Sunday, September 28, 2008

Madcross #2 - Sun Prairie, WI

Heading to the venue from the highway

Elite Women's Podium

5th again!

I will take another podium any day especially since I was thinking about it and figured out that I was in:

WA Monday
UT Tuesday
NV Wednesday
WI Thursday

That is enough travel to kill someone I tell ya.

More later. Kathy needy sleepy.
Sun Prairie

Alright, I got some good sleep so here is the down and dirty on the race finally:

After getting a second row call up from yesterday's first row call up (yeah, the better you do the day before, the further back you get to start in the pack now.....just kidding...but really I am not sure what that was about) and then getting a group talking to on the line from the UCI about making sure our hair was tamed and not covering our numbers (what....the 38 #'s we have to pin on all over our body isn't enough?), the gun went off.

I quickly settled into my drops, a very new position for me on my bike. It was my goal to race in my drops today and try some new things out for future races (nothing like trying new stuff out DURING a race eh?).....and maybe get on the podium again while I was at it if possible. Again, I am not so much the under achiever trying to do it all, which sometimes works out and sometimes doesn't. But today with the help of my very willing teammate, Maria S,

we put the screws on to get me on the podium. I was sitting in 6th place and just could not seem to close the gap to 5th. If I came close that was as far as I got to 5th but I wasn't about to give up when Maria, sitting in 7th decided to drill it, passing me like a bat out of hell. I jumped on her wheel while she successfully closed the gap to 5th place while I rested.

So there we all sat with 2 laps to go, I have had a bit of a rest from Maria's wheel, and I decided to attack 5th place shortly thereafter in a very unlikely of spots on the course......a technical downhill of sorts. I knew that I could get enough of a gap there and hold it for two laps (1.5 laps by now). -I tell you what, it is some fun stuff to be able to race at this level IN ADDITION to being able to actually think about tactics. There were many years there that I could ONLY race at this level and where ever the chips fell, they fell because I was too oxygen deficient to think or even say my name for that matter.- So I attacked where I planned, put my head down for the rest of the race and slopped it for 5th.

I am happy with my 5 races in 9 days and 3 podiums after 2.5 months of no racing. And I am very pleased with where I am at the moment and am extremely lucky to have teammates that are as talented as Maria. After laying it all out for me, Maria still came in 7th in today's race!

The name of Sun Prairie is very appropriate.

Crowds gather to watch the race:

The Elite Men's podium:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Madcross #1 - Sun Prairie, WI

I just love these weird shots they keep getting of me.

Another podium! Filthy Fifths.........not sure what I think about that.

Ok, I will smile for real

Hey but at least they were selling beer by our team tent

The race took place at the Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, WI just near Madison. It was hot and dry today.

And there was so much freakin' course tape that it was hard not to get vertigo! Of course, I have been on the road a lot lately and that is enough to give you anything!

Maria had a stellar day coming in 11th!!! Yey Maria!!

More racing on deck for tomorrow!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hectic! NV to WI

Got up early, return rental car, get shuttle to airport, fly to WI, pick up shuttle at airport, rent car, throw stuff in, navigate my own way from Chicago to Milwaukee (2 hour drive) while eating a salad ( should have seen THIS one...I thought I would get pulled over for drunk driving or something), arrive in Milwaukee, get settled, shower, bed.

Sleep 11 solid hours, sit and catch up with life for 3 hours (computer/phone), build bikes, get a tour of Milwaukee on my bike, stretch, dinner, DONE.

Alex, Velo Bella Manager and Tour Guide. Goodness he knows a lot of dang facts about Milwaukee! Either that or he was blowing smoke.

Lake Michigan

Sailboats in Lake M.

It is beautiful and hot here right now in Milwaukee. Races tomorrow and Sunday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cross Vegas Baby - Las Vegas, NV

OUCH - EEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG that hurt SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO bad. Maybe it's cuz I made the mistake of holding on to Georgia Gould's wheel through the start lap loop and practically blew; but didn't thank god. Then right as I was really starting to lose hold of her rippen fast pace, I came around a left hand 180 turn and ate it hard on the pavement.......right on my still slightly healing left hand. Oh Yikes!! All was well and my hand was ok and no one passed me right away. But since I lost all my momentum in the crash and took a bit to get started again I ended up going back from top 5 to to like 16th or something nuts like that. This stuff happens so it was then time to get my places back as best I could throughout the next 38 minutes. Dang it, that sucks!

I found myself repeating time and time again under my breathe "oh my god - oh my god" because the pace that I had to set to get into 12th was unbelievable on the soft lumpy grass that the course was mostly made up of. It was likened to riding on a down comforter which I thought was pretty funny and darn accurate too.

There was one set of smoken fast barriers (left to right: Barb, moi, Shannon) and everything was dry dry dry and hot even at 7:30pm.

So I worked bloody hard to get in back up to 12th. Wow, lotta hard work with only minimal results from my own efforts. Better luck next time. Or better yet - don't freakin crash dum dum.

DJ and Quentin of Over the Edge Sports showed up.

Got to watch Lance Armstrong chase the Elite Men around the park while I was warming down. The poor Cannondale boys had to help me set up the trainer. I was pretty out of it by then and wouldn't have been able to screw a light bulb in if I had wanted too.

The Elite Men were too fast to get a picture of

Afterwards there were so many spectators and people there - some 15,000 was the word who had gotten bused in, driven, taken taxi's from the strip that we hung out in the parking lot at the venue so we didn't have to hang in the car in the other parking lot called the street.

Lots of double decker buses took people to the venue

Which made for tons of people yelling at us during the race.

We finally left at around 11pm from the venue and after dropping some folks off on the strip we didn't get back to the hotel until 12:30 am. And that is when the real work began.........trying to find the energy to disassemble and pack our bikes, shower and make something to eat. I got to bed at 3am.

Off to WI tomorrow for some UCI races taking place this weekend.

There and Gone

Sunday after the race: get back to the parents, eat, pack, stretch, disassemble bikes, sleep.....well not really.....I woke up at 4 am and booked my flight to Vegas for Tuesday of this week. I was going to drive but at 4am for some reason I decided I didn't want to deal with that and booked it.

Monday morning: catch an early shuttle that went all over tim buck 2 before ever getting to the airport, catch flight home to Utah, be bummed that I am so worked over that I can't even begin to THINK about riding, open and laugh at the mail (see below), do laundry, unpack a bit, reorganize, throw things in my bag that I forgot to bring to WA and then finally...........sleep.

Yep this mail is addressed to the "Fast and the Flatulant" - Chris's 24 Hours of Moab Team

Tuesday morning: wake up at the crack, go to the airport, fly to Vegas, pick up rental car, navigate our way to the hotel, check in, unpack, go to Trader Joes and then hit the hay.

Wednesday: wake up, build bikes and thank god I finally have time to STOP, SIT and not move an inch while planning my trip to WI on Thursday. Well, I got to not move an inch until 4pm that is when we had to head to the Cross Vegas Venue for a 7:30pm start.

Life is good.........just a bit hectic at the moment which is ok by me!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

NACT #2 Rad Racing GP - Lakewood, WA

Kari S. some random chick and Shannon G.

Ok fine, we will act normal.

Amy D. killed it today; 3rd!

The way you dry your soaking wet shoes on the way to the next race:

I blew it today and not because of anything in particular. I felt like it was my race to lose and I did - big time. Got 12th which is quite unacceptable in my book. I know I know - give a girl making a comeback after surgery a break but I don't set low standards as you can see. I think one of the things that I was dealing with if I had to guess is that I haven't raced since my injury at the beginning of July.........that'd be 2.5 months (except for last night of course). I think my body was cool with ONE day of racing yesterday but then threw me to to wolves on day 2 because it was not happy with that idea. That is ok though because it will make for a stronger Sherwin later on in the cross season.

Nothing went wrong today except I didn't have that extra snap I was looking for that I usually have on day two of racing. Off the line I felt ok and really was only able to "just hold on" during the race. There were no surges or attacks by me. I was in survival mode most of the race.

And that run up about near killed me although I have been running a lot in training which has helped a ton. The run seemed shorter than in years past but still hurt like a mo - pho. Once at the top of that thing each time I think I almost died. FIVE times up that sucker during the race today. Wow. One thing for sure is that after that run up I am definitely going to think any other "long" run ups in other races are short now. Geez - loo - eeez.

At the top of the run up waiting....

Here they come!

Once again my family showed up but this time it was to watch the slaying of the Sherwin. It was great to have them there though anyway, hooting and hollering to get my rear in gear! I also had some other long time friends show up whom I hadn't seen in forever and there support was invaluable! Chris was there of course too serving as team pit manager for me.

Never trust Chris with a water bottle. Poor Mark having to run around the venue like that.

Dem are some tan lines!

Bart G killing it!

Lucky number

Bottom of the run up. Check out how loose it is. One step forward, half a step back.

Last lap boys!

I leave tomorrow in the am for home!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Video Interview After the Starcrossed Race

NACT #1 Star Crossed - Redmond, WA


Uh....who's this guy??

Did YOU know that dude?

I cannot tell you how pyched I am to have placed third today!!!! While the number itself is nice it was really more important for me to put any of my fears to rest that I could "come back" from such a traumatic injury in July. Once never knows just how an injury like that will affect your head and mental game. I was hoping for the best but you don't know until you try.

It was also nice to know that I listened to my body well during that time and was training right. It is difficult to know when you are doing too much training and not allowing the body to proper recovery time but you do need to still train hard if possible. A fine balancing act.

Leading up to the race today was a complete cluster. It was a night race that was about 45 minutes away from my parents house. So, being that it's Seattle, you take that 45 minutes and double it to get your commute time - usually that is enough time but it wasn't today! I had to get through 3 accidents on the way up to pick up Amy D on Capital Hill in Northern Seattle. Once I successfully picked her up we immediately got lost trying to find the freeway thanks to mapquests directions. Don't' ask me WHY I keep using that stupid site!

Side note: Did you know that to be a pro athlete you also need to be geographically and directionally inclined on top of everything else? It is true I swear!

So now we need directions, we are late, we are lost and we would really prefer to get a warm up in before the race too. You know... since a warm up would be nice and all and.... you know..... is pretty important for a high intensity race like this. Geez.

So we try asking an old lady - no go
We ask a dude at a bus stop - no go
We stop at a gas station - closed
Run into a bakery - Bingo!

Got directions and are on our way except for that the second we got on the freeway there was a traffic jam because some &^%$# stalled his car.

Nothing like arriving in the rain 15 minutes AFTER you wanted to BE ON the bike eh?

Luckily Chris flew in the night before on a whim and was already at the venue to help and guide us in a complete rush. Without him, it would have been a sorry site. He pulled the bikes out of the car, assembled them, pumped tires, lubed the chain, found a tent to set up under, set up the trainer, picked up registration....all while I started dressing for the muddy wet rainy downpour that we were going to be warming up in and then racing in. That wasn't very easy either after not having done that since December 07. Crazy crazy times. Oh then don't forget you only have a few moments in between races to actually see the course and if you aren't there for that 15 min moment - oh well, no course seeing for you! But luckily I got on course and saw a few laps of it while trying to figure out tire pressure and all the rest.

I usually have a very set and rigid warm up routine and I can fairly say today that I do not know what I even did for a warm up.....the chaos, the nerves, the anxiety, the rushing around, the lateness, the "trying not to forget anything" for the first race of the season all got to me more than I have EVER had it get to me before. So before the race was flat out CRAZY - even when I was sitting on my trainer trying to warm up my mind was going a mile a minute.

My brother and family showed up for the race along with college buddies, good friends and people we haven't seen in 7 years. It was so fun having all their support on my very first race back. They yelled and screamed during the race and I could hear it all. It was fantastic!

The race course itself was fairly smooth flat grass overall. They had some logs you had to run over as well as one barrier section and plenty of off camber sections too. Everything was wet and muddy with rain puddles gathering across the course. Part of the course also sent you into the velodrome which was a nice relief for the ole legs!

The race started and my first thought was man I am slow! Not a great thought to have but that is what it was! I picked my way through the field after a pretty poor start and started to close the gap between myself and riders 1 and 2, Sue B. and Wendy S. I was getting pretty psyched at this point as I was sitting in third but I know all too well that anything can go wrong in these conditions. And that is when I decided to pull the dork move of the year and drop my chain. I don't know how I did that, but I did. The thing that sucked the most was that my left hand was still too weak to try and "ride through it" to throw the chain back onto the chain rings. I tried, tried again to shift but couldn't so I had to get off my bike and physically place the chain back on the ring. And, in doing so got passed by 5 or so people. Just like that!! I was bummed but kept my cool, jumped back on my bike and just picked my way back through to the top 3 over the course of the next few laps. Don't ask me how I did that - it was pure determination if I had to guess. I remember thinking "ah hell no" as I sat in 9th because I had to do well today for me and my head. I had to start the season right and know what I have been doing for the last few months was the right thing and I wanted it more than anything today! I had to prove it to myself and I did!!

It was such a great experience to get on the podium at my first cross race of the season in front of my family too. Everyone was so excited for me which was the coolest thing ever. Thanks again to all of you for coming out in the pouring rain to support me! It really meant a lot!

Trusty teammates Shannon and Kari S.

Here are some other random thoughts I had from during the race:

I better pass here or forget it!
man I am slow here.
what lap are we on?
what place am I in?
remember there is a hole there
I feel good
gosh its dark back here
I have vertigo
where does the course go?
oh crap a turn
I hope my brakes work in this corner
why can't I pedal?
should I dismount?
I want some water
god this hurts
hey - there is Chris!
don't take THAT line
get on the train
if they can do it I can do it
watch the rock
do not fall
I hear my family yelling!
attack NOW
I can't see a dang thing!
take it easy
where are the pits?
that was close!

We all got champagne to celebrate which made for one wet crowd after we exploded those all over them!!

Stay tuned for more races tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fort Steilacoom Course - Lakewood, WA

My mom did the most evil thing in the world to me the day before my race.

This donut came from a mom and pop business that has been sitting in the same location since I was one year old. They haven't ever remodeled the place and it's still a big triangle shaped building that is orange, silver, and black. But they simply make the best secret recipe donut that I have ever had in my life.

And, as bad as donuts are for you, I still had to have a sliver of this fresh out of the oven, 1000 calorie, (probably PHO too) bit from heaven. And oh my tasted just like I remembered.

Got to see my best friend today with her new baby too. We went to preschool together and she still lives just down the road from my parents making it fun to go home and visit!

She and I grew up playing soccer on these fields at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, WA so it will be strange to be back on Sunday racing my bike as a full fledged adult now (one could argue this point).

I road the cross course today too. Here is the run up they have in it. Something about the longest, steepest run up in the US? I would believe it! You start at the pavement that is way down in the trees in this picture, dismount at high speed and in one fell swoop grab your down tube and shoulder your bike for a hellish run up to the top. I am not even standing at the top in this picture! OWE.

Here is the dismount area.

Then you run up this lovely hill.

And the lake that is in the venue area.

Next up tomorrow is my first cross race since my hand surgery. Yikes!