Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ahhh Redlands - I guess you're alright after all! ;)

Following my last capture all post - I decided to actually keep y'all updated on what's going on. As I believe I previously mentioned, after about 10 days in Tubac, I headed with the Canadian National team over yonder to California (where the temperature has been more moderate!) to take the line at the Redlands Bicycle Classic for the second year running and see if I could take a little dignity back after an excruciatingly painful race last year.

To say that I improved on last year's performance would be an understatement. I confuddled myself in the prologue by completing the 5km (uphill) prologue in a time 45 minutes faster than last year - and to be honest that was my first indication that I have brought a much stronger skill set out to play this season. Friday's roadrace was the race of my life. I believe I finished around 36th in a small group of stragglers just over a minute down from the winner. The day was hard with a couple of challenging climbs and some killer wind - but the conditions played to my strengths and I was stoked at the end of the day. Especially stoked as my major concern going into Friday's race was simply to make the time cut so that I could start the crit on Saturday!

Going into this race, I told myself that I was coming to Redlands to see what I had, but most importantly I was here to contest the crit. I had difficulty falling asleep on Friday night as I was so stoked on my performance from the day before, but I must have got enough sleep! The plan for the race was for me to help Joelle and give her a leadout at both the intermediate halfway sprint as well as the final (at this time I would like to give Joelle super props for her 10th place on Friday's Beaumont roadrace). Now, in the crit, I'm afraid I wasn't able to help her out, but she managed to place 6th regardless and I followed shortly behind her in 8th. All and all a great day at the office :)...which takes us to the Sunset Loop. But I mean really, what does one say about the Sunset Loop??? My first marker of accomplishment was when I was still with the group when the "neutral" car pulled off (after about 8km of climbing) as last year I wasn't able to hold on to the group for the start!

I managed to stay with the main pack until the 5th lap (with a good deal of chasing on the downhill I might add - thanks to the girls who helped me stay in contention for as long as I did!). But alas at the start of the steep pitch on the 5th lap I was completely toasted...I'm not sure if it had something to do with my lack of food consumption as I had been concentrating so hard to stay with the group (I will totally admit this is a rookie mistake!!!) Luckily enough I found a couple of super awesome girls who towed me around for the remainder of the 9 laps and we made our way down to the finish line. I will save EVERYONE my thoughts on the fact that we made it within about 250m of the line and then we were diverted off course for the boys to start (they were not pretty thoughts!), but I'm super stoked to have finished! Before today, I was okay with the thought that I may never finish the Sunset roadrace at any point in my cycling career! Also props out to Carrie and Sarah who rode likes STARS today - I'm so proud of you!

So yeah, it's been a week of surprises and pleasant ones at that! I'm stoked to start my season so strong (and it makes up for not getting to do the first Spring Series!!!) Thanks to Vince and Serge for taking care of the team for the last 2 weeks and also to my teammates for such an awesome experience. It was truly a fantastic group of girls full of positive energy and I will miss you when I get home :) But above all I would like to give a SUPER SHOUT out to Robert - the best host housing dude I have ever had. Not only was your house beautiful and welcoming - but you have made our time here that much better! Oh yeah and I will forever owe him for driving myself and a few fellow BCers to LAX really early tomorrow morning. Yes, he is da bomb!

But before I head back to the rain, I'm making a short wedding week trip back home to Calgary where I hope to get all sorts of wedding related tasks accomplished! I'm STOKED to see my family and really excited to get to check out the reception venue and hopefully find my dress! So the fun just keeps on rolling - hope all is fantastic with everyone!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't Forget Your Passport!

And the title of this blog is more than a TV show played on's actually sage wisdom - but perhaps I should start with a wee update of what I've been up to for the last few months before I get into the nitty gritty.

My travels commenced in early December with a unplanned trip out to Hawaii to help my sister and Mum get ready for the Honolulu marathon. Yes, I took that bullet and hung out in Maui with my bike for a week - oh how difficult is my life! The day after I returned home the snow started to fall in Vancouver (and we ended up with CRAAAZY 2 foot snowbanks...where do I live again?), but luckily I was only home for 48 hours before jetting off to England for some family fun time!

The purpose of our sojourn in England was to attend the first marriage of one of mother's parent's offspring (read: cousins on my maternal side). There were plenty of jokes about the fact that Karen is the youngest of the seven of us and the first to really grow up! Below is a picture of us in chronological age from Karen to Rosie - there are a number of other photos floating around from over the years that are far cuter - but I don't have access to a scanner!!!

The ceremony was fantastic and the party afterwards was even better! So great to spend time with the fam and have Granny show us all how to party it up! However, for me, by far the most exciting part of the trip was when my dreamy then-boyfriend asked me to marry him! The night before Karen's wedding we went out for dinner and I came home with a beautiful ring!!! We shocked my Mum - it was quite entertaining!!! Unfortunately three days later Chris and I parted ways in a rushed goodbye in the Heathrow airport (so romantic!) as I returned home and he jetted off to start his new flashy job as a policy analyst with the federal government in Ottawa. :(

So back to Vancouver...full of snow...BLAH! Seriously - this winter has been spectacularly bad! Lucky for me this has been the winter of training camps and in early February I headed down south for a series of camps starting with Team BC in Palm Springs and then off to Santa Rosa with the Trek team. Santa Rosa was a DREAM!!! I loved it - definately a week to remember. We were treated like rock stars - we even had our own chefs! We sported the awesome new Trek kits (and I'm SUPER bad at taking pictures or else I would have a picture of them for ya!). Bottom line being that it's SO great to be with such a positive, well run organization - I can't wait for the rest of the season! Below is a pic of my perennial teammate Leah Guloien and I gunning for it at the Valley of the Sun criterium in early February. (We're sporting the fabulous Team BC jersey)

HOWEVER, the real great story from the past few months (I'm still working on distancing myself from it to find it funny...not sure if enough time has passed as of yet) comes from my journey between leaving the camp at Santa Rosa and returning home to Vancouver for my 1 week of home time before jetting back down to the National team camp in Tucson (well Tubac to be more precise!) where I am now.
As part of the aforementioned rock star treatment, the Trek Red Truck staff drove the team trailer 16 hours south of the border to Santa Rosa. For anyone who has had to travel with a bicycle, you understand the utter relief of having someone show up with your bicycle unharmed by the airlines (and your pocket isn't assulted either!) While I didn't send my bike home with the crew (I was staying a few extra days in Marin county), I did send my very large duffel bag home - hoping that the airlines would be less extravagent with their baggage fees if I only had a bike bag to load.

That evening as we were heading out in the team van for dinner we were contemplating whether or not we should have locked up the rental house. We had yet to have done so during the trip, but I decided to make a joke and point out that while the bikes were now gone, it was only the easy stuff to steal that was left - like laptops...and passports. Right, passports - OMG...NOOOO!!! At that very second I realized that I, being oh so brilliant had shipped my passport back to Canada in the Trek trailer.

At this point I would like to point out that in general, I like to think of myself as a responsible, organized and intelligent person. Shipping one's passport back home is not behaviour fitting of someone with ANY of those traits! Needless to say, the following 48 hours were on the stressful side. I called (and in this order): Steve (who was driving the trailer home), Chris (who had just landed in Vancouver to come visit me!), my Mum (who can fix EVERYTHING...right?), my Dad (who has similar magical powers to that of my mum), Air Canada, Vancouver International Airport, the Canadian Border Services Authority, the Canadian Embassy in San Francisco and my coach Jeremy. There were a mixture of responses - mostly empathetic...and generally confused and landened with "how exactly did you do that?"

We tossed around a number of options on how to deal with the problem, but in the end Chris ended up scanning me a copy of my passport and my parents (who decided on a whim Friday evening to spend the weekend in Victoria) took my passport to the WONDERFUL folks at Air Canada who greeted me off the plane with it.

So in the end: no harm, no foul. However, I would still advise that you keep your passport with you while travelling!!!

And on that note, I bid you adieu from Tubac, Arizona with my passport in my purse!