Sunday, October 19, 2008

Racing at Home

Nice to have two days of great local races in Wisconsin in between weekends of traveling to UCI events. It was a beautiful weekend with sunny skies, cool temps, and colorful fall foliage. Saturday's race was at Badger Prairie - the home course that's less than 10 miles from my house - awesome. A fast course with lots of open power sections, one hill run up and a few twists and turns through the pavilion area. The GT boys put on a great race and the area's best announcer Mr. Rybarik was manning the mic. Brian is witty and funny and comes up with some great commentating. Here he is in action.

The usual crew of Wisconsin women was on hand for the race. Sam Schneider made her first appearance at a cross race after a long road season and we were missing Illinois powerhouse Devon. We started on the pavement and I moved into the lead to take the hole shot onto the gravel. Trying to keep the pace high I soon found myself riding with only Sam and my teammate Anna on my wheel. Photo:Jamie Young

I pushed hard and was soon riding alone. I tried to ride smooth through the corners and hunted down as many masters men riders as I could pretending they were my competition. It's easy to get content if you're off the front and start riding conservatively. That won't make me any faster so I focused on getting a good hard effort in.
Fun course! It flowed really well and it was fun to fly through some of the gentle twists in the prairie. Forty minutes later I came across for the win with Anna having a strong ride for 2nd. So great to have so many people on the course cheering for me - thanks to all my superfans out there - you guys keep a smile on my face! Cale from Team Pegasus was trying to get me to take a beer hand up and I turned him down every lap - I appreciate the gesture though! Dave rode out to watch the race and it's always nice to have my better half out there rooting me on. Mechanic Mike made the trip up to race and stayed with us Friday night too so it was nice to have him out there too.
You can see I'm rocking the new long sleeved skinsuit - it's pretty sweet. All of our team clothing came in last week so it was like Christmas on Friday when I stocked up on the very stylish Planet Bike gear. Skinsuits in red, black, and white!? Hmmmm . . . what color am I feeling like today ;) Thanks to Bob for hooking us up big time!

Sunday's race was down in Janesville just a 30 mile drive from Madison at Gibbs Lake. Corey does a great job putting on this race every year and it's a beautiful location with some fun trail in the woods and lots of twists and turns in the start/finish area. Plus this year he threw in 7 little logs at the top of a grinding climb.
I tried to jump them during the preride but alas my bunny hopping skills are still lacking - but improving!! A lot of power sections and a pretty rooty fast downhill - another fun course. A few more locals showing up today with Kaitie from ISCorp racing Sundays while she's away winning high school cross country races on Saturdays. We also had strong MTBers Abby and Andrea join in the fun of fall cyclocross. After a casual (and somewhat unexpected) "go" I was back a few riders and worked my way up to Anna who was leading the charge. We traded off pulls on the first lap and soon found ourselves with a gap. The second time up "little log hill" she had a leg cramp and I kept pushing on. I picked off a few of the guys who start before us and again tried to ride hard for the entire race while staying upright. I biffed my remount after the barriers once but otherwise had a decent technical race. I know I'm still slow in some of those corners but the bike and those amazing wheels are building my confidence up. Another win and Anna recovered and rode well for another second place finish.
Great weekend for Planet Bike racers all around including a dominant win for Bob and great finishes by Gordy, Greg, Diane, and Patty.

As soon as the womens race was finished I pinned up a mens 30+ number and headed back to the start line. I figure I need the extra training at this point in the season and why not go out and keep riding on such a nice day and a fun course. Legs were pretty cooked by this point so I just tried to keep my effort strong and spun a bit more. Those logs were getting annoying and I found it difficult to jump over all 7 of them!
Photo: Renee Callaway
Thirty minutes into the race I tried to shift into my big ring to go down the bumpy decent and heard a pop and felt my front derailuer cable hitting my leg. I had busted the little pulley wheel on the back of the seat tube since the Ridley runs all the cables on the top tube for better protection from the mud. I was stuck in the little ring and decided to call it a day rather than continue to race with the cable slapping my calf all race. I'm pretty bummed and hopefully it can be fixed this week before I travel to Louisville this weekend for the USGP UCI races. Hopefully the threads aren't trashed and I can just get a new wheel and screw.

There was a pretty cool tricycle cyclocross race course set up too. Here are Paul and Glen giving it a go!
Photos: Renee Callaway

So it was nice to come away with two local wins this weekend but I know I've got some tough racing this weekend in Kentucky. Hopefully I'm continuing to improve on my fitness and technique and I can race well with the stiff competition that will be out. And a few more UCI points to add to the tally would be nice too!

Life between cross races continues to go well. I taught a couple of times this week including my first time teaching gym class at a high school. Mostly just watched kids kick around some soccer balls for awhile. Taught AP Biology the next day but the student teacher did all the work so I got to hang out and watch her give the same lecture for five hours. I also started working part time at Planet Bike this week which has been a lot of fun. The guys there are great and I've learned my way around the warehouse full of awesome cycling accessories. I'm super impressed with how committed the company is to sustainable business practices, refurbishing products and then donating them, and being so involved with bicycle advocacy (25% of all profits go towards advocacy). There was a big gala for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin on Friday night at Saris and PB was one of the gold wheel sponsors that donated money and lots of product. It was a great event and the attendees helped raise over $100,000 for the Bike Fed - impressive. I was also impressed with the fact that a brand spankin' new PB blinky leg strap was attached to all of the bikes in the bike parking lot at the end of the night. A nice little treat to all of those committed to using bikes for transportation. I feel really honored to be associated with such a cool company that has such great values and is generous to the community it serves. They make darn good stuff and I encourage you all to buy Planet Bike product when given the choice.

We also got to see Christian VandeVelde speak and a live auction. Here he is with the crazy auctioneer from Texas. They were both pretty funny and it was a good time. Attendance included lots of familiar faces from the cycling community and it was great to see everyone out and digging deep to keep Wisconsin one of the top states for cycling. Word is we're number 2 to Washington but the Bike Fed is working to change that.

Alright - this entry ended up longer than intended! Thanks for reading and look for some mid weekend updates from Kentucky!


Jason said...

Kristen, congrats on your wins! That's awesome. Sorry you had a mechanical issue- I'm glad it didn't happen in the earlier races, though. Good luck in Kentucky!

Anonymous said...

Good Luck In Kentucky-