Apr 28, 2013

Joe Martin Stage Race 2013. Stage 3

It was another rainy day at the Joe Martin Stage Race (stage 3).  I used the same formula as yesterday to keep warm in the rain.  The only bad part was that after almost 3 hours of riding in the wet weather I was ready for a hot shower.  But because of the embrocation burning on different parts of me...I could only handle lukewarm. 

It was a 68 mile day with a decent amount of attacking, with several small breaks going up the road.  My teammate Katie Donovan initiated one that stayed out for 20 miles.  At the end of the day the sprint didn't play out for us and race leader Claudia Haussler (Team Tibco) scored a few more seconds over NOW and Novartis for MS's Alison Powers who is in 2nd place.  We didn't want Claudia to gain any more time on her... Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Powers finished just off of the podium in 4th.  After moving back up after an attack just before the end of the race, I rolled across in 6th, followed by Alexis Ryan who had been working to lead Powers out.

There is one more stage left: a 50 minute criterium in downtown Fayetteville and a lot can still happen.

This is the top part of the GC going into the final stage:

1 Claudia Haeusler (Team Tibco) 5:46:58
2 Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS) 0:00:16
3 Lauren Stephens (FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore) 0:00:30
4 Joelle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) 0:00:32
5 Lex Albrecht (NOW and Novartis for MS) 0:00:42
6 Lorena Vargas (ISCorp p/b Intelligentsia Coffee) 0:00:51
7 Brianna Walle (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) 0:00:54
8 Anna Sanders (FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore) 0:01:01
9 Maura Kinsella (NOW and Novartis for MS)  same
10 Shelley Olds (Team Tibco) 0:01:02
11 Robin Farina (NOW and Novartis for MS)  same

Apr 26, 2013

Joe Martin Stage Race : Stage 2

Some of my teammates went for a spin to get coffee this morning.  I stayed back.  Moments after they left, I heard, and felt thunder reverberating through my hotel room.  Then it started to pour outside.  Good choice to stay back.  Lucky choice.

The beginning of the race was going to be wet and chilly.  This is how I got prepared:

1. a) Embrocation on: 
      my arms
     my legs
     my feet
     my chest
     my, ahem, glutes
     and a little behind my ears.

1. b) I slathered a thick layer of petrolium jelly over my legs to make sure the embro would stay on through the rain, and to create an extra barrier against the cold.

2. I wore latex gloves underneath my long-fingered gloves
3. I taped the holes in the bottom of my Specialized S-Works shoes with electrical tape

Good news. The whole scheme worked.  I was comfortable the whole race.

None of the day's attacks stayed away.  But my teammate Lauren Romanski stayed away SOLO the last few miles, and it was cool to see her gain over 20s.  The field caught her just before the end of the race.  Our finish wasn't very spectacular...we didn't manage to get on the podium or score any bonus seconds.

There are 2 days left though.  We've got some work to do, and we're looking forward to it.

Apr 25, 2013

Joe Martin Stage Race: Stage 1

Stage 1 at the Joe Martin Stage Race presented by Nature Valley is a 4km uphill time trial.  The course reminds me of my favorite place in the world to ride: The Parc National de la Mauricie just north of Shawinigan, Québec in Canada.

I was the third rider off today. Our team director Kurt Stockton said I was sitting in the HOTSEAT (first place) for quite a while. I had no clue though, I was busy racing.  Plus by the end, I was oblivious to almost everything but the feeling in my legs anyway (which was "BURN").  I was juicing out every last ounce of effort that I had left in me.  Heck, I was going so hard that my field of vision was reduced to probably something around 5 degrees. 

I just read a motorcycle driving manual a couple of days ago that stated: for every 15km/h faster you go, your field of vision is reduced by 20%.  I won't do the calculation here but I don't think this rule applied to me today... the PAIN factor overrode it.

I was one of the 5 riders to finish in under 10 minutes. (Finishing in 5th, just like I did in 2011!). My teammate Alison Powers just barely missed the victory but had an EXCELLENT ride and finished in 2nd.  NOW and Novartis for MS is now in the first place for the team classification.

But there are three stages to go, and we want that leader's jersey...

Apr 24, 2013

At Least They Were Homemade

I flew in to Tulsa, Oklahoma this afternoon.  Team mechanic Erik, picked us up in the Ford van and drove us to Fayetteville Arkansas, where NOW and Novartis for MS will be racing this week at the Joe Martin Stage Race.
At the Tulsa airport I saw something that impressed me.  It was a vending machine that sold fresh flowers.  The bouquets on the upper row were $20 and $10 was the price of the ones below.  What a wise thing to have in an airport.
So that impressed me, but a few hours later I spotted something that (almost) astounded me.  Before arriving at our hotel, look at what I saw being advertised on the side of the road:
Fried pies!?  Are you kidding me?!  I've never heard of such a thing.  Did I try one? ABSOLUTELY NOT!  (Erik did though.)  I see some pretty interesting things on these bike racing adventures I have...

That was the extent of my sightseeing though.  The Joe Martin Stage race starts tomorrow.  Time to get down to business.

Apr 22, 2013

NEWS: Racing for Canada

I'm happy to announce that I will be racing the Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau Hydro Québec (an international calibre UCI 1.1 race, right in my own backyard...almost) with the Canadian National Cycling Team on May 18, 2013.

How to spot me?  I won't be in my typical blue, white, and orange NOW and Novartis for MS bike kit but I will be on my trusty Specialized S-Works Amira bike.

This is the 3rd edition of the GP Cycliste Gatineau, and the event has grown every year.  This year there are 2 Gran Fondo events, a Kids' Ride, the Vélo Village Bike Show, a Bike Safety and Awareness Day and a Ride With The Pros event. 

It will be cool to race with the Maple Leaf on my back again, especially so close to home!
Special-edition manicure.  Racing for Canada at the World Championships in 2012 (photo credit : Canadiancyclist.com)

Apr 11, 2013

Ladies Night : Cycle Néron

Merci à toutes celles qui sont venues à la soirée "Ladies Night" chez Cycle Néron à Boucherville hier soir (10, avril 2013)  Ca m'a fait plaisir de partager un peu sur ce que je fais comme cycliste professionnelle au sein de l'équipe NOW and Novartis for MS, ainsi que quelques conseils indéspensables que j'ai appris au fil des dernières années qui m'ont aidé à être une meilleure cycliste. 
Je vous souhaite une superbe saison, et au plaisir de vous voir sur la route cet été (avec mon Specialized S-Works Amira, bien sûr!).

Redlands Bicycle Classic 2013 : SUCCESS

Robin Farina and Oliva Dillon are ready to rock it before the criterium (Photo: P. Payne)
 NOW and Novartis for MS not only continued to help Alison Powers keep the Yellow Jersey through the 3rd (criterium, downtown Redlands CA) and 4th (road race, Sunset loop, Redlands CA) but the Green Sprinter's jersey ended up coming along with it.  Alison Powers is now also the leader of the NRC classification, as well as the NRC sprinter's classification. 

Pre-podium chit chat after the final stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic (Photo: K. Stockton)
All in all, Powers was actually awarded with a total of FIVE different jerseys to slip on during the podium ceremonies on the final day of the Redlands Bicycle Classic.  How often do we see that?

As an added bonus, NOW and Novartis for MS also achieved a first place in the Team Classification, meaning we were awarded with the status of the best team with the fastest cumulative time *(the total combined time of the top 3 riders in the GC for each team is taken into).
Getting to celebrate atop the podium as a team is definitely one of the coolest ways to end a bike race.

I hopped on the Red Eye flight home from LA to Montréal where I will spend 2 weeks resting (a bit!) and training at Power Watts' Premier studio in Montréal.

The next races:
Joe Martin Stage Race (Fayetteville, Arkansas) : April 25-28
Tour of the Gila (Silver City, New Mexico) : May 1-5


Apr 6, 2013

It's my birthday!

It's my birthday!  For the first time in my whole life I'll be bike racing in sunny California for my birthday.  (Not that I was in any rush for it to happen but...) out with 25 and in with 26 at the Redlands Bicycle Classic with NOW and Novatis for MS!  What more could a girl ask for?  And this is how I'm rocking it:

Vanilla cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles WOOOOOOT WOOOOOOT!

They're for sharing with the rest of my team after the criterium in downtown Redlands today :)

Apr 5, 2013

Redlands Bicycle Classic: Stage 2

Our goal was, and still is to keep Alison Powers in the lead for the General Classification at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

It was very cold at the start of stage 2, in Beaumont, California. I was shivering like a madman before the start.  I remembered hearing  that it was snowing at home in Québec Canada this morning and keeping that in mind I started to find the weather a little balmy.  Nice trick, "eh"?  (See Jonathan Devich's photo that shows how cold it was HERE)

Our goal wasn't to launch attacks, or aim to be a part of any breaks.  We just wanted to have enough control over what was going on in the big scheme of things, and keep Alison safe.  We followed moves, and let some go instead of burning matches chasing every little thing that went.  We rotated through on the front of the pack to keep any riders who went up the road in check.  It was taking a lot of energy to do it, but that was part of the strategy, and that's what we train for.

Alison went for the sprint points (and the time bonuses that came with them), and scored on each of the 3 laps of the course.  She's tied with Brianna Walle from Optum now for the sprinter's classification, but Alison is the official leader since she's higher up in GC.

On the last lap a break went and we let it go, rolling at the front to keep it in check.  None of the riders in it were threating to Alison's lead.  We brought the break back slowly, calmly, and surely.  Then things split up the final uphill section.  I ended up in that front group with Alison Powers and Robin Farina.  Before the second last corner, Robin was leading hard it on the front.  In the long stretch leading up to the ultimate corner into the uphill finishing section Robin attacked, then I took the front and drilled it into the last corner.  Just as I got there, Powers came by me, and sling-shotted off of me.  She sprinted to the finish, and WON.  Bingo.   I kept pedaling to the finish line

Stage 2 podium at Redlands.  Alison Power of NOW and Novartis for MS wins again! Photo credit: Redlands Classic Twitter. 

10seconds of time bonus, another victory, and she keeps the lead, by even more than she started with today. 

The second place finisher in today's stage protested the sprint to the commissaires, but did not win.  I think she believed Alison cut her off.  Alison was the first out of the corner, chose her line, and kept it.  A fair and square win for NOW and Novartis for MS. 

This was the last race I'll ever do when I'm 25 and I'm satisfied how this year of my life has went out ;).  Next goal, bring in 26 with a bang as well.  Tomorrow is the penultimate stage: a criterium in downtown Redlands
Robin getting some quality recovery in after today's tough day on the Specialized S-Works Amira!

Redlands Bicycle Classic : Stage 1

This year, stage 1 of the Redlands Bicycle Classic was held in Big Bear, CA for the first time ever.  It was a 10km time-trial at altitude, on a slightly rolling, and twisty course. 

Erik prepared our Specialized S-Works SHIV bikes the day before the race, as always. Here they are out by the team car, near his workspace.
It was a good thing that NOW and Novartis for MS made the 1hr drive up the mountain to Big Bear to pre-ride the race course a day early with our Specialized Shiv time-trial bikes.  That way we knew what to expect, and weren't suprised by any of those twists and turns on race day.  It probably would have been an even better idea ride it with race wheels on our bikes.  Having a full disc on the back, and deep dish (high rims) on the front kind of changes how the bike handles, mostly in sharp corners. 

It didn't matter much because we still arrived early enough on race day to ride on the road with our Specialized Shivs and race wheels.  Afterwards, I warmed up a little less intensely than I normally would for a time trial.  I figured that it would be a good idea considering how thin the air was up at 7000ft.  Your body just doesn't react the same way...

Alison Tetrick from the Exergy2016 team started 30seconds behind me.  The problem with that was that it was her birthday.   I know what birthday magic can do.  It can work wonders.  Plus, she's already fast.  Nobody likes getting passed in a time trial, so I knew I had to haul ..."keister".  Okay, it wasn't the first thing on my mind but I still thought about it.
I ended up finishing 5th place in the day, and passed a few people instead of getting passed (phewf.  OK, I'm joking, but I'm not).  However, the highlight was definitely my teammate's VICTORY.  Alison Powers SMOKED the field, winning with a 30second gap over the second place athlete (Taylor Wiles of Lululemon)  Alison is now the current leader of the race, and our goal is no secret.  We want her in the yellow jersey all of the way until Sunday, when the race ends.   
I got home and pulled out my Travel Roller, like always, before my massage from our soigneur Michelle.  (Want one? Click the link below)  Stage 2, here we come. 

Top 10 Results:
(for the rest: click HERE)
1Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS)0:16:10
2Tayler Wiles (Specialized lululemon)0:00:31
3Rhae Shaw (Vanderkitten)0:00:44
4Brianna Walle (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)0:00:49
5Lex Albrecht (NOW and Novartis for MS)0:00:55
6Amber Neben (The Dare to Be Project)0:00:56
7Janel Holcomb (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)0:00:59
8Alison Tetrick (Exergy Twenty 16)0:00:59
9Robin Farina (NOW and Novartis for MS)0:01:02
10Denise Ramsden (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)0:01:07