Friday, December 18, 2009

Elite Nationals

Again I am way behind on updating. Sorry, I got home and went into hibernation!

No seriously I actually feel pretty darn good and kinda want to still race a couple more times. Guess my training plan I created for myself was right on, no burnout for me!!

Ok so Sunday morning in Bend I woke up with very little pressure on myself. I told myself I wasn't going to fuss to much over my Elite race nats. So I got up spent the morning in the hotel room resting and getting ready and staying warm.

My race start time was 11:15am so I knew that the course was very likely going to be frozen. I got out at 10am and did a lap to get my tires dialed in and yes it was icy. I decided that the Grifo Fango's were the tire of choice, they grabbed nice and I didn't have to many slips during my pre-ride.

I lined up on the 5th row for the start. Only a couple UCI points for me so I get put in the middle of the pack. That is frustrating sometimes because I know I am faster then a lof of girls ahead of me but because I don't travel much anymore I don't have to many opportunities to earn UCI points. I really wish we would get more UCI races on west coast!! Someday.

Anyways I lined up on the very left next to the barriers and hoped for an opening so I could shoot up the left side. And that is what happened. I moved up to around 30th in the start stretch and then made a move on the left had side on the first long straight away and started picking more girls off.

I was feeling really good, no pain the legs at all so I decided to just go as hard as I could and see what I could do. I loved this course so much, it was so much fun to ride every lap. So I just kept having fun and that was helping me pass a lot of girls.

I rode really strong and had no crashes, which was very important, there were girls going down all over the course. And I rode myself up into 17th place at the end. Overall I am very happy, someday I will get a chance to get a good call up position and see what I can do with the big girls.

What a great week. I really had so much fun this week and didn't want it end. And I am already excited for next year!!

Thank you again to everyone that has supported me in anyway this season. I had a great season and really just had a lot of fun!!

Thank you!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Master's Nationals

Well I am a little behind on getting my posts up. Sorry, just been busy running around watching all the racing.

I raced on Friday at 2:15pm, it was a lot warmer then earlier in the week with temps around 35 degrees. I did my warm up lap at noon and it was still frozen mud and snow.

But when we lined up on the start line everything had started to melt and there was lots of mud. I got a first row call up, 3rd person called up so I got a great spot in the middle on the first row. There were 48 girls in my 30-34 age group category. We had a very stacked field with several ladies that are top 10 in the elite's field. I knew this was going to be a hard one to win but I was going to give it everything I had.

The gun went off and I got a great start, and made the first corner in about 4-5th position. I shot to the left and passed a couple girls and moved into 2nd, on Kari Studley's wheel. I was so happy and couldn't believe it was me and Kari in 1st and 2nd place. We stayed that way for about a half lap and then Barbara Howe came up and slipped past me to get on Kari's wheel. They got a small gap on me. I had to catch my breath so I settled in for a second. On the 3rd lap I was coming down this fast downhill section and I came out on the pavement and realized I had a rear flat. I was running tubulars so I knew I had to have sliced open the tire to flat. I kept riding and then realized I also had a front flat. Double flats, that sucks!! I was able to ride back to the pits but got passed by about 4 0r 5 girls. I got a fast bike change, thanks Tim and Joe and was back on the course. I passed a couple girls but there was a pretty big gap now to the top 5 girls. I was pretty frustrated, but tried to get back up, but with no luck. I managed to still finish 6th in my age group. One spot away from the podium. Same result as last year.

So I have to say I was pretty bummed out, I really wanted top 5 and set myself up for that all year. But sometimes things just happen out of your control. The positive is that I got a double flat but still finished in 6th! That is awesome and I will focus on that now instead of that I didn't get my goal.
Good news is I am in the next age group up next year, so I will be the young one in that race!!

I am sitting in the Hotel room getting ready to head out to race my Elite race today at 11:15. I am excited to race again, I love this course so much that I could race it every day and still love it. I will let you all know how it goes later tonight.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me this season in anyway. There are so many of you that really help me to be able to do what I do. I can't say thank you enough.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Finally in Bend!

We made it, it was a great drive. Snow most of the way, sun was out and it was beautiful! There is about 2-4inches of snow on the ground here, everything is white and it is really cold. It was 9 degrees at 4pm when we arrived. They are saying it will be negative -12 tonight with the windchill. Am I in Alaska?

Just got off the trainer from an hour easy spin to loosen up the legs. Felt pretty good, will be inside most of the days this week until it warms up a bit. I don't think I could even make it 5min out there in these temps. But it supposed to be back up to 35 by Friday so that is much more bearable!!

Ok off to get some dinner, Hi Micah and Corrie!!

USGP Portland Day 2

Well after my last post I changed my mind and decided to race. The good news is that I still really wanted to race so I know I am not burned out!! The bad news is I broke my chain with 1.5 laps to go and had to abandon the race. I don't normally quite races but I would have had to run a hlaf lap back to the pits and decided that it was better for me to not do that so close to Nationals.

The course was just a little bit different. They added more of the motocross track, and that kept everyone together a bit more by slowing down the start section. I got a great start, was on Alison Dunlaps wheel on the start grid so my goal was to stay on her wheel no matter what and that paid off. I got a much better start then Sat and moved up into the top 15 right away. There was just a little congestion in the first corner and I fell back into around 20th. But I was with a group of 5 girls and stayed with them to catch my breath. After a couple laps I decided to try to get away from that group and punched it a bit and managed to get a gap. I was pulling away and had moved into 14th.

Then on one of the back stretches there was this little dip that I was riding, and after I got up out of the saddle to punch it again I snapped my chain. I was pretty frustrated but what do you do. So I started running and then decided to bail to save the legs. I think I would have held onto 14th or 15th if my chain would not have broke. But I got that out of the way so now I should be good to go for Nats.

We are driving over Hood right now on our way to Bend. It is beautiful and sunny but very very cool. And right now there is no snow but Todd Anderson is a couple hours ahead of us and he said that there is snow on the ground and roads about 30min out of Bend. So snow is for sure in mix for racing this weekend!!

Can't wait to see everyone that is coming down this weekend. Thank you again to True North for hooking us up with a great location in Portland in the Expo and again at Nats. And thank you also to Redline, Tim and Joe for helping me so much and making it possible to have such great bikes!!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

USGP Portland

We arrived in Portland around noon on Friday. Our sponsors at True North, Northwood Trailers asked us if we could swing by a RV shop in Clackamas OR to show off the True North Trailer. We meet with Kevin the owner of Apache RV and let him check out True North. After talking with him he let us know that he started riding bikes last summer and lost 30lbs and has become very into cycling. I love hearing about people who find cycling and enjoy it and realize how great it is for your health and brain!!

So after we were done in Clackamas we headed back to Portland straight to the raceways where the race was going to be. We were able to pull right into the expo area because Northwood Trailer purchased us an awesome spot so that we could set up and display and show off the trailer. And boy did that work. We had people coming by all day checking it out and taking brochures. Everyone that sees it just thinks it is so awesome!!

On Friday we did a few laps on the course. It was actually fairly dry, with just a few mud spots which is so very rare for Portland! Right away I loved the course. It was very technical with a small drop off section into a run up, then lots and lots of turns! I really liked it, I think best course yet for this location. Chad and I did 3 or 4 laps on the course then I spun my legs out for about 20min until I was so cold I couldn't stand it any longer and then was done.

We headed back to our hotel, the Best Western, thank you to Redline my sponsor for setting us up in such a great place and making is so easy to just have to focus on my race!!

We got up around 7am on Saturday. Got some breakfast and chilled for a bit in the hotel and then headed out for coffee and off to the course. I was cold, about 28 degrees, around 9am. They started racing at 8am, I couldn't believe how cold it was. Everyone I talked to that raced in the early races said they couldn't feel their hands and feet for most of the race.

Chad raced at 12:30 and my race was at 1:45p. Right before Chad started the sun came out and it was beautiful. It warmed up to probably around 45 degrees. Earlier in the morning there was a lot of fog, so that made the course actually pretty muddy. It was very heavy and think mud so I thought I would have to pit every lap. Chad got a call up literally on the last lap out of 114 guys so it was going to be tough for him to move up. But Chad is so great on his bike and can out handle most guys and managed to move up and finish 20th. That is so awesome, for those that race cross you understand how hard it is to move up in a field like that. You waste so much energy passing people the first couple laps, it really is hard to do what Chad did. Very nice work Chad!!

Next it was my turn. We had about 40 women I think on our start line. And I also got a not so good call up position, in the 4th row out of 5 so I knew this one for me was all about the start to try to get up with the big girls. I actually got a good start, found my pedal right away and managed to move up a bit on the long pavement section. We hit the grass and for some reason everyone went more to the right side and I shot up the left and passed a whole bunch of girls. We went right into this left hand turn that had a lot of mud ruts in it and someone crashed of course and we were all at a stand still. The first 10-12 girls missed it and were gone, and we were all left to fend for ourselves.

I didn't actually crash, which was good, but I had to put my foot down and get off and run around everyone that did. I got back on, and I have to say that Ann Knapp is about the best person I know. We are all trying to get back on our bikes and get going again and I hear from behind, "come on Kristi get up there" or something close like that from Ann. Ann is encouraging me while she is trying to also get back on the bike and get going. Like I had said in previous posting, Ann is truly one of my very favorite bike racers and friends. She has always been my idol and I have been racing with her for a long time, she is just so damn awesome. Anyways how cool to be encouraged back into the race from a fellow competitor while racing. Thank you Ann!! That really made my day and helped me get some energy to get going again.

So I got back on it, we were in the faster flatter section of the course. So it took some work to get back up to speed. I was sitting probably around 25th or so after the crash. I managed to get a couple girls right away and then I fell into no mans land for awhile. I was alone and there was a group of about 5 girls only about 5-10 sec ahead of me but I could not bridge it. I tried so hard but couldn't. So we went into the more technical sections of the course and I started bringing that group back in. A couple girls fell off and I was able to get them. I was moving up through the field and was feeling like I was getting faster and smoother with each lap. So I just put my head down and tried to give it everything I had to see how far I could move up.

The great part was that the course had dried up so much there was very little to no mud really. Just a couple sections total for the whole course. So I didn't have to pit my bike once, amazing for Portland. Thanks to Tim and Joe from Redline who had all 3 of my bikes speced out with carbon wheels and tires ready for me in the pits. How spoiled am I, 3 bikes, so awesome!!

So with one lap to go I was sitting in 17th place. I managed to get another girl and move into 16th. When I got back into a group of 2 girls, I passed one of them with a pretty good attack and thought I had dropped her, but she got back on my wheel and managed to pass me back. I tried so hard to stay with her but I had burnt my match at that point and didn't have to much left in the tank. So I held onto 16th place at the finish. Overall I was very happy with my race considering the crash at the start. I really felt like I rode well and everything went great after the crash.

So overall I was pretty happy, of course you always want a better result in such a great field of women, but these are the best girls in the country. So it is hard, and everything has to go pretty much perfect in order to be up there in the rankings. I felt strong and my legs were good, so that is great. And I am not burned out at all at this point and can't wait for Nationals!! So far my training has been perfect, my coach is the best! (That would be me!)

So I am sitting here in the hotel, it is early Sunday morning and I was awoken by high winds outside. They are forecasting 30mile gusts today with a high of 30 degrees. I made the decision yesterday that if it was really windy and cold I was going to sit today out, so that I didn't destroy my body before Nats. I race on Fri and I don't want to ruin myself and not be able to recover both physically and mentally before then. As a coach everyone is asking me if they should race both days here with Nats next weekend. I am really torn on the right answer. Since a lot of people race Thur or Fri next week, racing both days could take to much out of you and you may not feel recovered before the next race. For those that race Sat or Sun only next week then I think both are fine as long as it isn't just nasty conditions. You really want to leave on a good note going into Nats so you are fresh minded, our mind is really our biggest hurdle so leaving it happy and with a good memory before your biggest race is the best idea.

So I will see what it is like in a few hours, but right now I am thinking I am not racing today. I normally don't miss any races because of weather because that is one thing I like about cross, but I want to win my master cat so bad and have been training all year for that race on Friday that I need to make that a priority and do the right thing!!

So I will keep everyone posted on what I decide, one good thing if I don't race, I can scope out my competition and see how they ride and race to get some idea of what I need to do to win!!