Wednesday, January 30, 2008

OK . . . I'm just going to come out with it. I want to podium at Hillsboro. And I'd REALLY like to win.

I'm going to have to start talking strategy with Jeanette.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Just finished weights with my trainer, Dan. He's pretty awesome. It was fun . . . but now I'd really like a nap. Unfortunately, I'm at work.

Got my new training block from my coach. We're ramping it up a bit. Which is sort of a relief -- I want to be ready for camp and then for the start of the season. And while theoretically I have any number of things to do other than ride my bike, the bike is my priority right now.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The team ride today was aggressively unpleasant. It wasn't the cold, it was the snow. It was the muddy, salty slush in the roads. The first hour was OK, but as I got progressively wetter and muddier the ride got progressively less fun. It was cold enough to freeze the water in our bottles, so I couldn't rinse the salt out of my mouth. And cold enough that being soaked was a problem. I gladly took my turn at the front to get my heart rate up and get warm. Yes, that IS mud on my teeth and salt caked around my nose.

Took me an hour to clean my bike. I would guess the three other brave fools on the ride spent just as much time cleaning theirs.

The weather will have to dramatically improve for me to go on the women's ride tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Gigi and I were talking about our goals for the season the other night, and they are similar --- we are both looking to cat up, we're both looking to place well and win. We have different emphasis --- she on track, me on road, both on crits --- but otherwise we're really in synch.

I listen to her talk about it and I feel like it's totally doable. I have confidence that she will podium and accumulate the points to cat up. Her drive and determination are palpable.

So why do I feel so insecure about meeting my own goals? I work hard and am very motivated. Why do I have such a hard time believing in my own abilities?

But I won't let my internal debate stop me from attacking the pack at Hillsboro. I would really like to get in a strong breakaway. Ideally with Jeanette, but one or two racers from other teams could work out too. If I get my climbing legs at camp, this could work out well for me. And if it doesn't, well, ATTEMPTING it is valuable in itself.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Last evening was the women's squad's monthly social. We met at Hopleaf for dinner, snacks and beer. Well, some of us had beer. Some of us stuck assiduously to our diets and commiserated about always being hungry. But it's paying off -- we'll be ready for camp.

A lot of our new members came and it was fun to get to know each other better. There's a lot of enthusiasm right now and I'm excited to see that applied to racing. Who will be super strong? Who will be a natural sprinter? Who will get dropped over and over but keep coming back for more?

Also fun to talk about camp. A bunch of women are coming this year. Egg salad.


I wonder if I've had so many colds this past year because ALL of my current officemates have young children who go to daycare. Maybe they're carrying viruses into the office, way more viruses than when none of us had tots. I'm consistent about washing my hands thoroughly and using hand sanitizer throughout the day, but I have never had so many colds in a 12 month period [Seven? Eight?]. And this is the only thing I can think of that's changed.

Since becoming an athlete -- which coincided with the baby boom -- my health has gotten more delicate. Which seems counterintuitive. I'm to the point where the slightest hint of impending illness will send me running for the zinc lozenges and to an early bed time.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My rest week is over and I have to say I'm excited to get back to regular training. I do appreciate the break, but I wouldn't be a bike racer if I didn't love it.

Man, it's so freakin' cold outside. I walked 4 blocks yesterday as the sun went down and just about died. A gentle breeze came up and immediately gave me an ice cream headache . . . that progressed into a throat-tearing, skull splitting, finger-freezing, face-dissolving death march. And I was wearing many layers of wool and down. It's just crazy cold. I saw two brave souls out there on bikes and they did not look happy in any way.

Got some new tattoos yesterday. As they are places where I can see them, I think of them as tattoos for me. I'm not sure who I got the back piece for. My massage guy, maybe. Other than Jackie, no one ever sees it. I sorta got the ice cream cones for racing -- think they'll distract my opponents? I actually forget that I have tattoos a lot of the time. When it gets warm out and I wear a tank top for the first time in 7 months . . . I wonder why everyone is giving me these LOOKS.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's -7 degrees out there --- and that's ambient air temperature, the wind chill is something like -25. Needless to say, I rode my bike indoors this morning. I spent two hours on the trainer watching "Missing" with Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemon on cable. Good movie that I'd probably have never watched otherwise. Made the time go faster. Tomorrow I only have one hour --- last day of my rest week. If I have to be indoors, at least I don't have to grind out 3 hours a day. Hopefully it'll be warm enough to ride outdoors next weekend.

My weight loss is going well. I'm down 7 pounds since New Years and feeling really healthy and energetic. I'm on track to be at or close to my race weight by camp. And I always end up losing a couple pounds at camp. Its hard to eat as much as you burn riding 5 or 6 hours a day, keeping up with the fast guys as long as possible. I can't wait for camp! I dreamt about it the other morning: we'd just finished a long ride and I was lying on my back with my legs up on the porch furniture with a bunch of the guys, waiting for recovery sandwiches. It was warm in the sun, but with a slight chill in the air --- low 60s, maybe. I was wearing my xXx winter kit knickers and confirming with the sandwich maker that I did indeed need a vegan sandwich. Hummus was involved. Then our coach came and sat down with us and we passed him the pretzels and he started talking about the ride . . . I rarely remember my dreams, but this one was excellent.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today is a rest day - no soft pedalling on my bike, no yoga or pilates, no walking on the treadmill . . . just nothing. I slept in until 6:30 am [the luxury!]. Which I desperately needed after two nights of only 6 hrs each. Without enough sleep, I'll get sick again. And that's the last thing I need.

I've been thinking of seeing if I can borrow a fixed gear bike [with a brake] for a couple weeks. I've been curious about them for a while, and riding one can really help give you a good, round pedal stroke. If I like it, I might even consider racing track this summer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

You know, I rode 8 hours this weekend -- a number of those hours were hard riding -- and my legs felt great. Two hours on the trainer this morning and my knees are a mess.

I guess its probably partially positioning -- I can't sit up for 10 minutes at a time riding on the road, and sitting up changes the geometry of my knee and pedal -- and partially the relentlessness of the trainer. No changes in terrain, no inclines or declines, no variation in pedal stroke. Just around and around and around. God, the trainer is so boring.

As its supposed to be NINE degrees on Saturday, I'll be stuck on the trainer. But I'll get to sleep in. I haven't done that in weeks. And I'll have a chance to get more comfortable on the rollers. At least its a rest week for me, so I won't be putting in tons of time. Two hours on Saturday, and only an hour on Sunday. Rest weeks are like Bizzarro world.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My coach is so awesome.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Had a really nice training ride this morning. Gigi and a new teammate, Anna, and I rode up to HP and back. Three hours, keeping my HR solidly in the endurance zone. It started out slightly colder than I expected and then the temperature dropped during the ride. My fingers weren't happy by the time I got home. But it was great to have a good endurance ride after yesterday's efforts. My legs are feeling good.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Team ride today. Weather was great --- 30+ degrees and dry. I rode "long", i.e. when we got to Highland Park, I went with the group doing an extra 25 miles [for 75 total]. I really need to build my mileage if I want to compete in the longer road races. And I DO want to compete.

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I completely died on a couple hills. Just maxed my HR and couldn't turn the pedals fast enough. I flat out died. This wasn't happening 2 months ago, I guess being sick twice & gaining some weight has taken its toll. The ride was difficult for most everyone, but no one else fell off the back. No one else needed help catching back up to the pack. It's . . . humiliating. Especially as the only woman on that part of the ride. But I'm going to do it again next week and the week after and the week after and I will get stronger.

I want to be one of the ones on the front making it hurt.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Feeling good today. Training has been going well, we've gotten 7 or so new women on the team, I'm starting to think about how to structure my racing season, which races to target, etc. And I'm really looking forward to training camp in March. I love camp.

Tomorrow morning it's supposed to be dry and about 30 degrees. I can ride 50 or 75 miles in that. I'm going to enjoy it.

Anyone catch the awesome 30 Rock last night? This writer's strike must end.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I switched to Jackie's trainer for spin drills this morning and what a difference! I'm not a weakling, my trainer is broken. I was able to spin 125 rpms for 5 minutes and keep my HR under 80% --- instead of hitting 95% while trying [and failing] to maintain 115 rpms. So that's good.

I've been adding in some cross-training hours every week. Mostly endurance on the elliptical [I'd run, but my hips and knees won't allow it], but it would be fun to do some cardio kickboxing classes too. They're such a blast.


Hey, all of you who enjoy music, check out DJ Potpie's best of 2007 lists [link below]. I especially recommend Chromeo, Hot Chip and of course DJ Bobo's insane "Vampires Are Alive." It's impossible to not sing along.


While I want to avoid talking politics on this blog, I have to say that I'm constantly infuriated by the media's treatment of Hillary Clinton. They exploit every negative stereotype about women: she "manufactures" situations [she's a conniving bitch]; she's a "walking computer" [she's frigid!]; she's in a "panic" [she's an hysterical woman!]; she's "on the edge" [she's a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown!]. It's such bullshit and frankly, though I've never been a fan of Hillary, it makes me WANT to vote for her just to stick it to them [although when it comes down to it, I intend to make a considered rather than reactionary choice]. Everyone is scrambling to explain her win in New Hampshire, and no one is considering this aspect -- I can't be the only registered voter who feels this way. It's not even subtle.

I'm really just hoping Kucinich is still in it for the Illinois Primary. He's vegan, you know. And Viggo Mortenson is campaigning for him. SOLD!

Apparently I'm not the only person who feels this way:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Another warm weekend in Chicago! Despite the filth, it's great to ride outdoors. I cleaned my bike 3 times in 3 days, but it was worth it.

My racing team's Women's Development Program had our annual open house on Sunday. It was fun and interesting to meet my potential new teammates. Saw a couple of them at the monthly team meeting last night -- a marathon of pro deals, uniform ordering, camp details, coaching tips, exhortations to represent appropriately, and even a race report. Our membership director was busy all evening signing up new members. I'll miss some people who've moved on to other teams, but look forward to getting to know all the new racers.

So I'm ordering my new kit for '08 -- a couple jerseys and a couple bib shorts. I want to get a skin suit for time trialing [one of my goals this season is to complete a stage race, so I have to work on my time trialing]. The question is this: long sleeved or short sleeved? Hmm.

I'm feeling renewed enthusiasm for my training. I'm really throwing myself into it and enjoying it. However, something isn't right with my trainer: other people say the spin drills are easy, but my trainer has so much resistance even in my easiest gear that it's crazy hard for me to pedal 115 rpms for any length of time. And as my coach wants me to pedal 125 rpms for 5 minutes . . . well, I'll have to figure something out. I don't want my workouts to be too easy, but if I'm maxing my HR that's not good either.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year, new training schedule. I've begun one-legged drills and spin drills on the trainer. It feels great to do something that really jacks up my heartrate.

I really suck at the spin drills. Basically, the workout is broken up into 5 minute intervals --- every 5 minutes you increase your cadence. 90 rpms, 100 rpms, 105 rpms, 110, 115, 120, and then back down. However, holding my cadence at 115 rpms per minute for 5 minutes . . . I'm not very good at that. My trainer isn't easy to pedal, so in my easiest gear, 115 rpms shoots my HR up to 90% and beyond. Which is difficult to maintain [and exceed] for 25 minutes or so. Especially as I've been supposed to keep my HR under 80% for the past 3 months.

But I gave it my all this morning. This will help my sprinting, my endurance, my speed and my overall fitness.