Monday, October 15, 2007

Gloucester - Day Two

If you look ever so closely at the rear wheel in this awesome shot by Dave McElwaine, you will notice it looks a little flat. Really flat. As in "no air in there" flat. Not cool in the third lap of a race when you're sitting in 3rd and just settling in, feeing good, and amped to fight for another podium result. You will notice it's a clincher, not my usual tubbie, too. I pinched on a rock on the first fast gravel road section by the water. Rode it to the pit, but very gingerly, as it was my good road race wheel and I can't afford a replacement if I wreck it - it needs to last me through the summer! (That front wheel has lasted 2 road and 3 cross seasons!) I fell back to 14th or 15th place, but got my pit bike for 1/2 a lap, then luckily Mavic was there to throw a spare wheel on and I got back on my Supercross. (Thanks Matt Roy for your pit help!)

The hunt was on. I picked off riders, got some help from my Ridley teammate Rebecca Much to chase down a group in the wind, and then brought myself back into 8th, only :55 back from the podium. If I had another lap or two, I think I might have caught another couple of riders. I was certainly disappointed, but I still got to put in a hard effort for a second day in a row. If only I could have pulled a Tim Johnson and gone from 35th to 2nd after a flat! But if I even had that depth and ability in me, I'd need more than the few laps I had left to do it.

Awesome job Anna and Natasha for riding an excellent race. And congrats to Anna for pulling it all together to recover from yesterday and get a great result!

Coming this weekend... Granogue, DE, and Wissahickon, PA. Granogue is held on the DuPont estate, and is one of the most challenging and demanding courses of the East Coast UCI calendar, imho. Without Lyne and Katie there, the field looks wide open - I'll be there ready to rock!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gloucester - Day One

It couldn't have been a more beautiful day at Stage Fort Park. Sunny skies and a dry course with few difficult technical sections made for a super fast course. We started up the road, and Amy Wallace was quickly out front with one of her characteristic leg-burning fast starts. But the hill stretch was long, and I came around Amy and found myself out front with the hole shot, able to take whatever line I chose through the first two corners. There was a short decent into a 180-degree left hander, and then a short rise to the next right turn; this short uphill was where Lyne first passed me. I knew it was going to happen, just didn't know where. She took the next couple of turns with more speed than I could. On top of the fact that she has great cornering skills, her "warm-up" racing the men's 2/3 race probably helped her be more comfortable taking the first turns at warp speed. A small gap opened, and I had to make a decision to try to jump to her or let her go. I had to admit, I was pretty maxed from the start. I thought I might blow up if I jumped again and went all out to get on her wheel. Ideally, I wanted someone to pass me and pull me up to her, but that wasn't to happen. There was a strong wind on the course in the power sections, and I didn't want to be alone in the wind trying to ride faster than Lyne to catch her. I chose to be conservative. Part of me felt disappointed in myself for conceding victory so early without a fight, but mostly I was excited to ride in a group and practice tactics. Too often I ride alone in no-(wo)man's land, trying to suffer through 45 minutes as deeply as possible, striving to close the gap to some rider head (who is doing the same) and desperately trying to stay ahead of the lone woman behind hunting me down (ie, doing the same thing I'm doing). My greatest accomplishment today was that I rode a smart race. I stayed out of the wind when I needed to, attacked when I needed to, followed when I needed to, and had a good kick for the finish sprint. It felt like a crit, and the race went by so fast! It was an amazing feeling to be on the podium at Gloucester. I have dreamed of this day since I first got lapped by Alison Dunlap and the Clif Bar girls here in my first season racing 'cross in 2003. No, it wasn't a USGP race, but there was a great field from all over the country and Canada. I rode a smart race in front of so many spectators, including my dad, cheering for me. It felt amazing, thanks for the support!

I love Chucks... and my new Ridley!
How can I mount some cleats on these shoes?

Monday, October 08, 2007


Photo from Dave Chiu, super-photographer! Now, if only I could work on improving my expression....
No time to write in-depth tonight, need to sleep, but wanted to post SOMETHING.

I love cross. The people are awesome. Friends, teammates, cross nuts who fly over from BELGIUM to see their main man race (they LOVED the Bart Wellens kickboxing t-shirt!), kind people who give me feeds (thank you, Eric!) and give me bike exchanges even though I have nobody in the pit for me (thank you, Mark)!

Had lots of fun this weekend in Southampton despite my first-lap flat on Saturday. Flatted HERE. Wah! I know, I'm complaining - it's cross, and this stuff happens. It was actually the first time I've EVER flatted in a cross race, so really, I am very lucky. I just wish it didn't happen in the race with the biggest women's prize purse in North America!! (Okay, I'll put away my violin.) The courses were fast and dry and dusty and the racing was HARD. And I can hardly believe how fast Katie and Lyne are this year!

I dragged my tired butt out of bed this rainy morning to head to Jamestown to race the men's P/1/2/3 road race. Good training, and I think I beat a few guys even though I was at the back at the start of the final climb.

See ya in Middleboro tomorrow night for more 'cross fun???

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Anxious for the weekend!

I have been ridiculously busy the past two weeks with work, training, planning race travel, and putting more momentum into our Ridley grassroots program. We still have room for riders (until we run out of bikes), so if you're interested, contact me.

I'd love to post some pics of the races the past two weekends, but it'll have to wait. I checked out a new Tuesday night training race in Middleboro this week and had a great time.

I can't wait to see the rainbow jersey racing on US soil this weekend!!
Hope to see you all there, too!