Friday, July 2, 2010

Elkhorn and Nationals!:)

The past few weeks have been amazing!! After Mt. Hood I was on an Oregon high and couldn't wait to get back! I knew Baker City (where the Elkhorn Classic is held) wasn't going to be quite as incredibly scenic as Hood River Oregon, however the race courses didn't disappoint! They were all beautiful, and only slightly brutal!:)

Stage 1 was a beautiful 70+ mile course with two fairly large climbs and a lot of rollers! The race started out fairly mellow with the usual random attacks here and there. Once we hit the first climb Jen Halladay hit the gas and it was nothing but pain cave from there on out! That girl throws down some massive watts! About half way up the climb we got off in a break of about 6 or so riders, as we got closer to the feed zone (and top of the climb) Jen slowly started to break off the front. I tried desperately to stick on her wheel but she was not letting up and her pace was crazy hard! She got a ways off the front but our break away group caught her on the descent. Once we caught her she took the leadership position and pushed us all to keep a pretty dang fast pace through the pace line. We hit the last climb and her pace didn't decrease one bit. My legs were feeling pretty mushy! 4 of us pulled away from the rest of the group as Jen cranked it up the climb. About a mile from the top of the hill (which happened to be about 2 miles from the finish) my legs decided they were done and I slowly watched the three in front of me slowly get a gap. That is not a happy feeling. I pushed it as hard as I could down the little descent to the finish and ended up coming in about 40 seconds or so from the leaders. Dang! I was determined to make some time up in the TT.

The break away leading into the feed zone.

Stage 2 was an 11 mile out and back TT on rolling roads. It seemed to climb a lot more on the way out then the way back so I pushed it hard on the 5 miles out to the turn around. However I didn't pay good enough attention to the wind and realized immediately at the turn around that I was gonna have a lovely head wind all the way back! Plus I had Jen Halladay on my tail, she is a pretty dang good time trialist! I ended up finishing second in the TT, which bumped me to 2nd overall GC. Next up was the crit!

Stage 3 was an L shaped crit in downtown Baker City. They did call ups, which is always fun (mainly because it ensures a spot right up front!:) I was feeling fairly confident going into it and decided to try and drive the pace at the beginning. After a few laps it was clear that a break wasn't going to happen because there was a pretty strong headwind on the long straight away to the finish. There were tons of primes which mixed it up and made it fun! With one lap to go I was near the front. Someone attacked up the inside and the girl in front of me swerved to catch her wheel, just about crashing out the entire field. After yelling a few choice words I stuck on her wheel and rode in for 2nd place, my best crit finish so far! For the first time ever, I had a lot of fun in a crit! I hopped from 2nd to first overall GC!:)

Me at the front of a crit, a rare sight!;)

Sprint for the finish!

Stage 4 was an epic 102 mile road race with 4 pretty good climbs, finishing on an 8 mile climb up Dooley mountain. I woke up in the morning to a lovely rainy day, yikes!! I knew this race would start out fairly slow because 102 miles is a long way to go. There were random attacks here and there but we stayed together for the most part. My goal was just to sit back and watch Terry Sheasby (last years winner) who was in 2nd place, 23 seconds down from me, and make sure she didn't go anywhere. Up the last climb she went to the front so I went and sat on her wheel. We climbed at a pretty good pace, dropping most of the field. At the 1K sign I turned around and noticed it was just me and Terry, I was still feeling pretty good so I hit the gas, and soloed in for the finish! Have I ever told you how much I love hill top finishes!:) It was a great race, and I had a great little supporter/feed zoner/bike mechanic Matty Matt!:) He even sprinted after me when we had a small miscommunication at a feed zone....did I mention he was running on a broken toe...yeah that is dedication!:) Thanks Matt!!!!

Beginning of the rainy 102 miles :)

Well Hello there!;)

Climbing to the finish off in the distance!

Gotta love a pink leaders jersey!:)

I think we should be in an AT&T commercial...more bars more places!;)

I have to send out a MAJOR thanks to the owner of Bella Market in downtown Baker City. She heard that the women racers didn't make nearly as much as the men in this race (and most every race) and she was outraged! So she matched all of the prize money given out by the race director, sometimes even giving more than the race director! I walked away with over $400! Not to mention she gave jewelry to the winners of different stages and the overall GC! I got a cute bike bracelet and a necklace that says Dooley mtn on it!:) Thank you Thank you Thank you, I hope she knows how much this means to female cyclists everywhere!:)

Next up was Nationals in Bend Oregon!!:) I was so beyond excited for this race because it was one that I really wanted to focus on this year, and also the first big race my Mom had ever been able to come to! She has only seen me race small Utah races so far so I knew this would be really fun for her!:) After Elkhorn I spent a few days in Boise with my super awesome aunt and uncle Sue and Ger! They let me crash at their house yet again...I just keep showing up there!:) I got to do some easy TT rides and have coffee with my coach, it was some good relaxing time before Nationals! My Mom and Wes (my step Dad, who I usually actually call Ernie for just about no reason at all...however it has caught on and most of my family now calls him that too!:) ) drove up on Tuesday night, stayed overnight with me at Sue and Ger's and then we were off to Bend Wednesday morning! My Mom hates road trips so I have to give her a huge thank you for enduring the one lane 55 mph highway from Boise to Bend...and the rest of the driving for that matter!

Bend was a really beautiful place! Their are little shops and stuff built all along the river, so fun! I got to pre-ride the TT course with a few of the pro Colavita girls and immediately knew it was going to be brutal! It was a 20+ mile TT that climbed for 7 miles to a turn around, then descended (that was the only non painful part and it was still sort of painful ;) After you descend to about where you started you take a right and do another little "lolly pop" looking loop of rolly rollers! I felt pretty good during warm up, took my bike to the jig, then it was go time! For some reason TT ramps make me nervous (probably cuz I almost fell off of the one at Redlands because I was in too hard of a gear...and I was so nervous I thought I was going to s%&* myself...opps;) Thankfully I rolled right down the middle of this one, a good start! I caught the only girl ahead of me before the climb and was kinda bummed because I had no one to chase! I was feeling good until about mile 5 when my left aero bar came sliding out....yikes! I spent a good deal of time trying to get it back it, with the gearing facing the right way, but it just wasn't happening. I hit the turn around and started my very fast descent on very unstable aero bars, yeah I was scared!! I made it to the finish without completely killing myself, however I lost a lot of concentration trying to fix it, be able to shift, and not die! I crossed the line and the officials told me to wait at the finish because I was in 1st so far! I sat there as racers past, getting pretty excited and surprised since I'd had a serious mechanical issue. Then Sinead Miller of Peanut Butter and Co./Twenty 12 rolls through and they said those awful awful words, "#820 (my number) you can take off now!" I naively asked if that meant I didn't win, and they said "yep, that means you didn't win." Can't say my heart didn't sink, but I ended up in 2nd place in the U23 division, and 21st in the elites, so I wasn't totally crushed by my aero bar mayhem.

A successful roll down!;)

Turning onto the lolly pop loop, hoping my aero bar stays in!

Last 500 meters in the pain cave!

Next up was the road race! We had two days in between the TT and Road race to recover and just hang out in Bend! On Friday we went and watched all the crazy crits!! The womens crit looked fun, and I sort of regretted not entering, but figured it was probably for the best!;) On Saturday my cute little Aunt Sue arrived from Boise! She braved a 7 hour ride on a BUS to get there! What a hero!! Thanks for all the support Sue, it was so fun having you there! The best surprise of all came when Matt showed up!! He flew in to surprise me and I was shocked!! I loved it!:) I have a pretty dang good support system, I love you all a lot!!:) Once Sue and Matt got there we went to a little festival in downtown Bend called the "Bites of Bend" It was awesome! They had tons of different food vendors from all over Bend, live music, live cooking contests, and the best peach raspberry lemonade I've ever tasted! We had just eaten lunch, then had some snacks there, and then went to dinner...piggy porks for sure but hey what are vacations/bike races for!;)

I woke up bright and early Sunday morning to prepare for the road race which started at 8:15 AM. I ate my usual steel cut oats with bananas and blueberries (and a slightly frightening amount of brown sugar;) with some yogurt and toast and then it was off to the race! At the beginning of every NRC race I've done this year, I've been so nervous I thought I was going to vomit! I nearly passed out at the start line of every race at Redlands. However, for some reason I felt really calm at the start line of this race. I finally felt like I belonged there and was SO excited to race! The girls I was racing with have been my heros for the last two years, standing on the start line with them, at one of the most important races of the year, was incredible! I was extra excited because my awesome coach Corey Hart was there (his athlete Meredith Miller on Tibco won the national title the year before) and he has never really watched me race! They did call ups and we were off!! The course was a 4 lap circuit over rollers with a few longer climbs and one big kicker! The first two laps were interesting, with a few different breaks pulling off of the front, but none with any of the key players in them. I was watching Evelyn Stevens, Mara Abbot, Carmen Small and Shelly Evans really close because my coach had told me they were the ones to watch (sheesh could he have gotten any more accurate there!) Lap three is where all the big action happened. On the long climb up to the feed zone we caught a break of three that had been off the front for a really long time! Right as we caught them Evelyn Stevens attacked hard, shattering the field apart! Thankfully I made it into the break! By the time we began lap 4 the front pack had whittled down quite a bit and I was ecstatic to still be in the front pack! Mara attacked hard on the climb going up to the feedzone on lap 4, causing a small break off the front and a chase group of 14 or so right behind. We caught the 4 off the front before the last climb up Archie Briggs where Evelyn attacked and took Mara, Shelly, and Carmen with her. I was in the chase group just seconds behind them as we cruised down the last 5K of the race! I was so excited I'd made it that far and was just keeping my eye on Sinead Miller, the only U23 in front of me. I stuck on her wheel and wasn't going anywhere until I could sprint around her at the finish! However I made a major mistake! What I should have realized was that she had a teammate with her to lead her out (a damn good lead out too, Lauren Tamayo!) As we neared the 500 meter sign I saw Amber Neben come around the right side, I thought "hey she is a world champion, hop on that wheel!" Big mistake! Right as I did that, the peanut butter lead out took off, attacking on the inside, pulling Sinead with her! Sinead sprinted in and around her leadout to take 6th, while I sprinted in for 9th. I should have stayed on her wheel, and tried to come around her at the line, mistakes mistakes! However that is bike racing and mistakes only make you better! After the bummed out feeling from losing the U23 national title, I realized I had just taken 9th place in the Elite women! That made me pretty dang happy!!!!:) Mara Abbott took the win, with Shelly in 2nd and Carmen Small (another one of my coach's athletes and someone who has helped me a great deal!) in 3rd! Evelyn Steven's, who I look up to and admire SO much, came in 4th, with Theresa Cliff-Ryan rounding out the podium in 5th! It was an incredible race, I wouldn't give up that experience for anything in the world!

The start line and my cute Mom (or the back of her head:)

Lap one up Arche Briggs!:)

Great pic from USA cycling...the caption was "beautiful mountains, beautiful women" haha yeah beautiful women that can kick your ass!;)

My Mom has become quite the photog!;)

Evelyn's attack lap 3! She is amazing!

Post race chat with my amazing coach Corey!:)

I want to send a big thank you to my entire family, and Matt's entire family for all of the support! I couldn't do any of it without you! You all mean so much to me! I love you!!:)

I'm a big dreamer, and I have been for as long as I can remember! The moment I got on a bike for the first time, I completely fell in love! I fell in love with the people, the places, and the feeling of doing something I am so passionate about! I have always wanted to do something great and my dreams have always kept me striving to find that greatness! I am a firm believer in the reality that dreams can come true, if you dare to dream them! Just this morning I found out that I will be racing with the US National Team in Europe, in just a few weeks! I'll be racing the GP Centro Carnevale d'Europa in Italy and the Tour de Feminin in France! Thank you to everyone who has helped make my dreams become true! :)