Monday, April 4, 2016

And the 2016 Season Begins!

 First Start Line of the Year
 A Congratulatory Hug for Teammate, Kate Courtney's, first elite podium
 This is moment's before I sprayed my entire bottle of champagne on Kate

After an anticipated arrival, the 2016 race season has officially kicked off at the U.S national race in Fontana, CA.  It’s always so nice to check that first race off the list.  When I’m in the thick of the race season, racing becomes second nature.  I automatically fall into a nice rhythm of the season, but it’s hard to get that rhythm started again.  During the off season, I just take a big step back mentally and physically from the bike.  Because of this, I almost forget how to race.  When do I take my caffeine feed?  What do I do for a warm up?  One would think about twelve years of racing, I would have this completely dialed all of the time.  But, it takes this first race to dust off the cobwebs and engage race mode. 

It was so good to be reunited with my seasonal Specialized racing family.  Kate, my U-23 Specialized teammate, and Brad, our mechanic, had a blast this weekend.  We laughed our way through the weekend except for the two hours of race grimacing.  The race was pretty stacked which is exactly what I wanted.  I want to see how I compare at this point of the year to some of the best in the world.  Two-time World Champion, Catharine Pendrel, was there with the consistently powerful team Luna in tow. All the other ladies brought their A games, especially being an Olympic year and two qualification spots are up for grabs.  The first three world cups are qualification races.  These U.S races are just warm ups, but ladies are still trying to put an early mark on 2016. 

Fontana went way better than my season openers last year.  In the cross country, the lead pack of three gapped me on the first lap so I spent the entire race solo time trialing.  Most importantly, I found my rhythm about halfway through the race and remembered how to suffer.  This is important.  This is my trade.   I felt strong and ended up in fourth place.  This was a solid showing for the opener, and I left with positive vibes.  I was also very excited to have the young grasshopper and teammate, Kate, nipping at my heels during the cross country to come in fifth place and score her first elite podium.  It was so awesome to give her the first of many podium champagne showers.  Sharing that sticky feeling with a teammate and a great friend is one of the best things in the world.

Here’s to a good start and I’m already looking forward to racing next weekend at the U.S Cup in Bonelli, CA.  Now, at least, I remember what to eat and when.  I love racing. Much more to come.


 I call this new podium move, the baby bird
 Mandatory post race In N' Out stop.  When in CA...

 Post race recovery.  We made sure the Happiness Watts were topped off this weekend
 A finish line hug made the big wall at Specialized HQ

 Sabe made it to Santa Cruz.  I'm so excited to have her here!
 The sound of an ice cream truck is literally one of my favorite things.  Pre race prep. 
 Santa Cruz is pretty
 It's good to be reunited with my Lady Bike.  She sparkles. 
Beyond stoked on my new Specialized MTB casual kits.  Get some color into the mix.