Sunday, December 19, 2010

Boulder for the Holidays (kinda)!

Let's see... Denver-LA-Melbourne-LA-Cali, Columbia-Denver. That's the short story. I won't give the long version. It's three weeks long and exhausting to even think/talk about. Let's just say that after 22 hours of traveling on Friday, it was good to be home (until I leave in a few days for Canada).

Sleep has been priceless the last couple days and Greg has been spoiling me with homemade food- Winter Minestrone soup with orzo, Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Pancakes (thanks for the syrup KfC!), Farro salad with dried cherries/toasted walnuts, etc.

Traveling with this cycling circus, the one thing I have learned to loath is packing/unpacking my bikes. Luckily, while I am home, I have a live-in mechanic for those duties (when he's not cooking...or while). This morning, after my hot yoga, I got dressed to ride and, BAM, the bike was miraculously built and waiting for me.

How do you travel (a common question)? Here is a snapshot of how I pack my $20k worth of bikes and wheels and stuff them in a large box. I complete the task by crossing my fingers and hoping they arrive, like I left them, in the next city.
People make think this is a glorious job...
Wouldn't you want to travel the world and coach women cyclists? Seriously, we are a ball of fun! Ben... Ben... um, Ben! Who's got the Sharpie?

No seriously, this guy works his butt off (that's why he is sitting that way) for our program and always gives us 110% of his attention. We just seem to wear him out. The old saying..."Women, can't live with them...pass the beer nuts."

Back riding today. Beautiful winter day in Boulder! Cool to see this beautiful stretch litter free thanks to Clif Bar volunteers (there is a nice sign)!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Change of plans

I write from Cali, Columbia.

This week I was planning on being home snuggling with my 100 pound rottweiller but instead I wrestled my 100 pound bike box down to Columbia. The second World Cup is this coming weekend and the original plan was for me to be home for training. But, all has changed and I am here to race the Team Pursuit. :)

We headed back to LA last week... I caught a nasty little cold... I am hammering the vitamins and sleep... and, we are all hoping I am healthy in 3 days!

Too many bikes... way too heavy... made for a headache for team management. Although we eventually got on the flight, 5 of our bike/equipment boxes didn't. My bike happened to be one of those five so today I went without a bike. Rumor has it that the bike is here now though.

Travel was long. Weird to travel about 15 hours and only change 2 or 3 time zones. Finally arriving in Cali, we load all the boxes into a moving truck and pray they show up at the velodrome.

This track is a covered, open air velodrome and beautiful. You can slightly see the mountains in the background from this photo.

Not everything is as high tech here. This is a music system I found. No promises this is the one they will use during competition though.
Must sleep now... more later.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Welcome Home?

This is a message a friend sent me. Well, if you consider "home" our hotel in beautiful Torrance, CA home... then, yes, welcome home. (oh, I dream of the Flatirons of Boulder.)

Anyway, I digress.

Quick race recap of the Omnium in Melbourne, as promised:

(P.S. Omnium for those who don't know is 6 events over 2 days. 1st place in each event gets 1 point. Last place gets 24 points. The person who ends up with the least amount of points, wins.)

-Each country can send 1 athlete but the rules state that only 24 cyclists can race on a 250m track (which is the international standard). We had 31 countries (I think) send athletes for the Omnium which meant we had to start day #1 with a qualifying race which was a 10k Points race. My goal was to spend as little energy as possible to qualify. I felt in control and accomplished the goal.

- Next up was the Flying Lap. I started early and held the fast time for a bit but ended up 8th with a 14.856. The fast time was a 14.589.

- After about 2 hours we raced the 20k Points Race. For those who don't know, this means we sprint for points every 10 laps. If you lap the field you get 20 points. Well, we had 5 girls lap the field and I wasn't one of them. Funny tactics in the Omnium Points race vs. a normal Points Race. I sprinted for 3 points and scored in 2 of them. Good for 12th place. The bummer is 1 more point would have given me 8th or so place which is a big difference.

- Then the Elimination or "miss-n-out". For those who aren't familiar with cycling, this race is sometimes chaos. Basically, the last person over the line on every other lap is out. The problem with this race is telling people they are out... especially if we all speak different languages. Solution? A brick sized computer they mounted to our handlebars that flash LED lights in our face when we are out. Good solution but not perfect. I raced a less then desirable race this time around and finished 15th.

Day #2

- Individual 3k Pursuit. Basically, a race against the clock. In my world, this is considered "distance" and an event I am least experienced in. I posted a 3.47.7 for 13th place. This was a personal best in this event and I didn't even feel like I was going to die.
I forgot to zip up my skinsuit before the pursuit. DUH! I wasn't trying to show anything off but basically just look silly!

- Scratch Race. 40 laps and first one to cross the line, wins. This is the one race I play over and over in my mind. I was SOOO close... but, in the end I ended 9th. AHHHH! I can't wait to watch this one on video. I had the position and the legs but... well, whatever, it didn't come together. Next time :)

- 500m time trial was the last event. I was no where near my personal best time but ended 9th with a 37.3 seconds. At least I am consistent... this was the same time I posted at the end of the Omnium at Nationals in LA in October. There is easy improvements to be made in this event with some work.

So, at the end of 2 days, I ended up in 11th place. In the big picture I am happy but not satisfied. With a micro-view, I see lots of places for improvement and remain totally inspired. With the exception of Great Britain (and maybe China if they have a Omnium athlete), every big country had a athlete. So, against the best in the world, not bad for my first showing.

All photos are from CJFOTO.COM.
Thanks for reading... more soon!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

That's a Wrap

From the land of Vegemite and Cricket, my first true International Omnium is done. I am pleased but not satisfied by finishing 11th.

There is so much to write and I can't possibly do it all right now... since I need to drink more coffee, pack my bags, drink more coffee, and then catch the airport shuttle. But, quickly...

1) I had AMAZING support from USA Cycling! Thank you Ben Sharp for everything... for being positive, professional, and always attentive. James Stanfill might be called the grumpy mechanic but he is meticulous. James G. was a rock star soigneur and served as a great interpreter when we just couldn't understand the AUS language.


2) I really love racing my bike. Still.

Race report to come... I will have plenty of time to write my thoughts in the 24 hours I will be traveling.

Some quick photos:

Beach Road ride with the girls early in the week.
Our commute to/from the velodrome. We stayed in the middle of China-town. Cool area.
No, really, he was always attentive as I mentioned above. Hey, 14 hours at the track on Day #1... what can you expect?
In between sessions on Day #1. A little like a 6-day. Nothing glamorous here!

Ok, packing must be done. Talk to everyone on the Stateside.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reset Button

Sometimes in life, you just to push it. Take a deep breath, step away, and start over.

This was my experience this week. After the wedding, I was tired. Family time, travel time, questionable eating, etc... left me in the tank for a couple days.

The reset button has been pushed and things have changed.

For athletes, it is essential to not let a couple bad workouts send the head in a downward spiral. I am sure it is the same for parents who have a couple bad days with the kids or for married couples or for managers in the business world or, really, for anyone. Negative feelings can snowball and the only person who can reverse that attitude is the owner of that attitude. (the legs will come around... the head is the controllable part)

So, find your reset button! (mine came in the fashion of a sleeping aid, a couple really big meals, and some friends)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Last time I wrote I had just gotten home from LA Track Camp. Since then, I have been back to LA for some individual training, back home, to Florida, and now I am back in LA for Track Camp II.

Travel took it's toll but I am here this week to concentrate on fully giving it my best on the track and then fully recovering in the hotel at night.

Some pictures from this past weekend in Florida for my brother's wedding. I am so lucky to have such a cool new sister-in-law! I joked that I was afraid she would call off the wedding and, although, I wasn't fully serious, I kept thinking "this is too good to be true." And, you know the saying. :) No, really, my brother deserves Amy and they will provide each other a lifetime of happiness... and laughs.

The setting was perfect. The beaches in the panhandle of Florida rival those of the most beautiful beaches in the world. White sand and crystal clear water.
In a rare photo together... in the same state!

Mom's side of the family minus the cousins.
Surfing with my cousin Sam.
My dad and best-man.
A very beautiful couple... in the swamps of Florida.
Coolest groom's cake ever! Beattles theme.
Ok, off to the velodrome for some fast riding. Race simulation today!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nice Surprise

I received a surprise email telling me I won the National Championship Series for the American Track Racing Association. Cool! I love that they have pulled together the series with all the major US races. Nice to see my team come out on top too :)

Since my last blog I have been to LA for a week of Team Pursuit Camp and then home a week... now I leave again tomorrow for more training in LA.

No pretty pictures of the beach since it rained every single day we were there. Seriously! SoCal rain for 6 days in a row. Thank goodness for the indoor velodrome!

Getting front door service from Sarah... it was POURING out!
We did manage to ride outside some but notice all the clothes... I think this was the only day I didn't wear leg warmers. Oh, and, this is a picture of us changing a flat. Oh many girls.... oh, that is not funny joke.

Camp was great and I am really looking forward to see what our team can do this winter! With a solid group and more focus, the sky is the limit!

More soon...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Old news... but good news

My poor family... still have not seen photos from Nationals. Here you go!

Boulder's Higgins Finishes US Track Cycling National Championship with Four National Titles

October 3, 2010

Carson, CA-Boulder's Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Co/2012 Professional Cycling Team) completed her competition at the 2010 US Elite Track Cycling National Championships on Sunday with the addition of two more national titles. With teammate and former World Champion Jennie Reed (Kirkland, WA), Higgins won the first ever US National Championship in the Women's Madison. Her final Stars and Stripes jersey came in the Women's Team Sprint with teammate Liz Reap (Jim Thorpe, PA). Earlier in the week, Higgins also won National titles in the Women's Team Pursuit and Points Race. She has eleven career National Championships and four Pan American Cycling Championship medals.

Higgins commented "I am really inspired by starting my track cycling season off with a strong Nationals. I am looking forward to a great winter of racing internationally with the US National Team as we work towards our goal, the London 2012 Olympics".

Cari is coached by Neal Henderson of Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. She is also the founder of the Boulder-based Flatiron Flyers Junior Cycling Project, a junior cycling team with twenty local riders. She also serves an athlete representatives to the USA Cycling Board in Colorado Springs, CO.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I didn't even have a chance to post ONE THING from Nationals. You would think that this week would allow me the opportunity to get caught up on all things blog. Not really.

What have I done this recovery week? Goes something like this...

Monday- travel, sleep, eat lots
Tuesday- sleep, celebrate birthday, drive to Denver to pick up bikes and Katie/Mark's dog, doctor, birthday dinner with friends, sleep
Wednesday- SLEEP, yoga, finally make it to the grocery so I can stop eating Clif bars, SLEEP BIG TIME
Thursday- SLEEP more then I thought was possible, decide that laundry was a must, SLEEP, and SLEEP again
Friday- sunrise hike, nap, lunch with a friend, fight the nap.... and maybe some more yoga

I think I am starting to feel normal again. This is all just in time to start the hard training again. It's all a crazy cycle!

Ok... race reports and pictures from Nationals are on their way. This weekend, it will all be posted!

Friday, October 1, 2010


If a sprinter sits out the Scratch race and signs up for the Individual Pursuit instead, is she still a sprinter?

Do not disturb: Therapy in session.
The answer... this is how and where you can support our team and our sponsor!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Something Sassy!

She's new and beautiful!
This photo was taken from Tiemeyer's shop at about 10 pm the 2 nights before I left for LA. I was so tired from a long day but you would never know it by the smile. THE man stayed up late to make sure everything was perfect on the new frame. Thanks Dave!
The beauty about precision and custom is you just throw on the components and you are ready to roll!
I can't say enough about Tiemeyer's bikes. Lighter then most carbon frames I would consider. As stiff as I would possibly need. More aero then anything else out there. And fits me like a glove!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Boulder Fire

This has been a strange week around Boulder. One that we won't ever forget.

On Monday, Labor Day, a fire started in the mountains just west of Boulder. Because it is the end of summer and everything is dry/hot/waiting to be firewood, the fire went crazy and fast.

Thousands of homes have been evacuated, almost 200 homes/structures have been destroyed, and I promise the 100,000 Boulder citizens (and all surrounded communities) have been affected in some manner.

How have I been affected? Not directly. But, I have been helplessly addicted to the fire radio... their live radio communication. I know several firefighters in town and can't stop thinking about their tireless work and their families worrying about them at home.

I also have been forced to ride east into the plains and skip my rides into the mountains. We know how much I love climbing mountains. :)

Ok, seriously. I don't want to make light of this situation. It's bad.

I will say that I have learned a ton about Boulder and the people who live here. It is pretty warming how everyone has pulled together and responded as a community.

There are a million scary photos out there on the internet. Here is one that gives a sense of size. This is a photo belonging to my friend Craig Hoffman, pro photographer.

As I left for my ride on Tuesday, this was my view from the same exact spot at an intersection.
I rode south.

Here was a couple shots from South Boulder looking north.

Keep in mind that these fires were literally one ridge away from the city of Boulder. This wasn't some fire way up in the woods. This was a couple miles away. Thursday night they warned a huge section of Boulder City residents to prepare for evacuation due to crazy winds (up to 60 mph gusts) that were pushing due east... straight into Boulder. Thanks to the efforts of the fire crew, evacuation was not needed. I don't know how they dealt with those winds.

Big thanks to all the firefighters and volunteer guys/gals up in the mountains. They have worked non-stop to contain this fire and protect the residents. We all owe you!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hi, My Name is Cari and I am a Recovering Sprinter

Therapy started in Mexico at Pan Ams. This is where I realized I needed help. Thankfully I was surrounded by some wonderful friends and supporters of my effort.

After several months of long ass endurance rides on the bike prescribed by my head therapist, coach Neal Henderson, I can finally see the light. I AM NOT A TRACK SPRINTER ANYMORE.

For those of you who think you may have a problem, read below. These were some of my signs.

- Wearing long fingered gloves in a Team Pursuit
- In the van after our first ride on the fastest track in the world (Mexico), there was silence as everyone else absorbed the scenery. All I could say was, "Ben, it would be so f*@^ing fun to ride a keirin here."
- "Hey, are you going to eat that?"
- Can't share chainrings with teammates because I ride 1/8" NJS chains.
- Only girl on the team with "medium" shorts.
- Would prefer 15 minutes between efforts, minimum.
- Warm up in a 81" gear and not the required 86" gear.
- Again in Mexico, I daydreamed about doing just 1 200m just to set a new PR. Just one! That's all I ask.
- When told to do a 70% standing start team pursuit effort, I went 1.5 seconds too fast off pace.
- Still call mass start bars my sprint bars.

When I look at tomorrow's track workout which includes MANY efforts longer then 1 lap and I don't cringe, I know I am on the right path. Therapy is working.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quote for Friday

"There is no limit to what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit." - John Wooden


Coming from a team sport background it took me a long time to understand what was missing in the "team" aspect of cycling. Most teams don't get it.

I believe Peanut Butter & Co./TWENTY12 has it figured out and I am honored to be a part of this team, in the true sense of the word.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thanks Flatiron Flyers!

Another road/track season in the books. I can't believe it has been 3 years already!

Monday marked the end of the Flatiron Flyers season for road/track. Many of the juniors will continue their racing season with cyclocross. (I dream of racing CX myself but it is my time to move on to the track)

We have seen such growth from so many juniors which has been followed by fun success stories! It is the little personal moments I get with the juniors that inspire me to spend time with these kids. The wins will come (and they have!) but it is the relationships I cherish!

We ended Monday's ride with pizza... and schwag.
One of the cross crazy kids wore a KFC t-shirt in honor of Compton who will rip it up at Mtn. Bike Worlds on Saturday.

On another note- last night Greg was in charge of a little birthday dinner party for a dear friend of ours. 14 people on a picture perfect September night!

Paella on the grill! Seriously divine.

The question I always get from people "does he cook like this all the time at home?" The answer "yes." Could I be any luckier? I just need to keep burning the kJ so I can afford to eat like this. :)

Thanks Zola's/Bloom's/Allen's for a fun night! We are lucky to have had your family adopt Greg and I.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

From LA to Pikes Peak

Greg and I volunteered today at the Assault on the Peak. Ya, we decided we didn't need to ride up above 14,000 ft.

Since our volunteer station was at the top, we got to see all the happy, hypoxic, cold, hungry, and confused finishers.

The winner! Hotel San Jose dude... of course I forgot his name. Let's just call him fast... finishing in 2 hr. 20 min. I asked him how he felt and he was the only one all day who answered "great." Well, you are crazy Mr. Climber Dude.
I can't call her crazy 'cause she's my friend. We can just call her Mrs. I-can-seriously-climb-and-sprint-Beth-Fisk. You are looking cold and confused in this picture Beth.
Hand cyclists stud. Impressive!
Our local Colorado Springs resident and recent 2x Para-WORLD CHAMPION..... Allison Jones.
Uni-cyclist guy. Ya, he rode up Pikes Peak on a uni. I question the sanity.
Cold or not, we all were enjoying the view. Thanks for helping out Justin Rogers!

Big props to Pat McDonough and Mark Tyson for making this happen for the first time! Hopefully this race will be the first of many Assaults on the Peak!

P.S. Remembered winner's name. Leroy. Leroy Insane Climber.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Track Time!

So excited to kick off this new season of TRACK RACING!!!

I just got back from a week in LA kicking where I finished a little personal training camp. It was time to set some time standards for myself, get a feel of the 250m again, and really just slaughter the legs with some training on the velodrome. Really, it amazes me how differently the body reacts to the different bikes, pedaling, etc. Ouch! Tonight I go for a massage :)

The trip was already pre-planned and it happen to fall on the dates of the SoCal Elite State Omnium Track Champs. So, within 24 hours of landing in LA, I found myself hitting the boards with the men. Since I am not eligible to win a women's California state title and I was out there for self-torture, I raced with the boys of SoCal.

Setting off for the 1K TT. Yes, 1k vs. the 500m since I was with the men. Ok, I just did a 500m and then cooled down for 2 more laps but...
4k. No 3k here :) Like my alien helmet? Thanks Kevin for letting me borrow it.

Trying to put the hurt on some of these boys.
Thanks to Pat Benson for all the photos!

The trip was so worth the time and money. Being on that track is just plain different from the track I have in Colorado. This trip allowed me to try and dial in some gears, pacing, lines, etc. It also just gave me a concentrated week of training away from my super stressful life in Boulder. :) jk.

Now that I am back, I am excited to start the prep for the fall and winter season. I am confident after this week that all my new training is going to pay off this winter. Can't wait to throw down!


P.S. For the non-cycling folks- There are no other pictures since there really wasn't time for anything else besides sleeping, eating, driving, and riding. I touched the beach once on the last day but decided it was too windy and cold... so that lasted 30 minutes. I know my family sometimes thinks all this traveling has "got to be so much fun." The reality is I barely did anything social and, short of getting Pinkberry yogurt twice, it wasn't vacation.