Friday, 26 October 2012

Spooooooky

    Back to back double headers really are kicking my butt this year, not to mention the change in weather right now...I'm finally starting to come around almost 1 week later!

    Home monday from the USGP #2 in Fort Collins, work 3 days, then straight down to LA Friday night for SOCAL double header Spooky Cross and Krosstoberfest. Really fun event....some cool costumes (damn UCI rules or I would have had something fun on), a little sand pit action (with a surprising amount of new sand dumped for the first lap), some awesome BMX action (big air!) and great weather.

    Got in really late Friday night so it was really nice having an ├╝ber lazy Saturday morning leading into the night Spooky Cross. Though getting ready for a 7:30 pm race has it's own challenges. My first front row call up at a UCI race of the year...yippee...so I finally got to test out my starts. Yup, still got my starts :-) Now if only I could hold that for 40 mins...I'd be like World Champ or something maybe! Head down and hammer, hammer, hammer for the first lap before I finally relinquish my lead....okay, I got overtaken. It was a great battle with us 4 leaders attacking each other the entire race. Elle Anderson, Teal Stetson Lee, Courtney McFadden and myself. Road tactics really played a large part in this race, with a lot of fast open straight sections you could really save a lot of energy by drafting. 3rd lap in Elle took a flyer and put a good couple corners into the rest of us. At this point I was really starting to feel my first lap effort of trying to ride everyone off my wheel....haha, yes, I know! It looked like Elle was going to have a clear shot at the win, when all of a sudden we come around the corner to find her picking herself up at the bottom of the stair run up. Even pros have dismounting and mountin issues sometimes! Teal attacked here and broke us up completely. I tailed along just out of reach and finished in 4th place, with my first podium of the year!

    Day 2, on the exact same course I decided to employ a slightly different tactic, not launching my start attack and try to sit in a little more off the start. Sunday's race ended up with the same 4 women off the front killing ourselves. Teal launched an early attack and she was slowly reeled in only to have Elle counter attack and have a smooth run in for 1st place. 3rd place sprint came down to myself and Courtney, I didn't play my cards right and I just didn't have the kick to get around her. Pair of 4's for the weekend!
Photo: Dorothy Wong

Photo: Phil Beckman

    As per usual, the Stan's No Tubes CX team works together flawlessly making for a great weekend, thanks team. Regan came with me as team mechanic, so of course my bikes worked flawlessly, thanks Regan!! Thank you to Matt Wehn (Kenny's dad) for the awesome home stay and thank you Dorothy Wong for hosting the weekend!!
Photo: Phil Beckman

    Stressful flight home with rain delays and lost luggage...doesn't make me a very happy traveller when all 3 of my bags don't show up, especially when you have to pay extra for the bikes! Not to mention the fact that when I called 2 days later, they didn't have any idea where my bags were!!! Bikes have since made it home safely.

    On completely different and other exciting news, Regan and I, after a lot of thought, have adopted the sweetest little girl ever. Big brown eyes, big sharp teeth....haha yes, 9 week old Laila is a Boxer puppy. So this past week has been a flurry of poop and pee and kisses and all sorts of new adventures. I'm a first time pet owner (besides the typical gold fish) and Regan has some limited experience growing up with a dog, so this is all new, exciting and scary! I really want to get her a little pumpkin costum for halloween!!! Yup, I'm going to be that kind of mom :-)

Monday, 15 October 2012

USGP Fort Collins Action

USGP weekend number 2 in the books. Not as successful here in Fort Collins as last year, but still an awesome weekend with some great people. Shannon has done an amazing job with the Stan's NoTubes CX team and I feel so lucky to be a part of the team and being able to ride such great gear.

Finally got to try out the Ridley X-Fire disc in a little mud this weekend....though definitely not as much as last year or as much as on the island (looks like it was a good weekend to get away!). Some nasty rain moved in Friday night and Saturday morning and it was looking like it would be a near carbon copy of last years mudfest, but as I was warming up the sun started peaking through and I really can't believe how fast things started drying up! Race conditions were perfect, corners tacky and a little bit of mud to make things exciting. I was hoping to have a better call up, but I keep forgetting its based on UCI points not series points, but manages to grab the last 2nd row position.

I had a great race but just didn't have the oomph to stick with the wheels I needed to. Thinking back I have some doubts as to if I could have squeaked a little more out of my legs and stuck with this wheel or that wheel it could have been a lot different. The next 5 spots in front of my hard fought 9th all seemed to slow the same as me....I just happened to do it a little sooner.

Photo credit © Dave McElwaine
With this in mind I headed into day 2 with the main goal of challenging myself to stay with that wheel. However my body seemed to have different ideas. Things were going great, found myself in a good spot, moving up through the field on Pepper's wheel (who had an amazing weekend of races), but when she made the move around Caroline Mani and I couldn't due to ....insert excuse of corner into barriers....by the time I passed Caroline I had a lot of work to catch back up.

Photo credit © Dave McElwaine
Entering that red very red zone can happen only a couple of times in a race, but throw in some good altitude and you can enter that zone even less. I hit that zone and didn't manage to make contact finding myself panting painfully in no mans land for a little too long. A strong roadie wheel passed me (very fast course today...ave 21.7km/h) and I manages to keep myself in the mix for a little longer. The final lap 6 came and I was swarmed by 4 women in a heart beat. Just dangling off the back of this group for the last lap I couldn't muster the pop to catch anyone's wheel....but managed to hold off Amanda Carey who was just a head of me Saturday and hold on for 14th place.

Photo credit © Dave McElwaine
No worthy excuses...though I could come up with a lot :). But I'm hoping it turns into a good learning weekend for me. Teammate Kenny Wehn who had an awesome weekend in the Master 35+ gave me an awesome workout to do....here I come Wednesday.

It was the first weekend to have the whole team together, it's pretty near being a part of a team that travels and works well together. Had a lot of fun this weekend...thank you Regan for the pre-trip complete overhaul, thank you Chris and Kenny for dialling my bike on for race day, and huge thank you to our host housing Randy!! As usual I loved the Stan's Iron Cross wheels, working flawlessly at my new 24/25 psi....yes, I'm coming to enjoy running lower pressure!!!

Photo credit © Dave McElwaine





Back home for 3 days work, then straight down to Spooky Cross in LA. Really excited about this race!!!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Double header weekend, quick morning trip over to Vancouver, stuffing our faces on the 7 am ferry buffet, then straight to New Brighton Park for Vancouver Cyclocross Coalition race number 2.  Awesome course!!!!  Super fun and fast, and pretty good turn out with over 150 racers.

Testing the limits of the Kenda Kommando, and pleasantly surprised
Pic from Steve Pukesh

Sand!!
Pic by Amir Shahrestani

SANNNNNNNND, makes me look fast!
Pic from Doug Brons

Pic from Steve Pukesh
Somehow managed to catch the 3:15 ferry back to the island.  Quick stop at Bocco Coffee shop in Nanaimo (must check that one out...10 pound cookies!!...well, not quite), then hauled ass up to Courtney, for some fresh made Amanda Wakeling pizza and Eatmore Sprouts salad....yes, with the best sprouts ever!

Day 2 of the double header was the Dodgy Cross in Cumberland, with the infamous giant whirly-whirl (that did consistently make me dizzy while trying to change directions) and the BMX track (that claimed more then one victim).




Decided I needed the training, yup, second double header in a row (great idea) and raced with the men again.  Nothing but slow diesel in these legs at this point, but managed to hold it together somewhat for a 19th place (and didn't get lapped!)....but I did manage to miss time the barriers a little and did some fancy footwork inbetween the two planks.  Thanks guys for the beer feed.....though I'm not too sure it made my laps any faster (still could't catch Regan (who kept the rubber on the wheel today)...but managed to stay ahead of Russ Anderson (no one has to know he double flatted).....these two should be on the Stan's No Tubes!!!)

At least G-off Robson makes me look really fast!  Or maybe it's my Ridley X-Fire (Belgian bikes can do that)

Thanks Regan for the awesome action packed weekend, I'm still knackered!!!  Thanks Amanda and Glen for putting us up for the night and feeding us sprouts!  Huge thanks to the organizers of the New Brighton Superprestige and the Dodgy Cross....both fantastic races!!!