Sunday, August 14, 2011
Dunnigan Hills Road Race
Team: Emily Foxman, Mary Maroon
I caught up to Em around the warm up area. There were only 2 of us and 7 RED Racing. We needed a plan. Em and I decided to make it fast. Emily attacked right after the moto pulled off. When she came back together with the pack, I attacked. This was enough to set the stage for how the race was going to be. Josie Morgan went and I went again. This time I was off for quite some time. About 30 minutes. RED organized at the front and began to work to bring Webcor back. I was collected right at the base of the first climb. Em immediately attacked up the hill. 1 RED racing went with her. There were 3 RED at the front. I bridged to Em and began a rotation with her. We were away for 10 minutes before I got a flat. Em and RED kept going but got caught a few minutes later. I waited for the follow vehicle. Lucia (LGBRC) had also flatted and was pacing the follow car back. I jumped in with her with a borrowed wheel. Right as we were catching back on the pack took a nature break. We rode that finishing straight at a comfortable pace. During the second lap, RED Racing sent some girls off the front but everything came back.
Before the final climbs, I told Em that what I needed most was a little wind protection. She offered me her spot I told her to find a safe spot for herself and allow me a little room to follow. We had both worked ourselves over and were struggling the second lap. This last effort from Em made a huge difference in my ability to recover. At the final climbs, Em was done. She fell off the back and just couldn't get back on again. She rode as hard as she could during the race and even though she wasn't connected to the pack she continued to chase. At a time when most people would soft pedal in having decided that they had done enough work for the team, Em kept going. She finished alone and on the back and Webcor should be really proud of what she did for us today.
The finish was moved from last year and was tricky. The sprint finish was not well marked and very small. Velo Promo was experimenting with a different finish location. I'm confident that they will find a good way to work it out eventually. Anyway, as a result of the road closure and finish line, Webcor got a very honorable 4th place. No, it is not 1st but we did not hand over the race to chance or race reactively. We raced hard. We raced like a team.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Race: CCCX Circuit
6 laps, 75 minutes
Keith DeFibre loves racing so much and it really shows at his circuit
races. He marked off 5 miles of road between Sea Otter and some
Military housing with some climbs. It's a really good course that
doesn't necessarily favor a pure climber. Our field was a little on
the little side because they raced the Masters Women and the Cat 4s a
minute behind us and there was another race in Danville.
Last year I battled the race out with Laurie Fenech (MadCat). She was
here this year too. Neither one of us had official teammates but we
both had a back up plan. Laurie was talking with Jane (Yahoo) before
the race but I drove down with the Mexican National Road Champion
The tactic that Laurie and Jane devised was pretty good considering
the field. Laurie would attack. I would jump and bridge. Jane would
try to chase me down. The rest of the field would follow. This
happened twice. On one occasion I countered Laurie and the same thing
sequence of events unfolded. It was pretty clear what was going to
happen all day. There was not going to be a break with me in it.
If you can't instigate a break and you can bridge to a break, you can
always thwart a break. Keeping a close eye on the girls who want to
attack and just going with them will keep the field together. This
plan is great and almost completely executable. The only variable is
there are other women.
I'm not going to try and control the race. It's not realistic and
philosophically speaking a little unethical to think you can make
other people do your bidding. I'm not going to just sit back and be
reactive. Letting other people determine how you race is just plain
stupid. Racing is like boiling a pot of water. All the molecules are
moving around together.
So anyway, I loose track of Laurie for 3 seconds and she pops off the
front again. For about a mile she was only a few feet in front of us.
No one chases. Then Jane, instead of putting herself at the front of
the race and sitting up, separated herself and rode on the opposite
side of the road. Most of the field followed her out of habit. Then
all of the field followed the rest of the feild. The next thing you
know, Yahoo has very passively managed to get the entire field behind
her and at sub 15mph. And Laurie rolls up the road.
Dulce, our heroine of the story and our Maxican National Champ,
doesn't know the racers and their shenanigans, doesn't know the course
but for the 2.5 laps we've been on it, and quite frankly doesn't know
she can trust me. In English, I tell her she might want to go after
the girl up the road. I'm not sure she understands what I said so I
give some hand gestures and indicate that I will block. She jumps and
starts a little TT after Laurie.
Right at that moment I overcome with contentment because I know Dulce
will make contact and win the race. I know that she has a little ways
to go before she gets there and that she'll have to work for it but I
know it will happen. It felt really good to "tell" Yahoo and MadCat
that it was fine that they wanted to play tactics with me but I was
going to counter them with something they couldn't expect. Right at
that moment Yahoo was physically trying to chase and mentally
realizing that Webcor and Touchstone were not going to let it happen.
It took Dulce 1.5 laps to catch MadCat. Dulce won the sprint by at
least 3 bike lenghts. The rest of the women's field was so proud of
her and the promoter was super stoked to have her at his race. As for
my race, I rode at the front with Yahoo on my wheel. I sat up for 2
seconds and let her lead out the sprint for 3rd.
On a day like Saturday you realize that racing is not always going to
be getting taken to the curb by Vanderkitten. Sometimes it's you and
10 of your best friends trying like hell to crush each other and being
really proud of whoever makes it to the top that day. I can't write a
race report for Dulce, my Spanish isn't that good. I know she worked
super hard to bridge and she earned a well deserved first US win. I
can tell you that I will be racing with these same world class, world
champion, tough as nails women for a long long time to come and we
will love every minute of it.
Posted by Track Ninja at 12:05 PM
I think Webcor is now 9th in the NRC standings, and Bec and Mary should be in the top 100 individually. :-) A 5th and a 6th at an NRC race, pretty sweet! ~ Andi
Race: Tour de Nez
Teammates: Mary, Bec, Em
Place: 5th (Bec 6th)
I didn't take a survey with every single rider in the peloton, suffice
to say I didn't talk to anybody who didn't feel a little bit sluggish
in the heat and altitude. Martina Patella (RED Racing) actually passed
out during the race and hit a hay bale. It was that hot. Amber Pierce,
who is from Reno and won the race attacked after a field separation
and TT'd for 20 minutes for a win of 45 seconds over the field. It was
In case you don't remember, Amber Pierce used to crush the Valley ride
when she lived in the South Bay. She's on the National Team now and
changed her name from Rais via a husband. She was on Webcor, dark
brown pony tail, really professional and really classy...Now you
The current Webcor/AV Women's team had some big Diadora's to fill on
Sunday. We rose to the challenge and did our best. Our best put Webcor
in 9th place for top NRC teams.
The course was great. It was a little narrow and the corners were
tight. There was an uphill chicane and a downhill chicane. It was
great for going really fast.
The pack was together when the first Prime Bell was rung. I went for
it to feel out the finish. I actually ended up getting it and creating
some separation from the field with 3 other riders. I pulled off the
front to begin the rotation. When taking inventory of the potential of
the break I saw 1 girl who was not break riders and 2 who could be but
didn't know how or wouldn't.
The pack was only a few feet back so I sat up. This actually created
more separation. There was no one in the top 5 who were represented in
the break yet there was no one chasing. Perhaps it was clear that this
break would not stick. A few girls bridged, including Bec. Then a few
more. I had no reason to chase a break with Bec in it so I sat up and
kept an eye on anything that would encourage a regrouping or be a
threat to Bec.
Eventually the field came back together. The wind was picking up and
would definitely affect the finish. It would just be a matter of
positioning going into and coming out of the uphill chicane on the
last lap. I had been following Bec for the last 4 laps and she was
taking the corner at the top of the course perfectly. I thought that
if she could just do it one more time we would take the field sprint.
I passed her before that perfect spot on the last lap. It was a slight
miscalculation but I don't know if she knew I had been on her wheel or
that she was so perfect on that corner. We got on the back of 4 riders
before the crest. Primal were 2 of them. 1 Primal sat up and opened a
huge gap between her teammate and the rest of us. I passed her, Bec
passed her and we just tried to see how close we could get to the
three in front of us.
Our best team placing this year: 5th in an NRC race. Thanks for reading.
Friday, July 22, 2011
The day started out great. Teammates Bec, Lauren Robertson, and I went on an
easy spin in the morning to check out tomorrow's circuit race course,
got our necessary dose of caffeine and spent some time checking out
downtown Bend and did a somewhat reconnaissance walk of the crit
course for later in the day.
We didn't race until 5:45pm so the rest of the day was pretty chill.
Then we road over to the course, signed in, and I went on a hunt for
free swag, but wasn't able to find too much.
Our race started out pretty well, I felt pretty good and was moving
up, but then all hell broke loose, I'm not 100% sure what happened,
but I crashed in turn 4 pretty early on in the race. I remember
something causing my rear wheel or derailleur to lock up and then I
gloriously somersaulted over my bike and was soon run over by a
cycling BC rider. I popped back up pretty quickly and ran (well ran as
well as I could in cleats with blood streaming down my leg) over to
the neutral support. Once I arrived I was put on our spare bike, the
team's somewhat TT setup Orbea, with a massively dropped stem, adamo
saddle, and reverse brakes that were not completely even. So that
definitely made it an interesting rest of the race. I was shaking from
either adrenaline or blood loss when I was being put back on the bike,
but our awesome DS, KCM, reminded me to breathe and got me to calm down
before I was put back into the race. I was a little nervous and became
aware of the issue with the brakes on our spare bike coming into turn
two when I almost slid out again, but luckily I was able to recover.
After that I just focused on staying in the race until the end and
making the time cut and with each progressive lap the raw road rash on
my left leg where there had been skin 40 minutes before was burning
more and more so I began counting down the laps until I could get it
cleaned up. Bec also had a bit of a mishap; her tire blew out after
turn 3 later on in the race, but she was able to get in and finish
with the pack. Though we had a few issues things still worked out. I
was able to finish the race with the bunch and we all made time cut,
and I'm still stoked to keep racing tomorrow
Posted by Track Ninja at 12:00 PM
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Day 2 in beautiful Bend, and after the blink and you miss it prologue yesterday, the real racing of the Cascade Classic was set to kick off today. Em and I were joined by our two super guest riders - Lauren from Texas, and Katheryn from the Bay Area, who apparently has done a bit of racing in the past.
Lining up with the 115 or so other girls, we were at a tactical advantage, being the only team with a super DS, who rides, directs and domestiques, while our mechanic Jason waited behind with his local knowledge and bottle juggling while driving skills. The 120km McKenzie Pass road race that awaited us was a whopper, cresting McKenzie Pass and The Sisters.
It started with 7 miles of neutral descending, and as with most neutral starts I've experienced, it was probably faster and more hectic than a normal race start would have been. Making it safely to the start of the race proper is an accomplishment in iteslf! We all met that first goal of the day, and while cruising downhill at around 60k/h after the commisaire car sped away, we all thankfully avoided a pretty nasty crash that ended at least 1 girl's day.
As the road rose upwards, so did the race tempo, with NOW Novaris, Tibco and Peanut Butter throwing in plenty of attacks to keep the field on its toes. Nothing could get established, so the majority of the field approached the first major climb of the day intact, but that wouldn't last long. The stick thin cycling species sensed their chance, and danced away from the rest of the field. All the major teams were represented, and to be honest, a lot of the time when attacks go on a cimb, its more about who can go, than who the field lets go. So they went at their pace, and the peleton kept it fairly steady, lead for a large part by Katheryn 'I Swear I'm Retired' Mattis. You can take the cyclist from the race, but you can't take the race out of the cyclist. And in this case she rode like she'd never left, sharing little gems of advice and encouragement along the way, to be the most useful DS you could ask for.
Cresting the first climb, there wasn't much time to relax as we strung out single file down the pedalling descent. It was just long enough to cool the legs off a bit before bringing them slamming back to reality as we hit the next climb. Nearing the top, we were met by the gnarly looking larva fields, contrasted by the beautiful snow-capped mountains in the backgrond. I had about 2 seconds to admire the scenery before it was back to business as we passed over the KOM and through the hectic feed zone, before dropping down the final long descent of the day.
As it flattened out, we tapped along at a decent rate of knots, not really aware of what the gap was to the leaders, until finally the moto informed us that they were about 2 minutes up the road. Seeing the 20km to go sign a couple riders put in a few jumps. Maybe they were practicing their sprint for the crit, or maybe they just wanted to confuse the peleton. They succeeded at the latter, as the road was long and straight, and if they had intedned to chase down the break, they were probably an hour or so late.
We bombed through the final feed zone on one of the fastest sections of the course, and I think more bottles were lost than were gained. It strung out winding through the town before the base of the final climb of the day. As we approached the final 10k and the road started to head skyward again, Katheryn was chatting away in the bunch as she had been doing a lot of the day, as if on a cruisy group ride with friends, and I hear her exclaim 'this is where I pull the pin'. Fair enough, I thought, and I started to go tempo up the climb, only to see her a minute later come streaming past, moving to the front of my little group and towing us back to the bunch in front. All this on a diet of swimming and a couple rides a week, while those of us who actually had been training for this were left chewing stem and hanging on by the skin of our teeth. So maybe there is something to be said for cross-training and recovery... or maybe there's just something to be said for being an absolute animal on the bike!
Katheryn 'monster' Mattis then promtly moved to the front and set a good tempo up the final 5k climb to the finish. Some riders were gradually tailed off, and I was praying I wouldn't get dropped by the team DS. Lauren was proving that sometimes climbing is in your blood, and you can train in Texas all year and still look comfy as on mountains in Oregon. We crossed the line about 4 minutes down on the winner, Kristin McGrath from Peanut Butter 2012, and Em rolled in with a nice sized chase group not too far back.
The plan for the week is to treat it as 6 one day races. So we can tick this one off the list and now turn our attention to the TT. The race of truth awaits!
Posted by Track Ninja at 11:59 AM
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The Webcor/Alto Velo Bridge Team, presented by SportVelo made the trip up to Bend, OR for the Cascade Cycling Classic. Bec Warner and Emily Foxman were to be joined by Texas rider Lauren Robertson. Katheryn would have the pleasure of directing the girls at this race and found Jason Quade, a local, to be our mechanic.
Fortunately we arrive safely in Bend Sunday evening and were greeted by our hosts for the week, Dave and Audrey Adams who have hosted the Webcor women's team for the last two years. They fed us a wonderful dinner and we collapsed into our beds after the long day of travel.
Arriving a day early before the race allowed us to preview the TT and prologue courses and despite the looming clouds, we managed to get a good sense of them. Lauren joined us Monday night and we had a great first team meal.
Tuesday morning I (Katheryn) went to registration only to discover the only way to have a car in the caravan would be if we had 4 riders. As we only had 3, this left us in a bit of a bind… hmm… what to do. As Mary Maroon made the last minute decision not to do the race, we had the start spot; I decided, "what the heck, I'll do the prologue and then not start the road race on Wednesday". Not necessary what I was planning for but if this would help out the team so that we had a car in the caravan, I'll do it.
- fast forward -
The prologue was a short 2 mile out and back in the Old Mill District of Bend (same area as where the last 2 years of cyclocross nationals were). With the distance being so short, the effort would be full throttle from the start. The most technical part was the turn-around, which was this funky "rectangle" through a parking lot.
I was the first off as I wanted to get back to switch my helmet for my DS hat. To be honest, I have not gone that hard in a long time and as many of those who know me, short efforts like that were (and still are) not my forte.
Bec, Em and Lauren all did a great job of giving their best and Bec was our top finisher. Tara Whitten smoked the field and won over Clara Hughes and Kristin Armstrong.
Due to a suggestion by Jason, our mechanic, I decided to start the next day race as he offered to drive the follow vehicle so I could DS from the bike. Yeah… so much for retirement; let's just hope my 2-3 day a week "training" will be enough!
Posted by Track Ninja at 11:58 AM
Monday, July 18, 2011
Last Friday, in response to a request from Webcor, members of the women's team volunteered to present to the Wheel Kids about bike racing and riding. Here's Haley's report, and it sounds as if the racers had almost as much fun as the kids! Thanks, Webcor, for the opportunity!
This last weekend Holly, Bec and I all went up to San Francisco to do a presentation to Wheel Kids (http://www.wheelkids.com/). The organization is a summer bicycle camp for kids who are in grade 1-6.
Early Friday morning we all loaded into the Webcor car with bikes, kit and even a full PowerBar bag. It felt like we were going to race but in actuality we were going to spend a couple hours with the kids at summer camp. I wish when I was in grade school there would have been something like Wheel Kids around.
When we arrived at the marina, we found the leader Tim and decided our best course of action based on the number of campers and overall skill level. We were to talk about bike racing and hopefully inspire the campers to someday give bike racing a go.
As the weather was cold and slightly rainy, we started off indoors with talking about how we got into the sport and what you need for racing. Eventually we did a 'spot the differences' quiz with Bec and myself each in varying stages of race readiness. Helmet, kit, gloves, bike, shoes, race number. Those who could tell us what we were missing were awarded with a PowerBar, which went over well.
After the indoor portion, we all went outside and practiced drills. We all would demonstrate and the campers would follow. The drills were: coming to a correct stop, cornering, side by side cornering, and feed hand offs. We used the remaining PowerBars as feed hand offs to those campers who didn't receive one before.
Everyone did a great job and we were all impressed by the campers' skills. It was fun to spend the morning with eager, well behaved campers who obviously love their bikes as much as we do.
Posted by Track Ninja at 9:31 PM