Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Can't believe we're already at Halloween and the end of October! Whew - time flies. The weather sure has been summer-like though. I had yesterday off and enjoyed the sun and brisk south wind with a 4 hour ride. I try to not encourage global warming but I'm certainly going to get out on the bike on these weirdly warm days. Single digits will be here soon enough.

Another cross race in the books at Washington Park this past Sunday. Halloween Cross is definitely a sight to behold and (unlike boring un-costumed me) many racers stepped up and had really great costumes. Here is my teammate Xena . . . I mean, Monique.

She made this entire thing herself! Too bad the pins on her skirt stabbed her legs throughout the race - ouch! - way to battle Warrior Princess!

This is one of my favorite courses. In a city park it has a good mix of short climbs, fast sections, a hill run up, and twists through beautiful fall trees. Lots of Halloween touches too - tombstones of past cycling legends, ghosts in the trees, etc. They even threw in a short little hoppable barrier enscribed with "bunny hop or DIE" on it. Somehow I made it over every time - but my back wheel would make a terrible smack every time as my bunny hopping skillz are severely lacking. Rebecca from GB showed up and she showed us all how it's done - nice job Dorothy - looks like Toto is enjoying the ride!

So the race was really fun. Thirteen of us on the line and only three of us dressed as ourselves :) Sam started the race out quick and I sat on her wheel - I need a better warm up for this stuff - I just am not ready for the fast starts. We took turns leading for two laps and then I edged past her and tried to get a gap. No looking back after that and I just hoped I could make it over the bunny hop without getting a flat every lap! I decided to jump into the guys race immediately after because hey, you can never have too much suffering in cross! I pretty much started at the back so as not to get in the way and just tried to have a solid effort. I actually felt pretty decent but still came in dead last and got lapped by many of the fast guys. AWESOME fans on the hill run up - just a tunnel of noise, complete with some dude dressed up as a french maid (fish nets and all) who would feather dust me every time at the top.

I was walking over those barriers by the end of my second race. Great race - and the warm temps were certainly nice - I'll take riding in just a jersey and shorts as long as I can.

I've also officially decided to go to Cross Nats in Kansas City on December 16. There are some great local racers (thanks JP and Renee!!) who have helped me with the logistics and it sounds like too much fun to pass up. I'm not sure where I'll fit in racing against all the top women but I'll give it my best! Katie Compton is just unreal - she's an absolute powerhouse and won Louisville on Saturday by 2 minutes against fierce competition. Will be an honor to be in the same race as her.

Alright that's all I've got. Life otherwise goes well. I get to substitute teach Latin tomorrow and Friday which should be interesting. I told the teacher I don't really know any Latin and she replied "oh that's okay, nobody really does!" I've been working more retail too - you know, one of those greeting card shops where every day is a holiday! You wouldn't believe how many Christmas trinkets we already have out! And if you want to give a Halloween card to your dog - yes, they make a card for that - I can hook you up.
Cider the cow - Halloween '02

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunny, warm cross racing

Another double header weekend of cross racing. These two courses suited me well with lots of power sections and just a few twisty turns for good measure. Saturday was the Whitewater Trash Dash and I was motivated to do well since both my parents and college roommate made the trip to watch me race. I was chasing after the first set of barriers and bobbling the remount - been doing that a lot lately! Tried to just settle into my rhythm and picked off riders, moving into the lead by lap 2. Almost a totally flat course with a hill run up and two double barrier sections - both with lots of space between them - so it was more about power than technical skills. Felt good running and just tried to keep the pace high the entire race. Nice to get the W and nice to chat with all the cool women I race against afterward.

Sunday was Gibbs Lake and with temps in the 70s it was a completely different feel than last year's muddy slip and slide race. Here's a pic after that fantastic experience last year.

A long two mile course that weaved through some nice wooded sections and a few grassy paths. A nice massive log greeted us each lap and this thing was up to my waist in the center of it - I stuck to the left edge where it was a bit lower. A long gradual hard pack climb with a steep grassy kicker at the top was sure to wear the legs out as the laps ticked by. Some pretty cool twisty sections in the main spectator area would certainly challenge my handling skills.

Again my family came out in full force with my parents, grandma, and uncle all coming to spectate in the beautiful conditions. Patti took off from the gun and I settled into third wheel through the first twisty sections before making my move on the long uphill. You could recover a bit coming down off of that and I just tried to stay smooth and powerful through the rest of the course. I felt super slow through the off camber turns around the trees as you came back to the S/F area and know that I need to work on my handling in those areas. Abby was never too far behind me and I knew she was making time on me in the twisty sections. I kept it upright, hammered the uphill, and came away with another win. I had awesome cheerleaders all over the course - thanks to Ruckus and the Magnus boys, Nicole, Amanda, Barb, my family, and everyone else. It is so cool to hear your name out there. Cross fans are awesome and I love hanging out with all the racers and spectators who come out on the weekends. Thanks to the hard work done by all the race promoters, volunteers, and officials too!

I was planning on maybe doing the mens 1/2/3 race after the womens race but I was a wimp and decided against it. The last lap of my race I was dreading the thought of going up that hill another time. Next week I think I'll do the mens 3 race before the womens race - and now that I've written it out I might be more likely to stick to it! Halloween cross at Washington Park is always a good time - who knows maybe I'll get creative this year with a costume?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Badger Cross

My maiden entry into blog-dom. Can't promise it will all be worthwhile reading or really even that interesting. But I might as well give it a shot. Hopefully my family will get a kick out of keeping better tabs on me anyway!

Above shot is from the cross race last Sunday at Badger Prairie. Two words - muddy mess. I don't pretend to be a good technical rider and the course certainly challenged me. Nothing like having absolutely no brakes the last two laps either! Devon H. from IL schooled me both days to take back to back wins. I managed a second Saturday at Cam Rock and then fell to third on Sunday when Abby snuck past me on the final twisty section before the finish. Next week I'm hoping to stay upright!

Props to Renee Callaway and her CVC crew for putting on a great race and making racing cross in Wisconsin such a cool experience! Her dedication to updating madcross and taking photos is unbelievable!