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Friday, December 18, 2009

 

THE 2009 Cyclocross Championships

We're back from Bend now, unpacking, doing laundry and putting bikes back together, only to be shelved for a few months.  It is great to be in the off-season, but even greater when the off-season gets kicked off by an awesome end to the season.  Cyclocross nationals was an awesome end to the season.
 
I (Arley) finished 19th, Sally finished 20th.  In a field of 108 women, it is amazing that we finished one behind the other.  I guess your own teammate makes a better carrot than a stranger!  The course was awesome.  It was a relatively short lap, peppered with rocks, ice, snow, and slick grass.  It had two features, a flight of stairs and a set of barriers.  There was a steep power climb that dumped you onto an off-camber stretch, followed by a drop into a decent that was rutted, frozen, and slick at times.  The course conditions changed hourly.  The sun would melt some of the snow, which would either create just a wet surface, or black ice.  I pre-rode the course Saturday morning at 7am, planning to ride the slickest conditions possible, so that anything after that would seem easier (Sally had raced the day before in the Master's race, where she placed 5th!).  Despite the slick conditions on the pre-ride, it was tons of fun, and I was feeling pretty confident. Tire selection was crucial for the race.  A tire with a more aggressive tread was a neccessity.  I decided to ditch my tubulars and ride my clinchers so I could ride a different tire.  This would add extra weight to my bike, but I would have rather had better handling.  It was worth it though, as I didn't crash once during the race.
 
 The start of the race was crazy.  The gun went off, and all hell broke loose!  The start was super fast, all the women were definitely charged up and ready to fight, fueled by the roaring crowd.  By the time we raced, there was a  thin layer of wet mud forming.  All I remember is barrelling down the first stretch of the course off the pavement, bouncing around because I couldn't ride the smooth line, with gross mud flying in my face.  I couldn't tell who was around me because I was bouncing around too much, and I was deep into the red right from the gun, which limited my focus to only the ground in front of me.  I just kept pushing the pace, riding as fast as I possibly could, like I was running for my life!  I rode past the 2nd pit entrance the first time and heard "you're in 14th".  I couldn't believe it.  I kept pushing hard, trying to keep contact with the people in front of me.  I started to lose contact on the steps, which were too small for me to run each one, but too big to do every other, so I had to sort of alternate the two methods, which was tiring on my legs.  With 3 laps or so to go, I started getting passed by some people, of which I couldn't hang on to.  I was finally starting to hurt, but felt like I could still hold off the women looming behind me, including my teammate Sally.  I decided that I would stand up and push really hard in the false flat sections that were wearing out my legs, and I would shift into big ring on the pavement, get into the drops, and pretend I was in a crit to push my pace.  Those little goals definitely helped me keep my top 20 placing.
 
Sally took a few spills on the course, two of which I happened to see.  She came in too hot into the slick grassy corners, once before the steps, and after the barriers.  The first crash was pretty spectacular, she was all tangled up in her bike, which was made worse by the 6 women right behind her that were panicking to get around her.  I had a good vantage point for that one.  Sally said at that point, she couldn't decide if she should get back on her bike and ride the 20 feet to dismount at the steps, or just run.  The problem with just running was her bike was on her left (which is the wrong side, it should be on your right so you can shoulder it away from the drivetrain).  So she had to swing the bike in front of her, while running, to the other side.  A+ recovery effort, she barely lost any placing!
 
We both finished roughly 4:30 behind Katie Compton, winner of the race, and number 1 atop the current World Cup standings.  Not too shabby,eh!?  
 
We had an awesome time in Bend.  The race was great, the organizers and volunteers did a great job.  The crowd and fans were AWESOME, really supportive and motivating.  Sally and I would like to send a HUGE THANKS to Hub Racing for putting the season together for us, Carol for being an awesome souignier all season long, and even better at Nats (she cooked for us, carried our stuff around, cleaned/helped with bikes, etc., etc., etc.!), our sponsors Cannondale, SRAM, Specialized, Washington Area Bicyclists Association, and Bryson Web for their support this season, and everyone else in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions who have supported us, cheered us on, fixed our bikes last minute before the start of a race, and just hung out with us and contributed to us having a rockin' time this year.  Arley would also like to personally thank Josef Brandauer, who has been a phenominal coach and supportive friend, and was always there to keep the wheels from falling off (and boy was it close!).
 
Thanks again guys, catch you in the mud next season!
 
ak

Monday, December 14, 2009

 

cross nats

some quick results from cross natsionals in bend oregon:

hub racing's sally annis takes the 5th podium spot in the
womens masters 35-39

both sally and hub's arley kemmerer finish in the top 20 of
the womens elite.


Friday, December 11, 2009

 

Tallahasse Cyclocross Weekend and the FL State Championships

The Tallahassee Cyclocross Weekend was awesome! Finally an awesome cross combined with some cold weather!! The 24 hours prior to racing in Tallahassee were joined by lots of rain which made for an even better cyclocross race! Both days were very close races for the first few laps. I knew that maybe my endurance could out race my competition. I figured that if I just rode my own race and remained smart that I could do well. First let me thank my kid sister for giving me feeds this weekend and helping get my wheels in the pit as needed. It is very nice to have support at the races! So, as I mentioned, I just had to race my own race. I guess what I am saying here is that I didn't want to do something stupid and cause myself to crash because the course was getting a little more slick with the mud, wet grass, roots. For the first few laps I just kept the pressure on, I had to chase back to the leader both days. On Saturday she crashed and dropped her chain, at which time I put some pressure on the pedals and got a gap. I was able to hold onto the gap by going hard on all the sections that it would have been easy to ease up on. If that makes any sense? I came across the line in first place on Saturday. But the big race was yet to come; Sunday was the Cyclocross State Championships. As previously mentioned the race was close for the first few laps. When she would have a small gap on me my sister and a couple of other people would tell me that she was tiring down. So once again I just paced myself and put the pressure on. After the longest run up of the course we had to push the bike about 25 feet and go around a 180 before remounting and starting the decent. On the decent there was a little ditch that we had to go through. At this point we are right next to each other but on the up hill part of the ditch she crashed hard. In fact it was so hard that I thought for a second that maybe I should stop, but then I remembered that this was for all the marbles, so I had only one thing to do...put my head down, remain calm, and stay steady. So I did exactly that, I stayed steady and crossed the line 1st. That is correct, the State Champion!!
 
So as it sits right now, I have two 2nd place finishes, three 1st place finishes, one State Championship, and I am tied for 1st place in the points series.  Until the next time; which will be after the New Year. I certainly wish I was out in Bend! How fun would that be? Racing in the snow?? I would like to wish my teammates in Bend good luck!!
 
Elizabeth

 

Florida Cyclocross Weekend #2

Cyclocross weekend #2 was held in Orlando on Saturday and Clermont on Sunday. This weekend I was only able to make it to the race on Saturday. So far this course suited me the best this year, however, it suited an out-of-towner even better. This course had everything! It had a set of stairs to run up, three hills to ride over, two barriers to run over, and a mud pit to ride through! This course was a blast. A visitor from Utah ended up taking the win, pretty easily, while I held on for 2nd place. I was pretty excited that the mud actually washed out of my neon green socks!
 
Elizabeth

 

Florida Cyclocross

The first weekend of Cyclocross in Florida has come and gone. Well, it has come and gone and come back a couple of times since the first weekend! The first cyclocross Race in Florida this year was held in Lakeland. This course suited a mountain bike a lot better than a cross bike, however, since it was a cyclocross race I brought my cyclocross bike, not the mountain bike. With that said, the course had a lot of single track and even more sugar sand. Luckily I was able to hold on for a win even with the cross bike!
 
The second cross race of the season for me was held in Dade City the next day. The Little Everglade Ranch Cyclocross Race was another tough day on the bike much like the day before. Due to the lack of rain this course had even more sugar sand but this time it was combined with super strong winds. On the first lap one of my competitor's got a 30 second gap which I was never able to close. The sugar sand definitely does not suit me! I was able to finish 2nd place.
 
Elizabeth

Monday, December 7, 2009

 

Cold weekend in New England Wraps up - Next up: Bend

I finished up the regular cyclocross season with a weekend of cold racing in Rhode Island.  Although there was no snow to practice in, it was cold enough to remind me of the value of using toe warmers in my shoes so I can somewhat feel my feet by the end of the race.  Saturday was a mudfest and people were crashing all over the place.  I got taken out by a falling rider at one point, but fortunately bike and body survived and I was really glad to be riding the Continental Twister Pro tire on my rear wheel... that tire seems to stick in super sloppy conditions when everyone else is slip sliding around.  I was able to pass a few people simply because I had traction in the corners and they did not.   Sunday was clear but very cold with a fast and fun course.  I appreciated not having to do any bike cleanup sunday night and instead packe up my bikes and shipped them to Bend for nationals.  I am looking forward to racing in the snow in Bend and I will be sure to pack some toe and hand warmers because I find it much easier to go through the dismount/re-mount cycle when you can actually feel your hands and feet. 


Sunday, December 6, 2009

 

Reston Done, Onward to Bend!

Arley wrapped up the Mid-Atlantic cross season at the MAC Finals in Reston, VA on Sunday.  As luck would have it, the Mid-Atlantic's first snowfall of the year occurred less than 24 hours before the race, which set the stage, once again, for a muddy sloppy day.  The course featured all kinds of challenges; mud, ice, snow, rocks, roots...the makings of a very technical race.  Line was everything.  The course had several hard and fast sections that you could really crank up the gear and power, but that would send you screaming hot into a slick muddy turn.  Not good.  So there were few places to make up ground once ground was lost.  Arley made some shifting mistakes right in the beginning of the race, giving Nikki Thiemann and Kristin Gavin of Human Zoom/PBR a few seconds of a gap, which was enough to hold Arley at 3rd the rest of the race.  A crash on the last lap by Arley on the slick off-camber, fast descent would solidify the race for the the Human Zoom ladies, taking 1st and 2nd.  
 
Next stop, 'cross nats in Bend, Oregon! 

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dc bike racing .com
Bega Services Inc
Cycling Coaching and Events
bega's blog
updated: August 20 2014
photos video messenger stuff for sale
dccourier.com archives messenger email list archives hubracing.com archives RFK Criterium archives StickGuy the Game
Cycling Coaching Bike Race Announcing Group Ride Leading and Designing contact
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