~John F. Kennedy

Sunday, February 26, 2012

London World Cup

This past weekend the best track riders in the world toed the start line at the Olympic velodrome in London, England for the final stop on the 2011/2012 UCI Track Cycling World Cup circuit. The event doubled as a World Cup and as the test event for the Olympics this summer, therefore 340 athletes from 48 nations and 18 trade teams made the journey to the English capital to get a peek into the future. 12 Americans helped to make up those 340 riders, and enCompass Racing’s Maddie was among them.

Race Report:

“So what’s it like to ride under an Olympic champion?”

This question had been presented numerous times to me over the course of the past 4 hours, however at this particular moment a BBC reporter was holding a microphone all of 6 inches from my face. “Well,” I thought, “He definitely challenges us, but that’s only natural because he wants us to reach our full potential. And the Olympic title isn’t so much an intimidation as it is a motivator. It serves as a testament to how hard work can make dreams come true.” The reporter smiled kindly and turned back to Jamie to continue asking questions about his 2008 Olympic title, London 2012, and the USAC National Sprint Team. I sat back in awe and just watched, amazed at everything going on around me as Jamie answered question after question graciously and effortlessly.

Kevin Mansker and I, along with the US Sprint coach Jamie Staff, were seated at a table surrounded by reporters from several media outlets in Jamie’s hometown of Ashford, Kent. We had taken the train down from London earlier, and had spent the day exploring the roads that our coach had grown up training on with about 30 other people aged anywhere from 9 to 69 who had come out to support their hometown hero.

But let me begin at the beginning of this story, which had begun 14 days earlier on a plane headed from Los Angeles to Mallorca, Spain.

Para Cycling Track World Championships were taking place at the track in LA, so the Sprint and the Women’s Team Pursuit teams who were slated to compete at the London World Cup headed across the Atlantic for a 10-day training camp in Mallorca. We stayed at a beautiful villa 9 kilometers outside of the city in the quaint town of Esporles. The food was wonderful, the views breathtaking, and the weather, well, it dumped snow the majority of the time we were there. But we still managed to get in some amazing rides along a small farm road to the track to train. Training went well for the team, and everyone was excited to get to London to see the velodrome and get ready for racing to start!

Looking out our window into the courtyard of the villa.
The view of the citrus grove in front of the mountains with the snow clouds coming in.

Andy Schleck was at the track doing TT testing on our first training day in Mallorca.

We then boarded a plane to London, and our first day was scheduled as a sightseeing day to recover from the travel, so all of the team members were joined by our amazing support staff and headed out on the Tube to take in the views. Coming up the stairs to the exit of the Underground we were greeted by the towering silhouette of Big Ben and the intricate curves of Westminster Abbey. Everyone just turned and looked at each other with big grins and wide eyes. It was all beginning to sink in that we were actually in London! We hopped on an open top double decker tour bus and drove past monuments such as London Bridge, Trafalgar Square and the Olympic countdown, Hyde Park, and Buckingham Palace. These were sights that I had only ever seen in history textbooks and on the television watching Prince William and Kate’s royal wedding spectacular, and I was breathless at the chance to actually stand in front of them in person. After the tour we made our way back to the hotel to spin our legs out on the rollers in preparation for our first track session the next day.

Prince William's Regiment was on guard that day.

We ended the tour with Buckingham Palace.

The next morning we drove through the Olympic Park to get to the velodrome, and every person on that bus squirmed around in their seats to get a better look through the thick London fog at all of the venues. They were all very modern and sleek, and the best description of the velodrome when it came into view was that of a giant, wooden Pringle. But that uniqueness made it striking, and the anticipation was steadily growing. After passing through security we climbed the stairs into the infield and were all greeted by bright lights gleaming onto the whiteness of the wood and the colors of the Union Jack pasted on the walls. The track itself was beautiful, and offered a smooth, fast, amazing ride. There were several other teams scheduled in the session with us, and between pursuit exchanges and sprinters flying up and down the track, traffic was chaos. We all managed to stay upright and open the legs up with various activation efforts.

Sun streamed into our room as I parted the curtains the next morning and I let out a little smile, as the weather gods were seemingly bestowing upon us clear weather for the day. Today Jamie was taking Kevin and me on an adventure to his hometown of Ashford, and I could barely contain my excitement. As the wheels turned faster and faster the industrial setting of London gave way to green rolling country hills dotted with farm houses straight out of a story book. Upon arrival we descended the platform stairs to the street and were greeted by a large crowd of both kids and adults who were already straddling their bikes raring to go. An easy 45-minute ride winding through village lanes brought us to Jamie’s pub, which soon after our arrival filled close to bursting. Jamie told us all stories of his racing days and was the star of the show when he produced the glistening gold medal he rode to 4 years ago. After a healthy amount of autographs were signed and pictures snapped, we once again mounted our bikes and headed out for a longer ride to explore hills and twisting rural roads joining charming country villages. Our final destination of the day was at a sports complex, and the amount of people had doubled from when we originally departed the train station. Obstacle courses were created, and kids were zipping every which way on their bikes, while numerous media outlets were beginning to set up shop. Various radio stations, TV channels, and newspapers interviewed us for 45 minutes before we were recruited into competing with the kids on the various courses. Interacting with Jamie brought so much joy to these people, which created such an amazing feeling that we were able to give back to the community. I know that both Kevin and I left Ashford with a huge smile on our faces and a better understanding of how big the impact of taking some time out to share and connect over a simple dream can be.

Jamie has a train named after him, and it was just our luck that we got to ride on it!

Over the next two days we were kept busy with training sessions, recovery on the rollers, massages, and preparation meetings with the coaches so nothing really interesting worth mentioning happened.

Then came race day! I was racing the team sprint along with fellow national team member Cristin Walker. She got out of the starting gate cleanly, and I sat waiting in her slipstream ready for a smooth transition to get me up to speed so I could rip it for my lap. I ended up riding a good time split for my lap, executing a technically sound ride, and accomplishing everything that I needed to. Coming up the home straight and giving a bike throw at the line I knew that I had given it my all and rode with no regrets.

On the second day of racing I was slated for the individual sprint tournament. In the qualifying 200 m I rode a time of 11.9, finally riding under 12 seconds at sea level, and I was definitely excited about that! With this being an Olympic year, the times are consistently dropping lower, and unfortunately I wasn’t quite fast enough to make it into the tournament. However, each time I ride I can see progress in my performances, and the gap is slowly closing to the top girls. It’s all about the baby steps, and I know that if I am patient and work my butt off every day in training my time will come.

The keirin. A race that for the past year and a half I have avoided, rather successfully. This stems from me preferring to race time trials because it’s just me against the clock. There are no tactics to play out, there are not 5 others riders bumping around for position, there’s just me. But on the last and final day of competition at the London World Cup and for the first time in eight months I was lining up to race a keirin. It was going to be fast, it was going to require power, and it was going to be fun! I had no expectations, and I didn’t have the slightest clue what to expect. So I told Jamie to tell me exactly what to do, and I would try to execute. He came up with a simple yet highly operational plan for the first round, and I rode exactly how he wanted me to, finding myself in the mix. I was surprised, yet excited, so I put my head down and pushed on my pedals as hard as I could until I crossed the finish line. I ended up 3rd place with only the 1st rider advancing through, but without doubt I was happy with that result. The reps were up next, and I didn’t quite ride the way that we had hoped, but all the lessons that I needed to learn were learned.

Riding in the 200 m qualifier.
Photo Credit:

I am pleased with all 3 of my races because the progress and improvements that I have worked hard to make were measurable since the last time I raced in Astana. All of the USA Cycling staff worked so hard to make it a great weekend, and I know that I couldn’t have done it without them so I would like to give a shout out to them. My amazing sponsors also deserve a very big thank you. Mix 1 for providing the best recovery that keeps me refueled and recharged day after day. Dave Tiemeyer and Tiemeyer Cycles for making my bikes an absolutely amazing ride and never giving me any excuse to go slow. Rotor for supporting me with super light cranks and chainrings that spin beautifully. Q Cycle for keeping my feet happy in the best shoes ever. Full Cycle for being great mechanics for any problems that may arise with my bikes. And lastly, thank you to everyone who has supported me in other ways, I couldn’t do it without you.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2012 Olympic Long Team

enCompass Racing is proud to announce that Maddie was selected by USA Cycling to the Long Team for the 2012 London Olympics!

View the official press release here.

A little thought from Maddie on the selection: "I am honored to be chosen to have the possibility of representing the US in London next year, and would just like to thank the amazing sponsors of enCompass Racing such as Mix 1, and all of the people who have helped me along the way!"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Astana World Cup

I love to read. A lot. There’s just something about being transported into another time or another place and experience life through someone else’s eyes. Not that I don’t enjoy life through my own eyes, I do, but I can’t meet a gun-toting outlaw or ride dragons through the clouds. See what I mean? So to compensate for not being born with magical powers, I am doing the best I can to raise the excitement level in my own story. I recently started the most current chapter with a bang. Thirty-one glorious hours of travel to, literally, the other side of the world. I was slated to participate in my first Track World Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan for USA Cycling. This was my first time up to bat in the big leagues; I had better come prepared. Following an already tough racing block with US Nationals and the Pan-Am Games I was beginning to get tired, but the excitement was starting to bubble through me as athletes started filtering in from all corners of the globe. These were riders whom I had always looked to as role models and athletic goals, and here I was, about to line up right next to them.

Warming up on the rollers

The track was beautiful. The team was motivated, and I had several good days of openers before racing started. The first day arrived and all morning I did my best to just focus and stay calm for our team sprint in the afternoon session. I also made sure to fill up on Mix 1 before I left the hotel in order to fuel me for the races, seeing as I was having an adverse reaction to the food. It all worked out in the end, as Mix 1 is the most amazing pre and post race food around. I got to the track, put in a good warm up and was ready to go. Coming off of riding a national record in Mexico I was hoping for another fast time, unfortunately we rode an average time of 35.9 seconds, which was good enough for 15th place. My next race was the 200 meter qualifier for the match sprints, I carefully chose my gear, wound it up just like every other time in training, and concentrated on keeping the power flowing through my legs and into the pedals. My time was 12.0 seconds, slotting me into 31st place after the 40+ girls finished. It was a new sea-level PR for me, but not as fast as I hoped I would go. Not bad for my first race on the senior international level. But I wanted more. It has been said that you have to lose before you learn how to win, and that fire was instantly lit.

200 meter qualifier

Overall, my racing in Astana was disappointing, but you have to start somewhere and just concentrate on working your way up the ranks. I took all of the lessons that I learned from my first World Cup and have them saved, ready to use on a day that I might need some extra motivation when I want to throw up after a motorchase team sprint, or all of my muscles are screaming after setting a new max in the weight room. Then I will be able to look back, and know exactly where I have to move forward and be able to push through that last effort despite all of the pain.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A New National Record

USA Cycling HQ confirmed that the team sprint team comprised of enCompass Racing's Maddie Godby and her partner, Liz Carlson set a new American record during their qualifying ride at the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico!

Liz leading Maddie out as they get up to speed during the team sprint.
Photo from ESPN.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pan-American Games Recap

Maddie just returned from representing the USA at the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. She raced in the team sprint with her partner Liz Carlson, with whom she teamed up with to win a national title with two weeks ago.

Here is Maddie's race report:

Traveling to Mexico was a fantastic experience! We were staying in the Pan-Am Village with people from 42 countries and a multitude of different sports, so the Olympic atmosphere was very infectious and my partner and I were very excited to stretch the legs against the other teams. We had two days of training before we raced, and both of us were feeling good.
Race day finally came and we were sitting on the line listening to the countdown. Off we went and our qualifying ride felt fast and smooth. Liz was the starter and I finished the team sprint as I was riding 2nd wheel. When I crossed the line I looked up at the scoreboard to see what our time was. 34.788 seconds. The US women's team sprint team had only ever gone as fast as 35.8, so to take over a second off of the best time and break into the 34 second range was amazing! We couldn't believe it! However, we qualified 4th so we were in the ride for the bronze medal against the team of Mexico, who had qualified 3 tenths of a second faster than us, so we quickly got refocused for our ride in the finals that night. I filled up on my stock of Mix 1 that I brought along in the bottom of my bike box in preparation for the final because they provide the best pre and post race nutrition.
When our final came we were both ready to go, and the stadium was at an insane noise level, being that we were up against the hometown team. This ride didn't feel as clean, and our time ended up being a 34.993, which was still .3 off the time of the Mexicans. We were both disappointed to miss out on a podium spot, but it was a good learning experience and there will be some valuable lessons taken away from this race. Although, for some consolation, our time was the fastest on record in the US, so Liz and I are the new national record holders in the women's team sprint!
Overall this trip to Mexico was very positive, and the US Olympic Committee and the people of Guadalajara did a wonderful job of staging the Games. The US team had a very fun time, but now on to more races! I want to thank all of the sponsors of enCompass Racing for their support, Mix 1, FOCUS, and Schwalbe tires, and hopefully more great things will happen in the future.
I leave next week to participate in the first round of the UCI Track World Cup series in Astana, Kazakhstan where I will be racing in 3 events, including the team sprint. Stay tuned for more enCompass Racing race reports from all over the world!

Liz leading Maddie out during the team sprint on the track in Guadalajara
photo from ESPN

Monday, October 3, 2011

Elite Track Nationals

This past weekend Maddie proudly flew the enCompass Racing colors while she raced around in circles at Elite Track Nationals in Carson, CA.

Maddie's Race Report:
What a weekend! Nationals was the first race of the season, seeing as track cycling is a winter sport, so it was good to race away the nerves, and just go out and have some fun on the bike. All of the training that I have done this year definitely helped me come into the race prepared. The first race of the meet was the 500 m TT. This is a 2 lap race from a standing start, and I went out and rode as hard as I could, which was good enough for 4th place! I was happy with my time, and it was a good opening effort. I had an off day in between the 500 and my next race, so I went out for an easy ride and spent the day resting up for the Match Sprints.

About to start the 500

Sprint morning! We had the 200 m qualifier in the morning, and I just wanted to put out a good time and get as far up the seeding as possible. After my coach pushed me off, I wound the gear up, and just went as hard as I could. When I finished there were still quite a few riders to go, so I hopped on the rollers to spin my legs out. By that time, everyone had finished and it was announced that I had ridden the fastest time, so I was qualified as first! We raced the quarter finals in the morning session and I progressed through to win that round in two rides. Then the evening session came, and I was in the semi-finals. In both rides it came down to a photo finish, but unfortunately I came up short, so I was put through to the bronze medal final. I got refocused and came up with a plan with my coach on how to win those two races. I was patient and executed it perfectly, coming away with a bronze medal!

200 m Qualifier

The staring contest at the line

The last and final day of Nationals was the team sprint. This is the race that I was most looking forward to, seeing as it is what I had qualified to ride in the Pan-American Games with my partner, Liz Reap Carlson. We were riding Nationals as a warm-up for Mexico, and to practice making our ride and transitions smooth. She was the starter, and then I would finish the race as the 2nd rider. We got a clean start, and then she dropped me off and I concentrated on pushing hard on the pedals to keep my speed up, which earned us the fastest qualifying time and a spot in the gold medal final! We had about an hour before the final, so I put in my iPod and got motivated for our second ride, while pretty much living off of Mix 1 to recover and get ready for my 2nd 500. Similar to our first ride, we rode perfectly together and pulled out for the win! It was a good confidence builder heading into Pan-Am's as the fastest American team sprint team, and it was exciting to earn my first elite national title!

Start of the team sprint in the final

On the top of the podium!

I am happy with the way I raced, but it is back to the boards for another hard training block before leaving for Mexico in two weeks time! I want to send a big thank you to all of our amazing sponsors that keep us going with the best products, FOCUS, Mix 1, and Schwalbe!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's that time again...

Cyclocross season has now officially come barreling down upon us and enCompass Racing is enjoying some down and dirty 'cross racing! The air now rings with the deep clanging of cowbells cheering racers on to go faster, and morning start times now warrant legs warmers and the thermal jacket makes it's grand entrance for the season from the back of the closet. Tim has been flying the enCompass colors for the last 3 weeks, but this past weekend he rode a strong race that placed him on the podium in 3rd, at Boulder Racing's Xilinx race!

Running over the barriers.

Tim's Race Report:

'Cross season is now upon us...the racing is intense and so much fun! There are so many levelers in cross that keeps every rider honest. During the short length of a cross race, you push yourself further than in many longer events. It is the most anaerobic endeavor in which I have ever participated.

Racing with the beautiful Boulder flatirons in the background.

After a pair of 4th's the last 2 weeks, I moved up a spot in today's race and made the podium by finishing third. It was fun to be a part of the front of the race as the top 3 riders today rode together by separating ourselves from the rest of the field and trying to figure out how to beat each other. Unfortunately I bobbled the last set of barriers and paid for it with a 2 second gap...lights out! I was not going to get the lead 2 riders back but was happy in finishing third. Certainly what makes this possible is @mix1. It provides excellent nutrition for hard efforts before the race and great recovery afterwards. I love my mix1's on race days like this one!

Tim in 3rd place!