Monday, April 28, 2008

The day after... and to my surprise

Somehow I managed to finish first at Greenbier yesterday!

I still acknowledge it's a beginner race and I had hoped to do sport. But it still felt great.

I went into the day with no expectations, I had no idea what the course was like and wasn't worked up about wanting to place well. First or last could equal Nationals. I was more interested in how hubby would do and pulling for him to have a great race. Don't think I realized I was "going racing" until about 30 minutes before. I had a few thoughts that I didn't want to go out first like I did at Fairhill (since that didn't have good results).... but I apparently did anyway.

Went into the trail side by side for first, into the first little climb. The two of us were climbing well but then I shifted and experienced my reoccurring chain suck issue (even with the new chain rings). Had to hop off the bike and fell to third. I was thinking 'here we go again, great start to last'... But that only lasted a moment and I managed to get back into second place before the finish of the climb. Into the first decent I could see first place and made my way by through the rocks just enjoying the little decent. Then it hit me, I was in first. A first for me..

Greenbier was my first race that I actually rode like a race and not a ride. I didn't slow down, I didn't back down. I didn't stay behind people being polite, instead yelled out (hopefully still politely) 'rider back - going on your left'. It was the first time I rode realizing I just had to keep it going, don't do anything stupid and you could actually finish first. Yea, my mind was going non-stop. Everything from I wish I could be doing this in the faster classes to I'm learning how to actually race to what a blast of a course!

The course was wet and muddy with some rocks! a blast! Have I mentioned before - I LOVE rocky courses and Greenbier actually had a few rocks so you could enjoy being on a mountain bike. The rain the night before added to my enjoyment. It was great blasting through the muddy water (since we were the early group on the course it hadn't become a gooey sludge). Granted there was more climbing than I wanted... but all do-able climbing.

Finished my race and searched for the hubby. Managed to get a little stressed watching everyone line up for the next race, his race, which about to start and no hubby around. Didn't know he was on a pre-ride. Then he magically appeared just before the start. Hubby did awesome - missed him coming through each lap but caught him at the end when he finished second for his group out of 30 some riders. I was so pleased knowing he qualified for one and finished awesome for two.

The mud was a little messy but the lake provided a little washing area -

(Sorry hubby - loved this picture to much not to post!)

Many rider's went above and beyond any thought I could imagine, refusing to get a DNF... Broken derailleur's brought some big challenges. One rider (Acura Matt) broke his derailleur and ran backwards and back to his car to fix his bike and start over. It took me a minute to click that I was saying hey to him when he should be Racing!

Nikki shocked me when she came running in after her first lap and informed me that she too had broke her derailleur. I threw my bike over and she was close to taking off on it when we were informed she'd be disqualified if she took it. I thought she was done... think again! Her bike had broken when she was only a few miles into the first 5.7 mile loop and she was determined to finish. That's when she took off to continuing running, now the entire second lap with her bike. Needless to say she was a little pooped when she finished!! Phenomenal job Nikki!

Now the thoughts move on to Frenchcreek, the next MASS race.... and many thoughts there are.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The week… and the day before…

This week brought the start of the new job and everything seems great. This week pretty much fell into place with all my expectations and I think I’ll really be enjoying what I’ll be doing there. I’ll need to focus some energy to stop myself from going overboard with the amount of time I spend on “work” and make sure plenty of riding and hubby time happens.

Now if I could only be done helping the prior company… maybe next week…. they are annoying!

Riding… the week only brought one day of riding, if you can call it that. Managed a 12.1 ride looping around a little “crit course” near the house. A little climb, a little downhill. Everything felt great, my legs, biking on the bike, the fresh air, the warm weather and seeing other riders. But I ran out of daylight quickly. Maybe that light in the garage should actually be used!!

Friday night brought Bikewrench coming over (enjoying drinks.... then dinner... and more drinks) and he did some work on mine & the hubby’s bikes. Hubby got his sweet wheels for his 29er, finally! I had these wonderful new chain rings installed....

(the only thing wonderful about them is they actually have their teeth and aren’t bent!!)

Tomorrow… Greenbrier.....
So now the bike’s ready but am I? I can’t imagine anything I did this week will be helping me with the race tomorrow. Though it doesn’t seem to be bothering me, I guess it just seems like another day and being a race is only starting to sink in. It’s not part of MASS, which was/is my goal this year. Sure it’s a national’s qualifier but they say the top 15 in each class qualify and my class will be lucky to have 6 people. More than anything I think I’m just surprised with myself for not taking it serious or feeling the need to do well.

We’ll see how much that changes once tomorrow actually comes…. 4:45 wake up - UG!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Realizing awesome

Awesome week… just what I needed. And needed more than I actually knew. Not only is it the nicest weather we’ve had since winter, which I truly enjoyed. Having this week off to realize ‘life’ made it even better. This week was my needed reminder of how awesome everything around me really is. How great my hubby is, our three boys are and our little world we get to enjoy is.
My performance on Sunday left me a little pissed to start this week and saying a little pissed is putting a nice spin on it. Monday included a little ‘recovery’ ride.. My mind was running non-stop… What the hell would I need a ‘recovery’ ride for…. How was I that slow… I started strong but let almost everyone by…. Did I not push…. It’s only beginner and I had planned to do sport… 7 little miles took me that long… people run that distance faster than I rode… I’m that much of a f’ing slug! When did I become this… Hubby won his race… I’m so proud and happy… why I am pissed… Have I told him how great he is…. Am I walking around pouting verses enjoying his victory with him…

This was me at the start, far left… yep, good position there, just didn't keep it going.

Monday night we took my bike over to the bikewrench’s house to look at my shifting issues. Guess we should have actually looked at the bike first. Not sure how I did it but somehow I managed to tear off some teeth on my middle ring and bend my big ring… that would explain my shifting issues! New parts on order, again..

Tuesday was another short ride with similar pissy thoughts running through my head. It took until Wednesday’s short ride to begin feeling a little mentally better. Instead of being a “negative nancy” I was actually realizing all of the positive in our awesome little world.

Wednesday is when I finally noticed the colors around me and realized Spring was here! The blooming flowers and tree’s, the sun, the warmth – the beauty!! Wednesday’s ride is when I finally kicked in… sure, I might suck at beginner right now… at least I’m out there riding and racing. 7 miles or 50, I’m doing it. And I know what I need to change and how to make it happen to get what I want. I know I can do better and that I’ve always been an athletic “chic”… but really, making that happen is one thing of life – and I will, but there is actually more to life… and it’s all awesome.

This week was a great reminder of how much I love what our life is, how much I love my hubby, how great our three little boys are and how great it is we actually get to ride our bikes sometimes.

I even fit in a little visit to the new job and was able to meet some of the ‘crew’ I’ll be working with. Seemed like a great group that are just down to earth and seem to enjoy mixing fun and work. I’m really feeling good and excited about this change, including that I do believe the new ‘boss’ will be understanding to occasionally work hours that allow daylight hour riding!

Friday was my first mountain bike ride of the week at Wissa. (Thursday was an enjoyable off day, ignoring the Thursday night crit potential… to busy enjoying the day, hanging with the hubby, painting the homestead and the occasional drink)

Friday was another reality check - how awesome is it to be on the mountain bike. Granted today was just doing my own thing and not racing others but it’s still the same effect of seeing those who love riding and feeling the bike. Today brought another ride at Wissa and the complete elation of being on the mountain bike again! Even got to end my ride helping out a fellow mtnbike chic who’s pup was a little pooped

The awesome week continues, I get some more time with the hubby and boys…. tomorrow might just bring another spectator day with the hubby planning to do lower providence. I love watching his road races (keeping my fingers crossed they remain safe) and hanging out with everyone throughout the day!

Our life… yea, it’s pretty damn awesome! I’m a lucky gal. And I'll make my next race better.

Monday, April 14, 2008

First XC of the year...

So I wasn’t last…. but I was closer to last than first. (Finished 8 out of 9) Yeah, might as well call that last.

Still overall it was a great day, the first XC race of the year and everyone getting together again. Three of us started out early for the drive down to Maryland with a full day planned ahead. Each of us in a different class with start times between 9am to 1pm. I was looking forward to us hanging out all day, seeing all our friends and fellow mountain bikers. I was amazed and pleased to see how much the MASS series has grown. It’s one thing to see the long list of people registering, another to actually see just how many riders that is starting each class.

That's just a portion of the sport racer's lining up...

My race: I was looking forward to the fast fun Fairhill course. Sitting at the start line, I felt good and only had a little touch of that stomach queasiness you get before each race. And apparently I started well, I was first out climbing the little gravel hill and it wasn’t because I was trying to be, I was just riding. But I shot out at the start enough that my husband and one of our Guy’s racing friends exchanged the “what the hell” looks and comments. That was my personal highlight, from then on it was apparent my pace wasn’t enough to keep the group behind me. I never really felt my legs join me, they just didn’t want to spin. My lower back kicked in about 5 minutes in and went down once on one of those wet off-camber roots. Plus my bike couldn’t stay in a gear and my chain fell off twice. But none of those changed my overall results after a little one lap 7 mile race. There’s work I need to do before the next XC event on May 10, beginner is obviously the “appropriate” class for me and sport class will have to wait until next year. And continue working hard not to be pissed off about it all….

Hubby’s race: He rocks! Not that I was surprised. Awesome race and a great job! It was nice to see him having a great race (safe & fast), seeing him #1 on the podium and seeing that glow of victory in his eyes.
Back in town, the hubby and I visit our favorite Mexican place to enjoy a nice dinner, a little celebration of his victory. But I started feeling my throat a little during dinner but assumed that was just because of the 3 women deciding to smoke behind us (thankfully the last day the restaurant is allowing smoking). I woke up around midnight realizing the slight sore throat was the predecessor of me being sick… my week off… not quite the way I wanted to start it.
Today might be a much easier ride than planned.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Really, this is my first Crit...

As hubby is pinning on my race number Thursday night for my first crit what do I see? My race (the early crit) start...and where am I? Standing in the parking lot 100 yards away. So this is how my first road event ever is going to start….nice. No warm up, no mental prep and no easy spin for first lap with the group. Just a mad dash to the course and hope to grab on as the group comes around from their first lap. Atleast I wasn’t the only one to miss the start, apparently quite a few did........ one of them was even kind enough to let me draft off them to catch the group. Thank you..

Unfortunately, that sprint to catch the group pretty much spent me, drafting or not. I get dropped a few yards after we catch everyone and truly not because the pace was fast. Just spent and my legs were still cold.

I continued to ride around the course waiting for the group to eventually catch up, which they did. But as they did we were about 25 yards from ending a sprint lap and the amount of riders on each side, in front, in back, passing and anything else around me was just enough to remind me - I’m not comfortable with riders around me, any of them. So that’s me backing up of from the group the first time they catch up. Fully intentionally.

So I continue to ride, knowing they’ll catch up again, and making sure it’s not another sprint lap when they do catch up. I mentally prep myself to hang on next time. Just stay in the back. Just hook onto the group,. They do, I hook on and I’m feeling pretty good, for a moment anyway. That’s when three riders around me begin moving around quite a bit and my uncomfortable level increases. One of them a young kid around 12 is going back and forth and left and right. Did I mention I don’t like riding with groups…. Well that’s when I back off again.

The ride continues and I keep doing my laps, occasionally talking to other riders that have been dropped. Heck, it was a great night for a ride. The weather was awesome! But then I was a little surprised to realize on lap 11 that one of the riders and another younger kid were drafting off me.. Me? I’m not really the one to pull others but what the heck.. we go for a while. I think the hubby was a little surprised to witness that lap (since he had been watching each lap as I didn’t “keep” with the group).

All in all… I enjoyed it. Don’t know why. Maybe it was just being on my bike. Maybe it was the nice weather. Either way, next Thursday I’ll be there again (weather permitting). Though with the new job starting the following week, I doubt I’ll get any others in for a few months… work and riding… each other just doesn’t seem to allow time for the other….

But today, Friday April 11th, my last day at my prior job!! This weekend brings the first MASS race, man I hope I’m not shelled doing beginner… I guess I’ll have to wait for Sunday to see. But at least the following week brings a week break between jobs, and weather permitting, a whole bung of riding! And I have to admit, I’m looking forward to the new job… even if occasional riding time is prohibited for a little while..

Sunday… keeping my fingers crossed to really push myself successfully. At least not be last….

Monday, April 7, 2008

Green, Yellow and Pink?

Does Pink (or Pink in the Saddle) really go with Green & Yellow? That's the question I walked away from Marysville with yesterday.

First, the event was a always! It was our first time out there for the team relay (I only spectated) but hanging out with everyone and being at the first event of the year was truly a blast.

Mike Kuhn, the Oesterling's and everyone that helps put on these events deserve huge props for another great event. Thank you!

Then the green and yellow....Guy’s Racing. More conversations and thoughts about joining the Guy’s team this year. I’ve hesitated so far for no good reason. Perhaps I thought I needed to make my mark first or maybe show I’m actually competitive before joining a team. Or maybe it’s just me feeling that I shouldn't join until I am. But what’s the reason for really waiting? Could I potentially help the overall Guy’s standings? I already know they're a great team, I’m already occasionally hanging around the “Guy’s” with the hubby and some friends on the team. I started the conversation with the Guy’s MTB team coordinator and it looks like I’ll be joining soon.

Even if the pink clashes just a little!

Then my next thought… race category…. what should I really race this year? I know my current pace..

Turtle slow (holding up all those fast rabbits out there.)

I realize I won’t be competitive in sport for a while. Heck, I don’t even expect to be competitive in beginner at first. Maybe just start at beginner and see where the year goes? Maybe try to enjoy a year of beginner? As one of my wise friends said yesterday, don’t jump up unless you have to.....take the year and enjoy it. Maybe I can get over feeling a little pathetic for only doing the shorter mileage.

It’s time for this turtle to stop drinking and get this year going.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spectator extraordinaire

Didn’t do the Thursday crit. Combination of not getting my stuff together the night before and not sure if weather was coming in...... or just plain old indecisive. So instead I sat on the side of the track and took some pictures.

Yep, that was me, acting like a Japanese tourist.

Cool watching the Big Boys crit, but there’s no good reason I didn’t do the early crit to atleast get my butt on the bike. Keeping up with the group or not, it would have still been miles.

Boil this week down to a week of nothing, no activity.......literally nothing. How exactly does this help me with next weekends race?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stitches, New Job and maybe a Road Crit

Start the week off by dropping the youngest at the Vet to get a bump on his head removed (what we referred to as his unicorn). Left work early to pick up the young lad and had to laugh. Great to see him, but between the shaved head, stitches and his “drugged” state he was comical!

Then the job offer I’d been waiting for finally came. Looks like April is ready to roll in with greatness!

Resigned Tuesday am. Nice way to start April! And yes, I had to convince the boss that it was Not an April fool’s joke!

Tuesday night brought a little celebrating of the new job (beer, beer, more beer... and this morning realizing too many beers).

We discussed the potential of my first road crit this Thursday. The training crits so nothing to serious but…. Should I, Could I, Do I Want To? Embarrass myself, ride in a large group....

I’ll have to ponder that for the next two days…