Monday, June 30, 2008


Waiting out the rain with Nick and Stefano from Kenda - thanks guys!

Short update from the IPod touch! Raced in Grandview, an awesome community within Columbus Ohio. We stayed with absolutely amazing hosts the Camerons. It was great to see Ron, Karen, Alex, and Abby again. Thanks for all the great hospitality! Let's just say we ate very well the entire weekend!

Saturday's race was a 4 corner flat crit. After an hour rain delay we finally race. A solid field of 50 riders showed up for the $2000 prize purse. After being involved in a short lived break of riders a counter attack of three riders went off the front. My teammates and I did some chasing but other teams didn't help out for a few laps and by then it was too late and we were racing for 4th place. Late in the race a $100 prime was called and my teammate Kat attacked and had a good gap - she was reeled in and then I used the lull to go for it and snagged the cash. On the last lap I made sure to be sitting in the top ten and was in front of the crash on the second to the last corner. I was on Team Revolutions leadout train and was able to take 4th in the field sprint - 7th overall. A little frustrated we weren't in the break but 4 of us finished in the top 20.

Sunday is a more interesting course with a longish gradual climb up to the finish. Also three times as much money up for grabs with $6000 on the line. Rain at the start and all the bike cleaning that morning was wasted! The first prime was $100 and I decided I was going to give it a go. I jumped a bit early but went hard and held on for some more $ - I don't often go for primes but I must say it was pretty thrilling! So much fun that a few laps later when they called another prime I jumped early on the climb and solo'd across the line with a big gap. I put the hammer down for a lap figuring I should try to make the most of my situation. Three laps later I was caught but the selection of 11 riders had been made. I was happy to have Kat in there. We caught several lapped groups and finally caught the remenants of the main field with maybe 7 laps to go. The race was 30 miles and most of us were getting tired and the hill was taking a toll. With two to go my teammate Jess strung the field out and I was on the wheels of the riders I needed to watch. As we rounded the final corner I fought to stay on wheels and ended up 4th behind Sam from Mesa, Bri from Team Rev, and Christy from Priority. Kat took a solid 8th and all the rest of my teammates were in the top15. A great weekend for Team Kenda Tire and we all went home with some hard earned cash.

Thanks so much to Jay Baumeister for putting on these great races and the community for all the support. Such a fun weekend!
Jeni's Ice Cream - soooooo good!

I'm now in Syracuse with Kat and Ashley from ISCorp. We're traveling to Fitchburg tomorrow for the NRC stage race but are in NY visiting Becky. Quite the adventure! I'll try to update throughout the week!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Three Years and Happy Birthday!!

Three years ago today we got hitched! It was an amazing day and it's been three great years.

Today is also Dave's dad Aaron's birthday -

and tomorrow is my dad's birthday!

How convenient to have some important days consolidated . . . easier to remember! Love and good wishes to three of my favorite guys!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yardwork and Wisconsin racing

This last week was a nice way to decompress a bit from Nature Valley and the busy spring semester I had of teaching. I headed back to the Row and picked up some hours at the bike shop. It's always fun to get paid to talk about bikes and I work with some pretty cool people.

I also waged battle with our backyard a bit and decided to put in a border of mulch. The weeds around the fence were getting annoying and I figured I needed a project. Got a nice upperbody workout in by moving the mulch from the big pile by our driveway. Took almost 40 trips with the wheelbarrow - ouch! I neglected to take a before shot but here's a section of what it looks like now. I still have to put in a brick border and add some plants.

The weekend brought two big money crits in the Milwaukee area. The Wisconsin Cycling Association - along with two local clubs ISCorp and ABD/Geargrinder put on two fantastic races with a huge prize purse - $2500 each day for the women. Jill and I left on Saturday for the Grafton Twilight Crit and despite attempting to get to the race 2 hours early we made it there 30 minutes before our start due to road shutdowns from the flooding in the area.

Here's a picture of Jill as we rush to get ready.

After a very quick warmup we lined up with about 25 women. It was a strong field but it was really too bad that more riders didn't show given how much money was at stake. Team Kenda had a strong presence with Jess and Catherine making the trip as well as two new Cat 3 local riders Shelley and Rebecca. It was a fast race with attacks coming from us, America's Dairyland, and ISCorp. I snagged an early prime on a solo flyer and the three of us continued to attack the field repeatedly. Shelley put in some well timed attacks near the end of the race and the other teams chased (despite Shelley being a lapped rider). No breaks were sticking and on the last lap I gave it one final effort - I had a small gap but the field was strung out behind me going into the last corner. I gave it my all hoping my girls were sitting on the right wheels. Cari from America's Dairyland won with Jess 4th, Catherine 7th, and I held on for 8th. Jen Greenberg from PunkRock unfortunately went down with a few laps to go and had to be taken away in an ambulance. A broken jaw, some stitches on her face, and some pretty serious road rash - our thoughts are with you Jen - you're tough and will get through this!

Grafton is an awesome race. It's a twilight race and the community comes out full force to cheer on the racers. Thanks to ISCorp and the city of Grafton for a very well run race and for putting up so much $$ for the women. We will continue to share our positive experiences with our fellow racers and hopefully more riders will come out and support this great race.

Sunday was a race just north of Milwaukee in Sheboygan - the home of the bratwurst (okay that's Germany - but the American home anyway). We got there plenty early and watched some of the earlier races. My parents came out to watch me race for the second weekend in a row - thanks mom and dad - you rock! Just as we were taking a warmup lap the rain started falling hard and on the line it was an all out downpour. Luckily the course was just a big long rectangle and not very technical so the conditions weren't that scary. I actually don't mind the rain but I know a lot of riders can get twitchy on wet roads - especially the corners. I've always felt really confident with the smooth handling of my Blue bike and the sure grip of the Kenda tires - it's nice when you can so easily trust your equipment. Luckily the rain stopped a few minutes into the race but the roads would remain wet the entire time. After several break attempts I gave it one more try through the start/finish and found Devon, Rachel (ISCorp), and Kate (America's Dairyland) with me and a gap from the field. Once Kristen M. bridged up to us we knew this break was likely to stick. Devon and I worked hard the first two laps to ensure that and then we took turns and soon lapped into the field. On the last lap Dairyland set up their leadout train and as we went hot into the first corner I heard a sliding crash of riders just behind me. That left about 10 of us in the group including all of my breakmates. I was sitting about 6th wheel through the final corner and in the long sprint finish I was able to move up and took 3rd behind Kristen M. and Devon.

This earned me some tasty fudge from my buddy Chris who at the start promised the chocolate to Jess, Jill, or I if we made the podium today. Mmmm, thanks Chris!

Unfortunately my teammates Jess and Rebecca went down pretty hard in the pile up but luckily no serious injuries. Poor Jess and her hip - road rash on top of last week's road rash! And Rebecca's beautiful Blue bike cracked at the chainstay. Heal up quick girls!

All in all a great weekend of racing and thanks to all involved in putting on such professional events. Thanks again to my parents for making the trip from Green Bay to cheer for me on Sunday - always nice to have some extra motivation!

I leave Friday for Columbus, Ohio and the fantastic races in Grandview. From there the road trip continues on to Syracuse, NY to visit a friend and then to Fitchburg for another NRC stage race. Kenda has a strong team put together for that one and it should be a great event.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mankato and Stillwater

The last two days of the Nature Valley Grand Prix are always the hardest. The Mankato Road Race is 91 miles - the last 8 of which are 4 laps of a brutal circuit that includes a fairly long steep climb. It was a pretty hot and windy day out so staying hydrated and out of the cross winds were important. The race alternated between being fast and strung out and slow and conversational. There were various attempts at getting a break off the front and one rider, Katheryn Mattis from Webcor, was away solo for almost 100K. I found myself in one very short lived break about halfway through the race when a group got up the road and a girl leading the chase pulled off and caused a TIBCO rider to veer off and ride in the ditch. The chase was disrupted and I took the opportunity to bridge solo up to the break of 7 riders. I just sat on as no one seemed willing to work and soon enough the field swallowed us up. Fun to at least be up there!

So it all came down to the circuits. The first time up the climb I was hurting and not looking forward to three more trips up the dreaded hill. I watched frustrated as a group of about 25 girls pulled away. I found myself in a group of about 7 riders and we sort of worked together to minimize our losses.
Thanks Ryan for all the great pictures!!

The climb definitely took it's toll. I ended up 34th, just over 2 minutes behind Kristin Armstrong who won the race solo by almost 40 seconds. Very impressive. Jackie finished in the group just behind me and unfortunately Debbie dropped out halfway through the race due to foot issues. All of us were having problems with our feet - maybe heat related? As soon as the race was over we all sat there with ice on our throbbing feet.

Sunday is the infamous Stillwater Crit. With the 22% climb up Chillikoot hill every lap it's hardly a crit and the GC always gets pretty shaken up on this final stage of the race. My quads were pretty stiff and sore in the morning and I was just trying to psych myself up for a final 50 minutes of suffering. Finish strong. Call me crazy but I do love this race. I like races that really test the physical and mental fitness of riders and this definitely fits that criteria. Plus I have lots of family and friends come out for this one so I'm always motivated to put on a good show. It was also father's day and having my parents out there watching was great.

We had perfect weather - clear blue skies and low 70s. Jackie and I lined up early but not early enough and were both near the back. I clipped in and held onto the barrier for the start and my line up the hill was poorly chosen. I took the far right side and I couldn't squeeze through. Luckily there was a large group over the top and the next two times up the hill I powered around numerous riders to get in a group. There were about 10 girls off the front and I was in a chase group of maybe 8.

Kristin Armstrong later attacked the lead group and we were the third group on the road. I was getting worked over on the climb and I struggled near the back every time up and would catch the group through the descent. Finally with three laps to go a couple of us popped off as the pace lifted. I knew there were more riders behind me and I just tried to keep the hammer down and stay away from them. The tunnel of noise up the hill was motivating and so many people were cheering me on - it was unreal. The last time up the climb I gave everything I had left and finished mere seconds ahead of chasing riders. It was good enough for 17th place and moved me up to 24th in the GC. I later found out the group I was in bridged up to the first chase group - too bad I couldn't have dug a little deeper to hang on! . . . next year ;)

Here's a photo from Cyclingnews and Frank Rowe. Frank rode in our car in Cannon Falls and included some great shots of us online. Thanks Frank!!

It was great to hang out with my parents and aunt and uncle afterward to watch the men race and then grab some food. Nothing like a burger for some post stage race recovery protein! :)

Thanks so much to Paul, Mike, and Brooke for all of your help and keeping our bikes in tip top shape! Ryan, Rachael, Jess, Lori, and Ed for all helping out in the feed zones and before/after the race! Also thanks to all of the host families that helped house Team Kenda Tire - Mike and Karla, Robbie and Linda, and Jeff and Nancy. You all rock and your help is so appreciated! :)

Lots more racing in the weeks to come with big $$ crits in Grafton and Sheboygan this weekend, Grandview the following weekend and perhaps an NRC stage race in Fitchburg, MA over the 4th of July!
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Double Stage Day

Yesterday was our double stage of the TT in the morning and a crit in downtown Minneapolis at night. Thursday's road race went off in beautiful weather and it all ended up coming down to the finishing circuits. The race was fast with attacks from numerous big teams but in the end it was all about making it through the gravel and sketchy descent before the circuit. Debbie, Jackie, Yukie, and I were able to finish with the main group and the rest of our riders a few minutes back. Unfortunately Andrea got caught up in a crash but she fought on and was able to finish within the time limit.

Friday morning brought a 6 mile time trial along the Mississippi River. Very flat until just under 1K to go and the road wound up and gained about 200 feet . . . and finished with a wicked headwind. It was windy out on the course and unfortunately it was mostly crosswind or headwind.

Thanks again to Ryan and Rachael for all of the cheering out on the course and taking the awesome pictures! What a great brother in law! Oh - and happy belated birthday!!

Kristin Armstrong won by 42 seconds over her nearest competition and proved once again why she has a world champions jersey in the TT. I was almost 2.5 minutes back. Jackie, Debbie, Lori and I all finished within 10 seconds of each other.

Unfortunately the officials decided to adhere strictly to the time cut and 25 women were cut as a result including our 4 other riders. Typically in the past they have never eliminated riders in the TT but after Wednesday night's fiasco (and the fact there were still 125 riders in the field) they decided to trim the group down to under 100 riders. It was too bad since many riders rode the TT a bit easier to conserve for later stages. Everyone knew the possibility existed for the time cut but we didn't expect it would be so strict . . . or that Armstrong would be so dominating. I'm pretty bummed many of my teammates can't continue and are flying home. But that's racing and we all understood and accepted the decision.

The four of us started the crit last night and only Jackie, Debbie, and I would make it through and finish with the pack after Lori had a bad start. It was fast but thankfully safe. My parents, aunt, uncle, and cousin all made it out and it was so great to have so many cheering fans on the course! :)

We got burritos at Chipotle after the race - along with nearly everyone else in the women's peloton! - and it was nice to chat with my family.

So today we have the 90 mile Mankato Road Race. It finishes with 4 laps of a 2 mile circuit with a steep, longish climb. The race will definitely shatter when it comes to the circuits and there may be some action before that as teams look to try to isolate Armstrong and take the yellow jersey from her. Should be a fun race!

Thanks again to all of our fabulous support crew - Mike, Brooke, Ed, and Paul - we'd be lost without all of your help!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

St. Paul Washout Crit

Just a quick update after last night's ridiculously scary crit in downtown St. Paul. There were storms and rain all day yesterday and our race started after a short delay. It was sprinkling at the start and the course was extremely wet and full of puddles. It's a technical, 6 corner, 1K course with many manhole covers. The direction of the course was reversed to try to make it safer but we knew it wouldn't matter much. Many riders on the line were urging the officials to cancel the race as we all knew the conditions were going to make the race very dangerous. Despite our concerns the race started and was shortened to 30 laps. I had a decent start position and clipped in and held onto the barrier. Second corner riders at the front washed out and it was just a matter of avoiding downed riders and holding onto the field. Kristin Armstrong went off the front from the start and ending up lapping the field solo. Riders were going down practically every lap. The field was strung out for much of the race and although the pace settled now and again it was fast considering the conditions. Gaps would open off the back and halfway through the race only about 60 riders remained in the main group. I was happy to be tagged on the back of the field and wanted to just stick in as long as I could. With 5 laps to go my teammates Jackie and Debbie were both in the main group with me but unfortunately Debbie crashed for the third time, she hopped back in but was unable to stick with the group. I nearly went down after a rider crashed in front of me and for the last two laps I finished in a small group about 10 seconds behind the main field. The results misidentified me as my teammate Lori Jug but we'll try to get that fixed today. It was all moot in the end as they decided that this race would not count towards the general classification of the race. I can see both sides to this but it sort of makes you wonder why we were even out there racing at all. Sooooo many riders went down and I'm just hopeful no one was seriously injured.

All of our girls went down except for Kat, Andrea, and I - we were lucky. Mostly just some minor rash but there are lots of stiff sore riders this morning. Hopefully today goes better with the Cannon Falls road race that starts tonight. Weather looks good anyway!

Big thanks to my Uncle Kim, Aunt Terese, and cousin Maria for coming out to cheer me on! It was great to see you guys and hopefully we can catch up more after Stillwater on Sunday! Also huge thanks to our support crew for this race - Brooke and Mike have been dutifully cleaning and tuning bikes the past couple of days and we are so thankful for their help! Also Paul and Ed are making sure everything is ready for us - thanks guys!

Also thanks to Ryan and Rachael for all of the support out on the course. Ryan was out taking some cool pictures too - thanks for letting me use them here!

I somehow managed to forget my camera at home(!). I'll see if I can grab some from my teammates later. We've got a fun group put together for this race and I look forward to the rest of the week with them!
I'll try to update after the TT tomorrow!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 6, 2008

School is out for the summer!

Technically this is finals week but with Nature Valley this week my last day was Friday. We've been dissecting fetal pigs for our final anatomy/physiology unit and they were getting pretty disgusting. A lot of the kids got really into the project though and perhaps I had some future doctors and surgeons in my classes? It was a lot of fun working with my students for almost the whole semester and it's so cool to see them progress and change over a few months. I learned a lot this semester and it was a great opportunity - we'll see if it helps me get a full time job in the district.

Not too many exciting race updates since last post. I did local Wisconsin races the past two weekends. Jess came up for the crit in Sussex and we both got in a break of 4. We kept attacking on the last lap and I managed a win just ahead of the hard charging Kaitie. This past weekend was the State Road Race aka - racing in a monsoon. The thunder and lighting neutralized our race after 7 miles and we had to huddle together under the tent for almost an hour. The wind picked up and we were pretty cold by the time the race restarted - lots of uncontrollable teeth chattering and twitching muscles! It was a bonding experience! Many riders decided to call it a day and go home and our race was shortened to 13 miles. After a few attacks a group of 5 of us stayed away after the first lap. I couldn't come around for the sprint finish and I ended up 4th. Congrats to Kristen M. for the win and Ashley J. the Wisconsin gold medalist.

I'm headed to Minneapolis this morning with Jess for Nature Valley Grand Prix. With the field limit reached and 150 women starting this race it's going to be pretty ridiculous. Racing starts Wednesday night with the St. Paul crit. I'll try to post some updates and remember to take pictures!!