May 16, 2004 – NORBA Nestled In Birthday Festivities

If you have to travel away from friends and family on your birthday weekend, there are certainly worse places than Sonoma, California to do so… and even though my birthday is actually tomorrow, Monday is not a good birthday day, so I considered the weekend the actual days for celebration. The race we were competing in did have some moments worth celebrating, and I was lucky to have some friends come in to do some birthday type celebrating as well in the midst of all the racing, so it was pretty good all round. To top it off, the race was earlier than expected so I am writing this report from the Air Canada lounge in Vancouver…. I managed to compress my weekend away to about 48 hours which is pretty awesome for travelling across the border… but I digress……

The cross country was Saturday. I rolled in late Friday so took to the course to check it out on Saturday morning since we didn’t race until 1:30pm. The course was very euro-style so it was a good decision to come down to race.. perfect preparation for my overseas campaign starting next weekend. I have had some down time over the last two weeks because of illness from the last trip, and really haven’t had any quality training, so I knew the only way to get things to come around was to go clobber myself with some fast racing.. and that is what I did. Right off the start I took to the front to set what I decided was my pace, and it whittled the group down to five. The course had tons of power climbing so you were essentially riding at threshold the whole time, there was no places to recover. Unfortunately a couple weeks of down meant I only had an hour and a half of speed with me, and I dropped off the pace. It also didn’t help that at one point I managed to lose my shoe on the hike a bike section, but again, I digress.. My teammate Dara stayed in that group and eventually finished second to Alison Dunlap which is a fantastic result and is setting her up well for the overall series. I faded a lot in the last legs with my body just not cooperating at all and fell to 10th by the end of the day…. but as I always would prefer, I rode spectacular as long as I could. I feel good about some of the speed I have to take with me to Spain, and I think another week of recovery and quality training is what it is going to take to sharpen me up for the first world cup.

Sunday was the short track, and the course was somewhat uninspiring with about 90% of it on the pavement. With all the pavement and windy conditions, we were looking at a pack race right from the start. I chose to ride my Maxxis Larson TT ‘s again because they are the bomb for low rolling resistance, and I think it was a good choice. My teammates did a great job of attacking and keeping the pace high ( Lisa and Dara were the ones doing the attacking I would mention, I was sitting on Alison’s wheel watching them go crazy). I was watching Dunlap the entire time as I knew exactly when and where she was going to go. When she went on the last lap I was on her wheel, but made a mistake costing me a gap to her wheel, and by the finish her and Kerry Barnholt were clear, and I rode in fifth in the sprint -DOH! Dara was right behind me at the finish in 6th, so another day of two top 10s for Ford Cycling!

So a great weekend for the team, a good event to shake out the legs and get ready for Europe for me, and now I get a whole day at home to do nothing before going crazy again getting ready to leave for Spain first thing Thursday morning. It was great to see friends in San Fran, go for a nice dinner, check out the Starlite lounge, cruise Sonoma and blast home.

So I would like to thank my coach, Houshang Amiri at Pacificsport National Cycling Center, Team Ford Cycling, K2 Bicycles, Saucony, Maxxis, Compex, Sundog Eyewear, Shimano, Giro, Powerbar, Descente, Rider’s Cycles, Arq Salon, Pacificsport and Deuter. I would also like to thank Air Canada for allowing me to pay tons of money but get home safely and early!

Until Europe, baby, this is my last report as a 30 year old! MM

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