Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Strong Survive

If you watched the tour, you probably saw this commercial. Unless, of course, you are like me and only saw it when I didn't DVR the days events.

When the game is on, all bets are off.

Great video.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Call

It's been awhile since I've had a call. You know the one. It's not really a question, more like a statement. Coach Steve: There's a crit on Sunday I'd like you to consider. And then the topper. And Sonja and Beth are doing it too. Because we all know, if Son and Bethie are in, so am I. Really, no questions asked. If they were going to jump off a bridge, I would just say OK. Because it would probably be a kick-ass good time. And who am I to question races or bridges?

So that's how it started. I got the call Friday, the crit was Sunday morning. Which left me not much time to stew over this one. And, of course, this after a conversation with Holle about how doing a crit this close to my key races was kinda out of the question. Oh how things can change. A crit you ask? Criterium. It's a type of bike race but not at all like the Hugo race we did back in May. That was an 80 mile road race. This was a figure-8 type course several city blocks long with 8 turns on each loop. All out racing for 40 minutes. Very aggressive, very in-your-face. Crashes are apparently relatively common for the "novice" women. Yeah.

PIC Son and I rode down to the race from GV, a nice 14 mile easy spin. I've been missing my PIC, she's spent the last month in California with her family so we finally got a chance to just chat. She was pretty nervous because she's seen a crit before and knew what kind of mess we were getting into. I wasn't nervous. Yet. I was blissfully unaware at that moment. That changed as soon as we rode up and I saw the course. We were there early enough to get the low-down from Steve on how to ride the course and most importantly, how to negotiate the turns. He was also throwing down all sorts of f-bombs about the competition and how there are no nice bike racers and things like that. If any of us crashes don't think about it just keep moving. Hmmphf. Clearly, I needed to put my skirt away and grow a set quickly before the start. Only problem was, I only wanted to take a nap. Sometimes this happens before a race - getting a serious case of the yawns. But this was pure tired-ness. I knew it Friday night and after Saturday's workout I was just plain tired. I rolled my legs Saturday, put my feet up, took a nap. Did what I could to start feeling fresher but I woke up Sunday and just wanted to go back to bed.

We lined for the start and I'm really not sure how many of us. Seemed like lots but if you look at the picture there weren't that many. As Cat 4 racers we had the first start time of the day: 7:00am. The gun went off (was it a gun? not sure) and it was game on from the get go. I had to get my foot in my pedal as soon as possible and immediately hit it. There was no gentle roll-up. No gradual acceleration. It was balls out from the start.

Lined up at the start, the PC girls are at the left of the picture

C'mon legs, let's go!!! That was me talking to my legs. But not out loud because once again, we were not allowed to speak to the competition. Ohhhhh, the legs were not happy. Downright pissed if you ask me. But I pushed them. After the second turn I somehow was behind and towards the back of the pack. WTF? Already? So for the next 2-3 laps I worked hard to catch up with my girls. I finally got back on with them and round and round we went. It was really interesting watching the lines of the turns the other girls were making. They were completely different from what Son, Beth and I were taking. For a left hand turn, we would be at the far right of the street and everyone else was in the middle, using the turn lane. I would have to hit my brakes every other turn or so as someone would unexpectedly (or not) veer into my line and I needed to avoid them. I didn't look behind me because whatever was happening there was of no concern to me.

About halfway through the race the unthinkable happened. A PC girl went down in front of me on a left hand turn. White bike, black pony tail, it was Son. Even though we were supposed to ride on and pretty much ignore what happened that was impossible. To see your teammate and PIC skidding on the ground in front of you.....it took a very conscious effort to not stop and check on her. I had to hit my brakes though so I didn't run over her and then Beth and I were flagging Steve that she was down. After I did this I looked up and crap.....there was a huge gap now between the lead group of girls and me. FUCK. I knew I didn't have the legs to get myself back in and I was worried about Son. But I put my head down and kept pedaling. I saw some girls ahead of me and vowed to close that gap but the front group was gone. On the next pass where Son went down, she wasn't there. And Troy was in the exact place as the last time I saw him. That was good, she clearly wasn't hurt badly. And I kept pedaling. My legs still were begging for a break but there was still time left.

After a couple more laps I heard Steve and Holle yell about letting the girl behind me take a pull. Excuse me? There's someone behind me? Are we kidding? I took a quick peak and sure enough, a girl has been riding my wheel for I don't know how long. And I got pissed. I stopped pedaling and she went around me and I took a breather on her wheel for a moment. But she wasn't really in to the whole sharing equal pulls. In fact, she would pull for 2 turns and I would take the remaining 6. Really did not care for this chick at all. We caught some of the girls I had my eye on and then looked up and saw we only had a couple of laps left. I knew exactly what was going to happen - she was going to ride my wheel through the last turn and shoot ahead of me down the straight-away and beat me to the line. She even said something like nice pulls at the start of the last lap. But not today. I was not going to let her do that after pulling her ass around the majority of the race. The last turn she shot ahead and I did everything that I possibly could to stay on her wheel. I caught her and passed and as you can see:

HA! I got her at the line!

And then it was over. 40+ minutes later, 16+ miles, and averaging something like 21+ mph. It was really intense. And I was pissed. Finally, my aggression got the best of me and I wanted more. It's too bad it didn't show up earlier in the race!! I ended up 13th, Beth was 10th, and Sonja 7th. She's fine except for a lovely case of road rash on her hip. Lessons learned? Of course. But I'll keep those to myself for the time being. Will I do it again? What do you think? OF COURSE!!! But probably not until after the big races:)

Later, Michael and I took the girls back to the course to watch some other races. I want to learn more so that the next time I can put myself in a better position in the race. I watched the more experienced racers take the turns, I watched the tactics. It was fascinating.


Charlotte, Isabelle and Annie. Yep, they look like angels. We know better.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wednesday

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday!! The last month Wednesday's I have been riding my bike. Going long. Riding LOTS. Steve told me, I have your ass on Wednesday's for the foreseeable future. Oh boy.

The first Wednesday was 156 miles. That's right 156. I was with Steve and PIC Sonja. And I knew I had a chance to keep up because they were much more tired than I was plus I was jonesing for a good workout since I had just returned from my mini-vacation. And, I really didn't want to get dropped in the middle of nowhere.....Has anyone actually been to Wiggins, Colorado? Does anyone want to go to Wiggins, Colorado? I'd post pictures but they would all look suspiciuosly the same: flat road, corn fields, cows, blue sky etc. We rode it in a paceline. Yep, three-man/woman paceline. For 8 hours. And you know what? It was "fun". I'll put that one in quotation marks because I realize that my definition of fun seems to be a bit skewed when compared to some other people I know. Before that day, that farthest I had ridden was somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 miles, in the mountains. But that didn't concern me at all. Somewhere around the 50 mile mark Steve and Sonja both yelled at me to quit my aggressive pulling. Oops, sorry folks, feeling good and forgetting we are not EVEN half way yet. Of course, I would pay for that later. But what's a long ride without a good lesson?? At 80ish miles, we pulled into Wiggins. And stopped in the local grocery store where the lady at the register was somehow convinced that I was trying to steal (right in front of her) the melted Almond Snickers bar that I had in my back pocket since Boulder and was stuffing in my mouth. She even followed me to the bathroom. Apparently I looked like a criminal in my bike shoes, helmet, and lycra. At mile 100, my stomach went south. It was hot and I was starting to dehydrate and I wasn't eating enough even though every 15 minutes Sonja would yell EAT! As I was trying desperately to shove a bit of food in my mouth Son went off the front and decided she felt good. Dropped my ass pretty quickly. She got yelled at too! And so it went, for 156 miles. Stopping for Gatorade whenever we could. Paceline the entire way. And then the clouds came in and cooled things off a bit and we were 135 miles in. And feeling pretty good! 9 hours later, we rolled back to the car. What a day, what a ride, what an accomplishment! (Sonja actually took pictures of the day, here is her version!!)

The next Wednesday was a "short" jaunt to Deer Trail...86 miles. Gotta love these rides east. Pretty flat. Kind of fast. This week's crew was Steve, Beth, Holle, Kim, and Sarah. It's always interesting when you get in a paceline with folks you are not quite used to. I don't quite read other riders cues as well as I can read Steve/Sonja/Beth. But we eventually got in a good groove and had some fun with our pulls. Speaking of Beth, she flatted 15 miles in. And then again at the huge bridge seam at the edge of Deer Trail and her day was done. We made sure she had a ride home and we took off again. Kim decided to push hard early on. Holle and I were game but Sarah wasn't quite up to it. We regathered and then noticed it was f***g HOT. And we all had almost no fluids left. Steve-O spotted some old fire station and a water spout and we all gratefully filled up our bottles with yucky silty/sulfury water. We all made it back to the car and did what any sound-minded triathlete would do after 86 miles. Put on our running shoes and went and found a trail to run for 20 minutes. Can anyone say Jamba Juice?

And the next Wednesday you ask? Well that's the one where Steve-O decided the best way for me to get used to my new bike was to HAMMER me on a Chatfield loop. I was panting the entire way and I must say that I did figure out the gearing and shifting pretty quickly. I had no time for anything else. Once again, it was hot (it is JULY!!) so we after we were done riding it was time to put on the shoes and sprint!!! It was a "short" workout. But intense. And I couldn't wait for it to be done.

Last Wednesday??? Back to Deer Trail. But no company this time. Which is a good/bad thing. Good because I just have to concentrate on following Steve-O in the paceline. Bad because all I have to do is keep up with Steve-O in a paceline. This time on the way back we hit the evil big bridge seam from hell and both flatted. Flats fixed and away we went. Steve-O did the majority of pulling which I was fine with because even following him I was still working hard. Every time I went off the front and tried to keep up the 22+ mph he was holding I thought I might die. I almost hoped for another flat because we were out of tubes and cartridges and I knew my day would then be done. But no such luck. We finished in fine form and of course, put on the running shoes and ran for 25 minutes.

And, of course, there are plans for this coming Wednesday. After today's "comfortable" ride up Shadow Mountain. Thankfully, Bethie will be along for the fun. Plus, a paceline is much more fun with more than 2 people.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Newton

I have been trying to narrow down the list of GREAT name suggestions for the new ride. Here are a couple that made the final cut:

Apple
Jolissa (That's Not My Name!)
Camila
F2 (f-ing fast)
Black Beauty

But this weekend seemed to have a significant theme. It started on Friday. I had a conversation with Foster about Newton running shoes. And then there were the Newtons at the Rez. I know, these are shoes and really nothing to do with a bike. But still??!! But then, as I was talking to my bike about her name during the race Sunday (doesn't everyone talk to their bike during a race???), I looked up and saw a mailbox. And guess what the name on the mailbox was? Newton. I started to giggle and figured that was a sign and so it looks like the name is Apple Newt. Or Apple Newton. Or maybe just plain Newt. Newton.

Not to mention that I'd rather not have to explain F2 to my kids......

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boulder Peak Race Report

Ahhh yes, it's time for the annual Boulder Peak race report. But actually, it marks about the year mark that I've been blogging and putting this stuff up for anyone to read. In fact, I just read last year's report (here) and am kind of chuckling to myself on some of the differences/similarities in the report.

So here it goes. All week long I have been excited for this race. I wanted to do well. I wanted to have a great day. And, although I didn't tell anyone this, I wanted to podium. Really, really badly. I wanted to be up on the stage accepting an award from Barry Siff. I knew I had a great race in me, I knew I was ready, and I put a bit of pressure on myself. But I was relaxed and after a great (read: painful) speed session on Wednesday, I had a day off and a couple of swims.
Saturday morning comes around and Michael and I headed to the pond for his first pond swim. I hung out with him (BTW really awesome to do that) and saw some friends, including Beth and Tyler. We finished up and heading home I started not feeling well. Heading up to packet pick-up I was actually a bit nauseus. And a head ache. Oh, what am I doing to myself??? I recovered a bit, picked up my packet, noticed it was HOT, and got the heck out of there. I even drove Old Stage in the unlikely event it had flattened out since the last time I rode it (no such luck).

Pictures do not do Old Stage justice. It is really much steeper than it appears (600 foot climb in 2/3 mile, approaching 15% grade). Fun!

I had a relaxing evening and tried to go to bed early. (A big THANK YOU to Michael for taking care of, well, everything while I was in pre-race mode) But, alas, the butterflies in my tummy were alive and well and fluttering up a storm. I did fall asleep in decent time and slept soundly until I got up.......at 3:00.


This is hands down Michael's favorite look.....compression socks and crocs. Hot, hot, hot

Driving to Boulder I tried to down my breakfast and got about 3/4 of my almond butter and jelly sammy down. But I really didn't feel so hot. Tried to drink coffee....yeah, no. And, I was kind of sleepy too which was also unusual. I was early to the Rez, but thankfully so were all the other Type A athletes, got a primo parking spot, tried unsuccessfully to drink a Mix 1, set up transition, and headed back to my car to relax. But my tummy was still not good......I met up with Sarah for a warm-up and finally I started to settle. Yeah!

StevieP (coach extraordinaire) was a spectator/active coach today rather than a participant, which was a bit different than I am used to. He is normally racing all the races I do, we may see each other before the race and get a few words of wisdom but today he was THERE. Which was cool. Kind of. A bit freaky too. Before the race began he told me he wanted me to push the envelope a bit with this race. Take some chances. Go for it. I was basically planning on doing that anyway so I headed off to the swim start....

Swim
My wave had my age group, relays, and the young men (under 19 hehehe). So I thought I had a chance to catch some feet and maybe draft a bit!! And as the countdown started, I smiled and felt quite relaxed and was excited to get going. We were off and there were some quick people off the front. Even though I was going for it, I still had to keep the effort in check, this was after all a 2.5 hour effort. Before long, I noticed I was swimming stroke for stroke with a woman right smack next to me. Cool....this is good. I even tried to fall back to catch her draft but we were literally swimming the same pace. Right before the first left turn, she went to the inside line and I stayed to the outside and I never saw her again.....she beat me out of the water by about 30+ seconds. I ran into some traffic on the final stretch and my god was this swim really this long???? Finally I made the last turn and swam into shore. Comparing times from last year I do have to say I think the swim was long, last year's may have been short but in the end, does it really matter? Nope, but checking other's times, including the female pros, it looked like everyone was a couple of minutes slower than you would expect.

The thing about this race is that the run into transition from the swim exit is pretty long. And up a hill. So I was breathing pretty good coming out of the water, and since I have my new long sleeve wetsuit on, I can't actually see the time coming out of the water. Which is probably a good thing looking back on it. Steve meets me halfway up the hill and tells me there is girl about 30 seconds up on me and I knew exactly who he is talking about but I don't know who this girl is....but he's running right next to me telling me to hit it on the bike. OK Coach. Put me in!!

Swim: 25:44 (swim rank was 45 out of everyone so I'm good with that)

T1
This was a quick one, our wave had the first rack. Wetsuit off, helmet on, bike out of rack and out of transition. And there was Steve again!@@@!!!! At this point I knew I liked it better when he races too!!! I rather ungracefully get on my NEW bike (!!!!) start pedaling and he's telling me to take off. OK!!!! So I did!

T1: 0:46

Bike
Phew, my heart rate was pretty high starting out but I went with it. I felt great and got in the big ring right away and just went with it. In the back of my mind, I knew I had Old Stage (approximately 2/3 mile of up to a 15% grade) to get through at mile 6 and then lots of fun stuff from there. I wanted to make sure I had room to push on the hill. Plus I was a bit concerned taking the new girl (bike) up there when she hadn't been before. I mean really, that's kind of a scary climb for a newbie!!! On the approach to the hill I relaxed my shoulders and did a mental check. I was good to go. The hill steepened, I dropped gears, got up out of the saddle and started climbing. OMG. I love the new girl climbing. It felt good. Natural. Not really a struggle. And I knew that I was smiling. Or grimacing. Same diff. Love the bike. Of course, SP passed me on the hill but not like I was going backward. She is an animal and incredibly strong and amazingly fast. And away she went. But I was good except for the darned cramp under my ribcage (damn damn damn). It started towards the top and just kept checking in with me from time to time on the bike. I tried not to think about what that might mean for the run.

I got to the top and then down down down.....I was flying, hitting the brakes for the speed check at the bottom but riding pretty aggressively. It was fun!!! Down Left Hand canyon and I played cat and mouse for a bit with a 35-something year old with a sperm helmet. But then dropped her like a bad habit after the left turn and that little climb to Nelson Road. Man, I felt great on the bike. I wasn't taking in fluids like I should have been but whatever!!! Weeeeee!!!! That annoying cramp also seemed to let up as I was heading into the Rez so I was relieved and ready to get going on the run.

Coming into transition, I knew that I had a good ride. An aggressive ride. I felt like I had pretty much left it out there. Little did I know, I had. Feet out of the shoes, dismount bike and run into transition.

Bike: 1:17:49 (20.1 mph ave. and almost 3 minutes faster than last year!)

T2
Shit. Almost immediately after my feet hit the ground running the cramp raised it's ugly hand and said something to the effect of "forget about me???". Racked my bike, saw Matty Reed (!!!), put on my shoes and got the heck out of transition.

T2: 1:12

Run
I saw my lovely family as I left transition and blew them a kiss. I started off with a pretty good pace and was hoping the cramp would let go. And then I saw Steve who rode next to me for a bit telling me to get my feet off the ground and to go. By the time I hit the 1 mile mark I was breathing pretty hard. My mantra from the get-go with the cramp was "manage". As in manage the cramp. Don't stop, just let up a bit on the pace and work through it. So I was trying to do this. Manage. Manage. Manage. It worked a bit and the cramp let up a bit. Mile 2 I was hurting. I still had passed a couple of people but had also been passed by several fast boys. Manage. Manage. I now had a new mantra as I approached mile 3 and had been passed by the eventual 2nd place girl in my age group. Focus. Focus. Focus. I was now getting light-headed and dizzy and I took in some gatorade at the aid station. Don't freak out at getting passed. It's OK. You are not having the run of your life today and that's OK. Focus. Manage. Finish. Mile 4 sign. God, I have 2 miles left. I wanted to stop. I wanted to walk. And then, I wanted to puke. I thought I was going to leave a little present on that awful run course. But I kept it down. Everytime I tried to pick it up I got light headed and wanted to vomit. Not good. I felt like I had the marathon shuffle going on. And then I got passed by a woman who I had passed early. Fuck. Focus. Manage. Get to the finish. And then I got passed by another woman in my age group. Well, there goes a podium finish. And on the final stretch I got passed again. And I had no answer. I crossed the finish line and looked at my time. And then I had people asking me if I was OK. Do you need to go to the med tent? Yes, I do as I wasn't processing and I still thought I was going to pass out.

Run: 50:26 (actually only about :30 seconds slower than last year)

Total time: 2:35:55
5th age group

Final thoughts
Thank you to Sydney for helping me get to the med tent! And thanks to those volunteers in the med tent. I didn't need an IV but I was probably on the edge of dehydration. And for some reason the heat got to me today. It took me a good 20 minutes to get to feeling like I could walk around again. Today (Monday) I'm feeling much better although the place where the cramp took hold is still sore and I'm trying to massage it out. Emotionally I'm pretty much OK, and I think in the long run, it's a good thing to have a disappointing race every once in a while. It makes you appreciate the good ones that much more. And really, the only disappointing part of this race was the run. Could I have prevented what happened? Was the pressure I put myself under a contributing factor to the cramp? My nervousness? Tough to say. But I have a month to figure it out before another hot race....Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

I am proud of my effort, I pushed it and I had a great ride. And I think I have a name for the new bike!!!! (more on that later). So again, thanks for all the cheering and congratulations to everyone who competed and finished yesterday!

Which reminds me. The words on the back of the Boulder Peak race shirt:
Training at ALTITUDE means I get up everyday BELIEVING I have the CONFIDENCE to SWIM 1.5 k across the REZ....KNOWING I have FUELED my body enough to BIKE 42k and POWER up OLD STAGE...and REALIZING that no matter how HOT it gets out there I will hit the 10k RUN with EVERYTHING I have left in ME and I will CROSS that FINISH line.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Introducing.....

Lots going on this last week and all sorts of stuff to blog about but first things first. You may remember my post back in May about that sexy TT bike that I was drooling over. Ohhhh, I wanted it so much but at that time the owner of said sexy TT bike was not willing to let her go. So I waited. I looked at other TT bikes, even considered a nice Cervelo. I checked eBay, I called bike shops. I just figured I would have to wait until the fall to find the right bike. But in my heart all I really wanted was that darn sexy Isaac.

You know that saying, good things happen to those that wait.....I can't believe my luck. Owner of sexy TT bike finally decided to let her go (and trust me, now that I've ridden her, I know why she didn't want to part ways!) and I have my very own sexy TT bike. Check it out!!!!



A few minor adjustments from Steve-O, and this girl is ready to go. I rode her today and I'm in love. Again. And she's mine!!!!!!

I had a talk with Princess and so far she's behaving herself now that she has a little sister. Although at the time I may have neglected mentioning the HOT-ness factor of the new bike. And she probably doesn't understand yet that she's going to get a bit of a break for the next couple of months. Princess will be pissed.

But here's the deal. I need a name for this sexy TT bike!!! And soon, I am racing her Sunday!! So please, please, please leave some comment love with suggestions. I don't think think "sexy TT bike" is going to work!!!!

P.S. Thank you Michael!!!