Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Classically Sea Otter

Classically Sea Otter

26km/hr, thanks to our new sponsor Garmin I have the details to back up how hard and fast Emily Batty and I rode this weekend in the cross country portion of the 2nd Us Cup of the season. That also tells you a little something about the terrain, fast, smooth, some pavement, some smooth dirt roads and some bumpy grassy sections and unfortunately for me only 600m of climbing in 45 Km.

Both the short track and the cross country were very tactical races, favoring not only fitness, but a rider with good jump. In the short track my team mate Georgia got off the front pretty much from the gun and never looked back before sailing into victory after 26 minutes of full out racing. Lea Davison was trailing her in 2nd for a couple laps, but between myself, Emily, Katerina and Katie we were able to bring her in. She went down in a corner losing critical seconds reducing the field to four chasers. Near the end, lapped traffic started to get intermingled with us while I was sitting 4th wheel. A gap opened between Katie and Emily and Katerina and they cruised off the front while Katie and I chased. With 2 laps to go I pulled away from Katie, while Katerina maneuvered to take 2nd over Emily. luna Claimed 1st, 2nd and 4th with country mate Emily Batty took bronze and Katie Compton 5th.

Enter a Friday night luna party where we got to hang out with sponsors and friends and then it was Saturday and the cross-country. I have to admit I was feeling a little bummed about the lack of technical challenge on the course, but Keith cheered me up saying "hey, think of it this way, you never get to road race!". I was cheered and went into the race looking forward to a different challenge and it was fun. Not every course is your ideal race course, but it can always be good racing if you want it to be.

To my surprise Emily and I soloed away early first lap only to have my teammates Georgia and Katerina bridge up to us with Katie Compton on the 2nd of 7 laps. It's always a little interesting to figure out the working dynamic in a drafting race, but we soon did, only to have Georgia burp her rear tire hoping a ditch and lose gobs of positions running to the tech zone. Katie later fell off the pace and then ran into a bee (to which she's allergic) and had to end the race short.

With 2 of 7 laps left to go Katerina got gapped in a corner and Emily and I continued a hard pace trading up pulls on the pavement with me choosing to always lead on the dirt and climbs. Emily is a talented racer and a better tactician than I, we worked together superbly, but I felt the need to drive the pace on the climbs (perhaps to my downfall?) knowing she had more jump in a sprint. Too bad for me, I couldn't drive the pace quite high enough and after 1hr 41.23 of racing Emily claimed victory in a sprint finish. Congrats on your first US Cup xc win Emily!

After that it was bike packing for south Africa and a little party and amazing tunes with the ClifBar crew. Our trip to South Africa is getting off to a chaotic start with vehicle issues and forgotten passports, but the team is now on a 4hr flight to Washington, to be followed by a 16hr flight to Johannesburg via Dakar and then a quick 5hr drive to Pietermaritzburg.... And no we don't get to fly first class!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Race season Kick off

Racing in 2011 got off to a great start with a win at the first US xc cup.  Going into your first race you’re never sure quite what to expect.  You can feel good in training, but if you train solo most of the time it’s hard to know just what feeling good in training will me when you have a number plate on.

The short track the following day wasn’t quite as great.  I felt good, had good legs, but just not the ability to change pace yet that you need for that kind of event.  Former Luna teammate Chloe Forsman took a well deserved sprint win over the group of 5 of us that got away from the bunch early into the race.

At 5:45 that night we were in our sweet new sprinter van and headed for team camp in the San Francisco area.  We pulled in at 1 am, got some sleep and then were up early to head to Napa to visit Gary and Kit Erickson (ClifBar owners) at their latest inspiration Velo Vino.  Combining their passion for cycling with their developing winery the offer wine tasting and Cycling tours in the St Helena's area.  Their boutique is great.  You can enjoy wine and espresso while munching on Clif and Luna Bars between rides.

Velo Vinoin Napa Valley
Gary Erickson preps some espresso

A group of us did a spectacular ride back from Petaluma to Sausalito going over the ridge of mt. Tamalpais.  Beautiful!   We’ve been getting beautiful weather for camp and visits from velonews and sponsors camelbak and fox as we get our new bikes dialled in and check out the latest Luna products.

Always a highlight is getting in to ClifBar for Breakfast with the staff and packing goody boxes to send home.   Eating has definitely been a significant part of the camp experience, but then we do ride for a food company!

On Friday Luna Summit Began.  160 women from Luna local teams across the USA arrived to get run, swim and bike clinics, play,eat, and learn about Luna and the breast cancer fund.  What a fun, energetic crew! 
Marin County, 10 min ride from our hotel

It has been a busy and fun filled week and no time to go home for a rest before Luna tackles the Sea Otter, our first World cup in South Africa and then divide ourselves between Mellow johnny’s and the Whiskey 50.  Thanks to everyone, sponsors, Lunas who made this last week so fun and full.