Interbike

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.

Checking in from San Diego

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.

It Is Here

Bike shops are hopping. Local parks are full of people doing “weird” things on their bikes. The low murmur about cyclo-cross has risen to a full on roar. People are excited. Racers, promoters, fans – everyone is ready for it. Well, good news is – it’s here. The racing starts now.

Well, not now but for me anyway this weekend in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania. Marc and I are making the trek down on Friday – the trusty Matrix will be loaded with Stevens Carbon Team DA bikes, all the wheels we own, and lots of sharp looking Ottawa Cross clothing. Yes, I’m excited. Can’t wait to get out and race my bike. Seems like a long time coming. Nothing like getting the first race of the season into the legs. In addition to the racing I’m looking forward to catching up with my cyclo-cross racing friends in person.

For those of you who have been waiting to find out about the local Ottawa Bicycle Club cyclo-cross series – well, the schedule and registration information is now posted. I can’t say enough good things about this local series. This is where I first got my taste of cyclo-cross, way back in 1994. I was out racing on my Specialized Rockhopper with toe clips. There weren’t a lot of us out there but we were a mighty bunch of racers. Many thanks to the tireless commitment of Bob, Ian, and Cheryl to continue to volunteer their time to keep this series going.

I actually can’t believe how quickly this cyclo-cross season is going to pass by. Two weeks from now I’ll be in Las Vegas getting ready for Cross Vegas. Then a little over a week later I’ll be on a plane to Switzerland for the UCI Cyclo-Cross Training Camp. By Oct. 27, I’ll have two World Cups completed and then on Nov. 6 I’m racing at the Canadian National Cyclo-Cross Championships in Toronto. Finally on Nov. 8, I’ll be back on a plane and landing in Belgium where I’ll stay for the winter. Busy times. Fast times. Lucky times. Fortunate times.

If you’re looking for a small focused cyclo-cross practice session, drop me an email. I’m holding a session this Thursday morning and have room for a couple more people. We’ll work on dismount/mounts, shouldering the bike, turning, and really anything you want to practice.

Well, I best close this off. I need to get some rest… Tomorrow morning I’m going to be behind the motorbike trying to keep my legs spinning and my lungs from popping out of my chest. Oh yeah, nothing like motorpacing to fire up the body sensations!

Change of Plans

Some exciting things happening lately…. Originally I was traveling to Aigle, Switzerland on Oct. 14 to race at the World Cup on Oct. 17. Now I’m not doing this….

Instead I’m traveling to Aigle, Switzerland on Oct. 2… To attend a 15 day cyclo-cross training camp taught by the legendary Erwin Vervecken! This is a camp run by the UCI – so I’m confident that it will be well run and a really good use of my training time. We’ll be staying in Aigle, training daily, staying together and prepping for the World Cup on the 17th. I’m pretty excited to be able to attend this training camp. At first I wasn’t sure if I should go, but such opportunities don’t come along every week. Seize the day!

My dad is still coming to the races – change is that instead of meeting him in Frankfurt, I’ll meet him in Aigle. So luckily everything works out quite easily. I have to say that I received outstanding customer service from Air Canada getting my flight changed. Also big shout out to Simon Burney for me in navigating some bureaucratic hoops for me – I owe you Simon!

Had a great day of training yesterday. Met up with Karl and Conor to do some ‘cross skill work out at Karl’s place. He has built a pretty cool ‘cross training course that has some challenging terrain. We all had fun tackling the sand, run-up, steep descent, and testing our limits. Just what I needed since I’m in a rest week right now… (Steve, I took it easy and made sure not to go into the red zone.) I took some photos of Karl’s course so you can see what is possible with a bit of hardwork and creativity:

Fast descent or steep climb – look out for the ruts!

The course after the descent/before the steep climb:

The really steep descent or quick run-up (other side of the dirt hill):

Part of the sand track:

Many thanks to the Hoppner’s for their hospitality – we kind of took over their house last night with our training, endless chatter and then enjoying the fine meal. Thanks again – it was a great night.

Today is looking a good training day as well. I’m kicking things off with a cyclo-cross practice session with John – he is new to cyclo-cross, so I’m sure we’ll have fun learning the basics. Then I’m off on my road bike for recovery ride. I received some wise words from my coach yesterday and they deserve to be shared with you:

“Just a gentle reminder to make sure you take your recovery days as seriously as your rest days!”