Friday, August 31, 2007

Jeep KOM Finals - Beaver Creek

I made it to Beaver Creek yesterday afternoon after an hour and a half wait in the car rental line. There were scattered thunderstroms the whole way, but that's just Colorado.
The course looks good. Eric Carter helped build it so there looks like alot of passing to be made. It will be longer than any of the other courses with some techical jumps as well. Should be a good one.
I have to keep this short cuz' I have to get to practice. We have practice and seeding today and then finals tomorrow.
Ciao,
tara

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More piccies...

I meant to put up some piccies from The Great Wall of China and my Mom pointed out to me today that I forgot to. So here are just a few.
This is me trying to take a piccie to show how steep it was. Clearly I did a shit job and only got my head in it!



The piccie at the bottom is of this beautiful little shy girl. Sometimes those are the best pic's.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Kingston

So the last time I wrote I was supposed to be flying on a red-eye into Syracuse, N.Y and driving up to Kingston, Ontario Canada for another UCI BMX event. Well, I showed up at LAX all read to go and when I went to check in they told me my flight was delayed. It was about 10:15pm and I was supposed to take off at 11:30pm. Well, now the flight into Philly was delayed like 3 hours and she said I wouldn't make my connecting flight into Syracuse. So I asked her when the next flight to Syracuse was and she said not until really late that night, which would have been Friday night. The race was Saturday and as it was I was going to miss Thursday's and Friday's practice. She said I could get on that late flight into Syracuse IF the weather lightened up and they weren't sure it would so the flight wasn't for sure. So I tried to get on a different flight into JFK, which would mean that instead of driving 2 hours into Kingston I would have to drive about 6 hours once I landed at JFK. However all of the flights into JFK were now completely oversold because of all the other delayed and cancelled flights. At this point I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to fly half way there and then be stuck either super far from the race or worse...without my luggage. Lord only knows where it would have ended up if the flights were nuts.
So in the end and after the United Global lady helped as much as she could I decided to not go. It really sucked because I really wanted to go, had planned on going, and was mentally already there. Instead I went home and get to spend an extra 3 priceless days at home. So I am definitely making it into a positive.
Next up...the Jeep KOM Finals in Beaver Creek, Colorado. I leave for that race on Thursday and go straight from there to MTB Worlds in Scotland and then to the World Cup Finals in Slovenia. So until then I'll enjoy my time at home and getting to see my friends and family.
Cheers!
tara

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Supercross Finals


Yesterday were the Supercross Finals and the racing was pretty cool to watch. I would have much rather been on the gate, but watching 8 men and women charge it out of the ginormous start gate was awesome. Here is a quick shot of Gravesy flying over the third set of doubles in the second straight-away.
The heat yesterday was almost unbearable. I mean I was there in shorts and a t-shirt and I kept pouring water over my head. I can’t imagine how it felt to have your race pants, jersey, gloves, and helmet on. The sun actually came out yesterday and it wasn’t just smog filled air.
The way they decided to run the races were they started with the Men’s quarters first and there were 4 groups. They would run all four groups three times. So basically they would run a points system for the quarters and semi’s and then just one main event. So in those quarters and mains you have to race to the line because every point counts. And then in the third heat even if you had low points you couldn’t coast because depending on the place you got you had lane choice, which was fairly important.
Throughout the day Donny Robinson, Jared Graves, Arturs Madison, and Mickel Prokop were getting the best gates. But as soon as they got to the second straight and the 3 sets of doubles that is where Mikey Day and Kyle Bennett would shine. The US guys were riding really well, but unfortunately some of them had some bad luck. Stumpy looked like he was struggling with the gate and ended up I think with an 8th, 7th, and a 6th in the quarters and was out. Tyler Brown had some good heats, but missed the semis by 1 point. The 4 guys that made it to the semis were Donny, Kyle, Steven Cisar, and Mike Day. From that group Donny was the only one that made the men’s final.
As for the women they had a run of some bad luck as well. Out of the 4 that qualified only Jill made it to the main. Arielle looked the strongest and even finished 2nd to Anne-Caro one heat, but in her last heat something happened coming out of the first turn and she launched over one of the jumps and landed back on the first straightaway. I’m not sure how that happened, but she said her hand flew off her bars. Kim just couldn’t quite get out of the gate and struggled a bit. And the same with Amanda. She got balled up out of the gate one of her heats and couldn’t jump either of the first set of doubles and when you do that you get really far behind really quick.
In the women’s main event I thought Anne-Caro or Gabriella Diaz actually looked faster than Shanaeze. Shanaeze looked like she was pushing too easy of a gear, which is scary as hell to think of b/c I heard from a little birdie that she’s running a freakin’ 45-16 ratio. And for those of you who don’t know what that means….it means that’s is a freakin’ big gear for a girl!! Guys don’t even run that hard of a gear. Anne-Caro on the other hand was spinning to win. I thought Anne and Gabriella looked a bit smoother, but I called it all wrong. In the main Shanaeze got the pop out of the gate and Anne-Caro got caught with her pants down. Shanaeze led the main from start to finish and killed it. Anne got all balled up out of the gate and down the first straight. She got all squirrelly over the triple going into the first turn and I thought she was going down, but didn’t. So here’s how the main ended up…
In the Men’s final Donny won that thing wire to wire. Haha…that is so something Mike Redman (the announcer) would say! He seriously was getting crazy good gates all day and in the main it was no different. He led from start to finish with Afro Bob putting in a good run and ending up second and Jared Graves finishing in third. I was stoked for all three of them. They rode amazing.
As soon as the event was over we rode back to the hotel and took a nice cold shower and just took it easy. Most everybody was on an 8:00 am or a noon flight the next day. I however was on an 8:30 pm so I had most of the day to play.
Chris Clinton (the US mechanic) and I decided to go to The Great Wall of China. I was stoked to get to actually see something other than the hotel especially for only being in China for 3 days.
So this morning we got up, had a little breakfast, and then took a taxi to the Great Wall. The taxi ride took an hour and a half and cost us 400 RMB, which sounds like a lot but it’s only like $60.00. Not bad huh! As we were getting closer we could see the wall up ahead. It was massive! From what I understand it was built to keep all of the enemies out and the emperors safe and it is 6.000 kilometers long. Crazy!
Anyway, so Chris and I walked around for about an hour and a half taking pictures and just having fun watching the swap meet like chaos around us. There are tons of little shops that sell the exact same stuff and the owners are out front yelling at you saying, “ hey lady…hey lady…you like Chinese mask, you like chopsticks...I make a special price for you!” Over and over they would say this and then they would grab your arm and try to pull you closer to their little section. It was hilarious. Well, of course until one too many of them grab you and then I was just doing my best to get away. There were a ton of the shops as you walk up to the wall and then once you walk in there are more, but not as many and much smaller. It’s like they just set up a blanket and put some things on the ground and try to get you to buy them. I’m surprised that they allow it on the wall, but I guess anything goes there.
So I bought a few things and then we took our taxicab back with plenty of time for a shower, check out, and then off to the airport.
I’d like to say this trip has been short and sweet. It’s been more short than sweet. The sweet part would have been if I made the qualifier and was able to race. It was hard just sitting there watching the races going on, but still in the end I’m glad I came.
Okay, it is now about 4:30 US time on Wednesday, which means that I’ll be landing in about 30 min. and am basically landing in LA before I’ve left from Beijing. Did that make sense? ☺ Anyway, I’ll be home the rest of today and leave on another red-eye tomorrow for Syracuse, New York and the UCI event in Kingston, Ontario Canada. Good times…good times!
Cheers!
t

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jeep and Beijing Supercross Day #1



I have 7 words for you..." I sucked at the Jeep Race!" Yup, I was the second fastest qualifier and then something happened to my vision. Oh wait I know what it was! I couldn't see cuz' my head was soo far up my ass!! Seriously I just rode like a moron. I got 4th and was as dissapointed in myself as I could be so we'll just leave it at that.
Anyway, so Saturday afer Jeep I caught my 5:30 pm Private Flight home to L.A. Yes, I said private. Seriously I was the only one on the plane!! Man those Jeep people sure know how to make you feel like a rockstar! ;) So I made it home (thanks Missy for the ride home) and I had about 3 hours until I was going to be picked up to head back to L.A. I made it and was soon on my Air China flight. I took my special sleeping pill and slept for about 9 of the 12 hours and was stoked. When I woke up they were serving breakfast and I was totally craving eggs, but instead they served either chicken or fish. FISH??!! For breakfast...no thanks! The good thing was that we landed a bit early because I was under a bit of a time crunch. I landed at 5:00 am and had to get to the hotel, put my bike together, hopefully eat something, and get to the track to walk it real quick and get ready to practice at 10:00 am. I was told that the Good Bejing People (volunteers of the Olympics) would be there to take me to the airport. So I spotted them in the Orange Nike Polos and told them where I was staying. They BARELY spoke english! There were 8 of them and they all stood there arguing about who knew where it was. Well, actually that's my version. I have no idea what they were saying. After about 20min. I finally explained that I NEEDED to get going and that I would just take a taxi. So two of them walked me over to a taxi and said it would be about a 40 min. drive. I loaded my things in and got in the taxi. Then two seconds later the Good Beijing people get in with me. Wow, what service huh! I got to the hotel, checked in, put my bike together, took a shower, jammed over to get some breakfast, and then left for the venue. I got there and the track looked good. The start ramp was massive!! I took pictures of it from all angles, but I don't think any of them do it justice. Not unless you actually pedal down it. I got ready for practice and I had an hour to dial in the track. For about the first 10-15 minutes they wouldn't let us start from the ramp. Not sure why, but I really wanted to get up there and get it dialed. Once I got up there I hit the first two big doubles on about my 2nd or 3rd lap.
I mean I needed to just basically hit everything and feel as comfortable as I could asap! I was starting to feel better each lap except the fact that I was totally spun out after the first jump. So right after practice I went up a gear and then it was time for the first time trial.
My first one felt so-so. The gear felt waaay better, but I went waay too wide on the first turn and when I came back in I bonked the top of the step up and had to roll the next two doubles. LAME!!
I went up for my second time trial and needed to make up about 2 seconds and I knew that if I took the first turn better and hit the second straight like I did in practice I'd be fine. But instead I just did ride up to my ability. I manualed the step up into the second straight, but then lost speed on the backside and had to roll the other two. I was soo dissapointed.
I'm still glad I came, but to not make the cut was hard. I have to say that the 16 girls that did make it were riding pretty damn fast. Back when I raced BMX full time girls just weren't this fast.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jeep KOM Practice

Okay, so we were supposed to do our seeding runs today but because it was so windy we'll do seed runs tomorrow. And when I say windy I mean about 35 mph winds!!! The two jumps heading sort of toward the wind are really easy jumps, but because of the wind about 4 people crashed today. As soon as your wheels leave the ground it's like you have a sail on your bike. So practice went good. I jumped pretty much everything today accept the last quad that is super lippy.
Anyway, that's it for now. Tomorrow it's practice, seed runs, and finals.
Ciao,
t

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jeep #2 - San Luis Obispo








So Tuesday and Wednesday I was pretty much just packing and trying to get things organized before I go. I had to pack for the Jeep race this weekend and I had to pack a different bag for the BMX UCI Supercross race in Beijing, China. It's gonna be pretty nuts. I'll fly home Saturday night after racing on Saturday at the Jeep race and land at LAX. Drive home and do some re-packing, shower, eat something, and then get a ride back to LAX around 10:45pm and catch my red-eye to Beijing at 1:40 am. I'll get into Beijing at 5:20 am get picked up and head straight to the track more than likely. We have practice at 10:00am and time trials I think around 2:00pm. I'm already going to miss the Sunday practice session so when I get there it's ON. I just need to get there and start hitting stuff. The track there is gonna be crazy. Straight out of the huge roll in starting gate there is a 22 foot double into a 28 foot double. Let me just say that hitting a 28 foot jump on your mountain bike is way different than hitting a 28 foot jump on your BMX bike. But from the looks of the Jeep course this weekend it should be good preparation for Monday. Here are some photos of the track. Both Rob and E.C helped design and build it. It is SUPER windy and hot here, but the good thing is they built the bigger jumps with the wind at your back and not a cross or head wind. There are a couple sections where there is a bit of a cross wind, but it shouldn't be as bad as last year. The container jump is bigger this year than last. This year we are jumping over 2 containers and there is a dirt lip about 16 feet before you even hit the dirt container. So if you hit the whole thing it's I think about 30-32 feet. But we've got a tailwind so it should be do-able.
Anyway, check it out and I'll try to write more later.
tara

Congrats Rando and Mike Creed in rare form!




So a couple nights there was a little shin-dig for my teammate and good friend Jared Rando. He ended up winning the Norba Series in DH after some great riding and consistency throughout the year. I wanted to do something for him so I went out of my way to buy some cupcakes at the store. HAHA! Okay no really I went to the store and bought the mix, the little pans, etc. and made some cupcakes for him. I was stoked cuz' they turned out good. Of course how can you really screw those up! If you haven't figured it out that was the first time I had ever made cupcakes. Crazy huh! So we had some killer fish tacos that Rando tossed up and it was on. Carter came over too with his girly Amber and we had some beers before I had to head over to Reddings to pick up my helmet. It finally got finished and I had to pick it up so I could have if for the second Jeep race in SLO.
So that's what's been going on. Oh and my coach did the Leadville 100 last weekend and here are some fun pic's he sent me. Some of you might know who Mike Creed is and is also coached by James. I guess he just wanted to lighten up the pit area!