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!