AES athlete Maria Santiago won the Iron Horse Classic this weekend. Maria took two stage wins en route to a convincing victory. Read more about it here:
One of my favorite bike-related radio shows, Chicks on Bikes Radio, has gone off the air. I was one of many guests on the final show. Have a listen right here:
Last Sunday, Aeolus Endurance Sport/Cable Huston rider and editor of RaceCenterNW Magazine, Brook Gardner won the OBRA Road Championships in his category. Held as part of the High Desert Omnium, the race took place near Bend, OR.
Brook suffered from cramp in the latter stages of the race, but recovered in time and had this to say:
"Before I knew it we were passing the 1k to go sign and the attacks started. One rider jumped the field and the eventual second place finisher tried (hard) to bridge, but seemed to be having problems making the junction. I decided that this was the move I wanted to follow. I bridged to the second rider on the road (about 10 meters ahead of the field), sat in his draft for about 5 seconds, then went wide left around him to try and get onto the lead rider's wheel. I made it as planned, but then I could see the lead rider's speed falling so I went around him and found myself at the front just before we passed the 250m to go sign. I decided that this was my opportunity. I shifted to a big gear and started my acceleration. I was moving and the field was shattering behind me. I grabbed a bigger gear and kept accelerating."
That plan proved to be the right one, with the win not only netting him the title of OBRA Champion, but also the overall title in the High Desert Omnium.
Brook on the top step of the podium
This month I had the pleasure of co-hosting another great edition of Chicks On Bikes Radio. We talked about fit issues related to women and interviewed five great guests:
- John Cobb of Cobb Cycling – fitment and aerodynamics legend
- Annie B. of SheVolution Fitness – women's fitness advocate and consultant
- Joe Holcomb of WestEnd Bikes – master bike fitter
- Jennifer Reither of Team Vanderkitten – professional cyclist
- Jill Gass of Revolution Coaching – coach and women's cycling advocate
It is a great show and well worth a listen:
It was a great year for Marin Camp, with a fabulous group, excellent weather, and a new assistant coach. The following companies provided super support:
- LifeCycle Adventures – water bottles, spares and second vehicle
- Corsa Concepts – demonstration wheels
- Quarq – the world's best power meters
- SRAM NRS – On road and mechanical support, along with a huge dose of comedy
- KewlFit – cooling vests so good that Alberto Contador uses them
- Kate's Real Food – whole, natural, and organic nutrition for athletes
- Nossa Familia Coffee – Portland coffee, family-farmed in Brazil and roasted in my 'hood
Next year's camp is slated for March 25-29, 2014 so mark your calendar and put your deposit down as space is limited.
If you want to check out the fun, have a look at these photos.
Today I again co-hosted Chicks on Bike Radio. April and I spoke with Kelli Refer, the author of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling, and Susan Meyers, who wrote The Hamster Ride & 25 Other Short Biking Stories.
We had a great conversation about cycling, balance, friendliness, and life. Have a listen right here:
Women's racing is experiencing a huge boom and one rider that has long been at the forefront of it is Starla Teddergreen.
Starla began her racing career on the streets as a bike messenger in Seattle before moving to San Francisco in 2003. Known for her sprinting prowess, she worked her way up the ranks and in 2010 joined the women's professional team Vanderkitten.
|Starla strikes a pose|
The road to pro cycling wasn't easy for Starla. Growing up in a quiet northeast Washington town, she had virtually no opportunities for racing (besides the ones her somewhat disinterested sister occasionally provided). She soon found competitive outlets in running and soccer, but it was her move to Seattle after high school that changed everything.
With no experience, but with a load of her trademark enthusiasm, Starla found a job as a bike courier. Two wheels suited her well, and the excitement of the job led her to to explore Seattle's alleycat racing scene and, eventually, to the Cycle Messenger World Championships.
A move to San Francisco in 2003 introduced her to road racing and planted the seed for her future as a pro athlete. With her knack for reading a race and a fantastic sprint, Starla quickly moved up the amateur ranks, landing on the elite SugarCRM team for 2009. This led to her debut in the NRC Series as well as to a month of kermesse racing in Belgium, where she was able to sneak into the top 10 in what is known as some of the world's toughest racing.
2010 brought with it mixed fortunes. Starla began to mature as a rider, landing a spot on the Vanderkitten Professional team. A solid entry to the NRC Series was cut short when she ended up at the bottom of a huge finishing crash at the Tour de Nez. The hip injury that resulted was to plague Starla throughout the 2011 season. This didn't stop her taking home a few wins, but by autumn it became clear that, without intervention, the injury was not going to get sorted out.
In the winter of 2011, it was determined that Starla had a torn labrum and that surgery and a long rehabilitation period were required. This is where Starla's maturity really shone. Instead of trying to rush her rehab and bike training program as so many athletes do, she showed the patience and dedication of a real professional and by April was back on the bike. It took the better part of 2012 to be able to train and race without pain. During her recovery, she was able to indulge her enthusiasm for supporting women's racing by riding as a team mentor for the Early Bird Women's Developmental Team.
|Starla digging deep|
With the 2012 comeback season under her belt, Starla has high hopes and solid goals in 2013. In her own words, she wants to "win races and/or a race series, support a GC rider to victory, and stand out to be a rider with potential to race successfully in Europe again."
Find out more about Starla here:
and her graphic design and bike fitment work here:
Barton Park is always a fun day out. Despite (or, perhaps because of) being held in a gravel pit and adjoining county park, the venue offers a host of challenges for cyclocross racers. There is deep mud, shallow mud, gravel, pavement, puddles like small lakes, steep drops and two run-ups that feature a unique mix of mud and somewhat large stones!
I showed up feeling a bit off my game and, having missed too many Cross Crusade races to score points, started at the back of the 70-strong field. My teammate Brook and I had a nice warmup spin, but we kept it short as the temperature was approaching 70 F degrees already – unusual for Oregon in November.
Barton is a fast course, and so it is tough to start at the back and have any hope of making up a lot of places. Despite this, I got a decent start and really made sure to relax and not give too much in the first laps. This strategy paid off as I began to feel much better later in the race. Once the field thinned, I gradually caught several small groups of riders.
On the last lap, I put in a hard effort over the triple barriers and got a gap on the group I was with, which I managed to keep to the finish. This was enough to net me 19th place on the day – one spot out of the points. Normally, this would be a bit frustrating, but with having arrived feeling a bit unfocused and starting at the back, I'm happy about it.
Sadly, there is no data to report or analyze, as my Garmin decided to take a holiday. Although it showed the data on-screen during the race, it did not record any of it.
Here are some photos from the day:
|In the beginning, the sun shone|
|It was hectic the first time up the second run-up|
|Remounting at the top of the first run-up|
|I'm beginning to get used to this running thing|
|It's faster to ride, but it's more fun to fly…|
Oh yes, it's cyclocross season alright. Today we raced the seventh round of the GPTB in Washington, just over the Columbia River from Portland. While it was relatively dry and dusty for the Cross Crusade in Bend, it was cold, rainy, and muddy for our race, as many think it ought to be for this sport.
Rumor had it that there was going to be a long, muddy run-up, so I prepared appropriately:
|I didn't have a costume, but I wore these fangs|
Just before the start, it was pouring rain and chilly, but not too cold. It was cold enough, though, that I did my warmup earlier in the day; and, in the moments before the race while I had the car to myself, I concentrated on taking some time to focus, staying warm and ingesting some nice, hot home made chai:
|Chai. Comin' in hot.|
With greased legs and a happy stomach, I rolled to the line. I have a habit of starting too hard for my own good and today I was determined not to do that. It seemed to work as, when the whistle blew, I settled quickly into 5th or 6th position. I stayed there for a lap or two while I got used to the flow of the course and the conditions.
Besides three barriers on the flat bits, including one cleverly placed in the middle of a hairpin turn, the course had two nasty run-ups per lap. The first wasn't too bad at 26 to 30 seconds, but the second seemed to take forever. I was to be able to do it in 45 to 50 seconds, depending on traffic. In seven laps, these add up to about 9 minutes of deeply-tracked uphill mud running – nearly 15% of the race! I went a bit faster up the long run in the middle and later laps, so my slow-start plan seems to have worked.
Let's have a look at my data file from today's race:
|David Douglas CX #2: Red is Heart Rate data, yellow is Power data, and blue is Speed data. The dashed red line is at 180bpm. The dashed yellow line is at 350W. Click the image to magnify.|
If we observe the relationship of speed (blue) to heart rate (red), it's interesting to note that the highest heart rates occurred at the lowest speeds. These were the run-ups. Each lap, there were two HR spikes where these happened, reaching 185+bpm. This speaks to the off-and-on nature of the race, and the difficulty the run-ups posed to good pacing.
Speaking of pacing, here are my HR averages for each 20-minute third of the race, respectively:
So, despite the spikes required for the run-up (both on my shoes and from my HR!), I was able to start at a good pace and gradually increase it as the race went on. My HR average for the race was 173bpm – significantly less than my tested Threshold HR. Again, this is due to the off-and-on nature of this particular race.
In the end, I finished 3rd on the day, a result I am happy with. Here are some photos from the race:
|First lap – all nice and clean, with fangs exposed|
|The first time up the long run-up. Running makes me feel haggard.|
|Coming through the muddy twisty bits before the first descent|
|Going through the same|
|Over the hairpin barrier (in a very determined way, it would appear)|