Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 USA CYCLING XC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Well...I went to PA in hopes of becoming the next XC National Champion, but ended up with a another 4th place finish. Could I have won if I had not flatted and fixed my tire??? Nope, I don't believe so.  Maybe I could have gotten a place or two higher, but not first. What I am most proud of is... fixing my tire and not giving up. I was in the 3rd position fighting for 2nd when I flatted during the end of the 1st lap. Having never fixed a flat before, it took me 4 long stressful minutes. So, by the time I hopped back on the saddle, I had slipped to 8th place. But thankfully, after a hard fight on a short 2 1/2 mile course, I ended the race in 4th place.
photo credit: Jackie Bovine












photo credit: Christie Burnett
Super D was my last hope in getting my hands on that stars and stripes jersey. I pre-rode the course several times and was confident that I would do well. But...what I did not predict was...flipping over the bars at the beginning of the race, shattering my garmin, and getting tangled up in the tape. Normally, during a crash, you just kind of get back on the bike and continue on.  Well- for me- that was almost impossible. It took me forever to get my chain ring and crank arm untangled from the race course tape. To my surprise, even with my little incident, I was able to pull off the win.

    
Nationals was a great way to see where I was at in the game. Not a 100% happy, but I believe I have progressed a lot since last year. Now it's time for Mother Nature to speed things along for me, I think that will be the key to some additional strength and power.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

SERC #5 Jackson, GA/ Coach Drew Edsall


So, instead of writing a race report, I thought I would talk about Coach Drew Edsall.  Because after all, if it wasn't for him, I would not have been standing on the top box at the SERC #5 race.













I'm thinking I should start from the beginning. I met Coach Drew at a skills clinic the day before my first Novice race in 2010 at Fort Clinch. At the time, I thought it was so cool that he wasn't just helping adults, he was giving advice to the kids as well. And I remember thinking...Wow, what an awesome job... I want to be a PRO and coach kids when I grow up.


Fast forward to January 2012. I was 10 and a 1/2 and ready to start racing CAT 3 women.  So, Coach Drew created my 1st training program.  It was nothing crazy, just kept my legs pedaling. (I'm pretty sure I was his youngest client ever)













      Moving on to last years Nationals at Bear Creek. Coach Drew was right there with me pre-riding and handing out water bottles. After my 4th place finish, I decided it was time to get a little more serious about training if I wanted to win the following year.

So Coach Drew changed the intensity of my workouts and added in a strength build routine. My power is way up from last year, and the results I'm getting are unbelievable. I had no problems whatsoever making the transition from CAT 3 to CAT 2, and I certainly never thought I would have podium finishes so quickly. Because Coach Drew does such an awesome job in preparing me, racing is fun and easy now. Stoked to see how I do at Nationals this year. Want to make Coach Drew proud!!!  



Monday, May 5, 2014

Florida Cup

I have to be honest...going into this race, I was super nervous. My training plan is geared towards climbing for Nationals, so the Lakeland course was already a disadvantage. I love racing at Carter, but when a good portion of the technical stuff is taken out, it becomes a roadie course. And we all know, I am not a roadie!!!

I was, however, excited to be racing the Florida ladies. We have some super fast women down here, and I was ready to see how I compared. On race day, I was kinda shocked that I would only be racing one other person. Thankfully, she was not just anyone...she was winning all the sport races down South. So, if I had to hand pick one person whom I wanted to race against, she would be the one. But man, talk about pressure, I still felt like I had to prove that I belonged in CAT 2.

I had the same strategy as last time. Go all out at the start. And try and put some distance between us in the woods-because I knew once I reached the road, she would crush me. Well, unfortunately for me, she had a killer start and beat me to the single track. Hanging onto her wheel in the woods was no problem, but as soon we hit the flats, she was able to start putting seconds on me.  I could still keep her in sight for 2 laps and finished the race about 50 seconds behind.

Okay...so I didn't win, no worries. If I've learned one thing by racing the boys, it's losing only makes me stronger. Simone really pushed me, and I look forward to racing her again on a non-roadie course.  

    



Congrats to the little Sis- State Champion 6-11 year old girls.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

SERC #4 Winder, Ga

Well, if you saw my FB/instagram post, you are probably thinking "Jeez what's got her so fired up????"  I will tell you what. It's being told you are going to fail at something when you haven't even attempted it. That's right, I was told not to enter CAT 2 because I was only 12 years old, and that I would not be able to handle the distance. SO FRUSTRATING!!! And to top it off, my poor Dad was being blamed for pushing me into it. I can assure you that it's me that wants to move up. I need this stepping stone if I want to race CAT 1 when I'm 15.

 I don't know why people would be shocked that I want to race CAT 2. I'm thinking maybe it's because when I raced the junior boys, I never stood out-just kind of blended in.  And if you weren't checking and comparing times (boys vs CAT 1/2 women), you would have never realized that I was minutes faster than the CAT 2 women. So, if I were to go back to CAT 3 (women), it would be sand-bagging, not racing.

On the day of the race, I was determined to prove the doubters wrong. Yep, the fire was lit, and I was getting on that podium. My plan was to pull a "Michael Mace", get the hole shot, and never look back. And WOW, it really worked. I was about a minute and a half ahead on the 1st 10 mile lap and ended up finishing almost 2 1/2 minutes ahead of 2nd place.
photo by: H & H Multimedia

Trust me, I'm not overly confident in CAT 2. I probably threw the ladies off a little, so next race I'm sure they will have their game on. I look forward to the challenge at the State Championship this weekend. A huge "thank you" to those who went out of their way to support me at the race, it meant a lot.          

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lakeland Urban MTB Crit


It's been 3 years since I competed in this race.  So, when it came time to registering, I wasn't sure if I should enter in the fun or serious women category.  I decided on "fun" because well, for one, I was doing it for fun, and two because I had little experience in these types of races. I didn't want to get run over by a bunch a professional critters.




The race started and (BTW, I finally had a good start), I was leading both the fun & serious women. And to my surprise, I was able to hold my position for the first lap until I was passed by an expert/PRO rider.  I wasn't strong enough on the road to stay on her wheel, but I was kind of blown away that I was still able to keep her in sight. After completing 7 laps and finishing the race shortly after the leader in the serious class, I knew I had signed up in the wrong category. So, instead of winning the "fun" class, my Dad pulled me out of that group, and switched me to the serious class, where I placed 2nd. Super happy with my start and I'm excited that I'm finally getting stronger on the flats.

photo by: Ron Henion

photo by: Big Dog Action Photography

photo by: Big Dog Action Photography



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Hammer Head (25 Miler)

So...I don't know if it's,  Coach Drew's training program...the bike... growing a couple inches...gaining weight (I'm a whopping 85 lbs now)... or finally taking Drew's advice and switching to one chain ring, but I'm really starting to see some awesome results.

Last year at the Hammer Head, my time was 127.33 (2nd female and 45th out of 105 racers overall).  This year it was 110.16 (1st female and 15th out of 93). Hopefully my luck continues because it felt really, really great being back up on the podium (especially the top step).

**A huge thank you to Harrison Knight for riding with me. You definitely kept me pushing forward the entire 25 miles with your speedy pace.    

                                     

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SERC #2 Conyers, Ga

A week prior to the race, I was super stressed. With a ridiculous amount of homework and struggling to find time to complete my trainer workouts, I was so ready to get away and clear my head.

After a long 7 and a 1/2 hour rainy drive, we finally arrived at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. With just a couple sprinkles, thank goodness the bad weather was coming to an end. And to my surprise, I found the race course to be in good condition. What concerned me was that there were very few people pre-riding. I was thinking...wow, this really stinks. I came all this way, only to have to race against myself.  So, when I found out that Morgan (one of the super fast dudes from Florida) would be racing, I was stoked. He was one of the leaders in the FSC series, and also someone I never saw once we were off the line. Yep, he would finish the race minutes ahead of me. So, after hearing that he had not been training, I had a little spark of hope. Let's see...A girl that trains 5 days a week vs. a strong boy rider with excellent riding skills that doesn't train.  I was looking forward to the challenge.

Eight riders lined up to race in the 10-14 junior class.  The whistle blew, and I almost had to laugh.  My starts are so awful!!!  No matter how many times I practice, I still stink it up on race day.  Nerves, maybe???  Anyway, I was able to get into the position I wanted before going into the woods. The first lap went smooth and I felt really strong.  With Morgan only 30 seconds ahead of me, I was able to catch him going into the woods at the beginning of the second lap. I remained on his wheel until he collided with another racer. Squeezing by, I was able to put some distance between us by passing 5 guys on a climb. I finished the race in first place, and honestly I felt like I could have done a third lap.

    
photo by: Christie Burnett
photo by: Christie Burnett
 This race was a huge accomplishment for me.  And well...I think it's time to move on. Gonna move up to CAT 2 with the women next race. Should be interesting, and I will definitely miss racing guys my own age.

I must thank Coach Drew Edsall for helping me to get stronger and faster.  Thank you-Cody Burnett for letting me chase you during team practices.  And Moccasin Bend Bicycle Company for such an amazing bike that has me floating through the trails.