Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Quick and Dirty WI update

Last I left off.... Minn Fixed Gear. I had a couple days off and traveled to Wisconsin to participate in the Tour of America's Dairyland. What a well run race!
It's an 11 day omnium with mostly crits and a couple road races. Since I can't stay for the whole thing, I am not going for the omnium but going for wins and money!
I have some pictures to share and longer updates... but bad internet. So, I need to give the quick recap.

Day #1- Shorewood Crit. I won! Sweet! The race was active but came down to a bunch sprint and I took it long. :)

Day #2- I felt like doodoo. The heat and humidity really got to me this day and I had nothing in the tank. (I am also playing around with gluten/gluten-free foods and trying to figure the body out. It didn't work this day.) I ended up 10th but that was a struggle.

Day #3- Once again, a break got off the front and we were sprinting for 3rd. I was actually feeling great this day and sitting in good position coming into the 2nd to last turn. The girl who was keeping the speed up at the front totally popped and I didn't have time to react, got swarmed, and had no where to sprint. I was pretty bummed because I felt great and the swarm just took over. Once I got off the brakes, there was no where to sprint. We came across the line about 10 wide with no daylight in front. UGH! I finished 14th or something. I accept that as a sprinter, I totally botched this one up.

Day #4- Another crit and it was super active, fun race. I told myself I would win this one because I was so bummed about the day before. The legs felt good and I got to test them by sprinting for money (primes) mid-race. With 5-to-go, there was a big crash. It started with some girl trying to make room where there wasn't room which happened to be on my back wheel. As the first girl went down, she knocked my wheel pretty hard... it went a skipping. Luckily I didn't go down because there were a couple bad injuries. But, my wheel was knocked and not right. I was within the "no-free-lap" period and had to ride it out. Every time I stood up, I felt like my wheel was going for side to side. I was scared... yes, I said it, scared. So, I had to ride the sprint in and not sprint myself unfortunately. Just unlucky and that is bike racing! I still finished in the money but didn't win it and I wanted that one.

Day #5- Road Race, 50 miles on a hilly Road America course. The racing dynamics were fun this day. A big break got away which included several of the teams but none of the "big teams" like Vera Bradley, TTI, Kenda, etc. So, we raced super aggressive to bring it back but nothing worked. With that many people up the road and me not caring about the omnium, I made the decision to just race hard and not sit in. I did that... wasted myself a couple times... tried to go with something at the end that didn't work... and rolled through the finish. No great results but great racing and great fitness. :)

Today is another crit. Hopefully I can get back to update the blog and post pictures tomorrow!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic

The Nature Valley Bicycling Festival is made up of the Nature Valley Stage Race and the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic. The past three days I've been racing the velodrome in the MN Fixed Gear Classic.

If you have never raced this track, you are missing out. 250m wood @ 43 degrees and it may just be as smooth as ADT. Seriously, it's the nicest outdoor track in the country. And the people here are what is called "Minnesota nice."

There was both an endurance omnium and a sprint omnium. I decided to tackle both of them and race every event offered. What started as a crazy idea turned ridiculous when Saturday was rained out and they made Sunday 1 HUGE day of racing... it was like a 2 for 1 special.
So, Friday:
1st in Sprints (this was my first 200m tt since Nationals... racing or training... I felt pretty good about the way my new endurance training has really helped my sprinting. Go figure!)
1st in Miss-and-Out
2nd 60 lap Points Race

1st in Keirin
1st in Scratch Race
1st in Team Sprint
1st in Madison Kilo
1st in Handicap
1st in 60 lap Points Race
2nd in Tempo

Sprint Omnium Podium
Endurance Omnium Podium
For the men's racing, there were two big stories both coming from the young boys.

Colten Barrett, age 19, gained huge respect from the stacked field (some pretty big names out here) by winning the Endurance Omnium in a demanding fashion. Watch this name!!
Matt Baranoski, age 17, took control and landed himself at the top of the podium for the Sprint Omnium. Very impressive! Another one to watch.
Full results listed here.

Not only was the racing SOOO well run but the weekend was SOOO fun. (I'm laughing that I am SOOO brain dead that they only vocabulary I can come up with to emphasize and get my point across is the word "so" written in capitals and with extra "ooo". I feel like I am pulling from the 10 year-old dictionary right now.)
Anyway, I digressed.
The people here make this race... from beginning to end. From helping to arrange transportation to providing food for racers to just being respectful to athletes, they go out of their way.
A cool side note- we had 12 people from Colorado make the journey to race the MN Fixed Gear Classic. Represent!!

Photography: Lisa Lardy/Lardy Photography

Madison Warm-Up, Trinidad Style

While I wait for some pictures and full results from this weekend's racing in Minnesota, I will share a glimpse of some fun.

Apparently my friend Emile (Trinidad&Tabago) was so excited for his upcoming Madison that he let out a little warm-up dance.

Good times and good racing at the MN Fixed Gear Classic... everyone needs to be here next year!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Big Race of MN Fixed Gear Classic

This was the last 45 seconds or so of the 5 minute track stand competition. It started with about 15... dwindled to 4. Money was on the line... the tension was building... my bet was on the messenger dude.

Rain delays from yesterday will cause us to have 2 days of racing slammed into 1 day of fun :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tulsa Tough Day 3

I have delayed this posting because I was waiting for some cool photos. Unfortunately, I have cool photos... but not from Sunday. Let me explain.

Coryn, my 17 year old teammate bad ass, WON on Sunday! That means we took 2 out of 3 crits in Tulsa. Having only a squad of 3... you can call that sweetness.

So, I wanted the winning salute picture of Coryn but all I could come up with his her crash photo from Saturday. But, they are such cool photos and everyone was ok... therefore, its totally appropriate to post them.

Two teammates at the start of Saturday. Coryn on the left and Ruth on the right. These 2 were so easy and fun to travel with... yes, 17 years old and 16 years old. I was called mama Higgins for the weekend.
Oops... here we go.
This is why they call it "Tulsa Rough"
All ok in the end!

I was home for a couple days and gone again. This weekend I am in Blaine, MN racing on the track! Updates to follow.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tulsa Tough Round 2

Pictures can tell a story sometimes!

Cool interview!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tulsa Tough Round 1

My teammates for the weekend- Ruth on the left, Coryn on the right. Add their ages together and it equals mine. Nice! Too many jokes for that one.

Last night was the first night of Tulsa Tough. I love this race and this is my third time here in Tulsa for racing.

For the first major portion of the race I was totally chill and sitting in to not waste energy. Actually spent the first 10 or so minutes just moving up because I had such a crap starting position.

There are a handful of the major teams represented with 4-6 people so we didn't take it upon ourselves to do any major work in the beginning but we just wanted to be aware when any moves with major players went up the road. Nothing stayed away long enough to be dangerous.

Later in the race our game plan was this- I was to be the girl to chase or watch for threatening attacks. We had our hit list of riders that were a threat off the front. If it came together, I would provide a lead out but if not, then Coryn was on her own for the sprint. Ruth was to just sit on Coryn's wheel... learning to fight for position and learn from Coryn on where to be in the final sprint.

As it turned out, Kori Seehafer attacked hard with 15 to go. She was one we wanted to be aware of. I hesitated and then bridged to her. We got reeled in with 10 to go. I sat 2nd wheel for the next handful of laps covering 4 moves in a row. Seriously. TIBCO (and a couple other random girls) was just sending girls off the front one after another trying to get something to stick. With 6 to go, I was still sitting 2nd wheel and had the chance to sprint for $200... bingo! Got it. At this point, I fell back into the middle of the pack to recover. Yikes! A little late in the race for that :) With 4 to go, TIBCO sent Amanda Miller off the front and she got a big gap. With 2 to go, I jumped and tried to bridge it. The bridge didn't work but I ended up at the front of the pack pulling it around. At this point, that was ok because I knew Coryn would be sitting in a good position for the sprint if I could close the gap to Amanda. For 1.5 laps, I sat in the front and towed everyone around. With .5 lap, we were within 20 meters off Amanda and I blew up. I thought (wrongly) that this was good and the sprinters were close enough by now. I floated back and back and back... I was blown. Coryn finished 5th and Ruth came in 8th.

Really, we needed one more person on our squad to help out at the end with reeling in Amanda or covering other things so I was more fresh in the last 2 laps. Or, what would have been really nice if some of the other teams with multiple people (won't name names but come on!) would have worked at the end too in order to set up their sprinters!

I feel good about the effort and know I did my job. One day, I will have the opportunity to sit in and sprint because I am confident that it could be good. But, I love having a job and working for a purpose. I think most racers do better with a job and purpose. Even if you are racing alone, think about giving yourself a purpose. It makes racing way more exciting!

That is it for now! Another race tonight.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Passing in the air


As I leave for Tulsa, Greg gets back from NYC. Yes, that's right, he is in the big city!

I usually don't like to announce when he is out of town but this trip is so exciting for him that I can't hold it in.

Greg has some buddies that are big time chefs. Not the ones "that own their own restaurant" but ones that "own their own nationally acclaimed restaurants." (I can brag because I am not related, only a very proud friend.) One of these guys, Pano, is one of Greg's friends from way back in the day... pre-puberty back in the day. Pano happens to be the guy that Greg worked for all winter in Atlanta opening a new French restaurant, Bistro Niko.

Anyway, Pano was invited to cook at the James Beard Foundation House and he invited Greg to come up there and help. Who knows what crazy good food he is making but I sure can't wait for Greg to get home and practice his skills :)

Here is an example of a typical picture I get from Greg when he is all hyped up about cooking and food...

I can't tell you if this is something they are doing for this dinner but I do recall some story of a pig from the Atlanta trip. Boys will be boys.

A picture of the men at work. Wait, why is Greg standing around? Oh, he is watching the zen master.

Good luck to Pano and boys!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

Greg and I were both in town for the long weekend which is crazy for starters. There was a local 3-day race in town called the Superior Morgul Classic. As the inaugural event, it was great... great racing, great town support, great weather, great fans! I really hope this race sticks around for years to come.
I will recap with lots of pictures. Frankly, it is the only way I can remember the hectic weekend.

Friday night started with Street Sprints- about 300m uphill from a standing start. I took the win. That's what us trackies do!
One of the juniors, Danny Hiller, that Greg and I mentor also won the sprints for the Cat 3 men. Here is a photo of us in our leader's jerseys. Yes, he is a junior. Actually only 17 years old and he's got some talent on the bike!
The town of Superior (right outside of Boulder) put on this weekend festival and race. What would a festival be without a beer tent. Oskar Blues? None better.
This was taken in the morning while volunteering. Not a bad view with the mountains in the background. There was perfect weather all weekend.
Oh, on top of the racing, I volunteered about 8 hours over the weekend for the race organizer.
Saturday: After volunteering in the morning, we had a crit in the afternoon. Racing was quite a bit frustrating since I felt like I was at a disadvantage without any teammates. I raced hard, really hard but only could manage 4th. Even though the course had a big old hill in it, I really enjoyed racing on it.
It was a long day already and I rushed home to soak my legs in the Boulder Creek. It's like taking an ice bath and great for recovery. I caught this guy flipping his boat. Oops!
That night we went to Nick and Megan's house for dinner. Not a bad view from their back porch! Greg made a vegetarian feast with all fresh ingredients from that morning's farmer's market. There was a wild mushroom salad, a heirloom tomato/cucumber/onion Greek salad, and a giant white bean salad. Nick fired up the grill and added some chicken sausage and grilled fresh rustic bread and topped it off with fresh berries for dessert. Good food, good friends, and good times!
Sunday: The famous Morgul Bismark road race! Torture for me but an honor to race on such a historical course. Here is a view from the bottom of "the Wall" which we climbed 5 times. It is 1 mile long and parts of it are up to 12% grade. Ouch!
The fans were out in full support on Sunday. If Lance Armstrong gets his way and there is a Tour of Colorado some day, then this course will surely be part of it. The local fans are only getting warmed up.
I have changed my attitude towards hills in the past month. Although I am not yet to the point that I am super fast uphill, I don't dread them like I used to.
The race went as predicted. Up the wall for the first time, the pack splintered. The lead pack ended up with 12 of us. Eventually, I got dropped from the main group but the torture was that I never lost sight of them. So, I basically TT behind them for 2 hours. The closest I came was literally like 50 meters and the furthest was about 1 kilometer. I guess it was good because it kept me working hard. I ended up 9th on the day and was pretty happy with my fitness- mentally and physically that day. Results- 1st- Anne Samplonius, 2nd- Jessica Phillips, 3rd- Alison Powers.

The overall podium at the end of the 3 days- 1st- Robin Farina, 2nd- Megan Hottman, 3rd- Meredith Miller (not pictured), 4th- me, 5th- Alison Powers. Local Colorado racing is pretty damn tough sometimes!
On Sunday morning before my race, I showed up to encourage the juniors who were racing. I am so proud of all of my Flatiron Flyers. Every time I am around these kids, I smile. Below is one of my buddies that inspires me.
Monday was chill for me but crazy for Boulder. The Bolder Boulder is the 2nd largest 10k in the country. Ironically, 2nd only to the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. I am proud to say I have run both of these several times. But, Monday, I just watched.
Below is a picture I stole from Nick taken from Folsom field where the 54,000 runners get to finish. What a view! I LOVE BOULDER!
Boulder also hosted the Boulder Creek Festival where all those 54,000 people and their friends/families go to wander and eat festival food. There was everything from Ferris wheels to teeth whitening. No seriously.... weirdest festival tent there.

That's a lot... but there is so much more to catch you up on! Check back soon.