...fasten your race chains

18.11.09

Collegiate Racing RAR!

ECCC schedule for Spring 2010 has been posted. Looks like nationals are in Madison, Wisconsin. I just can't seem to get out of the Midwest....

17.11.09

hoi !

raining in portland and contemplating whether i want to ride all the way to work or take the max...

cross race was so so fun on sunday!  more details later....  i crashed into someone's team tent at the start, but luckily missed the people warming up on trainers.. my rear wheel fell off in what brambly part of the course.  i  ended up 11th in the race which isn't too fabulous, but it was fun.  i think i ended up 11th in the series b.Chan.  and my front tire is completely flat and both hubs are super loose and my bike is generally all wobbly...  

oh but time for work.  ugh.  train or training?  

15.11.09

ditto my dear-o !

Aw purrrfect; I read wanted: bikewife as I make peanut butter toast and coffee on Sunday morning while google-image-ing keyboard cat tattoos.  Dan snores away... He's not going to the cross race today because he doesn't have a bike--you wouldn't know that from glancing in our studio apartment--and because I guess he had a honkin' time playing dominos last night with the guys (well, his only guy friend here, Ryan).  

My bike-y friend Anna might come to the race today, but it's up in the air.  She's yet to catch cross fever...never even been to a race...and sure won't be compulsively yelling ARE YOU READY FOR CROSS SEASON anytime soon.  Don't get me wrong, Anna's no lame-o.  She's a really hip girl and has been commuting by bike longer than I have, is always ecstatic about our huge climb on the way to work, hates cars as much as anybody: she's thoroughly bike-y, an absolute joy to ride with, and I am ever-so-grateful that we are friends, but that's not really the problem.  It's just difficult to coerce her into racing her bike because I know what's best for her and because I want camaraderie.  With a bikewife the difficulty goes away, because you do know what's best for the bikewife!  (Recall Superweek B.Chan?  I pretended to let you languish over the decision making process, but I was ready to throw myself and the Eastons under that Corolla).  Anna and I will get to this point, but we're not there yet.

There are plenty of people in the city of Portland eating peanut butter toast and stalking their competitors this morning, I'm sure of it.  Plenty of girls, potential wives.  I spotted some yesterday clomping around River City and a couple riding across the bridge, and up the hill to Washington Park.  And standing on the start line I am surrounded by cool chicks who hate cross at that cold and rainy moment, but who actually love it.  The potential for everlasting love is inevitable, as they probably also love the road or the trail and could introduce me to new frontiers like track racing.  However, regardless of my plumage--as attractive of a mate I try to make myself--the bikewife doesn't bite yet...because it can't.

The prerequisites for love go beyond displays of wooly argyle socks and foam dinosaur cutouts, and they are deeper than good race results and compression tights.  We've yet to come across a squash graveyard.  We haven't stuffed a pumpkin in your legwarmer and bounced it home.  We haven't spent the day modpodging vulgarities all over the kitchen.  We haven't lived in a van for a week in the woods, pretending we were pros and eating weird flavored peanuts from Aldi.  We don't talk non-stop smack about a girl who we are afraid of, about the squirrelly chick on the giant (really?), about other teams' conspiracy theories.  We haven't bedazzled our helmets or stuffed our messenger bags full of dumpster bread.  We can't share Heed and soy protein.  The local all-dude bike club is pretty indifferent to our existence.  No one with whom to obsess about Lipsmacker and Tibco, no one who thinks pink aero shoecovers are actually kind of sort of cute even though they are pink..

SO I stalk alone.  And get queasy from eating peanut butter alone.  And I'll probably go to this race... alone.  

Smile!  I'M READY FOR CROSS SEASON!  It's not a big deal.  I miss my bikewife dearly, and would like to find a new one, but it will happen.  It just takes time.  But it will happen, B.Chan!  You'll find someone who can stuff two pumpkins in one warmer!  But for now, it's fun to pretend to be a rogue competitor, sabotaging the CrossCrusade women's B's top 10.  Mua ha ha ha ha......    !!!  

(It's the last CrossCrusade race today and I've been doing alright...solid top 10's and today I am digging deep.  I am sitting 12th in the series, after missing the first three races, and at least a couple of the top women have catted up.  This doesn't really mean a whole lot, but it's fun!  I'm not a points calculator because I don't care that much, but maybe I can get top 10 in the series at least.  We'll see.  The only actual impetus for wanting to do well is that I'd like to show that I am a good enough racer to get on a developmental team.  Other than that, I just want to play in the mud.)


14.11.09

Wanted: 1 "Bike Wife"

Job Vacancy: "Bike Wife"

Company/Organization: B.CHAN

Description: A Bike Wife is analogous to the "work spouse" commonly found in office or similar professional settings. However, as the title suggests, this position is related to cycling and the lifestyle associated with riding, training and racing. In fact, it has nothing to do with an office. This position has become available due to the recent separation and relocation of my former Bike Wife, MizMiles.

Skillz: Candidate must live in Philadelphia, preferably West Philadelphia. Candidates must be highly motivational, receptive to goal setting, and occasional devious behavior. Candidate must be willing to ride with me both indoors and outdoors as I build a massive base this winter on my way to conquering the Eastern Seaboard. In addition to the ability to generate a multitude of contractions, successful candidates will readily create and implement unique phrases similar in quality to "ARE YOU READY FOR CROSS SEASON?!" and "HOI!!". Special consideration is given to those candidates who enjoy blasting M.I.A., making energy bars, commuting by bike, and/or camping in EuroVans.

Compensation: Depends on experience.

Reply to: BCHAN

9.11.09

Updates from Philly

HOI!!!

Fall in Philly has been kinda strange so far. October was supposedly one of the rainiest Octobers Philly has had in years. Now November is here and it has been 65+ ever since. Definitely can not complain about riding in shorts and a short sleeve jersey this time of year.

I attempted to race cyclocross last weekend. The race was the Cat and Kitten Cross race in New Jersey and we drove through a really pretty area to get there. Apparently the race was the wedding reception of a Kelley Benefits guy and a chic from VanderKitten. How cool is that?! I went with the Penn Cycling team. We managed to get properly lost and missed my race. Fortunately the race promoters were really nice and let me ride the men's B race. I wish I had been able to get to mine on time because the course was fun. Nothing too exciting, but lots of technical switch back type things and TONS of mud. After one lap my bike must have weighed 50 lbs. Well maybe not really, but it was really really hard to pedal!

I wasn't able to race on Halloween, which I heard was ridiculous. But it's okay because I was having fun and getting paid to ride my bike. One of the cool things about work study jobs here at Penn is that they allow you to work with some really cool non profits. I had the great fortune of getting hooked up with Neighborhood Bike Works back in September. I get to ride with the road racing team on Fridays, help the kids fix their bikes on Mondays and on Saturdays I lead the Mountain Bike Club ride. I haven't worked directly with kids for a long time and I had sort of forgotten how much fun it can be. The kids are great (for the most part) and its cool to see them get stronger each week. Sometimes I feel like cycling can be intimidating and cyclists can be elitists jerks, so its refreshing to work with kids who don't care about their V02 maxes or watts/kg or yearly mileage and instead just want to ride bikes and go FAST.

Last week I started lifting again. Ugh! So sore!!! Lifting really helped me a lot last season though, so I'm planning on sticking with it.

In other, un-cycling related news, I adopted a kitten last week. His name is Amos. He's a sweetie pie. Got a little bit of a cold/cough, but that should be cleared up soon.



and more pics here. And for those of you who were wondering, yes, I am well on my way to becoming a batty old cat lady.

Other than that, things are pretty much the ush. Skool is hard. It gets dark really early. Axel got a job at Eastern Mountain Sports. He seems to like it. They're moving him to Morristown NJ next week, so we'll see how that goes....

Back to homework. Kthxbai!!!

8.11.09

yay to a new kitteh

So apparently Chan & Axel have a new kitteh.  B's Picasa pictures show him to be ever so cute too.  Oh oh how I want to pet their new kitteh !  What is kitteh's name?

Today Dan & I are going to race cross at Portland International Raceway for the Cross Crusade's penultimate series race.  Well, I am going to race because Dan's derailleur flew into his spokes on the way to the now non-existent farmer's market last wednesday.  He tried to put the der. from his road bike on, but it turns out that he needs a new chain and hanger.  Poor dude.  I'm going to race.  The flu has been going around at work though, and last friday I felt pukey.  Saturday I stayed in all day and rested, and felt fine, and today I can't tell how I feel!  I might be feeling hot, but that might be because I've been wearing wool baselayers and the heat is on.... and I might be pukey, but it might be because I ate oatmeal in the morning.... or maybe this is all pms, or maybe I am nervous about racing...  ugh, in any case, I've been drinking a lot of tea.  In any case, I am racing today and I am going to have a blast and maybe even do well.

Speaking of cross, last weekend was amaaaaazing.  Epic (for me, but I've only lived in Oregon for about a month!).  Dan and I rented a car and drove to Astoria, on the coast.  Actually the car was a Camry, and quite pleasant and even gave me a bit of a soft spot for cars, as it was cozy and warm and sure beat leaving at 8:00 pm Friday night to ride our bikes to Astoria with the gear on our backs.  The race was at the fairgrounds, and it had rained a lot, leaving the place a muddy mess.  When we rolled in, a group of about 4 older dudes dressed as Borat were racing.  Yes, they were wearing the neon green thong.  And yes, one of them at least experienced a wardrobe malfunction, though I only heard about it.  Sunday was "official costume day" because it was tradition, even though Saturday was real Halloween.  Dan and I only dressed up on Sunday.  

Before my race Saturday, it poured for about 5 minutes, and all the women's Bs ran under tents.  Then it cleared up and our race was on!  Lots of fresh mud!  I actually got a call up, which came as a pleasant surprise.  We went down a screaming hill at the start, the kind of slick hill you can't brake on and that you slide all over the place at the bottom, where it turns, but your tires catch you and you keep pedaling like nothing happened because you have to climb another hill.  That was a fun part.  We wove in and out of stables (or something stable-y) which was slick, and there was a longish climb that you had to dismount in the middle of usually because it got too slick, and a few short climbs that you could get up if you got enough momentum.  On one of these shorties, a girl crashed in front of me, and I crashed into her and our bikes got tangled, and when we thought we had them free they got tangled again... oh the laughs.  There was a technical part with lots of turns and hills where I kept crashing into the chain-link fence.  And then the finish line that was easy to sprint to, except that each time I sprinted to it I found I had one more lap.  Ahh!  It was a hard race for me, and a lot of fun.  I got 7th!  Dan ended up mid-pack that day.  He was at the very back of the starting line-up and passed people the entire time, so he did pretty decently.  

After the race, we watched the A's for a bit, drank a couple of beers, and got some dinner at a cheesy and expensive restaurant because we were too tired to go find the restaurant we were actually looking for.  Dan ordered a burger with Habaneros and couldn't finish it because it was so hot!  He was almost crying.  He couldn't finish his beer.  We counted, and there were 8 entire habaneros on the burger.  Why he ordered it...?  We went to our campsite at the gorgeous piney state park and crawled into our tent at 7:30.  Yep, we slept for 15 hours that night!

Costume day!  I put together a dinosaur costume with the remains of the padded foam from my Madone box and we got some funky clothes from the Goodwill.  Dan wore a dalmatian print silk blouse with flowy purple pants and foam puppy ears.  We called him a "Circus Pup".  (???)  We blended right in.  Dan flatted on his second lap, which really sucked because he had gotten a good start for once, and was moving right up.  It's hard in the B's because there are so many strong dudes.  Oh well..  The course was different today, but equally muddy and fun and insane and hard.  There were guys dressed in orange suits who acted as human barriers and race rules said we had to go over them just like they were real (non-human) barriers!  How many times did they get kicked in the balls?  I had gotten a better warm-up Sunday than Saturday and was more used to my tires and bike.  (Saturday was my first race on Poprad for the season!  Also, I am racing my EC90's with hot new grayish tubies that Dan got me for my birthday!)  Sunday it was easier to see who was who: I knew Wonder Woman was in front, so I tried to catch her, for example.  I spent the race chasing the blue/pink fairy and not letting Wonder Woman #2 and Mrs. Claus get me.  Costumes are so much easier for me to spot than team kits.  All team kits look the same.....well, except for that notorious joker skull!   I ended up 4th on Sunday!

The A's race was a lot of fun to watch.  We hung out for a while and then drove home.  What a great weekend.  Oh, you have to check out the cross pictures at pdxcross.  They are beautiful black and white photos that really capture the spirit of cross.  Y'all are missing out..

So yeah, everything is going well.  Dan is applying for a head mechanic job at the moment.  I'm enjoying my new job as well!  The early mornings are fine now, and the commute is pretty fun.  One afternoon last week, Anna and I rode by Nike headquarters and met with 7 other people commuting home from work!  The nine of us continued to Portland together, and I ended up riding with two other people almost all the way home.  There is certainly a camaraderie here!  My new job is pretty fun, I really like my co-workers and boss and the office has a really comfortable atmosphere.  There isn't a real feeling of hierarchy within their system, which is nice.  Anna and I are new, but our jobs seem to be important to the company, after all, we make sure that people get their money back on returns!  Everyone is so helpful at teaching us things, and I enjoy the pace of the job.  One funny thing is that some of the regulars at Champaign Cycle also shop online at TE!  When I discovered this it made me happy... the shop regulars are people I kind of miss!  

So here's to fastgrrrlz :-)  

26.10.09

Halloween !

What should D.Penn & I dress like for Halloween????

Aaaand we're back!


18 OCT. 2009: Wissahickon Cross Race. 35 degrees and raining. Grass, gravel, sand, and three barriers on a run up. They don't mess around out here....

FAST AGAIN FAST AGAIN FAST AGAIN!!!

Wooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

B.Chan & I need to be fastgrrrlz again, we've decided.  We are fastgrrrlz, and we will combat the snide actions of Team HeftyGalz and the like.  (Chan, feel free to edit me).  

Yesterday I raced cross here in Portland.  I've missed 4 cross crusade races, and I decided enough is enough.  Check out the other blog for the race report.  

Not sure what I'll do with the smelly blog, as it's name is fabulous and would be a shame for it to go to waste.  Must compartmentalize.  Becky also has a hip newblog which employs the latest in blognology.  It would be fun, though, for our friends to be sandwiched between the two coasts by B.Chan & me via this blog.  We'll see what happens!

27.8.09

Hasta La Vista

Alright. You can thank Comcast for not getting any Colorado pictures. Or a timely update. Seriously. It's been 2.5 weeks, 10 phone calls, a trip to the Comcast office, and my address still isn't in the "database".

Here are some terribly delayed CO trip highlights:






and, if you are so inclined, more here .

In other news, Philly is pretty cool. Although it will be much better after Axel finally gets here on Thursday. I joined a new team and they seem pretty cool, although quite the opposite of Wild Card. I'll probably race for Penn's team, too. The riding out here is lovely. It takes a bit to get out of the city, but once you do it's lots of rolling hills, quaint farms and twisty roads. I'm still learning the road network though, and haven't been brave enough to venture out on my own yet. This whole "terrain" and lack of a solid grid of roads is going to take some getting used to.

So this will probably be the last post on FASTGRRLZ for quite a while. I should probably start a blog of my own, but I doubt anyone would read it. Don't delete us from your GoogleReader, though. Maybe once Miz Miles gets to Portland we can trade stories on here about cross season...

-B.Chan, signing off

26.8.09

oh Mr. Axel!

suxxxxxxxxx !

want to hear your update B.Chan!

And i won't be updating this blog nomore.....all's at smellmychamois.blogspot.com

we are going slowly..... ever....so.....slow....ly...

16.8.09

Oh Noes!

Axel is Broke.

14.8.09

Back from CO

Well, unfortunately Axel and I are back in Illinois. I'll post a full recap in a day or two but a couple highlights:

1. We successfully climbed Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in North America at 14,270 ft. Alex actually climbed from Idaho Springs, bringing his total altitude gain for the day to 7,000+ feet. What a hoss. I was just happy to make it to the top on my double.
2. We had a close encounter with a mama bear and her babies while hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. Alex probably saved me from being eaten/mauled.
3. Alex's Mom didn't shoot us when we pulled up at 3:30am and camped on the family lawn.
4. 12 days. 2 showers.

More later.... but now I've gotta get some sleep. kbai!

10.8.09

NEW BLOG!

Check Dan's and My new Blog, called SMELL MY CHAMOIS, for updates about our trip to Portland.

I probably won't be on fastgrrrlz much because we won't be going so fast and because Dan's not a girl.

9.8.09

relax...

So I certainly don't feel too fast right now.  Dan and I have moved out of the Shire completely, as of Thursday night.  I have Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday off work so I've been just relaxing... and getting some stuff ready for the trip.  I got soap, olive oil, agave nectar, sponges....  I cleaned my mtn bike and patched the tire, and mounted a computer on my touring gig.  SO productive.  I also got a really good tan (burn..) at the pool yesterday and went back for more today.  Dan and I made chocolate fondue.  It's the life.  My friend Soli and her guy Robert are up here visiting for a day from STL and we made some fruity yummm pancakes for brekkie and lounged.  Now we are going to ride into town and find the Korean food that we're all craving.  Ahhh  I don't know how much more relaxation I can take!  I always need something to focus the attentions on...   ahh bikes.  fast.  fast at bikes.  

Soon we'll be off on our trip and it will be a whole new sort of relaxation.  Tomorrow we are going to whittle our posessions down even more and start stuffing things in our bags.  

Which three kits will I take? 

Sock choices:  DiNO Series woolie boolies, Capo black & white high socks, the black ones with the rose from the cross race in michigan, the pearl high woolies, the 7-up socks...

Oh must think of a new blog name for D and I.  Forthcoming.

6.8.09

Greetings from Boulder, CO.....

There are very steep mountains here and I go very slowly up them.

More later kthxbai!

3.8.09

Good Job at Elk Grove!

Congrats to Pascale Petro from Project Five for winning the 3/4 race at Elk Grove!  Can you say peak?  Wow.  This lady is smart and unstoppable.  Amy Stauffer was 2nd, Siobhan Jones finished 3rd.  Fine Chicago women Jannette Rho of Bouledogue Tout Noir and Leah Sanda of Flatlandia finished 4th and 5th.  AWESOME.  I'm curious as to whether Pascale will cat up soon?  And Jannette and Leah?  

The great thing about this is that R. F. from Vanderbitchen came in 8th.  Ouch.

AAAAAAnd we all know that B.Chan and I could have taken ALL of them.  
Just kidding... really!  Good job!
........

Meanwhile, we are moving out.  I packed up my Eastons.  Our stuff is loaded up on the front porch of the thrift shop on Elm Street (well, not the Eastons).  Dan and I have moved into Susan's place for the next two weeks; the bed is so big that I forgot he was in it last night and kicked my leg out really hard---perfect for an anti-snuggler like D.Penn.  It's a posh lifestyle we're living right now--no bike parts popping out of my morning oatmeal or fluffy cat hair on my bath towel (SURPRISE! I gave Ollie a bath!).  I thought I didn't have much stuff, but it keeps appearing.  Moving sucks.  More moving today after work though...

Mountain biking yesterday!  YA!  Nick and I drove out to Kickapoo and met Gene and Don there.  Birkenstock didn't show up at the Shire, which was good because we didn't have room for him or his bike.  No one knew Jason's phone # (he thinks we use cell phones here!).  Nick and I were happy to see Gene and Don and we hit the trail when Larry also didn't show up.  Kickapoo is hard!  But so fun.  The blackberries were are coming in and the trail was dry.  Wish I would be here for the race at the end of August.

BTW Axel and Becky left on Friday.  Not sure what their plans are exactly.  Baiiiiiiiiiiiii!  I kind of miss them already.  Good thing we got an overdose of each other during Superweek!

Dan and I are going to start a blog about our trip.  We're leaving the 16th of August.  I'm so excited!  

31.7.09

..and finally...SUPERWEEK! wrap up

To sum:  Superweek was hard.  

We lined up at the Evanston crit with about 33 other girls.  The course was technical, with a few fast and scary corners.  I remember finding myself slip back into the back of the pack and kind of panicking about how to move up.  I attacked into the BK pileup corner, but to no avail.  The group stayed together the entire race, and i finished 17th in a group sprint.  Yuck.  After this race I was fairly discouraged, but I soon identified the problems:  I had no idea how to ride in a pack of more than 10, I wasted too much energy, and I simply wasn't strong enough to outride the entire field!  Evanston was heartbreaking, but it was real bike racing!  Better luck the next day (this became the slogan of the week.)  

The next race was in a park, with a slight uphill toward the finish.  Again, the pack stayed together for the entire race.  A couple of breakaways were attempted, but nothing stuck.  In this race, I tried to tuck in and not waste a ton of energy, except when chasing down a couple girls for an attempted 3-man break.  I finished 7th in the group sprint...better (in the money!).  

The next day...... what was the next day?  I can't remember!  We drove up to Milwaukee and stayed with M.J., the woman with whom Alex stayed with during Superweek last year.  She was awesome, and we really made ourselves at home.  We slept in the basement, watched the Tour on a projection screen, and cooked our own meals in the kitchen.  Perfect.  

The road race!  My favorite!  It was a 5 mile loop and we did 4 laps.  There was hill at the beginning, a screaming downhill, a serious bottleneck in the road, another hill, and a downhill with a tailwind to the finish.  Lucky for us, it started raining as soon as the race started.  It was a misty sprinkling rain, and sure enough, at the top of the screaming downhill a woman crashed in front of me and I (sitting 3rd wheel) rode into the curb to avoid her crash.  My tubular flatted and I waved to the SRAM guy, who quickly put a hot Zipp wheel in there and pushed me off.  I took it easy on the downhill because it was scary and lost some time.  I chased.  I thought about quitting, but then remembered that toward the end of the week I might stand a chance in the GC is I finished the races.  I kept going..time trialled for 3 laps.  I thought it was the last lap, and I saw myself closing in on the peloton as they rode through the finish.  They kept going!  I chased them up the hill, and at the top, pulled up next to B.Chan and said "hoiii!" and she looked at me like "where did u come from!!??"  (Actually I wanted to say HOIII but i probably just breathed hard and said "uh...finally").  Caught them on the last lap.  I sat in and then attacked on the uphill.  On the downhill toward the finish, we had a small break going, but we got caught.  I finished 14 I think that day.  Decent for getting dropped.  By the way, people say the dumbest things to dropped riders!  "Just another fun group ride!" and "Oh...uh...that girl isn't giving up...Hmm.."  Yeah well, ha!

Racine:  Technical, flat, 8 corner kit.  Fun!  I broke away....had a gap...stayed away 5 laps, but WAY TOO EARLY!!!!!!!  Would have won that race had I done that later (maybe).  I had a lot of fun--it was better than riding around in circles and sprinting at the end.  I finished 9th I think.  In the money!

Kenosha:  Four corner crit.  I couldn't do much.  Wanted to break away with 4 to go, but missed it.  Booo...finished 9th again.  

Another race:  This was my favorite (because I did well?) !  It was in a park.  On the second lap, a  girl (fresh, hadn't raced all week) broke away and actually stayed away.  I soon chased her down with Margaret from Utah Ski.  A teammate of the flier went with us and seriously slowed us down.  There was a semi-steep hill that I attacked up.  I attacked the two women who I was working with, and dropped them for a bit, but they caught me and chewed me out a bit.  Margaret didn't realize that the other girl was the flier's teammate!  We only dropped her on the last second to last lap.  I made the mistake of trying to attack up the hill the last lap and pulling for the whole time, finishing 3rd.  My only podium...whewwww.  This race brought my spirits up a bit!

I finished 10th in the last race, and ended up 4th in the GC for category 3/4.  I was disappointed at how I did in a lot of races, but I guess 4th is pretty good!  A woman from FLorida got 1st, Pascale Petro from Project 5 took 2nd, Rae from California took 3rd.  

The week was great because I learned a lot about bike racing!  I'm not ready to be a Cat. 2 yet--must learn how to ride my bike better first!  A few things I noticed are that a lot of races end in a group sprint, and I hate that.  I have to work to get myself out of that situation.  Also, I have to save more energy, but I never want to be one of those racers that sits in the entire time.  Boring.  A real lame way to bike race.  There was a team from California that brought 5 or 6 girls but never played any moves!  Never sent a flier, rarely chased, never did well in a sprint or even led anyone out....  what's with that?  So much wasted potential....mind boggling.  All in all a hard week of racing because there were lots of strong girls.  

And I think this is the end of my road season.  Dan and I head out on our trip on the 16th, and we are getting everything ready and moving out of our apartment now.  SO excited!!!  And BAAAIIIIII to Axel and Becky who left today!
 

18.7.09

Lucky Sunglasses!

On Friday morning I realized that my sunglasses had fallen out of my pocket during my Thursday night ride. On Friday morning, A.Miles and I rode back the way I went and found them in the road! So lucky!!

Wish us luck as Superweek. 3/4 Overall starts tomorrow at the Evanston Grand Prix!!!

14.7.09

Tour de Champaign Day 2: FASTGRRRLZ GET VICIOUS

Not gonna lie: I was out for blood on Sunday.

It was a small field that lined up on Sunday morning, but a certain person who had finished in a certain place that they didn't deserve happened to stick around for a second day of racing. And proceeded to talk sh*t about "those b*tches from Wild Card" on the line as I was standing directly next to her. Whoa bear, whoa. What a Nasty Girl.

The race was actually kind of boring. None of our attacks really stuck. Nasty Girl was dropped. I wasn't feeling so hot to trot, but I was really excited when I saw Claire T. still in the main pack when we had 3 to go (keep your eye out for her in the coming seasons!). We came down to the last corner, and I was in pretty good positioning. A.Miles had so kindly blocked going into the last part of the last lap. And I just sorta gunned it. I remember thinking I might have gone a little too early, and couldn't tell where Vanderkitten was, so I just plowed through the line instead of throwing up the classic V arms (Varms?). I'll take looking like an amateur at the line over looking like an idiot and getting pipped a few meters short any day.

We started the Women's Open with another tiny field. The pack rolled around pretty slowly for a lap or two until there was a prime. I had no intention of going for any primes. Nor did I have any business doing so as my goal for this race was simply to hang on. But as we came into the straight away Nasty Girl began to go for it with probably about 100 meters to go. I could see her getting ready for it, and no one else really moving. This is incredibly unsportsmanlike, and I promise never to do it again, but I rode right up on Nasty Girl's left as she began to sprint for the line, turned my head to give her the B.Chan I VILL CRUSH YOUR SOUL look and then stepped on it to win the prime. Nananananana!

So shallow and pedantic. And yet so gratifying.

My hubris ultimately led to my demise in this race as the field attacked over the top of the first prime and the race blew up from there. I did lap nasty girl twice, however, before I cramped hard core and ended up pedaling around by myself for the last 15 minutes of the race. Not how I wanted my first Pro/1/2/3 race to go, but I should have been expecting as much seeing as I puked up my heed and soy protein after the first race of the day.

All in all a REALLY fun weekend. It was great seeing all the locals come out and hopefully enjoy the atmosphere at bike races as much as I do. And after learning that the pro women who showed up are more than 25 years older than me and still kicking ass, I am PUMPED for my career as a cyclist. Time to find a good team in Philly, so if anyone has any suggestions, lemme know.

So now I begin peak period in preparation for the last legs of my racing season in the Midwest. Axel is off to Superweek, I almost got hit by stupid SUV drivers on their cell phones twice on my way home today, I did the TT in seymour and dropped some time, and I joined twitter.

Until next time....

Champaign Criterium!

Oh what a fabulous weekend!  4 races in 26 hours...whooo

Saturday was rainy.  I feel as though all of you were present, so there's no need to go into great detail.  It began raining in the beginning of the 4's race and poured and made the conditions hella slick.  It dried a bit by the time ten 3/4 chicks lined up and then began drizzling about halfway through.  I think that's how the weather went anyhow..

B.Chan attacked on the first lap.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING GIRL!!?!?!? I followed and we dropped some people.  Sometime after that, I attacked and she blocked.  She did an amazing job because soon I lapped the stragglers and was in sight of the field again.  I went hard at first, but Becky was blocking so well that I didn't work too terribly hard to keep my position...it was like a 20 minute interval.  I smiled a few times and heard Larry shout from the corner "SHOW THOSE MEN HOW TO RACE!"  haha !  It was fun.  There were so many spectators!  My fam was there and people I recognized from the shop and from the community.  What fun.

SO the f*cked up thing is that the girl I lapped got 2nd place.  She was dropped right at the beginning, and then I pulled her back up to the field.  This may be true, but I have a fairly good recollection that I completely lapped her AND the field lapped her, and THEN she got on my wheel.  I was going hard enough that my memory might not be correct, so I don't know...  in any case, she got second.  She stayed glued to my wheel for so many laps and did no work.  I admire how well she drafts; I get scared to stay on someone's wheel on the slick corners.  But she really did it...wow, what talent.  At the finish line she was heard saying I feel bad for her (me)--she time trialed me the whole time and I came in first!  Um, ok.  

Some of the women were a little upset about the officials' decision.  All I have to say is that this young woman was dropped on the first three laps of every race she entered so unless this is a racing strategy it might be in her best interest to train.  

I missed the jump in the 1/2/3 race and Trish took off.  I wanted to stay on her wheel, but instead another woman and I  chased her around.  We didn't gain much ground I don't think, and on the last lap I made sure that I didn't pull through the windy section, that I was first into the last corner, and I sprinted for second.  I still don't know if the third place woman let me take second or if I actually beat her with my sprint.  I hope for the latter. 

Saturday was a good day!  While we were racing, Dan's and my parents were hanging out for the first time, and that evening we had a cookout at the Penners.  The parents get along :-) and seemed to enjoy themselves.

Sunday... the course had a few hills and it was impossible to get away.  Becky and I attacked so many times, but were unable to lose the pack.  A strong Vanderkitten girl showed up and made it pretty fun: she attacked on the hills and caught me every time I attacked her.  Unfortunately she was pretty unfriendly and after the race when I tried to talk to her she ignored me.  On the last lap, Becky was pulling through the back side and I got in front so she could get my wheel.  I pulled her and the pack up the last hill, and she took off through the corner, sprinting to the V with the Vanderbitchin girl close behind.  Gina Champion of Team Mack took third (and she told me she couldn't sprint!)  Looking back, I wish I had sprinted out of the corner and taken third, but I was just so happy that B.Chan won, that I didn't care too much at the time.  Besides, Gina is going for the IL cup so she can use the points!

The 1/2/3 race was next.  There was a preme in the first few laps and I planned to attack right after it...but when B.CHan sprinted for it, everyone else did, and they were in front of me and I missed the jump.  Texas Roadhouse took off, as pros often do, and B.CHan, the purple kit chick, and I made a chase group.  Again I missed the jump.  MUST WORK ON THIS.  We could have gained more ground, but one of our women wasn't taking strong enough pulls.  B.CHan and I were becoming frustrated.  We attacked the leech girl from Saturday so she wouldn't get our wheel, and then we heard the pace car.  Texas Roadhouse was lapping us, so I jumped on her wheel.  I was nervous that maybe she would be pissed, but I figured that since she was a pro she could drop me anytime she wanted.  She didn't drop me, so I hung on.  I pulled her up the hill on the 3rd side and she seemed to appreciate it some (she said thanks) and kept on her wheel for a few laps.  She had 45 seconds on 2 and 3, so I wasn't too far behind them.  Then I lost her wheel.  I was going so hard that I could feel every muscle fiber in my legs.  I ate a goo and it got all over my face yuck..  I came in 4th.  Had I not missed the jump, I could have done so much better!  If I could stay with TR for that many laps, I could have definitely chased her with two other people.  It was awesome though to just ride behind someone so fast and think that someday I can be like that too....  

All in all it was a great weekend.  Having the crazy bike shop regulars at the races was hilarious!  Do you know that guy????? Well...yeah, he comes into the shop..he's harmless....    Having my family there was fun too.  And racing 4 times in a weekend was epic for me and a great way to jumpstart my peak!  Now after a rest day I feel ready to break a record at the tuesday night Time Trail !  Now I'll let b.Chan give her account of the weekend:

13.7.09

Champaign Crit: Day 1: FASTGRRRLZ ADOPT NEW RACE STRATEGY

***WARNING***
The following blogpost is based solely on B.Chan's interpretation of Saturday's events.
It contains unsportsmanlike language;
Those easily offended need not read further.

Day 1 was fun-- we threw the regular attacks, waiting for one to stick and finally A.Miles got away. And boyyyy did she get away :) We basically played the same game but in opposite positions as Proctor. And blocking, although not as glorified as the break, is actually kind of fun. Especially when you are commanding the break. I would just sit in and chase movesif it looked like any girl was going to try to get away and occasionally heat things up to test who was tired and willing to chase and who was done for.

And then it began to rain. My original plan was to attack somewhere between 4 and 3 laps to go. I think I went at about 3 and gained some ground, but I could feel my back wheel slip out just a little bit more every time I went around a corner. Scary stuff. I slowed up and the chase was able to catch me. With two laps to go things got very, very confusing. Anona came around to lap the chase, also toting two girls, somewhere around the last turn. My immediate instinct was to chase her, but when I saw the girls she was toting with her, I was fairly certain the group I was in had already lapped these girls. No one else in the chase made any effort to jump so I stayed with them. We approach the last straight away and I see a girl in the group get out of her pedals. I'm not sure at this point if we have 1 lap to go still and she's attacking or if this is the last lap and she's sprinting for the finish. So I sped things up to stay with her. Before I knew it I was sliding through turn 1. Wanting to make sure I had clinched 2nd, I pick my bike up, jump back on and finish 1 last lap.

And this is where things got really screwy. Apparently I was not 2nd, as I thought, but 4th. According to the officials, the two girls on Anona's wheel had not been lapped by the chase, but instead had used her to blow past us. I have serious, serious doubts as to whether this was actually how the race went down. But if that's what really happened, then that's just tough sh*t and I should have known better.

But what made me the angriest about the whole situation was the incredibly disrespectful and unprofessional manner in which the officials handled the situation. Before the girl who actually should have gotten 4th place and I even made it to the MC stand, the officials snapped "You're wrong!" and told us to check our rule books. They refused to listen to our side of the story and kept demanding that we take out our rulebooks and reference the rules. (I'm sorry, but I don't carry my official copy of the USA cycling rulebook on my person at all times. It's so not aero.) One of the officials, who I doubt could even physically get ON a bike, kept reading the same ambiguous "rule" outloud. The icing on the cake of course was that due to a tacky manicure, this very same official could barely turn the pages of her own rule book. However, after being read several rules, tinted by by the officials' interpretations (which are, of course, correct because officials "go to official cycling referee camp in Colorado and take tests") I learned that had I sprinted down that last straight away and won the sprint I would have won the race. Riiiiiight.

This new and improved race strategy will certainly get me far at Evanston next weekend.


Anyways, in typical Stanley manner I rolled home to patch myself up from the crash and fume about the potential upgrade points I will not be receiving. I didn't race the women's open, and quite honestly, I don't regret that decision. Instead I rode back on the tandem with A.Dillon's brother, Andrew, and amazingly, I didn't kill us. After that it was delightful dinner with A.Dillon's family at Crane Alley, and then I crashed the Verizon Wireless team dinner (woops...)

9.7.09


What a night for B.Chan and Axel !  In addition to the Pringles, Becky and Axel were spotted buying Barbara's all natural fig bars, which are a delicious alternative to hydrogenated-oil laced Fig Newtons.  With these on hand, I am skeptical as to how bad the wait at Shnucks really was.  

My friend sent me this link--check it out:
Apparently, farmers in Japan are creating huge murals in their fields by planting different colored rice plants. It's kind of cool.
.....

I am selling my fixie (minus the wheels). If you are interested, get in touch with me and I'll tell you about it. This photo is above; I don't know how to put it where I want it (that's what she said). 
.....

The Tour is under way and it's pumping me up for bike riding in general. I'm easily excited... The sprint is the most thrilling part, but the climbing is really where it's at for me. I just finished reading Tim KrabbĂ©'s The Rider and I'm nostalgic for the days when riders drilled holes in their bikes to save weight and when they climbed mountain passes that were closed to vehicular traffic due to snowfall.  
......

If anyone has seen a small white with black spots kitty that answers to the name "Cosette" let me know. A woman has been outside calling to her for the last couple of days :-(



New Old Saddle and Other Sundries....

It was raining last night, so instead of going on the Wednesday night ride I switched my saddle out for a Selle San Marco I've had lying around or a while. This might have been a very foolish thing to do two days before a race, as I quite enjoyed the position of my old saddle, but I was bored and the rain showed no signs of slowing up. After meticulous measurements (ask Nick-- I had the T-Square out and everything!), and electrical tape to mark the old positions I installed the new old saddle . Took it for a ride this morning and voila! not too shabby. Ahhhhh, Wednesday nights with B.Chan...

The evening got a little more interesting after Axel got home. He decided to take a ride to the food co-op and I decided to join him. Riding across town in the rain was a rather unpleasant experience and I was pretty grumpy by the time we got there. My grumpiness escalated when my bike lock jammed. Axel, however, is quite handy and was able to get it open allowing me to safely lock the fuji up and go inside. I probably should have taken this as a warning sign NOT to keep using the lock, but I continued to do so at Schnucks, the second destination of the evening. Unfortunately, what was intended to be an in-and-out peanut butter and beer run turned into quite the snafu: 1 broken key, my precious fuji locked to the bike rack, Axel riding home to fetch a spare key and the car, and me sitting on a bench drowning my sorrows in pringles (side note: I really must put an end to this salt kick I'm on). Things got even worse when the SPARE KEY BROKE BEFORE WE EVEN GOT TO THE BIKE RACK. So, back once more to the Shire to find the "master" key and then back to Schnucks. Fortunately, the third key worked with some finagling and I was able to toss my bike in the back seat of the car and go home.

So today I get to try out an On Guard BRUTE. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

In other news, J.Cole was in town earlier this week, and I was able to catch up with her and Miz Moon over some home cookin' at the Apple Dumpling in Urbana. Good pickles at the salad bar, good rolls and a marvelous apple dumpling. It was good to hear that Morgan is back on her bike (watch out for her at the Chicago Crit!!) and Jess had an awesome time in Israel and is loving San Francisco. The plan was to hit the Blind Pig later that evening, but it started raining (again- ggrr!) and so plans sort of fizzled. Which means I STILL owe J.Cole quite a few beers. Hrrm, I suppose this means I'll have to start saving my frequent flyer miles for a ticket to Cali....

Alright, time to get some real work done.

See you all at the Champaign Crit!

6.7.09

One week till the Champaign Crit!

Hoy!

Yesterday was the muddiest of muddy mud mud mountain bike race ever.  Well, maybe not, but it was the first time I'd ridden in mud!  SO FUN !!!  It was a successful day.  Nick finished 8th in the Cat 1 race, E.Mart finished well (can't remember, but check his blog), Dan finished fairly well on Nick's single speed without dying or getting bloodied up, and I took 1st in the women's Cat 2 race.  

Pre-riding the first part of the trail scared the sh*t out of me, and then I got a big glop of mud in my eye.  At the start though, it was a lot easier.  I passed the first place woman in my category and followed the Cat. 1 women and tried to stay on their tail for as long as I could.  There were lots of messy spots where riders had to dismount because of too-thick mud or rider pile-ups.  I found my bike a lot easier to control than previous rides, probably because I'm getting used to it.  It didn't go the opposite direction when I tried to steer it one way, so that was an advancement.  I got going fast on the second half of the trail, and cleared a log that sent me flying into the air screaming.  I said to myself "Ok A.miles, you're getting it!" only to flip over my handlebars on the next log!  That hurt, and I found myself trapped under my HUGE bike in the middle of the trail.  I felt like the thing was too heavy to move, and then I realized it was just a bike, pushed it aside, and hopped back on.. Oh!  Then the first lap was over and it was time for the second.  I hadn't seen the second place woman in a while, so I didn't kill myself trying to go fast.  Maybe next time I will and see if I get a better lap time?  I had dropped my waterbottle 5 minutes into the race, and had neglected E.Mart's advice to put one in the feed zone, so I was happy we only had two laps.  The second lap was fairly uneventful, and I rolled into the finish only 10 seconds ahead of second place.  'Twas a fun race.  I have a huge bruise on my left quad that hurts when I walk, but 'tis only a bruise.  Last night I was dehydrated and grumpy and went to bed early when everyone was grilling and shooting off fireworks and drinking.  Ugh...   

One week until the Champaign Criterium(s) and I am pre-registered.  Woot !

My sister received as a birthday present a 2002 Litespeed (aluminum and titanium/carbon stays) with Campy Centaur and speedplays.  It was a combined gift from her b/f and my parents; a good deal on craigslist.  Not a bad first road bike!  

4.7.09

Oh sad, it's supposed to rain all day...  Sad sad sad.  

Yesterday I did some lackluster 5 minute intervals...uhh...  I was looking forward to some pain and suffering today.  I guess the rain only adds to the pain and suffering...we'll see how easy it is to convince friends/teammates/roommates to join me...

Lonnie finished my tattoo Thursday night.  Torture for over 4 hours... uhhh  never getting another tattoo, it hurt so bad.  But it looks great!  I love it !

Yesterday Dan and I saw Transformers, which was the worst movie ever, and then Up, which was the cutest movie ever.  I highly recommend Up !  I'm a sucker for heart warming animation I guess; I cried numerous times.

The girl who hit me with her car last week now thinks that "maybe I did hit her" and she is going to take the holiday weekend to find out how she can "protect herself".  Okay, that's fine.  I gave her the opportunity to just pay for the damages after she made it clear that she did not want me to file an insurance claim, and she has suddenly changed her mind.  Silly girl, making it so much more difficult.  She'll get what she deserves for hitting a cyclist.  HA.

This week, the fastgrrlz get cold hearted, with B.Chan slashing tires and A.Miles zorring stupid drivers ! 

1.7.09

Prcotor Recap + 20 Minute Intervals

Ugh.. this is so late.... So A. Miles pretty much summed up Proctor. Having gotten my Cat 3 upgrade on Wednesday I was pretty afraid of getting spit right out the back on the first lap. Rolling to the line I was nervous but not butterfly-puking-up-my breakfast-legs-feel-like-dead-weight nervous. As we rolled off the start line at the beginning of the race I did a good Noob job of missing my pedal and nailing myself with the top tube. Way to go, Chan.

I attacked early on, not thinking it would stick, and a girl from Proctor went with me. We worked together and our efforts combined with Anona blocking for me in the field allowed us to open up a sizeable gap. I went 2nd and Vanessa, the Proctor girl, took the State Championship Jersey.

Initially I was pretty happy with how the day went, but now that I've had a few days to stew there are a couple things that I learned, mostly having to do with being a Noob Cat 3.

Always bring food. Prior to the race I thought to myself, "How could I possibly use a whole bottle of HEED AND need a clif shot for a 30 minute race?" Um, yeah, needed it. Vanessa was nice enough to hand me a couple shot blocks. Otherwise who knows what might have happened....

Always race with confidence.
I've been in a couple breaks in races this year now, and I still have yet to learn that I CAN put in the effort to stay away. I was scared in that break. Scared of getting caught, scared of getting dropped. Scared of the last lap of the race. I shouldn't have been. I did my fair share of pulls and stuck it out, so obviously I can handle it. Ugh, I just keep thinking about how that race could have gone differently had I screwed my head back on and raced with gusto.

Racing with teammates is FUN. Okay, I'm not just saying this because A.Miles did an awesome job of blocking for me. (And I still can't thank her enough!!!) But seriously, I think the biggest different in my training and riding this year is training, racing and living with cycling teammates/roommates/friends. It's like a built in motivation system before, during and after races. I love it.

Bottom line: I got 2nd and there's nothing I can do about it now. Lesson(s) learned. Well B.Chan, it's time to put the big GRRRL pants on and race like a Cat 3.

In other news: I'm getting stronger. I've been doing 20 minute intervals which I hate hate hate but seem to be working. I set new 10, 20 and 30 minute power records this week with about a 15% increase, respectively. What a wattage nerd.

AND Last but not least, a public service announcement...

TO ANY AND ALL CYCLISTS (ESPECIALLY WOMEN) READING THIS BLOG: SIGN UP FOR THE CHAMPAIGN CRITERIUM OR I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND SLASH YOUR TIRES.

Seriously. Who needs StooperWeek, anyways?

kthxbai!

29.6.09

Proctor... HOYYY!!




Hoy!

Aw, no jersey ...  but a great race.  There were only 8 women at the start, which was alright; i think only 4 or 5 raced last year.  The weather was cooler and less humid and the gusty winds were picking up.  On the third lap (?) I threw an attack that didn't do much but make some girls breath harder.  Becky pulled our favorite textbook move and threw an attack immediately after, and was chased by Vanessa of Proctor Cycling.  Of course, my first instinct was to chase also, but then some little voice in my head told me to stay back and block.  It was difficult to actually hold back and do what I felt like was the right thing...!  I am usually way too sassy and try to outride the field, and while this might have worked in some 4s races, it's not the way to do things.  I stayed back and slowed the field down.  They were getting frustrated and only two women (Pascale of Project 5 and someone else) were doing the work.  I got on the front when they tried to push the pace, and this went on for a few laps.  The announcer even said that I was "relaxing" on the front.  

Soon we lost sight of Becky and Vanessa and I threw an attack on the windy back stretch.  I think I dropped everyone except two other women, and then attacked again on the uphill and was alone.  (It might have been three attacks; I can't remember..I'm pretty sure it happened in one lap.)  

So now I was solo trying to catch up on their 35 (?) second gap.  It was about time too; the fans at the Roly Poly sandwich place on the backstretch had been heckling us saying "You gonna settle for third!???"  I kept gaining on them, and at one point I think I heard there was a 17 second gap, and then maybe 15 seconds.  I only found out later that Becky didn't know I was alone--she thought it was the whole chase group.  Had she known, she could have slowed down and maybe we could have taken Vanessa.  I went as hard as I could, but never caught them.

This whole race was so fun for me though--I felt really "in flow" and couldn't stop imagining Becky sprinting across the finish line and getting that jersey!  Nevertheless, Vanessa won her hometown race.  She's got some pretty impressive results too, especially after three years off!!! Good job girls...  this was a fun fun fun race.

NOW practicing jumps & sprints.  What if it's ME sprinting for the finish next time?  And, if I have a good JUMP to begin with, everything will be that much easier!

26.6.09

"I didn't hit her--she hit me!!!!"

um yeah..

So Alex and I were going out for a ride after work, and one block from our house I got hit by a car.  The woman in the car went into the left lane to pass us and turned right into me.  I was knocked to the pavement, livid & stunned, and immediately started yelling at the lady.  Luckily I only have small scrapes on my elbow, ankle, and upper thigh.  My bike isn't damaged too badly either--new bar tape, left hood, left crank arm, saddle, and it should be like it was before.  The frame is a bit dinged, but it seems to be fine structurally.  

Axel was still on his bike, and he chased her when she started driving away.  She pulled into her (?) driveway a few feet away and yelled "I didn't hit her! She hit me!".  I was walking toward her swearing like crazy... and when I got there she had realized that the accident was her fault.  She was way more shaken than either of us were, and she apologized profusely and gave me a million hugs.  She had just misjudged her turn.  Ugh.  How can you drive straight into a person on a bicycle?  In a quiet residential neighborhood?  I got her info while Alex checked my bike thoroughly, and then we left.  Tomorrow I'll go to the police station and fill out a report, and then get an estimate of the damages.  

We did get a nice ride in!  I need to practice sprinting.  Push a harder gear and stay out of the saddle longer.  So hard..

The funny thing about this crash is that it was almost a year ago today that I ran a stop sign and rode into a car on Philo road.  Del found me in the middle of the road and called an ambulance and went to the hospital with me.  He even knew the driver of the vehicle.  That crash was the turning point for me: after it I began working at the shop, began racing, started dating Dan and became friends with the whole crew I live with now.  It turned out great :-)  So today, Del came into the shop AND the guy who I ran into came in!  It's the first time I've seen him since the crash, and the first time Del had seen him too.  Weird?  Yaa..
Well, I got me a 3's upgrade a couple nights ago. Proctor is going to be so much fun!

24.6.09

Winghaven

Nice posts B.Chan.  We are generally slacking on this blog... o well..

So Winghaven!  Women's open.  I was nervous as hell and made the mistake of eating a free sample energy bar yuck.  It was also hot that day, very hot.  

There were 32 women on the start, among them a few 4s whom I had raced against before, and Team Revolution women, Mercy cycling, The Hub... there were some strong women on the line.  The first couple of laps, I felt hot and I was freaking out around the roundabouts and the really fast corner after the downhill.  (Weakness: cornering!).  I tried to stay on the wheels of the really strong riders, and didn't have much trouble.  There were a couple of attacks from Mercy cycling, but nothing stuck.  I wasted some energy catching the group on the uphill after the fast corner, but never got dropped.  Apparently we dropped half of the field on the first or second lap.  There were a couple of points where I would have loved to attack, but held back because I knew I was racing against Cat 1's and had no teammates.  I really wanted to stick to my goal of the race, which was to just feel out what it was like to be in a decent sized field of fast and experienced women, to finish with the main group, to ride smart and not be afraid of the technical stuff, and to finish in the money.  I pulled the group for a bit on the third to last lap on the uphill section at the back--no problem.  At the second to last lap, I was fourth wheel, and I wanted to keep the position, but lost it on the downhill because I was a bit scared.  Then, on the uphill I sprinted up with the pack, and rolled into the finish 15th as the leaders really sprinted for the finish.  $2000, 15 deep and I finished in the money!  Also, I pedaled through most of the roundabouts.  It was a good race.  I didn't go all out, mainly because I'm not yet comfortable with racing my bike!  But I'll learn.  Each race gets smarter.  Now I'm all ready for Proctor and that Illinois jersey :-)  

AND it is hot outside.  

17.6.09

And I forgot to mention...

Axel RODE his bike from the Shire to my house in Skokie for my graduation party. That's a 9 hour bike ride. For Axel at least.... He's my favorite :)

Summer time....

Nice post, A.Miles!

It's been a while since I've posted anything here. I was silly to think that things would actually slow down for me over the summer. Well, they have a little bit, but I still find ways to keep it real.

The past couple attempts at racing have been turbulent to say the least. I took a weekend off to get rid of the post-memorial day weekend hack. I got rained/exited/caked out of Winfield(I say "rained" due to the fact that it was pouring; "exited' due to the fact that the exit I was supposed to take on the way to Winfield was closed, causing me to arrive 20 minutes prior to start time; "caked" due to the fact that I attended my own double birthday/double graduation party in Skokie the day before the race; and then there's the fact that I forgot my helmet-- it just wouldn't have gone well...).

So I was pretty revved up for Sherman Park. Anona already filled y'all in on how that went... But in case you missed that post, I flatted with 1 lap to go. I don't think I've been that angry/upset while riding a bike, in a long time. Maybe ever. I was definitely feeling the flow up until that point; I didn't even realize how much time had elapsed until I heard someone shout "4 lap to go!". Ugh. In retrospect I am embarassed by my own behavior, so I apologize to any course martial who might have seen me sitting in the mud on the side of the course fuming while the race finished without me. That's bike racing, B.Chan. Deal with it.

St. Genieve went a little better. Felt okay, wasn't feeling it as much as the day before, but I finished at least. 2nd Place-- good for some upgrade points. Really nice course. (Though I still like crits the best!!!) Got me a medal. Then had to give it back.

Major major thanks to EMart's Dad. And Sidney.

This week I've gotten a couple good workouts in. Missed the Wednesday night ride by about 2 minutes, but there's always next week to get dropped. And now I'm leaving for Philly in 5 hours so I can get me and Axel an apartment. I'm sad that I'm missing Cobb Park and Winghaven, but what's a girl to do?

There are some really great races coming up. Cross your fingers for my Cat 3 upgrade...but if not, I'll be mixing it up in the 4's for a couple more weeks. Bwahaha!

p.s. What has our good old anonymous poster been up to these days? We even took comment moderation off because we missed you so....

Weekday off !












 
It's the first weekday I've had off in a while.  Working during the week is no big deal; I've been happy to get nearly every weekend off for racing.  It is nice though to have a Wednesday where I can sleep in until 8 and not worry about whether I'll be able to leave work early for the Wed. Night Fights.  (On tonight's ride, my goal is to be steady, anticipate attacks, position myself well, and to definitely not bonk before we even start going fast....)

Dan, Axel and I need a ride to Winghaven on Sunday.  Now our best option seems to be car rental.  If anyone can help us, holler!

Yesterday I did pyramid intervals.  Hard workout.  It's the first time I've done them for a while, and my power is considerably better than during my last Build 1 period.  Must do more of these, however.  Must get fast.  Also I will be trying a new sprint workout.  New as in I have never tried a sprint workout.  This, I hope, will help to eliminate the confusion I feel as we approach the finish line in a criterium and the women around me stand and begin throwing their bicycles.  

My mom and Grandma are visiting today.  We might go to Seven Saints; it would be nice to sit outside and my grandma can order some kind of meat there.  She does not understand this only vegetable business.  Speaking of, I have been eating quite a few eggs lately.  This is partially because I have been too busy to choose to soak beans in the morning, and thus eggs are a quick alternative.  Also, they are delicious.  Next I will mix raw eggs with oatmeal, carrots and a malt beverage and drink this daily like the old men in Ecuadorian markets.  Here's to brute strength!

My new tattoos is based upon the above foto.  Now it is only an outline, and Lonnie has to finish with the black and white shading.  I like it a lot.  It is huge.  

The fotos at the top are B.Chan at Quad Cities, me at Snake, and the podium at Quad Cities.  There are more fotos for these races here--I think there is a good one of Nick Hand at Sainte Genevieve  :-)


15.6.09

King of the Mountain

Le Tour de Sainte Genevieve & Sherman Park Criterium

Saturday morning was rainy and gross in Chicago when we pulled up to Sherman Park.  B.Chan and I were pretty nervous about riding in the rain.  My horrible B*ntrager Spe*d Lim*t brakes kept rubbing.  They don't center at all.  (The asterisks are in place so my future ebay bidder does not see negative reviews.... so sketchy am I..muahaha)  On the plus side, they are super light.  OOOh so light.  Anyway, we got to the start after Becky made a last minute wheel change to her clinchers.  Cat 4 women and Masters 30+ lined up together.  The race was scary; my first rainy race.  I was overly hesitant to grab anyone's wheel, save about four strong riders who didn't seem to be squirrelly.   Becky and I threw the usual attacks but didn't have much luck splitting the group up.  The race was a 4 sided non-cornered course...not too exciting, but at least fairly safe in the rain minus a lot of potholes.  I nearly got dropped from the group a couple of times and caught back on.  XXX was really strong and had packed the field, so it was difficult to do anything.  I lost track of time, but saw the card that said 1 lap to go, and got in position at the front of the pack.  I was sure that Becky was going to win this race as we were going along the back side of the course, because she had been looking strong and seemed to have perfect position.  As we turned the last "corner" I became confused because I found myself in a sprint.  The women next to me all reared up and went and so I did too; I fumbled across the line and threw my bike.  Where was B.Chan????  I saw her at the side of the course madder than ever, her face all red and eyes popping out...she had flatted on the last lap!  Never have I seen Becky so angry.  Somehow I came in third.  I collected my moneys and we left the 55 degree rainy Chicago weather and went South.  Good job XXX, you put on a good race, it's a fun and strong group of women....but I hate the weather.  Saint Louis, here we come!!!!

Saturday night we drove to STL with E.Mart to stay at his parents house and race Sunday in Sainte Genevieve for the Missouri State Road Race.  I had heard that the race was hilly and there was a King of Mountain prize so I was super excited.  My goal was to be King of the Mountain.  E.Mart officially wins the best host award, as we were well taken care of by his father, and the man of the house, Sidney.  After a magical breakfast of slow-cooked Steel Cut oats and a few rounds from the Gaggia, we were off to the races.  

I wasn't too nervous about this race.  The weather was nice and the course looked like fun.  I'm more used to riding in the humid hilly countryside than in the middle of a city park, so it was more familiar.  When I went to pin my number, I found that I had forgotten my jersey.  No skulls today...  I was going to wear my tie-dye shirt, and then Becky's quick-dry Illini shirt, but E.Mart borrowed a small Dogfish jersey for me.  I really want to have pockets for my gel flask, so this was good.  The deal was that I had to win the race because it was a men's cat 1 jersey :-)  We lined up with the masters 40+; there were about 20 women.  The race started out slow and easy.  I wanted to warm up, so I didn't push the pace.  I was waiting for the perfect place to attack.  After the first bigger hill, I waited until near the top where there was a false flat, when everyone around me was out of breath. and attacked.  It split the group up, and then it was just me, Becky, two masters women, and another one or two Cat 4 women.  A 40+ woman and I took turns pulling our group until we hit the big hills.  On the first big hill the group broke up and it was just me, the 40+ woman and Becky.  On the next big hill I thought we had dropped B.Chan, but when I looked back I saw her on there and got such a huge rush of adrenaline :-) Soon the King of the Mountain hill came up and it was just me and the master 40+ woman racing up it.  I thought our categories were going to be scored separately, but I sprinted up the hill anyway just in case.  At this point I was feeling great!!  I figured I had secured first place and was just enjoying the ride.  I crossed the finish, and Becky came in just after.  

We picked up our money and they gave us medals, but then they had to take them back because we are not Missouri residents...boooo....  Cristel Santiago took third and is the Missouri State Champion; she was fun to race with, and also pretty happy to get that jersey.  I got the KoM prize also, which was my goal :-)  

...and now the good news is that I catted up as of this morning!  Cat. 3 !!! Woot !

4.6.09

Yesterday I took another VO2 max test; I was curious to see if my training would affect the score.  It went up.  Woohoo!  Exercise physiology seems like a cool area of study.  You get to plug athletes into machines!

Yesterday's CSA was aaaaaawesome!  We got a bunch of turnips, radishes, two huge heads of lettuce, baby greens and asian greens... YUM.   Dan and I made a huge salad with balsamic vinaigrette and radishes and sprouts.  I cooked the radish greens and caramelized onions and we had that on top of polenta with fresh ground cornmeal that we got in the CSA share last week.  Tonight I am sitting down with a plate of turnip greens, roasted turnips & sweet potatoes, rice, peas, and caramelized onions.  And mustard.  Caramelized onions and mustard = new favorite condiments.  Bunny food is great.

Speaking of...radish greens are extremely tough.  They have a good flavor--a little bite, but not quite as much as a mustard green.  They take forever to chew though.  It's like eating meat.  What is the appropriate chewing time for a bite of steak?  Like...how do you know when to swallow it?  (TWSS...ugh)   .. judgmental food snob; sorry.  Turnips are so buttery.  

Tomorrow I'm heading to SO.IL. to ride bikes with my parents and their friends.  They do a ride from our house every year down to Cave in Rock, where they camp, and then ride back to Marion the next day.  It's a 70-80 mile trip each way.  The little trip couldn't fit better with my training plan--I'm back to base 1 to do some longer endurance rides and some more hills.  I look forward to racing the old men up the Eddyville Hill and being reaaaaaallly well fed at the cookout after the ride.  The best part is that my sister is going this year!  She's riding a friend's bike--a nice but older carbon Trek--and is going to use clipless pedals and everything.  I think it will be her longest ride ever :-)  and the first time we'll be riding together in a long time.  Yay !

1.6.09

O'Fallon RR & 1st MTN bike race!

Late Friday night, as I was perusing the Boltini drink menu and gagging at the Druber'tini (vodka, gin & kahlua), D.Penn & I decided via text message that we would drive down to the O'Fallon Grand Prix on Saturday.  I am super anxious to get more points to cat up and I wanted to try another road race...kind of revenge on my disappointment at Hillsboro.  

It was storming when we drove up, but the weather cleared and it was sunny the rest of the day.  There were 19 women at the line of the Cat 4 race.  When we got going, I took the lead and immediately tried to push the pace.  Everyone hung on of course, and I slowed it down and got off the front.  I tried attacking up a couple of hills but was caught every time.  I don't think I wanted to throw a great attack because I didn't want to ride alone the next 20 miles (best case scenario).  About halfway through the race it was me and Gina from Team Mack on the front, and we were talking and trying to plan an attack.  Nothing worked..  At the last 7 miles or so, Dogfish and some other women got on the front and tried to attack, which was great because Gina and I just got on their wheel.  I was worried at the point that the race was going to come to a sprint finish, so I was planning on attacking hard on the last big hill before the finish--I was fairly confident that this could work, but I'm sure other girls were planning it too.  Five miles to go Gina and I were on the front again and the girls behind us crashed.  I have no idea what happened, but I just shouted "GO!" to Gina and we got a huge gap.  I pulled her up the last big hill and she told me she wouldn't contest the sprint--she was happy with second if I didn't try and drop her.  So we rolled into the finish.  The girls who crashed were ok save a little road rash and a broken frame :-(        The course was really pretty--lots of turns.  Better than Hillsboro in my opinion.  At the awards they forgot to make a Cat 4 women #1 plaque so I walked away with some Raspberry Hammer gel instead.  It's more useful anyway !  Congrats also to Alexei who took 1st in his category.  Yeeee W-card!

Saturday night we got back and met up with some friends for a bbq and some pbrs ^_^ yumzorz   Mr. Penner was hella tired after bridging up to the winning break in his race, and I decided to go race mountain bikes the next day so we went to bed early.  Somehow the 6 hours of sleep felt like 10 hours, and I woke up Sunday morning refreshed :-)

Nick, Erik, and Nick's friend Dan and I left for Brown County Indiana at around 7:00.  When we got to the race I signed up for the Sport, or Cat 2 category and quickly got ready for the race.  My goal was to just have as much fun as I could.  At the start I was talking to the other women about how I was scared of getting lost in the woods and they assured me I'd be ok.  The start was awesome b/c they blew this big AAH-OOOOOOOH-GAAAA horn !  We climbed this hill on pavement to get to the trail.  It was a big hill and I passed almost everyone in my category and got up in the front behind a couple of Elite riders and I think the women who got first in Sport.  I hesitated to go too hard because I didn't want to be first on the trail.  Once on the trail the whole race was suuuuper fast.  I was scared silly going down hill, and tried to pass people going uphill.  I quickly learned the passing etiquette.  As I got going I did fall into a rhythm and got over my fear of speed a little bit.  I crashed into one tree, but it wasn't too bad.  The rocky areas were a little tricky.  Really, my favorite part was a long uphill climb that everyone complained about at the end!  We only did one lap, and I rolled out of the trees feeling awesome--it was so much fun!  As I came to the finish I heard my name and "2nd place!!"  Not too bad for my first race.  I came in about 30 seconds behind 1st place and an hour before the last woman in the field.  I am definitely going back for more mountain bike races.  I can't wait to get more confident in the technical stuff and also with going fast downhill.  

Successful & fun weekend :-)  Monday was a rest day and tomorrow it's back on the bike for some early morning cruisin'


29.5.09

No upgrade..

I didn't get the upgrade.  Honestly, I'm a weak candidate for it I guess.  I've only placed well in 2 USCF races, giving me 9 points total.

O'Fallon road race for me. Feeling the pressing need to start winning races.

The tricky thing is there are seldom enough women to get enough points ugh   this is so annoying.  

27.5.09


Nice wrap-up B.Chan!

I've been doing some stalking, and I'm astonished at the detail of some people's race reports.  How do people remember which lap they are on and what their position was?  This tells me that I need to pay more attention.  

Working together at the Quad Cities race was awesome.  We did a great job of shutting down Ms. Sarah Huang pretty early on.  Too bad we didn't remember that Maura was in the race: I think we could have caught her had we anticipated her attack earlier.  A good race anyhow...    Maura, 1st place, said our kits were a tad scary.  Agreed.

Back to the Wednesday night ride tonight.  We didn't make any effort to keep up with the guys after we turned out of Monticello toward Champaign.  Seasonal allergies make me feel like I have the lung capacity of a chain smoker, and I was hacking the whole ride out.  I guess I'll trade snow in for pollen any day though.  I'm excited to get back into Build 1 & 2 modes: longer rides (including endurance! My fave!) and working on my weaknesses.

Becky and I are each ranked number 1 in our zip codes.  Morgan: during your recovery, you can rest assured that you are still number 1 in Bement.  :-)


26.5.09

Memorial Day Weekend Wrap Up

Snake Alley: Technical difficulties resulted in me climbing two laps in my big ring. I was pissed. We'll leave it at that.

Melon City Crit: I was feeling a lot better. I was in the main group kinda tucked in, and trying to slow things up for A.Miles' attacks until there was a massive crash right in front of me. One girl slid out and there was a pile up from there. I ended up going over a curb, sliding sideways (but still upright!) down a grassy area, somehow re-aligned my bike and was able to grab onto a tree before tumbling down a ravine on the side of the course. I was pretty shaken, but I unclipped, turned my bike around and rode back onto the course. I rode a lap or two by myself, not sure of where I was race-wise. I got caught by what I guess was the chase group and we worked it a bit. At the last lap I attacked up the hill right after the speed bump and put in some room on the group. I was dying by the top of the hill and thought for sure I was a goner. But I put in one last hard effort and was able to maintain my gap for 8th. I wasn't happy with my placement, but I was really glad my off-road experience didn't end with me lying at the bottom of that ravine. Apparently I am ready for CROSS season.

Quad City Crit: So let's face it-- I'm neither a climber, nor a masochist (although I think the former is really just a subgroup of the later) so I wasn't exactly looking forward to the first two races of the weekend. But Quad Cities is pancake flat and pretty technical so I was PUMPED for Monday's race. Anona went hard from the gun, but then slowed up on the back stretch when a certain small rider who is known for not working got on her wheel. Luckily, I was on said certain small person's wheel and attacked right when Anona eased up. I think between A.Miles' move and mine we managed to string the pack out most effectively. I can't remember the order of events after this, but I spent some time out by myself, then I was in a group of about 6 or so with Anona, and several other STRONG girls from Chicago. About half way through the race when Anona was at the front pulling into a corner she had to swerve to avoid a lollygaging racer that we were lapping. This broke the pack up and I attacked again, followed by Anona. We were together for a while, but I was gased at this point and A.Miles soloed off to try to catch Mesa. I spent about two laps by myself and then was caught by one rider from Cuttin Crew, L'Equipe Bouldogue Tout Noir, and Flatlandia respectively, with two laps to go. From my extensive blog and race result stalking I knew that the battle for third was going to be NUTS, but I really wanted to win the sprint. I got a good spot going into the second to last corner, took the outside line on the last corner and sprinted to the line. 3rd Place. Whooooo!

Bike racing is so much fun :)

24.5.09

SNAKE ALLEY !

I won !

Race report:  I went as hard as I could from the start and did not slow down.  No braking on the downhill.  There was a girl on my wheel for two laps, but I dropped her on the downhills.  After that...who knows?  I just rode as hard as I could.  I felt horrible at the top of the hill, but good on the downhill.  On the last lap, at the top of the snake, I shifted up and rode crazy fast on the downhill and thought to myself "I'm going to win Snake Alley!"  It was the best feeling ever.  On the flat part before the finish I was sure I had it...and then I crossed the finish line and wow...  my first win!

This was the race I've been training for and I wanted it so bad...  so it worked out perfectly.  :-)  I won a remote control snake too!  And a brick!  And some $$$  wooot

Last night Dan and I zoomed to a wedding in Bloomington, leaving us a bit tired this morning.  Melon City Crit did not go as well as I had hoped.  I finished 7th and B.Chan finished 8th.  The race is hard.  There is no time for recovery and attacks just didn't work.  The race was lively and I was in a pretty good place most of the time.B.Chan was on the front for a bit, and i tried to attack and get away, but there was no way around.  Jannette Rho and I got away toward the end of the race, but we just couldn't stay away.  I tried attacking on the first corner three times, and got a little gap, but was always caught on the uphill.  At one lap to go I was going to try to attack toward the end, and I felt good and optimistic but then....something DUMB happened.  An official pointed for everyone to move left (there was a crash and an ambulance, but I didn't see this at the time) and the girls in front of me all TURNED LEFT OFF THE COURSE.  I turned with them to avoid crash.  It was a so confusing, and I was pretty pissed at the official and at the girls in front..but that stuff happens, and its confusing.  Ugh.  So I was the last in my group of 7 to turn, so they got a few seconds on me and then I raced to catch them on the uphill, caught them, spent all my energy, and was useless in the sprint for finish.  Bummer.  Better luck tomorrow.  The girls who got 2nd and 3rd yesterday crashed and I really hope they are ok.  They were so fun !  

B.Chan will tell about her races too.

19.5.09

Monsters of the Midway !

I attacked at Monsters and it worked!  Woot!

Saturday morning Alex & I drove up to Chicago to race Monsters.  As we got into the city, it was drizzling and gray outside and I was worried about rainy slick conditions.  Right after we parked the car the sun started peeking out and it dried up.  I registered for the 3/4 race and felt a little regret as I watched the girls I normally would race with go off in the 4/5 race.  I thought that I was going to get my ass kicked....   There was a crash at the end of the 4/5 race though, and I was thankful to have avoided that.  Hope no one was hurt.  

I lined up with the rest of the women to race and felt pretty good.  My nerves have gotten so much better!  The course was flat and rectangular; four wide corners and a slight head wind on the far straight away.  We went around about five times, and each time someone would throw and attack and I'd chase her down with a couple of other girls at the front.  After going around a few times like this I realized that I must have been as strong as the women throwing the attacks if I caught them every time, so I HAD to attack.  I waited until a few seconds after someone attacked on the head wind section and ZING jumped around the pack on the right side.  This was about halfway through the race I think.  

I went as hard as I could and fought the urge to look behind me.  Nearing the third corner, I heard a girl shout "get on my wheel!" and I leapt on.  Only one person had caught me!  Now we were going as hard as we could, trying not to let the pack catch us.  I recovered for a minute and then took a hard pull.  We hammered around a couple more laps and realized that we had gotten away.  Now I was tired.  

Whewwww so happy to see the one lap to go sign.  Or maybe it was 2 laps.  Well...few laps anyhow.  I was feeling good and recovered...and thus made a stupid mistake that cost me the race.  With one lap to go I decided that I was strong enough to drop the other rider, Jessica, on the head wind section.  I was scared of the sprint and thought it would be better to lose her early.  She took a pull and I went for it.  I was definitely not sure of myself, and when I looked around she had caught me.  I pulled for a second longer, laid off, tried to get on her wheel, and after we rounded the last corner she sprinted toward the finish.  

Second place.   (!!!!!!!)  I am thrilled at how the race went.  Save the stupid mistake toward the end, I raced smart.  It was a BIG mistake though!  I learned, and I'll be less hasty next time.  Everyone I talked to after the race thought it was an exciting race :-)  Good job to Jessica of..I forgot the team because I can't read kits.. !