Dec 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Lex in front of Santa's house

Lex in Santa's sleigh

Lex cross country skiing in Albanel, QC
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone!  I went to Santa's house, sat in his sleigh to test it out, and fed his reindeer.  Over the holidays I will be cross training on some beautiful cross country skiing trails.  What a great way to enjoy the outdoors.  I hope everyone was good this year and won't be getting greasy chains in their stockings...!

Best wishes,


Dec 22, 2012

Des pensées pour la famille Houle

En enfilant mon kit de ski de fond préféré (des couleurs de la Norvège, car ça m'arrive d'imaginer que je suis Marit Bjoergen, surtout quand les conditions sont belles et quand mes quand skis rouges glissent bien), je ne pouvais pas m'empêcher de penser au cycliste Québécois Hugo Houle et à sa famille.  Non plus pendant que je skiais sur les pistes de Mont Ste. Anne.

Hier soir j'ai appris l'inquiétante nouvelle que Hugo Houle et sa famille cherchaient Pierrick qui n'était pas revenu à la maison après avoir quitté pour faire de la course a pied.

En me levant, je suis allée chercher les infos pour savoir s'il a été retrouvé, et j'ai appris la très triste nouvelle que Pierrik a été heurté mortellement par une fourgonnette.

Je fais partie d'un très grand nombre de personnes qui pensent à la famille Houle, et j'offre mes condoléances les plus sincères.  Perdre quelqu'un proche de nous est vraiment difficile, surtout un frère ou une soeur...

Voici un petit reportage de Véloptimum :

Dec 17, 2012

Christmas Gifts

Here is a list of ''on-a-budget'' holiday gift ideas for the bike lovers in your life.  Or for those who you want to strongly encourage kindling a new love for bicycles ;). 

1. Bike jewelery made by Carlee.  There's no better way to a girl's heart than with jewlery.  And you don't need to sell a disc wheel to afford these earrings.  (Two pair for $25!).  They're made by a girl named Carlee and sold at Bikeland Barrie (Barrie, ON, Canada's best bike shop).  Call 705-726-7372 to order yours.  I have some :)

2.  Bike t-shirt Dark Cycle Clothing has an impressive collection of original cycling-themed t-shirt designs.  I have a whole closet full of prints of different animals riding an assortment of bicycles.  They're printed on American Apparel cotton t-shirts, and are available for women, men, and kiddies.
3. Gingerbread men.  Listen, there aren't any cyclists who don't like fresh cookies or pastries.  Gingerbread men will please any one of them.  I made a whole pile of them and this morning, shipped them off to some lucky recipients!
4. Race DVD.  In the winter, the majority of us rack up at least a few hours in front of the TV on our bikes.  There's nothing more motivating than having a bike race playing while you pedal along, and you can't have too many races in your DVD collection.  Suggestion: New World Disorder (Freeride DVDs)  and World Cycling Productions where you can even get the 2012 Giro D'Italia and relive Ryder Hesjedal's amazing feat!

5. Cycling Apparel : Champion Systems gives you the chance to offer your loved ones the chance to wear the colours of some of the best known teams in America!  You can offer the same gear that Optum Pro Cycling wears while training and racing as a gift that is bound to be adored!  Check it out here. (How about arm warmers, a cycling cap, or new gloves?)
6. Bike tubes : Listen, if you're really on a tight budget, a cyclist can't really have too many spare tubes (size : 700 x 23 cc and ask for a presta valve), for $5 each.  If you want to go full out, throw in a couple of 16g CO2 cartridges (same price).   Sometimes practical gifts are the best.

7.  Embrocation.  The only bad weather is weather that you're not properly dressed for.  An essential element in any cyclist's winter or spring pre-ride bag is embrocation : warming cream.  Chamois Butt'r is a company that makes a super balm that I really love and it's on sale right now at Competitive Cyclist for under $15!
8. Coffee.  A gift certificate for the best java shops in your favorite cyclist's region, a french press coffee maker (so easy to travel with) or a stove-top espresso pot are no-fail presents that are useful and fun.

9. Magazine subscriptionCanadain Cycling and Pedal, are a couple of magazines that can be delivered to whoever is on your list.  There is something for everyone in each edition, and it's a gift that truly does last all year long.

10.  Nailpolish.  Okay listen this might be less of a suggestion for you and your loved ones, and more of a personal wish. It's tough to have too many colours of nailpolish.  I'm hoping to find some new colours of high quality 'vernis à ongles' in my stocking this year... If you send me some, I'll feature a picture of the end result online :).

Go big or go home.
  There are a couple of gifts that you're bound to be thanked rather profusely for.  The Compex electro-muscle stimulator has saved my legs time after time, and if I didn't have one, it would definitely be on my wish list.
The Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll trainer would also be high up on my list.  It's got the smoothest resistance unit in the industry and pivots with my bike so I have a more realistic feeling when I crank out my highest watts.  Plus, it doesn't strain my Orbea frame like a typical trainer would because it moves WITH it instead of against it.

Dec 12, 2012

Food Poisoning Adventure

If you don't follow on Facebook or Twitter, you missed being the first to see the news of the latest (not greatest, but not too shabby either) California adventure.  I went out West to meet some new riders and get some testing done at Athleticamps in Fulsom, CA.  We've got great facilities back at home, but why not explore a little bit when the opportunity presents itself.

I flew in to San Francisco, where apparently Rice-A-Roni isn't such a big deal anymore: street fare is the new hype. I wasn't hungry though and headed northbound and inland to NorCal where the next morning determined the fate of the rest of my stay.  I choose the breakfast panini over sugary, soupy oatmeal.  Bad choice.

Athleticamps gave me the opportunity to do a lactate threshold test.  They drew blood out of my earlobe at 3 minute intervals to measure and chart lactate concentration levels, while increasing the resistance that I had to pedal against.  Right up next, I was hooked up to a huge tube and a machine.  I wondered if I looked like Snuffy the Snuffalupagus, until I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror: nah, I just I looked like I was about to do a VO2 max test.
VO2 max testing at Athleticamps -Copyright: Alex Chiu 2012
It was during the Retul bike fit that signs of what was about to hit the fan started to show.  All I had to do was push 150 watts for a few seconds while the Retul camera picked up data from the sensors that were stuck all over my body.  The program mapped and measured my movents and the Athleticamps experts used the data to analyze and tweak my position.  But every effort between adjustments was harder and harder for me to complete, I was not feeling good.

At the end of the day, all of the ''evil'' came out of me, you know, the way it does when you have really bad food poisoning.  I spent the next days in bed.  Then, being as lucky as I am, I got 3 seats to myself so I could sleep comfortably on the whole flight home.  My first purchase in Québec: high quality probiotics to get my digestive system back on track.  I'm on the road to a full recovery now.  Going-going, back-back, to Cali-Cali wasn't exactly what I expected.  But it was another great experience to add to the bank.

Dec 5, 2012

Ready to get Back in the Air, Like Biggie Smalls.

Who likes Biggie Smalls?  Because: ''I'm goin', goin', back, back, to Cali, Cali'' in two days. 

I scored again this time because I have a connection through ORD, Chicago O'Hare.  It's on my list of favorite airports for 1 reason: the tunnel between the B and C concours.  I'll be frank: riding through it on the moving sidewalk is a trippy experience.  Good, clean fun and I'm all for it.
Chicago O'Hare Int'l Airport: The tunnel between the B and C concourses with flashing neon lights, mirros, and echo-y warning messages to watch your step
I still haven't hooked myself up with Blue Suede Shoes to wear when I fly (you know, like in Mark Cohn's song, Walking in Memphis).  I'll have my yellow Mavic shoes in my Thule carry-on bag though, along with some Look pedals, just in case my checked baggaged doesn't make the connection.  To do otherwise would be a serious beginner's mistake.

Dec 2, 2012

Happy Sunday: Get Ready for Monday!

It's that time of year: the snow has arrived in Québec.  Last weekend I hit the trails with my Orbea Occam 29er in Tremblant.  Snow was flying; it was one of those days where I could have ridden in the woods all morning, and then have swapped my mountain bike for my snowboard in the afternoon.  But I don't snowboard never know when you'll catch a darn edge that will send you crashing on your head, compromising the entire road-cycling race-season.  So I just ride my bike.

It's also the time of year where my coach gives me workouts that I can't do.  But that's okay, because every time I take a shot at one, I get better, and further into the training, and eventually I nail it on the head.  But to get there, I've got to give myself the time to recover between tries.  Like today, which is an easy day.  It's a day to give the pistons (and the head!) a break to get ready for another biggie tomorrow.  I pulled out my Compex electro-stimulator this morning as part of my recovery.  The Compex has served me pretty well in the past year.
My Compex Sport Elite electrostimulator gets the blood circulating and flushes out my legs without fatiguing them
Later on, I'll do one of my classic 'off-day' activities: length swimming.  One of the reasons cycling is so great is that you do it whenever you feel like it, whenever it works best for you.  Ideally, I'd be in that pool right now, but it's not open. Plus 3 points for cycling, minus 3 points for swimming.  In the meantime, I'm taking care of other business: New nailpolish job!
Lex's colour of the day: Gunmetal grey.  Everyone knows that pink is the best nail colour, but variety is a good thing.

Nov 22, 2012

When We're not on the Road

During the race season from the end of February until September, we're on the road pretty consistantly.  Often times we hop from one hotel to another, and return home for a week or so before lacing up the blue suede shoes.  (You know, to board the plane.  I don't actually have a pair yet but it's on the list of things to do.)  Other times, we stay in what is called ''Host Housing''. 

It's a pretty interesting concept, and a great way to meet new people, share what pro cycling is all about, and especially, to feel at home.  A hotel is cool because you get your bed made every morning, but nothing beats the warmth and deep-down good feeling that a host house brings!  Check out this video of Optum Pro Cycling in California.

Nov 18, 2012


J'ai accueilli un nouveau membre dans ma famille la semaine passée, et c'était aujourd'hui qu'on a pris le temps pour commencer à se connaître.  Son nom: Gravy.

J'ai choisi le Bras du Nord comme premier endroit pour essayer mon nouveau Orbea Occam.  Bras du Nord se trouve dans le coin de St. Raymond, Québec.  Je ne suis jamais allée auparavant.  Mais j'ai entendu souvent des bons commentaires, et on m'a souvent dit que le Bras du Nord est très similaire à Kingdom Trails (ma place préférée pour faire du vélo de montagne qui se situe à East-Burke, Vermont, USA).
Lex Albrecht, et 'Gravy', son Orbea Occam 29''
Gravy n'avait peut-être pas des bons pneus installés sur ses roues car avec toute la boutte qui poignait entre les crampons, ils étaient rendus comme des ''slicks'' (pneus sans crampons) et ils dérapaient parfois.  Mais c'est du vélo de montagne, déraper fait partir du plaisir!
'Gravy' à Bras du Nord, St. Raymond de Portneuf, région de la Capitale Nationale.

Nov 8, 2012

Bon matin, mon Orbea!

Il n'y a pas grande chose qui équivaut à un bon entraînement tôt le matin. Dépuis quelques jours, j'ai modifié mon horaire afin de pouvoir profiter des heures du matin que je ne suis pas habituée à voir en compagnie de mon Orbea.

Que ça soit un entraînement intense sur mon Kinetic Rock'N'Roll base d'entraînement, ou une session avec des grandes varations de cadence sur mon vélo Orbea et des ''trois-rouleaux'' (surtout pour dégourdir les jambes après une séance de musculation le soir!), je ne vois pas de meilleure façon pour commencer la journée.  Sauf, peut-être avec un délicieux espresso, mais le rendez-vous avec mon Orbea suit toujours peu après.

Oct 30, 2012

A Certificate to be Proud of

Thank you to Sarah Connolly and Dan Wright for awarding me with an official certificate to acknowledge my second place in the Unofficial, Unsanctioned Social Media Award.  It just arrived in the mail from England!

The competition was run by Sarah and Dan to recognize ''Outstanding achievement in the fields of social media and women's cycling.''  Many of the 96 supporters who donated to support the competition are listed on the certificate that I'll be proudly hanging in my home base in Québec, Canada.  I just wish I could have captured the glistening blue sheen of the certificate.  There's nothing too ''un-official'' about it.
Thank you Sarah and Dan, and thanks to all of the supporters of the competition, and for everyone who cast their vote.  What a fun experience.

Oct 29, 2012

Permission to Accept the Sacrilegious

I used to think pedalling in the small chainring was for weaklings.  I used to think that off-days from cycling or training were restricted to lazy people.  That was back in my earliest days of road cycling.  I also used to think that motorsports were sacrilegoius.  Then, I learned better.

The off-season is in full swing ladies and gentlemen.  I set my Orbea Orca bicycle aside for a day and kitted up to rev up my engine (which for the first time ever was not my own cardio-vascular system) and kick up some dirt.

Riding motocross is useful for bike handling skills, pushing the limits of stability and technique, and gaining confidence in ...wiping out. 

I did wipe out a few times.  It was actually fun.  Part of the challenge was heaving the heavy bike up off of the ground.  Getting back on my feet and the machine back on its wheels was rather satisfying.  As was going faster and faster on the trails, and higher and higher on the bumps that intimidated me the first times around. 

Nothing can replace the thrill of pumping my own pistons to crank the pedals around the bottom bracket pivot of a bicycle to reach crazy speeds on the asphalt, or manouvering through tight single tracks and up and down rocky, rooty pitches.  But, motocross my friends, is a mighty fine compliment to my favorite sport.  Phewf, good thing that I'm not naïve anymore.

Oct 24, 2012

The Beginning of the Off-Season.

The World Championships in The Netherlands with the Canadian National Team was my final race for the 2012 season.  What an experience.  Instead of heading straight home to Québec, I spent 10 days in Switzerland, where my Dad lives, with my Orbea Orca bike.  We visited Germany, Austria and Lichstenstein.

Along with some super long rides with nothing on my mind but enjoying the pure sensation of pedaling, I kicked off my off sesaon with some other activities like hiking in the Alps with my father.  The views were spectacular.  Climbing up the mountains for hours was a wicked experience.  I felt like a Care Bear, up in the clouds.Whatever my Care Bear special power was, it sure wasn't Walking-Down-Mountains.  Going downhill for hours took a toll on my knees and hips, I felt like a rickety grandmother.  I don't even have kids, let alone grandkids, sheesh.

I'm back home enjoying the gorgeous roads in Québec, and the occasional training session on my Kinetic Rock N Roll in my living room.  I go out jogging, and have started my strength training program in the gym.  I've been out mountain biking as well, I love playing around in the trails. 

Racing is done for 2012, but prep for 2013 is in full swing.  There's never a real down-time for me in this bike racing deal, the tasks at hand and their priority levels just change.  And I love it.

Oct 1, 2012

Ride With Lex on October 6, in Barrie!

I'd like to invite everybody who would like to join me on a ride from Barrie, Ontario to meet in the parking lot of Johnson's Beach on Saturday October 6 (Lex Albrecht's half-birthday, by the way).  The ride will leave at 10am.

Everybody is welcome to come, it won't be a hammerfest: it's the end of the season, easy gears, easy gears!

I'm looking forward to being reaquainted with my old favorite roads, cycling alongside previous riding partners, and meeting new ones.  Barrie Ontario is where I first started riding, and it's always great to go back.

See you there!

Sep 26, 2012

The Unofficial, Unsanctioned Social Media Jersey competition

A month ago, the Unofficial, Unsanctioned Social Media Jersey competition was presented to the world by cycling fans Sarah and Dan.  They raised over $3500 in prize money, all donated by supporters of womens cycling from around the world.  Over 4500 individual votes were cast over a two week period, and 11 winners were named. 

I shot high for the victory, and thanks to over 1200 votes, landed in 2nd place, next to British rider Emma Trott. 

The whole concept of the jersey is neat.  Sarah and Dan started it and the fans made it happen.  Fans donated, fans chose, and a fun new way for everyone to participate in women's pro cycling was proven successful.  Watching the poll stats was exciting, and a little healthy and friendly competition between voters and candidates made the competition fun, meaningful, and interesting for everybody. 

Apart from the bragging rights and not-to-be-turned-down-because-we-all-need-to-eat prize money, the coolest thing about the competition was its repercussions.  The amount of added visibility that every rider gained, as well as the blogs, websites, fan pages and Twitter streams everyone discovered made the U.U.S.M. Jersey competition a win-win-win situation for everyone, and their cousin, and neighbour, and... 

Second place, in the race for the world's first ever Social Media Jersey.  Yeah, I'm stoked.  Thank you everyone!

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Sep 24, 2012

World Championship Road Race 2012

Alright, let's start with the important part: the winner, is Marianne Vos from the Netherlands.  The hometown girl crushed everyone and suprised no-one, and impressed all who followed the race.  Congratulations Marianne, the new World Champion.  Seriously.

The elite women started the 8 lap-130km race at14h30, after the U23 men.  We were the lucky ones.  We had watched the men race the course clad in armwarmers and some even with legwarmers, but the afternoon sun brought comfortable racing temperature for us.

Thousands of spectators lined the course as we were called on the stage to sign-in in front of bright flashes and rolling cameras.    The big moment that I had been aiming to ''peak'' for during the last couple of weeks was about to arrive.  The days and hours leading up to the race had seemed to drag on.  12 days earlier, I had learned I would be part of the team representing Canada.  I had done all I could to prepare for the moment...
The peloton was nervous from the start.  There were several close calls but at the end of the first lap there was a huge crash that swept across the road.  The pile-up was massive.  I was lucky, and managed to avoid being part of the carnage. I did get caught behind the tangled-up mess however.  I threw my bike over the barriers and told a man to grab a hold of it.  I hopped over and took my Orbea back, and threw it over the fence a second time, but, ahead of the small mountain of women and bikes.

I worked with some other ''survivors'' and got back to the main group.  Coming up to the 5th lap my legs didn't co-operate in the Cauberg.  They didn't have the punch they needed, that I wanted, and that I've known on better days.  I felt a bit like my toy robot Alfie when he was running out of batteries...I still worked, but I was a little sluggish.  Hey, it happens.  It's not so great on the day of the World Championships though.

I finished the race, working together with Miriam Bjørnsrud from Norway.  We got time cut.  Let's be honest, when you're off the back, it doesn't matter what your time is.  It's not a Gran-Fondo, it's not a pay $50 dollars and ''Come-and-do-our-Challenge'' event, even though those are great.  We finished because we felt like it, because it's a super opportunity to get to go to Worlds and represent our nations, and it feels great to be cheered on by the spectators.  It's not what I was aiming for, but it's okay.

The season is done and I'm lucky to have made some new Swiss friends who were kind enough to bring me to Switzerland where I'll visit with my Dad and explore the area around St. Gallen for a few days before heading back to Canada.  This has been a long season, with lots of ups and downs, and a season that I wouldn't have given up for practically anything.

Thank you to Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, all of our sponsors, Cycling Canada, Conseil du Sport de Haut Niveau de Québec, my coach Pascal Choquette, and the Canadian company, Nuheat for your support this year. 

I have a bit of time off, and then I'll be starting to gear up for 2013.  I've learned a lot this year, accumulated a lot more experience and know-how, and am totally pumped to make 2013 even greater.  Let's see what we can do...! :) :) :)

Sep 21, 2012

Maple Leaf: From Tielt-Winge to the Cauberg, a Team Effort

A couple of days ago, an idea was born, and I was given a task, some supplies, then left to get to work.

I carefully measured out a giant Maple leaf on some sheets of cardboard, making sure to create them to be as symmetrical and proportioned as possible.  I took this challenge seriously.  It's the Maple Leaf, you don't mess with that kind of thing.

Bruno, one of our mechanics, helped trace my original version out on a second piece of cardboard and we cut it out.  Then I gave our creations away.  I didn't know where they were going, or who would take them...I just had faith in their destiny.  (Hokey?  No, this is the kind of stuff that got me high 90's in my 9th grade, and only religion class.)

The next morning I saw this outside.  And in the afternoon, I saw my leaves crushed up and smeared with red and white, waiting at the side of the road to be collected by the garbage men.  I was almost sad. But I suppose they lived out their lifespan. 
Now, after pre-riding the course, I think I know what mandate my special leaves had.  Check out what the Canadians, and the rest of the world will be riding over, on the legendary Cauberg climb in Valkenburg, Netherlands.

Talk about a DREAM COME TRUE.  My name, LEX and those of my teammates, in huge letters amongst tons of maple leaves, all in red and white.  At Worlds.  Wow.  I heard the paint isn't excatly washable either, so I don't think it will come off any time soon. 

This isn't me, but it's somebody who appreciates a good paint job when they see it
To whoever made this magic happen, thank you!

Sep 19, 2012

VOTEZ POUR LEX! Le maillot des médias sociaux

Le maillot des médias sociaux!

Suiviez vous mes mises-à-jour et photos Faceboook , Twitter (@lex_albrecht) et mon site web pendant le Tour de l'Ardèche? 

Votez ICI pour moi dans le concours pour le premier Maillot des médias sociaux de l'histoire!

C'est un concours fait par deux supporteurs du cyclisme féminin, Sarah et Dan.  Ils viennent de la Grande Bretagne, et le concours est ouvert à toutes les courreuses qui ont participé au Tour de l'Ardèche et 2 autres tours importants en Europe.  Tous les prix sont des dons des supporteurs du vélo féminin. 

J'aimerais bien le remporter, prenez un moment pour voter, et partager avec votre famille, vos amis et collegues!

Merci pour votre vote!  Wahoooo!!!!

Lex s'entraîne à Québec!

Lex et son ORBEA Orca en bonne compagnie dans les rues de Québec!
Je m'entraîne souvent à la Ville de Québec.  Les routes urbaines sont belles, et les routes de campagne ne sont pas loin.  Il y a du plat, il y a des bosses en masse, et il  y a toujours des gens partants pour aller rouler en gang!  Le Québec, c'est le paradis :)

Merci à Dominic Ogden pour le montage.  Je vous invite de consulter son profil LinkedIN. Voici un autre exemple de son travail:

Sep 18, 2012

Skeptical That the Evening Ice Cream Business is Good

It's dark out, almost 9pm, the thermometer outside reads under 10 degrees celcius.  But the ice cream truck is still chiming away down the street in Tielt-Winge, Belgium.

The dogs next door are barking.  And barking.  And barking.  Nobody knows why.  But we're not worried because for the past 3 years since the Canadian National Cycing team has set up Euro-base here, the dogs have done the same.  It's just, ''normal''.  I'm not used to it yet though.

Earlier on today, after a long warm-up section of my ride, I tried taking a short cut to the spot where I wanted to do my intervals.  Short-cuts here rarely turn out short.  It was a long-cut.  I should have known.  The small roads are so twisty, and windy, and littered with intersections that it is easy to lose one's bearings.  I lost mine. 

My new favorite food is brussel sprouts.  I'm not sure how long this trend will last for but I have a feeling that it is far from going out.  An excellent way to work up a good appetite for them is by taking ''short-cuts'' through small Belgian roads.

I watched my teammates Joëlle and Rhae tear it up at the World Time Trial Championships today on the TV.  All of the juniors, the U23 men and the female elite athletes watched together in the living room of the base's ''appartment'', where a fire was burning in the woodstove.  It was kind of like a storybook setting.  Kind of.  But cooler.

And that, is about it.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning.  I'll be back on my Orbea to continue preparing for the World Championships in Valkenburg.

Hey, and don't forget to vote for me HERE, please! For the Social Media Jersey.

Sep 16, 2012

Kermesse of The Year

I did my first, and only, and last, kermesse of 2012 in Belgium.  I would have liked to have done more but the season is pretty much at its end.

A kermesse is a race based around a festival with foodstands, circus rides, and lots of cycling fans.  In Belgium, there are several every week.  Most kermesse courses are around 5km long, and we race many laps, so the spectators can have a decent show. 

Often times the roads are narrow, sometimes as narrow as a bikepath, sometimes there are cobble sections and sometimes there is ''road furniture'' (they love this stuff over here) scattered around the course.
Pretty wild decor hanging from the celing at the race registration spot.  (Which is of course, a bar.  It's a kermesse, afterall)
Sign in! A kermesse costs 10 Euros to enter, and 5 Euros are given back upon return of the race plate and bib number.  A concept we don't use back in America.
Today, I raced a 16 lap, 82km race with my Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies teammate Leah Kirchmann, and fellow Québécoise, Karol-Ann Canuel as a training in prepartion for the World Championships.  We decided not to race in Team Canada kits, to stay off the radar.

Karol-Ann, Lex, and Leah. -Bruno Forrestier
I was in an early move that didn't stay away for more than a full lap.  Shortly after, Leah got away and with one other rider.  In the meantime, I covered every attack I could, in case another small group would bridge up to my teammate.  It proved to be a tough task, but I managed.  It was also good positioning practice for me, because I knew I had to stay up at the front of the hyper dynamic group at all times. 

Lex Albrecht covering moves and taking care of business while Leah Kirchmann was off the front with another rider.  -Bruno Forrestier
On the final lap I decided to take the lead through the corners to control the pace and not get gapped by other riders.  Towards the end I let a couple of other girls taste the wind a bit, and I stuck behind in their draft.  But, Karol-Ann tried to rescue me as I lost my 3rd wheel position just before the finish, because the bunch sprint for 3rd was too much for me to handle and we both finished in the swarm of other racers.
Lex going first through the corners, peloton trailing behind. -Bruno Forrestier
Leah stayed away for the entire race, and just barely lost the cat-and-mouse sprint game to her breakaway companion.  Impressive 2nd place Leah. 
Leah Kirchman in second place at today's Kermess
Our soigneurs wiped our legs, arms, and faces, fed us, (I'd better not get used to this, or I'm going to be in trouble back at home) and we rode back home to flush out our legs. 
Congrats Leah!
I'd call today a sucess!

Sep 15, 2012

WBR Raffle update

Being selected to represent Canada in Europe for the final month of the road racing season is an  honour.  Next week I will compete as a member of the Canadian National team alongside 4 other teammates. 

However, being ''across the pond'' poses a few difficulties for the World Bicycle Relief raffle.  Tickets are awaiting back in Canada that would not be in any of the weekly bonus prize draws that I could make in Europe.  So, everything is on hold for one month.  The final draw will be on October 17 instead of September 17.


It's good!  Because, this adds one more month of bonus prizes for everyone.  Upon my return to Québec City, 6 names will be drawn at once to cover the weeks I have been away.  You still have time to get your tickets at Passion Vélos in Trois-Rivières, Qc, Mathieu Performance in Québec, Qc, from Cindy at Sutton Realty in Barrie, ON, online HERE, and in person wherever you see me.

Remember, the grand prize is a Kurt Kinetic trainer valued at $379.  Thank you for supporting World Bicycle Relief and my 2012 season, the biggest, and the best yet.

Sep 13, 2012

World Championship Team Selection

Cycling Canada has announced its final selection for the women's roster for the 2012 World Championships race, which will be held in the Netherlands on September 22, 2012. 

I am proud to announce that I have been selected and will be racing against the best in the world for title of World Champion.  The full roster is:

Lex Albrecht
Joëlle Numainville
Leah Kirchmann
Karol-Ann Canuel
Véronique Labonté

Three of us ride for Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefits Strategies, four of us are from Québec, and all of us have been out to pre-ride the course in Limburg, The Netherlands.  The race is a pretty big deal, and I'm stoked to be a part of it and am looking forward to representing my country, helping my teammates, and appreciating the overall experience- I know it's going to be a thrill
Part of Team Canada pre-riding the World Championship course on a chilly day. -Bart Hazen

The Social Media Jersey

Have you followed my Faceboook posts and picture updates , my Twitter feed (@lex_albrecht) and my website updates during the Tour of Ardèche? 

You can vote for me HERE for the Social Media Jersey.

The contest was set up by Sarah and Dan, two huge supporters and fans of women's cycling.  All of the prizes were collected through fan donations, and the whole contest is flattering, fun, and thrilling, regardless of who wins.  Thanks Sarah and Dan, for your support.

The internet connection was bad in France but we did our best to supply a constant flow of interesting ''insider'' photos and news.

Thanks for your vote!

Next project: WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in The Netherlands.  Keep following for the latest and greatest.

Sep 9, 2012

The drive to the race starts are long, but scenic at the Tour of Ardèche. 
Denise Kelly, the Canadian National Team director and Michel L'Hoest, our super-soigneur drive smoothly though and we always arrive on time and in one piece.
I raced Ardèche in 2009 and met Guy Astier who picked up my team (Team Québec) from the train station in Lyon to drive us to the race accomodations.  Guy remembered us and kept the vest we gave him.  Guy even brought us nougat (a specialty from Montelimar) and crême de marrons de l'Ardèche, another local treat.  Thanks Guy!
The beauty of the region, the hospitality of the people, and the excellent organization of the race was well apprecaited.  I'm proud that Leah won the Best Young Rider jersey, that Joëlle won the finish points jersey, and had 3 podium finishes, including a stage victory.  What a super race, I hope to be back again soon.
The podium truck at the finish of one of the stages

Cracked in the Descents

The Tour of Ardèche is probably one of my favorite stage races.  The volunteers and organizers are über enthousiastic and the race courses are absolutely breathtaking.  And absolutely hilly.  Which I like.  Half-like.  The long and gruelling uphill climbs are AWESOME.

After too many crashes this year and maybe a bit of mental blockage, and perhaps the heavy number 13 that I was wearing on my jersey, I was embarassingly nervous in the descents, getting shot out the back of the pack every time my HED wheels wanted to spin at breathtaking speeds around the sharp, steep corners of the Ardèchois descents.  The HED wheels wanted to but my head didn't agree.
I was most disappointed because as I fought to bridge the huge gaps I made, that were sometimes in the ''minutes'' and not even ''seconds'', I felt in such good form and fitness.  I would have rathered to have burnt those matches fighting the race up at the front.  Priority number one, get home and get my descending guts back, because they were there once, and I don't know onto which piece of asphalt they got smeared, but I'm getting them back.

I've been in this situation before for other reasons, and whenever I've had a goal that I've been this adament about reaching, I've done it. 

I'll be going downhill like nobody's business again.  Like Pierre Elliott Trudeau once said, ''...just watch me.''