Doron Conquered the Cupcake Wars and We All Want to be a Faderette….

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So the author of the team blog has been a bit lax with updates…

When we last visited the team, we were primed to learn Doron’s fate on Cupcake Wars.  In true Sticky Fingers fashion, we used the opportunity to have a happy hour at one of our sponsors, Breadsoda.  And then….drumroll please…..Doron is victorious!  As cupcake connoissiers, we had no doubt of the victory.

This past weekend brought 2 races, the Chantilly Crit and Carl Dolan.  Apparently MABRA angered the weather gods at some point, and the weather forecast for the weekend brought out our inner Belgian tough-girl.  Brief summary of how the races went down:

Chantilly, Cat4W – Team Hot (that would be Hot Meg and Hotter Robyn) started, raced and conquered, despite heavy April showers.  Meg finished on the podium in 3rd place and Robyn celebrated her return to racing in true style – 8th!!

Chantilly, Cat 1/2/3W.  The plan – Sarah on the podium…on the highest step.  Attacks, counter attacks, lots of wind and some sketchy peloton riding was the recipe for the day.  The result – Sarah wins!

And then there was Sunday.

and wind.

The Cat 1/2/3W race starts 1 minute ahead of the Cat4 women’s field.  After about 3 laps, Jess launched an attack countered by Chicken and then Goat (I think that was the order) followed by Dana.  As we made that right turn before the hill, we saw riders down….and were scared to see Robyn and Meg off their bikes…victims of a C4W crash.  The race was neutralized for a while until an Artemis rider could be transported to the hospital.  Meg and Robyn were out of the race, hopped on their trainers on the hill overlooking the finish and we waited to start again.

Our race was shorted to 3 laps and the riding, given the wind and perhaps thoughts of the crash, was a bit, well, scary.  Chicken was setting Sarah up for a lead-out sprint when she rode toward the front of the pack at the beginning of the hill before the final lap.  Dana (ok…that’s me) who is a scaredy cat in races, did not realize that plan and decided to sprint up the hill (ok…I *swear* I had heard the bell ring for a prime…) and discovered that she had a break.  Needless to say…wind, inexperience and lack of power ended that solo break.  As I was caught by the field, Jess countered (I think)…and the race to the finish was on.

Given the wind and perhaps nerves, the finish was crash-prone, but TSF managed not only the win by our Super Faderette, but also Jess sprinted to round out the top 10.

After such a fun weekend of racing, we on TSF who do not have a last name of Fader are planning to change last names….for Fader dominates MABRA races this weekend (Mr. Fader raced quite well, too…)

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The Cupcake Wars Cometh….

Join TSF on March 8th as we FINALLY learn how Doron fared on the Cupcake Wars.  We are watching the show at Breadsoda…come join us.

 

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TSF Training Camp Day 4: Race Day….

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After several days together, we settled into a routine, although each morning seemed quieter and more relaxed than the day before.

Our last day in Alabama brought a planned team race.  We split into two groups, based on category, and rode to the start of the course, with Jess setting the pace.  The first group, Meg, Robyn and Doron (with Sonja as their GPS) started 2 minutes ahead of the second group.  The chase group (writer’s note:  the author was in that group, so that perspective is reported) started off with short pulls at less than race pace before kicking it up a notch.  We learned useful things about each other…the timing of pulling off of the front, who needs X amount of time to recover from specific efforts.  Our legs felt a little dead after several days of riding, but we worked well together.  Jess exhibited strong bike handling skills through a sketchy turn filled with gravel….good training for Poolesville, perhaps.

 

The race course ends with a short uphill for the last QOM points, followed by a downhill and then a false flat to the finish line.  A couple hundred meters before the last hill, the chase group caught the lead group and Dana sprinted up the hill with chase given by Meg.  The chase group pulled out the victory….

 

After the race we did another lap of the course….with sprint and QOM points still up for grabs.  With the real world intruding on our training camp, we headed back to the house so that Meg could make a conference call while we took another spin through the neighbor….then found ourselves a wee bit lost….but had the chance for a scenic photo opp next to the waterfall for the nearby RTJ golf course.

Soon we rolled back to the house. One good thing (or bad thing, depending on your perspective) with a teammate who is a physical therapist…..dry needling!  As Christina’s family visited us, Sonja stabbed us with needles for recovery purposes.

After showering and packing, it was off to the airport.  TSF Training Camp 2011 – Alabama-style was over!

 

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TSF Training Camp: Day 3….rolling like butter (vegan, of course)

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With reports of ice in Washington, our forecasted sunny but cool day was met with tired enthusiasm.  Day 3 brought hills….

As we rolled out of town, the roads were flat to minor rolling with little traffic, a perfect place to perfect our pacelining.  After a few days of practice, we rode in such a tight and rolling echelon, that visions of guest riding in the Tour de France danced in our heads.  Does a French vineyard sponsor a team?  Rolling by many barnyard animals, we warmed up, picked up our pace and readied for the first climb.

The first climb was a bit painful since our legs were a little sleepy…The data:  25% max gradient and one mile long.  While the hill is steep in parts, it has places for recovery. Sonja and Dana battled for first up the mountain followed closely by Jess, who showed her sprinter’s strength up the short pitches on the hill.

After some time for recovery and more rolling hills, we hit the second climb…along a busy road that gave views of the Huntsville skyline below.  A nice open shoulder and southern hospitality from passing cars made for another great hill experience.

One more hill remained.  On the way to that hill, we had fun attacking and chasing on the flats (well, some of us did….) After a  brief water stop and group foto op at a convenience store, where the clerk who took our photo seemed surprised that we were headed up Keal Mountain on our bikes, we turned onto a quiet residential street.

There are many risks in cycling, such as flats while descending, cars failing to yield, and dogs.  While there is no good place on the road to meet a loose dog with big teeth and an attitude, at the beginning of a climb is definitely not at the top of the list.  As we approached the turn onto the last hill, Sonja warned us of a pitbull (think he will know that one of our sponsors rescues pitbulls?) that had amazing plyometric ability and a good sprint.  As we headed down the road,  BamaFido warmed up, running along side us contained in his fence.  With the ease and grace of a stocky ballet dancer, he leaped over the fence and headed to the road, teeth ready for biting.  As he contemplated which of us he should bite, Dana shouted “No” and, for once in her life, a male listened to her and we were free from harm.

When we were finally at the top, Sonja presented two options for the final part of the journey home….the words, “sketchy descent” coming from someone with her downhill skills made us opt for the road more traveled.  Since refueling is an important part of cycling, Sonja decided to try a food experiment….what happens when one eats canned herring in olive oil after a tough climb?  Before a long descent?  With one more short climb to go?   Research paper coming soon….

Our path along the ridge line showed us an interesting part of Alabama….before turning right and down we went.  The way down was far steeper than the climb up, with switchbacks that are Alp-esque.

Ten more miles of pacelining and a final sprint, consisting of an amazing lead-out by Goat and won by Jess, we headed for a cool-down under 25W loop around the lake on the sidewalk….then home to our Team Sticky Paws representative, Driver.

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TSF Training Camp: Day 2

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The day dawned in Alabama and the weather forecast promised perfect temps although not so perfect wind.  Hill Repeats were on the forecast as well.  One really never knows another person until you have lived with that person, and the same is true for a cycling team.  For example, we learned that Meg likes to travel with a personal supply of sweet potatoes, Dana gets up way too early, we consume a great deal of coffee and bananas, and we all easily lose things.  We also learned that we have a bike-light fairy, or thought we did until we realized that the bike light that magically appeared on Meg’s bike actually came from Doron, rather than some character with wings and clad in spandex (how else would a bike-light fairy dress?).  Of course, Doron thought Meg’s bike was hers…….what will we do when we all have our matching Amiras?

Hill Repeats were the target for today, as well as more pace-line practicing.  The hill reminded us all of Skyline Drive from the Front Royal entrance.  It is a long (for this area) climb without a steep gradient and almost perfect road quality.  We rode as a group with sprinters at the front for the first interval, then descended to do more at our own pace.  The downhill strung us out, with Sonja, Jess and Christina reaching the bottom first and Dana bringing up the rear.  We climbed again, with different goals, from steady-state to hill repeat to catch Sonja.  After a couple of times up the mountain, Dana and Sonja were waiting at the top, poised to take fotos when the next rider reached the top.  Meg crossed the line with a new love for her compact crank and, perhaps, a new love of hills.  Hopefully Brian will not be too jealous!  A couple of minutes later and hill repeats were a thing of the past.

The path home was downhill along a combination of streets and bike paths.  Feeling barn happy, Jess decided to jump, Sonja went after her and for some strange reason, Dana decided to follow when we were almost home.  Little did Jess and Dana know, the bike path had a series of little bumps more suited to a mountain bike.  Ouch.

After showering and refueling, we divided up errands, since we doubted Publix could handle our entire team again.  Jess and Robyn headed to the grocery store to buy items for our team dinner (African peanut stew, salad, baked chicken with brown rice – see pictures!) while Chicken, Doron and Dana headed to the bike shop for some bike repairs.  We would like to thank Robert from Bicycle Works for the TLC on our bikes!

And how can the day be complete without a dip in the jacuzzi?

Tomorrow….the pain of 30%…..

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TSF Training Camp Day 1

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While other teams search for sun in Arizona or southern California, TSF traveled to Huntsville, Alabama for a spring training camp.  With forecasted snow in Washington and expected sunny skies in Alabama, we arrived in Huntsville International Airport with far too much luggage, eager to ride without multiple layers.  We did learn why Meg’s suitcase was so heavy….she brought her own sweet potatoes (or yams, depending on your location).

Why Huntsville?  Chicken and Goat (Christina and Sonja) grew up in the area, Chicken’s parents offered us the use of their house on the lake, direct flights from DC and Dana’s desired to visit a Cracker Barrel.

Chicken picked us up in style – her parent’s hybrid Town Car – and proved that great bike handling skills do not necessarily translate into good land yacht steering skills.

Monday dawned with cloudy skies and warm temps.  After Sonja reviewed pacelining techniques, we headed out for our 4 hour ride.  Throughout the week, we have a sprint and QOM competition and today had one QOM point in contention.  A one-mile climb with an average gradient of 9.8%.  Dana led Goat up the mountain with Robyn close on their heels.

Sprint intervals with a lead out were next….with Meg and Jess neck and neck across the line.  Then again.  And again.  And again.  Luckily after the planned sprints, we did not have unplanned ones in the form of a loose Alabama dog giving chase.

After more rolling hills, photo ops with baby goats, and a painful sprint in your lowest gear competition, we rolled home, showered and headed to the local Publix. Seven girls, two shopping carts filled with an interesting collection of food from marshmellow fluff to tofu with lots of veggies thrown in as well.  After locating the grill, Jess made an amazing meal for us all, and Goat and Chicken’s dads joined us in the evening.  Goat’s dad celebrated his birthday with us.  We all showed our geeky and competitive sides by comparing power data….max watts, max RPMs and max speed….we all fell asleep…….

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