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Saturday, October 6, 2012

End of the season

Yes, It is the end of another season of racing, and now, I am in the middle of my two weeks 'off" the bike. Although it is very relaxing, and I know I should enjoy these couple weeks off, I can't help but think of my races this last year, which makes me think about the things I want to improve on, which makes me want to begin my winter training so I can become stronger, and that makes me think about how much I want next season to come around... NOW!

But that is not going to happen for another 5 months! Aliya, stay calm, stay calm, you can do this, you don't have to have everything happen at the moment you want it to happen. So DEAL!

So during this time 'off ' the bike my family and I picked up a new puppy, I am beginning to pack on the schoolwork so I have only a little amount when the 2013 race season comes along, and I am looking forward to some hikes!

.....

OK, here I go again, thinking about last season, winter training (Need. To. Get. STRONGER) and next season.

While I am thinking about all of that, I might as well talk about it. So here I go, rewind all the way back to February 19th 2012, Copper Town Circuit race...

My eye lids were heavy, I wished to fall back asleep, but couldn't. It was the first out of many times this year that I would wake up at a most abnormal hour, to drive 4 hours to somewhere. Yes, it was the beginning of the 2012 race season. I could not fall back asleep for that very reason. I was just so excited! February 19th was also the first day that I would race as a W3.

I had placed 5th, which was not bad for the first race of the year. And after that, the craziness began.
Race after race. Hours upon hours in the car. Back and fourth to the Bay Area. In the beginning of the season, my family and I drove over to Tucson, AZ for the Tucson Bicycle Classic. The courses are really awesome, and I look forward to racing it again next year! Other trips were to Monterey for Sea Otter, and Georgia for Nationals.

I have really adapted to the hours spent in the car. I enjoy it because of the time I spend with my family, the scenery (all though I probably have memorized every turn in the road, from here to the Bay Area), and the excitement for the upcoming race.

This season I have acquired meaningful experiences from the W1/2/3 fields. Especially races like Fast and Furious and Tour de Nez where I had great opportunities to race with pros from Exergy, Vanderkitten, and Now and Novartis.

Some people have asked me whether or not I feel burned out from racing. Although I am relieved that I get some time off the bike, the answer is a definite no. When I have made a  mistake in a race, or realized that I could have done something else to get a better placing, I never feel discouraged. I always want to continue to improve, and that is what drives me to keep racing. Because when I do learn from my mistakes, I am usually successful in a race, and I become pumped and want to race even more! So basically its this whole cycle: Make mistake, learn from mistake, succeed, get happy, race more!

Racing has really brought my family together, also. In all reality, how many families actually travel around the state and country just to race bikes!? We get to see cool places, and it's also hard to ignore each other while cooped up in that small area, might as well have a discussion! Racing has even extended my family. I have met some very cool people that have helped me learn and grow, as an athlete and a person. I can't thank those people enough, because I really love this sport, and want to advance in it, and  they have helped do so.

I am grateful for every conversation, all of the encouragement, and MOST of the teasing. Thank you everyone! And thousands of thanks to my parents, for driving me to races weekend after weekend. I know there are other things you could be doing, such as finishing the barn and working with the horses, but you continue to take me to races because you know I love it, and that I want to go far with the sport, and you guys love it too!!! : )

I will keep everyone updated!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dunnigan Hills RR

At Dunnigan hills RR last weekend, I had a really great experience, which became devastating at the end, but all in all it was great. I had a different feeling, a feeling of domination.
I must admit that I have never really had that feeling about races before, not until Dunnigan hills RR. I have never actually envisioned myself winning a race either, I was just out there to have fun and learn some cool stuff. That's why Dunnigan hills was different from most of my races, and it is also why Dunnigan hills was so devastating.
Photo Credits: Dale Tapley

The most difficult challenge that I've had to overcome, is being aggressive within the pack. There have been times when I've been pushed around and bumped, which caused me to feel uncertain, and retreat to the back of the peloton. That fear messed up some of my races. The last couple of weekends, I've overcome that fear, (I think riding in the Fast50, Chico's local race ride, really helped) and I really felt a difference at Dunnigan hills. It's a wonderful accomplishment.

 My goal going into Dunnigan hills, was to make a break. When that did not happen, I told myself if I wanted to do well, I would have to be in the top five riders when we hit the 2k point. When I was sitting 5th wheel at 2k to go, I knew that I could win the race. I was  feeling great. The lead rider began to go into the S turn right before the 1k mark a little too  tight, I knew it was a mistake before she skidded out and crashed off the side of the road... the roads were just so narrow. I too, began to feel my wheels slip out from underneath me, and I thought that I would crash also, I managed to stay up; but I had gone into the gravel. I attempted to catch back on for few yards, and then my tire flatted! :(

It's funny,a couple nights before Dunnigan hills, I had the best dream ever. In that dream, I was racing at Dunnigan hills, and I had that same dominating feeling. I had attacked several times, and finally created a break with a few other riders. I was feeling really good, and I was really close to the finish, but then my Mom woke me up, so I did not get to see how I did! At first I was a little mad, because I thought it would be so cool to see myself win, but now I am sort of grateful that my mom woke me up. That dream could have turned into a real harsh nightmare, like what really happened in Dunnigan hills!!!

Dunnigan hills was a really great race, even though I flatted, and now, thanks to Dunnigan hills, I really can't wait until Winters RR and Vacaville grand prix! I am just so excited to have that same feeling and energy in those next races. It's going to be fun!

I raced Suisun Harbor crit the day after Dunnigan hills. Which was also fun because I got to attack and cover attacks a lot. I ALMOST won a prime, I was a little disappointed when I did not get it because I think it was a cash prime! On the last lap, I could not get into a good position, and was a little tired, but ended up getting 9th.
Photo Credits: Dale Tapley

Tomorrow is District Road Race Championships in San Ardo! Then next week is Winters RR and Vacaville Grand Prix, I'll keep everyone updated on these upcoming races!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Way Back Then...

Lately, I've been fiddling around, knowing that I should (and need to) write a blog soon. You see, I can't write well, unless I'm inspired or have a brilliant idea. I've had a huge blank the last few weeks, and until today, I've had zero inspiration or brilliant ideas. After some intense Vilas repeats and a huge veggie
sandwich, I sat down at the computer and said, " I NEED to come up with something." I then stared at my computer screen for about ten minutes. All of the sudden it hit me with such force, BAM! A brilliant idea, at last! It came to me out of no where, and I was so astonished at my ideas brilliance that I said,"This is brilliant! I need to write this!" So here it is, a story about all of my racing stories (Well, not all of them, there is just to many) up until today. Remembering all the good and bad, all the rookie mistakes, bumps and bruises, victories and accomplishments; and that is why this blog is called 'Way Back Then'

It all began with this conversation:

Mark: "Hey! Aliya, Kaleb, there are these bike races called 'criteriums' at the Chico Airport... Wanna watch one."

Me: "Uhhh.. sure..." (thinking to myself: "Mark has gone off the deep end if he thinks I'M going to race a bike! Ha!)

Kaleb: "Sure!"

After watching some speedy looking racers one evening my thoughts changed.

Mark: "Well, would you guys want to actually race one?"

Me: "Yea!" (Thinking to myself: "Well this does not look to bad")

Kaleb: "Yea!!!"

So it happened, the beginning of my love for cycling, even though my first race was completely horrible (I was far from loving cycling at that moment), for some reason we continued to go race at the airport twice a week. I guess riding my bright, fire engine red mountain bike around in circles sort of grew on me after a while, because before I knew it, I was on a road bike and racing my first sanctioned race, the Chico Criterium!

Chico Criterium, '09
This was my first sanctioned race EVER! I had a lot of fun, and decided that I liked racing.
The following year I found myself at more and more sanctioned races. After getting my butt kicked at so many of those races by Katrina Howard, I decided that I was sick of it. I was going to train during the winter.


Cats Hill Classic 2010
Cats Hill Classic was my 2nd sanctioned race, and the first time I got to race with girls around my age.
When I first got on the podium, I did not know I was supposed to raise my hands, until Mark told me too...
That's why I look a little confused!!!

Districts 2010
I think I would have done better in this race, if I was not jacked up on caffeine. Right before the race
Mark gave me a little to wake me up because the night before I stayed up late.... well, it woke me up ;)
It was a big mistake!


Morgan Hill Criterium 2010
All I remember about this race was that the 13-14 girls had to race with the 13-14 boys, and it was hard!
 Katrina was my inspiration, and all through the winter I had the goal to become just like her. So I was sort of disappointed when she did not continue to race in 2011, but life and racing went on. At this time, I was really enjoying racing my bike. I had a huge,raging fire inside of me which continued to grow with every race. Its hard to explain the feeling, it more then just a big fire. Its more then just wanting to race, Its needing to race. You don't just want to eat and drink, you need to eat and drink, its part of survival.

 Basically, cycling was tattooed on my brain, and the ink was seeping all the way through it. It was always there, and still is, more prominent then ever. It probably will always be there, because I can't see myself doing anything else.
Why?
No matter how hard or disappointing a race is, I still feel like I need to continue racing, and improving the following weekend, because when I do succeed in completing my goal, and I perfect a race, I am so happy. It is very rewarding.
Cherry Pie Criterium, 2011
First win of 2011! The 13-14 girls had to race with the 10-12 boys. After the second lap I heard two of the 10-12 boys talking about attacking and dropping us girls... I laughed in my head, then thought yay right, then attacked and dropped them.


Cats Hill Criterium, 2011
Cats Hill again! Raced two races:13-14 girls and 15-16 girls, won both!


Cats Hill criterium, 2011


Morgan Hill Criterium, 2011
First women's 4 win!


Nationals, 2011

Dunlap TT, 2011


Cherry Pie Criterium, 2011

Davis Criterium, 2011
CRASH!
In 2011, my wish was to become pro, but did not expect to be racing with pros the following year.
 I watched Pascal Shnider win the Cherry Pie Criterium solo, then this year I raced with her in three races, Menlo Park Grand Prix, Tour de Nez, and Fast and Furious! Oh, I also raced with Allison Tetrick, and a whole lot of other Exergy, Vanderkitten, and Now and Novartis women, plus all the local racers and bridge teams. It is really exciting to race with these women, and even more exciting to be able to hang with them in a race. They are also awesome role models.

Cherry Pie, 2011

Menlo Park


Tour De Nez
One word: ow...


Fast and Furious
See me over there to the left, yay I'm looking at all those Exergy girls, and I'm a little scared...
 Last weekend, I had a super rewarding 3/4 race at Fast and Furious... 6th place! My legs were on fire, I attacked, and attempted to get in a break several times. After that, I managed to stay in with a fast and furious women's 1/2/3 race.

I would like to thank NCNCA for having such wonderful races! All of these races have helped me learn and develop into the rider I am and hope to become. Again, thanks to all of the women I race with, you too have helped me. I would like to individually thank Mary Maroon also, for being a wonderful mentor and an even more wonderful friend :)

After this successful weekend, I still have the fire/need to race, race, race! So I will be at Dunnigan Hills RR (WOOHOO) and Suisun Harbor Crit!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Curse of Davis (dun dun dunnn)

The Davis 4th of July Crit is my 'cursed' race. For three years in a row I've taken 2nd in the Jr race, and have always had some problem in the Women's race.

My first year (and also first time racing as a W4) I was dropped from the main field. I wanted to drop out of the race completely, so when I saw my step-dad, I gave him the 'This sucks, can I quit?' look, the response was a shake of his head while he pointed down the road. My lesson from this...put your head down and peddle and you won't be dissappointed with your results. The "results" being that I was glad that I didn't give up and I also didn't finish last.

First year at Davis, 2010



The next year, when I could compete in a W4 race and knew what to expect, I was unfortunate enough to have been caught up in a crash. It was unbelievably hot, someone rolled a tube going around the last corner, bringing a few riders down, one of those riders rolled in front of me which caused me to flip over my handle bars and land on someone elses bike. My feet came out of my shoes (which were still clipped into my pedals) and flew with my bike across the street fracturing a pair of borrowed American Classics. That was the only time I have ever had to drop out of a race (it sucked, both crashing AND dropping out).


See, no shoes, and the bike I landed on is not mine! Second year Davis, 2011
This year I raced the W123. I knew through all my experiences at Davis that I had to be towards the front of the peleton to be safe from crashes, and also to avoid the Yo-Yo effect that you get when you are on the back of the the pack. So I had a good position on the line. When the ref  blew his whistle, I clipped in perfectly with my right foot, but almost imediately after I pulled out of my left pedal. I clipped in, but pulled out again (sometime before the race, the tip of my cleat had totally chipped off, so its like walking in a shoe that is ten times your size, your foot slips out). Finally I was clipped in, sadly I had lost positioning and found myself in the place that I had most wanted to avoid, the danger zone, the back of the peleton.
 It was all out chaos back there, surge after surge, and those primes! All of those primes! Back to back primes, and even back to back to BACK PRIMES! My ears were literally ringing from hearing those bells playing there happy song of death over and over again. That ringing sound soon turned to sirens as my legs finally gave out, and I was dropped from the peleton.
I rode along contemplating whether I should drop out of the race or not, I thought back to my first year of Davis and remembered that Mark had me continue the race. So that's what I did this year. By the second time the pack lapped me I was feeling a little better so I caught on to the back of the peleton, but  two laps later someone in front touched wheels with another and went down. I did not go down, but had to slam on my brakes, and watch everyone ride into the distance, I was dropped again; but I kept on riding! With about five laps remaining, the field lapped me, I caught on and was able to finish the race without dropping out or getting pulled; but I was even more certain that Davis was cursed for me especially when Mark said to me, "Ya know... you could have dropped out!" You see, having a broken cleat is like having a bad mechanical problem with your bike. I couldn't even get out of my saddle to sprint and better my position in the peleton without coming unclipped....SCARY!

"Uggghhh" Davis 2012
I am happy to say that I had a great experience at the Little City Stage Race this past weekend! It was wonderful. I raced in W3/4, taking 4th in the crit, 11th in the TT, 6th in the most challenging (but fun) RR ever, and 8th overall. I defeated my largest problem in the crit, which is "MOVING UP" (a little inside joke), I had the best positioning and was always where I wanted to be.



Little City Crit
 I am so excited to race again this weekend, Lodi, here I come! : -)


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nationals 2012

We drove out to Nationals again this year, but had some exciting company for the drive! Mary Maroon, and Chris & Garrett Marking are now official road warriors! Instead of renting a hotel this year, we rented a lake house, that had kayaks and canoes, along with two golf carts (Sadly, we were all tired so did not get the chance to kayak or canoe, but we drove around in a golf cart before we left)! We saw some interesting things (A guy walking out of walmart with his hand on fire), and ate at interesting places (Walmart parking lots). We also learned some interesting stuff (That Walmart is where all the cool kids hang out, its like the mall! And it's the best place to buy fresh produce in the Mid-West)! Yes, the whole trip seemed to revolve around Walmart and the next bike ride, but we made it out to our lake house with good speed!

We stopped to ride in Arizona, Arkansas, and Alabama along the way. We were so lucky to ride in such beautiful places. We rode down some epic switchbacks on the way to Sedona in Arizona, we were chased by dogs in Arkansas (Everybody has dogs, and all of the dogs chase you), and saw the most adorable cows in Alabama. We rode by the 'Chat n Scat' Gasstation, and my Mom descovered the Piggly-Wiggly Grocery Store and found out that it did not suit our dietary needs, but thanks to Walmart we had fresh produce the whole trip! Everything we saw, and did, and all of the people involved really made this trip remarkable.

The weather this year in Georgia was much better than last year, it was still humid (thats a given though), but nothing I couldn't handle. All of my races were slightly cloud covered so it was not too hot. My first race was the road race. It was 55k, very short, but the course was fun! They changed the course, from last year. It was not much different, but I preferred it over the other one. The only difference was there were more rollers, which was great, perfect for attacking.I felt great throughout the race.. there were attacks on the rollers, but no one got  away. The lead pack was whittled down to about 15 riders at the end, and I finished 11th.

There is not much to say about the Time Trial, except I did pretty good for not practicing my Time Trialing much. I took 14th place. This is something I will work on for next year. The Crit was like the road race, just a little faster. The first lap started out with an attack from the line, I was stuck in the back but soon was able to move up towards the front. I had good positioning through the race, especially on the last lap until the last two corners. I let people pass me and was pushed to the back of the peleton. I finished mid pack in the end.

I am very happy with my road race result this year, I feel that road racing has been one of my strong points. I have always loved the challenge that road races give me, and I can't wait for some of the upcoming  races this year. Nationals has left me with important lessons to think about, and has had me recognize the things I need to improve. I was pretty bumbed that I did not do as well on the TT this year, so thats something I will improve on, along with pack skills, and riding a little more agressive (so I don't get pushed around). I am excited to do long slow distance work, fun mountainbiking, and more racing! I also will try out Cyclecross this year...



I have really enjoyed this trip, especially since Mary Maroon joined us... I feel that it was very cool to have a pro with us. She taught Garrett and I many things, like how to get the best room in host houses along with treating your hosts well so you can get an invite for next year, and that your behavior is very important, she also gave us some race tips. Mary was just so fun to be around. She took away some of the nerves, and gave me many things to think about. Better yet, she treated me as a sister. It was just awesome to spend time with Mary and get to know her better during our adventure to Georgia and back. I am so grateful to be around such awesome people right now! Thanks to everyone in the cycling community and all my friends and family who have helped, and supported me throughout the years. Thank you Edd at Chico Sports LTD and Specialized for being on it with my bike, also thanks to Mark Wade at the Bicycle Wheel for being so awesome to me. Big thanks to the best Director Sportif out there... my Mom, and my coach/Step-Dad!!! I could not have made it without you two!

Will keep everyone updated! :)





Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Its all good :)

There is lots to say... I will begin with my first race of the weekend.

One of the most fast, and fun races I've competed in is called the Folsom Criterium. The two factors that contribute to the fast speeds of the race were the smooth roads, and wide sweeping turns. The course is literally shaped like a 'D'. I raced the Women P/1/2/3, which had a huge turnout of 35 women! The pace was fast, and I had fun hanging in there watching the dynamics taking place. I had a mid pack finish at the end. It was nice meeting a couple new people at Folsom, and racing with friends!


Sunday my family and I left for Gilroy, since the San Jose Memorial Day Crit was the next day. We planned to have a fun day by the pool. That day turned out to be much more exciting then expected. My Specialized Dolce was recovered! Some lady contacted the owner of Carbon Lite Racing (my wheel sponsor) and asked about the price of the CLR A27 wheel set because, her friend new somebody who was selling a pair, and wanted to buy them... Well the owner of CLR said that there were only one pair of CLR A27's out there, owned by me. Long story short, she was the one who had the wheels, along with my bike, and quickly turned my bike over to the police station where we picked it up the next day. Hmmm.. If you are trying to piece off, and sell a bike you really shouldn't contact the owner of a small wheel company to find out the price of the wheels! Everything about my bike was normal except both tires were flat, and it looked as if someone had taken the back wheel off, and did not know how to put it back on... ER, PEOPLE! Anyway, I have my bike back and its in good condition along with my CLR A27 wheels, very happy about that. My Dolce is not retired yet, we have plans to make it into my Time Trial bike!

NOW, I will talk about the San Jose Memorial Day Crit! My first race was the Women 3, which started late and was cut short because of a brutal crash in the previous race. Not much happened for me, but it was pretty cool watching my friend Shannon (another Jr) take the win all because of cornering skills!!! After a long rest, I lined up again to race the Women P1/2/3 race. The wind had increased, causing some sketchy riding, but other than that it was fun! I tried to get into breaks, and stay near the front of the peleton. I had another mid pack finish.

Finally, I will talk about the Amira! Folsom was my first race on it, and I was very happy with the way it cornered. I was also happy that it did not take much adjusting to make it feel just like my Dolce! Everything felt the same.

This upcoming weekend is Dunlap TT, Distict/State Championships for Time Trialing. After that I will be at Folsom Stage Race... AND THEN NATIONALS!!!!  Will keep everyone updated!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Love and Loss and Gain




There is one thing that every cyclist fears, and that is their bike being stolen. Yes, bikes are expensive, but also think about how many miles you have ridden, how many hours, minutes, and seconds are spent training on your bike! Think of the victories you've had, the memories you've made. Think of that time when you wanted to chuck your bike of a cliff! You've crashed, bonked, and cried on your bike. Basically, you have lived most of your life on two wheels and a saddle. All of the memories that you have made, make your bike 'expensive' to you.

My Dolce was given to me from the Chico cycling community, almost two years ago. That was a very exciting day. Ever since then, I rode it like crazy. I spent thousands of miles in the saddle, and raced over 50 races up until the day it was stolen. If I could get it back, I would find some way to pin it up on my 'Wall Of Accomplishments' along with all of my race numbers, medals, and state championship jersey. Either that or I would give it to a little girl who is beginning to race, so she too, could ride it like crazy and make memories.

I was devastated the day my bike was stolen. All throughout the day I tried not to cry. Once though, during Spanish class, I did get teary-eyed. The girl next to me thought I was nuts, and gave me a strange look. I admit, I probably would think the same thing if she randomly began to cry. Anyway, that day was very stressful. A lot of things went through my mind. When can I get a bike? When will I be able to train again? Would I be able to race this weekend? If I did not get a bike quick, I would not be possible to train or race, which could effect me in the long run (It's a scary thought with Nationals coming up so quickly).

I want to thank EVERYONE in the cycling community (from Chico to the Bay Area) who offered to lend me their bikes. It is extremely wonderful to have so much positive support when such a negative occasion occurs. I feel so lucky to know you all :-))

                                                                

I am also very lucky to know such an awesome bike shop! Chico Sports LTD has helped me through thick and thin. They first helped me get my Dolce; now Edd Hamilton of Chico Sports LTD along with Ken McClenahan, Andrew Acaya, and Mike Sinyard of Specialized have helped to get me on a Specialized Amira!

Isn't she lovely! Isn't she wonderful! Isn't she precious!
 I am amazed with this bike, beyond words. I have tried to come up with analogies, but none of them actually compare to the real deal. Since my Dolce was not a race bike, the thing I'm most amazed with, is the stiffness of the Amira. Think of a roller coaster, when it goes around a corner, its very fast and smooth. The Specialized Amira is like that. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! Like the Dolce, the Amira is womens specific geometry, and again like the Dolce, it fits me like a glove. I am very happy to be on Specialized again.

I am real excited to race my Amira this weekend. I will be at the Folsom Criterium and San Jose Memorial Day Criterium. Again, thanks to everyone for all of the support.

More blogs will be up soon. :-))





Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flying Free

One of my favorite childhood books was 'Are You My Mother?' by Doctor Seuss. For all of you who don't know the book (or don't remember it), It is about a baby bird. He falls out of his nest because he wants to find his mother (who is getting food for him), the baby bird sets out on a search to find his mother, but is pretty confused because he does not know what his mother looks like. He asks kittens, hens, dogs, and cows if they are his mother; they all say no. He calls out to cars, boats, and planes; but they don't answer. Finally he finds a thing he calls a 'snort' (which is a big tractor type thing) and is pretty frustrated because he finds out that the 'snort' is not his mother either; but to his surprise, the 'snort' picks him up and sets him back in his nest! Then his mother comes with food, and they both live happily ever after.

You all are wondering why I'm randomly sharing this (Who cares that I liked reading about a confused bird when I was little, anyway?!) just hold on because this story has much more significance then you would think! Early in the season I felt like a lost baby bird looking for it's mother, well in this case I would be a lost person with a bike looking for a new team! After riding for Team TIBCO for a year, I thought it would be good to try something new. So off I went searching for something else. For a little while I was in a state of 'what should I do?' Should I ride unattached, or should I find a new team to ride with? For Sea Otter, I guest-rode with a team, but decided to stay unattached.

What's cool is I don't consider myself 'lost' any more, I'm just on my own. Actually, I think it will be pretty nice to be myself. A whole new learning curve, that I'm eagerly awaiting. Hey, flying solo can be sorta fun, I don't have to follow a color scheme anymore when I paint my nails! Plus, just like that baby bird, I have been placed right back in my nest. My nest being the place where my racing journey began three years ago... with myself :-)


By the way, If you need extremely wonderful wheels, please give Eric a shout at Carbon Lite Racing http://www.carbonliteracing.com/Carbon_Lite_Racing/Carbon_Lite_Racing_Products.html You can also find him on Facebook. He has generously helped me out with a wheel set, he is local to Norcal, he is awesome... GIVE HIM A CALL!!!

Expect some race reports from me later this month.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Today's Brain Workout (Aka my race today)



If someone asked, “What do you think is more significant in a race, legs or brains?” What would your answer be? Although legs are very important in a race, you definitely need those brains. Last season my Mom and Step-Dad would remind me several times that you can have the legs, but you will have troubles getting ANYWHERE without the brains, and they did not hesitate to drill it in my head during winter training also.
In a race, you need to think a lot. What is the peloton doing? Which way is the wind blowing? Is there a head wind? Tail wind? Side wind? How do I feel? What can I push today? And the list goes on. During different races there are different things to think about, but what I just named are the basics. So, as you all may know, today was my first W3 race of the season. My race, took a lot of thought and currently, I feel brain dead. But I guess it was well worth it.
The first lap, I pulled for a bit, when I felt like I should recover, I went to the back. Since this was my first race of the season and also my first W3 race on top of that, I did not expect much from myself. I was just feeling it all out, and going with the flow. The Copper town Circuit has one 180 degree turn, and a long, wide turn that sweeps around Copper town square. In between each turn are some small rollers.
Practice makes perfect, and today I realized that I REALLY need to practice cornering skills. The whole race I felt strong, my only weakness was when I cornered. When we went  through Copper Town Square on the end of the first lap, I was dropped. When we were back on the rollers I saw the group way out ahead, at first I thought, “Well, that’s that.” Then I was like, “No, that’s not that!” I picked my pace up and caught the lead group within that second lap. Thankfully, no one attacked during the period I was off the back.
The rest of the race I just tried to stay on a wheel. I had good positioning, I made sure I was hidden from the wind, but a few gusts still blew me around. My largest problem was those darn Jr. gears! I would get spun out on the descent, that was no big deal, but it became a big deal when women with their full gears ATTACKED on the descents! I was barely hanging on, plus the side wind was blowing me around!
I still felt great.  What helped me recover from my hard effort to catch the group was that I knew which way the wind blew and where the draft would be. That knowledge helped me when women attacked on the descents. It also helped me get 5th place in the final sprint.
So, let’s say the wind is blowing from your left, If you are on the right side of the peloton, you would get the better draft. It is so cool, it is  much easier and gives you a better advantage to place well in the final sprint and that is just what I did.
Well, that’s the scoop on today’s race! I’m racing Dinuba tomorrow! My legs feel great, let’s just hope my brain recovers!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Here we go...

My first race of the year is coming up! Only five more days, ONLY FIVE MORE DAYS! I feel like I'm going crazy! Everyone I know is already racing... and the only reason why I'm not yet is because is because most of the early races last year were rainy and I did not want to do to many races in the rain. OK, so far all of the races have been sunny, but it looks like my first race is going to be rainy! Darn it!

All winter I have been riding long slow distances to prepare for this season. I definitely feel like those long hours on the bike have paid off. Just  a few weeks ago, I added intervals. I think the weather also contributed to my training. This whole winter was beautiful and sunny. I rarely had to ride inside on the trainer. Not once did I have to ride in the rain.

Well lucky me, it is going to rain during my first race! Why?! All of those long rides have prepared me for the season, they have also prepared me for good weather! Why did it all of the sudden change? Now I'm looking outside my window with anger. I have to do a specific ride OUTSIDE today, and its raining. I know I should go out and ride in the rain to prepare myself for this weekend but I am still hoping the weather will turn. Oh well, it will make my stronger if I do ride in the rain!

Now for a more positive topic. You all are probably wondering what my first race is. It is..... (drum roll)........
Coppertown circuit race! The next day I will be racing Dinuba criterium! On the 25th I will be at Snelling RR, and on the 28th My family will be heading to Tucson, AZ for the Tucson Bicycle classic!

My busy schedule begins! Here we go!