Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shanks, Swobo!

Steve at Swobo sent me some long sleeved Merino wool jerseys- 12, to be exact! One for each of the ladies/photographers in the Team Pegasus calendar. I've been enjoying mine- very warm and not itchy at all!

That was awfully nice of him :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Team Pegasus Calendar Pre-Orders

Order your calendars now! For real, that's an order! David from Seattle has beaten all y'all suckers and ordered one already.

Nothing sells like nudity, and we've got that, too! Partial nudity for the sake of art and charity, no less.

Photo by the talented Kat Jacobs.
Read her blog here.

Order at http://www.teampegasuscycling.com/?page_id=4

New Bike Room

We just moved and are finally settled in. We've got a loft style apartment and then a storage area we negotiated for the bikes. 15+ bikes and all the fixins do not fit just anywhere. A lot of the shelves were already there- the last tenant was into Ebay sales and kept all of his stuff here. Here are some quick shots Cale took of the bike room last night.

Directly below is the storage area for all of our junk (Halloween colored Rubbermaids were on sale at Target :) ). It's about twice as wide as what's pictured. After that are some shots of the work bench, and bringing up the rear is the bike storage area.

We've has some neighbors stop in and ask what kind of business we're setting up. Sadly, no. Our business is spending money, not making it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

About a year ago...

Last winter I worked at SRAM in Chicago while living in Milwaukee. (Most of you remember/know this, I think). When I got up in the morning, it was dark and cold out. When I got back to Milwaukee at night, it was dark and cold out. I had four separate bike rides each day (Milwaukee and Chicago, AM and PM) and had to dress in warm clothes that wouldn't get wet and make me miserable during the train ride, which was a little over 2 hours each way.

While organizing our new apartment last night, all of the winter cycling gear got stashed near the door in the bike room. The shoe covers, wool hats, glove liners, lobster claw gloves, headbands, goggles, balaclavas and Lake winter cycling boots (which get an A+) all got organized in milk crates. This winter if I do any commuting, it will be in my very own vehicle. I looked at all of the well-used gear and felt just a little nostalgic.

I won't miss the slush being splashed on me, the slippery roads or the salt build-up on my poor bikes. But when I looked at the boots, I remembered striding into the train station during mild blizzards, the cleats on my boots announcing just how bad.ass. I was for braving the storm. There's nothing like thinking you're cool to make a miserable situation bearable.

And when I think about it, it's also kind of like cyclocross and its popularity. The worse the conditions, the more 'epic' it is. There's never so much discussion after a race as when the race was in inclement weather. Oh, cyclocross <3

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

PART TWO: Goodbye, Cat 3

Here I'm doing the hill run-up and remounting (but not very well). Both photos by djonn mcneill.

That brings us up to this past weekend, a mere FOUR DAYS AGO! This race at Cam-Rock was my first race last year, and my very first CX race. We got up pretty early to make the trek to Madison. I got in a little food and then started to feel a bit nervous. It progressed in the car ride, and I was feeling sick by the time we got to the venue. I also happened to be feeling sleepy, so I decided to ignore the races going on and take a nap in the backseat.

And that worked fantastically! I think it was a combination of a lot of things, but for whatever reason, when I woke up I was not nervous anymore, and was so dopey from my nap that I failed to get a good feeling of panic going, even after registering. Hah!
I amended a few things for this race. The Sunday before I had tried my favorite method of the slow start followed by passing people up, and it had let me down. I also knew that it wasn’t the correct strategy for cyclocross races. Ever. So I decided to get a quick start this time.

I lined up and stayed right up with the pack in the sprint at the start. I wasn’t going to lose any ground in this race. It was a fast pace from the start, and I wondered if I could keep it going, or if I would burn myself out trying to stay with the leader. I settled for being ahead of most and keeping an eye on the leader, a rider for Planet Bike named Diane. I was ready to put some work in if I saw her pulling away too quickly, but was busy battling some other women.
Maybe about halfway through the race, I was riding with Sarah, who’s gotten a lot stronger after having taken a month off. I tried passing her on the hills a time or two, but she responded and stayed out ahead of me. She responded so strongly, in fact, that soon we were gaining on Diane.

After a lap or so, we formed a pack- me, Diane and Sarah. Diane and I traded off leading every once and a while, while I went over the weaknesses of the women I was riding with. Sarah was getting slower up the hills and was slower over the barriers. We would gain about 7 yards on her, and she would have to catch up. While riding behind Diane, I noticed that she would power up the hills but then slow to recover once on top. I knew that I would have to make all of these areas count if I made a move.

It’s funny, I’m all about strategy in CX, but couldn’t ever get it down for track. I wonder if people watch me on the CX course, and what I’m telling them. I hate to show weakness, because I feel like I’m under the same scrutiny I subject others to.

Back to the excitement! With two laps to go, Diane questions if it’s really one lap to go. I don’t think it is, but just in case, I want to be the first one across the line. The three of us are riding together, with some other women pretty close behind.
On this lap, at the hill with the run-up, I foil a move that Diane’s been getting me with. Just after getting over the barriers, she’s been hopping on her bike and riding the hill while the rest of us run it. She’s slower than running up the hill, but she’s faster through the whole thing. That is, I pass her on her left, and while I’m remounting on flat ground, she’s gaining speed and slips to the right of me and gets past. Well, I decide that on this lap, I’ll pass her on the right and inconvenience her. Note: I would not cut someone off, and that is not what I did. I simply held a steady course from top to bottom and took the inside line. I was able to keep ahead of her, and stayed ahead of her for the rest of the lap.

I powered up the slight hill to the finish line to see that there was still one lap left. I was out front: I sighed (it’s possible to do while panting) and prepared to defend it. I focused on going quickly through the places where I knew I could gain a little ground: hills, barriers… hills. I rode hard and finished a handful of second ahead of the rest of the field. Thus ended my career as a Cat 3 CX racer.

It felt good do be both mentally sound and first place. I spent the rest of the day on ‘Super Fan Hill’, the hill with the run-up. Lyle said “Someone’s going to find out how much fun we’re having and make it illegal,” and I’d have to agree. We did beer and dollar hand-ups, and were yelling and ringing cowbells like mad.

It gave me an idea for my upcoming races. As a Cat 2, I don’t think I’ll be winning any races. I’ll have good races within the pack, but I don’t think I’ll be a true contender for first. I’m really hoping that it’s a permanent solution to my nerves going into these races. Rather than get uptight, I figure this is a chance to really have fun. How come women never (or rarely) get dollar hand-ups? I would like to change that up.

I'm on the far far left, and we're all celebrating at Super Fan Central on Super Fan Hill after the first recorded sports bra dollar hand-up. Photo by djonn mcneill.

PART ONE: Jonathan Page Planet Bike Cup weekend

Me with the Wizard's beard on. Photo by Gary Lake.

It seems like all of my posts lately are about events that happened at least a week or two prior to posting! Well, Part 2 is about a few events, some of which happened as little as FOUR DAYS AGO. I know. You’re impressed.

But let’s start back, two weekends ago. The Jonathan Page Cup (my cup runneth over). Cale and I had just gotten in on Friday night from Las Vegas. Early the next morning, we packed up the car, along with Lizann and Jason in the back, and headed for Madison. A note on the car: it was truly packed. In the back, Jason and Lizann had all of their camping gear on the seat with them (pillows, sleeping bags, food) and there were wheels covering every surface. The backseat couldn’t have been too fun, but they bore it admirably.

To get on with it, though. This would be my first race as a Cat 3 racer. I was a little nervous, but not ‘road racing nervous.’ I didn’t know what to expect from myself, so I was aiming for a good race and not a win. It’s easier to stay calm with an outlook like that. I told Josh (aka the Wizard) that I was just going to ride: start out slow and see how many people I could pick off. At the end of my race, Josh commented, “You did just what you said you were going to do.” I started out pretty much at the back of the pack and worked my way through a few ladies that were slow in the corners early on in the first lap or so.

From then on out, I would pretty much follow behind someone and then work to pass them on one of the many hills on the course. I did this because I’m pretty strong at sprints up hills, and to a lesser extent, because it was exciting and fun to pass people in front of the crowd and my spectating teammates. Yep, I’m pretty much a preening, showboating little jerk. In my defense, I didn’t yell “Oh Snap!” or spit on any opponents. So I’ve got that going for me.

I had made it past a few people in the beginning, and then worked my way past a few clusters of women in the ensuing laps, and I had reached a point where I was no longer passing anyone. I played cat and mouse with one lady for a lap or two, and finally with one lap to go I put her behind me and worked to keep her there. She hung back maybe 10 or 20 yards, and I managed to stay ahead, finishing just in front of her.
It was a good race- I had warmed up and felt strong early on, and only got dog tired on the last ½ lap, which is when you want to feel that, if you must. When people asked how I had done, I just told them it was a good race, not knowing how I had finished. When results came up, I found out that I had won!

Believe it or not, winning the race turned out to be kind of terrible. The next day I ‘knew’ how I ‘should’ finish, so I proceeded to get very nervous. Before the race I had incredible cotton mouth and a kind of depression settled on me. I got really quiet, felt sluggish and heavy, and was dreading the race. I tried to calm myself down by saying that I would do the same race again.

So I started out in the back, feeling miserable. I didn’t get around some of the women fast enough, and their lack of speed in the corners and the first bit of the race left me pretty far behind the lead riders. I rode on, but with less and less hope every time I caught sight of the lead, so far ahead now. Eventually I stopped racing and was just riding along, being angry at Cale for ‘making’ me race (even though that’s usually the thing to do). I fell on my back in one of the dusty corners on the side of the hill. I just stayed there and let out an “AAARGGH!” before getting up and stalking up the rest of the hill with my bike.

Shortly after that I got so discouraged and angry that I started hyperventilating, which I did off and on for two laps. Yippee! So much fun. Nothing else really happened- after the first lap or so, I didn’t pass anyone and stayed firmly in 6th place, where I finished. I was angry and frustrated with myself. I was especially frustrated that cyclocross seemed to be going the same way as road racing: how many more races can I get in before I just mentally break down and can’t do any more?

Josh as the Wizard. Photo by Gary Lake.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ladies of Team Pegasus Calendar!

How can I explain how excited I am about this? I can't. Presenting the Ladies of Team Pegasus (and friends) 2009 calendar:

I think I've been doing too much design lately. I can't even stop in my free time! I'm going to blame it on doing the catalogs and brochures for Hayes. Now that I've got a taste of my work in bound, printed form, I've got a thirst for it! Organizing photo shoots (in the loosest interpretation of organizing)? Check. Recruiting models? Check. In talks with a printer? Check. Advertising the calendar? Check.

But enough about me, more about the calendar. Half of the proceeds will go to Team Pegasus, and the other half will go to World Bicycle Relief, a truly worthy cause. Right now we're still finalizing the catalog, but it will be available to pre-order online within the next few weeks.

Here are the outtakes photos we're using to advertise it. They're just teasers and won't be used in the calendar:

Ooooo-eee! Sharp looking photos and ladies, right? Top photo by Minx, bottom by the talented Ms. Kat Jacobs.

It's cool to see how news of the calendar has spread. Simon at Hipster Nascar got the scoop, and it was then spread to Tracko, overseas and a myriad of other blogs. So many links! See how fresh we are? That's street cred right there.