Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why, oh why.

So . . . raced the Auburn crit this weekend, it was a combined 35+ and 3/4 field. I attacked on the hill on lap #1, formed a break, attacked the break, won a prime, rode in the break. My plan was to attack with a lap and a half to go. I felt like I was the strongest rider, I mighta coulda pulled it off. Unfortunately, going in with just over 2 laps to go, a rider went down pretty hard in the sharp left hand corner at the bottom of the ripping decent. I was behind her, got gapped off, had to unclip and come to a stop. Lame. The picture above is of me chasing, but with 2 to go I ran out of real estate, and came in 6th overall, 4th out of the cat 3/4s. Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda.
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

Clawing my way back into the land of the living.

Oh yeah, so I totally poached this photo from my teammate off of Facebook. It's cute.

So, I wrote up a long verbose race report for my coach, and I'd considered just copying and pasting it here, but who wants to read about my truly weak performance this weekend? Instead I prefer to publish the lighter moments at Kern, the thoughts that had me chuckling even as I struggled against getting dropped in 114 degree heat outside of nobody's favorite city, Bakersfield.
  • 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


This is Colorado, right? So where are all the big mountains?
Oh, there they are.My sweet, gas guzzling ride. Doubles as transport and lodging.
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.
Post Road Race self portrait. Happy, exhausted, and still hiding from the wind.

Sooo . . . here's the road race report I typed up on Friday night:
Got in to Denver last night around 10, got my rental car (my fancy Jeep Laredo), drove to Fort Collins. Road construction, the drive took forever. Got to bed around 12, bed being my sleeping bag in the back of aforementioned Jeep in the Hilton parking lot. Slept for, oh, 4 hours? Got up at the crack of dawn, loaded up on granola and 7-11 coffee (ick). Went into the Hilton to use the bathroom and saw the amazing breakfast buffet that I totally could have poached and I'm totally going to tomorrow. Yum.

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!!!

The crit the next day was fun! 60 minutes of pain, no doubt, but enjoyable, at least until the crashes started. Then it was just scary and hard, yet fun in that sick, twisted way. Not a whole lot to say about it, except that I managed to avoid the yucky crash on the 2nd to last lap, had lousy positioning going into the sprint, and finished 29th. I got spooked by the crash and wasn't aggressive enough about positioning myself at the end. Bummer. But I'll be back next year (probably) and I'll be ready! Oh yes, and I ended up 22nd in overall omnium (stoked about that) and based on my results alone UNR was ranked 24th out of 36! Haha.
Today calls for some dirt therapy, I do believe. Just one more final to take on Wednesday, then I'm free! Or, at least until summer classes start in June.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Yawn . . .

Ugh, is tomorrow really Monday? Really? Really Monday? Damn. So, I have, erm, something like 72 hours to study for my exams, ride my bike a little bit, pack, somehow make a little bit more money, hopefully sleep . . . all before I head to nationals in Colorado! Crap. But once I'm on that plane I'll be able to relax a little bit. Actually, scratch that - after the road race on Friday I'll be able to relax.

Seriously, I'm starting to psych myself out a little bit. And, as I've said before, I think my brain is as big an impediment to my success as anything else is. So I also need to work into my schedule a little bit of time for some positive visualization. (did I really just say positive visualization? I know, it's true, but I sound so much like my mom . . . scary) So . . . positive thinking! Here goes:

  • 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.