Most people do crazy stuff when they turn 40 - the classic midlife crisis type affair. There's buying a snazzy new car (does a 4WD Merce...

Dec 20, 2009

Playing in the dirt

Finally, a nice weekend with no snow on the trails. Nick and I loaded up the bikes and headed north in the Road Turtle to meet Dave and Brent at the Mount Herman trail system in Monument. I had never ridden there, so was looking forward to some new trails. Brent lives pretty close, so he was able to show us some fun stuff to ride. It was actually pretty dry. There was some snow on the north facing slopes and some ice in the shady areas of the trails, but that was to be expected. There was a good mix of technical and non-technical riding, some good climbs and some fun decents. I was working to stay with the guys, espcially on some of the false flats. But the good news is my technical skills have improved as my power on the bike has improved. I was able to clean some pretty trick sections that I wouldn't have tried last year. I did take a nice spill on one of the ice patches near the end of the ride. I thought I had my skates - slid for a few feet on my hip. That will leave a mark.

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

CTS Night at the Races Finale

Friday was the last race in the Night at the Races series hosted by CTS. We finished out the event with a three race omminum - a team time trial, a criterum in the Garden of the Gods, and a short road race. Like last week, it was a full house on the computrainers and the energy in the room was palpable. The cowbells were out and so was the trash talking!

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

Clean Bikes!!

Finally, an nice warm day. I took advantage of the sunny weather and warm temperatures to get both my mountain bikes cleaned up. The last time I'd riden them was before the cold snap. We rode on a Sunday, I worked Monday, then the weather went negative. The Tomac was really muddy - I'd ridden that bike for the last long ride and it was warm enough to turn the lower trails really icky. But now they are clean - all the mud has been scrubbed away, everything lubed and running great. Ready for more mud - when the trails open up a little!

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

Road ID

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my new Road ID bracelet, from both co-works and friends. Questions like “What is that on your wrist?” To which I explain that it’s an ID that will allow for quick identification and motivation if something was to ever happen. “Do you wear that racing?” Actually, I do wear mine racing. I know that I’ve got body marking and bike or bib numbers on, but as my mother found out at the KA 70.3, that does not always translate in identification or notification of emergency contacts. Unfortunately, things happen, both in racing and training. The cell phone and drivers license that I carry in my jersey pockets will help first responders if they know to look for it. An easily noticeable bracelet is more efficient. And efficient care means better care.

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

Deep Freeze

You know it's cold when you're wearing a long sleeved jersey and knee warmers in the garage, while doing a hard workout. I was planning on going in to CTS on the 8th to do my workout, but the factility was closed due to weather. It was below zero, with windchills into the below teens. I had my heart rate data, so I just did the workout on the spin bike in the garage. And it was so cold, in the garage, that I was bundled up during my warmup and really didn't take too many layers off once the workout started. Not quite at the point where I could see my breath, but close.

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

Incline Hike

This has been a really nasty winter so far and December is only a few days old! A cold front moved through last weekend and dropped temperatures into the single digits for a day or two. It warmed up a little on Saturday, so Nick and I took advantage of the 30 degree temps and headed out on the bikes. Now that we both have good, warm clothes, shoes and gloves, it’s easier to ride outside on those marginal days. There weren’t too many other people out riding or hiking on Saturday, so it was nice. I was dragging a little after the Computrainer races on Friday. Sunday, we woke up to single digits again and blowing snow. Nick was trying to get the gang together for a ride, but no one seemed to be biting. Grant was interested in a hike, but not riding. Can’t understand why. It was just a perfect day for a ride outside! I was supposed to do a running workout then a swim and was packing to head to 24 Hr Fitness. Then Nick suggested that we just do the incline and swim. That sounded a little more appealing the staring at the walls for hours, so off we went. We stopped to pick up Grant on the way. He tried (unsucessufully) to get Nick to hike in the Canyon instead of the Incline.

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

Night at the Races

Carmichael Training Systems is hosting an indoor, computrainer race series this winter. It's four races, with prizes each night, then overall awards at the end of the series. I missed the first night because of my APTA class, but the one tonight worked into the training schedule well. So when I got off work, I loaded up my bike and headed down to CTS.

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

Winter Returns

After a long string of nice days, winter has blown in with a vengence. Yesterday was sunny, warm and I was outside without a coat. Today, 40 degrees colder and I haven't been outside at all. I spent my rest day doing chores and playing with the cats. I got both the bedroom and the office cleaned up, with plenty of help from DumDum. He loves getting into the cubbies and boxes. I also took advantage of the fridgid tempuratures to clean the oven. Thanksgiving made a bit of a mess in the oven and I couldn't bake anything without smoking out the house. So I disconected the smoke alarm and turned the vent on and now I have a clean oven.

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!!

Stratton Trail Work

It's unfortunate when a few people decide without imput what is best for all user groups. Right now there is a small back hoe parked in Stratton Open Space and one of my favorite trails is now missing every rock. The city is supposibly improving the drainage around the trails. That's a great idea - there are a few trails with some signifigant ruts and damage. But the one that they are working on did not have any issues. It was one of the best in the park. And I don't know how removing rocks, smoothing and widening could possibly help with drainage issues. It's a shame that they have ruined this trail, I hope that they are not planning on "fixing" any others soon. I remember when I first start riding and making it up this trail, cleaning the rocks was a big deal. Now it's almost ADA compliant - we saw two women walking side by side up the hill! I know they mean well, but the rocks help prevent erosion, even if the trail is more "dangerous" with them. Now the new sidewalk will have a sketchy rut right down the middle after the first big rainstorm.

Dec 1, 2009

MSC Schedule released

The first part of next year's racing schedule has been released. MSC announced the dates of their races and it's going to be a fun, but long season. Nine different venues, including three new ones, with 17 total races between cross country, short track, hill climbs and time trials. That's a lot of racing!

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.