Friday, July 30, 2010

Perfect summer day

Last night, on our walk back from Molly Moon's Ice Cream on 45th at about 10:40pm, a smile spread across my face as my mouth was full of cherry chunk ice cream with hot fudge and a deep satisfaction of the perfect summer day filled my head and tickled my soul. Not only was I eating the world's best ice cream while fulfilling my dog walking duties and reloading some calories into my overdrive metabolism, but I also was gleaming from getting in a killer workout at Seward park, surrounded by friends and kicking some boy booty.

Other activities from the day included (and not necessarily in order): Soba noodle eats, making peach jam, belly laughing with friends, getting a saddle replaced (yay for warranties!), using my race wheels, eating more food, eating ice cream, enjoying recovery cocktails, etc., etc. Oh and I can't forget the sunshine that poked out later in the day - making it warm enough to ride in minimal clothing and going round and round in circles via the hard-man route at Seward. Life is good.

Those are the days you remember mid-winter when it's pouring rain and 38 degrees out. It feels good to feel alive.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

FSA GP Race Report

Thought I would share the race report I wrote for my team....

A few short days separated the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge held in Portland, OR and the hometown (Redmond, WA) FSA Grand Prix, two premier track cycling events held in the West Coast. As many of you are well aware, the $15,000 prize purse attracts the nation's finest as well as some international competitors looking to make rent in
July. But what you may not know is this year the men and women prize purse was equal and the women actually outnumbered the men in the Madison and Sprint Tournament. Let's hear it for the ladies!

The racing was held in typical whirlwind fashion with Friday hostingthe 500m time trial, team sprint and Keirin in the afternoon sessions and then later that night - the Keirin Finals, scratch race and grand finale of a 40 lap points race. Talk about a long day - as we didn't get home till about midnight. The following morning we had to be back at the track for the 200m time trial no later than 8:30am to warm up.
It's important to have a good 200m time as it seeds you into the sprint tournament that lasts all day. We had a short break between the sprints and evening session with the Miss and Out and Madison. A major benefit of racing this much in 36 hours is that it provides perfect practice for the international omnium (my focus for the 2010
season) where in 6 hours competitors do a flying lap, scratch race, points race, 3k pursuit and 500m. With so much racing in such little time, it's important to be on your game mentally and have your nutrition, gearing and relaxation dialed in.

Details, details, details....

500m - I've been working on this technical effort from the start of the season with Jennie. This type of effort is all about the standing start, your ability to accelerate, kick it into second gear, feel pain as it seeps into your consciousness and then spin, spin, spin, push, push, push across the finish line. I rolled up to the start physically and mentally ready - as earlier in the week I concentrated on
visualizing the perfect race. Visualization works wonders as I did a personal best of 38.345 - nearly 1.5 seconds off my previous time. I know what you must be thinking, 1.5 seconds? Big deal! But in the world of sprints were mere fractions of a second separate you from winning - that was huge. Setting a personal record going into a long
weekend of racing is a great way to increase your confidence, that's for sure!

I opted out of the team sprint (as it's not part of the omnium and would get my fill of racing that weekend) but got to cheer on Broadmark's very own Rosalyn and Rebbe - bring it home with a gold medal ride! Well done ladies!

Keirin - with a previous World Champion and two time Olympian Jennie Reed in the field - you can bet all eyes were on her. And she put on a spectacular show, bringing Tela with her for second place in the final.

Scratch race - 34 ladies lined up at the rail to have a gander at the 30 lap scratch race. The pace was fast at times with multiple primes available throughout the race. With 5 laps to go, I did some time in the front, hoping to keep the pace high and crash free in the final laps of the race. Other ladies followed suite and in a well timed move by Jennie with two laps to go, I had great positioning and followed
the Laura "Smiling Assassin" McCaughey and Peanut Butter Co/Twenty 12 Cari Higgins to the line for third.

Points race - the effects of being out in the sun all day were starting to take its toll, plus it was late! We started our 40 lap points race well after 10pm. All I can tell you is that I remember the first and last sprint - with everything in between a complete mystery. It's amazing how much concentration and attention mass start races
require and if you're not on your game, it's far too easy to check out. You can bet money I'll be working on those long term endurance concentration for marathon days of racing. I can't wait for another opportunity! Tied for third coming into the final sprint, I gave it everything I had but wasn't able to come around enough people, placing me in 6th. After a long day in the saddle and sitting in the sun - I'll take it!

----- 5 hours of sleep -----------

Wake up fresh as a daisy to do a 200m time trial to get into the sprint tournament. It was hard to wake the body up - and my time reflected that. Tela and I both had similar times, which would mean that we'd face off in the first round of the sprint tournament. I have to be honest - it's really hard to compete against your training
partner, teammate and friend. I provided a perfect lead out for the speedster, launching her into the second round and making it hard on myself by going through the reps. The tactics required in sprints are far from natural for me so I struggled with positioning and timing my moves. However, keeping an open mind and keeping that ego in check will do wonders for how much you can learn in an afternoon. Later in the session I went up against Jen Featheringill and nearly beat her by using the tactics I learned from the previous rounds. I'd tell you what I learned - but then I'd have to kill you. :) All in all the tournament went well - as I had originally qualified in 8th and moved
up to 6th overall. In the sprinter world - if you can advance higher than your 200m time placement then that's a good day.

Miss and Out - We had more ladies show up to do this race with 39 starters! And thanks to a mechanical, our neutral lap became three extra hot laps as a girl tried to get back into the pack. It was a constant battle to be in the front of the group, leading the charge and as a result there was a lot of chopped wheels. Thankfully no one wrecked. I ended up 9th... while the rest of the ladies battled it out in probably the scariest race of the weekend.

Woman's Madison - A record number eleven teams showed up ready to race the Ryan Triplett Memorial Madison with 6 teams in full on battle for points in the 40 lap race. I partnered up with Val Brostrom from Chicago as we wanted to get more practice in before Nationals come October. Our exchanges went well, in that we didn't miss a single one and took advantage of other teams when they did and attacked.
Amazingly though the teams stayed together and it was a battle for those precious points. Laura and Tela partnered up, winning the race followed by Cari Higgins and Hanan Alves-Hyde (Peanut Butter) in second and Val and I third. We were bummed the race was over and definitely could have done at least 20 more laps but will get another
opportunity in LA in a 25k Madison. I can't wait!

Well if you've made it this far in the report - congratulations. Hopefully it wasn't as exhausting to read as it was race it.

Up next - training for Elite Track Nationals at the end of September.

Thank you to everyone who came out and raced, cheered, screamed and drank beer.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lessons learned

Competition provides the ultimate moment of truth. It will make it apparently clear if you've done everything within your control to align the planets: have you been doing your homework; completing preparatory efforts; making conscious decision regarding nutrition; resting and recovering; and training your weaknesses as well as sharpening your strengths.

The physical aspect of training and racing is only a fraction of the equation. I believe that mental training is just as, if not more, important then the heart-pounding, leg-busting efforts and that for as much time as you spend on the bike, you should be working on the brain too.

While rolling around Magnolia yesterday with Jennie, we talked about this very notion in great detail. I can't tell you how blessed I am to have her in my life - she is an incredible mentor, coach and friend.

One of the things we talked about are impressions people leave on you. She said she remembered riding around Magnolia in her first few years of sprinting with a hot dog sprinter back in the day, a guys second to Marty. (Wish I could remember his name!) What he said to her back then struck a cord - he told her that she had such an amazing ability that one day she will be world champion. He could tell back then even though she had just started. At the time she was bashful, unbelieving - yet that comment stuck with her through the years. And slowly over time, she started to believe it herself.

We both chuckled that sometimes the things other people say to you about your ability or strengths doesn't really sink in. You think they're just being kind or tooting your horn - but the reality? If you believe in yourself then anything is possible. And sometimes those comments resonate with more truth then you ever thought possible.
I had this funny dream last night that I finally won a miss and out by doing the crab walk across the finish line in front of Mary. No bike, just Mary and I doing some ridiculous movements. After they went to the photo finish, which indeed showed that I maneuvered ahead of Mary, I stood up and celebrated and everyone around (including Kendi) had zero reaction - like it was no big deal.

Just goes to show I'm probably the only one who really cares about the outcome of a race. Ha! And maybe I have a future as a crab walker. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The car is packed: rollers, time trial bike, chairs, tent, wheels, 45 skin suits, racing paraphernalia, water bottles, cooler, pump, shoes, kitchen sink. I think you get the idea. I'm taking Maggie East so I can sleep in her if I get a chance between sessions. First up at 1pm is the 500m, followed by Keirin heats at 4:30 and then the finals, Scratch and Points race after 7pm. A crazy busy schedule - with two solid days of racing... an event and time of year I look forward to all year. The friends, the sweat, the tears and throw downs - if you know what's good for you you'll come out to Marymoor park this Friday and Saturday after 7 to watch...

And tomorrow? The Sprint rounds, miss and out and Ryan Triplett Memorial Madison.

Ready? You bet.
Do you ever have those days when those funny spam emails from family or friends hit home a little more than other days? Today is one of those days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I am so excited for this weekend! Another amazing opportunity to demonstrate 100% of my ability. Thanks to sponsors, friends, family, coaches, masseuses, smarties, etc - as the saying goes, it takes a village! Things are lined up and I'm feeling prepared and ready.

Wish you were here Ryan to see it all go down.
"Embrace the joy in your pursuit."

Fresh off the press!

OK, I admit it, some of you are sick of me and are free to hit the delete button. But I promise - this is the last hit from me for 2010. For the rest of you bike racing fans, please read on and make your weekend plans..

This is seriously as good as it gets on the local scene for watching bike racing. Unless we get some freak and unexpected rain, I can promise you the 2010 FSA Grand Prix is going to be a great way to watch bike racing for you and for your family and friends. We have a LOT of great bike racing in Washington, but this is different - this is a unique way to show off bike racing at its best. We have two time Olympians Jame Carney and Jennie Reed (of course also the 2009 World Keirin Champion and from Kirkand!!), we have reigning USA national Madison and Omnium champion Cody O'Reilly, we have world champ, multiple world cup champ and New Zealand national champ Jason
Allen. We have U.S. pros Cari Higgins, Shelby Reynolds, Adrian Hegyvary and others. We have the Canadian National team. We have that wild Tazzy, two time FSA Grand Prix Omnium and Oceana and Australia champion Laura McCaughey. should I go on? We also have local up and coming superstars Grant Boursaw, Tela Crane, Jen Triplett, James Stangeland, Adrian Hegyvary taking them all on. Really, do you want me to go on? I could. The fields will be full! (yes, that means up to 40 on the track at once).
Bottom line - the Men and Women are racing for $7000.00 purse each (yes equal!!!) and the masters go for another $1500.00. We have it all. Sprints, Keirin, Madison, Scratch, Points and Miss and Out over two awesome nights.

When: Friday Night, July 23

Saturday Night, July 24

7:00 p.m.

Where: Marymoor Velodrome

Bring: Yourself, your friends, your family, your neighbors and a picnic. We'll supply a beer garden (courtesy of our best friends New Belgium Brewery and Patterson Cellars); sausages from Mojo Market, treats from CaraMia.

Also Bring: Your kids with helmets for the "kiddie kilo" both nights.

Come support Northwest Cycling - show the rest of North America what we are all about!!!


Dave Mann

Monday, July 19, 2010


It's Monday and I'm exhausted. As the clock strikes noon I start to perk up and start reliving the events of the weekend. The highs, the lows, the laughs, and more laughs. All in all - the circus show that's also known as the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge is over and I am now counting down handful of days before FSA Grand Prix.

How about a little game of highlight/lowlight?

Highlight: A HUGE women field this weekend. We had on average 27 women signed up for each event - a record number! And the depth of the fields were amazing. Only a few people were missing from the sprint field outside of Nationals - so this sprint tournament was a who's who of USA National caliber women track racers.

Highlight: Not just one, not two - but several of the existing track records were broken this year. If you break a record then the promoters pay $200 - and I'm pretty sure between the men's and women's field at least 5 records were broken. A new generation of track racers is demonstrating their phenomenal ability - and out of this crop I'm sure you'll see some world class contenders!

Highlight: Catching up with out of town friends. There's a lot of down time between sessions - but not enough to leave the velodrome. So what do you do? Tell stories and laugh with friends! We had a gaggle of girls hanging out - Cari, Liz, Tela, Kendi, Shelby, Heather, Beth, Val, Ros, Lindsay, Amara, Hanan and myself - talk about some X chromosomes! We had a blast.

Highlight: Watching Tela ride her ass off. Wow. She rode 100% to her ability this weekend and it was fantastic watching her kick so much bootie! 2nd in the sprint tournament, 4th (I think?) in the 500m, and 4th in the Keirin - placing her 5th in the overall omnium!

Highlight: Having good, hard positive racing. It's so much fun when the ladies come out to race their bikes and throw it down.

Okay, just a brief mention of the lowlight.....
I battle asthma. I've had it since I was a little girl and growing up in the Willamette valley had me in the doctor's office more times than my mom could count to get shots as a kid. That explains my phobia of needles - and also explains my breathing problems this weekend. I have a serious allergy to grass pollens and had too big of a dose of them this weekend. In the points race, I couldn't get my legs to kick over - and didn't figure out until today that I had the lack of oxygen to my lungs was what held me back from getting blood to my legs. You'd think I'd be keyed into it - but it hasn't been a problem up in Seattle. But down south in Portland? Oh boy. I had a serious case. Last night I was wheezing so bad that I had trouble sleeping. Hack, hack, hack.

When you can't perform to your ability it can trample your confidence. And motivation. But I've found the best thing you can do when things aren't going your way - throw yourself at it. What have you got to lose? If anything it's a great learning opportunity. As frustrating as it can be that your body is fighting your mind to push it beyond its limits - it's also good to practice letting things go. I smile at myself when I think this - and am thankful for the opportunity to learn.

You biznatches are in trouble this next weekend!

Monday, July 12, 2010

I like heat.

As the temps go up, the times go down.

And apparently the speed work we've been doing out at the track is paying off.... this past Friday I accomplished one of my "mini" goals and won the Category 3 men's omnium. You read that right.

Two stellar moves sealed the deal. The first was a bridge from the field to the breakaway that had a quarter lap on the field in the unknown distance. I caught them within a lap. We held off the field for the top three podium spots, with teammate Jordan Louie getting the win.

The second move was winning a point sprint midway through the 6x5 points race and then - somehow, some way, in the final sprint - kept the entire field at bay by sitting in the front of the pack, like a match sprint and as I entered corner two, hit the gas full bore and held off all but one guy to the line. It was an incredible night.

This photo pretty much says it all:

Next up? Big HUGE track race down in Portland and then FSA Grand Prix the following. Come on out and support your local track scene!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hitting the reset button

Last week the weather was dreadful. And it should have been. Summer never hits the Seattle area until July 5th. I mean really, who are we to think we'll get a taste of warmth prior to Independence Day?

Not one, but two heavy training sessions were foiled due to rain. First a kilo effort on Thursday and then racing Friday. Chris and I made the most of it though and headed out of the city earlier than expected Friday evening - with our mountain bikes mounted on the roof and trunk full of climbing gear. Our destination? 98833.

We arrived pretty late that night - seeing about 20 deer and a cougar along Highway 20 on our drive East. The next morning we had a hearty breakfast of pancakes and java - then grabbed a bite to eat at the country store before obtaining beta on Angel's Staircase. Turns out summer hasn't hit the east side either so the route was definitely snowed in. We were directed to do Starvation Mountain instead - 25 miles and 4,800 feet of elevation gain.

We hit the trail head at 3pm. Thoughts of maybe descending in the dark crossed both our minds - but we were determined to get an ass burner of a ride in. Up and up we climbed - crossing several creeks and climbing for 10 miles on single track. The final portion was on fire roads through the remnants of a huge fire in 2006. A couple of quick stops confirmed that bugs pose a major problem this year. We would stop, do a quick check of the map, then keep riding as the mosquitoes would cloud up whenever you diddled for too long.

Unfortunately the views were nothing to write home about. And after climbing for roughly 4 hours, the summit of Starvation mountain was anti-climatic. Not to mention the swarm of bugs. What we thought would be an ass kicking time down some single track revealed a mix use trail that motor cross bikes had torn up. Bummer! But eventually, about 10 miles from the end, the single track improved and I found a huge smile spread across my face.

And every time we came across a creek crossing it was like playing Russian Roulette - you never knew how deep they would be and if you'd be swimming or make it across. I was carrying the camera so I had to make sure I made it. Chris was the guinea pig and at first he would throttle through them but toward the end when we were getting tired from being on the bikes for 5 hours - showed some hesitation.

We did make it back to the car a little before dark and headed straight to the Twisp River Pub for brews and food and caught a little bit of Le Tour on the big screen. They also had white guy live reggae band playing so we did a little seated butt scooting while chowing down. Yet oddly enough, the three IPA beers I drank did nothing to me. It wasn't until later that I figured they were near beer. Somebody forgot to add the alcohol! They tasted good, regardless.

The rest of the weekend slowed to nearly a stand still pace. Just what the doctor ordered. As the sun came out and dried the pine needle forest, sweet aroma filled my senses and the frantic pace of city life melted away. A trip up Hart's Pass into hill alpine sealed the deal with a nap in a meadow and watching Makiah chase down marmots and well fed ground squirrels. Pictures to come....

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


I can't get this song out of my head....

or this one for that matter. I've been listening to them non-stop for 72 hours. Animal.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I take my time getting ready for the ride today, as this is the first road ride I've been on since the weekend. I wait until the very last minute to pull on my spandex and load my back pockets full of the essentials - tire pump, spare tube, multi-tool, hammer bar, cell phone, and I.D. I remember to grab my shuffle, making sure I have enough batteries for the ride and then continue pulling on my "office" clothing. I say that because I've been putting as much if not more time into the bike lately than actually sitting behind a desk. Lucky me.

As I go through the get ready ritual, I concoct my route to Marymoor in my head. Do I follow the sleepy, bumpy Burke Gilman north? Or head over via I-90, a lap around Mercer and then follow the east side of Lake Sammamish? I'm headed south toward the bridge without a second thought. All of this track training has made me miss my regular routes - mostly, yet I still don't miss the Burke.

Lots of cyclists are out today. However I only see one woman to about 10 men. The Seattle to Portland annual ride is coming up mid-July and everyone is putting in some miles to lessen the saddle sore sting during the long 204 southbound miles.

I cruise along the arboretum, picking off commuters and joy riders without hesitation, listening to a mix of Built to Spill and Common Theory. I can feel my pace quicken depending on the tempo and Fujiya Miagi has me soaring down the bridge averaging 29mph. What's this? When did road riding become so effortless?

I decide that taking a lap around Mercer Island is necessary and enjoy the rolling hills and hidden driveways. Not to mention the other joy riders and when one passes me, I decide my pace is too easy and hop on his wheel. I know the slight riser coming up in 3 miles will tax him a little too much so at that point, I take over and provide a steady fast draft. The windy turns come up, I pedal through the corners and glance down to see speeds in the mid-twenties. It feels so good to be out on my bike - free of going around in circles and with specific training in mind. I'm enjoying the ride and forget about the guy sitting on my wheel until I come to the stop light and hear him huffing beside me and utter, "nice night for a ride," as sweat pours down his face.

We part ways as I continue East, thinking of Ryan and how much he used to love sailing by Fred's and dropping racers when ever he could. It's funny how racing so much can condition you to compete with everyone - regardless of the scenario. I chuckle at myself as I pass two guys laboring up the hill by T-Mobile corporate burdened with back packs.

I honestly miss riding my road bike and adventuring out. Traveling into the unknown - reliant on myself for survival and doing so without hesitation. In my head I start planning more adventures - San Juans, Canada, and then as I crest a hill and see the Cascades lit up in late afternoon/early evening sun I know that they are calling my name. My heart soars with the thought that I'll be visiting them this weekend.