Friday, April 20, 2012

Last Week...

Well, a couple weeks off the bike doesn't mean I stop traveling. Quite the opposite actually! Right now I am sitting in Carmel, CA but that blog post comes later.

Last week, I traveled with Pearlizumi to:
After flying into Houston, we had 2 hour car ride to College Station. Lunch anyone? Yes, we ate here and yes, it was good.
In the 48 hours that we were here, we had some true Texas culinary choices. It took my stomach some time to recover from this trip.

Interesting facts about the prop used in the wind tunnel.
Getting everything ready!
The machine!
I can't tell you how much more respect I have for Pearlizumi knowing how much research they put into their products. What I learned was pretty impressive. I loved the quality of their products before and now that I know the thought that goes into making their athletes the fastest in the world... I'm a believer!

That's all she wrote! What an awesome couple days with Pearlizumi. Thanks guys!

Friday, April 6, 2012

So close, yet...

My immediate reaction was to tear up. It only lasted about 3 seconds. No, it wasn't because I was so excited. It was because I was so close. So freaking close to taking a step on the podium at the Track World Championships. Yet, the reality is that I was 5th place in the Scratch race and I am fired up for more. I want it bad.

After the Points Race, I regrouped and reminded myself that the physical part was, for the most part, there. Now, I had one race in me and had the race brain activated.

It wasn't a fluke or lucky. I deserved to be in the top 5 tonight. I raced smart... was active enough to be where I needed to be... but also knew when to stop panicking and not waste energy I didn't need to.

I can't wait to see the video. There was plenty of bumping and a couple "I need a new chamois" moments. I owe the girl from Lithuania or beer/coffee/or whatever they drink there... she saved something major in the last lap (or 2 to go, I can't remember now). All I know is she was next to me sprinting, she got knocked, and then she had both feet unclipped and just hanging there. I don't know how she didn't go down but I do know I took a quick dive under her and then opened my eyes again.

The end was a like a keirin and I got a bit boxed in... didn't panic but couldn't make it out until the home straight. At this point, it was a bit late. 10 more meters and I am confident I would have been on the podium... don't know that I would be wearing rainbows but it's all hindsight anyway.

It's good ending to a long winter. I say it again... I am a bike racer and I thrive off that adrenalin. But, for now, the hard part will be cooling my jets for a couple weeks. It's been maybe 2-3 years since I have had a proper break. So, it's time to set the helmet aside and remind myself what rest means.

A couple photos from tonight...

My friend from Marietta, GA who now lives in Melbourne. Small world! Scott Gillies and his son, Austin. So great seeing them! (Kara- you are next!)
Austin as superfan! According to Scott he held this sign up the whole time I raced. If you know AUS sports fans you will know that this takes guts!
Ok... how to start my rest block? Well, the first thing I did was sit and drink enough water to hydrate a camel but yet just barely enough to squeeze out my 90ml for WADA.

How about a 3 hour beach ride tomorrow with Scott! Yes please Vitamin D. (Yes, Nicola, I PROMISE this will be the last ride!)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

World Points Recap...

Real quick recap since I am full of adrenalin and won't sleep anyway.

The end result wasn't impressive. Last year I came in 6th in the Points Race at Worlds and this year 15th. 15th from 6th sounds like I sucked it up but that doesn't tell the story.

Frankly, I think I raced a much better race then last year. Much better. Last year I won the first sprint and hung on for dear life the next 90 laps. By the end, I was seeing stars. Somewhere in there I ended up with points in another sprint for a total of 6 points and ended 6th.

This year, I followed more stuff at the beginning but tried to be "smarter" about how hard to sprint. I missed out on points in the first sprint by one place and got 1 point in the second sprint. it took me a bit to recover from those opening 20 laps meanwhile a bunch of 4 lapped the field. After that I was setting myself well but not keeping that position... maybe setting myself up too soon? Maybe not physical enough to hold it? But, the key, was that I was thinking things through. I knew what the hell was going on... who were the players... what wheels to go with... etc. It just didn't work out. But, this statement doesn't end with the typical cyclists' statement, "that's just bike racing." No, champions are smarter then that and I will fight until I learn.

All the data was similar to last year. The difference was that last year I spent a winter racing my bike. This year, I spent a winter dedicated to trying to make the Team Pursuit squad. No regrets at all! But, I am happiest racing my dang bike and tonight I got the rush. The adrenalin hit me hard. Like a junkie, I need more! Luckily I have the Scratch tomorrow and I am stoked!

So cool seeing a high school friend, Scott Gillies, out there tonight. His new hometown is Melbourne and he has caught the cycling fever. Can't wait to have a chance to actually chat!

Super big thanks to the best USA Cycling staff ever. Alec and Woody are the best mechanics I have ever worked with... James, even though he is Australian :), is a perfect soigneur... and of course Neal and Ben keeping me level headed. Oh, before I forget, thanks to Dotsie (couldn't miss that voice), Lauren, and Jennie/Brandon for coming out to yell. I value your support. For all of you... I wish my result was more so we could rightfully celebrate. Tomorrow?

Ok... I think I will drown this brain with a sleeping pill so I'm not up for another 3 hours.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I have been so fortunate in life to be surrounded by good people and, for the most part, be able to call them good friends.

Last night, here in Melbourne, I got to catch up with an old teammate and friend. Thanks for the good time Claire!

Another friend of mine also happens to be a teammate- Greta. Check out her latest blog on Such a competitor, inspiration, and cool chic. I met Greta when I was new to cycling and working as a pilot for the para-olympic team. Proud to call her a friend now.

Here is picture from that trip.

Racing started about 30 minutes ago here in Melbourne. My first race won't be until tomorrow night around 10:00 pm... it's only like 2 hours past my bed time. So, tonight, after all my physical and mental prep, I will now prep for the staying up late thing. I will try to stay awake tonight until 11:00. This might be the hardest training all week.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

360 View

Melbourne is one of the coolest sports crazy cities. I feel like the culture revolves around sports. It's possible that has just been my bubble of an experience but based on the percentage of news coverage that is sports focused, I'd put this city up against Houston/Chicago/Denver/etc.

We are staying right next to the "Olympic Park" which includes the AFL stadium, Rod Laver Arena (think Aussie Open), Hisense Arena (where the velodrome is), a ton of outdoor soccer and cricket fields, and even a Australian Sports Museum. It's a small walk to the CBD (Central Business District) where you can find culture, food, cafes, and entertainment. I've been told there is a large book store completely dedicated to sports close by in the CBD.

The video was taken from the bridge right outside our hotel. The first view is the CBD, then Rod Laver and next to that the Hisense Arena, and then the AFL stadium, and then our hotel.