Wednesday, July 16, 2008
A month of Bicycle LOVE!
Somehow an entire month has passed by... dang!
I've got stories to share and I'm ready to take off on a road trip to Bozeman so I figured I better tell a few tales before I go. Surely I'll have more to tell when I return!
First the Elkhorn Classic Stage Race ...
GREAT BIG GIGANTIC SMILE!
Thrills, chills and a few spills - but overall, 3 glorious days of racing, some wonderful time spent cheering on the peleton and this year BELLA was a part of the mountain top celebration at Dooley Mountain. We shared our Recovery Brownies, Italian Pannetone and organic chocolate milk with some very appreciative racers and watched Sarah Barber take 1st place for Women Cat 1 GC.
Once the 'Horn was behind us, I started spending more time playing in the dirt with the fat, knobby tires. And when I say "in the dirt", I really mean it. It's been a long time since I've felt confident on a mountain bike and it's way past time to get back on that horse.
I've approached trail riding with good intentions and a big smile and boxes full of Advanced Healing Band-Aids and Second Skin. I was having a great time, and felt like I was making little improvements every ride but was still leaving too much of myself on the trail, if you know what I mean. The final straw was noticing the vultures above, circling my crash site - something had to change!
My 'coach' finally set me straight and told me that the reason I kept crashing (I prefer to call it high-speed tip-overs although the last one was undeniably a crash) was because I accepted that I was going to crash.
The next time I rode, I corrected when I lost my balance, and what d'ya know??? I have had a couple of very low-speed tip-overs on climbs since then and I'm almost completely healed up ('cept the elbow).
*Must learn to shift sooner.
*Must learn to shift sooner.
*MUST LEARN TO SHIFT SOONER!
I've ridden more in the past few weeks that in the last 5 years and IT'S REALLY, REALLY FUN when you figure out how to just keep riding!!!
then came the TOUR de FRANCE...
and the TEAM COLUMBIA announcement!
I have to say it was exhilarating (and I still feel incredibly lucky!) to follow the tour last year while in France, although you see much more of the race on TV than you do when the break passes you by at 45 km/hour! This year I'm back on Gail's couch at 5:30 in the morning listening to Phil Leggett and loving it! Todays finish was even more exciting for the way Paul and Phil's voices capture the explosiveness of adorable Manx-man Cavendish as he bolted from behind after 170 km of riding and blew past the other sprinters.
Three stage wins for Team Columbia and Cav!
Gert Boyle was already my hero, and now her 'little Oregon sportswear company' is the driving blue force at the front of the peleton! I can't think of anything sweeter!
and right there in the middle of the tour...
the CASCADE CLASSIC and Bend's fantastic mountain bike trails!
Got to Bend in time to ride Shevlin Park trails before the Criterium, a good beginning to a great weekend! Stayed at the St. Francis School - McMenamin's gorgeously restored hotel right in the heart of town. Lucked out on a last minute reservation thanks to someone's cancellation-Thank you, thank you!
Watched Sarah Barber, Ally Stacher and Allison Beall from Team Bob's Bicycles storm around downtown Bend with Olympian Kristin Armstrong Savola before watching the Man of the Hour, Chris Horner lead Levi Leipheimer on the fast circuit tour of town. Sarah took the QOM polka dots on Day 1 and Ally finished Top 3 for Best Young Rider during the CC. Congrats to both! It was fun to be able to cheer you on again this summer (and know that I'll be cheering LOUDLY for you from Montana during the Twilight Crit!)
(read about Chris Horner and why he's the coolest guy on a bike at www.velonews.com/article/80087 )
There were some awesome surprises over the weekend... hearing my name over the loudspeaker at the finish line at Mt. Bachelor of Saturday was pretty cool, but even better than that was when Splinter said he'd seen the 'BELLA Mobile' in town and wanted to know if we'd like to hang a Women Challenge leaders jersey at on the BELLA Bike Shrine. WOW! It feels a tiny bit like the passing of the baton, at least that's what I'm going to read into it.... HP dropped sponsorship of the Womens Challenge 5 years ago. Baker City has worked to increase the womens participation in the Elkhorn Classic since then and it really started to show this year!! Thank you Splinter - what an honor - we'll display it proudly!
The other MAJOR achievement of the weekend was of a much more frivolous nature, and call me silly if you must but I actually 'caught some air'. Technically that means that my tires were no longer touching terra firma, something Mom would never approve of, even now. But no one was around, and I was feeling pretty brave and powerful and so I just did it. There ya have it, the headline should read "47 year old wine chick finds her inner 12 year old". Bottom line is still all about bicycle love - and having fun! (A gigantic Thank You to Barb at Sunnyside Sports for wrenching on my bike - you absolutely rock! Maybe I'll become a wrench when I grow up!)
Here's a short video of one pass of the Pro 1 Men at the Cascade Classic Criterium. Chris Horner is sporting the robin's egg blue Astana uniform and in the yellow leaders jersey right behind him, fellow teammate and Olympian Levi Leipheimer!
Well that's all for now, I'm off to Montana to celebrate the wedding of BFF Wif to her man DC Ron. Next week, I'll tell you the big news about goat cheeses from Waitsburg and Tumalo!!