Monday, December 21, 2009
Last weekend I raced my first ever Elite national championships (of any kind). This one of course was cyclocross up in Bend, OR. As you may (or may not) recall, I travelled to Portland for the last round of the USGP, had a jolly good time, then rented a car and drove to Bend. Bend greeted me with sub zero temperatures and a lot of snow. I rode the trainer, ran on snow covered trails, and spent a lot of time that week with my feet up. Ahh . . . the good life. Teammate Beth arrived on Wednesday and we relocated to our host housing for the week. On Thursday I had to go out to the race venue to "work" at the booth my employer (now former, but that's another blog post) had set up. The big news of that day, aside from the slip'n'slide snowy course, was chatting up Kristen Armstrong and Katie Compton, both of whom stopped by the booth within a half hour of eachother.
Anyway, my race wasn't until Sunday, so I had quite a bit of time to kill in the meantime. I had fun cheering for Beth on Friday when she raced the 30-34 race, and I ate frites and hot chocolate to stay warm (and subsequently arrived home a bit more well padded then when I left). On Friday night I was getting ready to go out to dinner at the Bend Brewing Co. with Beth, when I reached in my bathroom bag and jammed my left middle finger into my shiny sharp new razor. I pulled my hand out and was horrified to see that a good chunk of finger tip had been lost in the process. After much elevation, pressure, and raiding of the house's Man Bathroom (the guy we were staying with is a flight nurse), the bleeding stopped, and Beth utilized her Air Force buddy first aid to help me patch it up.
I finally got on the course the next day and the relative warmth of the day had softened things out quite nicely. I have to say, I think the course they set up for nationals was super fun! The changing conditions changed the technical aspects of the course as the week wore on. After a couple laps I'd determined that I would be fine racing with my mangled finger as long as I A) didn't have to shift into my big ring (or could do so by reaching over with my right hand) and B) didn't have to use my front brake, which was really easy to avoid during my pre-ride.
Things froze up overnight, so when we arrived on Sunday morning the slop from Saturday had turned into frozen ruts, and the deep puddles were sheets of ice. There were a couple of races before ours, however, and many parts of the course softened up.
What is it like to line up 98th out of 100 women? Ummm . . . discouraging? Not really, because after such a lousy call up all I could hope to do is improve my position. I had two goals for this race: 1) to not be last onto the dirt, and 2) not finish last. I wanted to take a few chances, and ride aggressively.
The start was fast, but I made some passes and achieved goal #1. Instantly everything bottle necked and we were off our bikes, trying to run up the first little turn and get rolling again. As we remounted I got on a wheel, but girls started passing me right away. It took me about half a lap (at which point I think I was 3rd from last) to realize I was going to have to make some kamikaze passes and be a bitch if I wanted this race to happen for me. So I did! When you're taking the inside line on an icy turn to get around someone, even if you go into it just a little ahead of them, they'll have to slow down and let you by. Sure, it's not very polite, but it's a bike race, right? Gee, did I just figure that out? Anyway, I worked my way up to Beth, who had a somewhat better call up than me. I'd just passed a couple people when, on an off camber grassy hill, I came in a little too hot (taking chances, right?) and my tires slid out from under me before I had time to realize what was happening. I hit hard, wacking my head, shoulder and hip, but got up fast, wondering if I'd concussed myself (I hadn't). I glanced behind me as I was slip-sliding my way up the slope to remount my bike, and saw Beth also running with her bike, and another girl picking herself up from the course tape. Uh oh, did I cause all this carnage? Later Beth would tell me that we perfectly executed the rare and difficult synchronized teammate crash sequence. If anyone has a video or photo of this, I must have it. It must have been a thing of beauty. Anyway, after that I rode a bit more conservatively. My goal for the race was to get up to former Bella Shannon Holden, who finished about 45 seconds ahead of me at both Portland USGPs. I caught her, actually passed her at one point, but she passed me again and finished the race about 10 seconds up from me. I only gave away one more place - on our final lap about 40 of us were lapped by the top women. Katie Compton lapped me in the pits, Meredith Miller lapped me before the barriers, and Amy Dombroski lapped me just after the barriers. I moved way over and slowed down so Amy could go by, and a girl who'd been sitting 5-10 seconds behind me went past! I had slowed down before a slippery little "S" turn so I wouldn't accidentally take out a podium contender, and when this girl went by she totally almost did so when Amy caught up to her in the turns. I was a little irritated, but still felt that I'd done the right thing, even though it cost me 68th place. ;)
In retrospect I'm really happy with my cyclocross season. I set out to have fun and become a better cyclocross racer, and I truly feel I accomplished both of those goals. At the end of the season I was left feeling that with another year or two of hard work I can make contact with some smokin' fast girls. (Top 30 at nationals? That's a good goal.) Anyway, Bend was awesome, and I have every intention of going back next year!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Bend is freezing (-10F right now) and snowy. We drove by the course last night and it's under about a foot of snow. I heard the inside scoop is that they're going to shovel all the snow off of it. This is probably for the best. Left alone it will probably melt and the course will turn to soup, then progress to frozen ruts, or we'll be sliding around on rutted ice. Either way I'm just as happy to see it go. But I'm a wimp like that. :)
Sooo, the Stanley Cup! Both days ended up about the same for me. It starts with well, a lousy start. I always feel like I'm doing pretty good until I look behind me and see no one there. Where'd everyone go? Oh, they're in front of me. Crap. Something to work on. I think I just need to start throwing elbows or something. Anyway, on Saturday that lousy start was followed by a big crash in front of me, so any hope of catching on with a faster group was gone. I ran around the crash and past the muddy section, jumped back on my bike, and then all the crashed riders rode past me. I need to get faster at the remount. Seriously. The course that day was mostly dry (dry? In Portland?) with a couple of rutted sections and a couple of slimy turns. Lots of roots sticking up to flat on, too. I avoided the flats, but as it turned out I rode alone for most of the day. I beat a couple of girls, but didn't even come close to cracking the top 30. C'est la vie. Next time. On Sunday it was about the same at the start, but no crash. The course had dried out a bit, but they'd added a couple more technical areas on the moto track area, as well as some "nice" mud pits. This time I ended up having a couple of girls to race against. I'd pass this one girl, get a gap, then she and her teammate caught me, her teammate flatted right before the pits, some other girl caught me and the 3 of us were riding together. With about half a lap to go I made a pretty cool pass on this off camber uphill turn. I took the inside line and just started hammering. I got a gap on the other two which I was able to sustain and even grow a bit until the finish. So yay! I won the "sprint" for 31st. Whoop tee doo. Really thought, it was fun having girls to race against, and I was happy I rode smart and hard and didn't settle for 35th. And for almost the entire race there were 5-7 girls ahead of me who I could see and, had I just a wee bit more power and speed, I think I could have hung with them.
I've raced in Portland twice before. The first time as a 3/4, and then two years ago with the Elite class. Honestly I don't think my finish is a whole lot better than it was 2 years ago, but I know I'm riding better, stronger, smoother. I know my technical cross skills have come a long way. So maybe by this time next year I'll have an extra watt or two per kilo and I can hang with some of my totally rockin' teammates. :)
Now I just need to get up the crazy enough to go ride in this cold, cold icy town.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I've been planning my 2010 schedule and formulating my goals for the upcoming year. My schedule's posted on this blog - starting a little early and trying to use my cyclocross fitness to get some results and that ever elusive upgrade. Then taking it easy in April and May with just a few select races (some new ones! I love riding new-to-me roads) and then hitting it pretty hard again in June and July. My goals are as follows:
1. Get my *$&#*@*$ cat 2 upgrade!!! (why did Blogger highlight that as a link? What do you suppose it links to?)
2. Ride a sub-hour 40k time trial at Districts (should be cake - I shaved 3:30 off my time from 2008. Another minute? no problemlo.)
3. Race, and don't get time cut from, Cascade Classic, which I can't do without first acheiving goal #1.
My off season goal is to reach my race weight of 130. Just an arbitrary number, but it's proved elusive thus far. My "happy" weight is 140 lbs - can't believe I'm advertising that on the internet. Seriously, though, I'm 5'9" and pretty muscular. I eat anything I want to (really, I just ate 1.5 cannoli's that were in the coffee room) and this is the weight I hover at (sometimes a bit above). I'm comfortable with my appearance and my size, but I really believe that I'll be more competitive if I'm leaner. If I start getting down to that weight and my recovery or performance suffers then I'll have learned my lesson and start eating cannolis for breakfast again. For now, I probably shouldn't go eat that last cannoli. It is possible, of course, that I just really like saying the word "cannoli".
So my apologies of the next several blog posts fixate on food and weight and the like - it's for my own good.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Yesterday I went down to the NCNCA district championship cyclocross race with miss 3 time olympian, Katerina Nash. She's a Truckee local, so picking her up was on my way. Sadly, despite 4 hours in a car together, I wasn't able to absorb her speed by osmosis. Still a fun time, and I say with no small amount of personal pride that she crushed it (undoubtedly due to the comfort of my car and my great skill as a driver). My race on the other hand was just pitiful. I had a decent start, managed to not get crashed in the first two turns (come on ladies, keep the rubber side down!). The first two laps were good, then I just kind of faded. I was racing right where I thought I should be relative to the other girls in my category, but then I just went backwards. Ugh. My third lap was kind of a disaster. After slowing down A LOT I had my aforementioned acrobatic crash (Katerina crashed there too, and almost the entire men's A field!). I ended up getting caught by 4 girls who I'd already passed and dropped, and a couple more who were way back, and a couple of women's B's, and a couple of 35+ ladies. I couldn't really respond, couldn't try to follow, just survived the rest of the race. I knew going into it that I wasn't feeling superb, almost a little under the weather, vacation hangover, so I'm not super bummed. I know where I should be, and can be, sometimes things just fall apart. This week calls for lots of rest, and sleep, and recovery, and good food, so I'm ready to rock and roll by next Saturday in Portland. It looks like it's going to be wet!
I'm also trying to think up goals for next year, and to get a rough draft of my season calendar. It's tricky, you know? The most obvious and obnoxious goal is to GET MY FREAKIN' CAT 2 UPGRADE ALREADY!!! But I feel like that's a given. I'm thinking I want to race the Cascade Classic and not get time cut. I want to do a sub-hour District TT (40k). I'm thinking maybe top 10 at Nevada City? Or is that waaaay too ambitious? Unattainable? Sigh . . . I don't know. And should I include cyclocross in my season goals? Cyclocross seems like a whole different season, so I'm thinking no. I feel like any decisions and commitments I make now are going to affect me for the next 12 months, so I want to make them worth while!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Well, going back two weeks (has it been that long) and our Santa Cruz trip! While it mostly revolved around my cyclocross races (more on that later) good times were had by all. Cody got to hang out and drink beer, he even raced the costume 'cross race! and we hung out at the ocean.
The racing was rad, though my performance was just so so. I always spend the whole race recovering from my meek little starts. And to be perfectly honest I don't have the fitness to recover well from bad starts. I can get around a few people, but by then the people I want to be racing with are long gone. I need to either a) start more aggressively, or b) be so freakin' fast that I can catch and pass the leaders even after a bad start. Right, well, it seems that option B is unlikely to happen anytime in the near future, so I'm just going to have to be more of a bitch at the start of a race. Anyway, the courses were awesome and it was a total blast, I just wish I could be a weee bit faster. I feel like I'm approaching the next level of speed and fitness, it's just slightly outside my reach. But feeling that it's so close, so attainable, is good motivation to keep working on it. At any rate my mounts/dismounts/barriers have improved dramatically. So one step at a time, right? Haha, get it?
Last weekend I skipped the local 'cross race (sad, I know) and went down to Berkeley for a meeting and ride with my new road team, Touchstone Climbing. It's gonna be a great year for us, I think! Hoping I can get my shizit together for the upgrade, this perpetual state of 3ness is getting a little tired.
And now . . . ? It's been a good week of training. I had a gnar ride yesterday (see previous blog post), then tried to ride in the Outlaw 'cross race this morning. Bad idea - my legs were totally thrashed from my intervals yesterday, and my run the day before. Ouch! Did one fast lap then just cruised around and worked on my cornering for a few more, then called it a day. I've always had a hard time convincing myself to suffer at 8 AM on a Thursday. So now I'm debating on what to do with my weekend. I have a little bit of a scratchy throat, and have been feeling just a touch under the weather this week, so I'm feeling really cautious about subjecting myself to anything that's going to make it worse. On the other hand, the BASP night race is on Saturday! Fun fun! And on Sunday I'm debating on if I should do a big long road group ride with my new team (fun! But not necessarily the best training for 'cross) or if I should head to Folsom and race 'cross again. Or, the really lazy option - stay home on Saturday and go race in Folsom on Sunday. Jeez, aren't my weekend plans enthralling?
Seriously, though, it's hard listening to everyone talk about base miles while I'm still in cyclocross mode. It makes me want to drop everything and start training for road season. But I won't! I'm having a blast racing 'cross and I'm not calling it a season until I get that top 30 at nationals. My road season will just have to start a little late.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Someday . . .
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Next - the mean-ass spider bite I got on my . . . ass. Okay, no, it's on my upper, outer, right thigh. But it sucks. Also decended on my on Thursday night. Have determined that it is not from a Brown Recluse, or any other spider that delivers necrotizing venom, thank you jeee-sus! I've come to this rather relieving determination because of the lack of "pus", and "white ring, surrounded by red, around the bite zone, giving it a characteristic bulls-eye target appearance." Okay, that's not actually the quote, I'm paraphrasing. But no pus and no white ring. But I have a big swollen painful-itchy red area on my leg, and you can see it bulging out in my spandex. Grrrrrreat. And this one hurts too! I grabbed my hoodie this morning and the zipper whacked my leg right on my big puffy-ass bump. More sitting, more crying about it. If it doesn't go away in 7-10 days (business?) I'll have to bite the bullet and amputate my own leg. Orrrr . . . go to the doctor. In the meantime, more Ice, more Vitamin I.
Umm . . . what have I done to deserve two gimpy legs in one week? Stupid spiders, that's what I get for not killing them. Stupid nationals, that's what I get for volunteering and running my freakin' tail off for 5 days getting shit done.
So, I know Googling symptoms is a Bad Idea, but when you've got no health insurance and no credit card your options are seriously limited. Jeez, it's amazing I've survived as long as I have.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
And the winner is . . . Touchstone Climbing! My coach suggested I talk to them, which is good because I would have been way too intimidated to do it myself. So . . . yay!
These ladies are fast, so I'm gonna have to step it up!
Friday, October 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
First! I raced the Folsom Cyclebration CX race at Negro Bar waaaay back on the 12th of Sept. I was actually having a pretty stellar race until, with one lap to go, I had some really ill-timed breathing issue (that I've never experienced before) and pretty much just limped the whole last lap. Effectively dropping from 2nd to 4th (AKA DFL). So, while I was happy with my legs and my fitness, it didn't really pan out for me.
Next up! Cross Vegas! AKA "Why, oh why, did I sign up for this stupid !*#&ing race?!" Basically, I went down to Vegas to work at Interbike for my long-time employer, Sinclair Imports. While I've worked here for 4 years, this was my first trip with the company to work the event. And work I did! On my feet about 12+ hrs a day for 5 days. Sooo, 3 days into that was the race, and boy oh boy did I suffer. Actually, I only suffered for about two laps, then the dispair and the intense desire to QUIT led me to just back it off and have fun. And have fun I did! On the run-up people kept saying, "You're not going hard enough if you're smiling!!!" But it's better to be slow and have fun then to be slightly less slow and be hating life. My goal for that race is one that I'm going to carry with me to the USGP in Portland and also Nationals - finish in the 20's - 20th-29th. I utterly failed at Cross Vegas, finishing 34th, but I know that is an attainable goal for me, and I'm going to pursue the next two months of racing with that as the focus.
Finally, after a long week in Vegas, I got home late on Friday night. Saturday morning? Local CX race - 1st of the Sagebrush Series, of which I am the 2x reigning Women's A champion (to be fair, I think there were a couple of races in which I was the only women's A, but it sounds cool anyway, dontcha think?). My legs hurt in a wrong way after my Vegas trip, but I had a good start and was built a substantial lead in the first couple laps over the 2nd place girl. And then. Let's just say, I got lots of flats. And I happened to get these flats about as far from the pits as one can get. Loooong run. Two of them, actually. DNF in the Women's A's race (because by the time I got back to the pits and changed my tube because my extra wheels were still on the way back from Vegas there was only a lap left). Then I jumped in with the men's A's, repeated my flat-on-the-far-side-of-the-course-gosh-this-is-a-long-run routine, and was DFL. But at least I was able to borrow someone's wheel and get rolling again before the bell lap. Oh yeah, did I mention it was like, 100 degrees outside? It was.
After this race I went home, slept for about an hour (I'm STILL recovering from my total sleep deprivation in Vegas) then loaded up the car to drive to California for the first of the Sacramento CX races on Sunday. When I started my warm-up all I could think about was how totally lousy I felt. Just tired, mostly, and sore legs from all the damn running the day before. Ready . . . go! I got the hole shot, which always makes me happy. Then led for most of the first lap. Passed by two girls, let them go. Rode around for the rest of the race with two others. Did my share of the work, until about 1 1/2 laps to go, then I shamelessly sucked wheel. With about 1/4 lap to go I could see the girl in the front was hurting, so I put in a big attack and held it to the line for 3rd. Hooray for a podium after a series of crappy races! And won my race entry back.
Okay, I think that brings us to now.
I like this picture. This section of the Sagebrush course was a run up last year because there were barriers at the bottom. This year there were no barriers, so it was waaay fun to ride it. But you see all those big strong guys running up it? And you see me, still on my bike? And you see the look that one dude is giving me? Classic. Actually, I think he told me, "nice work" when I passed him right there.
Oh yeah! Couple of equipment shout-outs: The new Ellsworth is SICK! And pictured above. And the interim pink Ellsworth jersey is highly visible. Also, after my series of flat tires riding my Hutchinsons on Saturday, I threw on some Challenge Griffo XS semi-slick clinchers for the race on Sunday and they were rockin' on that course, and I had nooooo flats whatsoever. Hmm . . what else? I think that's it . . . for now.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Bringing the hurt.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Patterson Pass was, um, well, kinda lousy. Led out the climb (bad idea, same thing I did at the hill climb at Kern, tho you can reference my race report for evidence that I didn't really admit it to myself at the time the actual reason why I sucked so hard) cracked just before the top, just about caught back up, then I flatted. Damn. So, to do well in a road race one needs to do the following: 1. Train lots, but not too much, 2. Don't flat, or have any other mechanical mishap, 3. Not go into it with your head up your ass (as in leading up the climb, into a head wind). Next race I'm going to triple check that my head is where it belongs, and the "on" switch is engaged.
And hope for no flats.
(Pre-Dunnigan mental checklist will go something like this - "Head out of ass? Check. Brain fully engaged? Uhhh . . . oh! I mean, "check". )
So, having a day of lousy luck (if you count stupid racing as bad luck, and I do) can really call into question motivation (which, as previously addressed, has recently been occasionally absent) and purpose, and self-confidence. Well, the self-confidence department is still kind of lacking. The only thing that's going to fix that is a good result, or an extra glass of wine (unfortunately not an option pre-race). What do I do when I struggle with these things? Well, it seems when I feel like no matter what I do I'll never be a good road racer I think about how freaking awesome cyclocross is. And . . . I start plotting. For instance, I'm seriously seriously thinking about flying to Kentucky for the USGP Derby Cup races. Yes. Kentucky. Additionally I'm already planning on flying to Portland for the USGP, and driving to Bend for Nationals. And I'll most likely be working at Interbike so I'll hopefully (if my boss let's me get away from the almost-naked-ladies-dancing-on-poles that is the Sinclair Party) be racing Cross Vegas again. WTF? It's like I'm a pro cyclocross racer or something. Hm. I know, it's a lot way to travel to come in 3rd from last, but god damnit, it sounds like fun.
Oh yeah, and I'm going to get my road upgrade. Umm . . . right . . .
Thursday, August 6, 2009
This week's been tough on motivation. I had an amazing hard ride on Saturday, sort of lazy Sunday, took Monday off, then on Tuesday woke up to find that my motivation had sort of evaporated. What gives? Perfect lousy timing. I've faked my way through the last two days of training, sort of resenting the whole thing for some reason. Today it's kinda cold (75 degrees is practically arctic for Reno in August) and it's supposed to rain later and I'm thinking I'll just ride my rollers and watch stupid movies. Trying to figure this out, get a handle on my negativity before it really fucks me over. Oh dear, did I just swear on my cycling blog? Ah well, it's the new Negative Nancy Me, get used to it. (My boyfriend's brother's wife [who I confess that I think of as my sister-in-law, despite the lack of marital ties between myself and that family] is named Nancy, and it annoys the crap out of her when someone calls someone else a Nancy.)
Okay, so I've figured out my problem. I have a number of races in the next couple weeks, and I'd really like to get some good results. Like, win. Because I want my upgrade soooo bad. And if I get my upgrade this month I can throw myself headlong into a wild and crazy season of cyclocross. If I don't get it I'll feel like I have to prepare for a solid early start to the road season so I can get some results before the points I have dry up. And my head's not in the road game, my brain's already gone over to cyclocross mode. So . . . what? I'm putting all this pressure on myself to do well at something that I have very little enthusiasm for right now. Top that off with being out of the game for the last month and a half and my confidence is way low and I'm mostly feeling lots of nervousness and dread. I write that and sounds stupid - my training has been very good for the last month, I'm fresh from not racing . . . yada yada yada.
Long story short . . . ? I need to get my fucking head on straight, plaster a truly sincere smile on my face, and go kick some ass with enthusiasm. Um, hooray?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
What is it about skinsuits, lousy weather, running over stupid barriers, cowbells . . . . sorry, I spaced out there, day dreaming. Shivers. Yum.
So I have this awesome deal with myself: If I kick ass on my road bike in August and get the last of my upgrade points I'll get to race a full season of cyclocross. Good incentive, no? Don't get me wrong, I luuurve me some road racing, but I'm ready for some variety. I'm hoping to make it to Portland for the USGP, then zip over to Bend for nationals! I know, it's still like, 4 months away, but a girl can dream, right?
Okay, I've gotta stop thinking about it. Gotta keep my head in the road racing game.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Okay, I realize my photo shopping leaves a little to be desired, but you get the picture, right? And it wasn't even stolen! I mean, it might have been, but the dude riding it was some old white dude in spandex accompanied by his wife. 'Course, old white guys steal lots of stuff (right Bernie Madoff?), so I think I might need to revise my profile of potential bike thieves.
Monday, July 13, 2009
In actuality I'm incredibly stoked on it, just a little embarassed to admit HOW stoked. Intervals tomorrow are going to hurt something good.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Let's see . . . where to begin?
I'm back training now. Trying to get some super-duper fitness before August, when I have a bunch of Cal Cup races planned. Trying to slim down, which is a lot easier to do when I'm not worried about being properly fueled for an upcoming race. Enjoying the summer and the lack of obligations. Oh sure, there's work, but beyond that it's just me and my bike (and Cody, and the dog, I suppose). But it's awfully nice, I'll tell ya what.
4th of July weekend was pretty rad. I had a good ride up at Donner with my daddio on Friday, an epic 4 hrs on the Tahoe Rim Trail and Flume Trail on Saturday followed by our very own backyard bbq. We played Stump and drank mojitos (well, I didn't drink mojitos, but everyone else did). Stump is one of those things (it's a game involving a very large hammer, a tree stump, and some big nails) that I really have to provide photos of to do it justice. Sadly, the camara remained untouched for the entirety of the evening. We climbed on our roof and watched the fireworks over in Sparks. It was cool, I guess.
On Sunday I took Cody to my hometown of Quincy. Why? Good question. I guess because he'd never been, and there were some friends of mine in town. We went out to breakfast, then I took Cody on a tour of my former hood by bicycle. It went something like this, "Here's the high school where I spent 4 years of my life dreading each day. This is the cemetary where we'd run spring drills when I was on the cross country running team when I was 14. Here's the woods where we'd go party when I was 16 and 17. I'd come smoke cigarettes here. Oh yes, and here. And here." Haha, it sounds dark and unhealthy, I know, but it's not really that bad. And in the infinite wisdom I've gained in 26 years (on Friday!) I see the error of my teenage ways. Ha, right. Anyway, we rode out towards Bucks Lake after touring the town, and I promptly dropped Cody, who's never smoked (tobacco) in his life, on the climb. So there. Then we went to Spanish Falls and swam in Spanish Creek and jumped off of big rocks. It was perfect. Quincy has a couple of things to recommend it in the summer, but so help me I will never, ever, ever live there again. haha, never say never, I know, I know.
Blah, that was a stupid story. Anyway, on to more pertinent stories. First of all, I ordered a Powertap hub yesterday! Woo hoo! I'm so freakin' stoked! And even more exciting then a Powertap? On Friday me and Cody are going to Wild Island Waterslides! All freakin' day, baby. That's right, I took work off to go play in chlorinated water and run across hot cement. Dude, stoked. Hella. I WILL take pictures, 'cause it's going to be epic.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Happy after the suffering is over.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Why do I bring this up? Well, yesterday I got 3rd in the Elite women at the NCNCA District Time Trial! Yeah, 3rd . . . out of 3. So I got to stand on the podium, by default! Woo hoo! I took full advantage of this, my first opportunity to stand on a podium with the likes of Alison Starnes (2nd) and Molly Van Houweling (1st, of course). The first, but hopefully not last time! And it wasn't as though I totally sucked out there, I am actually really happy with my ride. My goal, that I set for myself waaaaay back in November, was to complete the 40k in under 1:01. And . . . I did! I completed it in 1:00:56:90. So just barely made the cut, but good enough! Alison was a little over 2 minutes ahead of me in the 58 min. range, while Molly turned in a screaming 55:06. Sheesh. My goal for next year is to break an hour, I know I can do it! For now I'm happy with my default podium, and knowing that I put in a killer effort and have made tremendous progress from last year (last yrs. time was 1:04:32). I wanted to post my podium pic, but can't find it online, so maybe later.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
So I'm thinking of cutting back the school load. That's really a euphemism for "dropping out of school," except you can't accuse me of dropping out because I'm going to be taking 1 class! Just for that very reason. I want to race my bike, with a greater degree of commitment and success. This time next year I want to be in Minnesota for Nature Valley.
I'm taking the month of July off from racing. Get 4 weeks of super focused training, a good mental break, then going at it full-bore in August, September, then take another break. Get some results, get my upgrade, get a little momentum going into next year! Up my training load, and be ready to race with the big girls, finally.
I have the blessing of Cody to do whatever makes me happy. He'll be graduating next spring, and the . . . who knows! I'll tag along where work takes him (we have a tacit agreement to not live in the midwest, south of Virginia on the east coast, Reno, and most places in california - the latter is his request, personally I love Cali and would pack my bags for Santa Cruz tomorrow if he'd consent).
So I'm committing to, erm, dropping out of school? Yeah, it sounds bad, but you only live once, I'm not getting any younger, carpe diem, blah blah blah. And if I fail spectacularly, at least I tried.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Hmm . . . I almost look like I know what I'm doing!
Won $22, almost covered my race entry, didn't come close to covering my gas money! Sigh . . . I love TTing, I think I'm pretty good at it (relative to the rest of my skill-set) but it lacks the excitement of finishing 2nd in a road race or a crit. Sometimes I feel like I don't want to be good at the TT, 'cause then I feel like I should be a triathlete. haha, that's a stupid thing to think, and don't worry, it will never happen. (Never say never? ha! You haven't seen me swim! It's hilarious! If only there were a triathlon where you were forced to doggy paddle, and the run was some crazy down-hill trial free run, then I might be down.)
Anyway, enough of the tangent, the Dunlap TT was fun, can't wait to do it again, only for longer, and in a much more competitive category, this weekend! Ah districts, how I love thee.
Friday, June 5, 2009
No race results, or excitingness to speak of. Three more weekends of racing and then I'm taking a break! For rizzle. God. Sorry, I'm bored. I need a new job, one where I get to move around and interact and stuff. This desk job stuff is boring.
- Note to self: must stop sucking at racing crits. Like, seriously, get with it, ya know?
Sadly, with only 4 or so more races (until August, when I'm picking things back up for MTB season) I have few opportunities to vindicate myself on that note. Two weekends of time trials followed by the Pro1/2/3 Tour de Nez and then the Pro1/2/3 Nevada City races. Crap. Like I'm really going to be able to pull off a result at those! Let's see, against Tibco, Vanderkitten, etc, at TDN? Sure, I'll just attack on the hill. Right. And whilst I adore the time trials and expect to do fairly well at them, even if I set a new course record at Districts I don't get any upgrade points. So, yes, I'm going to get a big "3" tattooed on my forehead as that is the category I am destined to race for ever and ever and ever.
Seriously? I'm not bummed or anything, or feeling discouraged, or any of that stuff, I'm just bored out of my mind and ruminating on this stuff. It's been a good season, I'm happy with many of my results, my training, my life. I just want to be faster, like, now. These things take time, yes yes, I know, but when trapped alone with my bemused wanderings it's easy to feel dissatisfied.
In other news, it's been raining a TON here and I LOVE it! It never rains in the desert, and it is amazing when it does. Oh the smells! It's impossible to describe the smell of wet desert, sagebrush, rabbit brush, willows, other stuff . . . so nice.
Yawn . . . I need a nap.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Lame. So very lame.
So, let's be very clear that I'm an agnostic, definitely don't believe in any sort of divine being or spiritual stuff that would fall in line with any religion. That said, why does god want me to be a cat 3 for the rest of my life? Why, oh why? Is it something I did in a former life? Is it the gummy worms I sneak out of the bulk bin at Raleys? Is it because I'm living in sin?
Anyway, the Auburn crit was a great event, gonna go back next year, good primes, prizes, yada yada yada.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
- To begin with, I rocked the TT. Let's just leave it at that.
- As I bonked, cracked, cramped, and limped my way up the hill climb I thought, "oh, so this is what dying feels like." As I was dying in the RR the next day I kept laughing to myself about how this is what dying feels like, I think I might have been a little delirious.
- A certain princess suggested that the reason I've failed to secure my cat 2 upgrade is because of my inability to avoid getting rookie marks if I so much as look at a bike.
- Thanks to Monica I will now ask myself "Marian, are you getting shot at?" whenever I have a bad race, and feel a little better about myself.
- Heather Pryor, the girl who totally kicked my ass all weekend, is afraid of mountain biking, so I teased her a lot during the road race until she dropped me. It was very fun. I had people tell me, "I'm following your line on the decents!" because I kept telling them how much I'd rather be up in Tahoe riding knobbie tires instead.
- SueNami spit chewed up watermelon on me as I lay in the dirt at the top of the hill climb. That made me laugh, I don't think anyone's ever spit chewed up watermelon on me before. It was awesome.
- It's totally worth 14 hours in a hot car to hang out with my teammates for a weekend.
- A girl I've been racing against a lot this spring told me on the start line of the road race, "We were talking about how there are two types of bike racers: the kind that sit in and wait for the finish and worry a lot about their results, and the kind who, results be damned, get up there and make stuff happen. You're the second type." So I'm kind of paraphrasing there, but you get the point. I'm stoked to be the second type, and some day I'll have the fitness to back up the crazy things I do.
- Hernando and Sabine insisted on buying me dinner both nights, I think it's because I told them that I slept in my car at collegiate nationals. A move that Michael classified as "totally unacceptable." Come on! What? :)
Okay, that's all I've got. I'm still exhausted, sunburned, and desperately in need of doing a load of laundry. I've somehow volunteered to organize the Tour de Nez century ride, that will take place on the day I'm racing Nevada City. Huh? How're you going to work that one, Mare? Sigh . . . time will tell.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
D2 Women's Crit in downtown Fort Collins.
The lovely and talented Marian Hunting of Women's Cycling Magazine! My lifesaver.
Pre Road Race self portrait. Hiding from the wind.
Sooo . . . here's the road race report I typed up on Friday night:
Okay, so, down to business! It's windy as f*&k here! We had a group of about 60, racing for 50 miles, some rollers, no super huge climbs, lots of f'in wind. As we hit one of the larger climbs (about 10 miles into the race) things started to come apart. A group of 9 got off the front, and I found myself climbing well and passing lots of people. After all the major climbs had passed (18 miles into the race) I found myself in a group of 9 chasing the lead group of 9. The WCCC was very well represented! There were 3 davis girls, 2 santa barbara girls, and myself, as well as a couple of CU girls. We worked together, got about a 3 minute gap on the field behind us, and kept trying to chase down the leaders, but no go. As we neared the end (around mile 44) there were a couple of climbs before the big decent to the finish. I was starting to feel pretty cooked, so as we started to go up the first one I decided to just stick to my own pace rather than try to follow a wheel and blow up. That was definitely a good call, because the last climb we went up was sooo freaking steep! And then it leveled out a little bit but you were riding into a gnarly headwind, so it was almost worse! I was riding with a girl from CU, and, well, long story short, she outsprinted me into a gnarly ass headwind. So I got 17th! I'm very happy with my result, especially considering that I don't think any of the other girls had done it on so little sleep or such questionable accomodations (or lousy coffee, for that matter).
So! I think I'm going to go take a nap in my car now. Try to get a good dinner, stretch, and recover for tomorrow. I'm trying to convince Jenna from CPSLO to let me give her a leadout, because I think she could win the field sprint if properly set up, and she's awesome, so she deserves it. Oh yeah! I got a call up! Thanks to our boys killing it at mtb nationals last year, UNR was on the call up list, like, 9th!!!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
- I'm not going to get dropped on the first climb.
- Or the second.
- Or the third.
- I've got a big advantage over a lot of these people because I live and train at the same altitude (approximately) that the race is held. Take that, sea level dwellers.
- I've been working sooo hard this year, I belong here (there) with these hella fast people.
- It's fun!
Was that believable? Okay, good.
So, it was super nice to not travel this weekend. Super nice. Got in a couple of awesome days of riding, even though the weather was kinda crappy. Climbed Geiger grade yesterday and dropped down to Virginia City, where I met up with my mom (who was 20 minutes late - I almost froze to death waiting for her) and did touristy stuff and went to a little chili cook off thingy. I bought Cody a very inappropriate Mustang Ranch shot glass. Today we went for a totally wonderful MTB ride on some of my favorite trails in Reno. It was amazing. A little damp, and a lot windy, but gorgeous. I'm sooo looking forward to racing in the dirt come August.
Uhhh . . . that's all I've got. If I make it back from Colorado I'll post again.*
*I'm told that Fort Collins is extremely conservative, so I figure with all my pinko literature that I plan on passing out there's a good chance I'll be lynched or something.**
**Just joking, kind of.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Now I have a cold, which is incredibly annoying. I'm skipping the Boca twilight race tonight because of it. Weak. Oh well, I'll get some dirt therapy with Cody and my doggie, and it'll be nice.
Bought my plane ticket for CO! I can't believe I'm going to road nationals. Hope I don't get too seriously spanked. But even if I do, I'm sure it'll be a great racing experience. Nice and hard. Love those hard races.
Must stay focused on school for the next week and a half! Then I'll be free! For a month or so, anyway, until my stupid summer class starts. Focus focus focus. But I just want to ride my bike!
Friday, April 24, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
So, pretty much just been eating lots of cookies and Nutella this week, trying to get recovered from last weekend. I baked cookies for the ladies at the Velo Bella booth, but they were delicious, so I had to make several batches. I was going to make some vegan peanut butter cookies for my favorite eschewer of animal products, but sadly, Cody took the peanut butter with him when he headed down to Monterey a day ahead of me.
Now all I have left to do is not fail my Genetics exam, pack up my car, and get the hell out of Reno. Oh, great, is that all?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
On the first climb things got hard, but I was able to stay in the top 3, even through the steep stuff. We crested the climb and I looked back to see that we were down to a break of 5 (out of 21! not bad for a 3's race!). We worked together to stay away, and were successful. We stayed together for the rest of the first lap and most of the 2nd. On the little climb before the big decent 2 of my break-mates started going pretty hard and gapped me off, but I had an equal gap on the other 2 girls. I could see the 2 ahead of me and did my best to catch, but they were pretty strong and working together. I considered waiting for the other 2, but figured my chances of securing 3rd were better on my own. I'm not sure if that was the right thing to do, but I was able to stay away from them for most of the 3rd lap. It was a struggle, with a pretty strong headwind up in the flat stuff. I stayed fueled and tried to ride strong and steady. Unfortunately, at the top of the climb before the big decent and the finish (yay!) I was caught by one of the girls behind me. She'd put in a good effort on that climb and caught me. Must've been pure MTB racing instinct, but I jumped ahead of her for the sketchy long decent. We traded back and forth a little bit until just before the 100m to go sign, then she jumped from behind me. I got on her wheel, but just as we started sprinting up the hill we were caught by a pack of dudes (I dunno, maybe cat 5's?). One of them fully ran into the back of me and I was almost run off the road. Weak. I lost the girl's wheel as the guys came around me and got BETWEEN me and her, making it totally impossible for me to even try to outsprint her. So I gave up 3rd with 50 feet to go. Those guys were total jerks, too. But I'm pretty much thrilled with how I was riding, and climbing, and generally making it through all 3 laps of that brutal race. Feeling super pumped for Sea Slaughter, and like my fitness is really coming around and I'm finding myself one of the stronger riders in the 3s, and getting some upgrade points finally!
I have lots more to say about life and racing and stuff, but I think it's time to get some work done and maybe start thinking about the 2 exams I have to (hopefully) pass before I leave for Laguna Seca on Thursday. Hooray!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
- The UCB race goes up the McEwan climb outside of Crockett. This is the third year I've gone to that race (not consecutive), and I'm not sure what keeps bringing me back. It's the Hardest Climb Ever. No shit.
- My cell phone fell out of my pocket whilst doing sprint intervals yesterday. I finished my interval and turned back to retreive it, but alas, it had already been run over by a car. Managed to salvage my SIM card, tho.
- Cody stepped on my sunglasses while moving a refridgerator on Sunday (long story). He made it up to me by buying me new ones. They just got here, and they're hot. Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/dxwvr2
- I'm officially ditching my chemistry final to go to collegiate nationals. Long story short, I'm going to get a C (at best) in that class even if I go to the final, which means I'll be retaking it either way, so I might as well totally fail the class and go have some fun. And by fun I mean mid-pack (at best) sufferfest (which is my usual definition of fun, anyhow). Fort Lewis look out, UNR is bringing the hurt. ha. haha (nervous laugh). Just kidding Fort Lewis, please don't hurt me.
- The weather in Reno sucks right now. Chilly and windy (like, 40 mph gusts, no fun) and blowing all the petals from the newly bloomed flowers. Suck. So now I'm going to go do hill intervals.
Post Script . . . two other things I wanted to mention in this post, because I don't think they'll be very relevant by the time I get around to another:
- I think I may have finally figured out my sprint. Sheesh, took long enough.
- When I was climbing up McEwan (I think the 3rd or 4th time, but mighta been the first or second) on Saturday during the road race, I was so freaking cooked that my face was numb. Seriously, what's up with that?
Okay, that's it.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So last week Cody's bro and a couple of their friends (also bros) came out to visit us. Flew allll the way from NH. We took them down to Auburn for some camping, biking, and drinking. It was totally awesome. And I'll tell ya what, these boys know how to cook. I don't think I touched the kitchen the whole time they were here. It was great. And good food too, much better cooks than myself. The last of them left this morning. Kinda sad, but at the same time my sleep has definitely suffered for it. But here's some photo highlights:
Riley shredding sweet singletrack.
More craziness. Surprisingly, the flavor of rum was quite easy to get out of my bottle.
So then I went down to Sacramento on Saturday to race the Land Park Crit. Teammate Katie was there, totally kicking ass. I had a surprisingly good race. Much better than Menlo. I felt fit and confident and comfortable. Nice. Lousy to nonexistent sprint at the end, but one thing at a time.
Okay, off to do more race prep. God damn this race promotion is a lot of work. Wish my personal chefs were still here . . .