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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.
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
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!