Monday, July 26, 2010

Tour de Limousin (UCI 2.1)

Race Report: Tour de Limousin (UCI 2.1)
Dates: July 22nd – July 25th
Team: Equipe Mixte de Limoux
Field: ~180 riders (including UCI teams like Futuroscope, Fassa Bortolo and national teams from Australia, Scotland, Russia, Switzerland and USA)

Stage 1: 118km RR. This started with 4 laps of a 10km circuit each of which had a GPM (QOM) up a 2km climb. After the climb there was a technical downhill into a rolling/false flat section. Then came another steep and technical descent into another shorter climb before hitting the GPM again. After the 4 laps we continued straight instead of turning left back onto the circuit and did one big ~70km circuit which was constantly going up or down with a few (very) false flat sections.

Stage 2: 17.3km TT. This course was VERY fun. It was mostly downhill and rolling for the first half and then the second half had a series of short climbs and technical descents. As TT courses go, this could not have been better for me (except for maybe three of the last four km which had some longer, steeper kickers).

Stage 3: 110km RR. The start of this race was a raging (and pretty technical) downhill into a ~2km high speed climb into another extremely narrow and technical descent. We then continued on to another ~2.5km climb across the finish line and into the first GPM and then continued on another up and down/rolling course for about ~30km. We then came back into the circuits, which we started on, and did that three times (which included a GPM each pass). The circuits were full of all sorts of fast descents, technical roundabouts, narrow town roads and short but heavy climbs.

Stage 4: 118km RR. This race started more or less on a climb. It was only about 1km but it was pretty steep towards the end. It was the least technical course of the stage race and had the widest roads but this made things more difficult. This course was up and down, up and down, up and down. The climbs were steeper than the last few days and the course was riddled with GPMs and sprints. The big circuit was about 60km and then we finished on 4 laps of the smaller circuit.
*each stage had 4 or more GPMs and several sprints

Now for what ACTUALLY happened...

Stage 1: Before I can explain how the first stage went I have to back up and describe the days leading up to it. We left Limoux Wednesday morning at 7:30 am to meet our DS and two other staff in Toulouse before continuing on to Limousin. For the weeks that I have been in Limoux we have had mostly intolerably hot weather. But, in a matter of four hours we managed to leave 40 degree (centigrade) weather and find ourselves in 15 degrees, pouring rain and lightning storms. Needless to say, we did not have a chance to ride after the drive. Even worse, our start the first day was the earliest of the whole weekend so we would not have a chance to ride in the morning either. Our transfer to the start was supposed to be 2 hours but that turned into nearly 2.5 getting us to the race 40 minutes before our start. After spending 20 minutes in line for one of two toilettes in the whole area, we had 20 minutes to change, sign in and line up with 180 other riders.

With 180 riders in the field, everyone’s main goal is to be at the front. Combine that with starting pretty much on a descent and you get absolute chaos mixed in with the smell of burning brake pads. Luckily I feel pretty comfortable descending and was able to make my way into the top forty or so after flat-out sprinting for what seemed like 15 minutes. Once we hit the GPM climb, though, my position started to suffer. I managed to hang on to the tail end of the group and make my way back up over the rest of the next circuit. But, since there was a GPM EVERY lap, I eventually came off and could not recover enough to catch back on the third time up. I rode in no-man’s land for a long while and then started to get caught and passed like a dead weight by girls who had gotten dropped earlier. I learned after that experience that the best thing for me to do is not kill myself to stay in sight of the caravan alone but to ease up, rest and wait for a group behind me to cling to. Lesson learned. I ended up riding alone for about 60km between groups. Eventually I got caught by two riders at 25km to go and we came in together several minutes behind the main peloton.

Stage 2: This short TT was a welcome break after the four hour slog the day before. Given my position on GC was beyond help, I decided to go hard in the TT but not to dig any holes. My main goal was to finish the next two days and if that meant sacrificing 45 seconds or so on my TT time, so be it. As it turns out, my legs felt much better for the TT and I had a great time. I went as planned, doing basically over-unders the whole time (floating the fast descents and killing the hills and staying steady in between). I had an early start time and managed to catch two riders ahead of me and keep a third in sight. This gave me the best time of the day for a glorious 30 minutes before the pros got started. It was a very fun course and a great opener and recovery for the next two days.

Stage 3: I would say this was my best day of the race. I stayed with the main group for about 40km before getting dropped 75% of the way up the first 4km GPM. I learned from the first stage and took a few moments to collect myself without panicking. Soon I was in a group of 6. As with most chase groups, there was chaos for about an hour until everyone settled in and accepted the fact that there was just no way we were going to catch the main group. We ended up picking up riders for most of the day and ended up being a group of about 25 at the finish. I focused on spinning up all the climbs and staying in the front for the technical descents (where me and another couple of Belgian and Dutch riders kept dropping the group). The pace was challenging but manageable and I wanted to save myself for the finish to practice setting up for the sprint (as directed by our DS). Luckily I had a teammate in the group with me for company. She didn’t have anything left at the finish to help me out so I set myself up. I got a little caught up by other riders and was a little far back with 500 meters to go but it was uphill so I flew up the left when I finally got an opening and finished third in the bunch. I probably could have won the sprint but the fatigue of the last few days, a lack of sugar to the brain and knowing that we were sprinting for a position on the third page of results left me slightly unmotivated. Still, I was happy to finish in the third group on the road. An improvement.

Stage 4: After a terrible night’s sleep I was feeling a little underwhelmed for today’s stage but I sucked it up and rolled around before the start to get over that first hump of pain in the legs. I managed to stay with the main group for about 40km. After getting dropped on steep climbs and catching back on twice my legs were pretty toasted. Our DS had told us, looking relieved, that today’s course was not dangerous. I beg to differ. The roads were wider than they had been any other day and while the descents were not technical, they were fast. Without any big climb or technical descent in the beginning to break things up, the group stayed together. This meant a lot of track standing and jumping starts in the middle of hills due to the yo-yo effect. All of those efforts wore on me and we finally hit a hill that broke me. I was pedaling squares and barely putting out any power, just praying for a group to come sweep me up. Alas I saw NO ONE for the next 30km until a group including one of my teammates finally caught me as we entered the final circuits. We made it around one before we actually got caught by the lead motos and were told we were done. While it would have been great to say I finished a UCI race, I was not heartbroken. I was completely trashed. I had given everything I had. I would have been stubborn and finished had it not been for the commissaries ordering us off but it would have taken ages. I took my first ride in a sweeper van with two very kind old French men and called it a day.

This was the hardest racing I have ever done in my life. I had a great team to keep me company. I may not be listed on any results but the most important thing is that I truly enjoyed myself. Thanks for reading!

Taleo Benicia ITT

Taleo Benicia ITT 7/25/2010
Category: W1/2
Field Size: 7
Length: 12.4 miles
Teammate: Haley (4th), Andi (2nd in W35+)
Place: 3rd

I had heard beforehand that it was a rolling course that could be windy, but that didn't
prepare me for the amount of wind we encountered on the course this morning. It was crazy
windy - I don't even know in mph how windy it was, but it was very windy with a lot of
gusts. It was so windy that Andi lent me her 404 front to use instead of my 808, but even
that ended up being a bit scary, since I've never really practiced riding in my aerobars in
super windy gusty conditions. Also the only rear wheel I had available (other than a normal
training wheel) was an 808 clincher turned into a disc using a wheel cover. If I'd thought
about it early enough and found the tools, I probably would have chosen to take the cover
off and had a much easier time, but it didn't occur to me until 2 minutes to my start time.
Oh well. I had a nice fast start, especially since there was a downhill bit almost right
away, and I settled into a good hard pace. I soon discovered that the wind was very tricky,
because it would be steady for a while, but then it would gust hard then drop off suddenly,
so I had to be careful to stay steady and not overreact. I think it was less than halfway
to the turnaround that I decided that I didn't feel safe/comfortable in my aerobars because
I was having trouble controlling my bike. So I spent the rest of the race on my bullhorns,
most of the time trying to crouch down low anyway. I felt a lot more comfortable like that,
and I was able to focus more on going hard than staying on the road, though I still had to
pay attention to where I was going. On the way back the wind wasn't quite as bad, since it
was more of a headwind than a crosswind, but I wasn't confident enough to get back in my
aerobars so I stayed up. I saw some people going the other way who weren't in their
aerobars either and that made me feel better about it, that it wasn't just me who was
uncomfortable with the wind. I had seen a couple of the ladies that started right before me
after they turned around and they were in their bars, but I don't think any of them was
riding a disc wheel so they weren't feeling the crosswind gusts quite so badly. When I
finally crossed the finish line, I think I was more relieved about not having to fight the
crosswinds anymore than I was about being about to go easy, which is quite a change from
the usual TT. I probably could have pushed myself harder physically, but I just glad to get
back in one piece.

Despite the wind, I had fun and it was a good race. I was super excited for Haley too,
because this was her first race coming back from her broken collarbone. She had a pretty
good race too, and she didn't have to fight the wind as much because she was using normal
spoked wheels. She was able to stay in her aerobars on her shiny new Leopard bike the whole
time and put in a really solid effort. Nice job Haley, it's good to have you back!


Cascade Stage Race

A summary of the Cascade Stage Race from Ange. This is her last NRC race in the US, and we are sorry to say that she is going back to Australia next week. She will be missed! Congrats, Ange, on all your racing in the US, and we hope to see you next year!

Cascade...Down and Dusted!

Cascade Classic in Bend, OR, 6 day stage race went from the 20th-25th of July, this was to be my last NRC race in the states and was excited to give it everything. Coming off two weeks in Canada racing two three day stage races, I was hoping I had enough money in the bank to get some good performances out at Bend. Unfortunately my bank wanted to shut up shop early before the first half of my season ended and Cascade was a big struggle, however I got through it!

The Prologue was a short 3mile flat and technical course. I discovered I broke my bike before the stage, cracking the steer tube. The first road race took us over 116k with two decent burgs. The first broke the field and I found my way into the second group which became the groupetto which crossed the line 15minutes down from the girls up front. Stage 2 was a 16mile out n back TT. This was the worst TT I had ever done. I struggled the whole couldn’t find a rhythm, my legs were dead. The next road race stage 3 I didn’t expect much due to my performance the previous day. However I made it halfway up with the leaders on the last climb over the approx 115k stage. I think the mental blow of yesterday didn’t serve me well today. Stage 4 the hopes of legs coming back to me was gone out the window and I knew this from when I woke up. I just hanged on the back of the pack the whole race, milking everything from a very empty set of legs. To no surprise going into the 5 stage to be honest DNF was scrolling through my mind after last night’s down town Criterium. However my legs found me on the 51 mile circuit race containing two less than a mile steep climbs. I had the kick to go with the girls on the climb, chased a few unsuccessful breakaways, and ended up crossing the line with what was left of the front group!

Despite the bursts of hope throughout the tour I just didn’t have the legs to get the result I was chasing.

Looking forward to spending my last week in California resting up and being a tourist!

Till next time


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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cascade Stage Race: Stage 2 & 3

Here is Emily Foxman's race report for stages 2 & 3 of Cascade Stage Race.

Cascade Day 3: stage 2 time trial
at last it was the day for the time trial one of my favorite
disciplines and the one i thought i would get my best result in at
cascade. my race wasn't until the afternoon so i was able relax in the
morning before my time trial. I had
one of the earlier start times, but I still had a good amount of
people in front of me so I got to chase (yay! it's always more fun to
be able to catch and pass people :P) I was pretty excited for this
stage I had previously had a great result of a slightly longer version
of this course at elite nationals (in which i was 2nd of U23 women). I
started out hard since on this course the way back was mostly downhill
there wasn't much point to trying to save energy for the end. I was
feeling pretty good and passed 4 or 5 people ahead of me. I finished
with a time of 40'40" in 49th. looking back I think there were a few
places on the descent i should have gone faster, but it was also a
really strong field with a lot of pros that I look up to, and next
year i'll return for a better result!

Cascade day 4: stage 3 Cascade Lakes Road Race
well today was a lot hard than I thought it should have been,
considering it was the "easy stage" of the race. I probably should
have spent a bit more time warming-up in before and a bit less time
worrying about the race, but live and learn... The race started out
tough, there was a climb right from the gun and I think the front of
the pack was drilling it at the front to shed some of the field, or
maybe it just felt like it because I wasn't quite ready to jump from
the gun... so I started out chasing, I caught back on but I realized I
need to spend some more time working on my descending skill with a
large pack to increase my comfort level, or just think less and trust
my bike more. after the repeated bouts of chasing
back to the pack I cracked with a little less than 20k to go, which
was probably the result of me not taking in enough nutrition during
the race, which i will definitely pay more attention to in the future.
I was however, still able to finish within the time cut (sigh of
relief) and i think i am now more aware of a lot of things i need to
work on and will hopefully be better and more prepared next year!
either way I'm going to keep going as long as i can and not give up,
at least I'm still in the race!


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Monday, July 19, 2010

Tour de White Rock, Canada

Tough weekend!

This weekend brought the Tour De White Rock. The tour is based just outside Vancouver Canada. Three stages; 700m hill climb, 30 laps x 1k Crit and 80k RR 8x 10k laps. My expectations of this supposedly hilly course were high and I didn’t achieve what I wanted, however, learnt a lot and had some good fun to lead me into Cascade which starts Tuesday in Bend, Organ.

Uphill TT.

I really didn’t know how to approach this one. I finished 19th. 4 seconds off the fastest time which was taken by Joelle from the Webcor professional team. The climb was very steep however not quite steep enough for the pure climbers it was more suited to people who could power climb well.


The crit was very uneventful. My attempt of trying to get a breakaway going in the first few laps represented the negatively of the race. The wind assisting everyone up the only incline of the 3 sweeping corners kept the pack together. Again Joelle’s strength and power was a step above everyone taking all bar one prime and winning the crit. I did not look at results but believe I was in the top half of the field the crossed the line.


The day I had been waiting for. The race covered a tough course two decent hills and the rest either going down fast or rolling upwards. The first half of the race went fast and no real selection was made. The 5th and 6th laps is where I tried to get a group going off the front after the 2nd of two climbs however failed. There was enough flat and downhill for girls to chase back on. With the last lap resulting in 15 girls still there at the finish I tried to stay clued to Joelle’s wheel in the sprint but couldn’t hold it, coming in 9th. Disappointing. Worked hard on the hills all day but the jig-saw puzzle didn’t quite come together for a break to stay away. Too many strong girls unable to climb but could TT and not enough strength in the girls leading the climbs.

So not the weekend I was hoping for. Joelle, a friend and previous team-mate, swept the podium and rode strong all weekend.

We have both been sharing the same host house which for those who know Joelle her bubbly and flamboyant personality has kept me entertained and we have had a lot of good times! I wonder if our 4am wake-up tomorrow will see an excited Joelle!

Till Cascade


Sunday, July 18, 2010


Coming into Wisconsin for Superweek, I had anticipated big fields, high speeds, and crits. On my first day of racing on Thursday (7/15), I rolled up to the Start/Finish line and saw only about 20 women. The field contained strong women like Sam Schneider of TIBCO and Erica Allar of Team VBF but no teams present, just individuals. The first crit was a flat four-corners with bad pavement and was the first of the longest crits I have ever done – 100 minutes. 100 minutes that did not go by quickly. The general pace was pretty slow (21-22 mph) interrupted by a multitude of low-quality attacks that were quickly scooped back up by our small field. With many notable sprinters in the small field, I tried to get away a few times but was marked by my foreign “Webcor” jersey in the Midwest. I wound up finishing mid-pack for the field sprint so hopefully either my sprinting or attacking will get better as the week goes on…

On Friday (7/16), the criterium was a much more technical 8-corners (1 km). The weather conditions were very windy, hot and humid. I had been very frustrated with the way the day before had turned out so I decided give everything I had to one long, hard attack. During the second lap, I attacked. After a lap solo, I was quickly regretting my timing as I saw 43 laps to go on the lap-card. As I was cursing myself for foolishly, impulsively attacking too early, Jen Purcell of San Jose’s team bridged up to me and we continued to work by ourselves for another four laps. Then two more girls bridged up to us. Our group of four worked together for another 10 laps until another group with Sam, Erica, and another girl bridged up to us. Our group was sure to stay off the front with all the heavy-hitters present but I was having a really hard time recovering after my initial attack. I stopped pulling in order to recover and missed an attack by a Kenda rider. I pulled my group to try to stay up with that lead group but then Erica Allar attacked to get to that group and I all but exploded… so the break I had initiated had just dropped me. Two other girls in the group had also been gapped and were tried to work to get back up. We, however, were never able to catch them but with like 7 to go, they caught us, and so we tagged along the back of that group until the finish. Some other girls had been swept up before us but by the finish of another 100 minute crit, I was cross-eyed and finished at the back of that field sprint, not wanting to annoy to the “actual” contenders in that lead group.

(7/17) Saturday’s criterium was conveniently located only a block away from my host house. The crit was a four-corner rectangle with a significant climb on one of the long sides. Erica Allar and an ISCorp girl managed to go off the front on the second lap. Thereafter, the pace up the hill was high but manageable and I sat 1st to 3rd wheel for the whole race. And when I say the whole race, I mean up until the last 50 meters. I tried to attack with 3 laps to go up the climb but my chain wouldn’t stay in one place and jumped around a lot. Fortunately I was able to get it back to working order short after, but unfortunately my attack failed. On the last lap I attempted attacking again but wound up just being the perfect leadout for all the sprinters through the last corner. Erica had managed to lap the field even though I thought we had brought them back but that must have been a different break. I should’ve known that she was off the front but the announcer wasn’t telling us anything – gaps, breaks, nothing. After my second failed attack of the day, I wound up getting 7th. I’m pretty disappointed with how I finished because I felt really strong the whole day -- I need to learn how to be a savvier racer which will hopefully come with time.

Besides racing, I’ve been going on “Coffee shop rides” along the beach in the mornings before my late-afternoon races. To my surpirse, Milwaukee is a very cool city. Today is my rest day and I’m off to go jetskiing!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tour De Delta, Canada

A little recap. Since I left Liberty Classic in the birth place of America Philadelphia, which was my first UCI race outside nationals, I went to Boulder, Colorado. For 4 weeks I trained mostly solo with the exception of my fellow Aussie mate Will Dickerson. I suffered through the Niwot Crit and Dead Dog Classic. All with one aim in mind to get ‘good legs’ for Cascade. The next phase of finding good form was to head to Canada to compete in BC Super week. The first of my two stage races here is completed and I’m on track for Cascade.

Tour De Delta

TT- 3k flat
This course was for a power rider, smooth fast surfaces with four corners. I disappointed myself here and finished 20th 12 seconds down from the winner.

Crit – 40laps, 36k
The Crit was fun and fast. Again flat and with four corners and being the Canadian Crit Championships it was not going to be easy. The race was like a suction cup the whole way around the course, making it easy to sit in the pack however difficult for a break to last. Two of my attempts were successful in gaining time on the field, only soon to be shut down. I finished in the middle of the very nervous last lap pack. 20th.

Road Race- 11laps 88k
A hill. A last I was given an opporturunity to test my strengths on a longer stage and also the single hill in the loop. The race was clam for the first 3 laps, some girls testing their legs on the climb but nothing sticking. On lap 4 I attacked and was away with four other girls for a lap. Looking good everyone was pulling through hard, although so was the main field and the break was caught. The race saw more aggressive attacks all occurring on the hill which was a short 600m with 6-8% gradient. With two laps to go I attacked with Amy, a Canadian girl who was my host house for my time in Canada. A break formed of five riders and we were away! Pulling through hard for two laps and we stayed away! Having felt the effects of being in my previous break-away I had to be happy with 5th, taking enough time over the other riders to end up 4th on General Classification.

Next week is the second stage race of BC Superweek, Tour of White Rock. Apparently the hillier of the two Canadian Tours, which will play in my favour!

Till next week’s report


Monday, July 5, 2010

Davis Crit - 4th of July Classic

Davis 4th of July Crit
Women 1/2+3
Field Size: 33 1/2s + 18 3s
Place: 10th of 33
Teammates: Emily (21st), Linda (25th)
Weather: Very hot!

The course was a fairly standard L shape, with five lefts and a right. Since the course was only about 0.7 miles per lap, there wasn't a lot of time to move up through the field on the straightaways. As soon as we got out there and started the race, I realized that I'm not used to the heat (I think it was between 100 and 110 degrees out there). Despite a good warmup, my legs felt really heavy for the first few laps, so I ended up losing position and straying towards the back of the pack. A few laps later my legs felt ok, but I realized that I had bigger problems - I was overheating, I had goosebumps, and I wasn't sweating as much as I should have been. At that point, I realized that probably all I could do was hang on and hope that somehow I would feel better by the end.

I managed to move up in the pack a couple of times, but never far enough forward to do anything. I saw Emily move up to near the front about halfway through, and she made a couple of good moves. With 10 laps to go, I finally started feeling a bit better, and at that point I figured that I could push my legs a bit harder without overheating too seriously, since the race would be over soon anyway. I slowly moved up a bit, and saw that Emily was on the front again, trying to keep the pace fast. With about 4 laps to go, I finally had the opening I'd been looking for - the pack had left an opening on the right side of the front straightaway, and I took it.

I powered up from near the back to being right near the front, somewhere in the top ten riders. Earlier in the race I'd made the mistake of letting people cut in front of me, especially on the corners, but I knew that now it was crunch time and I had to keep my position. There was a crash on turn 5 near the end, I think it was with just over two laps to go. It looked like a couple of people went down, but I didn't stop to look. I was lucky that I wasn't directly behind it so I was able to stay near the front. Through the final lap, I wasn't in as great a position as I'd hoped to be, and I think I came out of the final turn sitting around 10th place, which is how I finished. It was only my 3rd crit since upgrading to Cat 2 and it's the best finish I've ever done in a 1/2/3 crit, so I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.