Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yeah for hilly short tracks at Altitude!

Wow, was I worked over. Heat, altitude, time changes and tons of travel all caught up to me Saturday night. Not to mention a whole lot of lung butter from the race! There’s a reason teams travel with a massage therapist. With our crazy schedules we’d all be riding like poo otherwise.

In the morning we did a coffee spin into park city and Java cow where we bumped into Dallas and Mical for Cappuccinos. We then headed out for team breakfast where we filled up on pancakes and omelettes. Yummy. Man life is rough!

The short track was at 1:15 and I was having a little trouble convincing myself I wanted to do it. I was thinking about those people you see yelling to get themselves pumped up and was thinking that I might need to do that today. After a couple warm up efforts though, the legs were feeling better. Today, if I didn’t win the start I owed Waldek a pound of coffee beans. I got wine if I won…but didn’t. True to tradition I fell back to about 10th. I could see Georgia and Katerina way up at the front and thought the podium was out of reach. Also true to tradition I just kept hammering and luckily there were some good climbs on this course. Within a couple laps I was with Georgia and Katerina at the front. Finally at the front of a short track! I sat in for a lap and a bit, but know that I loose races if I have to respond to other people’s efforts, so as much as I like my team mates I had to use my strengths and set sail on the next climb. Katerina was not to be shed and we rode the rest of the race together until 3 laps to go. I was pulling happily- that way I dictate the pace. I waved her through with 3 laps to go and got dropped pretty much immediately. Doht! Katerina took the win and I held on to 2nd, my best short track ever. Georgia was third, followed by Heather Irmiger and Kathy Sherwin. Our team mate Chloe had her best race weekend yet finishing 8th in both the xc and short track. Right on!

Park city Utah

Well after only 56 hours at home I was back at the airport. This time headed for Park city Utah and stop 4 on the NMBS circuit. Immigration issues meant a missed flight and 8hrs at the Vancouver airport before I could get a flight to Utah. Chris was there to pick me up and dropped me and my bike off 8 miles from the venue to get a little spin in before bed.

The course in Deer Valley is wicked. It starts with a good climb and then sends you into fast sweeping singletrack. There were tons of sharp corners where I had to learn to perfect my rear wheel slide or give up gobs of time. There were 3 major climbs, 2 of which were switchbacking singletrack and 2 long descents.

The venue is at 8000ft and the altitude was noticeable with the amount of time my heart rate was hanging out above 170. Waldek set the goal for me of winning the start – to prep for world cups where I have been sucking off the line. I had a decent start, but didn’t win it so decided I’d make up for it on the first climb and did it as a tt. About 2 minutes into the descent I had that irony taste in my mouth. Ahh altitude. Georgia and Katerina bridged up to me and we came in lap 1 together which was fun. On the climb Katerina and I peeled away from Georgia. Finishing lap 2 we were all close together, but not right on each others wheels. Katerina passed me when I shot off a hairpin corner and opened a gap. Going into last lap we were all in site of each other. I managed to hold on to 2nd until mid lap when Georgia came storming by me on a climb. I tried to go with her, but my legs just felt gross and it became my mission not to loose time or positions. After such a strong first half of the race I was a bit disappointed with 3rd, but my teammates were just descending and climbing better than me. My goal will be to become as good of racers as them. Fitness is only part of the game.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Beijing is a go!!!!


At last year's test event in Beijing

So it is now official. I'm going to the Olympics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you to everyone that has helped me get here. Keith, you deserve a lot of the credit. My coach Dan who has helped me get faster every year since we started working together in 2003. My mom, Dad, Bro and friends who were always supportive. Sues, Grainger and Geoff who were not only great fans, but kept Keith company through my many travels. The amazing Luna team, the girls on the CC crcuit that pushed me to get faster and the awesome communities of Kamloops, Fredericton and Harvey.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Worlds

After over a week in Val di Sole I was ready to get on with the racing. You can only taper so long before you're gong nutzo...especially when you're surrounded with crazzy mountain passes you shouldn't be riding...even in your granny gear;-)

I had kinda weird energy Worlds morning. Nervous definitely, but unsure of my legs and fire. The whistle went off and I was off from my second row call up into the fast flat start loop. Pretty immediately I started loosing gobs on positions and found myself back in the 30's and 40's. Even when the race started heading up I was being passed and was let's say a little concerned about the outcome of the race. The climbs started to kick steeper and I found my groove. By mid lap 1 I was top 15 and 8th going into lap 2 with a group. It was a tough hot race. I was worried I went out too hard, but was able to dial it back a little thrid lap so I could pin it the last two. The best part of the race was chasing down Gunn rita last lap for 6th place, reeling her in and dropping her!

Now it's back to kamloops for a couple days.

Team Relay


Raphael, Derek, me and Evan after the relay

On Tuesday I raced the Team Relay for Canada. We started with Raphael Gagne our U23 man followed by me, Derek Zandstra was our senior man and Evan Guthrie our junior. It’s funny, but I think I was more nervous for this race than for most races I’ve done in my life. Racing as a team is different, different pressure and different excitement. There were 20 teams registered and all of our team except Raphael were new to the relay. It poured on and off all morning, but Chris had Medussas ready on my wheels. They were perfect for the sloppy conditions. Raph got us off to a good start finish lap 1 in 11th position and tagged off to me. I was out of the gate with an Ukranian guy and was doing a good job of sticking with him. About 3minutes in I caught and passed New Zealand rider Rosara Joseph and was passed by an Australian guy. I dug deep on the climbs and was making very few mistakes on the tricky descents so was feeling pretty good about my ride. About mid lap I caught the Swedish rider and had closed on a guy from the Czech Republic by the last descent. Unfortunately my attempts to get by him led to me having to dab and he pulled away into the start finish. I handed off to Derek in 10th position and he was able to move us up to 6th. Evan took over for the last lap and did a great job maintaining our 6th position and even duking it out in a sprint for 5th with the Czech Republic. It was definitely a respectable ride for our team. I even managed to post the fastest women’s time, by a full minute.

My teammates Katerina and Georgia were also in the relay. Georgia started it for the USA and had a good ride with their team finishing 8th. Katerina posted the 2nd fastest women’s time for Czech and their team claimed 5th in the same second as us. Too bad I didn’t get by the Czech guy in the woods!

I really liked getting out on course for a hot lap and am hoping it’ll help me dig last lap on Sunday. I’m feeling good about the race rain or shine and am ready to stop sitting around and get it on!

Then it’s back to Canada just in time to celebrate Keith’s birthday!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Drive to Italy

We just drove the craziest roads I’ve ever been on. After a relaxed morning walking around Bern shopping including the necessary annual visit to the Merkur (chocolatrie) Sandra and I packed up our rental Ford Fiesta and headed towards Italy. We drove through familiar territory in the Grabunden, where we spent a weekend riding last year and then headed from Davos up the Fluejla pass and into the snow and glaciers. The Fluejela was the first of many mountain passes on that trip. We took the fiesta through more switchbacks than I can keep track of and coined the fiesta slide and Fiesta Exclamation. :-0 If you want to do an epic training camp base out of this area of Italy or Switzerland and you can be doing a new pass every day and hours of climbing.

We finally strolled into Dimaro Italy, just down the road from the Worlds site at 9pm, ate some dinner and crawled into bed.

Sandra Raced the Italian cup on Saturday and finished a close 4th in a very strong International field. Italy’s Anabella Stroparro won, followed by former World Champ Laurence Leboucher (Lapierre) of France and Blaza Klemencic (Giant) on Slovenia.

Mini golf and Soccer in Bern




After a very long travel day 6:30am till midnight Sandra and I were back with her aunt and uncle in Switzerland. Monday was relaxed with a great ride around the Bern countryside. Road riding in Switzerland is great. Tuesday we got in a good workout and then joined her family for 18 holes of minigolf and ice cream. I didn’t win…I tied for 2nd last.

It would have been hard not to notice that Switzerland is one of the host nations for the Euro championships of soccer. There are fans everywhere and all the bakeries had soccer ball shaped cookies and chocolates. Although no "Swiss" games were being played in Bern there were huge jumbo tvs set up downtown and almost every restaurant had the games playing. Sepp and Sonya gave Sandra and I each a Swiss shirt and we hopped the bus for down town. We strolled around checking out the craziness and settled on a pizza restaurant with a TV for dinner and people watching. Afterwards we headed to the Jumbo TV in time to see Switzerland score against Portugal.

Fort William


Some nice Scottish scenery


My dad at the swim hole near our place. The day before the race Waldek threw me in...but was nice enough to give me the choice of weather I wanted to take my jacket off first!


Mum took a wipe out on the course! Ouch


Chris, Georgia and Katka

The cool valley near our place. The parallel lines on the hills arefrom glaciers pushing a lake back over years.

After finishing 6th at the Worlds in Fort William Last year I was hoping this was going to be another podium weekend for me. We got to Scotland Tuesday afternoon and did a road ride up this amazingly beautiful valley that had perfectly even lines running along it from glaciers of old. We stayed in a house so were able to avoid too many overcooked vegetables and heavy Scottish dishes that just don’t leave the gut feeling that great. My parents arrived on Thursday and joined us for dinner at the house. The next day they walked the course and my mom managed a good face plant on the trail, bruising her forehead and needing stitches on her nose. She kept up great spirits though!

The course was pretty much the same as last year with the last section of climbing removed as well as the last descent and ride along a rock wall. It’s a fun course and I was feeling pretty good. I lined up with the number 5 plate and a front row call up. My start was okay, but I just couldn’t get really rolling on the climb and just cracked the top ten I think. Lap 2 I was worried as I wasn’t where I wanted to be, but it was going to be a long race and I had no chance to settle in if I was going to finish well. I raced hard and consistent and was happily surprised with how my endurance was holding up for the intensity. Unfortunately on the day 11 other girls were just faster. Last lap I was riding with Georgia and Maroussia when Maroussia attacked on the flat with a couple minutes to go. Georgia tried to cover it, but I didn’t have the jump and they both beat me to the line. 12th isn’t a bad result, but after 4th last weekend I was disappointed. Hopefully I climb closer to the podium at worlds.