I’ll post more later today/tonight. (I promise!)
Posted onSeptember 29, 2010
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Thursday was a long but very good day. I spent the day at Interbike. Honestly I had no idea what to expect, I haven’t been to many trade shows – and never had I been to a bike-specific show. Well, lets just say that Interbike was crazy!
The trade show floor was massive and it was packed with more bicycling retailers than I even knew existed. I’m not sure what I expected but I wasn’t ready for the incredible amount of people and noise. I was extremely tired by 4:00 but in a good way. I spent the day talking and wandering. I had a great meeting with Clif Bar that really made my day and from there things just really got better. I had a great chat with the gang from Cyclocross Magazine – looking forward to working with this magazine again. Hung out and chatted with the Sinclair Imports/Stevens Bikes team for a while – a top-notch group of people. That booth was super busy – some very fast bikes on display. (Yes, I have photos – I’ll get them up on the weekend.)
So all in all, a really good day at Interbike. I took some photos of some cool looking gear that I’ll post on the weekend. I’m just too tired right now to do this. It is bright and early on Friday morning and I’m just getting ready to fly home. Looking forward to getting home to Ottawa and relaxing with Marc and Murphy (the cat). I’m racing on Sunday in Rochester, N.Y. so Saturday is going to be a busy one.
Had a bit more time to think about my race at Cross Vegas on Wednesday night. it was not fun to get lapped but I did all I could to prevent this. I was on the gas the entire time and really just didn’t have the “oomph” in my legs to hold off the surge. I am happy with my start. I was right in there from the gun and held my position fairly well – that was definitely the fastest start I’ve ever experienced. My regret is that I wasn’t able to sit on some wheels – I made that race hard on myself because I was out in the wind alone for the 40 minutes. So more good lessons learned.
Many thanks to KingsBridge for helping me out so much on this trip – from arranging the travel, being my uber-support at the race, and for just being a good group of guys. Big shout out to Dave Smith of the Element Hotel – the rooms was awesome, the hotel is super nice and having the trainer on Wednesday night was huge. Many many thanks to Stevens Bikes for their continued support – thanks to Vince for the kind and encouraging words before and after the race, thanks to Peter for just being “Peter”, and thanks to Ralf for helping me out so much. Big thank-you to Clif Bar for really setting the tone for my day on Thursday – nothing like having the support of such a solid company and group of people.
Time to finish the packing and get to the airport. I’m sure I’ll see some of you on Sunday and others next weekend in Gloucester, Mass. Racing in Gloucester is one of the upsides of the UCI Cyclo-Cross Training camp being canceled – I haven’t raced in Gloucester since I was in the 3/4 women’s category and wishing I could race elite. I only hope I can inspire someone else to chase their dreams as I was inspired by watching those fast girls.
I can safely say this is the latest I’ve ever made it home after a cyclo-cross race. It is 1 a.m. on Thursday morning… But the early morning/late night was definitely worth it.
I admit I was a bundle of nerves early in the evening. Thanks to the KingsBridge crew for putting up with my “shortness”. The support I received from these guys was awesome. They just basically were there to help me out in any and every way. Thanks Skip, Steve and Jason – I owe you guys!
Well, Cross Vegas is pretty crazy. Lots of people. Lots of cheering. Lots of everything really. It was a fun time.
The race? Well, the race was as expected hard. I’d say this race was as hard as a World Cup. Some of the top women in the world were there today. It was fast. It was windy. The grass was really dense. And did I mention that it was fast?
I had a not bad night. The best part about my race was my start. Usually I don’t have a very good start. But tonight I had a great start. I actually came by the pits the first time in 18th position! This is awesome. Unfortunately I started cracking shortly thereafter. I really just put head down and turned my legs as hard and as fast as I could. I rode well technically – the barrier re-mount could have been faster but all in all, I’m happy with how things came together. I won’t lie, getting pulled was not one of my race goals. But I came out and rode as hard as I could for as long as I could and to top it off I had a good start. This in my books is a good ride.
It was great to catch up with more people and to meet some new people. The Stevens Bikes tent was pretty darn busy and I think everyone had a good time. My bikes were very popular with a number of people giving them a test ride. This all makes for a great night at the races.
I do have to say that it was dry out there. I really wished I had had a bottle in the pits. I couldn’t believe how thirsty I was. Ah well, another lesson learned. Luckily I was able to swing by the Clif Bar booth after the race for some post-race food and drink. I literally drank all of my water before the race – not often I drink two cycling bottles plus an additional 1 liter of water in three hours!
After my race I had a good chat with Marc. I admit I had a few moments of feeling sorry for myself but luckily Marc was on the other end of the phone to shake me out of this and to remind me of the facts of life. It was so good to talk to him after the race and to tell him all about it. It also helped to have him remind me that there are some things that are beyond my control.
I hung out and watched the elite men’s race with Vince and Peter. I think the conversations we had were as equally entertaining as the men’s race! It is something else to watch the elite men fly by – they were cooking. Too bad that Driscoll got caught at the end – but he went for it. This is all you can do. Picked up some cool t-shirts at the race – thanks to Schlamm and J-Pow.
We closed the night off with a fine meal at the Red Rock Canyon Resort and now I’m about ready to hit the sack. I had planned on riding at the Red Rock Canyon tomorrow morning but I realized that I’ve been up at 6 a.m (on Monday 3 a.m.) everyday this week – I think I’ll sleep in a bit tomorrow. I know the Red Rock Canyon isn’t going anywhere and I have full intentions of bringing Marc here for a trip one day. We’ll do some riding, we’ll check out the Las Vegas strip, and we’ll just have a good time.
A massive thanks to the Element Hotel and Dave Smith for the amazing accommodations and for arranging for a trainer. Having such a comfortable place to sleep and relax really does make a big difference. It has been nice to not be staying down on the strip amongst all the action. The trainer helped a lot tonight – I was able to easily warm-up away from the hub bub and just do my thing. Thanks a lot for the incredible support. All this from a person I’ve never even met! Incredible.
Most importantly – thanks so much for the emails, blog comments, Facebook comments, Twitter comments. All of these really do have an impact. I can’t say enough about how much it means to me to know that you’re out there cheering me on. Things will get better – I know they will – and when they do – I have you to thank.
After a whirlwind weekend in Vermont I now find myself in San Diego, California. Sunday was a great day of hanging out at the Catamount Outdoor Center watching the racing action. It was hard not to race but that crash I had on Saturday really did a number on my shoulder.
By Saturday night I could barely lift my arm… So there was definitely no racing for me on Sunday. I thought I had separated my shoulder but thanks to some amazing attention and care from Deb Paulson, I learned that my shoulder is not separated just badly strained. Deb is a massage therapist and she did some amazing release work on my shoulder and gave it a thorough assessment. Thanks Deb for the help on Sunday! The shoulder is feeling much better today. It is at about 75% so I’m confident that it will be fine for tomorrow’s race in Las Vegas.
So with no racing for me on Sunday, it was fun to just 100 per cent focus on Marc and his race. Boy oh boy did he ever have a good ride! It was awesome to see him riding so well and to just keep digging deeper and deeper. I was so proud to see him race so well. Many thanks to Conor for doing the pit duty for me on Sunday – this gave me a chance to relax and hang out with my parents for a bit.
Really the day was just about hanging out and watching racing. I got to catch up with lots of friends and meet new people. Can’t ask for much more from a day. Thanks to everyone who gave me words of encouragement and the odd hug here and there. I really appreciate it. This is a hard and frustrating time but I know that I just have to keep digging deep and pushing forward and good things will come.
After some frantic bike packing on Sunday followed by a relaxing evening with Jenn and Shane I was quickly at the airport on Monday morning at 5 a.m…. What seemed like the longest day ever ended with my arriving in San Diego to connect with the KingsBridge crew at the DRJ Fall World show. Good day at the show capped off with a fine sushi dinner and then I was back to the hotel to build one bike and get some much needed rest.
I had a great ride this morning along the San Diego Bay. I hooked up with a small group of cyclists for a bit and then did some exploring on my own. This afternoon we’re driving to Las Vegas and tomorrow it will be go time. Yes, I’m nervous about tomorrow. But I just have to line up and race as hard as I can. This is all I can do. This is what I will do. Had a great talk with my coach today and I’m feeling pretty good about tomorrow. Looking forward to visiting Interbike on Thursday as well. It will be a whirlwind couple of days but it will be a “good” whirlwind.
Oh, some disappointing news… The UCI Cyclo-Cross Training Camp is canceled. This is a real drag. Upside is I’ll get to race at Gloucester now! Haven’t raced there since I won the women’s 3/4 race in 2008. It will be great to race there again. The real hassle is now I have to change my ticket again… I originally booked my flight for the first World Cup in Aigle, Switzerland on Oct. 17 and then I changed the flight so I could do the ‘cross camp and now I’ll have to change it again… Each time I change the flight it is a minimum $250 charge… Sigh. Oh well, not like I can flap my arms and “fly” myself there!
Well, next check in will be from Las Vegas. Be sure to send me some speedy vibes for around 8:20 Las Vegas time Wednesday night. Thanks again for the kind words, emails and positive thoughts.
Today I head out the door and won’t return for a week…. Yes, the craziness of the cyclo-cross season is full on. Perfect. Just the way I like it.
On Thursday I had taken over the living room with piles. Piles and piles of clothing and gear. Clothing and gear for this weekend in Vermont for the New England Verge Cyclo-Cross Races. Clothing and gear for the two days in San Diego. And yet another pile of clothing and gear for Cross Vegas, Interbike, and the city of wonder known as Las Vegas.
I should have taken a photo of the living room, it was pretty impressive! After much head-scratching, I finally got everything strategically packed. As I packed I realized I don’t really have a Las Vegas-appropriate wardrobe (whatever that is). But I just kind of know my clothes don’t work with Las Vegas. Ah well, I’m sure I won’t be the first cyclo-cross racer to walk along the bright streets of Las Vegas in baggy jeans and a race t-shirt…
In between this packing and a bit of mumbling to myself, I did get out for a great ‘cross skill session. I set myself up at my little neigbourhood park and got down to business. Nothing really earth-shattering here. Typical warm-up of turning drills, dismounts and mounts. I set up the grid on the hill and focused on smooth cornering and pushing my limits with my downhill cornering speed. Then it was time for some uphill dismount practice. This is when things got interesting. I had a break-through – an epiphany of sorts.
You see, my uphill dismount is not pretty. It is rather clumsy, uncoordinated and just not smooth. Well, time to fix this. All of this clumsiness and stumbling is costing me time and making me a bit inefficient. So I approached the uphill dismount just as I do the flat dismount – I did it slowly and broke it down to the key components. By doing this I realized that I am really slowing down when I come off the bike – my feet hit the ground but not fast and I also take a couple of steps before picking up/shouldering the bike. Not good. This is causing me to loose my momentum and making the uphill dismount slow and clumsy. So I worked on trying smooth out the dismount – coasting in with my hand properly positioned on the top tube – I learned that during the uphill coast, my right hand is not leaving the handlebars – this slowing everything down. I practiced and practiced some more. I made some improvements and took a few steps back. I didn’t expect to fix this in one session but the true bonus from this session is that I realized what I was doing wrong and have identified how I can make things better.
This to me, points to the sign of an excellent training session. After a bit more flat dismounts/mounts and turning, the rain came out so I took this as a signal to pack up my toys and roll home. Unfortunately as I entered the house, I realized that I still had the piles in the living room to deal with….
Good news is that as I sit here bright and early on Friday morning, everything has come together. Just need to drag the bike boxes up from the basement and cram everything into our vehicle for the weekend. Luckily we’re not trying to stuff everything (four ‘cross bikes, a lot of wheels, two race bags, one slightly bigger bag, food, trainer, tools, two bike boxes) into our Matrix. Ken and Denise H. have been super generous and loaned us their Sequoia so we won’t have any packing issues. Thanks so much for the vehicle! To make things even easier this weekend we’ve got some great housing for the weekend, thanks to Jen and Shane for letting us invade their house again this year.
Looking forward to a great weekend of racing, chilling out, and enjoying all that cyclo-cross brings to my life. I’m sad that I’ll be away for a week and that Marc won’t be with me to experience Cross Vegas and Interbike. But I know he’ll be there with me in spirit, cheering me on – I can hear him already “good job!”, “you’re doing great”, ” dig deep – catch that girl”, “great race”.
Well, best get out for my opening work-out and then it will be time to hit the road. Check back over the weekend for race reports and be sure to visit next week to read about Cross Vegas, Interbike and Las Vegas.