Cascade and Beyond to BC Superweek

July 25, 2006 · Print This Article

By Jen Chapman

Wow, what an amazing ride these past 2 weeks have been. The ride started in Bend OR with the Cascade Classic Cycling Race. Normally I come into this race with the best fitness of the year but this year I had to settle for mediocre. With the removal of once criterium and the addition of another tough road race I knew this race would be a battle.
I was really disappointed with my individual result however realizing my fitness level right now I was happy to contribute to the team as a supporting rider. This allowed me to do some work early in the longer stages knowing my endurance would be a problem towards the end of each long road stage. The team really started to gel like I have not seen us do before and we actually ended up owning these races and controlling the outcome which was just incredible to be a part of. My teammate Kele Murdin was on fire at Cascade and I have personally never seen anyone ever race that hard or with so much heart and her performance during that week will inspire me for years to come.

Hook up the U-Haul to our van and we are heading to the border for BC Superweek. Getting across the border into Canada was quite the ordeal and we all had to go into the Immigration office for a closer inspection. After it was determined we were only a minor threat to Canada we were allowed entry and headed out for a nighttime crit in the town of White Rock. Now, we had just finished Cascade on Sunday and the White Rock crit was on Monday evening after traveling for 10 hours or so? Our legs were shot and with a long tough hill on the backside of the crit course we pretty much dropped like flies except for Lieselot and Kele who finished in the pack. I am having some trouble with my hamstring so I was pretty sore and grumpy but ended up doing a bit of work despite my attitude. A day off after White Rock and we head out to Vancouver BC for the Gas Town Crit. 30,000 spectators lined the downtown streets of Vancouver for this intense race. It was the most exciting race I have ever been a part of and the crowds were incredible. The start/finish stretch was cobble and slightly uphill and all out speed every single lap. The crowds were so loud through that section that it sounded like we were riding through a tunnel of sound, I felt like adrenalin was powering me through that section each lap. The field was pretty tough and I was hanging on and trying to keep a good position most of the time but mentally I had a hard time taking such fast corners on the cobbles that I kept working to close my own gaps. Having people cheer you after your last lap while you cool down was also such a neat experience. Canada has such respect for the sport of cycling and the athletes. It would be great to see more US riders travel up to Canada to race, especially the BC Superweek Series as there is such incredible support for the racers from the community.

Our final races in Canada were the 3 days of Tour de Delta. This included a 700 meter uphill TT which was started drag race style with two riders going at the same time right next to each other. Fun to watch but painful to participate. The next event was a fast and fun evening criterium and finally a circuit race. All of these events were tough and especially so on our tired bodies. Knowing these were the last of our Velo Bella-Kona team races I wanted to give it all I had.
On the circuit race I really felt like after crossing the finish line I had nothing at all left in the tank. I tried to help Lieselot get connected to the front break of 6 riders for most of the race. The one and only hill in the circuit left me falling off the pack every lap and fighting to get reconnected only to go back to the front and continue driving hard, well as hard as I could until the hill came up again. I didn’t know I had that much fight left in my legs.

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