Saturday, July 25, 2009

The beat goes on.

So the summer continues and I'm feeling back on track for the most part with my racing. It is kinda weird this time of the season as I am feeling like I could ride a thousand miles a week, but Coach Don has me tapered and more intense in my training. Sometimes the hardest part of being a racing cyclist is holding back and being smart when you need to. 
I have had some more fun with racing as I have decided to go out and give it all I have at each race. I know that sounds like that is would should be done all the time, but early in the season I was racing but didn't feel I was mentally eating up the coarse as much as I should.  I am heading to the end of the summer season and plan on doing just that. 
Since the last post I have had a few more races. One of which was the Indiana State Crit Championships in Bloomington. This was a great place to host a event and it was put on wonderfully, and had a fairly good spectator turnout. I had a poor start, and by poor I mean all the way at the back of a 19 women field. I had a piece of plastic get caught in my cleat and took  a long time to clip in. This was bad since the ABC train starts off quick from the get go, so I was forced to expend a ton of energy for 4 laps just to get back to the front of the pack. However, by that time Bri K. was off the front and my good form of the day was wasted for the win. When I say win, I really mean that I believe I would have contested Kovac for the win with the way I was feeling. Otherwise, I got in a chase group and got some help from a Get a Grip rider to chase the top 3 gals and found myself disappointed in what I feel was a desperate attempt to block our chase from the Alderfer Bergan rider. I understand blocking in road racing, but I feel the rider went a little too far today by riding dangerously in the corners. Blocking for an Indiana state race is not worth wrecking people in my book. Regardless, I was able to pull back third place singlehandedly which was fun. My goal was to maybe beat 3rd or at least give us the opportunity to contest it. Since this was a Alderfer teammate of the now lapping Bri in my group, she chose to inform me that, "there is no sense chasing her down, because we are just gonna beat you anyway." Maybe so, but I came to race. I thought that was what we were doing? And race I did, it was a sprint for 3rd and I end 5th, but at least I was racing. I ended 2nd in the 3/4 cat. Not the results for my potential that day, but I rode super strong, and think I had a good showing for DRT in what is now the home town with Revolution Bike and Bean. 

This was also the first trip for the new RV. I decided to trade in the new camper for a used motor home after almost forming an ulcer over the stress of hitching and hauling the camper. Let me say, the RV is the way to go! It was great and Anne an I loved it! So much less stress. 

The next day I had the DRT Bloomington xc race. It was super fun to ride this venue again. It has a great roller coaster front half, and a punchy climbing second. In years past I used to hike a bike a couple hills, but now I had no problem with them. It was fun to see my personal improvement on a coarse after a few years break from it. I had a good race and set some great personal lap times that had me beating several of the guys times. I had a win on the day and can't complain about that. I just hope to add a few more W's to my book really soon!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Full Swing!

Well,  its been almost a month since my last post, even though it seems like a ton has happened since then. Things have been super busy for me with the racing, camping, and personal life. I have been having a great time so far this summer, and look forward to the next 6 weeks that have a race in every one of those. So here is the run down of where and what I have been getting into to. 
1. Had a super fun trip to North Caroline for the Kenda East Cup Cowbell Challenge. Mom made the trip with me and we had a great time. This was my biggest level race so far this year and the competition was tough along with the technical, hilly coarse. Not to mention it was extremely hot! Being smart on hydration and nutrition proved to be key in this race and I stayed on top of the fluids for about a week before the race. Thanks to Gu for keeping me going during the race.
Photo above:
Coming into the finish in 2nd place! I managed to post lap times the same as some of the pros.

I had a good race and I was really pleased with how my technical skills held up on the east coast roots and red clay. It was also nice to have a team member in Emily Benson there also so far from home. Em pulled off a 3nd in her age expert and DRT had two podiums on the day!

Photo above:  Podium from the Kenda Cup.

2. The next weekend was a nice weekend off from racing and gave me a chance to do "normal" summer activities at home. I managed to find some extreme things to do by hanging out at a work picnic. I had a rope swinging good time, pond jumping, but managed to find myself with a few stitches, a head injury and neck trauma. Its all under the bridge now, but it was a little rough for about a week.
3. A few days after that I was off to Master's National Crit Championships in L'ville. I thought I would go play roadie for the day since it fell into the schedule. Plus, it was at Church Hill downs. How cool is that? I love the places that cycling can take a person.  
I ran a fair race here for being an impatient mountain biker. I won't lie and say I'm a smart rider on the road and I get a little bored doing the road tactics at times. But, it is great training and a sprint finish is always rush!

Photo above: Leading a chase group at the home of the KY Derby! Master's Nationals 30-34.
So I settled in a chase group of women and we found ourselves off the 2 leaders about 40 minutes into the race. I didn't want to do all the work and since it was a long crit (over 60 minutes) and I ended up in a sprint group for 3,4, and 5th and got beat at the line out of the 3rd place position. I still was proud of my 4th place podium for a National Championship race! 

Photo: My drive during the race landed me a TV interview after the race!

After that Dad and I hit the Louisville slugger factory and then watched a night race at the Down's. We then headed back to into Indiana to camp the next couple days unit the next race.

4. While camping I started a massive poison ivy outbreak and I pulled and "cut" out my stitches from the previous days. Its a little hard to remove stitches when you are used to having the right tools for the job. Anyway, by the end of the weekend I would be in a full rash from the ivy and would spend the next few days with my eye swollen shut. What luck!

5. The next race on the weekend was the DINO AMBC challenge and first up Saturday was the short track event. I had an okay race and gave it my all, but was beat out by AnnaJean yet again. She's super strong and it will take a big effort on my part to overcome her, but I still have the faith I can do that.

6. Next was the XC race on Sunday, it rained for like 12 hours straight before the race, and I was not looking forward to running this venue in the mud. It is so slick and scary at North Vernon on the mud that I defeated myself before I even got started. To do well at a mud race, you have to have your head in the game and I simply didn't. My recent head injury caught me playing it safe to avoid another black out moment. I coasted to a 5th place finish and gladly headed home to recover and rethink my plan of attack.
Photo above: North Vernon Dino AMBC. Starting a muddy, long, ride to 5th place.

7. Next up was another road crit close to home in Fort Wayne. The guys at Men of Steel racing put on a first year race and ran it like it had been going on for years! What a great venue at the new Parkview stadium in downtown. This was a great coarse and I will be sure and run it again if it fits next year.  The women's race was an open field, which means we all pretend to be cat1's since we are held to the same standards as the other racers, even though I'm a cat 3 on the road. This was also my friends first race back since she broke her wrist and I was happy to have her back on the road with me. She toughed it out and had a great time racing again. This is a relief since her crash was pretty scary and my have turned her into a ball of nerves, but she was rock solid. 
I hung in there pretty good and stayed up with the group for a while before a couple of P.R.O's went off the front. I held out with my sole team member Diana S. for a bit until she turned up the gas and went out on her own (she ended the day in 5th). I fought hard in a high attacking group the rest of the race and held my own despite being in a group of Alderfer team members that worked together the whole time. Its almost impossible in road racing to attack when you are solo against numbers. However, I proved to be a bit too strong for some of the Alderfer riders and dropped a few of the girls that were cat 2's and won a sprint finish against Erin Hetlzel despite her having a teammate lead her out. That was fun!

8. Lastly, the day after the crit was the DRT Winona XC. The trails were in great shape thanks to the KCV members and the day was perfect for riding. Despite sore legs from the day before I had something to prove to myself that I could still ride a mountain bike. My plan was to attack the coarse and not look back. That's what I did and ended up with 3 good laps that lead me to a WIN on the day. The most important thing was that I felt I rode good and felt strong and I hope I can carry that into the next several weeks to finish out the mtb season. DRT put on another great event!

I'll keep you posted, because as always, I have big plans and high expectations! Plus, 'cross is on the way and its gonna be "go" time soon. HUP! HUP!