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Slogging Through The Sea Otter Mudfest

 

My first race this season was the Sea Otter Classic, mountain bike racing’s annual pilgrimage to Monterey, California. This race is a big festival with downhill, bmx, dirt jumping, road racing and cross country mountain bike racing mixed in with some fun rides and a big consumer trade show. It is a gigantic circus at the Laguna Seca Race Track where one of the toughest challenges is to find the start and get there on time while riding through thousands of spectators. Mayhem is always on the menu.

I was racing the stage race which was done in Omnium format so each stage carried points rather than time to determine the overall GC. However, the biggest race was the cross country on the final day since it carried UCI points which eventually will determine who goes to the Olympics for their country so most athletes were focused on this final day. There was a star-studded female field with reigning Olympic and world champion Gunn Rita Dahle, cyclo-cross world champion Sabine Spitz, Commonwealth Games Bronze medalist Kiara Bisaro, three-time world champion Alison Sydor, and two-time Olympian Jimena Florit (who has left us to go back to mountain bike with Luna Chix!). I was super excited to test my fitness against the best to see where I am at in this early stage of the season.

 

Although not every race was a great one, I did have at least one trip to the podium and I got some excellent training out of the super marathon of a cross country. I have to send out a big thank you to my bicycling sponsors because this weekend was very hard on my equipment. Thank you to Shimano for the overhaul and to Orbea, Maxxis, Fox Racing Shox and even Saris for your help this weekend (that pump was handy). I am really fortunate to have you guys to help me as well as my coach Houshang Amiri, who was there to see the good, the bad, and the very ugly….Thanks and a shout out go to all this year’s partners (who are all in the Sponsor 2006 section!) but especially Saucony, Nature’s Path, Orbea, Sundog, Shimano, Maxxis, Fox, Aquaman, Gu, Profile, Titec, Fizik, Powertap, Powercranks, Computrainer, Kinesys and Rider’s Cycles for building a top notch machine for this weekend!

 

 

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Milwaukee Mishap Means No Number One

It was all over except for the news reports, I had a four minute lead built up by a third fastest swim and fastest bike leg, and as I went out onto the run I was certain my run was going to be a formality. I steady clicked through the miles, careful to drink whenever possible, and focused on leg turnover. Then disaster struck?. I took a wrong turn at about 4 km to go, adding about 600m while I traveled back to the course en route to the finish. I continued on, trying to not think about the error, but with about 300m to finish, Jamie surprised me, running by into the finish, and I had nothing to answer with and lost the race by 22 seconds. That is racing and it was my own error (likely caused by a little heat induced delirium, it was almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit and about 88 percent humidity, I spend a little time with an IV post-race) and I am SO mad that I handed over the win when I already owned it. I am now focused on our next race in Keystone, which may be pivotal for the series. I am at a 10 point disadvantage for the series, and I can?t afford to be more than that going into the finals in Lake Tahoe. Jamie and I have further pulled away from the rest of the girls for the overall title, almost assuring ourselves of the top two spots (barring a DNF disaster in Tahoe) but unless I win in Keystone, CO in three weeks, even a win in Tahoe won?t ensure a first place in the US Series. Nothing like a little pressure to make you step up, huh? So I am on my way to Boulder right now, my second favorite training place on the planet, to adjust to altitude and try and get my best possible race at 9500 feet. But going back a bit to the story of Milwaukee, city of beer and brats??. Read more

Just Short of My Richmond Repeat

How painful to your heart is being passed in the final kilometers of a triathlon… I had sworn off being passed in the run this winter by training my BUTT off in the run, but managed to sabotage my own race this week after coming back from Europe. I felt pretty good as soon as I got in, and was psyched to do some training to kickstart the system and get ready for Richmond but I think I kickstarted too much, because my good feeling off the plane turned into a blown feeling by the time of the race, and my horrible run was the result. I practiced the bike course too much, and the run course too little.. I was caught and passed at the infamous boulder hopping section (flashback to 2002 when Anke passed me there while I was going unconscious from heatstroke). No heatstroke for me, it wasn’t THAT hot, but a pass that I couldn’t counter meant I lost the race by a tiny margin. It is frustrating to think of all of the little mistakes I made during the race that had they not been made, maybe I wouldn’t have finished the race with a deficit. However, the bigger issue was I made the rookie mistake of being so nervous about a race that I thought I needed to do more to get ready, rather than less, and paid for it. Still, even though Jamie had a better day, it was a good race, Jamie and I were both top 20 overall on the day, which is definitely respectable, and we continue our deathgrip on the US Championships series as we are tied in first, with a sizeable lead over third. The best thing about this week, however, was the message from my Italian friends, so please check out the photos in “Other Photos” so you can see just how amazing those people are!! And then, carry on to the story….

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