Here’s a quick peak at what I was doing in NYC several weeks ago. It’s just the trailer but the long version should be coming in early January! Great job by BrakeThrough Media and Panforte Productions – it was a real team effort. For more information on the series, click here.
PEDALING: NYC Trailer from Jim Fryer/BrakeThrough Media on Vimeo.
Jim Fryer of BrakeThrough Media put together this great video with Todd Wells on Women in Cross –
After the USGP wrapped up in Portland, we packed up our things into the giant Navigator and headed south to Bend where we set up camp for the week to prep for Cross Nationals. Anthony (affectionately known as Guido) rented a house for us so that we could chill, relax and stay focused while we prepped for the big weekend ahead. It was a great house, complete with a hot tub to keep us warm in the very chilly, snowy weather and a kitchen big enough to cook dinner for the SRAM, Specialized and Cyclocrossworld.com crew.
It was also the perfect time to cash in on a deal that Anthony had made me eons ago – if I won a big race then it was his treat for me to go to a spa. Road nats – cha ching. So, I booked a 90 min massage and 90 min facial at the Anjou Spa on Tuesday afternoon to help my body unwind after being on the “go, go, go” for the last several weeks. Ahhh, it was just what the Dr ordered.
The rest of the week was spent mostly at the course pre-riding, testing different equipment, and guessing how many times the course and weather would change before each of our respective races. Each day we’d ride the course and each day it would be different – icy here, muddy there, but never more snow. The conditions depended mostly on the time of day – icy in the early mornings and later afternoons and muddy midday. The forecast kept calling for a winter weather watch for the weekend, which kept REI and Helly Hansen employees busy restocking shelves after the hordes of racers and spectators frantically kept buying out their stock of gloves, hats and warm jackets, but the question was whether or not it would really hit Bend…and it never did.
The first race for the Berry team was the Jr 17-18 race on Saturday when Cody was on call to bring home the gold. Cody more than delivered – he raced cool, calm and collected to put a stamp on the Jr’s race by winning the race solo by 47 seconds. Next up was JRob in the Master’s 34-39 category – his first year racing in this group (he’s becoming an old man). Despite rolling a tire and having to chase for a couple of laps, Justin showed that he is not to be taken for granted when he quickly closed the gap to the leaders and crossed the finish line just seconds behind the winner. Had he had another lap, there’s no doubt JRob would have brought home another title for the Berries. Chance was the final Berry to roll to the start grid on Saturday in the U23 race, another race chock full of strong talent. Right off the bat there was a small group that had separated themselves from the rest of the field and Chance was right in the mix. Lap after lap Chance followed the moves of Danny Summerhill until Danny finally squeaked away to take the win, but Chance rode a great race to easily cross the line for 2nd. Three races and three medals for Cal Giant on Saturday, two more to go on Sunday – elite women and men.
I think that everyone was about ready to tie me up and shove me in a closet Saturday night because my nerves had hit me hard. I was a wreck. It’s not often that I get nervous for races anymore but it’s a different story in cross racing for numerous reasons. One, I had been riding strong the last several weeks so there were expectations (from myself and others) and I so badly wanted to deliver. Two, I had heard that race previews were saying that I might not fare well if the course conditions required any technical skill because apparently my “skills were still suspect”. Three, there is only so much preparing you can do in cross and the rest is left to lady luck. Would everything fall into place on the “big” day?
Once again we woke up to frozen ground early in the morning but with the warming temperatures and sunny skies, the ground began to warm and the ice and snow turned to mud. We lined up in the start grid, keeping our extra clothing on until the last second possible, and everyone was wondering who might give Katie a run for her money. I had a front row start but when that gun went off I totally botched up any chance of a good start by missing my pedal…as usual. I ended up about 8th wheel into the first turn and already had my work cut out for me, which meant I had to ride aggressively with my elbows out and my front wheel taking the lead into turns. I was passing rider after rider and what I remember after that is riding with LVG in 4th and 5th, riding away from her, catching Dunlap in 3rd and riding with her until she dumped it in a slippery corner allowing me to ride away from her. That left me chasing 2 women – Amy, who was riding in 2nd, and Katie who was in a league of her own in 1st. I kept the pedal to the metal and continued to gain ground on the little pocket rocket (Amy). She then slid out on a very icy section which helped me gain just a little more time. Just after coming off the tricky descent and onto the pavement I caught her, took a few deep breaths, and then jumped her on the finishing straight that led into the first turn. With just 2 laps to go I buried myself to maintain that gap on Amy but did nothing to put a dent in the gap that Katie had up ahead. There was little doubt from the beginning of the race that we were racing for 2nd, Katie would be tough to beat, but that was now solidified. Luckily I had enough left in the gas tank and had no mishaps to hold on to that 2nd place. I raised my hands triumphantly as I crossed the line, not because I had won the race, but because I had accomplished my own goal – finishing in the top 3. Needless to say, I was ecstatic with my race. The only disappointment was my start – what could have happened had I been in the top 3 from the beginning? I’m not saying I could have raced alongside Katie but how long could I have held her wheel? Ahhh, the what-ifs. Really, though, I was on top of the moon. 2nd place in my 2nd cross nationals – I’ll take it!!! I was all smiles the rest of the day. Now I could relax and enjoy watching my teammates and friends in the men’s race.
Both Nick and JRob lined up among the other 120+ men in their race. Nick was competing against the big dogs at nationals for the first time in his career after winning the U23 race at nationals last year. JRob is a seasoned veteran with a lot of experience, domestically and internationally, under his belt. He’s a legend! Off the men went, strung out around the course in no time at all. The race lead changed a few times until it was finally Tim Johnson who took the lead with several laps to go. He didn’t look back, didn’t even need to, as he easily rode away with the win. Not too far back was Nick who crossed the line in 15th and Justin who rolled across in 30th.
All in all, it was a GREAT weekend for the Berry team. The elite team alone took home a gold and 3 silvers, while in the Masters races Gina Hall won her age group and Al Coates was 2nd in his. Two golds and four silvers – saaa weeeeeeet!
Anthony treated us to a very nice team dinner on Sunday night before we let loose a little bit at the after party. Although we were celebrating an awesome weekend, I was sad to know that it was our last night in Bend. That little town definitely has a special place in my heart since I’ve won a gold and a silver in the road and cross national championships, respectively, there. But it’s also the cool, hip restaurants and cafes, the people, and the numerous outdoor activities which make Bend feel like home away from home.
Just a few days after getting home, the news became official that I had made the Worlds team! Two World Championships within 5 months…how cool is that?!
I suppose if I’m going to mention that I have a new site, I should post something…but there’s just so much to say since the last time I posted!!
Since I’m writing this on my iPhone while in the car to pick up my in laws at DIA (Ben is driving of course), I’ll give you the quick and dirty version.
Waaaaay back when I found myself on the podium for the first time at a USGP. It was the Mercer Cup in New Jersey on day 2 when I rolled across the line behind Katarina and Amy for 3rd place. It was a pretty exciting day for me since I proved that I CAN actually ride in the mud, too.
The next bit of racing on the agenda was Jingle Cross in Iowa Thanksgiving weekend. Luckily I was home to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with Ben and my neighbors before taking off the next day for Iowa. I’d heard all the stories about the epic and treacherous conditions at the race the previous year so I was ready for whatever was thrown at me. Fortunately the weather gods looked kindly down on us and while it was cold and sometimes windy the courses were wicked fun. John Meehan and his crew did an excellent job of putting together 3 fantastic days of racing. And for me it turned out to be a great weekend – 3 UCI wins!! More points to add to my tally for a good start at nationals. Hats off to the women of Planet Bike for a hard fought weekend of racing.
Next up was the last round of the USGP’s in Portland where epic conditions tend to be the norm. However, this year we experienced some of the dryest weather Portland has ever seen…not a drop of rain either day. Sure there was some mud but nothing like last year when I took a Superman flyer threw the muddy slop. On day 1 I lost the sprint for 3rd to Alison Sydor. She’s no slouch but I was pissed because I made mistakes that cost me. Funny how several weeks ago I was happy with 4th and this time I was pissed. Soo I came out with a vengeance on Sunday. Not only did I take the hole shot but I was the leader of the race for about 2 laps after Katarina stopped to fix a rolled tire. I did my best to keep the gap but Katarina was on a mission and she caught and passed me with half a lap to go. So close!! Needless to say I was still pretty stoked with 2nd, but now that I’ve tasted the podium several times it will be hard to settle for anything less.
A huge kudos goes out to Bruce Fina and Joan Hanscom and their crew for putting together another USGP series that will be hard to beat!
Next up…A road trip to Bend for Nationals the following weekend.
I’ve had enough 4th places already, sheesh! The first weekend in Providence I was pretty stoked to have finished 4th both days. For my first weekend out they weren’t bad results. But still?! Come on. You read that Louisville was a mixed bag, and now I’m here to tell ya that at Blue Sky Velo and Boulder Cup here in CO last weekend I finished 4th BOTH DAYS! Frick!
Blue Sky Velo Cup held at the Xilinx Campus in Longmont was a freakin’ blast – hard as hell in the mud but I loved it – blue sky, sun shining, and mud…what’s not to love?! I’ve said before that while I might not be the greatest “mudder”, I enjoy riding in it. This past week while out mtn biking, my front wheel wanted to ride through every muddy section but my head said not to so that I didn’t ruin the trails. Damn. Anyway, Katie Compton showed up in Longmont to school us for the the first time that weekend. Had I not seen her on the start line I wouldn’t have known she was even there since she rode off the front of the race so bloody fast and left the rest of us choking on her dust (er, mud). That left Georgia chasing Katie, Alison D chasing Georgia, me chasing Alison, and Kellie chasing me to round out the top 5. I had started to close in on Alison but with only 1 lap to go she pulled away again while I was fighting behind her to keep Kellie at bay. As you can see from the photos, it was a muddy mess out there. There was this one turn in particular that I couldn’t quite conquer and as you can see it got the best of me several times. Imagine the turn of a velodrome, cover it in mud so it’s more slippery than the banking of velodrome, shrink it down in size, and that’s what this turn was like. One lap in particular it about ate me whole – my wheels slipped out from underneath me and I fell off, of course grabbing a handful of mud as I went down. Kinda sucks when you gotta grab the handlebars and shifters again with a hands that are caked in mud. Luckily Brian Dallas was in the pits for me to give me a bike change the next time through. On the last lap I played it safe by running through that section. Yeah, so I’ve got some work to do technically but I think I’m learning something new each weekend.
Sunday once again brought out the sun and warmth, although there was one crucial part missing – mud. Instead we got sand. Yuk. Because of the wet conditions at Harlow Platts Park, the venue for Sunday’s race had to be changed to the Boulder Reservoir. Not ideal but understandable so that promoters can continue to hold events at the park in the future. It’s become a very mental thing but sand just kicks my butt. I have to admit I’m getting better at riding in the stuff but there are times when my bikes seems to just sink right beneath me. I’d love to follow Katie through the sand to see how it’s done right, but like the day before she was running away from the rest of the field by the end of the first lap.
Anyway, I was riding like a yo-yo out there (literally and figuratively) – that is, I was riding anywhere from 10th to 3rd to 5th to 4th. I’d move up a few spots, do something stupid like ride through the tape when my head was down and cut the corner too sharp, and then fall back a spot or 2 again. Luckily it was a long, hard race and I kept the pressure on the pedals until I rode up to Alison in the race for 3rd. Unfortunately, going into a crucial sand section, she got the fastest line ahead of me and came out with a small gap that I wasn’t able to close on the last lap. First, I should have been more aggressive going into the sand to get that line in front of her. Second, when I didn’t get the fast line I should have run it. Live and learn.
Now I’ve got four 4th places in 6 races to add to my palmares – greaaaat. The next USGP is coming up in Jersey this weekend and I am desperately hoping that I’ll do something right to get myself up on the podium for the first time. If I want to make the Worlds team, I must be on it, I mean really ON IT, for the Sunday races in Jersey and Portland. None of this 2nd day shenanigans that seems to be my trademark.
I also want to throw out some props to the people out there who helped me keep my head on straight – Justin and Jason (aka Sugar) from Specialized who helped me take care of my bikes, Brian Dallas who rocked the pits for me, and Stu Thorne from Cyclocrossworld.com who is always there to help in any situation. What would I do without his trusty air compressor to make sure my tires are at exactly 28.4 psi?!