Dec 20, 2009
After the ride, I went for an easy run on one of the flatter trails. Haven't been trail running since Ogden, and it showed. I was a little off kilter on the twisty sections. But it was a good run, and nice to get outside. Always a treat to be able to play in the dirt (and mud and snow and ice). We never know how long the weather will hold, so take advantage of the oppertunites to get outside.
Dec 19, 2009
For the TTT, it was from row against back row, with the time taken on the last person to cross the line. My team got off to a strong start and quickly took over the lead. I would love to say that I did my share of the work but... I hid in the draft the whole time, letting the two boys set the tempo. That seemed like a great place to be - hanging on for dear life. Luckly, the team worked really well together and we were all able to cross the line together.
The next race was the criterum through the Garden of the Gods, by the Trading Post and Balanced Rock. My group had too do five laps - we all started whining when Brandon realized that the next group was doing four and the last group was only doing three! The CTS coaches were very sympathtic - their advice was to get riding and stay in the draft until the last hill! Without the help of the boys, I very quickly slipped into last place. I was able to fight up to second to last by the end of the course, but that was a challenge. And we still had one more race!
The final race was a short, flatter road race through Central Park. And we didn't even have to get off our bikes to get to NY! I managed to get a great start on the down hill, but my time in the lead did not last long. Once again, I was in second to last, fighting to get on the wheel of the next rider. Every slight incline, I would gain ground and pull away. Then we'd hit the downhills and he would take the lead. My one chance was the uphill finish. Phil and Paul would have had fun with the call for our sprint.
This was a lot of fun, the indoor races. I hope that CTS does another series. It was a great way to get some good training and break up the boredom of riding inside.
Dec 16, 2009
I have to admit - an indication of what matters to me. I pull into the CTS parking lot for my workout this morning. I have two bikes on the roofrack and pull a third out of the back of the car! Amost at that sterotypical joke about the bikes being worth more then car under them!
Dec 10, 2009
I really think that anyone who is active should investigate Road ID – the ads might make light of the risk we face on the open road, but those risks are real. I’ve taken steps to make sure that everyone I care about has one. Nick has his dog tag with the mountain biker on the back and I’m giving one to my mother for her birthday. The holidays are coming up – a Road ID is a budget friendly gift that might just save a life. There’s a link at the bottom of my blog – click on that for more information on Road ID and the other safety products they sell.
Dec 9, 2009
Even without having the powere data, it was still a really good workout. I've always had problems spiking my effort level from threshold, then being able to return to threshold without taking time to recover. This workout really focused on that. I could tell that this is an area where I need some work. I would get to threshold, mantain, then increase the effort level. Returning to threshold was the hardest part. All I wanted to to was just completely back off and recover. But I have been in races and lost the wheels of the other girls because of that. They would make the effort to climb the hill, and I'd be right with them. At the top, I would slow down to recover, and the gap would form. So that's one major thing that Adam and I are working on this winter.
I have a feeling that all my workouts will be inside from now until April. There is that much snow and ice all over right now. I don't think that the trails will be clear until next year some time.
Dec 6, 2009
This was only my third time up the incline. Because of the temperature, I was carrying my own pack with lots of warm clothes for the hike down Barr Trail. I dressed for going up and loaded my pack down. Nick, Grant and I hiked up at our own pace. I’m a little faster going up the hills because I’ve got the run training. It was so quiet up there, with the snow blanketing the trees and the clouds drifting over the sun. I made it up in a decent time, then headed down a little to meet Nick and Grant. Every time we’ve done the incline, we always see a few people hiking down. When I make my way down to meet Nick, it just amazes me. It might take longer hiking down Barr Trail, but it’s so much safer.
After reaching the top, we bundled up and started down Barr Trail. Grant was smart - he had a really warm pair of mountaineering pants, so he was comfortable the whole time. I had my second warmest gloves, warmest hat, a craft shirt, a wind blocking fleece, warm jersey, heavy coat and Gore jacket on, and I was still chilly. My nose was freezing by the time we reached the car. It took over an hour for my hands and nose to warm up and my toes were still cold when we got to 24 hr fitness. I don’t know how some of the athletes in the Iditarod or mountaineers handle the cold weather like they do. I am a warm blooded, liking the sun kinda person.
Dec 4, 2009
I wasn't sure of what to expect. I've been using the computrainers for my workouts since October and I really love it. But for a race? I was in the A group, where I was sure to get a good, solid rump kicking. The races were two different Crit courses here in Colorado Springs. Someone had ridden them and loaded the GPS data into the computer. Since crits are ususally short, fast courses, they programed in a set number of laps and first rider to the end won. Both races were really hilly. I was not going to be using my aerobars much at all!
Everyone was talking smack during the warmup period, but once the races started, there was not much talking going on. I very quickly slipped into last postion. I'm blaming a poor start on that one. The system was set up to allow drafting, so if you were close enough you could feel the resistance let up just a little. I was able to move up into 5th place, but was nipped at the line. Not last, but second to last. The second race was the same - second to last, but working my tail off. I really felt like I was racing a short track in cross country. It was the same amount of effort and intensity, despite being inside.
I would recommend anyone interested checking out the CTS Night at the Races. It's Friday night at 6:00.
Dec 2, 2009
I'm also working on fixing some of Nick booties. He's torn the elastic and the toes on most of his pairs of booties. The elastic is cheaper then buying a new pair and I have the time to experiment with the sewing technique. Some wives will hem pants or iron shirts. Me? I'm sewing black elastic to cycling booties!!
Dec 1, 2009
Now I just need the Xterra Cup schedule. Once that is released, I will be able to plan my racing schedule for next year. I'm planning on doing at least five cup races, and then filling in with the MSC events. Nick also wants to do 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo and 24 Hours in the Sage. I also have three more states and I'll have run a marathon in all 50 states, plus DC. I don't know if I'll get those done next year or not, but that's low on the list of priorities right now.
Nov 30, 2009
Nov 29, 2009
So where will we get our next inspiration from?
Nov 28, 2009
I have to say, I really like the little Amoeba lights. They are so much easier to operate then the Nite Riders we use on the bars. It's just an on/off - no fancy setting that get confusing after 14 hours. I also like the fact that the light and battery pack both fit on my helmet. There are no cords to worry about. If you race 24 hour mountain bike races or commute to work in the dark, check out out http://amoebalight.blogspot.com/
Nov 26, 2009
Also, thank you to Challenged Athletes and Operation Rebound. I've met some truely imspiring athletes through my participation as a fundraiser and am honored to be helping make a difference in their lives
Nov 24, 2009
Nov 20, 2009
Nov 19, 2009
I promised that I would behave myself as I started getting back into training after Silverman and the whole pneumonia thing. Well, does running mile repeats with the girls count as taking it easy? I'm not sure about that, but it felt good to run hard. Hey, I didn't get to run the marathon, so... We ran a measured out and back mile on the Santa Fe trail. I ran faster then I meant to, but it felt really good. The last mile was a bit of a struggle and I did slow down by about 10 seconds from the first mile to that third mile. Not as consistant as I usually run. A little sore today, but worth it. It's always nice to get out and run with a group.
Even though it has been really nice and sunny, the trail was muddy. Left overs from Sunday's snowstorm. Of course, I wore a brand new shirt and now it's a little mud splattered. Oh well. I'm sure the mud will come out in the wash. If not, I got the shirt to run in and just made sure that it would be used for that!
Nov 18, 2009
Please visit www.teamorsilverman 09.kintera. org and help support the efforts of Challenged Athletes and Operation Rebound
Nov 17, 2009
Nov 16, 2009
Nov 15, 2009
As I was driving to work at 8:15 - it did not look like they had been out plowing at all. A few major roads were okay, but the rest - I really could have gone ice skating on them. Just thick, chunky ice with a layer of slush underneath. And the major roads? Well, it looked like the plow drivers had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Nevada was a mess - a long pile of snow ran right down the middle lane, ocassionaly wandering into the left lane. There was a Smart Car sized snowball in the middle of the road by the Myron Stratton Home. It would have been better if the plows had stayed home - just dropping de-icer does not help with clearing the roads. Plow on the pavement, not two inches above is the only way to get the snow off the road. Anything else and whats the point?
Anyway, this is Colorado. It will melt in two days and we'll forget how to drive on ice again.
Nov 14, 2009
The new move for the WTC is starting an “Ironman Pro Membership.” Unless you get their membership, as a pro, you can’t race any of their events. No Ironman races and no Ironman 70.3 races. If you’re planning on racing at least five 70.3s or two Ironmans, then it’s a great idea. But if you’re like me and many other pros and were only planning one or two 70.3s, it’s just not an option. Why? The membership is $750 + active.com’s fee. After paying that up front, the entry in to any WTC race is “Complementary” How can you have a comp entry if you’ve just paid $750 to join a club? But that’s just me whining. The point is, if you race 70.3s frequently, then it’s a financial bonus and will make it easier to race. But if not… I can’t afford to pay $375 for two or $750 for one 70.3 race. So I won’t be attending any WTC events next year, despite how interesting some of them sound.
It will be interesting to see the effects this pro membership will have on the WTC races. So far, the opinion seems split on it. People in my shoes hate the idea but others like it. The bigger issue that people are upset about are narrow time allowances for Kona slots (5% of the winners time) and for the prize money distribution (8% of the winners time). Not every pro makes money from sponsorships – hoping to pay travel expenses with prize money is reality for many new pros. And now we’re being told that if someone has a great race, our hard work might not get rewarded. That would be like telling a nurse that she won’t get paid for her 12 hours because she has fewer meds to pass then another nurse. I understand that the pro fields at some races were very weak – this is not the way to encourage new pros and development at the distances. At least that’s my opinion
Okay – rant over!
Nov 13, 2009
Every year, the race has gotten better. I love going back now and catching up with everyone, from the race staff to the volunteers to the other races. The same faces at the registration tents, asking how last year went. I’ve seen the same crew at the mile 7 aid station on the run every year. The announcers know the entire history of the race and aren’t afraid to tease you about something. And Frank is out and about the entire weekend, making sure things run smoothly. It’s a little family that is always welcoming to new members. You won’t find a better value for your race money, even if personal worsts are almost guaranteed!!
Nov 12, 2009
Everyone is making metal waterbottles now. Why not try the only ones designed for the active lifestyle we all lead? http://www.ecosportsbottle.com/
Nov 11, 2009
My wallet on the other hand... Will suffer from this episode, I'm sure.
I had had a nagging cough since I was sick two weeks ago. I really didn't think much of it, but noticed that it was getting worse on Friday and Saturday before the race. Woke up race morning, bright and early. I made my oatmeal (three packets of the Quaker Healthy Harvest instant) and some how managed to finish it all. Made some coffee and dropped two MotorTabs in a bottle for waiting at the swim start. I already had everything packed, so it didn't take to much time to get over to the Sunset Station to pick up the race shuttle. Yes, I was a lazy bum and drove the half a mile from my hotel. I would be going far enough in the coming hours.
Once we got to Lake Mead, there wasn't much that I needed to do. I got my water bottles on my bike, filled my aero bottle and made sure that I had my tools and my spare tubes. Last thing I wanted to deal with was the chance of a flat. There were a lot of people I knew wandering around, which made the time pass quickly. Soon it was time to fight with the wetsuit and get ready to swim.
The swim at Silverman has been challenging the last few years. This year, the lake was smooth as glass. The water level was quite a bit lower then last year, leading to a very narrow starting channel. As such, the start was a little more physical then in previous years, but I found open water quickly. There was a cluster of racers in front and another group right around me. For once, I could actually see the bouys in the water! I settled into a comfortable rhythm, siting every five to ten strokes. The bouys were moving by quickly, which was nice to see. Frank (the race director) has different colored bouys at the turns, which makes things easy. No thinking required! I lost a few of the guys in my group - they were swimming off in some weird directions - and struck out on my own. As always, there was plenty of support staff in the water, from Kayaks to Stand up paddlers and ski jets and motor boats. Despite not really having any other athletes around me, I was never alone in the water.
Thanks to the perfect conditions, I got out of the water in record time. I was actually a little shocked to see the clock at the swim finish reading 55:31! There was no time to celebrate - I wanted to get on the bike as quickly as I could. Before the swim, I'd greased up with Beljum Budder to make the (wetsuit) stripping as easy as possible. I have to hand it to the fabuloaus (wetsuit) strippers at Silverman. Always make that part of the race a bit easier.
This is the hardest bike course I have done. It is harder then Kona, even on a windy day on the island. My fastest time leading up to this year was 6:38:54 - the first year, in perfect conditions. I was hoping to ride between 6:20 and 6:12 this year, and the conditions were again perfect. I got on the bike and started up the two mile long climb out of T1. At that point, I noticed a rookie mistake - my aero bottle was on backwards! I managed to fix it without having to stop, but that was an indication as to how the rest of the ride would go.
At mile ten, that cough I'd been dealing with came back with a vengeance. I started coughing about every five minutes, hard enough that other athletes were asking me if I was okay. I continued riding, maintaining a comfortable pace, but I was unable to push on any of the hills. If I started working too hard, I started coughing. And what I was coughing up was not pretty. Think chewed up saltines mixed with chewed up pretzels and you've got a great visual. There were a few times that I was wandering across the road because I was coughing so hard. Just lucky there was no traffic or USAT officials around at that time!
I hit the halfway in 3:12. Slower then what I was looking for, but reasonable given the first half has a lot more climbing then the middle 30 miles. I knew I had a good gap on the woman behind me, and decided to just ride tempo home so I would be able to run well. At least, that's what the plan was. I continued coughing, with the spells coming more frequently and starting to really affect my ability to ride. My back was also starting to cramp up from the coughing, so I couldn't hold aero on any of the climbs.
At the exit off the road onto the River Mountain Trail, the first Age Group woman caught me. She slowed for just a minute, asked if I was okay after hearing me coughing my way up the first of the three sisters, then took off. I tried not to let her ride away - I was still planning on having a good run at this race. Gradually, she disappeared from view, but I knew that it had taken her 96 miles to make up 10 minutes - I wouldn't loose that much time in 18 miles.
On the road leading up to T2, Frank pulled along side me, driving a little Gator ATV. He waved and shouted "What are you still doing on your bike? Shouldn't you be running already?" I just smiled and replied "how's your day going?" He shook his head and drove off.
When I got into T2, the volunteers said I was about three minutes behind the leader. Normally, that amount of time is easy for me to make up on the longer runs. This would not be a normal day.
When I left T2, I knew that things were not going well. I was really having problems breathing and was coughing like crazy. The color was also starting to trend more towards the pretzel side of the equation. It took me 8:05 to run the first mile and I felt like crap. I stopped and walked for a little, then started running again. That did not last long. At mile two, I realized that I would not be catching anyone today. In fact, if I wanted to finish the race and still be breathing normally, I would not be running either.
So off I went, for a nice long walk. I turned into a one-woman cheering section for everyone else on the course. There were still people finishing the half when I was on the run, and they looked like they needed all the encouragement they could get. I made sure that I thanked all of the volunteers and the race staff. Just because I was having a crappy day does not mean I get to take my frustration out on anyone else. So I made sure that I was polite and cheerful. It helped that it was a good day for a walk.
I did manage to run a few miles - just enough to keep my "run" time under six hours. I was amazed at the number of other athletes who congratulated me on staying in the race and finishing. I was told by several that most athletes in my position would have walked off the course instead of finishing. My response? I have too much respect for this course, this race and for Frank to even consider walking off the course when I know I can finish. I have to thank every athlete who told me I was inspiring - I was just so disappointed that on a day where I felt strong and the weather was perfect, I was not able to succeed on that course.
Silverman is a humbling race. Two of the five years have been perfect, the others less then desirable racing conditions. The course does not let you take short-cuts, either with training ro on race day. If one thing is off, then things will become more challenging. On the other hand, the race organization - Frank Lowery and his awesome team - make suffering through the bad days more then tolerable. I am proud that I was able to finish this year and am looking forward to next year.
Nov 10, 2009
Nov 5, 2009
We stopped to run a little on the bike course, in the "flattish" part of the course. I felt really good running and was able to settle into a comfortable pace on the hills. Hopefully, that's a good sign for Sunday. The only issue was the heat. Much hotter then what I'm used to. It is also the hottest that it's been since the first year. I am still refusing to look at the weather forecast. I don't want to know what will happen come Sunday.
Tommorow will be a busy day. Short, easy ride on the course, then volunteering all afternoon, then the dinner. I will need to make sure that I have plenty of water, MotorTabs and food for the day. This is where the Motortabs are awesome - staying hydrated is much easier with something that tastes as good as the Fruit Punch Motortabs.
Nov 4, 2009
We finally got to ride in the Colo Natl Mont today. Timing was close - it was getting dusky when we finished riding. But Rim Rock Drive is pretty, espcially in evening light. We drove to the top and started at the visitors center. I had no desire to ride uphill or downhill for four miles before my race. Asking for trouble in my mind. What we did ride was perfect, hardly any traffic, gently rolling and views. It was also the perfect time to get out of the car.
Nov 3, 2009
I haven't checked the weather forecast yet. Almost scared to check - it seems that Silverman Sunday is always the black sheep in the week. I decided that I wouldn't worry about the weather, but just make sure I've got the clothes to ride in anything. The only thing that the weather will really affect is the finish time. If the weather's perfect, there might be some fast times. If it's like last year, with head wind both directions, hail, rain and thunder, then the name of the game will be survival.
But I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again. The Silverman staff is just the best and the racers are a little family. I'm volunteering with the aide station set up on Friday again. This will be my third year with volunteering. Yeah, it's not the smartest thing to do before a big race, but I wouldn't give it up. There's something about volunteering that makes you appreciate the work that everyone does to make a race run smoothly.
I'll get travel and race updates posted regularly. Wish me luck!
Oct 29, 2009
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Oct 28, 2009
The promised storm seems to be moving in. It's only 23 degrees out, and the wind is blowing. So far, the snow is not sticking to the roads, but there's a good coating on the grass and the rooftops. It will get icy tonight, I'm sure. Hopefully, we won't get a heavy accumulation of snow. I'm not ready to move inside for all my workouts yet.
I'm very happy that I was able to do my workout at CTS today, instead of down in the garage. I got a good session in on the Computrainer, and really felt good riding. I was able to hit and hold the targeted watts and HR. Things are definitely coming along. I'm getting ansy for Silverman now - it's the last race of the year.
Now I'm home, sitting at my computer working on my last class project for my DPT. It's the perfect day to knock this darn paper out. I've got a cup of Christopher Bean's Pumpkin Spice coffee to keep me warm. I really like this flavor - it's mild, but the spice notes are right there. Give it a try if you like the Starbucks Pumpkin lattes.
Oct 27, 2009
The good thing about this is I'm still going to be working and maintaining my PT skills, but I'm per deim, so I'm not expected to work 40 hours. I'll be covering Mondays and other vacations. Enough hours that I can pay my bills, but not enough that I'm compromising my training. That's what I want right now. I also want the ability to return to PT full time if things don't work out with triathlons.
I haven't had to get up really early in 6 weeks. It was so pretty this morning, with the sunrise and the snow on the mountains. The clouds were tinged with gold and pink when I drove to the hospital and the mountains were glowing. With the wind on top of Pikes Peak, there seemed to be a halo of light bathing the mountains. Okay - I'm getting too poetic - time to go to bed
Oct 22, 2009
Oct 18, 2009
I rode up to Stratton with Nick, then the group rode to the Buckhorn turnoff together. There were eight of us total, and we must have looked like a band of mountain bike ruffians heading up Gold Camp road. There wasn't as much traffic on Gold Camp as I expected, but the main parking lot was packed!! There were cars down Cheyenne Canyon road, double parked in the dirt. I almost thought we were at the mall the day of some huge sale. What do we expect, with this being such a nice weekend?
The first part of Gold Camp was a little crowded, but once Tracy and I turned off onto Buckhorn, we had the trail to ourselves. We saw two hikers on the ride up. It was very loose and gravely today. I was happy Nick had put the monster tires on the Era. I needed all the traction I could get on that stuff. It was also a good reminder to work on the even power so I didn't spin out on the gravel. At the top of Buckhorn, we met two guys who were continuing up to ride down 666. Those were the only other mountain bikers we saw. Coming down Captn Jacks was tricky because of the loose conditions. Even more thankful for the beefcake tires. I was able to ride through the sand piles without skidding nearly as much. I still didn't manage to clean the uphill section. When we popped out into the parking lot, there was a herd of motorbikes getting ready to head up. Tracy and I timed it just right - Nick and his group met up with the moto guys on the trail.
Hopefully the weather will hold long enough for me to get a few more good sessions in on the Cervelo. Love the mountain biking, but I need some time in aero before Silverman
Oct 16, 2009
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Oct 14, 2009
After a quick grocery stop, we got the campground and hooked into the electricity. There was no live water, but with the weather like it was, we didn't want to take a chance with filling up the tanks and having things freeze. Besides, there will be no live water down in Old Pueblo's 24 Hour Town, either. We got things unpacked and fussed around for a while. The biggest issue was that Nick could not get the furnace to put out hot air. It was a good thing that we bought a little heater fan at Target. Other wise, that would have been one cold weekend. The little heater worked just enough to keep it nice in the camper. Everything else seemed to work, although there were some glitches with the lights going back onto battery power after we disconnected from the outside electricity. The little stove worked great - I was frying up potatoes like a pro and Nick cooked a decent steak for supper. It's so small that only one person can work in the kitchen at a time.
As for workouts, we bundled up and rode for 1.75 hours on Saturday on the trails and 2.5 hours on Sunday on the roads. Not what we'd planned, but sounds like more then most people in the Springs managed. And when I say bundled, we were bundled - Gore Jacket, Craft windblocker, heavy jersey, Gioradona jacked, Asso winter bibs, knee warmers, tights and bibs. And I was not over dressed! The weather cleared a little Monday, so we went for an easy run on the trails.
Overall, the Road Turtle worked well. It needs some love and attention to run smoothly. The biggest issue will be getting a new furnace or fixing the one we have. That's the most important thing to do before Old Pueblo.
Oct 9, 2009
Oct 8, 2009
We got to the University of Southern Maine just in time to get our race numbers for the marathon. After that, the 50 States Club was having a reunion, so we decided to hang out with the group for while. It was fun. They had a speaker and a short skit, then handed out awards for the most recent finishers. There was one gentleman who had just finished his 8th trip around the states. That's over 400 marathons! I might be crazy, but I'm not that crazy. I also won a hat from the race - they were giving out prizes and one of the catagories was for the youngest first marathon. I had that hands down, thanks to doing the Equinox marathon when I was 14.
After the reunion, it was time to find some food, the hotel and the grocery store. There was still a little food left from the pasta dinner and the volunteers let us eat there. I think we were the last runners in the building! The hotel was easy to find, as was the grocery store. I did get a small bottle of wine - Maine wine. It was Blueberry Port from Blacksmith Winery. It was also really good. After a glass and soaking in the ice cold bath tub, it was time for bed.
Oct 5, 2009
Then it happened. Just before 14, all of a sudden it felt like some one had taken a knife and stabbed in the right heel. I couldn't take another step. Pulling up on the side of the road, I pulled my sock down to reveal a blister that was a big as a half dollar and raw and bleeded. Tried tightening my shoe so that it wouldn't rub. That didn't help, in fact it hurt even more. So I stopped again and completly undid the shoe. That helped enough that I could start running again. It was not comefortable, and I had to change my stride a little. But I was moving and starting to catch the guys who had passed me while I was fussing with my shoe. I was reminded of the blister with each step.
At mile 24 the skies opened and the downpour began. Now everything was soaked. The water stung my heel, but there was no escaping the puddles and rivers in the road. I was so happy to see the finish line. It meant I would be able to take my shoes off! Despite everything, I still managed at 3:09:53~. My sock was covered in blood and the shower hurt like hell, but I survived. A few of the guys I'd been running with were astounded that I had been able tofinish after they saw my heel.
Next up - Maine Marathon. I will need to figure out how to cover my heel so I can run.
http://www.marathonguide.com/Redirect.cfm?MID=1171&URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enhmarathon%2Ecom&Source=1 Website for the New Hampshire Marathon - check it out.
Oct 2, 2009
On a different note, I tried somthing new on my last ride. I normally mix a MotorTab with a few just plain GUs. It's a good mix of electrolytes and calories and is easy on my stomach. There is also very little flavor - just the flavor of the MotorTab. This time, I uses the strawberry bannana GU with an orange MotorTab. It was really good - like a fruit smoothie. Definitly something to keep in mind for races and training in the future.
Sep 30, 2009
Sep 29, 2009
Got back down to the Pineview with plenty of time. My bus got a little delayed by the runners in the half marathon - they were running on the bike course. But there was still no worries. Once at T1, I started getting all my bike gear set out - shoes, socks, helmet, sunglasses, camelbak, gloves. The amount of cameras around was just incredible. I couldn't even take my bike out for a little spin without the cameras following me around. I'm sure that none of the footage they shot of me will make into the final show (wasn't fast enough, I'm sure). At first, it was kinda cool, then time to ignore them. I just wanted to get ready for the race.
With the issues I've had with getting out of the wetsuit, I decided to go overboard on the Beljum Budder. That stuff works so well for helping get the wetsuit off - I have a tube in my transition bag now. After getting the wetsuit on, I looked around for a victim, er helper to zip it down (reverse zipper on the Helix). I feel sorry for the people who helped! It took a little to figure out the reverse zipper, and while they were fussing with it, the camera crews and photogs noticed the pink cap in my hand. Plenty of great shots of the volunteers tugging and yanking on my wetsuit.
There was no special treatment in the swim. Mass start, all pros and age groupers together. I lined up with most of the other pro women - easy to find in our pink caps. Kahuna Dave's tiny cannon sent us on our way, into the boxing match. I have not done a mass start swim since Kona and it was a shock. I was getting kicked and swum over and punched. I'm sure that I was doing my fair share of kicking and grabbing and swimming over other athletes. After the first turn, the water opened up a little and I was able to start picking up speed. I knew that Christine Jeffrey was way out in front - that woman is a fish! But there was only one other pink cap nearby. I was able to keep that pink cap within a few body lengths the whole swim. I felt good in the water this time. My strokes were smooth and I was breathing comfortably. There were a few times that the camera crews floated over to film us and there were scuba camera around the turning bouys - I know, I almost kicked one of them!!
Got out of the water right behind Melanie, and that was the last I saw of her. Her transitions are lightening fast. There were a few other women within a minute of me. No problems with the wetsuit - the Budder worked great. Out of T1 as fast as I could, and onto the bike.
I started the bike in fourth place. That wouldn't last as Sara and Lesile passed me on the road. I knew the train would be coming as soon as Shonny et all got on their bikes. On the double track climb, I felt great. The first year I rode this course, I was in my granny gear dying. Now I was in the middle ring, and pushing hard. Not hard enough, as Shonny and Carina passed me about a third of the way up and Jenny caught me two thirds up. I still felt good. It had taken more time for the great riders on the circuit to catch me.
We crossed the road and got onto the winding single track. It was a steady, deceptive climb through the trees and open meadows below the Snowbasin ski area. The trees were so colorful, but you had to concentrate on the trail. Renata caught me shortly after we started the single track. I was able to stay on her wheel for the short decent, then she pulled away. I was still in my middle ring, still pushing. The Tomac is a great bike for the climbs, stiff, responsive and light. I was able to clean things that I struggled with three years ago. I'm pretty happy about that. Danelle and Rebecca passed me just as the climb started up, with Emma right behind them. I rode Emma's wheel to the top, then passed her on the first long descent. It didn't last, and I couldn't stay with her.
We rode right past T2, with Kahuna Dave directing traffic. A right hand turn and all you see is the wall. The course follows an access road for the ski slope up, and it's a mean, steep, ugly up. That was the only time I had to use my granny gear, and I was completely pegged. This was just a brute. Once at the top, it was time for the decent. I had to play it safe, and took it easy. Not pre-riding the course definitely hurt coming down. I was still able to catch and pass a few of the age group men in front of me.
I'm still getting better technically on the bike. I didn't wipe out or unclip at all this time. The speed and strength will come over the next few years. Then hopefully, the train won't catch me as quickly!!
Finally a run that I can be happy with. I felt awesome coming off the bike (a sure sign that I did not ride hard enough). I fixed the issue from the first three cup races and was able to open it up on the run. This was a technical run, on rocky, twisty trails. I like the technical running because it requires strength and balance. The more technical the trail, the harder it is for the speed runners to get away. Right away, I started catching the age group men who'd passed me on the bike. There was plenty of climbing on the run, but I was prepared. I've been running the hills in CMSP and Stratton, focusing on the form needed to really attack the hills. Took a tumble on the run, twisted my ankle and scrapped up my shoulders. I caught a toe on a rock and went flying. Instead of trying to stop the fall, I decided to roll with it. Didn't lose too much time, but it was a bit of a surprise. I don't think any of the camera men caught it on tape, though.
I made up some time on Emma, but not enough. I finished in 12th place overall. I really can't complain - this was my first season and I still have a lot of learning to do.
After the race, I saw two athletes wearing the Operation Rebound kit. I went over and introduced myself, saying that they were an inspiration to all athletes and that I hoped my small efforts of raising money and racing in the OR kit could raise awareness. To my surprise, they both wanted a picture taken with me! That was a new experience.
Loved the race, loved the course. Ogden is beautiful this time of year, with the tree changing colors. It was a technical course, but fun riding and running. I'm looking forward to next year already.
Sep 26, 2009
Sep 25, 2009
I've been on the course three years ago and did okay. Fell of my bike a few times then, but I've gotten a lot better since then. I'm looking forward to riding the course again and seeing how I've improved in the last three years.
Good luck to everyone else in the Pikes Peak Triathlon Club who is racing this weekend.
Sep 24, 2009
The drawback? The camper is older then me (1974 - but very well taken care of) It's also more a tortoise then a hare - we'll get to the races, but its gonna take a little time. The cruising speed of the camper is about 55 miles an hour. A lot slower then my Subaru with the bikes on top (then I go 70ish), and a little slower then Nick's jeep loaded down (then we do about 65 and stay off the main roads). But we have a fridge, a warm place to sleep (out of the rain and snow) and the ability to cook and rinse off after a race. That's a good trade off for taking an extra day to travel.
We're going to call the camper "The Road Turtle" - I like that one. Time to get a large turtle sticker for the back bumper!
Sep 23, 2009
The fields were larger then at the Circuit Race and the Hill Climb, but only racers who finished all three would be eligible for awards at the end of the day. Before each class started, the announcer went through the GC, with the leader’s time and the time back for the top three. I was over five minutes back on first in the age group, and only had two minutes to third. My plan was to take the start easy, then see how I felt on the first climb. Too bad no one else was reading from my personal race manual! The field started fast, very fast. Faster then I wanted to go that early in a race. I was second to last entering the single track and just rode tempo up the first hill. There was plenty of room to pass and I gradually worked my way through the field. At the top of the hill, I was comfortable in fifth.
That first descent was fun. It was the most fun I would have all day. The trail was smooth from the rain and the men’s cat 1 racing in front of us. The course was well marked, except for one corner. It was a sharp left, off a wide jeep road onto single track. There were eight arrows right at the corner, but none warning of the upcoming turn. Sarah made the corner without any issues, but the woman right behind her nearly blew through. She had to stop and turn around to get back on the trail. (Nick said that he’d blown the corner too, as had a lot of men in his class. They were not looking where they were going, but at the wheels in front of them.)
As promised, there was plenty of mud and puddles. I tried to avoid most of the puddles, but ended up riding through a few. While riding through one, I heard a loud clang – thump. Not sure what it was, but I still had air in both tires so I kept going. I was in third at that point, holding the wheel of second. If nothing was wrong, I wasn’t going to stop and lose time. Up Heinous Hill and I could see the blue and gold kit of the women in first. She wasn’t gaining any ground on the steeper sections, and there were plenty more hills to come. I was still riding pretty comfortably in third, looking to make a move after the top.
Then coming down the single track descent, I wiped out. There was nothing in the trail and it wasn’t even a technical descent. I just found myself colliding with the ground with my hip and elbow – hard. Picked my self up, got my bike out of the way so Sarah and the woman behind her could pass and checked out the bike. My handlebars were all twisted around and I thought that was the worst of it. Nick has always told me to make sure that you have brakes and shifting before you get back on, especially when the bars are twisted. That’s when I noticed that the rear wheel was no longer in the dropouts. Odd – but I didn’t want to waste time wondering about it. I got everything repositioned and hoped back on the bike.
Right away, I knew something wasn’t right. It wasn’t shifting smoothly and the rear brakes were rubbing something fierce. I couldn’t use the largest two cogs in the rear and the chain was jumping a little in the smallest two. I didn’t stop to look the derailleur, just decided not to use the messed up gears. Another bad choice.
Of course, I forgot about that on the next big hill and shifted into the largest cog. There was an awful racket and the chain jumped right off the cog into the spokes. I was no longer making forward progress. I couldn’t even get the chain un-wedged!! My race was over at that point, unless I planned on walking the rest of the way to the finish.
Then Sarka stopped. I told her that the chain was wedged and that she didn’t need to stop to help. But she climbed off her bike anyway and proceeded to help me. Another racer, Erik L from Colorado Springs, saw us working on the chain and also stopped to help. It took me and Sarka holding onto the wheel and Erik yanking on the chain to get it free. But we did. Without their help, I would not have finished the race.
After that, my spunk was gone. I just wanted to get to the finish line in one piece. I could tell that the rear brake was rubbing really badly, but the wheel was in place and I didn’t want to risk having it come loose again. The shifting was still all out of whack, but I was able to use most of the gears.
It took me until the last long climb to catch back up with Sarka. After all that work and her help, I didn’t have the desire to try to gain any time back. I was happy to just have made up the time I’d lost. We rode the last down hill together, through the “stream” crossing (it was more like a river) and down to the finish at the Ice Arena.
Despite the drama, the cross country was a beautiful, challenging course. There are so many fun trails in the Breck area that only the locals know about. (and they don’t always want to share.) I would love to spend more time up there, riding and exploring.
As for the MSC series, Feedback Sports had a really good season. Greg got second in the Men’s 40-49 Cat 1, Nick took third in the Men’s 30-39 Cat 1 and I was second in the Women’s 30-39 Cat 1. As a team, Feedback Sports took second behind Yeti-Comotion. It wasn’t as close as last year, but we were only riding with the minimum five at most races and only four riders at a few races.
Nick and I were starting about two hours apart for the Circuit race. I was lucky and had a 10:00 start time. I say lucky because the clouds were hovering and a cold front was scheduled to move in that evening. The circuit race was five laps for each of us, with the laps taking about 12 minutes at my race pace. I started slower, with the plan to build each lap and gradually increase the pace. It was a fun course, with a few short power hills, a flying down hill overlooking the down town and then a nasty granny gear climb. I followed the plan well, with a comfortable first lap. Working my way through the field, I was in second in the Cat 1 field by the start of the fourth lap. Sarah from YetiBeti was right behind, but I was able to drop her on the down hill on the fifth lap. I probably used a little more then I wanted during the circuit race, but I felt good at the finish. Nick met me at the line with a kiss and a “good job,” then sent me back down to the condo. He would start his race at 12:00.
My hill climb would start at about 12:45. I had about an hour and thirty minutes to get back to the condo, get changed into dry clothes (it was not raining, but my kit was wet from sweat) and get something to eat. I bolted down Ski Hill road, happy that I had my gore jacket on. The wind was freezing! Once safely in the condo, I got changed and settled down to drink an ensure and eat some hot soup. I also wanted to take a short nap, but the weather prevented that. The rain that was forecasted was moving in, and it was heavy. I watched the rain pelting the streets, feeling sorry for Nick – his circuit race had just started. With the heavy rain and the prospect of a cold descent from the top of the Hill Climb, I made sure that I had some warm clothes with me and headed out into the storm.
Naturally, ten minutes before the women started the hill climb, the rain stopped and the sun came out. Everyone started stripping (legally – there was nothing but a few elbows and knees exposed). I opted to stick my gore jacket in my jersey pocket for the ride down.
We started the hill climb according to age classes within the Cat 1 women, with the younger women going first. I had placed second in the 30-39, so started 30 seconds behind the leader, with Sarka 30 seconds behind me. The hill climb began on the “Carter Park Switchbacks” an apt description for the trail that seemed to wind straight up the hill. After leaving the switchbacks, the trail continured climbing through rocky single track. Nick and I had ridden the course the night before at an easy pace, so I knew what to expect. I did not expect riding up hill on tired legs. Right away, I decided to just ride tempo up the hill and just try not to loose time to the other women. Technically, I wasn’t having any difficulty, I just didn’t have the power or spunk to fly up the hill. Sarka caught me just before the finish line, pulling back 30 seconds of the gap I had opened in the circuit race. Every one was jealous of my jacket on the ride down – I was happy I had it.
Sep 19, 2009
The good news is now I have the time I've wanted to train. Nick and I spent many hours over the weekend talking about it. I think we are going to try this - me actually training full time. If I don't see a jump in results, then back to work.
Sep 14, 2009
This was a fun way to spend the night. One of Nick's friends races the track on Thursday nights and we went down to watch the races. I forgot how fun watching track cycling was. The madison races are espcially interesting. It's how relays are done on the track. Both riders on the team are on the track at the same time, but only one is activly racing. To make an exchange, the rider not racing gets up some speed and drops down next the racing rider. The racing rider grabs his teammates hand and slings him forward. Teams that practice make the exchange look so easy. Other teams....
After the races, we all went to Blue Star and had a late supper. Nick got to try a few different beers, none of which I really liked. They did have an extensive wine list, but most of the bottles we couldn't afford. The food was also really good.
Sep 9, 2009
Sep 8, 2009
At the starting line, it was clear that we are getting to the end of a very long season. The orginial start times had each age class in the the Cat 1 women starting seperatly, but we all started together. Starting with a monster climb, I just settled into the granny gear and spun up the hill. Sara and Sarka from Yeti Beti and I entered the first section of single track together, chasing one rider. We climbed together until the road, then Sarka dropped off the pace. Sarah and I tried working together on the road sections to reel in the first placed women, but she was climbing just a little too fast. Sarah decided to back off when we reached the last single track climb at the top of the loop, but I kept chasing. It was more about making time before the sketchy downhill that I was planning on walking. This was not a descent that I was very comfortable about, at all. There was one section that was nearly 75 feet, steep, straight down with small stumps buried in ankle deep sand. Hit one stump wrong and it would be curtians on the race. One of the pro men actually caught me on his second lap while I was making my way through the sand. He got off and walked the last piece, so I didn't feel so bad. Sarka had a fabulous descent this race and caught me just after I remounted my bike. She rode the steep section both times - something very few racers managed.
We started the second lap together, but I wasn't willing to work together this time. At the top of the start hill, I grabbed the big ring and took off. The climb was shorter on the second lap - we were doing a smaller loop, but that took out the fun single track at the top. I needed to make the road sections count. The woman leading the Cat 1 race was in sight again on the first single track and I slowly started to make up ground. I hadn't pushed too hard on the first lap and was able to use my climbing to my advantage. Just before the start of the final descent, I managed to catch and pass the other woman. I didn't get much of a gap. I wasn't sure if it would be enough to hold onto the lead. I ran the steep downhill again, lifting my bike onto my shoulder this time. That helped a lot with speed and balance. I took the down hill really gingerly - just not feeling smooth on the bike. Held onto the lead until the last turn onto the road, and somehow managed to skid out and end up in the dirt. Right in front of the finish line and all the spectators - very elegant. I did finish second in the Cat 1 race, first in the age class. Sarka was close behind, having a very strong race this weekend.
In the cross country, Jason finished 10th in the pro men, Dunbar finished 7th and Nick 9th in Cat 1 30-39, Greg made the podium in 3rd Cat 1 40-49 and I finished first in Cat 1 women 30-39. There were several people covered in dirt after the race (no naming names...) In the short track, Jason finished 4th, Nick made his first podium in 2nd, Greg finished 3rd and I finished 2nd.
The weather cooperated this year and no thunder storms to be seen.I'll have a full report from the weekend written up later.
I'm slowly getting pictures up http://picasaweb.google.com/TracyThelen.triathlete/SolSurvivor#
Sep 3, 2009
Sep 2, 2009
Aug 31, 2009
Saturday, I got up early and when for a moderate run on the Copper-Frisco bike path. It was really cool out, with the sun barely peaking over the Ten Mile range. There weren't too many people out on the path in the morning and I had a good run. I ran a few miles shorter then I wanted – but there was a lot going on. Nick wanted to pre-ride the cross country course and then chill out for a while before the short track.
I rode the Tomac for the pre ride and I really liked how the bike climbed. It handled really well on the down hills, but I still don't have the cockpit completely dialed. The course for Copper was two loops – one "pro" loop and one "long" loop. We pre-rode the pro loop because it had the harder descent. The climb was a good mix of road and single track and the single track was fun. It was a tough, long climb with only a few areas to recover. Nick and I rode up really easy, at conversation pace. We got stopped for a little to let the last race in the Super D go flying down. At the top of the Pro loop, we turned right around to start the plunge to Copper Village. I have to say, I did not like the first part of the descent. I just don't handle switchbacks that drop 10 feet straight down before turning 90 degrees well. I had to unclip on one and laid the bike down on another. But I survived. The rest of the descent was a blast. Fun, sweeping switchbacks in and out of the trees with long straights to get up some speed. It was on the downhill that I really noticed the cockpit issues on the Tomac. I was taking things a little gingerly on some of the switchbacks.
I did ride the Tomac for the short track as planned. This was my second short track race and I have a lot of learning to do regarding short track. Like at Angel Fire, I started too hard. It did not help that the Cat 1s raced with the Pro women – the pace was fast from the gun. I got a bad start, panicked a little and proceeded to try to win the race in the first two laps. Not a smart move. I have not yet developed the strength to maintain that kind of pace, even for 20 minutes. About halfway through, I was in third place of the Cat 1s and holding strong. First was a half lap up on me and I was not gaining any ground back. Then disaster. With two laps to go, at the top of the hill, I overshifted and dropped my chain. Trying to downshift and get the chain back on, I got it wrapped around my crank arm and couldn't pedal at all. I had to coast down the hill and then stopped to get my chain back on so I could finish. I was completely panicked and forgot everything Nick told me about getting the chain on fast. He was trying to talk me through it, but I was just freaked out. I have never had a mechanical in a mountain bike race before. Two women passed my while I was fussing with my chain. I had enough time to catch one, but not the other. My mistake – I jammed on the shifter and dropped the chain, then I panicked.
After that debacle, I was worried about the cross country. Nick told me not to stress and just ride my bike. I did ride the Era, like I had planned, and I did noticed the differences in the climbing right away. After watching the Cat 1 men 39 and younger have a mass pile up in the start, the women rolled out nice and slowly. There was plenty of road before the first single track. I climbed at my own pace, trying to just focus on my technical skills and riding my bike. At the top of the first loop, I was in second, but with the nasty switchbacks, I wasn't sure that I would hold on. I did not clean the steep switchbacks. I unclipped on one, blew the turn and had to correct on a second and just plain wiped out on a third. That was all the difference. On the start of the second lap, I was solidly in third, with only a slim chance of catching second. I hung on, yo-yoing through the climb. On the last section, the elastic broke and she was gone. I had fun on the last down hill, taking some chances and trying to push my limits around the sweeping switchbacks. The volunteers had lots of compliments on my pink and orange cycling cap from f3designs. Overall, the course was just a blast. It's been my favorite of all the MSC races. The climb was a brute, but mostly single track and the descent was challenging but fun. I'm really looking forward to this race next year.
Nick and I do have some pics – I'll get those up soon. I was trying to be creative and got a few nice shots of the pro racers in the Short Track.
Next week – Sol Survivor at Sol Vista. Cross Country on Sunday, Short Track on Monday.
Aug 28, 2009
This is really a crazy few days. Yesterday and today, I was sitting in class, taking radiology. Saturday and Sunday, the Copper Cup MSC races. Monday and Tuesday, health care promotion classes. Then back to work for three days.
I have both the Era and the Tomac with me. I will race the Tomac in the short track tomorrow and the Era for the cross country. I don't want to ride the Tomac for the longer race because we don't quite have the fit dialed. The brake cables are still silly long and we are not going to cut those until I am sure about the bars. Nick says its messy and a pain to cut the hydralolic cables. I don't want to make him do it twice.
Aug 24, 2009
Saturday, the group organizing the Xterra trail marathon held a course preview. The race will be at Cheyenne Mountain State Park in the beginning of October. The course will be challenging, for sure. The marathon is a two loop race, with a half running at the same time. It starts out easy, on Sundance, then heads up. And continues up, all the way to the top of the Talon loops. The only issue that I see might be the out and back on Talon. After Talon, things start really getting fun, with Medicine Wheel and Cougar's Shadow added to the menu. The last half of the course will be the most challenging. Anyone who goes out too fast will really suffer. I ran a few more miles after to get my full long run in. But I had a good time and ran with some funny guys. Thats what you miss training alone - people acting silly and telling good stories.
On Sunday, I met up with Tracy for a long ride. I rode to her house and then we headed west and north. I think we rode up every hill on the west side of town. The Garden of the Gods was crazy with tourists looking at the rocks, but that was the only really bad spot. I see why people like riding on Sundays. There was so much less traffic then on Saturdays. I got five hours on the bike, then went home to watch track.
It was hot this weekend. Both Nick and I were flopped on the floor in the evenings, unmotivated to do anything. I think I used about five Motor Tabs from the time I got home to when we went to bed.
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