Saturday, May 4, 2013

Two weeks of amazing

 Specialized Women's new full suspension 29er, the Rumor

I'm back home in Vermont, but I'm still buzzing from two weeks of amazing things happening back in California.  These two jam packed weeks started with the Specialized Women's Rumor launch.  Specialized launched their brand, spankin' new womens 29er full suspension in Santa Cruz.  The Rumor is a beauty.  The media and I toured Specialized HQ in Morgan Hill, CA and went behind the scenes into the making of this new creation.  I got to meet Specialized Women's new ambassador, Kimmy Fasani, pro snowboarder and first women to do a double backflip on a snowboard.  She's the real deal, and she's working to push women's snowboarding to new levels and get it out in the mainstream media.  It was fascinating to chat with her and compare Little Bellas to her initiatives.   We then tested the Rumor on a ride on the trails in Wilder Canyon.  At first peak, this bike is a great introductory bike for the first timer but also completely fun to shred on as an experienced rider.  It's completely stable and wants to go downhill fast.  The next day we really put the Rumor to the test with a big ride in Demo forest.  We also took the launch up to the next level by checking some Santa Cruz favorites off the list.  We went on the roller coaster on the board walk and capped of a great evening with Penny Ice cream.  The homemade marshmallow topping never disappoints.

The ladies of the launch getting excited to ride the roller coaster

Two days later after the Rumor launch, Specialized Racing team camp kicked off in Morgan Hill.  Every Specialized factory athlete from Olympic Gold Medalist XC Jaroslav Kulhavy to Red Bull Rampage Darren Berrencloth to downhill legend Aaron Gwin came together for this camp.  Even Ina Teutenburg and Ally Stacher were holding down the fort for the road team, Specialized-Lululemon.  It was awesome getting to know everyone, and I believe it was the first time that's everyone has been together in one place.  It was an absolutely packed couple of days learning about new products, giving feedback on current products, and photo shoots. Specialized even hosted an official team introduction in their theater and broadcasted it live online.  The gravity boys donned some spandex for the daily lunch ride and hung tough with the front pack for awhile.  I was impressed.  Team camp was such a great opportunity and it just reiterated the fact the company is invested in racing, winning, and making the best products in the world to accomplish those goals.  I am, once again, so excited to be racing for Specialized.
 Specialized rolling out the red carpet for team camp, lockers and towels with our names

After team camp, we hit the road for what proved to be an even busier Sea Otter Classic.  We had our first Little Bellas national camp of the season over the weekend, and it was our best yet.  We had to cap our number of little bellas at forty girls for the weekend.  That is a lot of girls on bikes.  We hosted our best lemonade social with the pros ever.  We had fifteen elite women show up to answer questions from the Little Bellas and sign autographs.  I've never seen that many world champions, Olympic medalists, and world cup winners in one place other than a start line.  This is no exaggeration whatsoever.  It was incredible.  The pro women are a classy bunch and are dedicated to seeing their sport grow.  Sea Otter is one of the most chaotic events, and each woman carved out a sliver of time for the Little Bellas.  It literally never ceases to make me overjoyed.   I also attended both days of the SRAM ladies lounge hosted by my teammate Rebecca Rusch.  This is a great space for female cyclists of all types to ask questions and learn about cycling.  It's like a lemonade social for the older bellas (and with wine instead of lemonade).
Specialized made the biggest cow bell in existence for Sea Otter

I also raced in the short track and cross country at Sea Otter.  Racing wise, I didn't have my best weekend at all.  The racing was punctuated with some bad luck and mistimed efforts.  In the short track, I got caught behind a bottle neck at the start even though I was fifth wheel, which forced me to run up the first climb.  Running is never a good thing in a twenty minute race.  I spent the entire race playing catch up, but I did catch up to eight place.  The cross country was along the same lines.  I was in poor position off the front group but chasing back on with a great chase group.  Then, I crashed into some bushes, and I was the most dusty I have ever been.  I looked like a hoover vacuum sprayed me. I lost the chasers, and I tried to catch back on to no avail and ended up ninth in a stacked field.

Onwards and upwards to the first world cups in Europe.  I leave on Thursday for a warm up race next weekend in Apeldoorn, Holland.  Here we go 2013 season!  Yes!