Monday, November 17, 2008


Photo courtesy of Amy

On Saturday, I went up to Whitewater for the cross race. It was a fun course but short and had a brutal climb that I did 8 times. I was 7th out of 8 but was pretty happy with my race. I was riding well. I was taking turns good -- and even got some compliments a couple of laps on this slick downhill to a 180 turn and then up again. I rode the sandpit good. And, I made riding up the hill all 8 times.

Sunday was Lansing. It is the closest cross race to my house with a less than half-hour drive. However, I had one of my worst races here last year. It is very flat and was not really technical last year. This year, I think it was even less technical. They took out a section that you had to go around some trees. You barely had to brake for any of the turns and the only technical part being the sandpit. Last year, it was the first race my teammate beat me at and I thought that might well be the case this year.

Yup. I was ahead of Sue for the first part of the race and then it seemed like she came speeding past me. I tried to draft but fell off. Looking at my lap times, she didn't come speeding past me but my speed was just dropping. My first lap was about 6:13 and my second to last lap was 7:40, I think, which I dropped to 7:05 for the last lap. A girl from SRAM beat me as well who I've beat the other couple of races she did. I was initially disappointed and annoyed -- particularly, that I was riding the sandpit so poorly (as in not riding it very far at all). But, I think I was so redlined I just couldn't accelerate enough before the sand. On a good note, my first lap was so much quicker because I was actually hanging with the group for longer than usual.

I'm really bummed that there are only one race this weekend for both Wisconsin and the Chicago series and, yet, they are both on Sunday. I really liked the Hales Corners course last year and am sick of riding around on just grass. I'm sure Jingle Cross will be fun but do not know how I will survive doing four races in two days (Women's 2/3 and Women's 35+).

In case, anyone hadn't heard -- Chicagoland Bicycle Federation has changed its name to the Active Transportation Alliance. Personally, I like the old logo better but I'm sure that's why they had consultants help with the change and not me.

Also, a big THANKS! to everyone who took time to fill out a survey for me at the Lansing race. = )

Monday, November 10, 2008


(Photo courtesy of Amy)

I am surprised by how many people told me that I should have loved the Northbrook course. The downhill turns I should have rocked. Instead, I rode it cleanly the first lap and went down the first turn the next three. I think I took it too fast but I'm still not sure. Each time I would think Yes, I cleaned it and then I would slide out. I was able to pop right back up so I actually don't think it lost me much time but it was still so infuriating to not clean a section you know you should be.

I did realize we need to change our tire setup though. After pre-riding, I was thinking my WTB cross wolves would be the better tires but they were on my Schwinn which I can't shoulder. We're going to put the WTB's on my bike and I'll bring Tom's wheels up with me which will give us both more options for racing. I'm learning. = )

But, back to why I didn't love this course -- No barriers! Also, those stairs blew. I thought I couldn't get a rhythm because of my short legs but I heard others say the same. And, even though there were fun off camber sections, there were also plenty of flat non-technical sections for speedy people.

It was my worst placing with an 11th. I wasn't dead last but only one off. Besides screwing up the one turn nearly every lap, I was also really cranky because I witnessed a girl lifting up the tape and riding under it as opposed to riding around a stopped rider. Going under the tape allowed her to not have to complete the last tight turn and to bypass completely the last left turn off the ski hill. She wasn't out of control when she went off course. She stopped, lifted up the tape and rode under it. I figured the officials would ask her about it, remind her not to cut the course and that would be it. They posted results, I went and asked the officials if they spoke to her and was told they hadn't seen the incident (which I totally understand) and that, basically, she was low in the placings so it didn't matter if she cut the course. WTF? And, they said that she wasn't still around. Yeah, but she was when I first brought it up. Grrr. It's not like I think it will change the series standings or anything but I still think they could have at least talked to her about it.

On a more upbeat note, I'll be near registration at Lansing (after my race) for the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation trying to get people to fill out surveys for our program to get people to use cars less and do more walking, commuting by bike and using mass transit. We take info. on a recent car trip you took and try to plan a route using bike, bus, train, etc. So, please stop by, fill out a survey and say hi to Christopher. = )

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween & CX

Christopher had an adorable Elmo Halloween costume. He would not wear it. So, he was a bike rider for Halloween instead. I did get Tom to wear the Elmo costume on his head for awhile but, alas, I do not have any photos of it. Christopher like being able to ride up to people's doors and have people give him candy for it.

I went up to the Polska cross race on Saturday. It was an awesome course except for the hill run-up which spiked my heart rate and slowed me down to a snail's pace. Getting over the barrier on the hill climb was horrible and I felt like I needed a ladder to get my short legs over it.

I had the same feeling on Sunday. Two of the barriers were on the tops of little inclines. My getting over the barriers was sloppy and I kept banging my shins while pre-riding the course. The course was, like all the Chicago races, almost entirely grass and asphalt. However, there were a lot of turns to make it interesting. I was right behind Beth, with xXx, when I took the turn leading into the gravel mushy road too quick and at a bad angle and washed out. Then, I was in too big of a gear and couldn't get going for about two minutes. I have an extremely bad tendancy to get focused on trying to pass someone and forget completely about riding the course cleanly. I totally lost any chance of catching Beth and then had to put it in high gear to keep a girl from SRAM from catching me who I had previously had a pretty decent lead on.

Christopher has been a total demon lately. His new thing is to bring a chair to the fridge and then use the water dispenser to fill a cup and, then, overflow the cup causing water to go everywhere. After both Monday and yesterday, I would say "wow, this has been a long week." Thus, the late post. Tonight I have a meeting for the local paper which will be a brief break and tomorrow afternoon my mother is watching him. I'll be jumping for joy when my mother's car pulls out of the driveway.