Monday, 27 September 2010

Momar and Coal Cross

What's Momar you ask? 7 hours of playing outside, that's what it is ......Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race in Cumberland, BC. I've always wanted to try an adventure race, and this was a great one with a great team to start out with.
Team name....Amazing Disgrace 11.
Team members......Sara Cherewaty, Craig Gillett, Ben Johnstone and Mical Dyck
Team goal....don't drown and finish in one piece

The kayak nearly killed me, half way to the first buoy I was done..haha, that's probably only 1 km into a 9 km kayak course. Thanks Craig for getting me back to shore safely. We started the race on the really calm and smooth Comox Lake, which quickly turned rough and choppy.......first outside kayaking experience had me cringing a little at a couple of the swells that came over the top of the kayak...haha, I'm such a newbie.

Once on shore we grabbed our helmets and bikes to head out on the first short biking section. My lack of upper body activities left me with painfully numb arms....just hanging onto my bars was a challenge. Half hour later we headed out on a cool trek, running through tight singletrack looking for a number of check points. This stage was really neat as there was no set route, so you could see people running every which way through the forest looking for different check stops. And yes, my trail running muscles are also non-existent so everything is really sore at this point.

The next cycling stage was great and show cased some of Cumberland's wicked singletrack like the amazing new Thirsty Beaver trail....with a huge Beaver carved out of a tree holding a can of beer......awwwww Cumberland...haha. Regan met up with us here and did a lap with us. It was so fun chasing Ben and Regan through the muddy singletrack!!

The short Urban trekking stage was cut out due to the impending really bad rain forecasted, so our 5th and final stage was the orienteering stage back at Comox Lake. It was a beautiful but extremely rough going hike through some gnarly terrain and Sara totally rocked this stage, whipping around like a crazy women picking off the hidden check points.

Just under 7 hours later we finished on the same beach we had started out on earlier that morning. Great event and I highly recommend it!

Sunday, Coal Cross.....for those who did Momar we got a $5 discount on the cross reg....definitely had to do it. It was a great course, Trail Bikes-Eatmore Sprouts club out of Courtney did a great job! There was a record turn out for an Island cross race as well with 105 entrants!!!! That's awesome.

Feeling more then a little mildly tired and stiff from the day before I really wasn't sure how things were going to work. Once the race got going, and I was able to settle in, I was surprised I didn't feel too bad.....definitely no punch in the legs though, only steady. Dawn Anderson kept the pressure on the entire race, constantly breathing down my was awesome. Course included a fun BMX course, and slick pump track, the infamous Whirly-whurl, lots of rough grass with tight corners and a sharp corner in a sand pit.....with evidence on yours truly playing in the sand.

Oh ya, I found out I have an extremely powerful right hand....haha.....nearly ripping my right shifter/brake lever right off the bar. That woulda made for a very interesting couple laps for sure.

Huge thanks out to super people Wendy and Norm, as well as Lisa Ludwig and Curtis Sanders for the great race. And thanks Regan for yet another uber fun weekend.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Perfect weekend of Cross

What better way to kick off the cross season with one of the craziest weekends of cross racing....where else but just outside of Seattle.....StarCrossed and RadRacing!!!!

Friday night, I picked Regan up from work, we loaded the new cross bikes up and headed down to Redmond, WA. Nothing like driving at midnight in what I'd call torrential downpour (hydroplane crazy) to pump you up for cross season. You definitely can't have a dry cross season, that's just not right. Checked in to the Silver Cloud Inn (great find!!) and hit the pillow both totally wiped out by 1am...yuck.

Saturday morning was a great sleep in!! I did set the alarm though for 9:30 so that we wouldn't miss the continental breakfast. Love the conti breaky where you get to make your own waffles right there....Canada needs some of these joints! After stuffing our faces we headed down to Marymoor park to claim a big cement pavillion and set up the Trek Pro City tent to create "Canada Corner" . Pretty neat how many Canadians, particularly from Victoria, made the journey south for this weekend. StarCrossed racing didn't start till 2:15, Regan raced at 3:00 and I didn't get to start till 7:00 pm.....night races are sooooo cool.

Most of the categories were totally maxed out at the 80 racer limit....and there was over 600 riders!!!!! Unfortunately the Elite Women's category was relatively small at 27, but it's still the largest cross races that I've had the chance to race in. All day it was beautiful, sunny, hot and dry.....5:30 the dark clouds rolled in and the expected rain started coming down. By the time we started at 7, there was standing puddles and chewed up muddy corners to make things exciting. I blew the start, not expecting the gun to go off 10 secs after the "Within 30 seconds" call....bobbled the pedal a couple times, almost lost my handlebar...and by the time I got myself sorted out I found myself looking at all 26 women swarming by much for my front row call up...haha.

Off the long cement straight starting block, there was a nasty right hand almost 180 degree corner onto wet grass (well, no grass left at this point). I had grabbed as many gears as I could and was hammering my guts out trying to catch back up to the leader group. By the time we reached the first run up, a short hill with 4 logs across for a forced dismount, I had managed to bridge back up to Wendy Simms, Katerina Nash and Sue Butler. We road hard together for a lap, putting some time inbetween us and the rest of the pack. Going into the second lap Katerina and Wendy made a move, and I reacted by finding an opening around Sue and catching back up to their wheels. At this point, I came around a slick corner, trying to power out of it and found myself going sideways, sideways, felt like really slow motion.....and still hanging onto the handlebars I hit the ground and slid. Jumping up as fast as I could, I lost contact with Wendy and Katerine, and Sue passed and gapped me. It took me a couple seconds to get back into the groove....but then I was on the hunt.

For the next however many laps we did, Sue yo-yo-ed just off the front of me. It'd catch up to her through some of the technical corners and dismount/remount sections, and she would power away from me on the open sections. The barriers were right in front of the beer gardens and it was so neat having so many people yelling and cheering you on to catch her. In the last couple laps, Canadian Natasha Elliot was coming on strong making up time fast, until the last lap and I was able to put a little more time back into the gap to 5th. Super happy with finishing 4th at my first big cross race!!!!

Sunday was an early morning for RadRacing as the first races of the day were at 9:00am. It was made even more painful due to the fact that we didn't eat supper until 10:30pm (Subway....quick and open) and didn't get to bed until almost midnight again.....weekend of no sleep. Definitely not the best recovery strategy...but how could we not stay and watch the mens race???

Regan raced at 9:45....and had an awesome race!!!! With over 150 men on course during his race, it was extremely exciting to watch, and even more so seeing him passing guys left right and center. Unfortunately we still haven't seen results for this category :(

By the time we started at 3, the entire width of the course the entire length of the course was one big inch plus deep mud puddle......except for the 2 beach runs...hehe....gnarly. Definitely good technical training on slick corners!! I had an amazing start, leading out to the first corner, where Sue Butler slipped by me to lead through the first couple corners. Wendy and Katerine were right there and they made a move around us and quickly put a little gap on us. Entering the first beach section, Sue got off to run and I powered by on my bike......ohhhhh the poor drive train!! Quick remount, slick corner, down a slick ramp and into the second beach run. Here that sand was so deep, and I could see Wendy and Katerine both dismounting, so I didn't even try to ride, but shouldered the bike and ran. At the far end I had put a small gap on Sue, remounted and struggled to clip back in.......wet sand packed in the pedals and cleats is harder then mud to clip in with.

Got myself sorted out and started hammering.......until a left hand corner with a good little rut....haha...damn rut grabbed my front tire and I slammed hard in the mud :) Sue passed me again....grrrrrr. Regrouped myself again and started the chase again....this time with Natasha Elliot and Devon Haskell in tow. Devon passed me through the barriers, and I grabbed her wheel to catch as much of a muddy draft as I could. Second last corner of the first lap I found myself smack on my ass again, loosing contact with both Devon and Natasha.

At this point Kathy Sherwin was breathing down my neck and we battled for the next 3 laps. I managed to clean the rest of the race, I think the mass amounts of rain that started to come down actually made the course a little less slick....if that's possible, but my legs didn't quite have the punch that they had the night before. The last lap I passed Kathy in the final sand run, managed to clip in relatively smoothly, and set my sights on Devon in 5th place. I managed to put some serious time into her on the last half of the lap, but not enough to catch up...and finished 6th on this day.

After cleaning my bike I found that my rear derallieur was jammed with so much mud and grass that I couldn't even move the wonder I was having troubles shifting or even staying in a gear...hehe. My new Trek XO2 worked absolutely amazing, the newly designed front fork is so stiff and responsive...I love it!!!! Thank you again Barry Near and Trek Toronto Store for helping me out this year.

Oh ya, I got mommed by Wendy Simms twice this weekend as she finished 2nd on both days. I'm excited she's back and I get to race her this year at the Island Cross Races....that's gonna me fast!!!...haha
StarCrossed Interview

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RadRacing Interview

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The Look :)

Friday, 17 September 2010

Getting in Shape for Cross

Haha, view details and check out the near 30 mins of max that how you get in shape for cross?????

Finishing up packing for a cross weekend in's raining sideways!!!!! Just found out too that my tires are too fat for the new UCI regulations...yikes.....doing some research online to find new tires last night didn't produce very many results. I'm sorry, but that's a really silly regulation that really limits the choices of tires out there........Ya, I can't even run the stock tires that come on my race bike!!!!!

Oh ya....on a happier note, my cross bike arrived last night.....super sexy Trek XO2 with full Shimano Ultegra. I'll get some photos posted once I've got him all nice and muddy. Off to do some test running on it, make sure I tightened all the bolts :)

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Beer Prime

Preeme? Preme? How ever you spell it..hehe. I won the beer prime last night at the second Wednesday night underground cross race :) It's so cool when you get 40 plus people out for these things. Good training for Starcrossed and RadRacing this weekend!!!! If only my cross bike would show up, suspension and flat bars may not go over as well there.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Anyone know what this is????

One last blackberry forage for the season

Also yielded a really unusual piece of, I'm assuming, fruit. Quick google search hasn't helped. Can anyone help me out with what this is before I decide I need to eat it???

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Love Hate Relationship

Yes I have a love hate relationship with September.....more so just the week or 2 immediately following my last major cross country race of the season. This year it just happens to be following Worlds and the first 2 weeks of September. Crashing from all of the emotional and physical strain and stress of about 6 months of racing. As a semi-professional cyclist striving to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a professional athlete, your life pretty much revolves around training, cross training, traveling, eating, recovering and sleeping during these 6 months. A lot of other activities and hobbies take somewhat of a backseat if they interfere with your focus and prep work.

Everything you do for the season is a building step to that big final event .........and then when it's over, no matter if you're happy or disappointed with how things unfolded, you're kinda left with a sad feeling that's it's over :(

After spending a touristy day in Montreal, we flew home to Victoria late Monday night, and try to get back into the swing of things. This week for me is a little bit of a recovery week, not just from a block of hard training, but from an entire season. Recovery from the emotional highs and lows, all the hours of travel and time spent away, all the physical demands on the body and the bodies systems.

So the love part of the relationship - love that I've been healthy all year to be able to compete in best form, love that I've enjoyed the season, love that it's time to catch up on my many other passions.....maybe even learn to surf :)

And the hate past of the relationship - hate that the season is over, hate the feeling that I maybe I could have done something more, hate the couple days after that I kinda feel like I'm in limbo.

AHHHHHH but limbo is gonna be short again this year.......switching gears for cyclocross season!!!!! Last night was the first Wednesday night "Underground" race!!!!! Yippeee!!!! I don't have a cyclocross bike yet so the Trek 8500 got some hard cross riding...hehe. Regan and I registered for Starcrossed and Radracing weekend in 2 weeks down in Washington........switching gears fast this year :)

Uber stoked!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Women's Start

Sunday, 5 September 2010

World Championships

Third one in the bucket :) Always such a big honor to be able to represent Canada, but nothing beats being able to represent Canada in Canada. Mont St Anne fans are absolutely amazing, and Mont St Anne never fails to put on a an amazing weekend of racing.

Yesterday was the elite XC races, last big XC racing of the season.....oh ya, and Mont St Anne never fails to be one of the hardest, most physically demanding courses on the circuit. I felt that I had recovered very from Transrockies, feeling the fitness from that week of racing kicking in, and all recovered from the team relay, really great to do some uber high intensity following all the base. Woke up sat morning to the sound of rain sprinkling down...which progressively turned harder and harder till the rain was hammering down as we suited up to head out for warm up.

I had a good start, held my own up the first long gravel climb, got boggled up, turned sideways, bumped by another rider, ended up running up a short section of the climb. Cyclocrossed quickly back on the bike and back into line. Entering the first singletrack everything was quickly bottlenecked and we were all off our bikes walking - this unfortunately costs us a lot of time as the leaders get farther and farther ahead...oh well, gotta earn that front row call up. Remounting in line just before the rock garden more commonly known as "Beatrice" I found myself right behind Amanda Sin's wheel. A quick look of Beatrice showed a line of girls running down the rocks....what's more sketchy then running down wet rock in bike shoes with cleats??? Yikes. I followed Amanda down the chicken line...which by the way really isn't that much easier, but there is a lot less risk....and we ended up passing about 7 positions, and settled into the top 25ish.

Following the rock garden we were sent straight up the most grueling grass climb that just gets steeper and steeper, and steeply switchbacks 4 times at the top before leveling out slightly over some slick rock. This drops down into the last technical climb before some fast loose descending all the way back down to the village. From there, the majority of the climbing is done as the course then winds through some fun, fast and flowy singletrack that is in mint condition from the rain in the morning. I found this section pretty hard, wanting to push the pace really hard because it was so fun, but so gassed from all the climbing previously in the lap.

Second lap through, I was able to pick off a couple more positions and actually worked up the nerve to ride Beatrice.....which I found out afterwards that I was only one of 3 girls that had even tried to ride it thus far in the race. Third lap I dabbed a little entering the rock garden, which didn't set me up very good for the entrance, but I decided to give it a go again.....half way down I down I found myself loosing control of the front tire and start sliding out sideways. It could have been a really bad crash but I managed to hang onto the bike as long as possible and ended up just skidding out on left knee slightly.....but i sufficiently scared myself into taking the chicken line for the remainder of the race....haha...oh well, better safe then sorry, especially when the chicken line is only about 5 secs slower.

I had felt really strong and happy with my race up until the 4th lap....then things started going a little sideways. My body started cramping up all over, my arms and my legs started feeling so heavy, any slightly sideways pedal stroke lead to bad cramping in my hamstrings. Regan even said that he heard me whimpering on course. I don't think that I have ever felt such a full body rejection of physical activity in my life was an absolutely horrible feeling. At some times the only thing that kept me going was amazing Canadian fans cheering from every corner of the course, hearing my parents and the various Trek Canada jersey's yelling at me, and definitely having Regan running is butt off encouraging me from about 47 different locations a lap! Hugest thanks to everyone !!!!!!

I was able to pull it together a little for the 5th and final lap, with a mantra of "Come on, come on, come on, come on" with every single pedal stroke of the lap. Finished strong in 29th and definitely "left everything on the course"...haha, ya I know a little bit of a cliche but I had to sit on the ground at the finish line with a can of coke for about 10 mins after the finish before I could hobble off to the tents.

It was a great day for team Canada with Catharine Pendrel breaking her 6th place curse with an incredible performance to finish 4th, Marie Helene in 9th and Amanda Sin in 28th. On the men's side Geoff Kabush finished 8th, nailing Beatrice every lap with his characteristic smooth style. Go Canada !!!!!!

Just saw my two carbon bikes off, the Trek Top Fuel and the Trek more carbon bikes for me this year. Two weeks to switch gears and get ready for cross season....Starcrossed and RadRacing in is fun !!!!!!

Huge thanks to Dan Proulx and the rest of the team Canada crew, as well as Scott Kelly and the rest of the team Canada mechanics....for the awesome week!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Picture from reganpringleshoots

Pre-race Trek Canada interview