Monday, September 22, 2014

Year End Report

Good morning... Choppah here with your 2014 year end report!

It was an exciting year for the team and we're super happy about how it went and how things are already shaping up for 2015.

The team brought home 17 podium finishes this year, including 4 wins, 1 NJ State Master's Championship Jersey, and a bit of cash for the kitty.

We raced in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Illinois.

We competed in two major Professional Race Series events: The Tour of America's Dairyland and the Intelligentsia Cup Prairie State Cycling Series.

We supported the Special Olympics Event and Junior's Day Out in Sykesville, Maryland: an event that we truly love and feel strongly about.  Even with a steady drizzle all day, the event was a real success and we had a GREAT time!!

We helped our favorite bike shop - Twenty 20 - and it's awesome crew pull off the wicked awesome Charm City Cross event on a perfectly warm September weekend (it was WAY too hot for 'cross, but, what can you do?!?!).

We hope that we made our amazing sponsors proud... because we can't possibly do it without all of their support!
- We can't stay hydrated without CeraSport!
- Our bikes would look and sound like creaky old messes if it weren't for ProGold!
- We wouldn't have bikes AT ALL if it weren't for Specialized!  And, they protect our feets-ies and our noggins, too!
- Our new kits were amazing thanks to VERGE Sport - and after chatting with Mike Magur at Charm City this weekend, we're even more excited to help give feedback on the newest iteration of their clothing line!!
- Those awesome new VERGE chamois are kept lubed and comfy with Crotchguard!
- Rudy Project keeps our eyeballs safe and protected.  Plus, we look HOT in those things!
- Keeping the rubber side down is so easy with Maxxis tires, and we just love the way they roll!
- Dr. George - Chiropractor extraordinaire, keeps us on the straight and narrow!
- Extreme Endurance keeps our legs fresh and fast!
- Teaism - our favorite fueling station... and those cookies... oooooh, the cookies!!
- Beyer Kia in Alexandria and Falls Church - the top secret Kia to our success!  Plus, they have hamsters driving their cars... which also come in lime green.  How cool is THAT?!?!

We're so lucky to have such fantastic sponsors to work with!  We hope that we can share the love for these awesome folks with all of you - visit their sites, their businesses, try the product.  We promise you... you can't go wrong!!

Thanks for an awesome 2014!  We can't wait for the next year to begin!



Monday, September 1, 2014

It's Labor Day!

Yep... and we all know what that means...

Summer is officially coming to an end.

School is back in session, the weather is getting cooler (haha, just kidding - Indian Summer approacheth!), Christmas decorations are beginning to appear in stores (What the HECK?!?!), and the road racing season draws slowly to a close.

All in all... it was a pretty good year for the ladies of CAWES!

Despite some injury setbacks for Badger, BadKat, and BChan, the team nonetheless managed to find the podium at several races, race hard in quite a few pro level events, and even bring home a State Championship jersey!

We're not QUITE done yet, of course... the start of September also brings us into some of our favorite events of the year - the Special Olympics/Junior's Day Out event in Sykesville, MD, and helping out our favorite local shop Twenty 20 to make sure that Charm City Cross goes off smoothly!

A few of the ladies will be clipping in to race some cross - others have a few more road races in the mix - even more are already preparing for off-season training, which apparently includes something about eating funnel cake...


We are ever grateful to our amazing sponsors for helping to make this year possible.  Without their support, and the awesome support of our friends and families, we wouldn't be able to enjoy the time that we share on our bikes and together as a team.

We can't wait to do it all again next year!  And, don't worry - we'll have some special announcements about 2015 soon enough!  :)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Chris Thater Weekend!


Staring down the barrel of September means only a few things... the start of the school semester, the arrival of cooler weather, HALLOWEEN MOVIE NIGHT on the horizon, and Chris Thater.

I've never gone up for this race before, and I picked the perfect year to give it a go.  They opened it up to a 2-day event with a USA Crits event on Saturday night and a Pro/1/2/3 on Sunday morning.  It was definitely going to be a challenge to race a super hard and fast event Saturday and then return to the same venue, for the same length race, only a bit more than 12 hours later.  But, I was up to the challenge and was accompanied by a few of my favorite local ladies, Deborah Leedale-Brown of EPS, Meredith Ehn of Finkraft, and Elspeth Huyett who was guest riding for EPS.  

We all drove up together to try our legs against a nicely stacked field that included LVG, Tina Pic, Coryn Rivera, Erica Allar, and Sarah Fader (among a host of others who could be named ad nauseum... if you want to see what the hurt looked like, you can just check out the results here!)

Sunday night's race was fast and super hard.  My legs were not feeling super fresh, but I fought my way through to the end.  There were a lot of attacks and a LOT of primes.  This kept the race super jumpy with a lot of surges and high power moments.  In the end, we averaged 26 mph and did 28 miles in 1 hour and 6 minutes.  Yipes.  

I wasn't thrilled with my finish on Saturday - my positioning in the last lap was awful and my legs just didn't have the jump needed to move up in the pack late in the race.

Thankfully, Sunday was coming and I had the chance to redeem myself!!

Sunday's race still included a field of over 40 riders.  Though a few of the big guns had opted out of this one (no Colavita team and no Coryn Rivera), the Fearless Femmes, Pepper Palace, and Mellow Mushroom teams stuck around to continue to inflict massive amounts of pain on the rest of us poor fools.

The race was nearly as fast as the evening before, averaging 25.5 mph.  But, it was much steadier - with fewer major surges and a more comfortable overall pace.  I was able to do some attacking, sit comfortably at the front, and feel like I had a lot more to give in this race.  A break got away with a few laps to go and, with every major team represented, stayed off the front for the rest of the race.  

I had a much better finish this time 'round - holding my own in a bunch sprint to take 22nd.  Just out of the $$, which went to 20 deep (sad face), I nonetheless feel great about the weekend of racing!

All in all, this was another awesome event... I have to give a huge THANK YOU to some of our sponsors, without whom this weekend would have been a lot cruddier!!

VERGE - My bum has never been happier - these new kits are the BOMB!!

CeraSport - thanks to your rockin' EX-1 - I didn't dehydrate on Sunday!

Rudy Project - Sunday evening was raining and dark, but thanks to my Stratofly Photochromatic lenses, I thought it was high noon!

ProGold - despite driving the bikes in the rain, racing in the rainy and wet conditions, and racing twice in one weekend - my bike looked PRO because of ProGold!!!

Belated Iron Hill Post!

OK - so, I'm a terrible blogger.  I meant to post this a looooong time ago, but, well... I'm a slacker.

So, here goes.

I was so nervous about this race.  I'm not sure why... other than the fact that it's a big deal 'round these parts (lots of folks come out to watch and the racing is always high intensity), it was going to be streaming online (my first ever live streamed race - and my Mom, Dad, and GRAMS were going to be watching), and I wanted so well to do well!

Becky and I lined up that evening with a nicely stacked field.  Not too big, with just over 30 women regged for the race, I knew that it would be fast from the gun and for the first few laps.  The course is a straight up 4 corner crit, with a mild climb between turns 3 and 4 and a false flat through to the start/finish line.  The road surface is nice, with a few bumps on the final straight, but nothing too gnarly.

I was right about the fast from the gun, thing... it was blistering for the first 5 laps or so - thanks in part to a prime on the FIRST lap!  I was on the rivet, but never OVER the rivet, so all was well.  I had pretty cruddy positioning during that stretch, so I was fighting a bit too hard near the back.  Nonetheless, I held in there and the pace eventually slackened up a bit.  At that point, I was able to move about in the field a bit.  I felt confident and comfortable and knew that it was a matter of making it to the finish for me to be a happy Chop.

With about 12 or 13 laps to go, a break got off the front and the pace in the field lessened a little more.  By that time, there were only about 25 riders left in the group, so I knew that this was a good time to be a bit more active.  I launched some attacks, sat nearer to the front, and felt good for the rest of the race.

The end got a bit whacky as the break lapped us just after the finish line when we had 2 to go and they had 1 to go.  Turns out (you learn something' new every day), that meant that we suddenly ALL had 1 to go.  I was not prepared for that (after hearing "2 TO GO, 2 TO GO, 2 TO GO!!!") as we crossed the line just a few seconds earlier.  Needless to say... I didn't sprint.  At all.  Not a bit.  Grrrr....

I'm still THRILLED with my finish and my race - so, all is well...

And, team CAWES brought home some DOLLAHS, so all was even better than well!

Thanks to all who were out on the sidelines screaming and yelling!  I heard you!  Honestly, this may have been one of the most exciting races I've done in a long time.  The crowd was AWESOME, and the energy was high.  Fun stuff!!

See you next year, Iron Hill!

Thanks to Scott Kingsley for this photo... and thanks to Fearless Femme for allowing me to get my face into their photo shoot!  ;)

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Freedom Tour

I loved this race last year.  It was one of the only races that I was able to enter last year, and I managed to eke out a $50 prime.  I was ecstatic.

This year, I was looking forward to the race again.  Then, I saw the start list.


My gut reaction was... "oh, crap... this is going to be HARD!"  Which, I might add, is a good thing!  But, as a non-sprinter going up against the likes of Amy Cutler, LVG, Deb Leedale-Brown, Lauren Dag, and Kristin Lotito... I was not sure what would happen.  Nonetheless, I was determined to race hard and aggressive.  And, with a lot of solo riders in the field (only Comedy Central and EPS had more than one rider, I think), I knew that working with Meredith would be to both of our benefits.  She got off the front early in the race and snagged a prime, so things were already looking good!  


The race was super aggressive, which I love!  As expected, Lauren launched some strong attacks to try to stay away.  The group would let her get a gap and then slowly start dragging her back in.  One attack saw me try to bridge up to her... as I got closer, LVG came around me and we kept up the pace.  But, with three strong riders up the road, the peloton decided that we needed to come back into the group. 

Things continued fast and furious up until the end of the race.  As we crossed the line with two to go, my legs suddenly felt great, so I launched.  I got a nice gap on the field and immediately turned on TT-mode.  I was feeling great and when I came through the start/finish and heard the bell, I knew that I had a slim chance of holding them off to the end.  I just put my head down and kept riding as hard as I could.  As I took the final turn to the finish, I heard the whir of rear hubs behind me.  I jumped out of the saddle and took the final hill with everything that I had.  Amy Cutler came around me just as I crested the hill and I just kept up the best I could.  I managed to hold off the rest of the stacked field for 2nd place!  



Even as I write this, I'm a bit shocked at the finish.  I'm thrilled by it, but still can't quite believe that it worked out like it did.  It will go down in my cycling resume as one of my best races to date.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Touring with the Fishes

Yesterday was the inaugural Tour de Fish in Somerdale, NJ.  Hosted by the Mambo Kings and the Flying Fish brewery, the course was nicely technical and really fun.  With quite a few true corners and a section of curving chicanes, this was going to be a blast!


The women's field was unfortunately small - with only 9 riders regged for the race.  BUT, it was a STRONG 9 riders that included Deborah Leedale-Brown of EPS, Victoria Hanks and Sarah Grogan of Peanut Butter and Co., Kelley Bethoney from Evolution, Jacqueline Paull from ProPower, Betty Tyrell from Somerset, and BChan and me!

To say that it was going to be a fun race would be an understatement.  

They gave us one lap neutral before the fireworks began.  As expected, I launched first - the second we crossed the line for the real start of the race.  For the majority of the race, we were single file or launching attacks.  It was anything but status quo for this race.  If we did slow down, it was basically only because the riders that were planning to launch attacks were getting their legs back together!  We launched, Deb launched, Sarah Grogan launched... it was aggressive and exciting.

Becky and I both managed to win a prime (COFFEETS!!!) in the midst of the race, which was very cool.  

Our overall tactic was simple... if I didn't get away (which I tried to do!), then we would concentrate on the sprint lead out.  It was a looooong sprint.  But, there was a nice stand of bamboo about 150 meters from the line.  BChan just said to me, if you can drop me there, I'll be good.  So, I just focused on that stand on EVERY single lap.  By the end, I instinctively knew where it was.  Because these girls were on me like mud on a pig and I wasn't going anywhere!

I took control heading into the last lap and set a tempo that I was comfortable with.  I knew that no one would come around me with such a small group... they were going to let me take it to the end.  I began to ramp it up leading into the 2nd to last corner.  After the final corner, I really started to jam.  I started my sprint with the hope of dropping BChan right at those bamboo plants.  It worked!!

Mr. Prokchop managed to capture this video of the finish.  While you can't quite make out the line...

video


BChan took the WIN!!!  Just getting Deb and Kelley at the line by half a wheel or so, we'd done it!  YESSSSS!

It was a tactically awesome day for us... and we're super happy with a win against a really small, but really strong field.  Thanks to the other girls for a great, positive, aggressive race!  

Next weekend, BChan heads back home to the Midwest to tackle some more pro crits at Prairie States! Good luck out there, BChan!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Post With A Bit TMI...

If you are squeamish about discussions involved saddle sores and other uncomfortable undercarriage issues... consider this your warning and click on this link here.  Trust me, you won't be sorry.



OK... for the brave souls who have remained...

Saddle Sores.  They suck.  Big time.  And, we all get them.  Or, do we?!?!

One quick google search will turn up a host of websites talking about these painful little demons and give you a zillion tips on how to treat them, get rid of them, or keep them at bay.


I know that the ladies on the team and I have had our fair share of run-ins with painful posteriors.  It's not an uncommon thing to keep various "treatment tools" on hand for just such instances.  These include hydrogen peroxide, sterile needles for lancing (oh, yeah... doesn't that just sound divine), hemorrhoid cream (yes, this actually works on some types), alcohol (both the kind in the medicine and the dining room cabinets), and donuts.

Donuts, you say?!?!  Mmmmm...


No, unfortunately, not these kinds of donuts.  THESE kinds of donuts.


In short, saddle sores are awful.  But, here's the thing...

Find the right saddle, the right saddle height, use your chamois cream appropriately - varieties abound, but I tend toward one of these two...



AND... find a pair of shorts that work, you can - in fact - avoid them!

I have had saddle sore issues for YEARS.  Until we went with our new VERGE kit for this year.  The chamois in the Women's Strike Bib is unbelievably, fantastically, wonderfully AWESOME!!  For the first time since I began cycling, I have not had a single undercarriage ulcer!  Not a ONE!  Now, I can't say for sure that the chamois in this short will work for everyone, but... if your underside is unhappy you won't want to be on your bike!  And, we ALL want to be on our bikes.

So, lube up and get spinning, gals.  And, if you're in the market for a new pair of bibs, give VERGE a shot!  :)