The Greenbriar Challenge

Oooooooo, yay, that's me in this picture in the Herald. Not that the reporters know or care, so I thought I'd point it out. They are looking at Katie Compton in black, to the left (who won the race), but I am the one front and center. So I pretty much have to create my own attention. Look at me!

Well, my bike was finally perfect for the first time in a mtb race this year. Bega from City Bikes performed an emergency operation on the front suspension I blew out at Sea Otter and had the bike perfect for me just in the nick of time on Friday night. Unfortunately, my legs were not in nearly as good of condition as my bike. After a great start and riding up with the lead group for the first couple miles, my legs and body went on strike, and the rest of the race consisted of people passing me and not having any strength to chase it down. It was a really fun, but really technical course, with logs or rock gardens to negotiate pretty much all along. It beat me up in a new way. The last descent was incredibly fun - it was a rocky mud bath that felt great to splash through at high speeds on a warm day. I finished 11th, which I was happy about given my lack of strength that day, but disappointed that I didn't come into the race fresher. Last weekend my road team, HPC, had a team training camp in West Virginia that consisted of 10 + hours of riding up, down, and all around the mountains there. Apparently I didn't give my body ample recovery the week after, and subpar racing is the result. I still haven't quite figured out how to train just right. Learning.

Another picture #1

Another picture #2

another picture #3

another picture #4

another picture #5


With Love, From Mother Asia
Thanks , Dayna and Garrett, for our lovely Japanese gifts. This is the most stylin' tote bag I have ever seen. I take it with me everywhere, because the power is terrific and I always feel freer to use it than whether to use with what kind of use. You good people. Kansha shemashu.


Lorena places 15th at the U.S. Open

In her first "big time" pro road race Lorena placed 15th, in the money! Way to go Woman!

Pics will be posted in the future.


US Open Circuit Race
Check it out - the road race I am competing in tomorrow in Richmond is going to be on NBC Sports (Saturday, April 7, 2007, 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm EST). Although, I am not sure if they will actually show the women's race since the men usually get all the media...but hopefully there will at least be a few highlights.


Spring Break!

Spring break was fabulous! I got to do lots of bike racing and visit many of the people I miss so much in California. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera. So this is pretty much the most boring blog of text ever. All I have is a couple pictures from the Jeff Cup Road Race a couple weekends ago. I got third place, my best yet for a pro1,2,3 race. Isn't this picture beautiful? It was a really beautiful day in a perfect place to ride.

I got to meet my darling neice, Tori. She is a doll! Canon might have some competition for the best baby ever. And it was so much fun to have some good sister time with Rachelle.

I got to go mtn biking with Ralph on one of my favorite trails, often refered to as "Space Mountain", for obvious reasons. When I was driving away through the beautiful canyon near the trails, I was listening to my favorite cheesy music station, the Coast, and "This Used to be my Playground" came on the radio. It pretty much had me in tears. I love and miss that place so much!

It was a blast to hang out with many of my old Pepperdine friends - Rachel, Becca, Ryan, Whitney, Matt, Shelley, and Scott. Not much has changed; it felt just like old times. Becca and Ryan were as stoked to get Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pez candy dispensers from me (as gifts for their hospitality) as I would have ever expected. And how exciting to find out that Shelley is now expecting a baby!

It was also wonderful to see Dena and her new baby, Peri (so cute!), as well as my good friend Gina Vincent. It is such a blessing to have such great people in my life.


My Moment of Truth (and the longest entry ever)
Actually, more like two and a half grueling hours of truth. My first big pro mountain bike race. For the last month, all I had to do was think about the race and my palms would sweat, my heart race, and suddenly, I really had to find a bathroom. Yeah, I get that excited. I think I’m so calm and collected about this whole racing business, but my body tells another story.
The cross country race was a gas! But more-so in hindsight. During the race I remember being so tired I was worried that if I hit one more downhill rocky section, my arms would give out and I would eat rocks. Thankfully, I managed to stay upright and my worst peril was hitting a cactus when trying to pass someone. I’ve yet to pick out all the needles that broke off in my hand. I think it is funny that after my legs carried my body over thirty miles of dessert terrain, it was the muscles in my arms and back that were screaming at me. Guess I still need to work on upper body strength…it was a major limiter to me.
Okay, so this cross country race was what I considered my moment of truth. This is what I have been training for. They called up 72 women to the starting line, and being my first race with this category, I was called up way towards the back. I knew it would be important to move up as much as possible in the short few hundred meters before the start of the single track, so I busted my butt ahead of as many girls as I could, finding good lines and moving up to the middle of the pack by the time the trail went skinny. I was stoked! Riding full speed tightly behind a group made me blind to the trail though, and the next thing I knew, I hit a ditch really hard – enough to knock my seat loose and pointing up – a position I knew I could not ride in for the next 29.5 miles to come. So I had to move off the side of the trail to fix my seat. Standing there in the dust of the racers as they all sped by me almost gave me a nervous breakdown. I felt like my race was ruined because I was not smart enough to swap out my faulty seat post before the race (I’ve had the same problem before). Well, I quickly realized that that was a totally lame attitude to have. The repair took just a little over a minute to fix, my attitude about thirty more seconds, and I was back to full speed. I figured that if this happened to anyone who was actually any good, they would be back into the race in no time. So I tried to be that person. It took me about 10 – 15 minutes to get out of last place, and from that time, I made it my job to just keep passing as many people as I could. That is a fun way to race. I would catch someone, or a train, draft for a while, and pass. I was on the hunt. The only detriment was the times when it was tight and technical so you couldn’t pass someone going more slowly. Although, my body did enjoy the few minutes of relaxation when I knew it just wasn’t possible to get ahead, and I could just use the moment to catch my breath till it was go time again. Each time I passed someone, I was encouraged. I was happy to know that I belonged in that race. I have felt very sheepish and almost embarrassed when people ask what category I race, to have to answer “pro”. Of course I am totally stoked about it, but at the same time pretty insecure. I feel like I’m making a statement when I say that, but really I know I’m not even in the same league yet as the girls I really look up to. But anyway, it was great for me mentally – each time I passed someone my confidence grew.
After mile twenty I could feel myself really fading. I contemplated how tired my arms were and the reality that they really might buckle under a tough section and cause me to crash. That I was already not in a very impressive position anyway, so maybe I should just call it quits before the last lap. But I would never actually do something like that. I had the people at the feed station pour their cups of water on me as I rode by (it was in the 90’s, and cacti don’t offer much in the way of shade) and I passed a couple more girls, and that helped me keep going. It reminded me that everyone starts to fade after working so hard in the sun. So it was okay, as long as I just faded less than everyone else. And I really concentrated on my downhill technique so that my legs would absorb more of the shock and save my arms from going out on me. Two miles away from the finish I knew I could make it, so I put in a last ditch effort and passed two more girls before the finish. So even though my 45th place finish didn’t exactly put me on the next cover of VeloNews, there were 72 riders at the start, so I was happy with myself. And leading the race were Olympians and world champions, so I was actually pretty proud just to ride in their dust. I rode at a new level that day, improved my downhill technique, worked on my mental toughness, and learned I need to do more upper body work. And learned I need to hire a personal masseuse (in my dreams). And I now know more than ever to be fully, fully prepared – if something can go wrong, it probably will. And I also know that I belong in that race. I can do this!

Okay, the other half of the experience was a little less exciting. The night before the XC race was the downtown dirt criterium that started at 7:30 pm. Yes, that’s right, p.m. So I had to live with my nerves all day long. But I used the time to make sure I was perfectly prepared. But, of course, there is no such thing as perfectly prepared. My first “uh-oh” moment was when I went to put in my special night lenses in my new sunglasses. Well, apparently these lenses were made for someone with two right eyes. That makes no sense, but you get my point. It was only a minor annoyance, because at least my clear lenses would work decently for the night (the course was very, very dusty). Crisis averted. Well, then I go to turn on my Garmin bike computer and it would not turn on. In my frustrated state I could not remember how to reboot it, and randomly pushing buttons harder and harder and harder did not do me any good. It also did not respond to my verbal pleas for it to work. I felt so alone without my little computer. Oh well, I still had my legs and my bike, the two essentials. I did my warm up, got off my bike to stretch before lining at the start, and as I went to roll it forward – it would not roll! The front break was locked. I was in a frenzy! I tried to check the brake cable, but the race was ready to start at any minute and I didn’t have the time, or state of mind, to figure out what was wrong. I found that if I manually pushed the brake forward, it would release, but I would have to remember that every time I used the front brake that race, or remember to just not use it. I repeated this to myself about 10 times, but as soon as the gun went off, I completely forgot. It was clamped up just enough to slow down my momentum, but not so hard I couldn’t pedal. I completely forgot about the issue until the race was over and I was pedaling more slowly. And the race was short lived. They pulled everyone in danger of being lapped, and that turned out to be about 75% of us (to my estimate). The laps were very short, under a minute per lap. So given the amazing level of competition, most of us never stood a chance. And given the fact that I would have been pulled from the race anyway, my brake issue turned out to be a positive thing. Otherwise, I would have been in the race for a few extra laps and then got pulled anyway – just wasting energy that was better saved for the cross country race the next day. All in all, I just thought it was cool to get called up to the start line with the women I have read about for years in magazines. I was parked next to Kathy Sherwin, so we chatted, and Allison Dunlap was hanging out with her. And I even got a word from world champion Allison Sydor (okay, only because she had to squeeze past me when they called her up to the start). I was pretty stoked just to be there. I’m glad I have a wonderful husband who booked this whole trip for me.

As a side note to this already way too lengthy entry, I feel like I am satisfying my 12-year-old spirit with this experience and those to follow. After the first time I had to run the mile with my 7th grade P.E. class, my P.E. teacher, Mr. Leverson, (whom I loved) sent me a Halloween “candy-gram” complimenting me on how fast I had run. He wrote “you must have had the ghoul’s breath at your heels.” I had no idea what that meant. But I got what he was saying, and I remember that night dreaming of becoming a pro athlete. I thought that would be the coolest thing to ever do. But it never quite worked out for me to get to that level in mainstream sports. And now I’m kind of realizing a piece of my dream in what I’ve loved to do most since I was a kid – ride my bike. And that probably helps explain my love for cycling. That’s a small piece to my obsession. But enough already. I’m waxing cheesy, so it’s time to stop.


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