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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Registration Opens For Fixed Gear Classic

May 4, 2010

Minneapolis (May 4, 2010) – Registration is now open for the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic, a thrilling three days of track racing at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, Minn., that leads off the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival.

The Fixed Gear Classic provides different fields for men (Pro-I-II) and women (Pro-I-II-III) in a unique dual omnium program that showcases separate competitions for sprinters and endurance specialists. Competition begins Friday night, June 11 and runs through Sunday, June 13. Events will include both men’s and women’s Madison races along with cross-over events like the Miss-n-Out that offer points for both omniums.

“Track was a part of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival for the first three years, from 1999-2001, culminating with the 2001 Elite Track Nationals,” Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. “We brought it back in 2008, but the economy forced us to take a year off in 2009. Now it’s back, this time we hope for good. By bringing track racing under the same media and marketing umbrella as the Nature Valley Grand Prix, we hope to gain national exposure for this sport even in non-Olympic years.”

Fields are filling fast through online registration, which closes June 4. Down-loadable registration forms and more details can be found at http://www.nscsports.org/sports/cycling/events/fixed_gear_classic.htm.

The Fixed Gear Classic is run in conjunction with the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the premier stage race on the 2010 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. This year’s race includes stops in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, and Stillwater. The Nature Valley Grand Prix is a part of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, a volunteer-run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. More information can be found at: www.NatureValleyBicycleFestival.com.

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Nature Valley Bicycle Festival to Include Fixed Gear Classic June 11-13; Nature Valley Grand Prix Pro Race June 16-20 Expands to Wisconsin

April 22, 2010

Minneapolis-Saint Paul (April 20, 2010) - The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, the premier event on the USA Cycling calendar, will include the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic to be held at the National Sports Center (NCS) Velodrome in Blaine June 11-13 and the prestigious Nature Valley Grand Prix pro stage bike race to be held in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, Wisconsin and Stillwater June 16-20.

The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic brings world-class track cycling to the NSC Velodrome. This thrilling event pits professional and elite amateur track cyclists in fast-paced sprint and grueling endurance events. Men and women compete in a series of fast and furious races using fixed gear bikes, which have only one gear and no brakes. Riders only make left turns and control their speed solely by pedaling faster or slower. Achieving speeds up to 40 mph, riders race on a wooden track with 43 degree angles making the races incredibly exciting for both racers and spectators. The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic is FREE and open to the public. Races take place from June 11-13 beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday.

Nature Valley Grand Prix Announces New Rice Park and Menomonie Stages

The Nature Valley Grand Prix professional stage race opens June 16 in Saint Paul with a morning time trial and evening criterium held around Rice Park. The new Rice Park location promises to deliver better vantage points for spectators and a more exciting experience for the racers who will loop around the bricked streets in front of the Ordway Center some 40 times. The race will be reminiscent of the famed pave – ancient cobblestone paths – in Europe, creating unique challenges for the racers. Though Saint Paul’s bricked streets may not be as treacherous as the pavé in the famed Paris-Roubaix race, the turrets of the Landmark Center, classic architecture of the 100-year-old Saint Paul Hotel and the elegance of the Ordway Center will create a charming European ambiance for both riders and spectators.

Day 2 of the Nature Valley Grand Prix continues with a road race in Cannon Falls on June 17, while Day 3 takes place in Minneapolis on Friday evening, June 18. For the second consecutive year, the Minneapolis stage will be in the city’s dynamic Uptown neighborhood, where large crowds gathered in 2009, contributing to a 50% increase in overall attendance.

On Saturday, June 19, the racers travel east to Menomonie, Wisc., for the Menomonie Road Race, marking the first time that the Nature Valley Grand Prix includes a stage outside of Minnesota. The hills and valleys of Wisconsin’s dairy land promise to make this stage not only the most beautiful, but also one of the most challenging in the race’s history.

Racers will contest the final stage, the Stillwater Criterium, on Sunday, June 20, with both men and women cyclists completing the short circuit race, which includes a grueling 24 percent grade hill climb up Chilkoot Hill, considered the most difficult in North American cycling.

In addition to professional racing, other activities, including the Wheaties Fan Zone, Fruit by the Foot Stunt Rider shows, musical entertainment and bike and fitness expos will be offered at all stages of the five-day race with the exception of the time trial. The Tour de Kids fun races at each site are free and are open to children age 12 and under.

Now in its 12th year, the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a 10-day celebration of cycling that includes amateur and professional racing and community events. The Nature Valley Grand Prix has become the premier professional bike race in the U.S., attracting top American racing teams and riders from around the world. Proceeds from the Nature Valley Grand Prix are donated to Children’s Hospital and its Pediatric Hospice program.

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is free and open to the public. It is the only professional sporting event in Minnesota for which no admission ticket is required. The festival is a natural fit for Minnesota and Wisconsin as both states are populated with cycling enthusiasts. Several urban bike trails have opened in the past few years and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area has been named the most bike-friendly in the country by Bicycling Magazine. For more information and a detailed schedule of events visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

About the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival

The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is one of the nation’s top celebrations for the bicycle culture, with tens of thousands of cycling enthusiasts, pro athletes and avid recreational riders converging on Minnesota each June. Its professional racing event, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, began as a one-day criterium in Saint Paul in 1999. Its schedule and prestige have grown steadily until now, in its 12th year, it is ranked at the top of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix schedule includes a unique mix of three criteriums (short circuit races), two road races and a time trial as the stages of the race move from downtown Saint Paul, to Cannon Falls, to Minneapolis, to Menomonie, Wisconsin and finally culminates in Stillwater. The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a volunteer run event, with all profits donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. For more information visit www.NatureValleyBicycleFestival.com

About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. For more information, visit www.naturevalley.com.

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Nature Valley Grand Prix Rolls Into Menonomie

April 14, 2010

On Saturday, June 19st, 2010, the Nature Valley Grand Prix rolls into Menomonie, WI. Professional and amateur men and women will be vying for a Stage 5 race victory in rural Dunn County, marking the first time the NVGP has left the lines of the North Star State.

The men’s road race consists of 95 miles, marked by rolling hills and long climbs that will impact the standings for the entire Nature Valley Grand Prix. The women will cover a 76-mile course that follows the same beginning and ending roadways. The racers start and end in historic downtown Menomonie. The excitement will be heightened as the pros battle through four finishing laps of a 3-mile in-town circuit.

When the racing leaves town, there will be plenty to do in Menomonie until the men and women return. The professional men depart at noon, and the women take off at 1:30 pm. With an estimated return time slotted at 4:00 pm for the first group of professional men, you’ll have many opportunities to enjoy a wide variety of activities.

The Menomonie Chamber of Commerce has provided race attendees with a list of exciting activities for June 20th:

Community Bike Ride (11:00 am) – Your choice of either a 15 or 30 mile ride. Maps and cue sheets provided. The rides bring you to viewing points along the pro road course. Arrive ahead of the pros, watch them fly by and proceed to the next stop before returning to Menomonie in time for the finishing circuits. All rides depart from the UW Stout parking lot #4 at 13th Ave and S. Broadway. Showers are available upon your return to Menomonie.

Expo (11:00 am – 5:00 pm) – The Expo features bike and fitness displays. You’ll find all the latest and greatest gear and gadgets, info on clubs, programs and events, and much more. The Expo is located in downtown Menomonie at the UW Stout Clock Tower Courtyard.

CHALK Full of Fun (12:30 pm – 3:00 pm) – Join us for some great chalk fun as children are encouraged to let their creative sides shine. Work with local artists on designing a chalk masterpiece on the sidewalks located adjacent to the UW Stout Clock Tower Courtyard. View the magical pieces of art and watch as imaginations run wild. Adult participation is welcomed. Meet at the UW Stout Clock Tower Courtyard.

Children’s Games (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) – Age-appropriate games for children ages 3-11. Face painting will be available, too. Meet at the Mabel Tainter Theatre, lower level.

Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, Historic Theatre Tours (1:00 – 4:00 pm) – The Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater is a fully functional Victorian era theater. It was constructed in 1889 as a tribute to young Mabel Tainter, a lover of music and the arts. The Memorial was commissioned by Mrs. and Captain Andrew Tainter, lumber baron for Knapp, Stout & Co. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Theatre is open for self-guided tours. A 15 minute movie on the history of the Knapp, Stout & Co Lumber Company, the largest lumber company in the world between 1850 and 1900, will be showing continuously.

Louis Smith Tainter House, Historic Mansion Tours (1:00 – 3:00 pm) – The house was originally build by lumber baron, Andrew Tainter. It is now home to UW Stout University Foundation Inc. and the UW Stout Alumni Association. The mansion is open for self-guided tours.

University of Wisconsin – Stout Campus Tours (1:00 pm and 2:00 pm) – Take a one-hour walking guided tour and see UW Stout, recognized as a comprehensive, career-focused polytechnic university where students, faculty and staff use applied learning, scientific theory and research to solve real-world problems. Meet in the UW-Stout Clock Tower Courtyard for the start of the tours.

Fruit by the Foot Stunt Rider Demonstration (12:00 noon – 3:30 pm) – Spectators of all ages enjoy the Bicycle Stunt Shows. The Fruit by the Foot Stunt Riders use amazing bicycle stunts, a high energy announcer, and upbeat music to ensure a fun fast paced and unforgettable addition to our event! You won’t believe your eyes when you see what these riders can do! Main St and 3rd St.

Haunted Menomonie Presentation (2:15 pm) – Ghosts and goblins have visited Menomonie…and they may still be here. Come and hear the stories of Menomonie’s chilling past. Meet at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts.

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Team Application Process Opens For Invitation To Nature Valley Grand Prix

April 5, 2010

Minneapolis (April 4, 2010) – Applications are open for the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the top-ranked stage race on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar.

Teams wishing to compete in the race June 16-20 in East Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin must submit an application by May 7. More details and application information are available on sportsbaseonline.com.

Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said the invitation-for-registration process was necessary to meet the overwhelming demand to be a part of the National Racing Calendar event.

“The men’s field was filling up more than a month before the official registration deadline,” LaPorte said. “Teams were missing out simply because they weren’t checking the registration page on an almost daily basis weeks before the event. The women’s race also fills, a problem that’s great to have, so we made their race an invitational as well. Besides the pros, we encourage amateur teams to apply, since Nature Valley has a special commitment to them. That’s why Nature Valley also sponsors a unique Nature Valley Top Amateur jersey.”

“The Nature Valley Grand Prix is an amazing race,” said Fly V Australia Technical Director Ed Beamon, who has had riders at the race since its inception in 1999. “They get huge crowds, lots of media and take excellent care of the teams. With all the time bonuses and action from the top sprinters, it’s always an exciting race down to the wire.”

Team managers should follow the sportsbaseonline home page link from “NRC Calendar Events” to the “Nature Valley Grand Prix Application.” Men’s teams consist of three to eight riders. Women’s teams are one to eight riders. No payment is required at time of application. Invited teams will receive notification by e-mail by May 14.

The Nature Valley Grand Prix professional stage race opens June 16 in Saint Paul with a morning time trial and evening criterium held in Downtown Saint Paul adjacent to Rice Park. It continues with a road race in Cannon Falls on June 17. Stage 4 takes place in Minneapolis on Friday night, June 18, in the city’s dynamic Uptown neighborhood.

On Saturday, June 19, the racers travel east to Menomonie, Wis., for the Menomonie Road Race, marking the first time that the Nature Valley Grand Prix includes a stage outside of Minnesota. Racers will contest Stage 6, the Stillwater Criterium, on Sunday, June 20. Both men and women cyclists will complete a short circuit race which includes riding up Chilikoot Hill 20 times – a grueling 24-percent-grade climb – considered to be the most difficult in North American cycling.

About the Nature Valley Grand Prix

The Nature Valley Grand Prix, which is part of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, takes place in Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. It is the premier stage race on the 2010 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 race will include stops in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, and Stillwater. The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a volunteer-run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. More information can be found at: www.NatureValleyBicycleFestival.com

About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. For more information, visit www.NatureValley.com.

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Spring Has Sprung

March 29, 2010

We here at the TRIA Orthopaedic/Nature Valley Grand Prix blog like a lot of things. Two of them are constants: good weather and a nice bike ride. Every day, we’re getting more and more sunlight, leaving us with more time after work each day to hop on our bike and ride until the street lights come on. It’s this time of year that brings out the kid in us, as we traverse on roads we know and try out the roads less taken. Bob McEnaney, a certified USCF and USAT coach, and owner of Total Cycling Performance, has these tips to prepare your steed for the roads ahead:

Funny things seem to happen to our bikes from the time we put them away in the fall until we bring them back out in the spring. What we remember as a finely tuned and fully operational bike is all of a sudden filled with funny noises, poor shifting and in serious need of maintenance.

Of course what we should have done is taken it in to our trusty bike shop mechanic before we put the bike into storage, but we didn’t and as a result must deal with it now, when everybody else is in the same predicament.

The ideal scenario is to get your bike into the bike shop ASAP and get that much-needed overhaul. Unfortunately, the turnaround time may be lengthy. If you can’t leave your bike in the shop for potentially up to a couple weeks, try these:

1. Set an appointment to take your bike in. While this is not commonplace, it’s worth asking for. In this way you’ll only be without your bike for the time they’re working on your bike.

2. Do some of the minor maintenance yourself. You could purchase a book or DVD and become your own wrench. Assuming you don’t like this option, you can easily do things like:

A: Examine your tires for cuts, excessive tread wear or flat spots. If it looks at all questionable, replace your tire. Flat tires seem to be much more common in the spring. I’m convinced this is because tires were ridden on all last season, should have been replaced but weren’t and now can’t handle the increased level of sand and other typical springtime debris on the roads. Don’t wait for a flat. Change your tires NOW!

B: Clean and lube your chain and your front and rear derailleur. Chain cleaning tools are inexpensive and this is a snap to do. Lubricating the moving parts of your drivetrain will keep you riding until you get your bike in to the shop.

C: Lube all other moving parts on your bike. Your local bike shop can help you with the proper lube.

Assuming you don’t have any major issues with your bike (especially safety-related) these few simple tasks should be enough to get you out on the road. BUT, your bike should still be overhauled, or at least tuned up, prior to embarking on any major rides or events. Good luck, and GET OUT AND RIDE!

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Women’s Prestige Cycling Series Standings After Nature Valley GP

July 2, 2009

Alison Powers adds a second jersey while TIBCO takes the team lead

Minneapolis – July 2, 2009 – Women’s Prestige Cycling Series leader Alison Powers (Team Type 1) added the Sprinter’s jersey to her collection, but her hold on that jersey is tenuous. Rebecca Much (Webcor Builders) is still in the Best Young Riders jersey. And TIBCO swapped places with Webcor Builders in the team competition.

Individual Standings –
Alison Powers (Team Type 1) holds a commanding lead in the Series individual classification, finishing third at the Nature Valley Grand Prix behind Olympic Champion Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo Test) and Shelly Olds (Proman), neither of who are participating in the Series. Katherine Carroll (Team TIBCO) moved into second, ahead of Katheryn Mattis (Webcor Builders), but the gap to Powers is so large that it’s unlikely that Carroll will be able to claim the win at the final Series event, the Cascade Cycling Classic.

1 – 484 – Alison Powers (Team Type 1)
2 – 300 – Katharine Carroll (Team TIBCO)
3 – 275 – Katheryn Mattis (Webcor Builders Cycling Team)
4 – 191 – Joanne Kiesanowski (Team TIBCO)
5 – 162 – Kristin Sanders (Value Act Capital)

Best Young Rider – Rebecca Much (Webcor Builders) retains the lead over teammate Alexis Rhodes, but the gap narrowed from 121 points to 55. Rhodes had a standout performance at Nature Valley, winning the fifth stage and challenging Armstrong for the overall race lead before losing ground in the last stage, the brutal Stillwater Criterium. Much’s lead might be challenged if the two riders have similar results at Cascade.

1 – 484 – Rebecca Much (Webcor Builders Cycling Team)
2 – 429 – Alexis Rhodes (Webcor Builders Cycling Team)
3 – 308 – Julie Beveridge (Team TIBCO)
4 – 264 – Tiffany Cromwell (Colavita Sutter Home)
5 – 220 – Amanda Miller (Team Lip Smackers)

Sprinter –
Alison Powers ended the Nature Valley Grand Prix tied on points with Tina Pic (Colavita Sutter Home), but the tie was broken since Powers had a higher placing at the most recent Series event. Powers would likely have had a clear lead since Pic’s team hadn’t attended the Joe Martin Stage Race, but that race has no sprint classification, so no points were awarded. But the favorite for the sprint classification has to be 2009 Australian Criterium Champion Kristy Broun (Riverstones CDA), if she participates at the Cascade Classic, since she was launched into third place on the strength of just this one event.

1 – 209 – Alison Powers (Team Type 1)
2 – 209 – Tina Pic (Colavita Sutter Home)
3 – 165 – Kirsty Broun (Riverstones CDA)
4 – 165 – Kori Seehafer (Team Type 1)
5 – 154 – Joanne Kiesanowski (Team TIBCO)

Team – In the Series Team competition, TIBCO took the lead while Webcor Builders fell to second place. But the margin is very narrow and Team Type 1 is within striking distance as well, so it’ll all come down to the Series finale at the Cascade Classic.

1 – 769 – Team TIBCO
2 – 740 – Webcor Builders Cycling Team
3 – 655 – Team Type 1
4 – 459 – ValueAct Capital Cycling Team
5 – 301 – Colavita Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light

The 2009 Women’s Prestige Cycling Series began at the Redlands Cycling Classic, followed by the Joe Martin Stage Race and now the Nature Valley Grand Prix. It will conclude at the Cascade Classic (July 22 – 26) in Bend, Ore.

About the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series
The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series began in 2004 with the goal of highlighting women’s racing by giving them a spotlight that they don’t have to share with the men. The Series grew out of meetings that began in Minnesota in 2003 at the first Women’s Cycling Summit Conference hosted at the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

Visit www.WomenCyclists.com for more information.

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Nature Valley Grand Prix to Air on Universal Sports

June 24, 2009

Top ranked stage race featured dramatic finishes in men’s and women’s races

The Nature Valley Grand Prix, the top race on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar held on June 10 – 14, will air on Universal Sports, the event’s worldwide broadcast partner. Originally slotted for a half hour, the program has been expanded to a full hour because there were far too many compelling story lines to cover in the shorter program. Airings will be:

Saturday, 6/27, 2:00 PM
Sunday, 6/28, 6:00 PM
Tuesday, 6/30, 11:00 AM
Sunday, 7/5, 4:00 PM
Monday, 7/6, 6:00 PM

(All Eastern Time)

This was three-time defending champion Kristin Armstrong’s last race in the United States before her retirement after the World Championships at the end of September in Mendrisio, Switzerland. With none of her Cervelo Test Team teammates to support her, Armstrong faced the daunting challenge of a stacked peloton that seemed to be on a unified mission to deny Armstrong her fourth consecutive win. She maintained the yellow jersey at the penultimate stage in Mankato, but by only 11 seconds. The race was decided with a dramatic finish in the Stillwater Criterium.

http://www.minnbikefest.com/NVGP/Results/2009NatureValleyGrandPrixResults/St6Women/tabid/102/Default.aspx

Following the race, Armstrong took the microphone and said an emotional “Farewell” to US racing. After her retirement, she’ll focus her efforts on the Kristin Armstrong Academy, a development program for women under the age of 23.

http://www.KristinArmstrongAcademey.com

The men’s race was equally dramatic, with Bissell’s Tom Zirbel taking the lead over Rory Sutherland (OUCH) at the opening time trial. Zirbel, an unlikely challenger at 6’4” and 198 pounds, held the lead through the Mankato Road Race, despite the extreme hill on that race’s finishing circuit. The race was settled at the brutal Stillwater Criterium, where Sutherland’s teammate Floyd Landis played a key role, earning Landis the Freewheel Bike Most Aggressive Rider jersey and setting up a dramatic finish.

http://www.minnbikefest.com/NVGP/Results/2009NatureValleyGrandPrixResults/St6Men/tabid/103/Default.aspx

The program will also stream from www.UniversalSports.com

About the Minnesota Bicycle Festival & Nature Valley Grand Prix

The Minnesota Bicycle Festival is one of the nation’s top celebrations of the bicycle culture, with tens of thousands of cycling enthusiasts, pro athletes and avid recreational riders converging on Minnesota each June. Its professional racing event, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, began as a one-day criterium in Saint Paul in 1999. Ranked as the premier stage race on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, the 2009 Nature Valley Grand Prix included stops in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Mankato and Stillwater. The Minnesota Bicycle Festival is a volunteer run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospital’s and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. For more information, visit www.minnbikefestival.com/.

About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings great taste to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome snacks. Nature Valley comes in a variety of delicious bars, Crunchy Granola, Trail Mix Chewy Granola, Chewy Granola with Yogurt Coating and Sweet & Salty Nut Bars. Visit www.NatureValley.com

About Universal Sports

Universal Sports, a partnership between NBC Sports and InterMedia Partners, serves as the preeminent multiplatform destination for Olympic-related and lifestyle sports programming available on television and online. Universal Sports is a 24-hour television channel available in 45 million television households in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Reno and Omaha. Major world championship and Olympic qualifying events found on Universal Sports range from track and field, skiing, swimming, gymnastics, marathons and cycling, to volleyball, rowing, triathlon, fencing, speed skating and martial arts. UniversalSports.com delivers an immersive experience via live and on-demand competition coverage, interaction with top athletes through blogs and in-depth access to Olympic sports news and information year round. For more information on the availability of the Universal Sports 24-hour television channel, please visit UniversalSports.com.

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A Successful Race

June 15, 2009

Team Type 1’s Jacquelyn Crowell finished her second Nature Valley Grand Prix in 56th place, 13:33 behind overall winner Kirstin Armstrong. Throughout the event, the University of Florida student (pictured below, middle, with teammates Alison Powers and Kori Seehafer) shared her experiences. This is her final entry.

These last two days have been tough, but there was an end in sight. Now it’s over. Looking back, we accomplished a lot as a team. Ali (Alison Powers) got third on the general classification, which was awesome and it makes me proud to be part of Team Type 1.

Our team raced well and we’re learning more about each other every race. We’re getting better. As long as we’re getting better, we’re successful. So this race was a success.

Saturday’s Mankato Road Race was tough because I haven’t ridden over two-and-a-half hours in nearly two months. I’ve just been racing and I wasn’t able to crash after my crash in Wilmington. So I’ve just been going from race to race and not really training. So the 91 miles was really tough for me. Of course, the finishing circuits were horrible because I haven’t seen a hill since Collegiate Nationals in Fort Collins, Colo., and before that at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. So it’s tough coming from the flatlands and trying to compete.

Sunday, I went into the race with a more relaxed outlook. It was the last day and the end was in sight. You only had to do three laps to finish the stage race. I got pulled after seven or eight laps. But I lived. I’m happy about that. Now I get some time off. I get to start training again and it will be a perfect ramp-up for nationals.

It’s been a great experience sharing my story with everyone. I’m glad that there’s an interest out there to see what Team Type 1 has to offer the sport. It is the spectators who keep it alive and fun. It was awesome going up the big hill Sunday and having people cheer and many of them don’t even know who you are. It makes it so much better for the riders. You’re in so much pain, but when they’re cheering for you, it gives you that extra boost.

I saw a lot of amateur women riding around before the race Sunday and hope we’re an inspiration to all women out there that we can do this too and achieve your goals. It doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl or how old you are – you can go out there and be competitive.

Until next year, take care.

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A Grand Finale

Carson Miller, racing in the NVGP for Land Rover-Orbea, has provided us with another entry after yesterday’s final stage in Stillwater. Enjoy!

Today’s stage unfolded in spectacular fashion. Straight out of the blocks, and all 140+ starters were sprinting up Chilkoot Hill, trying to make up positions, after being stuck on the starting grid for what seemed to be an eternity. I think that the first trip up the hill, was also the last time we were all together. While the group seems to usually maintain a fairly low rate of attrition for the first half of a criterium, today was an exception.

No where was the magnitude of the day’s extreme demand more obvious than in the race officials generous time-cut; requiring that riders only complete 25% of the 20 lap race. Yes, after only 5 laps of racing, riders were eligible for a pro-rated time. What a deal! Although I had no intention of using such a generous time cut, it turns out that I benefited from such generosity.

Before the race started, I knew that I would be facing up to one of the hardest criteriums in the country. The Stillwater crit is something of a legend in the domestic peloton, as everyone knows of and about, the Chilkoot Hill. At 250 meters with an average gradient of 18%, and ramps as steep as 20%, each lap would be a brutal test of mental and physical strength. With my warm-up completed, and the legs feeling ready for one last fight, I picked up a fresh ice-cold bottle of Hammer Heed before making my way onto the starting grid. Seems the entire field, except for a few of us, believed that a good start position would be worth more than a good warm-up. Huh. Interesting idea, and I am not sure which ended up prevailing, as the truth is that we always end up sitting around for a good number of minutes before the race gets started.

I was going to be in the last row no matter what. With everyone else ahead of me, I had to accept this. My teammate Jim Camut, also found himself in a similar situation. We decided that if we were going to be last, we might as well keep the legs moving. Rather than sitting on the line with one foot down, Jim and I rode our bikes in slow and lazy circles behind the nervous peloton. A few others joined, making for an almost comical looking side show. Inside of 10 seconds to go, and Jim and I were executing track-stands right behind the field; ready to explode into the race, with both of our feel already clipped into the pedals.

The first time racing up the hill was brutal. Imagine sitting in your car, simply idling at a stop sign, and in one instant, you stomp on the accelerator, and drop the clutch. Yeah, a real shock to the system. From a comfortable track-stand with my heart-rate hovering around 80-90 beats per minute, I exploded into the race. Over the top of the hill, and I couldn’t pump enough blood through my body.

Within the next few laps, I began to feel settled in the race. The rhythm of each lap was starting to flow, and I knew what points on the course were my strongest and weakest. As I began to work my way forward through the field, I was feeling better with each passing lap. Those first few laps, as I got into the race, I was ready for a battle right up to the end. Ready to fight hard, and to suffer. Coming over the top of the course on my second or third lap, (I don’t remember the exact one) I came across a group of riders who had gone down. Ordinarily, I would have ridden straight passed. In this situation, I found my teammate, and potential U23, winner Bobby Sweeting picking himself up with his bike.

Before I even came up to them, I had already gone into “autopilot.” I had shifted my bike all the way to the hardest gear, 53×11, to ease the changing of wheels should that become necessary. A quick exchange of words with Bobby, and I knew he was good. As he wheeled off to the pits for his free-lap while sorting out any unnoticed mechanical issues, I was being harassed by an official. All he seemed to see was that I had stopped despite not crashing. After listing to repeated yells along the lines of, “Number 113, you did not crash! You will not receive a free lap. You must continue…” I rolled off. Of course I knew I didn’t crash, and I wasn’t looking for a free lap. I was looking after my teammate who stood to win, or lose, more than I did.

A few more laps of riding, and the hard charging field was coming up behind me. After just 5 laps, I was pulled from the course. Although it was the least of my worries, it turns out that the unusually low time-cut worked in my favor today. Of course, I wasn’t really worried about how I finished, but it is nice to at least know what I made it, technically. If I had ridden all the way, who knows how things would have turned out.

In the end, my teammate Bobby Sweeting won the U23 competition, and Mike Northey followed yesterday’s strong ride with another big performance today. By limiting his losses, Mike finishes the week 3rd on the U23 race. This last week has been a fantastic week of racing and experiencing Minnesota. For many of us, this year was our first time racing in the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The racing has proven to be some of the best, and I will look forward to coming back for more racing in the years to come.

Thanks for reading and thanks for following along with me this week.

Keep the Rubber Side Down,

C-

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Stage 6: Women’s Race Report and GC

Kristin Armstrong Wins Fourth Nature Valley Grand Prix Title With A Teary Goodbye At Her Last American Race

By Cynthia Lou

Kristin Armstrong (Cervélo Test Team) may have fiercely defended her yellow jersey at the Stillwater Criterium, leaping off the start line with determination in her eyes, but she left the Nature Valley Grand Prix well decorated and with a teary goodbye at the last American race of her career. A triumphant end to a win-filled career, Armstrong won the overall general classification, the Jelly Belly Sports Beans Best Climber Jersey and the Freewheel Most Aggressive Rider Jersey. Shelley Olds (Proman Hit Squad) and Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light) followed Armstrong’s attack in the second lap to take second and third for the stage, respectively.

Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo Test Team) raises a pumped fist as she crossed the finish line to win Stage 6 of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Armstrong also won the general classification in her final pro race in America. Photo by: Matt Moses Images

A quickly shattered field saw mix ups in the final general classification, with Olds moving to second overall and Allison Powers of Team Type 1 moving up to take third overall.

“I had a lot of nerves today, thinking that it was my last race in America and knowing I had only 12, 11 seconds – there’s just no room for mishaps, mechanical or anything,” said Armstrong. “I rode up that first hill at 85% to string it out. I wasn’t worried about who would work with me or who wouldn’t. I looked at it as an hour race, and knew that I didn’t want to leave it up to the last climb.”

“Those girls were there, and they really worked to stay on. I didn’t want to leave them so the peloton would catch them,” said Armstrong, ever the mentor, who waited patiently until the last few laps. “I thought that if I waited until the last lap they would be able to hold off the peloton that was about 45 seconds back. I really respect Andrea Dvorak from Colavita and Shelley Olds from Proman, they are both up and coming talent in America. I was happy to have them up on the podium with me.”

It seems that Armstrong’s determination and climbing abilities are widely known by everyone.

“Kristin was keeping a good tempo up the hills – she was just practicing for Worlds or something!” Olds said with a laugh. “I would have loved to have helped, but it took us the whole downhill to recover.”

Olds went home with the Wheaties Sprint Jersey and a second overall on the general classification. “I knew that if I could stay on Kristin’s wheel – which was inevitable – that I could settle in to a good pace. This is the kind of race that you have to settle in to, and everyone else is going through the same thing, so if you can settle into it with a gap, then you just have to keep reminding yourself to keep going…I had my director in my ear reminding me to chill, keep my own tempo, stick with them on the climb.”

On the famous 700 meter long Chilkoot Hill that averages a 22% grade, the role of directors play a huge role in inspiring and motivating their riders in addition to relaying messages and tactics.

“I knew to line up near Kristin,” said third place finisher and breakaway companion Dvorak. “When [Armstrong] started to go up the road with Shelley and get a little gap, my director said into my ear, ‘Close that gap, close that gap! It’ll be worth your while.’ So I put in an effort, caught them, and off we went.”

Often times it’s necessary for riders to generate their own internal inspiration, which has been the case for a teammate-free Armstrong throughout the race.

“Originally I was going to go out from the gun, but I ended up going the 85% to calm my nerves. When I saw it was strung out I felt that I had some control back and took it as hard as I could on the second lap.”

Sometimes the mental game of a race like this is to simply go for it and do your best, as was the case for APC’s Best Young Rider Jersey winner Amanda Miller (Lip Smacker).

“Today was a race of attrition. I was just riding, and I didn’t even know where the leader was,” said Miller, who wasn’t aware she had won when she crossed the finish line. “I didn’t find out until I got back down here [to the announcers stage].”

Team Tibco put in stellar performances throughout the week, winning the Team Competition by taking a stage victory and racing consistently and aggressively every day. The Nature Valley Top Amateur Jersey went to Sydney Brown (Nature Valley Cycling Team).

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is also the third stop of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. Allison Powers (Team Type 1) was the new Overall Leader as well as the Sprint Jersey Leader, while the Women’s Prestige Series Best Young Rider Jersey went to Rebecca Much (Webcor Builders).

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