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!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Race Day 4 Maarkedal

Race Report #4
19/07/2009- MAARKEDAL
87 km
71 starters 42 finishers

Maarkedal was about a 2 hour drive from home,i got a ride from Jos since she was taking Hanna and Jade to the race already. I hit the snooze alarm a few to many times that morning,this did not give me a ton of time to ride to Jos's house 10k away. Oh hell. Quick cup of coffee because you know i have my priority's straight, a way too small breakfast of two race cakes with cream cheese and a waffle and banana for the road. We really need to go grocery shopping.

I'm on the bike, back pack on and trying to avoid the puddles and stay dry. It absolutely stormed last night, the rain was coming down so hard it woke me up and i had to take a look at it for a minute it was coming down so hard. The roads are still wet. I make it to Jos' in record time, only a minute late. That really hurt, i hope my legs don't feel that bad during the race. I'm introduced to Jade she looks at me and thinks we may have met already but we have not maybe just saw each other out at the races. Later in the car i take of my hoody off and she yells out "oh my god your that girl!" She saw the tattoos and recognized me, she went on about how mean and tough i look on the bike. hahahahahha.

We make the drive i eat my snacks and try to ignore that im still hungry.
We arrive get our numbers and i take a lap of the course.

Long very narrow country roads a few power climbs and wind, lots of wind, there will be no place to hide. Almost dropped myself on the warm up lap going up the second climb that is longer then the first and straight in to the head wind. All i could think is this is going to hurt.

They line us up on a side street starting on cobble. I start off near the front and we head on to the course through the start finish a slight down hill in to sweeping right hand turn in to the narrow corn field roads, the attacks start off right away so the pace is fast until its not and at some points we are going so slow and the winds are so strong girls are practically falling over, but the attacks start again and we are strung out single file.

In previous race reports i have been able to give detailed course descriptions but there are so many corners, sweeping turns and long straight stretches i know ill mess it up so ill give you the important bits.

The first climb is not super steep or too too long but it is fast. The second one is right after a sharp left hand turn that looks like your going to ride straight in to a corn field and goes up up and up and straight in to the wind, for me this hurt like hell on some laps and not so bad on others just depends on how hard it was leading up to it if there was burn already in the legs then you can bet there would be pain in the legs once we hit the hill, but despite the burn/pain this was always the best place to move up for me. From here it was a bumpy down hill section with a sharp right hand turn then some sweeping turns in to a fast straight section that dropped you off on to the main road that would take you in to the finish.

Several times during this part the pack would fall apart and on more than one occasion i had to come around a few girls and close the gap, one of these times i made it across but the rest of the field did not, i think this is where the numbers started to fall off. I was glad i dug as hard as i did to stay in the main field and felt pretty strong and confident when doing so.

They finish us one lap early because there has been a break up the road pretty much from the gun. And when i say break i mean a solo rider who put 5 + min in to us, there were two girls chasing about 2min back from her and another 2 and a solo one that came off from our group.

In the finishing lap i again move up on the hill and get my self in half way descent position, i am a bit further back than i would like to be in normal sprinting conditions, but with how the sprint played out last time this may work in my favor? The sprint starts super early and i go with it, not going 100% yet just jumping from wheel to wheel im thinking this just might work i have a nice hole in front of me and i start to wind it up, im going good then all of a sudden a girl to my left blows up and swerves right in to me nearly pushing me in to the barriers and i have to lean hard on her to stay out of them. Next thing i know im rolling across the line 37th. Bummed.

We all clear out of the way because the leaders still have to finish, when the solo rider comes across the line i did not feel so bad when i learn it is Emma Johansson Swedish Olympic silver medalist.

Lesson #4

I noticed i am having a hard time getting my head where it should be, not sure if im not trusting in my self enough because i seem to be more focused on staying in the race then racing aggressively and not really trying to be the rider i know i am.
I'm not sure if it's because the style of racing here is so much different, and unpredictable and this is stopping me from listening to my instincts as i normally do and this makes me more cautious
Maybe its that the level of racing is a lot harder and i am holding back because im afraid to take the risks that it takes and risk blowing my self out of the race and then dealing with my self after.

So the lesson comes down to stop listening to my head so much and more to my instincts.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Race Day 3 Arendonk

Race Day #3

15/07/2009- ARENDONK
86 starters
58 to finish
78km 12 x 6.5k

I get a ride out to the races to day so no stress. Get my number, warm up a bit and get a half way descent start position.

And were off, they start us around the corner from the start finish that is located in down town Arendonk, we start to head out through residential brick streets, kids come running across their lawns to cheer us on. We make a right hand turn and yes more of the same brake and sprint, im getting used to this. The residential road turns in to a narrow country rode through corn fields, nice bit of head wind and, ooops there goes a girl off the road she tumbles a bit but seems to be fine pretty green grass to land in.

Brakes are on, we make a left hand turn, sprint and keep speed up in to a swooping right hand turn then a left turn, the speed is on as we head in to town again, left, right left left long straight stretch in to the finish the speeds are up but still a great place to move up before back on the brakes for a quick left hand turn and then a right back out in to country roads.

So that's the course fun and fast and i feel better today. A break goes up the road with 5 to go i attack and a group goes with me the field is strung out single file, no one wants to work i sit up and we come back some one else attacks and i go with it. We are brought back with all the attacks and high speeds the break comes back. The group starts to get even more nervous and antsy then it has been the whole race. A few more attempts at forming a break but the pack is super motivated and nothing sticks.

Two to go and a solo rider attacks and the pack lets her go. Not a great idea she manages to stay away for the win.

One to go and im focused and make my way up to the top 10 and stay there through the finishing circuit, we head in to the long finishing stretch and im wheel surfing but the lead out train starts to dissolve way to soon, i start to get nervous the speed starts to slow and and i do not want to get swarmed so i start to half way sprint to keep up the speed a few girls are coming around and starting their sprint i get on one girl but she blows right away so i come around and am sprinting hoping i can keep it up to the line a girl bounces in to me on the right, another one on the left and then the same girl bounces in to me again on the right, i admit i get nervous and sit up just enough to be squeezed out of the area i was in and now no where to go. We all start to get swarmed, girls are coming up the right and the left and we cross the line.

I'm not sure where i came in, i think the top 20? I was not able to stick around for the results and possible prize money but new i could check them when i got home. They are on top of it, or at least i thought they were, i checked the results when i got home and im not in it nor was an English girl i rode out with. Very disappointed my best result so far and no result. This makes me sad.

I'm learning more with each race and ill have my day!

Lesson #3 Be more patient in the sprint

Starla Teddergreen

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Race Day #2

Race Report #2

Up by 8 am rained most of the night and it's still grey out and looks like we are in for more rain. Breakfast coffee and time to wash some of the dirt/sand and what may have poisoned me off the bike.

Back in the shammy and off to day #2

Feel a lot better but sore and a bit tiered. To day should be interesting.

78km (17 4.5km)

Got rained on, on the ride out to the race, wet bottom wet shoes. Boooo.
Had a terrible start position, near the back of about 90+ riders. Did not get a chance for a warm up lap so going in to this course a bit blind.

And we are off...... Sprint in to the first corner slam on the brakes, sound familiar? Well there is a lot more of this to come.
Its fast and the attacks start right out of the corner, I'm there so i go with it and am in a break, more speed lifts cobble part more speed lifts and from the front I can take the next right hand turn at speed, we head in to the trees and wet pavement ( i remember lesson 1 keep your moth shut) the break comes back and I'm sitting top 10 long country road with a bumpy left hand turn in to a small over pass clime with a quick right hand turn a fast down hill in to a swooping left hand turn again a bit easy to take at speed near the front but then the brakes are on as we approach a right hand turn that is so sharp it heads nearly back in to the same direction we just came from.

From an almost stop to a sprint we head along a small country road with potholes mud and bumps, single file fast in to the head wind i take note of this. This is going to hurt over time. A slight right hand turn with a huge bump, sprint still single file another right hand turn in to a long up hill over pass i come up over this at the front did not mean to it just happened, I'm feeling pretty good. A fast down hill in to a swooping left hand turn on to brick paving that takes you in to the long long long finishing stretch.

The next few laps there are more attacks and chases and i go with all of them and stay away for a bit with the breaks and chase groups. Yesterday a break went and today's course is perfect for a break, and one goes but I miss it. None of the chase groups are making it across so I settle in and try to stay near the front i find it kind of easy to move up but suffer like hell ever time through the back stretch in the narrow bumpy windy section that leads in to the second overpass, I start to suffer a bit on this part, three laps to go a gap opens up leading in to the over pass I jump around and go to chase it down with girls yelling like crazy behind me ( who knows what they are saying I tell myself they are words of encouragement), we take turns and catch the pack as we come through the start finish a sigh of relief but then there is an attack and we are sprinting out of the corner and it is strung out again. This is suffering.

With two to go it starts to rain. I think i let out a whimper this time going over the second overpass. I hate you over pass yes i do.

One to go. Ok I am still with the pack I tell my self just a bit more, you still have it, now make your self suffer instead of letting others make you suffer I start to make my way up towards the front from near the back of the pack. Picking people off where I can. Last time over that evil overpass. Its a bit sketchy now due to the rain and people start acting crazy approaching the last turn in to the finishing stretch I know I am not close enough to the front to contest the sprint so I keep it safe in the turn, the hammer is down and I start wheel surfing making my way up but never get out of the saddle to sprint. I finish 43rd.

End of day 108k

Lesson # 2
Don't go so hard in the beginning just because you feel good save it for when it counts.

Two days off and then race on Wednesday!!!

Belgium Race Report #1

And so begins the worst race reports ever. Hope you have fun reading them!

We arrive Friday in the AM take two trains and get picked up by Jos and taken to you flat for the month in Blauberg, meet our flat mates, English and Aussies, great guys, yes im the only girl. We throw our bags in to our room and get to it, building our bikes and 30 min later we and head out for a spin grey skies hard to tell what time it is.

Massive dinner and passed out on the couch by 7pm, woke up spoke some gibberish to one of the english guys and then took my self to bed. 12 hours of knocked out deep best sleep ever!

Saturday Race Day #1
Memorial Marcel Marijnissen Oostmalle
91km (26 x 3.5km)

Rode to the race. Got a bit lost on the way out because google map did not take in to account the under construction bridge, curse you google maps. Got back on track nice ride down by the cannal and still got there with plenty of time.

3 Euro to race and 5 for your number, you get this back when you turn your number in at the end of the race, super organized!

I manage to get a good start position near the front about 90+ starters and we are off no whistle or gun shot we just sort of started, the roads are narrow and kind of rough small country farm roads, we are off to a quick pace then every one slams on their brakes for the first right hand corner we sprint out of it single file and then come together again for the next quick right hand turn again sprinting out of the corner and strung out at top speeds (wish my computer battery had not crapped out some time between home and landing) single filed out until we hit the tree covered road that turns in to a bumpy mess girls yelling left and right hitting mud pot holes. Brakes are slammed on again a girl goes down in the corner, complete stop for some i squeeze through and the sprint is on again to a long straight stretch where there is a massive metal speed bump in the middle of the road, the field splits and goes up the left and right sides and comes together in a single file line. We get out of the country roads and head in to residential neighbor hood of brick paved roads.

Now on my warm up lap of the course this was fun as hell at speed, there was a left then a right then snake shaped swooping turns back and forth into a a slight right then a left in to the long long long finishing stretch, there are a few speed lift areas that you can fly over no problem. But in the race completely different story.

Brake sprint, brake sprint and so on.

To make a long story short this sort of thing goes on through out the race, and then about half way through add pouring rain. So with the braking all so came screeching brakes, skidding and crashes, and also first lesson learned.

Lesson #1: Keep your moth shut. Not in the sense of dont talk trash but more keep it closed so what ever the hell is on the road dose not get in your mouth. You will learn why i mention this soon.

A break of i think 5 is up the road, a small chase group and a few flailing in between. I manage to stay in top 20 - 30 the whole day and I'm pretty sure i died about 4 - 5 times out there. My insides were torn up and all the sprinting out of the corners was taking its tole, i manage to stay with the pack all day and go with a few attacks and chase groups but in the end the break stays away and with two laps to go its still pouring rain there is a crash in one of the corners i get stuck behind it and a group of us chase to catch back on to the main group with about a half lap to go, i am completely knackered at this point and stay with the acceleration of the pack but have nothing left for the sprint and came in 45th out of 65 finishers and 90 + starters.

Now back to lesson # 1 i head straight to the toilets. Soaking wet and miserable its pouring rain and have a long ride home. I'm at a crawling pace and at one point stop i want to die. My insides are tearing me apart, i get back on the bike and see a fritz place Sean wants me to try and get some sugar in me so we stop. I'm back in the toilet. whoo come out feel rough every one is looking at me must have been in there to long or maybe its because i look like hell. I take a few sips of coke. Oh no. Straight back to the toilet and oh yes projectile vomiting. Good times. I feel a bit better but worked over. The ride home is cold miserable and all i want to do is lay down.

I have never been so excited to see home, a warm shower chocolate milk and a little dinner, and im feeling much better. I pass out on the couch for a bit and then make it to bed for another great nights sleep.

End of the day 190k logged. Interesting first day out but survived it all and will never ever forget lesson #1

Pictures to come soon.