Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stay tuned!

A new website will be launched in a couple days.  News, updates, and more personal information for those whom are interested!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Back into the swing of things

This guy keeps me grounded.  I love his Monday emails and videos that remind me of important things in my pursuit of the best life possible.

One of his videos several weeks ago caught my attention and sealed the deal... I was finally taking some time off!



I'm back now.  Training.  Coaching. Volunteering.  The best part is that I'm back with more energy and focus then I've had in a long time.

Thanks to Eric Plantenburg for being my voice of reason.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Normalcy

Picking up where I left off...

You talkin' to me?!?  Oh ya...   (p.s. this place actually exists in Amsterdam)

I ended the Rotterdam 6-day in 5th place overall.  Good?  Well, let's see... 1st place Kirsten Wild (NED) just went on to win 3 out of 4 stages and the overall at the Tour of Qatar which is the first big women's stage race for the road season.  2nd place Leire Olaberria (SPA) went on to 3rd place in the World Cup Omnium that next week.  3rd place Kasia Powlowska (POL) went on to win the Individual Pursuit and the Points race at the World Cup that next week. 4th place Jarmila Machacova (CZE) went on to place 2nd at the Points race and do pretty well in the Omnium at the World Cup that next week.  She's currently the UCI Points Race leader.  So, 5th for my form and timing... I'm not satisfied but I'll take it considering.

Pretty bike and wheels, eh?

 I came back to the States and stopped in Atlanta on my way home.  I was long overdue for some quality family time and to meet one of my besties' babies.  It was a quick trip but I got to see mom, dad, brother, sister in-law, mother in-law, Peter, George, Mande, Kara, Joe... and my old childhood bed.  Ahh.

I did some hiking with my brother and my nephew, Charlie.  Hiking is all relative when you are from Colorado.  But, I miss the damp southern forests.

Back home in Colorado, there was plenty of relaxing going on.  I finished a 5 day cleanse- no meat, dairy, grain, coffee, legumes, or Facebook.  

Then added in some hiking.  
 Now, that's a mountain.  (Thanks Jesse!)

I have been doing a handful of fun workouts at my gym- TRX, Kettlebell, all kinds of yoga.

A couple days in Vail thanks to our generous friends Nick and Megan.  No alpine skiing for me.  Just some days on the skate skis just to remind me how much I LOVE that sport.



Maybe a little costumer party along the way.  70's disco!!

WAIT!  Did 3 weeks just fly by and no mention of riding a bike?  What?

Yes.  I did it.  I finally, finally, finally, took a real off season.  Ok, before someone rats me out.  I was seen on a bike a couple times but only when I felt like it.  It was only twice.

I decided after Rotterdam that I needed to rejuvenate the body and mind which meant giving up the opportunity to go to Pan Am Championships or World Championships.  But, I've been dreaming about doing this for a while.  Last year I took 2 weeks off the bike for the first time ever but made the mistake of still doing 2 weeks of bike related things... wind tunnel and Sea Otter with the juniors and I snuck in an early season TT.  So, in reality, I only had 3 days at home doing nothing.

My training started back on February 1.  I may feel out of shape right now but this is going to pay off big dividends this season.  I'm stoked!

I feel like I have been home forever doing "home" things.  Is this what normal people feel like?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Brilliant!

No, not me!  The Alabama Crimson Tide are National Champions AGAIN!  I will be sensitive in how I describe the game since I come from a family where the number of Notre Dame grads far outweigh us Bama grads.  Something like 8-1 in the Higgins family!  But, I think my cousins, aunts, and uncles would all agree that the game wasn't all they hoped it would be but everything the SEC knew it would be.  Sorry Notre Dame.  Thanks for showing up :)

Roll Tide Roll.

So after not sleeping at all last night (I think 4-5 hours) because I was too excited about the dang football game, all I have in me is enough to post some pictures from the racing.  I still sit in 5th place in the Omnium and continue to have some good races and ones I wish I could press the revere button.

For my family who might not get it... that's me on the far left looking down.
Leading out the sprint in the scratch race. (from a night or two ago... can't remember)
Winning the sprint in the scratch race. 
 The track is little and sometimes we get tight.  I am looking for every free inch of track during this sprint in trying to come around the Danish girl in pink.
 Check out that fancy Felt TK1 and Zipp 808s!  People have asked and those are my D2 custom shoes.

With one night of racing left, I am tired and ready to go home.  That's not to say this hasn't been great!  This racing is not like any others I can get in the States or even at World Cups.  In the States, the racing just isn't this hard.  At World Cups, you get once chance and then you are done.  No learning and trying again.  Or, trying new things from the beginning.

A couple of us have come up with a handicap system though.  For every one of the following that you can say "yes" to, then you have to add a 1 point to your Omnium total.
1- Traveling w/ a coach?
2- Have a mechanic?
3- Have a soignuer?
4- Every rub/massage you have received this week is 1 point.
5- Have a road bike with you?
6- Have a boyfriend or husband or dad here?
7- Have a disc wheel for flying lap?
8- Have an aero helmet for flying lap?
9- Have a "teammate"?

That's our new Omnium.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

...and, I'm tired...

As I write this, I am trying to stay awake long enough to join some girls for dinner tonight.

First, an addition that I missed yesterday when describing the women I'm competing against.  The other  Polish girl happens to be the current Scratch Race World Champion.  Ya, no big deal.  Just a World Champ.

We raced last night and then the program started earlier this morning.  So, less recovery and sleep.  It's the same for all of us but I think my lack of sleep caught up with me today.  I was just plain tired.  I'm not sure I can blame it on jet lag.  Each night has been progressively harder to sleep since my adrenalin is running high after racing.  I tried some Advil PM last night but I think that made me drowsy this morning.

I figured since everyone was tired and there was limited warm-up (10 minutes?), the first scratch race of the day would start off tame.  So, I chose a smaller gear.  Wow.  Wrong choice!  It was fast from the start.  A group was off the front for the win and all I could do was follow wheels in the bunch sprint.  I ended somewhere around 6th or 7th.  SPINNNNNNN those gears.

Then, my experiment with gearing FAILED big on the flying lap.  I have one more shot at this flying lap thing and I think I have the solution. Three times a charm!  I went slower this time but still ended 5th.

Ok, the points race was my worst race yet... aside from the time I pulled myself out of the elimination early :)  I'm not sure why.  Maybe I was just tired.  I don't have reasons or excuses, it was just a bad race.  I am not sure where I ended since I only had 2 points.

In the overall, I went from 3rd to 5th today.  Time to rally!  Two days left!

I did have some time to enjoy watching the men's races today for the first time.  Here are some photos and videos.
The sprint boys tightening the straps and getting ready!
 Tonight's winner of the team sprint. There is a presentation after each race for the winners.

The derny drivers getting set up.
video

And, the final couple laps of the derny race.
video
Way. Too. Tired.

Dinner and sleep is on tap tonight. :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Getting tired...

Tonight is short and sweet since it's an early morning tomorrow.

Two highlights of the night.
1) The American crew!  Imagine that, 4 Americans at the Rotterdam 6-day.  John, on the left, is my host here in Holland.  Without him, this whole trip would be close to impossible.  As an Amsterdam local, he has helped most Americans who come over here to race.  Jason, on the right, is my friend from Minnesota and he is working on a really exciting project for me.  If I would "help him, help me" we would have it finished soon.  Lisa, on the right, is Jason's wife.  They have moved to Belgium for the month and watching all kinds of fun bike racing on the weekends!

A little video of the velodrome before all the doors open.  Notice all the bars and dining options in the infield.
video

2) The second highlight of the night was that I won the Scratch race!  See, I told you I would win one :)

In the Elimination race, I found myself playing the devil again.  It is SOOO much fun to do on this track.  But, it is also very tiring.  I ended 7th and simply because I had no more legs to play the devil.  A couple times I would sprint and then quickly go to the black line in the back for recovery but as it ended up the girl in front of me was eliminated so she would stop pedaling.  Ahh!  My fault for playing the game that way but it was a lot of extra energy as I would get gapped off the back.  Next time I will play some and then tuck in the front a little some too.

In the Points race, my goal was to be involved in more sprints.  The past couple nights I have done well by "going big."  In other words, I put a big effort into winning a sprint here and there and then recovering.  Well, I wanted to be involved in all the sprints tonight if even for less points each time.  I need to work on moving in the bunch in the sprint.... which is scary as hell on this track!  So, I was involved in 4 out of the 5 sprints but only ended in 5th or 6th place.  I am not sure.

I think I ended up 2nd overall tonight.  So, clearly, I am figuring out the gears and the track.  Now, the legs are starting to get tired.  I remember though... all the girls are getting tired.  So, here's to more victories over the next 3 days!

Good night.  Early morning!

Women's Start List

As promised here is the list of women in order of the numbers we were given.  I also included what I know, off the top of my head without doing internet research, about them and recent races/results.

1. Kirsten Wild, NED  Crowd favorite.  Wins a lot.  2012 Olympian, Track
2. Leire Olaberria, ESP Currently in 2nd place overall.  2012 Olympian, Track
3. Cari Higgins, USA  ME :)
4. Vera Koedooder, NED 2012 Olympian Track
5. Malgorzata Wojtyra, POL 2012 Olympian Track
6. Janine Bubner, GER Young German rising star.  Moving to AUS this month to train/race/study.
7. Jarmila Machacova, CZE Several podiums at World Cups and World Championships.
8. Laura Basso, ITA Don't know much about her.
9. Lucie Zaleska, CZE Strong.  That's all I know.
10. Chantal Blaak, NED Well known professional on the road.
11. Charline Joiner, GBR (she would tell you she's Scottish for clarification) 2010 Commonwealth Games Team Sprint Champion
12. Julie Leth, DEN Won Points Race at Junior World Championships a couple years ago
13. Nina Kessler, NED Another crowd favorite.  Strong and smart racer. Pro roadie.
14. Katarzyna Pawlowska, POL New face for POL and REALLY STRONG.  She made the podium in the Omnium at Glasgow I believe.
15. Nicky Zijlaard, NED super young Dutch girl who has grown up in the 6-day culture. Her grandpa was who I got the picture with last night.  Her dad is also a derny driver.  She will be big one day!
16. Lucy Martin, GBR 2012 Olympian, Road.  Like most pro roadies in Europe, she has a history of success on the track.
17. Samantha van Steenis, NED young Dutch girl learning the ropes

Here is the link to follow results- http://www.zesdaagserotterdam.nl/uitslagen/vrouwenzesdaagse
Here is a link to maybe find a live feed- http://www.zesdaagserotterdam.nl/home

Goals- stay safe, have fun, try new racing tactics!