Monday, March 30, 2009

US Cup 1

So I'm getting better at this race update thing. Of course 3hr layovers at the airport help!

I've almost made it back to Kamloops after the most last minute race travelling the Luna Team has done yet.

My last post said that we had Luna Summit this weekend in San Fran. Well we did. Saturday Georgia, Chloe and I were leading 4hr mtb rides with the Luna Local teams and sunday morning we were up at 4:30 am and headed to the airport. The night before Zeph drove our race bikes to Fontana California and we stayed to ride and have dinner and Q&A at the summit. For the first time ever we were going to try flying in the morning of the race. It went pretty smoothly though and we were at the venue by 9am for our 11:30 race.

My legs felt surprisingly good. Georgia was able to sneak on course to scope out a lap and brought back reports of a hike a bike section added to the otherwise shortened loop. I was able to sneak on and check out the climb and sure enough it was going to be a tricky one. It was steep and loose and had sone large rocks we had to surge up and over.

Luna got the 1,2,3 call up and before we knew it racing was underway with georgia leading out a string of girls. I was able to take over the lead several minutes in only to crash on my head on the first descent. There's something about dry loose descents that makes me want ride uber sketchily. Georgia retook the lead and was riding really well. For three of the 4 laps Georgia and i traded positions. I was climbing really well and moving ahead there, but she was realing me in on the descents and flats. Heading into the last lap she opened a gap I wasn't able to reclose and from there stretched it. I definitely feel like i've got winning legs right now, but my lack of mtb skills on the day was distracting and i just couldn't dig enough to hold her. I finished in 2nd ahead of Heather Irmiger (3rd), Emily Batty (4th), Willow Koerber (5th) and Amanda Sin (6th). Chloe rode a great top 12.

We were given ginormous trophies and Georgia took on the leaders Jersey. Thanks to Waldek, Chris and Zeph for making everything run so smoothly all week. You guys are the best!

Check out this link for race footage and interviews

Luna Team Camp and Summit

Now I’m really back at the pro cyclist schedule. I flew from Chile at 8pm and arrived in Miami at 4 am. 3 hrs later and a good little nap on the floor of the airport after not getting much sleep on the plane, still wired from the race, I was on a flight to San Francisco.

I met up with some of my Luna team mates in Mill Valley and helped pack all of our new team gear into the team trailer. From here we headed to Napa Valley for our camp. At 6:30 pm Georgia, Chloe and I arrived in Napa with mechanics Chris and Zeph and were able to get our first shower since the race. There is nothing quite as humanizing as a shower! Gary and Kit, owners of ClifBar had dinner ready for us as the team trickled in from all over for the kick off to another great year.

Team camp is more about photo shoots, dialling in new equipment, sizing and schedules than about training, but this year’s location in Napa allowed us to get in a lot more riding than in years past. Based out of Gary and Kit’s place we took full advantage of the great road riding and weather to do long rides and catch up with each other. Not getting to see the tri and xterra girls as much it was a great chance to catch up with Terra, Danelle, Shonny, Cathy, Tyler and Linda. With Gary and Kit’s passion for good food we were well taken care of!

By Thursday we were reluctantly packing up to leave the Erickson’s, but excited to be heading back to San Francisco for the Luna Summit. The Summit is where all the leaders of Luna local teams come together to visit ClifBar, share our success with the Breast Cancer Fund and have lots of clinics and fun with Luna Chixs from all over the US. 125 women attended this year’s summit and could boast having fundraised $280 000 over the last 4 years for the Breast Cancer Fund (that’s in addition to the 2 million ClifBar and Company has donated through fundraisers and Energy bar proceeds ver the years).

It was pretty inspiring to be surrounded by some many healthy energetic women. The teams got to learn about cross fit, heart rate training, chi running, bike mechanics and nutrition as well as doing swim, run and bike clinics with the Pro team athletes. Every night we’d eat together and have some Q&A so we could share our athletic and life experiences with each other. With last year’s hectic schedule I missed the summit. This year I got a much broader intro to the Luna program and feel even luckier with my good fortune at finding this team and company to ride for. Team Luna Chixs is launching our website at the end of April so be sure to check out

Pan ams Race

It’s a good thing I’m not media as I don’t seem to be able to get my own race updates out until two weeks later!

So yes, the Pan Am champs went phenomenally well. It was one of those days that you wake up feeling unstoppable. You know it can be your day. The course suits you, you’re rested and you’re positive. I warmed up on a road climb with a tail wind at my back and felt even stronger.

Even though we were in a rather remote area, lots of Chileans showed up to watch the race; so many in fact, that as they did our countdown the crowd made a whistle like noise within the 15seconds to go count and half the field took off before the whistle. More than usual I had to make up for a slow start and started to feel a little panicky as I saw the four Americans and a couple South Americans surge to the front. Marry McConneloug and Georgia Gould were setting pace and looking really good. It was an “oh crap” moment for me as I tried to gauge how hard I could go to bridge the gap and not pay too severely.

By about 5 minutes in I was able to surge into the top 3 and eventually nip the lead in front of Georgia heading into the first single track climb. The climb was steep and loose and I had a couple dabs, but I focused on settling into a hard rhythm. After the climbs where we switch-backed through a great crowd of screaming fans, there was a fun, fast rocky descent, a creek crossing and picking your way through a field of boulders. The last third of the course had about 5 loose rutted descents which went rather sloppily first lap, but I started dialling in as the race progressed.

Steve and Jerome were in the feedzone giving me splits and I was gaining on the climbs and descents each lap. I felt focused and smooth in my first race of the season and excited to make the Championship win a reality. It usually takes a couple races to get my form dialled in so if it can go up from here I’m pretty psyched!

Emily Batty handily took the U23 women’s title and Amanda Sin pulled off a 6th despite flatting. My Luna Team mate Georgia finished 2nd.

After the race, there wasn’t much time to enjoy Chile. I packed up my bike at the venue and as soon as awards were over I started my second race of the day…to get to the airport on time! Luckily I had a wicked Chilean driver zoom me to the airport and was on my way to San Francisco by 8pm.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

fotos de Chile

Amanda Sin, Matt Hadley, Derekzandstra, Seamus McGrath, Me and Emily Batty

Sections of the course are a wee bit steep

Las Chicas Canadienzes
Racing Kicks off tomorrow with the women at 11ish. The men go at 2:30. Everyone is feeling good and looking forward to racing the surprisingly technical course. It'll be a tough race with some steep climbs and lots of loose rutted descents. Fun fun fun the mtb season has begun!

Found this little critter in the bathroom. We now make sure we close the windows!

The 40km switchbacking road to our accomodations

Not a bad view eh!

Falling on your knees sucks! My knees stuck out enough as it was I don't need any swelling! Don't worry guys it's not too bad riding

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

You know it’s race season when…

Doping control comes to visit you twice in 14hrs for samples!

I’m now sitting in a house way up in the mountains of Santiago, Chile. The 7 member Pan American team flew into Chile this morning. 3 hrs after arriving at the airport and a $200 fine later for Matt who forgot to declare a bag of raisons we were packed into minivans and headed out of the city smog and into the mountains.

UP, up, up we climbed until we reached over 3000 m of elevation on a road that became more and more winding with each Kilometre. About 40 switchbacks later we turned onto gravel and bridged many water bars in our rentals vehicles with only a couple scraping noises to find our accomodations!

We moved into our cozy home complete with our care takers Cathy y Alexis that will cook and clean for us. The only catch is they only speak Spanish which just means I get to practice lots! The cabin is a ski in and ski out in winter and could be right out of Switzerland. There’s barely a tree in sight, just lots of mountains.

It felt great to get out the bike, until we started climbing…which was one of our two options. Up or down. The air was definitely thin and the legs feeling a bit sluggish, but it’s day 1 and we are in shorts!

Tomorrow we’ll descend back down 20km of switch backs to about 1200m and the race venue.