Monday, May 11, 2009

Ducktown

Ok, I’m a little behind with the race reports. I’ll start with May 3, 2009 …Ducktown Tennesse, the first race in the Kenda Cup East series. Jeff and I set off on Friday evening and stayed the night with my family in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The following morning we continued our journey onto Ducktown, Tennessee where the race was to be held. Funny side story about Ducktown, my step dad and his father both worked in the copper mines there. Growing up my step dad said you could taste the metal in the air. (photo gleaned from http://www.mtb-uscup.com/) The smelting process emitted sulfer dioxide which had a dramatic effect on the landscape, leaving Ducktown looking more like Arizona than the mountains of Tennessee. (was that a run-n sentence?) It was also here that I spent many weekends in high school and college backpacking through the Blue Ridge Mountains. But I digress…

The relentless rains stopped long enough to get us through the first two laps of the race. I was actually feeling pretty good and would catch the lead ladies at the end of each lap, having a slight lead going into the climb. On the last lap I had a small gap on Janel going into the climb, but I let the knowledge of her stellar climbing skills get the better of me. Even if I could have stayed with her on the climb, my mind didn’t believe it …and so it was. Well, I’ll have to work on my positive affirmations for Bump n’ Grind down in Alabama. In the end I finished in 4th place.
As for Jeff’s race, he was in the lead until he flatted which cost him the win. Jeff was fairly pleased with his 3rd place finish considering the circumstances.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the rain …it rained all weekend …it never stopped …one continuous stream of water from the heavens. After the race we all went down to the Ocoee River in effort to wash our mud caked bodies. There is something very wholesome and good about bathing in rivers.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Greenbrier 2009

Ok folks, sorry for the delay on the race report. My professional life is now so fulfilling that I no longer feel the need to fill the void with blogging. Sometimes blogging is kind of like whistling in the dark. At any rate, this year’s Greenbrier Challenge had a slightly different feeling as there was not as big of a turn out in the pro field. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that Greenbrier conflicted with the Cohutta 100, which by the way, was won by our very own Jeff Schalk (details to follow the Greenbrier report).

Saturday morning I awoke with a sore throat and was not sure that I would be up for racing on Sunday. Lame as this may sound, I decided to ride the rollers in the apartment and spend the majority of the day getting some much needed rest. Sunday morning came and I was surprised to find that I was actually feeling like I might be able to race. I was especially curious to try out racing in my new age category!!! Woohoo! I’m now racing in the 30-40 category. This is a new chapter in my life. Quite honestly, I kind of wish they would get rid of the age category. Some how I find it devaluing.

So there were roughly eight women at the starting line. I believe it was was an even split between the two age groups (vets & seniors). I thought I had a fairly good start, but finally faded on the big climb. That’s were Janel passed me. She’s one fast lady. However, the big star of the day was Jessica Kutz , of State College. Jessica won the race after busting her rear derailleur, forcing her to single speed much of the last lap. I would also like to bring attention to the fact that she is a Freeze Thaw rider!!!! Yay Freeze Thaw!!! My State College pride will never be snuffed out by the sands of time. Jordyn and Justin have really built an empire.

In the end I finished up second place in my new age group. Janel had a good race, coming in second overall and first in our age group. I was especially pleased with my ability to keep it pinned for the entire course. Usually I have a hard time really holding my face to the fire the entire race …I think I made it hurt as much as I could. Oh, and because Janel is from Pennsylvania, I became Maryland State Champ by default. I'm finally starting to like the Maryland state flag ...I used to think it was a bit too busy.

Greenbrier results on CyclingNews >>>HERE

IN OTHER NEWS …Jeff won the Cohutta 100!!!!! Wooohooooo!!!! After spending much of the day in a two person break with Bishop, he was able to respond to Jeremiah’s attack on the final climb. Jeff’s counter attack was just enough to create a much needed gap between him and Bishop that eventually grew to 2.5 minutes. With a time of 6:23, Jeff set the course record and landed himself comfortably in first place. Sunday night we sat at the kitchen table and traded race reports …it was a long weekend apart. (photo taken from cyclingnews.com)

CyclingNews Report >>>HERE

Today we leave for the first race of the Kenda Cup in Ducktown, Tennessee!

Oh, and I forgot to bring my camera.