Wednesday, August 24, 2011


And the (kind of) big news that I've been too busy and/or lazy and/or distracted to announce to the internet world is . . . ! I managed to weasel my way onto a sweet new team! I'll be racing for LadiesFirst Racing. They're (we're?) a women's (duh) Massachusetts based team that focuses on cyclocross, although a number of the ladies also do a fair amount of road as well. Having support and teammates and coaching is going to be rad. I'm pretty much stoked.

I can never really figure what people are thinking when they decide to support me in some way or another. I feel like the things I put on resumes always sound cooler than they really are, and so I must be misleading people. I'm not making stuff up, it just sounds more impressive on paper than the event actually was. So when I was talking to the team director, who's also my new coach, he asked me about my power zones. I haven't actually done a power test in a year or so, so I just kind of guessed. I mean, it was an educated guess, but a fairly optimistic one. After I got off the phone I was a little worried that I might have oversold myself. Oh well, I guess if I'm not that fit then we'll find out soon enough, right? So yesterday on my ride I was gratified find that if anything I'd underestimated. I know, right? I am worthy.

Anyway, I should be racing this sunday, right when whatever's left of Hurricane Irena hits us. Epic.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Call of the Road

Ever since last January when the dark days of winter enveloped New England in more ice and snow and clouds than I care to remember I struggled with the decision of what to do with myself, bike racing-wise.

"Do I want to race road bikes?" Hells yes, but it either meant lots of trainer time (not a chance) or a late start to the season. Coming from the NCNCA and lots of fabulous early spring racing that was a hard concept for me to grasp. Additionally, I was a little spoiled coming from the NCNCA. I wanted a Copperopolis, a Wente road race, not some silly circuit race. Ignorant to the ins and outs of racing in New England, I didn't know what I wanted to commit to, to peak for, and how to train for it. Plus, I didn't have a team - I didn't even know who the teams around here were (still don't, I guess). So that inevitably lead to the question,

"Do I want to race mountain bikes?" This seemed like a fun option, given my lack of team and my obsession with east coast mountain biking. The biggest detractor here was cost. I'd have to buy my UCI license (which I'll have to get before CX anyway, but that's beside the point) and the entry fees are more than most road events I've done. My bike, as much as I love it, also needed some help - I'm currently running a 3 year old chain and cassette, and really, really need new tires. Like, really. It adds up.

Of course, one thing was not in question - Cyclocross. I knew whatever else I did I wanted to race 'cross. We have something like 15 UCI races in New England this year, and it's about $200 bucks to fly to Wisconsin in January (brrrrrr!).

Tonight I'll go race my first criterium if 2011. It also happens to be my second road race of the year, 3rd bike race, and probably my 5th competitive event of 2011. Whoa. I did more racing in my 1st year of racing, when I wasn't even sure I was a racer.

So what do I want to do next year??? The same questions/excuses/problems present themselves in answer.

Instead of doing 5 hour rides and spending more than I can afford racing my bike this year, I did lots of fun rides in the woods, went snowboarding, learned to go off a 4 foot drop, went downhilling, read a lot, ran a lot, raced a 5k and a duathlon, hung out with friends and family, worked on my core and upper body strength, watched a World Cup MTB race, watched a slopestyle competition (wow, spectating!!! When's the last time that happened?), played capture the flag, didn't stress about standing on my feet for prologned periods, didn't stress out about what I was eating (I still eat super duper healthy, but don't worry so much about what goes in the day before a race), established myself as a personal trainer through a highly regarded organization, went swimming as much as I could and went sailing. Probably some other things, too. It was rad. I've had a great summer and spring (pretty much everything since the snow melted). I've had time to do the things I never get to do in the summers, and spend time with people who are important to me.

But . . . every time I log onto Cyclingnews, or NorCal Cycling News (yes, I still check out, somewhat obsessively, what's going on in the NCNCA), and any number of blogs I read on a regular basis, I get this pang of longing. It's the same way I feel when I think about the mountains to the west of Reno, or my friends and family who aren't on the east coast, or Cody when one of us is away for a few days. I miss road racing the way I'd miss a person, or a significant and dear geological feature (haha).

So I'm not making any promises or commitments. I'm not saying I'm going to race a full season of road. (I AM going to race a full season of cyclocross, which may or may not include nationals.) I'm not positive I'm ready to give up having another summer of frivolity. I just want to put this out there as a reminder to myself, come January, what it will feel like to spend another season off the road. Maybe the commitments will come then, or maybe sooner, but it's good to get it down, sort through the pros and cons and how I feel about it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Almost Time!

Ah yes, the nights are getting cooler, the days shorter (which sucks, but whatever), summer seems to be winding down. I love summertime - the heat, the long days, swimming in some body of water every day I can. But as summer ends it's time for cyclocross, and that makes up for losing those long days and all the fun stuff that comes with it. Plus, fall in New England is pretty rad. Last year was my first fall here and between the colors on the trees and the lovely (bug-free) cool-but-not-cold weather it makes for a really nice season. I guess it was the same way out in Reno - fall Tahoe riding is pretty much the best. It's also football season, which I'm mildly ashamed to say makes me pretty happy. (My 16 year old self would be mortified by this admission, but she's too busy putting on more black eyeliner and dying her hair so I don't think she'll notice.)

Well, I registered for a crit next Wednesday - the Witch's Cup, in Salem. It'll be the first crit I've done in over a year. Ouch. But it's a women's cat 1-4 field, so I'm sure I won't be either the sketchiest or the slowest person out there. Goals for this event include not riding like a ninny and keeping the rubber side down. But it's good speed work for CX. Other than the fact that Salem is 20 minutes from home, I decided to do it because some business stepped up to sponsor the women's race, which was notable absent from last night's Grand Prix of Beverly. The other crit I'll be participating in this year is the TD Bank Mayor's Cup because last year they offered equal prize money for men and women and hardly anyone showed up and I want to support an event that does that even though I'll probably get shelled on the first lap when Laura Van Gilder attacks. Damnit. But it'll be sweet to race in downtown Boston, and it's part of this big Boston Cycling festival thing, so it sounds like fun. Even skipping a UCI2 CX race to be there and support it. Rubber side down, don't ride like a ninny, rubber side down, don't ride like a ninny (my crit racing mantra). I know, it has some logistical flaws, but whatever.

In other exciting news I seem to be generating some good power on the bike, which is nice. I say "seem to be" because I haven't been riding with my powertap, because, uh, I just haven't. With nationals in January this year I'm trying not to stress about numbers in August, or I'll probably be wicked burned out by the time it counts.

Oh yes, have you met my lovely new bike? I usually refrain from naming inanimate objects, because I have a hard enough time coming up with names for furry ones with eyes, but this one is Cap'n America, since it's red white and blue. It's kind of supposed to be ironic. At any rate, it's a hella sick bike and I can't freaking wait to go race it.