August 30, 2007

Here's a little tour of the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. This video is shot from the bridge that stretches across the track just past the finish line.

And a photo that I stole off of Juicey's blog. I'm not sure where she found this photo. I'm working on finding out.

And in the Sprints...

It was a dark and storm night….


It was a hot and humid Pennsylvania afternoon. It was the kind of day where you start to sweat by simply walking outside and every breath is like breathing through a Burgerville milkshake straw. Sounds fun, huh? As Donna described it, she needed gills to survive. The countryside is beautiful, however, Trexlertown and surrounding, similar mini-towns are icky and sticky in late August, To quote my 3 year old friend, Grayson Hunt, it was….”Haaaaahhhhtttt!”

I’m writing this on the plane from Chicago to Portland. It’s almost a 4 hour trip. I have the cutest toddler suffering a cranky fit, but it’s tolerable with my headphones plugged into itunes. I had to fly with my niece last Christmas, so I feel bad for her parents. She’s just tired. Anyway, I have lots of time to write, so get comfortable….

Wednesday began with the 200m. TT for sprint seeding. I was hoping for something around 12.8, so was a little irked with a 13.008, only a breath of a hundredth faster than my time on Marymoor last month. I learned how important a race gear full effort is before racing. I sacrificed track time in my race gear for sleep. I got to the track an hour after racing began. A couple of the men’s groups had pursuits first on the schedule- about 20 heats. When they opened the track for about 5 minutes between the pursuit rides and the 200m., I was still in a warm up gear. So, by the time I put on my 94”, I just had the rollers, which offered little resistance. I could spin the heck out of it, but not really tap the leg muscles. I think that was the biggest factor affecting my ride. However, that time earned me front row tickets to the sprint show, .8 seconds up on the second seed. Since there were only 4 of us, there would be no rounds and we’d go straight to the semi-finals in the evening.

Went back to the hotel, peeled off the wet skin suit (not as sexy as it sounds), took a shower, ate, and cuddled into bed for a lazy afternoon of TV and cat naps. Donna and John granted my every whim, from juggling laundry to filling my water bottle. I was queen for a day. Amelia even gave me a much needed leg massage. My left quad has been giving me grief on and off for about a month. Tight.

Fast forward to my first ride of the evening. All rounds were best 2 out of 3 rides. My first was against a woman named Sara (I forget her last name.) Her qualifying time was around 14 seconds. The plan was to be in control and work as little as possible. Coming up on the final lap, I drifted up track and much to my enjoyment, so did she! Quick fake up to the right and an Abers dive to the left and I was gone. By the time I got to the first turn, I had a safe gap. I think my 200m.time for the lap was in the neighborhood of 15 seconds. The next ride was similar without the fun swerving. This time I popped over the top and took the ride.

My final rides were against Kara Vidaca. She’s a strong road sprinter and her 500m. time was less than .2 away from mine. Hopefully, she enjoys my recap, as I know she reads my blog J I drew the first lane for ride number one. I guessed that she would go either from the start or within the first lap. I had my holder, John Simmons from Helyer Park, and frequent visitor to Alpenrose, set me up as high as possible to reduce the chance of an attack from the start. John gave me a big boost. I was wrong. Kara went for the lane, so I closed that door, taking the lane. She came along on my right, and we picked up the pace a little. Eventually she dropped back behind me. I wanted a better look, so I drifted up track a little, staying aware of if she chose to pull up on my left for a press. But she stayed behind me. As I remember it, she floated underneath coming out of turn 2 in our final lap. The staight- aways on the Lehigh Valley Velodrome are short. The track is pretty round, I didn’t waste any time by dropping behind her. I went for the come around right away. It took awhile, since we were in the turn, but out of 4, I pulled ahead for the win. It was a fun ride. It’s always fun when a rider likes to play match sprint.

The final ride, we basically traded places. The ride was similar, with me following her around for a bit. She rolled up the speed in turn 1-2 of the final lap. I waited until we were out of the turn, took a run and came around. This sprint was a bit closer, but I was victorious.

Podium time was fun, as Kara and I played a game of “Queen of the Mountain” from the top step after the awards. It was a tie. Later her coach reminded us to be nice and safe to each other since we are now teammates for Elite Nationals in the team sprint. Then Donna and I hogged the podium for some fun photos. Happy times.

So, poor me gets to drag home 2 more jerseys and some hardware. The fun will be over as soon as I get home though. It’s time to cram for the beginning of school on Tuesday. I hope Haley forgives me for being absent last night for our “open-house-check-out-your-teacher-and-ask-a-billion-questions” evening.

Donna and I took about a billion pictures, so check back for those later. She gets home Saturday after the team sprint. They should win.

August 28, 2007

The Donnanator!

So, Donna is 51 years old, which puts her in the 50-55 age group. BUT, they only have a 45+ category for match sprints, because until recently, there haven't been many strong women in the 50+ group. So, today, Donna posted the second fastest 200m. time this morning out of the group of 13 in the 45+.

Time gap....

Not only did she win her age group, which they decided to award a separate medal for... she won the whole 45+ group!!! She and Annette Hansen had both won their age group, but the officials said that they had to sprint in order to finish the tournament. She beat Annette in 2 rides. She made it look easy :)

August 27, 2007

Masters National Titles Defended

Donna and I both defended our titles this morning! Weeeeee are the Chaaaaaampions!

The track was a little slow. I only posted 39.95, but it was the fastest time of the day among all women, and was .3 from second place. Donna was 4th fastest overall, behind me, Kara, and Annette. I wish there were more than 3 women in my field, but it's OK. A win is a win! Per has his kilo tonight, John has a 2K, Donna sprints tomorrow. The pressure is off me until Wednesday. Photos to come later.

August 26, 2007

Off to Master's Nationals

John Forbes, Donna Smith, and I are here in Allentown, about 8 miles from the track, concluding a short adventure. We left Portland without error, headed for Chicago. I was worried that we'd have trouble with weather there, but no drama. Our next gate was about 20 meters from where we exited.

A little while into our layover, we heard that our flight was going to be delayed about a half hour due to weather in Newark. OK, no problem. Blah, blah, blah... we get on the plane and start to taxi and the captain gets on and says we have to sit there because the delay is extended. This was not good news, as a baby was having a fit behind John and I. But eventually we take off, almost an hour later.

"Ladies and gentleman, we are going to be a little longer getting into Newark, due to some storms in our way. We'll be going around...stay in your seats..." We safely made it around and those of us on the left side of the plane were treated to an amazing light show, the cloud firing up with lightening, the currents dancing through the clouds.

Applause answered our soft touchdown and we were in Jersey. HUMID! I could barely get a breath in the jet way!

Our bikes seemed to have gotten here before us. They were stacked up against a wall when we got downstairs and it was about 20 minutes before our baggage carrosel. Within another half hour, we were stuffed into our Xtera, driving about 80 minutes to Allentown.

Next, was a treat. I used my card to check us in. The $189 a night quote was crossed out and handwritten along the side was $119. Sweet, a discount- not sure why. Then we hiked to our luxury suite! We have 2 bedrooms with 2 full bathrooms, a living room area and small kitchen. It's pretty awesome.

So, now it's time to build bikes and get to the track. The weather is still a little shakey, so hopefully we get to ride.

August 22, 2007

That's Me Bum!

Two people told me today that there was a picture of me in Willamette Week. Too bad it's a picture of me falling back in a race. Oh well, that's the second time my bum has been in a Portland publication.

Tonight was my last interval workout before Master's Nationals. We leave for Pennsylvania on Saturday. Speaking of bums, I'm a little bummed that there is only one other woman registered in my age group.

Today, Haley and I unpacked about 50 boxes at school. We only have about 6 left to get out, but all are opened. Tomorrow is another full day at school, getting stuff put away. It's so crazy in the building still. There's construction stuff everywhere and we have families coming in just one week!!!

August 18, 2007

"I'll Quit Complaining"

Wednesday we have interval training and I pull coach aside and start a little rant about being disappointed about my times this year, that I hadn't come close to my best times on Alpenrose and if I plan to be faster this year than last, shouldn't I be going at least as fast and I've only been using a racing gear for about a month and it's hard to stay motivated when I'm not seeing successes...blah blah blah.

Today was Master's State Championships and I rode 40.08. This is an Alpenrose personal best time by about .3 of a second.

"Ok, I'll quit complaining," I gasped when I met up with Brian on the warm up track.

I also won the sprints and keiren. My favorite sprint opponent was not there today. Jen, who had been riding so damn fast this year, who has smoked my best times in the 500m., who is virtually unstoppable, had a horrible crash last night. I'm so upset for her. I wish I had a fraction of her perseverance. Two years ago, she had issued with her hip/knee, then last year, she fought an elbow injury. And she just keeps on fighting. Then this crap happens. She has some broken bones and will have to miss track nationals. If you're reading this and whether or not you know Jen, please wish her a quick recovery and keep her in your thoughts. She is so supportive of other racers out there and deserves nothing less than our love.

August 9, 2007

"Hurricane" Sadie VanValkenburg

April 15, 1998- August 9, 2007

Sadie suddenly got sick this week. She had signs of upper digestive bleeding. After a long haul of figuring out what was going on and a near death moment, I found out today that she had cancer- probably lymphoma. Rather than to have her suffer a long road, to maybe live up to a year, I chose,to let her go, happy, relaxed, and in the arms of her mommy, to dog heaven.

I hesitated to blog about this, fearing that I seemed like a sympathy monger, but a very good friend told me to. She said that it was easy to fall in love with Sadie and that anyone that loved her (rather knew her for even 20 minutes) would want to know.

Thank you for everyone's support, love, prayers, and thoughts.

-Heather and Sadie

August 6, 2007

Attack of the Weathermen

So, check this out. I was at a Beaverton-based-major-shoe-company retail store last Friday, and I noticed that local meterologist for KOIN 6 news, Bruce Sussman was there. (I can't belive I cranked out such an enormous run-on sentence just then.) I pointed it out to my shopping mates, and we were on our merry way. Yey- graced by the presence of a local celeb.

This morning, I was at the gym and noticed a familiar looking small man and quickly realized that he ALSO was a local meteorologist for KATU channel 2 news. Who knew that Rod Hill worked out at my gym.

Isn't that weird? 2 weatherman in 4 days! What does this mean? Feel free to comment and be creative. I know about 20 people read this blog per day, so I'm looking forward to some good responses.


Mom hooked me up with this little treasure- enjoy!

January - Took new scarf back to store because it was too tight.

February - Fired from pharmacy job for failing to print
labels....."duh".....bottles won't fit in typewriter!!!

March - Got excited.....finished jigsaw puzzle in 6
said "2-4 years!"

April - Trapped on escalator for hours.....power went out!!!

May - Tried to make Kool-Aid.....8 cups of water won't fit into
those little packets!!!

June - Tried to go water skiing.....couldn't find a lake with a

July - Lost breast stroke swimming competition.....learned later,
other swimmers cheated, they used their arms!!!

August - Got locked out of car in rain swamped,
because top was down.

September - The capital of California is "C".....isn't it???

October - Hate M&M's..... they are so hard to peel.

November - Baked turkey for 4 1/2 days.....instructions said 1 hour
per pound and I weigh 108!!!

December - Couldn't call 911....."duh".....there's no "eleven"
button on the phone!!!

What a year!!

August 2, 2007

FSA Pictures

Here is one of Amara's pictures from her website Wheels in Focus. Here you can see and order prints from the race. The pictures below are from my camera. Enjoy.

Donna and I team sprint podium.

Donna and I check out the pretty green New Belgian cruiser bikes.

Confusion...? Comparing roses...? Telling secrets...? Who knows.

Finally we get it figured out! We look like a pack of cheerleaders- very buff cheerleaders.

Like a good sprinter should, Jen takes a nap between rides.

Donna and her mega-guns

Brain's sprint podium.

Me, Jen, and Molly having a late dinner with some strange characters.

August 1, 2007

Getting Ready for School!

Haley and I have class lists already and we don't start school for over a month. It's against state law to post class lists on the school window anymore, so the families get sent home a little welcome packet. Now we just need furniture and our stuff moved from the storage containers where they've been all summer. I guess the move in day is the 21st, so we'll have a lot of time to get ready. We are pretty excited to only have 56 rather than 62 kids this year. But all four 6th grades are full. I'm sure by the following fall, we'll have five 6th grades. We found out that our secretary is the one that was ours at Lewisville the past 7 years minus last year (due to cuts.) Karen is so flipping awesome. She knows all of us teachers from Lewisville, and we know what to expect from her. I talked to her today about scheduling. Next year, I get to sleep in a little since school doesn't start until 8:40. That extra hour will be nice especially in the winter.