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Archive for the ‘verducci-breakaway’ Category

I love Thanksgiving. Mainly because I love turkey. No, I love it all. I love going from the cold into a warm kitchen filled with people. I love the chatter and banter and seeing my family. I love hugging my grandma and playing cards with my cousins. And I absolutely love turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy.

I’m all about saying grace, and my goal is to stay in that frame of mind well into the new year. I have much to be thankful for, starting with Coach Ben, who patiently, diligently works to keep me on course; Coach Jared, Mike Cerimele and the folks at Velocity — who helped me square up after my injury; Phil, Gazza, T-Bird, Jess, Trish & Lisa, my Verducci-Breakaway teammates . . . looking forward to a great 2009; Tiffany Brown at Giant Bicycles, who gives me the fastest, most incredible bikes to race on; Matt, Kim and my other training partners at T-Town; Matt, who deserves a second mention because he’s such a great motivator and generous guy; Gene Durigan, without whom I wouldn’t have a slick computer to write on; Dave Q Pryor, who somehow calls me with freelance work when my tank is on fumes; my Lath, who’s zen-like in his encouragement of my goals; the many friends who’ve listened to me kvetch about how hard it is at the elite international level; all you kooky people who read my blog; Bicycling magazine, for giving me a forum to share my experience, and the good lord, for giving me a body that can take the kind of punishment I dish it. 

Just kidding about that last sentence. I love training, riding and racing bikes and seeing what I can do. You only live once, I say.

Since 2005 I left a great job, started a freelance business, moved to a new town, got married, focused on training and racing, made an uninhabitable living space livable, made the US National Team, shut down my business, got fast enough to chase after the Olympic games, worked through two injuries, and ran completely, utterly out of money. 

Giving up everything good and secure and reliable to jump head-first into a world where there are no guarantees has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The best part, so far, about doing this has been the depth of the experience, and the many smart, friendly and passionate people I’ve met—both in cycling and outside the sport. I’m grateful for every single one of them. 

Plus, I can now ride rollers using only one leg. That has to count for something.

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I’m a little short on words these days, so I’m going to post photos I’ve made lately of people, places, and things in my world. This is my gorgeous teammate, Lisa Jellett, at the Bob Rodale Fitness Park. We did these for the Verducci-Breakaway website.

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Many thanks to my Aussie VBR teammate, Jess, for her massive support during elite nats! 

Everyone should have a cute, mechanically-inclined, race savvy sweetheart with a wicked sense of humor, cheeky accent, and calm disposition to get them through a marathon week of track racing. 
Check out the loot! Great day of racing today, with the women’s points race and men’s madison wrapping up the week. You can check all the results on USA Cycling.
Final tally: One gold, two silvers, and lots of time to catch up with folks I haven’t seen in awhile.

Good luck to all the masters heading to Sydney for Masters Worlds!

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Does it take for two girls to do a track workout? Four, gorgeous, beautiful bikes. That’s how many. Two Giants, one Scott and one Blue. And how many times can 3 girls eat in one day? Last time I checked, we were at 13 (4-5 times apiece). But who’s counting? 

Here was the scene today as my Verducci-Breakaway teammate Kacey and I were waiting to head to the ADT Center. Every day is a masterful display of logistics. Sometimes we’ve got 4 girls and 4 bikes. In a few days’ we’ll have 4 girls, maybe 6 or 8 bikes, a few pair of race wheels, some food, lots of bags, and one very dedicated Team Manager and one very dedicated Team Director. 

It’s been awesome to get back to LA to the ADT Center. The track feels like home to me. It’s gorgeous, and it’s effortless to ride on the boards. 

Today we did warm-up with Lanell & Dave, plus DC Heather. On the boards, you can cruise at 44, 46 kph with the same effort you might use at 40, 42kph on the cement at T-Town. 

Getting here was a breeze. Been doing a whole lotta TV watching, hydrating, and getting ready for racing to begin on Thursday.

It’s great to be back!

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Free form update . . .

got my new license, got my official United States Anti-Doping Passport and schweeeet! USADA tote bag, got a surprise visit by two exceedingly tall Polish-American USADA Anti-Doping officers, had to bring them to training with me. Imagine two 6’3″ tall heavily accented drug control officers, one in all-black, watching you warm-up on a Lifecycle while waiting for you to pee. It’s a funny scene, definitely not something the folks here in Lehighton are used to. Sparked a great conversation on drugs in sport, though. Won my first race with my verducci-breakaway teammates (more on that later). It’s awesome. They’re awesome. Went camping in French Creek with friends, my man placed 6th overall in his race—first singlespeed, Selene beat the pants off everyone—guys included, Christine won her first race @ sport class, Joachim got 2nd . .. 30 seconds behind 1st!! Aaargh. I feel for him. Lockwood drank a beer and still finished not last. Lath and I pulled in $135 bucks American total for our efforts. I love, love, love waking up in a tent. Got to take the Giant Anthem W tester out for another ride on the French Creek trails on Sunday. Felt so good to wake up in the woods. The weekend lasted forever.

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Man, do the Aussie’s love their sports! The theme for the event was “Track is Back!” and the good folks at Cotter Pin put on quite a show

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The headliners rolled onto the track in spotlight to everything from Kanye West to AC/DC. Spectators and sponsors had their choice of infield seating and cocktails. And the organizers had to postpone the start time for a half hour because people were lined up outside waiting to get in.

It was a fast paced race schedule, top shelf athletes, great crowd, great city . . . watching the men’s sprints with Mark French, Ryan Bayley, Josiah Ng was about as good as it gets. Same with the women’s sprint final with Hijgenaaar and Meares. Hijgenaaar held off Meares in a surprising final. Something to aspire to.

I had a couple good rides . . . I overheard a man talking with his mate in the hallway about “that American girl, what was her name . . . ?” while shuffling through his program — then he looked right and realized I was walking next to him.

We had a moment. Made me smile.

I figure if I’m making the conscience of an Aussie sports fan, I must be doing something right.

So glad we came . . .

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There’s probably no better way for 4 people to get to know each other than to pile into a Toyota Land Cruiser with 8 bikes, 4 sets of race wheels, enough luggage to make it to sydney and beijing and head 7 hours south through the Australian bush.

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I know we weren’t technically driving through the bush . . . we would have had to hop a little further off the interstate. Still, I can’t believe I didn’t get to see a kangaroo. T and Jess said they’re everywhere and I kept my eyes peeled for at least 300 of the 5 or 600 Kilometers we drove.

But we made it, Theresa, Gary, Jess and myself. I’m writing on the tail end of the first leg of the trip. We raced Australia’s first Revolution race tonight, and I’m still up at midnight, buzzed from racing ’til 10pm.

Melbourne’s a beautiful city. Gary described it as the arts and cultural center of Australia. It feels like a cross between san francisco and new york city. Isn’t it so American of me to describe it in relation to American cities? We pulled into Federation Square Thursday evening and found our way through a maze of trolley cars, parks, and funky buildings.

Being a native pennsylvanian, I always think it’s funny to see a southern city decorated for Christmas.

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Stayed two nights at a sweet hotel called The Albany and got out for a ride Friday along the Yarra river.

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I’ve only been here two days, but Melbourne is such a vibrant city. Tons of people outside. People riding bikes, hanging out on the plaza, street performers, trolley cars, tourists taking it all in. We rolled around lunch time Friday and spent much of the ride dodging runners and rowers and a long line of schoolkids in what appeared to be a police-led class teaching them how ride bikes in the city.

It’s great having Fearless Jess lead the way, because she’s familiar with the city and can thread the needle between traffic, pedestrians, and signage. It’s something to behold. Check out this Team Verducci stoplight maneuver. . .

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I’m fading fast. It’s 12:30 and I’ve got to get to bed. We’re packing up for the drive back north to Sydney tomorrow. I’m guessing 10 hours in the car. Theresa and I both have a miserable head cold (a downside to close quarters), so I need to get ahead of the rest curve.

We’ll pull into Sydney tomorrow late in the evening, where I’ll go with the US National Team and my verducci/breakaway mates will stay on the UCI Trade Team vibe; then I’ll join up with them again in Beijing. I’m already going to miss them.

It was great racing the Revolution tonight. Lots of energy, big crowds, spectators on the infield, amazing field of athletes. Olympic and World Champions and some pretty fast up and comers, too!

It’s so valuable for me to line up against athletes like Olympic and World Champion Anna Meares and Yvonne Hijgenaarnar of the Netherlands. I’m feeling more confident about myself against this level of competition and more willing to take chances and trying a few tricks in the sprint and Keirin.

Gotta go. Gotta get to sleep!

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