This past weekend Xterra visited Alabama for our first ever South East Championships event. The venue was spectacular, the locals incredibly friendly and the result was exactly what I was looking for. A first place finish – which ties up the series going into Richmond. I have to say that Alabama was a difficult race for me. First because I wasn Read more
"You can't leave footprints in the sands of time if you're sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?" – Bob Moawad
One of the questions I get a lot is “What is a typical week for you of training?” That is a tough question because training is a very fluid endeavor, so week to week my body might need a different stimulus to get the same response. I change my training according to how I feel. However, there is one thing I have been doing for a number of years that has been working very well and it is the winter training camp series with Pacificsport. My coach, Houshang Amiri, the head coach at the National Cycling Center has been running week long winter training camps here in Victoria that I have participated in that I find really help to boost my cycling fitness in the off season. In this article I am going to catalog a “week in the life” of Melanie so that there are no secrets in the kind of work I do in the off season to try to become a stronger and faster cyclist…
I have to say my second Worlds win was much better than the first. Aside from the fact I actually don’t remember finishing in 2003 (heat exhaustion and unconsciousness met me at the finish), this time was special because I had an entourage of family including my dad, Ross, his mom and our great friends Murray and Kirsten, a legion of fellow Canadian competitors and an amazing number of supporters congratulating me after the race. To be the first woman to repeat World Championship wins and to have so many people genuinely psyched for me is a feeling I truly cannot describe. It was unbelievable the amount of noise we Canadians made at the awards dinner for athletes on the podium, not just for me, Brent, Peter and Mike, but for all the Canadians who took top spots in their age groups. It was special to win during Xterra’s tenth birthday which meant an extra special party with fireworks and the biggest attendance on record. I had a fantastic race, rode an incredible bike split, and finished not even realizing there was someone coming for me. The race was definitely exciting… Read more
No victory is as satisfying as when you MUST win; all the pressure is on you to perform, and you are the target. This was the case this year at Keystone because if I didn’t win and tie up the points series, a win at Tahoe might not have meant an overall for me. Given that Jamie Whitmore has won this race for the past three years, convincingly, one would assume the odds were against me. The course is all above 9300 feet, peaking out at 11, 700 feet, the swim is very short, the bike is very short, and the run is very long. Looking at my resume, this wouldn’t look like a suited course for me. But for the past two weeks I have brushed that aside, moved in with my Saucony teammate Josiah Middaugh in Vail, Colorado, and made it my mission to win this race, with the kind of intensity I usually reserve for Hawaii. And it paid off! I led from mile two of the bike course and from there continued to put time on my competitors until I finished with three minutes at the finish. Particulary satisfying is the minute I put on Jamie on the run course and given that I have been passed on the run at the last two races in the final metres to lose by seconds this is significant! So, altitude schmaltitude, Tahoe will be mine!!! I am pretty excited, obviously, because this is a huge confidence boost for the US Finals in Lake Tahoe, at a measly 6700 feet. A lot of great stuff happened since our fun times in Crested Butte, so read on for the story…. Read more
This past weekend was the first race in the US Xterra Championships Series in Temecula, California, a venue about half way between Palm Springs and San Diego. The course reminded me of a cross between the Desert Nova Classic in Arizona and Sea Otter in Monterey. A mix of sand traps and high speed hardpack, with 7km of the 11km run comprised of energy sapping sand to run in. I was super conservative with my expectations for this first race of the season. I had no idea where everyone else was coming into 2005, and anyone who has read my last few articles knows that I have been down for the count struggling to get racing form. I wasn’t sure where I was going to measure up but I ended up on top and yes, it felt damn good! It is motivating to have success after hard work to get back on form, especially after such a frustrating spring. I now am home training for some mountain bike races in Eastern Canada before I head over for the European Xterra Tour and I am happy to have some confidence to travel with…. Read more
Another Xterra US Championships Series has come and gone, and I am happy, but not satisfied, to report that I finished second overall for 2004, again. The positive side of the race was I finished the same as last year on the worst day ever, whereas last year I felt I had a fantastic day. The frustrating side is that I have still to win a race at altitude, and the fact these races are eluding me is definitely adding some fuel to my desire to win this series. However, I am going to have to wait another year on the series, but luckily have one, very important, race left this year, the Worlds. This weekend was eventful, however, so read on to hear about our rental car being stolen, me dropping back to third after moving from 8th to 2nd, and the fight to stay in runner up place on what I call a rough day at the office… Read more
Repeating as Canadian Champion required some hard sweat equity as mother nature added some new challenges to last year’s course around Buntzen Lake in Port Moody, BC, just outside of Vancouver. In addition, the Xterra Canada crew changed the run, making it much longer and much more hilly, and some really cold water to swim in made this race the perfect last race as I prepare for the US Championships at Lake Tahoe in 2 weeks… Read more
Despite the title of this report, the West Championships Xterra was again a battle between Jamie Whitmore and I, but a very unfriendly non-gentleman decided to put himself between us during the bike segment of the race, and then personally attack me after the race, so this story has a bit of spice. Jamie won the Big Bear Xterra this year again, and as much as I freaking HATE second, I did do well having had a solid race winning the bike prime and putting up a fight until about the last 3.5 miles of the race, so I feel like things are right on track for the last two races of the season. This was a good race, so read on to get the story….
This past weekend I chose to go to Boulder, Colorado, to do the Boulder Peak race as a little altitude tune up to get ready to race Big Bear on the 15th of this month. This was my second foray into altitude racing this season… the first being the Epic of Keystone. This race didn’t have the happy ending that my suffering at the Xterra had. I had no power, no gas, and no dignity as I rode around slow as molasses, and then got my shirt torn off by the wind currents created by the age groupers running past me, seemingly like gazelles since I was going so amazingly slow. It was a VERY tough day at the office. Read more
So in our continuing adventure, one hour from crossing the line at mountainbike nationals, Melanie is in a Ford Tahoe cruising at max speed toward Quebec regional airport on her next installment of the weekend’s itinerary ? the US Central Xterra Championships in Keystone, Colorado.
My coach, Houshang, deposited me at Departures with plenty of time to get a boarding pass, be frisked for a fork at Security, and hop on my turboprop jalopy headed for Montreal. Then I would pass Customs and jump on another turboprop jalopy headed for Chicago, this time two hours of legs by my ears. After about an hour layover, I was finally seated on a packed 737 on my way to Denver, my final stop…