Sunday, June 29, 2008

Not my day to shine

But had plenty of shinning on me, sun that is. Yesterday was all about the sun… the heat… and the humidity. It was a bad sign that we were feeling the heat at 7am just setting up for the day.

Day started like any other endurance race.. setting up the pits, laying the bike in a field, doing the little run back to the bike, start riding/walking and waiting for traffic to settle in on the first lap. But the day didn’t have as much energy as most, not because of the organizer’s, they did a great job on the entire day, but more so the spectators. Usually endurance events have a lot of people hanging around, yelling and cheering.. and extra energy. That just wasn’t there.. at least this year. Traffic thinned out enough after the first couple miles and it became so quite I was really thinking I could hear a squirrel fart. That quiet continued for most the riding. A few passes here or there with some conversations and joking but mostly just quiet. (And I-Pods were not allowed)

The heat was killer from the start and I had decided to use bottles verses the camelback, seemed pretty logical for a 10 mile lap where they have 3 aid stations. But I ran out of liquid at mile 7 of my first lap and quickly decided the camelback would be necessary for the day. Lap one is when I found out this course had a lot more climbing than I expected and gave me my first clue that my day probably wouldn’t go as hoped.

Lap two the heat was taking an extreme toll… my usually cooling and hydrations methods weren’t working and the chill bumps were appearing all over. Then around mile nine I took a turn on a gravel road way to fast and hot… and yes, I was trying to re-pass someone that just passed me. SLAM… I went down hard on the gravel. My right leg took the gravel, lots of it, you know that road crash look, and my hip took the impact with a ‘pretty bruise’ today.

But lap three is where the stomach kicked in and I couldn’t hold down any more fluid. It was an extreme push just for me to finish that lap.. which I did.. but it that was my final lap. Nope.. not my day. Those 30 miles took me 7 hours.

The heat was taking it’s toll on everyone, it was just hot and humid. It also apparently took all my mental ability yesterday since today I found out that hubby didn’t know he was in first yesterday, or when he fell to second, or that he was still in second when he retired. I apparently never thought to communicate that to him and thought he knew… how would he know? Um.. he wouldn’t.

So yesterday was just that, yesterday… not a great day, but heck, there could be worse. Just not the day either of us wanted.

Friday, June 27, 2008

24 Hours to the start of 12 Hours..

This time tomorrow the 12 hour's will begin!

Bag is packed, water's are filled, the food is loaded and the cooler even has a few beers for the finish!

Looking forward to what I hope will be a great day tomorrow, except I have no idea what the course will be like! Lets hope flat!! Oh wait, nevermind.. I do know there's a hill climb that most can't make. I think I'll fall into that catagory!

My hope... 8 laps, which will push me. We'll see how long laps take me, seems most do it in an hour or so. Hope I can average 1 1/2 hour laps and squeeze the 8 in! That means I should see hubby about every other lap!

And on my crash, bang incident yesterday.... this morning I discovered I took a HUGE chunk out of my tire (rim too) but after driving on the turnpike 3 times now since taking that chunk out and at a "not so slow pace" I'm shocked the tire hasn't fallen apart. Let's just say I hope to make the fourth drive on the turnpike without incident and then she'll have to be parked until another new shoe goes on... To make it worse, 4 new shoes were just put on two weeks ago.

Oh well.. just means time for me to stop driving and start riding...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

F! F! F! F! F!

Backed out of the garage like any other morning. Looked right… only right.
Managed a two for one.


I slammed my Honda into our FJ this morning. Fuck.

Not like the FJ wasn’t in the EXACT SAME SPOT it always is when I back up, on my left. Nothing was different besides my apparent ability to veer slightly right to AVOID the FJ.

FJ’s front end is scratched pretty bad and a little dinted in. Fuck. The Honda’s rear quarter panel and bumper are scratched and dented. Fuck.

No bodily injures, sure it’s only metal/rubber. But Fuck. The FJ’s interior might show its wear from being our “biking” and “dog” vehicle but the exterior was fine. And though the Honda might always be completely filthy dirty, there wasn’t any damage. Today I managed to mess them both up. Fuck.

Thank you hubby for only sarcastically applauding my skills and allowing me to be the most pissed off of the two of us. Some good comments too.. “hey, maybe when you get the body work done on the Honda they’ll actually wash the car” and some more comparisons of me to our young dog.. lack of focus, spaz, etc. etc.

But the best… trying to hand me my riding helmet before I attempted my drive to work - You always make me smile!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Winners and Losers

You can guess this, it's the theme of hubby's and mine racing this year. Hubby would be the ____ and that would make me the ____. You can figure this out.

Neshimany meant 2 hours and 27 minutes for me… That’s how long it took me today but that did get me a second place finish and a silver so our young boy could pose with a medal again.

Not necessarily that hard when you only have three people in your class but my goal was to finish and eventually I’ll increase my speed. (Probably about the same time I loose all that extra bagage that "allows" me to race in that class with only three people!) I was somewhat curious if I’d be able to keep pace with the woman who usually gets first but I got to see that I couldn’t. She was gone in the first mile and beat me by 27 minutes. To truly put my time in perspective, hubby did the same distance in an hour and 24 minutes and the fastest sport woman came in at an hour and 37 minutes. So I’m just a little off the pace!

But I suppose I enjoyed doing the longer distance of sport, somewhere around 14 some miles. I never really got in a groove though. Neshimany isn’t the kind of place I could keep speed, between the built up logs and all the other little things here and there. My log nemesis continues and there were two in the course that I just couldn’t do, mental yes but I had attempted them a handful of times riding in the week before with no success and race day wasn’t going to be my next attempts.

The second part of each lap included racers passing. The first lap finished with some of the sport racers (including hubby) passing me as they were finishing their second lap going to the finish. I kept thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if I only had to ride half the time to cover the same distance like these guys. But that's not my speed. Then I realized that the elite and expert races would be starting soon and some would catch me before I finished my second and final lap, which they did. It was a little disappointing having racer’s catching me in the last part of both laps since it’s actually a really fun part of the course that I could usually keep some speed but instead I was pulling over, a lot! So I didn’t end this race physically fatigued. I'd call the 'event' a combination of a race, ride and trail spectating all wrapped into one.

Overall an enjoyable day, I always love seeing everyone that we tend to only see on race days. Plus, it was our team’s event and the first event that I had spent some time working on the trails, marking the trails the day before and being there to “help” on race day. It added a little something to the event for me.

Hubby finished first and had another great race, aka. winner. And I finished the day by enjoying a little bit of coconut sinfulness. (Cocount goodness and 120 calories... I went for it)

Next up..Saturday’s 12 hour Cranky Monkey. And I'm really looking forward to it. No need for a race pace in this event. My plan -push my slow steady riding to its limits and maybe achieve one of my goals for the year.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekend off !

Surprisingly nice having this weekend off, no race! Since all the recent weekends had races and the next 5 weekends having races, it's nice to have one off. Add to it being hubby's b-day weekend plus father's day and you get the workings for a great weekend.

Today began by sleeping in until 8:00!! I haven't done that in I don't know how long and it felt great. Sat down for some breakfast and hubby mentions maybe meeting some folks at 9:00 for a mountain bike ride at Neshimany, leaving me about 25 minutes to get ready. But - mountain biking - Sure! Neshimany to fight by log over issue - you betya! I'll get ready really really quick!! So I did (well kinda), but we managed to get there close enough to 9:00 for things to work out.

My ride became more about me proving I could change a rear tubeless tire. Shortly after getting started I hear that wonderful sound off all my rear air escaping at a rapid pace. Pull out the CO2 and fill her up but she won't hold any air. Turns out I sliced the sidewall and get to hike a bike back to the car. Thankfully we had an extra tire in the car and I got to work. (We'll skip past the part of me not having a key to our FJ and climbing up, over & through the thankfully opened sunroof!) After a little more time than most would probably take, I got her changed and found a little surprise. Ever since hubby "handed down" the hardtail to me, we've heard what we assumed to be a rock rolling around in the tire. Today I became a dime richer as it turns out I'd been having a dime rolling around in the rear!

Just as I'm mounting the rear wheel back on hubby and the crew return from their ride. So I went out for another 20 minutes playing with some various log’s and then called it a day.

We checked out a new place for lunch, had some good grub, good drinks and enjoyed just hanging out for the rest of our day. Good day. Tomorrow… no Stoopid 50 here, no events, nothing planned at all. Maybe some ride time, relaxation and celebrations. Up to the hubby, since it is his ‘double day’. Looking forward to another good day and us doing whatever we feel.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lessons Learned

Danville… 3,500 ft of climbing and I officially moved up to Sport. The Athena class I’m unfortunately eligible for.

My biggest fear of the day was the amount of time it might take me to finish the race. My biggest mistake because sure enough it played into my day. I had a goal of finishing in 3 hours, which was my one and only stupid focus for this race. Sad and stupid. Focused on being about double of hubby's time..

I decided to take off basically last in the mass start for the ¾ mile climb since I knew my climbing speed was pathetic. Which was my First Mistake, why not get every minute you can when you’re concerned about time. But that thought didn’t occur to me until later. So I enter the course dead last and the only riders I pass are those fixing their mechanicals, those coming towards me retiring early on or those unfortunately injured. I trudged on through all the climbing, slowly. It felt like the downhills barely existed. But even on the downhills my bike was feeling Horrible underneath me. Probably the terrain but I never got a groove and just kept feeling like my rear tire wanted to separate itself from the bike. So my downhills were even slow, the one place I’d usually make up time.

But I felt good overall, even with the heat I wasn’t feeling the hot drain and was pleased that my hydration plans seemed to be working well. Water bottle for the occasional head cooling and the camelbak filled with Hammer electrolytes.

The course just seemed never ending slow climbing and I kept watching my time. Before the race someone mentioned that the one spot to bail was about halfway through the course. I haven’t seen the bail spot and I’m almost at 2 hours! “I can’t make everyone wait for me to do a four hour race” That’s all I kept thinking. Finally see the ‘one bail spot’ closing in on the 1:50 mark. “Should I stay or should I go?” (Yes I was actually signing The Clash song in my head). I shout out to a few people trying to get a better idea if this is really the halfway spot. One person tells me that I’ve got a really really long way to go and gives me this look like there’s no way possible you should keep going.

I bailed. Big Mistake. I was more than physically able, even though I was walking some climbs. I DNF’d because I was feeling guilty and concerned that everyone would have to wait to leave the heat because some slow chic is still out there riding.

Turns out only about 4 miles were left of the 13 some and my time probably would have just been over 3 hours. Even if it was 3 ½ - I should have finished. The awards didn’t happen any quicker because I DNF’d, I wouldn’t have held them up.

So if this is my year for learning racing… I’ve just been handed more lessons. Sorry fellow racer’s, I don’t plan to DNF again because of guilt..

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Two races, same day, completely different...

MASS race #4 at Sewell. Fun course right - so might as well do it twice! Besides most my riding is only on race day anyway..

Race #1 - Beginner. I've come to the conclusion that our youngest dog must be powering my starts. He's a spaz with speed but can't stay focused on much for long. Again, this race starts and I took off. Apparently this is my trend and now a humor point with me and my fellow racers. It's just the way I go out and it's sadly (or a good thing?) not from me really trying to go out fast/hard. I knew from the start that this race would be against a racer that has won of every race she's entered this year. She's strong, originally a roadie, getting into mountain biking now.
I only keep the lead for about 2 miles then she (the one I expected) comes past and kindly tells me to grab her wheel. I just chuckled since 1. that's the roadie in her and 2. hell, I would grab you're wheel if I could. I keep her in sight for another half mile or so and then she's gone. Second place I am. But we have two laps of a 5 mile loop and now I'm just pushing hard trying to keep 2nd place. I know she's back there in third. I can see and hear her as we're doing the switchbacks.

Near the end of the first lap I take way to much speed into a switchback over roots and go down hard. (Heard a guy grasp his breath and scream 'you okay'? The 'you okay' part, fine, but the grasping - hell that scared me more than the crash!). My left calf cramped into a solid knot as I went down, tried to stretch it then grabbed my bike hoping the spinning will loosen the calf, eventually it does. My bruising and abrasions today would make you think I did much worse. Shocking the different colors your skin can actually turn.

Anyway, I finish my first lap still in second place. But by this point 3rd is only about 20 seconds behind me.

As we go into the second lap it only takes until the first little climb in the singletrack for her to pass me. Since I didn't actually make the little climb and she does. By this point my pushing during the first lap is catching up with me, fatigue and the heat are starting to get to me, and I just didn't have the power inside me to keep a pace anymore. Embarrassing is dying right in front of two of my friends warming up for their elite race that have helped and motivate me.

So I mentally digress from a race mind set. I'm pretty certain I have a comfortable lead to hold onto 3rd, which I did. I start letting my heart rate drop well below the 185 it had been and take it easier. I was almost 5 minutes slower in lap two. Finished in 3rd out of six. Can't complain, Can't cheer...

My overwhelming feel of that race was fast, dry and hot. I was really f'ing hot...

But don't fret, the day would change.

Expert/Elite went out between beginner and sport. That gave me a moment to really decide if I wanted to do a second race. And to unfortunately help one of my friends (one of the same that I died in front of during my race) to recover from a crash and into the ambulance. Thankfully only a broken hand, recoverable, but still sucks.

So at this point I'm still questioning my sanity to go out again but I've thought it so I'm doing it. Besides, everyone says rain was coming and that to me was a good thing... so I thought. I do love getting wet, riding in mud and it would cool off..

So I grab my medal for my 3rd place finish in beginner and register for Sport. And hell, since I'm already carrying that Athena weight with me for no good, I might as well register for it...

Race #2 - Now I line up and with only three of us I have no intent of a strong start. Our youngest dog can take a big break. We all line up and I see my hubby go in the trails ahead of me... He's second. Good start. I relax.

We get the go and I enter the trails second, good I've paced myself. I keep 1st in view for a while and decide no reason, start taking it easier. I am a little tired and quickly third was no where in sight behind me. Right after they give our class the go, the skies open! They had us vote at the start of our race 2 or 3 laps... 2 won and I was pleased. Just do the same as I did earlier, no biggy. As it turns out, everyone was ultimately changed to 2 laps... Saying the skies opened is an understatement. Lightning and thunder met with this downpour. And thankfully I didn't know until after, lightning struck right near hubby and he smelled the woods burning... I had questioned the sanity of us all racing in this hail/thunderstorm projected but wet racing is fun so I wasn't about to complain.

When I enter lap two I could complain but wouldn't. Hubby had just passed me finishing his second and final lap as I finished my first lap and managed to get out of him that he finished first. Freakin awesome!

I ride on... I had never thought of Sewell as a place to get really muddy, but it did. On my second lap I couldn't keep speed anywhere. Multiple run-off's from my bike as the mud sucked it away from me, multiple times riding with a barely coasting speed so my wheels would stay below me... Knowing the conditions, I expected the 3rd place racer in my class had DNF'd... she had. That meant I was the last person on the course. Can't get more embarrassing than that. Especially when I couldn't seem to do anything about it. I couldn't get more speed, I wasn't spent, the course just wouldn't allow any speed.

I thought about calling it quits, knowing everyone was waiting for me to finish. But I didn't want a DNF just because... So I became selfish and just slowly rode on.. I finished... Everyone kindly applauding as I came to the finish... (thank god, she's finally done!) Both laps in my sport race were slower than my beginner race laps but I had felt good, just slower.... I was covered with mud to receive my 2nd place medal.. (in case you can't tell, I'm not wearing long tights or tall socks in this picture, that's mud...)

So yesterday brought me a third in beginner and a second in sport..

Now to next week... and the class to race. Continue in beginner or move up to sport. My problem is that the extra miles in sport would be good for me (though I might occasionally regret it) but I just don't know if I'm ready to state that weight I carry is here to stay or that I should be using it for the class I race...