Tuesday, August 31, 2010

World cup Finals

What a season! The World cup series has now come to a close and in a pretty darn fantastic fashion. The World Cup finals in Windham, New York saw myself and the Luna team achieving many season goals. Luna put a rider on the podium at every World cup this season and we took the team overall in a dominating fashion. I achieved my 2nd World cup win of the year and my first World Cup overall title.

After a 5 year absence, the USA once again saw themselves hosting a World cup and the town of Windham put on a great event. You could feel the positive vibes sent out from the town. Church signs welcomed us with "You Pedal, We Pray" and coffee shops marveled at the amount of espresso consumed and by so many different accents. There were nightly parties and lots of entertainment outside of the racing.

Keith was traveling with me and we made it more of a trip than just racing. Flying into Montreal we made our way slowly to Windham with a stop at the Kingdom Trails in East Burke,Vermont. Having Keith with me makes life feel more normal and helps keeps me grounded for these big events.

With him, the team and my parents coming down for the event I felt more like I was vacationing than heading into World cup finals as the number 1 ranked rider who had some serious work ahead of her in order to retain that position.

Race day dawned and I was still in my relaxed mode, perhaps because I new bigger stressors were still to come! Sunny, clear skies greeted us on our way to Daly's (our local coffee stop). Sitting in Daly's we ran into Blick from Oakley, my parents and some other racers and sat around chatting for an hour before heading to the venue.

I started strong, which seems to be a welcome trend. By strong I mean I maintained top 10 and didn't let myself get pushed out to 30th. Marie Helene led the charge followed by Georgia. By several minutes in I made contact with them and by mid lap had moved into the lead and kept on charging. At the top of the long 13 minutish climb I had a small lead which I was able to extend on the descent to about 20 seconds.

MHP was climbing strong though and would bring in several seconds every climb while I would put the time back into her every descent. Georgia was maintaining a close gap to Marie while I had a little safety as 2nd and 3rd overall in the WC series, Eva Lechner and Willow Koerber, were sitting outside the top 5.

With Marie charging hard I couldn't relax, but I couldn't shake her either. I knew she was coming for me. She later said "I had the eyes". If i couldn't extend my gap I could at least make myself hard to catch. Last lap she closed about 20 seconds on me and took the lead into the final climb,but she was breathing hard,really hard. I took a moment to gather myself on her wheel and then made a surge on the final climb into the descent. She followed me into the woods and through the first tricky singletrack. With that section completed the major spot for error was over and I tried to open it up on the descent. I had a near slide out in one section, but railed through others and was able to gain precious seconds. We charged towards the finish line where I enjoyed a 4 second advantage to celebrate a world cup and world cup series overall win in front of my family and Sponsor LUNA.

Georgia rode in with a strong 3rd place welcomed by her plentiful cheering family while Katerina struggled with mechanicals sure to giver her fire for next week.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this weekend and Season such a success!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I guess it's good we're in Revelstoke for training...do have a monday flight though

Forest fires cause air quality in Kamloops to plummet to hazardous levels

Poor visibility forces cancellation of airline flights while the elderly and those with health conditions advised to stay indoors

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Forest+fires+cause+quality+Kamloops+plummet+hazardous+levels/3419784/story.html#ixzz0x9r7loTk

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hanging with the Seattle Luna crew

tuckered out by the end of the day! Lavonne, Sara, me and Carrie

This weekend I had the fantastic fortune of heading down to Seattle to hang out with the Seattle Luna Chix. I was invited to give a skills clinic at Duthie Hills in Isquaa to Luna riders and local women.

We got a great group of enthusiastic women who had decided to brush the dust of their bikes and get back into riding, or gain some more skills for their tool bag. It's always amazing to see women's confidence grow and how much smoother and relaxed of riders they can become in 3hrs!

Duthie Hills was fantastic for the event. I had traveled to Seattle expecting to be coaching out of a soccer field or school yard when in fact we were treated to a skills park with a cloverleaf of trails branching off from the park. A trail named Bootcamp was reminiscent of a 15 min pump track. wicked! The area was created and maintained by the Evergreen Club and is well worth checking out.

From Basic body position to climbing, cornering, descending and small obstacles we covered it all just before the skies opened up. A couple hard cores stuck around after the clinic for a ride and then we headed back to my host's (Sara) place for a potluck. (Gabe we need your pictures!)

Thanks so much to Sara and Andy and the Seattle Luna crew for hosting Keith and I and showing us the trails.

A brief comparison

Kamloops Pre and during Forest fire season

Sunday, August 01, 2010

World Cup: Val di Sole

So we're all settled into a nice apartment, good coffee and ah yes we found a nice pizzeria right by the venue. Prep went well. The course was pretty simple; steep ass climbs and fast fun
descents. I did a hard work out on Wednesday as I need to feel fast on my mtb again and rid the bad energy I was still carrying from Switzerland. After a couple intervals and laps on the course I had figured out how to ride through the tenderness in my arse and the grumblings in my head.

Thursday Waldek and I scouted out some mtn view lakes for a photo shoot (not every team can claim to have 3 national champs). It rained pretty hard but we found a trail down from the mtn top lake so all was good. Our hotel served some amazing multi-course meals, venison seems very popular here. One more day of race prep and I was set to race.

I actually had one of my best world cup starts ever and it was on flat rough grass. Go figure. I came through the start loop in 9th and moved my way up so that about midway through lap 1 I was leading. I opened a gap on the first descent and was able to have about 5-20 seconds until lap 3. Then I guess I slowed down as there were some fast charging women coming up behind me. It's pretty scary to see a pack chasing you down when you don't really feel you can find more speed, but luckily I had enough and only Maja bridged up to me. We worked together for a lap, pushing each other to stay ahead of the chasers. I tried to shake her on the final climbs, but she was on me like glue right to the finishing stretch where she attacked for the win and won. I was happy with second and moving back into the leaders jersey as it's curse continued and Eva Lechner finished outside the top 10. The curse is being abolished at Windham!

My team had a great day with Katerina claiming the final podium spot in 5th and Georgia in 7th. We took the team lead again and all went out to celebrate over, but of course, some delicious Italian thin crust pizza.

Champery to Val di Sole

Champery was a tough week for me, a crash in training had left not only my but, but my confidence bruised. Not many things frustrate me as racing below my ability level though so I was determined to turn things around for the next World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy. How can things go wrong after a week of good Italian food and coffee?
After the race in Switzerland, the Luna crew hung out for another day. On Monday we climbed the Col de Cou...for cappuccino of course. Once atop we appeared to have 2 options for descending back to Champery. Georgia and Waldek both remembered riding a different trail down. So as Waldek and I tried out the hiking trail, Georgia and Zak opted for the other route. Both worked out and Wadek and I got to do some fun switchbacks and a fast descent to our meeting point.
Tuesday was driving day. An 8hr drive took 12, but we got to stop for freshly picked apricots, autogrill coffee (some of the best coffee in Italy is served up by baristas on the freeway. I think Waldek had 7 espresso shots on the way) and a meal and swim at Lake Garda. We arrived in the dark to less than stellar accommodations. It looked like a sardine can with train size aisles and sleeping berths. After one night there, where Waldeks head and toes touched the wall at the same time, he was scouting out other options and by the time I finished training we had a nice little apartment to move into. Waldek is a real trooper.