Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's Love

I, like many reading, was your typical triathlete that said I'd never race a crit. Ummm, scary? yes. Dangerous, well ya. Never say never, because never came knocking on my door for Day 3 of the stage race. I was of course nervous, but after the road race was pretty excited to go hard again.
I jumped on the trainer for my long warm up, only to learn the hay delivery man slept in so the race would be delayed at least an hour. Most people jumped in their car for an early morning nap or chill session. I took the opportunity to get in a longer warm-up. 2 hours later, I found my way to the line.

The starter put me at ease as he went over the 'rules of the road.' Our race was set for 20minutes. I only had to remind myself of my failed tt two days prior to realize my work was cut out for me. Have I mentioned that sprinting is not my thing (and by sprinting I mean anything less than, ohhhhhh maybe 2hours). I recently changed to speedplay peddles so I wouldn't get left at the line wondering where the hell everyone went.
Sure enough the gun went off and like horses flying out of the start gates, we were off to the races!
We let the race leader take over at the front and set the pace. The course was a figure 8 of sorts, featuring 8 turns per lap. I settled in about 6 people back and started getting comfortable with the course. My tires felt a bit sketchy on a few of the turns. I'm pretty sure they were glued on years ago, and I know the tires were selected with the sole intention of riding straight 'n steady for hours on end. After about 3 laps I turned the "your going to slide out around the turns" voice off and decided to move-on-up..
Vince and Kurt were kind enough to explain how to move up in the pack around the turns. I didn't really comprehend what they meant until I was out there. Soon enough I started cutting the wide turns and moving up towards the top 3.
I never looked back, but had I done so I would of realized we dropped over half the pack in the first 2 laps. With 5 laps to go the lap bell rang loud to signify the next lap would include a prime. I thought we were racing for time bonuses and knew the only way I've move into the top 5 in the GC was to get a few time bonuses (I needed 10seconds). I wasn't set up well after the final turn to go for the first prime. Lucky for me the bell rang again and the next lap also had a prime at stake.
I moved up and just before the line sprinted ahead to take the lap win. 2 laps to go! The heart was pumping and I was actually having fun. I stayed within the top 4 and went into the final turn in 3rd. Unfortunately I picked a bad line and a small gap formed between me and the top two. I sprinted my heart out, but there was no way I could close on them.
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. (I am to the far right of the above pic-someone needs wider bars!) I could hear a few girls breathing right off my back wheel and knew I was in trouble. Sure enough they flew by me at the last second.
Crit racing is actually fun. I'm not going to lie, it was scary. There were crashes. But, for my first crit, I was darn happy with the result. I learned so much from this weekend and had an absolute blast racing with these girls.
I've now fallen in love with cycling in a whole new way. Yes, I actually enjoyed biking even though it didn't entail sitting in the saddle for 5+ hours. But, something else captured my heart that weekend! I knew I had a crush on this little guy, but now I am full on IN LOVE! The bonus to racing in Arizona, and much of the reason I go out there is to see my BFF. It's been way too long since I've seen her and her little man. He is more precious than ever and well....the picture says it all. I so miss that smile.
Oh Cole, I can't wait to see you again. You may of thought I was a stranger when I came in and swooped you up from your nap, but little buddy-you've captured my heart and I love you to pieces. XOXOXOXOXO.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pics now, Crit report...tomorrow

So I promised a follow-up post with pics and the deets on the scary 8 turn, blink and you'll miss it crit race.I'll deliver on one of the two...because my bed is calling my name.  But here are a few pics from the time trial:
Me- kits matches my ride perfectly!  That's worth a few bonus points, right?!?!?!
Vince and Kam- Solid!

Pete setting up for domination, and Wattie chasing.
Kurt killing it on his new(est) ride. 
and Heather pretty much kicking everyone's ass!
Then, there's day 2.   I am already excited to race with these girls again soon. How soon?!?!? That tis the question.
I spent most of the day hovering around the front, but trying to keep my tall self out of the wind!
I'm in there, hiding ;-)
just waiting to pounce on every hill.
There you have it- day one and two in pictures. and here's a quick glimpse of the fun that presented itself on Day 3. Ahhhhhh ya baby!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valley of the Sun- A Weekend of Firsts

Before I get into a recap of my amazing weekend in Arizona, I have a long overdue announcement. I am excited that Nytro will officially be one of my sponsors this season. Not much of a surprise since it is the shop that I've always gravitated to. I seem to be in there just about every other day for one reason or another (usually just because I love the people of Nytro!), and they've always taken excellent care of me! The kit makes it official ;-) And if you haven't sported a Capo kit, you're missing out. So comfy! The new kits are available in the store, or online.
After a quick run into the shop (literally. I ended my morning run there-can't sit in a car for 5 hours without running first) we were off.  We rolled in style, with team Felt ready to represent.  They were even nice enough to let Heather and I under the tent on our non-felt rides. 
Day 1- 22km Time Trial. When I told people I was going to do a stage race their first response was: "You'll kill the time trial, and in a stage race, that is everything." Uummmm, hell no. the tt is 14 miles not 114. 14miles= sprint= NOT my forte! My warm-up was half what I wanted. I rolled to the line with heavy legs. Ready or not it was time to dig deep. My first ever tt awaited me.
I tried to put myself in the hurt tank, but as expected failed at doing so. As an endurance athlete I've become accustom to settling into an uncomfortable, but manageable pace. While the guys were worried about "going out too hard," I was worried about simply "going hard." I was the 7th Cat 4 girl to take the course. I passed 4 girls and was passed by one. I didn't think I did all that bad until I saw the results. 13th in the GC. Ouch!

Then I watched Vince, Pete, Wattie, and Kurt come across the finish. I quickly realized I didn't dig deep enough. They had snot, spit, sweat, etc all over their face and their eyes looked a bit crossed. Hmmm, within 20seconds of finishing I thought I could probably do that 3 more times at the same intensity. Instead I headed out for a short run.

To be honest, after this failed attempt my desire to keep racing on day 2 was minimal. I told Kurt and the guys that I wanted to get in a long ride instead and would stick around Tempe. Thankfully they dragged me to the starting line for Day 2- the Road Race.

41 miles. Ok we're getting closer to my desired distance. I surrounded myself with the top girls from the TT. If any of them attacked, I'd follow. I was a bit frustrated that the attacks didn't come until the second climb. I wasn't sure if we were heading out for coffee, or racing. A learning experience to say the least. First lesson- bike racing is as much about racing smart as it is about fitness, strength, & speed!
 Can u guess what fueled me during our break away?
The attack came at the second climb- king of the mountain points were up for grabs. I didn't look back to see how many girls made the jump, I only knew there were 3 girls ahead of me when I got to the top of the climb. I pushed one of the W35+ girls to motivate her to keep working. She thanked me, but come on-it was somewhat selfish. I wanted the lead pack and figured I'd need some help reeling them in (wow, look at this triathlete starting to analyze like a roadie- lol!). It didn't take long and I was back up with the leaders. The pace slowed more than I wanted it to, but it was too windy and I didn't think I could attack and get away.  So there we stayed until the final climb- a 1mile up hill finish. The attacks started at the base of the climb. I stayed with it but waited a bit too long to throw the hammer down. I tried hard to real in 3rd place, but took 4th.
Lesson learned (there were many!): I may not have the instant jump, but I have fitness and endurance. When others were huffing and puffing at the top I kept getting stronger.

So....after day 2 the overriding lesson learned: road races are crazy fun, and I was so happy I didn't throw in the towel after day one. The RR put me in 6th for the GC. Better than 13th!! To quote team Felt: "NIIIIIIICE!"

Day 3- the crit. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Scared?!?! Ah, yeah! I always swore this was something I'd never do. Lesson learned: never say never (when-o-when will I learn this one). Final day recap to come tomorrow (with pics too).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The body

My body has been sending mixed messages. Since getting back from the coast ride I've had some very strong workouts. My cycling is coming around, and I believe my goals on the bike will become reality this year. I'm fighting hard and learning to deal with a new level of discomfort on the bike.
Pic of Beth and I fighting on Day 3.
 I jumped in with the Swami's ride last Wednesday wondering if my legs would come to play post 380mi ride-o-fun. For the most part they did. By the end of the ride I was finally convinced that I was ready to test my 2-wheel tango skills. I came home and signed up for a stage race next weekend. I'm less scared than I was 3 weeks ago, and way more excited about the idea than I would have been this time last year. If I can hang onto this train, I hope I can hang amongst the Cat4 girls out in Arizona next week.
My USA cycling license # has been issued. Entry to Valley of the Sun is confirmed. I know signing up for a race isn't a big deal. But for me, this one is. Two or three years ago I only liked cycling because it was squeezed between a swim and a run. I have since fallen in love with the sport, and am excited to take it to another level. I mean, don't get crazy- I'm not a cyclist and never will be. (ok, never say never! I'm learning a lot about this lately). But I hope my cycling legs will carry me to new levels this triathlon season. 
Although I've had some killer workouts, I've also had some not-so-killer ones.  I wasn't recovering as well between workouts, and was hitting big walls during my workouts at the end of each week. Unfortunately Beth and James experienced my frustration two weeks in a row.
 Gotta love riding behind tiny James and Lesley when you're not feeling right. I don't know where their tiny bodies pack the power- but they're loaded with it! Doesn't make drafting easy, esp when you feel like your going backwards down the mtn instead of climbing it.
I knew this feeling wasn't just result of normal training fatigue. So Monday I set off for a quick visit to the doc. Test confirmed what I probably already knew- Iron, I need more...much more! My body doesn't absorb it well, and although I've had this under control for quite some time, I have to get back on the iron supplement routine...this anemia killing dinner should help too!
To make things worse I woke up feeling a little under the weather yesterday. I'm trying hard to listen to my body and just sit still, but it isn't easy for me. I don't play sick very well. I didn't feel too bad when I woke up (probably because I was still half asleep), so I found my way to the track. Andrew escorted me for my first real track workout of the season. I lost about 10lbs of snot during the course of the workout, and then spent the rest of the day tied to the couch. Hopefully these cocktails will get me back on my feet stat!
After all, there is bike racing to do!
Happy healthy training to you...