Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I was doing so well getting caught up here, and then suddenly two weeks have gone by and I’m off the back again (in oh-so-many ways).
Truth is, nothing very interesting has been going on. I’ve been looking for work, and at this point can say that the search has been a success. I am now employed at Masconomet Health Center, which is an assisted living facility in Topsfield, MA, as a diet aide. It’s an OK job, pay’s not so great and I had to get stabbed with numerous needles to get hired on there, but if I ever make the leap back into higher education to finish my dietetics degree and do my internship it will be really helpful to have a little more work experience. If/when, whatever. I also have a few applications out to jobs that could be both more lucrative and more interesting (and not quite as long as a commute – it’s about ½ hr to Topsfield) but those positions don’t close for a little while yet, so it’s good to know that I’ll have a little income coming in one way or another.
Last weekend I raced the third and fourth races in the Verge New England series – Downeast Cyclocross at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, ME. It’s pretty cool having a regional series that’s UCI, really. Day one was probably the best race I’ve had at any UCI race I’ve done. My start was typically pathetic, even though I’ve been working on them pretty intensively lately. But once I got rolling I had a great race – slowly working myself up into the money. Both my fitness and the bike handling felt totally dialed, and it was a wicked fun course. I had one of those magical moments when I saw 4 laps to go and I thought, “I’ve totally got 4 laps left in my legs, and I need all four of them to pass more people.” Although I was still a few points away from that UCI point I need for a second row start, I finished feeling totally stoked. My goal for the next day was clear – have a good start, so I didn’t have to spend so much time and energy getting around people.
I got to crash at the lovely house of friends in Portland, ME, just 20 minutes away from the race. We cooked a lovely dinner with farm-fresh veggies and I got to sleep nice and early. There’s nothing better than staying with friends at a bike race.
The sky was looking threatening at the start of my race on Sunday, and one girl told me that, “the cows are all laying down, so it’s going to rain.” Luckily for us, it held off for our race. As for the race itself, I had a great start! I got into my pedal nice and quick and made some passes on the pavement, then kamikazi-ed my way around a couple girls as we funneled into the dirt. And then . . . it all kind of fell apart. People started passing me and I thought, “Why are they doing that? I’m going fast, aren’t I? Oh, I’m not? Crap…” Anyway, it was a rough day, but I congratulated myself on my awesome start and for actually finishing the race, even though I was getting a lot of pity-cheering as I limped along MINUTES behind girls I’d smoked the day before. You know, they two people clapping half-heartedly, saying in a tone of voice normally reserved for the terminally ill, “Good effort, keep going.” I mean, I know they mean well, but I still feel like throwing rocks at them because we both know that it is NOT a good effort, and the only reason I’m still keeping going is that I paid my stupid $40 to be there and it would be even stupider to quit.
So, the goal for next time is to combine Sunday’s start with Saturday’s awesome riding. Totally do-able, right? Totally.
Monday, October 11, 2010
East Coast Cyclocross, yo.
On our first day back, first thing I did was swing by the shop, and title sponsor of my new cyclocross team, Seaside Cycle! We’re also sponsored by Antero Resources, which is an oil drilling company, so I’m told, and a very generous sponsor. The new kits are pretty cool looking.
Anyway, I tried to get the 5 day car ride out of my legs over the course of the week, because just 5 days after arriving here I got to race the New England Nationals – Gloucester Grand Prix. Racing in my hometown is awesome. Seriously, there’s nothing better than sleeping in my own bed the night before a bike race. Plus, there’s a lot more people in the crowd cheering for me! Which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how the race goes.
Over the course of the week I went on a couple of rides with the guys on the team. One was a relaxed spin, with a little technical skills riding, and checking out of the weekends course in Stage Fort Park. The second day they were heading out for some “threshold intervals”. I figured, oh, I’ll probably get dropped, but whatever. Right before we started I was informed, “340-350 watts for 15 minutes.” Hahahahahahahaha! Even sucking wheel, that was too much for my yet-unrecovered legs. I did my own thing, and spent the rest of the week trying to get my legs reattached.
Anyway, the race ended up being super fun. I had done only one ‘cross race prior to this one, at Folsom Cyclebration, which was several weeks ago. Day 1 of Gloucester was, as a result, incredibly rough. In addition to being LAST after the start and crawling my way through the tight turns, I totally died about halfway through and lost 5-6 places. The good news was that I seemed to work the rest of the yuckiness out of my legs in that solid 45 minutes of pain, and I didn’t get lapped or pulled. Sunday’s race was much, much better. I was solid throughout, and beat one girl who’d tried to ride me into some park benches when I passed her the day before (bitch). Seriously, she did. And then when I cracked she passed me again, so I was pretty determined to not let her beat me again. Hooray! The bad news is I sucked on all things running, despite actually training the run this fall. The good news? Um, I sucked less than the day before at everything else! Hallelujah.
This weekend was the Providence, RI UCI race, which I bailed on at the last minute because I’m unemployed, still, and broke. And really tired, which makes me thing I might be fighting a cold or something. Next weekend I’m heading to a regional race up in Maine, and the following weekend is the second in the Verge series. I’m having a bit of a slow start to the season, but I think things will improve a bit by December.
And now . . . I’m going to go ride my mountain bike.
In the space of 10 days I spent about 60 hours staring through a windshield. Sure, that’s nothing by long-distance trucker standards, but I ain’t no trucker.
First was the drive to Grass Valley to meet up with my dad, then I got to ride shotgun while he did all the driving to and from Ferndale, then I had to get myself home. That was about 12 hours total. Then I got home to a flurry of packing and cleaning. Monday we packed, Tuesday we cleaned. Wednesday we left Reno. Mapquest says it’s about 48 hours to drive from Reno, NV to Gloucester, MA, and about 2900 miles. It’s not quite all the way across the country, but pretty damn close. We have two cars, 2 cats, 1 dog, and 5 bikes (which is well down from what it was just a month ago). As such, we each drove solo, accompanied only by our furry friends and the sound of eachother’s wisecracks through the walkie-talkies we brought. And, in my case anyway, several audiobooks. It probably took us a little longer than Mapquest predicted because we were towing a trailer with the Jetta and we put all the heavy stuff in the back of my ol’ Hombre. What I mean is, we rarely could go faster than 60, except for those stretches of Nebraska where we had a killer tailwind and we could kick it up to 65.
We left on Wednesday and arrived in Gloucester on Sunday evening, just in time for dinner. It was a surreal feeling to finally be here, with my cats and dog and all my earthly belongings. To tell myself, “We’re home.” Still getting used to it – well, duh, we’ve only been here a week and a half. But we’re mostly unpacked now and I think I have a job, which I’ll tell you all about if I actually get it. Now I should probably go do something productive with my day, like ride my bike or find some internet access so I can actually publish this post.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Who did you look up to when you first joined a club?
Who kept you going in cycling when it seemed too hard?
Who patted you on the back when you did well?
Sunday, August 8, 2010
- I'm gonna race the f*#& out of some cyclocross this fall. New team, more support, less travel. But more on that as the info rolls in. Cross. Hells yeah.
- We'll be keeping our insanely low cost of living, and perhaps lowering it a bit more.
- Cody can work as much as he wants for his old tree company and make bank, and I can, presumably, get a job . . . somewhere. Point is, make money, pay off student loans, and be free to go where we please a year or so from now, free of debt.
- Massachusetts has socialized medicine. Weeee! I haven't been to the doctor for a non-injury visit in . . . um, a long time. Yes, that is a legitimate reason for moving.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
- Davis 4th of July Crit - umm . . . wtf happened? Went into it excited to attack and race hard for our sprinters, and ended up trailing off the back the whole damn time. I suffered in the heat, and I later realized, struggled in the corners. Subconsciously I was freaking myself out and letting myself get punked going into every last one of them. Undoubtedly fall-out from my TdN crash. Lame. Anyway, pulled out with 5 to go, tried to explain it, just sounded like lame ass excuses . . . moving on.
- Geiger Grade HCTT - I averaged 14 watts lower than my last time trial up Geiger, yet I was 1:20 faster. Umm . . . another WTF moment. Still failed to break 40:00, still managed to get 2nd, still holding the lead in the SNHCTT series. At least until the Mt. Rose TT . . . that one's gonna hurt.
- And finally . . . . drumroll please? Cascade! Holy shit, what just happened?! Oh yeah, I crashed out on the 1st stage (not counting the prologue, which isn't really a stage, just a whole day of sitting around, 1 hr of warm up, and 4 minutes of racing). Yeah, 1st stage. 18 miles in. We were on a descent, going pretty damn fast. It hurt. I tried to keep going, but my body said no. Now that I'm healing up I fine myself berating myself for not finishing. But I listened to my body and made a decision. In retrospect it's easy to say, "oh, I'm such a wimp, I should have kept going", but the truth is that my left leg was nearly useless and I had 54 miles and 6000 feet of climbing to go. I'm pissed, I want vengeance, I got lucky. Instead of being out for the rest of the season, I was just out for the week. And I even got in a couple hours of ripping up some sick Bend singletrack. Hells yeah. Make the best of a bad situation. Anyway, my totally radical teammate got 9th in the GC. So it was a good week, even though it was a crummy week.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I don't really look like I'm suffering that bad (I was). What I like about this picture is that you can see the reflection of my hands and bars in my sunglasses if you look carefully.
Woot! I finally won one. Okay, so there were only a handful of us, and it was a local race, but damnit, I won. I've been dreading this hill climb since I first decided to do it. Not because I dread hill climb TTs (well, maybe a little) but because this particular climb - starting by Incline Village, up Country Club Dr., then onto Mt. Rose Hwy to the summit - has never quite agreed with me. I think it might be those brutally steep sections on Country Club, or maybe the loooooong straight aways on the highway. Either way, I've always felt fairly miserable while climbing up it.
In all honesty, I was fairly miserable whilst climbing up it today.
But in the end I prevailed, beating an incredibly skinny girl by ONE second. One. Do you know what I was thinking about for the last mile? I was thinking about how ever second counts, and how I missed the podium at the district time trial by six. One second. And she was damn skinny, too. And I had some Hostess Chocolate Donettes yesterday. Okay, I should probably lay off the snack cakes, but seriously, this is cool. And since this course has never been run before I "technically" set a women's course record. I'm going to say it again - I set a course record, in a hill climb. Ahhhh . . . that's nice. Gotta savor it because I don't hesitate to think that it's the last time I'll be able to make that claim.
So . . . things are coming together! I ended last weekend on a high note, after NOT GETTING LAPPED!!! at Nevada City. First time I've done that race that I've finished on the lead lap. Boooya. Anyway, that was followed by a kind of rough week, with lots of owies from my crash, and just feeling generally kind of bummed. But right now I'm feeling pretty good about things. I have a two day mini-break from bikes starting tomorrow, then some hard stuff coming up to tune up before what will undoubtedly be the hardest 6 days of my life, so far. Dun dun dun . . . . Cascade! Stoked.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Three weekends of racing coming up - hill climb followed by crit followed by hill climb - then my folks bought me tickets for my birthday to go see Neil Young here in Reno the weekend after that, and then Cascade! Sooooooo stoked! And Cody will be home somewhere in the middle of all that.
All this is helping me ignore the lingering ouchiness of my crash last Friday. While I emerged road rash-less, I got a nasty tire burn on the back of my leg from the girl who hit me (my bad, my bad entirely). And while I've never had road rash as big as what's on my leg, I'd venture to say that the tire burn hurts significantly worse than the road rash I have had. I mean, it's a burn, right? it hurts like a burn. And it's all scabby and nasty and it hurts when I sit down because it's on the back of my upper thigh. Ick. And I landed on my head in such a way that my neck is all spasmed.
But the point of this post wasn't to bitch about my owwies, but to talk about how freaking stoked I am. Yay bike racing and travel and great music and awesome company! Sorry, I'm just being annoying now. Over and out.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
At some point during the Reno criterium on Friday I had a funny thought that I can't remember now. It triggered a Seinfeld reference in my head, which I also can't remember. What I CAN remember is thinking - this is during a really tough crit, mind you - that every event in my life can be related to either an episode of the Simpsons, Seinfeld, or Mystery Science Theater 3000. Some of you may think that is incredibly lame, but I think it's incredibly awesome.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Looking forward to next year - if I'm still around these here parts and I figure the district TT into my schedule, my goal will NOT be to break an hour. I had my chance on that one, and I didn't do it, moving on. My goal next year will be to break 59 minutes. The self-lecture goes thus, "Oh yeah? You can't pull your s#*t together to go under an hour? Try 59 minutes, see how you like that." Yeah, I talk to myself a lot. 'Specially during time trials.
Oh yeah, how about the barn board backdrop? I think it appealed to me because Cody is in Gloucester until July 6 and I wish I were there too so I could just ride and swim and race Fitchburg and not have to worry about work and bills and stuff. Oh yeah, and the house has barn board walls in one of the rooms. I think it was a poor choice of interior decor (the house was only built 3 years ago) but the motif still reminds me of Gloucester. I know, sometimes I don't make a lot of sense. Until next time . . .
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Warming up for the TT. My bike is sexy.