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Kristin Danielson

Running out of air

By:
Cycling News
Published:
August 15, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:56 BST

'Nooooooooo, not again!' is what was screaming through my head as I felt my rear wheel rim slamming...

July 19, 2006

'Nooooooooo, not again!' is what was screaming through my head as I felt my rear wheel rim slamming against the rocks under my deflated tire. Uggghhh…… as much as I love mountain bike racing it is SUPER frustrating when a mechanical prevents you from obtaining your aspirations. I'm sure about every other mountain bike racer can relate to how I have felt after my past two cross country national races. At the national race in Sonoma, California I felt pretty good and was maintaining a good position when a pssssssttttttt sound came rotating through a gash in my tire. Since this was my first flat in a race I was frantic about changing it. As I ripped open my seat pack all my tire levers and CO2 cartridge went flying into knee high weeds. Sweat poured down my face as I searched for my missing tools, eventually I found them and was able to gather some sort of control so that I could at least get down the hill. I knew I had to be in last place and wasn't sure if I should even continue to race. I decided to continue. 'I didn't travel all this way to DNF' I thought to myself. I had flash backs from racing in Madrid, just trying to catch as many women as I could.

During the three weeks in between Sonoma and Brian Head, I rode with friends on new trails that wound around, up and over the high San Juan Mountains. I absolutely love riding in the high country. Other than feeling dizzy due to lack of oxygen, the wildflowers are absolutely beautiful. The air (what is up there) is so clean and fresh and the trails are tacky and fast. What more could a person ask for? Along with exploring new trails, I participated in a regional road race located in Salida, Colorado. I had a great time competing in the three day stage race. I felt awesome and it was a perfect training tool for my up coming NORBA races (Brian Head NORBA and Snowmass NORBA).

On my way to Brian Head I picked up my teammate Jen at the small Cortez airport. We chatted all the way to Brian Head ski resort located in Utah. As we approached the ski resort we noticed how a huge amount of the pine trees are dead on the sides of the mountains. It was really weird to see such a vast amount of dead trees. They weren't charred black so a fire didn't kill them. Later I found out that due to the continued global warming, the temperatures are not dropping low enough to kill some kind of beetle that infiltrates into the tree which in turn ends up killing the tree. I have to say it is really sad to actually see the effects of warmer global temperatures.

We arrived on Thursday and intended to pre-ride Friday. Noel, Jen and I (the lone representation for Velo-Bella Kona) woke up on Friday to black skies and drizzle. We drove to the course to find the weather even worse at 10,450 feet. The rain came dumping down with thunder rumbling every couple of minutes. At that point we didn't want to risk our lives to see the course. Luckily, a couple of hours later, the storm calmed down enough for us to sneak in a view of the second half of our loop. The course started on a 2 mile, 13 % road climb and turned onto a gravel road climb for another 2 ½ miles. Once the course turned into single track that is where the fun started and didn't end until the finish line. I loved this course. The only thing Noel, Jen and I were worried about was the high possibility of racing in 40 degree rain on some pretty slippery rocks and roots.

Race day came and I looked out the window to see brilliant blue skies 'yessss!' it was going to be a good day and I was ready to give it another effort as I felt like my fitness was good and my training was on track. I was able to climb with the top ladies up to the dirt road and then I started to drop off once we hit the gravel road. They were all still in sight until the course turned into single track. Usually I don't feel the most confident with my descending skills but this time I felt comfortable descending at high speeds. Everything felt on, my fitness was good, my descending was solid and I was in good position for a strong result and then the dreaded psssssttttttt sound came squirting through my rear tire. 'Noooooooo, not again'. This time I was a little more in control and was able to fix my flat in a reasonable amount of time. While changing my flat about 15 racers passed me which is always hard to stomach but what can ya do. Nothing except get back into the race. Even though everything didn't go as planned I had a fun race. This is by far one of the best courses that I have raced on. It was challenging but not to the point that you want to throw your bike of the cliff. Climbing through Aspen trees and traversing across a ridge are always great characteristics to any mountain bike race course. At the finish line my parents were there to greet me with smiles. I wanted a better result, especially since my parents were there to watch my race but I gave it my all. Next time.

I hate to say it but I should have listened to my husband. Right before the race I had my pep talk with Tom and he said "siz, you have to make sure you have enough air pressure in your rear tire if you have to use a tube, or else you are going to pinch flat!". I should have listened.

Jen and I drove back to Durango on Monday. We decided to spin our legs out after a 7 ½ drive back. I was so excited to show her the rim trail that overlooks the town and Animas River. I was flying around the familiar trails with Jen on my wheel. We dropped down into Horse Gulch (a popular network of in-town trails) on a fast rutted out trail. Next thing I knew Jen's front wheel was trapped in one of the ruts. She flipped over the front of her bike, fast and went down hard on her left shoulder. Luckily our friends rode by just as I was running up to see if she was okay. We needed a ride to the hospital.

I am writing this from our condo in Snow Mass and Jen is sleeping on the couch with a new titanium plate and 5 screws in her left clavicle. Jen had surgery yesterday afternoon by one of Aspen's renown orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Clancey. She is a tough cookie and she will get through the recovery to be back on the bike just in time for cross season.

The cross country race is this Saturday for one last attempt to place in the top ten. I am hoping that luck will be on my side and no mechanicals haunt me. At the same time I hope my legs feel as good as they did last weekend. I have to say I will be excited when the finals are over because that means I get to see Tom! We couldn't wait until the end of the Vuelta to see each other so I bought a ticket to fly over this Monday after the Snow Mass final NORBA races. It will be nice to be with him for a week before he enters one of the hardest bike races. He has been training relentlessly as he has been named the leader for the Vuelta. Tom has never let anyone down and I know it won't be a first this September either. Tom's determination is infectious and the time apart has slightly disintegrated that energy within me. Needless to say I am very excited to fly over to Spain and spend time with Tom in the Pyrenees. I will be there to support him and I can't wait for his pure talent and hard work ethic to shine this September in the Vuelta de Espana. Don't forget to cheer him on!

Till next time,
Kristin

Running out of air

By:
Cycling News
Published:
August 15, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:56 BST

'Nooooooooo, not again!' is what was screaming through my head as I felt my rear wheel rim slamming...

July 19, 2006

'Nooooooooo, not again!' is what was screaming through my head as I felt my rear wheel rim slamming against the rocks under my deflated tire. Uggghhh…… as much as I love mountain bike racing it is SUPER frustrating when a mechanical prevents you from obtaining your aspirations. I'm sure about every other mountain bike racer can relate to how I have felt after my past two cross country national races. At the national race in Sonoma, California I felt pretty good and was maintaining a good position when a pssssssttttttt sound came rotating through a gash in my tire. Since this was my first flat in a race I was frantic about changing it. As I ripped open my seat pack all my tire levers and CO2 cartridge went flying into knee high weeds. Sweat poured down my face as I searched for my missing tools, eventually I found them and was able to gather some sort of control so that I could at least get down the hill. I knew I had to be in last place and wasn't sure if I should even continue to race. I decided to continue. 'I didn't travel all this way to DNF' I thought to myself. I had flash backs from racing in Madrid, just trying to catch as many women as I could.

During the three weeks in between Sonoma and Brian Head, I rode with friends on new trails that wound around, up and over the high San Juan Mountains. I absolutely love riding in the high country. Other than feeling dizzy due to lack of oxygen, the wildflowers are absolutely beautiful. The air (what is up there) is so clean and fresh and the trails are tacky and fast. What more could a person ask for? Along with exploring new trails, I participated in a regional road race located in Salida, Colorado. I had a great time competing in the three day stage race. I felt awesome and it was a perfect training tool for my up coming NORBA races (Brian Head NORBA and Snowmass NORBA).

On my way to Brian Head I picked up my teammate Jen at the small Cortez airport. We chatted all the way to Brian Head ski resort located in Utah. As we approached the ski resort we noticed how a huge amount of the pine trees are dead on the sides of the mountains. It was really weird to see such a vast amount of dead trees. They weren't charred black so a fire didn't kill them. Later I found out that due to the continued global warming, the temperatures are not dropping low enough to kill some kind of beetle that infiltrates into the tree which in turn ends up killing the tree. I have to say it is really sad to actually see the effects of warmer global temperatures.

We arrived on Thursday and intended to pre-ride Friday. Noel, Jen and I (the lone representation for Velo-Bella Kona) woke up on Friday to black skies and drizzle. We drove to the course to find the weather even worse at 10,450 feet. The rain came dumping down with thunder rumbling every couple of minutes. At that point we didn't want to risk our lives to see the course. Luckily, a couple of hours later, the storm calmed down enough for us to sneak in a view of the second half of our loop. The course started on a 2 mile, 13 % road climb and turned onto a gravel road climb for another 2 ½ miles. Once the course turned into single track that is where the fun started and didn't end until the finish line. I loved this course. The only thing Noel, Jen and I were worried about was the high possibility of racing in 40 degree rain on some pretty slippery rocks and roots.

Race day came and I looked out the window to see brilliant blue skies 'yessss!' it was going to be a good day and I was ready to give it another effort as I felt like my fitness was good and my training was on track. I was able to climb with the top ladies up to the dirt road and then I started to drop off once we hit the gravel road. They were all still in sight until the course turned into single track. Usually I don't feel the most confident with my descending skills but this time I felt comfortable descending at high speeds. Everything felt on, my fitness was good, my descending was solid and I was in good position for a strong result and then the dreaded psssssttttttt sound came squirting through my rear tire. 'Noooooooo, not again'. This time I was a little more in control and was able to fix my flat in a reasonable amount of time. While changing my flat about 15 racers passed me which is always hard to stomach but what can ya do. Nothing except get back into the race. Even though everything didn't go as planned I had a fun race. This is by far one of the best courses that I have raced on. It was challenging but not to the point that you want to throw your bike of the cliff. Climbing through Aspen trees and traversing across a ridge are always great characteristics to any mountain bike race course. At the finish line my parents were there to greet me with smiles. I wanted a better result, especially since my parents were there to watch my race but I gave it my all. Next time.

I hate to say it but I should have listened to my husband. Right before the race I had my pep talk with Tom and he said "siz, you have to make sure you have enough air pressure in your rear tire if you have to use a tube, or else you are going to pinch flat!". I should have listened.

Jen and I drove back to Durango on Monday. We decided to spin our legs out after a 7 ½ drive back. I was so excited to show her the rim trail that overlooks the town and Animas River. I was flying around the familiar trails with Jen on my wheel. We dropped down into Horse Gulch (a popular network of in-town trails) on a fast rutted out trail. Next thing I knew Jen's front wheel was trapped in one of the ruts. She flipped over the front of her bike, fast and went down hard on her left shoulder. Luckily our friends rode by just as I was running up to see if she was okay. We needed a ride to the hospital.

I am writing this from our condo in Snow Mass and Jen is sleeping on the couch with a new titanium plate and 5 screws in her left clavicle. Jen had surgery yesterday afternoon by one of Aspen's renown orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Clancey. She is a tough cookie and she will get through the recovery to be back on the bike just in time for cross season.

The cross country race is this Saturday for one last attempt to place in the top ten. I am hoping that luck will be on my side and no mechanicals haunt me. At the same time I hope my legs feel as good as they did last weekend. I have to say I will be excited when the finals are over because that means I get to see Tom! We couldn't wait until the end of the Vuelta to see each other so I bought a ticket to fly over this Monday after the Snow Mass final NORBA races. It will be nice to be with him for a week before he enters one of the hardest bike races. He has been training relentlessly as he has been named the leader for the Vuelta. Tom has never let anyone down and I know it won't be a first this September either. Tom's determination is infectious and the time apart has slightly disintegrated that energy within me. Needless to say I am very excited to fly over to Spain and spend time with Tom in the Pyrenees. I will be there to support him and I can't wait for his pure talent and hard work ethic to shine this September in the Vuelta de Espana. Don't forget to cheer him on!

Till next time,
Kristin

The first time is always sweet

By:
Cycling News
Published:
July 19, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:56 BST

Here, there, everywhere is the story of my summertime life. No wonder my parents always say ‘we...

July 19 , 2006

Here, there, everywhere is the story of my summertime life. No wonder my parents always say ‘we can’t keep up with you’, I can barely keep up with myself!

My latest traveling saga started in Crested Butte, Colorado. I have always had a fascination with this appealing mountain town and it was hosting the 6th annual Wildflower Rush mountain bike race which is a part of the Mountain States Cup series.

I hadn’t planned on competing due to the fact that Tom and I had limited time to spend together. Thursday before the race, which was on Saturday, Tom mentioned maybe I should race. Since I often get my training advice from Tom, I couldn’t object. I pleaded with Tom to join me on the short outing but since there are really only two roads surrounding Crested Butte he had to turn me down. So off I drove; over Colbank pass, Molas Pass, Red Mountain Pass into the gorgeous ski town of Crested Butte. The course was perfect for me, long high altitude climbs through Aspen trees with easy fire road descents. I felt confident after my pre-ride and was ready for the race.

As the pro women blazed through the wild columbine, lupine and sunflowers I found myself battling for first with a strong woman. She was much stronger than me on the first lap and I kept losing sight of her. It always takes my body a while before my legs start to open up so I felt better on the second lap and was able to pass my mystery competitor and cross the finish line in first place. I was SO excited because this was my first victory as a “professional” racer. Later I found out that my mystery competitor is a very talented lady who currently is the Australian National mountain bike champion, Dellys Starr. I am happy that Tom suggested I race because I went into my next NORBA with a little more confidence.

After Crested Butte Tom and I drove to Colorado Springs, where Tom had sponsorship obligations with AMD. AMD also sponsors Nascar racing and some of the top Nascar racers joined Tom and Jason McCartney on a couple of rides combined with Chris Carmichael Training Systems. It was interesting to hear how other top athletes prepare for their particular discipline. Tom and I parted ways after the event was over. He headed back across the pond where he would be competing in the Tour of Austria. I headed to Denver to visit my parents.

Usually I don’t mind the drive back to Durango from Denver but that day I witnessed one of the most sickening scenes that a cyclist could view. As I drove from Pagosa Springs toward Durango, the Tour of Colorado was underway and hundreds of cyclists were on their last leg of the tour ending in Pagosa Springs. It was great to see so many cyclists of all kinds; kids, men, women, people on mountain bikes, older cyclist, you name it they were out there pedaling away. As I came upon stopped traffic I was praying that it was for construction and not an accident involving a cyclist. When a police officer on a motorcycle drove by my hopes of construction disappeared. When traffic was allowed to continue on, I drove past one of the saddest scenes that is now permanently imprinted in my memory. A cyclist was hit by a pickup truck and his body was covered with, what looked like, a blanket and his mangled bike was off to the side. I became so sick to my stomach that I almost had to pull over. Needless to say I was a wreck for days. I later read that he was 26 years old and lived in Albuquerque New Mexico (Ben Inglis, 26, of Albuquerque - Ed.).

That day reality hit me hard. I realized how incredibly precious our lives are and how it can all end in the blink of an eye. One of my teammates, Kim, gave me a t-shirt yesterday that says Life’s Short…..Enjoy the Ride! Now, more than ever, I appreciate the message that is printed on my new pink t-shirt.

Being home was nice. I caught up with friends and rode on the familiar trails around D-town before I had to hop in our black Subaru again. I sped to Park City, Utah for the 4th NORBA of the season. When I drove up to the condominium that we had for our Vello Bellas my jaw dropped. It was the most elegant condo that I have stayed in since I started racing. Not only were our sleeping accommodations first class we also had a personal chef, our team manager’s mother Judy. The weekend was a blast. Our whole team was in full force that past weekend and I realized how great it is to be apart of such a positive environment.

Before the start of our cross country race I received a text from Tom titled ‘Won it!!!!’. He had just won the Tour of Austria, his first European victory! I was so incredibly happy for him, I knew (everyone knew) he could do it. I went into my race motivated from the good news. Both of my races went well, I am so close to accomplishing my goal for the season. I am defiantly looking forward to the next NORBA races located near my hometown (relatively). Each Bella put in a solid race and more important than anything is, that we all had fun racing our bikes across Deer Valley Mountain ski resort.

I drove back home for one day to do my laundry and, before I knew it, off I was in the air flying to Sacramento California for the U.S. national race, located in Sonoma California. The Bellas pre-rode the course yesterday on our awesome Kona bikes. It’s going to be a fast and hot day today. The course is very wide open with rolling hills and much of our course is, oddly enough, on pavement. The temperature is supposed to be close to 100 degrees today so I better go down some more fluids. I was excited for today because I was going to be called to my start position close to the front line (due to my results at the past NORBA races) but I found out from our team manager, Alex, that they are calling up racers based on last years national race results, agghh…. I raced on the road last year so I will be called up, maybe, last woman. I know today I will have to fight pretty hard off that starting line to get up to the front but I’m up for the task at hand. Time to put my feet up, drink some Cyto and feel the butterflies flutter in my stomach until the national race is underway!

Till next time,
Kristin

Sugar Mountain short track

A highly-qualified support crew

By:
Cycling News
Published:
June 23, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:23 BST

I hadn't experienced the jet that sometimes serves that route but it sure beats the one hour ride in...

June 24 , 2006

I hadn't experienced the jet that sometimes serves that route but it sure beats the one hour ride in the propeller plane that I am use to - it took 37 minutes, last Tuesday morning, to fly from Denver to Durango. Tom and I had just arrived home to the usual crystal clear blue skies of Durango from our latest cycling quest. This time it was centered around me. Since I have traveled to many of Tom's races and training camps he decided to support me the past couple of weeks as I competed in the east coast NORBA races.

We tried to start our trip on Thursday before the cross country race at Sugar Mountain in North Carolina . We made it as far as the Durango airport before our flight was cancelled. Being a, sometimes, picky bike racer I started to get a little disgruntled as I had hoped to preride the course on Friday in attempts to tune up my nonexistent east coast technical skills.

We tried again on Friday, this time making it to Charlotte and then driving into the hills of Boone. As we rolled into Boone the sun was starting to set and it looked like I wasn't going to get that pre ride in that I was hoping for. Tom and I found our condo that was 2 minutes from the venue and started to unpack. Tom looked at me, as he put my mountain bike together, and asked if ‘it felt like I was in that seventies show?'. Our condo was straight out of that seventies show complete with orange curtains, white pleather chairs, a unique round hanging light decorated with yellow and orange diamonds plus more seventies memorabilia.

I decided to get up early and ride the course the morning of race day. It was great to get out on the deserted course; the morning air was crisp and woke my mind and body up for the competition. Later, when the announcement for the ‘women's pro staging' rang out over the microphone I felt the butterflies fluttering in my stomach. The national anthem was played and then we were off in a flurry of dust.

The course started on a long climb and I found myself climbing with some of the top women racers. Needless to say I was psyched to be there and wanted so badly to stay with these talented women but soon we entered the twisted roots of the east. My inexperience on such technical terrain was evident and I lost sight of the top ten. I rode the next 2 laps as smooth as I could trying to make up time on the climb and limit my losses on the descents. As I rode across the finish line Tom was there with a big smile and a congratulations.

The following day was the short track, all out suffering for 20 plus minutes. It was an intense race and I had a great time pedaling as fast as I could. Tom ran from one section of the course to the other cheering me on; this was after he trained for 4 hours up and down the infamous Beech Mountain that was once apart of the Tour Dupont Stage Race.

After a great weekend in North Carolina we traveled to East Lyme Connecticut and stayed with Tom's parents for the week before we headed to Mount Snow in Vermont . My preride on the Mount Snow course consisted of much time off my bike. This course was incredibly technical and difficult. The roots from the densely wooded land twisted in every direction winding through rock after rock. After 4 times around the slippery route I could clear almost all the sections and felt okay about the upcoming race.

I made it through the first race lap okay and headed for my second lap. I felt my frustration building from the course and by the third lap I was completely aggravated. I lost concentration and just wanted to get through the race. Tom was there, again, at the finish line with a smile and I was so irritated with my race that I took it out on him. After a few minutes of a small temper tantrum I got myself together and Tom was there to remind me that this was only my second race on the east coast and I can't expect to be a master on such difficult and unfamiliar landscaping. The short track followed a similar pattern to the previous week but it was 10 degrees hotter and more humid. The perspiration ran down my face during the short race and I loved every second of it.

After the last race on Sunday afternoon we packed up and went to sleep for an early morning rise. We had to drive to the Outdoor Life Network studios in time for a guest appearance by Tom for the Tour de France preview show. It was pretty fun to see Paul, Phil and Bob film their scripts. I couldn't believe how little retakes they had to do!

The time spent with Tom's parents was overdue and greatly cherished by all of us, especially by the proud parents of an outstanding athlete. At the same time I appreciated everything Tom did for me from handing me water bottles in the feed zone to giving me leg massages at night, he's a keeper. Although I would love for Tom to join me at every race he has much loftier expectations on his shoulders and needs to get back into a good recovery routine. Handing off water bottles after training isn't the best recovery for such extreme workouts.

We only have a week together before Tom returns to Girona and starts racing again. We won't see each other for 3 months, the longest time apart in a couple of years. It is always incredibly hard to say goodbye for that lengthy of a stretch but in the mean time we will visit our favorite restaurants hang out by the Animas River that flows through Durango and enjoy the time we have.

Till next time,
Kristin

Getting my head in the game

By:
Cycling News
Published:
May 27, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:56 BST

After a long month of traveling, I'm happy to be back home in Durango. My adventures lead me first...

May 27, 2006

After a long month of traveling, I'm happy to be back home in Durango. My adventures lead me first to the Tour de Georgia. Tom put in a great race, proving that he has improved his time trialing skills and is ready for all his upcoming races.

After the Tour de Georgia, Tom and I traveled to Italy where we met up with one of the Discovery Team directors, Sean Yates. We spent a week driving up and down the incredible switchback roads that are precisely situated among the Dolomite mountain range. When we approached a climb that had been designated apart of the Giro course Tom jumped out and off he went. Tom made the steep grades look easy as he pedaled a fast cadence and was barely breathing. Any other person would have been all over their bike just to get up the extreme roads.

I have to say Italy quickly became one of my favorite places in Europe. The small mountain towns were so beautiful and quaint. The roads among the mountains are so incredible. I can't get over how they even managed to build them. Or the towns for that matter.

After we finished Tom's reconnaissance of the Giro's climbs I headed back to Girona and Tom headed to Belgium. I was happy to get back to Girona as my training had suffered from spending much of the previous two weeks sitting in a car.

The road riding around Girona is great. I put in some long tempo road rides and there are so many various options and the weather was unbeatable. After a week of being in Girona by myself I was more than ready for my friend from Durango, Sarah, to visit. She speaks Spanish so she helped me get some errands done that I had been putting off due to my lack of Spanish skills. Next we were off to Madrid for our first World Cup.

I thought driving in Los Angeles was bad; try Madrid when the entire city roads are under construction! I was so fortunate that Sarah decided to race as well because I think I would still be on the highways in Madrid trying to find the course. At the race, we met up with my teammate Wendy (Simms) as she was planning on racing the next three weekends of World Cup races.

I have to be honest and say that my first World Cup experience wasn't what I expected. While pre-riding the course Sarah asked me “do you think I should lock out my fork for the entire race?” I had to laugh because I'm sure you could have raced on a bike with no suspension and have been fine.

On race day I lined up 99 th out of 115 and Sarah was right beside me in 109 th position. Wendy has had some great results already this season so she was a few rows ahead in 75 th . In front of me was sea of brightly colored jerseys and toned bodies. And everyone had her race face on.

The official counted down then we were off, racing to the single track. As we approached a steep short climb, inevitably, racers started to get congested and within five minutes of the race start we were off our bikes trying to get around one another. I became frustrated and the minute we were able to hop back on I wanted to pass as many girls as I could. I only brought knobby tires from home, so I felt confident that I could take the inside line on a corner and sneak past a few ladies. My confidence quickly disappeared as I took a digger trying my not so sneaky maneuver. By the time I got back onto my wobbly bike I heard the motorcycle behind me, ‘oh great' I thought. So for the next 5 laps I tried to pass as many racers as I could for such a short race. In the end I managed to pass around 30 racers and knew I had given it my best shot.

I don't know if I will return to that particular World Cup but I would like to increase the number of world cups that I participate in every year. I walked away from my first World Cup realizing that no matter what the race course is like or where the course is held you always have to put any negative aspects aside and focus solely on how to race your best race no matter what the situation is like.

Wendy, Sarah and I drove back to Girona after the race and spent a few days taking it easy with a trip to Costa Brava - eating at delicious restaurants and doing some road riding.

After traveling for a month I was more than ready to return back home to Durango. I had planned on racing in one of my favorite road races - the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. It starts in Durango and goes over two mountain passes into the small mountain town of Silverton. I planned to get back with enough time for my jetlag to wear off before the race but I didn't plan on getting bronchitis. My after-race cough turned into much more; it combined with the long travel day from Europe I was coughing nonstop when I finally laid down for some sleep. Although I am disappointed that I wont be able to partake in Durango's most talked about bike race, I will cheer for my friends who are going to race and I'm finally back on track with my training and finding some consistency after a month of being in inconsistent training situations.

Tom has agreed to go with me to the next two NORBA races - in North Carolina and Vermont. Since his parents live in Connecticut, we'll stay with them in between the two races and Tom will be back on his old stomping grounds. Tom returns back to Durango next week after racing in one of the hardest races, the Giro. He has been training unrelentingly for this race since November; so it was a huge disappointment when he came down with a severe cold on the first major mountain stage. He went from looking at a possible top 5 finish to just finishing. I felt so bad from him since I know how much time and effort he put into this race. Although he is pretty frustrated, nothing can take away his talent and he has plenty of time to get that top 5 finish.

Good luck to all the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic contenders I'll be cheering!

Till next time,
Kristin

Kula Lisa blues

By:
Cycling News
Published:
April 26, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:56 BST

I have never been in a mud-wrestling contest before the weekend of the Sea Otter Classic , but in...

April 26, 2006

I have never been in a mud-wrestling contest before the weekend of the Sea Otter Classic, but in Monterey I was matched up against Kula Lisa (my Kona 'Kula Lisa' ride). She won the first three stages, as I came out of the mud pit with chain ring scrapes and bruises up and down both of my calves, but during the fourth stage however, I came back, and we made up during the 36-miles of the cross-country race.

After three days in the mud pits, I was happy when Sunday arrived and we were able to ride our mountain bikes longer than one minute at a time. It was a diverse route with steep short climbs, long double track climbs, fast twisting singe track sandy descents and of course a few mud pits. I pedalled Kula Lisa as fast as I could and I realised how happy I am to be on the dirt again. Considering the world-class field that showed up for the competition, I was pleased with my finish and learned what I need to work on for future races. I came home with a fire burning as I feel like I just need to work on a few weaknesses before I reach my goals throughout the season.

As for all the entertaining ladies that make up Velo Bella, they were awesome. Our Velo Bella tent was by far the most fun tent set up at the Sea Otter venue. We had beats blaring, hips swivelling, hula hoops flying, bubbles floating, streamers streaming, glitter sparkling and bodies dancing. Best of all were the beautiful smiles beaming. The Velo Bella programme attracts such a fun group of women who want to combine fun with riding and racing. I love it, and I'm happy that I have become a part of it.

Sometimes inspiration arrives in various forms and throughout the Sea Otter races I found inspiration from so many different experiences; from all the Bellas to the competition. Seeing all the tanned, fit, lean ladies out on the courses makes me want to give it my all this season. I finally decided to compete in a world cup race this year and experience the highest level of racing. I'll be in Spain already so I thought ‘hey, Madrid is only a six hour drive from Girona, I might as well give it a go.' One of my very talented team-mates, Wendy, will be attending several of the World Cup races, so she'll be in Madrid sporting pink and blue at the starting line too. It will be nice to have a familiar face around in a foreign country. Since the Madrid world cup will be my next mountain bike race I'll be doing everything I can to prepare myself for such a fierce competition.

After Tour of Georgia Tom and I will travel together over to Europe where he'll be preparing for the Giro and I'll be preparing for the world cup. The peaceful farm roads that twist through the small European towns are calling my name. I love all the old stone farmhouses that stand tall in the middle of bright orange poppy fields. The long climbs that only Europe can provide will hopefully get my legs and lungs primed for my first world cup race. This will also be the first time for me to explore new trails that wrap around the Girona hills. For some reason I have a feeling that the trails are just as awesome as the roads in Europe.

Till next time,
Kristin

Author
Kristin Danielson

The long-time partner and now wife of Discovery Channel rider Tom Danielson, Kristin Danielson (nee Johnson) is a talent in her own right. Like her hubby, Kristin came from a background racing on fat tyres before recently making the transition to the road, and after a season with Ford-Basis, she'll be riding in Velo Bella-Kona colours in 2006.