February 5, 2012/ Michael
The excitement is building here in the Parker house, with two weeks to go before the start of Bike Sebring. This will be Maria’s second trip to Sebring. Last year she rode her old Silvio in the 12-hour drafting event, and ended up with a second place finish to Jacquie Hafner and a close-knit drafting team of Bacchetta riders led by John Schlitter. This year, Maria will compete in the 24-hour non-drafting event, winning or losing on her own performance. She told me that she is not doing this race for Cruzbike, Inc., but for herself. Since Maria has never ridden longer than 12-hours, the 24-hour race will be a great personal challenge. Maria is the fastest woman alive in a 12-hour non-drafting event. The big question is: can she make the leap to the 24-hour race? Personally, I’d love to see a good clean race between the best ladies in the business. We’ve heard through the (Facebook) grapevine that Jacquie has been preparing for the 24-hour race, and for RAAM. I’m hoping Jacquie will do the 24-hour non-drafting race, too. And of course, I hope Sandy Earl will be defending her course record. I predict people will be talking about this race for years to come. This year Maria will be riding a Vendetta rather than a Silvio. She has also changed her training routine, actually logging far fewer training miles than last year. Maria has never had a cycling coach before now. You might be surprised to hear that her coach, Jim Verheul , lives 3000 miles away and is a Team Bacchetta rider. We met Jim (“JV”) at the Recumbent Convention in California in October. JV actually took a Vendetta for a few laps around the test track at the convention. Maria hired him to be her long-distance coach a few months ago because he’s very knowledgeable about cycling performance and we wanted to support people who work in the recumbent industry, even if they ride a different brand of bicycle. So how does transcontinental coaching work? Maria records her workouts on a Garmin Edge unit and uploads the data over the internet. JV can then analyse the workout and make recommendations. The workouts are relatively short and intense compared to what she’s been doing in years past. Hopefully the training will pay off with a great performance. And one more fairly big change… we are using the new SipStream hydration system on the Vendetta. The bottles can be changed out quickly and you can drink almost effortlessly through a hose. We’ll let you know how that works out on race day. After that, what’s next? The flat course at Sebring really doesn’t showcase the greatest strength of the Vendetta, which is climbing ability. I’ll be looking for some other venues that have some hills. We had great success at the hilly Texas Time Trials last summer, but that’s a long trip from here in North Carolina. Racing is exciting, but what we’d really like to do for a change is just some plain old touring. We’re thinking about doing the “FANY” ride (Five-hundred-miles Across NY) in July, probably on Silvios. Happy Cruzing.