Little Victories 01/29/2011
I can't believe we haven't posted anything for a such a long time. Shame on us! My excuse is that I had a pretty
bad virus and I was fighting the fever for a few days. I was out of training for a week and it felt like forever.
It's funny that only a week can screw you up to the point that you can lose so much of your motivation. Hopefully
I'll be good for the rest of the season and can fully focus on training and racing.
Winter is not my favorite time of the year for training especially living in upstate NY. I live for the racing as well
as the nice summer mountain bike rides at our local trails. Mike loves this time of the year and he is for sure the toughest. He rides his bike at night in the coldest weather after all day being at work and he comes back home with a big smile;kind of crazy! He has been super motivating to me. I know he enjoys the training part of being a racer
more then being a racer.
Weather has been pretty tough on us this year. We had a few reeeeaally cold days with temp well below zero ! Recently my hardest training has been shoveling the driveway and sidewalk from the snow because we had more snow in one week than all of last year. Well, there is always something for something; we have great weather for
skiing. I've been cross country skiing more than usual this year which is a nice change. I'm still not great at this sport and still trying to figure out my technique but I believe it's been a great work out. I have to admit that it sucks being always the last one whenever I go with bunch of people but I'm working on that:) I've been skiing with Scotty
a lot and he is just too good! HCG drops
Today was my first BIG ride outside and I started to be excited again, not in the beginning though... It's pretty difficult to get yourself "going" when you have 20pounds (20kilos)of clothing on your body and you feel like you
can barely move. You have to ask yourself "why are you doing this to your poor body?" after people yell at you
from their warm cars and you wonder how long you will be able to have a drink before your water bottle freezes.
Well, we got to Spier Falls and I "smelled" the spring and mtb biking because we ride up there in the woods and they are the most challenging trails so far for me and I got really excited just thinking about it. I strongly believe that you can enjoy mtb biking better when you are stronger and in better shape.
We have a tradition of "racing" to the town signs on the road rides and got my first 2011 " Little Victories" today! I beat Mike 3 times:) I am actually surprised but I can't wait to ride tomorrow again.
Stay warm and enjoy winter
Aleksandra and Mike
Merry Christmas!!! 12/24/2010
We would like to wish You a Merry Christmas, lots of peace, joy , love and many magic moments with Your family.
We hope that the New Year 2011 will bring everyone happiness, prosperity and lots of exciting days on the trail:)
November riding and planning 2011 11/22/2010
The fall seems to be flying by with Thanksgiving this week and winter right around the corner. Herbalife Aleksandra and I have been taking full advantage of being able to ride the trails with little or no mud which is super this time of year. The new trail "the backstretch" is killer with 3.5 miles of some really nice flowy everything. Thanks Dick and Dan for your visions that turn into some of the best riding anywhere.
Along with the casual riding, visiting with friends, and working on sponsorship stuff we have been maxed right out. Our plan for next year is to race all of the Nationals, Canada Cups, World Cups(aleks) and finish the season with Singlespeed Worlds in Ireland. A little scary to think about all of that travel, especially since my trips out to California, Texas, Colorado, etc are usually only 3-4 days long and are tough with the job and everything but its what I like to do so I can't complain.
I'm just looking forward to the training. Nothing gets me going like some good winter rides in the freezing cold with an adventure around every corner. The weekends are my favorite with daylight and no real curphew to be home. I've seen some of the most beautiful places on these rides with tons of cool memories and experiences. Yeah the summer rides are exciting but there is nothing like blowing down the backside of Lake Desolation in a snowstorm on the cross bike praying you're not going to end up in a snow bank. That road is pretty much a snowmobile rd in the winter and it's hilarious to see those guys looking at you when you're on a bike. They are like "Look at that crazy bastard". It's a nice feeling to have someone from lake D think you're nuts. So if anyone wants to join me just shoot me an email and we will make a plan.
As far as sponsors go for next year we are still working on that and should know very shortly. Last year worked out so well and was a giant stepping stone for 2011. Some advice for anyone seeking sponsorship. Start small and build relationships with people in and out of the industry. Sure results are important but so isn't a positive attitude and strong presentation of your sponsor. Enthusiasm goes along way with marketing people. I just wish it was the nineties when every pro rider had a new Volvo stationwagon and a tractor trailer to follow them to all of the races. Good times.
Below I posted some pics of our trail building heros.
See you on the trail
mike and Aleks
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you VERY much! 10/03/2010
The 2010 season has ended and we wanted to thank everyone for a great year. Mike and I believe it was a very important and successful season for both of us. Meeting new people and riding different parts of the country made it all very interesting. My goal for 2010 was top 10 at the US National Level in the Pro XCT series and ending up 8th place overall was better then expected. We are already planning the 2011 season and our expectations are higher then ever. Attending my first World Cup was a real challenge for me but has made me stronger and more experienced for next year. We are both looking forward to good training this upcoming winter.
First we'd like to thank everyone of you who keeps our blog alive and checks in regularly. Our one day record is over 500 hits which seems unbelievable but thats the power of the web. This is both very supportive and encouraging. So thank you very much for that!
We would like to thank our good friend Kelly Bedford for the best racing machines:) There is nothing else like custom titinium Bedford 29er. These bikes feel like full suspension when they need to and super stiff on the climbs. Spending so many hours on the bike you want something that fits and goes fast and nobody builds a better bike then Bedford.Thank you Kelly for the perfect bikes.
We would like to thank Verge for the best clothing and all of their support. It's a great feeling to look good:) but we love the quality of the verge product the most. There are really comfortable. Thank you very much to Kurt, Mike, Karolina, Mariola, Donald and rest of the team. You guys make us feel very special.
We would like to thank our great friend Greg Jackson who has been there from the beginning helping us with whatever we need. It's pretty crazy that we live in NY but our local shop is 8 hours away in Cleveland, Ohio. Thank you very much Greg, Kelly, the boys and everyone at Spin bike shop! We owe you bigtime!
We would also like to thank coach Ben Ollett who has been working with me for this year and second year with Mike. We are always saying: "if you keep improving, things are going in good directions" so we both are very thankful for having such a great coach with a great personality who understands not only cycling but life itself. Thanks Ben!
We also would like to thank to:
-the best lube company: Boeshield T9. Our chain is always very happy and quiet:) Thank you very much! We absolutely love it and will always be pushers of your product.
- Genuine Innovations for making the best tire inflators as well as the industry standard for CO2 cartridges. And also the best floor pump we've ever used. thanks!
- Gates Corporation for their generous financial support! Thanks for believing in cycling!
-Kingcage for Worlds best bottle cages. There is no need to say how great their cages are because if you ride a bike, you already know nothing comes close to the quality and the timeless design of a King cage. Your product is the best!
-Proline Nutrition and Barry who is always there to share his knowledge and understanding of the life of an athlete and what they need to stay healthy. Nutrition is one of the most important part of an athletes life and Barry really knows his stuff. Thanks Barry!
- Saratoga Water for the best tasting water on earth. We drink it everyday and have gotten a few people hooked. We have been drinking it for years so having them as a sponsor was perfect ) Thank you much we really enjoyed it!
- Handlebra- Ray who is more passionate then anybody. Thanks for supporting us and making the best handlebar tape to ever touch the human hands. Thanks Ray for your support and we are still waiting for that boat ride in your yacht!
-Daniel Sullivan - massage therapist who is always there for us 24-7 to work our sore muscles. Thanks Daniel! I'll still beat you playing cards ,though:)
Thank you for the great 2010 season! To our friends, family, sponsors and people just checking our website out:) Thanks for reading!
2011 will just be better, right?! So stay with us and see what happens. We will be working hard and having fun...this is what its all about. -love for riding. Hopefully we will have a full World Cup as well as National schedule to write about next year.
Enjoy Autumn and don't forget your bike is waiting for you before winter comes,
All best and BIG thanks,
Aleks and Mike
Women encourage women 09/12/2010
Just like I said before the Fall is the best time of the year. Leaves start to change colors and the weather spoils us with gorgeus sunshine and blue skies. Trails are in perfect shape and it's been so much fun to ride with different people. We are having some great riders here. Steve and Mark were Flying yesterday!
I had an amazing ride with the local ladies today at Luther Forest. It was a blast for me. We have a great group of women meeting every Wednesday in front of Blue Sky bike shop at 6pm to do the group road ride and it is a pleasure to join them from time to time whenever I can. Now that the racing season is over I will take advantage of as many social fun rides as I can. This brings me to my last minute ladies mtb get together that I organized the night before. With such short notice 8 girls showed up for what turned out to be a super fun saturday afternoon. I know that for some of the girls it was a looooong time since their last mtb ride. It was nice to see the support and even cheering for each other when there was difficult sections. Riding with women inspires me. Riding with husbands and boyfriends is fine but women truly know how to encourage other women and it was so great to see everybody happy today getting a taste of my favorite thing to do: riding my bike in the woods:)
So after a long racing season racing all over the US and Canada on some of North Americas most technical terrain I made it thru the season pretty well keeping myself in one piece. Great. Until today when I was riding talking with Amanda not paying attention... Bam Smack right into a tree and whacked my knee. So stupid. Luckily we had a nurse on board who unbelievably had ice packs in her car. Thank you, thank you Susan! Please come on all of these rides. I'm feeling much better now. Overall even with my big crash the day was a success and I'm looking forward to the next one.
Thanks to everyone that came and keep your mtb tuned up,
So now I know how it feels to get whooped:) I finished my first World Cup race in 41st place and for some people it seems really far away from the top girls but for me it feels really good. I raced against the best women in the world, which most of the them have been racing much longer than me and have worked all season for these two weeks with their peak this coming weekend at World Championship. I started from the back of the field in 66th place which puts you 2 minutes down automatically with so many girls up front. I never have great starts to begin with and especially when you have 70 girls in the front of you running through the wood with their bikes doesn't seem to exciting, so first lap was the toughest for me. After the first climb the traffic jam spread out and I could start to focus and ride my own pace. I felt good and passing some riders gave me some confidence which helped towards the end where I felt stronger. Our good friend Bryna also started towards the back where she had to endure the backup going into the woods. She finished her first World Cup strong as well and hopefully she comes back for more next year. I really enjoyed racing with Bryna this season.
I love big races with big fields of women. It's seem scary and I didn't know what to expect but I just wanted to make sure I did my best.That was the biggest race I've ever done and it was very exciting for me. I could see ahead of me around five riders and the same behind me through the whole race. There wasn't any break and any mistake can cost you a few spots.
I had extra super power from all the spectators and I felt really lucky. It was unbelievable how many friends were there and I'd like to thank everybody for cheering! Doesn't get any better than having people scream at you. I love that. Thanks again!
My biggest support came from Mike who was more nervous than me on Saturday and also Matt . Both of them were giving me water on the feed zones. Every time I rode next to Matt he was jumping around with excitment and I was wondering if he is going be able to stay still to give me water. It was really motivating and pretty funny because he was jumping so high that you could see him at the bottom of the climb. It was also a relief to know that both of them had extra sets of wheels for me but fortunately we didn't have to use them because a lot of people, especially in the men field, were getting flats. Thanks to my two favorite guys for all that support!
Next weekend is the most exciting race of the year- World Championships in Mont Sainte Anne Quebec. I'm looking forward to seeing the results almost as much as if I were racing. Canada is definitely my favorite place to race so far but I think going to World's you have to be at a certain level...hopefully I'll get there next year:) I keep my fingers crossed for both: Polish and American riders. My favorite is definitely Georgia Gould and I believe she is one of the leaders. I'm keeping my fingers crossed also for Marek Galinski-my favorite male rider who spent 10 great days with us and shared his knowledge and experience with us. We had a really good time and having him around was lots of fun. He placed 15Th in Windham and I think both Mike and I were more excited about his result than he was. Thanks for all your help Marek!
Our MTB season is going to slow down... Fall is coming and I look forward to ride colorful trails with the local riders and drinking red wine after on the porch. There is going to be more time to spend with friends and having fun at the SMBA trials not thinking about specific training. Both - Mike and I will race some cyclocross races without big expectations. I'm already thinking about my 2011 MTB season and the World Cup series which will make it a very busy year. But for now we both need some time home to relax. Saratoga Springs is beautiful in the fall.
Enjoy riding and feeling good afterwards,
Aleks and Mike
ps. I'll post some more pics soon. Pete is the best photographer ever and he took a bunch of them. Thanks for the loudest scream as well Peet-o! :)
Getting ready for the BIG ONE 8/22/10 08/22/2010
Its been a long time since we have updated our blog. Everyday I say I'm going to do it but then something comes up and I forget it for another day. Have to get better with this. Since Aleksandra has come back from Colorado we have done a few races around home. One of my favorites is Pats Peak which seems to have endless climbing and a really cool Mt Snow type downhill. I went with just Scotty this year because Matt and Aleks were still on there way back from Colorado. The field was pretty stacked like always there. Pats Peak seems to attract some really fast guys for some reason. With fast guys you have fast starts and this was no exception. I pushed super hard on the first hill hoping to gain some time on Jonathan Page, who was right behind me from the start. Trying to keep myself from blowing up I gained some time and had a nice gap. I stayed away for the rest of the race to take the W. It was a great day in New Hampshire.
The next race was Mount Snow 2 weeks later and we headed over with Matt as our driver. The weather was beautiful and the place was busy. For a local event the place had a lot of people and even a venue area. Chris and Jill that run the series do such a great job making sure these races entertain everyone. My parents came to watch with their new puppy and they were there for a total of about 20 minutes and some jerk off kicked them out because Mt Snow has "a strict policy on no pets allowed on the premises" FU Mt Snow. Your mountain sucks. Everything sucks about Mt Snow. Okemo, Stratton, Bromley, Magic and Killington blow that place away. Even the national MTB races have sucked the last few years. Anyway enough bad mouthing crappy ass mt snow. Aleksandra won the womens field, Matt got 5th, and I flatted twice and ended up 8th.
Somewhere in there we had the Powell family over for dinner. Seamus and his parents came to saratoga for a big dinner and we had such a good time. They are such easy going friendly people who have become our really good friends. Except when John forgot my feed at the Domarski Farm race. (no I haven't forgot)
I did have a few drinks but I didn't make them ride in the Land Rover, it was raining damn it.
The next race was the Mass state championships at the Hodges Dam venue in Oxford Mass. The race was long, flat but really bumpy. I was having daydreams about full suspension at this one. There was one section that bounced you around like a pinball machine. Seamus took off in the beginning and a few of us chased but couldn't catch him. I battled it out with mike Bartlett and Jon Foley until Foley faded and it was just Mike and I. With a lap and a half to go I had a nice crash which has been a typical thing for me this year. The same type of crash very frequently is my front end washing out. I have no idea why this happens but it happens before you know it. Anyway I crashed and ripped my rear brake off which sucked. I couldn't catch Mike who was only about 15 secs ahead of me by the time the race was over. It was a real sufferfest but always a good time racing against "famous Seamus" and the rest of the locals. My brother ended up 3rd as well and Aleksandra won again. Fun day.
The next weekend we had plans to do the Norcross Scurry race in Ashford CT but decided to stay home and do some training. I really liked that race last year but I am tired. Work has really picked up and with that and racing I have become a bit burned out. So we did some intervals on Lake D, rode some cool mtb trails and relaxed. A nice little rest that was much needed.
Bromont Canada was the next race this month and we headed up with Matt and Bryna on Saturday morning. This is our third trip to Canada this year together and this course was right on par with the other two. Awesome. Short punchy climbs and a really long downhill. In previous years this is the same course the World Cups were raced on. For me there is no better course and everyone else was really excited. We parked next to Mike and Mary who are always so friendly. They are travelling around until the World Championships with their camper loving life. Pretty low key though. No logos, decals, nothing. Both in their late 30's and still kicking ass. And ass kicking is what Mary did. I think she passed most of the men's field. Unreal. Aleksandra ended up 6th which she was not to pleased but I know she raced well with a really tough field. Both the Austalian, and New Zealand national champs were there as well as a bunch of fast Canadians. Bryna did awesome finishing 12th out of 30 starters which gives her even more UCI points (Terry will be really proud) I however dropped out due to sickness. I felt so bad. Thats about all that I can say about it. Puking and a disgusting feeling. I was in a pretty good position by lap 4 in the low 20's but I just pulled the plug. Its such a bittersweet feeling to drop out of a race. Maybe not bittersweet but a relief that your not suffering anymore but a mental overload of feeling like a failure. Sitting there getting myself together thinking I should of stayed in the race. Its funny that the 3 best courses of the year were in canada and they were my 3 worst days racing. Matt also had a bad day crashing so bad his rotor was mangled. You would never know it though. He is about the most positive person I know. Nothing gets him down. I appreciate that. All in all its really fun going to Canada and I enjoy going with our crew.
Now its time to get ready for the big one. Windham World Cup. Marek Galinski, who is currently the Polish National champion, is staying with us this week and riding the local trails. He has finished on the podium at several World Cups and once at World Championships. Racing professionally for 20 years on the mountain bike, road bike as well as the cyclocross bike he has tons of cool stories and loads of experience. I'll have some pics of our local rides this week.
See you on the Dam Trail or maybe the Blue Trail.
Mike & Aleks
Colorado- Day 3- Short track 07/30/2010
Very sorry for the long no show on the blog updates. Well, I didn't want to be dramatic on our website so I rather stay away from it for a while. I'm back. Things are not going always the way we had planned.
Starting with my Colorado trip. I was trying very hard to have a great race weekend and I guess I put little bit to much pressure on myself. I was fighting myself mentally but I felt like somebody sucked the life out of me because I had nothing in these legs . I should be happy with my season so far so Colorado was a great learning experience. Altitude is tough. The trip was great overall and I'm very happy I had great company, hanging out with Bryna and Matt. Bryna and I went for an outstanding breakfast on Sunday and after we went cruising around in the car exploring the beautiful Colorado Mountains. It was fun.
Short track was ...tough. I'd say super tough. You are going full speed all the time. That's how everybody described the World Cups...ouch, just felt that pain for 20 minutes and it wasn't that exciting for me. I just have to get faster:) Overall after 3 stages I ended up 13th and oh ...I think that's my second lucky number.
My biggest benefit from the weekend is talking with Georgia Gould and Mary McConneloug . Those two are my favorite top female riders and I admire them a lot. I love the fact that they encourage "small" riders like myself and give them advice, positive vibe and they share their experience. Georgia gave me the best "Pep talk' and I appreciate that more than anything. She is definitely one of the biggest talents in women's MTB history.
I had a pleasure to meet Phil who design great KOOBI saddles and gave me one to try it out. He also had a tent and he worked on my bike so I could feel like real Pro. Super nice and generous guy. I tried new saddle and it's really comfortable. Thanks Phil!
Matt and I went to Boulder on Monday to relax a little bit. I like it up there. I like the open main street with no traffic and plenty of outside dining. That's one of the things I miss about home. Places where all the people chill out and you are always running into some friends. I like to observe happy people relaxing, having good food. We also went to a great bike shop. University Bicycles was were I couldn't take my eyes from all the old school hanging bikes (check it out some of them below) I just love old bikes. We also went to Pro Peloton Bike shop and chatted it up with the nicest crew up there. I like those guys.
So after a long day and almost all night travel I got to home, sweet home. Next day was unpacking,putting bike together, cleaning everything in a mad dash because I was supposed to go to Europe the next day for Polish Championship and Champery, Switzerland after that. I was super tired but even more excited. My first World Cup race and my missing Poland and most of all my ego planning to put lots of effort in my upcoming races. I was dreaming about it. Oh well, we got to the airport and my flight was delayed and I wouldn't make an international connection. Lady behind the counter was a real b... and it made even more angry. They wanted send me in the next available flight but I would miss couple of days and made it to Poland the day before the race. I just gave up. I was already tired after my traveling from Colorado. Flying to Poland twenty something ours and after drive 2,5 hour to the race venue to Pre-ride the course. Oh I forgot about making sure my bike gets there the same day. It would of been too much. So I stayed. Good idea or not...who knows I suffered my own way. I just wanted to race.
Good thing, Mike and I spend that great weekend celebrating his birthday and going away to Vermont to our favorite places. I also surprised him with new Kelly's Bedford cross frame. We went to see Kelly and I told him I needed some touch up paint for my bike. So we walk in and there is this SWEET white frame hanging and Mike is : " Wow that's HOT" and Kelly is "it better be hot because it's yours MF". I wish I took a picture of Mike's face. I love surprises:) Thanks Kelly. Just like I say I'm back. Training hard for Windham which will be my first World Cup. I hope most of you can be there. I keep my fingers crossed for American riders. I know how it is to travel to Europe and it will be interesting to see European riders to deal with the time difference and long distance of travels. Hope Georgia Gould will wins!
Have fun riding in this beautiful weather. Couldn't be any better.
See ya, Aleks
Colorado-Day2-Cross country 07/11/2010
Well, not much to write about, other than the fact that I feel like I did my best. It wasn’t my best race thoughL I placed 14th. I just couldn’t breathe and I had to take it easy even when I didn’t want to, my lungs didn’t work the way I wanted. I had a bad start and I tried to close up to the leaders group after which I just blew up completely. I didn’t know what was going on but my legs where dead and I had some serious trouble breathing. I had to back off and get myself under control and every time I wanted to push harder it was the same thing…pretty frustrating… At least I can say I am proud of my technical ride today. My result is not the one I was hoping for but I know I tried. I really liked the course and I felt really good on every rocky section and descents… Oh well, elevation got me this time.
Bryna had a good race and she was pretty close behind me but she had similar trouble as me. Mattie was 4th . He crashed pretty hard and had to go to medical help to clean up his leg. Tough one.
Tomorrow is the short track. I’m planning on wining my own battle, fighting the weakness J I need my confidence back because it’s hurting L
I keep my fingers crossed for Mike and Scott tomorrow at Pats Peak! Good luck!
Have fun riding,
Colorado-Day 1 - Time Trail 07/10/2010
It wasn’t my best race but I guess I should be happy and I have a chance to show some better form tomorrow. I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike today. I like to spend more time pre-riding the course, especially if it is such a short race and every second counts. Oh, well I wasn’t proud of the rocky section and I tried to make the time up on the second part of the single track. I was going pretty fast and didn’t make one of the turns and flew off the trail, oops. I should be happy that I wasn't hurt and I finished in 15th . Forgot that it is not east coast with our sticky ground, it’s pretty loose here so I’ve had my lesson for today. Have to be more careful.
Matt was doing great and caught up to the guy in the front of him. I guess he was doing the same mistake as me and crashed pretty hard. We are not sure how he did overall… you know Matt, he loves to go to races and talk to all the people and I think he forgets hes even racing. He is like a kid going from vendor to vendor getting FREE stuff, jumping for joyJ He almost missed his start. UCI representive was calling him up 4 minutes before the starts but Matt was chatting with people, showing up on the start line 15 seconds before the start with a BIG smile and saying “it’s perfect timing”, angry UCi representive didn’t even say anything.
Bryna was 17th and she didn’t like the elevation too much. It’s hard to breathe. Enough talking about crappy race day…We actually had a good time during the day exploring the area. We went to see Gardens of God and it was beautiful. Check it out some pictures below. There is always a good think about traveling to the races, you always see new places and I love that.
Keep your fingers crossed tomorrow. It’s always helpsJ