end of the world.
Can't get enough chocolate...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Highs and Lows

What a crazy two weeks I've had! I continued my yearly tradition of getting sick around the time of my birthday by acquiring a nasty sinus infection last week. I had a great time with teammates at the races in Long Island, but just didn't feel terrific. I had two respectable 5th places, though, despite that my nose was a fountain and I couldn't sleep at night. I have to say, the ferry to Long Island is definitely the only way to get there. The weather was spectacular, and we just relaxed on the top deck in the sun and enjoyed the ride. Very expensive, but to combat costs, we fit 5 bikes and three people (and gear) in to a Nissan Xterra. It was quite a feat accomplished easily with the spacial intelligence of our team's resident artist.

While I was away, Rock Star attempted to race his very first cross race... unfortunately, he bit the dirt hard on a rough descent and snapped his right collarbone. :(

I felt sicker through the week, actually taking a day off on Wednesday! I even went to the doctor and got some antibiotics (even though sources have informed me that almost all sinus infections are viral and antibiotics are basically just a placebo to make me happy). Anyways, I raced on the Cape on Saturday. Luckily, the rain avoided the Cape, even though the rest of the stae seems to be stuck in monsoon season. It was muggy and warm. Loved the course! Tough and technical, totally non-legal, great stuff. The kids races, cheering crowd in the beer pavillion, and swooping setion through the picturesque pumpkin patch gave me the warm fuzzies. The virus took a lot out of me, though, and I had nada. Had a good start, but couldn't chase when I got passed. No motor. So, I took third. I had fun, though, except for the coughing fits after the race when I couldn't breathe.

I questioned whether or not I should race Canton on Sunday, but decided to for several reasons: I was pre-reg'd, Rock Star's team was helping promote the race, and it was less than 30 minutes away. There was also a strong field pre-reg'd, and I wanted to come out and play. I actually thought I'd get trampled in the race, but I guess I was feeling better. I enjoyed the changes they made to the course from last year, too. I was able to practice a little race strategy at a couple of moments in the race. Off the front with just one other rider, I felt nervous about leaving it to the finl sprint, since she is a damn good sprinter. But I think her tank was empty by the end, and I beat her by a bike length. I still had plenty in my tank and felt that I could have ridden faster much of the race.

It really rocked to hear everyone cheering for me on the course, especially at the run-up. I like being the underdog. Oh, and my dad was there. I didn't even know he was coming, but surprise! I saw him just as we were staging. My biggest fan, he comes to many of my races, but for some reason, never the ones I win! Yesterday, he finally saw me win a race. :)

More good news! CyclingPT, won his race, too! It was his fourth cross race ever, and he won the C race decisively! Yay!!
We all went to Redbones and gorged ourselves on ribs (and good beer) to celebrate. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sucker Brook Fruition

It's definitely groovy to start the season with a win. Before the start, I really had no idea what to expect in terms of my performance potential at last Sunday's Sucker Brook cross race. I thought the field was reasonably big for the first one of the fall - and because it wasn't a Verge series race. I surprised myself by being first into the first turn out of the start! I have never led at the beginning of a cx race before. It was a strange feeling, and one much too reminicent of my recent crit performances, when I've spent too much time on the front. Three of us got an early gap on the group which stuck through to the finish. The big drama in this race was that I made my life pretty hard for myself by making a costly mistake just a couple of laps in. I actually crashed REMOUNTING! I'm not exactly sure how I managed it, but my foot slipped or something and I bit the grass after the barriers. I popped up immediately, but noticed that my chain had jumped on the inside and managed to lodge itself perfectly under the 3rd eye chain watcher... so that left me off my bike, wrestling the damn thing out. I figured that was it. The girls I I was riding with would attack and I'd be unable to catch them if they worked together. Luckily, I felt pretty comfortable with my lead on the rest of the field. A friend gave me splits for the rest of the race. First I was 30 seconds behind, then 20, then 10, and I punched it, knowing I could bridge that. The whole chase I managed to stay calm (I never even cursed while I yanked my chain out) and kept my riding steady and clean. It worked. After several laps, I caught on. At the end, I was able to dive the last corner inside She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named :) and then, being in a bit lower gear, worked my fast leg speed to accelerate up the short finish straight. It was a very close match sprint, but the victory - she was sweet! The moment I played in my mind so many times over was finally realized.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Time for the Season to Change

It's time. I already felt it, but this weekend confirmed it. Disappointment in my crit performances for the past two weekends have highlighted my waning motivation and scattering concentration for on-the-road racing.

I am ready for cross.

Besides the sore, aching muscles from the transition running and sprinting, I have felt strong. Perhaps stronger than ever yet. I know that I am far beyond where my fitness was last year at this time, and I'm looking forward to giving my best in the cross scene.

I have to backtrack a bit.... I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this weekend's race venues were great! The course in York was fun and that race has tons of potential. Portsmouth rocked. Race there next year! Thank you, Susanne, for working so hard to promote these races secure such great prize lists for the women.

See everyone at Suckerbrook on Sunday!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Rant - Nothing to Do With Cycling!

Okay, this entry has absolutely nothing to do with cycling. I’m compelled to break my silence in this blog because I am extremely PISSED OFF, so excuse me while I rant. Maybe some of you share my angst. This fury has been building up over months, years even!!

Whose brilliant f’n idea was it to turn simple errand running into some sort of bizarre club hopping where everyone gets ripped off except for those spineless souls willing to litter their wallets and keychains with little plastic access cards?? Little plastic RIP OFF PREVENTION CARDS. Those cards are a complete pain in the ass. Don’t you hate standing there searching through your wallet with a line of people waiting behind you looking for the right colored card to prevent being ripped off? I threw the damn things out long ago. If everyone can have one, why require them? Oh, that’s right, I remember – because they track your purchases!

One instance of buildup to the fury:

During the summer, I went into a new Bob’s store holding a grand opening sale, hoping to find a swimsuit on sale. I was immediately bombarded by overly friendly sales clerks pushing their version of the rip off prevention card. They told me the sales prices were only good for Bob’s Club cardholders. I immediately walked OUT. All I want is a store where I can approach the counter with needed goods and know I’ll be charged good prices. Whose damn marketing ploy is this?? It’s not encouraging consumer loyalty with me, it’s making me MAD! Don’t you all feel like you’re being preyed on?

The event that spawned this fury tonight:

I walked over to CVS to pick up a prescription. I also needed a toothbrush. After flirting with the 99-cent generic, I decided to go with my favorite standby and grabbed the Oral-B that was more expensive, but also on sale. I stood in line at the pharmacy pick-up, and when it was finally my turn, awaited the dreaded question with which I seem eternally confronted. “Do you have a [CVS] card?” {Sigh.} I said I lost it long ago. (This is true, except for the missing part about losing it intentionally.) Unbelievably, the pharmacy clerk persisted, telling me that I needed it because the toothbrush was on sale only for those with the CVS card. Feeling discriminated against, like my equal rights were being assaulted, I asked, “You’re not giving it to me for the sale price because I don’t carry your little plastic card anymore??” As the tension rose, some nice, smiling and sympathetic man interjected from behind me and offered the use of his special rip off prevention card, but again unbelievably, the cashier man informed both of us that it would not work with my transaction! “Do you still want the toothbrush?” the cashier asked. “Absolutely not!” I replied, and “I will have to find a new pharmacy!”

Well, I’m sick of the damn rip off Gestapo cards! Tonight was the last straw! And I’m going to do something about it! I’m going to…. going to….


Open a good bottle of wine!

Sorry if this offends anyone who fills their wallet with these rip off cards and doesn’t mind corporations tracking your purchases. I suppose resistance is futile.

Ok, I’m calming down.

Damn I like wine.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Day 3, Johnstown to Altoona 100-mile road race

I would have stories of screaming descents in a driving and blinding thunderstorm weaving around cars in the caravan, dramatic chases and epic climbs, but I am simply too tired to tell about it.


I think that was the craziest and hardest thing I've ever done.

I finished. Not last. Nowhere near first. But I did it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Day 1, Time Trial

Wow, was this course fun!
I had a hard time getting my heart rate up while warming up, but that problem was solved in the first 1/2 mile, since the course went up over a bridge at the beginning!
All the "top riders" had TT bikes and disc wheels. Since I don't ride mine enough to be really comfortable on it in such a technical course, I opted for just my road bike - but I sooooo wished I had little shorty clip ons for the super fast downhill sections. I cracked a little in the middle right before the big hill, but I don't think I slowed up too much. I have no idea how I did. I don't think I was very fast. I didn't catch anyone, but no one caught me.

I feel good now! The pain felt good, like a return to normal, and I feel opened up. I have a sense that I'm still tired from Superweek, and I hope that doesn't catch up with me on the hilly stages like Wednesday's 100-miler.

We rode back in the dark (with a safety blinker ;) around 9:30. I have no idea how I'm going to unwind and get to sleep tonight! It's 9:45, and I'm pumped and wide awake. :) Luckily, tomorrow's circuit race doesn't start until 1 pm.

All right! Uniform is washed out for tomorrow, and food is cooking! 'Night! :)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Tour de Toona, Day 1

So it's a bit hilly here...
After some initial team disorganization, things are ironing out and we're settling in.

Tonight's prologue course is very exciting. It's like a hilly crit. There are tons of corners, some short climbs, and fast downhills, but few straightaways. It's really either up or down! It's not a TT bike course, I don't think. I won't be able to shift easily because I'll rarely be out on the bars with the constant corners and terrain variation. There are only a couple of spots when the bars would really be nice. It will be very exciting! For only 3.2 miles, I'll just use my road bike. Clip-ons would be nice, but I hardly think tonight's race will affect my overall result.

I'm just hanging out now... the first woman doesn't go off until 7:30 pm.

Our accomodations in the PSU Atoona residence halls are pretty good. I slept like a log last night, except for the severe thunderstorms that ripped through here in the middle of the night. The vivid lightening was like having a cop car parked outside the window! The thunder was a constant growl, reminding me that thankfully, we don't get "real" thunderstorms near Boston.

I'm excited for the race tonight! I also hope to see some people I met at Superweek.

I'm off for a quick nap...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Day 8, Carl Zach Criterium, Waukesha

Ok, now I'm tired! :) 65K on a 6-corner course with a superfast downhill turn and a rise after the first corner that was enough to hurt after an hour and a half. The first corner came relatively soon after the finish line, allowing potential for crashes, but our race stayed pretty safe.
It was HOT. Like the usual Fitchburg weather HOT. In the 90s and sunny and humid. We of course started right in the middle of the baking afternoon heat, at 2:15. I think today's race was very hard. Although I didn't have my heart rate monitor on even as a stopwatch, today definitely was closer to and hour and 45-minutes. Maybe my legs are finally feeling the week's racing, maybe the heat got to me today, tonight I am WIPED.

I came out here hoping to find my mojo, and I think I may just have done that. Getting a call-up was exciting, and allowed me to easily be at the front of the race right from the start.
I hoped to help Brooke today to repay her team for yesterday's favor and to be involed in the tactics at the front. I wanted to learn how to work with a team in a field where team tactics are constantly playing out. I chased anyone who went off the front for the first 10 laps and also won the first prime. I came out strong. After awhile of that, I realized that with 45 laps to go in the heat, I probably wouldn't make it at that intensity! So I sat in the middle for awhile. I knew I needed to be at the front for the first points sprint, because that's when Magen and Brooke were planning to break, and I needed to block with the HUB team. Leeanne from HUB and I got to the front, but Brooke and Magen weren't together, and there was a moment of confusion. I just hung out near the front for awhile.

The field strung out with the many attacks at the front, and a group did finally get away. Such a high pace meant no rest, and the pack was strung out, often single file. With 10 to go, I got on front and lead the chase. I hoped to bring things together since Brooke missed the break. I wish I had been on front when the attack originally happened, as I think I could have caught them, or at least instigated the chase. I chased for probably 5 laps, but Magen Long and a Travel Girl rider had teammates up the road, and kept pulling around me to slow my rhythm and disrupt the chase. Unfortunately, neither myself nor the pack never caught them, but at least I learned how to block properly from being in this situation! And I was active in the race.

Well, after that chasing, I didn't have much left. I had goosebumps in the heat, and felt a little lightheaded. I realized I had probably blown my finish, but felt good about being active in the race and winning the first prime. I wish I could have done more for Brooke, as did her team.

I got bumped a couple of times. Once someone tried to come around me while I chased on front through the superfast downhill turn. The turn was to the right, hard and fast, and I was all the way to the left just starting to lean into the turn, when she threw herself between me and the curb on the left, bumping my body. I have no idea what she was trying to accomplish from that move! She yelled "Woah!" for some reason. She must have scared herself with her own stupidity. But today I felt no fear in the pack or in the corners, a totally new experience for me.

I attempted to move up in the last 2 laps, but my legs had no juice. As soon as I moved up a little, I could hardly hold position as the pace quickened. I tried to go with an attack up the right side with one to go, and managed to accelerate up the side, but couldn't hold it throught the lap and finished in the pack, 34th. That's okay with me, though. I could go home after yesterday! :)

I will try to get a good finish tomorrow if I can squeeze enough juice out of my legs. I can't wait to come home and race a 20 or 25 mile crit!! With Altoona upcoming, I may not get that chance until Concord. I won't be able to post a report on tomorrow until I get home because I'm starting the long drive home straight from the race, which is at 4 pm in Bensenville, Illinois. So check back Tuesday!

I feel like I experienced more and learned more about racing in just one week than in an entire season. I hope I can put it to use tomorrow and in upcoming races, and share everything with my awesome teammates! I miss you guys, and I'm looking forward to racing with you again! I'm looking forward to talking to Kami and hearing about her experience at the development camp in Colorado!

Okay, so i'm not Tyler, but, "Thanks for reading."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Day 7, Brewer's Hill Criterium

Sometimes you've got nothing left to lose. And a friend or two, good legs, and some luck. These combined won me the stage winner's jersey today. :D

I almost didn't race today. I didn't feel well. I didn't sleep, couldn't eat this morning. I raced a 50K crit on a bottle of cytomax and a few bites of a clif bar. Legs feeling bad, I almost got dropped in the first 10 laps, and I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't let myself drop out, though. I hoped to open up and feel better, as I often do as the race continues.

The superfun course had 6 corners, with a fast descent that cornered into a climb, before the final two corners. Very poor pavement lined the fast descending corner and the climb. I liked this course a lot because I could shoot up the big ring climb and pass people every lap. I would often use that spot to advance my position.
I got my head in the game, and my legs followed suit. I rode in the front half of the pack, or even closer to the front. There were a good number of attacks, and all the riders in the top GC had teammates attacking and chasing for them. Leeanne Manderson for HUB racing was on front after chasing down Catherine Powers' teammate for Brooke O'Connor (who is in 3rd GC!). I was up front next to Brooke, who knew I was hoping to improve on my finishes or win a prime today. We came through the line and they rang the bell for a $20 prime with 5 or 6 to go. I knew I was in good position and had to go for it. We turned the first corner and began the fast descent, and I attacked. I was going early, but if I got into that descending turn first, I thought I might get a gap I could hold up the hill and all the way into the line. I also hoped that not many would go too hard for a small money prime with only a few laps left. And probably nobody in the pack viewed me as a threat.
So I jumped into the descent, and the HUB team sat up, giving me a gap into the turn. I owe them huge gratitude! I went hard and didn't look back until I took the last corner into the line, where amazingly, I saw nobody behind me. I knew I had no choice but to go for it. I jumped again and just hammered. At the next time through, I heard that I had 15-20 seconds on the field, but I still had 4 to go. I got worried about cracking and being caught, but caught my breath on the descent and pushed up the climb and in the flats. 3 to go and I still had that gap. Importantly, I was out of sight of the field. I kept thinking "out of sight, out of mind" and hoped this might work in my favor today. 2 to go, and I was hurting, but driven by the fear of being caught in the last lap! People around the course were cheering me, and I even heard my name, "Go Rebecca!" That surprised me and boosted me, as I sure don't really know any of the guys at this race! Must have been someone I just met. Also, since Magen Long has been winning everything, people were excited to see someone else out front with a chance to win.

With one to go, I heard the announcer say I had a 30 second gap, and then the realization that I might win started to hit me. I feared a puncture or some other cosmic catastrophe, but as tired as I was, pushed harder knowing it was only 1K to the line for the final time. When I came to the last 2 corners, I glanced over my shoulders and saw no one. I knew I had it without a contest. I sat up and grinned over the line, proud to win such a high caliber race in the Gearworks/Spin Arts colors.

I was through the first turn and catching my breath when the rest of the pack came through. Shocked, I rolled around the course to riders giving me pats on the back and saying things like, "Nice move" and "Great ride." I went to the announcer's stand, where I was called up, and after the men's race started, interviewed for quite awhile about everything from the course to the race to what bike I was riding (I proudly talked about my favorite Tom Stevens special) to the Gearworks shop. Then came the little podium presentation and I pulled on the stage winners jersey and shook hands with the second and third place finishers, Catherine Powers and Magen Long. :D

I think I'm still in shock. I almost decided to drive home today, but now I'm starting tomorrow's race front row, in a white winner's jersey. :D

Day 6, Shorewood Criterium

Wish I could show you how long this finishing straight was! These pics are taken from the same spot, looking up, then down toward the finish. It must have been 750 meters! A true sprint, not just a "first out of the corner wins" finish.

Tons of primes, $750 worth. Wish I could
have done something in this race. I wanted to.
Great little town. Plenty of food, beer, and people!
Lots of people partying in their yards, cheering the racers with wine glass in hand.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Day 5, Whitnall Park Road Race

Maybe today should have been a rest day for me. The first time I've ever raced 5 days straight, this race could easily have been spent snoozing. But there was a big bike race, just 30 minutes away, and I could sleep in and still get there, since it started at 4:30! Why drive all the way to Wisconsin and not race at very chance??

I suppose it's a bit of an experiment, really. How will I feel racing for 9 days straight? I think I might just find out.

So I drove to the race telling myself not to do it. I was tired, maybe mostly mentally, and could come back fresher tomorrow. I thought I would just go and check out the venue so I'd know what to expect if I do it next year. I had already prereg'd, and once I got there and saw everyone... well, I decided to at least start the race, maybe do a few laps, see how I feel. So I suited up, warmed up a bit, and sat at the back for awhile. I didn't really want to do anything in the race, just wanted to sit in.

The race consisted of 16 laps of a rolling 2.3-mile loop with one small climb nearing the finish. Nice course, really. Fun. Fast. At first I didn't feel motivated or strong, but by the end, my legs felt great, and I envisioned dreams of breaking away for a solo win. :) But I decided not to try anything dumb, to use the day as active rest and come back with more gas in the tank for tomorrow. I finished 31st, which means I won't even be listed on the results, and I'll drop further and further overall. But the next four days are crits, and I hope I can get in the mix. I can't believe I felt great today. I think maybe I have more in my tank than I know. I hope I can find it someday soon!