Beer Money for Marian

December 1, 2009

By Marian Jamison
Reno, Nevada

Marian Jamison Velo Bella-EllsworthCatching up with Bike Marian

Marian has been busily training for the upcoming ‘cross nationals in Bend Oregon. Apparently, it’s working, because after a weekend of racing in Reno and Sacramento recently, she says she’s feeling stronger. Here’s what she had to say about her recent races:

Winning Beer is Rad!

Last weekend I got in another two good days of ‘cross racing. Saturday at our local series, and Sunday in Sacramento.

The local race was a new venue and one of the funnest courses I’ve ever ridden. It was a lot of grass, a nice sand pit, some fun decending and off camber turns, fast barriers, and 2 sets of stairs to run up. It was mostly all up on the way out, and down on the way back. I love courses like that, where you can just flog yourself to the point of “I’m-going-to-die”, recover, and then do it again. My legs felt so-so, but as per usual at these Reno races there weren’t to many ladies present so I was able to get the W. I won beer and money, which is good because otherwise I would’ve been hard up to come up with gas money to get down to Sacramento the next day!

I’m currently sitting 2nd in the Sacramento CX women’s A series standing, so I wanted to have another good result there and keep it that way. The course was okay, flat grass, one set of barriers, ho hum. Marian Jamison Velo Bella-EllsworthNot very interesting, but good for training the power with all those constant accelerations out of the turns. We race with the jr. men, and I made the bad mistake of starting behind one of them. The kid looked fit, but he had the slowest start of almost anyone there. I had to make some kamakaze passes and dig deep, but I managed to bridge up to the leaders! Wow, that pretty much shocked me right there.

There were 4 of us in the lead group – myself, Emily (from last weekend), Joan Gregg (who has never failed to totally whoop me), and Linda Elgart, who was riding super strong. I was tired from the day before, and mostly sucked wheel. I took a couple of pulls, suffered, got gapped off a couple times, caught back on, suffered. On the last lap I got gapped off and couldn’t get back on, so I pulled off another 3rd place. The podium was identical to the first Sacramento series race of the year, but instead of getting dropped by Emily and Joan, I hung with them! Woot woot! Hells yeah, I actually AM getting stronger! The training my coach has had me doing is really going to have me peaking for nationals! Not that I ever doubted it, but it’s totally radical to be able to see some substantial improvement.

Next up is the NCNCA district race in Golden Gate Park this weekend, and then I begin my northern odessey to the land of mud and cowbells (aka Portland, followed by Bend). There are over 80 women registered for nationals!

Watch for more adventures

Roll by Marian’s bloggy to catch up with more adventures as she gets ready for the big day in Bend.

Marian’s Off to the Races

October 5, 2009

By Marian Jamison
Reno, Nevada

marian jamison velo bella ellsworth

I like this picture. This section of the Sagebrush course was a run up last year because there were barriers at the bottom. This year there were no barriers, so it was waaay fun to ride it. But you see all those big strong guys running up it? And you see me, still on my bike? And you see the look that one dude is giving me? Classic. Actually, I think he told me, “nice work” when I passed him right there.


Whew, where to begin?!

I have 4 ‘cross races under my belt thus far and haven’t written a single report. Slacker. My lack of report-writing motivation probably comes from having some less than stellar results, but I ended this last weekend on a good note so I’m ready to rationalize and philosophize away those lousy races.

First! I raced the Folsom Cyclebration CX race at Negro Bar waaaay back on the 12th of Sept. I was actually having a pretty stellar race until, with one lap to go, I had some really ill-timed breathing issue (that I’ve never experienced before) and pretty much just limped the whole last lap. Effectively dropping from 2nd to 4th (AKA DFL). So, while I was happy with my legs and my fitness, it didn’t really pan out for me.

Next up! Cross Vegas! AKA “Why, oh why, did I sign up for this stupid !*#@ing race?!” Basically, I went down to Vegas to work at Interbike for my long-time employer, Sinclair Imports. While I’ve worked here for 4 years, this was my first trip with the company to work the event. And work I did! On my feet about 12+ hrs a day for 5 days. Sooo, 3 days into that was the race, and boy oh boy did I suffer. Actually, I only suffered for about two laps, then the dispair and the intense desire to QUIT led me to just back it off and have fun. And have fun I did! On the run-up people kept saying, “You’re not going hard enough if you’re smiling!!!” But it’s better to be slow and have fun then to be slightly less slow and be hating life. My goal for that race is one that I’m going to carry with me to the USGP in Portland and also Nationals – finish in the 20’s – 20th-29th. I utterly failed at Cross Vegas, finishing 34th, but I know that is an attainable goal for me, and I’m going to pursue the next two months of racing with that as the focus.

Finally, after a long week in Vegas, I got home late on Friday night. Saturday morning? Local CX race – 1st of the Sagebrush Series, of which I am the 2x reigning Women’s A champion (to be fair, I think there were a couple of races in which I was the only women’s A, but it sounds cool anyway, dontcha think?). My legs hurt in a wrong way after my Vegas trip, but I had a good start and was built a substantial lead in the first couple laps over the 2nd place girl. And then. Let’s just say, I got lots of flats. And I happened to get these flats about as far from the pits as one can get. Loooong run. Two of them, actually. DNF in the Women’s A’s race (because by the time I got back to the pits and changed my tube because my extra wheels were still on the way back from Vegas there was only a lap left). Then I jumped in with the men’s A’s, repeated my flat-on-the-far-side-of-the-course-gosh-this-is-a-long-run routine, and was DFL. But at least I was able to borrow someone’s wheel and get rolling again before the bell lap. Oh yeah, did I mention it was like, 100 degrees outside? It was.

After this race I went home, slept for about an hour (I’m STILL recovering from my total sleep deprivation in Vegas) then loaded up the car to drive to California for the first of the Sacramento CX races on Sunday. When I started my warm-up all I could think about was how totally lousy I felt. Just tired, mostly, and sore legs from all the damn running the day before. Ready . . . go! I got the hole shot, which always makes me happy. Then led for most of the first lap. Passed by two girls, let them go. Rode around for the rest of the race with two others. Did my share of the work, until about 1 1/2 laps to go, then I shamelessly sucked wheel. With about 1/4 lap to go I could see the girl in the front was hurting, so I put in a big attack and held it to the line for 3rd. Hooray for a podium after a series of crappy races! And won my race entry back.

Equipment shout-outs! The new Ellsworth is SICK! And pictured above. And the interim pink Ellsworth jersey is highly visible. Also, after my series of flat tires riding my Hutchinsons on Saturday, I threw on some Challenge Griffo XS semi-slick clinchers for the race on Sunday and they were rockin’ on that course, and I had nooooo flats whatsoever. Hmm . . what else? I think that’s it . . . for now.

Sticks in My Eyes

August 10, 2009

By Marian Jamison
Reno, Nevada

marian jamison velo bellaThis morning I’m so freakin’ sore I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Oddly enough it’s not from racing Nevada City, but from cross training yesterday, as this is my official Week Off the Bike, per coach’s orders. Actually I just got called out on Twitter for running during my rest week – I thought that was okay!!! But I guess I won’t be running either. Jeez, what am I going to do with myself for the rest of the week?!

So anyway, back to Nevada City. This weekend was the culmination of 3 1/2 months of racing, with only one non-race weekend in the mix. Needless to say it was starting to wear on me. Prior to the Nevada City race I’d planned on racing the Tour de Nez – Nevada City is on Sunday, TdN Thurs-Sat. Well, I raced on Thursday, up against Tibco, SugarCRM, Touchstone, VAC, Metromint . . . and I got dropped about 15 minutes in. Decided to just take it easy, not race on Friday and Saturday, and if I decided to race Nevada City just do it as a no-pressure fun thing. Right, fun. Wee.

Seriously, tho, I did have fun, in a sticks-in-my-eyes sort of way. I was hanging pretty well for the first couple laps, caught back up to a pretty fast group, and true to form, immediately went to the front of the group and gunned it. Well, those fast girls in my group decided that was a good time to attack, so off the back I came, along with another girl who I know to be a cat 3 like me. We rode together for a while, marian jamison velo bellathen she dropped me. I was pretty hurting for the last couple laps, and one girl caught me with 1 to go. That motivated me to pick up the pace, but she pipped me at the line. Bummer. So I came in mid-pack, and I’m pretty sure I was the 3rd cat 3. I think if I’d planned and tapered a little more I might have actually done pretty darn good, actually. As it is I’m just happy to have gotten out there.

Anyway, it was lotsa fun, good crowd, tons of people out there who seemed to know my name cheering for me! That’s always fun. Hernando was there every lap in his Vanderkitten jersey offering words of advice and that I actually always find remarkably encouraging. We stuck around and watched the Lance-Circus, which was actually pretty cool. I heard that they had 30,000 spectators in Nevada City that day! And also that the town ran out of beer.

A Little Delirious: Marian Does Kern

June 16, 2009

By Marian Jamison
Reno, Nevada

marianjSo, I wrote up a long verbose race report for my coach, and I’d considered just copying and pasting it here, but who wants to read about my truly weak performance this weekend? Instead I prefer to publish the lighter moments at Kern, the thoughts that had me chuckling even as I struggled against getting dropped in 114 degree heat outside of nobody’s favorite city, Bakersfield.

• To begin with, I rocked the TT. Let’s just leave it at that.

• As I bonked, cracked, cramped, and limped my way up the hill climb I thought, “oh, so this is what dying feels like.”

As I was dying in the RR the next day I kept laughing to myself about how this is what dying feels like, I think I might have been a little delirious.

• A certain princess suggested that the reason I’ve failed to secure my cat 2 upgrade is because of my inability to avoid getting rookie marks if I so much as look at a bike.

• Thanks to Monica I will now ask myself “Marian, are you getting shot at?” whenever I have a bad race, and feel a little better about myself.

• Heather Pryor, the girl who totally kicked my ass all weekend, is afraid of mountain biking, so I teased her a lot during the road race until she dropped me. It was very fun. I had people tell me, “I’m following your line on the decents!” because I kept telling them how much I’d rather be up in Tahoe riding knobbie tires instead.

• SueNami spit chewed up watermelon on me as I lay in the dirt at the top of the hill climb. That made me laugh, I don’t think anyone’s ever spit chewed up watermelon on me before. It was awesome.

• It’s totally worth 14 hours in a hot car to hang out with my teammates for a weekend.

• A girl I’ve been racing against a lot this spring told me on the start line of the road race, “We were talking about how there are two types of bike racers: the kind that sit in and wait for the finish and worry a lot about their results, and the kind who, results be damned, get up there and make stuff happen. You’re the second type.” So I’m kind of paraphrasing there, but you get the point. I’m stoked to be the second type, and some day I’ll have the fitness to back up the crazy things I do.

• Hernando and Sabine insisted on buying me dinner both nights, I think it’s because I told them that I slept in my car at collegiate nationals. A move that Michael classified as “totally unacceptable.” Come on! What?

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. I’m still exhausted, sunburned, and desperately in need of doing a load of laundry. I’ve somehow volunteered to organize the Tour de Nez century ride, that will take place on the day I’m racing Nevada City. Huh? How’re you going to work that one, Mare? Sigh . . . time will tell.

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch! Copperopolis

April 23, 2009

By Marian Jamison
Reno, Nevada


Yes, “ouch ouch ouch” was the sound emitted from both my rear and my legs, for about 4 hours on Saturday. Copperopolis. Man that’s a great race. Yeah, sick, but what can I say? It’s gorgeous out there, the weather was perfect, and I was climbing with the leaders. I’ll summarize.

On the first climb things got hard, but I was able to stay in the top 3, even through the steep stuff. We crested the climb and I looked back to see that we were down to a break of 5 (out of 21! not bad for a 3’s race!). We worked together to stay away, and were successful. We stayed together for the rest of the first lap and most of the 2nd. On the little climb before the big decent 2 of my break-mates started going pretty hard and gapped me off, but I had an equal gap on the other 2 girls. I could see the 2 ahead of me and did my best to catch, but they were pretty strong and working together.

I considered waiting for the other 2, but figured my chances of securing 3rd were better on my own. I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do, but I was able to stay away from them for most of the 3rd lap. It was a struggle, with a pretty strong headwind up in the flat stuff. I stayed fueled and tried to ride strong and steady. Unfortunately, at the top of the climb before the big decent and the finish (yay!) I was caught by one of the girls behind me.

She’d put in a good effort on that climb and caught me. Must’ve been pure MTB racing instinct, but I jumped ahead of her for the sketchy long decent. We traded back and forth a little bit until just before the 100m to go sign, then she jumped from behind me. I got on her wheel, but just as we started sprinting up the hill we were caught by a pack of dudes (I dunno, maybe cat 5’s?). One of them fully ran into the back of me and I was almost run off the road. Weak. I lost the girl’s wheel as the guys came around me and got BETWEEN me and her, making it totally impossible for me to even try to outsprint her. So I gave up 3rd with 50 feet to go. Those guys were total jerks, too.

But I’m pretty much thrilled with how I was riding, and climbing, and generally making it through all 3 laps of that brutal race. Feeling super pumped for Sea Slaughter, and like my fitness is really coming around and I’m finding myself one of the stronger riders in the 3s, and getting some upgrade points finally!

Photo copyright Marian Hunting, Women’s Cycling Magazine. Used with permission. Thanks Marian!

Early Bird Gets the Win

January 27, 2009

By Marian Jamison
Reno, Nevada

Marian Jamison at Early Bird Road Race By Ronald Mariano

Marian Jamison on the main climb of the day.

Me and CJ drove down to Modesto on Friday night to stay with a buddy of my buddy Jerome (that’s Jeremy who works at Bananas, for the rest of you). The weather was kinda lousy over the pass and I did my very best to scare the hell out of CJ by almost side swiping a semi. Anyway, once we arrived in Modesto, we were entertained with amusing anecdotes concerning themselves, cycling, and their mysterious friend Givo (Geevo?) until well past my bed time, and were then awakened at 5:30 AM to the preparing of a rather weak pot of coffee. To make a long story short, we arrived in Patterson in time to admire the thankful dry weather, register for our races, and, in my case, drink a lot of espresso.

My particular race had the predictably small field size of 3 riders, fortunately we got to race with the 4s so things were a little more interesting. If you haven’t ridden up Del Puerto Canyon Rd. in Patterson let me just tell you, it’s gorgeous this time of year. Anyway, things rolled along pretty well in my race, with a couple of us taking pulls and moving things forward. The road twisted and rolled (more up than down) for about 19 miles. Then we hit the climb. It’s not really such a bad climb, but it was a hell of a lot steeper then I remembered from three years ago. I think I told CJ that it was only steep for the first 100 meters or so until you cross a cattle guard, and then it levels out a little.

Well, I lied.

But I’ve been working on my climbing lots this year, so I was looking forward to the pain. I hit the gas as soon as we hit the base of it and before I’d crested the cattle guard I had opened up a pretty good gap over the rest of the field. I only felt ok, but kept the pressure on and opened my gap up to probably about 2 minutes before reaching the top of the climb (it’s about 2 miles long) and the turn around. I started my descent, feeling pretty confident that I’d be able to ride alone to the finish and not get caught.

Unfortunately, about half way down the descent I came upon an older guy who’d obviously just crashed pretty hard. He was just picking himself up, his bike in a ditch on the other side of the road, with a fair amount of blood coming out of his nose and a rather alarming cut on his forehead (in addition to lots of nasty road rash). I stopped, set down my bike, and tried to help him. He seemed a little dazed, undoubtedly had a concussion, but assured me that he was okay. I saw the first girl on the descent above me, not too far back, so I told him I’d tell the first official I could find, jumped on my bike and took off.

I reached the bottom of the descent without incident and put my head down to try to TT it back to the finish. I could see the girl behind me from time to time, but I think I was putting more time on her than she was on me. With about 10 miles to go, however, another girl caught up to my chaser and they started working together to close the gap. I sat up, drank some water, ate some food, and let them catch me. If it was going to end in a sprint I figured I might as well get all the rest I could and be nice and fresh.

They caught me and we worked together until 1 K to go. The finish line was on top of a little roller, and one of the girls started her sprint a little soon and blew up, while I jumped on the wheel of the other girl. Right as we started the last little up to the finish I jumped around that girl and won the sprint by a fairly large margin. A good start to the season.

Sooo, yeah, bike racing is awesome and I encourage everyone to go get some.

Photo copyright Ronald Mariano. Used with permission. Grazie Mille! See more Early Bird action.

Vegas! Marian’s Suffering-est Race Ever

October 2, 2008

By Marian Jamison
Reno, Nevada

Alternate post titles:

How I lost my helmet in the Las Vegas Airport.
The longest day ever.
The suffering-est race ever.

Erm, yeah, Cross Vegas!

So, my whole Las Vegas trip (lasting all of 24 hours) was a bit of an adventure. Cody dropped me off at the Reno airport on Wednesday, the day of the race, at 7 AM. When I got to Vegas my bike was there at the luggage claim (no seriously alarming holes in my bike box!) and I stepped out of the terminal to figure out how the hell I was going to get to the convention center. Ah yes, airport shuttle. $12.00 round trip, and I just had to call them to schedule my return trip the next day. Not too hard. The guy driving the shuttle grumbled about loading my enourmous box into the van, repeatedly telling me that they wouldn’t allow it in the convention center. Um, it’s a bike expo, and this is my bike . . . huh? But then he was hella nice and drove me all the way to the doors of the convention center, even though they usually just drop people off at the Venetian and make them walk. And Milo and Otis was playing on the TV in the shuttle van and some foreign dude behind me was cracking up. All in all a good start to the day.

So, I walked into the convention center and immediately saw the coat/bag check office. I asked them if I could check my bike (box and all!) and, after some deliberation, they allowed it! Sweet, one less thing to worry about. I picked up my badge that my boss had arranged for me (it said I was a distributor from Belgium . . . haha) and wandered around the expo for awhile. Talk about sensory overload. I found my coworkers at the Ridley booth and verified that I could stay with them that night (3 dudes sleeping in a room together, one on a cot, and they offered me the couch. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me!). Sampled some of Clif’s new offerings, tried to get some free stuff, and then took a nap in the lobby on the floor.

Ultimately I decided to take a cab to the race venue. It was a little pricey, but at least I could bring my bike and then build it at the venue. I was just putting my wheels on in the parking lot when I saw Alex from Velo Bella getting set up at the Kona tent. Yay! People I know! I walked over and said hi, met some new people, and set up camp. Lots of Bellas (really freaking fast ones!) racing. Anyway, the team support from Alex and Melanie was awesome!

Anyway, to get to the point (finally) the race started at 7:30. I felt decent – kinda tired from my early morning and my wanderings at Interbike, but ready for a thorough ass-whooping. They called everyone up, and it was pretty freaking cool hearing my name, “Marian Jamison, racing for Velo Bella, from Reno, Nevada!” – or something like that. My friend Harry was there at the start line (I think he’d had a couple beers at this point) and he yelled, pretty much right into Laura Van Gilder’s ear, I think, “This is Marian Jamison, people! Marian Jamison!” It made me smile. :)

Ready, set, hurt! The start of the race was sooo fast! LVG was right in front of me and she popped out of her pedals and almost went down. Holy crap, I almost ran over Laura Van Gilder. Anyway, we got going on the little parade lap and it was pain pain pain, hard hard hard from the very beginning. I was pretty far near the back, worked my way up past a couple of people, and then jockeyed back and forth with a couple of girls for most of the race. The course was mostly flat, with a couple little gnar up sections. Those little up sections made me feel like my brains were going to pop out of my eye-sockets. Seriously, pain. But there were lots of people around the course who knew me (I had no idea who they were at the time) and were cheering for me, and every time I went by Alex he told me to suffer more (that was essentially the gist) so I was pretty encouraged to flog myself for the whole race. Or, almost the whole race.


Photo copyright, Lyne Lamoureux. Used with permission.

My accomplishment for the evening was being the last girl to not get lapped and pulled. I was riding sooo hard going into my last lap so that Katie and Katerina wouldn’t catch me, and I think I went through the finish when they were maybe 100 feet back and closing in fast! So, there was no one behind me on my last lap, and the girl in front of me was pretty far away, so I backed off a little, since I was pretty sure I was dying at that point. But I did my last lap, and sat down on the grass to wait for death. Alex came by, congradulated me, and told me to cool down.

I took a spin and ran into a couple of the people who’d been cheering for me. Bella Marian (California Issue) was there. I hadn’t seen her since Kern, so that was pretty much rad, ’cause she’s pretty much rad. Also Maureen Kunz, Pro-MTBer extraordinair and collegiate rival (if you can be in a rivalry with someone who is hella faster than you) and maybe one of my favorite people to get beat by, was there offering congrats and catch up with. Plus Harry and his friend, were was pretty much awesome with the cheering. Ha! Even my old boss who I routinely avoid, and some fun ex-coworkers were there cheering for me like crazy. I felt like such a star coming in 5th from last that I can’t even imagine how those people who actually do well must feel. Golly.

So, thus ended the extremely fun and painful part of my adventure. I watched the men’s race, which was rad and hella exciting. There was some dude named Lance Armstrong racing? Anyway, people seemed pretty excited about him. It was so awesome to watch some of the fastest guys in the world (Frischknecht and Sauser were there) and they were all so fast. After the race there was a bit of a mass exodus from the venue to where they were shuttling people back to the strip. I was planning on taking the shuttle, but the line was like, a mile long, so I decided to ride. I strapped all my bags of crap on my back and got ready to depart. Some dudes from Boston offered to let me ride with them because they had lights, and we had a jolly nice ride back into Vegas. It was a pretty surreal experience, tho. I mean, I’m a Reno-ite, so I’m used to bright lights and tall casinos, but Vegas is on a whole other level. It was pretty weird riding towards all that through darkened neighborhoods at 11 o’clock at night.

My destination was the Rio – I was heading to the Sinclair party where my coworkers could supply me with a room key to get washed up and then go get drunk with Phil Liggett at the party (haha, only kidding). Long story short (too late), I was way too tired to enjoy the party much, but I hung out for a while because California Marian was there, as were my Bostonian riding buddies. So that was cool. Anyway, the pole dancers were a little much at the end of a very, very long day. So I headed to my couch at 2 AM, only to be woken up by a phone call from some number I didn’t know. See, in all the hustle and bustle to get back to the Rio, I’d forgotten to dispose of my cardboard bike box, and it had my name and phone number on it. Some dude was wicked pissed that I’d left it in the parking lot (totally on accident! I don’t litter!) and called me to tell me so. Sorry dude! It was an accident! Oops! Well, I felt like a jack ass. Oh well, moving on.

I got up at 5:45 the next morning to take the shuttle back to the airport. Ouch, 3:45 hrs of sleep. I left my bike with my coworkers (they would be driving back to Reno after Interbike). In my sleep deprived state I managed to leave my helmet somewhere in the Las Vegas airport. I realized I didn’t have it with me about 20 minutes before my plane left. D’oh! I checked, very quickly, with the lost and found folks at the Security check – the only placed I feel I could have left it – but it wasn’t there and if I waited any longer I was going to miss my plane. So that was a bummer of a way to end my trip.

Well, I’m still getting caught up on sleep from that trip, but I think it was worth it. I think next year I’ll go to Gloucester instead, tho . . . I know lots of people there, too, so I should have a good cheering section. :)

See more photos from Cross Vegas, by Lyne Lamoureux.