Sunday, November 16, 2008

Crashing in the Mud

Well the first day of the New Jersey Grand Prix is over. We left Thursday and went on a 15+ hour adventure in the car, which ended with 2 hours of driving around Princeton trying to find our hotel because Almira (Kristin's GPS) thought it was somewhere in a river.
 We got to the course the next morning and it was very very very MUDDY. There were long stretches where the course had been so chewed up that running was much faster than riding. I had a bike in the pit but I figured I wouldn't actually need it . . .little did i know.   I made the mistake of not wearing glasses, I figured they would just get muddy, but maybe 200 feet off the line I got a big gob of flying mud right in my eye. I'm never starting with out glasses again. My bad luck for the day was over because about two turns in the girl behind me completely missed the corner and came barreling into my left side ( and knee). I made it another half lap before my knee just wouldn't work anymore and i ended up (to my embarrassment) sitting on the side of the course. A very kind racer who was also an EMT stopped to help me until one of the the medical staff from the race came PICTURE. I came out of the day with a bone bruise on the top of my fibula and a lecture from the race medic on how if my knees weren't so bony i wouldn't have bruised it. ( Thanks! I'll try to work on that . . .?) It wasn't the best day for me, but Kristin and Kaitie rode very strong to finish 14th and 18th respectively in probably the fastest field I've ever been a part of!  Heres a link to a picture of me on before the start from cyclingnews 
Mark also raced incredibly well, coming in 9th!!!! there's a great picture of him remounting on PICTURE 
More racing again today, I'll try to update and post some pictures when I get home!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hey, so this is my first post on the blog . . .YAY. I traveled to Toronto with Kristin and Kaitie this weekend for two UCI c1 races.  We had a lovely 10ish hour drive up to the race, though honestly I don't remember that much of it since I was asleep. We're staying with Kristin's teammate on the road Anne and her husband, Malcolm and their adorable black lab Winston. They have been amazing hosts and we even got to cheer Malcolm on in his race on saturday! It's incredibly kind and generous of them to open their home to us, and it really makes traveling so much more fun. We even played a crazy game of scrabble on friday night.
The course on Saturday was rolling with some flat sections, fast barriers and one medium length steep climb. It had been raining on and off on friday and the course was a mess. there were a couple of mud pits and one hill where I had to dismount and run through a COLD puddle of mud which came up right above my ankles. brrrrrrrrrr. I had an ok start on Saturday and managed to avoid the puddle 10 meters from the line ( kristin was not as lucky). I settled into a group with Josie J-M and Anna Milkowski for about two laps but I didn't have the legs to stay with them in the flats and I dropped back a bit. From then on I was riding alone, somewhere between Anna and Rebecca Wellons, My legs started to come back a bit in the last lap and I made up ground on Anna, but it wasn't enough. I finished in 6th about 5 seconds back from Anna and the podium. Kristin was flying today and rode an amazing race to finish 3rd!!!!!!! Kaitie was also riding strong and came flying into 10th. Overall a pretty good day since we had three wisconsin girls in the top ten.
Sunday's course can best be described as "epic". Basically we rode switchbacks up a ski hill, and then zig-zagged across the top before plummeting down the other side. after that there was a flat section which was a bit like a maze, which had lots of tight, slow turns before powering over to a set of fast double barriers and then heading back up the hill. It was one of the harder courses I've ridden this year, but it was super fun. I had a bad start and spent the first flat section trying to pass people, as soon as Kristin came tearing by me i hopped on her wheel and was able to pass a good number of people following her. She was on fire today! once again I found myself riding with Josie J-M and Anna Milkowski, but on the first descent Anna crashed and had to get a pit bike, and on the second time down the hill Josie gained time on me. once again I was in the middle, unable to reach the person in front of me, but with comfortable gap on the person behind me. Thats how I spent the rest of the race, in no-mans land. I made up time on the climb, but i would lose it again on the descent and through the "maze". Kristin made some progress today, riding to a strong second behind Natasha Elliot, and Kaitie made up ground as well, coming in 8th! Frustratingly I finished just out of the top five again, in 6th.
The race was incredibly well organized, and the promoters included a junior girls classification, based on the elite race. I won both days of this and was rewarded with a very nice pair of specialized glasses with transition lenses. I'm trying to sell them, and I'll post more info and pics soon! I think its really great that they had a junior girls category, most of the time junior girls don't get any recognition, and I hope that more promoters will follow the example set here.
It was a great weekend, with lots of fun adventures and some of the best cupcakes I've ever had, but I'm tired and we have a long drive tomorrow so I'm going to call it night. I'll post pictures when I get home!