Saturday, October 30, 2010

Whoa, Slacking!

Despite having a lot more time on my hands, I've managed to spend it doing a million other things. Tackling that honey-do list is time consuming but each day I get to check off one more thing from the list.

The most recent and exciting thing I did though was purchase my ticket to Melbourne! And come to the realization that in order for me to follow my dreams, several people have to be on board. One of which is my mom - who has been very instrumental in my success. Without her unwavering support and encouragement, shoulder to cry on, ear to vent to, spirits to uplift - my lofty goals would probably have faded long ago. I can't thank her enough for helping me gather up the courage to strive for my dreams. I am a lucky and fortunate daughter. And who can forget some key slogans she's relayed to me over the years: "Don't strain your milk!" and "Grow some balls, Jennifer."

Mothers are special people and I hit the jackpot with mine.

Other items on that honey do? My house has been seeing some improvements. More from a decorating perspective than anything. I've framed some prints that have been hanging around and worked on their zen like placement. The ghosts in my house are being kept at bay in doing so and I feel like I'm reclaiming my space. Some things have been put away - not forgotten, just stored for another time.

Meanwhile, things are coming along with the HB team. Wheeler recently announcing her signing with Tibco for the 2011 season, which is pretty kick ass! We have a couple of ladies who are new and attracted to our team filled with strong athletes and we've started planning how to nurture them for the upcoming season. It's pretty cool being surrounded by such a great group of people - again, I am fortunate in so many ways.

Makiah is doing good - though I can tell she senses I am on a traveling spree in the near future. She keeps me on my toes though and has been getting more and more walks to Gasworks park. The smile that spreads across her face and bounce in her step is priceless.

Well training calls - back to the bike. Happy pedaling and have a great Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Middle of the night...

I wish I could explain why I'm waking up in the middle of the night lately. Something is leaving me anxious and tonight I have a pretty good idea why. I finally took the plunge this week and bought a new car. I've been talking about it for years now and went so far as to test drive a Prius but just couldn't pull the trigger. Although they are nie cars, it just didn't suite me and I am so glad i held out.

A week ago i did a random google search on fuel efficient new cars and an Audi a3 popped up in a tdi that gets 42 mpg.... So later that week i went and test drove one and feel immediately in love. The dealer in the u-district wasn't game to wheel and deal so i walked out of their showroom after four hours of solid time put in to find the right car. They also looked at my golf as a trade in and offered $5,000 trade in value on it and I knew i would have much better luck selling it myself.

I made an appointment to have the interior and exterior detailed on monday with intention of listing it in craig's list and asking $8,000. I also went to another dealership Sunday and found my dream car in dark blue with light gray interior. Since i shopped around and knew financially what kind of burden I was getting myself into, committing and signing my name as the new owner didn't come as a complete surprise.

But what was a pleasant surprise was how quickly I was able to sell my old ar. Detailing it was money well spent and the first guy who came last night to view it bought it outright. I felt good selling it to him as he and his wife remind me of how ryan and i must have been when we first bought it.

I know it's just a car and that I had been thinking about selling it for years, even before ryan had passed. So i was kind if surprise when I started bawling my eyes out last night thinking about the memories we shared in the golf cart. How I would stare at the nape of his neck while he drove. How he was used to me looking at him, memorizing his profile and loving him with every inch of my body. I awake this morning thinking of Ryan and also take comfort in being able to remember him with such detail.

Now, if I could just fall asleep...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Biting the bullet

Oh man, am I looking forward to three hours of bike riding in the first winter storm of the season! Stoked to be dodging fallen leaves, branches, big potholes and indeterminable rain clouds. Who's with me!?! Come on, a champion is made a day at a time...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Winning the lottery

If winning the lottery requires buying a lotto ticket, then winning the world championships requires going to the world cups.

BIG HUGE things are happening - and every day I wake up I feel like I'm in a dream. I'm not going to lie, it's pretty rad. :)

And there's nothing like having those big aspirations serve as motivation to pound out those intervals. Like I said before, I am so enjoying this journey.

On a side note - blogger removed the ability to upload photos. How lame is that?!?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Social blunder

My new found sleeping patterns are borderline ridiculous. Before last week, I was able to sleep a solid eight hours, no problem. After last week, I'm lucky if I can get four hours straight in a row. This morning the heavy rains woke me up and my groggy internal clock decided at 5:30 am it was time to rise and shine.

So maybe it's from the lack of sleep or fatigue or something that contributed to a super awkward yet kind if funny oh-damn-you-have-got-to-be-joking-me moments...

The setup: Makiah's trusty and amazing dog sitters and good friends, Kyle and Laura had their wedding reception last night. The knot had been tied a few weeks earlier in a family exclusive ceremony so Laura's parents threw them a party and invited friends and family to party down at the Seattle Tennis Club. The party was cocktail themed so after our meet the team ride, I went shopping to find something fun to wear and pick them up a gift.

As I was walking around University Village, I ran into my dear friends Dale and Laura, visiting firm Bellingham. Some days I can't believe what a small world it is.

I spoke to my friend Jonah as I was out and about and he offered to give me a ride with him, Annie and their two kids Sophia and Max. The only problem being that their Prius was not designed to hold two car seats and three adults, so Annie volunteered to sit in the back. Jonah pulls up in front of the house to pick me up, and I see the two kids in the back seat, the front seat open and wondered where Annie was. Once I in the car, Annie pops up from the hatchback and says, "drunk monkey in the back!" I laughed for a solid five minutes straight.

At the party were a lot of Laura's parents friends and we mingle and greet the newlyweds and start toasting in celebration. Kyle and Laura are rock climbers and knew Ryan fairly well so it has been wonderful to stay in touch with them over the past couple of years. They also have a piece of property in the same community over in the Methow Valley so we're practically neighbors.

Also at the party are some of Ryan's dear climbing friends, some of whom I haven't seen in ages largely because our paths don't cross much. But it was super great to see them all, raise a glass or two in celebration for all if the good stuff going on - career moves, new babies, and life spinning madly on.

Since Jonah and family had a short fuse (as Max is only two and a half) I arranged to ride home with Ben and Danielle. The night continued on and the open bar had a line throughout the night. At one point, I hadn't seen Ben or Danielle in some time, so worried I sent Ben a text saying, "you still here?"

Two seconds later, Ben comes flying into the room with a look of panic and disbelief. Immediately I knew what I had done.

Earlier in the week, after two plus years of keeping Ryan's cell phone number, I decided to take it up as my own. New technology prompted the move along with some personal growth so I have been working on transferring all of my contacts over. And despite Ben's upgrade to new technology, he still kept Ryan's contact information. And when I sent a text to Ben it popped up from Ryan Triplett and he nearly shit his pants. Dope! He came busting into the room to share it with me..... talk about a social blunder.

Luckily Ben has a good sense of humor so we laughed long and hard about it... but still. And in classic form, Ryan certainly got the last laugh.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fat Vermons

My life feels so busy lately. Similar to how the squirrels (whose bellies drag on the ground they're so fat!) in my neighborhood are frantically scrounging up food for the cold winter ahead, I feel an urgency to get things done before winter settles in. My own honey-do list is long.

This morning I cleaned the gutters, which always reminds me of a few autumns ago when I woke up to a house nearly flooded thanks to some full gutters. Ryan and I hadn't cleaned them - ever.

He was off at work and it was 50 degrees and raining so hard that day. I got to wrestle my collapsible 25 foot ladder up the side of my house. My next door neighbor Jo came over and we saved the homestead together, laughing at how deferred maintenance always kicks you in the ass. Every time I mention the gutters we both giggle.

It has been absolutely gorgeous out lately. Very chilly in the mornings but by the afternoon the sun's warmth wakens me and I can't help but notice the brilliant fall colors pop against a light blue sky.

Lately I've been really appreciating living in the moment with complete clarity. I feel more myself then I have in a long, long time. And I feel like sharing it with everyone I know with the urgency of a belly dragging squirrel.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Has the suspense built enough yet? Are you wondering what the big news is? Are you checking this everyday? Good.

I'm still not going to tell you yet. Just kidding!

So track camp went super good. One of the riders, Megan Hottman from golden, Colorado asked if i would like to ride the team pursuit with her at the upcoming world cups on her track trade team. Gulp! Um, absolutely! So come december we're headed to Melbourne, australia shortly followed by Cali, Colombia and lastly to manchester, uk.

There you have it. That's my big news. So the last few days have been filled with making that travel and dream a reality. Know anyone in Colombia or the uk?

Monday, October 18, 2010

I just had my first home cooked meal on my pots and pans, with my little dog begging for some scraps beneath my feet. It feels amazing to be home.

Ah, the simple pleasures.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Despite going to bed close to midnight, my internal clock has been reset apparently to 6am. Ouch. I'm still laying in bed but my mind won't shut off and I already miss the routine of getting up and heading out to the track.

So what's next on the agenda? A little bit of down time when i return home. Some snuggle time with the pooch, good cooking, great coffee, reconnection with friends and hopefully some more mushroom picking. Oh, and I can't forget - more dream chasing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And, I'm spent.

It's nearly five o'clock and a nap at this time would be disastrous. But my body is pretty tired from the fifth early morning start in a row with progressively harder efforts. Yesterday's billion standing starts and timing drills took a little more out of the system then I thought even though we were under geared. (ha! If you consider a 94" under geared...)

On tap for today was three 3k efforts, two standing and one flying. Translation: two from a stand still, which in turn puts a lot of load on the legs, and another with using the banking to ease the acceleration and in theory go 5 seconds faster then the standing efforts since you eliminate the start. I got to lead all three efforts and one thing i noticed was that the flying effort seemed to take more out of me then the standing starts. Maybe that's because the wind up taxes you a little bit more? Or maybe because we were on a 18.5 schedule and shooting for a 3:43. We managed to hit a 3:42, which is not bad at all! We were all pretty pleased with the effort, that's for sure.

After the track workout we headed out to paolos verdes to get some endurance training in. And there, on the climb behind k-Mac, I hit my limit. That girl is a born climber yo! She dances on those pedals and just floats up the hill, chatting away and loving every minute if it. It's amazing to surround yourself with such great talent.

All in all the week has been great. I have learned a lot, and really value the time and energy USA cycling has put into the development camps.

Some big news is developing, and i will share more when it's appropriate.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I took an ice bath tonight if that gives you any indication of how hard today was. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I'm starting to seriously consider getting an ice maker for my house. I know I'd only use it primarily in the summer months, I think. But it sure would save me the time and hassle of running to the corner market and dropping $10 a hit. Come to think of it though, that's a lot of runs to the store to combat the $300 plus price tags those puppies have. Nah, I think i'll just continue making a dash to darn good.

I highly recommend wading in wool socks and under-roos. That little extra clothing makes a world of difference! Don't question the logic, just do it. :)

Seriously though today was filled with lots of team pursuit drills and figuring out timing. I was sandwiched between what felt like two extremes, a fast person and a not so fast person. My job was to reign it in and funny how my lap times showed me being the slowest as a result. It's amazing how the times are somewhat of a lag time and that you're effort on the track is directly related to the teams. When things sync up and exchanges are dialed in then it's a perfect graceful feeling. Anything short of that leaves you gasping for air, legs screaming, heart pounding, arggh feeling. It's pretty rad, this pursuit of excellence.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day one - track camp

The 6:15 wake up call this morning came a little earlier then wanted, as they always do. But I eagerly jumped out of bed, put the water on for some via coffee and got ready to go. I packed my to go bag the night before so the morning agenda included waking up, drinking some java and catching up on some blogs. There's something about reading about other people's lives and experiences that is truly inspiring. Speaking of which, if you know of any blogs out there that you hit regularly and would like to share, please do!

I digress...

We arrived at the track at 7:30 for our first early morning meeting before the serious work starts at 9am. Benjamin Sharp does a great job of covering the basics (sprinters line, being predictable, communication, no mans land, where warm up starts and ends, etc) and it was nice to get a refresher and make sure we're all on the same page.

On tap for today was three flying efforts - a 1500, 1000m, and 500m. They were all done individually and are used as a baseline test to find out what tools we have to begin with and where to take things. It's also a great indicator of what your strengths are... Such as do you go out hot and then fade? Or are you a steady sister who can just churn away even splits all day long? The nice thing about the track is that you get instant feedback. Go too fast and you pay dearly for it. Go too slow and you have something left in the tank. And the timer never lies.

So what did the timer say? Good things, all very good things. When I spoke with Jennie later that night and relayed my times she said that I shouldn't act so surprised. But I still have this pinch me, I must be dreaming residue left over from nationals. I guess the moral of the story is get used to being fast because I am fast!

After our track session we headed out for a road ride around p.v.. Unfortunately the LA area is not known for its road there is only one ride. And the locals in the area seriously hate cyclists. Riding single file in some areas is absolutely necessary if you want to get home in one piece. But having a big group of 11 meant we could ride two abreast the entire way back to the velodrome and take an entire lane to ourselves. I must say, that recovery drink has never tasted so good. And getting out of the chamois after six hours felt great. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tomorrow we do a little early morning spin followed by some team drills, which should be good I look forward to figuring out some pacing methods, that's for sure!

Friday, October 08, 2010

NW Harvest

So what does one do between Nationals and team pursuit camp? Go mushroom foraging, of course!

Chanterelle mushrooms are amazing. And right now they litter the forest floor in the Pacific Northwest. Foraging for them is like treasure hunting in the forest. The flavor and texture of them is amazing. The ones Chris and I have been finding right by his house are about 6 inches long and big old 'shrooms.

A little research on the fungi reveals they love to pop up near Douglas Firs and in just the right temperate zones. You pull them out of their holes by the root as cutting them can lead to disease and damage future re-growth. They are super fun to find and taste unreal. Later today I'm making some chanterelle mushroom corn chowder. Yum!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Race Report

As written for my team:

I have been quietly sitting in my house for nearly the entire day,
soaking up the fantastic memories and good times had down in LA this
past week. And it's no wonder I can no longer get off my duff as
according to my calculations I logged in well over 675 laps on the
steep bankings of the ADT Event Center velodrome. That's just shy of
175 kilometers of fixed gear action.

The international omnium started things off. This year USA cycling
opted to mimic the UCI international omnium, which meant the races
were a lot longer. At the world cup level all of the events are held
in one long session, with a minimum of 30 minutes for recovery between
races. At elite nationals, however, they split the event into a total
of three sessions, with the flying lap and 80 lap points race in the
first session, an elimination (miss and out) and 3k pursuit in the
second session, followed the next morning by a 40 lap scratch race and
500 meter time trial. The overall winner is determined by whoever has
the lowest cumulative points, with first place receiving one point,
second two points, and so on. I had decided early this season to make
the omnium my focus for nationals, as I seem to do well at several
events. That meant working long and hard at getting my overall speed
up since my aeorbic engine is fairly large. Gone were the multiple
pursuit style efforts and instead were replaced with sprint workouts
with maximum power output and maximum recovery. This new approach was
some what foreign to me as only doing four 200 meter efforts for the
day compared to six two to three kilometers in training was the
previous norm. If I lost you in that description then the best analogy
I can come up with is like being used to drinking a double big gulp
and then switching to a Dixie cup.

Needless to say, I was a little nervous going into the racing with a
different set of tools this year but after my first effort of doing a
flying lap and placing third, well nobody could steal my new found
confidence. The points race could have gone better... But with the
likes of world champion Sarah Hammer in the field who easily lapped
the field after the first sprint, well I did the best I could and
placed 7th. Thankfully my competitors who placed well in the points
race were further down the totem pole from the flying Lap and I
managed to hold onto fourh place.

Between sessions I went back to the hotel and had an ice bath. It was
113 that day in LA and the velodrome, although temperature controlled,
was still blazing hot. Next up was the elimlnation race and I was
struggling for position the entire time. Fifth place in the omnium
standings luckily was called out the time before and sixth place was
called out just after me. That left me narrowly in fourth place, with
only a point separating me from my nearby competitors. With placement
at each event critical to overall placement, it's super important to
brush off less then desired results and go into the next race with a
can do attitude. Luckily the pursuit was up next and although I didn't
work specifically on that event this year, I was able to rely on my
previous year's devotion to it to carry me through. I was paired
against Colleen, who was in third, and also provided a nice carrot for
me to chase. I rolled at four minute even pursuit - certainly not my
fastest time but good enough to put me into fifth, still holding onto
fourth in the overall.

That night I envisioned the scratch race and putting in a perfect
finish. I played the race out over and over in my head, knowing that
my new found speed would be useful the following day. And guess what?
It played out exactly as I envisioned. Sarah Hammer lapped the field,
leaving the other placements up to a field sprint. With two laps to
go, I had perfect positioning near the front and sensed Cari Higgins's
attack from the outside coming. We flew to the finish line and my
closest competitors in the omnium were much further back. This move
proved to be the move that put me into third. We still had one more
event to go, the 500m time trial, again I felt confident and ready.
Sitting down in a chair near bike check, i could feel my entire body
shake from nerves. There I was, getting ready for the final event with
a podium position well within my reach. I had a fantastic start out of
the starting block, was still getting on top of my gear going into
corners three and four before realizing i should be in my aero bars.
Tela commented later that it looked like I was going to crash myself
out and i'm sure that wiggle cost me a valuable fraction of a second
but I ended up getting fifth in that event and placed third overall!
Oh man, what a feeling.

The podium presentation was surreal. I had done it. I made the
elevated USA cycling podium with some serious competition. During the
ceremony Cari said how proud she was of me for earning my spot, as did
Sarah. Wow. And the medals this year are pretty big! So was my smile.

And that was just the end of day two of five for the week! I still had
three more events to race in.

Friday morning after warming up, some of the fastest ladies of the
U.S. lined up for the 40 lap scratch race. Sarah Hammer had left the
previous day to train in Colorado and Higgins decided to sit the
scratch race out to race the individual pursuit. Jennie Reed, however,
decided to line up and have a gander at her first appearance at an
elite nationals endurance title. The race was animated in the
beginning and I was attentive in not letting any dangerous combination
of riders go up the track. The field was not going to let anything go
either so when Heather Alberts attacked with ten laps to go, and no
one really chased at first, it was time to get things moving. Chasing
her back within reach was perfectly timed, as I found myself in the
front of the group with 2.5 laps to go and Jennie on my outside hip.
It was time to ramp up the speed and prevent anyone from coming up and
over. With a lap to go, Jennie razored my outside, with Colleen glued
to her wheel and charging around me. I dug super deep and pushed as
hard as possible to come across the line for third. Another podium!
Are you kidding me? Somebody pinch me please!

Saturday's marathon session started for me in the afternoon with a 40
lap points race qualifier. With 10 spots up for grabs out of a 13
person field, the goal was to sit in after obtaining some points in
the first two sprints. Then we had a four hour wait before the 100 lap
final. Not realizing how long of a wait we'd have, I didn't fuel
myself properly. And we all know what that means - BONK! Midway
through the race, a huge crash happened directly in front of me
tangling five girls up and neutralizing the race. One of the girls was
hauled away in a stretcher and we had about a twenty minute delay
before resuming the race. I contested another sprint but just didn't
have the fight left in me. I ended up 7th.

That night I was kicking myself for sabotaging my performance by
something so important and basic. I was more then eager to go back the
following day and represent in the Madison. There was just one major
problem - my madison partner had gone down in the points race and was
nursing a mild concussion. But she was ready to go the next day,
determined and ready to get a jersey and title. In one of our first
exchanges, all hell broke loose and we collided, sending Val down the
to the apron and me chasing on to the back of the field. Val certainly
gets the toughest cookie award because she was back up and ready to go
two laps later. We then contested every 20 lap sprint out of 100 laps
and placed second in each one. The strong duo of Higgins and Reed
proved impossible to beat though and try as we did to make something
happen - they were not going to go down without a fight. We ended up
second and happy to be a part of history in the making with the first
ever USA cycling elite woman's Madison. It was a great way to round
out the week.

After logging a few hours on my couch this week, I'm headed back down
to LA to participate in a team pursuit camp. I'm very excited for the
opportunity and look forward to sharing my knowledge with others upon
my return. Thanks for all of the encouraging words and here's to
making the training count this winter toward winning a jersey next

Monday, October 04, 2010

Wow. A successful assault at USA elite track nationals this year. Jonesy's group was wildly successful thanks to her amazing coaching, careful preparation and attention to detail. Her timing was to a tee for each one of us girls and between the group we collected the following hardware:

Liz - two national titles. The 500m and team sprint. Along with a third place in the sprint tournament and kieirin.
Tela- fifth place in the sprint tournament, second in team sprint and 6th in the kierin. 
Jennie- two national titles, one in the scratch race and the other in the women Madison.
Myself- a silver in the Madison, and two thirds in the international omnium and scratch race. 

Not only did we represent marymoor in style, but we probably brought home more medals then on record. I'll have to look into that one. 

Oh and i also get to mention dan harm was on the winning team pursuit team. His Ouch team is definitely on track for the upcoming world cup season starting this winter. 

There were so many highlights, and a few blunders. But all in all the highlights far outweighed any shortcomings. To be part of history, especially in the first women national championship madison was truly an honor. 

So what's up next? Well, I'm glad you asked. In a week and a half i head back down to LA for a team pursuit development camp and am really looking forward to the opportunity it will provide. But in the next few days, i get to enjoy some much deserved and needed time off. 

A quick calculation of racing laps.... 100 Madison, 140 points race (heat and final)' 40 scratch race, 80 points race in omnium, 40 scratch race in omnium, 3 laps for 500m tt and flying lap, and 12 laps for the 3k pursuit. Not to mention five days of 40 lap warmups let's say 200 laps. That's 655 laps. Not to mention about three hours logged on the rollers. I am ever so thankful for those hardcore double days and hard efforts, as much as i may have resented them at the time. What a difference it made!

Boy i am sure thankful for the wonderful support network I ha built up around me. I feel like my success was due to so many people pulling for me in so many ways. From training partners, to borrowed equipment, to time off from work (thanks mom!), to my California car (thanks pops and Anita!), dog sitters, encouraging teammates, friends and family members, my fantastic and best coach in the business, ms. Jennie reed. And as corny as it may sound, my facebook fan club. Thanks for the comments everyone, it means a lot that you care!

A part of history...

This year marked the first year for the USA to hold an elite women's madison national championship. Last year's jaunt was an "exhibition" race and this year, thanks to 10 woman's teams signing up we had a real legit title to chase after. And try as Val and I did to beat team incredible (consisting of Jennie Reed and Cari Higgins), we just couldn't do it. But we did try and made it an aggressive and hard race!

More details and a race report to come...

Friday, October 01, 2010

Two for two

Little to my surprise, I did it again with the bronze this morning with a solid ride in a 40 lap scratch race. Jennie won it with colleen stuck fast to her hip. It was Strange race at times with lots of people trying to make something happen off the front of the race, to no avail. The most serious threat came with about six laps to go when heather albert launched solo off the front. Jennie and i timed the chase to perfection with me leading with a lap and a half to go. She stayed on my hip with Colleen stuck to her wheel and then we charged down the lane. She had such speed coming in front of me that it was all I could do to spin my legs off. Thank goodness for that big gear I was in!

The best part about going into the scratch race after that fantastic race and finish yesterday was that there was no pressure. No pressure to preform - just the ability to race my bike and see what i could do. Crazy as it may sound too, being on the podium after such a short race felt strange. I didn't have the long hard battle I had before getting up there... The long hard fought battle of the day before. It still felt wonderful, don't get me wrong. But it felt different. Maybe that's fatigue talking!

Probably one of the great highlights, though there have been many, was having ryan's dad and step mom up in the stands watching me. They saw my effort, they know how much I've been working and how more then anything i would have loved to have Ryan here to witness it. I know he was watching and cheering louder then anyone. That was for you Bubba.