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Suze Woods - A Letter Home
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 7/8/2002
Suze Woods - A Letter Home
 

Suze Woods is keeping a journal of her American campaign and sending them along to the daily peloton. Currently, she is following one of her favorite quotes as she races the local Pro races in Idaho, "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." She is getting her fair share of American culture and making friends in Idaho.

Watch for Suze next week in the Cascade Classic Stage Race in Bend, Oregon a 4 day stage race with $21,500 total purse. Miss Woods is now racing in the Phil Meador Gate City Grind in Pocatello Idaho and is in a great position to rise to the podium.


Hi everyone,

Hope everything is well in New Zealand and the winter is not to cold and wet.if it's any consolation we raced this morning in a lightening storm with a little rain, but it was still about 25C, so it was actually quite fun!

Well I've been here in the States for nearly a month now, and its been kind of crazy, traveling, racing etc so sorry all for the lack of emails/race reports. You'd think that there would be heaps of spare time but it seems to go. It's been heaps of fun though and a lot of hard racing..16 days of racing so far!

The HP Women's Challenge was fantastic - its all kind of 9 days of blurr now.I'm still working on the race report! I was reasonably happy with my result, had a couple of bad days which I guess is expected in 9 days, finish 35th on GC so was stoked with this for my first attempt.

Gary arrived for the last couple of days of the Women's Challenge, so it was awesome to have him cheering us on. After the HP Gary and I headed out of town on a camping trip, had an awesome time and saw some amazing parts of Idaho. I made Gaz ride some of the big climbs of the tour while I followed behind in the car! I've also competed is some local Idaho races..some race reports below for those who are interested!

At the moment I'm in Pocatello, Idaho competing in a 2 day tour - the "Gate City Grind." I had a 10 mile time trial this morning and race a criterium this afternoon. Next week I leave Idaho for Oregon to race in the Cascade Classic in Bend. Most of the big teams should be there so I'm looking forward to some more hard racing. I'm racing in this event for a team called Lost River Cycling. It's a small local Boise team, but they pay my US$90 entry fee and give us clothing and transport to the race so I'm really happy!

OK. hope all is well. keep sending me the NZ gos.I surely miss NZ, never thought I'd say this but looking forward to eating some good NZ veges again, there's so much junk food here and the coffee.boy the average American would put even the best Wgtn café go'ers to shame... but everyday and race is a new adventure.

Take care

Suz

RACE REPORTS

BOISE RIVER SPIRIT RACE - 27th JUNE - BOISE IDAHO

Its five says since the HP Women's Challenge finished.the longest race of my life - 860km in 9 days. Rather than follow the National Racing Circuit which has now headed across America to Boston and then Ohio I've decided to stay in Idaho and recover from the HP and compete in the local scene for a couple of weeks. It would be great to follow the big teams but the cost of flying backwards and forth across America is heaps, not to mention the logistics involved in finding transport and accommodation!

The Boise River Festival is held every year at the end of July and is a carnival weekend based around Boise's river, with lots of stalls (mostly yucky American food.such as bags of popcorn the size of children), concerts in the parks and parades. The local cycling club makes use of the roads which are closed early on Saturday morning for the annual River Festival Parade for a circuit race. It's a tight 3.5 mile loop with one small (100m long hill), the women race 7 laps.

The 3 mile bike from where we are staying to the race is spectacular.approximately 70 hot air balloons are floating above the city, everything from bus shaped ones to cow shaped ones!

The women race with the masters, so it's a big field of around 60 riders, I'm warned to stay near the front. There's a fair but of action during the race, one attack after another.I give a few attacks ago and chase down a few more, the legs definitely aren't quite there yet! There's a big crowd watching.most I guess have come to see the parade after the race, but they cheer us on and it creates a great atmosphere. With 1 lap to go its all back to a big bunch and the pace is really on, at the top of the hill there's a nasty corner a guy goes down a few places ahead of me. I managed to avoid the crash and chase back the front group. The finish straight is 4 lanes wide and 400m long - a sprinters dream! I try and follow some good wheels, but manage to get boxed in at the last minute.

I take 4th women in the sprint and probably top 10 overall.

Gary gives USA racing ago racing in the Cat3/4 event. The pace was fast and apparently a fair few dodgy moves going on. He had a great race especially after all the altitude training I made him do the week before! He manages to avoid a nasty crash in the finish straight and finish with the front group.

It was a great first burn out after HP!!

KETCHUM CRITERIUM - SUN VALLEY IDAHO - 28th JUNE

Before coming to the USA I probably would have come up with some excuse not to race in a criterium, in fact I was always scared of them, but now I'm really starting to enjoy them. I think we have to get a few more going in Wellington.

Ketchum is an awesome place, a ski resort situated in the Sun Valley about 2 hrs North of Boise. It's at 6500ft (approx. 2000m) so altitude is going to be a factor. All afternoon is devoted to criterium's for many different categories, from citizens, to masters, Cat 1,2,3 & 4 women and men and there's even a single speed cruisers race! So it makes for a great day out!

The course is about 1km long - sort of a backwards P with a short/steepish climb up to the finish straight. Unfortunately the Women's Cat 1 field is small - only 4 of us, but about 10 women race in the Cat 4 division. I team up with a girl Liza Rachetto who's been looking after us in Boise. The plan is to attack after 4 laps on the hill.

For once the plan works well and we attack up either side of the road, its also a prime lap ($US50), so we sprint to the line (Liza narrowly pips me) and we keep on going. 4 seconds quickly becomes 12 and so on.we work really well together taking a lap each and about 20mins into the race lap the field. There's another prime this time I manage to time it right. It's all down to the sprint and Liza and I decide its all on. No team work, we both need the practice!! I take the last corner tight and to the left and start my sprint up the hill early, Liza pulls me back but I manage to hold on! My first win in the USA and $US200, nice. Its time to relax, down some fruit smoothies and watch the rest of the racing before the long drive back to base...we arrive back in Boise just in time to watch the River Festival fireworks exploding above the city!

BASQUE DAY CRITERIUM - ELKO, NEVADA - 4th JULY

Imagine driving from Wellington to Taupo for a 50min race and then home again all in a day, most of you would think this crazy - but its all part of the game here.

Well it's the 4th of July and I guess most Americans are eating and drinking lots and proudly flying there America flags, but we're off to Nevada. There a new criterium, which looks like it will be great racing plus there's a $1000 prize purse up for grabs!

It's a 4hr drive though some of the most desolate parts of Idaho and Nevada, but thanks to some great people we have meet in Boise, we ride in style and comfort in a Nissan Xterra (Thanks Kurt). We manage to entertain ourselves with bike stories and Gary even gets time to read a whole book on professional cycling! Kurt miscalculates the petrol needed to get to Elko and we run dry about 5miles from town, you wouldn't believe it though.its all down hill to town and we coast up to a petrol station!

Gary and I brought some cheap 2 way radios with earpieces last week, so we decide this will be a good race to give them ago! Before the race Gary asks me where I'm going to start sprinting from, I causally say the last corner - not really believing that it will happen..again the finish straight is 3 lanes wide - smooth as pavement and a tail wind.its going to be a fast one!

The women's field is again small with 10 riders, but there's some strong riders who haven't driven over from Utah. It's a fairly boring Criterium course - 1km long, 3 corners, some long straights and one rough section of paving. Liza and I again plan some team tactics and after about 10 mins attack, and a group of 3 of us get away, buts it's not long before 3 more get across to us. There's primes galore $25 or other goodies, just about every lap.so there's heaps of sprinting, Liza and I take turns at having a go. The radios are awesome.Gary tells me when the preem laps are coming - he even manages to tell me when Liza wins a cookbook!

With about 10mins to go a Utah girl attacks (just after I'd been on the front) and gets a small break that lasts 3 or 4 laps.we work well as a bunch and bring her back with 2 laps to go, oh boy another sprint finish! I remember what I told Gary, round the last corner in first place and start winding it up. Somehow I just hold, Liza takes second and we make over $US 500 between us, worth the drive! I feel totally reamed! Luckily the women's event is the first of the day, so we find a shady tree and enjoy an afternoon of fast racing.

As we cruise back into Boise the sky is alight with 4th of July fireworks, it's a fantastic site..sadly tomorrow Gaz heads home to NZ and I'm off to Pocatello for a Stage race.

Thanks to the boys at Penny Farthing Cycles for all the help with my Giant TCR0. It's still going mint! Thanks to Gaz for all your help (wish you were still here) mum, dad and the Wellington Cyclists for all the encouragement! Thanks also to Liza for helping us out so much in Boise

Well that's the latest from me. See you at the races America. Thanks for reading.

Suze


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