September 25, 2013

World Championships Team Time Trial

This past weekend I raced with Optum at one of our main goals for the whole season, the team time trial World Championships. We placed 8th out of the 16 best teams in the world, only 1min30 off the podium. Specialized-Lululemon were dialed as ever and dominated the race by averaging over 50 km/h over the 43 km course!
Prerace calm Photo credit: Sam Wiebe

The race itself was an awesome experience (yes, riding red lined for close to an hour can be fun). We raced from Pistoia, then followed a newly paved straight flat road all the way into Florence, where the course became more technical as we rode through the historic city. The most spectacular part of the course was riding past the city's most iconic landmark, the Duomo. Apparently this cathedral took 150 years to build back in the 12th century. Can you imagine designing something to never actually witness the finished product?
Preriding the course through Florence

The race went fairly well for our first time trial ever as a team. Our strategy was to start out more conservative and ramp up the pace as we went along. I think as a team we were sort of hoping for a result that would shock the cycling world, but realistically we rode a decent race given our experience at the event. There are so many small details in pacing, aerodynamics, team order, cornering etc. that can make a big difference in this event. It's exciting to reflect on these small details and think about how to improve for next year.

On the start ramp Photo Credit: Sam Wiebe
An interesting fact is that Optum was one of only five teams that entered both a men's and a women's team for the event. I am so grateful that Optum is supporting the expansion of the women's program. This was our first year as a registered UCI team, and first team trip to Europe and to worlds. It's very exciting to be part of a program that is setting a standard for other teams to follow.

Lucky number 13 Photo Credit: Sam Wiebe
Check out full results here:

And more photos are available here:

Next up is my final race of the season, the Road Race World Championships!


September 13, 2013

2013 Cycling World Championships

I'm excited to announce that I've been selected to represent Canada at the World Championships road race held September 28th in Florence, Italy! I will also race the World championship team time trial with Optum on September 22nd.

My teammates for Worlds road race include:
Lex Albrecht
Karol Ann Canuel
Joelle Numainville
Denise Ramsden
Veronique Fortin 

Team time trial roster:
Janel Holcomb
Jade Wilcoxson
Denise Ramsden
Joelle Numainville
Lauren Hall

Hopefully they will televise some of the racing back home!


September 10, 2013

Campgrounds, Mountains and Cappuccinos

Buon Giorno!

Last week I raced Le Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l'Ardeche in France. Accommodations were the same as last year, and the teams were hosted in a campground complete with mini trailers and a waterpark, 4-star camping isn't so bad! The stage race was six stages long and can be quickly summarised as up, down, up, down, up down, etc. My garmin recorded close to 21 000 feet of climbing at the end of the week. The only advantage to all the climbing is the reward of some amazing fast and winding descents, a cyclist's dream. These same roads were not quite as appreciated during race transfers as we all tried to keep our breakfast down.

Overall the team had a successful week of racing. Optum claimed 1-2 on stage 4 with Joelle and Lauren after an awesome team lead out on Stage 4. We also claimed a few other podiums through out the week and won the overall team classification! Many of us have raced in Europe before, but it was the first trip racing for Optum overseas. We definitely showed that the team is competitive racing against an international field.

After the final stage, we packed up and first drove to Grenoble, and then through the Susa valley mountains to Montecatini Terme, Italy for our next adventure. Next race is Toscana, a five day stage race through Italy. Racing kicks off to an exciting start with a night prologue this Wednesday.

One of the most important lessons I've learned so far in Italy is to never order a cappuccino after 11 am.

Our cute accommodation between races

Found some very steep climbing riding around Italy