Friday, November 30, 2007

USGPCX CX Course - Portland, OR

Holy cow what a HUGE day.

Built the bikes up, drove to Portland, got on course, got recovered, navigated my way to host housing, moved in, got sent unexpectedly to the airport for a pick up, navigated my way there, race # pick down town (oh yeah, I am 40 out of 43 - yeah baby!!), dinner, trip to Trader Joe's for one thing-get 31 things, back to host housing, do muddy laundry and then about fall to the floor without trying. I am happy to be just chilling right now. This day wasn't the way to ward off my cold. Shoot.

Our host family is just amazing and so welcoming. So welcoming in fact that they gave me the garage code to come on in even if they weren't there (which they weren't) when I first arrived. Kind of weird helping yourself to someone else's house that you don't know while they are gone. Thought for sure the neighbors would call the pole-ee.

Then they hooked me up with a GPS for my car since I had NO idea how to get around Portland but yet had all these "errands" to do tonight. Ever used one of those things? Me neither and now I want one. Wow they are amazing. But they did warn me that the gps lady can be beee-atchy if you go too far or make a wrong turn. Too funny.

Course is good and very uneventful. The only thing making it eventful is the one set of barriers. Otherwise its good for mountain bikers with off camber slick stuff. There are a couple muddy sections that will rut out in no time prior to our race at 1:45pm tomorrow. 80% road, 20% pavement I'd say. One s-turn and not many tricky turns overall. Power course. Flat. Lots of grass that is still pretty firm. We are definitely getting muddy tomorrow though!

Ran into Jon G and the Peterson's too. They are happy and are ready to rumble tomorrow!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Harp?

Today was one of those flawless travel days where it was bing bang boom the whole way. I like travel days like that. I am talking as in the luggage was there in Seattle circulating on the thingy before I was even there. One of those days. Yeah!!

The guy at the airport in SLC could not get why I was taking my bike up to the Pacific Northwest to ride at the end of November. "You are doing what? What is THAT? I never heard of that" He could not fathom the idea of not sitting all nestled up on a couch with hot cocoa by the fire for the next few months. Welcome to our world dude! :)

Another person asked me if I was carrying a harp. Why do people always think my bike box is a dang harp? How many people play those and do people still play those? I am not getting down on harp players here but I am wondering how many people know how to play one and do or ever did play one. The ratio can't be too high. Then I look at the odds and wonder HOW IN THE WORLD these other people would choose "harp" as the first thing out of their mouth when inquiring about the contents of my massive piece of luggage? I mean really, a harp? What are the odds that it would actually BE a harp? Do I look like a harp player? What does a harp player look like? Maybe I do look like one?! By the way - What is in YOUR luggage?

Alright enough of that shat. So yeah, 24 people on the plane out and the one dude sitting in front of me (he moved at the last second) decides to recline his seat. Nice. Thanks a bunch. Think you could have picked one of the other 45 vacant rows and done the same thing without bothering someone else? What a weasel. .....Ok, so maybe EVERYTHING wasn't completely flawless.

But once into town and settled I got out for a great ride in some nice dry weather here in Pacific Northwest if you can believe it. That doesn't happen too often this time of the year. Off to Portland tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Guess I haven't been blogging these last few days because I have been feeling like shat. On the brink of getting sick I think. Sweet. Just in time for a double header Cyclocross race weekend in Portland, OR. Nice. Oh well. I will just have to hope this doesn't progress as I cannot say I am actually sick yet. But I know my body well enough by now and know the signs all too well both on and off the bike. Dang it!! Tis the get sick I guess.

Off tomorrow for Portland and have just been doing what I do best - packing. Let the SHAT Shuffle begin.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Went for an mtb ride today in Park City and it was dusty. That is scary. MTB, Park City, not a speck of mud and it's Nov 25th? Oh my. Ran into BZ, Eric J, Sager and Bart fresh back from La Ruta, Dayna D and Heather H getting what we all figure is the last hurrah in too. Heard the trails are closed..........yeah, THE SKI trails maybe!

I have got a new one for ya. I was looking for my beloved Zeal Optics sunglasses so I could go on this last hurrah ride and looked and looked and looked some more. I knew they had made it home with me after the race yesterday but where were they!!?!! Guess where I found them - they were under the hat I was wearing, basically sitting on top of my head for half a day. I have to ask how in the world I put the hat on without feeling them under there. I am going to bed. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Utah Cyclocross Series #8 - SLC, UT

I am feeling toasty bout now after two races today. Whew! First was the Women's A race then immediately following that was the Men's B race. It was sunny and a balmy 35 degrees when the Women's race started and I was sluhhhhhhh - gish!! after doing VO2 intervals yesterday and the day before. I guess you could say I am not peaking or resting for these local races.

The Women's A race was fun but very uneventful with no issues for me happening. But I definitely made up for that in the Men's B race........ I started on the back row, or at least I tried to for their race. Some of the guys begged me to get in front of them then and there on the line. That was funny.

***picture by Catherine Cagle from

Once the race started things were going well. I was making a lot of headway getting my rump towards the front of the field. Some guys were like "Yeah!!! Nice!!" as I passed them and others would immediately attack and surge which is good. Makes for better racing and racers as I need all the practice I can get pushing myself beyond my limits.

I started losing the plot at about the 25 minute mark, probably from fatigue of just killing myself the last few days and started making poor decisions and doing dumb things. I was still going fast but my ability to make smart choices declined greatly. First I dropped my chain on some singletrack. Whoops! There went 4 spots just like that with a snap of my fingers. It is good racing with the boys because it simulates World Cup style racing where they are on you like glue, waiting and wishing something would derail your efforts. They got their wish today!

The next disaster was a corner on pavement. Envision a 6' wide paver path that hits up against another 6' wide paver path at a 90 degree angle. Now visualize dry leaves covering the sidewalk that you are turning onto along with a rock wall. Now think high speeds (you are on pavers on a slight downhill). Now imagine coming into the corner big ringing it, WAY too hot, body upright, bike below you trying to make the turn. Leaves suck is all I have to say. They served as a slip and slide today more than a beautiful thing that you would want to take a picture of. I was halfway through the corner and the next thing I heard was "Sppphhhhhhhhhhh" and I found myself fish tailing back and forth and even sideways a bit as I was coming out of the corner with a blown tubular tire. I was all over the sidewalk doing my best to control it and keep it upright which I DID. I still cannot believe I did. Some gal that was standing there after the commotion ended was like "NICE save". Holy Toledo batman I had to clean me shorts after that one but I was in one piece though, so I got my other bike (I love cross!!) and finished the race pretty dumbfounded.

So all in all, I won the Women's A race and would have made it darn close to Top 5 in the B Men's race according to the announcers that were predicting where I would end up if all had gone well. But in my mind all did go well because I walked away using all my limbs and was upright. Sometimes that is all you can ask for.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Now we are talking X-Mas?

Ok, so I am barely grasping the fact that Thanksgiving just occurred yesterday and now I am seeing Christmas trees loaded on ever other car? Wow. It just doesn't seem like it's that time of year yet! Maybe it is the lack of snow doing it to me.

So yeah..............Cyclocross race tomorrow and I forgot until late tonight that my CX bike is still parted up sitting in the bike box. Nice. Glad I remembered tonight and not tomorrow morning!! That would have sucked! When I figured out it was in the box still I let out a big bummed "ah man!?!!" because putting it together was the LAST thing I wanted to do right now. So I tried to make it fun and timed myself putting the bike together so I would hurry and just get it done with. 16 minutes. I know you all can beat that.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Is it really Thanksgiving?

You know you are demented when you see the temperature is at 37 F and you are excited. But geez, it has been sunny and dry here for a while and its just cold at this point. The dry roads make it easy to train still and there is even mtbing to be had if you want!

This is outside of Heber Valley on our way to Thanksgiving dinner at Denny and Julie's. Kind of cool.

So, we celebrated Thanksgiving with 7 other buddies. What a great evening with lots of fun and great food. Good times. A cycling crowd at its finest I must say! It was nice to relax a bit and have an abundance of some of the best food ever surrounding you for hours on end. The crew (Chris, Denny's mom, Emily, Julie, Ty, Denny, The Chad, Devon):

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Planning Ahead

I am already getting ready for the next CX race in Portland, OR next weekend by getting some of my stuff packed and sending it up to my parents house (bike included). Can't wait to see them next week before my race (and after too)! Glad that venue is so close to them!

Other people were planning ahead too because while riding there was no denying (which I have been doing for weeks now) that Thanksgiving is tomorrow. The smell of pumpkin pies and stuffing and all the rest was in each neighborhood throughout Heber Valley.

I still don't believe it is tomorrow though. I am in total denial that it's this late in the year already.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wiped Out

I am worked right now..........probably from travelling yesterday! I thought long and hard about not getting on the bike today but I just had to for my own sanity and for my legs happiness. I am glad I did because it woke me up some thank heavens.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Travel Day

Boy was it ever (a travel day). After still being amped about the weekends races I didn't get to sleep until 2am. I think maybe the 2 hour time change may have caught up to me too.

Unfortunately then I had to get up at 4am because my teammate had an early 7am flight and we were an hour from the airport. My flight wasn't until 1pm either. Ugh. Nothing like hanging at the airport for hours and hours on two hours of sleep. I tried to be productive but that is kind of hard when you are experiencing light headedness and extreme fatigue.

So the day started early and the travel didn't end until I got home at 9pm. I am whooped.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

USGPCX #4 - Trenton, NJ

Here is the Velo Bella - Kona Team after the race. That is my only excuse for wearing my hat the way I am - this is right AFTER the race. What a ding dong I am! I was still delirious I think.

Today it was almost the same course but just a different day. They changed a few things up making things a bit shorter with more turns than on Saturday. The big difference was that we actually had CX weather with rain, temps in the 30's and a bit of wind just to top off any coldness that you were feeling. This also meant that the dry ground that we once knew on Saturday was no longer and now suddenly both tactics and now technical savviness was the name of the game as the ground was slick in many and most spots.

For warming up (which actually works in this kind of weather despite what you may think!) I started with four layers of clothing on top, ski gloves, fleece hat, shoe covers and anything else I could dig out of my sweet yellow and black Pedro's gear bag.

It was a tad chilly you could say and by the time we got to the start line conveniently located next to the lake at the Marina the winds were whipping up right across the lake. Burr!!

Then it was time to get stripped down to just your bitty one layered long sleeved Louis Garneau skin suit and pull your wool socks as high as they could possibly go. By the time you accomplished all this, you were numbing up already. Sorry muss - culls!! Was all that warming up for nothing? Eyes about to find out........but not right away unfortunately.

When the gun went off I had something happen to me that hasn't happened in so dang long.......... I guess first off would be that I had an even worse call up than the day before (how does that happen!?!) and was on the last row. Then right off the bat for the first 15 seconds I got boxed in. One girl in front of me was going nowhere in a hurry, the other girl on my right was going at the same pace as the gal in front and left side was sluggish. There was a gap opening up huge on the RIGHT in front of me and I was chomping at the bit to get there- but couldn't because I was blocked! I was tempted to slam on my brakes - heck, no one was behind me right? - and go around the back of the girl on my right but I waited patiently and then snuck my tire in right as the gal to my right fell off the back. NOW the race had started - good lord.

And how oh so convenient that the Top 30 gals were already strung out and way up there as we headed into the first turn of the 40 minute sufferfest. Once in that turn myself I managed to pass a ton of ladies on an outside line and just went for it. That is what racing is about right - not hanging out in a line of gals to take the "proper and good line". You have got to suck it up and take lines that will potentially put you in the fence (hmmm???? a ever so brief recollection of me knocking almost my entire right rib cage out of joint in June 07 comes to mind).

Anyway, you know the drill from here. Suffer, pass, be passed, draft, attack, up chuck (not kidding) dismount, run sections that were totally ridable yesterday that were now faster to run, play cat and mouse, etc. There was also this section with these S turns that you could smell brakes on every time because you would hit it coming in so "hot"and need to slam them on. That was nasty smelling in the middle of the the race I will tell you but my Reynolds wheels with my brakes make it seem like I am running disc brakes making life easy through corners like that.

I also had a first today. I had my very first bike exchange!! How exciting is that? It IS exciting! There was nothing wrong with my bike except that it was getting muddy and bogging me down a bit and you never know what to expect next like bad shifting and why wonder and wait when you have a brand new bike ready for your use? What a great feeling mentally that is to get on a "fresh" bike mid race. That was cool. But its funny to how tactics plays a large roll in if and when you should go in for the exchange. If you are drafting someone and they don't head into the tech zone, you may want to consider drafting still and forgoing the bike exchange if possible. Sometimes even, the tech zone is in such a spot that it sets you up better for the next corner and it MAY be to your advantage to head in there and get a bike exchange JUST for that reason alone. Hmmm??? This sport really gets you thinking that is for sure! After it was all said and done I crossed the line in 15th.

Here is a picture of the flyover with me hauling my bike up it for the ump-teenth time:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

USGPCX #3 - Trenton, NJ

Ouch, 17th place today. Power and tactics were huge today because the course was not technical at all. I got the first but am still learning and getting somewhat better with each race at the second.

I started 35th (ouch, again) and had a great and strong start getting up to 11th ish by the second or third turn and held on to it for a while until I got passed by a gal or two within the next few laps (dang darn it!!). At that point things split up bad and I found myself with a group of girls (14th - 17th) for the rest of the race creating a race within a race. Again, I tried to play my cards correctly and drafted, attacked tons and tried not to let others draft me too much but in the end the other 3 women were able to excel just a tiny bit better in the sand pit to get just enough of a gap to leave me in the dust and cross the line seconds in front of me.

I am not down on the way I felt, my power, my aggressiveness, my ability to suffer, my determination or my energy levels during the race but unfortunately the others had more of each of those today. But lord it was FUN!!! Maybe tomorrow!

Friday, November 16, 2007

New Jersey Race Course

Got up, built our bikes.

Oh yeah, when I got my bike last night at the airport the case was blown open and I could see right into it, bike and all. The case had cracked somehow on the outside and all the buckles except one were open. I had to file a report and cross my fingers that nothing was wrong with the bike once built. I didn't lose a thing if you can believe that. I thought for sure that the Four Ti Crank Brothers pedals among other parts and stuff I put in the box would be long gone but they weren't!!

We then headed to the cross course at Mercer County Park to pre-ride. In the park:

The course? Flat, mostly grass, lots of turns, not technical at all, bits of pavement, fast, dry, one LONG LONG LONG LONG sandpit and one "fly-over" just like the green monster in Kentucky. Other than that and the barriers, of course, it is pretty straight forward.

Here is the first part of the sandpit from a distance:

Here it is from the corner fence looking Left and one of the thins of Utah I believe:

Looking Right:

It is long!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

USGPCX Weather

Will we get real CX weather for the race in Trenton, NJ?

sent this morning..........

-----Original Message-----
From: Orbitz Traveler Care
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2007
Subject: Orbitz Travel Brief Update

Low clouds, wind and rain are combining to limit the number of aircraft that
can land hourly at Philadelphia Airport. Passengers arriving throughout the
day may encounter delays averaging one hour. This does not change your
scheduled check-in time. Thank you for booking with us and have a good

Oh ya......and if I have to hear the recorded lady say "Caution, the Moving Walkway is Ending" one more time while I am waiting for my next flight to Philly right now I may scream. It goes off every five seconds. Ack!! The people around me are in agreement too.

Also, there is a lady who is being paged for in this way "will (first name, last name) please come to gate (#). Your husband is looking for you and you are going to miss your flight, this is the final call." Can you say fight in the airport? I bet she high tailed it out the doors- Oh man. Every time they announce it people are laughing. Everyone knows whats up. I think someone is in a little bit of trouble.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

And the "A" Bike arrives

So that means my other bike (that'd be the "B" bike), has a sister now. Awe.....isn't that sweet?

Just in the nick of time for me to take her all apart and throw her in a box headed for New Jersey early tomorrow morning. Isn't that always the case though?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

SLC Tribune

The Salt Lake Tribune came to the Utah State Cyclocross Championships this last weekend and got this cool picture gallery and description of cross up on their website. That is good to see Cyclocross making the news because IT IS a great sport!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gym Woes

Holy lord what the heck was going on in the gym today? Good grief! It started with the lady in the yoga studio CHEWING GUM and popping it the entire if no one else was around and could here it. Seriously lady? Then 2 gals decided they were done with the class mid way through and thought it would be a peachy idea to have a conversation at the back of the room. Come on!!! After class I headed into the main gym area only to be almost knocked over by the sight of some dude wearing WAY too short shorts. Oh my gosh that was nuts. No pun intended. On to the women's locker room... where people feel as though that asking how you are doing while they are wearing their birthday suit is just a marvelous idea. I was OUTTA THERE in a flash. Again no pun intended. Ugh.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Good News!!

Mom is OK. She called this morning with a cheer in her voice saying the doctor is releasing her from the hospital. After tests every few hours all night long and tons of tests and scans, they found nothing. Is this good or bad? I will take it whatever it is. A second chance is a great thing.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Utah State Cyclocross Championship

Blood, Sweat and Tears

As for the blood - this is Chris's crank from the race. Yes, he is still alive and all too well!

As for the Sweat -

I wasn't prepared to need a stinking swimsuit to be dressed right for the Utah State Cyclocross Championships today. Who would have ever thought that we would have a sunny, warm, 65 degree, blue sky weather in mid November in Utah? It was everything that cross isn't but I don't mind a fast and furious course as this one was. It was a mountain bikers dream course with tons of singletrack that wound through tight trees over the the fallen leaves and sand.

Since it was the Utah State Championships, women came out of the woodwork to give the title a whirl which was great to see. And I was the defending State CX Champion from last year so I better have my game on. And there was only one way to to find out........

The race started super fast as it took us to the longest and widest straightaway in the course. Hammer Hammer Hammer - Huff and Puff - Huff and Puff. Yep, the race had definitely started said my shocked system. We whirled around into some sandy singletrack as I led the group through. Next up: a few more grassy u-turns and a plunge into an off camber right turn only to have a barrier to run over and back up onto another pebbly road that ran through the official start/finish area. At this point I had a bit of a gap but not by much and getting in to the next off camber singletrack section first would become super important. And I mean super important because at this point we were catching the Masters 35+ B Men which meant more people vying for one line. So I threw in an attack and barely squeezed myself into the off camber grass section first which was good because I knew I could haul on that section and grow the gap to the Women's field. From that point forward my only intention was to grow the gap, suffer, stay upright, not puke, practice a few things and see how close to the tip of the men's field I could get. Those guys are so fun to race with and are so talented and fast and they always make my job a challenge which is great!

After 45 minutes of putting a solid effort in I came across the line as the Utah State Cyclocross Champion! Yes! But the day wasn't over here. I still had one more race with the B Men's field in a half and hour. Why oh why does my coach do this to me I ask? Ha! Not really, I love racing and love pain so I gathered myself after our Women's race, got refueled, kept spinning despite all the offers to stop and chat about the race and life in general and got ready to start on the back row (per my coaches instructions) of the B Men's field. When I pulled up to the start I was shocked at the amount of guys that were racing in "our" class. Wow. It was impressively large group and I definitely had my work cut out for me yet again.

3-2-1 GO!!

Off again but this time for 50 minutes. I actually wondered if I would suffer more or less on this race but I felt GOOD if not better than in the Women's race. I practiced everything that I was supposed to practice, passed on the inside, passed on the outside, attacked, sprinted and made my way up near the front of the Men's B group by the end of the race. Mission accomplished!!

I had fun duking it with dah boys and they let me have it to. They would see me trying to come around and they would start sprinting which is totally cool, they would hang on my wheel and I would hang on theirs and they would work with their teammates and sock it to me. That was awesome. Thanks for a great race guys! It was just what the (coach) ordered! This pic is weeks old - sorry bout that.

And now the Tears -

I was all smiles and happy after the race while I stretched and cooled down. But that all changed when I got a phone call from my brother in WA telling me that our 77 year old mother had been whisked away to the hospital in an ambulance. She had felt like she was having heart problems (something she has never had before) and called 911 on her own. Needless to say I went from excited about the race to crying in the palm of my hands in moments.

You realize that a race, whether wonderful or horrid, doesn't matter too much in the big scheme of things when you have some you love dearly in the hospital. It is a sick, awful and helpless feeling and you feel like nothing else in the world matters. It is hard to come to terms that if god wants her, he will take her and if not, we need to heed this warning very seriously and figure out what we need to do in order to not have this (whatever that is) happen again.

Here is a picture of she and I from last weekend when she was in Utah visiting us. All I can do is wait to hear now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I just got back from a Pilates class and all I can say is "Yes!!" I can actually do Pilates now with no pain!!! I haven't been to a core class since knocking 8-10 ribs out of joint in June but I decided I was physically ready today despite some minor hesitation and irritation I was feeling from the last race.

It has been a bit painful to tighten and engaged my core in any way these last 5 months (oh my lord has it been that long that I have been injured??) and Pilates was way out of the question....even last month.....for me. I am definitely coming off of the injured list officially here soon!

It is good to be healthy again! I really missed it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Bit of a Rant

As much as I love training in Heber normally, I think I have figured out why have been so annoyed with cycling here lately. As you may know, Heber is growing big time. There is development on every vacant cow pasture. And with that comes transport/maintenance trucks and crews whipping up and down the roads and some of those roads are so TRASHED now making riding skinny's a good cyclocross adventure on pavement.....or what was once considered pavement.

Also, try doing intervals on the one real good long steep road that now has construction crews on it stopping traffic intermittently because they have turned it into a one laner for the time being. Ugh. Kills me!!!

They are getting used to me now though at least because at first, they would tell me to go on up and through on the one lane and would then send cars coming the other way at me. Nice - thanks a bunch guys. After living through that and after talking to them nicely telling them what I was trying to accomplish and that basically I wasn't going away for a long time, they stopped that action. Now, thankfully they work with me letting me pass on through safely at all times without stopping in the middle of an interval which is a bad feeling all the way around (you cyclists know what I am talking about here).

I need to remind myself that although this all is a pain, it's better than training in my basement which I will have to do soon enough!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Chris Putting the Hammer Down

I was so proud of Chris yesterday in his race. He placed 3rd out of about 30 guys! With the amount he does, the amount he works, the amount he is stressed out and the amount he really doesn't train, he really can throw it down on the weekends in his races. He is sitting 4th overall in the Utah Cyclocross Standings too. Here is a pic of him from last weekends race at Wheeler - courtesy of Bob and Lyna.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Video - This Kitty Can't wait for Breakfast

I gotta kick out of this and I don't even have pets.
You need your volume on too.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Velo Bella just got this link up with a profile for me. Click here to see how this monster was created.

Cyclocross race tomorrow in Heber City. Chris is racing and I will be there with my mom who is visiting, yelling from the sidelines. See you then!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

More Pix from KY

Just got a picture of Barb's Halloween flair here.

For more Louisville, KY race photos of both the men's and women's fields click here.

Is it really November 1st? Oh my!