Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Race Report #9 7/28/09 Kapellen Crit

Race Report #10
7/28/09 Post Tour Crit Holland

Another Post tour crit in Holland, a fun course minus the bad brick pavement that covers the course minus about 300m of smooth pavement. Woke up this morning and wanted to go straight back to bed. I have hit the wall. Long drive to the race and i know im in trouble, can not get my head where it should be.

There are a lot of large teams and big names this race should be hard. First few laps gets the field strung out and im already noticing people popping out of the race, it's fast but im not working supper hard i know my legs are empty and every time i get out of the saddle i have no kick what so ever. I keep making my way up towards the front louse focus and go straight to the back again, i do this several times lap after lap.

I can hear my coach yelling at me, what are you doing? When are you going to learn to listen to our body? Your only going to put your self in a hole, what is the point of this. Who knows if this is what she would say, maybe she would say pull your head out and ride your bike, focus and get it done. But at the time i like the first one better.

I see some people i rode out with on the side of the course in a nice patch of grass along the canal and next thing i know im sitting there with them. I did the unthinkable for me, i poled my self from a race and really was fine with it. And really i still am. There are a few small regrets about doing it but they are small small regrets not worth beating my self up over. So that's that.

Lesson # 10 listen to my body it knows best.

Race Report # 9 8/22/09 Herentals Post Tour Crit

Race Report # 9
8/22/09 Herentals
Post Tour Crit

Post tour crits are a big deal, and this one was a big deal, only a small amount of riders are permitted to ride and i was a lucky one. It's a small field and a short ish course with cobbles and lots of twist and turns, really a fun course. The crowds are huge lining the course the whole way lots of loud music and tons of plastic cups lettering the course from all the beer drinking that's going on, its a party that's for sure.

Going in to this race i know i am tiered had raced the past few days and i do not have high hopes for to day, i went to a Holland post tour crit the day before because i wanted the experience, but on the start line i know i should have skipped it.

We are off attacks start right off and we are strung out gaps are opened up and i come around to not get gaped off, this happens several times until a group of us are gaped off and i just don't have it in me to close this one down every one just watches the group ride away. This sucks. So there is a group of us that finally breaks down to 4 of us riding around with only two of us really working not to get lapped. I'm doing most of the work and feel fine doing this i just want this to be over with. Two laps to go and one of the other strong girls attacks and i go with her she sees me on her and sits straight up and i come around her to keep the tempo up one to go i attack half way through the lap and finish i think 18th over all.

Not my best day out.

Lesson #9 If you want to do well at a big deal race don't go in to it tiered as all hell.

Night out good times!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Race Report #8 Dutch Post Tour Crit

Race Report #8
Dutch Post Tour Crit

I did not plan on doing this race but was offered a ride so i thought why not.
It's a post tour crit so kind of a big deal hundreds of spectators line the streets its kind of a circus the whole thing. Not sure how i will do legs are tiered, body is tiered and we will see lots of big names and big teams.

The course is kind of fun long finishing straight that makes a left hand turn on to some cobbles but not bad ones then a short stretch and another left hand turn a bit longer stretch then a right hand turn in to a narrow road the sweeps thought the woods, you pop out on the other side make a left hand turn in to a windy open stretch that gets kind of funny because a curb jets out on the right hand side then on the left and then the right again, no matter how many times we would go through this section people would try to fit 10 people in to a whole that fits about half that so there was no surprise when a crash happened with two to go.

To make a short crit even shorter attacks start right off and keeps on going until
Marianne Vos just rides away and three others bridge up to her and the pack just lets her go. It was as if they new she would get away at some point so just let her go now. But you better believe they did not want any one else to go so all attacks where shut down right away.

Honestly i was bored most of the race, it was kind of funny we had the highest average and over all top speed but i was bored just the same. My legs were not supper sharp but i was noticing my jump has massively improved so i felt good about that, and i was never really suffering to hard, i must be getting better i think.

Two to go im in good position managed to put in some efforts and move up in to a good position, we are coming around about to hit the woods section and a girl in front of me jams on her breaks for no reason and my wheel goes in to her my left foot pops out of the peddle but i manage to keep it together clip back in and get the hell away form her. In that time i louse about 20 spots so coming in to 1 lap to go im to far back, i move up a bit and the sprint gets crazy a few girls almost go down people are bouncing of each other left and right i find the wholes and move up and up and up i should have finished in the top 20 right along side the girl i came out with. But when we check the results they placed us right out side the money in 35th, we both swear they bumped us, would not be the first time the English / Americans have been bumped. But what ever. I cam out here for the experience.

Lesson #8 just because your in great position dose not mean you will keep it but i knew that, so i guess the lesson learned is that i am improving and gaining confidence out here.


Race Report #7

I'm going to make this one short because im mad at it.
Triangle shaped course closest thing to a crit out here. 40 starters 35 to finish. Felt confident and strong. Start off near the front 2nd lap a take a prime! Ride a really smart race go with several breaks but nothing will stick chase down several breaks and go for another prime at one point but just missed it i was over geared. Oh well. So through out the race they are waving several flags a black one a white one and a green one, not sure what the white one is for, and the black one seems to be waved as a bell would be rung back home for a prime lap then a green flag would be waved as you come across the line for the prime. Now that that's out of the way, they never show lap cards, they are supposed to show lap cards with 5 to go. There is one official i see put up three fingers but he dose this twice, im confused i look down and my computer is showing there should be one lap to go, the pace is up every one is watching each other the tension is high, we come to the line again they are waving the green flag and i swore he says lasta rounda, last round the flow of the race is going as if it's the last lap in in great position, we come around the last corner people are sprinting out of the corner i keep up with them and cross the line first and they now say lasta rounda, im going to save you here and not share the expletives that are going on in my head at this point they attack i try to keep up but am spent form the speed from that last lap, i manage to stay with them and even move up on the back side but not far enough coming through the last corner in to the long stretch, i sprint and pass by a hand full of girls and come in 17th. I feel like a proper donkey. At least i did not put my hands up or stop so it did not look like i was sprinting for the win a lap early to any one else but me, so at least i only feel like a donkey and don't look like one. Or at least i hope not.

Frustrated by the whole thing, I know I could have made podium in this race.

Lesson #7 don't go a lap early, don't trust your eyes or your ears wait for the stupid bell.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Race Report 6 Boezinge

16 x 6.8km = 108.8km

Race is part of a match calender so people are racing for points and jersey classifications. Kind of a big deal race with fallow vehicles and radio tour coverage.

Early morning to check out from the hotel and catch the train then another train and then a short 5k ride to the start. I'm a bit nervous legs feel heavy from all the walking around we did yesterday but i knew what i was doing to my self so i asked for it.

Go to reg and the organizer introduced himself to me, we had been emailing on FB he was excited to have an American attend his race. I wanted do well in representation of the US. I register pay my 3 euro entry fee and 5 euro for my number, he hands it over and i smile lucky number 8! Hope it's lucky for me to day i need all the help i can get with the way i am feeling.

Nerves are killing me, i get ready warm up as much as i can the long finishing stretch is all really rough cobbles. I make my way to the start and people from the side lines start to yell San Francisco, i look over and they say is that you? they are pointing at me and i nod my head and smile, they get supper excited and start asking me hundreds of questions about SF and my tattoos and why i am there to race and so on, it was kind of nice got my mind off how nervous i was and made me giggle a bit. I had people rooting for me.

We are off, over the cobbles in to a right hand turn in to the head wind. I am near the front and the attacks start right away i go with the first one, we get no where, sit up sit in and another attack, one solo girl goes no one dose any thing so i sit wait and a girl to the right of me attacks i go and go hard head down i look back and no one is going with us and we have a good gap, i come around and hammer to close the gap to the girl up the road it takes some time but we connect and now there is three of us and we are away, we take turns and i we come through the finish line for the first time with me leading we stay away for a second lap and i come through again and get a prime. Then we are caught by a group of 7 and they are flying by us we jump in and now we are a break of 10, we work and work to build the gap, I am suffering pretty hard after working most of the last two laps, and am having a hard time coming through on the rotations, one girl starts to slag me off and says if i should go back to the pack this makes me mad i pull my self together and start to be smarter with the rotations and conserve as much energy as i can eat and drink and keep it up we still have 12 out of the 16 laps to go.

The tempo never comes down, i am happy Sean is there i get two bottle feeds and a food feed from him. And still could have used more, it is warm and supper windy.

With 5 to go i really start to suffer and the cobble section starts to take its tole on me. the cobbles start and we have it lined out in the gutter every time until about 150m to go then the hay bails and guardrails start so you have to jump in to the cobbles and every time i start to go backwards so after the finish the cobbles continue until the left hand turn in to the head wind and i would have to chase on and then start back in to the pace line, and would get yelled at if i did not pull through i did the best i could and always managed to pull through but with 4 laps to go a group of us started to get gaped off when the speed picked up and the side wind was supper strong i was the last one and almost got dropped when they accelerated to get on, i was flailing for a bit and may even whimpered a bit, i could not get dropped out of the break with only a few laps to go, i dug so hard and turned my self inside out to get back on and continue to work through the line.

With two to go i sat in with about fore other girls one of which had been sitting in the back for the past 3 laps, i think she was in more pain then i was, so i thought if they don"t work why should i. I would pull through every other time but tried to conserve as much energy as humanly possible.

With one lap to go i knew i was ok. Drank the last of my water and energy flask and the attacks started, i started to gain confidence that i may actually be able to do something. We were all jockeying for position leading in to the cobble section half the group went up the right and the other on the left i went to the right for the first time, i think the wrong choice it was the slower of the trains then we hit the cobble section i am still with the pack but as we progress over the cobbles i start to go backwards again and manage to come in ahead of one girl for 9th.

Not the result i wanted but over all i was proud of my self for surviving and racing the hardest race of my career, i can honestly say i don't think i have ever suffered that much or worked that hard.

Lesson # 6 Never give up push though the pain and suffer a bit more to make it to the end with your head still up.

After the race my SF fans were supper happy with the way i raced and every one wanted to take pics with me, hahaha that made me smile.

Day off in Gent

Spent the day walking around Gent. I know not the best thing to do the day before a race but we wanted to have one day of fun so we did! We found take away coffee! had no idea how much i missed that, we window shopped, had an amazing dinner and took a boat ride along the canal! Great night out sad to call it early racing to do in the morning.

Race Report 5 Bambrugge

Race Report 5 Bambrugge

47 start
37 to finish

Early morning ride to the train station to go to Gent where Sean and i will spend the weekend in a kick ass 4 star Marriott Hotel right along the canal in the heart of Gent! Love you Price line for taking our cheap bid! We check in around noon drop our heavy backpacks and walk around for a bit grab coffee and lunch and head back to the hotel to get dressed and ride 20+ k to Bambrugge for a 6pm start time.

One of the smaller fields out here but that dose not change much. Getting ready to warm up when it starts to pour rain, and i mean down pour luckily we got to hide in a van until it passed. Wet and cold we are on the start line and have a short delay im fiddling with my rear break and notice every time i pull on the lever the break sticks and stays closed.. Oh hell not enough time to fix it not sure how to fix it at this point, i open the break all the way to see if this helps, pull on the lever and nope still sticks closed on the rim. Shit shit shit. I pull on the cable under the top tube and this helps it to open back up a bit. Hell this is going to suck i will try to lay off the back break as much as possible.

We are off and im in the front with one other girl keeping the speed up we have it single file down a long flat stretch in to the head wind. A fast right in to a long hill not supper steep but long enough that it can take a bit out of the legs we are still in the front taking turns keeping up the tempo, i want to be up here so i can see the course for the first time from the front, and i feel good for the most part. The hill levels out in to more flat a few swooping fast turns a sharp right hand turn in to a fast steep kicker a right and more long fast flat sections that soon leads us in to the country roads and a short patch of cobble then some slight rolling to a right hand turn in to a down hill stretch of rough cobbles, it is fast hard and rough along this section with a massive acceleration on to the smooth pavement that winds back in to town with lots of turns and swooping curves that takes us through a carnival and another sharp right hand turn over brick in to the long finishing stretch.

I spend most of the race going with attacks attacking a few times my self and staying near the front. A break goes near the last few laps of the race and i glue my self to the front trying to bring it back no one wants to work, im still felling strong so pull for about half a lap rotate back and let others work then attack, oh sure now others want to work, still positioned near the front with one to go, in good position but moving back as girls are coming up the right side i am in the left hand gutter so not one can come around we have about three more turns before the finishing stretch and i have three girls in front of me and i know the road is ride enough that when it gets strung out i will have whees to surf before i jump and sprint, im feeling confident and good still, we are closing in two turns to go still in position, approaching the second to last turn, out of the corner of my eye i see a girl coming up on my left on the side walk, we are starting to make the left hand turn through the carnival and she comes off the side walk right in to me, i manage to keep it upright but louse position and speed im trying to catch back on to the train but am now way to far back coming in to the finishing stretch i sprint and make it past a hand full of girls but come in 23rd. I am so frustrated, i road a smart race, felt strong and confident, i want a do over.

Lesson # 5 Be aggressive B E aggressive. Fight for that wheel even if you have a bully trying to knock you down.

Warm close on and we ride back in to town just before the sun goes down. Shower get dressed and head out in to the crazy Gent festival packed streets to find dinner yes pasta in a cup!!! A stroll back along the canal a hot waffle and an amazing nights sleep!