Monday, July 28, 2008

Finally....1st Win!....and second, too!

As a second-year Cat 4 racer, Jay's gotten used to this winning itch that's come on in the second half of this year. Closer and closer I've gotten to throwing my hands up in victory as my legs and lungs have increased in strength and ability.

Some days, there was no fretting over a spot off the podium, or mere inches away from the line....and yet others, my mind was much farther ahead of the rest of me, tearing me to pieces when the finish I thought was coming, never manifested. And yet the love of the race keeps me coming back for more.

Just over a week ago, we ventured up to St. Cloud for a 2 day stage race. [A HUGE THANKS to TONE for hooking me up with an entry!!!] Looking at the layout in the days preceding the race, I was thirsty....weighing out each race days before, sizing up the courses and distances....I wanted it to be my race. With 4 bikes in tow, Jay and I made our way to the races, super-charged for what lie in front of us. As we readied for the kick-off, an 8 mile time trial, we were caught off guard by a cold, unrelenting rain. As time crept by, the start got delayed later and later, keeping us chilled to the bone as we dodged in and out of the rain.

Finally, as my start time neared, Jay escorted me to the start beneath an umbrella as I tried to control the shivers. With 8 miles laid out before me, I attacked the course hard, taking advantage of the wet ground beneath me and the friction it reduced. The forceful headwind for the first 3 1/2 miles was brutal as I fought to get my speed up. Fortunately for me, though, it rewarded my efforts on my return, helping me to speeds up to 29mph effortlessly as I struggled to make up time. With my legs nearly ripped out of their sockets, I crossed the line soaked and exhausted, but elated with the effort I put forth. Unfortunately, we had only 2 hours to kill before our circuit race, so we worked hard to dry off, stay warm, and rest up what little we could.

Going into the circuit, they still hadn't posted the TT results. I only knew my time, but not the times of those around me. Exhausted, I saddled up again for the next round of racing. The first 2 laps were great, but my body began to shut down from exhaustion as we entered the third and final go 'round. I rode cross-eyed and agressively, but it wasn't enough to keep the momentum from the TT going. I blew apart with a mile to go, finishing just behind the leaders in 6th. Later that afternoon, when the results were finally posted, I was blown away to find myself in 3rd overall for the TT, but 1st place for the Cat 4's!!!! My first TT victory on my TT bike!!! (heck, my first non-Black Dog victory ever) . I didn't know what to do with myself. It was awesome. [Again, thanks TONE for the chance of a lifetime!]. After the circuit race, however, I moved into 3rd in the omnium, with one race to go.

After some R&R, Tour de France highlights, and some time in the hot tub, Jay and I called it a night and prepped for Sunday's road race. The 26.5 mile sprint distance was calling to me as I warmed up that morning. Climb after climb, no gripe or whine came from my legs, keeping me in the front of the pack. As we neared the finish, Amy and I hung at the back, figuring out our strategy and finding holes in the field. With just under 1K to go, she went up the shoulder side with me tight on her tail feathers. The group was fast to respond, out of their saddles and into the sprint. As Amy tired, I found 2 new wheels to ride, making sure I had someone leading me out, whether they knew it or not. Sitting in third at the bottom of the finishing hill, I found a whole between the lead 2 and made my final attack. Out of the wind for the previous kilo, I had all the spark I needed to tear by them and take the win. MY FIRST ROAD RACE VICTORY! I rolled across the line, kissing my ring and throwing my arm up in celebration! Jay, following the group in our truck, pulled up excitedly, jumped out of the car, and gave me the biggest hug of my life! It was a moment I still haven't gotten over....and I hope I never do!

I wound up taking 2nd overall, even after winning 2 stages, but it was so amazing! What a great weekend of racing. That's the way to round out the season.

There's no way I could have won it without my teammate, Amy, out there for me....Tone, throwin' me an entry into the races....Mike W & Grandstay - thanks for puttin' us up again. I'll never stay anywhere else in St Cloud......and Jay cheering me on all the way! Thanks to all of you for making this the greatest weekend I could've imagined!!!!! And thanks to Dano's dad for the sweet pics!

Still Ridin' High,
Kristy Kreme

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Almost there.....

Last week at the Dakota Crit, I was THIS CLOSE to winning my first crit. Man, was that fun! No worries, though....I'll get there when it's my time.

Other than that, racing's been going great! This killer sprint finish at Dakota was soon followed up by a rockin' second place at the Sprinter's Classic Road Race. The 32 mile Road Race turned out to be my best ever....having taken my first solo flyer for about 4 miles, then my teammate Amy, the Buzzard, Campbell countered with 16 miles to go and never looked back. She rolled in solo for the win, and I followed close behind in a 6-person chase group. In the field sprint, fabulously energized with a tail win, I cranked my Javelin Fara up to a record 40.2 MPH to win the field sprint for 2nd!!!!

The next morning, I had a great crit appearance at the Hopkins Raspberry Crit. Two laps into our race, I got on the break made by Patti Koehler and Dano Barrett. Cheryl Barker was quick to grab on as well, and the four of us fought the wind as we stayed away for 17 laps! No only was it my first time in the lead break in a crit, but it was my first time lapping other riders.....and to top that off, we lapped the entire field! The race was awesome, and I was so happy with how I rode, not only physically, but intelligently as well. It's all really starting to come together.

Talking with Jay about racing lately, the best I can say is that it feels like a new door has been opened to some higher level of cycling understanding. So now, I'm not only trying like the rest to catch the break, but I could anticipate them coming. It's so amazing. I hope I never stop learning!

Graduating Kindegarten,
Kristy Kreme

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hamel TT

As the 3rd race of my weekend, and 25th race of the year, I came into the Hamel Time Trial on Sunday exhausted!!! Yep, 25 races already this year....Yikes! So that's where my paychecks went.

Anyways - after Saturday's 25 mile 'team time trial' of sorts, and Northfield's steamin' hot crit action, by legs wanted nothing to do with my bike. I sat on my trainer for 20 minutes before my race and pedaled with little effort or ambition. Everything hurt, my legs felt thick with fatigue, and all I wanted was a nap.

Nevertheless, I suited up and rode to the start line (on time!). The first 7 miles were agony - my left arm was cramping, my hip flexors were screaming profanities at me, and I could swear my lungs were on strike. I pedaled and pedaled as sweat dripped from the rim of my helmet and made my aero bars hard to hold onto. Each hill was painful - and just plain mean - as I found myself popping out of the saddle 3 times in any attempt to get up the hill faster than 10 mph.

I pushed as hard and I could, and was overjoyed to see Jay cheering for me with a quarter mile to go. I grabbed onto the bull horns in my last ditch effort to 'sprint' to the finish and rolled across the line at more than 27 mph! Not 100 yds after the finish, though, I was off my bike, covered in goose bumps, and dry-heaving in a ditch. The mid-upper 80's temps wrecked me, and I tried desperately to keep my stomach contents in. Jay, the super goof that he is, was cheering for me as my stomach lurched - proud that I'd finally ridden myself to that extreme.

The pain and nausea subsided as we soft-pedaled back to the car to change and wait for results. Little did I know that it wasn't just the weekend's races that made the TT hurt so was how hard I was actually riding! When the results were finally posted, I saw that I got 3rd place with a time of 35:04!!! Two minutes & two seconds faster than last year, and only 1:05 behind Patti Koehler in 1st! Holy crap - you could not have found a happier, more exhausted, stinky person that day. I owe a lot of that improvement to the State TT - where I finally rode out of my mind for the first time! Ever since, I've been able to reach a fabulous new level of racing. As for the rest.....sure, my fitness might actually be coming on (especially since I never did endurance/cardio activities until a little over a year ago), but the rest is the great advice I get every day from Jay. Thanks babe for helping me learn how to be a better cyclist! You're the best!

Lovin' and ridin'
Kristy Kreme

Spam Jam 2008

Saturday was my second appearance at the Dan Ulwelling Freedom Fest / Spam Jam road race. The 25 mile road race was mostly flat, completely sunny, and furiously charged by 20+mph winds. Our own Silver Stud, Steve Knowlton, has Austin roots, so we're proud to have the Spam Jam as a fabulous team event each year. Since it's a citizen's race, as well, we all get to start and ride together, no matter the skill level or gender.
At high noon, all 13+ of us lined up on the start line in our black n' white ready to go. As the defending women's 2007 champ, I was super happy to have my 3 best gals riding with me - Amy, Jacki, and Madonna (in costume) all came down for the fun and camaraderie.
Considering we were starting with the men, it's easy to imagine the start was fast. But, throw in that 20mph tail wind for the first few miles - we were flying! I was pedaling my bike up to 34.1mph!!!! I actually ran out of gears! Amy did too, but enough that she fell off the back of the pack. Luckily, I hung in with Madonna, Jacki, Shad, Aaron, Greg, and Joel...but barely. As if it were a life or death situation, I turned my pedals over as hard as I could. Fifteen miles into the race, I was wondering when our pace was going to slow, as we were averaging 26 miles per hour between tail and cross wind sections.

Just when I thought it couldn't get harder, we turned south towards the finish and had to fight the wind that once carried us. Instantly our speed slowed to abut 16-18 mph. We lost Madonna & Shad in a cross wind attack, but tried to keep the team pace line going. Pidde blew me away, riding so hard so soon after his hip replacement! Your doc would be proud, Aaron!!! (either that or really P.O.'d). We knew there was one woman up the road and there was little chance to catch her, but he rode as hard as we could anyway.

Jacki, unfortunately, had a mechanical just a couple miles from the finish and had to drop back. Aaron, Joel, and I kept the pace up all the way to the finish - sitting up proud at the line as we rolled in exhausted. Jacki, Madonna, Shad, and Amy weren't far behind so we all rolled out as a team for a cool down at the end.

Silver Cycling took home a ton of trophies, as usual....Ben Schinke won the overall, with Jay Henderson taking 3rd. I got second for the women's overall and won my age group! Jacki took 3rd, and 2nd in her age; Madonna got 4th (2nd in age); Amy took 5th (3rd in age); Ben's wife Heather got 6th & 3rd in her age group....Steve Knowlton won his age group....and so much more (but I'm sorry to say I've forgotten some of the winners/groups).

Way to Bleed Silver, crue!
Kristy Kreme

Northfield Crit - 4th of July

There's nothing like a Monday to recover from your 3 day weekend....

As you could guess, we lined up our entire 4th of July weekend with back to back races. We kicked off the 4th of July festivities with the Northfield Criterium. The temps were hot and the races were fast! Unfortunately, I made some tactical errors in my race that caused me some position loss, but it was a great learning tool and an awesome start to the weekend. Amy gave me a sweet lead-out for the finish, and Jacki rocked a killer 3rd place finish! Way to go ladies! Jay rode amazing in his crit, even flyin off the front for a lap or two in the afternoon heat. When he wasn't racing, Jay was rockin' the mic as MC Hwood.
The real fun is always afterwards, hanging out with friends and watching the pros fly around the course.
Not to mention some tasty grub and good laughs afterwards at the Contented Cow.
Jay and I were too exhausted to go out for fireworks that night, so we crawled up to the roof and watched all the firework shows for miles. It was a fabulously mellow end to an exciting and tiring day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Best Birthday Ever!

Last week I celebrated my birthday the way I always do....I take the day off of work and only do things that make me happy! Jay took the day off too, slept in til 10:30 with me, then made me my favorite breakfast & coffee. Ahhhh.

After that, my super-duper, absolutely amazing fiancee surprised me with a bridal headband for my birthday. Why so special? Because he looked in the photos I took when I was trying on wedding gowns to find the picture I took of my dream headband, took a photo of it, rode his bike an hour and a half from Bloomington to Rosedale, and proceeded to go through their entire collection of headbands until he matched the photo bead-for-bead to the exact one I wanted. Once it was found, he got it and pedaled the hour and a half back home. I'm still completely in awe of all he did for my gift....I definitely am the luckiest woman in the world.

Later that morning, we kitted up and went on a 27-28 mile ride from Bloomington to Savage, into Prior Lake, and back. It was a beautiful morning with a bright sun and gentle breeze. The ride was absolutely perfect, sans a short 1/2 hour of agony after I broke Jay's camera. :O( I still feel absolutely horrible, but he's just so gracious and gentle with me, you'd think it was a disposable one. Luckily, we got some cute shots in before I broke it. Later that day, we went back to a part of the trail with my camera to take some photos for our wedding invite that turned out perfect. Unfortunately, I'm not previewing them here or it'll ruin the fun of our invites.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out together and with friends, closing the even down with the boys at Lyle's. Timmer, Stick, Perry, Dana, Smokin' Joe, Dylan, Hwood and I partied it up with tater tots and 2-for-1's to close out yet another fabulous birthday.

To continue the celebration, Jay and I had a BBQ at the house Saturday night with a big bunch of friends. Cyclists and non-cyclists alike grilled, gabbed, and monkey'd around like kids. It was awesome!

Maya came out for the fun with my Matron of Honor, Erin......
while her Papa, Adam, got a wicked game of hack going

Nuttin' says party like a Buzzard Bag o' Beer......And you know what that leads too??
Crazy lil bros gettin their fingers stuck in bottles! NOOB!

It was an awesome time, and I'm so happy that all my friends could make it out! Thanks guys and dolls! And thanks to my always awesome fiancee, Jay, who made this birthday the best ever! Thanks babe - I love you!!!

Happiest gal in the world,
Kristy Kreme

Rapid Fire Race Update

So, since the last time I threw out a race summary there has been a ton of racing going on! After the State TT, I blew myself away at Black Dog with yet another PR!!! I only took 3 seconds off, but it felt amazing! Can't wait until tomorrow.

Last week was the start of the Summit/Hollywood Crit series at the Dakota Tech College. This is BY FAR my favorite criterium, held on the college's Semi-Truck Driving training course....fabulous sweeping turns, a sweet series of tight flowing turns, no major climbs, and nothing but smooth pavement! During warm up I felt like absolute crap, but for some reason my body was bluffing as I finished in 4th with some great action in between.

Then, Saturday was the Birchwood Road Race - kindly filled with rolling hills and a killer 1 mile climb we had to do 3 times. It was hard and I was tired, but I finished in the top 10 just as I'd hoped (10th). But, the best part was pulling the field at speeds from 27-30MPH to bring back a rider that was 20 seconds off the front!!!! That was SO AWESOME!

This past Sunday was the GrandStay Crit in St. Cloud. Although I rode well physically, I disappointed myself technically, sitting in poor position in the field, slowing on the corners....but it was a great learning experience - it reminded me of what I need to do to perform better in crits. On the lighter side, my teammate Jacki kicked some major tail feathers - beating Patti K. to the finish to take first!!! Man, that girl can ride - great job, Hellian!!!!Hollywood's Hellians

Tonight, I'm skippin' the crit for some R&R to prep for the next 5 races in the next 7 days....2 TT's, 2 Crit's, and 1 Road race....and I can't wait!!!! There's a lot riding on them, so I am just hoping to ride smart and safe at each, and have fun at every one!

Until the next update, Party on!
Kristy Kreme