Thursday, July 26, 2007

SkyPilot Rocks

Sky is enjoying summer. She's started sleeping on the chair in the living room since we have been out of town so much which totally pisses Josh off. We tried to encourage her to sleep in her "spot," but she won that battle. I caved & got her an electrostatic pad to keep her fur from taking over the entire chair.


D'Boise crit (Boise Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium) actually happened. Gastown happened for some, but not for me. I spent 9 hours in my car driving to & from Vancouver in sh*t traffic & did not make the start. What the hell is with Canada traffic? Where were the Royal Mounted PoPo's when I needed them to part the red maple leaf sea of congestion? Oh well. Not all too upset about that one. I had a lot of "me time" in the rally car & I stayed dry & kept my skin. I read race reports on both the men's & women's fields. Pretty much 90% of the fields went down. My arm is still bruised from that crazy girl wailing in to my elbow at Tour De White Rock.

So, next race was the Boise Crit. It was the coolest Boise crit I have done in the 3 years I have participated in the race. Started at 90 degrees or so. I had a fun race. There was lots of action in the field. The local girls from Tamarack & Bob's Cycles were in cahoots with Kristin Armstrong, another Boise local, who rides for Lipton, but had no teammates in the race. They all did not want LVG to win from Team Cheerwine.

Sarah from Bob's was active early on. I was on her wheel a couple times when she attacked. Early on there were a few primes. When they got up to $35, I was in good position & went for it & got it! Then, after that prime, a break formed up the road & no one was chasing, since the Bob's & Tamarak girls were not going to chase down their teammates or Kristin. I worked to bring back the break. Eventually another break formed & this time it stuck. Liz & I were frustrated that GH girls, a local Seattle team, were not working to bring back the break. If we had all worked together right away, the group could have come back together. Well, up in the break, Jen Halladay attacked the break & Kristin let her go & LVG hesitated & did not chase. Jen eventually lapped the main field! She is a fast lady. In the final 4 laps, I was sitting 3rd wheel. I kept expecting someone from the field to attack & string it out, but no one did. Finally, at 1 lap to go at the line, I attacked hard. The huge crowd was screaming - it was cool. I took the corners as fast as I could. Down the long back stretch just before the 3rd corner, I started to feel a bit tired. 1K is a pretty long ways to hold a gap. One girl came around me just before corner 3 & I was working to get on her wheel when a girl came flying by on the outside pretty much almost right into me to chop me off. I had to cram on the breaks to avoid a collision. Later, Miller said I could have just given her a little flick to get her off. Well, after losing my momentum & the big effort I had put in, I did not have much left for the sprint, but Liz was in good position. I ended up 19th & Liz was 10th. The prize pay out for the women was 1/10th of the men's & Liz got $35 for 10th & I had my $35 prime. It was a fun race, but we had been expecting to bring home a little bit more bacon.

Here's a pic from the Men's race for visual pleasure.

Friday, July 20, 2007


If I wasn't me, I would so make fun of the person who was me.

Hover Cat

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Soggy Soggy

Today is the Gastown crit up in BC. I took the day off from work to travel up there & compete. Last weekend, was the Tour De White Rock which Michele & I went up and raced. It was a bugger of a race with a super steep hill climb, crit (with a hill), & hilly RR (not rolling hills like I thought they would be - meters can be deceiving in a profile). The road race was a 10K circuit with two super steep 2K climbs. The TDW is part of the BC Superweek, so there were a lot of Canadian pro's there & all of the races were fast. With the steep hilly stuff, I was not really in contention. I thought I might do well in the crit, but my legs & stomach had a different thought. I had a great start though & was doing well railing it in the corners, but I had the wrong strategy with trying to just spin up the hill rather than going all out & dangled off the back & was finally dropped. During the RR on the last lap, a girl riding next to me in a group of 6 riders tapped the wheel in front of her & then lost control of her bike & crashed into me. With the steamroller maneuver, I kept my bike upright by keeping the legs turning over while she slammed into my elbow & hip. I have a pretty nasty bruise on my elbow where her helmet met the bone, but I can't complain too much since I did not go down. After that, I broke away from my little group on the last climb & TT'd it into the finish.

I have to mention Michele's hill climb bike that her husband built up for her to ride when we thought the average grade of the hill climb was going to be 16% (it was 16% towards the top, but the overall average was closer to 9%). The hill climb machine was a single speed with a 24 chain ring & 25 cog in the rear built on Michele's old TT frame with bull horn bars. It was sweet! But M did not ride it since it was a little too small of a gear.

So it has been warm & sunny for many days in a row, but for the past couple of days there have been rain showers at night & yesterday there were some sprinkles in the morning. Today, there is definite rain coming down. I have never done the Gastown crit, but I hear it has cobbles, a 165 degree corner, a fast downhill section & a hill to the finish. Not exactly the type of race you want to do in the rain. I am going to try & find some good rain race tires before heading up to BC & hopefully I'll be able to hang in the race.

This weekend is the Boise Wells Fargo Twilight crit & I am so excited for it! That is one of my most favorite races. Wide open, 4 corners with thousands of crazy fans screaming all the way around the course. It is like racing in a stadium with all of the downtown buildings around & the people going nuts. Last year, Kristen Armstrong rode away from the field. I'm not sure if she'll be there again this year, but no matter what it should be a great race. It is guaranteed to be dry there.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Redmond Derby Days

Redmond Derby Days is the longest continually run bike race in N. America or something like that. The whole Derby Days celebration is for the birthday of the city of Redmond. This year Redmond turned 95. It felt like it was almost that hot out in the concrete labyrinth that is downtown Redmond. This year was my 2nd time doing the Redmond Derby Days crit. It is one of the only, if not the only, crit in WA state that offers equal prize $ for the pro women's & men's fields. This is very cool. Last year, I was 5th in the race & I think 3rd in the 1,2's (they score the 3's separately) & walked out of the with a couple hundred bucks. It was sweet.

This year, the competition has risen a bit & I think more people were in town, plus the prize list attracted some out of towners. Ti Cycles had a full squad out in force. There were at least 8 of us on the start line. The race course is a flat 4 corner, almost square course. Most of us had a great start & there were 5 or 6 Red & Black Ti women at the front of the race the first few laps. It was a fast race & I do not remember the details exactly because of the amount of time spent in oxygen debt, but I know we raced aggressively & rode well in the pack. It was fun! I had a few nice attacks & was active in chasing things down or not letting attacking riders get up the road. Most of the Ti women were doing a good job of this, too & we were able to control the race.

The amount of money on the line & primes made things interesting in the pack. In almost every race before ours there had been crashes on the last corner on the final lap. That is a fast corner with a lot of traffic turtles. The city of Redmond actually has some removed some for the crit course in the middle of the road on entry into the corner, but there are still a few that can have an effect depending on when you start your turn. Our race was safe on that corner, but Karen A. on our team was doing some pretty aggressive riding. She even took a wheel from me in a corner by physically bumping my bars & hips to get it. That was interesting. She also had a close call with someone else on the 3rd corner on the final lap. I was right behind that & thankful they kept it upright.

At 5 laps to go, there was a prime & Suz Weldon attacked & it formed a little break. A teammate of mine was up there along with a Group Health girl. 2 girls ahead of me pulled the pack back up to them & I counter attacked when we caught them. Just then, they rang the bell at 4 laps to go for a prime of $50. I lead most of the lap & thought about gunning it, but then someone came flying by who I had not really seen the whole race. I figured she had been waiting for her chance to take a prime. Well, turns out she had been a lap down & not eligible for primes. I ended up winning the prime because I was leading the pack when we came through. Ha Ha. I had no idea until after the race & they were handing out prize $ that I won that.

Well, at 3 laps to go, they gave us a$100 prime. I was no where up there for that one, but knew I had to move up in the pack. It was so stinking fast! I was just railing it trying to hang onto the wheel in front of me. I wish I had had more wits about me to move up on the back stretch. I tried, but that was everyone else's plan, too. Final lap starts & I had poor position. I was just hoping to get a decent finish at that point & hoping our sprinters were in decent enough position to fend for themselves. When it came time to sprint, my legs were totally spent. There was no freshness left.

I ended up 16th. Annette was 2nd to one of the out of towners who had not really shown her cards the whole race. Karen A. was 5th in overall & 1st in the 3's. Liz was 7th & Karen C. was 2nd in the 3's. It was great to have a race where we felt like we worked well together. The ladies had all worked hard & were aggressive. Our race averaged over 25 mph and my top speed was over 31 mph.

This was a race where I put it all out there. At least it wasn't for no reason. I did not come out with the placing I would have liked, but I was glad to contribute for the sprinters & work with the team. I made progress on having a good start & being aggressive on taking wheels during the race. I was also comfortable in the corners - for the most part. Still need to work on the crit finishes.

After the race, I enjoyed some Kamikaze action Derby Days style - because what goes well with adrenaline? More adrenaline!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

What a Week

Bike Haiku

Racing bikes is fun.
I have done it for so long.
Love the rush each time.

Ok - so Saturday was Oly crit which was also the State championship crit. I usually love this course & rock it, but it felt way frigging fast at the start & I had a poor position from the get go (hmmm, I detect a theme - it's called Carrie gets an ass whupping for not learning her lesson). I ended up OTB with Allison (AB - what are we doing here???). To her credit, Allison had just shown up from having to take her dog to the vet. Me, I had no excuse. Well, we caught a small group who was also OTB with Liz, then we were lapped by 3 people off the front . Then things really got confusing. We tagged onto the back of the leaders (legal maneuver) & they towed us up to what was left of the main field. I forgot that we were only 1 lap down from the 3 leaders, but then there were people in our group who were 2 laps down, but I was on the same lap as the main field & eligible to sprint for 4th. At 2 laps to go, they were trying to have the people who were 2 laps down sprint for their finish, but that was nuts. Then with 1 lap to go, I thought I was going to give a big ol' leadout, but I guess I came by too fast & Annette could not get on my wheel. Karen A was able to come by though & she managed to sprint & take 4th. I didn't think it mattered too much for some reason & did not really go for it & ended up 12th. Yikes! Josh raced this day too. He was dropped. With both of our poor showings we were all fired up to do better at Sunday's race in Des Moines.

Well, we both ended up better at the Des Moines crit. It was 4 corners with 2 long straight aways & 2 short. The finish was on a long hill, the back side was down hill. All of the corners were safe & pretty fun to rail. Josh hung in really well in his race & was riding towards the front the whole time. He had a really good start, but at the end his teammate ended up pinching him in a corner & he finished pretty far down in his group. He was stoked with his race though!

Before my race Josh forcefully told me to Get a Good Start. This was good. I focused on getting a good start & did so. Through out the race I was chasing things down & being active. It was a hard race, but I focused on expending energy smartly, like trying to sit & spin up the hill rather than getting out of the saddle to crank up it. I had good position at the finish. I was totally in a zone to get up there & go with the flow of wheels. I ended up 4th. A pretty good result in a crit with a lot of good riders there.

THEN on Wednesday, the 4th of July, there was a race down in Burien near Sea Tac airport. Josh almost could not race because his cleat broke just before his race. Someone overheard him telling his teammates that he wouldn't be able to race & let him borrow his super nice bike & shoes just so he could race. What a nice thing to do! Josh spent a good part of the race getting used to the SRAM shifting, but at least he got to race. He finished with the pack.

I felt like I had a pretty good start here, but it was really hard to move up at the start. I was sitting around 10th for the first few laps of the race, then started moving up & was able to chase some things down. In the first few laps there was a pretty bad crash in corner 1, which was not good. It was a combined 1-4 field, so I think some of the inexperienced riders had a little trouble with that corner. I had 1 attack & I also took a prime by sitting 3rd wheel & then taking a flyer before the last corner & then sitting & cranking on the tailwind down hill to the finish. I got a huge gap - it was cool. Now I need to work on being consistent at the finish of crits or in all sprints in general. I let my position go in the last 2 laps when people were coming up the sides. I had poor position on the last lap & finished 10th. Annette was 3rd, Liz was 7th & Heidi was 9th. We were all in the top 10 at least.

After the women's race we had a team pow-wow & then I rolled around a bit before starting the men's cat 3 race. I had a great start there, too. At least I am learning. It was fun to ride in the men's field on that course & rail the corners at speed 3 & 4 wide. I stayed in 30 minutes & then pulled out, because I didn't want to dig too hard since I'd been doing a bunch of racing lately & just wanted the speed workout. Josh said a ton of guys were getting shelled before I popped out. Sweet.

Oh yeah - I did my first track race on Monday too! Wicked fun. The races were so condensed & the sprints were so short you have only instants to maneuver & act. This should be good practice for crit sprints.

Here are some pics from Des Moines crit. My mom says I always "smile" when I race, just like my dad used to "smile" when he raced stock cars. Really, I am not smiling - this is my suffer face.

Hailee did the 4th of July kids race in Burien again this year. This picture is from last year when we weren't sure she would make it all the way around, so I ran with her. Not the easiest thing to do around a 1K crit course in sandals, but she had a blast. She rocked it again this year.