...fasten your race chains


..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!


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!!!


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:



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...)


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 Krabbé'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!


One week till the Champaign Crit!


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!  


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 ! 


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...


Seriously. Who needs StooperWeek, anyways?