Thursday, September 24, 2009

Coach added running to my training schedule. You use some muscles running that you don't use cycling. Ow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My new HIDEOUS/FABULOUS skinsuit got a second debut at yesterday's Jackson Park cyclocross race. Man, I LOVE cyclocross. I'm no good at it - I'm completely incapable of getting over a barrier and back onto my bike without coming to a complete stop. Which, as you can imagine, is a bit of a handicap. And with a handicap like that, 30 minutes isn't enough time to wear out the competition sufficiently to really make up for it.

But its SO MUCH FUN!

I decided not to cat up to the women's 1,2,3 field - no point until I can work out my issues with the barriers. There were over 30 women lining up in the cat 4 field, which is HUGE - so cool to have so many women racing. I think xXx had seven women in the field, most for their first cross race. I knew there was some strong competition in the field, so my goal was top 10.

I did Ok in opening sprint - not great, but OK. I was about eighth or ninth by the time we hit the ersatz singletrack through the trees. The three or four in the lead were opening up a good gap, and I was unable to get around the line of women ahead of me to keep up. Eventually some dropped off and I ended up behind Amy from Mox - which is a familiar place to find myself. I wasn't being aggressive enough about getting around her either. My teammate Courtney caught up to me and Amy and I fell behind them at the barriers. Then Amy slid out in a corner and I shouted at Courntey to get around her - we both did! I rode Court's wheel for half the course then decided to be more assertive and tried to pass on her inside in a corner. Unfortunately there were major ruts and Courtney had to almost stop to avoid them. I didn't want to screw up my own teammate! She got ahead of me again at the barriers and this time I was inhibited about trying to pass.

I could see that some of the women ahead of us were tiring. Courtney and I were working past them. I could see Britt from Verdigris, Cathy from Project 5, and Natalie ahead of us. I saw that Courtney was able to work around Nat and Cathy (who fell and lost a few places) - the barriers continued to hold me back. And then the race was over - almost before it started, it seemed.

My crazy strong teammate Julia won - no surprise there, I knew she'd dominate the first time I saw her graceful leap onto a cross bike - and Courtney took third! Woo! Natalie and I were sixth and seventh. So I made my goal of top ten and I'll get a call up at the next race.

Eileen - my teammate who took the women's cat 4 series title and state jersey last year - was very strong in her first women's cat 1,2,3 race. She dropped some serious competition and ended up third or fourth [final results aren't out yet]. She's so impressive. Yelling at her and at the men in the masters' race while I marshalled was almost more fun than racing myself. Huge props to Greg for putting this race together - and to Brian and Mike and all my other teammates who spent so much time and effort to not only make the race happen, but to make it so great. The whole Chi Cross Cup series ROCKS!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Well, the four-person time trial was yesterday. I felt good - I'd decided not to do the State RR to save my legs and didn't overdo on the team ride. I spent a significant part of Saturday resting and stretching and preparing by bike and all my race stuff. I was ready.

Our start time was 10:19. Julia and I got there about 8:20 am, thinking we could drive the course first. But there was a thick, enveloping fog in Utica - visibility was 20 feet, tops. The organizers delayed the race start for a half hour. And then another half hour. Heidi and Eileen and the other xXx women's teams arrived. Our crazy, custom skinsuits arrived. We relaxed for a while and then got ready to race.

Actually we probably relaxed too long. We didn't start our warmup until 10:50. My legs felt great, we were working well together. We practiced a couple turns. I glanced at my watch, it was 11:05 - definitely time to turn around and get to the start line. And then I flatted. I was riding tubulars and had nothing with me to fix the flat.

I fell off our paceline and started to run back towards the race start with my bike. My teammates said they'd get our start time pushed back and come get me in the car. I told them I'd try and flag down a car and get a ride.

We were a couple miles out. I walked and walked, walked right through our start time. No one came to pick me up. I knew they'd had to start without me. I was SO disappointed. I finally got a nice guy with a big pickup truck to give me a lift. I got to the start line 25 minutes late.

My teammate Noelle lent me her spare wheel - right before HER TTT team went off. I started right after them. I was there, might as well get in a good training ride. I took the beginning relatively slowly - no reason to really push - but as I rode, I formulated goals for myself and rode harder and harder. I actually passed a couple teams (who must have had something going on to be going so slowly). I ended up averaging just over 21 mph for the 60k - not terrible for a training ride. That finishing stretch was just as interminable as I remember.

My team took third. I'm proud of them, but so disappointed I didn't get to race with them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gearing up for the Four Person Team Time Trial on Sunday. I'm excited - I have an excellent team AND we have two other women's team competing. We had a tremendous amount of fun last year.

I think I'm going to have to miss the State Road Race on Saturday. With this piriformis/sciatic nerve thing [Yes, I have sciatica - because I'm 90.] I've had to lay off the intensity a bit, which has negatively affected my fitness. I'm not climbing as well as I should be and I need to save my legs for the TTT. Bummer. Total bummer. But better not risk aggravating my . . . OK, its SO awkward having an injured butt. Its not my hip, or leg or back, its my bum. One side of my bum. Charming.

Also looking forward to cyclocross. I've decided to use the HED stingers, and have been searching for a set of tubulars. I've settled on the Vittoria Cross EVO XG 700x32c Tubulars in silver. They're VERY reasonably priced and well-reviewed. They're such a great deal that every online store that offers them is out of stock. I've ordered them three times and the next day get an e-mail telling me they're back ordered or just gone. Which has frittered away a week.

I complained about my bad luck on Facebook which prompted the good people at Turin to offer to help. I love Anne Barnes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Feeling better. Thanks. Still slow, but better rested. The rest will come.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Getting ready for the team time trial next weekend. And the State Road Race. I'm not feeling great - my fitness just isn't where I want it to be. I tried to peak in late June/early July [although I don't feel I made it all the way], then pulled back to try to avoid burnout. Just as I started ramping back up, I hurt myself and had to lay off the intensity. The injury continues to nag. Its not acute anymore, but its not gone either. It feels raw and *wrong* when I ride, and it aches when I sit at my desk or in my car. It robs me of power.

I had a really great little vacation with Jackie last week - so good to just spend time together and relax. But since then, I've been tired and stressed out. I just can't seem to get ahead of the 8-ball. I've been getting up super early to practice with my TTT team, while I'm trying to get back on Central time - too easy to stay up too late, too hard to get up early - and then I spend the entire day dragging.

Coach has been talking about mental toughness lately. He thinks I have it and that I can exercise more of it. But when I fall into this well of worry and despair, its too easy to let it engulf me. My glass is half-empty and that's all I can see.