Monday, December 24, 2012

Winter 2012

I hit the road hard in January, stopped running altogether, and logged more hours in the saddle than any month from 2011.  This was partly motivation to build a decent base on a shorter scale than the previous year's 12 weeks but also because I started going off the schedule and enjoying some longer days in the saddle.  I did alot of hill work and, by the last week of the month, was already doing anaerobic work.  All this was supposed to be leading to an early Road Race season assault with a February to April racing period.

Jan 21, 2012:  Early Bird Road Race from Patterson:
 This is one of those races that I almost never evade.  I know the course very well, it's a short drive from home and I happen to like this type of race that breaks up and leaves finishers coming in small groups instead of a big dumb steaming pack.  I actually had a pretty good race.  I put up with some stupid tactics on the way out, held my own and rode conservatively on the climb and then nailed it back to Patterson.  I outsprinted my one partner on the road and finished 5th of 21.  I was pretty happy with this result but a couple things left a bad taste in my mouth.  First was the general roadie douchebaggery from the race itself.  Without getting into too much detail I'll just say grown men who are supposed to be smart can be really childish and stupid sometimes.  And the ones that choose to race/ride road bikes seem to be on a completely different level of selfish stupidity -in general- than the ones you find on mtb, cx or the track.  The second was the reaction from my team which was mostly apathetic and what response existed was others self promoting their own mid-pack performances or even cutting down or poo-pooing mine.  OK I've just exposed that I'm an insecure little girl that needs a little external ego boost now and then (when it is EARNED, dammit) but there it is.

BUT then February came and I got sick.  It didn't seem too bad at first but a vague lung burn and dry cough persisted and my riding hours were cut to half of January's. And as I was getting healthy again I lost my motivation to road race altogether.  Traveling longish distances to get outsprinted or dropped or otherwise spanked by people with shitty attitudes on bikes worth more than my car suddenly lost ALL its appeal.  My re-focus was firmly on a dirtier path for the year.  And none of this was helped by Ray mentioning he was going to do the Whiskey 50 in my old hometown of Prescott, AZ in the end of April...

February 4, 2012 CCCX mtb cx #1 Fort Ord:  I should have skipped this race but the motivation was stronger than the intelligence and I raced with the early symptoms of a flu coming on.  I had a pretty unremarkable race and finished 13th of 24. 

February 19, 2012 TBF mtb Challenge:  I must have had full health back and the rest in the legs was good because this was probably my single strongest race day of the year.  But I had a horrible start.  I knew I had good legs from my warmup and I got a little cocky on the start.  I took a little excursion from the main trail on the start to get around early traffic and hooked a tree with my handlebars within the first two minutes.  I was slow to get going again since I had to get my chain back on and straighten my bars and by the time I was back on track I was dead frickin' last on the trail.  But I had a good mental game that day too and just dug into the race and passed and passed and passed and even passed one last guy in a sprint in the last 50 meters to finish 6th.  That was fun having great legs on a race day but there was a distinct aftertaste of "if only..."

In March I got back on track and started logging some longer days again along with regular speedwork.  I didn't do any racing but I was enjoying some long days on the bike in preparation for my first 50-mile mountain bike race coming up in Arizona.  I did a TON of climbing (for me) during this period and began a streak of five weeks straight of climbing 11 to 13 thousand feet per week!  To put that into perspective for my usual climbing load, I only had TWO other weeks the ENTIRE YEAR where I climbed more than 11,000 feet.  But I was super motivated to do well in Prescott!

Friday, December 14, 2012

2012 recap begins... with a 2011 recap?

Dear weblog,
Remember me?

I've thought to capture some 2012 hilights month by month but a little 2011 recap may be a good place to start.  2011 ended with a trip to the cold eastern lands of my old haunts to visit moms and pops at their places.  It was a good trip and a nice break from the bike.  I don't know if it's smell, weather or what but sometimes when you suddenly find yourself in your old stomping grounds the memories (not something I am usually good about retaining) kind of come flooding in around the corners.  Usually that's a good reminder of where you've been and, despite the weather, I really have nothing but fondness for my days living in the Mid-Atlantic.

The end of 2011 was a bit frustrating bike-racer wise.  I really enjoyed some excellent fitness and training seemed to be spot on.  I did notch one good result in a cross race but mid-pack seemed to be the standard result.  I did nail my peak but then was unlucky with the bike on that day and that was a huge bummer.  Luckily I found the high ground with myself and decided that it was really a very good year where I finally got the hang of self-coaching.  I ended 2010 as a guy who rode alot but haphazardly and a year later I was able to fine tune all that riding, be more efficient and be able to make my body do what I wanted it to do when I wanted it.  For the most part.

So that made 2012 an encouraging future of applying my newly learned coaching to myself and building on what I learned in 2011.  In theory...

Sunday, May 20, 2012


So today I went for a rather long and hot bike ride.  As I turned off the pavement onto my dirt road for the final 20 minutes of climbing and sweating and heat my eye caught an old school A&W Root Beer can.  The heat, dust, and my own very strong desire for something cold and wet at that very moment triggered the memory of Summers working on the farm when my cousin and I would drink a flat of cheap grocery store-brand soda a day between us.  Grandma and Orville (her husband who, for all intents and purposes was the closest I had for a Grandfather) would buy flats of 24 of all the flavors they could find and those were the most syrupy sweet oddball things you could think of.  But we didn't care since they were cold and sweet and had just the right mixes of sugar and caffeine to keep us working in the Colorado sun all day doing whatever. 

If we were working around the house servicing vehicles, buildings, fences or animals we'd find any excuse to go "up to the house" and, as unspoken teenage bonds work, we'd come back out with a soda for each other.  We thought we were so clever.  My Uncle, ever the hardass, never gave it much attention (unless he he happened to need us right at the moment we were up in the house slacking off) but sweet old Orville knew.  Every once in awhile he'd just sort of randomly show up at the side of a field and patiently wait while I lumbered across in a tractor towards his truck.  As I'd get nearer, he'd wave an arm up in the air and I knew that meant to stop.  I'd jump down and hustle over and he'd let me know he was just over here checking cows and he had a cold Cherry Pop Pineapple Zingo, "If ya wan' it."  I've always felt that being married to sweet old giant of a man was the best way for my Grandma to live the last years of her life.

And then this triggered the 1984 Olympics.  I was in Colorado that summer and very very clearly remember being "up to the house" and catching my Grandma in the kitchen (probably sewing a huge hole back together in someone's overalls or jeans or working herself into a sweat working out a gigantic grease stain in somebody's junk work clothes or putting enough food together to try to feed a large man and two bottomless-pit teenage boy stomachs...) with the TV on in the background.  At first I lingered since the house was cool and my uncle's eye was afar but then I became very fascinated watching a focus piece about Davis Phinney.  And the thing that just clicked with me was a longish shot of Davis riding his bike through the Colorado Mountains with these huge expanses of views below him and that Colorado sky above.  The romance of it clicked with me and I thought, "Yeah.  That looks like a good day." 

It took six years for me to finally act on that thought.  But I was right.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Catching up for my bestest fan...

So it turns out that I DON'T write anything at all if I don't at the least post race weblahgers.  And here's a dirty little secret.  I don't write for other people.  It's true, like that dude staring at his reflection in the pond and frozen in place, I actually crack myself up and enjoy reading much of my own dribble.  Pathetic, but that means I've made a big gap in time now that I can't come back later and look through and be amused by.  BTW, that previous sentence should go in the stupendously poorly thought out sentence hall of shame.


Laguna Del Sol Cyclocross:  With my cyclocross bike busted I did this one on my mountain bike and that meant a slow ride and a crappy result.  My legs just weren't into it either.  The hilight of the race was being able to jump the barriers without dismounting.  This raised a pleasing crowd response each time.  The best heckle of the year came after one of these barrier hops, "Dude!  You just made the cover of AARP!"  Ah cyclocross.  Sometimes all it takes is bringing your sense of humor and one wise-ass comment to erase the sting of a shitty result.

Early Bird Road Race out of Patterson:  This early season race is a must for me since it's on my local roads.  The pace on the way out to the climb was frustratingly slow since a team that had something like a quarter of the pack decided to block the front and plug along at 15 mph without sending riders off or letting anyone else go either.  That sucked.  But the climb broke it all to heck (as usual).  I survived the climb better than most years, kept my head on the descent and regrouped with one other fellow all the way back to the finish line where he tried to cat and mouse with me.  I said screw this and just sprinted from 400 meters out (which really really hurt, btw) and he didn't have the gas.  Ended up 5th out of 24.  I was really pleased with this result but either this race gets less respect than Rodney Dangerfield or no one cares and the result slipped completely under the radar (and realizing how much that hurt made me feel like Sally Fields in reverse).  Oh well.

CCCX #1 Fort Ord:  Just went out and did this one without really modifying my training week so showed up a bit sluggish.  Had a pretty undramatic race and finished 13th.

TBF MTB Challenge (#2?):  During warmup knew I had spectacular legs for the day and was very excited to unleash them.  But got greedy on the start, hooked my bars into a tree and went down.  By the time I remounted, jumped off and got my chain back on and got going again I was DFL in the field.  Spent the entire race passing passing passing and ended up 6th of 30some riders.  Was dissappointed since the start messed up what would have been a good race but happy to recover that many places.

CCCX #4(?) Toro Park:  I've been working hard on climbing lately but didn't really treat this as a race worth preparing for.  So the legs were up to the multiple climbs but more at a plodding pace.  The first couple of laps the descent didn't go so well and I lost alot of time on the front markers.  Ended up 13th of 20 or so and quite dissatisfied with that result. 

But that's racing.  You can't always have good results or you're sandbagging and not challenging yourself.  And sometimes I wonder if the literally hundreds of ass kickings I've received over 13 seasons of racing in 21 years have just taken my competitive fire away.  Yet there I am training, motivating and entering all over again.  It's a funny hobby.  But I frickin' love it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Good Life

After 70 miles and four hard hours in the saddle I stumble in the door.  I immediately put a pan on the stove with a pat of butter in it.  In the pan go four eggs from our chickens (I like having chickens very much).  A muffin goes into the toaster and I grab my new favorite thing, the Oster hand mixermadoodle!  I put a banana, a handfull of blueberries, another handfull of blackberries, a few ounces of orange juice and four or five big soup spoonfulls of vanilla yogurt in the mixer cup, jar whateveritis.  I blend it up then mix in two spoonfulls of peanutbutter in there.  The eggs are done and go onto the muffins with plenty of salt.  Then I sit down and eat the whole mess and enjoy the smoothie.  Normally this should leave me bloated and full but it goes down and the satisfied belly and endorphins mix and I wonder why the heck I'm writing this instead of lying down for a quick nap.

It's a good life.  I wish I could share this feeling with everyone.

In other news I'm behind on a couple of race reports but really I'm becoming as disinterested as everyone else.  In the end you just have to race for yourself.  A few people may care but mostly everyone is so self-involved with their own racing that they forget to even ask how your race went so I certainly can't expect anyone to read race reports with anything other than a passing glance.  And I'm certainly not going to be casting any great impressions with my own mediocrity.  So I'll do race reports when something strikes me but I'm going to try to liberate myself from this strange compulsion to report on every silly race.

The good thing, however, about race reports is that at least I write something.  I'm sure nothing will come of it but I'm going to try to get back to just writing random shit.  No one will read that either so that's fine.  I just need to do something with words.