Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Jersey Crit Championships

I have been looking forward to this race for some time now. In the back of my mind, this race was tagged as a big one and one that I wanted to win, but I was trying not to get too worked up about it. In the past couple of years, I have finished 2nd THREE times in State Championship races. Twice in the road race and once in the crit. I admit it, I was tired of taking 2nd. Granted, I took 2nd to some wicked chicks, who really deserved the win, but I was thinking that my time had come. I wanted this one.

The race is at my home course at Greentree. YAY. That right there makes it all the more fun for me. After all, I spend nearly every Thursday night there getting whomped and sometimes whomping the boys! So, why not spend a beautiful Sunday morning there with the ladies!

The field was relatively small, with about 15 Cat 1/2/3 women and 3 Cat 4 ladies on the start line. There were certainly some riders of note in the field - Beth Bonilla (who won Medford last weekend and took 1st in the Crit Championship last year), Jackie Paull, Betty Tyrell, Beth Renner and some of the other Riptide gals, and a crew from Montclair Cylery. With two teams of women there, I wanted to make sure that I raced SMART.

I tried to be patient at the start. I went to the front to set a pace that I hoped would be upheld as the race continued. It worked, for the most part, and the tempo stayed relatively steady throughout the race. Betty, Beth and I all launched attacks early on in the race. I got away at one point, but got reeled back in.

Then, with about 12 laps to go, Betty and Beth launched an attack up the hill on the right hand side. I was on the left side and weaved through a few riders to get on Beth's wheel. I came around her as we rounded the corner and floored it. When I came around the next bend and looked behind me, no one was there. I just kept going. Beth and I had talked before hand and one of our strategies was to get one of us off the front solo and to have the other bridge up. So, I figured that she was going to do her best to bridge up to me. Apparently, there were a few attempts behind me by folks to bridge, but none of them were successful. I was just up there gunning it the best that I could - keeping my pace high and my cadence steady.

I was nervous for a while, even while I was getting time gaps: 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 MINUTE! With about 4 to go I realized that barring a crash or a flat, I was actually going to win this! With 1 to go, I was euphoric! Coming across the line with a massive victory salute about 3/4 of a lap in front of the field was AMAZING! Beth won the field sprint for 2nd, which was also awesome!

I am so happy! And so glad that my coach George and my former teammate and good friend Dana were there to cheer me on! THANK YOU for being there! It was awesome. Thanks to Teresa DiSessa for the photos from the race! :)

Winner, winner, Porkchop dinner!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tour de Medford

Now, it's no secret that the Porkchop doesn't mind driving to races. Heck...this year alone, I've put a few thousand miles on my car driving to Lancaster County, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, DC, and various sundry places. But, it's ALWAYS nice when I can race right in my own backyard! So, it was a glorious thing to drive 15 minutes to race this past Saturday in Medford, NJ!

The Tour de Medford Crit is a really fun race. It's a technical three corner crit with a slight uphill rise to the finish. It comes right through the center of town and draws a local crowd out to volunteer and cheer on the riders. It's a really nice day on the bike.

The field was small, but tough...including the standard leg-ripper-offers like Jess Chong, Beth Bonilla, and Tricia Carnila! It was going to be a fun one. Jess attacked early on and was away for a few laps with Beth, Tricia and I chasing her down. We finally put in a few massive efforts and got her back - we were now in a small break group. A few little attacks were launched here and there, but nothing was sticking. With 2 to go, Jess launched another attack that caused a gap. Beth eventually bridged up and right before the final turn on the last lap, Tricia, Jackie Paull and I caught up to them. We were too tired from the effort to sprint for 1st, but Tricia and I duked it out for 4th and 5th. I ended up taking 4th on the day.

It was a really nice day out there...beautiful weather, beautiful roads, and great women to race with. The local South Jersey paper, The Courier Post, had a videographer on hand who asked me to do an interview afterwards. The video can be found on the Courier Post website. Just scroll down to the "latest videos" link at the right.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tour de Millersburg

Two of our favorite animals...the Grizzly and the Porkchop headed out to Millersburg for the fantastic stage race that is the Tour de Millersburg. The race is a favorite of the PA contingent, who finished 7th and 8th in the 2009 edition (while racing for different teams). It seems that these two are always finishing right behind the's sort of our thing. This year was no exception.

The Time Trial is a perfect race for Sarah and Alaina. Mostly false flat downhill on the way out and false flat rising on the way back. There are a few small rises throughout the course, but they're grinders, which suits both of these ladies. Posting strong times, Alaina finished 2nd in the time trial with Sarah just 5 seconds back in 3rd place.

With two riders from the New Zealand national team at the race, it was no secret that the Crit was going to be wicked hard. The course was run opposite to 2009, so the course included two right hand turns at the start, a looooong steady drag up to turn 3, and then a screaming descent into turn 4 and the finish. There was literally NO recovery, as we pedaled down and through the start/finish line on every lap. Once we had come down the hill, the road immediately went back up. By the 3rd lap, the field had started to shatter. The Kiwis took turns attacking until one finally got away. The other stayed in the field for a few laps and then countered and jumped up to her teammate. They were never seen or heard from again!

The rest of us launched the chase, which further broke the field. Jessica Chong of Morgan Stanley attempted to bridge up to the Kiwis, but got caught in no man's land. Sarah was part of a three woman chase behind Jess that included Kacy Wander of QCW and Patty Buerkle of Fruit 66. The three eventually caught Jess and the 4 sprinted for 3rd on the line, with the Porkchop taking the final step on the podium in the crit. Alaina came in with another chase group in 9th.

The Road Race again was going to prove difficult - not even considering the constant rain that greeted us in the morning. Sarah was now in a Kiwi sandwich - sitting 2nd in the GC between the two strong riders. The same tactic was run by the New Zealanders to break down the field. It worked. Unfortunately, both Sarah and Alaina were victims of the wicked legs on these girls. We finished 13th and 16th respectively, but still maintained strong positions in the GC.

When it was all said and done, the Porkchop and the Grizzly stood next to one another on the podium in 5th and 6th in the GC.

All in all, it was a great weekend of racing...not to mention staying with the most amazing Amish family ever...the Smuckers. The family took wonderful care of us during our stay - stuffing us with more bacon than we usually eat in a year, and giving us amazing support when we rode past the farm during the road race. It was so awesome to have all of them yelling and cheering us on as we came past the house!

Specialized Transition!

Now, we know that part of the reason that the Grizzly keeps kicking butt in Time Trials is that she has the fastest legs this side of the Schuylkill, but it's also because of her wicked ride.

A special shout out to our favorite bike sponsor, Specialized, for outfitting our Time Trial specialist with the raddest Transition in the land...

Thanks to you....the Grizzly has posted the following results this year:

3rd - Somerset Circuit Time Trial
2nd - Deep Blue Delaware State Time Trial
3rd - Philly Amateur Time Trial
1st - PA Elite State Time Trial - defending champ takes the title for the 2nd year!
4th - Tour of Washington County State Race Time Trial
1st - Butler County State Race Time Trial
1st - PA Masters State Championship Time Trial
3rd - USA Cycling 2010 Masters Nationals, 40-44 Age Group
2nd - Tour De Millersburg Stage Race Time Trial

Phew....and she's not even done yet!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Master's National Podium

A major shout out to our resident Time Trial Aficionado...

Grizzly took 3rd place at Master's Nationals in Louisville last weekend!!

Alaina also had some great finishes with a 9th in the Road Race and 12th in the Crit!

We'd also like to send our congratulations to some of our MABRA friends...

Jennifer Maxwell of Kenda took 4th in the Time Trial, and 10th in the Road Race and the Crit!
Leslie Jennings took 2nd in both the Road Race and Crit in the 35-39 Age Group!
Marni Harker of Kenda took 7th in the TT, 6th in the Road Race, and 5th in the Crit in the 45-49 age group!

Really great racing down there, ladies! Congrats to you all and to all the National Champions!

Weekend of 6's there is something about the number 6. I think it might be stalking us.

This weekend, CAWES made the start list at two races in the PA area. Both races were part of a weekend series hosted by DeSales University and LWA Racing. Both were crits and were held in the Lehigh Valley.

On Saturday, Robin and Sarah attacked (literally) the field at the Emrick Boulevard Crit. The course was pretty simple, a two corner, two curved race with one uphill section and a false flat into the wind towards the start/finish. The race started out pretty fast, with Sarah gunning it from the line and pushing the pace. There were some important riders to watch at the race - Lisa Jellett of Verducci, Colleen Gulick of Kenda, Christine Fenessey from South Mountain Cycles, and a few other notables. All of the women were there to race and every lap included attacks, counter attacks, jumps, and chases. It was not enough for anyone to get away, so the field came up to the finish together. The first of the weekend's 6's came in the form of Sarah's 6th place finish on the day. Note that Robin's 12th place finish is also a factor of 6!

Enter Sunday's race. Sarah goes to pick up her number and guess what it is...yep, 6. Uh-oh...that just can't be good.

Alaina and Sarah were the CAWES girls on tap for Sunday's race. It was a PA Bar race and since Alaina is defending champ and currently sitting 2nd, we wanted to make sure that we protected our place and our rider. The field was again interested in racing and there were attacks thrown out quite a bit. Sarah was being watched like a hawk and couldn't get away at any point. With riders like Jessica Chong, Christine Fenessey, and Stacey Jensen in the field, it was a tough race and again, it came down to a sprint...although just barely.

With just over a lap to go, Andrea Luebbe of Human Zoom launched an attack...and got away. The field chased a bit, but then seemed to grow content with letting her go. Knowing that she was a Bar points rider, Sarah decided with 1/2 a lap to go, that Andrea was not going to ride away with the win. She attacked and bridged up to Andrea, pulling everything back together about 300 meters from the finish. Alaina tucked herself in at 4th wheel and managed to hold on got it...6th place at the finish line! Sarah was 16th...yet another six to add to the mix. (hehe...that rhymed!)

We're still waiting for the update on Bar points to see if our hard work paid off, but either way, we had a great weekend of races! Now...if we can just keep that evil #6 from stalking us...we'll be set!!