Monday, July 12, 2010

Where did the past month go?

I’m not quite sure, although I know there was a lot of riding and flying. Life can be a little tumultuous and I think I can safely say that definitely applies to the past month.

And there are some parts of it that are likely best left at that here.

Down to racing.

Gatineau was a fun weekend of racing. It’s always fun to get to ride on the National team, reppin’ the maple leaf in Canada. It doesn’t happen very often. The TT was a pretty flat, power course out on the highway. Not too much exciting on the course; just one to put your head down and suffer. I ended up 15th with a decent ride. Maybe got a little over excited at the start and the way back wasn’t quite as downhill as it seemed pre-riding, but sometimes that’s inevitable. I had my follow car yelling squad to keep me going over the last couple kms…not that I could hear them much. The road race was pretty aggressive, which made the course a lot harder than it seemed although still not selective enough to create any real divisions in the pack. With a round a bout to negotiate in the last ~300m we kind of knew someone was likely going to be losing skin at the finish and the inevitable happened with an Aussie at the front taking it a little too hot through the 180 bend. She ended up wiping out the HTC Columbia train, plus a few others and holding up a bunch of us. Joelle Numainville got through for the win, which was awesome…always good to have a Canadian scooping up the UCI points and W on home soil and we had a few girls in the top ten too. I think I rolled in for 17th or so.

I had a few days in Ottawa before heading down to Nature Valley so I got to do a little visiting and some tourist-ing, which doesn’t happen that often. Went through an interesting exhibit at the National Art Gallery (check out Leah's blog picture background for our own art), hit of the Works for some delicious burgers and did a little other wandering.

Next trip was YOW-YYZ-MSP for Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minneapolis. I’d never been to Minnesota before, but for some reason I was surprised by how nice it was. The race started off well with a decent ride for me in the prologue, and then staying out of trouble in the first crash riddled crit. It’s never really a good sign when they’re pounding filler into the holes on the corners twenty minutes before the start. The next stage was cancelled on the start line due to tornado warnings. That’s a first. Race went a little off course for me after that. Didn’t feel great ½ through the next crit and I guess I did something to my stomach it wasn’t so impressed with. Got through the road race the next day but spent the day of the Stillwater Crit curled up in bed. Thankfully, we had awesome host housing.

Next up: Edmonton for Nationals. I thought I had made travel progress westward but for some reason the flight path took me back through Toronto. Oh well, got me a little closer to my goal of achieving Elite status this year.

Nationals was a little underwhelming I guess. First time since I started bike racing 5 years ago I haven’t medaled in one of the events. I just wasn’t quite on in the TT, although I wasn’t totally shocked by that. Scraped together a near top ten for 12th overall and 4th espoir. The road race ended up how I thought it might when I first road the course back in May: sprint finish. Lex Albrecht of Quebec had a long day off the front, when she rolled off maybe 800m into the race and no one seemed to even notice. My race was made a little more exciting by some equipment issues. Big surprise there…my bikes seem to hate me sometimes. My bike starting making an awful noise part way into the race coming from somewhere in the drive train. It progressively got louder and louder, and more and more people started asking me what was wrong, but I couldn’t see where anything was rubbing. After going back into the cars once the neutral support told me my front derailleur had slipped down to that each tooth of my front chain ring was pinging off of it. I shot back up to the pack for one of the climbs and then returned back to the car for a little “out of the window, hanging onto the roof rails” mechanical adjustment. Past that there wasn’t much excitement. I tried to get away once but only stayed for maybe half a lap. Eventually the break came back, the race got a little faster and we sprinted.

I feel like that was a less than exciting time for a little more upbeat and exciting news. Despite the aformentioned Nationals, I had a stellar enough start to the season to get myself a spot on the long list for the 2010 World Championships. This was one of my major goals for the season so I'm pretty stoked on that. Means August is now fully booked with another block of Euro racing. How that goes will determine who gets to make the trip down to Aussie land for Worlds at the end of September.

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