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).