Saturday, April 12, 2014

Missed A Race For This

I usually love the early spring races as they are in St. George. It is fun to get out of Northern UT and soak up the sun while stretching the legs. Even though I am not as fast I had hoped I have still looked forward to these events. 
I missed the second ICUP race for a little Australia instead. It seemed like a fair trade off. I left on Monday afternoon, lost Tuesday completely and arrived on Wednesday morning. The office set me up on an afternoon tour of Sydney. Here is what I saw.

When I was in elementary school a picture of the Sydney Opera House was featured in one of my text books. I was enchanted and always wanted to visit. I still didn't get to actually visit it, but I did see it in person. It was beautiful.

Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge

AU version of Alcatraz


Harbor Bridge

My shadow

Infamous Bondi Beach




Don Riche Grove

Suicide Point









Navy Base

Most ships were looking for MY flight 370


I also visited Brisbane. I don't have so many pictures as I was there for a short 24 hours or so. I learned that Australia has lots of sandstone...which made me a bit homesick for Southern UT. It beautiful. The people are super friendly, but European-esque at the same time. The air felt muggy to me, but not too bad. I would definitely go back.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Feeling more normal

I think I am starting to get back into shape. Lately on the bike I felt ... more normal. Even though I did not finish, I feel as though I am reaping the benefits of True Grit. It is hard to tell though because I don't get to ride with Chris so much anymore.
I have had the opportunity to ride with EP. She recently moved out of Salt Lake and has been looking for someplace (closer) to ride her bike. She decided to give UC a try. So I showed her around our trails.
It has been great to have someone with whom to do long rides.


Hopefully my form will continue to improve and I can be competitive soon...or at least as fast as I once was.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I lack grit...sort of

The score is True Grit 2, KC 0. Or more like KC's bikes 0. The last time I attempted True Grit it was the inaugural year and it was a mess. I dropped out before the race promoter started pulling people in order to save my bike. But Chris (a bit before its time) was running a 1x10 and was able to finish and take a podium spot.
This year I was slow. I knew that going in. My plan was to ride a nice steady pace based on my heart rate and see what happens. I thought I was pretty well rested and prepared, but my legs did not feel spectacular off the start. I am not sure how soon after the next categories left but I was caught pretty early by the next group of guys. I was continuously caught by gentlemen as the race progressed. I just try to keep my heart rate up and not get frustrated.
A small group of guys passed me right as we entered the single track of Barrel Cacti/Ride. I hoped this would not be problematic as I planned on riding the techy stuff. As we entered several of the guys ended up getting off their bikes. I called out rider back. And then again. Finally as I was attempting to ride but still had people (testosterone monkeys is what I was thinking at the time) walking in front of me a voice from behind me called out rider back for me. Then people started to move out of my way. So to that guy, Thank you.
My ride on Zen was good and then not so much. I made a couple of the harder climbs and thought things were going well. Then I bumbled the descent at the end before the big drop. this was after definitively telling the guy behind me that I was going to ride it. I ended up making him have to jump off his bike. So to that guy my deepest apologies; I really can ride that section. And now I was frustrated.
The climb to Bar Claw/Poppy was a climb. I was thrown off by the sign about what routes to take and ended up taking a slower route down for the first little bit of the initial descent. Next time I need to preride and pick the way I want to take.
Stuki....well Stuki sucked. Sorry but it just did. I am not a fan of Stuki (why can't we race something fun like Snake Pit?). The wind was brutal, but at least I only had to do it once. I feel so badly for the 100 milers. I heard the wind got even worse throughout the day.
My friend Steve caught me on the dirt road section towards Rim Runner. He was kind enough to slow down and let me try to hang with him, but I couldn't. First, I just am not good at drafting. And I think I just had to go my pace at that point. None the less, it was kind and fun to ride with him for a bit.
The Rim Runner ascent was actually pretty fun. At each switch back the wind turned. Tail wind, head wind, tail wind, head wind. Finally I could really feel the winding helping and not just hindering. I was pretty excited as I descended Rim Runner. I knew I just had Barrel Roll and then back. I could do this. It could me fun. Spshhhhh. I sliced the sidewall on my rear tire.
It was a big gash. I remained calm and optimistic. I pulled out my tube, air, etc and got to work. I had some plastic I hoped was big enough to boot the tire. I fought the tire trying to get it back on the rim and finally opted to use my tire levers because I could not get it. Then I heard it again but more quiet. Spshhh...I just punctured my tube. That was it; I was defeated as more and more people passed me.
I walked from the bottom of Rim Runner then to the Cove Wash aid station, borrowed a phone, called and texted Chris to come pick me up when he was done, and started walking to Santa Clara practically in tears. I had tried to hard and come so far. Erin, who was at the aid station and let me borrow her phone, was making her way back to her vehicle. She got off and walked with me. I was so grateful for the company of a friend. I really needed that talk to calm down. I told her maybe I was done with True Grit. Today though I think I need redemption. I hardly ever mechanical and I have twice at this event. I can do this race. I know I can.
Each year that I have DNFed Chris has taken a podium spot. He finished third I was so proud of him. But then I was angry because we had to wait for-ev-er for awards. Totally worth it though. I think the year of Chris is extending into 2014.
I raced/rode 34 miles and then walked two.  Next year, right?

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

As I expected....

So I lined up for the first ICUP race this past weekend. I felt awkward and out of place...like I did not belong there. The field was an average size for ICUP, but a bit small for this race; there were four of us.
Overall it hurt. I felt slow. And in the end, it went down pretty close to how I expected.

Off the line two girls took off. I figured they were gone; I knew one was for sure. With two of us remaining we rode through the wash and up the next climb in close contact with each other. We slowly caught and passed one of the girls off the front. For a bit I was in second place and was ecstatic at the prospect.
But then I was passed. I was pretty content with the thought of getting third. I turned around and there was the fourth girl. Son of a....! And I was passed. I talked myself into being okay with fourth (last). This is when an expert woman caught me as an ultimate slap in the face. She chose not to pass me as we were going to descend and then she was done.
Then the girl in my category who just passed me was on the side of the trail. I asked if she needed anything because I really would have stopped at this point; she said no.
Coming through the lap the last time, I could see second place not far ahead of me. I caught and passed her again in the wash as she hit her pedal and bobbled a climb. It was not long until she caught me and passe me yet again.
In the end I was the last finisher with a time 10 minutes slower than the last time I raced this course. As I expected I have LOTS of work to do.

Photo cred: Mark Nelson

Monday, January 20, 2014

South(west) Times Two

We have had the pleasure of riding in St. George  and Hurricane the last two weekends.
This past weekend we went down for a quick day trip. We dropped off our lil apprentice with Chris's mom and step dad. They have been so great about helping us out. And we then headed down continuing South. Chris had the goal to ride for five hours to make it worthwhile. We met up with Jon and Jeff in the parking lot of Hurricane Rim.
We rode counter clockwise through most of Jem. We then did a little loop on Goosebump. I was not so impressed with it, but will likely get better with more traffic. We then finished up on Gould. Jeff and Jon went to the parking lot, while Chris and I turned around and did it all again backwards (without Goosebump). Jem was so fun on the way back.
By the time we got back to Hurricane Rim I was about spent. It had been close to four hours of pedal time. I was out of food and water.
Chris wanted to do Church Rocks and Prospector, but I was too dead. We started and then turned back. I am a big wimp these days. Granted the four plus hours of pedal time I averaged 166.
The weekend before that was a family affair. We stayed in St. George and rode in the Green Valley and Santa Clara areas. Comparatively, I felt better this weekend than when we rode down there a month or so ago. I didn't seem to struggle as much on the climbs. This may have been a pseudo good feeling attributed to riding solo. There was no one to try to keep up with.
Hopefully, I am making progress and will be ready to race.

Monday, January 06, 2014

December

December was not such a good month for riding. While some people were able to get out and enjoy riding their bikes, I was not one of them. The first weekend we had a big trip down South scheduled. We had a babysitter lined up, friends were joining us, and everything. But a storm was suppose to roll through St. George. And apparently it did in a big way. They got clobbered with snow and they remained pretty socked in for over a week, including the following weekend.
This brings us to the third weekend. Again, we thought about going down but ended up deciding not to go. We couldn't really find people to join us on rides. We decided to wait and go down the next weekend instead. Friends were going to be down then and we would have people to join us. I had my bags packed and ready to go on Friday night. (And they are still packed, actually.) I was excited. Then in the wee hours of the morning I felt it. I had a killer sore throat, two ear aches and a head ache. I woke up frequently and each time I kept hoping to feel better.
I must of woke Chris up because he asked me something in the early morning and I told him I did not think I was going. I felt terrible...even after taking some medicine. That illness lasted for a week or so.
Now I am beginning to feel better and looking forward to the time when we get to ride on dirt in the sunshine. I cannot wait.
2014 hopefully holds better riding than 2013...it has to right?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Preoccupied, Lazy or Both?

I haven't been riding like I think I should. In pondering this I have come up with three potential reasons.
Reason 1: I am preoccupied. At present my schedule is a bit limited due to the nurturing of a future cyclist. This nurturing calls for constant attention and a need from me every three to four hours. This event is best done at home, but I suppose I could do it out and about. But then I would need someone to assist me while I ride.
Chris has been very willing to do what he can and offer assistance. None the less, this has been increasingly complicated by car issues. It took a week of being in and out commission for us to get it registered this year. And then I ended up with a cold that turned into a sinus infection. Every bump on the road hurts my face and teeth. Even riding inside with my head down causes pressure and pain. I did score some antibiotics so hopefully I will be feeling better soon.
Preoccupation
Reason 2: I have been lazy. Similar to this past spring, I have been chilly and thus it has been difficult to get motivated to ride even knowing that it really is not that cold out. I don't know why I do this. My laziness is likely exasperated in part by sleepiness. I have always been one who relished her sleep and now my sleep is very disrupted at best.
In reality it is likely a combination of my preoccupation and laziness. None the less, I am trying to recommit myself to training. While not always the most fun, going to spin and riding some at home seems like the easiest options at present.