Saturday, April 19, 2014

The week after Energiewacht

The last 2 days of Energiewacht were more about finishing up the race and moving on but not before Maura crashed the last day - twice within 1k but she is ok!!!  So it was good that that race was OVER!  Then the travel started....

Sunday: leave race 5pm, arrive at Fitland at 8pm, eat dinner, pack bikes in bike bags for flying, repack clothes, go to bed at 11pm
Monday: wake up 4:50, depart 5:30am, 2hr drive to the airport, flight at 9:35 to Madrid, arrive 12:30ish, drive from Madrid to Ponferrada - 4hrs, arrive at hotel, eat dinner, call it a day....
Tuesday: breakfast 8:30, ride at 9:30, lunch, chill, dinner, call it a day....
Wednesday: breakfast 8:30, ride at 9:30, pack bikes, lunch at 2:30, drive back to Madrid to airport hotel - 7pm, dinner at 8:30, bed at 10....
Thursday: wake up call 3:45am, flight at 6:30, back at Sittard - 12pm, lunch, bike ride, dinner, SLEEP!!!!

But it was worth it, I got to ride and see all of the world championship courses and hopefully have loads of information come September.  We had police escort both days which was needed because there were a couple of roads that are one way and we had full access to the whole road at all times, it was awesome! 

Once back here in Fitland, I've just been recovering, sleeping, eating(a lot) and now getting ready for the next couple of races - Gelderland(140k on Easter Sunday) and Fleche Wallone(world cup) on Wednesday.  That will be my last race with the national team for this block and then I head to Britain to meet my Optum teammates.  We race Tour of Britain - May 7-12th and then I head back to the US.

Here are some pictures from my phone from the past week or so....

 This was one of our starts of Energiewacht....imagine.... 170+ girls, all nervously fitting in this:)
 Taking a walk around the park in Ponferrada...
 Kids playing some soccer....

 Watching a game of bocce ball....
 Too bad we couldn't eat outside, instead we ate downstairs for meals.... oh well...
 The police escort getting organized...
 Our hotel....
 Having a good time...
 One of the beautiful views of the city...
 Day 2 of riding - Ruth Winder, Tayler Wiles, Carmen Small and Megan Garnier...
 The whole crew....

 Our rooms...
 The iron work was really beautiful....
 So we had a discussion about RyanAir flights and the comical emergency descriptions.... if you look closely, this one asks you to take our your ear rings and dentures in case of an emergency landing....

 Apparently the cool thing here is to have your socks OUTSIDE your leg warmers.  News to me but when in Europe!!!
I think this is canola or rapeseed? I googled it;) .... 

Reading: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Watching: all of the girls, sitting around talking and on the Internet
Eating: oatmeal, blueberries, raspberries, banana, pb, yogurt, sunflower seeds, walnuts
Listening: Stay with Me by Sam Smith
Website: http://www.letour.fr/la-fleche-wallonne-femme/2014/us/  this is the race I'm doing on Wednesday....




Friday, April 11, 2014

Gent, Flanders, Energiewacht...

Wow, what a trip so far! I couldn’t believe it... as I crossed the line at Gent Wevelgem, I had just WON! I was so happy to represent myself, my trade team and my country with a win.  I enjoyed the press tent, then drug testing, then podium.  It was so much fun!!!!

We had a week in between Gent and Flanders races so we headed back to Sittard for the week.  The weather was perfect, such a difference from last year is all I can keep thinking! We drove back to the Flanders course on Wednesday of that week to preview the course and take photos, we made a day trip out of it.... 

So Flanders wasn’t my best day, legs weren’t all there and then I had a mechanical before the final and last climb.  I was flying(with the group) on the small roads, run over a rough patch and my chain manages to go around my crank arm.  I tried back pedalling and shifting while staying as calm as possible.  Then when all else fails, you put your hand in the air and stop on the side of the road.  The neutral car was there promptly and he at first couldn’t get the chain loose, so he runs to the car and was about to get a bike off the rack and then he runs back and tries with the chain again(more aggressive this time) and manages to get it unhooked.  He gives me a push and I’m on my way but by that point it was game over and I knew it..... argh! That’s racing though.....

So the VERY next day we had another race - Dottingnies.  This race is a funny start, it goes from a two lane road to a BIKE PATH within the first 1.5k, so it’s very important to start near or on the front of the race or you risk the chance of missing the winning break 10k into a 116k race! Guess where we ended up??? Dead last in the group! haha! It’s comical now but at the time it really sucked.  So once the gun sounded, here we go....it’s all hell to get to the front as soon as possible.  Your legs are screaming at you because you go from zero to HARD instantly.  Try this - walk out your front door and start sprinting down the street for 30min.... yeah, something like that:) 

Anyway, Maura and I ended up being the only two riders from USAC to finish - bummer.  The other girls pulled the plug and called it a day.  Can you blame them? Flanders is one of the hardest races in the world - period. 

So back to Sittard we drove for one night before driving to Energiewacht Tour.  It started on Wednesday.  This has been a roller coaster of a bike race, it always is and I knew this year wouldn’t be any different.

I’ve managed to do such a better job of positioning this year, I don’t know, I guess it comes with time?  The peleton moves a bit different here than in the US and it takes a while to filter and see where you need to be.  We look and feel like a school of fish swimming around.  Day 2 was a bad day for the team, we lost 2 girls, one in the very beginning of the day and the other at the very end of the day.  I’ll spare you the details, they both crashed, both ended up at the hospital.....

The four of us that are left are in good spirits and still laughing and cutting up.  We are sticking together and making the most of our situation and it’s always funny, you always have interesting stories to tell once you go home.  Never fails.
 KD is a trip!!!!
 The day we arrived, going for a spin....
 This is my room post Gent win:) Fitland is so cute;)
 Waiting to go to the store.... Ruth, Maura and Katie...
 I can't believe the weather this year, so nice!!!
 Selfie!
 One of the cobbled sections of Flanders on recon day....
 An easy spin and what do I find?
 Breakfast at the hotel....
 Maura and I waiting to go for a spin....
 Flanders profile....
 A gift from a dear friend of mine....
 The other Lauren is improvising when we don't have a sandwich bag....
 The family that looks after us when we aren't with our own....
 Tea time for these two! Energiewacht presentation, sitting around waiting in our chamois
 Working hard on the TT helmets....to get them to fit just right:)
 Waiting on podium for Ruth, she won the Best Young Rider jersey this day....
Our sleeping arrangements.... .thank goodness there are only 2 people in this room, middle bed is where you put your clothes:)

Ok, I’ll do my best to keep this updated next week:)! 

Reading: Sum It Up, pat Summitt with Sally Jenkins - she is TOUGH!!! But I like her style a LOT!
Watching: the wheels in front, behind, beside me
Eating: tonight’s dinner - quinoa with kale, cheese and butter, sauteed chicken with red onions and garlic, topped with pineapple.  Interesting mix but we do our best:)
Listening: Nickel Creek’s new CD I downloaded, check out Rest of My Life

Website: www.sram.com

Monday, March 17, 2014

Training n Tucson

Coming home after camp to crummy weather wasn't fun, from sunshine and 70's back to the trainer and snow and muck - at least for a couple of days.  After day four, the skies cleared, the sun came out and out the door I went.  There is something about getting fresh air, every, single day.  It's good for my soul!!! Soon, I was on the road again, back to Tucson and guaranteed sunshine and warm weather and it has been spectacular.

The drive down(8hrs) I know by heart, is really beautiful.  I drive through the Salt River Canyon and one day I would love to ride my bike up and down both sides.  And just the landscape, how much it changes when you dip in and out of elevation, it really is a nice drive. Once here, it was all about the bike for sure with lots of training and two races to bookend the week - Old Pueblo criterium(60min circuit race in downtown Tucson) March 8th and Tucson Bicycle Classic(3 day stage race on the west side of Tucson).  The team won both races, I lapped the field in the criterium and as far as the stage race went, we cleaned up every day.  It was most excellent training!!!

I did manage to find a spare minute to go see my Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball team, they were playing University of Arizona, how could I not?! It was perfect!!! An evening of baseball cannot be beat!  And wouldn't you know it, we sat near some bulldog fans and after we started talking there was a couple attending the game from....where else???? VICKSBURG! ha! The Sanders! And sure enough, they knew mom and dad and we talked for a bit on why I was in Tucson and what I do for a living:) Being a bike racer is pretty foreign work for most Americans:)

That's about it from Tucson, there are a lot of pictures on FB of the team winning and random photos from the week.  Check out Katheryn Bertine, Amber Rais and Optum's pages.....

I'll drive back to Colorado tomorrow and then it's on to Euroland for me.....I will be updating for sure! Happy St. Paddy's Day! One day I will make it back to Jackson for the parade.  Till then....

 Home for the first couple of days after team camp....
 It's not everyday you see a man walking his cow around town....
 This is the worst wallpaper I've ever seen in a gas station....HORRIBLE!
 Baseball!
 Beautiful sunset at the game...
 When we aren't riding, this is how you can find us.... maybe minus the cats most times....
 A wonderful morning ride through Sabino Canyon Park!! So peaceful!
 Sabino again...
 I like their signage...
Sunrise prior to the race start on Saturday.....


Reading: just finished Dirty Work by Larry Brown
Watching: the news, Crimea and the lost plane....ugh....
Eating: eggs, kale, toast w/ butter n jam
Listening: The Giving Tree by Plane White T's
Website: well, it's more of a quick video... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYqoVx6UdF4


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Final camp blog

The last couple days of camp were FAST! Meetings, riding, more meetings, photos, then pack it ALL up and hit the road - everyone in different directions.  Jade, Brie and Maura headed to Europe, Annie and Leah drove one of the team cars to Tucson, Janel drove home and the rest of us to headed home.

The last day at camp we had a team BBQ on the beach, drank some adult beverages and just hung out.  So here are some photos to finish er off.....

 We may have another hobo on our team;) ... Maura is funny
 SRAM cruizin down the road
 Team time trial day, full trailer, van, car run through...
 Morning meeting with Challenge tires....
 I call this the Diamondback stack...
 Our awesome team rolling down the road...
 My bed and space...
 We did a commercial shoot one day, it involved food so I was content all day...
 Denise, enjoying some bread
 I had the TURKEY LEG!!!! YUMMMMM.  They were so big that it wouldn't fit in my short sleeve jersey pocket.  We ate 2 out of the 7 :)
 Over and over and over and over again.... for 6hrs.  It will air during Tour of California.
 Good stuff.
 Beach time with both teams....
 These guys are funny.....Tom Zirbel and Mike Friedman
 And maybe one other stop that was scheduled....


Listening: The Rolling Stones - I Can't Get No Satisfaction
Reading: The Sports Gene by David Epstein
Watching: the rain come down
Eating: not much, not much in the house!
Website: http://gearjunkie.com