Holy crap, a lot has happened since I last blogged. I graduated with a Biology degree from Santa Clara University, I’m racing as a neo-pro this season for NOW-Novartis for MS Professional Women’s Cycling Team, oh.. and I now just admit that I’m too lazy to actually write blogs. That said, I’m going to set this blog up in a Tumblr fashion – mostly photos, photoshop, and videos. I hope you enjoy!
Last post I was training to become a BAMF. Nationals went well but still no gold medal to my name. I have one more year of U23 so you can bet I’ll be 100% motivated to give it my all this off-season and give it one last whirl next June. This year’s time trial was the event that I was most looking forward to but when the big day came, I just didn’t have a good day. No excuses, I couldn’t have gone one second faster with the legs that I had that day. That said, I still came in 3rd, a minute and a quarter behind the winner. For the 43 minutes that I was out on the 18km course, my heart rate averaged 204 bpm due to the combination of hard effort, 95 degree temps, and perhaps a bit too much espresso but, nonetheless, the legs could not match the heart.
After the time trial, I went up to the USACycling desk to ask if the U23 Women would have a podium presentation later that evening. The official then told me that that was a good question and it would have to depend on how many medals the top hauncho had brought. I waited for the answer and was told that there would be a podium for all categories, including the U23 Women. Thus, I kitted up and went to the Hooters equivalent of the South that evening where the day’s TT podiums were being held. I waited for an hour while the juniors were awarded their medals and jerseys only to hear the women’s U23 National champion being called to the podium, i.e. not silver through 5th place as was the case with ALL other categories. Needless to say, I immediately bizounced the hell out of there. NOT cool.
Friday night’s crit, I was still feeling the effects of the hard TT effort the day before. I didn’t do much in the crash-marred race and wound up finishing 5th in the U23, 18th overall in the pros.
Sunday’s race was an 85 mile rolling race. I stayed toward the front for most of it and had surprisingly good legs. An early move of 8 riders went off the front in the first lap but eventually the remnants were pulled back by the fifth and final lap. The race wound up coming down to a field sprint, thwarted by the only significant power climb on the course. I wound up getting 18th overall in the pros and 3rd in the U23 while ultra-teammate Ruth Winder got 10th overall and 2nd in the U23.
With the lack of podium presentations, in order to recognize our great sponsors and future development, I’ve taken the initiative to create my own photos:
U23 Women’s Time Trial National Championships (June 21, 2012)
L to R: Ashley James (Now-Novartis), Jessica Prinner (ABD Cycling Team), Kaitie Antonneau (Exergy 2012), Maura Kinsella (Vanderkitten-FOCUS), Danielle Haulman (TIBCO)
^Dani forgot to take off her helmet for the podium shot. #newb
U23 Women’s Criterium National Championships (June 22, 2012)
L to R: Ruth Winder (Vanderkitten-FOCUS), Kendall Ryan (TIBCO), Sam Schneider (TIBCO), Jackie Kurth (Primal MapMyRide), Maura Kinsella (Vanderkitten-FOCUS)
U23 Women’s Road Race National Championships (June 24, 2012)
L to R: Jackie Kurth (Primal MapMyRide), Ruth Winder (Vanderkitten-FOCUS), Sam Schneider (TIBCO), Maura Kinsella (Vanderkitten-FOCUS), Grace Alexander (BYRDS)
On a different note, I spent the past 10 days in France with the fam on vacation. While the first 5 days were spent in the bustling city of Paris, the last 5 days were spent in the Alps where I rode in L’Etape. L’Etape is a race/ride of 9,000 participants along the exact route of Tour de France stage 11, which just so happened to occur on my 21st birthday. Call me crazy but instead of taking 21 shots, I decided to ride my bike for 9 hours, covering 110 miles total and 16,000 ft of climbing.
Now I certainly don’t claim to be a climber, but I actually felt surprising good up until about 10km to go on the final climb up to La Toussuire. Although I’ll have to push myself much harder to stay on wheels at my upcoming NRC race, Cascade Classic, riding L’Etape made me more confident since I know that there will be no climbs as long or as hard in Oregon as there are in the Alps.
Au revoir til post-Cascade… onward and upward! (pun intended)
Step 1: Catch on: #Stylewatts.
Tweet it. Live it. Some of you may have noticed that I’m starting to have a bit more of a presence in the sprints of some big pro races: 10th at the NRC Presbyterian Crit in Charlotte, 11th at Sea Otter, 4th at Dana Point. With a Vanderkitten kit, Focus bike, Vittoria shoes, custom Kask helmet, and Smith sunnies, it’s hard not to go fast. Normally, I wouldn’t consider myself a sprinter but this season has reinforced my beliefs that sprinting is 90% aesthetics and only 10% muscle. Thus, if you want to increase your lactate threshold in the least painful way possible, practice your swagga and practice it daily. Quality time in front of the mirror will pay dividends to your performance.
Embrace the Ultr4 lifestyle.
^Word of caution: That is not me raising my hand in first place but a Canadian trackie (i.e. Style watts can only compensate so much for real watts)
Step 2: Milkshakes are the new spinach. Don’t neglect them.
For the past two years that I’ve raced Mt. Hamilton, I’ve always been dropped in the first mile (the first 18 miles are uphill). This year, though, I was determined to make it over the top with the leaders and so I suffered my way up and stuck it out all the way to the Queen of the Mountain with the lead group of 10ish riders. All of that salad-eatin’ had finally paid off! Unfortunately, only a few miles later, the scenario I had never anticipated occurs. I am dropped on the descent. I’ve given out a million and one good excuses for such an embarrassment (my brakes were too bad, my brakes were too good, the girls kamikaze-ing it down the side of the mountain are clinically insane), but I think the only one that I’ll be satisfied with is that I hadn’t had a hearty milkshake in far too long. Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s off to In n’ Out we Go!
^MKelis doin’ it better. I can teach you but I’d have to charge.
Step 3: Win a bike race and do it in style.
Now anybody can just sit in all race and sprint at the end (I can’t), but a win is so much more glorious if one has been agonizing off the front long enough for a crowd to start hootin’, hollerin’, and hecklin’ around the course. On Memorial Day, I went to Morgan Hill to participate in the one-mile long criterium course that the Pro12 women were racing around for 50 minutes. I stayed pretty well concealed in the peloton while my teammates, Starla, Courtney, and Vanessa, attacked off of the front and kept the pace high. With 6 laps to go, the peloton chased after a group of 6 that had gone up the road and reeled in five of them. Right then, I felt a lull in their sense of urgency and I attacked to the right with everything that I had. I caught up to the lone girl ahead and we worked really well together, sharing the workload and railing it. We only were holding a 15 second gap or so and with 1 to go, we were down to 7 seconds. I didn’t pull on the penultimate straight away at all but my breakaway mate wasn’t going to let the peloton catch us. At the last corner, I could feel the field breathing down our necks and I stood out of the corner, put my head down, and sprinted with everything that I had for the final 300 meters. The peloton was so close that a racer who had sprinted out of it, thought that she had actually won and posted up. But alas! ‘Twas I who crossed the line first! It was a crazy, suspenseful, beautiful way to win a race if I do say so myself.
Step Four: Win U23 Nationals.
You’ve completed the first 3 steps and you’re almost there. You’re the virtual national champion based on the USACycling Race Predictor but now you need the real championship. You need to go to Augusta, ride your heart out and lay it all on the line. Then you will be a BAMF.
*Since this is a “family blog” (ie. my grandmother reads it), you may urbandictionary this term at your own discretion if you already are not on the “in”.
photo cred to Jim Maher, Dale Tapley, Thomas Preisler
This past weekend was our team camp in Santa Cruz, CA. Look out, world, a bigger and badder Vanderkitten-FOCUS is on the prowl for 2012. I’m realllly excited for this upcoming season.
Here’s a little of what we’re all about:
Always keep your swagga lookin’ hawt:
^Pick me out?
We’ve got Trading Cards:
^worth at least 3 Charizards.
Now this may look like your normal, super aero helmet…
But this ain’t average, this is KASK (i.e. Krazy Ass (light)Saber Komponents)
^Some may call it an unfair advantage, but I call it innovative. Plus it’s UCI-legal.
Dope coffee runs.
Lookin’ tough at our team presentation on Saturday.
And thanks to Cyclingnews, now the entire world gets to meet our team:
^Intimidating, I know. Future husbands… holla.
And with every Vanderkitten team camp comes a new batch of photos and dozens of friend requests by old men. Bring it on.
This past weekend was the first time I’ve ever been to LA and I have to say that I’m quite taken aback that my passport wasn’t checked on the way in; sayonara, Sanity, see you in a few days!
While a 6 hour drive with two freshman boys may sound like the best time ever, I was quite pleased to finally arrive at our destination in Glendale in the early evening. However, while warned of Glendale’s nickname, Little Armenia, the name didn’t take residence until I saw one of my car-mate’s precious childhood photos:
The next morning, after a troublesome night’s sleep with one eye open, I begrudgingly awoke to my 4:30am alarm and slammed some oatmeal as we hopped into the car to drive to the UCLA road race held an hour away in Palmdale (interesting tidbit: Palmdale’s only claim to fame is its production of Afroman).
^Much to my surprise and demise, I realized, “Yowza, they have actual mountains here!”
However, we were not making good time since my car-mates’ Mens Bs race started at 7am and the Garmin said that we wouldn’t arrive until 6:55am. To this news, the boys unanimously agreed that if they didn’t have time to hold a proper meeting with Mr. Johnny before the 7am rollout, they weren’t going to race.
^Thankfully, it turned out to be an “and” situation rather than an “or”.
The Road Race had 6000 ft of climbing in 50 miles, reeking of pain, suffering, and a little self-pitying thrown in for good measure, but that might just be me. Worse still, all of about six Womens As came out to race, which makes my 2nd place result sound not as awesome, especially since 1st place’s Dani of UCDavis finished an entire 5 minutes before my chasing ‘group’ of two (myself and a UCLA girl, Lisa).
Sunday, the crit was cancelled due to street permit-loss so they replaced it with a 5-mile hill climb and street sprints. Now, you must be thinking that gives both the climbers and the sprinters their time to shine, but it sure does make us lackers of top-end on either side of the spectrum look quite bad.
Don’t worry, though. Despite being consistently 2nd place this weekend, my confidence didn’t get too disheveled as I came out of the weekend as number 1 in the West Coast Collegiate Conference. BOOOYAH! Needless to say, you should still expect to see my name on the ballot this upcoming November 6 (see previous blog entry)**
After that thing that I kinda like and sometimes do that all of my mental and physical energy goes to was over, I was able to find out what LA really has to offer:
1. Yuppies buying into the industry of “cool”*
*if you got that Almost Famous reference, you are now my new best friend.
2. OMG, CELEBS!!!! As surprising as this may sound, we don’t have many celebrities back home in good ol’ Missouri so I did what any good LA-newcomer would do – celeb-hunting in Hollywood.
^Biebs and Ronnie of Jersey Shore spotting 12 o’clock.
^Probably worth the lice. C’mon! TWO Johnny Depps for the price of one.
3. LAians are resourceful.
4. …and accepting of all peoples.
Could it get any better? A weekend full of racing topped off with a little Hollywood.
** As President of the United States of Amurrica, I promise to no longer provide federal money to that southwestern region of this great country that is Los Angeles.
This year I’ve decided to do some collegiate racing in order to 1) get more racing days on the calendar and 2) to give the ol’ Stars and Bars another go at Collegiate Nationals this coming May in Ogden, Utah.
-1 : there are absolutely no photographers at collegiate races.. so it makes blogging a bit trickier and I’ve had to create my own..
Jeff is a freshman law student at Santa Clara University after having gotten his undergraduate degree at UCDavis, and has now taken it upon himself to become the captain of the SCU cycling team. Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Jeff races in the collegiate Men’s B category, whose road races just so happen to start only 5 minutes before the Women’s As. So, hypothetically, if the Women’s As are cranking along and the Men’s Bs are taking time to smell the roses, a bridge up to the Bs would mean I would acquire 3 SCU teammates .
However, if this happens, Jeff is in a pickle because if he helps his girlfriend, Dani ( a racer for Davis’s Women’s A Team), he’ll get his head cut off for treason…
but if he works for me, he’ll get castrated for working for someone other than his girlfriend.
Thankfully for Jeff, however, the Mens Bs raced an extremely aggressive first lap and thus, Jeff will be able to keep his head and his ballz for one more week. Phew! But who knows what will go down at this upcoming collegiate race weekend in LA.
3rd reason for racing collegiate : to serve as an ego-booster. And ego-boost it did. Woop Woop! Sunday’s criterium saw a few of us starting the race out hot and dwindling the group down to 7 riders. For the finale, I then busted out my sprinting legs (lol) and won the sprint with a bike throw.
^Unfortunately, the only picture that I’ve found from the race makes it look like I did not win
Nonetheless, I know it was only a collegiate race and it’s only the beginning of February and people aren’t on top form yet so dontcha worry, I won’t let it get to my head or anything.
4th reason for racing collegiate: to have fun. I don’t know how many times former-collegiate racers have told me that I “just have to” race collegiate and now I know why. It’s road racing without the stodginess of regular USAC road racing. We’re all just early 20-somethings lookin’ to have a good time and race some bikes.
It may look just like normal racing…
but really, this is what’s going on here:
There ya have it, 4 reasons for racing collegiate.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog in which I divulge this upcoming weekend’s trip to LA (first time!)
Disclaimer to future employers and grad schools – I’m not crazy, I’m just creative!
So I’ve been informed that if I become an uber successful blogger, I may be able to get my very own Clean Bottles so here we go:
This past weekend was the inaugural race of the season: the Cherry Pie Crit in Napa, CA. For those of you who don’t know, this race is about a mile long and exhibits windy sections, a chicane, a 180 degree turn, and a nasty little kicker to the finishing sprint. All of the local top guns come out to test their fitness outside of zone 2 and to judge who’s been hitting the cookie jar a little too hard over the off-season (thankfully, however, most people are still in their last year’s kits which have by now stretched appropriately).
Before the race, I stayed at my teammate Starla Teddergreen’s house in Mill Valley, CA. As a naïve Midwesterner succumbing to the lure of California, Mill Valley is what I imagined California was going to be like. The sun, the Bay, the farmers’ markets, the rich folk. But instead, I’m stuck in San Jose (aka San Francisco’s idiot step-brother). In Mill Valley, we even wistfully rode singlespeeds (so cali.) to ‘downtown’ where at one point I was spinning 200 rpm just to keep up with the tandem that Gino and Starla were on. Perfect leg-openers for the proceeding day’s race.
Meet the first Manderkitten, Gino Zahnd, CEO extraordinaire. Star- he’s a keeper!!!
The next day, a few hours before the Cherry Pie race, I went on a really intense ride to the coffee shop and back with Gino, Starla, and Cal-Giant’s Rand Miller. All of about 30 minutes total, which included stops for flats, chats with cross nemeses, and even time for a little “Brokebike mountain”<Winner of Caption contest> action as well.
“Berries and Cream” may also suffice.
Onward to Napa, after warming up dancing seizing before the race, I lined up to the start/finish where I tried to put on my toughest face to intimidate the other teams.
Alright, fine – I need Starla to give me a little Edgy 101.
^Eek! If that glare doesn’t make you pee your pants a little then I don’t know what will.
Anyway, like I was saying, on to the actual race. Now, I’m not a pie girl myself, but to win a pie makes winning so much sweeter (cute, right?). For weeks, I’d been cleaning every fork in my kitchen for this race because I knew we had it in the bag as the pre-race sensations were pleasing.
VICTORY! While ladies were trying to steal our thunder left and right, VK rose to the occasion with the big W. I like how in the norcalcyclingnews article, I’ve been completely deleted from Ruth’s very own words to the interviewer. Obviously ‘imager’ wasn’t in the race because if he had been, he’d have known that I was ripping legs off the last 1 km (after taking the reigns from VDizzle) to provide an epic leadout for Ruth (i.e. Ruth won).
^Look at the fierce look in Ruth’s eyes. Don’t mess with the best. Top gun this one.
This is basically how it went down in the final 150 meters:
Word to photographers: can’t y’all spread out a little? While it’s awesome that there are 100 pictures of the Start/Finish line (as there should be), those of us who will never win a field sprint to save our lives would like a little love on the backside of the course. C’mon! There’s 700 meters each lap that you don’t even witness, and in those 700 meters, I’m killing it (honest, I am!)!! Like this (different race, same jist):
*Take-home message* Give the attention whores the due respect they deserve! (and if not respect, then at least more pictures)
Til next time…
I’m pleased to announce that KASK helmets has joined next generation of awesome by signing on as Vanderkitten’s latest sponsor. In the 2012 season, Kask will have a whole new line of VK helmets of which part of the proceeds will come directly to the team. I had the pleasure of trying on and riding with one of their helmets and I have to say, it’s one of the greatest helmets I’ve ever tried on. It’s light, has leather straps, fits the noggin perfectly (Ultr4 protection), is Italian-made (mega euro), and last but not least – it’s very stylish. I’m very excited for this new sponsorship and I can’t wait to see what great designs KASK has in store for us! Thanks KASK for supporting women’s cycling!
sorry for the lack of blogs lately… school’s killing me with the 20 credit hours and 10 hours of extra lab and volunteer work I’ve subjected myself to this quarter. Pre-med + Bike racing = NO FUN CLUB x2. Needless to say, my time management skills are in full throttle.
Hopefully, i’ll be able to give a decent blog post within the next week. Stay tuned.