World Bicycle Relief Fundraiser!!

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Come join us for our 2nd annual World Bicycle Relief Fundraiser! We have even more auction items than last year, and with the addition of a regulation length Bocce Ball court and Cornhole. It promises to be a fantastic evening!! Don’t miss it!

Silent Auction Items

Thank you to all the sponsors of this event for your generous donations! Come down and see what they gave us!

Orbea
SRAM
Sunnyside Sports
Goodlife Brewery
Challenge tires
Motorex 
Mavic 
Thule Echelon
Compex 
Park Tools
Hed
Clif
Kuhl
Yakima
Ninkasi
Core Movement Studio Pilates
Outdoor Exposure Photography
Pure Clean Powder
Look
 
And stuff is still rolling in !!!!
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2013 US Pro Nationals…. the details

Here’s how we started the day.

Always start the day with beet juice

Always start the day with beet juice

 

Pre race. We always manage to keep the stress level low.

Pre race. We always manage to keep the stress level low.

USA Cycling's 2013 USPRO Championships

Just before heading to the start line….the calm before the storm

From there, we had a hard race, but raced very well as a team. I think we had the best display of teamwork out there that day. We had a plan going into the day to save Janel and myself for the climb. Brie, Amber and Grace were suppose to cover early breaks so we could sit in and relax. They did their job perfectly and delivered us to the base of the climb. Once their jobs were done, they were free to blow up.

We suffered up the climb and to our surprise our little sprinter was right there with us! So, much for just being a sprinter! We re-grouped after the climb, looked at who was left and decided Lauren would work our break and cover attacks while Janel and I sat in.

Lauren covered an attack that I felt had all the right people in it to establish a break, so I bridged up to it. I was then able to sit in while Lauren again continued to work selflessly to bring our break to the base of the climb. Janel was in the chase group marking Evie Stevens, Alison Powers and Mara Abbot, our biggest threats on the climb. Tactically, we had set ourselves up perfectly.

Lauren brought me to the base of the climb, we had 1:30 gap on the peloton.  We climbed steadily and only lost about 30 seconds on the climb. Mara bridged up to us, Evie didn’t make it. I kept looking back to see if Lauren was still with us. If I lost her, I’d be isolated in the break with 4 Exergy riders. That would be bad. She stayed right with us and made it over the climb with about a group of 8 riders.

Once we were back on the flats, it was a sprinters game. So, Lauren and I decided she would sit and I would protect her. So, I went to the front and started working to maintain our break and let Lauren rest up for a possible sprint finish. Mara Abbott then attacked and I made the mistake of not going with it. I thought those of us in the break would work together to bring it back, but they left it up to Taylor Wiles and me. We took some hard pulls to try to bring Mara back but it wasn’t working and I wasn’t interested in killing myself dragging the whole break back up to Mara just so another Exergy rider could attack us. When you’re a climber and you make it over the wall with a kick ass sprinter like Lauren Hall, you don’t want to bring her to the line. So, as soon as Mara would have been reeled in, another counter attack would have launched.

So, to avoid constant attacks from other teams, I attacked the group and bridged up to Mara. I had her within about 5 seconds when she had an unfortunate mechanical. I blew by, put it in overdrive and pushed as hard as I could to increase my gap. Once Mara was gone, Kristen McGrath bridged up with 2 laps to go. With an Exergy and Optum rider up the road, half of the group Lauren was this wouldn’t work to bring us back. So, Lauren just had to watch a couple riders, mainly Alison Powers.

On the last lap, we were getting reeled back in. the gap went from a minute down to 5 seconds. With 4k to go we were at 10 seconds, but still losing ground. I considered my options. At the speed we were going, we were definitely going to get caught. If I attacked and Kristen held my wheel, she would basically have a free ride to the finish and possibly sprint around me at the line. If I attacked and blew up, I was confident the chase group would catch us and Lauren would sprint for the win. I had no choice but to go all in. With about 3k to go, I attacked Kristen and she couldn’t close the gap.

I rode as hard as I possibly could to that finish line. I was sure they were going to catch me. I kept looking back and then telling myself to put my head down and don’t look back. I reminded myself how hard Janel rode off the front in stage 2 of Gila and told myself if she can do it, I can do it.

I guess now we all know how the rest unfolded….

US Pro Finish lineUS Pro Lauren finishUSA Cycling's 2013 USPRO ChampionshipsJanel Jade big hugUS Pro Jade with guys

Photo Casey B Gibson

Photo Casey B Gibson

 

US Pro beer podium

I truly wish the entire team could wear stars and stripes for the rest of the year. Every single one of them deserves it, I just happened to be the lucky one that crossed the line. Cycling is funny that way. It is 100% a team sport, but in many ways, only one person gets the recognition.

Thanks to Optum Pro Cycling for providing me the means to accomplish this goal, to our sponsors, our director Rachel Heal for turning herself inside out for us, our awesome support staff Jeremy and Mike, and my coach Kendra Wenzel. We all have a share in this accomplishment.

Thank you Casey B Gibson for the photo documentation.

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Ode to Coach Kendra….

It’s been about a year since my last blog post. Blogging is not a strength of mine. So, what better time to start back up than now. My team just won the 2013 US Pro Road Championship. I’m the one that gets to wear the jersey for the next year. Of course, there are a lot of people that have sacrificed and supported me up to this point, but I feel like my coach Kendra doesn’t get to share in enough of the spotlight with me.

When everything goes my way, my legs feel great and all the cards fall into place, I catch myself saying “WOW! This is amazing!” But, really it’s not amazing. Because my coach spends hours staring at a computer screen to manipulate the perfect program in order for me to achieve my goals. And that’s no easy task when you consider my requests.

Here’s a summary of our conversations over the last year…

Kendra planned the perfect road season, resulting in me being the Velonews “Breakthrough Rider of the Year.” Then just as I was about to take a big long break…

Jade: Kendra, can I do cyclocross this Fall?                       Kendra: (long sigh)…well, it’s not ideal, but we’ll make it work
Jade: Can I go to a track camp before cross nats?           Kendra: (long sigh)…well, it’s not ideal, but we’ll make it work
Jade: Can I go to cross worlds?                                          Kendra:(long sigh)…you need a break!! But, we’ll make it work
Jade: Can I race the spring classics in Europe?             Kendra: You mean during your rest time? We’ll make it work
Jade: Can I race the Giro?                                                Kendra: Your body can’t keep doing this, you need a break!!!!! But, we’ll make it work.
Jade: Can I race cross and track this fall?                 I haven’t actually asked her this one, I’m nervous she might say no. 
 

I want to try everything, I want to race everything and I’m pissed that there isn’t enough time for it all. Kendra listens to all my requests and manages my desire to be superhuman and race year around. She listens to my filthy mouth when I’m disappointed, followed by my manic excitement when I have a good race. Through it all, she keeps her cool, keeps me grounded and keeps me on the podium.

Thanks Kendra! I wish I could pay you what you’re worth. But, I’ll never be that rich.

photo:Casey Gibson

 
 
 
 
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Exergy Stage 3: Crouch to Idaho City Road Race

Oy! Long long climbs, cold, wet, fast. That about sums it up. My team rode together really well. I wish I could have had more of a presence for the team on the climbs, but my legs just weren’t there today. I was able to help a bit more towards the end as the course flattened out. The team worked very well together to give Leah the opportunity to show off her sprinting prowess. She got a very close 2nd to Ina today (one of the fastest and most experienced cyclists in the world).

To give you an idea how difficult today’s stage was, we had 4 DNFs and 21 riders that didn’t make time cut. We’re now down to 69 riders (we started with over 100).

My legs are sore and tired, I’m hoping to get a good night sleep tonight to rest the legs. Tomorrow will be CRAZY!

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Exergy Stage 2: Time Trial

Today was yet another rainy and cold day. If any of our days have to be rainy and cold, I’ll take it on a TT day. Then, we’re only in the rain for a short amount of time, but it still makes it hard to get the warm up you need. The course had a technical first 300m that wouldn’t have been so technical if I had sucked it up and checked out the setup before the race. And a technical last 200 meters because of a giant painted line in the apex of the last corner. Those that don’t ride in the rain, paint on a wet road equals danger. There were 2 crashes on that line today. Which is why I’m glad I played it safe and pedaled around it at about 5mph. I should have trusted my wheels (HED wheels/Challenge Tires in case you’re wondering) more because I know they’re awesome in the rain and have never let me down, but with so many crashes and broken bones in the cycling world lately, I played it safe.

I have to say the only person I saw out pre-riding the course in the rain today was Amber Neben. Guess what place she got? 1st. Lesson learned. You have to be a badass before you can ride like a badass.

The highlight of the day was getting to use a race radio for the first time. We don’t get to use them in road races, but apparently for time trials they’re ok. Adrian was in the follow car and gently reminded me to keep my head down to stay aero and keep my pace up when I was lagging. I was quite proud of him, he didn’t drop the F bomb once. During the race I was having flashbacks of Top Gun when Goose was guiding Maverick through some pretty crazy shit. He and I made a good team out there today.

I got 15th today, which dropped me from 8th to 11th in GC. It wasn’t quite how I planned the day to go, but it could have been a lot worse. The big climb stages are tomorrow and Monday and they will most likely effect the stage more than today. I’m hoping for good legs. I think the first climb tomorrow will be similar to the Green Springs climb for my local peeps.

Here’s a cool shot from veloimages of Denise and Joelle crossing paths during the TT.

 

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Exergy Tour!!

What an amazing event! For those that don’t know, the Exergy tour is basically an effort to catapult women’s cycling into mainstream sports. The Exergy group has put on an incredible event, attracting international teams from Europe and Taiwan to not only compete for a huge cash purse ($100,000 which is unheard of in women’s cycling), but also offers valuable UCI points for Olympic selection. So, many of the top teams are here, the fastest women in the world are here and they’re all on good form!

Needless to say, it’s an amazing opportunity for myself and our team to compete with international teams to prove how strong and competitive we really are!

The race is 5 stages long over 5 days:

Prologue: 2.4 miles with a little kicker climb and some technical corners

This course was challenging because it had one very fast >90 degree turn followed by a 180. We practiced these turns about 10 times prior to the race, but I still managed to clip a pedal on the 90+ turn and my teammate Denise, unfortunately crashed there. The 180 turned out to be where the most carnage was. Clara Hughes crashed in pre-ride and on that same corner Kristen Armstrong crashed during the race and broke her collar bone. She had surgery within 24 hours of the crash.

I ended up 8th, 6 seconds down from World Champion track rider Tara Whitten. I’m happy with that. My teammates also had great rides and we were all in good position going into the first RR.

 

Stage 1: Road race: 77 miles, 3000+ feet of climbing, cold, windy and rainy weather

Today’s stage was very cold and very wet. For awhile I couldn’t feel my hands which made it very hard to shift and eat. I was just hoping they wouldn’t slip off the bars. The wind played the biggest factor today. It was hard to close gaps and tough to take pulls. We rode aggressively and managed to get some sprint and QOM points which we’ll try to capitalize on in later stages.  It came down to an aggressive and fast sprint finish. Lex took a big flyer at about 8k to go, I countered her attack with 5k to go, then I got reeled in and we were in it for a bunch sprint. Carmen gave Leah a killer leadout in a super sketchy sprint. There was a huge crash with about 1k to go which took out World Champion Georgia Bronzini. I tried to get up to the front to help but had burned all my matches. So, I was no help, unfortunately. My 5k flyer took a bit too much out of me. Leah pulled off an amazing 4th place finish given how sketchy and fast it was. She has an incredible sprint. I came in 10th and am still sitting 8th GC and 2nd in the QOM points.

Tomorrow we TT.

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Amgen Tour of California

This blog entry is a little late. I’m not sure where my time goes, but obviously not enough of it goes into this blog. So I got a late entry to the Women’s Amgen Tour of California Time Trial. Yaaaay! This is a big deal for me because only 10 women are invited to the event and I was one of them.

So, on a whirlwind I flew to LAX where my teammate Janel picked me up and we drove to Bakersfield. For those that don’t know, Bakerfield is very hot, dry and desert like. Instead of trees they have oil fields.

Fast forward to race day. It was still hot, about 95 degrees with no shade cover on the course. I raced the longest TT on record for me at 18.4 miles and somehow magically pulled off third place! Crazy.


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My Tour of the South

I’m checking out a lot of states on this tour! North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and now New Mexico. They’ve all been great! I wish I had more time in each place to check out the sites, but we’re always wither racing or driving. We have lucked out with some awesome host houses which makes all the difference in the world when you’re away from home. I even got to see a doggy diaper for the first time!

 

 

 

 

While in Little Rock, AK we got to check out the Orbea USA headquarters and see how they build up their bikes. We left there with some sweet compression socks and clothes. Thanks Orbea!

 

 

 

 

Welcoming, trip to photo booth

 

 

 

 

Racing: Sunny King Criterium – 2nd place

Sunny King Crit, 2nd place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foothills Road Race – we swept the podium!
Foothills Road race 1-2-3!

 

 

 

 

 

JoeMartin Stage Race – 3rd on stage 1, 1st on stage 4, took the GC and sprinters jersey. Excellent teamwork!

Joe Martin Stage 1, 1st and 3rd

 

 

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Back on the Road – Welcome to the South

I was just getting comfortable again back at home, enjoying time with friends and family, when my race bike started calling my name again. This time I was flying back east to North Carolina for a 3 week racing block. I’m always excited to see a new place, I had never been to the east coast, so I was excited to get a splash of the southern culture and hope I didn’t  have too much angst or uncontrollable eye rolls when encountering the stereotypically conservative American southerner. I’m happy to report Charlotte is a great city with vibrant culture and well worth visiting again.

Of course, it helped that our host family guy, Jeff, had an energetic and magnetic personality and loved to bust out his banjo and guitar for some bluegrass jam sessions any time of day. My teammate, Annie, asked “what is this? Blue what? grass?” Such a youngster :) .

I also realized that my style of “dressing up” which amounts to putting on a slightly tighter pair of jeans and t-shirt back home, is basically inappropriate and somewhat embarrassing by Charlotte standards. Almost every person on the street, men and women, were fully dressed up like they were going to some gala event, but I think they were just watching the bike race and enjoying walking around town struttin’ there stuff. I liked the pride they took in their style and vowed to step up my own when I get home.

On to the bike race. The Presbyterian Hospital Criterium offers the biggest prize money all year. This translates to the race being very hard, fast and aggressive. With our 2 sprinters racing in Europe, Rachel (team director) figured our best bet was to get in a break and win from the break. So we attacked our asses off to try to form breaks and we worked our asses off to reel in breaks that we weren’t in. Big money crits also mean a lot of prime laps. these are like hot laps where they ring a bell and the first across the line in the next lap wins a prize. In this case a lot of money.

In the middle of the race they rang the bell for  a $500 prime. That sounded pretty good to me and perhaps worth burning one of my matches for. So I attacked, I got a gap, I crossed under the start/finish banner first, and then realized that the actual “finish line” was another 40 feet in front of me. Why they wouldn’t put the finish line under the start/finish banner, I have no idea. I got nipped at the actual line because I had sat up all proud that I just got the $500 prime. The announcer then talked trash about that mistake for the next 2 laps and I almost stopped in front of him to punch him in the neck. Maybe all that anger gave me a little more juice for the rest of the race. I’m still pissed I lost that prime.

So, basically the entire hour of racing was attack, legs burning, lungs burning, get caught, get your shit together and attack again. Repeat until 3 laps to go. My last attack at 4 to go left me dangling off the front for a lap and ultimately didn’t work, so at that point I knew I had to prepare for a sprint (bunch sprint being my least favorite part of racing). I had to stay in the front of the pack, I had to start fighting for wheels, I had to quickly find my confidence and give myself a pep talk. The last lap was fast and sketchy, we came around the last corner for a LONG 2% uphill grind to the finish. There were no leadout trains to jump on, is was just a fight to the finish and a sprint of attrition. Halfway up the drag strip I got boxed in and started ping ponging bars from both sides. I tried to power through it, but the gap in front of me closed. I had no choice but to slow down, then sprint around the mess. By that point I had a lot of ground to make up. There was no way I was going to catch first and second, but third was within reach. I was digging deep, I was feeling like I was going to puke, I was telling myself I could do it, I was gaining on the 3rd place wheel, but I just didn’t have enough to come around her.

So, I settled for 4th. So close, but not quite. I know I gave it all I had. I’m still learning a lot from every NRC race I do. My biggest lesson from this race was to check where the damn finish line is!

It was an awesome race, I am absolutely loving being back with my teammates. They’re so much fun both on and off the bikes. Next race is the Sunny King Criterium in Alabama. Hopefully, I can put some of the lessons learned into practice.

 

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My little remodel project

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