Thursday, June 28, 2007

Looking for a venue

(see Triplets of Belleville)

So, after the Wednesday night ride, we were chatting over appetizers and drinks about winter plans (I was saddened by the Summer Solstice last week). We definitely want to do a spin that involves watching a movie and riding your bike. That's the simple concept. What we need is a gym, garage, open space (preferably heated and with some lighting) that can accomodate muliple bikes with trainers/rollers, a laptop and some sort of screen/sheet (or blank white wall). It can be simple, it can be plush, I just want to make sure that people ride when it's cold and dark!

Post your suggestions on the Forum. We've got a few months, but it never hurts to be prepared, right?

Now go ride outside while you still have daylight!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Final Thoughts on Nature Valley

Tons of people have been asking me about how the race went last week; my response (other than, "check the blog") has been something along the lines of, "we survived".

Here's a quote that sums it up:
"One often learns more from five days of agony than from five years of

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Something's Cooking...

(image from ecards)

So, we're all excited about the idea of Team Revolution picking up a couple of super-strong Cat 1 and 2 racers, each with their own strengths and tenacity. Sydney Brown and June Upshaw have been devising their plans for Superweek and now we're glad to join in. They're both a great addition to the team as they fit the profile of the kind of team we want to build; they're advocates for the sport of cycling (I dig anyone who blogs about their cycling!), enjoy competition and do so very well and with great *positive* attitudes.

Both girls have been riding (mostly) indvidually so far this year. We got the opportunity to race with them in the Quad Cities races this year (as well as a collection of other races over the last few years) and it feels like the timing is right. You can read Syd's thoughts on riding with June here.

More information will be coming soon, but I just wanted to get the word out.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Stillwater Update

Here's the video of the hill climb. Somehow, this crappy, shaky video doesn't do it justice, but you can enjoy my cinematic skills.

Day 5: Stillwater Criterium

We just got home and I'm exhausted. Left post-race at 3pm and drove and drove and drove. Here's the quick low-down:

1. Katie finished 39th in the overall standings for the week. That is awesome as USCF gives points all the way to 40 (or was it 50?) for this race.

She climbed like a champ today. Kristin Armstrong and Mara Abott were a spectacle to watch. I personally raced that hill (for 4 laps) and to watch them climb it was inspiring enough to try the time trial up the hill AFTER the women's race (I won the women's 3/4 TT up the hill, BTW!)

The other (bad) news is that Carrie was not allowed to race as I couldn't get the officials to reverse the judgment. Carrie had a great attitude about it and raced the Men's 2/3 (with me). I could vent and fume about that, but in the end, it's useless frustrations. A million people have various examples of how refs, judges, officials have made bad calls and lost games, races, series, etc. It was a bad call and arbitrary time-allocation and eventual cut.
In the end, everybody got to race all the races and we all survived a gruelling week.

Live, ride and learn, right?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Robbed! (TBA)

Did you see the results to yesterday's race?

No. Of course not. I'm not sure it's easy to find....or is it? Anyway, here's the deal...
1. Katie rocked today and even though I missed her at the second feed zone, she hustled in with the field and held on to a deceptive 42nd place in a cruel 2.2 mile finishing circuit (read: mean, mean climb they had to do FOUR times).

2. I am extremely impressed by the feat that Carrie, Tamyra and Lisa made this afternoon. They hung on to the nearly impossible hope of entering the finishing circuit after getting tangled in a crash around mile 22? 25? Twenty-something. Nearly 60 miles they rode (hard) clinging to the hope of making the timing point before that judge closed them off the finishing circuit and subjected them to a "calculated" time.

Well, long story short is that apparently, even though they were allowed to enter the circuit, they WERE assigned an estimated time. While on the course, volunteers started stripping the course of its barricades and apparent time-keeping. They weren't allowed to complete more two laps. We assumed it worked like a crit and their time would be recorded on their last lap completed--SINCE THEY WERE NEVER PULLED BY A JUDGE. We were so stoked about their resolve and guts for gritting through the mileage that you can imagine our utter disbelief at reading the "missed time-cut".

I'll be making my case to the officials tomorrow and hopefully Team Revolution will be 100% represented through all 6 stages; as I firmly believe we should and deserve to be. Why fight for 90th place? Because they worked their asses off to be there and to finish this series. It's a slap in the face of reason if they don't allow her to race.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Day 3: P.M. Minneapolis Crit

Someday I will not feel gutted after watching these two Team Revolution girls race. Someday I won't feel so stressed out, as if my whole heart hangs on my sleeve as I watch them, lap after lap move, struggle, make ground, lose ground, look tired, spent, oxygen-deprived, like it's the worst kind of suffering one can do on a bike. I watch and yell and wish and give all the vibes I know how to give. Someday, it will feel better, right?

Katie finished 59th and Carrie 71st. I watched hopefully, helplessly as the pros hammered in and the field filed behind. The field. Nearly a hundred left in this stage race and they all filed in together...places seemed somewhat arbitrarily assigned unless you were in the top 20. I have it recorded and will try and post it on YouTube eventually.

I'm sorry. I'm disheartened tonight. I failed Katie at the time-trial by letting her miss her real start time. I offer nothing except constant condolences since I didn't know what to expect here. Experience? We're all getting a fair share of lessons. But I think we all wanted more. I wanted more. A better story. An exciting story about an underdog team of two women that made a name here. The announcers scrambling to find more info on this team they'd never heard of.

I wanted the Disney version of the week and instead I'm getting the full dose of reality TV. It's really freaking hard.

The good news is that we're all still in. Here's to surviving one more day of suffering and putting hope in dreams tomorrow. 86 mile road race....

Day 3: A.M. Time Trial

Rough morning for Team Revolution. I think we learned valuable lessons:
1. When every single other rider at least has time trial bars, it'd be good to find a set to slap on. It's a big enough race that we don't need another disadvantage.
2. Speaking of disadvantage, we also don't need to spot the competition a full minute when we miss our official start.

The truth is, the best time trialist in America went and put the pedal to the metal (or was it medal?); Kristin Armstrong hammered this morning's race and won handily. Even pros with souped up, streamlined bikes couldn't find a motor like hers. Many did better than we did, many had some super-tricked-out time-trial bikes and helmets, I felt a little bit like the poor kid at Catholic school, but that's what we get when we hit these pro races.

Katie and Carrie are chilling for tonight's sure-to-be-fast, short crit (40 minutes!).

Til then, get rolling.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Day Two: Post-race

Whew! Thunderstorms threatened but stayed away for today's 65 mile road race ending in 6 laps of a 1.6 mile circuit. There was a brief section of dirt road that seemed...crazy. The race went from fairly wide paved roads into a quick right turn onto a narrow dirt, gravel road that decended in a shady, tree-covered, nastily pot-holed asphalt section until it finally turned onto the smooth circuit. I drove the van following the caravan with my jaw dropped. I couldn't imagine how that section must have felt.

The group was pretty much all together going into the circuit, but some near crash (?) in the first lap seemed to establish some separation with the last third of the field. Carrie and Katie both survived that mishap and stayed on, but a gap that couldn't be covered left Carrie with the chasing group.

Katie mixed it up in the crazy, packed sprint and finished somewhere in the middle--we think top 30 but as of right now, there are no official results posted. Carrie managed to win her field's sprint, not losing too many spots after slipping off the back.

4-5 mile Individual Time Trials start at 9am tomorrow morning. Flat and hopefully not windy! Need to get some sleep.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day One: Race One (after)

The girls made it through a guillotine of a crit tonight. I'm not sure how many women started or finished, but I'll leave it at saying a SIGNIFICANT portion of the field was escorted off the course in threat of being lapped. It was as fast as expected, with a sprint competition at the half-way point leaving the window for a breakaway too tempting to be missed and eight riders of various teams were off the front. Teams tried to take inventory of exactly who was in the break and that confusion only let the break establish itself. Few teams of big enough numbers were left to work and chase and so the pack was left scrambling and chasing...

After 47 minutes of racing, Carrie's gap grew too big to deny the inevitable and she was pulled. And while I sound apologetic about one of our riders not crossing the line; one should know the carnage of the after gap; once one was covered, another would appear. Being in that position is similar to the effort required to be in the very front of the pack--even more so, since the mental anguish of feeling completely out of control of the situation, where all a racer is doing is trying like hell to hang on. So, that was Carrie. That girl will take a drink through a corner; the best bike handler I know....she "couldn't find time to drink". I know it was hard.

So there's Katie, hanging steadily to what was possibly the last "sweet spot" of the chase group. She held on to finish with the chase group (very thirsty as well).

And of course, we wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. Road race rolls after 5pm. 65(ish) miles.
Good night!

Day One: Race One (before)

4:28pm (approx. 1 hr before race)
The first of a series of 6 races over 5 days. Riders are required to complete HALF the race to qualify to the next round.

Windy, sunny, metropolitan, lots of turns and short (did I mention short?) course. 1.1 Km. Whew! Fairly flat, the "hills" are false flats and short enough to be ignored as such. Corner, corner, corner, corner, corner, corner (you get the point?). 125 women.

The hardest part of this race maybe be the first 90 seconds. A course this short with this many racers where the officials WILL NOT ALLOW a lapped rider means chaos at the start. This race could take about half the field before 5 minutes have gone by. 125 Pro 1/2 women who will be elbowing, spitting, grabbing, bumping all for near-front positions.

Giddy up!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Made it!

Whew! Day one is a long day of driving! We met Katie in Peoria and headed north in a pretty heavy headwind (hope that's not a premonition). Got to our fantastic host-housing site just outside of Minneapolis, MN after about 12 hours in the car. We quickly dismounted the bikes, changed into kits and went for an hour spin. What a boring day. Hope tomorrow's more exciting.

Sigh. I'm tired.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Blogging more?

Well, maybe not. No promises. But, I've started ANOTHER blog...I thought of it as a whole different thing. The subject matter (cycling--duh) is the same, but it needed the purity of a brand new blog address. It's a collection of daily reflection on all the reasons I like to ride my bike(s). I'll still write here (and more frequently--after getting such trouble from Sydney "how about some new posts???? Sheesh. Don't you put blogging on your top 5 daily list?").

In fact, Carrie and Katie and I are heading up to Minnesota for the Nature Valley Grand Prix and I hope to post their progress along the way. I say "hope" because I'll also be working (my full-time job) on the road and will be supporting these two racers through a gruelling week of racing (and everyone knows how high-maintenance Carrie is!). Ha!

Anyway, send along some good vibes to Minnesota.

Also, I'll bug Carrie today about blogging the MTB clinic she just ran this past (hot!) weekend. We girls definitely "got our dirt on!". Yee haw!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Greenways Project

So, now that I'm back working in the "downtown-ish" area, I've been doing a lot of riding/training on the St. Louis Riverfront. This path is an amazing tribute to immeasurable dedication to revive and maintain a forgotten stretch of land. Team Revolution members meet in Lafayette Square on Tuesdays to enjoy Trailnet's supported ride. Read about it here. Or download the flyer here.

I've been riding from the Arch to the Chain of Rocks Bridge and while it's not a particularly beautiful stretch of land, the path is upkept and now well-marked and decorated with signs, sculptures, landscaping (although a bit sparse) and clean, graphic murals (nice, guys!).

I'd love to (and plan to) see more of the path(s). Get rolling!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mountain Bike Clinic

Check it out!!! We may stir it up, dust it off, or maybe even eat it!!!
Come play in the dirt with Team Revolution.

STL Revolution Happy Hour

Hey Gals,
Thanks to everyone for coming out to the Church Key last Thursday the 7th. It was a great time. Getting together with fellow cyclists is very important off the bike, as well. Laughs, stories, and talk of normal everyday stuff is always good coming from other women with the same hobby.
We look forward to doing it again really soon.
Talk to you later.