Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Redemption Finally.

I finally, finally finished True Grit. What a relief. I was so nervous as this finish has escaped me both times I have attempted. This year everything was better though...and the times show it. The weather was ideal. The trails were awesome--let's just say Stucki Springs was not an absolute chore. And my bike stayed together, tires and all.
The start was a bit sketchy as we took off with the guys. And I get anxious in a peleton so the first couple of miles on the road were not my favorite. Once we got on the dirt it was better, but it got really dusty until we hit the Green Valley race course. Then things seemed to calm down. By that time though I had no idea where I was in the group. I knew there were three maybe more girls ahead of me. So I just rode.
I did have to warn a few guys that I was going to be riding sections and they were pretty good about getting out of my way which was nice. Chris prepped me beforehand though reminding me that if I did not have a clear line on sections it is better to walk than ride them. I lucked out and got to ride everything I wanted.
I do feel as though I blasphemed Zen. I just felt like I cheated when the course took us around the waterfall section. I understand why it done, but it just did not seem right to me on a personal level.

As I stated Stucki Springs was not so bad this year. There was hardly any wind and nor dust. It was pavement-esque. This made it (seem) much faster. I always love climbing Rim Runner and was elated to climb back over the gate with air still in my tires. All I had to do then was Barrel Roll and back. I was so nervous at this point. All I could think about was keeping it together and ride smooth. Barrel Roll is scary to race. You can just see so many people and it is nearly impossible to tell if they are coming or going as the trail wraps around and around.
Finally, I was on the road back to the start/finish. Again, I was sure there were riders behind me about to pick me off. So I pushed and pushed. Excited to be all but done, but riding scared at the same time. And then I saw the final corner, family cheering, and I was done. Completely done.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Let it begin

My race season has started; the first ICUP MTB race was this weekend. Honestly, I did not have very high expectations. I spent the week prior traveling abroad so my schedule, diet, training and the like were all different. I had tried to put in a big block of riding so I could go into my travels tired. I also tried very hard to "train" while I traveled. This can sometimes be difficult as I am a bike snob.

The "bikes" to which I had access were uncomfortable at best. The seat was enormous so standing up was difficult. In fact, I had to drop the seat down in order to comfortably be out of the saddle. Staying in the saddle was equally uncomfortable as the adjustments made the seat height either a bit too high or a bit too low. Luckily, I had trouble sleeping. The early waking allowed time (and motivation) to hit the gym. 

Almost a bike
I got home on Friday after 5 pm. I had to unpack, pack again, pack for another, clean up from the travel funk, and get to bed so we could get up early and head down to St. George. I did not expect to do well. This weekend was more about next weekend than anything else. I figured getting hard effort in would help prepare for the long race I have scheduled. I lined up on the second row and as Chris said after the race, I did not have a good start. After a little bit though I started to reel in some individuals. There was a lot of back and forth for third, fourth and fifth place. I ended up in fourth quite pleased with my effort and outcome.

I was also very lucky to avoid getting taken out by a rider at the very end. A competitor had just gotten around him. I realized that he had a completely flat front tire. I alerted him I was approaching and started to go around him. Just as I did his front washed out and he went down. I felt badly and wondered for a moment if I should stop. I didn't though and was able to pass the competitor just before the end capitalizing on the fact that she made a mistake. I was completely spent by the end.

Photo Cred: Zep Tittensor

Photo Cred: Zep Tittensor

Travel photos
Shanghai in the morning

The Shanghai Innovation Park

Shanghai at night

No trumpeting?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

This whole blogging thing is much more difficult these days. I can remember when it was easy to get out for rides and the issue was being over trained as opposed to under trained. As Chris says I should be getting 12 hours in the saddle per week, I am pretty shy of that.
I try to make my rides count though. The weather has been cooperative for the most part. It may be the best February ever. I have had a bit of bad luck here and there though. The trip to St. George where I did not ride. It started raining mid ride or it would snow--on both these occasions though I waited through it and the weather turned delightful.

Rain coming down at Slate Canyon
Every once in a while I go out for an easy ride to just spin the legs. These used to be hard to do because I would always end up pushing too hard. Now they are easier. I just bring a lil' friend with me and cruise.

 I did have the opportunity to ride Camp Lynda. It was 90 plus miles in two days as day three was a rain out for me. It was kinda like the old days but Chris wasn't there so not quite as good.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Trip Success

It can sometimes be difficult to know if a trip was worth it. Does traveling some 250 plus miles to ride bikes make sense? Sometimes it seems much more worthwhile than others.
We did it this weekend. Chris and I each rode about six hours or so in the Green Valley and Santa Clara areas. Chris seems to believe that having someone to ride with is part of making it worthwhile, so when he heard he could have a riding partner he was game to make the trip. Personally, I do  prefer to ride with someone--I just think it is safer--but I don't find it a necessity.
I was lucky and a friend joined me for a bit and then I rode on my own. I was able to hit Zen, the race course, Barrel Cacti, all the Rim trails, Barrel Roll, Sidewinder and Suicidal.
It would have been nice to hit some of the Hurricane stuff. I was thinking Church Rocks, Prospector, etc, but it did not work. None the less, I thought is was a good trip.
Then I saw a token polygamous. Trip success.

Monday, January 05, 2015

New Year's Resolution

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to start keeping this blog updated again. The past year was tough trying to juggle everything. Hopefully, this year will be better. So this is my comeback.

Last year I was disappointed in my performances. I think it is because I had unrealistic expectations. None the less, it made training and competing hard. I felt better towards the end of the year, but still feel as like there is lots of room for improvement. I also hope to train enough to feel confident going into some endurance events. I have always enjoyed (relatively speaking) longer races. Last year I did not feel like I could train or was fit enough to enjoy these events and be competitive. That is what I am aiming to do this year.

The plan...yes, I know I need a plan. I am still working on this. I know that I need to shed some poundage in order to be competitive. So to start of the year I have a diet plan--cutting out sugar and focusing on whole, real foods--to hopefully attain this portion of the goal.

Last year I failed to focus on strength. In the past I would yoga as my strength/core training. I hope to return to this and need to also work some additional core training into my schedule. (Note to self: Do this.)

The rest is just ride and recover as much as possible.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Draper ICUP

I raced Sundance again and this time it was fun. I think I am getting faster. I am definitely not fast per se, but getting to the point that I am having more fun. (Everyone knows fast=fun, right?)
Then I tried to take it easy over the weekend and raced on Monday (Memorial Day). There were nine pro women, NINE! That is a lot for our little series. Several moved on up from Expert. I hope they liked it as they deserved to be there in my opinion...mostly because they are faster than I am.
It was warm and the course was long. Most of it was pretty fun and I had a good time racing/riding my bike.
 I started thinking about Memorial Day though. Maybe it is because I don't do any real memorializing on this day and I feel guilty, but could we (and I don't necessarily know who "we" is) do more. I know it is the Stan Crane Memorial Race, but I don't know who Stan Crane is/was. I have been racing the series for years and I have never heard a thing about him. We don't really memorialize him during the race. There is no moment of silence for him or anything. So what if during this race, we actually made it a Memorial. Racers could select riders for whom they are riding. Racers or friends who have passed--most of knew or remember Patrick McKinght. Or service people. Anyone really. Those names could be put on stickers and placed on number plates, helmets, or someplace. Then conversations could start about those we have lost.
I don't know it is just an idea that came to me as I was suffering during this race. I thought I would put it "out there".
Here are some photos from the race thanks to the Powers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Difference a Few Days Makes

I had an epic breakdown. It was bad. I kept thinking about Willow and totally understood why she decided what she did. It is just so hard balancing everything and then there is work on top of training. I struggle balancing caloric and macronutrient needs while trying to get my shape and fitness back.
I raced Wednesday and it was a mess. I know I did not eat well that day of the race. I may still have needed some recovery also from our Moab trip. None the less, Sundance wasn't fun. Sundance is always fun...always. I came home and told Chris I quit.
I tried to find him a partner for Mesa Verde but he finally came back and said he did not wanted to race it without me. If I wasn't going to race neither would he. Ugh! I said I would race then.
I decided that I would not focus on pushing hard on my laps. I instead try to focus on riding smooth. Smooth riding would equal quick laps and spare my energy to ensure I could make it through the event. I was apprehensive about putting in my half of the 12 hours.
I had lots to do in between laps. Chris was throwing down fast times around 75 minutes. That did not leave me with much time to do the normal bike maintenance, fuel, relax, and the needed "personal time". After my third lap, I was exhausted. I just wanted to sit in a chair surrounded by food and eat. I knew we would be cutting it really, really close to get nine laps.
On my fourth lap, I still try to focus on smoothness but I knew I needed to push some too. It was getting super close to the cut off and I thought I might make it back in time for Chris to go out. I didn't though. I was a few minutes late. We only got eight laps.
My lap times were not impressive by any means, but they were fairly consistent and quick-ish considering. I did feel much better about myself and riding. It really was what I needed. And being surrounded by great friends also helped soothe my soul for sure.