Saturday, May 23, 2009

Madrid

Racing the madrid World cup tomorrow at 10 am. It looks like we'll do 5 laps, although there has been talk of 4. It started raining last night bringing the temperatures down and turning sections of the course to claylike slickness. I rarely complain about a wet course though! The lap will be a bit slower, but should be easier to rail slick corners than pebbles on hard pack. The climbs are slick, but traction was hard to get before when it was loose so either way it's a challenge.

I'm feeling good and got my final lap in before tomore. Today's goal is now to find good food in Madrid. In the last two years we have been unsuccessful. Georgia was pretty dissappointed yesterday when her mixed- vegetable sandwich came loade with ham, cheese and mayo with a couple visible shreds of lettuce.

Coming home monday after more than a month in Europe. Yeah!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Italy Days 4-8


Lake como - Keith left me on the 18th and it was sad. Our trip was so amazing! I still had a great time solo as I headed to Lake Como for a couple days and got in some great rides. Almost rode back to Switzerland one day. Como was my favourite big city in Italy. It was quieter - ie less scooter drivers risking their lives and traffic jams. It was clean with lots of cobbled pedestrian streets and had some good shopping if you were so inclined!


Cappuchinos on the Riviera near Rapollo



Pisa- seeing the sights was nice, but we are sooo glad that our tourism is riding through mtns, forests and around castle ruins


Riding near Bagni di Lucca keith and I happened upon mtb trails. We also found a bamboo forest. The trails took us through little towns and tonnes of cobbled forest paths


Keith got the high score in the Ferrai video game. I did not.


Ferrari museum in manarello

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pictures from Italy Days 3 & 4


Stayed at the same hotel Astana stayed at after Stage 5


Me & Keith waiting for the race leaders after doing the 9km (722m) ascent ourselves with hundreds of other race fans




On the way up the Siusi the military was practicing their parachute drops into the mtns.

The town of Seis de Siusi


Seis Siusi, before the 9km finishing climb


The back way up the alpe de Siusi Giro stage. Some of the most amazing race scenery i've seen

Spotted people mtn biking by this castle so went to check it out. Nice trails

Found a great ride on arrival in Italy


Cappuchinos and apfel strudel at 2149m
Keith riding the Pass dal Fuorn Switzerland

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photos from Day 2


Today we did the Oler pass/Pass dal Fuorn


Zernez is about 1400 m up nestled in some beautiful mountains. aLthough there is snow all around the temperatures are in the twenties.

Switzerland





Keith and I met up in Zurich yesterday morning and hoped in our rental fiat hatch back. We had a general idea of where we wanted to go, Italy, and head off in that direction. Being used to longer distances on maps we blew by our intended exit and headed into the mountains. Neither of us were too dissppointed by that. We tried to go over the Fluela pass, but we're denied by snow so instead we drove our car onto a train and were taken through an 18km tunnel under the mountain to our destination of Zernez, Switzerland. We'll hang out here for another day before heading to Cortina Italy.
Mountains and serious hot dogs in Klosters, Switzerland.
Sandra I got to recount all of our adventures in Saas to Keith as we went through the Graubunden.
Happy Mom's day to Mum and Sues and Happy Birthday Sues!!!!!

An 18 year old Waldek!


The Polish CCC team Alexsandra (ola), Magdalena and Maja enjoying some cappuchinos in downtown Jelenia Gora



Magda, Mike Broderick, Mary Mcconeloug, Miguel Martinez, and Maja at a banquet after the race




Success in Poland. I had one of those great days where you wake up with amazing energy and can put it all out in the race. Yeah all expenses paid trip to Italy for me and Keith!!!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Poland


Maja, the queen of multi-tasking is more often than not seen with cell phone in hand as she swerves through traffic on her bike or in her car. She has organized the race this weekend and been a great host to me in Poland. Thanks maja!


Home made perogies by waldek's mom Maria



krystof (Maja's step Dad) helped me be a tourist by taking me to see a viking church -one of 30 left in the world, a speedy drive through the countryside and finally cappucinos in downtown Jelenia gora.

this church had amazingly carved wooden doors and was constructed completely without nails) the inside is like the bottom of a viking longboat complete with mast poles as supports.

about 2 minutes walk from maja's apartment

here's a view of Sneska, one of Jelenia gora's most known mountains

Pozdrowienia z Polski!

I’m hanging out in Jelenia Gora, Poland this week. Maja Wloszczowska (yes still having trouble pronouncing that one) has invited me to a race she organized in her home town, which also happens to be the hometown of our Luna team manager Waldek.

I love doing these smaller races because you actually get to know other racers on the world cup circuit. Staying at Maja’s home, meeting her family and hanging out has been a lot of fun. She is a pretty big star here after her Olympic medal. We have driven by several billboards with her picture on them got stopped more than once at the grocery store by strangers who want to meet her or get their picture with her and since we got here Monday she has done at least 4 interviews. She is a master of multi tasking, always carrying her cell phone to finish the organization of her race this weekend while meeting other sponsor commitments.

The weather has been grey and rainy, but I’ve done some great road rides. One was flat, skirting lakes and towns and the others sent me through the base of several mountains with at least 4 long climbs. Riding on a quiet road here I could easily believe I was riding through the rolling hills of New England.

I was able to go for lunch at Waldek's parents house and try a typical meal of soup, perogies, salad, a meat dish and of course homemade pastries filled with jam. Maria his mother showed me old photo albums and i managed to take a picture of Waldek as an 18 year old cyclist. Will hopefully post pictures soon!

Yesterday i got to be a tourist and went up to a popular mountain town called karpach. I went to an old Norwegian church, 1 of 30 still in existence, that was created completely of wood without nails. the church was filled with intricately carved wood and had an amazing back drop of mountains. My guide for the day Krystof also took me for a ride through the country side and to downtown where we got to enjoy a fantastic cappucino surrounded by the old town centre of Jelenia Gora. The downtowns of european cities are so great. All cobble stones and beautiful old buildings. The buildings were narrow and each colourfully painted in greens, yellows and pinks. Again I'll try to put some pictures up.




Well houffalize was a pretty amazing race! It was short and hard with a start loop of about 15minutes plus three full laps. The course sends you up a 16% grade climb for the first 700m -yes it is painful- before sending you into the woods. This year was dry and the woods were fast and a lot of fun.

Up the start climb I worried I hadn’t dug deep enough as it appeared the leaders were away, but then I could see a group of 4 including Irina Kalentieva just ahead on a switchbacking climb. I made an effort to join that group and sat in to conserver energy until the start of the next lap. Before the technical climb I could see Eva Lechner and Ren Chengyuan ahead. I jumped from my group to join them. Ren surged ahead, in what I now recognize as her trademark style of standing up for an entire climb. It was brutal to stick with her, but she took me past feloow Canadian rider Marie Helene and finally up to Marga Fullana and the very front of the race.

Next lap Ren started paying for her effort and faded on the singletrack climb. Unfortunately she was 2nd wheel to Fullana and by the time I found a place to pass in the woods Marga had a good gap. My goal that lap was to regain Fullana and thanks to the descents I was able to do it.

The previous lap I had heard her manager tell her in Spanish to attack on the climb from the finish last lap, so when she tried to get me to pull through I told her bluntly that I wouldn’t because she was going to attack me next climb. It worked and I was able to hold her wheel for a fast climb up the pavement. I was with her through the technical climb, but a gap opened on the next climb. I dug deep and hoped the descents would put me back on her wheel.

Although I did close on her it wasn’t enough. I pushed so hard on the last climb I felt like I had knives stabbing my legs, but she stayed ahead and claimed the win by 14 seconds.

The crowds were amazing, especially last time up the switchback climb when I was chasing Marga down. It was loud, exciting and awesome. I don’t think tasting the world cup podium will ever get old!

Friday, May 01, 2009

In Belgium

Well the sun is shinning in belgium and the course is drying up. the fruit filled waffles are as tasty as remembered and it's been great to have my coach dan at the races with me this year. i think he's officially addicted to europe and the mtb world cup scene. i know i seem to be blog hopping, but luna is launching our new website soon so my blogs will probably be here and there.

The team is just whittling down the days to the next race, sampling lots of chocoalte, pastries and coffee. After the race sunday in Houffalize I'm joing the Polish team and heading to Jelnia Gora for a race. Should be interesting. After that keith and I have an itlian adventure planned before he heads back to Canada and work and i head to Madrid and work!

Check out the new luna site http://teamlunachix.com/

World cup racing

One thing is certain. If you get to ride at the front of a world cup you will be suffering, you just hope it’ll earn you a good result!

I’m madly trying to catch up on some internetting as we move from Offenburg Germany to Houffalize Belgium for round three of the world cup.

So the quick story is that Offenburg was great. We raced onsunday, April 26th under sunny skies and a green canopy. Georgia and I actually got to start in the 4th row rather than 5th and with my loads of experience making up for slow starts I was able to move into the top 6 by the end of 1st lap. (I also won another bet with Waldek for a good start). Marga Fullana was off the front by 25 seconds and I was in a chase group of about 4 women. Another fast lap had us reeling in Irina Kalentieva of Russia (and the one that nabbed the olympic bronze from me by 9 seconds). I went to the front and hard up the next climb hoping to thin out our chase group, but the thing about racing at the front of a world cup is that you can’t just ride girls off your wheel any longer. It was then time to sit in and plan how to get away near the end of the race. For the next 3 laps our chase group stuck together. Every once in a while someone would make a move but it would get brought back. That is all moves, but one from the chinese rider Ren. With 2 laps to go she drove past us on a climb. I stuck with her for half a lap, but the pace was relentless. I don’t think she ever sat down!

Finally i popped off and was brought in by Irina, Lene and Elisabeth Osl. On the last lap everyone was putting in their final surges and it was me that got spit. I think I paid for that early move to the front and my horrible job at hydrating and fuelling. I’ll pay for that one tomorrow.

In the end I claimed 6th, one off the podium, but can rest happily knowing I completely emptied the tank for that placing. Georgia finished a solid 12th so we’ll both enjoy better call ups this sunday in Houffalize.

Post race we joined up with the gary fischer and maxxis teams for a great feast at our favorite restaurant in Offenburg. It’s a little Italian place called Donna’s with great homemade gnocci and the most delicous house olive oil.
and yes I did pay for my poor hydration -not to mention jet lag and poor sleeps- I feltlike I had a big hangover the next day.