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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.


Post-Race Surprise

June 13, 2009

Team Type 1’s Jacquelyn Crowell is the only female competitor sharing her behind-the-scenes observations and experiences from start to finish at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Through four stages, she leads the APC Best Young Rider competition (for racers younger than 26) and is 14th overall, 1:19 off the lead.

This entry is a little shorter than my previous ones because the late starts have made for some late nights and we have a long day ahead Saturday.

During Friday night’s Uptown Minneapolis Criterium, we were basically trying to keep it upright and hopefully maintain our position in the overall or move Alison Powers up (she is currently second). I was also allowed to race for myself a little bit, but that didn’t end up happening because I didn’t ride very well.

Our director, Jack Seehafer, let me ride for myself because I am still in the Best Young Rider’s jersey. But my lead is pretty slim – one second, in fact – over Amanda Miller (Lip Smacker® Professional Women’s Cycling Team). So I really wanted to get a time bonus. But I ended up not riding, just thinking too much.

After the race, we went out to dinner at an upscale place called Figlio, which was right along the course. I actually had to get up in the middle of the dinner to go to the women’s podium ceremony and receive my Best Young Rider jersey. I returned in time to have a nice dessert that came complete with a sparkler on it. I guess they wanted to honor me because I won something.

After that, we got back to the Team Type 1 van and found it had been tee-peed. It was quite a surprise. I guess this gives us the right to harass all the other teams since we don’t know who did it. But it’s on now!

Saturday’s Mankato Road Race is 91 miles and it’s going to be a long day for us after three days of racing. To have the longest stage of the race this far into the event is going to be tough – mentally and physically. Once I push through that, there’s just the last day (Sunday’s Stillwater Criterium) after that. The end is in sight.


A Satisfying Day

June 12, 2009

Throughout the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Jacquelyn Crowell is sharing her observations and experiences as a first-year professional for Team Type 1. Through the first three stages, the University of Florida student leads the APC Best Young Rider competition (for racers younger than 26). She is 14th overall, 1:19 off the lead.

I went into Thursday night’s Cannon Falls Road Race with the goal of keeping my teammate, Alison Powers, protected and possibly moving her closer to the overall leader, Kristin Armstrong. We also hoped to help Ali get a time bonus at the finish. But that didn’t work out. Fortunately, Kristin didn’t get a bonus, either.

The 66-mile race went well for us. We kept it upright, which was good, since there were quite a few crashes. We are working together as a team better than we have in the past, but there is still room for improvement.

This was a hard race. The wind wasn’t as bad as last year, but it was still a deciding factor. I tried to stay in the front and out of the wind while still covering attacks. Finally I was able to do something for the team! I felt really bad Wednesday night because I wasn’t able to do anything for the team during the criterium in Downtown St. Paul.

There was a big crash a few kilometers before we made a right turn onto an 800-meter dirt section as we neared Cannon Falls. Right up until it happened, I had been fretting because I didn’t think I would be able to get to the front before we got onto the dirt. Our director, Jack Seehafer, had told us how important it was to be at the front going into that section. So here I was, thinking I hadn’t done what I needed to do, when there was suddenly a crash on the right. All the girls who had been in front of me were gone and there I was at the front!

I loved the dirt section. It was awesome. Some girls actually missed the turn on the outside and my teammate, Samantha Schneider, and I dove to the inside and passed about 20 people. That was great.

We came onto the finishing circuits in good position and with all five of us from Team Type 1. It would have been six, but Morgan Patton, one of two riders on our team who has Type 1 diabetes, didn’t make the time cut Wednesday. It’s always a blow to the team when you lose a rider because we’re like a family, not just a team. But Morgan is still around and helping us out. She was even cheering us on in the feed zone.

The highlight of Thursday had to be when I got called up to put on the Active Performance Complete (APC) Best Young Rider jersey. I was fourth in the standings heading into the stage but ended up first by the end of the race. I don’t know what happened to the other three girls who were ahead of me, but if I can keep the jersey, that would be awesome. I have kind of been in a slump after collegiate nationals and a crash at the Wilmington criterium. So it feels good to finally be first at something.

I also want to use this platform to thank our host family for making dinner for us after the races. It’s awesome to come home each night and have a nice dinner waiting for us. And a big thank you to the race organization of the Nature Valley Grand Prix for letting me share my thoughts with you.

I’m looking forward to Friday night’s criterium in Minneapolis. It will hopefully be an easier day for the team. It should also be a semi-recovery day for the upcoming stages. We need to make sure we are ready for Saturday.


Jackie Crowell Diary: The First Day

June 11, 2009

Throughout the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Jacquelyn Crowell is sharing her observations and experiences as a first-year professional cyclist for Team Type 1. After the opening day of this year’s race, the University of Florida student stands 23rd overall, 1:19 behind leader Kristin Armstrong.

I don’t even remember what I did Wednesday. It was such a long day. I woke up at 5:20 and was raring to go because I got so much rest on Tuesday.

The time trial in St. Paul went really well. Like I said in my earlier diary, I always do better the second time I do a course, just because it’s more familiar and I’m more mentally prepared. I think I did pretty well.

I got 24th place, which makes me want to look up what I did here last year and compare to it. I’m sure I improved. Plus, I had the added benefit this year of some very awesome equipment. Team Type 1 has special Louis Garneau Superleggera time trial helmets and we ride Orbea Ordu time trial bikes that look like stealth fighters – and go as fast as fighter jets. Both of those pieces of equipment give you a significant advantage. Plus, I paced myself well and finished with a good feeling.

So I’m fourth now in the Active Protein Complex Best Young Rider competition. That’s something I’m shooting for this week.

I tried to take a nap in between the morning and evening stages. But I’m reading “Twilight” (a young-adult vampire-romance novel written by Stephenie Meyer) for the second time. I thought it would put me to sleep. But unfortunately, it’s a little exciting with all those vampire tensions…

The main thing in last night’s Downtown St. Paul Criterium was to keep my teammate, Alison Powers, up toward the front and analyze any breaks once they happened. We wanted to roll them if they were to our advantage or block them if they weren’t. Alison is in second place overall, just a handful of seconds behind Kristin Armstrong, who has won this race three times.

Time bonuses were huge for us on Wednesday night’s stage. But unfortunately I didn’t see the front to help out. I wasn’t feeling the vibes. So I’m a little down but Thursday is another day. And the road race is on a course that is better suited to me.


Jackie Crowell’s Race Diary: Ready To Go

June 10, 2009

Throughout the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Jacquelyn Crowell is sharing her observations and experiences as a first-year professional cyclist for Team Type 1. Also a student at the University of Florida, the 21-year-old has seven victories to her credit this season.

The day before the race was terrific because I was a champion “napper.” I woke up, went downstairs at the house of our host family and had a bowl of cereal. Then I went back upstairs and back to sleep. Then I woke up again a few hours later and had a second breakfast – this time a bagel with organic strawberry jelly and a banana. That’s the beauty of waking up twice. You can eat breakfast twice.

After my second breakfast, we rode together as a team. First, we rode our road bikes to the St. Paul Riverfront Time Trial course. There, our director, Jack Seehafer, met us with our time trial bikes. That gave us the opportunity to ride the course on our time trial bikes. The general consensus is that we like the course. It’s the perfect distance for me because it doesn’t give me enough time to lose focus. It’s pretty short – about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). I raced on this course last year, so I know exactly what to expect.

After that, we rode back to our host house. So it ended up being about a two-and-half hour ride, which is a little longer than I wanted. But Avery May, our awesome soigneur, gave me a great rub to get my muscles ready for the race.

Our host father, Russell, is a great chef. We had sort of a Jambalaya mix for dinner. Our host mother, Sheila, was out playing the bagpipe as part of a band. That’s the great part about traveling to races like this. You get to live with host families and meet all kinds of people you wouldn’t get to meet normally.

I can’t wrap up my account of the day without mentioning Paul Mazurek, our fantastic mechanic. He probably spent 11 hours or so in the garage today getting both our time trial and road bikes ready.

First up for Wednesday will be oatmeal right after I get up at six. Then it’s off to the time trial course at 7 and I’m down the start ramp at 9:18 sharp.

Hope to see you there.


Jackie Crowell: Recalling NVGP Last Year

June 9, 2009

During the NVGP, we’re going to have a few riders on the board blogging during the week. This will give us, the recreational cyclists, a closer look into what professional riders do, think, hear and say during a six-stage bike race. Jackie Crowell, from Team Type 1, has her first entry below:

This is my first entry in what will be a series of blogs that share my experience “behind the scenes” at this year’s Nature Valley Grand Prix.

My name is Jacquelyn (more commonly referred to as “Jackie”) Crowell and I’ve been riding a bike my whole life…but this is my first year as a professional. I started racing seriously three years ago and it has brought me to where I am today.

I’m very proud to be racing for Team Type 1. I also race for the University of Florida, where I major in mechanical engineering. I get a kick out of how much the two – engineering and cycling – can complement each other. A lot of what I study, I can apply to what I see in my cycling equipment.

I am also very supportive of collegiate cycling and recently got runner-up at the omnium at the National Collegiate Cycling Championships in Fort Collins, Colo.

We have two riders on Team Type 1 who have Type 1 diabetes, one of whom will be at this year’s race – Morgan Patton. Last year, she was my competition and now we’re teammates. I didn’t realize until last year’s race how much having Type 1 diabetes can affect your performance. Hopefully, we’ll both be able to tackle this race because we’ve both learned a lot about racing after doing the NVGP last year.

When I raced here for the first time last year, I had a good time, and it was definitely the hardest race I had done up to that point. This year, I know what is coming and will hopefully be prepared to tackle the competition, help the team do well and do well myself.

What I remember from last year’s race is that Kristin Armstrong, the former world time trial (and eventual Olympic time trial) champion was there. I also remember it being very windy. I had never really had to deal with the wind being a big factor in a race. Usually it’s the climbs that break things up, but at last year’s race, the wind was the most difficult thing. Watching Kristin and the Aaron’s team go on the attack while I was dying at the back was certainly a struggle. This is one of the things I’ll avoid this year.

In 2009, I also have team obligations to perform here (covering breaks, leading our sprinter out, getting bottles, etc.), which I have never had to do. It’s going to hurt, that’s for sure…but I’m OK with that.

I’ll be sure to keep the devoted readers up to date as the race nears, and provide some insight during the race week.