Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And so it begins

I feel like I've been here before- I have
I feel like I've done this before- I have
Third times a charm- I hope

Welcome to Silver City and the Tour of the Gila. It begins tomorrow and ends on Sunday.

I've got cookies made, rice balls chilling and meals planned.
I've got great host housing, an amazing team and super support.
I've got the will to win, the team to win and my game face on.

It begins tomorrow and ends on Sunday.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


"Tribulus terrestris, aka Goathead thorn, also known as puncture vine, is a deceptively dangerous weed. Goathead thorn is a little low-growing weed, so flat to the ground that you might not even notice it unless you were looking for it. Rather deceptive, because if it weren't for the seeds, you would completely overlook it.

The seed case does look a little like the shape of a goat's head. That is, if the goat's head had big spikes sticking out of it." ()
Goatheads have been the "story of our life" here in Albuquerque. Thursday, we (my teammates and I) arrived in Albuquerque for the Roadrunner Classic-a new race for 2010. Friday, we rode our bikes to the race course, pre rode the course, then rode home. Total ride time, 2 hrs. Total time out, 3.5 hrs. The reason? 5 flat tires due to Goatheads.

Saturday-race day. We raced the TT (without any flat tires!), but when two of us finished, we had goatheads stuck in our rear wheels. It's not a bad thing to have them stuck in the wheel, it's a bad thing when they come out of the wheel. When the goathead goes into your tire it acts as a "plug". When you pull the goathead out, all the air comes shooting out of your tire.

I had a great ride and won the TT.

The afternoon of the Roadrunner, was the road race and the goatheads were relentless. 4 flats with no follow cars makes for an interesting race. Halfway into the race, I noticed a goathead in the sidewall of my front tire-just sticking there, going round and round. My wheel was not going flat. For almost an hour I raced with that goathead, knowing full well each time we passed the neutral pit I should stop to get a new wheel. I never did and on the last lap the goathead come out and I had a front flat. I had to stop get a wheel from my teammate (her race was now over), ride up to another teammate (who also had a flat), so she could help me chase back on to the group. I chased and chased, but never made it to the lead group. Race was lost. I (with a lot of help from my team) still managed second overall. Not bad, but not ideal.

Nasty goatheads.
Good learning experience.
Now on to Gila.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sea Otter-Day 5

Sea Otter day 5 (also day 5 of 5 day sea level training camp), proved to be a no stress no pressure day (at least for the first half of the day). It was the day of the XC, and after winning the circuit race the day before, I was happy to just go out and ride my mtn bike.

Lisa (my team director) dropped me off at the Raceway about an hour before the race started. She left me with my mtn bike, my road bike, a backpack, and tires which I stored at the Specialized tent.

A quick lap of the course was my warm-up and at 11:30 we were off. To my surprise and a little bit of disappointed there was a lot of pavement in the race. I can race pavement any time I want to, but I don't get to race on the dirt very often.

1.5 hrs later, I was done with the race (I finished 12th), and packing up my mtn bike, backpack, and tires in the Sports Garage sprinter. After a quick change of shoes, I was on my road bike riding the 10 miles back to our host house.
Shower, food, and packing were followed by a long and interesting trip to the San Jose airport. I had heard how bad the traffic can be after Sea Otter ends, and this was no joke. A drive that should have lasted 1.5hrs ended up being almost 3 hours. Quick thinking by Mechanic Brain took us to a different route and got me to the airport 16 minutes before my flight took off.

I ditched my "TSA banned substances", and ran like hell. This run may have been the hardest workout of the entire weekend. However, I got on my flight and made it home without any more trouble.

I had a really good time at my 5 day sea level training camp, otherwise known as Sea Otter. A few days at home, then it's back on the road again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sea Otter-Day 4

Day 4-the day I was most looking forward to and dreading a little bit. First was to be the 2 hr circuit race on the Laguna Seca Speedway with the famous cork screw downhill. Next would would be the short track mtn bike race less than one hour after the circuit race ended. Ouch.

After everything I had heard about the circuit race and the speedway, I wanted to win. I've wanted to win this circuit race since the day I found out I was coming to Sea Otter. But how could I put out the effort required to win when I knew, in the back of my mind, there was another race less than an hour afterward?

Answer, say your goals out loud. I told everyone, my teammates, my director, mechanic and my host parents, I wanted to win this race. Now, the win out weighed the short track by a LARGE margin.

Long story short, the race went as planned and I won. I used the cork screw to my advantage, attacked on the downhill, and held off the other two. It was a sweet victory!

©Brian Hodes/VeloImages

After a few short interviews, I changed my jersey, my socks, shoes, gloves and bicycle. Time for the short track.

I've never done a short track mtn bike race before. There was no pressure and no expectations (I thought I may go from getting first to getting last).
It was fun, it was hard, and I was tired, but it was SO cool to race road bikes and mtn bikes in one day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sea Otter-Day 3

Day 3 of 5-day sea level training camp was... a rest day. No racing. Instead we spent the day meeting and greeting sponsors, (Specialized, DeFeet, Michelin), riding with fans, pre riding the mtn bike courses, chillen and hanging out with our great host families.Specialized's "Ride with the Pro's".

Mtn bike time!

Team VBF knows how to do a cooler.

Afternoon entertainment. Our host house has 4 chickens, 1 rooster, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 horses.

Alison T and Lauren H prepping the dishwasher for our soon to be host family dinner.

Our host families made us a YUMMY dinner. Flank steak, rice with apricots and pine nuts and a killer salad (of course there were chips, artichokes and "cowboy caviar). YUM

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sea Otter-Day 2

Day 2 of 5 day sea level training camp, oops, I mean Sea Otter day 2...
I say training camp because Sea Otter doesn't really feel like a race. Why not? The road races are just a side show to the expo and to the mtn bike races, there is NO prize $$, we are skipping one of the races, and it's not an NRC race. For these reasons and the fact I also have my mtn bike here, it feels more like a 5 day sea level training camp instead of a race.

Day 2 of training camp went well. Woke up early, went for a short bike ride (I love riding my bike early in the morning), hung out, then rode to the Laguna Seca Raceway.
AP and Alison T at the raceway.

At 2:50pm the three of us, two teammates and I, raced the 50 min crit. We did not get a good result but we each got a good work out and training day in (after all, this is a 5 day sea level training camp, not REAL racing).
Crit start/finish-look at all the spectators!

After "racing", hanging out, doing some sponsor stuff, and driving in traffic, we finally made it home. My teammates and director made a super yummy dinner for us, I did the dishes, stretch then it was bed time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sea Otter-Day 1

Travel days; the demise of almost every sporting activity. However, yesterday was an amazingly good travel day. It's days like this I love being a bike racer.

5:45am- Wake up, shower, espresso, good byes, drive to DIA.
7:45am- Park car, get on bus, eat breakfast, arrive at Terminal.
8:10am- Check bag (thank you Southwest for not charging!), go through security, walk to gate.
9:00am- Board plan, take off, read, watch movie, land 20 minutes early in San Jose.
11:30am- Get picked up by Director Lisa, drive to our host host in Salinas CA.
1:15pm- Arrive to host house, say "hellos", unpack, chamois up.
2pm- Ride. And it was AWE-SOME. It's days like today that I feel so lucky to get paid to come to cool places like this and ride my bike (one decent was so much fun I rode back up to do it again).

Am I in Lucca at the Team USA house or am I in the USA?

4:45pm- Finish awesome ride (do I really have to stop riding? Oh ya, I'm here to race, not ride my brains out the day I arrive).
5pm- Stretch, shower, chill with Lauren and Alison T.
6pm- Drive into Salinas for dinner and grocery shopping (my favorite! I love the grocery store!).
8:30pm- Arrive back to host house, unpack grocery's, get ready for bed.
9:05pm- lights out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Time at home

Time at home...a special thing for a bike racer (or any traveling athlete for that matter). I've been at home for the past two weeks and it has been wonderful.

Here are some of the highlights-

Racing and winning the Koppenburg (first win of the season).

Riding mtn bikes with Alison Dunlap and Kelli Emmitt in Pueblo

Catching up with fellow bike lover, Sarai (she'll soon have a cool website about girls who love bikes, but it's not up yet) and riding mtn bikes with her.
The #1 highlight, however, has no picture. Spending time with friends, family and JH are the best parts to being home.