Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CX Worlds 2009

Check out this footage from CX World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands from Feb. 1 of this year.

Katie Compton is AWESOME! Hanka Kupfernagel said in an interview after the race that she just did not want an American to win, so she and Mariane Vos managed to reel Katie in. Still, 3rd in the world is nothing to sneeze at, and Compton is a real American hero. And check out those thighs - that is power.

Monday, February 16, 2009

update: cherry pie

Results from yesterday are up. 15th out of 47, not damn bad at all. Major props to the Ironclad ladies for their complete domination of the race.

Major props, actually, to everyone, dammit. That was a tough race, the first road race for many of us, and a damn big field. A few of us got some scrapes and bruises and a few others got a cheap cherry pie, but we all came out and raced, and we did an awesome job.

Racing is awesome.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

cherry pie

You know what's sketchy? 50 nervous novice cyclists in the first road race of the season.

The first one went down on the turn at the end of the neutral roll-out. I heard her bike hit the pavement behind me - an unmistakeable sound.

That didn't do much to calm down any of our jitters. Neither did the headwinds of probably close to 20 mph at some points, though they did keep us from getting any real speed. Strong crosswinds kept people to the right of the rider in front of them, and I had a tough time finding a draft... riding in a peloton is a lot harder than the pros make it look. I felt like I was riding in the wind most of the time and when I did manage to catch a draft, I was trying to avoid getting my front wheel knocked out by someone swerving in front of me.

About 8 miles in two more went down, not far in front of me - including the lovely & talented ms. heidi swift. That split up the field a bit more, put us all on edge.

It wasn't until the third crash, though, that the field really got split up. Someone went down right in the middle of the pack, and took at least 3 or 4 others with her. I saw it all happen in slo-mo and maintained ("Slowing! Riders Down! Stopping!"), went off onto the shoulder and around the tangle, and gunned it, spending a good deal of my reserves time-trialing it back up to the pack. At this point, the headwind we'd been fighting had become a tailwind, and the peloton was going really darn fast. I was fighting being off the back for the rest of the race, but was never completely dropped - the lead group slowed down a bit as the finish loomed - we knew there was a big climb at the end.

About 3k to the finish an officials vehicle drove along side us and said something about if he honked, it meant we were supposed to "go neutral" and move right, because another field was overtaking ours. "Keep your speed up and we won't have to," I heard him yell.

At 2k to go, the climb started with a pretty moderate hill - maybe 7-8%, noticeable, but not horrible. Our pack started stretching out, and I tried to move forward as much as I could, but probably got passed by an equal number.

A short downhill and a sharp right turn meant we were under 1k to go, and the course took a decidedly uphill turn: a 9% slope to the finish line. This was the crucial finish, that we had been saving for, the dramatic ending. And just then, the call from the officials: "WOMEN MOVE RIGHT. MEN OVERTAKING." The front of the Cat 5 men's peloton was overtaking us. This couldn't have been timed worse - the first women were probably within the last 200 meters of the finish, and we were supposed to move over and let the boys pass? Here, on the final climb, where the race ought to be decided? I had a lot of suffer left in me, and wasn't about to give up or downshift... so I put on my suffer face and grunted my way to the top. (There are pictures. You will see my suffer face.) I think I only passed 3 or 4 women, but I gave it my best effort without puking, and I finished strong... with boys on my left, girls on my right, and a bunch of really tired riders just over the line. The officials probably had a ton of fun with the finish line camera footage trying to sort out the final results. What a mess.

After the finish I caught up with Lisa (who later won the Cat 1-2 race!) and Doug, who were both right at the finish line yelling for me (best feeling ever) - and Lisa's friend Mackenzie, who was also racing in the same field as me. Got yelled at by the officials for accidentally crossing the finish line again (thus negating having finished at all? hopefully not), and then rode back to the start (at least 3 miles away from the finish line) with Mackenzie. I'd never met her before... she's an elite triathlete and full-time athlete/exercise nerd and a fellow first-year grad student. It was fun to hear her perspective on the race - her first as well. I still maintain that triathletes are crazy. Also crazy: me competing against her. (Seriously, check out her blog. She is 100% not messing around.)

Aaand... I'll post more later with results and all that good stuff but that is all I have in me right now and I am going to go sleep now.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

little victories

Yesterday was definitely a *headdesk* kind of day - stressed out about course work and lab work, pissed off at the sunny day while stuck inside, completely unable to make tiny objects do my bidding under a dissecting scope - though thankfully, today was much better.

It started out better already when I met up with my friend Lisa at 8:30 for a ride. After I dropped my stuff off at school, we headed out for a bitch of a hill-climb - up over Dillard - followed by some really nice flat to rolling roads toward the southeast of Eugene. Lisa is way better at riding bikes than I am, and so it was really fun to get to go out with her and pick her brain. I'm sure she was going easy on me, but we did climb the hill at a pretty brisk pace, and kept it up the whole ride.

The roadies around here have a tradition of sprinting for "Stop Ahead" signs - so if you're ever on a group ride and people just start sprinting, there's probably a Stop Ahead sign coming up. Since there were only two of us, we weren't super-hardcore about the sprints, but there were several signs on the course of our ride. I went for the sprint on the first one, only to get passed by her within maybe 3 seconds of sprint. The next two she noticed first, and sprinted pre-emptively to make sure I didn't pull a fast one on her. But the next sign, I noticed while we were still a few hundred yards out, and as we were side-by-side chatting I nonchalantly moved down into my drops, continuing to make small-talk, and then upshifted and sprinted with all my might. Lisa went into sprint mode within a few seconds ("See, you're in your drops now, so I know you're about to sprint"), but I pushed it with everything I had and crossed the line of the sign about 6" in front of her. HA! Life's little victories! We had been talking earlier about how it's fun to try to beat the crap out of people who are in actuality WAY stronger than you are... so she probably let me have it, but I'm going to savor it anyway!

So with a 20ish mile brisk ride under my belt I felt way better than yesterday when I rolled into lab at 10:15, and I was certainly more productive. I may have to start making this a habit at least a few times a week... if not with a super-fast friend, then by myself - then I'd be sure to win all the stop-ahead sprints!