Monday, 30 April 2007

Guys dig muddy, bloody chicks.... right?

With a fury of tires and dust the xc race is off, with 35 degree heat, lots of sun, lots of climbing and almost 50 pro women. I feel a nudge from the left side, so I nudge back a little, another little push from the left and still I hold my ground, I'm not letting this girl in. Then all of a sudden, out of no where there is a blue and orange streak that bolts in front of me from my right side and the rest is pure mayham. I feel my center of balance start to shift, and all of a sudden I'm flying through the air sideways for what seems like 10 minutes. Then down goes the Luna Chix Katerina beside me, and a VeloBella girl and I'm pretty sure there was at least one more bike in that mess. I still feel like I'm flying through the air, but actually I'm skidding along the ground on my left side, feeling the skin tear from my knee and hip. As the rest of the crowd weaves around the mess and the cloud begins to lift we scramble to collect ourselves and our bikes..we've still got a lap and a half left to go. When I finally get back on the bike I find myself in last place, definitely not the kind of redemption I was looking for after my bad start during the short track. Well, I guess that's part of racing isn't it? A couple of minutes later I see another CDN rider, Mary-Ellen Ash picking herself up out of a corner after a so called belly flop into the gravel..ouch. Lots of loose corners here too.

I settle in and decide the best option is to not panick and try to catch up with the main group, but to take it easy and just ride my own pace. Easily I pick off the bottom half of the pack, and by the end of the first lap I'm in the top fifteen with a few more riders within my sights. This course has long steep non technical climbs and long sweeping non technical descents with rough flat track mixing it up. The steep climbs are well suited to my spinning style, but while the non tech descents are fast, I find I have a better advantage at the fast techy downhills. Going into the half lap I down a Cheer Pack and my legs feel great. By the turn for the half lap I catch up to Catherine P from Norco and just as I do she picks up the pace, just to make it tough on me. I follow behind her, up the climbs trying to keep her pace and just about croak in the process; she's found some reserve gas. We crest the last climb and I find my reserve. Passing her on the downhill I pop it into big ring and get ready to hammer out the last couple km into the finish. Catherine hops on my wheel, up ahead I see the blue form of eigth position. Slowly I see Catherine's shadow getting ever so slightly behind, which is a huge confidence booster, and as we round the last corner to the finish I've got a huge first top ten in a Norba XC. Great race for both of us, finishing 9th and 10th..yippee.

Finished in ninth position, made a couple bucks and had a great weekend. Today, after the race we went for a nice easy ride, checking out some of the Tour de California route, there are some amazing backroads here. Then I hitched a ride with a couple of Canadians, the Rocky Mountain mechanic Mike, Max Plaxton, Trish Sinclair and Catherine P, into my deluxe king sized bed at the Motel 6 by the LA airport. It was a bit of an adventure, missing the turn, getting lost in a ghetto mexi neighbourhood and having white pride yelled at us, but we made it safe and sound. The rest of them are off to Redlands to wait out the week until the next race this weekend in Fontana, but for me, I'm off to play with rocks and water in Vancouver.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Dust Track

Just got back to the hotel, stripped off my white turned brown jersey and had a really cold shower. It's amazing that just four hours south of Monterey, where the Sea Otter was two weekends ago, is about four times as hot and dry. But it's awesome, I'm really enjoying the sun and the dry conditions. We had the short track today; about a 1 mile loop, nothing technical, once climb, some very loose tight corners and lots of dust. I had a really good call up, second row, based on the Phoenix results, which is really nice, ST is all about starting. But I faltered off the start slipping both feet out of my pedals and half of the field passed me in the blink of an eye. After I settled down and got into the groove, I quickly moved my way up to a good spot again. Off in the distance I could see a large gap between the four leaders, the three Luna Chix Shonny, Georgia and Katerina, and Subaru rider Willow hammering off the front. Behind the lead pack the chase groups splintered into a lot of groups and I found myself in the second chase. There was a lot of jockeying of groups, and slowly the chase pack was dwindled to about six riders. Back and forth we moved, Wendy Simms rubbed a girls wheel on the climb and went down hard....ouch. On the last lap, I found myself in a group of three, racing for fifth position against Trek/VW Jen Smith and Kenda/X-Fusion Zephanie Blasi, but Willow Koerber in fourth was quickly loosing time. Rounding the last loose corner, the two girls I was riding with put a small gap on me and the sprint was on. I finished happily in 7th position, not even a second out of fifth and podium position. Ended up being a really long race, almost a half hour, but I've really happy with how I felt and road.

Going to put my feet up for the rest of the night, use the stick on my legs, have a good supper, eat lots of salt, maybe a little food and hopefully feel good for the XC tomorrow. It's not supposed to be quiet as hot, but with no shade on the course, it's still going to be a scoarcher.

Brief results are posted on Pedal Mag.

Happy Trails

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Traveling Cyclist Beware

Getting off the airplane in the small sunny airport of Santa Barbara I have a huge smile. Race weekend again, down in California playing..I'm definitely happy. It's a really small, somewhat outside airport, with the baggage claim outside and most of the seats are outside as well. I'm off to grab my bag and bike, and find a nice tree to sit under while I wait for my ride to arrive.
Yikes!!!! What the heck happened? It seems that United Airlines has a bag monster that has a very healthy appetite for bike bags, well at least mine. The bottom of the bag is nearly completely shredded, through three layer thick nylon and in some places right through the hard plastic casing....completely unbelievable. And at the moment, there's nothing that they will (I won't say can't, but will) do. I story I get is that they have to take the bag and send it down to LA to get fixed. And how they plan to do that I really don't know, not much left to work with. But I have to keep the bag for another week because, well I need to use it to get home........

Dallas bought this poor bag less than two months ago, this is it's fourth trip and this isn't even the first major damage that it's seen, last trip one of the wheels and it's whole compartment were ripped off. Now this is easily a $300 bike bag, and with each trip on United you pay $85USD just to get your freakin bag on the plane...sorry, I'm pretty upset right now. I strategically packed the bag so it weights in well below the weight limit, and size wise, it's only slightly larger than the size limit, but that's rarely good enough for most people. Occascionally you'll get someone in a good mood or that feels the injustice in the 'bike box' fee and will slip your bag by with out the fee, but those kind people are few and far between.

If anyone has any good ideas for cheaply traveling with you bike, as well as for getting some sort of reimbersement for a ruined new bag, please, I'm all ears. As for now, cyclists beware..I don't recommend United Airlines!!!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Coulee Cruiser

Today, Sunday, was the first Alberta sanctioned event for the season, a mountain bike race Alberta's deep south, Lethbridge. Pretty good turn out, especially considering the amount of moisture we've been hit with this past week, and the sub zero foggy warm-up conditions. Super tough course, with three really steep climbs that I have no problems admiting that I ran up, well, kind of wobbled up, and lots of off camber skinny single track and the odd cactus thrown in for good measure. Despite the really tough course, everyone seemed to have a great day, lots of smiles all around. I guess riding your bike for a day can do that to a person.

My favorite boyfriend, Dallas, in his new and very snazzy looking H & R team kit picked up a second place in a really tough Elite field, way to go babe. Not a bad turn out from the Terrascape racers, enough to supply me with a co-ordinated team wave as I rolled through the feed zone. My dad even raced again, representing the only team Schmoe member and finished second in his cat. Lots of Deadgoats showed up, everywhere you looked, there was a red goat looking at you. Speaking of goats, check out the new Bike magazine, you'll find Cindy Koo in there, really neat shot. And not to mention Tori and her first mountain bike race ever, awesome job, you could have picked an easier one though.

It was really good to see everyone again, kind of like a big family reunion, the first race of the season. Thanks to my grandparents for the muffins and my mom for feeding, but I think I'm going to take that damn bell away from her...hehe

Lame Attempt at Pic's

Finally finished all exams for the semester, feel really, really good. So I've got a week to relax before my field school...does it ever end?
I found a few pic's, not many, from my trip down south.

My dad and I getting ready for our first ride on the course. Long day of traveling, but build the bikes and go ride is first on the list.

Kind of scary, not sure what to make of this one.....nice hotel I found.

And a nice shot stolen from Canadian Cyclist. Rob's a great photographer.

Thursday, 19 April 2007


Hey, check out my interview on Pedal Mag.. makes me feel important :)

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Day four - XC

After a big pasta dinner, lots of stretching, not too mention a complete overhaul by the romantic dim hotel light (my new cranks did draw some blood with it too), it was XC time. Same course as last year, and after the previous days rain, conditions couldn't have been better. Well, maybe a little less wind would have been nice, but hey, I'm still smiling. Very fast paced, right from the get go, one lap of the Laguna Seca race track, then down a supper fast double track stretch to about 3km of twisty and fast singletrack. Like usual, I went out a little bit too hard, and my body would have definitely been happy with just one lap, lap two was strickly survival mode, but after last years forced DNF (mangled chain) I just couldn't drop out. Alison Sydor stopped early in the first lap to fix her bike, so I was ahead of her yet again for almost a full lap, until she blew by me up the long final climb back to the race track. 40 miles and just over 3 hours later, I dragged my sorry butt over the finish line in 14th position, managing to snag two spots back in the last couple km.

After stuffing myself with a great Sushi dinner, we made a bee-line to nearest Baskin Robbins and had a double scoop of mint chocolate chip and strawberry on a chocolate dipped waffle cone with chocolate sprinkles.......hey, my watch said I burnt enough calories for that.

Again, I'm extremely glad to have made the trip south for the Sea Otter Classic, always a great way for me to start off the summer, and work on my tan (oh yeah, and miss the last couple days of classes). Back at home now, I'm getting ready for finals, moving, working a little and still trying to train my full schedule, so I'm going to be anti social for a week, but I'm really going to need a beer come friday night.

Sorry, no photos yet, troubles with the camera. But there's some good photos from the week on Canadian Cyclist.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Mud Track

Just arrived home after the trip home from Cali, had a big supper and I'm gonna go do some more I'm stiff, sore and tired today. I know, I whine a lot.

Saturday was the short track, if you've never had the please to witness an off road crit, I highly recommend it, great spectator event. Waking up that morning, the ground was wet but the sun was shiny, my thoughts, it's going to be a great day to ride. Have rice cooker made porridge for breakfast and head up to Laguna Seca. By the time I get my bike sorted out and make it down to the Trek tent, the rain has started. Soon, it's buckets and buckets and buckets of rain coming down hard. Everyone is dashing off in different directions looking for cover, almost like a long lasting flash flood. Surely we can't race in this, early morning road racers start filtering through the crowd looking absolutely frozen, but sure enough, here we go. It's a really strong field of women this year, and cyclocross phenom Katie Compton comes along and just blows the group completely apart. I make it about 24 minutes, with three laps to go, before I'm pulled and finish in 14th spot. When all is said and done, only about 10 women are left on the course, with Katie almost a half lap ahead of second place...ouch. Kiara Bisaro is the top Canadian finisher in I believe third. Not as muddy as last year, kind of peanut buttery mud this year, just as fun to play in though.

Tomorrow I'll update with the XC race.


Friday, 13 April 2007

Day 1 and 2

Yesterday was the Super D, that's a pretty interesting event, but really fun. Any time you're told to go all out as fast as you can down hill is always fun. We started out with about a 100m run with our bikes till we hit a red line drawn in the sand. I had a great start, and being about a foot taller than the average girl there, I had a good advantage running. With a cyclocross mount we were all on our bikes and hammering up the 200m climb. Once you hit the top, your lungs and legs are just screaming and you're starting to go a little cross eyed, but you have to flip it into big ring and stay on the gas on the descent. The downhill was mainly a fire road with little water bars for catching air and deep ruts for makin things interesting. I had the lead over the top, but Kelli Emmett, Marla Streb and Mary-Ellen Ash (fellow Canadian) quickly caught me and we jockeyed back and forth the whole way down. The lead position provided a really nice draft so I just hopped in behind Marla and tried to follow her wheel (very difficult cause she's a really fast descender. At the bottom of the hill there was about a 2km false flat section to the finish, and with all three of us still fighting for a spot we were giving it everything. Around the last couple corners Kelli took the lead and I squeezed into second place just ahead of Mary-Ellen. Definitely have to try more of those.

Today was the TT, really short course, pretty much the same as last year with a couple sharp corners thrown in and really rough from last years mudfest. I figured I could get on the course this morning, but just missed the open course time, so I had to do a ride around the course to get an idea of what to expect. Probably not the best idea, but it would have to do. After a really long warm up (tired from yesterday), we took off in aphebetical order with a 30 sec gap. In front of me was fellow Trekie Lea Davison and behind me was Giant rider Kelli Emmett. I had a great start, great climb up the back side and really smooth run almost all the way through the course, not too bad for no pre-ride. Finished in 7th position and I'm really happy with the day.

Finally made it back to the hotel to try to do some homework, but opted for a nap instead. Yugg, school :)

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Farmer Tan?

I've got that really nice tan line, you know the one that happens when you don't put the sun screen all the way up to your shorts for some reason or another. It was smoking nice yesterday here at Laguna Seca, really bright sun with a nice cool breeze off of the ocean to keep the heat in check, so I never did see the tan coming. I guess I'm better off than my dad though, who doesn't like the feel of the sunblocking lotion and is so red and dark that it definitley doesn't look like his first ride of the year. Silly man. We rode a lap of the course easily in about 2 hours, plus about a half hour for a little detour that was extremely fun. Everything is really dry here, definitely not the rain that they had last year, but the course is in rough shape in a couple places due to the mass of riders last year riding through the swampy conditions. Same sweeping course to last year with a little bit of eveything thrown at's gonna hurt :)

But it's raining now....just going to head out to have some breaky and go do some more riding. The rain should actually make the course faster, keep a lot of the sand down. As long as it stops at a little rain.

Hehehe...I'm in Californian not in school right now...:)

Sunday, 8 April 2007

2 days to go

Finally, after a week of riding inside on the trainer because of snow, freezing rain and well below sub zero windy conditions, we have some sunshine in Calgary...yipppee. Just about to head outside for my last ride before I fly down to California for my third trip to the infamous Sea Otter Classic. Hopefully I'll be better then last weekend at keeping my posts updated, pictures and all.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Fouuntain Hills, AZ

Just trying to catch some shade before the race.

First racing of the season for me was this past weekend down in Phoenix, AZ, or more specific, Fountain Hills AZ. An absolute killer, but lots and lots of fun, really glad I made the trip. Competed in the time trial event on Friday, which was 6 miles of rolling fast terrain. Only 28 girls showed up for this event, lots of the larger names decided to opt out and save their legs for the later days. I figured that I flew all that way that I’d better get my moneys worth and do as much racing as possible. This was my first intensity of the season, and left my lung on the course, but ended up in eighth place. Saturday evening was the short track, and if you’ve been to AZ you know it starts getting dark really early and it happens really, really fast. Racing a high speed dirt race at night (with the aid of spot lights) is a pretty cool but somewhat sketchy experience. We had almost a full field with over 50 girls, still a few opting out and there were some pretty good crashes, lots of elbows flying, and a few no so nice curses. If you’ve never had the chance to watch a short track race, I’d recommend it, definitely a great spectator event.

Sunday, the hottest day of all, 31 degrees, ouch, was the XC. After sleeping in a little, hanging out in an air conditioned coffee shop and packing up our room, we headed to the course early to get ready. I warmed up with a couple bags of ice strategically placed in my bra and shorts, anything to keep cool. I was definitely tired from the last two days of killing myself and couldn’t get my heart rate up, but my legs felt good. Maybe the no dairy diet works for lactic acid. With a bad call up, 5th row, and only about 100m before the single (of which the whole course was singletrack), even though I had a good start, I still found myself very far back in the pack. Gradually picking off many riders, I found myself in the top twenty coming through the first lap. Passing on this course is an art in itself, lots of sharp loose rocks and unfriendly cacti (I have the marks to show just how unfriendly). By the time I passed through the to go on my final lap, I was in 13th place, still feeling on top of the world and gaining fast on the Luna Chix in front of me. Then the wall of pain came so fast I didn’t even see it coming and before I knew it my legs were starting to seize up and everything I’d eaten that day was coming up and out. Never a great feeling, that burning sensation in the back of your throat and then realizing that you’re completely out of water. With less than a half lap to go, I lost about 6 spots, two of which I gained back near the end thanks to mechanical…..hey, I’ll take whatever I can when I’m feeling like that, and finished up in 16th position.
Overall, I’m happy with the way things went this weekend, learnt a lot, know what I have to work on, and I’m super motivated to get outside and hit the training hard. Now if only it would ever stop snowing in Calgary.

Thanks to Zack and all the guys and gals at the Trek trailer for helping me out.