Sunday, May 27, 2007

Getting there is half the battle...

Well hello there from _____ (insert town I don't know), Pensylvannia. Today I'm enjoying my day off between the Kelly Cup (yesterday) and the Tour de Somerville (tomorrow). We've been hanging out with some friends of Nicky's who have been unreal and put us up AND fed us - really what more could we ask for???
So leaving Raleigh at 8:30pm was interesting to say the least - the good news: we made it to our hotel in Baltimore that night - the bad news: it was 3:00am! Our first stop on the road was for dinner at Outback - I was baffled to learn that they have "curbside" service now. While convinient - it really does bring LAZY to a whole new level - the server even comes to your window to take your order - combine that with large portions and greasy food no wonder the obesity rates are high! Anyways, we got back on the road heading up north and saw a million cops. Seriously, I have never seen so many police cars on one stretch of road in my whole life. Mind you, the real highlight was when we came to a traffic jam come parking lot (at 1:30am) and got to witness a high speed chase in the opposite direction - very intense! :P
Right, back to bike racing - so we made it the rest of the way, got a good night's sleep in a hotel with a great deal of "character" and headed off to a park in the middle of Baltimore for the Kelly Cup. The course was a big sweeping over with one chicane leading into an uphill finish (think crit uphill finish). Ninety girls took the line and so when the commissaire told us to take a lap, I backed my bike up to the line (having taken notes at NVGP last year!) and got a good start position. Saturday's race was less all out hard than Fridays', but the larger pack was a bit to get used to. I was feeling quite comfortable about halfway through when I prime was called (I think the first of the day), coming round the final bend into the hill I noticed that no one had initiated a sprint yet, so I decided to give it a go. Catherine Powers (Aarons) tried to react, but I had caught her offguard and took the prime (Aveda hair products). As we rolled the top of the course I noticed that four of us (Powers, myself, Sarah Uhl (Cheerwine), and one other) had a gap. One of the girls tried to get us to work, but I was fried and we were brought back fairly quickly. The whole race played out in a similar fashion with small breaks going for it, but never getting too far. I was comfortable to stay near the front (nice change from last year!) and with 1 to go, I was 5th wheel coming through the start/finish with the pack strung out. Going down the backside there was a great deal of confusion among the lead outs and we bunched up pretty good going into the chicane. I lost Nicky about this point and went through the chicane hoping that I was on the right side of the pack. A small altrication through the corner had one of the more aggressive girls decide to retaliate and put me into the gravel with about 400m to go - good thing I've done all that cyclocross, eh? hee hee. I stuck to the inside of the bend - betting on the gap opening up like it had been doing previously (most notably on the lap immediately prior). I went for it and finished 8th! I knew that I could do better than 12th - and way more girls were present today too. I think that I'm still really excited to be actively racing NRC level races and I'm probably wasting a little energy, but I'm having a blast.
Racing at this level is addictive - good thing I'm back down here for Philly in a couple of weeks! I'm also looking forward to Somerville with a few corners and hopefully a little less heat. My SRM said it was 36 degrees yesterday - and my heart rate felt it, as I don't think I was below 190 for the last 20 minutes....crazy stuff...
Here's to having a blast in Somerville...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Some press from Raleigh...

Nicky after a kickin race - 3rd behind Kelly Benjamin and Laura Vanguilder (check out her quads!!!)

So I’ve made my return to the NRC – another year older and another year wiser. Raleigh Twilight Criterium – check – now off to Baltimore for the Kelly Cup Bike Jam. No rest for the wicked though as the transfer is 5.5 hours (I’m in the middle of it right now – aren’t laptops awesome!) and we finished racing at 7:30 were off up north to Maryland within the hour in order to race tomorrow afternoon…I’m excited.
The race itself was a nice warm up for me – I was able to be aggressive AND my teammate for the weekend got third! Yay for Nicky! I rolled across the line in 12th – my best NRC finish to date (but we’ll see about improving that over the next few days).
I took the line representing in orange with 30+ temperatures – which was a nice change to the frigid north – but takes a little getting used to. Today was honestly the second ride I’ve had this year without at least knee warmers…man it is cold in Canada! So the race started out as races do – I watched Kele Murdin move to the front and thought to myself “I think I’ve seen that move before!” I was finding it easy to move around up front so I thought that I would give it a go – I got off the front (mainly as the other girls were content to let me go) and was away for a lap and a half. After I rejoined the group I thought that perhaps my effort had been a little overzealous – but then Nicky got away with an Aaron’s rider and I was able to relax a little at the front trying to cover the bridge. In the end nothing was sticking and it became evident that we were going to be doing the bunch sprint. With 2 to go they announced a “gamblers’ prime” and I thought what the heck? Unfortunately one of the Aaron’s riders thought the same and came around me before the line to take the $200 – would have been nice! I was cooked but was pleasantly surprised when the pack slowed down around the backside, I did my best to move up, but due to my earlier effort had to content myself with 12th – which I’m okay with…but as previously mentioned – will improve upon. Baltimore here we come – plan: to get Nicky to the top of the podium!

I wrote this little blurb last night and today I was checking out the props Nicky and I got on Cyclingnews - check it out. There are a couple of pics (with cool captions) and a shout out to Nicky and I being a force in the race along with Aarons and Cheerwine...wikked - there were only 2 of us!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Halfway to Raleigh, NC

As I sit at YVR awaiting my flight to Minneapolis, I have been overcome by guilt from an email I received from Kika and Sandra yesterday. ;) They were wondering if I was still alive as I haven’t really logged any blog time in the last well…two and a half months… The good news – the majority of that time wasn’t terribly exciting – somehow a blog about how I spent 40 hours doing some guy’s taxes who’s worth multiple millions of dollars just isn’t terribly exciting in print (you see!). In fact that most notable expression of just how that period in my life went was when I checked out my Visa bill for the months of March and April – there were three vendors – and ONLY three vendors that ever received my patronage: Safeway (you have to eat), Starbucks (for once I needed caffeine to function), and Easypark (I need to get from work to the track back to work somehow)… Mind you, during those charming work weeks (at the beginning I received an email from my manager indicating that we were expected to work 60 hour weeks – to which I said “but I like sleeping.”) I didn’t see much of the outside world. Many a night the turn around between when I got in the door to when I was out like a light was at most 15 minutes – party of joy…ask Chris!
However, during that time, I did manage to pull a few notable cycling performances out of the bag and here they are: 5 top 5 finishes in the Spring Series “B category” (cat 3 men); BC Cup #1 – WIN!, BC Cup #2 – 4th so I am the current BC Cup leader; a 5th place on a hill top finish in Walla Walla, WA; two 3rd places at US stage races; and a bum weekend where I (in a great choice of weekends!) decided to feel off and ride like crap at the Pan Am trials…really happy about that…
Outside of riding and working there truly hasn’t been much. I’m starting to recover from the GO GO GO lifestyle of working 50+ hours/week, training and racing – but in all honesty, I would love to have someone pay for me to ride and be a full time athlete…any takers??? Just imagine the luxury :P
Oh well, until then I’ll have to live with heading down to Raleigh, North Carolina for a series of NRC crits along the east coast ending on Memorial Day Monday (which is a regular Monday for you and me in Canada) in Somerville, New Jersey. I’m stoked to meet and race with Nicky Wangsguard and Vitesse Cycling and in crits – not the stage race circuit that I insisted on racing last year!
Also for those of you who need time wasting (although I highly recommend Facebook if you’re looking for something to suck your life away) the Giant Women (and yes, the joke has been made…more than once) have a blog at that gives colourful commentary on racing in BC and the Northwest. My flight has been called – catcha later!