Thursday, May 22, 2008

where's Wendy?

I know, I know. How come I wasn't racing Santa Ynez last weekend?

According to the pre-race report I was third in the series (not true, I double flatted and posted a DNF in Arizona) so why would I no-show? The little rumour bees were flying. I am sick, I am injured, I have run off with my stalker, I am anorexic (seriously! I am the SAME weight as last year! my jerseys were just too big).

But the truth has less drama. I won't be in the running for the NMBS series because I am doing BC Bike Race with Norm in July and will miss the Deer Valley NMBS. So why would I want to fly to California and cook my brains out on a lame course with zero spectators to witness my potential glory?

I much preferred my weekend racing the local Vancouver Island boys on my shiny new Hei Hei Supreme on a sweet course made up of 100% single track. And then Monday, when I would have been in airports all day, I took my shiny new Kula Supreme 29er out for a spin to get used to the BIG wheels after reading about the carnage that was Santa Ynez. Yeah, I guess you could say I was happy with my decision.

Sometimes I just need to go back to my local grassroots events to ride some fun trails with some great people and remember why I got into this sport in the first place.

Thanks to the Port Alberni crew for putting on such a great race. Although the course did not meet UCI code (with its le mans start, logrides and unmanned feedzone in the trees), the singletrack was sweet, the competition was fierce, and the burgers were delicious!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My name is Marty. And I like to party.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stalking is the sincerest form of flattery...

I'm huge in europe. I keep trying to tell KONA that, but they don't believe me. I thought I had met my ultimate super fan in Belgium (not the one with the unibrow, he likes Barb Howe) but apparently I have a couple here in North America.

I am back in Canada now (the west coast not PEI) so I should take the time to answer your questions seeing as you are such big fans and have done such a great job stalking me. Your efforts should be rewarded.

I have included the entire original post for your reading pleasure.

Windy Simms, hands down my favorite top pro mountain bike chick. Pictured here at a Cross race (although i DO NOT condone CX events, she looks pretty tough here. Like she could eat you.) I took a moment today to sketch out some questions for this World Class Athlete regarding her recent and continued assault on the World Cup Circuit.

I have found it tricky to contact her, especially since she is prepping for race #3 in Madrid. However, I did have a missed call on my cell today from a 902 area code. I called 411. They said that is a Canadian area code. Prince Edwards Island to be exact. Now Wendy is Canadian, so that could have been her. Thanks a lot, meeting chairperson, one missed call equals a lifetime of missed opportunity. Since Wendy is unavaible at this time (good luck to her for SURE though) Matt Freeman offered to step in and answer as best he could. Pretty close second I think.

Hi Joy,It’s Matt Freeman. Most people don’t know this, but I’m president of the Wendy Simms fan club. I don’t publicize it because she rides for Kona and I ride Fisher bikes, so it’s kind of a conflict of interest. Plus Wendy and I have never actually met, talked or even exchanged emails. In fact, I’m not allowed within 50 feet of the Kona truck and trailer at races anymore. Anyway, as you know Wendy is in Europe racing World Cups right now so she can’t answer your questions, but I can do my best. I’ve followed her long enough to know how she may answer.

J.O.B (Joy On Bike): Wendy, you used to ride for the Velo Bella Sorority Club, and now you are the token female on the Kona Factory Team. How do you feel about this transition?
MF: Since both teams ride Kona bikes it wasn’t much of change for Wendy at all. And I don’t like to consider her the token female on the team. I consider her more the queen bee or dominatrix.
WS: I was kicked off Velo Bella because I didn't wear enough "flare". Kona said I was the girl that looked best in orange so I made the team. The boys made me feel welcome though, they put a sticker on my locker that said "the girl" and gave me XL sized clothing to help me feel as skinny as them.

JOB: Did you select to race with these boys because they are all taller than you?
MF: Wendy raced cyclocross on the Kona Factory Team, so her transition to the mountain bike squad was seamless. It actually came about as a bet during a pick-up basketball game Wendy was playing with Ryan Trebon, Barry Wicks, & Chris Sneddon. Wendy dunked on Trebon & Wicks to earn her spot on the team. I got it all on film if you want to see it. She’s got hops.
WS: I just wanted to race with Ryan because he is so dreamy.
Lucky guess on the basketball MF - no points too easy

JOB: Do you break as many seat posts as they do?
MF: The last time Wendy broke a seat post she was riding a Specialized, so no, she doesn’t break seat posts! What kind of question is that anyway, Joy?
WS: I mostly break stuff when I smash it after getting angry because I suck as a mechanic. Nice pullout on the Specialized though MF - my first mountain bike. Bonus points for what colour it was and who gave it to me. Then I will let you sniff my chammy.

JOB: Do you find it stressful racing in the USA? Do you feel like your competitors constantly have the “Blame Canada” song running through their minds?
MF: Wendy doesn’t mind racing in the USA, just as long as it’s not in the Hell of the West otherwise known as Fontana. A couple of the Sobe Cannondale girls have been known to hum Blame Canada when Wendy puts the hurt on them, but for the most part Legs by ZZ Top runs through most people’s minds when Wendy’s around.
WS: how can it be stressful racing in the US? there is usually no technical riding on any of your courses....

JOB: A recent post on your blog has a hinney shot of a girl’s shorts that has “MOIST and CHEWY” emblazoned on them. Are they sponsored by some sort of Nougat?
MF: We (Wendy & I) aren’t really sure what the deal was with the “MOIST and CHEWY” shorts, but personally, I believe those shorts belong on Wendy and no one else.
WS: I was hoping for a brownie sponsor

JOB: Your blog also boasts fantastic race shots of the Pro men on your team. How do you find time to race your heart out, cool down, then hike to such places as the “snake pit” and “wolf drop” to support your teammates? Your resilience is enviable.
MF: Don’t let her fierce competiveness fool you. Wendy is selfless, loyal, and dedicated to her friends and teammates. Aside from her long legs and goddess good looks, that’s what makes her a beautiful person and a treat to be within 50 feet of her presence.
WS: I like to watch the mens races so I can feel like a total loser on my bike. Or to watch Ryan because he is so dreamy. MF has obviously never been closer than 50feet to me when I am hungry. This "beautiful person" can scratch your eyes out....

JOB: Do you find it difficult to get the mud out of your new, mostly white, racing kit?
MF: Wendy hasn’t actually had to wash any of her new white racing kits and skinsuits yet. Some weirdo keeps swiping them from the Kona trailer before she can get them home.
WS: Some wierdo keeps stealing my kits so I haven't had to wash any yet....

JOB: You got a new bike, and I must say, its pretty much the cat’s meow. What’s the history on the skull and cross bones on the down tube?
MF: The skull and cross bones is a superstitious thing that is meant to scare off her men male suitors. It only works on some of us.
WS: Reminds me to be a badass on the bike. Otherwise I might forget.

JOB: You had an unfortunate run in with fate in Arizona with a crash in STXC and a flat in the XC race. What were 7 things that went through your mind as you hiked your bike back to the pit areas?
MF: I can’t really read Wendy’s mind, but she was probably thinking about how hot it was because the sweat was glistening all over her body. She also kept looking back, so she probably knew that she was being followed.
1. Who the hell is that nutbar on the Fisher following me?
2. I hope I don't starve to death out here.
3. Good thing I won't freeze to death out here.
4. stupid pretty flowering desert plants giving me allergies
5. crazy lizards
6. what can i use to fight that nutbar on the Fisher that is getting closer?
7. is that a vulture?

JOB: I see your biggest fears in life are starving to death and freezing to death. Let us understand a little bit more about these phobias.
MF: I too read this on Wendy’s blog and was delighted because those two things are my biggest frears also. This is what draws me even closer to her. Although, if I did have to starve or freeze to death, I’d want it to be with Wendy.
WS: Hopefully MF has some sweet calves and an extraordinary large abdominal cavity because if I am with him when I am starving to death I am going to eat him and if I am with him when I am freezing to death I will cut him open and crawl inside to stay warm.

JOB: I completely agree with this statement from your blog: “In other news. I gave up on my chocolate boycott. It wasn't helping. Perhaps even hindering my results. I think my glycogen stores were depleted without chocolate to top them off. Seriously. I think I race better on chocolate.” What was your first choice of chocolate? Walk us through that initial bite.
MF: I can’t answer this for sure, but I’d like to think Wendy caved with some good old fashion chocolate syrup. You know, the kind that sometimes spills and you have to lick it off your arm. I’m thinking that’s the kind of chocolate Wendy likes.
WS: Neuhaus chocolate - caprice triangle - dark. For $129euros you too can have them delivered to your door. Syrup is for pansies. Who like to lick arms.

JOB: I like your style. When “Susie Colnago” pulled a fast one, you wanted to punch her in the head. Solid. You said video footage could be found from Newt. Who is this guy? Where can he be found? And can we watch that video ASAP?
MF: Newt, or Newton, as he’s known to the authorities is another one of Wendy’s admirers who follows her (from a court-mandated 50 foot distance) and films her every move. For some unapparent reason that I can’t figure out, Wendy has taken a liking to him and now allows him to fetch her chocolate, lattes, etc. It’s kind of like that paparazzi photographer guy that Britney Spears has let slip into her life. It’s driving me nuts because Newt really doesn’t care for Wendy. He’s just trying to make a buck off of her.
WS: coming soon to youtube I am Dad is first in line.

Nice work superfans. Impressive research. BUT you are not a Jedi yet.
one strike. I dont't drink coffee

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mish Mash Update
(written on the long flight home so there may be a bit of verbal diarrhea as I am trying to waste time)

Belgian bribes....of the chocolate variety
Norm eventually had to go back home (one of us has to support Marty) so we made a trip to our favourite chocolate store, Neuhaus before he left. I was pretty giddy when we saw the big N as I swore off sweets for a few weeks there. Johnny Salami was with us and showed incredible willpower. He has been working on his “abs of steel” so he didn’t want to cave. I cracked at the first free sample. 15lbs later (not on me! in the bag…) we had a little something for everyone – including us. Our stash is at home. Alone. With Norm. Hopefully he hasn’t eaten it all. Afterwards, we went on the hunt for stroopenwaffles (mini waffles sandwiching tasty caramel) for Corey but alas, they only had some healthy fruit version so we left them on the shelf. 

Madrid Madness
With Norm gone, Sue Butler was promoted to full time travel buddy. She isn’t as cute as Norm (or mechanically inclined) but we were on the same wavelength. We had decided to stay in Belgium late because I had basically found Madrid to be a pain in the ass. I am sure it’s a great city to be a tourist, but as a bike racer it sucks. Expensive hotels, crazy traffic, business siesta closures when I am hungry, no grocery stores and a race venue that also serves as the hot spot for hookers isn’t really where I wanted ride my bike for a week. We flew from Brussels Thurs and everything was going smooth. Suspiciously smooth. Flight arrived early, 22C and sunny, no overweight charges on luggage, bikes delivered safely, free shuttle to our hotel, but…then the hotel informed us that we were booked in at the OTHER hotel (of the same name).  Sofitel Airport. Sofitel Centrum. Dammit! Rookie maneuver. I am getting slack in my travels. The old Geo motto “double check triple check, that’s what I always say” was fading away. In North America it would have been fine, just call us a taxi and we will head to the correct hotel. But the hotel staff were freaking out because Sue’s hard bike case was not going to fit into any cab according to them. Finally, after some high speed Spanish, a lot of head shaking and storming around we sorted it out, but by that time we were hungry and cranky. The emergency nuts had worn off long ago. I took the regular bags in one taxi and Sue waited for what sounded like the one van taxi in all of Spain. Not as smooth as originally thought. We dropped the bags and went for food at 10pm, right in the middle of the Madrid dinner rush. I knew I shouldn’t eat too much because it was late but I couldn’t help myself (my big guts were eating my little guts). I cursed my lack of willpower while I lay awake in bed digesting.

Food woes
The next morning we were looking for a good place to have breakfast as we thought there must be something other than the 26euro breakfast at our hotel. Wrong. It’s a 4 day weekend so most places were closed. Except the 4 Starbucks within walking distance. Starbucks? I am not a coffee drinker but lucky for me they have one of those giant OJ juicers so I got some liquid gold to hold me over. We finally found a breakfast place and who in all of Madrid do we bump into as we sit down? Dave McE. He has been here all week so after “breakfast” (the fried toast and a mashed egg I got looked nothing like the glossy menu photos) he offered to show us the downtown grocery store as I was already hungry again. My stomach rules my life. It was closed and there were 2 bums sleeping out front. We hit what I think is the Spanish version of 7-11 and got some crusty white bread (I wonder how many bums have touched it) and some cheese. I hear Kevin in my head “make sure you eat well and stay on the food program this week.” So I scarf down some Sport beans instead and hope there is something better at the venue. The free granola bar in our race package saved my butt. I calculate 2hrs max before a major melt down will occur. I would never make it on Survior.

Racing in the city
We hit the venue and my bike gets a tune up from the euro Shimano team as my trusty Norm is not here to help and we all know I am a crappy mechanic. We do a couple laps of the course. A fast 8km loop with a couple short steep climbs, one steep chute and not much else to report. I had a strong race here 2 years ago so I liked it. Its like a long cyclocross course. Sue missed all the hookers showing off their “wares” (think T & A, pretty hard to miss) and I missed the giant roller coaster. Not a very observant duo. 

Maxxed out on Madrid
Dave wanted to take us out for dinner and show us everything he had sussed out in the past week so we weaved through Robson Street-like crowds behind him to his favourite pasta place. The people watching was great! I would love to come back here and shop. But my focus was food. Unfortunately the kitchen was not open, only pizza was being served. Sometimes you just have to give up and go with the flow. Like when you have been starving all day and you cant think and you just want to eat your arm. Sorry Kevin. After dinner, Sue hit H&M for 5euro Tshirts (you can tell Dave has 2 daughters), got ripped off by the bank machine that said “thank you for your transaction” but did not dish out the 300euros and that was it for Wendy. I was pretty much maxxed out on Madrid. The next day we found a restaurant that had good salads and pastas, did not close mid day so we ate every meal there for the rest of the trip. 

The race
By now you have seen the results. 40th. No mechanical. More like a biomechanical. I basically went out fast and detonated. It was my last chance this trip to go for a top 12 result so I went for it. Top 10 start. I was on Marie Helene Premont’s wheel and thought “its now or never” and I tried to follow but it went backwards from there. Ouch. Losing 30spots is hard on the ego. I was pretty bummed since I had felt so good at the start of the season and I hadn’t managed to pull it all together this trip. I was sitting 26th ranked in the world but I was pretty far from my goal of a top 12. I went through all the emotions. I suck. I want my mommy. Bike racing is stupid. I am too old for this crap. But the good (or stupid?) thing about me is that I go through the whole gamet of emotions pretty quickly and then move on (with help from Norm). Its less than 2 days after the race and we already have a new and revised plan for the season and I am gung ho to get back on the bike. Maybe this time I will keep my goals to myself so I don’t feel like a total dud if I fail.

Moose gathering
Sunday night after the race, Sandra Walters from took the Canadian athletes out for dinner. Thanks Pedal! After I managed to spill red wine all over Alison Sydor, we settled into a yummy feast. It was a great chance to socialize with everyone that was over here in Europe going for it via totally different routes. Over the ox loins and ice cream we talked about racing (obviously) but had time to move on to other topics in life, which was a nice change. I am sure the story will have lots of great quotes!

My last snack of the flight is here. Meat pie. ? Back on the food program tomorrow in the comfort of my own country and home.