Smith and Nephew/ Marx and Bensdorf Omnium Weekend

Wow… I’m not sure where to start. (You may want to get a snack before you sit down to read this)

Probably with last Saturday, when I jokingly asked Maggie Finley (triathlete and likely the fastest woman on 2 wheels in these parts) if she was going to race this weekend, and she replied that she planned on going to the Arkansas State TT. Fast forward to Wednesday. Casey Malone has convinced Maggie and Los Locos teammate Sue Wampler (a world-ranked amateur triathlete) to race on the Marx and Bensdorf Women’s team. Other women that she’d recruited for the weeknd included Cara, Joy, and myself. Originally, I was just around to help teach them some road racing skills and strategy- all of them are very capable athletes, but they just needed a bit of direction when it came to the mass start events, but later Casey asked me to race with them as well. Wednesday was our last time to meet up and ride together before the race.

I only had a few meet-ups with some of the girls before race day, and we mainly worked on pacelines, and I told them about various race strategies so that they’d have some sort of idea of what to expect on race day. We talked breifly about sprint leadouts, but I figured that until you’ve been in a few sprints, worrying about a leadout is one of the last things you want to be doing in your first race.

I was incredibly excited for the weekend, because just from a few rides, I could see that everyone involved had something to bring to the race. SO… here’s the report:

Road Race
Once again, the officials decided that they wanted to try and make us race with the 50-60 masters men, even though the race flier stated otherwise. Once again, we made a start line pact to roll slowly the first couple of miles and let the men have their race and we’d race our own. Those guys are notorious for chasing down the attacks of the women and dragging the entire field with them. Our race was also shortened a lap… which, in the 11:30 heat of the day reaching nearly 100 degrees without the heat index, was much appreciated.

The race was generally uneventful for the first half of a lap. Once we hit the rollers on a longer stretch about halfway through, we started popping off some attacks, though nothing stuck until the same place on the next lap, when Maggie rolled off of the front with the little sister of Jo Markam from Kenda tire. With a 2-“team” break going up the road, it was up to the others to chase. However, they didn’t really have the cooperation to do so. Maggie ended up dropping Lil’ Markam going up the steep hill about a mile before the finish line and winning solo.
So it was up to the rest of us to negotiate the field sprint for 3rd. Coming into the last turn, I told Casey (who can sprint like the dickens) to grab my wheel, and I got behind Sue and told her to ride a hard tempo out of the corner and as far towards the finish as she could go. She freakin’ ROCKED it. That gal is a freight train! Around 600 yards out, someone tried to attack up the right side of the road- I went after it in hopes that it would give me a few more yards before I needed to give Casey the slingshot. Unfortunately, the attacker died out quickly and I was left out in the wind to finish the leadout from about 500 yards out. I went for it like the 200m sign was my finish line, and managed to pull Casey away from the group far enough that she was able to take the loooooooong sprint up the hill for 3rd place. Gassed, I rolled in on the back of the group, cheering in excitement.

Time Trial
Your standard 4 mile out & back w/ rollers. I improved a lot from my time last year with an 8:46, and won. Woohoo! Too bad the TT omnium points aren’t very awesome, because getting 12th in the road race only netted 4 points to go with the 25 I got for the TT win. Overnight, I was placed 3rd overall going into the crit.


We had a solid plan for the race- Maggie, Sue, and I were going to play dueling banjoes with the group early in the race and have Joy, Cara, and Casey join in as the group tired later in the race. Apparently, some of our competitors caught wind of it and were plotting against us. I launched first, and was caught within a lap.



Next, Maggie came to the front a accelerated away. A couple of women attempted to bridge, but were discouraged when no one would help their efforts. Maggie got further and further away…


I was somewhat amused by what happened next. Rather than consolidating their efforts in an organized chase, our competitors chose to attack each other. Each time, someone in M&B kit was on it like stank on sh*t.


At one point while I was riding tempo on the front, someone tried to attack me when I sat up to take a drink of water


After that, I sat a few wheels back and let them play cat & mouse for a few laps. Eventually, coming out of turn 4, Jo Markam got frustrated after a failed attack and tried to encourage another person to pull through by slowing down and swerving to the inside. At that moment, I saw the planets in the counter-attack galaxy align and launched myself out into the headwind towards the start/finish.



I was hoping that I could bridge to Maggie and work with her, but instead ended up flogging myself for the remainder of the race to finish in a solo 2nd place.


You can see a lot more photos on Ryan’s Blog

Even with the 2nd place finish, my omnium standings remained the same (3rd). Two podium spots for the team! The race this weekend renewed my enthusiasm for road racing. Not that I want to go back into it full-bore, but I had more fun with this team than I think I’ve ever had at a race. It also helped that Jimmy Reed (the head honcho w/Marx & Bensdorf ) was incredibly happy with our performance and enthusiasm.


Ok, I’ve never been a total Lance Fanboy (fangirl?), and I’m still not, but I seriously cannot stop watching this video from the Tour of Nevada City Criterium.

This is Lance Armstrong attacking up a grade that’s reported to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 17%. I guessing by the way he nearly overcooks the corner that he’s traveling in excess of 25mph. The rest of the pro field is helpless. The best race report I’ve found is written by Chris Horner (Lance’s teammate).

Physiologically speaking, we can all try that hard and hurt that badly… he just goes so much faster when he does it.

Training for August

The past two weeks have yeilded over 43 hours of training- mostly road riding, but also some running and MTB riding. You’d think that I’d be ready for a rest day like today, but I’m pretty itchy to be doing something besides laundry and bike wrenching. This week, I’m gonna cut back a little bit so I can be ready for the Smith & Nephew/ Marx & Benzdorf Grand Prix. I’ll be picking right back up afterward, though, and let that race start another high volume training week that includes some higher intensity efforts on the bike and a little more running.

It’s all in an effort to ready myself for August. The schedule is looking like this:

8th: Bartlett Park Ultras (probably doing the 50k)
15th: Fools Gold 50/100 mile Mountain Bike Race (Goal is to be ready for the 100 miler)
22nd: Berryman 6/12 hour duathlon (Um, 12 hour… duh…)
29th: Devil’s Den Sprint Adventure Race (gonna seem like just a warm-up after the 3 weekends before it!)

So I’ve got to be well-adapted to performing 12 hours of strenuous physical activity in the heat. It’s going to be a killer month, but I think I’ve got a good start on my training base so far. I need to incorporate some longer runs in so that the running during the 1st & 3rd weekends doesn’t kill me too much.

Also, for Fool’s Gold and for the Berryman race, Ryan will probably be off road racing, so if anyone wants to go with and fill camelbacks/kick my butt when I get tired, then shoot me an email.

Memphis Pride Fest 2009

After I finished my 50 miler yesterday, I was in the middle of lunch when my friend Megan sent me a text message that I should join her and her girlfriend at the Pride Festival in Midtown. It sounded like an interesting afternoon since, even though I’m not a lesbian, most of my female friends happen to be.

I had a great time there… I met some of Megan’s friends, got into a water balloon fight, and then got some pretty good camera phone photos of the parade:










Medtronic supports gay rights!
Medtronic supports gay rights!
Megan & Ashley
 Ashley & Megan... cutest couple out there

If you see a photo that you like, you’re more than welcome to “steal” it, but I’d appreciate if you give me a link-back or other mention if you post it someplace. Thanks!

The whole experience was a litte bit crazy for me… let’s face it- I shave my head with clippers and a #5 blade guard. While I was there, most people thought that I was just another lesbian. I guess that in everyday life, that when you meet someone, you assume that he or she is straight unless they actually tell you otherwise. While I was there, I guess that the people I met just assumed I was a lesbian unless I told them otherwise. It was fun and thought provoking to live in someone else’s shoes for a few hours. I’m happy I went.

Video from Village Creek

Here’s a little video montage from the Village Creek Adventure Race. I’m not in the video except for a frame or two at the beginning, then again at about 2:00 in…


After washing bikes this morning, I thought up a fun plan for the day’s training. Jens was at Bikes Plus in Germantown getting a brake lever replaced (it wasn’t my fault! Warranty issue…), so I decided that I’d do a training brick (two or more activities back to back) and run to the shop then ride back home. I couldn’t fit my cycling shoes in my camelback, so I just wore my Saloman trail shoes, packed some flat pedals, and strapped my helmet to the back.

I didn’t set out until around 11:00, so yes, it was very hot and humid. It’s OK… there’s only one way to get better at racing in the heat, right? Along the way, I remembered that my dad had been bugging me to “help him” (read- do it myself under his direction) move a load of sand off of a trailer in his yard.

Side note: No one knows why Gerald felt compelled to buy 1 ton of red sand, but you can bet he got a good deal on it.

Anyway- the shop ended up being 11.5 miles away. I drank about two liters of water and ate a powerbar getting there. I chatted for a few minutes, refilled the camelback, and rode 3.5 miles to my parents’ house to move some sand. Surprisingly, it only took about half an hour. Afterward, my mom made a PB&J for me and I washed it down with a few ginger snaps and a dark chocolate truffle. I added some ice to my water and was out the door again to finish my day with a 15 mile ride home. The “nice” thing about riding back to my house from Germantown is that the last 4 miles takes you from the Wolf River up about 150 feet of elevation gain to my house. It’s not really that bad unless you preceed it with 3 hours of other activity, then it’s a bit of a hump.

Gotta clean up & go to the store now. Any suggestions for dinner?


A few weeks ago, I was debating what type of plants to put in the flower bed since the pansies were starting to look a bit tired. I finally decided that instead of just planting something pretty, that I’d go for a more “functional” route and plant some tomatoes. I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t grow well in the clay-ish soil in the bed, so I mixed some garden soil and a little fertilizer in when I planted them. Since then, they’ve actually done really well- I tied them up this morning:



I’m wondering (but not really caring) what the neighbors think. Hopefully there will be enough tomatoes to pass out to the surrounding houses to ward off any ill will!

TDL- the rest of the race

The time trial was a flat 3 miles… making it really fast. When we arrived at the TT start, it was hot and humid, and there was a nice tailwind. I found out that my start time wasn’t until 7:01pm, so I turned the car on and laid down for a nap. Eventually I warmed up and got going- by my start time, the temp had dropped a couple of degrees (it was probably a chilly 89 degrees), but the tailwind had died. I managed to roll a time of 6 min 40 sec. I may be showing my hand here, but average power for the effort was just over 300 watts. Woohoo! It was good enough for 2nd place (1st was a time of 3:36… I’m pretty confident that I couldn’t have done any better). My time was good enough to move me up to 3rd overall and, with just second separating the top 8 spots, guaranteed a battle in the Sunday criterium.

For those of us looking for a knock-down, drag-out crit, this one didn’t disappoint. A LaSport rider attacked off the start line. The ensuing chase shattered the pack and left six of us up front. All of us threw in some attacks at various parts of the course, which, despite my initial dislike, actually played well to my strengths of a couple of short power-hills and a long stretch of headwind. Despite our best efforts, the six of us stayed together for the finishing sprint.

For the last lap, my position was perfect- behind a Tiger cycling rider who is an excellent sprinter and was stuck at the front of the group in the long headwind before the finish line. When she started to wind up, I stuck to her wheel, then made my move. It could not have been more perfect- I accelerated and veered to her right to pass and win… until she also, for no explicable reason, veered to the right, nearly taking out my front wheel. Instinct kicked in, and instead of swerving from my line, which could have taken someone else out, I backed off for a second and yelled, to which she responded to by getting off my line… but it was too late- the hesitation allowed her to cross the line first with me about half a bike length back. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed. She apologized during the cool down lap, and luckily, even if I’d finished first, it would not have changed the overall results.

So it was just like old times… I finished 2nd to the infamous Debbie Milne (a.k.a. “Tupelo Debbie”). I figured out that road races are starting to bore me (even the more “lively” ones like we had on Saturday), and I don’t mind criteriums as much as I used to. I’ll probably still race the Memphis race (gotta defend my territory) in a couple of weeks.

Here are a few photos:

...and they're off!
...and they're off!
See those feet on the left (in front of my elbows)? That's an attack in progress.
Me- chasing after the first turn
Me- chasing out of the 1st turn and into turn 2
...and you're caught. No, you can't pull through. I'm gonna stay right here until I recover from that and figure out who is still behind me, wish I had the steam to counter-attack, and hope that Debbie doesn't...



The one & only


Back in the chase group, Casey expresses her frustration through her elbows
I'm going for the pass, but between this photo, and the next, lameness...