A Few Of My Favorite Things

I LOVE SUMMER!  This year we have had a bona fide summer in Victoria with the past week registering temperatures in the 30s (90s) which is downright hot.  I love it.  This works perfectly with my plan to do another “Tucson-style” training block here in Victoria as the temperatures are cooperating and I am getting more and more motivated.  Part of my motivation stems from some really cool stuff my awesome sponsors have sent my way in recent weeks.  I am very lucky!  So to kick off a list of my favorite things…my full cycling and triathlon kit courtesy of Pactimo and Betty Designs:


Jersey, shorts, arm/legwarmers all match glasses, helmet and GU Chomps..haha!

The new Raptor from Sundog Eyewear in Mel-suggested “rose-colored” lenses… these are the best mtb lenses on the planet!

I have been doing some long road/trail running in the AVIA Avi Lite 2 lately.  I love the pink and I really like the shoe!  And yes, those are my USANA products in the background.  USANA supplements and Sense skincare to keep me healthy!

Sweet new TT bike and helmet from Lazer!  New Shimano Dura Ace with the cool Dura Ace levers! Profile aerobars (awesome!).  Saris Powertap with Ant+ technology to keep it honest!  I am having so much fun riding this thing.  Now you would think I would have learned something from my last half-Iron experience and have started preparing earlier and blah blah.  Well, no, I didn’t.  But I think that this time around the preparation for the half fits well with what I want to do building up to Maui so there really isn’t much pressure on the race and as a consequence I am not too stressed out about it.  I need to do some long, hard aerobic work while I am home so that I go to altitude with a big engine.  I do notice my average speeds on this bike are quite high though… I think it is fast.  Plus I can ride with my butt back on the saddle so I can utilize the “power booty” which is going to be good news on race day.  Hopefully it goes well!

Larsen and Crossmark are the two best tires for xc racing – in my opinion… totally reliable!

Maple PRO bars.  Addictive.  Delicious.  Wonderful.  Getting a case of them?  Pure bliss.

My favorite things at home though…. read more…

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Mudfest 2009 – XTERRA NE Cup, Sugarbush, Vermont

I flew to Vermont hoping I had enough in the tank to finish with a big W for this first half of the season.  Didn’t quite happen but I did have a wonderful time visiting northern Vermont and raced well.  I was lucky with the weather and rode in the sun every day despite torrential rain leaving all of the trails muddy to the maximum and massive amounts of rain falling the night before the race.  I was excited to ride in slippery, technical conditions but unfortunately a little too MUCH rain meant the course was un-rideable for much of the bike course.  This sort of cancelled out technical riding ability and increased the amount of running required for this race.  More running was not good news for a girl dealing with a foot issue so the course did not really play into my strengths at the moment but I did my best with what I had.  Renata Bucher had a better race than I, taking the lead on her way to a much deserved win on the second lap of the run .  This was her first win in the United States (she is a multiple European Tour Champion and Global Tour winner so no stranger to the podium) and overall the race was blown apart.  Renata and I ended up in the top 10 with the pro men as the carnage and gaps in finish times was incredible.  Shonny V had an epic crash on the course before fighting her way into third, Christine Jeffrey had a solid fourth and Danelle Kabush ran up to fifth. 

The men’s race was particulary exciting.  Nico Lebrun was in his element and solidly won the event but Conrad was holding strong until the last descent into the finish where Seth Wealing had an amazing final sprint to steal second place at the line.  Fourth went to Sam Gardner from the UK who nipped Dan Hugo by the line.  It is notable that both European Champion athletes, Renata and Nico, both being former champion duathletes, ended up winning the event.  They both excelled at the bike/run/bike/run transition that we did the ENTIRE race.  Regardless, fantastic performances by them, a great breakthrough for Renata and I am happy I held strong to keep a good lead on the overall points series with second place more than 50 points behind.

I was fortunate to visit the Catamount Bed and Breakfast and the Catamount Outdoor Family Center, a beautiful place in Williston, Vermont where they have miles of cross country trails built for skiing and mountain biking.  While I was there they were hosting mountain bike camps for kids so all weekend there were hordes of nine year old “Little Bellas” (the group coached and mentored by Sabra and Lea Davison of mountain bike fame) and Bliss development kids riding their hearts out.  Don’t be surprised when the US Cup mountain bike series is dominated by kids from Vermont ten years from now.  The passion and dedication from Lucy and Jim running the B&B and the Outdoor Center as well as Eric and the coaches putting their hearts in the program is going to yield awesome results.  Thank you to the family for their hospitality and kindness.  I had a great, restful time hanging out in the Gilles Chittenden Homestead, build in 1796.  It is beautiful in Vermont… although the course was not in “beautiful shape” so read on for more pictures and more race details…

The B and B in Vermont

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Hurricane Ridge and Cramming Training Into Legs

This little update is very overdue mostly because I was busy training and not writing.  I managed to pile in a whole lot of miles in my little two week break and that is going to mean one of two things.  From what I have seen this course is flames or glory.  I am hoping to turn down the suck and turn up the rock this weekend.    Not much in between I am afraid.  The course is gnarly even though it is almost 100% uphill so bringing your skills and your big engine is necessary.  For both the run and the bike.  Put it this way.. I nearly crashed RUNNING the UPHILL on the run course.  Chew on that one a little while.

So in preparation for this race I decided to suck it up and train.  Hard.  Conventional wisdom suggests that given my race schedule, lack of a break and general fatigue that a break in training and a rest were in order.  I would agree with that.  However, staring down a hard race that I knew was all climbing meant that I needed some legs.  Legs that I wasn’t sure I had after some unhappy racing on my last trip.  Don’t get me wrong… I raced well given what I had but some of the shine had come off my form and I didn’t want to see how dull I could be if I was not training before this race. 

This meant mileage.  A whole pile of a lot of it.  Mostly biking.  I did a ton of running the first week but ended up doing mostly riding the second week.  Scientific recap of exact training details follow if you read more.  The highlight of this training block was very much the group “race” up Hurricane Ridge.  Hurricane Ridge is a 17 mile climb just a puddle jump across the water from Victoria in Port Angeles, WA.  Every year on Canada’s birthday (that is July 1 for the American’s in the audience) a bunch of Canadian cyclists like to celebrate by racing to plant our Canadian flag on the top of Hurricane Ridge in the U.S. of A.   We all board the 6am ferry, start climbing the 5 miles to the ranger station where we take a photo and GO!  12 miles of fun.

The Racers

No real flag is ever planted but there is a cup where the winning male and female have their names engraved for all future generations to remember their climbing prowess.  This was my third win (I was the only female professional athlete present so “winning” is used in the most loose fashion possible) and Max Plaxton’s second win (holding off a charging Mike Neil) so the mountain goats took the cup.  It was a very fun day complete with Pro City cheerleaders, Team Palmer trying to take me down, Ross taking 15 minutes off his time and Team Rockracing looking fabulous.. which is the most important.  Enjoy the story.

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