Friday, July 24, 2009
Last weekend, was the Tour of Granite Country in Albany, MN. Hwood and I loaded up the car with all the bikes and headed north for some fun racing and chillin at the hotel fully loaded with our favorite peeps.
We kicked it off with the road race. The pace was so slow for the first 10 miles, but when we hit the big climb, the race finally began. The group of 11 splintered, with 6 gals charging off the front after cresting the hill. I sat in 7th, off the back but on full pursuit solo as we decended. My compact crank that helped me up the hill didn't have enough to close the gap on the decent as I spun my legs in my 12, just wishing I had an 11 on the rear. After 2 miles of diggin in, I finally completed the bridge as they turned into a cross-wind. The 7 of us formed a pace line and drove it to the finish. When we got to the climb for the final lap, my legs were in better shape than earlier and I was able to cross the line in 4th place.
That evening, after some time watching the Tour and a much-needed nap, Jay and I joined the rest of the Mpls Mafia for some small town bowling action. It was a riot - 'nuff said. But Emily needs to watch her potty mouth! Again...'nuff said!
The next morning was bright with a gentle breeze as we readied ourselves for the 8 mile TT. Even though my legs were pretty tired, I was able to get them up to cadence pretty quickly. With only my minute gal out there in front of me, I rode inside my head and focused on the sound of my cranks turning. Luckily, I caught her at the turn around or else I would never have seen it..... there was no one there, a line across the road, and cones on the edges of the road... not at all how a turn-around should be....dare I say Jankey? (BTW, I hate that word, but just had to whip it out). My heart-rate spiked HUGE after my mini-"is this the turn around"-freakout, so I had to focus to bring it down fast. I settled back into my rhythm and kept it goin til the finish. With everything I had left in my legs, I sprinted across the line to grab every second I could.
Once the results finally came out, I found out that I won!!! Yeah - my 3rd TT win this year!!!! I was so jazzed, but had only an hour or so to prep for the hour long circuit race. Sitting on the trainer, I tried to clear my head and think about how I was going to ride, especially without the rest of the Hellians with me. When the time came, I rolled up to the start and joined in the fun.
Each lap was only 5.5 miles long, but our first one still took 20 minutes! Since no one out there had a team with them (other than D & Z), so everyone just looked at each other to pull at the front. I wanted to throw my hands up at the finish, so when it came time for the sprint points at the end of lap one, I sat up but made sure to maintain contact with the top gals. The 2nd lap was faster and everyone was able to get into a rotation to keep the momentum going. When we crossed the line the next time, I was certain to cross in 3rd to get a 3 pt bonus.
In the third and final lap, the pace increased and we kept the rotation moving. In my head I kept playing out a sprint finish.....I wanted to raise 'em up....I was wearing the Anitfreeze Hoshovd glasses.....and I felt GREAT!
We took our last turn and looked down the 1 mile stretch to the line. I was sitting in 8th position of 8. My lead-out train didn't even know they'd been commissioned to take me to the line....I think I forgot to send out the memo. Sprints started to go off early and petered out quickly and I made sure to be in a slipstream for all of them. With 1K to go, the sprints were going off full forces and I stayed on the wheels of the gals who'd been taking all the bonuses. As this rider or that rider slowed, I grabbed the next fastest wheel until there was just one bike in front of me. Still not yet up to my full speed, she began to slow on the climb and I knew it was time.
I gave my trusty levers a double click and came out of her draft in an instant. I could hear Jay shouting "all the way to the line"..."raise 'em up".....I charged with everything I had in my legs and came across the line with no one else. I sat up and RAISED 'EM UP for my first circuit race win ever!!! It was amazing!!! I'm still super jazzed about it and am super stoked that my awesome hubby got video of the full monty! Thanks a ton babe! Unfortunately, the computer's in the shop, so you'll have to wait for my Cavendish unleashing.
All in all, great weekend!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
GP/SPBRC had a full team out there, with 6 strong women leading the pace as a bunch of us miss-matched gals tried to maintain contact. Half way into the race, Teresa "the widower maker" Moriarty went of the front with Heidi "the lightning bolt" Dahlmen and the field began to look around. 3 of the GP gals rode off the front of the peloton in pursuit, and I took a caboose sling shot for a solo pursuit to the group. I closed the gap quick and jumped in their slipstream but I believe a few riders followed suit not far behind.
GP continued to sport some great team tactics, sending gals up from the back to take a pull, as I tried not to fade any farther back than 5th wheel. With just a couple laps to go, I watched at the red n' green lined up their riders for a lead-out and positioned myself in the line up.
On our final lap, in turn three, I made sure I was sitting 5th wheel and ready to take the tight turn for the 2 block sprint. The line was secure and fast, and I used the 4 ladies in front of me as my lead out crew in the absence of my own team. I was able to pass three of them as I pushed my bike and my body to the limit, but only got w/in a 1/2 wheel length from the field sprint victory to Kit Oslin. Finishing 4th overall, I was overjoyed to know that 2 of the women in front of me were racing 40+!!! 2nd place finish....b1+ch please!!!!!
I was so overjoyed (and still am!). What a race - no teammates, no rest, no stopping and no regrets. I played the game right, making sure I knew what was going on at all times and being ready to answer it. Sure, I would've loved to be off the front w/ Tessy.... but I'm not gonna complain about a great finish - 2nd is the best I've ever done at Hopkins, and I'm luvin it.
Thanks to all the Hopkins, Silver, and racing crowd for cheerin'! It was so awesome. And thanks to my super hubby for the awesome confidence and encouragement. Hellians, I missed ya!
Waitin' to move from 2 to 1,
Silver lined up at the start w/ our largest field ever - some 18+ guys and gals, ready to rock! Being a citizen race, the guys & gals, old & young all start in one massive group at a time. In recent years, we've had a strong tailwind start to drive the beginning speeds up to 40 mph, but luckily this year was a slight head-wind, so speeds didn't seem to get over 30-35 mph for the first 2 miles.
After a strong double race in Northfield the day before, I was struggling hard to stay with the main group. 12 miles in, though, the fight was over and I was off the back and unable to close the gap. I tried for miles to get back on, digging in at 26.5 mph in the crosswind, but wasn't able to pull it off. Instead, I spent the last 13 miles of the course in a solo time trial effort to the finish. It was lonely and hard, but I pulled it off and was able to come across the line in 4th in the women's field. The best was my teammate Jacki "the OC" pulled off the victory with Madone close behind in 2nd.
Jay pulled off the overall victory for the first time.... the win that has elluded him for so many years was finally his, and he was able to bring home his own "Spam" trophy! He was trying so hard and wanted it so bad that I was so proud to roll across the line and see the smile on his face! If ya didn't know, babe, I am so proud of you!! Actually, I am super proud of all our Silver winners..... Not only do we have treats and chip timing, but there were trophies for the overall winnners, and plaques for the top-3 in each age group!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
In our race, the Cat 4 / 40+ race, we held the majority with 4 Hellians mounted up. The pace was steady at the start, as the women looked around for who was gonna drive the pace. My teammate, OC, took the lead and amped it up a notch for most of a lap and the field settled in behind her. Feeling jazzed, I pulled up in front of her to take a pull and dry and drop some riders.
We came across the front and took the turn up the hill and, as I looked around for the first time, I saw that the only person with me was Teresa Moriarty! I had only meant to speed things up, not break away. But there was no time to explain, so we charged up the hill and kept going. A little while later, Teresa looked back at me and asked if I wanted to wait for my teammate and i said sure. We let off the gas and waited for the OC, but to my surprise, it was Swigs in hot pursuit.
We had a pretty rough lookin' pace line goin but we kept the speed up and the gap continued to grow. Unfortunately, something I'd eaten that day wasn't playing nice, and I spent a couple laps dry-heaving over my shoulder on the backside of the course. Luckily, Teresa's an awesome teacher and mentor, and helped me get my heart rate and breathing under control so we wouldn't lose our breakaway. With 4 laps to go, I was fully recovered and loving the fact that the field was no longer in sight.
As we neared the final laps the light drizzle began to accumulate and made the final turn a little slick. Ready and hungy for the final sprint, I dove into the final turn on Teresa's wheel, only to feel my own wheel slide out from under me, pulling me in slow-mo to the curb on the far side of the road. Luckily, my good ole Vitorria's grabbed some road and I regained control. Unfortunately, though, it was not enough to hold off my compatriots. I finished 3rd in the sprint, but 2nd in my category!!! What a finish!!! I've never done so well at Northfield before - I'm usually the lapped rider out there. Yuk. It felt so great!
So very great indeed, my brain shut down and rolled to the start line for the Women's Open race as well. I had no intention of trying to compete with these women - MN's Best of the Best. But, I knew it would be great practice and training for the next one. Sure enough, by the 2nd lap, I was flying solo. Lucky for me, with only 12 in our field, the officials were nice enough not to pull me as I got lapped. I rode as hard as I could for some 28 laps, but was fortunate enough to be joined by Bonnie "Turbo" Donzella after a hard effort.
Lap after lap, we got in a rotation and kept the tempo up til the finish. My favorite part about riding with the veteran ladies is the wealth of information they have to share! Both of my races that day made me a better rider, either by how to take care of myself, breathing, cornering, to climbing. Thank you so much Bonnie & Teresa!!! I am so honored to get to learn from you!
Fallin' in love with the Pain Cave,
Thursday, July 2, 2009
After we cleaned up, we got ourselves geared up for Phase 2: rockin out with Surly Jones at Wyatt Earp's in Ramsey. What better way to kick it off, than with a nice cold Duvel? The last time I had one of these, it was 80 degrees out and we were watching the evening approach from the backyard of a Gite in France just a week after we got engaged.... ah, Europe.
The show ROCKED like never before as the band came out with all pistons firing from the first set on. It is hard to describe, but a ton of fun was had. This was already startin out as the best birthday EVER!
The fun bus
Jay is the best!We're not intoxicated, we're rockin' out!
Not to mention the Motley Crew that made it a point to throw some meat on the grill and hang out with us til sundown.
Even better than that was my hubby's ROCKIN' THIRD PLACE FINISH!!!
James "I didn't even break a sweat" Tainter won the State Championships, with Pete 'Pure Genious' Hanna in 2nd. Jimmer Cullen won the race, but bein' a cheese head, he didn't get the title. Hwood rocked out 78 laps that day, takin' on the 35+ AND the 1/2's. Way to go babe!! You impress the $hit out of me! We headed out to House of Pizza for a great post-race meal w/ my mom & step-dad & Caveman. Yum.
Though I still don't want it to end, I have to admit the celebration has ceased and life as we know it has returned to normal. But I'll never deny that this was the greatest birthday ever! I thank my family a ton for making me feel special, and my wonderful husband Jay for making ALL of my birthday wishes come true. Thanks babe, I love you!
Feelin' like a princess,