Sunday, June 10, 2007

Philly: the Second Time Around

Two years ago I came down to Philadelphia for the Liberty Classic with the National Development team. I was tired from Montreal when I arrived and didn't have the best race, but the event left an impression. That evening when we left, I vowed to make it back to race this race yet again - today I echo those sentiments - I want to do well here!
I made it in safe and sound to my host house on Friday night (yours for only a $50 cab ride...) and walked into one of the most amazing houses I've ever seen. The family, the Carpenters have also been unreal - all you could ask of a host house. The weather was sweltering, but with promise of cooler temperatures later in the weekend. The good news: the weather people delivered. I woke up this morning to 23 degrees and overcast - dream conditions for the race. I rode out from the wall to the start of the race with my team in time to sit around for an hour before the start. All day I found that I was comparing to my previous experience; at the start line I was less nervous than last time, but nervous all the same! For the first 7km we rolled down at a pleasant speed - although my heart was racing at 80%! We hit the wall and I wasn't really where I wanted to be position wise, but I was pleased with how I went up it.
To be honest, the next 3 laps were pretty much the same - get into a position for the hill and give 'er up to the top. I was pleased with how I was riding as I made it over in the front peloton (not the front "challenge for the QOM points front") - like top 20-30, but I think all the other sprinters knew better than me and gambled that it was going to come back together - which it did... So I had calculated that the final time up Lemon hill (about 3km from the end) was gonig to be a pivotal moment, so I gave 'er going up the climb and Nicky was with me. Going into the final 2km we were money in like 8th and 9th wheel...then it swarmed. I was recovering my position from the swarm when a crash happened in front and slightly to my left - a bunch of sprinters - crazies :P So at that point I was slowed significantly and looked up to watch 20 girls go by much faster than I and Nurenberger at the front killing it. I rode it in - but was truly disappointed as I was SO ready to give Nicky the best ever lead out! Oh well, next year right???

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Worst Pro Stalker: Part Deux

I very well might be flattering myself in assuming that I might have a readership that follows what I do from year to year - but yesterday I had an experience that reminded me very much of a warm day on the Gold Coast when Chris and I spotted Robbie McEwan. Well yesterday while in the Denver airport (en route to Philly) I was casually walking to my gate when I saw who I thought was Floyd Landis. Going into panic mode (thank goodness I don't live somewhere where I see famous people all that often) and I made like 3 loops around trying to get a good look at him and decided that indeed it was the winner?!? of the tour de France. First thing I do? Text Chris: "Floyd Landis is in the airport - should I go talk to him?" All I needed was a little coaxing, but it turns out he's a super nice guy! I was so impressed at how he handled me approaching him - he even suggested that I try to find him at the race tomorrow when I went to take a picture, but my camera was dead (how cool am I?) - which is also why I don't have a pic with Floyd and I up here on my blog!

So I'm now hanging out at my host house in Philly - only blocks from the Manayunk Wall (what will make tomorrow's race interesting at a grade of 17% - luckily the Race the Ridge wall has helped me to put things in perspective and I think I can handle it). My road rash from last weekend (at provincials - ended up 5th...probably all you need to know - oh yeah and I crashed twice...maybe one day I'll think it was a good story, but for now it's a "learning experience" and I'll try not to make the 3 major mistakes that clouded my finish EVER again!) well it's healing and the legs are feeling good. I'm hoping for some slightly cooler temperatures (the SRM read 37C today on the ride), but everyone else is out there in the same temp, right?

I'm also really looking forward to seeing a few girls who I haven't seen in ages - including my teammate from last year Robin (who was my rock last year) and Genevieve Gagnon who I haven't seen in ages! Bike races are FUN! :P

P.S. Our host house is amazing and aparently when I'm done racing tomorrow, I get to come home to a killer partay...good times! Oh yeah that and they gave me the password to use their wireless - the key to my heart!

Monday, June 04, 2007


I'll write more in a bit - it's been a week since this happened, but I now have pics - so this is me on the podium in 3rd behind Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci-Breakaway) the reigning US National Criterium Champion, and Kate Bates (T-Mobile) the reigning World Points Race Champion.

....2 weeks later

So that was pretty cool - good thing I made it to the podium presentation. There was no posted time for the race - they were just starting when the previous one finished - so I had a flight out of Newark at 6:30 and we originally had thought that we were racing at 11:00. Alas, the first race was off at 11:00 and we were the 4th race - yikes! Luckily it was a non-issue as we started around 1:30 and we were only 30 minutes from the airport, but there was a little stress involved. So anyway, after the race I booked it over to the van and packed my bike in the parking lot only to hear my name on the loudspeaker being called over for podium. I took off running (check out the flip flops - not the quickest method of transportation) and I barely made it! Could you imagine if I'd missed it? Dude I would have been heartbroken. I don't think that smile left my face all the way home (and I even travelled on Air Canada!)
The race itself was fun. I had to talk myself down at the beginning "Don't get dropped! No Jen, there is nothing over the last few days to indicate that you are in danger of getting dropped...but still don't get dropped!" So in order to compensate for this, I went out guns blazing. Perhaps I was a little too aggressive to begin with, but I was having fun following wheels - I figured that I had nothing to lose! I went for a couple of primes...only won the points one - ooops - should listen to the announcer better next time...
With three to go, I knew that it was time to find Nicky and start to settle down - essentially gamble that things would come down to a sprint. It was a little hectic through the last lap, but it was all together coming up the final straight. With about 600m to go my guardian Kelly Benjamin (she looks out for me - she's awesome) told me "for God sakes Jenny find a wheel" to which I followed her up. Once a little closer to the front I moved out to the right behind a Colavita rider and with about 300m to go I hear "Go Jenny!" from behind. Assuming that it was Nicky wanting a lead out I gave it everything I had and sat down on the gear. I looked to my left and saw that I was out front - only Kate Bates was slightly ahead - but not making any ground. With 100m I started waiting for everyone else to come around, but only Theresa flew by and with 10m to go, I knew that I had it....I crossed the line in essential disbelief - but stoked! The only crappy part being that I didn't really know anyone there, so there wasn't really anyone to celebrate with - I missed my Giant girls! The race has jazzed me up though - I'm ready to rock Philly - this time Nicky and I will get the lead out right! :P