Monday, November 30, 2009

SCX #8 Monroe Series Final

Ok what a great day!! First I want to talk about my son Holden who I am so very proud of. He finished out the series even though he was a little burned out on racing and got 2nd overall in his age group. I am so very proud of him, he is only 8, racing in the 10-12 year old cat, and he got 2nd. Way to go Holden, that is the future of our cycling community. Very Proud MAMA!!

Next Congrats to my husband Chad, who had a great race today working with teammate Phil Oppenheimer to get 5th on the day and finish 6th over all in the Master 35+ Cat 1/2 cat. He was a little bummed out because he missed 5th overall by only 6 points, but I am still very proud of him. He is having a great season and is coming into form at the right time!! Congrats Chadly!

And my race. What a great day, the course was awesome. I really liked it, it had just about everything you can have minus snow in a cross race.
I lined up on the line with all the gals in the Cat 1/2 field. I wanted to win today because that would mean I would clean sweep the series winning every race. So that was goal, and my road Teammate Jadine Rolcik also let me know in order for her to keep 3rd place overall I need to win so the points would work in Jadine's favor. So I wanted to do that for her, and the whole race I kept that in mind. It is fun to have my secret teammates out there!!
So we took off off the start, it was a long flat fast grass section into a hard right hand turn then up a false flat that hurt really bad. So I shot off and got the whole shot and decided to just gun it as hard as I could and see how much of a gap I could get. When we hit the turn after the false flat I had about 5 sec on Beth Lynn-Griffith so I keep on it and we hit a series of tight turns in the grass, about 6 or 8, so I used my cornering skills to get a little more ground on Beth. Ann Knapp was coming hard in 3rd position. The next section of the course was awesome, a nice steep technical downhill section that turned right back up into an uphill that a lot of people were having a hard time riding. I brought out my old downhill skills and attacked that section. I loved it!!
Then after that we had another hard downhill left had turn that was pretty slippery and then into the "ditch" that was about a foot deep in mud but at an angle that made it hard to ride. I took the right line each time and got through it with no problems. I was still in first at that point, then we hit a short but very steep run up and with my little legs it was very challenging to get up. Then after that it was a muddy section then flat and fast back through the finish area and through a horse barn. Wish there would have been some horses in there though, that would have been cool.
So going into the 2nd lap I had a pretty comfortable gap, I went one more lap hard to get that gap even bigger then I sat in for the 3rd lap to catch my breath. Then in the 4th lap I realized that Ann had moved into 2nd, and and was coming on strong. She is definitely starting to get her fitness back from having her daughter and is making me work and I love it! So I knew I had to kick it back up a notch to hold my gap so the last 2 laps I got back on it and held my 20-30 gap to get the win and sweep the series.

This is my 8th Seattle Series overall Elite women's title. I am very proud of that, I have been racing for a long time and to be able to continue to win the series is really a big deal for me. And to win every race in this series this year is a huge accomplishment. I love racing cross and am so excited for my age group race at Nats!!
I will try to find some pics and get them up.

What a great season I am having so far. I just feel awesome and fast out there right now. I will let you know how Portland goes. Not as excited about those 2 races as I will get a back row call up with only 1 UCI point so I have a lot more work to do just to move through the field of 80 gals. So my overall result may not be as great but I hope to have 2 good races down there to get me ready for Nats.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 23, 2009

SCX #7 Sedro Wolley

Yesterday was a great cross weather day. Lot's of rain and mud. I was very excited to get to race on a great muddy course.

This course started out with a downhill into a right had turn and then into a very muddy flat road section that had a couple lines through it. On the the start Jadine got the whole shot and took off. She was on fire, I took the right upper line on the flat road and soon realized that that was not the line as Ann and Beth came by flying by me. I made a note that the middle wet line was much faster for the next lap. We then went into a short run up with 2 barriers, always hard for me with up hill barriers as my legs are so darn short.
Once we got back on the bikes it was Ann then me and Beth and Jadine. I decided to catch my breath and stay on Ann's wheel for a bit to see if I could learn where her weaknesses were. So I rode one lap on Ann's wheel, she is a great bike handler and has so much power. It is awesome to be riding with her!!
We went through the pits then downhill a short fast downhill and back up into another set of barriers on the flat grass. There was a deep mud puddle right before the barriers, we got over those then into this long wet mud section. I tried to ride it but wasted a lot of energy so I got off and ran, Ann managed to ride it and we came out together on the gravel. We got back going and then there was a section that was downhill a bit and fast so I took off there and got a small gap. I tried to attack to gain some ground and it worked. I pulled ahead to about 20secs and with 2 laps to go I decided to pit because my shifting was getting a bit messed up by the mud. I got on my B bike and off I went. But right away I knew that the Bulldog tires were a hair to big for this wet muddy course and I actually slowed down with having more tire on the ground. So I lost about 10 sec and got right back to the pits and exchanged to get back on the smaller tires and wow what a difference. I was back up to speed and managed to hold onto the win by only 5 sec over Ann. Ann had a great race and is getting stronger with every race.
Overall a great race for me, but immediately after I finished I had a asthma attack and had to get my inhaler. I have not had that happen in quite some time. I think my inhaler's may be old and not working because the last 2 races I have had some difficulty with breathing. So I am getting new inhalers today to see if that helps.
And Jadine held off Beth to finish out the podium spots in 3rd. Nice race Jadine!!!

Holden raced today in conditions that most 8 year olds would have never wanted to race in. It was raining and about 45 degrees with lots of standing splashy water on the course. He rode so good, he did go off course once and hit a tree. But Uncle Wick was there to save him and get him back on the bike. He could have quit but he didn't, he pushed on and finished. He was emotionally drained at the end, but once Dad got him all changed and warmed up he was ok. What a stud that kid is!!! He ended in 4th today.

And Chadly also had a great day. After the first lap he was in 2nd place!! The guy in 3rd came on strong and moved into 2nd but Chad held on strong for 3rd in the Master 35+ 1/2 men. Great day for Chad.

Ok so one more SCX series race. I have won 7 so far and am trying to make it 8 to keep my streak going. Hope I can do it!!


Monday, November 16, 2009

MFG Finals Woodland Park

How exciting to be able to race at Woodland Park. It was a great venue, and a great course. Our first really wet cross race this year, it rained most of the day so the mud was very slippery and challenging. There were a lot of spectators from the local community there, more then most races so far. I even talked to a guy who didn't even know what cross was and now is thinking about buying a cross bike because it looked like so much fun. That is awesome and what we get from bringing racing into more local and populated area's. Just wish we could convince the city's of that!!

It was really cold and wet yesterday so the first challenge was figuring out what to wear to stay warm enough but not over heat in the race. At the start line I was a little cold but luckily we didn't have to stand to long. Jenni Gaertner came over to finish out the series that she was leading, she is from Id and is a very strong racer. I knew she was going to be my challenge today, going into the race she had 6 points on me for the overall. I wasn't sure of the point system that MFG was using, as it was kinda difficult to find on the website. So I really didn't know if I could take the lead overall or not. So I decided to just try to go for the win and see what happened.

They said go and off we went. The start was a long paved road with an up hill section then onto the course. I got the whole shot but Jenni came by me at the top of the paved hill so I got on her wheel. She was riding strong right off the gun so I knew this one was going to hurt! I stayed on her wheel until we hit a little muddy section where I got by her and she then jumped on my wheel. We went back and forth like this for the first 2 laps, then Jenni attacked me on the hillier sections of the course on the back side. I didn't have enough in my legs with racing the State Champs yesterday to match her so I had to just stay at my pace. She pulled away and got up to a 20 sec gap on me. I thought to myself that I may not be able to get her back but to not give up because with a course like this with all the technical muddy sections anything can happen.
With about 2 laps to go I realized I was starting to pull her back a bit, she was getting a little tired I think. I got within a 10 sec gap to her with one lap to go, and she crashed pretty hard going into the last lap. By the time I got around the turn she was back on her bike, I didn't know that she crashed, but when I saw her I decided it was my chance to attack and I did. I got up everything I had in me and hit it hard. I tried to ride fast but not crash, by the end of the last lap I had gotten a good gap and was able to come through for the win!! I was so proud of myself for not giving up and riding a hard race from the beginning and staying on my bike and not in the mud.
Like I always say, never give up, anything can happen. And this was a perfect example. Lee Smith had a great day and finished out the podium in 3rd.

So it wasn't until I got home last night and started doing some math that I realized that I couldn't take the win overall because of how MFG did the point spread. There is a very tight margin in the points system they use and you only get 2 points on 2nd place by winning. So since I was behind by 6, I would have had to beat her by like 4 or 5 placings to win the series. Oh well, I tried. Congrats to Jenni on a great series!

So it's not final but I should be in 2nd overall. Now it's time to switch focus back to the Seattle series where I am undefeated at this point. I hope to keep up this streak for the last 2 races!!

And my husband Chad had a great race as well, he rode super strong and moved up from around 13th in the first lap to 6th by the end. All his training is paying off now!

Now we move up North again finally to Sedro Wolley this Sunday for a very muddy and power course. I will let you know how it ends up.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

WA State Championships

Today was the big day! WA State Champs. We got up really early, 5am to get the trailer packed up for the weekend. Everything was frozen, it was really cold but clear skies. We got to Pacfic Raceways in Kent, around 8am and it was cold.

I got out and did a practice lap and right away I knew that this was going to be a fast course, lots of pavement and flat grass sections. There were 3 challenging uphill sections. I was able to ride the first on once in the pratice lap but decided in the race to run it because I felt it was less energy used. The other uphill sections were ridable with a little extra effort.

I raced at 11am, unfortuntaly the turn out for the 1/2 women was pretty poor. Not sure why the State Champ race is always the smallest turnout. It is a bit frustrating, I really would like to see the States be the biggest turnout of all the races. Every category today was about half the normal size.
It was Ann Knapp, Jadine Rolcik and myself on the line for the 1/2 women. So we were all happy knowing we were all on the podium!!
The gun went off and I decided to try to give it everything I had on the start so that I could get a gap going into the first technical section. I was successful, and got a small gap on Ann so I kept up the effort. I hit the first run up, and my legs felt so cold. I didn't put enough leg balm on and my skin was stinging. I should have worn knee warms or more leg balm. Lession learned.
I felt good though, so I am happy to be back and feeling strong again. After a couple laps I decided to back it down a little to conserve some energy for tomorrow's MFG race. I settled in and and held my lead to finish in 1st with Ann in 2nd and Jadine in 3rd (who raced 3 races today, crazy women).

My son Holden raced today also and won his category so we both are State Champs. He was so excited to get to stand on top of the podium.

My husband Chad was in a group of 5 or 6 Cat 1/2 Master men, he rode a great race and finished in a strong 5th place. 3 podium finished for the Berg family!! So awesome!!

What a great day, I will write in the update for tomorrow's race when it is over. The series title is on the line so tomorrow is an important day.


Monday, November 9, 2009

SCX #5 Sprinker Park

Whew what a day yesterday.
We arrived at Sprinker Park around 8:30am and the rain started to fall. I was actually pretty excited for it because we have not had a good rainy race yet other then Starcrossed so I welcomed the rain to get some cross weather.
Sprinker is a great venue, a huge parking lot so you have pavement to set your tents up on and then the course has a lot of grassy corners and some great sand to ride/run through with a long flat pavements section into the finish line.
I got out and did a practice lap and right away knew I needed to run my Bulldogs. They were the perfect tire on that course with those wet corners and little bit of mud. I also had to pump them up just a few more PSI then normal because there are a lot of rocks on that course and I remember last year we had a lot of flats there. So I went with 35psi up front and 40psi in the rear. Pretty high for me but I felt more comfortable in my mind know I wouldn't pinch flat at the PSI.
We lined up on the line and the rain lightened up quite a bit. We had 10 cat 1-2 women at this race. I am always happy when we have more then one call up line!!
They said go and we were off. I got my pedal right away but as soon as I started I knew I wasn't going to have to much in my legs. I just didn't have my normal snap and I felt really tired. So I tried the best I could to keep the whole shot but Jadine Riley with Group Health passed me in the corner going into the barriers. I struggled with getting the legs over the barriers and got back on and Beth Lynn-Griffith from Haggens passed us and got a little gap. I knew I had to jump on or it was over. So I gave it all I had and got on her wheel. I stayed there for 3 laps total then she went down in the sand. I used that to my advantage and took off. I tried to go as hard as I could to get a bigger gap which worked. I knew I didn't have the legs today so once I got about 10sec I just tried to hang on in the lead. I managed to pull enough together and grew my lead to 20sec but had a little brain fart going into the finish stretch which has two gradual turns around these 2 trees and I made the first one fine but thought I had just did the second one so I punched it and realized I still had a turn and ran into the tape. I locked up the breaks and got stopped and back on the course but lost 10sec to finish with the win by 10sec.
Overall a good race, I was up late the night before at our Open House for our new Cycle U location in West Seattle and then didn't sleep to well that night with only 4 hours of good sleep. So I really think that is why I was feeling so tired during the race. Lesson learned, get more sleep, I can't race well on 4 hours only!!
Beth and the other ladies all rode really hard yesterday. They really pushed me and made me hurt. It is so awesome to see our Elite women's group really stepping in up. I love racing here in the Seattle area!!! Nice work ladies.
Next weekend is the State Champs on Sat and the Final race of the MFG on Sunday. I am very excited and plan to get lots of rest this week so I am not tired and ready to rock next weekend.

Wanted to also say Congrats to my Husband Chad, who turned 36 yesterday, got 3rd in the Cat 1-2 Master Men's race. He had a great race on his Birthday and was very happy with his performance!!

And to Holden my son, who finished 4th out of 14 boys in the 10-12 Beginner 1 lap Cat. He is only 8 and is still placing in the top 5, awesome job Holden!! I love those 2 guys so much!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

MFG #5 EVergreen and SCX #5 Maris Farms

What a weekend! I started out the weekend on Saturday with racing the MFG Series race at Evergreen High School. My husband was working on this one so my mom, son and myself all jumped in the car and drove down to the Lakewood area for this race.
It was pouring down rain at my house when I was loading up the bikes. I was pretty excited to get to race in the rain for the first time this year but as we drove south the clouds parted and the sun came out. It was windy so the temps were a little cold but no rain.
The course at Evergreen was great, mostly new compared to the race we did earlier there this season. We used a new section of the park that made for a fun course. It was very fast again, another fast race with not to much technical stuff so I knew I was going to be a bit off on this one. My legs felt heavy from the very beginning and on my warm up lap I knew this one was going to hurt!
Kari Studley was back from racing the USGP races so I knew I was going to have a fast and hard day when I saw her there. But was excited to be racing with her again. We lined up on the start line with only about 6 or 8 of us Cat 1-2 women, a smaller turn out but a strong group of girls for sure!
We started and right away I couldn't get in my pedal. I got a new shim in my new shoes and was having some problems clipping in as the pedal was getting caught on the shim. So I fought that for a bit and then fell into 3rd place on Jenni Gaertner's wheel. I settled in a bit and then made a little move to get around Jenni and tried to stay with Kari, but no luck. She was pulling away from me on the fast sections and there was nothing I could do. So I settled in and once I knew I wasn't going to get Kari I backed down a bit to save something for the legs on Sunday. Like I said my legs were pretty flat on Saturday, I didn't have my normal spunk and top end so it was a long race but overall I managed to hold onto 2nd and have a decent race.

We headed out right after the race to get Holden home to get out and get some candy and do trick or treating. We meet up with some of the cousins and hit the streets. We had a blast, and I am loving all the candy. Not good for me but boy does it taste good!!

Then we got up nice and early (thank goodness for the extra hour of sleep) at 5am to get everything packed up and head down to the firehouse to pick up Chad with the Trailer and head down to Maris Farms in Buckley for the Seattle Series race. When we got there and saw how cool this place was we were very excited. This place is a huge farm with corn mazes and haunted trails and the course was actually outlined by pumpkins. There were animals in the barn for the kids to pet and hold, lots of food. Great family friendly venue. I never saw Holden as he was in the barn holding kittens all day long!!

I got out and did a pre-ride and finally we got some mud!! This really is the first race we have had with good mud so I was excited. I need that technical element of mud and slippery corners to help me. We rode through this peanut butter mud section at the start, super hard on the legs. Then we went into a corn maze and rode through the corn, then we had a run up with a second run up that was ridable for some, then some slippery grass corners. It raced really well, it was very bumpy in the grass, so overall a complete body beating course.

Holden raced first, he was excited to get to ride through the corn maze. He had a blast and finished in 4th. He said he really liked the course.

I was next, this race we had quite a few more girls. We had 2 rows at this one so I was excited. I got a good start, found my pedal right away and got on Kari's wheel right away and we hit the mud. I was able to ride through the mud so I moved into 1st but Kari was a lot stronger on the sections coming out of the mud and caught back up with me and went into first. So I got on her wheel again and stayed there until we hit the run up. I was able to ride the 2nd run up and she ran it so once I got to the top I punched it and got a little gap.
I held it for a bit but she got me again back in the mud. We switched back and forth for another lap and then I managed to get a bigger gap at the top of the run/ride up and I tried to give it everything I had to hold the gap. She brought back a few secs in the mud but I managed to pull ahead a bit every lap on the run up and held on to win by about 25sec. It was a great race, my legs opened up and felt awesome and I really was able to handle my bike through the mud and slippery sections with no crashes and get the gap on the field.
I was so excited to get the win, I worked really hard in that race to win and was so proud of myself at the end. What a great race!!

Chad was next and he got a great start like always. And by lap 3 or 4 he was in 3rd place. I was so excited for him, he was having a great race. Unfortunately with a couple laps to go he flatted and fell back a few places but still rode an awesome race and finished 6th. I was so happy for him!

So overall a great weekend for the Berg family!! And it was so nice having the trailer there on Sunday to be able to change inside to get out of the muddy clothes.
We headed back down south next weekend to race at Sprinker Park. I like that course a lot also and rain is in the forecast!!