Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Never say the Spring Classics!

I've always been fascinated with the Spring Classics, the brutally beautiful terrain and mud splattered images of riders in the hurt locker, the painful nature of it all is oddly intriguing. It takes a certain amount of insanity to call yourself a "Spring Classics rider," however that insanity comes with a great deal of respect! I must admit that the cold, wet, windy, and cobbled route was one I never really saw myself taking...until a received an email from the US National Team director that will forever remind me to "Never say never!"

I'm very excited that come this April I will be ripping around the cobbles in the Spring Classics!


April 7th - 10th: Van Lauwerszee tot Dolard Tour (Netherlands)
April 14th: Drentse 8 (Netherlands)
April 16th: Ronde Van Drenthe (Holland) *World Cup
April 17th: Ronde Van Gederland (Holland)
April 20th: Fleche Wallone (Belgium) *World Cup
April 23rd: Omloop V Boresele (Netherlands)
April 24th: Roselare (Belgium)
April 27th - May 1st: Gracia-Orlova (Czech Republic) *World Cup

Ironically the day after I received the email about doing the Spring Classics I came across this juicy tidbit in the book I'm reading ("A Dog in a Hat" by Joe Parkin, great book by the way):

"I was cut from our team's start list for the Fleche Wallonne. There was part of me that wanted to be on the team but another part that was happy to be able to watch the race on TV instead. I was tired and didn't have the necessary morale to do battle with the Mur de Huy. The Mur, or Wall, is one of the nastiest, steepest stretches of road I have ever seen. It seems to exist only to kick the hell out of bike riders. I have climbed and descended quite a few of the world's great hills, and the thought of the Mur de Huy still causes me pain. Perhaps it was the combination of steepness and length, or perhaps it was my level of fitness on the two occasions that I rode it, but if today you offered me a free trip back to Belgium, I would probably turn you down if it meant I had to climb that hill again!"

HAH, I was speechless after reading was shock followed by uncontrollable laughing at the thought of me on the Mur de Huy this April. I'm hoping to come over it looking like this...

Emma Pooley's victory solute after winning the 2010 Fleche Wallone

Here are a few pics from the races I'll be doing, looks fun eh??:)

Huy huy huy huy!

Gonna have to learn to love these!

My new/old teammie Alisha rippin it up in the spring classics last year!

Bring on the pain cave Spring Classics!

Friday, January 28, 2011

A day in the life!:)

I came to Tucson last year to escape the snow for a bit and get in some sunny training. Unfortunately I was only able to stay for 10 days or so because I had to be back for the spring semester of school starting in January. I remember thinking, "man these guys (my roommates, who happened to be three professional cyclists and a professional triathlete) are living the dream!" Nothing to do all day besides focus on their training and nutrition, go out and ride your heart out, eat, and recover! Oh how I wanted to live that dream, to call what I love to do "my job!" Last year was a whirlwind season for me with ups and downs here and abroad and I learned the hard work it takes to live that dream. I have so many dreams, and goals, and even small intermediate goals to help get me closer to the bigger goals! A few of my dreams have already begun to come true. This fall one dream came true when I signed a contract and was given the opportunity to race as a professional with the incredible team Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 for the 2011 season and with the help of family and friends I found myself here in Tucson for the winter "living the dream!"

I wake up everyday here so grateful for my situation, and for the friends and family who have helped me get to where I am. I owe every opportunity in my life to them. So here it is...a day in the life!:)

One thing that most all athletes have in common is the general need for caffeine in the morning! One of my favorite parts of the day is waking up and heading out for our morning coffee/breakfast run! Since Kelsey has been gone to team camp Josh Berry has become my new buddy! We have discovered some pretty yummy coffee stops, some of our favorite include Ragin Sage, B Line, Le Buzz, Epic, Cafe Luce, and the old standard Starbucks.

Chai and live music!:)

Breakfast at B Line!

We eat yummy breakfast, sit around a drink coffee (or in my case usually a chai tea latte with soymilk, Mmmmm) and eventually decide that its time to train! The best part of the day of course!

The riding here is pretty amazing...yes the roads are a little cracked and pot hole-ish at times but there is just something about sand, cacti, and the rustic feel of the desert that I love!! Mt. Lemmon is probably my all time favorite ride, it is breath-takingly beautiful (which is sometimes a struggle when you are already out of breathe from climbing;) And the Cookie Cabin at the top just makes that 25 miles of climbing SO worth it! While I'm talking about Mt. Lemmon I have to mention something pretty incredible. Matt flew out here to train and stay with his brother for a few days over the long weekend a couple weeks ago and we set out to do Lemmon. Let me preface this by saying that Mt. Lemmon is by no means anything even slightly resembling the word easy. It is a very steady 6-12% with some spots +12% climb that doesn't let up for 25 miles straight. This is a climb that is tough for athletes of all experience from cat 5's to pro tour! Matt did the entire climb and at a fairly good pace, just 5 MONTH from his amputation. I literally cried when I saw the mile marker 24 because he had pushed so hard to get there and I was so proud of him!! He is one of the most inspirational people I know! Gates pass and the McCane loop are my second favorite ride. Those used to be the only two rides I really knew until Alisha introduced me to the Saguaro National park loop (so fun) and some great flat riding North of Tucson! The scenery mixed with the warm weather...ahhh it couldn't get too much better than this! I still have to remind myself daily that it is only January, love it!

Mt. Lemmon!

Matt around mile 15 of Lemmon!

K-Money and Jursh!

Kelsey and Alisha on Lemmon!

Riding past the memorial for the congress women who was shot.

Riding a bike is much faster than riding a turtle!

Gummy bears!:)

Up to windy point on Lemmon

Love Tucson riding but one negative is that large amounts of glass all over, sooo many flats!

Mmmm Cookie cabin!

The best part of Mt. Lemmon, huge cookie!!:)

The little sign says "A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand!" My motto! :)

Recovery rides consist mainly of coffee shop stops, my friend Robbie (rides for Garmin) taught me something very important, he said "The key to a good recovery day is spending more time at coffee shops than you actually do on the bike!" Thankfully Robbie and I have the same coach so our recovery days usually land on the same day, meaning we can spin easy to coffee shops to meet each other and then spend hours just chatting and sitting in the sun :)

Key to a successful recovery day!:)

Riding to Starr Pass is one of my favorite things to do on a recovery day.

Watching the swimmy swimmers!

Awww recovery!

Josh doing a little high diving action!

Climbin the rope!

Me, the none reader, reading! I know hard to believe!:)

Kelsey's daughter Riley, love her!!

Nitro boy!!

Snugglin with the pups!:)

I love recovery days, however long hard training rides are still my favorite, for some odd reason I love the feeling of total exhaustion after a ride. It is a strange feeling of accomplishment when you are so tired that even standing up in the shower seems rough! I heard someone once say that you know you've had a good day when you are too tired to brush your teeth that night, that the thought of making even small movements seems awful! Through all of this I've learned how truly masochistic we are as athletes, love the pain cave!

Post ride always consists of a quick stretch/foam roll (if I remember), a shower, and then a large consumption of food...another reason I like long rides, the more excuses I have to eat, the better!;) There are so many great places to eat here, Chopped, the B Line, Wilko (my all time fav) and Fuku Sushi (I know funny name haha) just to name a few! I try to make food at home as often as possible, but if you know me at all you know I'm a terrible cook and my idea of a good meal is brown rice with beans and avocado!;)

Dinner at the B Line!:)

Hehe love this place!

Campus Candy, this place is dangerous!

So that is about it, coffee, food, ride, food, recover, all mixed with sun and good friends! The recipe for success...I hope!!:)

Here are a few pics of random "out of the daily norm" experiences!;)

Had a small run in with a car, just a little road rash!;)

Got strep throat, that was no fun!

My roommate Evan is a raw vegan and eats 60 or so bananas a day, crazy!!

Love these little kidlets!

Campus was crazy with new crews when Obama came to visit, closest I've ever been to a Prez!

Did I mention how much I miss this little guy!:(

My 20 year old roommate just decided to go out and buy a $30,000 dollar car one day, gotta love trust fund babies!
Best news of all, my PB came from Peanut Butter & Co.! Too bad its all in Utah!;) Can't wait to distribute it too all my friends and family!:)