Tuesday, May 10, 2011

South Africa World Cup #1 and Mellow Johnny's ProXCT #4


After a couple not so great races, things came together again. South Africa was amazing and I landed on the podium again in the ProXCT #4 Mellow Johnny's race the following weekend in Austin, TX. I am currently 5th in the ProXCT (USA National) series with 4 of 6 races complete.

Sunday April 17th Sea Otter wrapped up and Todd and I headed to the airport for a really long flight to South Africa for the World Cup #1 race the following Saturday. 

I am still amazed with my Osprey luggage. 

Todd likes it so much he bought a Shuttle 32" for himself. The Shuttle 32" with piggy-backed Transporter 75 (center of picture) weigh 50lbs each and I can pull it easily as one.

 Layover at JFK airport spa! Massage chairs are awesome, I want one in the RV.

Arrival in Johannesburg, SA. Lots of World Cup racers claiming bags before clearing customs and rechecking to Durban. Long story short, bags were late and although we barely made our flight to Durban the bags did not. It was pretty confusing, no one knew where to recheck bags, we were all following different porters and running (literally) in opposite directions. Then we would be re-directed and pass each other running the opposite way. 

Most racers did not have bags once we arrived in Durban and just had them delivered, Todd and I hung out at the Durban airport which was pretty nice and waited. We rented sim cards for our phones, adapters for electronics, picked up the rental car and then upgraded to one that would actually fit our luggage, ate, surfed, then picked up our bags.

We drove straight to Pietermaritzburg.

Our B&B

Nicoletta, fellow Cannondale rider.

Monkey in the yard

I learned in Cyprus that English folks do not do drip coffee. Not wanting any more Nescafe', I brought my own drip system and Starbucks coffee.

Our room. 
The white plate bolted to the wall behind the bike tires is the heater, a ceramic plate that heats up when you plug it in.

Power is optional here, as is water. 

A green alert means "power is stable at this time", Yellow means shut off all unnecessary things like hot water heaters, air conditioners or heaters.  I assume red means power is out, but of course I never saw that because the TV wouldn't work.

The day before the race = no power. Traffic lights were out and businesses either ran a generator or closed down. The morning of the race = no running water.

B&B staff, really friendly. Big smiles overcome any language barrier.

Lots of good looking food at area restaurants.

On the drive from the B&B to the venue.

Registration in the shopping center

Across the bridge to the venue

Spectators in line for tickets!

No entry without passes

Stadium seating. And this is just for practice.

You could pay 30 Rand for someone to wash your bike. ($1 US = ~6.6Rand)

Getting bike ready

Only UCI registered teams get a Team plate for a manager or coach to be able to ride the course with them. I am not part of a UCI registered team, but another racer was nice enough to loan us hers, so Todd got to ride the course with me.

 Pre-riding and figuring out lines.

Our "SUV". We had a couple days of pre-riding and getting adjusted to the 9 hour time difference.

April 23rd World Cup #1 South Africa

I LOVED the course, drops, rock gardens, spirals, the most entertaining technical course I have ever ridden. I was able to ride all "A" lines and made it from ~60th to 39th.  Passing ~20 World Cup level racers is not as easy as I thought it would be! These girls are all good, it comes down to your starting position and if you have a good or bad day.

South Africa pickups

Cool down ride across from the venue:

All the nice homes have walls, gates and razor wire.

Monkey, top left.

Sunday we were lucky enough to hook up with a local tour guide Luke. His father owns Adrenaline Cycles in Howick, South Africa. I didn't take any pictures of the amazing singletrack because we were flying so fast and it was so much fun I never thought to stop. I did take photos while riding to and from the singletrack. Luke was an awesome guide pointing out Bush Hogs, different birds and yelling back warnings when we came up to "Bull" and "Chicken" lines in the singletrack.

Some of the singletrack we rode was part of the Karkloof Classic MTB race


Such a beautiful place. 

 Frankie Bananaz. Last night in South Africa.

Todd had wine and I had a margarita. The margarita was a mistake. I ended up with a 6 day stomach issue probably from the margarita ice...

57 hours of travel later I arrived in Austin, TX for Mellow Johnny's ProXCT #4 race.

Thursday I pre-rode but my Lefty fork had an issue, the rebound quit working all together. I tried to ride locked out and slammed into a rock ledge, bounced off and hurt my elbow.


Friday, the day before the race, I went to an Austin urgent care for my stomach issues, I felt dehydrated and didn't want to eat anything. I ended up on an antibiotic and prescription strength "pepto bismol".  After talking to Cannondale about the fork, I hit up a machine shop and had them cut down a ~2mm diameter drill bit to act as a pin in the damping assembly.  Problems fixed. Ready to race.

April 30th ProXCT #4 race

I ended up blowing a locked 3rd place with a chainsuck issue and a wreck. I ended up 4th, by one second... CyclingNews race report here

 May 7th NM Oak Flats Race

Racing against the boys including fellow NoTubes racer Philip Simpson

No other pro women raced, I finished 12th out of 35 Pro/Cat1 Guys, a 32 mile race at altitude, now I am tired. After the race I got to visit my 89 year old Grandma, she still lives alone and looks great although she is not happy about loosing her sight and hearing.

May 15th we leave for England and Germany, World Cup races #2 and #3.

I love to travel. Bonelli, Tucson, Fontana, Tucson, Sea Otter, South Africa...

The last post was about our three week/five race trip in Cyprus, one day back in Tucson, AZ to unpack and repack before heading to the ProXCT #1 race in Bonelli, CA. 

After the race we had dinner which included a margarita for me. New rule, I get a margarita for every ProXCT podium. This also means I don't have to drive. :)  Todd (drink free) was only able to drive one hour before popping the VW top for a "nap", we woke up at 9:00am the next morning...

Upon return from Bonelli I had some bike building to do!
SRAM parts!

 2011 Flash and Scalpel

Crazy weather, had to set up shop indoors.

Headed out for a test ride.

March 26th and 27th:
Todd and I loaded the van up for another trip to CA, this time for ProXCT #2 Fontana, CA. My good race streak had worn thin, but it was great to see everyone. New bikes were not quite ready.

Hotel food
 Window shopping
CyclingNews photo #1 XC race, good start
CyclingNews photo #2
XC After the start lap, still doing well in 3rd but then died off big time, I was just too tired.

After the short track we climbed back up the super steep climb for the SuperD race, those of us who decided to do Super D froze at the top in the wind while waiting on the start. My hands were so cold and I was shaking so badly I could hardly hold the bars for the first half of the race. The SuperD course was a lot of fun, it was completely different than ever before, an actual SuperD course, very cool.
 CyclingNews photo #3. Sunday short track, trying again.
 CyclingNews Photo #4
Again after a good start I dropped off with fried legs, then didn't even finish the race due to a mechanical that was half real and half in my head. I could have finished with the mechanical but didn't realize it.  Chloe (#5 BMC) won the race!

Headed home.
My view from the comfy sleeping bag. Todd driving and our dog Jake on the floor.

 Todd staying awake, so nice of him to drive again.

Once we got back to Tucson Todd headed off for work and I was slammed trying to get bikes dialed with correct 2011 parts, ebaying 2010 stuff and getting the RV ready for the move to New Mexico. Tucson was starting to heat up. Of course moving means no more calling Scott for ride ideas, unless we cross paths is CO again this summer.

Scott, always ready to ride.

 Riding up high, to avoid the heat.

 Scott, "what do you mean you are going home?"

See you in the fall Tucson!

April 11th
It takes a lot of work to pack up after staying in one place for so long, but I did it. I did take a few days to drive to Santa Fe though. I had normal days, breakfast, emails, travel planning, ride, ebay, drive a few hours... Luckily I found a Fed Ex center along the route and the post office across the street, I am a "super fast shipper"!

April 13th
Pulled into Santa Fe, NM after dark and set up the RV.
April 14th
 Back to the airport. All repacked and ready for another trip, this time: Sea Otter, South Africa, Texas.

Sea Otter

Crashing with friends. They left sticky notes telling me where to leave bags and showing me my room!
Sea Otter is about everything other than racing, the Pro XC race course is horrible, no one would attend if it wasn't for the Expo. I wrecked in both starts and bent my rear derailleur both times. In the XC, due to poor course design, pack riding and pack leaders not knowing about a last minute course change (against UCI rules) there was a wreck I could not avoid and ended up being thrown into a cement barrier. The Expo however was awesome!

The SRAM Ladies Lounge was a hit.

Three days in a row SRAM set up for all women to attend mini-tech clinics and Q&As with the pros, they also held raffles and provided food.

Sea Otter is all about visiting friends, sponsors and finding cool products. See red anodized NoTubes rims and Radical Lights here: Project 321.

We had a great weekend then were back on a plane, this time San Jose to South Africa via JFK.