Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Busy time in July

So, I'm going to be a complete cheater and just adjust an update email that I sent out - I figure it details what I have been up to AND I don't have to rewrite it. I am tired...what can I say?? This is a pic of me sprinting to 2nd at the Yaletown Grand Prix out of a 6 person break.

July was BIKE month as I totalled 12 days of racing (not quite the 20 Tour days, but a whole lot for me!). It was a great time and I pulled out some very consistent results - the latest of which being on the weekend where I won the final criterium stage of the Fantastic Four BC Cup Stage Race (I knew there was a reason I was waiting to send in an update!)
I kicked off the month with a 2nd place finish at the Yaletown Grand Prix (despite a good crash in the opening laps) where I sprinted across the line behind Gina Grain (2005 Silver medallist in the Scratch Race on the track and 2007 National Road Race Champion) - a position that would become rather familiar in the weeks to come.
Later that week we (my Giant team and myself) flew out to Quebec for the National Road Championships where I competed in the criterium and road race events. In both instances I had solid performances, but luck was not on my side and the results were not what I was looking for - but that's bike racing - and it boosted my desire to bring home strong results at BC Superweek.
The first weekend of BC Superweek is a killer. The organizers unleash us on a 3 day stage race on the hills of White Rock. These races are always tough with the increased prestige of the racing over regular BC Cups and the courses are designed with attrition as the deciding factor. Without a doubt I was still tired from the travel and the racing out east and did my very best to survive the racing. The highlight of my weekend was coming 9th in the road race on Monday. The result itself isn't all that impressive, but I felt that it was the hardest day on the bike for me this year. In the end, I was able to fight to come 4th in a field sprint despite being unable to stand up because my legs were so very cooked!
The next two days were difficult as I had to focus on resting up HARD. Wednesday and Thursday were the Tour of Gastown and the Giro di Burnaby (respectively) - two races that I had been targeting all year. For Gastown the weather didn't cooperate and we started the evening show in a cold downpour (which despite what people in Calgary say, is not a regular occurence in Vancouver in July!). Initially I was a little concerned about how the cobbles would handle in the wet, especially after my crashing track record this year, but I ended up being one of only 6 or 7 in the field who never hit the deck. About halfway through, three girls got up the road, including one of my teammates (who would later be dropped) and we were never to see the front two again. This left us sprinting for the third and final podium spot on the day. Coming through the final corner with 300m to go, I was on Gina Grain's wheel (also the winner of the 2005 and 2006 Tour de Gastown). I thought that I was gold and I went to move around her to the right - but I chose the wrong side. As I was going to pass, her leadout girl moved right and I was boxed in and pulled in my brakes...just in time to see two girls fly to the other side of Gina, so I crossed the line in 6th. The following evening I was determined to better my result. Gina and I had a matchup for one of the midrace primes that came down to a bike throw that I eventually one by 3 one thousanths of a second - most likely my highlight of the week! Unfortunately, I was only able to come up with 4th in the final sprint...behind the same 3 girls (in the same order) who beat me in the night before's field sprint.
As there is no rest for the wicked, Friday had us out (in the pouring rain yet again) for the Tour of Delta hill climb. Determined that a minute and a half effort could suit me, I gave it hard for this particular hill climb. I was a little disappointed with my 6th place finish, but it placed me well enough in the omnium and I knew that the next day would suit me better. The crit was once again innondated with rain as we took to the streets of Ladner. My team worked well together and we were aggressive, unfortunately as we came to the line we messed it up a little and I was unable to come around the winner from New Zealand - however myself and my teammate Lisa were able to sweep the rest of the podium. I was happy with the 2nd place, but I really wanted a win! Hoping that the road race would appease me, I went into Sunday tired, but hopeful. On the third lap a group of 8 got away, including myself and my teammate (and eventual winner) Leah Guloien. The group was slowly widdled away by a quick pace and in the end I outsprinted my two companions for 5th place - and 4th place in the omnium. A successful Superweek overall, but much to improve upon for next year.
The morning following the Tour de Delta I was cooked and looking forward to a little rest. Alas, the end of Superweek was less of a sign of a break and more of a signal to switch over to preparation for Track Nationals to be held in Dieppe, NB at the beginning of September. Hence why on Friday morning, despite a slight sore throat and a desire to sit on the couch and watch the rest of the Tour, I was in a car heading down to Seattle for the FSA Grand Prix track meet. It turned out to be on of my very best decisions as needed the track time to get used to that type of racing. The first night was a bit of a disaster as I was the strongest girl out on the track, but my speed and track smarts appeared to have taken a vacation. However the next evening, I came back and took 3rd in the Miss-and-Out and 4th in the Scratch Race - both of which would have been more successful had I simply sprinted faster!!!
Which brings us to last weekend at the Fantastic Four Stage Race in Kelowna, and the second to last stop on the BC Cup circuit. The race was a hill climb on Friday, a road race and a time trial on Saturday followed by a criterium on Sunday. Both of the individual events were a little lacklustre on my part, but I was able to salvage a GC position by taking 4th in the road race on Saturday almost two minutes up on 5th and by winning the criterium on Sunday to secure 4th place overall. I appear to have a good relationship with 4th as I also currently sit 4th in the BC Cup standings with one stop remaining (which isn't bad considering I missed two rounds while I was down in the States earlier in the season).
It's now safe to say that my road season is coming to a close. I may jump on the TT bike for BC time trial championships this weekend and a team time trial in a few weeks, but we will wait and see how the track training is coming. I'm pleased with the consistency I showed over the year and I'm looking forward to showing my new fitness on the track in September where I'm looking to podium in the endurance events (Pursuit, Points Race and Scratch Race).

If you're interested in more detailed race reports, my team has a blog at which a few good pictures and fun accounts of racing. Also, our team website can be found at where I am currently the cover girl! Check it out - Jenelle has done an awesome job of it!