Sunday, December 23, 2007

1.5 days 'til X Games

Let's take a quick look at some more pics of Syd, in the Mud. Take a close loook and you see Catherine Walberg (Kenda-blk/red).

Why was Syd tired after the race...HMMM?

HO HO HO! Christmas is here already. The smell of pine, toasted sugar cookies, rich fudge, all accompanied by the sweater you open to which you can't seem to figure out which grin fits your enthusiasm.
This week has been full of anticipation and accelerated activities. Parties, company bonuses, shopping...

Lets take a minute to remember our week. Wednesday we had an awesome attendance to our meeting at Smoke Free House. Updates, details and photos coming soon!!!

Thursday we all came together to fit one more (at least) interval workout in before the Holiday., at Concordia Seminary.

See the sweat?
Count them..1,2,3,4,5,6,7, 8,,9 with me and 10 with the roller riding photographer.

See the sweat?

Tomorrow we ready ourselves for the arrival of the King in Red. ( got the white covered and Johnny does the black)
Lift your glasses and shout a Merry Cheer!!!

Talk to you tomorrow or maybe after Santa's big performance.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Spinning Tonight

Just wanted to get the map out there for anyone wanting to attend the trainer night tonight. Bring your bike and a trainer or call Carrie to see if we've got extras.

The meeting/social last night was awesome and we'll have some updates soon...stay tuned. Thanks to all that joined us!

**Also, it's worth noting that the "soapbox" issue, from last week is still getting comments and views daily. I encourage everyone to periodically check that. There's a new comment from a pessimistic "anonymous" skeptic. It got me hot under the collar in a whole new way. I almost deleted (because I have that kind of power, you know), but left it there. Criticism is everywhere and it's not healthy to deny it's voice. Even if it is lazy, apathetic and nonconstructive criticism...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Psycho-Cross Nationals

"There were hundreds of wrecks. At one point the announcer figured the average for each rider was running 3 spills every 10 minutes. Forks were broken, wheels flew off and it was just quite the eye opener for yours truly. In fact, the race winners were those who were able to keep the tire side down the most."
Read more of Syd's account at Sydspinnin

Syd managed a podium for her masters race (2nd!) and finished the women's elite (which is an accomplishment that should not be under appreciated). As Carrie and I frantically ran from sketchy corner to off-camber to the run-ups I was constantly thankful I was not riding, let alone racing, in these conditions. Nasty, nasty stuff.

In weather like this, the course changed constantly; from day to day and race to race. YouTube videos, posted by Jim Gentes (founder of Giro Helmets), is an excellent way to appreciate the race while not having to deal with cold fingers and toes at your anearobic threshold. It's worth noting that Mr. Gentes finished 6th out of 44 finishers and about 100 starters.

Kudos (a billion kudos) to all who stepped up to the start-line this past weekend. Maybe I'll have the guts by next year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


(wow, that's a hokey image!)
A quick update and thank you to all that have read and given feedback on this issue. We're excited about the positive talk that's happened and I give kudos to the mayor for being incredibly receptive to our suggestions and feedback.

There's still hope for the Tour of Elk Grove to give women two races that weekend. We'll keep our fingers crossed do some so heavy lifting to get a good show of women if that opportunity should arise.

While this issue is far from its solution, it's knowing guys like Luke and the women we race with and against are out there teaching, promoting and mentoring (sorry if that sounds too much like a pat on the back). In the meantime, we'll keep chugging away at building our communities where we live and ride and I'll keep the info, as I get it, posted here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Soap Box

It's been a tough few days. I've rather suddenly taken a more political stance than usual. I've been in a few conversations trying to defend women's racing and it's continued support. After a heated conversation last year with the Tour of KC director about his negligence in properly addressing women's fields, I'm on the soap box again with the coordinator for the Tour of Elk Grove.

You can read the point of my concern here.

It's a difficult position to be in; to feel like you're running around, doing what you can to impact a larger issue. It's embarrassing to show at a race event crowded with men who've had to secure their spot in the race months in advance, to line up with 10, 20, and on the best day, 30-50 other women. Where race limits allow for 100 women, we're lucky if the field is half that size. It's equally embarrassing for a sponsor or race-coordinator, if not more so. So, then, what should I tell them? How can I argue?

I ask for patience. It's up to communities like ours to build the racers, to increase the confidence of women enough to stand on the line and learn to take a corner in a field of other women. What we have here in St. Louis may be fairly unique. Sometimes I like to think so; at times like these, I think it's unfortunate.

I was frustrated with Elk Grove's decisions because I felt like they made drastic changes without really asking a broad group of women and teams what their incentives were. I complained that, while increasing the prize money, they REMOVED a race from the weekend event; which sometimes is critical in the travel decision-making. A single race with double the pot isn't the right incentive, I said. If you walk up to a $5 black jack table with $10, are you more likely to blindly double-down or know at least you've got two hands to try and win? (Bad analogy, but you get the picture)

Kelly Benjamin, of Cheerwine, attended a race in Kansas City the Saturday before the event and flew to Chicago for Sunday's race; are these the lengths women have to endure in order to get two races in? Those of us that attended 2007's race saw Cheerwine dominate the field of mostly single pro riders. They were the only pro TEAM that attended. Other pros showed up, but had few or no teammates to work with. I honestly felt that those women secretly swore to not let that happen again. That they walked away resolving to come back better equipped with their squads.

(*addendum*) I don't mean to imply that the competition simply rolled over for Cheerwine. Their race execution was enviable and I feel like it would have prompted other women's teams to show up and try to put up a better performance. No other team was as well represented, in both numbers and standings.

But then "the powers that be" changed the date, significantly dropped the purse and made the race a single OPEN race. And now, here I am, heatedly debating which position to take. how can I continue to justify support from sponsors that aren't patient enough to see results?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Keeping The Wheels Wheels Turnin'

Today is a reflection day.....
It's getting cold and a bit nasty outside, but we ride when we should thank the many wonders of layerable clothing. But cold weather has given us an opportunity to meet inside for some time on the bike in a House we are all welcome
I am finding the energy to keep turning the pedals over, one day at a time.
The moody blues? Are they here? Let's fend them off.
We have lots to be thankful for, friends, good health, and a passion for a wonderful activity.

Lets figure out a time between now and Christmas that we can gather, have a good drink, and see what we are going to do about 2008. There are changes happening and people stepping aside, so we need to make the necessary decisions and that involves YOU.
I am thinking we meet sometime next week at the Happy Place
Topics vary from Membership Due Changes...going to worth driven dues and clinic partipation, Club, seminar based, Leadership and Mentoring.....who, importance.
Let's talk. As many people as possible need to be there..
sound good or a bad idea?

Monday, December 03, 2007

First Cross Race: Learning Experience

Some park off 44 and 270(Carrie whispers "Unger Park")
Start time: Noon
Sunday: 12/3/2007

Started when it was 68 degrees and gusty winds. Ended at about 40 degrees with some pouring rain thrown in there for “fun”. Given I have zero CX experience, it’s hard to tell if the course sucked or was a typical cross layout. The seemingly endless, bumpy, deep-grass field filled with switchbacks was miserable. You could see racers a half-mile ahead of you! And once the rain hit, it was like riding in sand—my quads were swimming in lactic acid and by the last lap I could barely make it over a small, tiny, little, muddy hill—a hill that on any other day is not considered a “hill” at all.

I stayed with the leader for the first lap, maybe two (?)....then her lead grew and my resolve shrunk. I then, committed to coming out of the race breaking even on my cost of entry. 2nd Place. I could see her behind me at every turn. My lead would grow, then shrink; but I was driven. I was calculating my pain to the time left in the race; it was going to be tough, but I thought if I were half-way through, I could stick it out. I looked at my watch to find I was 12 minutes in. ONLY 12 minutes! Can’t be!! I quickly wondered if it could be on the wrong setting, or if I’d accidentally stopped it. All these rationalizations flashing through my mind as I pedaled and scrambled in my head to find some light at the end of this anaerobic tunnel! OK, I'm only a third in....35 minutes or so left! **Insert profanity here**

A slip in a switchback, that caused me to unclip and nearly stop, quickly whittled my gap on 3rd to nothing. She caught me before the steeples. Rain was gusting down at that point and I couldn’t see very well; it was like there was this crack in my vulnerable resolve that opened up right then and I simply let her go. I could hear Carrie yelling for me to stay with her. I shook my head and blinked the burning, rain-mixed-with-hair-product out of my eyes (mental note: on race days, wash hair of all hair product) and tried to minimize the damage. But watching her cadence compared to how mine felt made it worse in my head.

Some laps, I’d ride head down in apparent misery. Other laps, I’d be cheering myself on to attempt a good, strong steeple section. Other laps, I’d stop at the steeples, having no other riders close to me I’d lift my bike and and walk them. It was probably equally painful for Carrie to watch. One lap she ran beside me cheering me on, until I yelled at her, “You get on the bike. You do this!”

The rain eased, but the damage to the course was done. I watched for the 4th place rider now (you know it’s bad when you’re looking behind you, instead of in front of you in a race). All I could think about was minimizing my damage. 3rd’s OK, right? That’s what it’s like to lose, mentally. You rationalize. You compensate. Fill your head with excuses. Then they ring the bell for last lap. I was hoping I’d been far enough behind to skip the last lap; my watch said 44 minutes as I approached the start/finish (Yes, Syd, I had plenty of time to look at my watch now). They rang the bell. No luck for me, another grueling lap. It took every ounce of resolve left to do that last lap; “pick it up!” I heard anonymously in the background “one left! Go hard for your last one!”....this was hard! It was just very slow!

You’d think I might wash my hands of this cross-racing; but in retrospect the emotional roller coaster of that hour was really amazing to me. It's that inner, personal battle that makes this the most unique form of racing I’ve ever done. Will I ever love it? I don’t know; I’ve never been much of one for self-punishment; but there is something addicting about knowing I can do better in my head. That's a big of a key in this kind of race; the other two are bike handling and fitness. But it’s improving the first that I’m drawn we’ll see.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

gearing up

We've been fielding lots of questions about what to wear at what temperatures. Having a good selection of thin components is key.

No arm-warmers? No big deal, I used my wicking, long-sleeved running tops for a long time; if it's below 40, you wouldn't be removing the arm-warmers anyway.

Same for knee-warmers; running tights over cycling shorts work fine if you're not entering a cycling beauty contest (which is really hard to win when you've got snot dripping out of your nose).
My rules of thumb:
2. Keep core, ears (head), hands and toes as warm as possible. When they get cold, misery quickly follows.

What's the right combo for which temperature? It's a recipe that's highly personal, but here's my very quick reference guide:

40-50 degrees:
Armwarmers OR longsleeve (LS) running shirt, jersey AND undershirt are good. The closer to 40 the temp is, you might want to add a wind vest. Kneewarmers or long tights. Two thin pair of wool socks, if it's not too tight in your shoes (preventing good circulation with tight shoes makes your feet cold faster!). Thin gloves, you can double up with a cheap pair from Walgreens and shed as needed. Ear coverage recommended.

30-40 degrees:
Same as above, definitely layer gloves, closer to 30 degrees, I highly recommend wind-proof outer gloves. Add toe or shoe covers. Duct tape over those shoe vents that are so "helpful" in the summer. Consider a thin hat that fits under the helmet; good for colder temps. Also, at 30 you'll want something covering your neck, too. Balaclavas are good all-in-one options. Layer socks again, we love these long wool socks from Defeet. Wind vest is a must and if you've got wool arm warmers, no sleeved jacket is necessary yet.

20-30 degrees:
Cover everything you can:
hat, balaclava/neck gaitor, layer gloves (yep, those dorky lobster gloves are critical), as many socks as you can handle to keep blood flow good. Multiple layers on your core: undershirt (I wear a tank and short-sleeved ones), one or two jerseys or LS running shirt, lightweight wind-jacket. Arm warmers, knee warmers. Add a layer of tights, too, if it's closer to 20. Glasses to protect your eyes/face from the wind are critical.

10-20 degrees: Hit the MTB trails or wear a ski mask. The wind in your face at 20mph is not fun or recommended. MTB riding is slower and usually requires more effort more often, trees shield the wind, etc. If it's this cold, I suggest using just about everything you've got and just pile it on (I'm a wimp!). Also, those packets for hand and toe warmers are invaluable at this temp.

It's a rough guide and a few degrees (when it gets in the 30's) can make a bigger difference than expected. Test yourself with shorter rides, or rides where you know you've got transportation alternatives if you need to bag it.

Whew, now I feel like I need some good ol' hot chocolate. I'm cold just thinking about it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

the journey continues

I just like the picture, not very relevant. So, here we are at the end of November and where are we? Personally, I'm in an underlit, cold abyss. I miss riding with other people regularly. I miss my Monday night ride that kicked my butt all season. I miss watching the Tuesday night crits, our Wednesday ride, and racing. I really miss racing. The whole reason I stay motivated. And, as far as I can tell, the next race for me is in March.

Carrie and I did a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. We both ran our personal best 5K times (woo hoo!) Maybe I'll start running to get my competitive fix. Or maybe I should have done some cyclocross. There's always next year and I have a feeling that will be our next big thing. And lord knows Syd loves it! Looks like pain and fun, torture and elation...all in an hour race. Cross clinic, anyone?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Weak sauce still counts

Brr. Twas cloudy, drizzly, cold, windy -- generally unpleasant and getting worse so over lunch I pointed my bike into the wind for 5 minute intervals. Figured I'd better get on it, because the way I was feeling, I knew if I even got close to a sofa and a warm blanket the likelihood of me getting my ride in might drop to slim to none. Some might say, "What's the harm in skipping now and again?"

I'll tell you... because skipping just gets easier. Every time you quit or skip, you get better at it. Just the same as when you stick it out, even when you're dead last, you get tougher. I don't mean physically so much as mentally, but the importance of your mental game cannot be overstated and boy o boy did I get some practice in today. The moment I rolled out of the building and into the wind, the following inner conversation commenced:

Whiner: Ewwww, I don't wanna...I don't feel good. waaaah."
Racer: Yeah, it's icky. You think those other women are sitting around? Just how hard do you want them to kick your butt? You a quitter?
Whiner: No, but I just don't feel like it. My legs hurt. I can't breath in this wind. My ankles are cold.
Racer: You know you'll warm up shortly and the wind will help get your numbers up.
Whiner: I'll do one.
Racer: That's the spirit. You want to do well for the team next season, you gotta do your training. One at a time, that's the way.
Whiner: Groan..... OK. Here goes.

This conversation went on for an hour with Whiner trying to quit and Racer trying everything in the book to keep Whiner on task. Eventually, five intervals were completed and both were enormously grateful to return to the warmth of the office.

Surprisingly, there was a sense of success upon completion despite lower than normal numbers. It was that bit of triumph over adversity feeling. That "when it gets tough I can hang, dammit," mindset, which is exactly what's required in this sport. So, although the numbers will say I was pretty weak sauce today, come Saturday, methinks it'll be warmin' right up and I might even have a can of whoop-@$$ to wash it down. ;)

In the meantime, however, I'm gonna treat Whiner to ginger cookies and cocoa while Racer reviews the "5 Core Skills of the Mentally Fit Athlete."

Other good reads from Pez Cycling News:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Re(volution) Re(cycles)

Hey, all! We're starting a recycling revolution! Before you run out to buy the new iPhone and ditch your old phones, toss them our way. We're now collecting used cell phones and ink cartridges to supplement our funds. It's not a huge money-maker, but it fits well with our vibe and it's a small gesture in keeping trash out of landfills.

Collect them from coworkers, moms, kids, friends and bring them to rides where Carrie and I will be. (Please don't steal them!).

Rev on!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

2008 Membership

Carrie and I were discussing the upcoming membership renewal that will happen for nearly a third of the club members (that's a rough estimate). Concurrently, I was struck by the announcement by Radiohead of their "pay what think" approach to selling their current album.

We constantly worry that we're not providing the value each member may attribute to our membership dues (currently $35/year). To some, that's a lot. To others, a drop in some bucket I'm not familiar with. So, we've decided for 2008, we'll implement the "Radiohead approach" for both memberships and clinics.

In case you're wondering what we DID do, you can check out our 2007 random statistics page. I know we were "race-heavy" but, 'tis to be expected as the two (now three) coordinators are RACERS.

As you consider our value, here's another reference for you to read on charitable giving. For more fund-raising incentive, we expect to be a 501c.3 (tax-deductable) organization in 2008. (Finally)

You know we're not out here for hand-outs! We expect the club to earn your respect, time and dollars. Now that our first year is nearly under our belt, we hope to only improve on what we've started. We've learned a TON! And the one thing we are consistently reminded of is that this community is a group effort and we need a lot of help to keep it rolling.

More than a handful of our club members have become part of what we identify as a core group. Thank you! Your commitment, consistency and enthusiasm is a constant source of inspiration. As we embark on 2008, we'll be putting our ears to the track and listening for suggestions. We're taking small steps, but I know we've got a ways to go.

Here's my quick list at what we're focusing on improving in 2008:
Century riding.
More Rides for Illinois residents.
Epic touring events.
MS 150 training and support.
Charitable events.
Community development.
Mountain Biking(!)
Entry level Rides.
Junior Race Development.
More Rides.
More Ride/Social events.
Cyclocross clinic(s)
More Rides.
Suggestions? Lemme hear 'em!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

PEZ Toolbox: Handling pressure

This is a good article for all the racers out there. As I lock into the 2nd season of cyclocross, I've noticed my feelings about the races have changed. Last year, it was just exciting to do and I didn't really feel any pressure beyond normal heightened anticipation to race. This season, however, I feel the stakes are higher,because so many have invested in my development and I want to represent their investment well. Consequently, I've been working on managing my emotions better and keeping a tight watch on the self-talk. (Can't stress how important that's been for me.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Revolution women win AND have a good time

Cross is fun, ladies. You all have to come on out. This weekend I learned a lesson or five on Saturday and served myself up a second place finish, but Sunday, got the win I traveled for and had a blast doing some beer hand-ups to the 1/2/3 men. If you want to read a little more about the races, stop by my personal site... sydspinnin.

Where in the World am I ?

Here we are in late October....drinking coffee, beer, and taking the last few moments of freedom before we start really training again. This past weekends activities
were a blast!!! I enjoyed the unreal atmosphere!! and the beer too.. I enjoyed them after I was done riding for the most part. a tornado like state right now. Whew!!!! Help!~

This is what I need and what I want....
1) I want to ride this Saturday Day with the girls...Forest Park??? Cool Weather acclimation ride. Around 2-2.5 hours, maybe or we could do less to start with
2) I would like to delegate some of the responsibilities of the club to willing individuals. We need ride leaders for a regular Sat. road ride, a regular Sunday road ride, and maybe a MTB ride.
We have lots of girls that have not been able to ride with us, due to their weekly committments, and I would like to remedy that.
3) Indoor Ride. Having a spin night is good, and we also are working on the trainer night. I just need a willing location for a 2 hour block. Anyone know of an establishment that would donate their space once a week? I have a couple of feelers out.
4) Our race team is looking for monetary sponsors for the '08 season. We have a professional proposal and are wanting to provide a very intuitive marketing platform for companies and their branding.
Thats my rants for now.
Today....I am out!!!
Check out the Ning site tooo, there is new stuff there also.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Weighting Game

It's post-season, the days are shorter and air is brisk. There seems to be a subconscious signal going off in my brain to start packing it on for the long, hard STL winter. How do you know you're gaining weight? You say to yourself, “I think I'll change into some ‘jammie pants’to sit on the couch and watch television. I'm wearing jeans, people! Everyday, all day. Jeans.

It was an actual thought I had after a long freaking day of work and eating like I'm racing tomorrow (and the next day and the day after that). For me, it's not so much weather-induced as stress-induced; I'm hoping against all hope that stress also increases metabolic activity.

So, this gets me thinking about what we’re gonna do instead of sitting on the couch... You might remember the post I had about “winter activities” a WHILE back. Well here we are, staring down the barrel of November and a delayed daylight savings change (thank you).

I see like 55 people on the ning site—it’s time to get together and discuss winter prep (and I’m not talking about expanding your wardrobe to include more “jammie pants”!). We need a gathering, to match new faces and guilt some people out of the house for cold-weather riding and, oh yeah, maybe have some adult beverages. We know it’s been a long time. We’re on it. More details soon. Seriously.

We still need a place to have our movie/spin night. In the short-term, you can join Tracy and others for Spinervals on Tuesdays at the Alpine Shop (**exact dates and times coming soon***).

I haven’t quite figured this one out yet, but I want to do a scavenger hunt meets bike race involving procuring various goods necessary to prepare a holiday meal....details will be forthcoming as I make it up.

Again, not fully put together in my head, but I want to do a multiweek series, where you buck up in the beginning...let’s say 10 weeks for $100. Every week you show up to ride, you get your 10 bucks back....I’m not sure breaking even is a good reason to get out and ride in 20 degree weather...still thinking of incentives. This will be on the weekend, maybe one for each discipline: road AND mountain bikes.

I should have titled this entry “Details to Come”.....hey, we’re busy. Feel free to help or come up with your own. We’ll promote it, if we dig it! Thoughts and suggestions are welcome. Email me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

No Impact

So, I keep thinking about this green thing. It's becoming a new obsession (hey, it's my off-season!). I've been constantly astonished at how unconsciously wasteful we are, none more than today.

I was thinking we'd have a "green" tour next year. Maybe we'd get a hybrid team vehicle. Done.

Wrong. Not even the surface. Still working on the plan, but I'm committed.

In the short term, enjoy reading this guy's crazy plan and start to get a handle on your own denial or apathy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gettin' dirty in the off-season

Sure, back to back, why not?
Fast towards the lake

Team Revolution women don't sit around idling away the days till the next road season. Instead, I like to think we're all out rockin' it in other ways. Some of us are swimming, others running and putting miles on their other bikes, and me, I like to mix it up on the 'cross courses. This last weekend found me just south of Des Moines, Iowa at the inaugural "Spooky Cross." Payouts were good and the course great -- well, great in a 'cross sort of way.

The first day it had rained and parts were a little slick, but it was relatively fast between the painful run-ups. The second day -- big OUCH. It had rained most of the night and hadn't let up when my first race, the men's 3/4, pulled up to the start line. An hour later, the rain had paused, but the slop was plentiful and the course full of suffering for my second race -- the women's Open.

Two days. Four races. Results: 4th (Men's 3/4), 1st (Women Open), 8th (Men's 3/4), 1st (Women Open).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Green Revolution: Tree huggers

It's not just during MTB season that we love to hug trees (actually, it's in MTB season that we hope we don't!) I've had green on the brain for a while now. (Here's my default web page!) And one of my favorite articles from their bicycle archive.

Being in the midwest, it's fairly easy to be in a certain amount of denial about the state of the world. I've done a handful of information graphics in the last decade on various aspects of global warming and the like. Download a recent one for Popular Science *here*

I've also had the oppurtunity to spend over 6 months (spread over the last 2 years) in San Francisco. Often in those travels, I felt like I had dual identities. I had the "Bay Area me" that walked everywhere, learned public transportation, ate organic and local foods and reduced my footprint to a minumum. And the "midwest me", where I drive the few blocks to the store and the 4 miles to work, never use a bus to get anywhere, still use plastic bags at the grocery store. OK, yeah, I recycle them and everything else I can. But there's more to it and I've recently come to be embarrassed at my apathy.

Maybe "apathy" is too harsh, but am I right in thinking that the social, economic and political pressure is just not HERE in the midwest? Why not?

Here's my *challenge* to myself and anyone I know that owns a bike. It's a simple concept. It's a small start, but let's start somewhere.
Get your commuter bike and go.

On a similar note, we've been relentlessly working on our 2008 sponsorship proposal and marketing platform. We're going green. As green as we can. We're hoping to find partership with companies that jive with that. I've been on the computer for like 15 hours a day, scouring for information on a handful of businesses we've fallen in love with. On the commuting note, and just generally cool vibe, here's*one* we want to marry. The short of it is: they make clothes that you can actually live in, they're cool and so environmentally aware, you'll want to recycle your own wardrobe and replace it with just about everything they peddle. (Except you'd have to rob a local bank to do that. So, instead you can be like me and do it one piece at a time.) Can you imagine our team kits designed by these guys?!

Got a green company you love? Let us know!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Fun + Laughs= Sore Muscles

Carrie learns that "All things come to those who wait", does not apply to Racquetball!

Whew, this taking time off the bike thing is about to kill me, I think. Between chuckling so hard at turning circles on the racquetball court, to dodging trees due to the fact I can't figure out how to stop my roller sides are in a stitch!

Today, Chris and I made our way to the racquetball courts to mix our non-cycling, non-routine up a bit. I gotta tell you, I do not remember the last time I used my racquet. Now, hey, it is not a vintage model, okay?! (within the last 3 1/2 years), but the handle tape just kept disintegrating in my hand. I think that was what was wrong with my game!!! Chris was lucky.

Carrie learns that "All things come to those who wait"

...does not apply to Racquetball!

I cannot wait to get on my mountain bike or my fixed gear, but I have patience. I respect the time my body and mind needs to recover from all the hard work and training I did this season. I appreciate the returns I received, and look forward to more in 2008, therefore, I am sticking to the regimen. So, quit asking me until the end of the week, okay!!!!???

Take it easy on yourself now, enjoy the fall. Enjoy your family, and make sure the ones around you know how much they appreciate everything they have done.

Thanks to Chris, for putting up with my mood swings, and still believing in me; she helps make me tough; thanks to mom for learning how to use email; thanks to all my family here, from Lake St. Louis to Troy, that make a person feel loved; thanks to all the girls of Team Revolution (and those who have yet to join us) for taking charge and getting out to ride, with or w/o me or us; thanks to all the shops that participated in our clinics this year(Ghisallo, Mesa, The Hub, Alpine Shop, Big Shark); to Amy and Tracey for knowing that we appreciate their help when we are on the road; and last but certainly not least, to Gavin and Aubrey for being 4 going on 5!!!! Without them, I would have no gray hair.
To may team for making 2007 an incredible season, with a great incite and promise for a good ass whooping team, in 2008. Look out competition!!

Yee Haw...Let's get it ON!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Yo, I am alive!!! When you are going through hell, keep going!!
So we went to Vegas to thank profusely our sponsors for the 2007 season and to ask them to take a bigger leap with us in 2008. Wish us luck, we had some fantastic supporters this year, and more wanting to come aboard.

A lot of you have been wondering how the race went. I'll get to that in just a bit.
The Interbike show. Some cool stuff coming up in the 2008 season, but ask the local shops. I saw alot of representation from St. Louis there!
Okay, now to my favorite part, other than the other favorite part, where the beer I drank later, was really cold.
Not knowing what kind of situation the race would be, in terms of course, technical, etc., I pushed on to getting my bike. We arrived from the airport Wed around 11:30, got our car, went to the hotel and off to the strip we went (the convention center was at the Sands, on the strip). We walked around the show for just a bit, and then I called the MasiGuy, Tim Jackson
Wow, how he went out of his way to take care of a scrappin' girl from the Midwest, looking to mix it up in Vegas. I picked up the sweet ride and continued to the hotel
for a 7:30 1 hour spin then off to Mexican food!!

The next day, I wake for a cup of Java, and a 45 minute spin to check out the course being assembled in the parking lot of Mandalay Bay. Wow, now thats a technical course. Can you say "snake". I thought, this will be interesting.
We walked all day around the show, until 3 or so, and then we were off for pre-race food and some downtime. My hydration levels were off due to the climate change and the travel, but I dealt with the increase heartrate. 1 hour until the race, I boogie the maybe 1600 meters on the overpass from our hotel, to ready myself for game time---------------------
I line it up with the likes of Kat Carroll, Laura Van Gilder, Jen McRae,Kelly Benjamin, Shelly Olds, and Brooke Miller, just to name a few domestic riders. Nerves were good, heartrate steady but a little high, and then off we went!!
Like bats outa hell, and it didn't stop until a brief half lap 2/3rds of the way through. Prime after prime, and attacks, following by teams trying to bring the breaks back. No break stuck, but man, what a fun time, flying through that "Go-Cart" like course. At 8 to go, if you weren't hunting your gameface, it was too late. At 5 to go, Julie Bishop gave it one last galiant effort to stay away, no dice. 3 to go, mamma said...HANG ON, we're getting a good dose of Cheerwine. Giddy Up. I tried really hard to position myself so after the leadouts had peeled, I would still have good position, but I was about 3 riders off the pre-peel and lost 2 at the last turn---------------------
Man, all in all, WOW!!
I came in with a goal and a plan and I met 78% of that. So not top 5 but, with the field and speed of the race, 11th suited me fine. Look out 2008.
The full carbon MASI 3VC Volumetrica, rocked. Never ridden it before, I adjusted measurements, and bam! Thing stuck so tight to the barrier lines I was taking it took my breath. It was an awesome ride. The corrections were smooth, and believe me, with the incorrect movements from some of the girls, I needed it.
Plainly put, this bike is a sleeper; sleek, quite, yet dynamically fast when you needed to step on it and get the job done. Nice job MASI!!!
***Check out the Inferno boys bringing in a nice team second in the overall teams classification (USA Crit Series) behind AEG.

Video of the Vegas races can be found here:

Tim Thanks for helping a girl out...
Until 2008, I bid farewell to the crit course.

All's quiet

My wheels are not rolling. Dust gathers in my shoes and settles on my it waits patiently for me to finish my two week hiatus. As I'm running instead, lactic acid gathers in my quads after months of being spoiled by consistent, pounding the pavement, I remember how much I love riding. (and did I mention how sore I am? Carrie, too.)

Don't get me wrong. I like running. But a forced vacation from the bike has been challenging. Every day that I get in my car to drive my 6 miles to work, I wince. I miss it. I missed my Wednesday night ride last night and can't wait to join them with lights next week!!!

But for now, I can dust off my running shoes and my nano and hit the road and reinvent my obsession with constant workout data! If only Apple would bother to sell nanos with decent factory headphones; I'm constantly poking them back in my ears!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Interbike Report

Wow! What a whirlwind of a few days....rise early and fly out, land, get to show, go, go, talk, talk and look at everything you can. My legs and shoulders are dead and I didn't even have to race against the pros (like Carrie did!). More info coming soon. We have a ton of people to follow up with in the next week--we did a LOT of talking. Good stuff. Oh, and Carrie finished 11th and got to mash on the new carbon Masi! Rockin' and "buttery smooth" in that go-kart-like track of a crit. Fast, fast, fast. Fun to watch!

Anyway, more soon. Food's here and then we catch our flight!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vegas, Baby!

We're finally off to check out lots of bike stuff and catch Carrie's last race! We've also been compiling random club and race statistics that I'll be sharing. Today's installment talks about the number of states we've visited and the miles we've done JUST IN RACES! Enjoy! Interbike update soon!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Time to Commute

I can't wait to see this bike in's hoping they'll have this showing in Vegas! I'll probably have to walk around there with my own towel, just to keep my drool off all the shiny new bikes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Still Here

We're lame. We know it.
I'm busy at work and getting ready for Interbike 07!
Come see us Wednesday nights for our no-drop ride.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Thank you.

I feel like I have an endless list of people to thank for Gateway Cup weekend. What a great (and yet incredibly difficult) weekend! Wow. I'm sitting here basking in my good vibes.

Thanks to the women of Team Revolution for rocking this weekend--all of those who raced in the jersey and in our name (and because of our intro to race series)! I think we had an undeniable impact on the women's racing scene and I can't wait to watch it continue to grow.

Thanks to the other women competitors for making it a very challenging and remarkable collection of races. I think anyone who's raced in the Gateway Cup over the last few years can back me up when I say that the calliber stepped up. It was awesome (and incredibly humbling). Wow, again.

Thanks to Jose and SRAM for my awesome pink hoods! I might not have done them quite the justice they deserved, but will continue to work on my style points!

Thanks to Steph and Phil for letting us drag their tent around all weekend. Thanks to my family, coworkers and friends who attended our races and cheered for us even after witnessing our pre-race stress and chaos.

Thanks to Beth and Roo who immediately gave me water and food after the race on the Hill; your encouragement was the single thing that helped me finish that race.

Thanks to Syd, Katie, Mindi and Carrie for being such stellar mentors.

Thanks to Justin for dragging his massage table to every venue and putting up with us, our mess and our stress before and after each race.

Thanks to Mike from Big Shark for fetching me a beer on my resignation lap! Beer had never tasted so good and so bad all at the same time. I'm not sure it's the best recovery drink I've ever had...

I keep replaying scenes from the weekend like a slideshow in my head. I keep thinking of my gratitude for all who played a part. I'm happy to have wrapped up our season, and while exhausted, I look with hope toward next season.

Cross racing anyone? How 'bout some mountain biking?

How 'bout a break.


Thanks again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

two week update

It's been a long time since my last entry and that's basically b/c we've been out there spinning our wheels and not a lot of free time at the computer. So here's the quick lo-down:

Criterium Nationals were two weekends ago in Downers Grove. The weather was freakishly chilly (high of 70?) and rainy. For my 3/4 race it started sprinkling at the start line and never got better. Through the rain and 8 wet, dangerous corners I think our race only had one crash, maybe two. I played it safe and was probably a terrible wheel through turns. On the last lap, Kristen Meshberg of Flatlandia took a good pull and I attacked her just BEFORE the last turn. It worked! Until I freaked out about my speed heading into the corner. I scrubbed my brakes and slowed for it; only to have Kristen wizz by me in much better gearing for the uphill sprint. My legs were in slow motion as I tried to chase her up the hill. I held on for second and 3rd place apparently went to Kristen's daughter (in the picture). Actually, when they finally announced the podium for our race, we couldn't find the Morris Trucking racer who'd finished third...

Carrie's races were more challenging due to more aggressive cornering. Lots of crashes! And even though Carrie had great positioning for both finishes, getting caught in crashes in the last two turns--of both weekend races--prevented her from her top-ten goal(s). Next year maybe it will not rain. That course is super-fun when it's dry!See more pictures here!

Our 101 Race Series has been rocking and the girls have put up with a seriously challenging course out in Creve Coeur Park. We can't wait to see their strategies, skills and guts in "real" race action--if not this weekend--surely next spring! We're definitely excited try have sequel clinic earlier in 2008 get ready for next year’s racing now we're busy planning how we can keep everyone in the saddle through another STL winter...two concepts worth mentioning: a "frostbike" ride series and mvoie/spin night... more info to come.

Speaking of planning...this weekend is Gateway Cup, people! XPLANE Team Revolution and quite a few club members will be racing (some their first race!) all around town. Find info on the race times and locations here:
Lafayette Square
Washington Avenue
The Hill
UCity Loop

We're going to have Justin Corson, our team massage therapist, on hand all weekend, so if you stop by the team/club tent spend a few minutes with Justin to have him "melt some stress away". Friday night join us for happy hour at our tent as we do our pre-race routine! We hope to have cold beverage (any token donations will be welcome) procured from our friends at the Church Key! Our race is at 8 and it should be a good start to a great weekend-long show.

Saturday night we're having a shin dig post-race at the Church Key, our smoke-free bar sponsor in the Grove. There will be drink specials and socializing with racers and spectators. If you can't make the races on Wash Ave that afternoon, join us that night to hear how the racing's going so far and meet our out of town teammates!

More coming sooner than my last post...see you this weekend!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Elk Grove for the Big Girl(s)

Hey Everyone,
Here I come draggin' my tail....
To work soooo hard and then, well accidents happen.
Okay, the stakes were high. 5, well maybe six, $500 primes, a mid race $1000 prime, and a $4000 1st place prize, not to mention the remaining monies in the 19 spots left in payout.
the first of the primes came within 5 laps. Let's put it this way, Cheerwine took 3 of the $500 primes and the mid race prime. They had Sara Bamberger off the front for what it felt like 1/2 the race! 2 of the primes were pack sprints, in which one of, I keyed up for. With a Cheerwine leadout and a dominant track riders wheel, I sat 4 wheel behind Brooke Miller, Laura Van Gilder, and forgive, I think, Chrissy Ruitter.
Brooke goes with the first jump to the right, leaving me with a 1/2 bike lenght gap form Laura, and a decision. I chose Brooke, and the guns went off..Away went Laura. I rolled with the sprint and kept with the group, but no $500 for me!

Earlier, Chrissy Ruiter had attacked with a look at me, like she wanted me to react, and I did, away we went....only for a bit, the pack wasn't having it.

Later in the race with around 8 to go, things started to heat up. With a first turn around you a median curb, I attacked hard into it, with intentions of tagging onto the two off the front and chaser in between. Around the bend I went, looked between my legs, only to see the wheel and shoes of Brooke Miller. I flicked my arm once we were safe, and I hear "No". I'm like...What? she exclaims.."I have a teammate up there, sorry". I think, Oh man!!!!!@.#*/ Well, hindsight, I should have kept it floored and took a chance on taking her to her teammate. But....we returned to the group.
The last 2 laps showed to be really dicey. With one to go, we round the first turn and try to vie for position for the second half of the course. With what I think was around .7 miles left to go in the 1.7 mile course, 3 Cheerwine's on the front and a hungry row across the road to follow and me right in line behind it.

Let me tell you, women are really very logical when they are on the bike, but you push the FF button and things get really messed up. The girl in front of me, still do not know who she was, but her wheels are in my thoughts...shakes it, and bakes it, pavement style! I watch, in slow motion, mentally, miss her wheels and running over her, and hear the worst crack of a frame to my right, and I dead stop.
I slip through the debris and chase the snarling pack....
Head wind to come, I had my work cut out for me.
Kristen Wentworth dug deeper and got closer, but neither of us would enjoy a sprint or the love of GREEN today!!!

Kuddos to Megan Elliot for her attempt with 3 to go!!! What courage.
Kuddos to Kristen for her $500 prime and surviving the crash to finish one place above me.
Kuddos to Tamyra for suffering yet another disappointment in a pro field (girl we will have our day!!)

Thanks to all the girls who raced, it was awesome!!
Congrats Cheerwine!

Thanks + Race Account

First, thanks to everyone for the "congrats!" I'm still glowing. My first win of the season. Whew! More than a few people have told me that was the right race to win, huh?

It was a flat course with a nervous bunch of women. A 3-place prime was announced for the first TWO laps: $125 for first, $75 for second and $50 for third. A prime! Two laps! The FIRST two laps! Luckily the course was nearly 3 miles or the jousting for position would have been terrible. Lap one started with me struggling to clip in (as usual) and I was sort of rolled into the gutter by a crooked line of a girl in front of me. Clipped in. Whew! Now, move up from 35th place!

Before the first turn, on the LONG straight stretch a girl hooked her bars on my leg for about 10 feet. She was freaking out! Yelling "don't crash me, oh god don't crash me!" I said "Easy." (Which is all I can ever think to say when things are getting sketchy.) I just soft-pedaled so she could straighten her line and people could give her space. Luckily we had just practiced this drill in our learning series. Luckily she didn't freak out TOO much and kept her wits enough not to jerk her bars.

The prime for lap one was fun to watch. I had decided to sit it out since I had all that trouble getting started. There was a lead-out by the Wolverines girls that went perfectly (from what I could tell). I think they both got cash that prime. I stayed with the acceleration and considered going for the next prime. I was sitting third when a couple of ISCorp girls were attempting a train. The leadout ran out of gas too soon and, although I was sitting third, I was quickly boxed in with 250 meters left. Oh well, "save it" I told myself.

Lap 3 was uneventful. No prime and no attack that I can remember. There was the usual shufflling reaction to the bell as they announced last lap. But again, with nearly 3 miles left no one bugged out. I was actually really far back and there was a small gap from the front 25 girls. I had to bust my hump a bit to cover the gap and get my good position. I finally got up to the front and somehow fit in sitting about 3 or 4 back from the girl who got roped in to pulling.

Soon, Kristen (Flatlandia) joined me and I happily took her wheel. Wondering how long she was planning to sit in before she started her nearly signature fast last lap. I waited and waited until about 700 meters when the Wolverine girls jumped for a lead-out attack. Christie's attack was sudden, sure and fast! She dropped her lead-out and had a 10 meter gap on the field. Kristen and I both reacted as she had come by and quickly went around her teammate. I stayed behind Kristen and we slowly started to reel her in. I was getting worried about whether or not she could stay off, but that last stretch is SOOO long and Kristen managed to get behind her for a bit and catch a little breather before the sprint. I was looking for the 200 m sign and was surprised to see the 150. An alarm went off and I jumped with whatever I had left.

I hammered and fumbled to add my last gear and just kept my eye on Kristen's wheel. Holding steady. Where's that line?! Hold it. All the way, all the way. Finally, that line! Whew! Wow. Gasp. Gasp. I think I must have been holding my breath...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Elk Grove 3/4 Race

It went something like this.....I see the field take off, and in 1.5 minutes they double back on the other side of the median past the start/finish. Watching 2-3 laps of girls shuffling around in the pack, 2 primes loaded with money, and gaps happening throughout, I patiently awaited the last lap. With one lap to go, I mosied to the start/finish for te final moment.
From the line you could only see the 100 meter sign (the 150 meter was just around the bend). With a Hyudai (?) sport vehicle in full view, I catch a glimpse of turqoise/red and also a rider in red. Could it be? Yes it was!!! Chris, giving it a 1-2 punch, to take the win and put XPLANE/Team Revolution atop the podium.
Great Job Chris!!!
So exciting to watch it play out.
I am sure you can give us a personal account with details.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Why I ride

Some of you may have noticed that I also blog about "Why I ride". I've not been diligent about keeping up with it...mostly b/c my reasons, while I ponder them daily, all boil down to the same basic reasons. But, every once in a while I have a new epiphany. I try to capture them there.

I started writing today's entry "Because it feels good" and then got side-tracked by the most-signficant reason it might NOT feel good to most people...I don't know why. Because I babble and write stream of conscience. But, the truth of the matter, is that it does feel great to ride: psychologically and phsyically.

For most beginners, it does seem to be about conquering two main hurdles: "My butt hurts" and "I hate to ride where cars are". We're trying to address the traffic issue. Constantly. Education and advocacy (but our emphasis lies in teaching better defensive cycling skills). But the butt issue? We'll give advice, but don't ask details. Not because we won't share them, but trust me, you don't want to hear them (and neither do we).


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hello, Missouri!

In this month's Outside magazine, they outline the best places to live all around the country. We all know how great places like the SF Bay Area (Santa Cruz) is. The whole Pacific Coast, OK, anything on a coast has a leg-up on us land-locked folks. But, not only is STL NOT on the list, nowhere in Missouri is called out. Not surprised, right? Me neither.

On my flight out to SF I watched the burbs sprawl out below me. I shook my head and was filled with a sudden rush of panic. As I sadly noticed all the brown, newly bull-dozed land I wondered when Castlewood would be the Forest Park of the suburbs. As a woods-filled park, it's over-crowded and the traffic to get there is rarely the breeze it used to be.


No, I'm not surprised. St. Louis barely exists as a "city"; it's a sprawling, chaotic mess. Who will save our green?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Off-week: Day 5 (Goodbye, San Fran!)

(painting of SF by Kim Cogan. I absolutely love this guy's work!)

Sorry, Carrie, but I have to post a blog over your race series flyer. Everyone, don't forget about our race-series on Wednesday nights! (How's that?)

So, today is my last day of work in San Francisco. I have tried to visit all of my favorite eating places (which might come back to haunt me since I've literally taken the entire week OFF my bike and excersize in general). I will dearly miss the culture and vibe I get here. I have consistently tried to bring it back to STL with me--to infuse my life there with the best of what I love here.

Bikes everywhere. Great, fresh food. Pedestrians!

Can't wait to get my butt back on the saddle in STL. It's going to be a tough transistion from the 60 degree weather I've had here all week, but my bicycle will make it all worth it! I'm coming home, Luke! (yes, that's my bike's name).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Womens Racing 101

Okay, you all are sick of hearing about our racing, so now it is time to work on your own race stories and blog entries. Come join us and have a little fun!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Superweek: Day six | Whitefish Bay

It felt a little like the last day of summer camp after racing with everyone for the last week. Familiar faces chatted pre-race, promised to exchange contact information and laughed about how our nerves had been gone for a few days. My heart rate at the start line had gone from 125 (first race) to 77 (today).

I did get to do my first "call up", where they announced the overall series leaders and we got to roll up to the line first (and could pick the best spots). That was kind of cool. Then it was down to business and we started off at a good pace. I really didn't know what to expect from everyone; there was brief conversation about attempting a break halfway through, so I tried not to do too much work before midrace. Not too much happened until a girl took a flyer and NO ONE chased. Before long she had a 20 second gap and I knew I didn't want to get second place to her for lack of effort. Rae, my new friend from California, started to rally some troops and we worked to bring it back. I had done more work than I wanted, but didn't want to go out today not having worked.

After that, there were a few attacks, I bridged to one, but quickly conceded, since the trailing pack was close on. I don't think anyone wanted much to get away today. Deep breath. OK, back in and recover for the finish. Some spark was missing in me today, I guess. With two to go, I found my wheel again (same Flatlandia rider that had now won 4 of the 5 races). And then Amanda Miller (Atlas) came along and I thought that was OK, too. Sitting third on bell lap the pace was not nearly high enough to stave off a hungry pack on the LAST day. I knew there was an attack waiting to happen and watched for it. It came on the long back stretch and I was quick to latch on. As soon as Flatlandia came over and got on, it stalled the pace leveled and again, all the chasers in the back who were still gunning surged up and going into the third turn we were A LOT more bunched up than I wanted to be. On the quick stretch before the last turn I completely lost my head in the surge that was happening. I also lost about 12 positions. Yikes! I panicked and made up a bit of ground before I hit the turn (in which I had intended to be 2nd or 3rd wheel). That was my race. I lost it in some random 100 meters a quarter mile from the finish. I lost it in a blur of panic. My wheels rode off to first and second place. I managed to mitigate the damage by passing a few people in the 300 meters I had left. I managed to hang on to 8th.

That was not the way I wanted to finish up but in the end, it didn't hurt my overall standing and I still finished 2nd in the Omnium. Still, I get to think the whole 6 hour drive home about how I should have jumped earlier. How many times have I said that this week? It's just that I would rather have gotten 8th place by making it a guts race and taking my chances. I would rather have made 7 people pass me rather than me being a big chicken.

What a week.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Superweek: Day five | Brewer's Hill

The key word here seemed to be "hill". On the fifth day of racing it seemed like the key word in the pack was "survival". OK, so that was my plan. There wasn't a whole lot of aggression in the group that morning as there was only one or two attacks that quickly got soaked back in.

Road conditions weren't the greatest, either: potholes, manhole covers, gutters, grates and divets kept everyone cautious and heavy on the brakes through turns. An uneventful hour of racing (thank god!).

With 5 to go, Carrie yelled at me that the race was to the last corner (implying that whoever got there first would stick with it for the finish). I stayed safe and quiet and got on my wheel with two to go. Bell lap went as expected and I chickened out in taking the last turn (at the bottom of a long, bump-ridden downhill) and conceded to sit second behind the series leader (who'd won 3 out of the 4 races so far).

Her record would improve and her overall lead on me would grow as I just couldn't get around her on the last climb. Damn.

One more day. (thank god)

Superweek: Day four | Kenosha

Day four course brought in some fresh legs for the weekend. Unfortunately, those fresh legs didn't help much in working to cover a break that started early and stuck for 44 laps. Four or five laps in an attack through the start/finish caused a crash that forced all but three riders to brake and swerve. That split second and the hesitation of the wary pack in the next 100 yards gave the break a handy gap that they never let go.

We quickly started working, recognizing the week's overall leader was charging in the break; but the lack of consistency and organization saw the gap growing to 20 seconds. Finally, four of us got our heads together and started eating away at the seconds. I think we were down to about 12 seconds when the break caught onto a lapped rider. (This part is unverified, but I've had several witnesses say that rider took some pulls on the backstretch for the break). All I know is that our consistent, brisk pace that was gaining saw our gap growing again. I kept driving the front with a few others and got attacked just after a pull. I saw some fresh legs come around and the girl on the front yelled at her for not working, and quickly got on her wheel. Whoever was in front of me took inventory around her and let the gap get out of quick reach. I knew I just lost my train to the break and I felt helpless about it. I was in denial, thinking we'd use them as rabbits and eventually could bridge to the break; but that small bridge attempt took one of the pack's hard workers and the chase was again too unorganized to answer.

At that point I conceded to be racing for 6th place. I heard the 30+ second gap announcement and told myself to sit in. 21 laps to go. I took a few more pulls, covered an attack or two. Tried to initiate one and quickly got swallowed up. I was tired and spun and was starting to worry about my finishing sprint capabilities. I was thinking about a break attempt with three to go and was trying to pool together with the girls I'd been working so well with. No dice. I committed to sitting in with 10 laps to go. No losing my position to the 20 or so racers who'd been happy to ride along in the back. I stayed in the front 10 and with three laps to go sat third. On bell lap, the riders were spread across the road--no one wanted to pull that last lap. Finally a good effort was made and I was sitting third, then second behind a girl hitting a good enough pace to string it out.

I hit my gas at the last turn and gave it all I had all the way to the line. I kept my eyes on my bar and watched for a wheel that might come around me.
None did and I hung on for my 6th place finish--winning the field sprint. Small, silver lining to my gray cloud of a race. Too much I wish I could go back and do.

Two more days.

Superweek: Day three | Sheboygan

It was raining when we left Milwaukee, but we were optimistic it would clear up along the 50+ mile drive to Sheboygan. It did, for the most part; but we warmed up to the sound of thunder...Three top 20 finishes today for the team. Siobahn, Ekaterina and I all hung in through relentless attacks to the finishing sprint. Rhiannan's time is coming and we're gunning for her to hang on tomorrow. We all know what it's like to see a three foot gap, turn into five, ten and then you're off the back. It's a split second decision that gets harder to make the more you're hurting.

It seemed like every lap had a rider off--never much organization, but required consistent chasing. I once bridged to a Mercy rider and we worked for a bit, and gladly let a third (Comedy Central) rider take a turn pulling. I thought we had a promising gap, but turned out that they'd trailed on the last bridge and had strung it out to catch up. At least they're taking us seriously.

That was my first "attack" ever in a race, or at least my first whole-hearted attempt to get in a break. It's a bit scary, there's a certain amount of vulnerability and gambling involved. How much do I give? How hard will they chase? If they catch me, can I get back in and recover? What if they counter my attack and I have to suffer to hang on to the pack?

I went into today's race fairly blind. I rolled up to the start to find my HR monitor had lost its signal (needs batteries, I think) and my bike computer magnet wasn't lined up. I had no idea of my speed or HR effort and after training for so long with it, I found it a bit hard to gauge myself...I don't think it hurt me, I don't think I would have done much differently but it would have been nice to know what the speed the pack was holding and chasing with and what I needed to push to stay off the front. I looked down at my speed, only to find out that it was apparently 12:47pm. Not helpful. Damn.

It started raining with two to go...just big, slow drops at first and then a steady rain that made it very difficult to see on the last lap. I was sitting third heading through the start/finish when they rang for the "bell lap". The overall leader was pulling and was followed by a 16 year old that WAS NOT going to go around to do any work. So, the Flatlandia rider took us around the course in the rain at a good steady pace. The combination of pace and rain stifled any attacks on the back half, which surprised and pleased me. I jumped on the small rise just after turn 3 (of 4 turns). We all stayed in formation around the last turn, even though I made a decent attempt at getting past the leader in the corner. She squeezed me out and I had to feather my brakes. That move left me a big gap to cover in about 200 meters and I just couldn't ever get it. A couple more inches would have given me second place (Photo finish!). Oh well, a podium's a podium, right?

I should have jumped just BEFORE the hill. I waited too long, I think. Live and learn. All in all, yay for today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Superweek: Day two | Greenbay

XPLANE Team Revolution had two top-ten finishers today! Woohoo! Me in 6th hole and our 16 year-old "composite rider," Siobahn Jones hung on strong to sprint for 9th. That rocks! I also saw my personal highest heart-rate in the sprint. 194! If not for that, I'd be kicking myself for not hitting it harder sooner. I put myself in a bad place that I couldn't make up.

Today's race was a flat, windy course in a somewhat deserted industrial-park-like location. No offense to the city of Howard, WI, but this race is not one of my favorites. A two-hour drive from our host-house in Milwaukee is no fun, add that to the spectatorless race on a windy, open course. Ugh. Not my kind of race.

I figured no attacks would stick today, given that to be out of site of the pack the leaders would have to be nearly a half-mile ahead. I went into the day with a conservative attitude; I covered too much yesterday, I was going do my share of work, but, for the most part I wanted to sit in, stay out of the wind. I did that. Which, really, kind of makes for a boring race. Sit. Wait. Pull. Sit. Cover. The last two laps were miserably slow and nerve-racking, no one wanted to work and the whole field just in one big lump going snail's pace. Dangerous.

On the last lap, I spent the whole front stretch fighting a girl for 3rd wheel. We're bar to bar, neither budging. I knew I'd get it with my inside position on the first corner. I did. And then consequently lost it on the head-wind back-stretch where things got messy as a restless pack of racers decided to jockey for position while doing as little work as possible.

Somehow, I ended up fighting that same girl on the back-half and was out in the wind uselessly, stubbornly fighting. I should have just went on. I didn't know if I had enough for the sprint and was too conservative right there. Or was I just too stubborn to give up my call on the wheel? Whatever. I gave it up on the 3rd of the four corners as people seemed to swarm around right before the turn. I lost a handful of positions in the acceleration into and then out out of that sweeping turn.

Impatient racers jumped early, at what must have been nearly 400 yards, to a visible finish line that was too tempting. It apparently must have also been enough of a motivator, because again, most of those early jumpers hung on to their positions. I made up a few places in the early part of the "sprint" but didn't gain anything on the last 300 meters.

4 races left! Hydration, burritos, sleep. Wake up and kick some ass. That's my plan.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Superweek: Round 2 | Day one

In the video, I'm seen between the two leaders. Video quality isn't great, but you can see me chugging up that hill!

Whew! I shake my head in disgust as I remember that race today...I quit early. It's that simple. I lost at least one, maybe two places because I COASTED--stopped pedalling--before the line. Actually, I thought I quit at the line, but it was the WRONG line. And I am dumb. Why race my butt off for an hour and 25 miles worth of racing to give up one half second short? You can see my legs just hanging there while Carrie's telling me not to quit. If this video had better resolution and slow motion you can actually see the line I sprinted to, me realize my mistake and flail to make it up and throw at the line. No dice. 5th.

What's the difference between 5th and 3rd? A really big deal? Just $10? We'll see.

Here's my dim recollection of the race:
It started out aggressive, more so than I was giving credit to a 3/4's race. There was a steady incline after the first turn and a brisk start and an attack on the second lap dropped quite a few in the back. Then a crash on that same hill in the fourth (?) lap, left a lot of racers scrambling to hang on. Prime laps in the second half of the race mixed it up some more and a field of 40 starters was reduced to about 15 in the front group.

On the bell lap, a girl jumped in the start/finish and made a final attack attempt. I recognized its potential and quickly grabbed her wheel and tailed her up the hill. On the backstretch I expected her to lose steam and didn't want to get caught pulling the pack through the last two turns. I gave up my 2nd place position and let an Atlas girl who'd won two of the prime laps get on her wheel and another girl who'd done good attack work in front of me. I felt good about my fourth hole, considering a long, uphill sprint after a fast downhill last corner.

As we turned the last corner, my wheel (the girl in front of me) started to let a gap form in front of her and at that point I conceded to be sprinting for 3rd. "OK, third's OK, do it right....wait....wait....not too early....OK! NOW!" and I went and was worried about having jumped too late. I wasn't getting around her. I kept on until what I thought was the line. And the rest is disappointment.

New day tomorrow!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Witnall Park Finish

4. ... and goes down hard ...
Originally uploaded by Luke
Here's a look at Superweek's points leader, Kelly Benjamin, crashing while throwing her bike at the line. Carrie held her position in front of Catherine Powers for her 3rd place finish (and somehow, after a 35mph sprint, managed to avoid rolling over Kelly's head.)


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Day 4 Superweek-Proving Grounds

Proving Grounds/Test Area
That is just what we did!!! We tested, and proved we could withstand the pressure today. I am sooooo proud of the XPLANE/Team Revolution crew today. They stood up, planted both feet and took names!! Now,I will let you hear it from the girls point of view.
All week I've only wanted one thing, and that's to get in a breakaway. Hadn't happened and it was beginning to frustrate me. Yesterday, after getting into an ultimately unsuccessful break with Catherine Powers, I knew I wasn't the only one.

So today, I decided to keep my eye on Catherine and if she were to jump to give it everything I had to help a break get away and stay away to the end. Catherine positioned herself towards the front, so I did too, and sure enough, on the third lap, someone jumped, might have been the Southbay woman and Catherine caught her, I'm not sure. But in the blink of an eye, Catherine (Aarons), Sara (Cheerwine), and a Southbay Wheelman were away. Alarmed, because I'd let myself get trapped, I sought a way to get clear of the pack. Suddenly there was a gap and I jumped through it. After turning the corner, I checked my wheel to see if I'd brought anyone with me. Nope. It was clear and I put my mind to catching the tail of the 3. Got that done and we were off and pacelining in short order. From then on, it was one big ouch all the way to the end. I didn't have anything left for finish line sprinting, but was mighty pleased to have made it to the end with those gals and to have achieved the day's objective.

Legs are probably blown for tomorrow, but since Katie and June stayed with a slow pack today, they'll be fresh and dangerous, and I'll do everything I can to support that. :D
So after having some saddle issues over the past couple of days... my own, that is, not the bike's... I wasn't too sure what my body was ready to do today. When Sydney told me it was her goal to go with Catherine, I figured that was an excellent strategy after seeing her yesterday. I watched Sydney stay on Catherine's wheel almost like glue for the first 2 laps... almost radioed her to get a little closer a couple of times, but didn't ultimately need to 'cuz she was always working back to that wheel quickly. When she jumped for the break early in the 3rd lap, I took over position near the front of the pack so I could jump with anyone else that went. But, it seems, there were a lot of tired girls in the pack today, so we rode the rest of the race at a rather leisurely pace. I guess I'm rested up for tomorrow! The sprint finish was a tough one... I was in good position, but it started awfully early and my legs weren't too excited about standing for a long sprint! I'm so proud of Sydney for sticking with her goal and making it work today!!!

FINE job ladies. Tomorrow we attempt to grow wings!!! With Sara Uhl and Julie Bishop hunting more sprint points, I have got quite a job ahead of me. 4 pm start time. Think fast, fast, fast thoughts. Dash for Cash!!!!

Day 3 Superweek-A Dip in the Melting Pot

Tuesday's race was a melting pot of attempts. Attack, bridge, establish, return to the group. Attack, join the break and beg for cooperation, of those you're off with, to stay away.
We all were scratching our heads at how to make our break stick. 1st Katie gave it a go and her engine started to ping a bit, then me, who hit it hard with an attack to bridge Catherine Powers (Aarons) and Julie Bishop(HT Naturals), but couldn't quite close the last 100 meters, as Catherine demonstrated that she wasn't waiting. Julie joined me back into the pack and we set up for yet another attempt, this time we Sydney would give it a go. Away she went!!! joined by 3 others, making a nice group. Unfortunately, not everyone wanted to work,I guess felling their chances sprinting with Kelly were much better!!
June took it to the house with 2 to go and kept us all safe with a nice pace. As I jockied with Katie to move up for the last turn, things looked to be getting a little dicey. We just didn't know how much until the last 1000 meters. As we passed through the feed zone, we accelerated, leaving 2 crashes behind, with 200 meters to go.
I sprinted alongside Catherine for a push at the line, only to miss Kelly Benjamin's(Cheerwine) head by 12 inches as she crashed, just barely past the line. See the beginning of the end.....
We all finshed in the top 20. I got to stand on a box with 3rd, Katie 10th, June 13th, and Sydney 19th. What a Day!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

We had an Alpine experience!!!

..... from Sydney ....
Damn. I'm glad I left that 12/25 cogset on from Snake Alley. Might not have been big hills but they were big enough to make you feel 'em - a lot by the 5th lap. I also had 5 opportunities on a particular downhill to wonder if shox on a road bike might not be a bad idea. Overall, I thought it was great that the three of us who road today all placed in the top 15 and personally, I had what I would consider my very first successful field sprint. And by that, I mean I didn't get freaked out and managed to go from wheel to wheel for a 10th place finish. Wish one of our breakaways would have worked, but Katie (2) and I (1) gave it a go and that's all you can do.

... from Katie ...
So just after June had given me a tip to watch a particular wheel, that wheel started to jet away from the pack on the first hill of the first lap. I decided to give it a go and see what would happen. We worked together off the front for the majority of the first lap before getting caught. I tried (in vain) to get Syd to counter... but the way the race went it was rather smart of her to sit in and see the course before trying any moves on her own. There were enough just-bigger-than-rolling hills to allow regular breaks off the front, but none were to get away. Into the 2-lap-to-go lap, a strong group of 5 of us got off the front, and I thought we had it made. But I was quite wrong! After spending the majority of 2 laps off the front I was pleased to hang on for 6th. It was so great to see Syd off the front for a good try and to see June mixing it up with the big dogs, too! And, of course, we had great feeds and motivation from our sprinter who decided that taking a break today would help her overall sprint points series. Good thing we got those new radios! :)
....from the support crew....
Talk about elated!!!! 3 girls in the top 15!!! You gals rock. Now lets see if I can hold the tent down tomorrow, or should I say blow the top off!!!
Lets get down to Bidnes!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Day 2 Superweek 07...Ben seen ville

Okay, so the ants went to marching today, tall and strong!!! I gotta hand it to my team today, they rocked!@!! It is awesome seeing all four of your teammates plugging it at the front and regrouping to dish out or take whatever is thrown at us.
Katie took me to the first two sprints with confidence and tremendous forward movement. Yet agian it was Sara Uhl, Julie Bishop, and myself, duking it out for the top 3 spots. Sara and Julie played musical chairs while I sat in the the 3rd Hollywood Square. Believe me, these girls are playing hard.
Sydney picked it up a notch today and kept the pace high, covered attacks, and joined in on some game of cat and mouse, later in the race. Sydney and Katie organized well to take me to the front and drop me in the lap of the right girls.
I am proud of June for getting on the front and drilling it, getting back in, and diggin' it out to give it her all. Chin up June, your just getting warmed up. She'll be looking upward tomorrow. Here's how it stacks up as of Sunday's standings:
Carrie finished 13th, and will forever kick herself for not getting to the wheel designated, Katie finished 20th, will have to check on Sydney (26th?) and June. I will report tomorrow.
Sprint point competition as of Sunday pm, going into Monday: 1st)Sara Uhl(Cheerwine) 2nd) Julie Bishop(HT Naturals)and 3rd) Carrie Cash (XPLANE/Team Revolution)
Join in on the wave folks, and keep us going. Comment on
Later....tomorrow the girls race Alpine Valley Road Race 80K. I will be supporting and resting.


Oh, so sad...I went to the women's 1/2/3 race today in Soulard. I knew it was trouble when I rolled up (in the grocery-getter with the kids in tow) and a few people quickly prompted me to suit up and race. Suspicious? A bit. There were four (4!) women signed up. Four. The saddest women's "race" I've seen. (Not to take anything away from those that did appear, they raced a hard one in hot afternoon STL sun.)

Where is everybody? Carrie is the lone STLisan at Superweek, so that conflict is no excuse...

Doesn't matter (too much). We're working on it and have lots of promising candidates of future racers. C'mon, girls! You're gonna have to pick it up around here! We can't keep expecting to have people donate money if we don't show the numbers (FYI, I heard today's race was paying 5 deep--5th place=$70. I don't know where that money went, but nobody won that--I should have pulled the kids around in the trailer!).

The silver lining? The 4's race had more girls than last year!