Jun 25, 2011

Canadian National Road Cycling Championships 2011

I drove the Mazda5 out to the race course, drove two laps then hopped on my Specialized S-Works Amira for two more rounds on Thursday, the day before the 2011 Canadian National Road Cycling Championships.  I felt like dirt, and I had for the last few days.  How's that for blunt?

M.C. Lemelin massaged the cords out of my legs on Thursday night.  Friday morning, after preparing a whack of eload bottles she worked on the Pistons again.  She saved me. 

The 8 lap race started at 6pm.  Each lap included a steep twisting climb up Rattlesnake Hill, just outside of Burlington Ontario.  Cassette of choice: 11-28.  I didn't want anything more, or anything less for that puppy.

My excellent teammate MoJo (Moriah-Jo MacGregor) was out on a break for almost the entire race.  At a certain point she was up to over 4 minutes ahead of the peloton.  I knew the other girls were getting scared.  I loved it.  They worked hard to bring her back, and with only 5km to go MoJo was back with us.

On the final climb, Véronique Fortin of PK Express cranked it up the hill, and nobody could follow.  I managed crossing the line in second position. Thanks to MoJo, I didn't have to work at all during the entire race, had she not been out front the whole time, who knows if I would have gotten then chance to spray champagne around for the first time in my life.  Congratulations to Denise Ramsden who crossed the line in 4th place, and consequently earned herself the U23 Canadian Road Cycling Champion title to go along with her U23 Time Trial Champion title that she had won only the day before.
Chris Redden

This race was extra special to me because it was the first time that my family has been there to cheer me on.  My mom, my Aunt B and Aunt Elke, my cousin Grant, and my Opa and Oma were there rooting for me and the entire Juvéderm Specialized Mazda team, blowing the conch shells and holding up the coolest banner I've seen to date.  Thanks guys.

Jun 24, 2011

We'll Be Drinking eload At The Canadian National Road Cycling Championships

Juvéderm-Specialized-Mazda's beloved soigneur, Marie-Claude Lemelin (who we call MC!) prepares plenty of bottles of orange eload before the 2011 Canadian National Road Cycling Championships.  Us Juvéderm-Specialized-Mazda girls are going to stay fueled and hydrated with our FAVORITE drink.  No substitutes allowed.

Jun 23, 2011

T-1 Day and Counting Before the Canadian Championships

After a "quick" 5 hour drive from Montréal last night, here I am at the Upper Canada College Outdoor School in Norval, Ontario.  It's like an upscale camp. with "accommodation for 24 students plus staff, dining and lounge areas, and a classroom and storage facility."  Juvéderm-Specialized-Mazda gets the whole building, it's pretty sweet.  We've parked the Juvéderm-Specialized-Mazda Mazda5 team cars outside on the lawn...REPRESENT.

There is a room with stuffed dead animals.  Véro Labonté got it.  I'm sharing a room with another teammate, Mini Véro (Véro Drapeau-Zgoralski).  She doesn't snore, it's great.

This morning, Denise, Moriah, Mini Véro, and Véro are gone doing the time trial.  GO GIRLS GO!  Joanie and I are chilling back at "camp" with our DeFeet compression socks, relaxing before our spin later on.

Canadian Cycling Magazine has put together a little clip about the Canadian Women's Road Cycling Championships 2011 on YouTube.  Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk6y8YaT5bY&feature=player_embedded

Jun 19, 2011

Une fin de semaine parfaite, avant les Championants Canadiens

C'est la deuxième fin de semaine de suite que je ne fais pas de course de vélo.  Ca fait bizarre un peu, mais j'en profite pour faire d'autres choses, toujours reliées au vélo, bien sur!

Samedi, je me suis levée très tot le matin pour faire le trajet Laval-St. Augustin en voiture en un temps record.  Je vous dirai pas combien de temps que ça m'a pris, mais disons que je me sentais très efficace...

J'ai fait une belle petite ride de vélo de 2h00 avant d'aller voir l'avant-dernière étape du Tour de Beauce.  Comme ils le font à tous les années, les gars nous ont fait un super de beau spectacle.  Dépuis le début de la semaine, je suivais la course en ligne, et c'était pas mal cool de pouvoir la voir LIVE.

Une place pour dormir m'a très généreusement été offert à la belle ville de Québec, et j'ai dormi comme une ROCHE.  Dimanche matin, je suis partie pour le Parc de la Mauricie pour une ride privé, une ride solo, une ride avec juste moi même.  Pourquoi?  J'avais le gout d'attaquer et de me faire attaquer.  Donc je me suis attaquée dans les petites bosses de mon parc préféré. 

C'est le fun attaquer soi même.  On ne peut pas perdre, mais on ne peut pas vraiment gagner non plus, on est seulement de plus en plus motivé d'attaquer encore plus fort la prochaine fois.  Puis on sait toujours c'est où le prochain sprint de pancarte, sans avoir besoin de le dire.  Puis, il n'y a pas de besoin de s'inquieter si on fait du "half-wheeling", ni si on ne roule pas assez fort, ou si au contraire, on pousse trop fort sur les pédales...  Des fois, des rides solo font du bien.

J'aime ça faire du bike.

Une autre fin de semaine de rêve.
De retour à mon autre vie demain.

Jun 14, 2011

A Weekend Off From Racing

Saturday morning: Awake at 6:00am to make it from Laval to the Parc de La Mauricie with enough time for:
1. A ride with the guys
2. A SUPER lasagna lunch, care of Matteau's mom
3. A dip in the cascades (near the entrance of the Parc at St. Mathieu)
4. Then, a good heartfelt cheering session at the Marmen Criterium in downtown Trois-Rivières.

A shot of the Cascades from a few years ago in the Parc de la Mauricie

I found a generously offered and much appreciated couch to bail on for the night.
I could hear the rain coming down while I fell asleep, and it hadn't held up by the time I was up-and-going at 6:30am on Sunday.  Time to move onto stage two of the weekend.  I was headed to St. Augustin for my first ever session of motor pacing with my coach Pascal and my trusty Juvéderm-Specialized-Mazda teammate Véro Labonté. 

My legs were tired.  I had to pedal so hard behind Pascal's motorcycle that The Pistons felt like I had put warming-balm on before going out.  Which I hadn't.  (In fact, initially, I wasn't equipped for the rain.  But I had a brand new white rain jacket that was kindly lent to me just before the ride, which I christened with road grime).

While I was trying with all my might to hang on in the draft behind the moto, I remembered Orin (years ago, around the time of the Pancake Ride, which is the first official ride of the season every year in Barrie, Ontario) explaining to me the importance of finding the sweet-spot behind the person in front of you.  The spot where you get the best draft, and save the most energy. 

Meeting up for the Pancake Ride, seasons past!
Pascal must have upped the pace or something.  I started focusing on the Fleur de Lys on his license plate.  The Specialized Amira can go fast, but my limits were being pushed.  I didn't look away from it.

I started to think about how cool it was to be out on the road in the morning, even in the rain.  That I had the opportunity to be out there.  On my bike, in Québec.  That Pascal sacrificed his Sunday morning for us, that Véro is never one to back out even when it rains.  That I had a rain jacket for the morning.  I thought about how fortunate I was and still am to have gotten the hints, explanations, and advice (like the tip Orin gave me "way back, when") about riding and training and racing.  How lucky I am this year to have a great team, with an excellent group of sponsors backing us, allowing us to do our stuff.

Pascal dropped me from behind his motorcycle.  He slowed down to let me catch up and I hitched back on.  Enough thinking.  Time to stare down the "Je Me Souviens" on his license plate again...

Jun 6, 2011

A Satisfying Comeback at the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia

Photo: © Jonathan Devich
Every once in a while I get so cranked up about riding my bike that it drives me nuts to have to hold back. 

When I was pre-riding the race course with my teammates on Saturday, a day before the 2011 edition of the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia, I was on cloud nine. I didn't want to stop, and I wanted to go hard.  It was almost too much to end my ride.  It was one of those days, and even though it's a frustrating feeling, sometimes it's simply a good sign.

The task I was given for the race was to go for the Queen of the Mountain (QOM) points.  I wasn't sure how it would all play out, because I knew the field would be strong.  The last race I did (in Killington) my legs didn't feel very punchy in the hills.  I wasn't sure that my form was up to par again, but my itch to get out and play on my bike was strong enough to dampen my concerns.

There were two QOM spots on each of the four laps.  5, 3, and 1 points were awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd riders over the line respectively, except for on the final lap when the points were doubled.
Photo: © Jonathan Devich

I got the first 5 points after the infamous Manayunk Wall climb, and I saw I'd gotten a gap over the field.  I went with it, and pushed on.  The gap kept increasing.  I ended up getting a maximum of just over 2 minutes ahead of the peloton.  I managed to stay away for 3 laps and got pulled back before the 4th and final Manayunk Wall climb.  I'd eaten three Eload gels and had 2.5 bottles of Eload by that point, and it had saved me from cramping.
Photo: © Jonathan Devich
It was great to see my teammates at the front of the pack, like they always are, when I got pulled back.  I knew that they had been covering moves from the peloton while I was off the front.  It's a good feeling to have such a great team.

Todd Leister
Georgia Bronzini won the race in the final sprint, and Juvéderm-Specialized-Mazda brought home the Queen of the Mountains title. You know, I didn't realize how much my breakfast buffet was going to cost me until I got the bill the morning of the race.  I guess the most expensive French Toast I've ever eaten was worth the price. (My first Publishers Clearing House sized cheque EVER will help offset the dent anyways I suppose ;) ).

Thanks to the AWESOME fans in Philadelphia this past weekend, the exceptional support really makes the race that much more special for those of us out on the roads.  And thanks to all of our sponsors (check out their links on the right hand side of my website)! 

Next race: Canadian Nationals in Burlington Ontario!

Jun 4, 2011

The Mazda5 Team Car

Mazda Canada sponsors Juvéderm-Specialized-Mazda.  They've given us a few team cars, that we love.  Here's a couple reasons why:

The sliding side doors:  They take up no space, and are convenient.  They don't slam shut in the wind, it's easy to get in and out of the car when it's parked right next to the team tent before races without disturbing anyone, and it leaves lots of space to get stuff in and out of the car.  OUT with regular hinged doors!  IN with the sliders! YES!

The Zoom Zoom Effect:  I race a Specialized bike.  That means I don't like going slow and I don't like sluggish acceleration.  I like good handling.  Mazda delivers.

Space:  Tons of it.  Three rows of seating for when we're going to the coffee shop or grocery store as a team.  They fold down easily and make lots of room for bikes and luggage right inside the car.  Tons of legroom, even in the back seat.  I love it.

Jun 3, 2011

Liberty Classic Take-Two This Weekend

I got up this morning and hauled my indoor set-up onto my balcony.  I had to spin a bit before work and the neighbours hate the reverberations that my beloved trainer sends rumbling through the floor.  They haven't complained about the balcony yet.  I'm counting my lucky stars.

One more session of work.  Then I'm zoom-zooming off to Philly in the Mazda5 for my second Liberty Classic race.  Last year I crashed, hard.  This year, I won't.

I love when it's "that time of the week", when I get together with my blue, white, and red clad Juvéderm-Specialized-Mazda teammates and race.  It's like being tossed into another world, the best reality that I could ask for.

ONE LOVE, TWO WHEELS.  Happy riding, boys and girls.