Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mid-week update and thanks-giving

My hamstrings hurt. Today was basically the first day since Saturday that I even really tried to get in a good workout. Sunday was all endurance pace, and yesterday was just regeneration.

Today I wound up with a bit more riding than I had planned. I did 30 mins of easy spinning this morning thinking I'd do my 3x10's tonight on the trainer. However, when my boss offered up the opportunity for an "offsite meeting" at 3pm, I wasn't about to turn that down.

So, we got home and went for a ride before sunset (about 1:15). I didn't get in the intervals just the way wanted (too late for the 3rd, so it was cut short), but now my legs are hurting pretty good. I missed out on some food earlier today, and sleep has been slightly lacking, so maybe it's just a combination. Planning on hitting the sack earlier tonight and not getting up so early tomorrow!

Tomorrow, obviously, is going to be a huge feast. So, I should be pretty stacked on calories. I've been getting a ton of protein the last two days eating turkey like crazy.

Also tomorrow is a few more intervals (shorter, and probably with more recovery time in between). Should be a good time.

The delish turk-eh (the "oysters" are on the plate)

Trainer time last night (Lord of the Rings ain't keeping my mind occupied, btw)

Justin agreed to let me get a new HR strap for the Garmin (it was way cheaper than a 705)

Took it out of the box directly and wore it without one issue. Now we gotta figure out how to seal it better so the sweat doesn't wind up making its way inside the battery spot and corrosing it all up. The old strap was at least a year old, but they shouldn't need to be replaced every year. The battery sure ($9/3), but the whole strap? No. It should last a bit longer than that. The units barely last long.

I'm thankful for quite a bit this year.

First off, I'm thankful for my husband. He makes it all possible. Sure, I do a lot of the chores, but he brings home more "bacon" than I do, and also has agreed to dedicate next year to my racing adventures. That's pretty cool IMO. Killer bike, decent race schedule, and lots of training. He accepts it all and is more than willing to help out.

I'm also thankful to the few good friends that I have. Friends seem to come and go quite a bit, but I have a few that are sticking around. The DenMother always tries to include us and lets us tag along and stay. Her (and Roger's) enthusiasm for riding probably beats out most of ours. It can be 4:30 after a long day of shuttling and hiking to the trail start, and she's still moving faster than me. I only hope I can have that much energy and excitement for biking in a few years ;) Also to Luke who answers my thousands of questions, and even waits up for me on the trail. What more can a girl ask for than guys to chase up the hill?

Always thankful to my family for helping us out when they can. Sometimes they aren't always supportive of our riding and racing, but I know they hope the best for us anyway.

I'm also thankful to be looking forward to next season. I've got a lot of work to do and only a small amount of support. But, it'll be a great experience and I know we'll learn a lot.

Now if only I could make time to finish re-reading Friel so I could get to my nutrition book and follow that up with my soon to arrive mental skills book! I'm diggin' the cheap books you can get through, btw. $4 for a book with a mark on the cover? No problem!

What's that? Get off the computer and turn off the TV? I'm out to shower and do some yoga.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend report

Saturday was my last race of the 2008 season. This year racing started on January 12, and it was pretty much racing or training every weekend through to April. Things calmed down a bunch over the summer where there were only 2 races, and then a smattering this fall.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the mental break from racing and just focusing on mostly structured rides, with some fun rides thrown in here and there.

Back to Saturday...

Justin was pretty nervous about his XC race, but I knew his fitness was high and that he would do well. He did. I wasn't as nervous since I (correctly) guessed I wouldn't have any competition. That didn't stop me from hoping I could beat my 3 lap time out there from June. Well, that wasn't to be. I dropped off quite a bit. I hit it hard on lap one and wound up with a pretty good lap time, but my legs wouldn't respond after that. Lap 3 was really long. I could've only done 2 (it was offered at the start), but I wanted to go out and do 3. Boy did I regret that decision on lap 3. Oh well. I need to get used to the distance and mental fatigue.

I just don't think my body was ready to hit it that hard a week after the 12 hour effort.

I wound up taking the Triple Crown series overall for Expert Women (and luckily wound up with one of the few small jerseys).

After the race I hung out for awards, chatted with Luke and Herber, and eventually went to sit with my legs up to read and recover. I didn't much feel like hiking up the hill to spectate practice, especially with the toenails still trying to recover from last weekend. I think I may have spared both from falling off, but they're pretty badly bruised and generally painful (unless I stay away from extended walking/standing).

I started to get pretty hungry, and eventually it was almost dark so the DH crew did their last practice run and we all loaded up to head to Jose's for dinner. The chicken fajita burrito was awesome.

We watched some TV and went to bed around 9:30 or so. Sunday we were up way before the sun, and out of the house before 7.

The crew got suited up and in line for the first shuttle, and I took my time getting prepped for my solo road ride.

For one, I don't usually ride solo. I don't usually like riding in areas I'm not familiar with. And, the entire drive up to Southridge was smoke-filled. So, I wasn't really sure if the ride was going to happen at all. My other option was a 2 hour ride on the trainer during SNF. I chose to get suited up and at least attempt the ride.

I was sorta nervous taking off, but I followed my directions and headed toward SART/Jurupa bike path. The ride there was okay.

Visibility on the horizon was crappy, but I kept my head down and just tried to stay in the zone. Traffic was really light since it was only about 8:30-9. I eventually got to the bike path, after struggling way too much with my HR strap (212 HR or not working at all). The path heading west was beautifully paved.

I hopped on it and headed out, passing a few other cyclists out on the path as well. Unfortunately the pavement ended about a mile later. So, I turned around and headed back the other way. I wasn't sure how far it went East, but I figured I'd follow it for awhile and then head back to Southridge.

The river.

Cool old bridge I passed under.
Using my new jersey
I was getting really hungry after that. I was going to stop near a park, but decided to just turn around and head back. Good thing I did (though I could've used the food also), but I didn't have much gas left in the tank for the return trip in the head wind down Van Buren. I was uncomfortable on the saddle, my legs hurt, and traffic was much, much worse.. it was a busy 55 MPH road, and the shoulder was crowded with debris.
I got back just as some of the Pro's were finishing up their race runs, and I managed to change into clean/dry clothes and head up to spectate Justin's (now earlier) race run.
The crew hanging out.
Justin's race run (after the crash)
This one is for James:
Justin hiked back up to cheer, but the feet were not feeling another trip up to the lower rock garden, so I hung out at the truck with Friel.
Nearly fell asleep, but chatted a little with Carla, Craig, and then had to cut some tape for Steve.
Mostly everyone was heading down after their race runs, and we headed over for the raffle. I wanted to be home in time for SNF and Justin was ready to head out as well, so we left before awards.
Today I'm still feeling pretty sore/tired overall. Our mattress is crap, so sleep is difficult. I keep tossing and turning to get comfortable. Wound up awake at 5 am with nothing to do. I did go to bed pretty early last night (like 9).
Happy that today is all R&R. Gonna run some errands and find out how to cook a turkey tonight. Good times.
This week upcoming? Race season in review.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Training Week 1: Prep Phase

I'm taking it nice and easy this week... so far at least.

Yeah, I polished off the cake. It was nearly worth the 10 laps.

Tonight I'm partaking in one of the few existing bottles of Stone 11th Anniversary. I wasn't sure it would've held up (it's over a year old), but the taste is great and the alcohol is strong.

Tomorrow it's up early again to follow "the plan". Just hope I've recovered enough!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wow, what a ride

I was going to title this post something about what amazing creatures the mind and body were, but as I sat watching football and munching on chips and dip this one came to me instead.

I'll admit, I haven't been training for endurance.  Not even a little bit.  I had 3 XC races lined up this fall, and one endurance race.  Add to that just plain lack of time and no long rides on the weekends, and I was feeling a lot unprepared for my race this past weekend.

I didn't eat right the weekend before.  Tuesday I ate out twice (I haven't done that in awhile, and it usually only happens on race weekends when we are in a hotel), Thursday I ate a really unhealthy lunch, I had cake throughout the week, drank too much last weekend, and generally felt stressed out, out of time, and unprepared.

Thursday night I was up late, up early, and slept poorly.  Couldn't get to sleep on Friday night, and laid awake for about 30 minutes before the alarm went off.  

So, I was tired, kinda sore, and really nervous about the race.  This lasted even after I found out that one of the big name pro women wasn't going to be racing afterall.  There was still supposed to be about 6-7 Pro/Expert women racing.  

Saturday morning was the normal pre-race routine.  We got to the venue pretty early and unloaded the truck.  I alternated between sitting with my feet up and trying to set up the pit spot.  Hubby finished up working on the bike.  

Wound up heading over to the pre-race meeting (no new info or anything, but it helped to have 15 minutes go by before the start), and then I finished getting dressed.  We all lined up a bit early, with the really fast people up front going out for parade lap and fastest to the top of the big hill.  I wanted none of that, so stuck around about halfway back.  

Just after 9 am we were off.

I could go lap by lap through everything, but essentially: I was sore from the get-go; my legs and back alternated hurting; I drank what I could - usually water; had gel; and basically just tried to keep myself moving and motivated.  It gets difficult after awhile.  And then after another while you start to forget you need motivation and it just becomes routine.  Then the pain comes back and you start to wonder why you're doing another lap; or why you did the last one.

I spent the early laps wondering when the competition was going to take a break.  She'd ride through the pits, grab a bottle and keep moving.  Every lap I wondered when she'd slow down.  She didn't slow down.

It took me a few laps to realize I wasn't stopping or slowing down a lot either.  But, I sat down.  More than one person said she never sat down.  That's dedication to your goals.  

Hubby said I was in 2nd around lap 2 or 3.  I was quite shocked, actually.  I figured I was in 4-5.  I remained in 2nd for about half of the race.  

I didn't think I had a chance at winning.  She wasn't slowing down at all.  I couldn't go any faster.  We were in a deadlock.  

Then, for some reason, she took a break and changed clothes.  She beat me into the pit area by a few minutes, and was just coming out the bathrooms with fresh clothes when I was heading out.  And it was time for the lights since it was about night time.  She didn't catch me again.

We realized on lap 8 or so that I'd have to do 10 to win.  I didn't want to do 10 laps.  I dreaded 10.  I resigned myself to 10.  It was tough, though.

Really tough.

I learned a few things:

I'm a lot stronger (mentally and physically) than I ever thought I was.  

Sometimes even when you don't feel prepared you might just be.

After a crazy effort like yesterday there is something that matters more than fattening food, more than alcohol, and more than the post-race raffle: clean, dry wool socks.

Sidebar funny (?) story:

Hubby didn't want to have to send me out on 10 so he asked a WC marathon pro about how to motivate me.  Essentially the response was: Well, either she wants to win or she wants to come in second.

Nothing special there; just the cold hard facts. 

I wasn't about to give up the win.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weekday Riding and Other Random Goodies

Wow, it's been a jam packed week. Tuesday I managed to cram a bunch of stuff in, and even did a 3 hour mountain bike ride an hour + away. Yesterday was the busiest day at work in probably a month or so. Managed to spend 150% of my time doing 3 different tasks.

Today I ate too much.

But, I digress.

Got up at the same time as every day on Tuesday, and worried about what traffic would be like venturing with traffic over to one of the bigger areas of industry here locally for some good old fashioned trail time. When I looked at the local traffic site and it showed everything moving smoothly I was somewhat awed. Then I remembered it was a national holiday and many people weren't at work!

So, we got there a bit early and got ready to ride. It was somewhat chilly, but pretty nice overall, and gorgeous clear blue skies overhead.

I decided to break out the new Specialized helmet since I hadn't used it yet, and it didn't seem like I'd get it muddy.

Off we headed up the wide trail through the park. It had been just over a year since I had last ridden there; after the fires and extended closure. It wasn't the park I was looking forward to, though; it was the overgrown truck trail and fun descent that I was awaiting. I didn't know what to expect as far as trail or hillside scenery was concerned. This area in general isn't much in the way of old overgrown trees (though the park was definitely more "open" than it had been previously due to burned brush and old oaks that were now gone) and greenery, but it was definitely a bit more barren than it had been.

(Accidental ground shot while holding on to the camera through a stream crossing)

Up we climbed on the first big fire road climb… It was over before I knew it. I had pushed the pace a bit trying to push myself. It was easier than I remembered it.

We climbed the steep pavement and turned off at the truck trail and again began our ascent.

We got to the flag and found a group that had left a bit in front of us, people we knew, and watched a few of them attempt a gap jump. It worked out pretty well.

We grabbed 3 more for our group for a total of 6. We continued climbing, all at our own pace. I wasn't sure how much further til the turn around spot. I knew it was close, but I kept seeing a fire road snaking up and up the mountain, and I hadn't remembered that part… Luckily when I rounded a corner I saw the clearing and knew that the fire road had probably just been a fire break that ended nowhere.

I stopped at the clearing for a snack and a stretch and watched as others from varying groups rode in and stopped to take in the view and the beautiful day. Eventually we turned around to regroup with the others and headed off toward the day's fun descent.

The flag was flying proud

We descended quickly, far too quickly, and back we were to a short paved descent, a bit more climbing, and then riding back through the park to the start. I was getting nervous about timing, but it worked out okay.

We got some chicken fajitas in a bowl, purchased some bike goodies, and sat in some traffic.

I did talk my way into KEEN Presidio's from REI, and managed to hook myself up with some SmartWool socks as well. I've heard many people raving about them lately!

We got home, showered, and headed off toward dinner out. Food was good, service was crap. That's life.

I wanted to spin for an hour last night, but we stopped at the LBS and wound up staying for almost 3 hours. No joke. I waited around for the owner to purchase my light at a discount (the Seca 700 came in so I will happily be testing its effectiveness, along with that of my glasses, tonight in the dark on the trail) and to chat about the impending bike release (no date, but sooner than January perhaps), and then of course hubby had to talk to a customer and explain bikes and he chatted with him for ever. We finally got out of there around 7 and ran home. I got in 30 mins of spinning, five minutes of stretching, and then got to sit on the couch for about an hour. I did a short bout of core exercises and went to be sore and exhausted. Woke up pretty much the same way this morning.

Tonight is the dirt. Tomorrow I'm not sure. Tomorrow will be kind of crappy. Gonna have to go by myself to pick out a pit spot for Saturday and set up the ez-up. Kinda nervous about everything I guess.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wine, roads, and cake

That was pretty much what made up my weekend. Punctuated, of course, by over-eating. My road ride on Sunday was cut short in part due to the blowing dust and sand in the desert, but also because I felt like crap. Yes, too much wine will do that a person.

I started practicing Thursday night after Luke brought out some family wine. It was awesome.

I somehow managed to convince myself it was okay to take Friday off.

Saturday we were set for a road ride,

some quad race spectating,

a drive, and a home cooked meal. First up on the menu was chips & salsa from Acapulco. Yum. Filet, lobster (freshly caught on Tuesday - yech), and bbq'd veggies topped off dinner. Next up was more wine and the guest of honor - cake!

The alarm clock in the guest bedroom was flashing when I got in, so I set it to the correct time. I didn't look at it again until around 3:50 that morning. I laid awake feeling not so good. Finally fell back asleep.

The next time I looked at the clock it was 8:54. Too late for a road ride! How did that happen?

I didn't think there was any way Justin would've slept that late and missed out on a ride. Despite feeling somewhat naseous, I got up and decided to check if that was the real time. It was pretty quiet, afterall.

The two clocks in the kitchen said 6:31 and 7:31.

Seriously, what time is it?!

I found my watch, and it confirmed it was only 6:30. I made myself get ready and we headed out on the road. It was extremely windy. I had laid in bed listening to the trees blow and the blinds bang against the window sill for probably 20 minutes, and dreaded the ride on the flats that was into the wind.

Naturally, as we turned on to the main drag the wind buffeted against us. My HR was climbing, but I wasn't going anywhere. I alternated between spinning in the small gear and mashing in the bigger gear. Eventually I felt a bit more settled.

We got about 40 minutes out and I wasn't feeling good. A coffee break sounded like a bad idea. Cut the ride short. Not surprisingly, the ride back was amazingly fast. Felt great to be moving so fast and not working very hard.

Traffic was really light. There were a few other cyclists, including one mountain biker headed somewhere, but mostly the streets were quiet.

That just doesn't do it justice.

The smell of bacon was in the air once we got back. Fresh fruit, pancakes, bacon, and more cake. We managed to eat a ton more chips, guacamole, bean dip, and left over veggies. I had my 2nd (of the weekend, not the day) piece of cake around 2, and didn't eat again until this morning. No joke. Massive stomache. Way too much food!

Today I've cut way back on calories (especially since it's another day "off" - I'm switching my Friday errand schedule to Monday this week in preparation for training starting next week). We've got half a cake left, but I'm saving 2 pieces for next Sunday (one for me, and one for Justin), and the remainder we'll probably share this week. I'm not planning on getting dessert tomorrow night out or Thursday at lunch. If they want to sing and bring free dessert that's fine, but I'm not eating it!

Restaurant desserts don't hold a candle to homemade cake anyway!

My glasses came in over the weekend, which left me overjoyed. At least a week earlier from what I was quoted. I was stoked to pick them up today at lunch. It is weird wearing glasses again. It is amazing how much more clear things are in the world when you can see everything perfectly. I can't wear them for the computer screen or probably books. I wind up feeling cross-eyed and my head feels weird.

But, for walking around I can see things a lot better. Will they help at night? Only time will tell. I will check them out while on the way home tonight. Not riding a bike, but it'll give me an idea.

Now all I need is the new light and I'm set.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Some stress, a little weekend relaxation

Sorry; no photos. I didn't load them onto my computer yet. I've also got two videos to upload from the cheering section of the race last weekend.

Well, as peaceful and calm and nice as Wednesday was, most of Thursday was filled with stress, anxiety, and some worry. Though, not all in that order.

For some reason (and I'm happy it happened) I realized on the way in to work yesterday that we never received our truck registration. It was due in September. I know it's on me for making sure it gets paid, but usually you get the bills in the mail, no? I always used to get the bills in the mail. Last year we didn't, and this year we didn't (two different vehicles). Groovy. There's no easy way to take care of paying the registration fees without getting a bill. You can send in a check to a PO box in Sacto and hope it works out, or go spend 2 hours at the local DMV office with half of the city you live in (seriously, it was a mad house). So, I chose to just sit in the DMV office for quite awhile yesterday morning. Good times.

I caught up on a chapter or two of Friel's book (re-reading it now that I have some more information and knowledge, it almost is making sense this time around) and tried to not listen to the really loud din of noises and screaming and cell phones going off around me. For whatever reason my letter was taking forever to be called. I was 14 numbers back and the letter was just not being called. I figured I'd be there all day.

Every now and then they'd call one or two, then nothing for 30 minutes.

Eventually I got to where I was the next one up from my letter category. But I wasn't sure if there would be another huge delay. Luckily there wasn't, I was called right up.

The woman even waived the late fees.

Phew. That was nearly a Tri-Newt light right there.

One less stressor gone.

Justin yesterday morning had sent me a link to a light write-up on the Light & Motion Seca 700 Ultra/Race and the 400. I did a tiny amount of research on the light and asked Matt from i.e. to order one up for me (700 Ultra - it's heavier, but the battery lasts longer - 10 hours on the low setting?). I'm hoping it is in by like Tuesday or Wednesday. I really need to be able to test it out before the race next weekend.

We even did a dark room test on a brand new Tri-Newt vs. Matt's Tri-Newt. The new one was a bit brighter, but not a ton. Left the store still borrowing Matt's light for the night ride, and off I was back at work.

For some reason, despite having glasses, and a great light to boot, on order, I was still anxious.

Eventually I figured out it was because I knew we'd be starting the Thursday night ride in the dark. I don't like night riding. It isn't that it's dark out, I don't think, or that I have to use lights. I'm moderately scared of night time woodland creatures eating me, but mostly it's that I can't see anything. Not just that I can't see anything out of my beam of headlight, but I can't see most of what is IN the beam of headlight as well.

But, we got out there in the last bits of daylight that were left and got ready to ride. It was a bit chilly getting dressed, so I finally got a chance to wear my Surly long-sleeve wool jersey. I'm not really big on long sleeve jerseys, though I don't have any with zippers. I chose not to wear knee warmers since it really wasn't that cold. Just not that warm. If you're warm when you start riding you'll be hot for the entirety of the winter(ish) ride. So, I went with comfortable, but not warm.

I was worried once we got moving that I'd be really hot climbing up the big climb with the wool long sleeve jersey, but I was super comfortable the entire ride. It was warm enough on the cold descents, and kept me from overheating when it did get warm again.

I had bought last year at a bike shop sale (2007) for like $10. It's just been taking up space in the closet ever since. It's been cold in the mornings, so the only reason I had it was because I'd worn it over my Yuba Expeditions t-shirt yesterday morning to keep warm on the drive/walk in to work. Yay for wool. I sang to it a few times while riding to break up the silent darkness.

Back to the Tri-Newt… I've been looking at light shootouts and it always looks super bright in the pictures, so I couldn't understand last week why the light was so bad. Literally it may as well not have been on at all.

My HID light was on my helmet, which kind of isn't good when you're riding dusty areas like we do because if it's a strong light the dust just takes over visibility when it's on your head.

Last night Justin hooked up the Tri-Newt directly to the battery so it wasn't on wireless, like last week. I started out just using the Tri-Newt on the bar for the big climb, and planned on putting the HID on the helmet on for the descent and the ridge line singletrack. The Tri-Newt worked great last night!

I actually wound up turning off the HID light for a later fire road descent due to dust issues (just couldn't see anything but flying dust in the headlight) and just used the Tri-Newt. After the lap I got rid of the HID battery entirely, and just rode with the Tri-Newt. I was super surprised how well it worked and visibility was pretty good.

The main problem I had was while descending - the beam only goes so far so once I was going a tad faster (not fast by any means, I'm still nervous at night) the light just wasn't going far enough for me to be able to see to go faster than a certain speed. But, I felt a lot more comfortable overall than I had the week before, and I'm slowly thinking this night riding thing isn't going to be as horrible as I had once imagined. It's the only way I'll be getting on dirt until mid-March (when time changes back) so I'll have to get used to it.

At any rate, the Tri-Newt is like 486 lumens on high, and the Seca 700 is 700 lumens on high. I think both lights are around 350 lumens on the low setting. But, the Seca is supposed to last like 10 hours on the low setting, which is pretty sweet. I should be able to use the Seca on the high setting for most of the last laps next weekend, and I might carry around the HID on the helmet just in case. But, if I get the Seca and can test it out next Thursday and it's good, then I might not even bother carrying around the extra weight on the helmet.

The Seca 700 Ultra is said to last 5 hours on the high setting. Oh, here is the info:

High (700 lumens) - 5 hours
Medium (350 lumens) - 10 hours
Low (175 lumens) - 20 hours
Flash - 100+ hours

The Race is similar (battery weighs less), but it lasts 3.5 hours, 7 hours, etc. I'll take a weight penalty at night over having to worry about riding around in the dark!

Also, if I ever decide to do a really long road ride in the dark I could ride around for 20 hours.

The only thing, I did hear that they are more prone to breaking in a crash. But, hopefully I will be going slow enough to avoid crashing too hard.

But, if the Seca is nearly twice as bright as the Tri-Newt on the high setting then I should be set. I'm looking forward to the extra visibility for sure and nearly feeling confident.

I'm really looking forward to this weekend, though. Looking forward to just not being at work. I've also got a vacation day coming up next week and I'm really looking forward to that one. Not sure why, but I just kind of need the time I guess.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It was that time again…

Decided since the morning was water logged to do Friel's 30 minute threshold test after work instead of a lunch ride. I needed to get my numbers anyway, and it was just as good a day as any. I was somewhat concerned how good of a test it'd be since I'd just done a hard race two days before, but Monday was spent with some super easy pedaling on a stationary bike at work for 30 minutes, and R&R (or, work and life) the rest of the day.

I made sure to eat my typical afternoon snack about 2 hours before I'd be on the trainer (wound up a little shy on time, but no biggie), and had plenty of water. Got home, set up the trainer, put in the Collective, got all my gear and began the warm-up. I hemmed and hawed between a ten minute or fifteen minute warm-up, and split the difference at 12. Around 9 minutes in I started to ramp up for the first ten minute warm-up for the test. HR jumped up around the 160s before I hit the lap button the first time.

Kept the first ten minutes at a high pace, but lower than threshold, and ramped up to what was my mid-Z4 at the time (based on Garmin's setting for max HR). Hit lap button at ten minutes and began the all-out 20 minute test. HR jumped around a little, and for the first ten minutes I was just trying to find a groove and sustainable pace. I might've been able to go out harder, but it wouldn't have been sustainable.

Hit lap again ten minutes in and went for the final 10. Mostly I could've done a quick sprint, but could not have held a higher HR for long. I was begging for mercy. Completely ignored the TV and kept searching the iShuffle (anyone notice that sometimes it only shuffles the same 4-5 songs?) for something motivating. Lots of staring at the clock and hoping it would actually move. I kept telling myself how much longer to go and just tried to hold on.

The last 2 or so minutes I started to get a side cramp. Wound up with a really bad side stitch/cramp, big headache, and tired legs. Avg for the last two ten minute sets was about what I expected.

"Coach" set up my zones using the numbers and I'll be following those until a re-test, and changing only if the numbers come back differently.

I managed to cool down (or warm down, however you like to think of it) for ten minutes while grasping my side, sipping on water, and trying to find a gear on the bike and a setting on the trainer where my drivetrain wasn't driving me nuts (there's something amiss with it, but only in the bottom/smaller half of the cassette, in both "big" and "small" ring). Did a lot of spinning, and was only able to get the HR down to old Z2. I was done sitting on the trainer at that point and ready to get dinner started.

Had the headache for a bit (until I ate), but the stitch went away. I didn't stretch. Probably should have, but I just wanted to sit and relax.

I managed to do a set of core exercises before bed, but otherwise we just watched stuff on DVR all evening (CSI:NY from last week, and the Schladming round of the XC World Cup). It's so cool watching those races. It looks from far away angles like when they are climbing they are barely moving, but when WC pro's are in the small ring you know it's steep and tough as hell.

Well, it's mid-week, so despite the hard effort last night, it was still time to ride. I didn't want to hold the J-man up, but he said he was pretty sore from two days back to back on stationary bikes, the treadmill, and doing pull-ups and dips at the gym. Good thing, cause my legs were dead out of the gate.

So, I took it pretty easy. HR jumped up on the first little rise leading toward the hills, but otherwise stayed pretty steady. The boys took it nice and easy on me on the big climb. HR did jump up to like Z2.7 or so, but they slowed it up without any words from me, and it went back down to high Z1 for the remainder of the climb.

Once we turned around and were climbing into a headwind the HR jumped up a bit again, but I was mostly just trying to hang on in the wind. Legs felt okay in the lower zones, but I could feel it when it started to creep up.

Unfortunately I kept missing the lights coming back into town also. Stopping mid-climb to wait for a green light again is not the most fun thing ever. Neither is stopping mid-descent to wait! Hard to time those buggers just right when you only have so much acceleration.

Legs are somewhat sore, but mentally I feel good. I was going to do some PT exercises for the lower back and hamstrings, but something in the back of my right leg got re-irritated on the trainer last night, and wasn't feeling so hot today during the ride. It's minor pain right now, but I can feel it just sitting still. So, I might skip out on the hamstring work. Maybe just do some stretching instead. Not sure if it's the hamstring muscle or the sciatic nerve. I'll try the traveling stick, but it usually doesn't help long term. Last few weeks just taking it easy and getting back on the mountain bike has helped. Not sure why the road bike irritates it so much. Sitting on the trainer itself kind of makes sense cause there's not as much movement while pedaling (no stopping, not as much out of the saddle, no readjusts for bumps, etc).

Anyway, it's Wednesday and it feels like it should be at least Thursday. I'm looking forward to this weekend.

Also, to some red wine tonight.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Race Report (no bacon)

Went to pick up my new Specialized goodies on Friday night, but unfortunately the bike shop was closed. An hour before closing time. What the hell? Since when did Halloween become a national holiday? No matter, I'd have most of Saturday to head back. Luckily it's only a 5 minute drive.

Saturday I got up at a decent hour, but slept in a little, had breakfast, and we set out on a road ride. Hoped to get in about 1.5 hours, and wound up a little shy. I did about 4 hard intervals to get the legs moving.

After we got home, had a bit of lunch and headed out on some errand running business. Picked up a baby gift for friends that are expecting, got a scale with body fat at BBB with $10 off, then headed back over to the bike shop. A few other friends were hanging out, and the place was busy! I knew my shoes wouldn't be in because the order was messed up. It had been messed up from the beginning somehow. I sent over a list for mountain bike shoes, a helmet, and two seat bags. Somehow that turned out to be "Didn't you order a Tarmac?" Uh, no. For free I'd take one, but I'm happy with my Roubaix. Add to that two pair of road shoes and bottle cages. Wait, what? No, I just wanted the mountain bike shoes, a helmet, and two seat bags. Somehow the order wound up yet again with the 3 pairs of shoes, bottle cages, seat bags, and helmet.

So, I will have shoes eventually. I wasn't planning on wearing them anytime soon anyway. Will probably pick some places that don't require much (if any) hiking and then just wear them to the bigger races next year. I'll probably stick to the Sidi's for most events. Even if they are nearly as expensive at least they are worn in and abused and I don't have to feel bad about scuffing up really nice shoes everytime I hike a bike!

Wound up that we stood around at the bike shop for a really long time chatting. Eventually we had to finish up the errands so headed out. There was still bike prep and relaxation to be had for the day…

Got the rest of the errands out of the way and finally got home. Then it felt like I ran around all night doing race prep stuff, and I wasn't even doing bike maintenance!

I even remembered to not only set my cell phone alarm, but also move the clock back an hour before bed. Then I spent half the night and most of the morning waking up to double and triple check the time.

Either way we made it to the venue just before 7:30 (the new time). A few cars in the rain soaked lot, but we parked a bit closer than we had last year. Partly due to a race course reroute, and partly cause a lot of people weren't there yet.

We got on the rain jackets and went to check in. Luckily we had pre-registered as the line was actually pretty long for same-day. Got our race #s and our Hammer goodies and headed back to get ready. Lots of people milling about that we hadn't seen in awhile.

I rounded the corner of the lot and all of a sudden heard, "Did you bring fenders?!" Neil's bike was covered in a nice layer of mud and he expounded on the slick spots on the course. Yay!

I was not looking forward to another rainy race. At least the last one had the sense to not be raining until after the race started. I just didn't feel very good, and the sprinkly weather was not helping my mood any.

I did an awkward and unstructured warm-up, got my race number on my leg, and headed over to the start line. There was one other person in my category. The home made #1 trophy was not mine!

All the Pro's, Semi-Pro's, and Experts took off together in one mass start. I wound up behind my competition, and losing feet every second. She took off like a rocket and I struggled to keep her in sight. I held on and was about 3 people behind going onto the first singletrack. She managed to pull a little gap, though.

At the next climb my chain dropped off, so I pulled out of the way and took a minute or two to fix it. I wasn't dead last of our starting group, but pretty dang close. I figured my race was over at that point, but kept charging where I could anyway. You never know.

Lap one was just re-acquainting myself with the course. Back near the stables I saw my competition again so kept it going to try to bridge the gap. I'd get close, but she kept maintaining the distance. We got to the hike a bike and while she was ambling up the hill I ran as fast as I could and was right on her wheel. She hopped on sooner than I did, and wound up gapping me again as I struggled to clip in and change gears all at once.

I was about 20 yards off, and kept pulling her in on the next little climb. She had a chain/gearing problem and stopped, and I didn't look back (er, at least not right away). I did keep trying to see how far off she was, and she was always about 10-20 seconds or so behind for lap 2. I was at the top of the switchbacks as she was just turning the first one… I was at the top of a climb and she would be midway, etc. I kept it going cause you never know when someone peaks late in a race or has just left plenty in the tank to overtake on the final lap…

Lap 3 I slowed on an easy(ish) incline to take in an Endurolyte. My quads were on the verge of cramping, and the continuing pressure and pedaling wasn’t helping. I wasn't about to have to give up or spin everything. I kept it going, and the next descent and rolling section helped the legs free up a little. One lap to go. I wound up grannying up stuff that I had been middle ringing the first 3 laps. My legs felt like they were about to quit at any moment. I tried to take it easy and kept my eyes out for the competition. I didn't see her, but I knew she was back there!

My legs kept screaming, and when I got to the hike a bike one final time I wasn't sure I'd make it to the top. Luckily I did and the legs held out for the final little descent and flat schicane's to the finish line.

The course differed a bit from last year in that it added in the first hill that we only did once last year, but did it on every lap this year. Added some mileage and climbing to each lap.

Overall it was good, but this extra distance is difficult! Either that or I'm just really out of shape. Justin talked to the other woman and I guess she said she just went out too hard and couldn't keep up the pace. My pace dropped off as well. I think lap times were just under 28 for the first two, over 28 for the third, and my effed up GPS shut off 2-3 times on lap 4, but it was probably close to 31 minutes. Actually, lap 1 was probably a bit longer; I forgot to add in the minute or so that I was standing still fixing the chain.

At any rate, I hoped for a sub-2 hour race and wound up with that from total time guestimated. The race promoters didn't actually provide race times. The results were handwritten.

Trophies were still cool, but were wooden this year instead of metal (cost of materials, I guess).

I got to cheer on some people during the race, and then after when the beginners raced.

Actually, directly after my race I soft pedaled back to the car and proceeded to just lay on the newly dry pavement in the sun for about 5 minutes until I could move. I was half functioning for probably 40 minutes after the race.

My other mistake (aside from not warming up properly) was not eating again. I had a Recoverite drink, and about an hour later a PB&J, and then nothing for probably close to 2-3 hours. I think my glycogen stores were probably pretty low, and I was feeling sore/like crap. After I got that massive burrito in my gut I felt much better!

Successful race overall, and I can tell the difference between a lame warm-up and a good one. Not sure where else I went wrong, but I just mentally and physically didn't feel good for the entirety of the race. I still did well, but I probably should've been able to do better. Consistency throughout my lap times would be nice. I'm not sure if I need to back off at first or what. Maybe just riding longer at the higher pace will help?

Today will be an easy spin on the stationary bike at the gym. I might throw in pull-ups/dips, but I doubt it. I do hope I have a tee in my gym bag, though, cause I forgot a wife beater. Oops.