Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today is the first day in a couple weeks -- before my crash, even -- where I've felt energetic. I had a good interval workout and I'm alert and functional at my desk. My jaw has improved to the point that I was able to eat a cupcake last night . . . coincidence?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Things I hate:
watching others eat crunchy, delicious pretzels
not enjoying riding my bike
stress at work
waking up tired

Things I like:
cool scars
keeping up on a fast team ride

Monday, July 28, 2008

I disappointed myself yesterday. I lined up for my first 1-2-3 race at the Chicago Criterium, knowing that the large cash prizes meant it would be very fast and very hard. And indeed, on the line there were some very professional looking teams with matching bikes and race radios. The whistle blew, I got clipped in OK and got myself going. As we approached the first corner, we went faster and faster . . . and I choked. I let the pack go through the corner without me. And that was it, I was off the back.

If I'd been more aggressive, I think I could have stayed with the pack until the first prime sprint. But I wasn't, I was a coward.

Bike racing is humbling. I hadn't forgotten that, I just haven't been so thoroughly humbled in a while.

Which just means I have a lot of work to do. Endless hours of training, practice crits, sprint drills. Today I'm feeling daunted.


Oh, and take if from someone who wasted $21 -- skip the new X-Files movie. It's dumb and deeply unsatisfying. The plot could have been a lesser TV episode if you drained all the life and humor from it. It's hard to believe that THIS was all Chris Carter had in him.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Feeling much better. I really can't believe how lucky I am -- some bruising, a couple stitches, a swollen jaw and a bit of whiplash. As long as I ingest a steady stream of ibuprofen, I feel almost normal. Still not able to chew much. But I can get my back teeth to touch now and it doesn't even hurt that much.

The valium, on the other hand, turns me into a zombie. Better to stick with the ibuprofen.

I have my bike back and I'm looking forward to a good, hard team ride tomorrow. And then the Chicago Crit on Sunday. Not exactly sure what to expect -- other than FAST.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today is not a good day. Maybe because my bike is in the shop so I didn't ride this morning and loosen everything up. But today I really feel like I hit the pavement at 20-odd mph.

My neck muscles started to ache yesterday, which quickly grew into a monster headache. Thank god for valium. I feel just exhausted and battered and a little sick to my stomach. I want nothing more than to go home and lie on my couch in the dark eating pudding and complaining about how sick I am of eating pudding.

And I'm not even really hurt -- people who've broken bones or separated shoulders or lost vast swathes of skin . . . I can't even imagine how craptastic they must feel. Heh, I guess self-pity is part of the healing process. I hope it passes as quickly as the scuffs on my upper lip did.

On the bright side I had an amazing peach smoothie last night.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Took my bike in -- bent derailler hanger for sure. Who knows what else. I won't get it back until tomorrow or Friday, and I have to say I am SO looking forward to a few extra hours of sleep tomorrow morning. I can hit the gym after work.

I haven't had any hesitation or fear on the bike yet. No problem drafting or leaning into turns. I know people who crash and that's it, the end of their racing career. And I know people who've broken bones or destroyed multiple helmets, who race better now than ever. What is the thing that makes the difference? I don't want to -- as Paul Sherwen says -- 'lose my bottle' over this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I can tell when the ibuprofen is wearing off when I get increasingly whiney. Everything between my navel and my nose just hurts. It's not terrible, it just aches and wears me down. But a couple advil and maybe half a valium and I'm good. As long as I have my pharmacy with, I can resist being a big baby about this.

Just got back from the dentist. Good news is that there aren't any microfractures above my loose tooth. And he thinks the swelling in my jaw will decrease over time -- I have to stick to 'soft foods' for two weeks and then go back to the dentist. Considering I can't chew anything yet, I don't think that will be a problem.

Soy pudding is quite good. Soy yogurt is better than I expected [ie edible]. Oatmeal, lentil soup and protein drinks round out my menu. The lentil soup I had yesterday tasted AMAZING -- it was the first savory thing I'd had all day. I started eating it cold out of the can. It wasn't as gross as you'd think. OK, I must have been really hungry.

I had a good ride this morning. I'm not 100%, but all the aches disappeared while I rode. My bike is screwed up -- my shifting is off, my chain skipping around all over the place. I ended up pushing a largish gear because it was stable, which was fine until I hit the headwind. But I did OK.

Unfortunately, I won't be racing tomorrow at Whitnall Park. I'm bummed. But I won't be able to get my bike working by then. And Jackie would kill me. She allows I might be OK to race on Sunday, but not tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Had my first crash yesterday -- it was bound to happen sooner or later. I'm just not very experienced with larger, aggressive packs -- and the Evanston crit course is technical with lots of turns. So when another racer swung across my line in a corner, I touched my brake -- my front brake -- probably harder than I needed to. D'oh! I went over the handlebars and landed on my chin and chest.

Happily, from the chest down and nose up, I'm unscathed. I have some stitches in my chin, a swollen jaw, and various lumps, bruises and abrasions on my chest and right arm. And that's it. I didn't even lose skin.

Because of the jaw, I can't close my teeth or chew. But a day or two of smoothies and soup isn't going to hurt me. Brushing my teeth this morning was a whole new adventure.

So I think I need to get out to Matteson to practice being in a big, fast race. While I was with the front group the entire time, I was giving up places regularly, especially in the corners. I was rarely in a good position. I saw breaks go off the front, and had the energy to chase, but I was nowhere near where I needed to be to do it. I really have to work on that.

Thus went my first race as a cat 3.

Heh, still seated.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cavendish is just spectacular. Its like there aren't any other sprinters in the race. I wish Boonen and Petachi were there too -- but I strongly suspect the results would be the same.

Will this be Cav's last stage? Is it time to go home and rest up for the Olympics? 'Cav & Wiggo' are going to dazzle us in China.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This is my current dillemma -- I'm riding to Evanston on Sunday to race. I can't carry an extra set of wheels with me. Do I race on my chewed up training tires or do I ride my race wheels to Evanston and risk my racing tires on all the broken glass between Logan Square and Evanston? Or do I just get new training tires and use those? This is taking way too much thought.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not sure when I'm going to stop rewinding and rewatching my man Jens singlehandedly dropping 90% of the peloton on Tourmalet. It almost makes up for not seeing him on the podium yet.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good for Christian Vandevelde! Homeboy is really doing awesome in le tour. I wasn't surprised to see Valverde lose time and I wasn't surprised to see "Cuddles" Evans do well despite feeling like absolute crap after yesterday's crash. [On a side note, he punched a cop the other day! Who knew he had that much personality?] The race is so much fun this year!

And best cyclist nickname ever? Spartacus Cancelara. Hee.

For myself, I'm girding my loins for my first P-1-2-3 race. I was planning to do it in the Evanston Crit on Sunday -- and I still might -- but I've just realized that the Chicago Crit doesn't have a 3/4 field, just 4s and P-1-2-3. I'm on a rest week this week, so I won't be very snappy on Sunday . . . hmmmm. Do I want to experience the BK Stacker with the pros or the beginners? How many miles IS 50k anyway? You know you're getting yourself into something serious when all the other races are listed in miles.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I've been upgraded -- I'm now cat 3 on the road.

I'm SO glad I've got that done. Now I can relax. And race for the team.

This is me right before --or maybe right after -- the line at the UWW RR. The SUFFERING!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ladies night at the track tonight. I've pre-registered and I'm excited to race my first keirin. It should be intense. -- and of course now it's raining. Arg.

Good day for Kim Kirchen! I think Valverde has already peaked, but I'm hoping Kim is still working up to it. We'll see what happens in the alps.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Craig Hummer is growing on me. Dude is a pro lifeguard, that's sorta like being an Eagle Scout, right? Explains the earnestness.

Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow on Superbesse.

Monday, July 7, 2008

OK, who is this Craig Hummer person? What happened to Al Trautwig?

Has anyone else noticed Phil lisping through the spanish names? Its "Maurithio" and "Alethandro" this year.

The guy who sings the "I want to get myself straight . . ." folk song should have insisted on being paid per airing. I think it's great that Versus is acknowledging the problems, but its been two days and I already want to drive an awl through my eardrums.

While its not environmentally friendly, I liked the 'born from jets' ad way better than Saab's take on the HeadOn commercial.

Despite Pants' smug voiceover, I love the 70+ year-old triathlete in the Nike commercial. However, I'm beginning to hate the guy -- and his dad -- who finished. Or maybe I'm hating Morgan Freeman? I'll see it 50 more times this evening and let you know.

Have to say, this has been the most exciting TdeF in recent memory. Both finishes have been non-stop action -- more like a Spring Classic. The decision to eliminate the prologue and the time bonuses was brilliant. And with no clear favorite to win [I mean, what will Valverde's form be in two weeks?], everyone is going for it. FUN.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I was pretty nervous yesterday, on the way to the UWW Road Race. It was an unfamiliar course with some good hills and I really wanted to do well -- coach said one more strong finish and I should apply for my upgrade. And I want that upgrade monkey off my back.

15 women lined up for the cat 4 race, which doesn't sound like much, but there were 9 at Spring Prairie and 4 at Fox River Grove. So 15 was cool. Two teams had two or more racers. We had 5 laps of a 6-ish mile course that started out with a series of short climbs and false flats, turned into rollers, and two longish flats with a long descent in between. There was a little downhill into the finishing stretch.

I mostly sat in for the first two laps watching to see who climbed well, who seemed strong. I'd raced with a couple of the women before and had an idea what to expect from them. On the third lap the little Kenosha Velosport junior attacked on the hill. I started to chase . . . but then I realized a) the junior was not a threat on her own, and b) other women were also chasing. So I tucked in behind them and we let the junior dangle off the front for a few minutes, wasting her energy.

I figured that the real action would start in the fourth lap, and I wasn't disappointed. When we hit the longest in the series of hills --the only small ring climb -- a Tati girl jumped hard. This time I chased in earnest and caught her at the top of the hill. I looked back and realized that she, I and the junior had a good gap on the rest of the pack. So I got on the front and pushed hard. We quickly dropped the Tati girl, but Kenosha Velosport and I kept pushing.

Towards the end of the first flat stretch, I looked back and could see a chase group. They're coming, I said, we can't slow down. The junior pointed out that we had another whole lap. We have to build this gap now, I insisted. I was frankly surprised that two or three of those women had let us get off in the first place.

The junior and I were working well together, and I couldn't drop her -- she clung to my wheel tenaciously -- but she didn't have a lot of power. So I dragged her around the course for the last lap, making sure she pulled through regularly so she couldn't save up for the sprint -- and I could. When we crested the little rise before the finishing stretch, I popped up to a big gear, stood up and mashed gamely, maxing my HR well before the line -- while I'm not a good sprinter, I figured I could beat junior gears. And I did, handily.

I have to say, I'm really excited about this win. I beat a number of strong competitors, I read the race well, and I had the strength to seal the deal. And I get seven points -- enough to finally upgrade!

Friday, July 4, 2008

I just slept for 11 hours. Best Independence Day ever.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Crazy wind out there today. Hard to keep your HR up riding south and hard to keep your speed up riding north. And the lake reached out and soaked my feet.


My bike is clicking. I think its in the crank/bottom bracket area, but I'm not sure. I'm mildly alarmed, but I won't get a chance to have it looked at before my race on Saturday. Hmmm.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I was on a rest week last week so I missed the official Fitness Check Time Trial #3. So coach put it on my schedule for today -- I always prefer to do it on the day everyone else does, facing the same wind and weather, so I can truly compare my time with my teammates, but as I'm really comparing myself now against myself six weeks ago (and six weeks before that), it doesn't really matter.

There was a head/crosswind riding south today and a tail/crosswind riding north, but no motor vehicles or anything to slow me down. I finally have my powertap back, and being able to monitor my HR, speed and power output all at once really helped -- instead of simply trying to keep a steady HR, I could decide that I could push a little harder to go a little faster. I met my goal of beating 27 minutes: 26:45 -- 34 seconds faster than last time! Yay.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The question I have is this: Why go with maximum nastiness when you don't have to? It's an effective choice, I grant you, but does it ever get the result you desire? I mean, unless you're TRYING to hurt and alienate your friends.

It's not like I don't understand -- I'm a hothead too (and that's been nothing but trouble). So here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to forgive. It's hard for me and I'm not saying I'm going to forget. But I forgive you.

And that's all I have to say.