Sunday, December 19, 2010

Boulder for the Holidays (kinda)!

Let's see... Denver-LA-Melbourne-LA-Cali, Columbia-Denver. That's the short story. I won't give the long version. It's three weeks long and exhausting to even think/talk about. Let's just say that after 22 hours of traveling on Friday, it was good to be home (until I leave in a few days for Canada).

Sleep has been priceless the last couple days and Greg has been spoiling me with homemade food- Winter Minestrone soup with orzo, Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Pancakes (thanks for the syrup KfC!), Farro salad with dried cherries/toasted walnuts, etc.

Traveling with this cycling circus, the one thing I have learned to loath is packing/unpacking my bikes. Luckily, while I am home, I have a live-in mechanic for those duties (when he's not cooking...or while). This morning, after my hot yoga, I got dressed to ride and, BAM, the bike was miraculously built and waiting for me.

How do you travel (a common question)? Here is a snapshot of how I pack my $20k worth of bikes and wheels and stuff them in a large box. I complete the task by crossing my fingers and hoping they arrive, like I left them, in the next city.
People make think this is a glorious job...
Wouldn't you want to travel the world and coach women cyclists? Seriously, we are a ball of fun! Ben... Ben... um, Ben! Who's got the Sharpie?

No seriously, this guy works his butt off (that's why he is sitting that way) for our program and always gives us 110% of his attention. We just seem to wear him out. The old saying..."Women, can't live with them...pass the beer nuts."

Back riding today. Beautiful winter day in Boulder! Cool to see this beautiful stretch litter free thanks to Clif Bar volunteers (there is a nice sign)!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Change of plans

I write from Cali, Columbia.

This week I was planning on being home snuggling with my 100 pound rottweiller but instead I wrestled my 100 pound bike box down to Columbia. The second World Cup is this coming weekend and the original plan was for me to be home for training. But, all has changed and I am here to race the Team Pursuit. :)

We headed back to LA last week... I caught a nasty little cold... I am hammering the vitamins and sleep... and, we are all hoping I am healthy in 3 days!

Too many bikes... way too heavy... made for a headache for team management. Although we eventually got on the flight, 5 of our bike/equipment boxes didn't. My bike happened to be one of those five so today I went without a bike. Rumor has it that the bike is here now though.

Travel was long. Weird to travel about 15 hours and only change 2 or 3 time zones. Finally arriving in Cali, we load all the boxes into a moving truck and pray they show up at the velodrome.

This track is a covered, open air velodrome and beautiful. You can slightly see the mountains in the background from this photo.

Not everything is as high tech here. This is a music system I found. No promises this is the one they will use during competition though.
Must sleep now... more later.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Welcome Home?

This is a message a friend sent me. Well, if you consider "home" our hotel in beautiful Torrance, CA home... then, yes, welcome home. (oh, I dream of the Flatirons of Boulder.)

Anyway, I digress.

Quick race recap of the Omnium in Melbourne, as promised:

(P.S. Omnium for those who don't know is 6 events over 2 days. 1st place in each event gets 1 point. Last place gets 24 points. The person who ends up with the least amount of points, wins.)

-Each country can send 1 athlete but the rules state that only 24 cyclists can race on a 250m track (which is the international standard). We had 31 countries (I think) send athletes for the Omnium which meant we had to start day #1 with a qualifying race which was a 10k Points race. My goal was to spend as little energy as possible to qualify. I felt in control and accomplished the goal.

- Next up was the Flying Lap. I started early and held the fast time for a bit but ended up 8th with a 14.856. The fast time was a 14.589.

- After about 2 hours we raced the 20k Points Race. For those who don't know, this means we sprint for points every 10 laps. If you lap the field you get 20 points. Well, we had 5 girls lap the field and I wasn't one of them. Funny tactics in the Omnium Points race vs. a normal Points Race. I sprinted for 3 points and scored in 2 of them. Good for 12th place. The bummer is 1 more point would have given me 8th or so place which is a big difference.

- Then the Elimination or "miss-n-out". For those who aren't familiar with cycling, this race is sometimes chaos. Basically, the last person over the line on every other lap is out. The problem with this race is telling people they are out... especially if we all speak different languages. Solution? A brick sized computer they mounted to our handlebars that flash LED lights in our face when we are out. Good solution but not perfect. I raced a less then desirable race this time around and finished 15th.

Day #2

- Individual 3k Pursuit. Basically, a race against the clock. In my world, this is considered "distance" and an event I am least experienced in. I posted a 3.47.7 for 13th place. This was a personal best in this event and I didn't even feel like I was going to die.
I forgot to zip up my skinsuit before the pursuit. DUH! I wasn't trying to show anything off but basically just look silly!

- Scratch Race. 40 laps and first one to cross the line, wins. This is the one race I play over and over in my mind. I was SOOO close... but, in the end I ended 9th. AHHHH! I can't wait to watch this one on video. I had the position and the legs but... well, whatever, it didn't come together. Next time :)

- 500m time trial was the last event. I was no where near my personal best time but ended 9th with a 37.3 seconds. At least I am consistent... this was the same time I posted at the end of the Omnium at Nationals in LA in October. There is easy improvements to be made in this event with some work.

So, at the end of 2 days, I ended up in 11th place. In the big picture I am happy but not satisfied. With a micro-view, I see lots of places for improvement and remain totally inspired. With the exception of Great Britain (and maybe China if they have a Omnium athlete), every big country had a athlete. So, against the best in the world, not bad for my first showing.

All photos are from CJFOTO.COM.
Thanks for reading... more soon!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

That's a Wrap

From the land of Vegemite and Cricket, my first true International Omnium is done. I am pleased but not satisfied by finishing 11th.

There is so much to write and I can't possibly do it all right now... since I need to drink more coffee, pack my bags, drink more coffee, and then catch the airport shuttle. But, quickly...

1) I had AMAZING support from USA Cycling! Thank you Ben Sharp for everything... for being positive, professional, and always attentive. James Stanfill might be called the grumpy mechanic but he is meticulous. James G. was a rock star soigneur and served as a great interpreter when we just couldn't understand the AUS language.


2) I really love racing my bike. Still.

Race report to come... I will have plenty of time to write my thoughts in the 24 hours I will be traveling.

Some quick photos:

Beach Road ride with the girls early in the week.
Our commute to/from the velodrome. We stayed in the middle of China-town. Cool area.
No, really, he was always attentive as I mentioned above. Hey, 14 hours at the track on Day #1... what can you expect?
In between sessions on Day #1. A little like a 6-day. Nothing glamorous here!

Ok, packing must be done. Talk to everyone on the Stateside.