Carlsbad Grand Prix

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Trina Jacobson ©Jim Wolf

The Race

The Carlsbad Grand Prix is a new race on the SoCal calendar, and I hope it’s here to stay. The promoters, Swami’s Cycling, did a great job on the course; gathering vendors and a live band; and prize money, especially for the women.  The course itself isn’t very technical with it’s eyeball shape, but the cross wind through the start-finish area added an element of planning for position going into the last corner.

The fifteen women that lined up on a picture-perfect day were looking forward to a good race…but dreading what “that pro” might do to us. That Pro is Amber Gaffney (Optum); she climbed the ranks quickly in SoCal, leaving ripped-off legs in her wake. My teammate, Pam Schuster, and I only had a plan to be in every move because we knew that Gaffney, Revolution/Zoca’s Jo Celso, and Catalyst Racing’s Erin Gunn would want to create a break to increase their odds of a win. I know Celso and Gunn’s MO firsthand from training races on the velodrome, and they know approximately how many matches I have. Sure enough, the attacks from Revoultion/Zoca and Gaffney started coming. Pam and I followed or jumped with each one. Surprisingly, I was able to go with more than a few, and a few back to back. No one got away, but the field was split from the repeated surges, especially Gaffney’s, because when she jumps, she is on the throttle longer than the local women. I definitely went into the pain cave a couple of times! In the final two laps, I saw Revolution/Zoca line up with 2 leading Celso out, but I remained patient. Pam checked in with me, I told her what I needed, which was an odd feeling to be telling a veteran with championship stripes like Pam what we’d do. Leading into the last lap, the speed picked up a little and everyone was watching Amber Gaffney.  When she finally jumped, Angelica Frayre of Calimax p/b Pista Palace was right there and Pam slotted in with me right behind her. Rounding the last corner, things shuffled again and then a hole opened up for me to shoot through – Gaffney on my left and Celso on my right. I went straight for the right side of the road so no one could take advantage of my draft in the cross wind and for the shortest line. I took it all the way to the line–you never know!–all the while putting on the gears. I was able to hold off the field for the win! The remainder of the podium:

2 – Jo Celso (Revolution/Zoca)

3 – Erin Gunn (Catalyst Racing)

4 – Pam Schuster (SC Velo/InCycle)

5 – Hannah Swan (Strive Racing)

  Personal Satisfaction

This was our last race of the season, so it made delivering a win all the more sweet. I personally haven’t enjoyed a win in over a year, but I was OK with that going into this race because I’ve done a lot of work this season on learning other roles on a team: I was able to deliver bottles and shelter my teammates from the wind in a road race; I helped teammates get into breaks and watched them win; I was a pseudo-mom on a road trip; and I’ve experienced high level racing with women who share my passion.

My only goal this season was to no longer be a one-trick pony and I wasn’t quite sure if I’d attained that goal until Gaffney said during the race, “Wow, Trina, you’ve become quite the worker!” right before someone put in another massive attack. A lap later, I thanked her while my ego did a happy dance from receiving such a compliment from “that pro.”

Thank Yous

A big thank you goes out to our sponsors!

  • Southern California Velo

  • InCycle Bicycles

  • Cannondale Bicycles

  • IRT Wheels

  • JL Velo Clothing

  • Smith Optics

  • Gu Energy Nutrition

Brentwood Grand Prix: Taking Steps

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Brentwood Grand Prix: Taking Steps

by Trina Jacobson (SC Velo/InCycle)

I don’t think it’s a secret that the team hasn’t had the same level of success this year as in years past, and – as with most things – we know that there will be ebbs and flows in who the dominating team is. Knowing and dealing with the situation of it being an “ebb year” can be two different things. Throughout the season, SC Velo/InCycle has made great showings, and made it to the podium several times, including a win at Ladera Ranch Grand Prix, but the consistency and the teamwork has taken all season to improve and we feel it all came together last Sunday at Brentwood Grand Prix.

It’s been frustrating on a personal level to have a personal “ebb year,” too, which has affected my confidence on race day. Additionally, when my confidence is low, my decision-making isn’t on point, and I have been guilty of racing out of impatience, frustration, and trying to force a particular situation. So, going into Sunday’s race, despite it being the state championship, I wasn’t champing at the bit to get out there. I wasn’t expecting anything except a hard race.

Perfect.  The self-pressure was off.

I absolutely love the course because it’s technical enough to keep you on your toes and provides a great spectating venue, and Velo Club LaGrange did a great job of gathering cash (equal prize money and two $500 primes!!) and prizes (what lady doesn’t like a dozen roses?).

My teammates Pam Schuster, Holly Breck, Becky Siegel, and Tammy Wildgoose lined up at the start with me and I got nervous. I focused on being in THAT moment and the nerves went away because it’s a different year (I crashed out in the last lap last year) and I was prepared (I’ve done the work to be confident in my abilities).

Throughout the race there were several cash primes and several solo riders motivated to create a break that kept the pace high. The team felt strong enough to go for some of the primes, including Holly’s $500 win! I was only concerned about by abilities once during one of Katie Donovan’s (NOW and Novartis for MS) monster attacks that strung the entire field out single file. After surviving that one, and then others by Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (Team TIBCO II) and Joy McCulloch (CashCall Mortgage), I knew I’d be ok for the finish as it was closing in on the final laps.

My determination was bolstered hearing my friends cheering from the sidelines – I usually don’t hear ANYTHING unless I’m pretty fit – and by seeing my teammates race like true champions.

In the final lap, I saw Helen’s Racing gather and my teammates shuffled a little bit, requiring me to make a decision on which teammate to follow. Unfortunately, I chose the left, which pinned me along the barriers on the inside of the “Brentwood Bend.” It was my first time getting pinned like this, and as Suzanne Sonye opened her sprint, I yelled as I just didn’t want her to take me INTO the barriers. I had to slow my roll and go around her on the other side, which scrubs a lot of speed, but I held on to tie with Melina Bernecker (Primal Pro Women P/B BH) for second.  Teammates Holly Breck and Pam Schuster finished 5th and 7th thanks to the hard work Becky Siegel did in the last lap.

We raced as a team, raced patiently, and raced with confidence; and the reward was a podium spot at a championship event  alongside some of the fastest and toughest women in Southern California. It wasn’t the top step, but it was an important step for the team.

Arrrgggg….that was hard by Trina Jacobson

 

Arrrgggg….that was hard by Trina Jacobson

Arrrgggg….that was hard by Trina Jacobson

Arrrgggg….that was hard by Trina Jacobson

 

Back in October I had this to say about spending time in the hills: I was mostly prepared for [a hilly] ride and had a new perspective on why I should spend some time in the hills: Every time I do something, it becomes more familiar. As something becomes more familiar, the stresses and fears subside. As the stresses and fears subside, the real work begins.

 

Well, I have been climbing more, but I was still stressed about the San Luis Rey Road Race. My friend snapped a photo of me at the start line where you can see the stress oozing out of my ears.

 

As the race started and the group made the descent safely and together, my fears subsided despite the presence of the lithe climbing legs of Jessica Cerra, Xterra national champion; Julie Cutts, repeat podium appearances; and Tracy Tilton, recent Vleeshuis Road Race winner. Then, reality set in and that reality is that I am no climber, so what does a non-climber do in a road race that finishes on a hill? The answer used to be: ride as conservatively as possible, hold on as long as I can on the climb, and drop anchor as soon as the peloton was out of sight. Now, the answer is: everything possible for the team.

 

Before the race, team captain Pam Schuster laid out a simple plan to help teammates Becky Seigel and Jenny Rios as much as possible. No other specifics were given, but I knew I’d figure it out when something happened in the race.

 

Nothing much happened in the first lap and I was still concerned about the climb at the end of the lap. When we finally reached it, everyone was a little anxious to see who would control the climbing pace but I was able to stay with the group half way up. Then, there were a few surges in the pace which promptly spit me out the back. No surprise…it’s happened before. Just ahead I could see 2 riders, so I kept them in sight the rest of the way up the climb and after making the U-turn I caught up to them and the 3 of us worked together to get back on.

 

I thought as we arrived, “We got back on! Ok, I’m good, I have bottles full of Gu Brew, I have Gu Roctane. Drink. Check on Becky!”

 

I figured out what my job was. Going through the feed zone can be chaotic and this feed zone is right after a U turn and just before a descent, so it can be extra chaotic (I’m not sure as I was never with the group when I got to it). So, I took Becky’s empty bottle and gave her my full bottle knowing it’d be easier for me to take a feed alone and off-the-back than it would be for her in the group. Then I went to the front to ride in the wind. If I’m there, then Becky, Pam, or Jenny didn’t have to be.

 

I did this 4 times: checked on teammates, rode in the wind, covered a few moves, got dropped on the hill, got back on – GOT BACK ON!

 

The 3rd time up the hill Becky was up front and in the wind, so I went up there to get in front of her and found myself on the font going up a hill (what the….?!). I had to make this good, so I rode at a steady but super uncomfortable pace in the hopes that it was just enough to deter those climbers from putting in any attacks or if they did, it’d have to be harder than they were comfortable with. When we hit the steeper section, I blew, but I felt great about my race to that point, so I wasn’t at all disappointed. I even got back on after that to be of some help in the flats.

 

My teammates all made the top ten, with Becky in at 6th. The last lap was pretty miserable for me, but I kept pedaling and I finished. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden that hard for that long…ever. I had all kinds of aches, pains, and general crankiness in the days following, but I have a lot of pride in being able to help my teammates in a road race.

 

After hearing my story of the race, someone made the analogy to Jens Voigt. I do NOT claim to be anywhere as hard as The Jens, but I did reply, “I didn’t have to tell my legs to shut up because I didn’t hear them.”

 

 

Trina Jacobson is tired, lives in San Diego, and coaches with Crank Cycling. Her racing team is SC Velo/InCycle.

 

 

 

Trina Jacobson-Velo Allegro Saint Patrick’s Day Crit

Velo Allegro Saint Patrick’s Day Crit  By Trina Jacobson

Velo Allegro Saint Patrick’s Day Crit
By Trina Jacobson

Velo Allegro Saint Patrick’s Day Crit

By Trina Jacobson

 

This is my third attempt at writing a race report; the other two were epic failures because I raced myself stupid yesterday. It’s a miracle I found my way back down the coast to San Diego. Today, I thank the Good Lord for my safe arrival and smart phones to find the nearest Chipotle to the race course.

 

Last night I stared at the blinking cursor wondering what “cadence” it blinks at, then when I realized I was just staring, I typed a few incoherent sentence-like lines of words. When I read those lines this morning, I felt as if I were in Bizzaro world where nouns became verbs and verb nouns.

 

I’m in a very lucky place in my cycling life where I can sometimes enter more than one category on race day because of my age and category. On this day, I had my choice of 4 races at the Velo Allegro Crit as I was eligible to race the Men’s 45+, Women’s 1-3, Men’s 35+, or the Men’s Pro 1-3. I entered 3 races: the Women’s, the 35+, and the Men’s.

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I Don’t Do Dirt by Trina Jacobson

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I Don’t Do Dirt by Trina Jacobson

 

I’ve said this more than a handful of times over the past 6 months. It seems the cyclo-cross scene has exponentially grown in Southern California and I was asked several times why I don’t do cyclo-cross. I don’t because I’m mostly burned out from a road season. We start in January and my last race was in August. It’s a long, long, long season and a very, very, very short off-season. I did, however, watch and encourage my son during a weekend of ‘cross in San Diego. You can read about it here.

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Two more to consider-Gift Guide #12

By Trina Jacobson

1.       Small food processor/smoothie blender

The topic of nutrition usually comes in the same conversation as fitness; you can’t really have one without the other, yet I find myself slacking in the eat-your-vegetables department. My primary excuse is a lack of time and my secondary excuse is a lack of proper food prep tools. The Ninja Kitchen System Pulse speeds up food prep time without taking up half of the counter in my tiny kitchen, provides a fun and easy way to make smoothies that even my preschooler will drink, and has a very cool name: Ninja! The compact size lends itself well to the travelling cyclist, keeping nutrition as similar as possible to when you are home. (options vary; $79.99-$169.99) www.ninjakitchen.com

2.       Supportive but stylish flip flops

I’ve witnessed people shell out the cash for bikes, wheels, shoes, custom insoles, ergonomic saddles all in the pursuit of high performance, but roll up to race registration or group ride start in flatter-than-Kansas flip flops which offer no support and no relief after the ride is over. Post-event recovery begins the moment you unclip with nutrition and rest, including providing your feet, ankles, knees, and back relief if resting in the horizontal position is hours away.  The Orthaheel Tide Sandal for women is a supportive sandal cute enough to wear with a sundress to that post-race dinner with the team. The Orthaheel Kinetic Sandal for men has a sporty look to go with all of the support that Orthaheel is known for. ($59.95, $69.95 respectively) www.orthaheelusa.com

I kicked my butt by kicking a cushion

I kicked my butt by kicking a cushion by Trina Jacobson

For me, off-season is a time for me to work on some deficits in my cycling, improve upon what I accomplished in the past season, and spend time with my family. I also take the opportunity to try or do things I wouldn’t consider during the season for fear of injury or, let’s be honest, just fear.

I came across a special at the MMA Academy in San Diego and it happened to be in the same parking lot as my office, so I purchased it with the intention of going to the general fitness class for cross training. Once I visited the studio, I decided to try a level 1 krav maga class. Krav maga is a system of defensive tactics used by the Israel Defense Forces and taught to law enforcement agencies across the US.  I’ve never taken any kind of martial art or self-defense, so I didn’t know what to expect.

After getting a quick lesson on wrapping my hands and wrists for protection (protection against what, exactly?!), I was warming up with the small class. OK, so far, so good. I can jog around a room. Then the class began and when it came time to throw my first punch at a cushion, I giggled. Seriously, I giggled in a self-defense class. I got nervous and I felt awkward, especially throwing a punch with my left. Good grief….! So, I did what I do when something at home or on the bike is nerving, I bring my focus in and tell Princess Trina to take a nap because Badass Trina needs to get some work done.

By the end of the class I was sweaty from punching, kicking, and rolling around on the floor and I liked it. It was a little primal. The next day I was sore in new places and had bruised knuckles.

Not everything I do needs to have a direct application to my cycling, but while I was kicking the cushion my partner was holding I realized I was making explosive movements much like a jump to make a break or to initiate my sprint. I also noticed that it takes a lot of focus and quick reflexes, which comes in handy when flying around on two skinny tires with a pack of other cyclist.

If there aren’t any other physiological carry-overs to cycling, I’m ok with that, because at the very least, I have a better understanding of how my body moves and works and it’s not as awkward as I thought.

 

Trina is a mom, has too many v-neck t-shirts, and is an associate cycling coach for Crank Cycling in San Diego, CA.

 

 

 

Hibernation and Motivation

 

Hibernation and Motivation by Trina Jacobson
Once the clocks roll back and it’s dark before I leave the office, I find myself wanting to hibernate: more layers of clothes, more comfort foods, and less activity. It’s a constant battle between what evolution dictates and what my cycling goals dictate. In addition, this time of year seems to be jammed packed with extra-curricular activities that syphon off training time, like shopping for bigger pants to accommodate a few pounds of winter weight gain.
I’ve become stressed out about maintaining a certain level of fitness so that I’m not starting from square one when it’s time to ramp up the intensity for next season which is quickly approaching. Racing for a new team and having some new goals adds to the pressure to not suck wheel.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I sat down and wrote a training plan for myself and I’ve already miserably failed to follow it and I don’t even have anyone to discuss it with! I know all the benefits of having a coach, but yet I don’t have one. Let’s look at why I will benefit from having a coach.
Motivation: I’ll procrastinate long enough that I constantly feel like I’m starting over, or feel like I’ve got to “make-up” lost training, which can be detrimental to overall fitness. With someone else checking up on what I’m doing, I try harder to make it happen.  [Read more…]

Too Much Fun by Trina Jacobson

 

Too Much Fun by Trina Jacobson

This past weekend was the San Diego Cyclocross Weekend in Balboa Park in and around the velodrome: 2 days of racing on the same course which started and finished on the velodrome. I didn’t race, but part of me wished I still had a cyclocross bike just for this weekend. The other part of me was sweating in the shade.

Spectators

Since it’s free entertainment and we have several friends that are competitive in cross, I loaded the family in the car and we headed down. My son was totally confused as to why we were going to a race that I wasn’t racing. He was further confused as we arrived at the track without my track bike. We found our friends, hung out, and watched some awesome single speed racing while eating a spicy crab sandwich from the food truck. My Bad Mommy Moment of the Weekend came when the announcement for the kidddie race came; we didn’t bring my son’s bike. He was devastated and only fast and furious swinging at the playground could possibly make up for my error. I missed most of the Elite Men’s race, but we got to catch up with out of town friends on the way to the car.

Sports Mom

Sunday was the second day of racing of the weekend and I wanted to be sure my Little Man got to try cyclocross out. After a ride on the trail-a-bike to make sure he was warmed up for his race, my sneaky way of getting an on-the-bike strength session in for myself, we headed down to Balboa Park. My munchkin practiced riding in the grass and the dirt; he practiced the transition from pavement to dirt and back up to pavement. With his helmet and racing sunglasses on, he was ready for the big race after a few skids.

My heart was in my stomach watching all of this: the kids started on the velodrome above the sprint lane and Ray got a little cocky and followed the helper kid almost up to the blue line. He clipped a pedal, but thankfully, he stopped and put his foot down on the right side. As he stood there in turn 2, I sprinted across the infield to his rescue, all the while video recording this because apparently I don’t know a pause button from a record button. Someone else got to him first and helped him down to the apron and set him on his way. He re-started his race like he was being shot out of a cannon! He railed the left hand corner to the dirt like an expert and did a little bunny hop over the concrete lip. Next came the barrier: he rode right up to it, got off his bike, asked Dad for some help, and he climbed over. Once over, he hopped back on his bike and took off again, making the dirt-to-concrete transition flawlessly. He rounded the bend of the track and finished strong. He held the lead and won his first cyclocross race!

He was coughing with is first case of track hack when I found him near the podium, so I gave him the water he asked me to hold for him. As he drank the water, I thought, “Being a Sports Mom is pretty cool.” The podium was also a new experience for him, and he didn’t like everyone making a bid deal out of it, so in the photo he’s pouting. After he came down, he said, “Mom, I didn’t like that part because it was TOO much fun.”

More Cowbell!

After the kiddie race, we found our friends and my Little Man went back to being a typical 4 year-old and played with sticks, until we found a cowbell. Then, he was the master cowbell ringer at the double barriers. Between riders, he drank his celebratory beer (root).

It’s good to let go of my own agenda and let the day take me and my family where it wants to go. It’s amazing to see my son experience and learn new things as quickly as he does. I take great pride in being a good role model in the cycling community, but I take even greater pride in raising a child who isn’t afraid to try new things, who is pretty good at using his words, and who enjoys a good cowbell.

Them Thar Hills

Them Thar Hills by Trina Jacobson

I came to the realization that I have never actually completed a true off-season; I’ve never really done base miles and I’ve certainly never done any rides longer than 4 hours or any rides with sustained climbs. Here I was feeling smug that “I’ve tried it all” this season and call myself a roadie, but yet I avoid going to the hills.

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