Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I raced the ABD Memorial Day masters' criterium yesterday -- and I have to start by saying that ABD puts on great races. Well-organized, well-marshalled races on good courses. Monday's race was in an industrial park on a wide, smooth road with sweeping corners, a couple false flats and a bit of wind.

I lined up with 7 other women for our 50 minute +2 lap race. Four 40+ and four 30+. We were combined with the 50+ men and allowed to work together. It was good pack practice for me . . . for a lap and a half. I got gapped and was chasing the bunch that two 40+ women were still clinging to. I got lucky and they got gapped right after I did, and the three of us continued on with a couple dropped men.

I'd raced with one of the women before, she's experienced and strong. The other was just strong - very strong. The experienced woman and I traded a few attacks. She tried to exploit my my weakness in the corners, but these corners were so gentle, and the roads so wide, that I didn't have even a moment of panic. Then we settled in and worked well together. Eventually, the bunch lapped us -- we weren't able to integrate -- and then a train of about 6 guys came by and we jumped on.

Despite a couple of the guys being super squirrely, it was really fun. Fast with lots of attacks and jockeying, but easy enough to hang in. I could tell that the experienced woman was tiring a bit, but the other, despite sitting in the wind a lot, was not.

We let the men go on the last lap. I got third wheel and . . . I don't know, maybe I haven't raced enough this year. Maybe I'm just really, really dumb. But I totally screwed up the sprint. The strong woman attacked into the wind on the false flat but couldn't drop us. I considered counter-attacking, but feared it was too soon. And then I didn't sprint hard out of the corner. I sat behind the other two waiting for them to do something. And then they did and I came in third.

Why didn't I go? What's wrong with me? When will I learn that I regret inaction more than action, even ineffectual action.

Anyway, it was very refreshing to not get dropped immediately and it was just a really good, fun, interesting race overall. And hopefully I've learned something [that I should already know. Jeez!]

I stayed to watch the men's 40+ 1-2-3 race, and had the pleasure of seeing Mark Schwartzendruber ride away from the field. He attacked early and made time on the bunch with every lap. Amazing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

OK, this was supposed to be a photo of Heidi crossing the line, but I guess iPhones aren't cut out for sports photography. Maybe there's an app for that?

Today was the Fitness Check Time Trial #2. My time was 26.56 -- a 1:35 faster than six weeks ago and 23 seconds faster than last year at this time. Still 11 seconds slower than my PR last July, but I'm not unhappy. Especially as I feel I'm behind in my training.

I felt I went out a little slow. I ride faster when I'm racing someone other than myself. Sighting my minute man and reeling her in helped, but what really spurred me on was when the guy behind me went by and I sped up to chase him -- and found the higher speed well within my capabilities. I have to practice riding faster when there's no one to chase.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wore my new Rudy cycling glasses for the first time this morning and they ROCK! They are so much better than my old cycling glasses. So lightweight and comfortable. I had my prescription put in with transitional lenses, so I can use them night and day. Yay.

My newly overhauled bike feels great, but my powertap wouldn't work this morning. I've really come to depend on it. The computer had a low battery, so I've replaced it and hope that will fix everything. If not, I've downloaded the manual and will try "computer setup 5". I'd really like to have the power data from tomorrow's Fitness Check TT. I strongly suspect my fabulous vacation took a toll on my fitness -- despite running every staircase I came across [which didn't annoy my in-laws too much, I hope] and walking for hours every day. But it was a good break and now I can start building more muscle and fitness.

I haven't been racing as much as last year. Partially it just hasn't worked out and partially I guess the cat 1-2-3 field has demoralized me a bit. I'm going to hit one of the ABR masters races this weekend and see if that lifts my spirits.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Got back from Europe last night. Great trip -- really fun. We started in Paris [picture of Jackie and I at Sacre Coeur above -- where the WORST BUSKER IN THE WORLD performed 'Hotel California' phonetically. He's on those steps behind my head].

We took a day trip to Versailles -- rode these comfort bikes around the city and estate. I was thrilled to be on any bike. It was actually sort of a let down to get off and tour the palace. Rococo isn't very exciting. I'm thinking of adopting this kit permanently.

Here's the Eiffel tower.

We watched the end of a couple Giro stages on French TV. Didn't understand much the sportscaster said, but we could follow the action. Then on to Zurich, where we watched more stages of the Giro live in our enormous hotel suite [seriously, four huge rooms, two showers, a front hallway and free in-room breakfast in our dining room]. Still couldn't understand the sportscaster, still enjoyed it thoroughly.

Zurich and Paris were very bike-friendly.

So now I'm back and ready to ride! I feel terribly out of shape and sorta jet-lagged, but it was worth it. While I was away, my bike had a long-overdue overhaul, so it, at least, is on form.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I went out to Maple Park today for the John Fraser Memorial Time Trial -- a good opportunity to try out my TT setup and get some good practice in. I raced the course twice, first in the W40+ category and once in the women's open.

We got there late, so I didn't have time to warm up properly. 10 minutes back and forth near the start house and then I was up. It HURT. I had my 30 second "man" in sight, and slowly reeled her in. We passed the guy a minute in front of her at the turnaround and soon after, I passed her. However, I started to die in the headwind and she passed me back. I also didn't know where the finish line was, so I wasn't able to gauge my effort optimally. My time was 21.03 - not terrible, but not very good either. It was only 8-ish miles.

Afterwards, my lungs felt like they were full of broken glass and [oddly] I felt like my teeth needed to fall out.

I got my other number pinned and went back to the start house for my second effort. This one felt better -- the aerobars weren't so awkward, my breathing was better. I felt like I was spinning better. I didn't have anyone directly in front of me, but I did eventually catch and pass my minute man. The wind had gotten stronger, but I didn't feel like I was losing power the way I did the first time. I ended up being a bit slower - 21.17, I think. Afterwards, I felt OK. I guess I didn't work hard enough.

I placed fifth in both categories.