Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So much to write about!

There's the FSA Grand Prix, the State TTT, all the hubub about Critical Mass, and my awesome boyfriend. I'm too tired to write a comprehensive report about everything, so I'll do the best I can with the time and energy I've got...


The FSA Grand Prix was amazingly fun. I was able to compare myself to some of the strongest women in US track racing, plus some from around the world. Like I said in last Friday's report, I bettered my Individual Pursuit time, we placed in my first ever Team Pursuit despite a flub on the last lap where we passed the other team on the track, and I helped out Jen in the points race just a li'l bit. Saturday was even better, with a fun and fast scratch race (where I did WAY too much work), a miss and out (where I'm always learning - this time it was learning to pay more attention, and learning that I still need more fitness), and my first ever Women's Madison!

Let me tell you about the Madison: it consists of teams of 2 racers each, competing in a points race (every X number of laps there are sprints for points across the start-finish line). One rider on each team is racing at a time, while the other rider is "on relief," rolling along slowly at the top of the track. To relieve the rider who is racing, the relief rider accelerates as the racing rider is approaching, they link hands, and the racing rider transfers her momentum to the relief rider via an arm sling, and then the relief rider becomes the racer. See a photo of Jen relieving me here. It's hard to understand without someone showing you in person, or just watching the race, but I think you get the general idea - a relay race. This race is FAST, as you can see by the pain on ALL the riders' faces if you flip through Amara's photos. It's basically one and a half HOT laps, and then you do an exchange and your partner is up, while you try to recover as quickly as possible before you're thrown into the melee again.

The women's Madison had 9 teams participate, which I think is an incredible turnout. In the late evening, it was shortened to a 5x8, which means a 40-lap race with sprints every 8 laps (on our 400m track). We managed to pull off 4th place (with prize money of $100!), even contesting 3rd for a short while, and losing to 3 extremely strong teams of women who'd been winning all weekend.

Also exciting was watching Jamie in his 40 lap scratch race. LAST year at this same extravaganza he won that race in a spectacular showing, where he was in a 2-man break for the majority of the race, then completed the final laps solo as the pack surely gained on him. In the final lap, coming down the home straight towards the finish line, he was so nearly caught, but held off the sprinters by mere meters for the win. THIS year, there were constant attacks and various breakaways, with the pack chasing when it wanted, and letting up as it saw fit. Jamie, lacking teammates, had to choose which attacks to chase, when to bridge, and all that stuff. He was in a break for a while that kept growing with people bridging across, and was finally swallowed up by the pack again. Later in the race, he got into really good break with some strong guys, that you just knew would stay away. They rang the bell for a prime with 4 laps to go, and Jamie took it - wohoo! $40 richer! There was a weird crash, in which only Emile went down, and he managed to get back in, but it was too close to the end. On the final lap, the break came out of turn 2, and Jamie was in perfect position. Out of turn 4, he was coming around the leaders, and it was a nose-to-nose sprint for the line, where he beat Adrian by a small but certain margin! I was so excited, and screaming my head off as I spun on my trainer to warm up for my Madison. YAY JAMIE!!!

We got home late, after stopping for Taco Truck (dinner), and I managed to get into bed by 1:15am. But with the racing still running through my head, I couldn't fall asleep till after 2. I had to set my alarm for a 5:45am wake-up, so that I could make it to the Team Time Trial (TTT) on time, down in Elma (ugh!). I managed to get a front flat on the 0.5-mi ride to the starting line, had to sprint back to the car to get another wheel that I had luckily stuck in there at the last minute, got some help throwing it on and pumped it up, then sprinted back to the start with about 3 seconds to turn my bike in the right direction and clip in -- NO exaggeration. My exhausted legs got me dropped from the paceline a few miles after the turn-around halfway, but I did my part, and we had a good time.

I was going to put something in here about the Critical Mass incident, but I'm running out of time, and this is getting long, so suffice it to say that BOTH the riders and the driver seem to be at fault, and I really wish people who know nothing about those kinds of rides, or the situation, would stop passing judgment on it.

As for my awesome boyfriend -- well, I already wrote about his incredible win on Saturday night in the scratch race. Then he and his teammates pulled of 2nd place in the State TTT, after a team of the strongest time trialists in the Pacific Northwest. Plus, he brought me a slice of CHOCOLATE cake from his office party on Monday morning, helps me out with all my bike issues, and is an all-around great guy. I just thought he deserved some blog-time in the form of a big thank-you. I don't think he knows how appreciative I am of all that he does for me - including putting up with me on Monday mornings when I don't want to go back to work (or really any morning when I'd rather stay in bed and sleep than wake up and do anything). Thanks, baby, you're the best.

On that note, it's time to get psyched up for Friday night, the schedule for which looks meager compared to last week's racing. Let's rock!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Morning

Coming off such a crazy weekend of racing is difficult, especially when all I want to do is eat, sleep, and ride my bike, but I still have to get up and go to work to earn a paycheck. (Yes, I hear you: at least I have a paycheck to earn. Blah.) I hope this gets better once I have something meaningful to do at work. Here's to Friday (when I not only start my new position, but also get back to the racing).

Weekend report is forthcoming. I'm trying to actually accomplish something - anything - at work today, despite how it may appear.

In the meantime, you can appreciate this crazy photo of me in the Madison.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Quick Post for Friday

Exhausted. Realized I already am up on last year's performance. I set a new PR for the individual pursuit by 11 seconds. I won $10 in the Team Pursuit (with Ms. T and Ms. N). And I was actually something of a factor in the points race, which my teammate took 3rd in - SWEET. Tomorrow: 20 lap scratch, miss and out, and MADISON!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jumping Jitterbugs!!

I'm having pre-race jitters and it's only Wednesday! Racing starts at 1pm Friday with the Individual and Team Pursuits. At least they start us off nice and easy with the non-mass-start events.

I spoke with Coach yesterday and have been trying to become more mentally prepared since our talk. I know my body is ready. I am more on form than I have ever been. All I can do now is focus; channel my (nervous) energy towards concentration, speed, and racing smart.

I was looking at last year's results, largely to figure out how many international names were there, and how many girls did well whom I normally race with. I realized I actually did better than I thought (in the mass start events, at least -- the individual events were a disaster). But I was still a long ways from qualifying for Nationals. I know I need to believe that I can do it in order to even get anywhere near the ADT center, ergo the mental preparation. Building on my lesson(s) learned from last weekend, I am reminding myself over and over to never give up. I watched Jennie Reed's World Championship-winning Keirin about 10 times this morning: she never relinquishes her position, and even when she has to take the long way around for an entire lap, she doesn't give up; she JUST KEEPS FIGHTING. And then she wins the rainbow jersey. It's so inspiring to watch.

So, there's my midweek rant. I'm nervous. I pictured myself heading towards the line with Jen and Liz for the finish of the Team Pursuit and I could feel my heart in my throat. But I will focus on my fitness, which is great. I will focus on eating right, which I can control. I will focus on getting more sleep (which I really need to do). And I will focus.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Skipped Friday Night Racing at Marymoor because my body was saying, "NO!" I slept for hours when I got home (early) from work. I guess my body needed a break.

Saturday I drove down to Portland for the final day of their AVC on Sunday.

First up: Keirin heats. In both the first one and the repechage I felt stronger than I performed, and learned a lot. Going around that track at race speed is a LOT different than rolling around it with 1 other person. And you have to start thinking about your final sprint WAY earlier than on Marymoor. Oops.

Next: Miss and Out. Wanted to try the technique that's been working for me recently, and when I missed my first chance, I kind of lost motivation and just gave up on the race. I know, looking back on it, that was totally the wrong attitude, but now I've learned that lesson. I should have relentlessly tried to regain my desired position in the pack, but oh well. Next time... Also frustrating was missing the initial instructions when they told us they'd be pulling every other lap because I was being asked by another official if I was really not a Cat 1/2. Grrrr!

Finally, the Points Race. I had a renewed sense of purpose, had finally started to learn this track, and felt strong and ready. I contested the majority of the sprints (if not all of them? memory is fuzzy), and held 2nd for a while, but I think I lost placement in the final sprint, which, unbeknownst to me, was for double points. Darn it. Oh well, still pulled off 4th, and got some kudos from friends and teammates.

It was encouraging, also, to have Jane come up to me after the Keirin and say that she took comfort in being on my wheel. And it was also a confidence booster to have Steph tell me she thought I should be a cat 2, and that I raced like a 1 on the track! Wow...talk about ego padding...

So, although I was disappointed with my overall performance, I took a lot of learning away from this weekend. I need to remind myself to never give up, especially in the middle of a race, and also to not hesitate (as in a sprint). It could cost you the race (or at least the $$$!). And then I'll know I tried my hardest.

Team pursuit practice is tomorrow with my wonderful lady teammates, and I have FSA to look forward to all week...and taking Friday off of work to race - w00t!

Friday, July 11, 2008


I have no reason to be, but I'm nervous for tonight at the track.

The only thing I can think of is that I feel I have quite a bit to live up to after last weekend's performance.

What is wrong with me?? : p

It's a gorgeous day. Hopefully not too windy at the track. Should be a fun night!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

4th of July Weekend Highlights (and not-so-highlights)

July 4th morning - Women's Open crit. Got gapped in the first 10 minutes, then pulled from the race.

July 4th evening - Friday Night Track. 3 races:
1) Win-and-Out. Beth (Cat 1 roadie, new cat 3 trackie) takes the win with a late flyer, Amara takes second, I take 3rd.
2) Keirin. I draw the obligation. While attempting to take the motor, my wheel slips and the chain falls off. They restart the race, but as I'm clipping in, I realize my crank arm is loose. No Keirin points for me. At least I get to race the repechage.
3) 20-lap scratch. People take primes. I chill. I take some pulls. I end up at the front on the last lap. I slow. Amara jumps between turns 3 and 4. I chase. I sprint around. I win!!

July 5th morning - Omnium Road Race. The hill shatters the field. Two teammates and I end up in a breakaway with one other gal. We are tired. We do not attack. Other gal almost wins. Uphill sprint for the finish and I overtake her for the win!!

July 6th morning - TT. 10 miles. 1-mile hill. I use Heidi ahead to pace me up the hill. I take second!!

July 6th afternoon - Crit. More teammates show up. I lose my head, and get stuck on the inside for the last corner of the last lap. Whoops. Pull off 7th. 2nd or 3rd in Omnium!!!

GREAT weekend. VERY happy. Feeling quite on form for FSA in 2 weeks. More good things to come.