Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I am not very pleased with myself at the moment. I was impulsive on the road today and made a bad decision that got me dropped in a race where I could likely have been there at the end and fought for a result. We wanted a break. I wanted to ride in a break. Laura and I were active from the start jumping in breaks, and the race was super hard. Heather and Kirsten were struggling from the efforts of yesterday. Elisa and Natalie did not have a ton to spare, but covered some breaks. I had good legs - I should have given that I did not race up the climb yesterday - and I was having a ton of fun racing in an aggressive race. Approaching the end of lap 2, I had just followed an attack, some good one with an ever-aggressive Lyne Bessette, and there was that lull when a break is caught, the time when an attack should go, so I attacked (and this was actually my only attack of the day, besides this I just jumped in stuff). But no one followed! And so I was off on my own, probably just for a few minutes but it was hard, Lipton eventually chased, and I began to realize this was dangerously close to the QOM-sprint combo. I eased up to get caught, but when Webcor drove it up the climb, I went backwards on the first part. I recovered on the second half, but just could not close the gap. I caught one other rider, then we were caught by a group containing Laura and Elisa, then we picked up Natalie. Heather was the only Advil rider who made the front group, and she mustered a strong 12th on a day that began with her fearing she would be dropped. Kirsten had a very off day. Sometimes I just do not think while racing my bike: there is no way, unless under command on a big bad cycling team, that I should work so hard to make a break that I get myself dropped from the main group (as though if I am this tired I could ride in a break anyway). Laura van Guilder won, then Alison Testerote, then Kat Carroll. Good job to them all. Tomorrow is another day and it's good to be feeling better as the week goes on. Here's a photo from cyclingnews of my suicidal break.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
October 14th - Grand Prix of Gloucester 2
November 3rd - Chainbiter 9.0
November 4th - Cycle-Smart International
November 24th - Gearworks Bay State Cross
December 8th - W. E. Steadman Grand Prix
December 9th - Caster's Cyclo-cross
I am also working on a big scheme to go to Interbike in Las Vegas Sept 25 or so. I need to finagle an entry into the crit, then I can race the crit and the cross race, maybe even test a sweet new mountain bike! How to fly with three bikes...
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Elisa pointed out that after a TT we always think of all we could have done differently. My list would entail: clipping in like a rock star off the line, not starting too hard and gapping teammates up the hill and rendering myself useless at the end, and not making silly mistakes like over-gearing out of turnarounds. All this seems likely to have covered the five seconds we fell short of Bike Hugger. But I am sure that TIBCO two seconds behind us is thinking the same thing. Heather was a super-engine, maybe could have pulled more, Natalie was smooth and powerful, her collegiate TTT experience evident, and everyone gave everything. All in all we rode pretty well. But next year, if this event matters, don’t mess around: you practice, you plan, you burn riders and you bring disk wheels. Webcor pulled off the win, Lipton second, Colavita third. Expresscopy was not so fast, will likely be seeking some revenge. Before the race, we had wondered whether Lyne Bessette would drag her young
We arrived at host housing Sunday evening tired from a long drive to a surprised and angry host. It was a horribly uncomfortable situation, unfamiliar to all of us. At that point it did not matter where the responsibility lay: It was 7pm, we were exhausted and extremely hungry, we needed housing, and our director was on a plane. Without going into the details of three hours of making phone calls and driving around Altoona, suffice it to say that the team showed remarkable fortitude and calm in this challenging situation. You do all you can to avoid such situations, but when you find yourself in them it’s just a matter of dealing as well as possible. This season has spurred a lot of thinking about leadership, what it means and how one does it, especially in the hierarchical setting of a cycling team. Leadership happened and we have a place to call home for the week.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Q: How will the team time trial change the race?
A: The TTT could well be the decisive factor in the overall and in the team gc. It could also mean that the powerhouse teams that rock the TTT could try to leapfrog riders up the gc by way of breakaways.
Q. Who will win the TTT?
A: The favorite is Lipton, with World Champ plus depth. Rumor has it Webcor has whiled away the time in Pennsylvania between nationals and Toona practicing this event, and no doubt they will be well-drilled. I would throw Expresscopy into the list of favorites, given Meshy Holt and Ann Samplonius, plus the fact they raced a TTT at Tour de L'Aude, probably learned a lot from it. Colavita will either be flying or dead after the Giro. Other teams such as Aarons bring more evenly-distributed horsepower and could win if super smooth. I have an inside tip this Bike Hugger composite will be smooth. Quebec? They have at least one engine... And of course, my team - Heather is super strong and probably wants TT revenge after a Nationals mishap!
Q: What will happen in Tuesday's new stage?
A: Interesting, Altoona has become predictable because the courses have stayed the same year after year, but this is totally new. I would say field sprint, that the gc riders will be waiting for Wednesday's Blue Knob day, but there appears to be a 1000-ft climb in the race... Sounds like a fierce fight for the sprinter and climbers' jerseys, then attack-o-rama by the non-climbers from strong teams, or from good climbers from teams that tanked the TTT who need more time to win than they can gain on Blue Knob days.
Q: Who are the riders to watch?
A: The usual suspects, plus those with motivation: Kori Seehafer and Erinne Willock have both found their legs after early season injuries. Look for Mackenzie Dickey in the sprints - she's a much better sprinter than her results so far this year have shown. Mandy Lozano and Robin Farina are also ready to go. Emily Roy is flying, and .... Lyne Bessette is back!!!! She must be looking toward the New England Verge Series in cross. (Or the Olympics.)
Q: What are the other competitions going on?
A: Well, team GC is going to play a lot on the TTT, unfortunately. Aaron's Rebecca Larson has the Prestige Series sprint jersey - Brooke Miller wants it, maybe Kori Seehafer too, and surely Cheerwine and Colavita. Wow, this will be a war. QOM, probably some Webcor/Lipton battle. I usually don't see this one.
Q: And my team's plans?
A: May surprise and underdoggery work to our advantage!
Ok, going to race a crit today...
I guest rode last year with Advil-Chapstick. Mike Engleman, whose commitment to supporting women cyclists is matched by few, was directing us, bringing on rising star Alison Powers. Alison, hands down the best descender/cornerer in women’s cycling (coming from downhill ski racing at international level) shocked us all by winning the gazillion-corner alley-diving prologue. Yikes, gulp! How were we going to defend this? We did the best we could and Alison held her own on the climbs, eagerly absorbing and learning and performing in her first big stage race. (Note: Alison just rode a fantastic Giro d’Italia last week!) At Martinsburg in a driving rainstorm, a dangerous break got away with Webcor gc riders. Heather and I killed ourselves chasing with Colavita. We caught the break and I was headed out the back when instead I made the break, disbelieving my misfortune at such a good opportunity in such a sorry state. I survived much longer than I thought possible, but then committed the cardinal sin of bike racing: getting dropped from the break. Dead. Gone. Cracked. My bike broke a few miles later, so I might not have made it to the line (where Brooke Miller smoked them all), but not good. I seem to remember we were rather exhausted, injured backs and shoulders and lots of Advil and ice packs, plus some of the wear and tear of a long season. This is also the year one of my teammates took a sleeping pill Friday night and could barely see for most of Saturday’s stage. Cooped up in the Penn State Altoona cinderblock doom rooms, late in the week we discovered a lounge with cable tv and The Daily Show, gold for my mind that could no longer read. Sort of like the time I did a stage race in
I wasn’t picked for the Rona Altoona team, which was disappointing but both understandable given my relative inexperience and merciful since by July I had cracked magnificently. My breakthrough season had basically ended at
Tom Stevens, cyclocross guru/course artist/musician/frame builder/my longtime coach/seen-it-all racer, took a group of New England riders to
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I raced this year on a composite with
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
My heroes in New England cycling – Brenda Bahnson, Heather Peck, and Katrina Davis - made the trek each year to a fabled race in
I was a nervous wreck in a field of 100+ riders, not helped by the fact I had adjusted my own headset and messed it up. On the first day, after getting dropped and riding a 50-mile time trial in 90+ weather, I got heat exhaustion and spent a few hours throwing up and generally feeling awful. Brenda brought me Pedialyte, trusted friend of the depleted bike racer, but it was an ominous start.
Every day during the race, Hiroko and I would look over at each other, look back, see we were dead last, and ask “what are we doing here?” I was horrendous at field positioning. My goal each day was to make it as far as possible with the group. And every day I would get dropped and time trial in, usually picking up and dragging other dropped riders. They would say “you are really strong,” stopping before adding “and really dumb to tow us all this way.” Each day I survived felt like a heroic effort. I don’t know I’ve ever been as exhausted during a race as I was then. On Blue Knob on Saturday, I got dropped 10 miles in. The amazing thing is not that I missed the time cut (which I did) but that I barely missed it. Hiroko survived the crit. I had learned as much in one week as I had all season! When can I come back?
My favorite sufferfest is almost here – the Tour de Toona starts on Monday! This stage race in
Monday, July 16, 2007
So my friend Marc, who has a long history of bashing parking lot crits, went to Belgium and France to race and ended up concluding he was a "cycletourist." So now he lives in the Pyrenees and rides his bike a ton. I sometimes wonder about myself. Skipping a big money crit last weekend in Philly in favor of riding my favorite rural roads in the Berkshires certainly reflects the cycletourist urge. I'm skipping Nationals right now - at this point I don't need to do big races for experience, and I am not strong enough to go and really give it in either the TT or RR - so I am staying home and getting ready for Altoona. But this leaves a lot of time for training and I almost caved to the cycletourist urge, joining some friends for a 106-mile ride along the CT coast to buy and consume (yikes!) a "lobster dog." I also resisted the urge to attend the mountain bike festival Pedrosfest, where I could have gone and crashed a ton and had equal volumes of fun. But instead I went to a bike race, the Owasco Stage Race, and I am glad I did: it was good training and a reminder of all I love about grass roots racing. I raced hard and remembered what it is to call the shots myself, to do a decent job with this after Fitchburg. I have reservations about my racing in a women's open field (ever since I showed up to a crit as a cat 4 and raced the New Zealand national team), but I think it was ok. Many thanks to the promoter, Dean Furnia, to my last-minute host family the Carrs, and to the racers in our small but determined women's field.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Sunday, July 1, 2007
0. Overarching mistake was not taking charge of my own racing.
1. Big big big mistake was not going with Katie, and forget relying on teammates - I should have gone with Katie. Just because I am being patient and leading the race does not mean be an idiot.
2. Next mistake was not sending a bridge asap.
3. Next mistake was dithering with the chase. Terry had no obligation to chase.
4. Other mistake was not providing leadership on the road.
Today was crit: Arielle, Yardin, Hiroko, Nina (prior to crashing), Rebecca all rode spectacularly, Kathleen too in procuring the sprint jersey! Mishap and confusion at the end might have cost 3rd place.
I am going to lay out the facts, avoid commentary. You provide the comments, ok?
We entered the race with me in 1st, 20 seconds ahead of Kathleen (in the sprint jersey), then Megan Gaurnier of Terry, then Hiroko 9 seconds back, then Rebecca 28 seconds behind her. Goals were to keep the leader’s jersey (I think but am not entirely clear that we wanted to keep it for me), keep the points jersey, and win the stage. The plan was for Nina and Arielle to cover moves in the first three laps of the race, then this role would fall on Rebecca and Hiroko. Kathleen would get the sprints. If the race was still together late, Rebecca and Hiroko had license to attack. On the final climb, ideally we could ride it together, not take responsibility for driving it, and try to win the stage if we could do this without jeopardizing the leader's jersey. Rebecca was calling the shots on the radio, with Greg in the caravan. The race started slow slow, 15mph slow. I was chilling out, not super well positioned, maybe 20-30th, Kathleen too. Arielle and Nina covered one early attack, ending up in a little group that soon came back. They covered a few more attacks. Arielle told me she was dying, wouldn’t be around for long – fine, all anyone can do is her best effort. On the second of six 11-mile loops, a Cascade rider attacked and got a gap. (Hiroko told me later she could have gone with it, or at least jumped across, but didn’t because Arielle and Nina were in charge of the first 3 laps.) I said on the radio “That is a dangerous rider.” Greg said “Chill out.” Tibco rider/friend/former teammate Katie Lambden went across. I radioed that we had two riders up the road. We rode 15 mph for at least 5 minutes. The gap ballooned to over one minute. By this time Arielle and Nina were gone. Rebecca went to the front and started riding moderate tempo. The gap grew. Greg tried to get us to get Terry to help chase. They would not. He called on all four of us to rotate through. I was basically floating, everyone was. It was a calm chase. NEBC helped, as well as a few others, but it wasn’t well organized. Kathleen took one long pull up the