Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm on the lakefront path this morning when the guy ahead of me suddenly endos. Nothing in his way, no one near him, he just jerks sideways and then dumps himself over the bars. It was surprising.

I stop and he very much wants no one to pay any attention to him. He's wearing one birkenstock [!] and pacing distractedly. I pick up his [heavy!] vintage road bike w/ top tube shifters and lay it down off the path. Then I move his messenger bag out of the way. I look around for his other sandal . . . and finally find it in his front spokes. Mystery solved. He tells me that the cage on that side broke this morning. Probably in protest of birkenstocks being shoved in them every day.

He wants me to leave. As I ride away he lays down on the grass.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First ride since Wednesday this morning. Feeling better -- not fantastic, but better. It was truly bizarre not riding at all this past weekend. Instead, I painted the wrought iron fence in front of our house with aluminum colored rustoleum. So that was 8 hours well spent.

My TTT team keeps trying to get together to practice. But with illness, rest weeks, travel, and wrong cell phone numbers, we haven't managed it. I thought we were meeting this morning, but when I got up I had voicemail suggesting we weren't. Then I flatted within 10 minutes of leaving the house, so I was late getting to the meeting place. Oh well, I did my 20 minute intervals instead. That's good practice for the TTT too.

Friday, August 22, 2008

So my racing bike hasn't been feeling as stiff lately. I was never sure quite what that meant. I mean, I got the jist, but as I've only had one road bike, I have nothing to compare it to. People ask if I like it, if it's stiff, and I tell them yeah, I like it.

But in late July I started hearing a noise when I'd stand up and pull on the handlebars [as when sprinting or climbing]. I asked neutral support about it at a race and he thought it was the bearings in my headset wearing out. He tightened it down and the noise went away. And then I crashed and forgot about it.

Then last week, when sprinting, the bike didn't feel stiff anymore. There was definite give. It was subtle, but noticeable. I took it into my mechanic and he leaned on the bars and they shifted around spongily. Ack! He's taking apart the headset and checking it out. Probably the bearings.

I also need to replace my chainrings. I currently have a 50/34 compact and I'm considering going with a more standard setup. A 52/38 or 53/38. I've asked coach what he thinks. I'm having a compact put on my cross bike, so I'll still have that option. Thoughts?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More lamentations from the women:

Still tired. I ended up watching too much BMX last night [so cool despite the incredibly ridonkulous bikes], and waking up way too early at the sound of Jackie's alarm. So I got less sleep than I needed and will spend yet another day wanting nothing more than a long, peaceful nap. There has to be a way to get more sleep . . . I desperately want to start feeling better.

And I'm hungry. SO hungry.

I wonder if meditation would help. With all the stress from work, it couldn't hurt. I wonder if I could breath out the hunger and breathe in satiety. Or I could continue to breathe in popcorn -- not so great for my power to weight ratio, but fantastic for sating hunger.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fitness Check Time Trial #4 today. Considering how awful I feel right now, I was thrilled to be only 3 seconds slower than last time.

Coach says to take the next 4 days off the bike. While usually I'd hate this, right now I feel like I've won the lottery. I get to sleep in! I can work on my house over the weekend without being worn out from my training ride. I can spend some quality time with Jackie.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I am so tired.

I'm burned out. I can't get my head into racing. I just want to sleep.

I raced poorly at Downers Grove. I just wanted it to be over -- my last race for weeks. I tried to psych myself up, but I'm just so weary. I couldn't get excited. I'm still choking in the corners too -- waves of cold fear hit me before every corner, be it in a race or in training, and I forget everything I know about cornering on a bike. I consciously tried to set that aside, but I couldn't and finally ended up off the back for good.

And as humiliating as that was, all the emotion I could muster was relief that it was over.

But even so, I was talking with someone yesterday and when cycling came up, found myself engaged and excited by the conversation. [too bad most everyone I know thinks there's no duller subject] So after I rest a bit, I'll regain my appetite for racing.


Got up at 4:30 this morning to watch the Olympic Madison live. It was fun to watch, but I was surprised that 'Cav & Wiggo' pretty much sat in for the whole race. The Belgians, Argentinians and Germans animated the race, but our British heroes only managed one point. Weird. I wonder if one or the other of them is injured.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My race tomorrow is 20 minutes plus 1 at 2pm. Have to admit, I'm a little worried about all the turns as they haven't been kind to me lately. But this is the last race I have scheduled until the TTT. I'm looking forward to my rest week!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Crash number two on Sunday at the Glencoe Grand Prix. Much less dramatic -- a racer ahead of me took the last corner before the finishing sprint too hot and hit the curb, taking out the two women behind her. I was braking and thought I was going to get stopped OK when the woman behind me took me down. Happily for me, I only have a couple bruises and a scuffed elbow [the woman who hit the curb wasn't so lucky] and neutral support trued the wiggle out of my rear wheel right away.

I wasn't racing particularly well. I was keeping up just fine, and was doing much better in the corners -- however Gigi said afterwards that I was letting myself get slightly gapped and then having to sprint the 6 ft to catch back on [especially at first, I think I got better as the race went on] so she quit riding my wheel. Arg. I hate letting a teammate down.

I put in an attack or two but there were about 5 really strong racers who chased me down easily. On the last lap, I found myself on the front and decided to stay there -- which wasn't especially smart if I wanted to place well. I ramped it up hoping that I could keep the pace high enough that we'd be safe through the corners. But a couple girls used that last corner to launch themselves -- which I should have been doing -- and that's when the crash happened.

Four races since catting up -- crashed twice and got dropped twice. Can only go up from here.


Saturday at the track was interesting. I blew the 500 m pursuit -- didn't get up to top speed and didn't spin. Afterwards, I figured out what I should have been doing and wished I could do it over. But I used that experience and improved in the 2K. I don't think I had an awesome time [I forgot to check, had to get home], but I was consistent, doing all the laps in about the same time. And this time I did get up to speed and I did spin OK and I stuck closer to the black line, etc. And I was gassed afterwards. At least now I know what to work on.

And the aerobars were very comfortable.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Only three women raced track last night! It was ridonkulous. Every race was the same: the cat 2 racer took first, the cat 3 racer took second and the cat 4 racer [me] took third. At lease I gave the cat 3 a run for her money a couple times.

But why so few women racing this year? In general, there just aren't as many. Road races, crits, track, you're lucky to get more than 10. And it's certainly not because we who DO race don't recruit and encourage! It was pretty salty for those of us who SHOWED UP to race Elk Grove to be lectured about how few of us there were. WE KNOW! And it sucks for us worse than it sucks for you.


So the 'silver lining' to landing on my jaw when I crashed has been multiple trips to the dentist -- not for the jaw, that's healing nicely, but for actual dentistry. I hadn't been in a while due to a bad experience, but its good to know my gums are fine and my cavities taken care of, etc. For not having been in 7-ish years, my teeth are in pretty good shape.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My coach informed me on Monday that he wants me to race the 500 m pursuit and the 2K pursuit this Saturday at the State Track championships. He said that I should just use my clip-on aerobars on my track bike.

So,I bought a set of clip-on aerobars yesterday. This will be my first experience using them and my first time pursuiting. At the State Championships. Yes, I'm a little nervous about it.

Right now they're on my road bike -- I figured I could practice a little during active recovery tomorrow. And I hate them. I hate the way they look on my bike. I hate that I will be one of the multitude of aerobar-sporting Freds that populate the lakefront. I hate them an irrational amount. Especially as I really need them for the TT part of stage races.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Greta's in town for a few days and I've had the pleasure of training with her a couple times. Girl is STRONG. But of course she is, she's headed to the paralympics at the end of the month. It's a very nice change to let her tow me up and down the lakefront.

Regarding not doing so well in the women's open field -- I'm willing to suck. Its not an easy thing, to do something you aren't good at when you're really not good at it. A lot of people are good at bike racing right away, and sometimes I envy that -- I could have an avocation that I excel in immediately . . . but despite feeling like a total loser sometimes, I want this challenge. Every gain I've made on the bike, I've worked for. And it feels great to accomplish a thing this hard. So, I'm willing to suck at bike racing right now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

So far, being cat 3 is sorta like going back in time two and a half years. I've raced a Pro-1-2-3 and a Women's open and gotten dropped both times.

To be fair to myself [ie make excuses] crashing at Evanston two weeks ago has made me very timid in the corners -- something you cannot be in a field dominated by cat 1s & 2s. And I wasn't even able to eat solid food when I did the first race.

But I feel like I'm getting some form back and my next two races are in 3/4 fields. I should do better.


I was supposed to have a 3/4 race at Elk Grove this past Saturday. But only 27 women showed up for both the women's races, so they combined us into a women's open on the line. Which I understand, but I was also mucho pissed off about. I didn't do well -- again, I pretty much freaked out about the corners and ended up at the back with the girls who were going to get dropped. I had chances to move up and didn't take them -- which I'm furious with myself about -- and when the elastic broke, I was on the wrong side of it. I rode a lap on my own, 15 seconds behind the pack, and then sat up for the other dropped women. I organized a pace line, but it was very apparent that they were suffering at 20 mph, and that was never going to bridge us up.

I had no issues in the corners with so few of us, and actually ended up teaching one of the women HOW to corner. At the end, I simply rode away and crossed the line with them nowhere in sight. If I could have made myself sit in the pack, I think I could have stayed with it until the end and had a pack finish. But I didn't. I HAVE to get over this fear.

After the race, the mayor gathered all of us together and gave us a lecture. Every year, fewer and fewer women show up for this race -- and he does a lot of work getting sponsors and large purses. Why should he do all that if no one is going to come and race? I don't know why the field is so small --other than women's fields are always small and Elk Grove is right after Superweek and lots of people are on a rest week. I don't know why I was the only xXx woman there. Upshot is that next year, there probably will ONLY be a women's open offered. Which won't encourage lower category women to participate. But then, they aren't anyway . . . the snake eats its tail.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Got the itemized bill from Evanston Hospital yesterday. My favorite line item was "face repair."