Sunday, April 17, 2011

Season kicks off

The season has officially kicked off with 8 Stevens ladies heading out to the Calabogie Classic O-Cup event today. New kit; new bikes; many returning riders along with a few new ones; and terrific support of our sponsors and friends. Couldn't ask for more. It is going to be a most excellent season.

Results from today: after a long, established break Mel Bunn stood in second spot on the podium. Congrats Mel! and all the ladies who helped make it happen. Hopefully the next race will be a bit warmer :-)

See you all soon!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Watch out, trees

University Cup Mountain Bike Series
Sept 18, 19, 26 & Oct 3

This fall I've been racing with the University of Guelph Cycling club doing the University Cup race series. What an adventure!

The preface to this post is that I'm a
huge newbie when it comes to mountain biking -- and if I had a dollar for every time I crashed or 'hugged' a tree... it would probably pay a month's rent!!

In any case, the U-Cup race series is fun because it involves everyone: from people who are racing for the first time to top Ontario riders. There's tons of camaraderie within and between teams and most events have a BBQ afterward. The series takes place over four weekends in Sept/Oct.

Our first race of the season was at Mansfield and it was actually a bit of a 'stage race', consisting of a 'crit' (like 4X on mtbs), a TT (4k individual-start race) and a regular cross-country race. The crit was pretty cool, 2x300m loops--so it was pure adrenaline.

For the TT and the cross-country race my goal was to ride as smoothly as possible in the single-track and minimize the number of times I had to unclip. Things went pretty well--I took 2nd in each of those races (for an overall 2nd place that weekend).

The next race was at Boler Mountain in London. I had a rough start but worked my way into 2nd by the half-way mark. At that point, I knew there was a train of 3 riders behind me trying to chase me down and so I rode as fast as I could. Apparently that level of fast was faster than my technical skills were ready for, resulting in some pretty funny crashes! ...sliding out and faceplanting into the grass; riding into a tree so hard that my bars twisted 10 degrees right of my front wheel... Needless to say, I did get reeled in and finished 3rd.

Last weekend's race was at Hardwood Hills. For the whole race, I was back-and-forth with a woman from our rival school Queens. I'd gap her on the doubletrack and she'd bring me back on the singletrack. We ended in sprint finish and I just edged her out for 2nd! Definitely one of the toughest races of my season.

For the rest of the mtb season I'll continue to work on handling--cornering in particular. I hope some of this translates back onto the road next summer.

In other Stevens news, Mel, Tricia and Sophie have been rocking the cx scene--though I'll leave it up to them to fill in the details :)

Happy thanksgiving everyone! I am very thankful for my lovely teammates and our awesome sponsors at The Cyclery.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Provincial TT & MTB Season

Ontario Provincial TT, Welland ON -- Sept 12

Provincial Time Trial:

Sunday was a nice cool day in Welland and the rain held off. Lots of speedy riding and it was exciting to see Sue on top of the podium!

As for me, my road season is winding down and mountain bike season (
à la University Cup race series) is beginning!

Below is my concentration face, from the
Hot-August-Nights-24h a few weeks ago.
Mountain biking will be a very good opportunity to refine my technical skills!

-- Rachel

Saturday, September 11, 2010

CX - We need more Cowbell Cross

Burgoyne Woods, St. Catherines, ON
September 11, 2010

Hot Day, Hot new Bike, Hot Course....HOT!

Cowbell Cross IV (now known as Jump the Cheeseburger) opened up the Southern Ontario 'cross scene this weekend. The course was super fun. The park is pancake flat and the corners were like butter, which kept it fast. With a little loose single track to keep you on your toes. Sadly there were no cheeseburgers or jumping, all the practice for naught!

The race went well, I started pretty fast, and was quickly into working my way through the M2s. I probably need to get better at my passing. I was playing it a little safe, and waiting for the straights to pass, next time I will shout it out a bit more. The last lap and a half turned out to be a little rough. I started getting the heat pricklies, and lost a bit a focus. This made for some sketchy moments in the corners, but I managed to keep it upright somehow.

I was racing the new
Stevens Carbon Team frame, with the sweet Scorpo Wheels, and Continental tubulars. I am continually amazed by the Stevens bikes. The new bike really allowed me to carry a lot of speed through the corners, and covered up for a few of my sloppy lines. The full carbon bike is a plush ride for sure. The bike is so fast that I scare myself in the corners, like a new knife that is so sharp you almost cut yourself! Love it! A huge thanks goes out to Vince at the Cyclery and to Stevens Bikes Canada for setting me up for the season.

Next weekend I am stepping it up at the the Green Mountain Cyclocross weekend. Looking forward to the UCI fields and the Vermont scenery!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Happenings

August 14-15 Weekend
Quick updates from last weekend...

-Sarah has been spending some time on the track in BC and hopped into a crit in Steveston last weekend. Got herself on the podium again!

-Tricia headed out to the Bromont Canada Cup. It sounded like a challenging and technical course (with the first half of each loop climbing and the second half a technical decent). She was 11th out of 20 finishers and 26 starters. Good job Tricia!

-I raced in Elliot Lake, which was a fun adventure (and an 8 hour drive!). Over the weekend there was a crit, a hill climb and a road race. The crit course was a bit challenging, with a downhill/off camber corner and rain starting 10 minutes before the race finished!

The hill climb was the result I was most excited about over the weekend, 8th place, and only 32 seconds behind the winner, over 3.5k. I think (hope?) this shows improvement in my climbing. The road race ended up a bunch sprint, where I was 8th again.

Just so this post doesn't become too long, I won't go into too much detail... but some other stellar August results for Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery ladies:

-Sue set another OBC TT record on August 12th, going under 20 minutes - a feat only accomplished by a handful of men ... awesome!

-Michelle got on the podium at GP Cycliste Vaudreuil-Soulange, August 8th. Nicely done!

-Lastly, although slightly (haha) less prestigious than the OBC TT, I set a new ladies course record at the Speed River Club TT this evening. Lots of fun.

-- Rachel