...fasten your race chains


Proctor... HOYYY!!


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!


"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!



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.  


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  :-)


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 !


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 !


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'