Aug 30, 2012

Jet Lag

The trick with dealing with jet lag on a North America -Europe trip with an evening departure is :

   1. Wake up really early the day of departure, to be über tired in the evening
   2. Sleep on the plane
   3. Rise and shine in Europe in the morning fully rested, ready to start the adventure.

It didn't quite work for me for a few reasons. 
   -Alarm clock troubles in step 1. 
   -Comfort and baby issues in step 2. 
   ...but, I was still stoked for step 3. 

Regardless of how the steps go, the next rule is: no sleeping until nighttime.  It's the fastest, most effective way to get over jet lag.  It's tough, but worth it.

Today, Matt Knight took those of us who arrived this morning out on a perfect spin that he calls the ''Welcome to Belgium Loop''.  We've all been here before, and we've all stayed at the National Team house in Tielt-Winge, but the roads here are confusing and it's nice not to have to worry about direction issues when jet-lag is raging.

By the time late afternoon rolled around I needed a new activity though.  So I hopped on one of the Canada Cycling Cruisers with two of the junior men, and we cruised around Tielt.  We came across a circus being set up and checked out the animals.  Here is the video story of our adventure:

The ride on the Canadian Cycling ''cruiser'' bikes

The sleeping camel
But check out this camel

Aug 28, 2012

World Championships 2012: Pre-Selection

I'm proud to announce that I am a part of the pool of athletes that the Cycling Canada (Canadian National Cycling Team) has pre-selected for the World Championships, being held on September 22 2012 in Holland.  The final selections will be announced in September.

In the meantime, I will be in Belgium and France with Cycling Canada in prepartion for the Championships.  The Tour de l'Ardèche in south-eastern France will be the ideal race for myself, and some of the other Canadian riders to prepare for the big event at the end of the month.

Regardless of whether I make the final cut or not, I will miss the World Tour races in Québec City and Montréal this year.  As a spectator, of course.  These races are only for men.  Every year, I had gone out to cheer on the Canadian athletes in the peloton.  I even have some new flashy shorts to go with my cheering-kit this year.  I'm a little disappointed, but, I always told myself that I would be there for every edition, unless I absolutely ''couldn't'', and that would be for a single reason: my own bike races, and hopefully someday, ''Worlds'' (as we so fondly call the World Championships).  I'm bringing my flashy shorts across the Pond with me...
Anita Mac

Aug 26, 2012

Championne du Québec - Champion of Québec

Podium des Championnats Québécois sur Route à Rivière du Loup. -Vincent Drouin (
Je suis fière de pouvoir dire que j'ai été couronnée Championne du Québec aux Championnants Québécois de vélo de route qui ont eu lieu à Rivière-du-Loup.  Merci Premier Tech d'avoir commandité l'événement.  (Resumé de l'événement sur Véloptimum)

Dans deux jours je partirai en Bélgique pour me joindre à l'équipe Canadienne.  Ensuite, nous allons nous diriger vers la France pour participer au Tour de l'Ardèche. 

Le Tour de l'Ardèche est une course spéciale pour moi, car c'est la première course Européen que j'ai faite.  En 2009 j'y ai participé avec l'Équipe du Québec.  Cette année je serai fière de representer mon pays avec l'Équipe Canadienne.


I'm proud to have brought home the title of Champion of Québec after today's victory at the Québec Road Cycling Championships in Rivière-du-Loup, Québec.  Thank you to Premier Tech for having sponsored the event.

In two days I'll be heading to Beligum with the Canadian National Cycling Team.  Shortly after we will be heading to France to race the Tour de l'Ardèche.

The Tour de l'Ardèche is particularly special for me because it is the first European race I participated in.  In 2009, I raced in Ardèche with Team Québec, and have hoped to return to race it again ever since.  This year, I'll be proud to represent my country with the Canadian National Team.
The photo-finish camera's shot of me finishing the Québec Championships in Rivière-du-Loup. -FQSC

Aug 23, 2012

Prochaine course: Championnats Québécois sur route à Rivière-du-Loup, Québec, en fin de semaine prochaine!  Voir l'article dans le journal Le Soleil: Rivière-du-Loup reçoit l'élite

Next race: Québec Provincial Road Cycling Championships this weekend in Rivière-du-Loup!

Aug 20, 2012

St. Basile 2012

Pour la première fois dépuis quelques années, il a fait très beau pour le Grand Prix Cyclist St. Basile à St. Basile, Qc.
Plusieurs tentatives de créer une échappé n'ont pas marché.  Le peloton s'est vu diminuer en nombre un peu avec les efforts, mais pas plus.  Je me démande si j'aurais dû peser sur les pédales plus fort et plus longtemps lors des nombreuses attacks mais c'est toujours plus facile de le dire après la course alors que tout ce qui compte se passe pendant.

Me contentant de finir la course au sprint après les sections ''vent de dos'', j'ai mal changé mes vitesses avant la ligne d'arrivée, mettant un gear tros gros pour mes jambes à pousser.  Parfois le dérailleur monte, parfois ça descend...  La meilleure façon de se protéger?  Simplement d'avoir les jambes assesz fortes de pousser n'importe quel gear à la cadence que ça prend pour faire la job.  Je ne les avais pas cette fois.
Antoine Becotte
Félicitations à mon ancienne co-équipière Véronique Drapeau-Zgoralski qui a su garder ses efforts pour la fin afin de remporter la sprint juste avant la ligne.  Élizabeth Albert qui a ne s'est jamais trop éloignée de l'avant du peloton pedant la totalité de la course a completé le podium sur la troisième marche.  Nice job girls.

Aug 15, 2012

NRC Prestige Standings 2012

Today,, (my longtime top online reference for international english cycling news) posted an article about the National Race Calendar (NRC) Prestige Series standings.

Myself (Lex Albrecht), Joëlle Numainville, and Denise Ramsden (both Olympians, we're proud of them!) are tied in points for 3rd place in the Best Young Rider classification this year!

Jade Wilcoxson has won the Sprinter classification for 2012, as well as 3rd place overall, right behind our teammate Carmen Small in second place.

Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies is also the number one ranked team in America in NRC's Prestige ranking.  What an impressive first season for the colour orange. 

Thank you to the fans, thank you to the sponsors, and thank you to everyone in the team both on, and off of the road!  Way to go OPTUM!

Aug 14, 2012

The Buffalo Bike

I recently spoke with Mike from World Bicycle Relief to learn a few things about the Buffalo Bike.  This is the bike that World Bicycle Relief sends over to Africa where it is put together, distributed and used by locally trained individuals. 

There is even a full time staff of locals who ride the bikes into the ground to give engineering feedback for research and development purposes.  The bikes WBR donors (like you!) provide to these African communities get better and better all of the time. 

Check out what Mike has to say:

Aug 12, 2012

Critérium Cowansville

I woke up with the roosters (that means at sunrise) to some dodgy skies and headed to Cowansville, Québec with my Kurt Kinetic Trainer and Nuheat cap.  The event: Critérium Cowansville.  Like I do in all crits, I did a few laps of the course to test out:

-where the wind was coming from
-how fast I could and should take each corner
-the wisest places to attack the peloton during the race
-how far out the finish line was from the last corner, in case things came down to a sprint.

My race plan: Attack early and get away in a breakaway because things are just more fun like that.  If anybody wanted to come I'd work with them for a little bit and then play the attacking game.  The rain started coming down gently during my recon laps, and I figured it would be safest to race out of the pack anyways with slick roads!

Laurie Dumas of Powerwatts lead the pack for the beginning moments of the race.  I sat in second or third wheel to get a feeling of how the other riders were going to approach the race.  There were two attacks, but nothing got away.  The rain held off.
Photo: Bruno Poirier (Criterium Cowansville
After being patient, three laps in, I knew it was my time to go.  My Quarq powermeter spit out a few big numbers (well, relatively, I'm not a sprinter afterall) as I cranked the pedals hard, and I got away from the pack.  I remained solo until the end of the race, finishing alone with my arms in the air. 
Photo: Bruno Poirier (Critérium Cowansville)
I'm proud to represent Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefits Strategies while I'm at home in Québec; having Optum Orange on podiums all over North America, it's a good thing.

Thanks to the organizers for putting on a super event with great announcers, hip music with a super DJ, food and drinks for recovery, and excellent marshalling by the volunteers.  See you again next year!

Aug 7, 2012

It's been a while since I've been in the comfort of ''home sweet home''.  I've been enjoying the comfort of other places, and racing for the last few weeks, that's why.
I don't travel with the World Bicycle Relief/2012 Season prizes, so I'm going on a sending-spree so the last few weekly bonus prize winners will receive their sweet swag.

The latest winner is Larry from Colorado!  Larry won a Mathieu Performance prize pack (a water bottle and a Blackburn light) as well as a pair of Champion Systems OPTUM armwarmers.  Congratulations Larry, and thank you for your support!

The August 13, 2012 prize: OPTUM cap, socks, and gloves by Champion Systems Clothing!  You could win it!

Aug 4, 2012

Help support World Bicycle Relief and Lex Albrecht by donating $20, and receive a raffle ticket to win some excellent prizes in return!  Grand prize: a Kurt Kinetic trainer, valued at $380.  Every Monday up until the final draw in September, win great bonus prizes as well.
Next Monday: win a Mathieu Performace prize pack (bottle and Blackburn light) and OPTUM armwarmers!

This is all for a great cause, and there are tons of chances to win some super prizes.  Buy your tickets by clicking on the ''WBR Raffle'' link at the top of the page, or in store at Passion Vélos in Trois-Rivières, QC, and Mathieu Performance in Québec, QC.


Aug 3, 2012

Speaking With People my Own Size

I used to think I was 5'4''.  Apparently I'm only 5'3''.  I don't feel short, but I'm told I am...

The Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove begins this afternoon, but to get us into the spirt, and the school aged kids of Elk Grove IL, I went and gave a little speech at an elementary school with three of my Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies teammates.

We spoke about the team, our Orbea bikes, our Champion Systems kits (with pads for comfort, jersey pockets for snacks, and gloves for safety), our Lazer Helmets and our Look pedals.  We mentioned training and our skills, and why it's important to dream big. 

We answered a few great questions, like whether or not we need to adjust our bikes before every ride, at what age we knew we wanted to be pro cyclists, and, how hard it is to ride uphill.  What a super group of kids, and I'm looking forward to hearing lots of them cheer from the roadside while we're out racing hard.

Aug 2, 2012

Acura : Naperville, IL

The Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies Acura TSX Sportwagon team car
My teammates and I went and hung out at the Naperville, IL Acura dealership, and brought along of a few of our Acura TSX Sportwagon team cars. The dealership even let us drive one right inside the showroom!

Hanging out in Chicago

The flag of the city of Chicago
Normally, I don't get a lot of time to be a tourist when I'm on the road.  I see a lot of pelotons, gorgeous race courses, hotel rooms and host homes, but not a lot of the cities I am in.

Exceptionally,  I hung up my Champion Systems cycling kit, and went out to explore Chicago, IL with my teammates Jade and Leah, and Ken (the new American Criterium Champion!) and Tom from the men's team joined us. 
Tom introduced me to Italian Ice at the Navy Pier, and Ken brought us on a boat tour for an architectural tour of the city.  Too cool. 

I'm not a fan of pizza but the others were keen on getting some authentic deep-dish Chicago-style stuff.  After they scouted some out, we hit up the Wrigley Field to watch a Chicago Cubs game
Wrigley Field

The drive home was extra special as Tom took Jade, Leah, Ken and I on a tour of some of the roads that Batman films have been shot on.  Chicago, you're a fun city to be a tourist in.