Mt.Ham classic – My first race ever

May 31, 2006

by Elizabeth Traver

I achieved my goal which was to simply finish — I don’t want to give excuses , or at least not too many but I did have a lot going against me (heavy ass bike is definitely one of them). The race was 38 miles long with 2200′ feet of climbing and I finished it in about 2h15m … I know for a lot of you this probably seems slow but for me it’s astonishing and I’m proud of myself, or should I say I am proud of my legs.

The race started at 8:45, we left the house at 7:15 and I thought it would take 45 minutes or so to get there, giving me plenty of time to warm up — Well, we get there at 8:30, I still had to buy my one day license and use the toilet … I head over to the toilet line and the bell begins to ring …no toilet for me and no warming up – About an hour into the race and I finally felt like I had warmed up and that I was ready to go – I stayed with the pack for just a few moments in the beginning and as soon as the climbing began me and a handful of girls got dropped. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. A few of us stayed together and I even passed someone on a descent (one of my better cycling skills) but she caught up within moments of reaching the bottom — I tried to work together with the few that we were but I just couldn’t keep up and eventually I was dropped all by myself :( I almost puked and thought about quiting, being in last(well, one girl got a flat so technically I wasn’t last but that’s a pretty sad reason to not finish last) and all …who cares, right? But i kept reminding myself why I was there – It eventually felt just like a nice ride on a Sunday morning all by myself, new scenery and new challenges.

It took me the entire day to recover, I have never been in soo much pain in my entire life and I can’t wait to do it again! My cyclers cough kept on into the later evening.

I need to get a heart rate monitor/cyclometer (I used to have one a few years back when I really didn’t need it and now I need one and don’t have one) –

Thanks for listening!

And thanks for all of the pre-race advice!!

Elizabeth Traver

24 Hours Round the Clock—Spokane, WA

May 31, 2006

by Shannon Holden

This past weekend was the 24 hours Round the Clock race in Spokane, Wa. Not knowing what I was getting myself into I signed up to do it solo. I raced the course Wednesday night on my Kula Lisa and realized this was not a course for hard tail. I hadn’t recieved my Queen Supreme yet so I called up my bike shop and asked what they could do for me. Well to get to the point, Scott from Kona was coming over to race on a two man team and brought me a bike and somehow managed to get mine to Spokane by friday morning. I had 2 full suspensions to race on, Scott and Kona saved my rear!!!!

I started off really well with some great lap times, keeping my heart rate in a good zone, taking plenty of fluids, and trying to eat as much as possible. Eating is the hard thing for me I tend to get really sick and food doesn’t like to stay down. So of course I wasn’t getting enough. My husband and Dad calculated that I needed 600 calories for each lap. I was maybe gettin 300-400. So around 7 laps or 8pm I was getting nauseas and my stomach was trying to cramp. I came into the tent had some chicken noodle soup, some fruit, and some Enlive. Enlive is kind
of like a juice form of Ensure with 300 calories. It was amazing, half way through the next lap I was feeling so much better which was a good thing because I was heading into night. This is were the mental battle started for me. Not only was I tired but it was dark and raining. My lap times stayed pretty good it was the breaks that were killing me. I couldn’t eat while I rode because I would gag whenever I tried, so I had to stop at the camp and down whatever I could. The hardest was getting back on the bike in the cold and rain. This is where Rebecca Rusch made her move and put some time on me. Rebecca is this amazing superstar adventure racer and my toughest competition.

My second lap in the dark I headed into the mud pit and came out with something clicking on my bike, I asked the guy behind me if he could shine is light on my wheel. I had a thorne in my tire that had a branch attached to it. Not thinking and being half out of it I pulled the branch out and of course air came with it. I put my finger over the hole to block it and started to freak a little. I really didn’t want to change a tire in the middle of the night and in a mud pit. I think I actually started praying and the stragned thing happened, when I took my finger off of the hole the air wasn’t leaking anymore. I thought to myself… ok my husband must have put Stanz in. I rode about 1/2 a mile and there was my husband so I asked him, he said no he didn’t put Stanz in. I rode 6 miles on this tire, air leaked slowly, but I made it back to camp. I still don’t know what happened or how I didn’t flat out on the course.

About 1am my knees started to really hurt, my rear end was taking a beating, and I was starting to have nerve pain shoot up my hands. I knew I had to be mentally tough, so I just started telling myself morning was coming. My husband was awsome and would go to sections of the course to see how I was doing and how I looked forward to seeing him. My dad was great he would rub my legs and knees while I ate Chicken noodle soup and coffee. Yes coffee it was keeping my blood pressure up because I was getting a little dizzy at times, oh ya and it was warm!!!!! My support crew was something else. Morning came and I was hurting but excited for the light. I had accomplished goal number 1 riding through the night. The only bad part was that my breaks were longer than my competition and she had put a bit of time on me.

Morning came I was gaging down the Enlive with each lap and trying to put some solids in. I was feeling better. Riding hard though the night was really starting to wear on Rebecca so my husband was pushing me to go for it. I put on the MP3 and got a grove on for awhile and was
starting to make up some time. At 9 am Rebecca had gone through the start/finish about 10 minutes in front of me, my husband told me he would think I was awsome if I could go and pass her. So what do you know I went out for a hard lap, 12 minutes faster than any lap I had done in the last 8 hours. I blew by her at the top of a hill. I was so excited, but she still had 2 laps on me which unless she stopped it was impossible for me to make it up. On the other hand I had now accomplished goal number 2 finishing 15 laps. I still had 1 1/2 hours to go so I went out on another lap and boy was I ready to see 12 noon. It was a lap but I finished with 16 laps and in 2nd place. So my first 24 hours was awsome and painful. I could barely walk Sunday night and I couldn’t bend my knees at all. I think the hardest part of the weekend was Monday morning at 3am when Noah (my baby) woke up and then again at 7am. Reality hit that eventhough I was tired and sore I had to get up, be a mom and then go to work in the afternoon. So I did it 24 hours solo….240miles.

May 27-29

May 31, 2006

Northern California/Nevada Junior Criterium Championship, CA
4th, Meri Meighan, Junior 10-12/13-14 Women
8th, Luciana Vecchi, Women 3/4
12th, Heidi Horton, Women 3/4
17th, Angela Aldrich, Women 3/4
33rd, Julie Starling, Women 3/4

Mt Hamilton Road Race, CA
12th, Monica Neilson, Women 1/2/3
15th, Patty Selbicky, Women 1/2/3
10th, Kim White, Women 4
11th, Angela Aldrich, Women 4
12th, Tracy Loper, Women 4
24th, Elizabeth Traver, Women 4

Memorial Day Criterium, CA
21st, Ryan Hostetter, Women 1/2/3
26th, Heidi Horton, Women 1/2/3
9th, Angela Aldrich, Women 4
10th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women 4
11th, Jennifer Udall, Women 4
18th, Kim White, Women 4
21st, Tracy Loper, Women 4
22nd, Julie Starling, Women 4

Snake Alley Criterium, IA
5th, Karla Kingsley, Women 4
7th, Paula Bohte, Women 4

Quad Cities Criterium,
1st, Karla Kinglsey, Women 4
10th, Paula Bohte, Women 4
15th, Karla Kingsley, Women Open

Monumental Memorial Road Race,
8th, Barb Harick, Women

Monumental Memorial Time Trial
5th, Barb Harick, Women

Monumental Memorial Road Race 2
4th, Barb Harick, Women

Festival of Speed non-race report

May 30, 2006

by Cathy Boland

The Festival of Speed at the Dick Lane Velodrome in East Point, Ga was my first track race of the season and the 3rd time I had been on the track all year. I wasn’t expecting much in results since I haven’t been doing much track work so I was looking at this race as more of a training effort than anything else.

Woke up to the sound of driving rain early Sunday morning. The race would be a no go if it was raining, so I had to make a decision whether or not to chance the 2.5 hour drive to Atlanta. Judging from the weather channel, the rain would blow through and there was a good enough chance of racing to justify the drive. So off I went. All the way to Atlanta I kept asking myself, “Why am I doing this? I could be in bed sleeping right now. I could have a lazy morning of coffee and breakfast. ” I never could figure out why I torment myself with these stupid bike races.

I arrived at the track just as the rain was letting up. Hooray! The trip was not wasted. The track finally dried enough to get on it around 1:30 with the racing starting at 2.

As I was warming up, I noticed that my rear wheel felt squirrelly. Sure enough, I had a slow leak. I ride tubulars on the track, so a quick tire change was not possible. Fortunately, I had thought to bring a set of spare training wheels with me. The rear one weighs as much as a battleship, but it was better than nothing. I had just enough time to run to my car, change out the wheel and get a few more laps of warm-up in before the racing started. How can it be that I’m one of the first to arrive at the track yet I still don’t get a warm up in?

We started with a flying 200 meter time trial to seed us for the sprints. I swear a saw the officials pull out a calendar to clock me. I felt like I was riding through molasses. Later I saw that I had pulled off the slowest time for all the women. 15.67 seconds – yep, they really did have to pull out a calendar. Well just happy day.

Our first race was a snowball – the winner of each lap gets the number of points of that lap number – winner of lap 1 gets 1 point, lap 2 gets 2 points and so on. These races start out fast and furious and I’m generally not too good at them on my best days. Today was just flat a disaster. The top women and the juniors took off a half lap into the race. I almost had enough jump to stay with them, but not quite. The gap between me and them kept getting bigger and pretty soon the group of women that had even less jump than I came roaring over the top of me. Well crap. I decided that chasing was hopeless, so I sat up and let the group lap me and I
jumped in behind them. 2 laps later I noticed something weird was going on with my bike. And then there was suddenly no pressure on my left foot. Looking down I saw my left crank arm just dangling from my shoe! Shit! (Actually what was going through my mind was much less clean than that) Somehow I managed to pedal with one leg (remember that track bikes are fixed gear and have no brakes) off the track and into infield where some alert friends caught me before
I fell over.

The bolt for the crank arm was lost so I couldn’t re-attach the crank arm. And I decided that 2 near disasters was enough for one day. Basically I drove 2.5 hours to get 15 laps of warmup, a 200 m TT that Grandma Moses in a wheelchair could beat and 9 laps of racing. I felt like throwing my track bike in the nearest dumpster.

A half a bottle of good wine later the whole thing was actually pretty funny.

Central NY Belli Report

May 30, 2006

by Kate

Hi, Belli (I took a year of Italian in college, and one of the few things I remember it that the actual plural form of Bella (beautiful woman) is Belli, unfortunately pronounced “belly”…)

We the Central NY contingent just completed our local Syracuse Race Weekend event – a road race, street sprints later that evening in downtown Syracuse, and then a crit on sunday. At this point, there are four Velo Belli (ok, Bellas, I know you all like that better) but after the weekend, I think there are three more joining us.

I’m a Cat 3 for life – no expectations of moving up, I like to race but don’t like to spend all my free time training, training, training, so I have to work on being satisfied with results that show that I don’t like to train, train, train.

Amy Kneale, mom of 3 (!), is a new 4 and probably very soon to be 3. A former extremely competitive runner, she’s been bitten by the bike bug and is just having a ball and great success to boot. Our other 4s are Janet Olsen, mom to Lars, who has done triathlons, is big into mountain biking and who has set some goals for racing for herself before she turns 50 (a long time from now, wink, wink) and Sue Atwood, animal lover and caretaker, also a hard core mountain biker, sneaky street sign sprinter, and as yet, I think, woman of untapped potential.

In short, my races were not worth of a lot of discussion. I had to do 60 miles and twice up a loooong, painful hill before the short finishing hill. Suffice it to say, I was dropped from the pack on the first climb, but worked with two other women to catch the pack on the second lap, yay, but darnit, was dropped and this time for good, on the hill climb again. Legs were in serious pain.

Amy’s, Sue’s and Jan-o’s group had 33 miles, Amy finished an impressive 2nd, Sue and Janet working from a bit back, but it was their FIRST race! And they left smiling, despite the miserable climb.

The weather was a bit dreary too – typical NY overcast, slight drizzle and a headwind like crazy for the last 6 miles. (Ok, Janet wasn’t smiling as much as Sue, but she was perkier the next day.) We (the Onondaga Cycling Club) have put this race on for years, and some of us love the street sprints because they’re just different. Others (a lot of the pros) don’t like it because if you don’t do them you cannot win in the GC, and they’d rather go home and shower and get ready for the next day’s crit.

Nonetheless, you never know who will be good at this event, because it’s really different than just sprinting in a race. There’s not much time to “ramp up”. Many of the bars and restaurants are open and there are spectators sitting outside dining while watching all the lycra-clad, skinny people zipping up and down the road.

Of the 4 of us, I think Sue had the most impressive results. I had no idea that she had that in her, she’s very unassuming. Who knew?!

Last event was the crit – in a park in a residential area of the city of Syracuse. The weather was very hot and sunny for us New Yorkers, in the 80’s, where we had, believe it or not, SNOW falling exactly a week before. This crit is a great crit for first timers, because there are no sharp turns and it’s actually a very beautiful setting with a fountain in the middle. The really horrible thing is the city gets the public pool ready, and the water is glistening and beautifully inviting, but they torture the kids by not opening it for two weeks!

After my race, I helped corner marshall at a spot with no shade, and that &%$! pool right in my view. In any event, the 4s and 1-2-3s were on the course at the same time, as well as the somewhat squirrely juniors; we were sent off a minute or so apart. My great excuse is #1 that my legs were toast from the day before and I am using gearing that isn’t working for me and #2 I got boxed out by the juniors when my group was passing them, and I couldn’t bridge the gap back to my pack…

I worked for a brief while for a friend and teammate on a team I raced with last year who was on a solo breakaway, but she really didn’t need my lame pulling for more than a minute or so.

Eventually the pack caught me (or more aptly, they lapped me) and I jumped back in and finished with them. (So I don’t sound so pitiful, there were two others who were dropped. Do I sound defensive?)

Amy’s and Sue’s group of 13 stayed together for a while, but also then broke up (I can’t imagine how difficult it was for the lap counters – we also had 3 different numbers of laps to do) and Amy was with her front pack while Sue was back with a couple other women. Amy ended up finishing 4th and Sue 9th I think.

The most memorable thing about being a Bella this weekend, is the enormous number of compliments we got on our jerseys AND on the fluff that Amy provided us for our bike flair. We were called Team Fluffy and there were a lot of questions about the potential for drag because of the fluff. (Maybe that can be my excuse #3?) Hopefully there will be a couple more Bellas/Belli by the next time I report!

May 29, 2006

by Wendy

Well this was our first trip to Scotland and we were pumped!

We stayed with Scots Gordon and Elliot Jardine (friends of the family) on Shieldhill for a couple of days before and after the race. They were AAA hosts and have the perfect mascot for our team – a German Shepherd named BELLA. They were a wealth of information on Scotland. They knew everything from where Harry Potter was filmed to wave action as a potential alternative energy source for Scotland.

The country has some amazing terrain with big green rollers filled with sheep in the southern part of the country to bigger harsher open mountains in the Highlands. Its all very rocky and looooooong rock walls scatter the country. We will have to come back to check out more. But….when I come, I will bring every possible layer of Helly Hansen gear I can stuff into my bag because the weather changes FAST. The key here was layering and waterproofing.

Mountain biking Scotland
Just before I left Canada I read an article in a mountain bike magazine that rated the best trail building places in the world. Scotland had apparently bumped BC out of the number two spot. I didn’t think that it was possible (I DO love our BC trails) but after riding at Glentress on Wednesday and Fort William this weekend I have to admit that I was pretty impressed.

The trails were built to shed rain (and we saw LOTS of it) so the race course was in amazing shape considering….. There were great trails for all levels, the different routes were all colour coded and marked clearly, showers and washrooms were available at the base and the HUB cafe had wicked snacks for after your ride!

After we rode Glentress Norm said it all too well “do you think if we dumped some friends off at our local trails they would be able to have a wicked ride like we just did?” probably not. But I guess in Scotland its all run by the Forestry Commission so its done with a master plan. And as the Scots say they have done a crackin’ job.

Norm asked me what I thought of the Fort William course after I pre-rode on Thursday afternoon in the last bit of sun we would see for 2 days. LOVED IT. Even though it had poured on and off for the past week the course was mostly rideable (except one section through a clear cut) and it was a lot of fun. It had something for everyone. A big 3km fire road climb on the first lap for the mountain goats. Really technical descents for the heavy weights – with lots of passing places connecting them, and an open flat area at the end for those who play tactically.

It would be tough and challenging course to race on but it would be a blast.

The race
I was feeling really good about this race.

I seem to race well in challenging conditions and as we all huddled together at the start and the skies opened up I almost started laughing. It was kind of comical. A bunch of scrawny cyclists from around the world soaking wet in spandex about to rip it up in the mud.

As I looked around I saw disgust, fear, shivering, focus but no one else was smiling. Well I shouldn’t have been so smug. The start “gun” went off, which was a weird beep so half the group started and the other half (myself included) hesitated for a second because we weren’t sure if that was the start signal. There would be no “game off – REDO”, so we got our shit together.

Within seconds, probably about 100m off the start line, I heard some chick screaming bloody murder and looked over to see two girls dominoing right towards me. I tried to move out of the way but I was boxed in by a rider up front and a ditch to my left. They took me out. I jumped up right away and wrenched my poor Kula Lisa from under the tangled mess, watching two girls from behind add to the pile up.

I took off to catch the tail end of the pack. Thank god. I couldn’t imagine trying to chase up that 3km hill on my own. I assessed the situation.

My original plan had been to climb steady and go into the technical section in the top 15 so as not get caught behind the frass. That plan had gone to shit. I was stuck behind at least 60 girls that may or may not be technically skilled. I didn’t want to blow up on the long climb so I just got into a groove and steadily picked off riders. I didn’t go kamikazi on the climb but I made up at least 20 spots just riding from wheel to wheel.

When we hit the first technical section it was an on-off track stand the whole way down. Not exactly going as planned. Don’t panic its a long race. When we hit the clear cut I realized that two seasons of tree planting in Northern BC had given me the ability to bound through red rot faster than any of these girls that had been training all summer. I picked off at least two riders every lap in that section!

I chased and chased and chased, picking off girls throughout the course. I have to admit its better for the ego than falling backwards from a good start like last week in Belgium….I was feeling good and had moved into the top 15 on the last lap.

I had passed all the US girls and even two fellow Canucks. I thought I had dropped Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain Business Objects) for good but I should never count her out of the mix – she is a wiley one. Kiara Bisaro (team R.A.C.E.) was on my tail for the last open stretch and I stupidly towed her around thinking I was strong and it was just the two of us. Sydor was nowhere in sight. Just as we were coming up to the last singletrack before the finish, Bisaro pulled ahead so I think ” I will just take a quick rest and sprint for the trails”, when Sydor comes out of nowhere sprinting with a Kiwi on her tail and suddenly I have lost three spots and am the last into the trail. How the hell did that happen?

I stay on my wheel in my big gear hoping I can pull a good sprint out of my ass but coming off the trails last puts me in a horrible spot and I can’t do much with it. Another bittersweet 16th finish. Happy with a strong comeback performance but mad at myself for being so tactically retarded.

Mud in every orifice, I admit to myself that I have had a solid Euro World Cup effort and I can go home satisfied with my results but still wanting more.

Thanks so much to all of my team sponsors Velo Bella, Kona, SRAM, Easton, Schwalbe, Zeal Optics, Fox, San Marco, SIDI, Hincapie, team Estrogen, [email protected], vanderkitten. Thanks to my sponsors Helly Hansen and Frontrunners. Thanks to the Jardines for being such great hosts. And thanks to Norm who has been hanging out in the pouring rain with me as my mechanic, feeder, manager, training partner and super fan!

Photos by Rob Jones,

May 23-24

May 25, 2006

Prairie City Race Series #7, CA
2nd, Kim Passafiume, Expert/Pro Women
2nd, Renee Ridgley, Women Sport 34 and under

Opus Criterium Series, MN
3rd, Margot Herman
8th, Maria Stewart
12th, Laurel Sundberg
14th, Lieselot Decroix
16th, Karla Kingsley

Its Happening in Kern County

May 25, 2006

About a half dozen bellas made the trip to Bakersfield, CA for the 10th annual Kern County Women’s Stage Race.

Lots of trials and tribulations and teetotaling (whatever that is)

Ryan won a stage
Liz won the overall
Linda won our hearts (and the award for doing this 10 years in a row!!!)

and our support crew treated us like the princesses we are.

If you missed out on the fun, you can check out the pics here

Bittersweet Belgian Chocolate for Wendy

May 22, 2006

Wendy Simms rode to her best ever finish in a World Cup event this past weekend!! Fresh off the presses race report here

photo by Rob Jones of

Spa World Cup Race Report

May 22, 2006

by Wendy

Ahhhhh Belgium. I LOVE Belgium!

I knew the world cup race in Spa would be great, just because it was in Belgium (and because Norm was going to be here!). No one would be having a siesta in the middle of the day when we needed to get things done. We could eat dinner before 10pm.

The town of Spa was a cute, quiet town with lots of great restaurants and sparkling water. The race course was totally dialed with 40+ gated stalls for the feed zones. The race car track venue was sealed with gatekeepers making sure no hookers got in. Crazed cycling fans by the thousands. Little Belgian elves on every corner handing out chocolate (OK that one was an exaggeration but there WAS a Leonitas chocolate store in Spa).

But of course there was rain. It always seems to rain in Belgium. When we first arrived in Spa and saw our wicked B&B I actually felt bad for Bella Kristin and Sarah missing out. But when I checked out the course on Saturday I wasn’t so sure they would have enjoyed it.

It was a great course, but there was a LOT of mud. Now, I consider myself a bit of a mudder but this stuff was pretty much unrideable in big sections. On the downside of the race track it was slippery wet mud and above the track there was thick mud.

You couldn’t win. My Schwalbe Racing Ralphs were OK for descending but not so hot for climbing in the mud so I split the difference and threw a skinny Nobby Nic on the back. But even so, I knew I would still be doing a LOT of running. I shouldn’t have skipped those last two Frontrunners clinics before I left….

Along with his love and adoration, Norm brought over my full suspension Kona Queen Kikapu. I was a true rockstar pro racer with a choice of two bikes!! Hardtail? Or full suspension?? But it was a no brainer. Too many places to carry mud on the full suspension so I went with my Kula Lisa again.

Sorry Queen, you’ll get your chance but most likely not until we are back in Canada….

I pre-rode in the pouring rain and flatted as far away from the car as possible. After walking back, I sat in the car and tried to convince myself to go back out in the rain to finish my workout. I used the old “what would Lance do??” on myself (but after a week of staying with Kristin it is now “what would Tom do” because he is our new hero). Norm said Tom would be out doing a 5 hour Giro stage in this shit so I jumped out of the car to finish my workout. Thanks Tom.

Saturday afternoon it was pouring with thunder and lightning and the poor masters and juniors were out on the course. It was going to be a mess on Sunday. We stayed inside to watch the Giro and checked out the local bike shop Velodream to get a few things. Sunday morning our friend Pim showed up! He is a Dutch mechanic who we met a few years ago when we first came for cyclocross worlds.

Last year he volunteered to be the mechanic for the Canadian CX worlds team and he offered to help me out at Spa. He is legend. He got my bikes dialed but warned me that my front shifter should be changed after this race (insert horror movie forewarning music here).

Oh yeah it was raining again.

The race:
I had the BEST start of my life! Now I have had some great starts but this one was text book. I was a little worried about the big opening hill because I had seen racers getting dropped off the back during the Saturday races.

I guess they had blown up the big steep hill and had no juice for the gradual hill that lead into the mud. So I tucked into the middle of the group and got pulled up the steep opening hill in my middle ring. Legs felt great.

Once it tapered to a gradual hill I started moving into open spaces working my way up to Dahle’s wheel. Such a shame that white kit was going to get so muddy…..I had used very little energy and went into the mud 4th!! I could hear Norm going NUTS!!

Unfortunately on that start stretch I also realized that my front shifter wasn’t working – but I was in 4th at a world cup race!!

I kept my position through the singletrack but when I hit the downhill pavement section I kept trying to force it into my big ring so a few girls caught me. I seemed to be able to hold my position in the trails (mostly running) but would get caught on the fast sections dinking around with my shifting.

No problem – I was top ten at a world cup!

Well, until the last lap….I hadn’t been drinking much because I had taken both my water bottle cages off so I could run cyclocross style. It was a great idea “in theory” but difficult to find good places to access my bottle in my jersey pocket. Rookie maneuver.

I was pretty blown from all of the running by the last lap and got passed by 5 girls bumping me into 16th position. Norm was yelling at me to hold onto wheels but i was having a really hard time moving quickly. I had one last battle in me with Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Chix) through the trees but she caught me again in the last feed zone.

I was even at risk of losing two more positions in the finish chute. because I had to sprint two girls on my tail in my middle ring which was now skipping. I barely finished ahead of them, bent over gasping. So it was a bittersweet finish. I could look at it as moving up to 16th from a 56th start position or moving back to 16th from a 4th position. Either way it was my best finish at a world cup mountain bike race and came with valuable UCI points. I’ll take it!

Thanks to all of our team sponsors Velo Bella, Kona, SRAM, Easton, Schwalbe, Zeal Optics (I lost my sweet pink Rush’s in the mud! Some crazy Belgian fan will be happy), Fox, San Marco, SIDI, Hincapie, Team estrogen, [email protected], Vanderkitten. Thanks to my sponsors Helly Hansen and Frontrunners. Thanks so much to Pim and Norm for being my mechanic and manager and feeders in the pouring rain.

photo by Rob Jones of

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