Friday, July 31, 2009

Jens recorded a video assuring everyone that he's OK and will be back racing soon. Yay.

Speaking of crashes, I fell over again last night. So stupid. Got my wheel caught between two sidewalk panels. Happily, it seems my bike came out unscathed. While I was not quite so lucky, after watching George Hincapie ride four and a half tour stages with a broken collarbone - not to mention Jens' cheerful reassurances from his hospital bed - I have nothing to complain about.

Other than the loss of yet more dignity.


Pactimo, who makes my team's kit, has sent me a couple pairs of newly designed women's shorts to try out. The past couple years, the chamois in the women's shorts has had some issues, so I'm delighted that they are trying new things and I'm happy to help vet them.

Of course, I don't wear shorts. I wear knickers. I wear knickers because I'm comfortable in knickers and I'm not comfortable in shorts. I don't wear shorts off the bike either. Form-fitting spandex is tough enough - especially in front of hyper-weight conscious cyclists - so I just took shorts off the table. One less thing to worry about.

On the other hand, the oozing and ouchy doorknob I've lately acquired on my knee won't feel so great in knickers. Hmmm.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jens Voigt has had a bad crash in stage 16 - he hit a slight dip in the road and lost control, wheels sliding out from under him, on a very fast descent. He hit his head hard and slid out on his right side. He didn't finish the stage, but was taken directly to the hospital. Possible head trauma - he was unconscious for a while, but came around. Hospital says he can move his arms and legs. Riis says his injuries are serious.

BE OK, JENS!!! Be ok.

Story from velonews:

And pics - it looks bad (scroll down):

Have to say, I pretty much lost my enthusiasm for the rest of what was an exciting stage.


Sounds like Jens is going to be OK. I'm relieved. And very sad he's out of the tour.

Here's a good story about him, even if it does read a bit too much like an obituary:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coach has me off racing for a few weeks - when I was planning my season back in January, I didn't argue too hard for Superweek. Crashing at Evanston last year and ending up in the ER to have gravel dug out of my chin [not to mention not being able to eat solid food for over a month] was all too vivid a memory. But - just like last year - when Superweek is actually happening, I WANT TO RACE.

But I'm not. And honestly, it is mentally relaxing to just pull back into base training and chill.

I wanted to go long on Saturday, so when the opportunity to ride to Wisconsin presented itself, I went for it. I rode the wheel of one of our Elite racers for four hours up the Sisters route, into Wisconsin, back down to Illinois, through the big house loop, back to HP and the return to Chicago. 125 miles [200 k!], averaging 18.5 mph [including the slow part up to HP]. I don't *think* I slowed my companion down, although 96 miles in, I cracked on a little climb. But I recovered quickly and found that even the last 10 miles on my own, I was perfectly comfortable riding 19 mph down Damen Ave. "Steady" is the way to ride long, long miles.

I love being fit. I remember riding centuries five years ago - I could complete one, but was absolutely destroyed afterwards. On Saturday, I ate a bowl of pasta, showered, and headed out to Ravinia for family time, cookies, and Beethoven.

Sunday I led the monthly Women's Development Program open ride up to HP. We had three women new to group riding, so our pace was leisurely - probably a good thing after Saturday's brevet. We ended the ride at the Evanston Grand Prix in time to get burritos and watch Natalie, Courtney, Dana and Gigi race their guts out.

Then home to watch the TdF. Stage 15 was 200 k, and I tried to imagine sprinting 8 kilometers up an 8-9% grade at the end of Saturday's ride. These are hard, hard men.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I raced the third Soldier Field Cycling Series race Wednesday evening. Not a lot of women showed up the first two weeks, so they combined the women's fields but scored the 4s separately from the 1-2-3s. Which meant a chance to race with the xXx cat 4 women!

18 women lined up - a good sized field! - 16 cat 4, including three xXxers, and two cat 3s. So I was racing one person within the larger group, but was in actuality racing a cat 4 race. And it was FUN. It was nice not to get dropped within the first 10 minutes. And it wasn't like I was a vastly superior rider - there were a number of strong girls ready to ride hard who will be cat 3s at the end of the season. [Although as Seth pointed out, he, as a cat 1, would thoroughly enjoy a cat 3 race. Point taken.]

I attacked from the line - I've been wanting to do that - and pulled the first lap. Then settled in near the front. My wheel riding, especially in the corners, was terrible at first [which helps explain why I get dropped right away in the P-1-2-3 races], but it didn't hurt me much in this race. I worked on cornering more smoothly and staying in contact with the girl ahead of me. I chased a few attacks, I attacked and got chased. I contended for two primes and lost both to the same woman [good sprinting practice]. At some point I realize that our front group has been whittled down to nine, and the other cat 3 racer is not in the bunch - unless she bridges up, I've won my race. I settle in to work for the other xXx women - ALL of whom have made the split. Including Julia in her first race ever.

A Project 5 racer attacks and Courtney is on her. I sit up a little and let them get a gap. Then two other women bridge up - one of us and three of them? Nope. I close the gap and its grupo compacto. I have to say, it felt good to be able to make that choice, instead of just reacting and suffering. I try to keep my teammates in good positions - taking pulls so they don't have to, making sure they stay with the group.

Coming around for the last lap, I'm thinking I want to get up front and lead out. I'm second to last into corner 2&3, and see one of the Cuttin' Crew girls touch wheels and go down. I get around the crash but I've missed my chance to lead out, so I sit on the back and let my teammates battle it out. Courtney wins!! Julia takes fourth and Dana sixth! I'm DELIGHTED that we all finished so strong. [And very happy that the Cuttin' Crew girl who went down was not seriously injured.]

Then! Christian Vande Velde's father hands out our prizes! I gush about CVV to JVV like a total spaz. It was so cool!

Thanks to Nikki Cyp for the awesome photos!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Spinning Drills. In July. Sigh.

Got my powertap back finally and continue to post record numbers. So there's that.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Not much to say about UWW RR. Its a beautiful course and is put on with obvious love and care. Last year I won the cat 4 race from a two person breakaway - beating women who were arguably stronger climbers than I. Quite a triumph.

This year I drove up early with a teammate racing in that category. I enjoyed watching the race - attrition on the hill whittled their field down to six who sprinted together. Then I rode the course twice to warm up.

There were eight women in the P123 field - the tall woman, Heidi, from Masters Nationals was one, and it was delightful to see her again. I'd also raced with Diane before, a 50+ climber who had just won her crit at Masters Nationals the day before. I knew Diane would be a leg-breaker.

We started, rode to the hill, shifted into our small chainrings and very politely climbed up as a group. At the top, Diane attacked. And I thought "That is so smart! I am ON that." But my legs simply didn't move fast enough. I couldn't make them. I got a little gapped. Diane took a long look back, the expression on her face saying "Aren't you coming??" But I was off.

I chased for a lap, the gap growing from 10 seconds to 30 before someone attacked and took them out of my sight.

And that was that.

I talked it over with my coach - my inability to quickly accelerate uphill has spit me out the back of most of my races this year - and we're changing my training to address this weakness specifically.

In other news, I just lost my partner for the two person TT next Sunday - a discipline that I can actually do well in. Arg.