Friday, August 7, 2015

Superweek 2015 :)

Superweek 2015-

So we flew home from Quebec Thursday evening and BC Superweek started Friday with the MK Delta criterium. With the races starting in the evenings, it gave us the morning to build up my bike and go for a shake down spin, pre-race. This was another learning experience for me- don’t eat certain things for lunch/dinner within three hours of a Superweek crit! I had a great start and hung at the front for the first bit of the race, then totally cramped up, got dropped and pulled with three laps to go. It wasn't how I was quite hoping to kick off Superweek, but I had 6 more races to prove myself!

Pre-race Interview :D 

The next night, I planned out my meals better, and was already over jetlag and feeling great! This race was the Brenco Delta crit and there were 60-70 female riders. Once again I had a great start, and tried to maintain a top 15 position during the race. Eventually, the crowd prime came around and I thought what the heck, I’ll go for it! I didn't get it, but three up sprinting with Lex Albrecht (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini) was pretty sweet! I didn't plan out my finish very well and ended up 16th. I couldn't race the UCI road race the next day, as I am too young, and still have to wait two years until I can upgrade to race it… age limits like that are so annoying! I mean, you still have to be fast enough and capable enough to race a race like that, and if you’re young and fast you should be given the chance!

Smile? Check! = Race ready!

 So the third race for me was the UBC Grand Prix on Tuesday. There were even more riders, and it took place on a different course, which was tight and twisty and a bit sketchy. There was a big descent on one side and a narrow climb on the finishing straight. I had never finished the UBC crit before, especially when it was on the old course with the 360 U-turn. So I had to finish this year, and I did! I maintained my position at the front and even went with a break that almost stayed away! I one-uped my placing from Delta, and got 15th place. During the men’s race I got to ride in the lead car (the Tesla!) and it was so exciting!

Gastown time! The next night was the famous Global- Relay Gastown Grand Prix, the race who has been won by even Lance Armstrong back in the day (no surprise there ;). There were over 80 pro women for this race. It was even fun pre race and post race because there is such an exciting atmosphere filled with media reporters and curious non-racers. It was great, because usually it’s just me at a tent warming up by myself, but for Gastown and some of the other races we had a group of other women who were all riding independently and needed a home base! This year, there was a kids race and my 12 year old sister got to experience the thrill of riding this incredible race! It was finally our start time, I got a call up, then the race was under way. I had so much family and friends there cheering and the support was awesome! I maintained great position and kept up with the high speeds on the descent and finishing climb. I had to put my foot down once to avoid a crash, but stayed upright, even on the rickety, sketchy cobblestones! I planned out my finish perfectly, and moved up with 3 to go, so I was sitting top 5 going into one lap to go. I got pushed back to behind 10th place, due to having to slow for almost another crash on the 3rd to last corner. I was able to make enough time up in the sprint and got 13th place! Afterwards, to pick up the prize money, we had to go up to a super fancy office and had a buffet and sat in the VIP lounge while we waited!

Love these guys!! Some of the best supporters/friends I could ask for!

Day 5 of racing was the Giro Di Burnaby, with the 360 degree turn after the start/finish along Hasting’s street. Now my position wasn't so great for the first half of this race, but I didn't feel the threat of getting dropped. With around 10 laps to go, I decided enough was enough and moved back up to the top 10. I sprinted for a $200 prime, but didn't have quite enough speed to come around the leader. With 2 to go, just like last year, they rang the bell for the crowd prime, and I had such great positioning going into that last straight, that I won it…  for the second year in a row! I was so cracked after that, that on the last lap I finished off around 25th place.

The second to last race was the Whiterock crit, one of the hardest crits in my opinion. I had yet to finish this crit either, and it being my 3rd year racing it, I not only wanted to finish, but I felt that it was time for a top 10. Over 30 women were dropped in this high pace race, and there were attack after attack within the first 10 laps, always on the demanding climb. With 5 to go, I found myself among the 19 women left, and knew that a top 10 was attainable! With my good finishing position, I got 6th place. I was super happy with that! I was rewarded with a relaxing message to get me ready for the final race- the hilly Whiterock road race.

So the next day came along, and by this point, everyone's feeling the week. This was a hilly 80 km race with close to some 15% grades. I managed to stay in with the leaders by chasing back on after the climbs, but the pace was so up and down, that it was super taxing. Still, I stayed on, should have drank more and crashed with ½ lap to go. I just tapped a wheel in front of me and supermaned off my bike. I had very little road rash, and wanted to finish the race, but my shifter was broken. This was the first race ever that I didn't finish.


So Superweek was a fun week and a great learning experience! The day after it ended, I flew off to California for a week off the bike, and then it was off to Elma for the Northwest Junior Stage Race!

I'd like to thank my sponsors Local Ride Racing, Colnago Canada, CODE Sports, Catlike Helmets, Power2Max, Cycles Lambert, Epoch Analytical, Epoch Environmental Consulting, Pacific Sport, Cycling BC and Jubilee Cycle for the continuous support!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Junior Road Nationals 2015


Ok Junior Road Nationals was so full of learning experiences, it’s insane! This was the Junior National Road Championships in Thetford Mines, Quebec. My whole family travelled to Quebec 1 week before the race, to make a vacation out of it. We flew into Montreal and were picked up by the 31ft RV we were renting for the two weeks in Quebec. Upsettingly, when our bikes came through security, we found one of the boxes completely ripped and open! We're still unsure what might have fallen out (obviously nothing of total importance). The lack of respect from the airlines on our bikes was quite shocking and extremely disrespectful. Those are expensive bikes in those boxes, like seriously!

So, despite being jetlagged, we drove two-ish hours to Trois Rivieres to hang with my sisters exchange partner, then to a trailer park just outside of Quebec City. My dad and I built up the bikes and found a ride, then we went in to Quebec City for a couple of days. I absolutely fell in love with old Quebec- sooo gorgeous! Its perfect, too, that me and my sisters are all in French immersion.

Quebec adventures! Rode to a beautiful waterfall, then climbed the stairs to the top, with my sis on my back! :D

We finally got to Thetford Mines, settled again into our trailer park (which pretty much involved parking and unloading the bikes) then my dad and I went for a pre-ride on the TT course. We were descending, about 1/5th of the way into the course, when these two dogs ran out in front of me. I, having already hit a dog earlier in the season, wasn't planning on hitting two more, and hit my brakes. My dad didn't quite get the message, and after hearing a frightened yell rode full on into the back of me and we both went flying. I was quick to bounce up, but he lay there for a while, while I freaked out that he would never be able to stand again. Our bikes lay in a tangled heap, and after further inspection, we found his shifter broken (this wouldn't have been the first time I have been responsible for a broken shifter on his bikes…ooops) and 4 broken spokes on my carbon Shimano C-50 front wheel. The dogs stood there barking at us, and a nice local picked us up and drove us back to the camp-site (my TT bike almost fell off his bike rack). We replaced my front wheel with my Giant carbon one, put some ice on our wounds and were back in business.

Adventure #2: I pre-rode the course again, the next day saying “Screw you, dogs” as I rode by, then went to sign in and for bike check. Uh oh. Bikes too long. Ok, so we just chop off the bars, right? Ya well, we did that, then found out that the holes for the cables to come out of were two small and the bars didn't fit back together. So, painstakingly we had to cut those down too. Then, it wouldn't shift. My parents worked on that, and, as it was almost midnight, I went to bed.

Second pre-ride (in the rain)

Race day! I'm feeling good, bikes all legal- and it absolutely will not shift into my big ring, no matter what we do. It was one hour before my race, and (thank goodness!) the mechanic at the race was able to fix it! Warmed up, ready, set, go- and my rear wheel pulls on my standing start. I was independent and didn't have a follow car. I also had never had a mechanical before, and didn't know how to react. I ended up pushing through the TT, with a rubbing wheel, being passed by three girls, and coming third to last. Later I learned that I probably should have stopped and fixed it, but at the time, I was in race mode and unsure of what I should have done. Live and you learn.

Saturday was the road race, and there were 26 junior women (I had upgraded as I am actually a second year cadet). It was an aggressive race with teams working team tactics and me being the wild card (independent). Some attacks almost stayed away, and there were some crashes on the last descent, but it came down to a sprint finish. Last lap of the 20 km course I had really started cramping up and could barely straighten my legs. It was a learning experience for me, as I needed to drink more leading into the race and during it. I ended up 6th in the sprint.

I pretty much always have a smile on my face!

The last race was the crit on Sunday. This was my chance to prove myself and show them that even though I’d had a tough week leading up to this, I was still one of the strongest juniors. It was an eventful aggressive race with the group consistently strung out following attacks, none of which stayed away. I got into a few breaks, but they would get chased down every time. Once again, it came down to a sprint finish, and I was third wheel coming out of the last corner and took second! It was a great way to top of the week, and a great way to lead into Superweek, which started the day after we flew back (we spent a few more days in Quebec after the race).

National Crit Champ podium
The California Crew :D

I'd like to thank my sponsors Local Ride Racing, Colnago Canada, CODE Sports, Catlike Helmets, Power2Max, Cycles Lambert, Epoch Analytical, Epoch Environmental Consulting, Pacific Sport, Cycling BC and Jubilee Cycle for the continuous support!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

May- June 2015 :)

Hellooo! Here's a summary of the first part of my season :D

So my season started out with an adventure down to Enumclaw, Washington for the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage race. There were about 30 cat. 1/2/3 women in our field, which made the racing fast and exciting!

First up was the time trial, Mercx style. It was a beautiful 10 km TT out on the windy roads in the farmland part of Enumclaw. I finished 15th in the TT, just over a minute down from the leader, but felt strong and that overall, I had a good TT. We followed the TT with a pancake brunch at our traditional breakfast place. 7 hours to chill, then warm up time for the infamous, fast, 8 corner criterium. I have been incorporating some gym workouts into my warm up, off the bike, and it has so far really helped me warm up everything from my arms to my core, and also, my balance and focus, instead of just my legs. During the crit, I watched for moves, and stayed in the top 10 for the majority of the race, and also won the sprints for 3 x 3 second time bonus primes. It came down to a bunch sprint for the win. I ended up 2nd to Sara Bergen (Trek Red Truck) in an almost photo finish!

Confidance boosted, I went into the road race the next morning with the determination to get away and make up the time needed for me to slide into top 5, or on the podium in the GC. The flats brought with them lots of cat and mouse games, with some attacks, that used the hill to try and stay away. The over 5 km climb on the hill brought with it a hammerfest, and the group splitting each lap. I managed to stay with the lead group until the last lap, where I almost got dropped. Yet, I was with 2 other girls and we chased hard and jumped on the back of the pack before the long decent. Once again, it came down to a pack sprint and this time I got third in cat.1/2 women (on junior gears ;p)! All in all, I was super happy with how the week went, even though my time bonuses were only enough to move me up to 9th in the GC.

Crit Podium :D

The following weekend was Youth Provincial Road Champs in Penticton! The weather was super hot and nice, and the courses were some of my favourite courses that I have almost ever ridden! It was a 21 km time trial out through the rolling streets in the farmland. My dad/coach, sister and I obviously had to do a pre-race ride the night before, so I could check out all of the pretty animals beforehand, so they didn't distract me during the TT! ;)

I had a great time trial! We had dialled in my fit on my Colnago K-Zero TT bike, and it felt super comfortable during the race. I ended up 2nd place, 8 seconds down from Gillian Ellsay. I personally felt that I had a great TT! The crit that night was cool as well, with 6 corners, and  it being a fast, solid course. We had a 35 minute race, with various attacks that almost stayed away. Again, it came down to a pack sprint, which I took.

Kia Van der Vliet, me, Emily Handford and Holly Simonsin post crit
One of my fave pics! :)

That night, we had a banquet for the awards presentations and some talks. I was one of the speakers, along with John Wilcox, and I tell you, it’s not always easy describing your racing career on the spot, totally unprepared. But we did it! I am super happy I got a chance to give that talk in front of 100+ riders and parents and coaches, because practice makes perfect, and you may be fast on the bike, but proper speaking skills are so important to have to make it as a pro cyclist!

Last day in Penticton, brought sun again, but also storm clouds, and luckily the thunder didn't start until after our races. The road course was super tough, with a big steep climb, then some rolling flats with a head wind along the top part, then a crazy steep descent with sweeping, sketchy corners. The last part was a short stretch along the highway, with a 100 m 15% grade climb up to the finishing straight.

The road race dwindled down with attacks on the hill, until there were only 3 of us lefy for the last half lap. We had a match sprint type finish going up the last steep hill, then my attack was enough to hold them off and get the win!

Junior Provincial Champ Podium
Then there were Elite Provincials. The time trial happened to be my third race on my tt bike, and I had a great tt on the flat, windy 30 + km course. I came 6th. The next day was the road race. It was an 18km hilly, flat course (it had a bit of everything). I missed the first attack that went on the hill, along with the second one that bridged. Our race was 90+ km, and after a bit of negative racing because there were all these individuals then a few teams, it came down to a sprint finish for 4th. I attacked a little early and got 6th in that race as well.

The last day was the crit downtown in my hometown of Maple Ridge. Provincials this year was Race the Ridge and therefore run by my dad. So, before my race I did my part in volunteering (which was perfect, because I need the volunteer hours for school, anyways). Then my goal was just to make the elite women’s provincial crit champs as hard as I could and as aggressive as I could. I attacked, and got the primes, and countered and just raced as hard as I possibly could. I missed the one attack that stayed away, but she had help from a team and it becomes difficult sometimes, when you’re an individual against a team. I planned my final sprint perfectly, though, and won the bunch sprint, getting second overall in the crit.

BC Crit Champs podium

Next up was the Robert Cameron Law Cycling Classic race. The Friday night started with a scratch race and sprints at a speedway. It was a neat way to start the weekend, although I also really liked it when they ran the TT along the ocean. This speedway was like the Velodrome, just without the banking, and I used my track skills and won all the primes in the cat. 1/2/3 women’s scratch race plus the race, and the match sprints that followed. Oh! It was also my first chance to debut my new Local Ride Racing CODE kit!

The next day was the hilly, all up or down, road race. Some attacks almost stayed away on the big steep hill, but the main field was aggressively chasing back on, so it came down to a bunch sprint uphill finish. I chose some good wheels and was able to sneak around and win the Cheemos Perogies Classic road race for the first time!

Road Race Podium

Last day was the criterium, and this year, it took place around the BC Legislative buildings, right downtown Victoria on the water. There was a climb on the straight after the finish, then a flat, then a descent with a sharp right hand turn into the finishing straight. There were more riders for this race, and Trek Red Truck had a full squad, as well as Mical Dyck was there (the announcer kept mixing us up because of our pink and green kits!). Early on, there was an attack by Kinley Gibson and she managed to stay away, despite our attempts at getting a chase group together. I pushed into great positioning on the last corner and was able to pull ahead and, once again, win the bunch sprint and get second overall. It was a great weekend of hard, addictive racing, and I can’t wait until next year! Goodness, race weekends are so fun and addictive! :)

Crit Podium!

I'd like to thank my sponsors Local Ride Racing, Colnago Canada, CODE Sports, Catlike Helmets, Power2Max, Cycles Lambert, Epoch Analytical, Epoch Environmental Consulting, Pacific Sport, Cycling BC and Jubilee Cycle for the continuous support!