Sunday, June 19, 2011

Don't Ask Don't Tell

In the spirit of in-tuning and racing for the fun of it and not being tied into numbers or placing or points or anything else, Sonja and I decided that today's race at the Boulder Sprint would be naked.  NO, not naked naked but naked in the sense that we would not seek out our results.  We would not look.  We asked others not to tell us.  We would race just for racing!!

To keep ourselves honest we also had a little wager too......she looks at results she hands over the vitamix.  If I look, I hand over coffee - even if it is decaf.  For an entire month.  (as a funny little side note, you should have SEEN the look of horror on Troy's face when he heard about this!!!).  And, no one can tell us results either!!  So no looking!  No telling!  I found the whole concept intriguing....how dependent am I in knowing exactly how I did?  In how others did (I can still cyber-stalk, I have just chosen not too......I think that when you open that door, "accidentally" typing in Ford may be an easy reach).  

Yes, this was "only" a sprint triathlon.  Not an "A" race (does it rhyme with Ona????) so do our actual times really matter?  NO!!!!  And, I've had a particularly difficult recovery from Quassy and I'm sure I would just end up being disappointed anyways.  So this was all a crapshoot.  But I love looking at numbers and comparing how I've done in the past, how my competition did, and how I did versus my competition.  But, I love a challenge so DONT tell me any of my numbers!!!!!

Let me first start by saying that I think the last sprint race I did was in 2008??  Maybe??  Not sure when but what I do remember about sprints is that they go by really fast.  Like, don't blink because you may miss the race.  The exciting part for me today as well was racing on my brand new Quintana Roo!!!  Yippee!!!!  

Typical race morning stuff....getting all jacked up on caffeine, numerous visits to the porta-potty (there's a secret stash of potty's at Boulder Rez.....but I'm not gonna tell you where!!), and a yoga class and donuts before the old lady wave at 8:15 (45 minutes after the start).  

The swim......a bit choppy for us ladies!!!  I sprinted off the front at the start - it's a sprint, right??  I figured, get to the first buoy as fast as possible and see who's around.  As has been the case all year, there were 2-3 other women with me.....a very fast start!!  I knew one of the ladies would be Kathleen (BTW Kathleen, let's get in touch and do some training!!) but I had no idea who anyone else was.  Dang.  Yet another slow swim for me?  Who knows.  I just kept swimming along as fast as I could.  Gotta love a sprint though.  It was over shortly after it began.  I just don't know how fast.  Or slow.  And please don't tell me.  

T1.  I really have to start working on wrestling gorillas.  I think that may help me get out of my awesome TYR wetsuit faster.  Unlike Sonja, I decided to not go completely naked for the bike and run - I set my Garmin to HR only so I could monitor where I was at.....how high can I go???

The bike.....Yeah!!  Taking Thing1 (PIC1 and PIC2, Thing1 and Thing2 get it??) for it's inaugural race ride (well, pretty much its inaugural ride since it was only my second time on her)!!  Except, I think I was a bit unsteady on my new filly and had a very difficult time getting my feet into my shoes.  Crap!  Am I really going to have to stop??  Phew.  A couple of minutes later I got both feet in and I was ready to rock 'n roll.   Until I hit the first downhill.  I was instantly spinning out.  Hmmmm.  Probably have a tailwind.  No worries I told myself.  It's all good.  Except I spun out again.  What?  I had no more gears left on the top end?  I looked down at my cassette. Oh no.  Mechanical.  I had 4 gears left and a shifter than would not access them.  Not good.  Especially for this course.  It's pretty fast.  (what I later found out is that I should not change wheels/cassettes, leave that to Ryan at KE......this bike is a bit more complicated than the previous bike. Tough lesson)  Shortly after that discovery, I was passed by the first woman in my age group.  But I really didn't know who may have been ahead of me in the swim.  On the first major downhill I may have been spinning my legs at a nice 120-140rpm......no tension.  Dang.  Same story down Neva.  I knew I had a couple more gears in my legs but couldn't get there.  Before the end, I was passed by another 2 women in my age group.  Blech.  

T2......This one was fast.  But don't tell me.

Run.  I booked out of transition knowing that I was firmly stuck in fourth (or maybe 5th).  Do I pull it back a notch or do I push?  Hmmm.  I was still pondering that one when I saw CV about 1/4 mile out on the course.  He said something to the effect of....it's 3 miles and it is supposed to hurt.  Make it hurt.  Decision made.  Coach made the decision.  I would push.  But I tell ya, I don't do much LT work.  At all.  LT hurts.  I haven't heard myself breathe like that in a long time.  At the turnaround I knew there was no way I was catching 3rd and I was hoping there wasn't anyone close behind.  I kept pushing, I raced it as well as I knew how.  Don't know my time (don't tell me) but I'm guessing that it wasn't my fastest or even my slowest.  Probably somewhere right in between!!!  What I do know is that sprints hurt.  A lot.  
I see the finish!!!  I see the finish!!!!

PIC1/2 Thing1/2 (in no particular order)
I love the after race at the first big local tri of the season!!  It's kind of like high school reunion - all of the peeps I haven't seen since last season.  Lots of catching up to do.  Lots of fun!!  PIC and I allowed Troy to check results and ONLY tell us our place in the age group to see if we needed/wanted to hang out for awards.  I knew I was out of the money but Sonja????  She was 2nd in her age group!!!  

Now, I am sitting here contentedly on the couch with no idea of my times.....and I'm am just fine with it. So please don't tell me.  I don't want to lose my coffee.  But feel free to tell Sonja (I really want her vitamix for a month), in fact, here's a link to her blog and comment section!!!!

A huge shout out to Bret and Peter!  Very, very solid races for the boys today.....you make a coach very proud:)


Friday, June 17, 2011

Introducing.....

My new bike!!!!  It's true, she's a beauty and though I fell in love with pink camo initial, black and white is more my style!

The story of my new ride is pretty cool - after being devastated by the crack in my old TT bike I really had no idea how a new bike would come to me.  There are so many great bikes out there - how do you even narrow down the list?  It really is overwhelming.  For a few days after breaking my bike, I wouldn't even look at a new bike which is so strange since I am so into bike porn.  But I eventually got over it and realized that I would be getting a NEW bike and then it was time to look.  I needed to do it right this time and find a bike that was an excellent fit for me - not a used bike that I could kind of make fit me.  Chuckie had several suggestions on brands based on my size and the stack and reach of the bikes.  One of the brands piqued my interest - Quintana Roo!

After crying on my blog about my bike,  I heard from Kristi (check out her blog) who just happens to be married to Mac who just happens to be head of athlete sponsorship at Quintana Roo.  She wanted to know if I was interested in learning more about QR, uh YES!  It just so happened that QR was going to be at Ironman Texas and since PIC and I were going to be there guiding Patricia it just seemed that the sun, stars, and moon aligned.

Now, everyone knows that PIC and I had/have the same TT bike.  And one of my worries when my bike broke was that we were no longer going to be matchy matchy.  But PICs bike was just as old as mine, and really, hers was in worse shape (except for the crack).   So, PIC and I met with Mac on Thursday and got the low-down on the aerodynamics of QR.  We asked all sorts of questions about ride-ability, travel-ability, compact - ability, fast-ability etc.  After spending mucho time with Mac knew this was the right "fit" for us.  On Friday, we rode the QR and immediately knew we HAD to be on this bike - it was perfect!!

From there, we had all sorts of work to do on deciding which components to put on the CD0.1 frameset.  Yes, I could have transferred all of my components from my old TT bike to the new.  But where's the fun in that?  Enter Ryan at Kompetitive Edge.  He worked extensively with both Sonja and I deciding what would be best.


He directed us to these bars based on the fact that he rode QR last year and knew that these would provide an excellent smooth ride.  He researched, made calls, sent emails and texts and within a day - I knew what was going on my ride.  I did use a couple of my old components - based on Ryan's opinion that they were perfectly good and new ones would not make any difference in my life/ride.  I also love the fact that Ryan puts some "personality" into the bikes he builds....white cables, glossy black bar tape, and I can't wait to see the cages that are coming.  He absolutely takes pride in the work that he does!!

And then the waiting.  And waiting.  But, less than a week after putting in my final components order I am the proud mama of this beauty:


I picked her up today and Ryan was still hard at work making sure everything was ready for me.  Watching him put the drivetrain through a "stress test" was pretty cool.  If I ever have to switch gears like that, I am in serious trouble.  But the bike handled it perfectly.  He also noted measurements and set up the new ride as close to my old fit as possible.  Kind of difficult seeing as how the old vs. the new bike have completely different geometries.  But, he's a genius and set it up great.  A couple of spins around the parking lot, a couple of minor adjustments and wah-laa!

Just in time too, I am racing on Sunday:)!!!  Nothing like a fast break-in on a new bike.  No worries, I did that 2 years ago when I got my new-to-me TT bike.  3 days later....Boulder Peak.  And that went pretty well as I recall so I can't wait to take her for a fast spin!

So, this post would not be complete without a bunch of thank yous!!!  First, a huge shout out to Mac at Quintana Roo.  I cannot tell you how happy I am to be a QR athlete - these bikes are amazing!  Second, to Ryan and Jared at Kompetitive Edge.  I am a lucky girl to have such a great company/shop supporting my efforts this year.  I love going into the store and shop and just talking to these guys.  They are super cool and down to earth.  Everyone I have sent in there has only good things to say about KE!  Ryan does amazing work on bikes - if you are in the Denver area and you have a bike - call him!!!  Of course, I have to thank CV for his research on stack and reach....I was entering the overwhelmed atmosphere and with his help he guided me right towards the QR (there are tons of other things to thank him for but this post is about my bike!!!).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quassy!

Here we go......the Quassy race report!  
Let me first begin with the answer to the question I posed after Wildflower.....which race is the toughest?  Wildflower or Quassy?  Like childbirth (cuz really, if you remembered that pain why does anyone have more than one child??), a hard race gets fuzzy with each passing day after the event.  For instance, last year after the race, I said NO WAY I’M EVER DOING THAT RACE AGAIN.  The day after the race, I said, no way I’m doing that race again....maybe.  By spring of this year, it was.....hmmmm.....Quassy fits perfectly with my race schedule and I really like Rev3 events.  Yes, it’s hard but I’ll do it!  Plus I have a bit of a score to settle with myself and that course.  
Oh, wait.  Right - the answer to the question??  Quassy is hands down the winner of the hardest course I’ve ever raced.  
That’s how it played out.  By the end of March I knew I would be back in CT to tackle the hills.  But after Wildflower and IMTX, I really wasn’t ready to travel again.  I would have much preferred a local race.  It’s all good though, I arrived Thursday night for the Sunday race.  Friday was spent putting my errrrrr Sonja’s bike together, eating, riding some of the race course, quick run, chatting up my other BFF Terenzo (sorry, no photo proof), and meeting some friends for dinner.  Saturday, more of the same but included registration, bike check-in and a drive of the run course.  Oh boy, what the hell was I thinking doing this race again.  In the first 6 miles of the bike, there was already 900 feet of climbing!!  And the run course?  Miles 3 - 7 are uphill.  Seriously.  
Love this about Rev3 events - my own personal RockStar name plate
I slept great Saturday night but woke up a bit nervous!  I slammed some regular coffee (yippee caffeine!!!), a mix1 and I was on my way to the race course.  
As always, I lined up for the swim and took it out a bit hard to see who was coming with me.  Well, a girl was with me - actually in front of me and took off!!  I tried to stay in her bubbles but that only lasted a minute.  She was gone!  After that I was all alone in the swim.  Not too much traffic but a bit of dodging of the slower swimmers after the first turn buoy.  I felt a bit lackluster, kind of blah...but I kept a good rhythm to my stroke.  As I ran up to transition I saw Sonja who was at Quassy working for Rev3.  She was taking pictures and cheering!  So nice to see a familiar face.
Notice the amusement park in the background - a great venue for a family event
I have a bit of work to do with my transitions,  I was slow again!  As much as l love my TYR carbon kit, I have a problem finding the darn pockets in the back to get my First Endurance Liquid Shot in!  I’m sure it looks pretty funny watching me contort myself trying to figure out where the darn things are.  
Ahhh, the bike.  Thanks to Sonja, I HAD a TT bike to ride for the race.  Although it was strange to be taking her bike on its last race ride (more on that later).  I had fiddled with the adjustments the day before and had hoped I had the seat height OK.  It’s just so hard to tell without someone else taking a look at my position.  Plus, her aero bars are bent so that was also a bit of an adjustment.  As I left transition, I looked down at my Garmin and saw that it wasn’t registering cadence.  WTF?  Are you kidding me?  I lugged this power tap wheel all the way to CT and now I wasn’t going to get any data?  Un-freaking-believeable.  For those keeping track at home, that's 0 for 2 for me gathering power data at races for the year.  
I got over that and just tried to settle into the ride.  From the get-go, I could tell my legs were tired.  My quads still felt a bit loaded up from the last couple of weeks.....and girls (not from my age group except for the one who was practically done with the bike by the time I got on) were passing by me like I was standing still.  I’m not really used to that!  Crap.  Is my brake rubbing?  I had checked it in transition so unless something had happened on the way out....it wasn’t the brake.  It was me.  So, I concentrated on my nutrition and getting up those darn hills as best I could.  I set up bogies for myself to keep me motivated and on track.  My legs got just a bit better as time went on but as I looked at the time I realized there was no way I was going to beat my time from last year.  And I flatted last year and rode 20+ miles with a squishy tire.  Wow.  That was kind of deflating (pun intended!).   I didn’t give up though and kept pushing those final miles.  
Time for the run.....I knew I had set myself up well nutritionally speaking for the run and my main goal was NOT to walk any of the run like I had last year when I bonked.  I didn’t care if I shuffled up those hills, I was not going to walk.  The run starts off gently by taking you downhill but then at 1.5 miles turns and starts uphill for a bit.  I felt good.  I felt light on my feet.  I was surrounded mainly by men and they were clomping along.  But, I was also mainly passing so that was good.  At mile 3.5, the course takes a right turn and starts the uphill.   I slammed the remainder of my liquid crack (First Endurance Pre-Race) and focused on the task at hand.  Don’t blow up on the hills, adjust your pace and heart rate so that you can continue running (slogging) uphill.  I was doing it!!  There was a guy just in front of me (age 41 with a green and white kit) and I just decided that I was going to keep with him.  We traded places, ran shoulder to shoulder, and kept each other going though we never spoke.  At mile 7, there was finally some gentle downhill and I really started to pick up the pace.  41 was still with me and we were working together.  Sonja was at the top of the hill taking pictures and yelled at me - you are running strong!  Relax your left hand and shoulders, just 4 more miles!  I still felt good......which lasted until mile 10.5.  My legs started feeling like bricks and I was slowing down.  Push through, push through.....41 ditched me.  Mile 12 one last evil uphill and then down to the finish.  C’mon!!  

Finally, the end was in sight.  I was very happy with my run!!  Tough race but I'm glad I trekked out to Quassy for the event. Initially, it looked like I was a bridesmaid once again.  2nd place in my age group.  But it turns out the woman who took off at the start was 3rd overall so I got bumped to 1st place!  Coolio!

A big congratulations to Angela Naeth who took 3rd Pro behind Julie Dibens and Mirinda Carfrae!!


Will I race this again???  Ummmm.  Ask me next March:)!!


A huge thanks to Kompetitive Edge for all of their support!!  And to all of my fueling and everyday nutrition sources :mix1, Justin’s Nut Butter, Love Grown Granola and Nuun - thanks for keeping me going:)!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rev3 Quassy Take Two

All I can say is that I LOVE wi-fi on airplanes!!  I feel so productive blogging and watching movies and shopping working while en route to Connecticut!  What I am not that excited about is traveling for the third time this month.  To be fair, I'm "extending" May......Wildflower was April 30, IM Texas May 21, and Rev3 Quassy is June 5!  Needless to say, it has been a quick turnaround from Texas and I honestly was not ready to leave my family again.  I love traveling for races and normally they are scheduled far enough out that it feels more like a vacation.  This time, it was just too close.  But no worries, I am ready (or as ready as I can be) for Quassy.

I know, I know, I said I would never race this again.  Not because it isn't a good race.  Not because it's a bad location....it is none of these things.  In fact, if you haven't done a Rev3 race - you are missing out!  They are extraordinarily well run events and everyone working and volunteering are top notch.  I love the family/homey feeling of these races.  But the reason I swore off Quassy?  The race is brutally hard.   I mean......really really really hard!  Then again, I did flat last year.  Twice.  And because I was so worried about my tire and not finishing the ride, I "forgot" about nutrition.  And I bonked on the run.  And then I cried my eyes out at the finish.  Not pretty.  The location, however, is pretty.  It is staged right out of an amusement park  (sticking with that family-style approach) and it is greener and hillier than anything you have seen.  This year, I WILL ride the roller-coaster after the race (after riding the roller coaster bike course)!

This race is part of my Kona build-up plan.  The plan you ask?  Well, it is to really challenge myself. Do the hard races.  Do a couple of hot races.  Embrace every windy training and/or racing day - and boy, there have been lots of them this year!  I'm all in and I'm ready for Sunday.  My nutrition this year so far has been absolutely solid with First Endurance EFS and Liquid Shots and I expect another good day nutritionally Sunday.  Flats?  Well I can't control that one but I can make sure that my tires are good to go.  Oh, and if you are wondering what bike I'm riding??  Fortunately, Sonja is working Rev3 Quassy this weekend and not racing and so I will be riding her TT bike!  Yeah!!  And a new bike for me is coming......but more on that next week!  But if you would like a hint - take a look at the new sponsor on the right!!!!

So back to the movie errrr work.......More from Connecticut later!