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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Denise Ramsden: Bringing International Racing to the Nature Valley Grand Prix

June 8, 2010

Denise Ramsden is a student/cyclist from the part of Canada where there really are igloos and polar bears AKA the Northwest Territories. She currently spends the winter studying Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and the summer riding bikes with Team Kenda and the Canadian National Team.

Being from Canada, I’ve always tended to support the home town crowd and race the Canadian UCI races instead of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. With those races off the calendar, I’m up to toe the line at the Nature Valley Grand Prix for the first time in 2010. I’ve heard a lot about the race from fellow cyclists, particularly about the challenge of the courses (I want to see this Stillwater climb) and the amazing support they’ve given women’s cycling over the years. I’m looking forward to experiencing the race for the first time, aiming for a decent general classification (GC) result and trying to give the young riders’ classification a go.

Racing the Nature Valley Grand Prix isn’t the only thing that has been different about my race calendar this year. While usually I’ll have gotten in at least two or three stage races by mid June, this year the Nature Valley Grand Prix will only be my second of the season having completed the Redlands Bicycle Classic all the way back in March. Hopefully one-day racing can transfer over into stage racing fitness. Why the difference? Well this year I decided to play hooky from school for the last month of classes and head over to Europe with the Canadian National Team. We made our way through a 10 event racing block over the month of April that included two World Cups, four UCI 1.1s and four UCI 1.2s around Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Then I was back off for a touchdown in Vancouver to fly through and exam, before heading down to Aguascalientes, Mexico for the Pan Am Road and Track Championships. I figure that the traveling induced tiredness, plus enough racing has got to mimic stage racing to some extent!! And experience in the European peloton and the full bore racing should transfer over well to North America. Although, I have to admit: I am looking forward to a bit of tactical racing rather than just going cross-eyed in the gutter for four hours a day.

Back in Canada now for a few weeks, it’s time to put in some training hours to get ready for another busy month in June. I’m looking forward to the challenge the Nature Valley Grand Prix is guaranteed to provide, getting in some fun racing with the team mates and a final racing push into Canadian Nationals the week after the Nature Valley Grand Prix!

About Team Kenda Women’s Cycling
Team Kenda began in 1999 as Team Ameritech with nine riders who excelled at bicycle racing. Over the years, the team has steadily grown in size and now boasts NRC Elite and Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and West Regional Teams. The team competes in the United States focusing on the National Race Calendar. (http://www.teamkenda.com)

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Anna McLoon: There’s No Place Like Home

May 19, 2010

It’s funny, isn’t it, how much you realize you love a place when you move away?  I grew up in Roseville, Minnesota, and even though I have spent the better part of the last 10 years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, first for college and then for graduate school, I love Minnesota more now than I ever did during high school.  I think that’s the reason why the Nature Valley Grand Prix is one of my favorite races in the year; it gives me a chance to combine two things I love: racing my bicycle, and going home. This will be my third year racing the Nature Valley Grand Prix (this year I’ll be racing for Team Kenda), and I can’t wait to introduce my home to my new teammates.

The day before the race starts, we’ll go for a ride to loosen up our legs from traveling, and perhaps it will be a good chance to show off the tree sculptures in the state fairgrounds and to wind our way past the conservatory and lake in Como Park.  Or perhaps later in the week we’ll ride through Roseville’s Central Park and Lake Josephine as we get our blood flowing before the Minneapolis criterium.  Or maybe on the way back from the final race in Stillwater, we’ll stop at the Dairy Queen in North St. Paul, and will give our greetings to the giant snowman.  In short, I can’t wait to introduce some of my favorite places to my teammates who may have never visited the “land of 10,000 lakes.”

At the same time, I love the opportunity to convince my family and friends in Minnesota that bike racing is super fun.  The past two years, I swear half the people at some of the stages were cheering for me: high school friends, teachers, old teammates, friend’s parents.  My mom had never seen me race my bike until the St. Paul criterium last year, and although it makes her nervous (I can see how watching your daughter lean into a 90 degree turn at 25 miles an hour with more than 100 other cyclists might make a mother nervous), she thought it was fun to watch!  I didn’t start racing bicycles until I started graduate school almost four years ago, so it’s been a great opportunity to introduce my “new” sport to friends who’ve never watched a bike race before.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to love the race. The courses are fun and challenging, giving me a chance to test my training and to see what I can do on the bike.  It’s a great opportunity to check in with my coach, Fiona Lockhart, who lives in Minneapolis.  Like most cyclists, I mostly communicate with her via phone and e-mail, so it’s nice for her to actually watch the races and for us to talk without the barrier of the computer or telephone.  But probably most of all, I love to go home to the best state in the country.  I can’t wait to race again in front of my family and friends.  If you come to the races and hear the person next to you shouting “Go Anna” at the passing rider dressed in green, join in.  I’m excited because I think this year’s race will be, not just a Minnesotan “pretty good” but, as I’ve learned to say out here in Massachusetts, I think this year’s race will be “wicked awesome.”

About the author

Anna McLoon is a PhD candidate at Harvard University, in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences PhD program.  She grew up in Roseville, MN, graduating from the Roseville Area High School in 2000.  In her spare time, she races bicycles, and will spend 2010 racing for Team Kenda.

About Team Kenda Women’s Cycling

Team Kenda began in 1999 as Team Ameritech with nine riders who excelled at bicycle racing.  Over the years, the team has steadily grown in size and now boasts NRC Elite and Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and West Regional Teams. The team competes in the United States focusing on the National Race Calendar.  (http://www.teamkenda.com)

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