Thursday, December 17, 2015

Let's get NASTY

Change always seems to happen all at once.  And even though I am not a huge fan of change - I have definitely been anticipating this turning point in my life for a while.

Along with my partner in crime - Jen Gerth - we decided to develop a program that targets our favorite population which is ..well...US!  Jen and I have a lot of things in common: we are obsessed with cute cats, we love to have a good time, and we are crazy about crit (and track) racing.  Mor eimportantly, we are two strong minded women who like to do things our way, and stay true to what makes us happy and unique.  This is the foundation of our new project - Team Continental Crit Nasty.

Continental Crit Nasty is made up of four women who want to race and win at some of the best criteriums on the continent, all while having fun and developing friendships that will last a lifetime.  

It turns out running a team is a lot harder than I imagined, but it is still the most satisfying and fulfilling thing I have undertaken in a while.  Once the dotted lines have been signed I will update my readers (mom and dad) on who else is prepared to get nasty with us this summer!

Stay tuned - and be sure to follow the new team on instagram and twitter!  We are working on a website - but man do things take time!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Summer track racing

I guess it was the sunshine that kept me from updating my blog - so I honestly don't feel that guilty haha.  It's really when I get a snarkey email (in the best way possible) from my Aunty overseas do I realize that they have no clue what I'm up to and I better confirm I'm still alive.

After the road season came to a quick halt - I buckled up my Bonts and hit the track as quickly as I could.  It's by far my favorite type of cycling, and I honestly can't wait to do it every year.  It's hard to explain - but I never dread riding my track bike...and there are certainly days I dread on the road bike.

My first set of races were the UCI Marrymoor GP.  let me rephrase - my first time on the track bike in a year was the UCI Omnium down in Redmond Washington.  Commonwealth Games had just come to a close so a few of the medal winners from there graced us with their entry.  And in all honesty- I am really happy they did.  It was an eye opener for sure - my individual events lacked a little bit of planning - however being able to race with them in the bunch races made up it (as per usj).  So to put it softly I didn't perform very well - but it definitely kicked my butt in gear.

Some may also describe me as a little scatter brained.  I may or may not had forgotten my glasses, front skewer for my race wheel and gloves.  I also may or may not have been riding a brand new bike (love my new Planet X!) and the seat post may or may not have slipped completely to the bottom of the frame during several events causing me to pull out of the points race thinking I would get a free lap like in crit racing to fix it.  I now know this is not the case...and unless you crash - you get no freebies.  I'll put that one in the knowledge bank, and tighten my seat post bolts.

I later went back down to Marymoor for the North West Track Championships, otherwise known as Fred's Race a few weeks later - bike fixed - skewer found - and quite a bit more comfortable spinning at 120+rpm. I was fortunate enough to take home the win in the individual pursuit, points race and the keirin as well as a 3rd place in the Scratch.  The field wasn't as decorated - but the girls down there are feisty and ready to bring it - which I absolutely love.  I'll have to say my favorite part of the weekend was all the new friends I made - and how welcoming Redmond (and the Williams!) were to us Canadians.

I was really thankful for that weekend.  I haven't had many opportunities to ride for myself in the past, and confidence is definitely something I am lacking.  It's strange how crossing the finish line only an inch in front of someone else makes you feel like the Queen of the Castle - but I'll take that small injection of happiness any chance I get...and with each hit...I want more...

The next race up for me was BC track provincials.  I had a jersey to defend, and after tasting victory only a few weekends prior, I was pretty confident I could battle for the win again.  Except - the night before racing started they cancelled the whole event due to...RAIN - I mean come on!  I was already over on the island where the race was supposed to take place, rested and ready to go - and then nothing.  I was pretty disappointed - but everyone was in the same boat so there wasn't too much to complain about...except the rain haha.  A few days later they decided to hold it the next weekend - giving us only a couple days notice.  And by that time I was sick and stressed.  I decided last minute I would make the trek over to the island again.  I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I didn't at least try to keep the jersey.  I ended up coming 2nd, after making a few HUGE mistakes and almost going home half way through the omnium.  I was upset I didn't win, but after spending the evening getting pep talks and ego boosts from my team mate Suzanne, I learned more that weekend then I ever would if it had gone smooth sailing.  She also made me Lasagna - that definitely helped :).

This weekend I will be on my way to Nationals. They are back in Onterrible (but actually Ont-awesome because I get to see all my friends again!), at the new velodrome they build for the Pan Am games.  There are 5 TRT racers going plus Team manager/sponsor/track guru Chris Willburg - which I am super excited about - so hopefully we can all rally together and put on a good show - who am I kidding - I know we will :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tour de Bloom with TRT!

It’s not often the Trek Red Truck racing ladies don’t show up in full force, but this past weekend at the Tour de Bloom it was just Suzanne and I who had the opportunity to defend the TRT name.  In the same light, we are now used to working as part of a bigger whole.  Normally, before each race, each rider is delegated a specific task, and for the past few weeks our task has been to attack, follow everything, and attack some more. So admittedly this weekend was going to play out a little differently.

Before I even touch on the racing, I have to pay homage to the insane house/cabin/oasis the team got to stay in for the weekend. It was right at the base of the hill climb, tucked away in the woods for ultimate restfulness – even if it was bustling with 18 year old boys. And I guess I forgot that we barely spent a moment in there due to unforeseen circumstances…read on.
In the crit in downtown Wenatchee.
Tour de Bloom is an Omnium with 3 stages.  First up was a 4 mile mass start Hill Climb – which is more accurately described as a 4 mile mountain climb.  There were some very good climbers starting this stage, but Suzanne and I had made a commitment to not implode, and managed to hold our own in this grueling 1st stage.   After not much of a cool down, we found ourselves scrambling to get ready for the crit which was starting in a couple of hours (we later found out the boys had enough time to take a 2 hour nap, play 2 hours of call of duty and watch 2 movies because their race was at a whopping 8:30 pm). 

The crit took place in downtown Wenatchee, which is (to our surprise) a beautiful town.  They had races all afternoon, including running races, lemond start races, and relays in costume!  Our plan was race smart, take turns going for the primes, and to win the race.  The crit was only 30 minutes, but we made every minute count.  By the third Prime, we had racked up Omnium points in all three, and I remember telling Suzanne ‘we can win this’.  With 2 laps to go, and people getting antsy, Suzanne ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and hit the deck – HARD.  By the end, I was only able to Sprint to 2nd, but I was so happy about how smart Suzanne and I raced that I was happy to have at least got us on the podium. 

I won a growler - and got to stand close to my good friend Jen!

Suz unfortunately was pretty banged up from her spill.  Mark (Joel’s dad) and I ran around Wenatchee for the next couple hours getting her ice (from the beer garden..:)) and clothes so she could try to clean herself up a bit.  I will say that she is tough as nails, and stayed out with us all evening to support and cheer on the boys who put on a great show for all the rowdy Wenatchee-ians (iets!?).  The men started and finished in the dark, which made for a really exciting race to watch.  Dylan even managed to snag a nice cash prime, while Willem sprinted to a solid 4th in a stacked field   ! V. impressive ride by all the men!

After the crit, I was sitting in 4th overall.  It’s not often I’m in a position where I worry about my result, so I wasn’t too sure what to do.  I did know that the top 3 girls were amongst the strongest in the race, and wouldn’t let anything go ahead without them. 

playing out!
The road race was 109km of rolling, exposed country side.  I was a lone soldier on this stage because Suzanne and her bike were not in top racing form, so I planned to make it to the end as fresh as possible to contend the finish. The women’s field ended up splitting by an awesome attack from TRT alumni Kristine, and I managed to get myself into the front group.  The sprint, unfortunately, seemed to pop out of nowhere (it was an extension to the race loop), and after missing my internal queue to TURN IT ON, I was only able to get 3rd in the stage – but right now I’ll take anything I can get.  This let me keep my 4th overall, and Suzanne and I ended up leaving Wenatchee with some smiles and lots of new water bottles. 

The men had a hard day on the road, and everyone who finished look like they wouldn’t be able to get off their bikes. Although they did seem to be able to throw back some beers fairly easily. 
more water bottles!

As for Suzanne and I, I think this weekend we learned a lot about racing and about coping with new situations.  We were able to make awkward situations work for us, and we learned there is such a thing as ‘too much oatmeal’. 

I would like to give a big thank you to the TRT family for getting us to this amazing race, and to the race organizers at Tour de Bloom for putting on such a stellar event in such a beautiful place.  The next team race is Enumclaw in a couple weekends, and I’m really excited that the majority of the women’s TRT team will be present for it.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

In case you thought I had ceased to be, expired and gone to meet my maker...

This might be old news, but I am excited to say I will be riding with TRT again for this upcoming season.  Track season only just came to a close, and I have barely had any time off from competition - but that's the way I like it. 

After climbing for 2 hours with insane headwinds in Alpine, California.

A couple weeks ago I decided I needed some time to myself - working is not my favorite pass time believe it or not - so I went to San Diego for a week of riding and sunshine...or so I hoped.  Day 1's ride ended up being a little more epic then anticipated, and resulted in me spending the evening overcome with a horrible sickness (trying to make it sound eloquent b/c it was anything but!).  I have a history of not coping well with the heat, so I blamed it on heat stroke, until I ended up having no appetite and a fever for the remainder of my vacation.  It wasn't all bad tho - I ended up doing a couple of the infamous Swamis group rides (lets call them races), climbed a couple mountains, and learned how to surf (unsuccessfully).  I also saved a lot of money on food and slept over 10 hours a night - so in reality it was a success. I was also in the company of a local BC team, Langlois Brown, who I ended up spending a lot of time with, which made the downs of the trip plateau into acceptable... Mesa's (...see what I did there..:)).  I was able to thank them for their warmth by getting about half of their team sick as well...sorry!

Wes, at the back, made an insane Cuban dinner for all of us on Valentines day, something he does every year to celebrate his anniversary with his wife - so special :)

After seeing how well the LB team got along, it made me miss my own team mates, and got me excited about the season ahead.  Last night I was lucky enough to get some of that feeling back, by being invited to the TRT annual sponsors dinner.  I was asked to attend as the athlete representative, and was able to say a small thank you in front of 30 of our sponsors (we have about 70...).  It's a little difficult to get across how much this program and it's supporters mean to me sometimes, so it's nice to be given the opportunity to express it on occasion.  An amazing 5 course dinner at the best french restaurant in BC (Le Crocodile) doesn't hurt either.  

This weekend is our first race as TRT 2015.  We have about 4 local races until our trip down south for the Redlands Classic in California and Sea Otter.  I'm really looking forward to getting to know all the new athletes and to see how fast I can make my bike go :) Until next time!

Steve, the TRT boss man, and I struggling to take a decent picture.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Silver Medal at The Canadian National Championships

A couple weeks before Nationals, Allison, Kinley and myself decided it would be fun to do a TRT Team Pursuit at the Track National Championships in Milton.  In order to compete, we needed 4 riders - so we found Sara Mason from Ontario, who ended up fitting the bill perfectly.  The race was on the first day of Nationals, which was also the first day the track was open...ever.  There was so much dust on the track that we had to wipe our wheels down with vinager, and wipe saw dust from our eyes at the end of each effort.  
We were lucky enough to have Kinleys coach direct us in our warm up and help us with a few practice efforts before the race that evening.  Because the track is a lot longer and smoother then Burnaby (what I am used to racing), the race unfolded a lot differently then anything I had practiced before.  Our gear, for example, was 8 inches bigger then what I would use at Burnaby, which is a pretty big jump.  Thankfully, Allison, Kinley and Sara are all apart of the National track team and knew exactly how to run a smooth and cohesive team pursuit. 

Kinley was our starter, practicing the position she will be for the World Cup she is about to attend in Columbia.  Allison was our team captain, because not only can she (and Kinley) sit on the front for 2 laps at a time, she is also the most calm and level headed person I know.  Sara was third, and I took up the rear.

We qualified second in the preliminaries with a time of 4:51 for 4km which is just under 50km/hr.  This put us in the gold medal round in the finals against team BC which had three of the main National team pursuiters.  Although we knew that they would most likely beat us, we did post the fastest first Kilo in our qualifiers, so our goal was to keep the other laps as close to that as possible.  
We ended up coming second in the finals, however we still beat our qualifiying time by 2 seconds.
Because this was a test event for the Pam American Games, everything was run in a very formal fashion.  For the awards, we were escorted out onto the infield with dramatic music and our medals were carried on silver platters.  Although we were holding in our laughter, it was still a pretty cool moment and we were all excited that we got to do it in TRT colours.

Thank you so much to everyone at TRT racing for helping us get to Milton - although I can't wait to get home because it's freezing and in the middle of nowhere.  We wouldn't be able to race at this level if it wern't for the unwavering support of our sponsors, managers and teammates.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BC Provincial Track Champion!

Last weekend was the BC provincial Track Championships.  As most of you know - I love Track riding/racing - So I was pretty excited for a weekend full of it.
Back in July I raced in the Marymore GP, and with not riding my track bike in a year I was able to be competitive all weekend, was 4th in the miss and out and won a nice Benjamin :)  Not bad right!
Racing at Marymore with Jessical Cutler
Unfortunately - my prep for Provincial Track Champs was along the same lines.  I recently got promoted at work (plus!), and have had a hard time getting to track practice (minus :().  The week before I managed to test out some standing starts, and some longer flying efforts because they are definitely my weakest point and what I was most worried about.  I was however, pretty confident I could hold my own in the mass start races.

The Provincial Jersey is only awarded to Omnium Champions - Sprint and Endurance.  This meant for the endurance Omnium (what I was competing in) it was the best overall racer after 6 different races.  On day one we had the Scratch race (mass start regular old race), the 3km Individual Pursuit, and the Miss and Out (last person across the line every other lap is out!).  Let me just say day one did not go very well.  I forgot to put my thinking cap on in both mass start races, and well - it was my first pursuit in over 3 I was not prepared.  By the evening I was sitting in 3rd place, and very angry.  

The Points Race at BC Track Provincials

Warming up with Kyle and Adam
On day 2 I knew I could pull something better out then the day before.  The two shorter individual events suited me a bit more then the pursuit - the standing 500m and the flying lap.  Going into the last race I was still in third, and was made well aware that I had to win just about every sprint in the points race to win the overall - NO PRESSURE.  I knew it would be pretty hard because the two girls ahead of me had been giving me a hard time in every other event.  Thankfully, I raced like I knew I could, and with 2 sprints left I was leading the race.  However, in true Coney fashion, right before the second last sprint I crashed myself, and took my good friend and fellow racer out with me.  I got back in as soon as I could (after a quick stop to the pits), because I was not going to let a crash take the jersey away from me.  I was able to win the final sprint and took the Overall with it.  I haven't won anything in a while, and I was really proud to be able to pull this off for everyone who has helped me this year.  I also haven't been a Provincial Champion since I raced mountain bike in Ontario, so it feels all warm and fuzzy :)

Meghan, Me and Brenna - it was a tight race

Knowing that I wasn't able to put in much prep for Provincials, I am super motivated to work my butt off to get ready for Nationals in Milton Ontario in January, where I can rep BC and TRT with pride. 

I want to send a HUGE shout out to the Buckowskies for taking me under their wing, Jen Gerth for being an awesome friend all weekend, Meghan for still being my friend after I took her out, Kelyn and Burnaby Velodrome Club for creating such a good environment and race series,  everyone at TRT for all of your endless support and to my mom and dad:).

Whistler Gran Fondo/ Hitchhiking

I finally caved - I did the Whistler Gran Fondo for the first time this year. 120km, starting at 6:30 am, going up to whistler on the highway.  

To be perfectly honestly this is not my idea of a fun race, but knowing that my team mates and supporters were all going to be there, I knew I had to be apart of it.  And I will admit - riding over lions gate bridge to get to the start at 5:30 am was pretty epic and worth the early wake up :)
My cousin Steph and I at the Finish - all smiles always :)
TRT raced in the Giro - which went off a bit before the rest of the Fondo, girls and guys mixed.  I didn't think this would be an issue because it was deemed a 'neutral start'.  If you witnessed it however - it was anything but.  By the time we hit Taylor Way(the first big climb) I was DONE!  And this was only 10 minutes in!   
After a cruddy start, I was honestly considering just riding home (I was only a few blocks from there anyways), but I remembered I didn't have my house keys - so I really had no option :) (kidding of course!)
I managed to get into a group with my teammate Brandi, and some other people who I knew - so the ride started to improve.  After suffering until Sqwamish with my group (about 15 of us 11 guys 4 girls), the guys started popping one by one, and I started to feel better the more we rode.  After every climb I would look back and there would be one less person, which gave me a bit of a boost because I am not that fond of climbing myself.  Soon there were 4, 2 girls, 2 guys - how's that for girl power :)  
I was starting to feel great, and we were about 20 km from Whistler when BANG - flat tire.  I may have cursed really loud...  And because I was under the impression this was a regular race - I of course had no pump, no tube, no nothing.  My group left me - and I decided to keep rolling easy until I found some help (as one does in a regular race).  However - there was no one to be seen.  For miles.  I waved down a motor bike but they just took my picture instead.  A couple Gran Fondo groups passed me - but no one offered me anything (i guess because I was still riding they thought I was just very slow haha).  I may have evern stuck my thumb out to try and hitch a ride - still no takers :( Finally - Brandi was my savior and generously gave me her pump and tube.  I was so happy to know I would make it back in time for the TRT party.  PRIORITIES! I quickly fixed my flat (mtb racer style), got on (of course in the biggest gear), and a nice man pushed me to help get me going.  And then.. BANG! WTF!?  I cried.  I just wanted to be done.  
Thomas and I climbed Mt Baker with Todds Racing a few weeks before hand.
So I rode, on my flat, for another 5 km until another Angel (Jamie) caught up to me.  If anyone knows Jamie you will know what I mean when I say he was reaming me out.  He was telling me how bad it was that I was riding on my rim and I should just fix it and I must have done something wrong to make it flat again.  I knew he was right - but I was so over it.  Jamie kindly fixed my flat (after much reluctance on my part), it was the dang rim tape, and we were off again in no more then 10 minutes haha.  
However - as soon as I got back on - guess who came storming by....the one and only Thomas Hass.  I have met Thomas a few times and to me, he seems exactly like Jens Voight - So full of energy and so silly and SO FAST.  As he rode past he yelled 'SUNSHINE - Lets go!', so of course I killed myself to get on his wheel, and was able to finish with my new idol :)  That last 5 km was probably the hardest of the whole ride haha.
So - I didn't have a good result, and I didn't have a great ride, but it was a pretty solid story and I always love dropping guys.  
Helena, Kristine and I doing unusual training for the fondo...:)
After the race we had an awesome TRT social, swim at the lake, and crashed a Lululemon party.  All in all - a pretty sweet day.  The next morning I rode home to North Van with two Italians who wore nothing but Rapha and spoke only once the whole way down.  I too - had very few words.