Ramblings, musings and generally boring stuff. Mostly about bikes...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Blahs

I jumped into 2010 training with both wheels and didn't look back...until now.
I've been training 6 days a week for almost 14 weeks. I only took time off for our trip to NYC and ended up walking miles and miles and miles. I was cruising through the sweat, the pain, the spinning and stomping and sprinting and lifting and sweating and sweating...
I could feel it creaping up on me last week but I think the excitement of Christmas kept the forward momentum. Then BAM!, I feel like I am down for the count.

So, I took another day off. The first week with TWO days off in a long, long time. On Sunday I was scheduled to do 2:30 but weasled it down to 2, then 1:30 then 1, then "oops, it's too late to do anything today!"
In ten minutes I hope to leave work and get back on the horse,in the form of a spin bike at the gym. We'll see how that goes. I hope my car will just find it's way there on auto pilot. I packed my gym bag that way. (I wonder what I'll be wearing?!)

I have no motivation. I want to eat junk, in sweat pants, in front of the TV. I don't even really have motivation to watch the TV. Just sit in front of it and eat. My mind has been helping the self sabotage by questioning "why?"
Usually, my self-talk answer would be "Why not?"- it is the title of my blog, after all. Now, it's a Whiny response that really makes no sense. But I can tell that my mental picture is all wrong. I don't see myself as getting stronger, faster, leaner, etc. I see more sweat pants and junk. I see myself off the back, ALOT. OTB at races AND group rides. why bother?


I know it's a phase. I know I'll find motivation again. But for now... what have you go to eat? and hand me those sweat pants!

Happy new year!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Half Cat, Double Latte..

With 2010 just around the corner, I decided to submit my request to Cat up from a 4 to a 3. I wasn't sure how long the process would take. I have to say, I was a little intimiated by the requirement for a "race resume" on the USACycling site. Hmmm...

Objective: To participate in St Louis area Cat 1,2,3 races where I promptly get my ass handed to me with the word "go".

I went ahead with it, basically pasting my race results and a summary and clicked Cat 3 for Road. I also (somehow) justified Cat 3 for Track, not that it matters. Click submit and wait...
Little did I know that somewhere in U. City, Mike Weiss was sent my request, which he promptly approved, in less than 24 hours! Or so I thought....

It turns out, upon closer inspection, that I am now a Cat 3 Track Racer, with a pending approval for my Cat 3 Road request. I'm in the middle. I guess I should embrace it. Once I start racing as a 3, I'll be nothing but off the back!

I know Mike will get to it. I'm in no hurry and only need approval sometime before 12/31/09, so I don't have to pay for a Cat 4 license and a Cat 3 license. Still, I want to celebrate a FULL category upgrade before I actually have to put the license to good use.

Speaking of use... I registered for the Hwy 64 time trial on 12/6. Did you? No? Well, you'd better do it soon. Only 300 spots and they are sure to fill up soon.
Last year, for the other 1/2 of the hwy, there were all sorts of riders/racers. I saw ladies with christmas lights, Santa, a guy in blue jeans, and the blur of some seriously fast guys as they passed me by.
Oh, and I registered as a 3....Oops! Make that Half Cat >^..^<

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why don't you write?

I've been hit by the lazy blogger disease again. This time it kept me away for 2 1/2 months. It's not that I haven't had exciting things to report, or I haven't done anything interesting.... I just didn't care to tell you (ie no one) about it.

I guess I have some blog envy. My friends post updates and they get read and responded to immediately! I, on the otherhand, am lucky to get one response. I don't even think my mother reads this any more.

But then I realize that I don't do this for the attention. I do it for the process of writing, journaling, capturing a thought, mood, feeling, event, etc.

The theme of today, or rather the last few days, in inadequacy.
I have not been feeling like I am living up to my potential. I have been short tempered, judgemental and self conscious. While I am sure these are feelings we all go through from time to time, it makes me dislike
me none-the-less.

My goal for the next two weeks is to "Buck Up Buttercup" and start smiling more. I really have no good reason to be such a sour puss.
Here's to happiness...

(On a cycling related note, I had a GREAT Ride with Todd, Kube, Judy, Chris & The rest of the Hub crew last night! I can't wait till next week and may even dust off the Filmore for a single minded kind of ride!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Winning isn't everything....

But Team work is!!!!

Kate and I traveled (with Soigneurs Mike and Phil) to Sedalia on 8/29 for the 2009 Sedalia Criterium on Saturday and the Otterville Road Race on Sunday.
We almost made it to Sedalia without incident, except for the fact that Phil and I were drinking lots of water to "hydrate" and we got a little lost. Our little country road turn around was also a porta-potty. We were laughing so hard when we saw through the weeds that Kate and Mike were turning around and appeared to be driving toward our "private" bathroom....we nearly peed on ourselves!

Sedalia is an adorable town. Each couple had booked "1927 Luxury Suites" at the Hotel Bothwell. We quickly unloaded our stuff, registered and set off to warm up.

Kate had posted a message on facebook earlier in the week that she was motivated to
win one in honor of her sister. We warmed up on "Highway" 50, and the streets around the Jail and "Meth collection mobile unit" to the smell of burning tires, from the motorcycle peel-out festival, and discussed our strategy. As far as we know, there would be the two of us, Stacie and a new racer, Mandy. We figured we could attack and work together to get a break. Since our race was short, only 20 min +5, we could attack pretty early.

When it was time to roll to the line, we discovered that we had atleast 5 girls in our race, including Emily from SKC. We heard Emily tell Mandy that she had won her first race but had just had a baby, so wasn't really back to racing form. Kate and I foolishly discounted both Mandy and Emily's abilities.

We did dominate the Crit from the start. I pulled for a couple of laps, Kate pulled, I pulled and when Mandy offered to pull, Kate attacked. I tried to go with her, to keep with our plan of the two girl breakaway, but Emily was right there with us. I felt bad about dropping Mandy like that, but not to worry! Mandy should not be underestimated either. She was right back with us in a lap or so.

I quickly learned on the first prime lap ($10), that Emily still had a good sprint, but I was able to beat her to the line and scored the prime. She ended up getting the second one and almost succeeded geeting off the front. It took us 3/4 of a lap to reel her back in. The course was technical, with 5 right hand turns and a right (an L shape) and there were TONS of bumps, manhole covers and pot holes (all marked with yellow paint). We had to be extra cautious about our lines all the time.

Team Hub continued to dominate and Kate and I both got the pleasure of hearing our names butchered by Aero over the PA! Unfortunately, Kate pulled too long and as we were headed in to 3 to go, 2 to go and 1 to go, she was still on the front! I was trying to get her to sit back in but she was nervous about going off the back. SHe did keep the pace high and started to recede in the second to last turn. At that moment, I saw both Emily and Mandy move into position for the final turn/sprint. They went left, I went right and gained a position on them on the last straight, getting to the last turn first! I sprinted the best I could and ended up winning!~

It was bitter sweet because I really wanted Kate to have the win, but wasn't going to give it up to anyone other than her. We got a good chunk of change, some wine, free beer and GLORY to saver for the rest of the night.

Kate's day would come at the Road Race.

It was a cold morning but by 10 am, when we started, it warmed nicely. We had 9 ladies and due to only one wheel truck and one pace, we were instructed to work with the juniors. I quickly realized that I didn't have a working computer. We must have been in some computer eating vortex because several other computers were shooting craps too.
We also quickly realized that the boys talk too much! We were relieved to have them pass and continue down the road.

We attacked the rollers, with Kate and I on the front more than we should be. We'd make note, and slip back for some protection but find ourselves on the front again at the next hill. Kate had some great acceleration on the downhills and would almost immediately pass everyone. I'd try to latch on (I guess secretly hoping we'd get a gap on the others).

The hills kept coming. They weren't terrible but they were many. Then, there was one hill that Kate descended and I didn't latch on. I was on the front and watched a small gap between us quickly grow. I didn't react. Actually, I think I might have held my breath...No one else reacted. She just rode off down the road.

I then started to pay attention to my pulls. My computer wasn't working, so I don't know how much I slowed, but I definately did.
When we reached hills, I would pull us up, or move back and let one of the triathletes pull us (not as strong on the hills as they are on the flats).
Kate was GONE!

There were a few times when we came within sight of her again. I got a little nervous and moved to pull again, to slow us down. I was confident she was home free when the next mileage check revealed we were only 4 miles from the finish! At that point, one of the ladies commented "Is that your team mate up there?" Doh! "Um, yes..." .

I just had to get my butt across the line now. I knew we'd have to climb the feed zone hill first.
That hill was L..O..N...G....
I so badly wanted to turn off early. As we neared the turn, my legs were on fire. Mandy and Ann moved to the left, taking the turn a little shallow. I was worried as I knew I had NOTHING left. Mandy stayed in front of me but Ann was as spent as I was. I was able to make it to the line second of our group, third overall. Time to celebrate with Kate!!! She got her win for Mary!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Assaults (the Urban kind), State Crits, Track and daily life

I have been a lazy little blogger.
A lot has happened since I last typed here. I'll try to summarize to catch you up....

Back on July 30, I participated in my first Track Race.
I did the "Kilos" which were actually 500 meters for the Women. About 1 1/2 laps...not too bad.
Except for the Amy Berg part. Amy Berg is really strong, especially on the track. But she's gracious and kind.
Fortunately, she didn't pass me in the 1 1/2 lap sprint.

Here's our times:
Women Open, 500m:
1. Amy Berg: 43.58
2. Stephanie Nadeau: 51.97

I got my first (non 150) medal. The Silver! I was second AND DFL but I'll take it!!

August 2 was my grandmother's birthday. It was also the Missouri State Criterium Championships in Jefferson City. Phil and I drove to Jefferson City on Saturday night to stay at the (not so) Super 8, so we could be rested and ready for my 8am on Sunday morning. I just didn't want to think about driving at 5am from home for an 8 am race! Yuk. Turns out, I would have gotten more sleep had I stayed home. Someone or something in the room above us was doing gymnastics, running and jumping around in the room until well after 2 am. Needless to say, I was not bright-eyed when we arrived at the Crit course at 7am.
For our early morning race, Kate and Alice (my Hub Teammates) drove in from St Louis on Sunday morning. Cory and Jay had stayed at the Super 8 with us on Saturday night. Cory had a long day, with our race at 8 and Jays at 2ish.

I do like this course though. It goes around the State Capital and has a couple of climbs and descents but nothing too tricky. The weather was perfect, cool, almost like fall. A sharp contrast to the 90 degree temps from last year.
With only four of us, 3/4 on the same team, and all of us being friends, you'd think we'd have taken it easy. Well, Cory took the first pull and it felt like a speedy pace to me. She lead for 1 1/2 laps and I teased her that she'd better get off the front before we passed Jay again, or she'd have to hear him telling her to make us do some work. We all took turns pulling and a pattern seemed to emerge. Kate would quickly accelerate around us up the hill to the Capital building, then take a pull. Turns out that she was attacking us several times, but we were able to latch on and ride out this high pace she set down.
Alice also drove the pace up with each pull. When I'd come around, I'd drop the pace a few mph, trying to get my heart rate to settle a bit, but Kate and Alice would only put up with that nonsense for about 3/4 of a lap.
On our last lap, Kate attacked again on the hill to the Capital. I jumped on her wheel with Alice right on mine. We were passing Juniors (Racing concurrent with us) all over the place. We came down the hill, turning into the short steep climb and Alice and I were able to come around Kate. There were more juniors spread out on the road. Just as we were entering the last turn, I started yelling to the Juniors that we were coming around. I saw Alice get pushed to the inside of the turn, where the road was more torn up. I found an opening between two Juniors and took it like I stole it. I then rode like hell. I think there were only 2-3 juniors on the road between me and the finish but it felt like 50. I just gave it everything I had.
As my sprint was winding down to the finish, little did I know that Alice was gaining on me. I looked to my left right as I was crossing line and there she was! It was a photo finish, that revealed I won by INCHES!! WOW!
I WON the Missouri State Championship. I got Medal number 2, a GOLD and a few weeks later got the State Champ jersey.

My second Track Race was the Match Sprints, held on 8/13. With my participation, we filled the podium, which included Mariasol Johannes and Amy Berg. This enabled the winner (Amy) to get the State Champ Jersey.
We did two heats; the first was three laps (felt like 4!) and the second 2. We had holders at the start line.
I got my ass handed to me on the first sprint. I was back by 1/2 the track, 100 meters or so. I was sucking in so much dry air and so forcefully, I started coughing hard after the race and tasted blood. Yikes.
One the second, I actually took the lead for a second and stayed closer to Soli, who passed me just before turn 4 for second place.
The highlight of this night was when Phil was holding me on the first race. I was fumbling to get clipped in as the race was starting and just after I got clipped in, we were started, but I thought Phil was still holding me. LIttle did I know that I was doing a track stand. I said "GO" "GO!" to him, and then Phil tells me that he doesn't have me any more. I think I said, Fuck, fuck or something like that and proceeded to go. Fortunately, Amy and Soli had a slow start and I caught up to them... but then they took off.
Later Phil commented that he was thinking, "you are telling me to Go? I am not the one on the bike!." Funny. We also later learned that some pushing from the holders was permitted. OH well.

That brings me to this weekend.
Saturday morning was normal life. I got up, did the Hub ride with Kate and Alice. I got stopped at the light on Geyer/Manchester and some of the guys waited for me. Then we caught up to Kate/Alice (who also waited) and a group of about 8 of us rode the whole thing together. The Hub guys included Devin and Andy. The pace was higher than we normally do on our own, but it wasn't awful. The guys even let us take the short cut at Conway and Bopp/Geyer instead of Ballas. I know it was slow for them, but it was nice for us.
After the ride, the run around started. I ran errands, met Stephanie McCreary at Pi to pick up our Urban Assault packets and set off to find materials for our costume.

The Urban Assault RIde is kind of like a city bike scavenger hunt, going from several check points, to complete challenges. It's timed, with teams of two and there are prizes for overall and several categories: Women's team, Men's Team, CO-Ed Team, Family Team. Stephanie and I signed up as the "Super Stephs."

I spent Saturday afternoon and evening painstakingly creating capes for our Super Stephs costume. Of Course they didn't turn out as good as the vision in my head, but they did the trick. I bought some Poly-satin, in red of course! I did an iron on transfer of a Super girl logo with "Super Stephs" around it. Steph M had purchased some red tube socks, red masks and awesome red wax lips to complete the ensemble.

I worked on the capes til 7:30, headed to Tower Grove area at 8 to meet with some friends for the World Naked Bike Ride and after a quick bite to eat, got home at 11 ish to finish the capes.

Sunday: WOW, 6 am comes too early!! SNOOZE til 6:30.....
I met Steph and the other Team Revolution Teams at Forest Park for the Urban Assault at 7:30 am.
Dessa and Terri were the "west county directionally challenged blondes", Jackie and Suzanne were "road warriors." - complete with headdress, Mary and Cheryl were "Oh Shift." , Jamie and Ken were "Massi Fetish." Ana and Tom were "Luscious Steel something..." They also drank a huge jug of beer before the ride!! Judy and Chris were boy/girl scouts!! They won the costume contest!
I can't remember Lo and Britt's team name, but they sported the Team Rev Gear and THEY WON!! The women's division! (They also won Bike Limbo).
Steph and I took second and Jamie/Ken took second in the Co-Ed group.

Most of us were in the first wave to leave, promptly at 9am... thanks to high scores on the quiz!!
We placed our bikes at one end of the field and lined up about 50 yards away. When the start horn sounded, we ran like hell to our bikes and we were OFF.

We started pretty hot and I was in Zone 5 before we even left Forest Park. We made our way to Stop #1 (of 7), Mystery checkpoint - The Climatron at the Botanical Garden. There we had to drop our bikes at the entrance and run to the Climatron, to learn our second mystery check point (the metal tree in Forest Park) and get our first bead. We had to show the beads at the finish to be placed. Stop #2 was Bicycle Works. Thanks to a little bit of directional snafu on my part, we went down one block too far and had to double back. When we arrived at checkpoint 2, there were only one other team. The challenge was a big wheel obstacle course. This was by far my favorite challenge. I LOVE watching Steph, who is quite a big wheel expert, spin out in the turns on these awesome machines, while I followed right after her. Stop #3 was Tower Grove park. The challenge there was some sort of three legged thing, where we had to keep tennis balls in a Frisbee disc on our feet. We took the directions too carefully and didn't know until we were nearly done that if we dropped the balls out of the Frisbee, we could just put then back and NOT Start over from scratch. Oh well. There was a theme of us not completely understanding what we could, or couldn't do. We erred on the cautious side too much, but HEY, we still got second!!
It was a long jaunt to Checkpoint #4 at the City Museum. Once there, we had to climb stairs to the Roof (11 flights?)!! and then climb some more up to a huge slide and go down it. We learned later that we didn't have to go down the slide after all. Ugh. That checkpoint took a ton of time. As we were leaving, we were at 1:00 by my watch.
Down Delmar to Big Shark for check point #5 and the hardest obstacle challenge. Steph and I had to sit on a large skateboard, without out hands/feet touching the ground and move using a plunger to "row" with. We got a little too much momentum and shot across the lot and got stuck in a drainage grate. Once we figured out that we could go backwards better than forward, we did better but still lost a lot of time.
On to #6, Mesa. Here, I had to throw wet sponges to Steph, who caught them with a laundry basket on her head. NO problems with this one.
Finally #7/Mystery Clue #2. We climbed Art Hill (Ugh! on the Single speed!) to the metal tree and got our last bead. There, we learned we were in 2nd for the women's teams! Woo Hoo. This energized Steph and she took off to bring it home. As we turned back into the parking lot the finish, Steph spied another girls team approaching. Yikes. I nearly bit it hard on the sidewalk due to some people walking on it. CAN YOU BELIEVE people were walking on a sidewalk! The nerve. I tried to go around in the grass but got caught in the groove between sidewalk and grass. I pulled my foot out of the pedal HARD and caught myself before falling. The last obstacle was a large blow up tube thing. We dove in, climbed and jumped and out the other side to cement our 2nd Place position!!!
What a FUN DAY! We raced as hard as we would have in a "real" race. Team Rev ended up on the podium 3 times (Jamie/Ken, Stephs, Lo/Britt), won the costume contest (Judy/Chris), and won a ton of other silly events at the after party. I even got second place in a "Dance Off", with an Elaine from Seinfeld dance.

Now, I return to my regularly scheduled life.... but first, I need a nap!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sometimes FUN finds you...

Tuesday evening...I started out toward Carondelet park with the intent to race, if I felt good by the time I got there. The RdP was crowded with buzzers and honkers and I was really jumpy the whole way. My nerves were shot by the time I reached the park.

As I rolled up, I passed Cory, Lisa (Q) and Suzanne rolling out to do a spin down Broadway. I elected to roll with them rather than try to race. First, I needed to find Alice to drop off a tire for her. I headed up the hill and ran into Jessica M.- sitting in her badass squad car! Very cool!
I left Alice's tire with Jessi and headed back down to meet Cory. Buy then Suzanne had dropped off, so Cory and Q and I rode down to Broadway. We took it easy on the flats but pushed ourselves on the hills. Cory smoked me up Holly Hill! I tried to catch her but just couldn't. She's really gotten strong on the hills!

We made our way back to the TNW just in time to see the first lap of the C race. Man, they seemed so much slower than normal! I should have raced! Oh well.
I guess after a couple of laps, a few guys went off the front, while a few in the back sat up and stopped pedalling. Jamie was in there to cool down after the B's but ended up getting hosed by those sitting up. She jumped out and did a couple laps around the other lake with me and Alice. I'll get back in there next week!

Alice and I then made our way home. I noticed as we turned on Christy that a group from the Maplewood ride was just ahead of us. Due to timing of lights, we never caught them. Alice was a little anxious about letting me head home on my own, but I assured her I'd be ok. I pulled up to the light at Eichelburger and Hampton, noticing that there were a number of cars-in front, to my left and behind me. A guy in a car behind me gave me an (overly?) enthusiastic wave. I waved back but then didn't turn around again. Strangly, as soon as I got through the intersection, there were no other cars around. I guess they all turned. There was, however, a guy on a motorcycle, who pulled up next to me in the left lane. He yelled something that I couldn't hear over the roar of his "chopper." I asked him to repeated it but I still couldn't figure it out. Then I thought "oh maybe he wants to pace me." There was no one ahead of us or oncoming, no one behind, so, I grabbed some gear and put the hammer down. I am good at accelerating and really showed my stuff here. He matched my acceleration and stayed right next to me, grinning! He yelled that I had almost gotten to 35 mph (really, I was closer to 28 mph, per my computer). Then I was done. I gave the "tired" signal and smiled, waved and sped off. What a cool experience!

Too often, drivers yell, honk, buzz me or flip me off. It's nice to have a pleasant experience to hold on to for a while.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back in the saddle

I got back on the bike last night. Ruth, Jamie and Alane were kind enough to do a little ride with me. I was definately the "Nervous Nelly", stopping early, waiting for every last car on the horizon, anxiously dodging sticks and debris on the road, white knuckle grip on the bars. I am sure it will get easier and I'll be back to my old self in no time.

The cut on the noggin is healing pretty well. We pretty much deduced that it was caused by a little piece of plastic in the helmet. It's the part where the plastic that cradles the head attaches to the styrofoam. I hit it "just right." My head would have had a larger wound without the helmet.

I did discover that my arm is pretty sore. Not sure if this is from the crash or from sleeping funny since then. I plan to schedule an appointment with Justin Corson, massage therapist extraordinare.

After some initial protest, I embraced my week off the bike. I had a great evening officiating the first of several nights of State Championships at the track, enjoyed sleeping in and a jog (pronounced with a soft "j") on Saturday and worked with Sara Rodney on Sunday, learning how to be an official at the Babler Circuit race. In August, I'll spend an afternoon with Buddy and hopefully pass the Officials exam, to become a "Category C official." - An "Official" Official.

I want to say thank you to everyone for being so kind and supportive. I also want to send healing thoughts to all those who crashed out at Mueller Road on 7/13. Phil met Todd and Tim for the Momentum ride but (fortunately) he was stuck in traffic and arrived late. Todd waited for him and didn't leave with the pack. Tim was also tied up due to traffic. The three rolled out at about 6:30. Phil said they came upon the group near the end of the ride, just as the ambulances were rolling away. I'm not sure if I know any of those who went down, but I wish them speedy recoveries none-the-less. According to the all-knowing Facebook (actually according to the all-knowing Cory, on facebook- There were punctured lungs and a good amount of stitches!)

Viva le Tour (de Missouri!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009


In some respects it wasn't as fabulous as the crashes some of my friends have experienced. I didn't fracture my pelvis, I didn't hop back up and win a race, I didn't end up with a broken collar bone or severe facial laceration, I don't have tons of painful road rash (all badges of honor once you've been there). I hadn't actually had a crash since 1995.
This one WAS a good one in it's own way, though.

We were about 30 miles in. It was around 12:30. We'd come from Maplewood, through Kirkwood, up Ballas to Clayton, to 109.
I remember crossing the tracks at Long Road, just off Wild Horse Creek. Tim was in front of me. Todd and Phil were further ahead, nearing the light to head into Ghisallo. I noticed a car, truck I think, behind me. Then I lost control, swerved like Joseba Beloki and POW, my rear tire blew off the rim. I vaguely remember a thought, "I'm gonna go down." I think I relaxed a little.

The next clear memory I have is in the ER at St Johns. A nurse is x-raying my wrist. I remember feeling really well rested, like I'd just taken a good nap. I don't remember too much pain.

There are pieces of memory....Asking Tim to look for my sunglasses lens (which likely cut me on my forehead), the blood running down the side of my face, a nice man talking to me, what I think was the EMT's strapping me into the gurney to go in the Ambulance.

I pieced together some more information later:
Apparently (according to Tim), I was able to get up after the crash. The man who was talking to me was a veterinarian, who was in a truck behind me. He stopped traffic, helped me up and I sat on the tailgate of his truck. He and Tim stopped the blood with Tim's glove and then some gauze he had in his truck. A women behind them called 911 - twice (I am not sure why she called twice). The ambulance arrived, while Tim was calling Michelle to have her meet us. I answered all the questions clearly, gave my name, spelled it and told them what happened. The EMTs were ready to let me go, to get to the Hospital with Michelle/Tim, until they asked me one more time..."What happened?" and I suddenly had no idea....

At this point, they loaded me up in the ambulance. Tim headed down to Ghisallo to tell Phil what happened. He tried to get Phil and Todd's attention after the accident but the traffic, wind and distance prevented them from hearing Tim's yells. Tim caught up with them and Phil came out to the road, just in time to see the ambulance going by. He attempted to flag them down but they were already taking me away and didn't stop for him. He ended up getting a ride to St. John's from Jim Valentine. Meanwhile, the nice Veterinarian had brought my bike to Ghisallo. Tim and Michelle took Todd and our bikes to St John's, got the key to our house, dropped off bikes, Todd and picked up clothing and Phil's car. They even moved my car around in the driveway. Tim and Michelle drove back to St. John's.

During that time, I was starting to become more alert, aware. Starting to realize how little I remembered up to that point. Apparently, I was asking a lot of questions, repeatedly. "Did I hit a bump?" "Is my bike ok?" "Is my helmet ok?" "Was I being nice to everyone?" Phil later told me how concerned he was by the repeated questions, but the Doc wasn't so concerned. Turns out this is common for a concussion.

I do remember having to pee and using the pop out toilet in the room. I also kind of remember getting an IV, but totally not being concerned about it (but thinking I SHOULD BE, as I am quite afraid of needles).

I had a Head CT (I remember going into the machine) and it was fine. The xray of my wrist was fine. They stitched up my head laceration, with only three (big, ugly, black) stitches. After monitoring me for a while, I was released around 4:30 or 5pm.

It amazes me how long it took for me to clear. I continue to ask Phil some of the same questions, but am remembering better when I last asked it and what his response was.

My hand/wrist is very sore and a large ugly bruise is forming. I have a small wound on the bottom of my palm. I have road rash in strange places - the TOPS of my knees, My Right Hip and waist and the inside of my right arm (crook of my elbow). My left arm is sore, apparently from the Tetanus shot I don't remember getting (but Phil assures me that I did).
I had a lot of dried blood in my hair. It was difficult to tell where the stitches were at first. My head is pretty sore, just above the laceration and my neck is very stiff and sore on the left side. My Hub Bib shorts were fine - just a little bit of scuff from the road but no holes or anything. My jersey has just a couple of spots of blood on it. My gloves are intact but have some tears and blood. My (BRAND NEW) Catlike helmet did it's job. It has a small area where the Styrofoam is smashed, right were my head hit the pavement. There's a good amount of blood on the straps near there and on the padding inside. The bike has a blown tube, which blew the tire off the rim, but otherwise it's fine. The hoods were pushed inward on both sides (?) but easily straightened out.

All in all, I am pretty lucky. It could have been much worse. The helmet I waited so long for was there to do what I needed it to do.
It's still a little frightening for me, when I think about how much stuff happened, that I was present and conscious for but don't remember at all. Phil has been so very patient and loving with me, allowing me to process in my own way and own time. He's encouraged me to get on the spin bike/trainer and been a little parental with me when I tried to say that I thought I could ride again before the Doc cleared me to (I can ride again on Wednesday, at the earliest).

I owe a HUGE amount of thanks to Tim, Michelle, Todd, the Vet, Jim Valentine, The EMT's, and all of the others who were there to help, call 911 or say silent prayers. And of course to Phil, for his continued love, support and nurturance, both when I am injured and well.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why do I do this?

photo credit: D. Pate

One of my favorite Crits was Sunday. The Webster Groves Criterium. This year was extra special because I am on the Hub team. I started my day extra early by volunteering at Registration for 4 hours. On Saturday, I put my craftiness to good use (what little I have) to make signs for the kids races (They doubled as fans!). At noon, I changed into my kit and prepared to help with the kids races. I actually delegated well and got to sit down (or rather, was TOLD to sit down by Carrie) during the kids races. As a result of all of the morning standing/working, my legs felt heavy and leadened.

All morning, we were registering women for Cat 4 races and other women for a 1,2,3 race. At the line, we were told we'd race as "women's open." I didn't grasp what this would mean in the end. I still don't understand the nuances of this stuff, but I am learning. The more I learn, the more I don't like it. The more I have to evaluate WHY I do this. Turns out Women's Open means that for a Cat 4 women, no matter how well you do against your peers, you are judged against everyone, including some of the the best women racers in the area. I got 11th, out of 20 finishers. I felt good about my race but got dropped off of case group 1 (which ended up becoming chase 2) with about 8 laps to go. Looking at the results, I discovered that Alice (Hub team mate) was the first Cat 4 women across the line. I was the 2nd. That's awesome....however, no one cares (except me, and maybe Alice). Turns out that when there are two flyers, the one announced at the line rules. That was the one that didn't give a damn about Cat 4 women. No money or glory for us.
(I am realizing that I am MORE in it for the glory than anything). Ron (our Hub Team Director Sportif) was pleased with us and I am pleased for that!

Phil had a bad race. The first he actually pulled himself out of. Despite all the reasons he had for legitimately ending that race early, he was pretty rough on himself for several days. Processing this from the outside has also given me pause to consider more "WHY?"

Then I did the TNW. I had a blast. I struggled but hung on. I am feeling better each week as I dive into that turn two. Chris Clausen stayed in our race and gave pointers and encouragement throughout. I was fortunate to be the benefactor of this support several times. I lose it on the hill every time, but Chris encouraged me to make it to the top and hang on. I stayed with the lead pack (albeit at the back) til 2 to go. I even noticed that I was starting to pass Alice in the turn. She, of course, promptly passed me on the hill. That girl has Power! This is WHY. It's fun and although I swear I will actually throw up at some point during a race, I love the feeling I get when I push myself to the limit.

Then Wednesday came. For some stupid reason, I decided to look at the MOBAR standings. Why are the girls who catted up still listed on the Cat 4 standings, and still getting points for races since they catted up? Why are there NO points for Women's 4 for O'Fallon Grand Prix (I got 3rd!!) I emailed Mike, who emailed Craig. Craig proceeds to tell me that 1) "The Cat 4 racers who have upgraded will keep the points they have, but gain no further points. It seems reasonable that if a Cat 4 earns enough points to be MOBAR champion and then upgrades during the same season, they should still get the benefits of their points. Otherwise, you would have people sandbagging and refusing to upgrade until the end of the season." - This still makes no sense to me b/c they clearly have points listed for races that occurred after they catted up...
2)"The O’Fallon Grand Prix had Women Open run at 11:38 and Women 4 at 11:42. Since these races were run simultaneously and since the first was Women Open, the Cat 4s in Women Open got any points they earned and no points were awarded for racers in the Women 4 event. The thought here is to encourage racers to do the harder races (or at least not penalize them for doing so). We have this situation in other categories as well (typically if there’s a Men 1/2/3 race and a Men 3/4 race)." BUMMER! There's the Why question again....

I'm still working on the answer. I've come to realize that it's more dynamic that static. It changes, evolves, regresses and rejoices. Sometimes the answer to WHY is to belong to something bigger than myself. Sometimes I feel like I am truely a part of a special community, a family. Sometimes I feel like I am a step-child in this family (insert childhood issues here). After all, Someone once said "Women aren't the future of bike racing."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Winghaven 2009

photo credit: Dan Elavsky

I've never raced Winghaven. This year wasn't any different. I did, however, try something new...

Sunday June 21 was Phil's BIG 4-0! His race filled up quickly, without him. Instead of trying to race AND be the best wife ever, I opted for the later.
I put on a nice dress,loaded the car up with tent, chairs, cooler, cake and cookie and we headed off for a day of Spectating (with a Capital S!)

We barely made it in time for the first race. We wouldn't have made it if they hadn't started over 30 minutes late! Those poor guys had to stand in the sweltering heat forever. They all raced a good race though. We tried to stay cool as we watched the Masters take to the line. That was a great race too. Phil's new peer group (40+) didn't let the heat keep them from putting the hammer down. Jeff Kloha took 11th!

The excitement (and heat) continued to build as the women lined up. What a huge and strong field. In the end, "our" Chris gave an awesome show and won by what seemed like a mile. My amazing "coach" Jamie was 11th and my kick-ass team mate, Alice, took 13th (and some cash!).

Not long after the women's race started, Phil realized that the camera that was rented from Bad Dog Pictures to shoot the races from the media vehicle was on lock down at a corner. Phil found himself volunteering to shoot the Pro/1 race, but was quick to inform them that he has "eyes of a sound guy." To make sure everything was up to speed well before the Pro race, we loaded up in the Media vehicle with Jessi at the wheel for the 2/3 race. It took several laps before I figured out how to power up the "live anywhere" box that would feed the signal the the guys in the "control room." Once we were up and shooting, we took off on the course to catch the action. We pretty quickly realized that the best looking shots were stationary, from various vantage points around the course. We spent the rest of the race moving from point to point, to set up and catch the guys as they came around. There were some great spots along the back of the course that quickly became favorites.

Once we started to feel like we knew what we were doing, we took a break, ate a little and readied for the Pro race. I talked Dan Elavsky to join us to get some of the still shots he needed from around the course (see them here).

Pretty soon, we were standing in the median, to get the shot as the peleton split to go around us at the round-about. We found the perfect down hill shot and down hill into a turn shot. We found a few that didn't work so well too.
As the day and heat wore on, we discovered that we could hang out of the sunroof to capture what we wanted. Also,it was just fun to hang out of the sunroof.
Also, we forgave Jessi for texting while driving (Just watch out for her when you are on the roads in St. Louis).

After all of this, I was cooked. The cake/cookie were demolished. Tent, chairs and junk were torn down and loaded up. Chris collected her winnings on the podium as Phil and I drove off into the still raging hot sun...and promptly got lost in Winghaven.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ste Gen. Road Race and Tues Night Worlds

Sometimes the best race happens when you least expect it. Unfortunately, it didn't happen for me on Sunday (6/14). The State Championship road race held in Ste Genevieve can be summed up in two words: Painful and Lonely. I got dropped at mile 7, the top of the first climb! I made it to the top, but couldn't hang on for the attack that I could see coming a mile away! Oh well. From then on it was mile after mile of chase. At first I could see the lead group in front. That group was quickly broken into lead and chase group, but I could still see both. Then I could only see the chase group. Pretty soon, I was chasing one girl in a red jersey. I'd get closer on the climbs and further on the flats or decents, but never caught her.

Susan and Christina passed me at a particularly painful moment. I had enough to get on a wheel, rest, pull a little and then I got back to the chase on a little hill. Right before the first official climb, Kate K. caught me. I jumped on her wheel and brought her attention to our "carrot" in red. We chased and caught her! but now we had to climb this hill. My guess was 6-7% grade. Steeper than Marshall, but shorter. I even commented, while I was still close to Kate, that I was glad to not have to chase down an attack on THIS! It wasn't long before I would have to chase, but it wasn't an attack; Kate is a good climber. She was gone too soon. I was lonely again! (Lesson learned: When we caught the girl in red, I noticed her number was for women's open. I even commented how I didn't have to worry about her b/c she was in the open race...I was wrong! She was given a wrong number. I should have passed her when I had the chance, but I let her go.)

The rest of the race was uneventful. Rolling hills, turtle, bigger hills, pain. I finished 8th out of 10 in the Cat 4 race. Since we raced with the Masters Women, I figure I'd be 14 of 19 overall (5 total behind me on the course). Not good but not bad. Not State Champ! (Way to go to Cristel, who IS the Missouri Road Race State Champ!!!)

That brings me to Tuesday....

I ate left over MnM's and Swedish fish all day, knowing that I would pay for the delicacies later. Sure enough, I felt sluggish by 4pm (Sugar crash!). I headed home, changed clothes and rode off the the Tues Night Worlds with Phil. I wanted (well, ok, half-wanted) to do the B race for a few laps but rolled up just as they were getting started. Darn! Jamie, Teresa and Allison were rockin' the B's while Phil and I registered for the C race. After registration, I found my fellow women C racers: Alice, Cory, Suzanne. We lined up and off we went....
Neutral lap felt nice, except for the blinding sunlight as we climbed the hill. On lap one, everyone was still settling in on how to take the turn. I drifted to the back and was fortunate to watch one guy take the turn too wide, hit the curb and do several graceful sommersaults into the grass. Yikes! That really freaked me out for the next couple laps. I even told Teresa about it as she and Jamie jumped in our race on the next lap.
I stayed in a conservative spot until Jamie suggested I get on her wheel and "Stay". She guided me around the course, put us in good spots, moved us up, helped me keep going when I started to fade on the hill, waited for me when I was ready to throw up and give up. It was my first ever in-race coaching and it was AWESOME.
I really fought hard to keep her wheel and lost it a couple of times, but made my way back to her. The race really picked up in the last 2 laps and we lost several places with 1 to go, but I finished strong and Jamie lead me out into the biggest Jelly-legged sprint I have ever done. I even set a new high HR for the year...176 (previously 173). NICE.
On the way home, I was on cloud nine and my legs felt good and strong. I could have raced all night....

Monday, June 1, 2009

O'Fallon Grand Prix 2009

Saturday, May 30 was my second (annual) O'Fallon Grand Prix.(That's me hiding behind the Metro-East Cycling girl. See my white helmet?!?)

I love this twisty, turn-y road race in rural Illinois. So I was pretty sad when I woke to the sound of rain....solid, thunderstorm-type rain. After a brief attempt to talk Phil out of going (unsuccessfully), I got my proverbial and literal Sh*t together and we headed off to O'Fallon.

Just as we arrived, the rain stopped! The Sun peaked it's head out! The humidity increased! Oh, well, two out of three ain't bad.

Cory and Jay pulled into the parking lot in front of us. I was happy to see Cory and excited to hear that she would be racing with me.

As I registered for the Women's Cat 4 race, I noticed some of the other names on the list. We were up to 9 or 10 at that point and the list included Gina Champion (Team Mack), Natalie Carrol (Dogfish), Lauren Half (Dogfish), Susan Kloha, Cristel Santiago and Kate Keeler (Ghisallo), The Suzanne's from Veloforce, Gina Richards (Big Shark). Cory Redmond (Fulcrum coaching) registered just after me. Ouch, some tough racers in that group.

We got ready at a nice pace, took wheels to the wheel trucks, warmed up and headed to the start. The Pro 1,2 had already started.
We noodled around and made small talk as we waited. At first, we were mixed in with the Women's open. I like to guess who's a 4 and who's in the open, but it always makes me more anxious. I started to notice that the great majority of these ladies were in my race. (we had 19 total, whereas the women's open had 6!).

Since I procrastinated writing about this until several days later, some of the finer points of the race are now forever wiped from my memory. There are some interesting and somewhat inconsequential parts I DO remember.

1). As we were waiting for our start and Sharmin, our lead official, was making the obligatory announcements, an ARCH helicopter landed in the field next to the start. I felt both completely freaked out and relieved - if it's possible for both of those to exist in the same second! It took a few seconds to realize that it was there just in case, and not due to a crash in one of the fields that had already gone off.

2). The first thing I noticed during our neutral roll out was that someone had lost their wattage meter computer thing. We rode over it near the start. I also noticed Gina had the same kind on her bike and like the BIG DORK that I am, I suggested that she stop for it so she could have an extra!

3). Just after we passed the "Begin Race" sign, scrawled in pen and attached to a street sign, I was at the front and commented to Gina (Team Mack) that there was a big garage sale in the neighborhood we were passing and we could all just pull off and go shopping. (I am firmly planting myself in BIG DORK category here!)

4). After the first turn, I look up the road and notice what appears to be a dog, running across the road. I immediately think that it's the kind of dog that is going to chase us as we pass. When someone goes charging past me from behind, I initially think she's trying to outrun the dog. I realize, simultaneously, that she is attacking AND it's a FOX, not a dog. I can't help but verbalize the later as we pass. I jump and cover attack 1 (I think Cory may have tried to go with her).
We head into turn 2 and Anona (Wild Card) attacks again.

5). There is a pattern beginning to form. Anona attacks at every hill and turn. We scramble to cover. I drift to the middle/back of the pack.

6). There is a hill. It's longer than expected and hurts. The field splits up. I chase to get back on. I pass Susan Kloha and Suzanne Johnson. We bridge, only to see the 1k to the sprint sign. ARGh. I am toast.

7.) I watch Suzanne Woodard sprint with Anona and Gina. I yell "Go Suzanne". As this is happening, I am trying to bridge, again, to the back of the front group (I'd fallen off again as they ramped up to sprint). I am on Suzanne Johnson's wheel and realize that as I am cheering on Suzanne Woodard, Suzanne Johnson thinks I am yelling at her. We sort this out, I get on her wheel and she bridges us up in one smooth acceleration. Our group has been thinned to 11. (Anona/Wild Card, Gina/Mack, Gina/Big Shark, Kate/Ghisallo, Cristel/Ghisallo, Suzannex2/Veloforce, Susan/St. Louis Tri Club, Lauren/ Dogfish, Natalie/Dogfish & Me).

8). We go down a hill and I see a Turkey. I say, aloud, "Oh, look, a Turkey!"

9.) Later, we go down another hill and pass something that looks like a hunk of wood. As we go around it, some one comments and I recognize the "wood" as an upside down Turtle. I am sad about this! I hope someone saw it and turned it over.

10). We go through the tunnel. It's not as bad as I think it'll be. There's a hill afterward and someone attacks (again). I am climbing and realize I am hovering over my saddle. My legs feel strangely good and very strong. I don't get dropped! Our group of 11 strings out but stays together.

11). I stay at the back. I watch as Anona and Gina trade attacks. I comment to Lauren (Dogfish) about how predictable they are getting. We slow to a near stop on the flats. Anona questions if anyone else is going to pull. I comment, from the back, that we should not be so eager to pull because she will just rest and attack again. Natalie moves to the front to pull. Within 2 minutes, this happens.

12). We are on the flats with about 6 miles to go (?). I am still at the back of the pack. Suddenly, there is swerving ahead and the next thing I know Natalie is in a ditch filled with water on the side of the road!. Cristel also went down. Someone to my right barely avoids getting tangled up. I brake, look at Natalie, look up the road. Gina, Anona and Gina are quickly getting away. I take off after them.
Suzanne x2 and Tri girl join me. We quickly catch Gina/Big Shark, who didn't quite bridge to Gina/Mack and Anona/Wild Card. We're all tired and wheels aren't as steady. There's a headwind.

13). We go down a hill and up a short one. It hurts but it's short enough that the hurt doesn't last.

14). There are two SLOW moving trucks in front of us. We can't go around. One is a wheel truck and the driver pulls over to let us pass. The other is a citizen. He's slowing to stay behind a Cat 5 racer. We are screwed. The lead group is getting further and further up the road. Suzanne (x1) goes around the truck on the left! (we'll discuss this later). The rest of us stay back and the truck pulls off the road into a drive way. We surge forward and I catch Suzanne. We climb the last hill. She's strong and I make a note just to try to stay on her wheel. We give a steady climb and at the top, I ready myself to chase her sprint. BUT - Suzanne sits up! I hear someone behind me adding gears. I go for it.
I find myself passing Suzanne. The noises from behind me become more distant. I can't believe it, I am going for 3rd! Then I realize I will be finishing right in the middle of the women's open pack as they complete their first lap. Since there's no one close behind me, I kind of sit up, allow some space between me and the Women's Open and make my number as visible as possible as I cross the line.
I want to make sure my 3rd place finish is seen!!

Wow, this podium stuff is starting to become addictive! what an awesome race.

Cristel ended up taking the wheel truck in. She was pretty banged up and there was fear of a torn calf muscle (I think it was sprained). Natalie broke her frame in two places. The top tube was nearly broken through. But she finished! After the race, we realized that she had borrowed my wheel from the truck to finish on.
I'm glad I could help and even more glad that I didn't have to battle it out with her in the last 6 miles. I'm not so sure I would have gotten 3rd!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wheels Over Wildwood - My First Win!!

Wow! Wheels over Wildwood definitely held up to it's acronym. It started with the Time Trial on Saturday. True to my ability, I had a mediocre placement. I was ecstatic with my finishing time, having knocked 30 seconds or so off of last year's time. Still, I placed 19/24 with a time of 34:26 (on a 20k course - 12.4 miles).
After a reward of Bread Company for breakfast -Alice and I headed to the crit course to check it out. Man, it looked hard and felt hard - even just on our "test" laps. I stayed a while to watch Phil and the guys put hay bales all over the place. The course had some tricky down hill, right turn into a climb corners that needed MUCHO hay! After that, I was cooked and Phil and I took a nice long nap when we got home. Oh, before I left the course, I volunteered myself to help out at Registration....only to discover I was wanted there by 6am!!

5 am came all too soon on the alarm clock. After a splash of coffee and last minute prep, we were off. We arrived at 6am on the nose and I was ready to volunteer. Phil got right down to pre-riding the course for his 7:30....make that 7:45 start. They were 15 minutes late, so in effort to stay on time, the officials cut Phil's race down to 15 minutes! Phil finished 7/15 but expressed a little disdain over his finish. He looked good whenever I saw him and looked like he was setting up his teammate for a good finish position. 8 of the guys in his race, including Phil, finished within a second of one another!

So my race got underway at 9:47am. There were 10 of us at the start line (preceded by 9 in the women's open). It was a good group of ladies, with some very strong talent in the bunch and a few unknowns. There was a little controversy, for me, at the start when a friend of a new racer was giving her tips including cornering on the inside of a slower rider. Yikes! Since it was my safety at stake out there too, I spoke up and I am sure stepped on his toes a little. I didn't discourage her from taking his advice but suggested that she first watch how the other ladies cornered before blindly trusting that she could move up on the inside of a turn unscathed. (She ended up doing pretty well for herself, especially for her first race).

Most of the race is a blur. I know Suzanne and I took the lead from the neutral roll out. It was nice being first in the turns. Suzanne continued to pull as we moved into lap two and I expressed my concern for her. There was some movement and it seemed everyone worked, at least a little. I stayed up front and tried to keep a good position. I felt like I was there or very nearby to cover attacks. I think I initiated the first attack - on the second climb. There was a lot of breaking in the turn and the field split up a little. I had no glue... they caught me pretty quickly. I think I may have held them off until the top of the climb. Boy, they let me stay out there to work a little more though - pretty smart of them but sucked for me. I moved back in to a nice place and around we went. The prime lap was called. Alice and I were at the front and I started to sprint for it. I knew it was tickets to the Magic House - a prime perfect for Suzanne or Cristel, but it didn't seem like anyone was going for it at first. Suzanne seemed to come out of nowhere, from the right and got that prime that was rightfully hers! It was a beautiful sprint.

Around some more we go. At some point, we weren't sure of our remaining laps - the lap counter was being used for the concurrent Women's open race. Someone finally yelled that we had 3 to go. Yay. It seemed there were a few more attacks. Dessa pulled hard up both hills and on the second I thought she was going to walk off the front. We reeled her back in and continued on. With one to go, Lauren (Dogfish) attacked just after turn 1! Into the down hill turn. I jumped on her wheel and made it known that I caught her with a quiet "cough". She slowed a little (or so it seemed) and we were all back together.
There was another attack on hill two but we all covered before it got too far. Later, Kube told me that it caught her by surprise and was just enough to send her off the back for the last bit. Fortunately, she missed a little bobble in the last roundabout section. Apparently, someone tried to cut inside on the turn and sent the rider there into me. I had room to go right and forward. There was a pretty good touch of brakes but everyone stayed upright. I saw the world open up. Ahead there were three (I think) charging for the line. I added some gears and gave it my all. I caught them and began to pass. I thought the line would never come and just before it did, I inched ahead. AND I MEAN INCHED! I won by fractions of a second.
Cristel (Ghisallo) came in second and Lauren (Dogfish) third. Cat - on her first race! - got 4th. Alice (My Hub teammate) was 5th. Dessa -representin' Team Rev!- got 6th in her first crit too. Suzanne (Veloforce) was 7th, Kate (Ghisallo) was 8th, Gina (Big Shark) 9th and Kube (Dogfish) 10th.

I missed Kate, who couldn't race due to Baby BR, and Cory,who couldn't race due to lil Sassy. I was so happy to see them at the end. It was amazing getting to stand on the podium. Though I realized that the one thing that mattes the most is my friends. I had done this with no one there to share in my victory, it would never have carried the same weight. None of this is worthwhile without my friends! (and Phil, of course!!xo). Maybe some day I'll get that fierce competitive focus where I don't care about those I race with and only focus on winning......Nah!! Well, maybe a little bit of snarkiness is necessary.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Hi Mom! I think you are the only one who reads this!

I do this more to journaling my experiences, to look back on, than to publicize them. If you happen to read this and you aren't my mother, hello to you to.

Any way.... I did my first Tues Night Worlds race last night. TNW are weekly criterium "practice" races. There are three races - A, B and C. C races are for beginners, like me. The A & B races have been going on for 2 months. The C races started last night.
Phil did his first TNW last night too. He was in the C race too. I didn't see him after the first lap, until he lapped me with 3 or 4 to go. He did really well in his first race.
I, on the other hand, didn't. I got dropped pretty hard on the first lap. It's rough because I managed to hang with the pack for the most part last year. Most of the ladies I raced with last year are moving to Cat 3, or are at least continuing to hang with the Cat 4 pack this year. I have spent every crit, road race, circuit race off the back and usually alone. I am not sure what's going on. Well, I think I can guess. I am trying to "train" but I don't really have a plan. I know the basics, but I'm mostly doing Team Revolution Group rides, or Maplewood Group rides or racing. I am not doing intervals, I am not doing hill repeats, I am not doing sprint work - at least not planned. I get all of those things in the various rides/races.

Also, I am not lifting weights. I think this was something that really helped me in 2007. I just haven't gotten back into a routine at the gym. I am riding my bike too much! And for that, I get dropped off the back.

This was true for me last night. Off the back I went. Off the back I stayed. Kate came up right after I got dropped. She promptly passed me on the climb and invited me to grab her wheel. I did, for about 10 seconds and she was off like she shot out of a cannon. I couldn't stay with her. I watched her bridge up to a guy. They worked together for a bit, then she passed him and dropped him too. I eventually bridged to this guy. I quickly realized why she passed him. I passed him too, but he kept coming back up to me. He was strong on the climb, but tuckered out near the top. He'd rest on the flat, into the turn (braking!) and then pick it up again on the climb. I'll bet we did a cat/mouse thing for 4 laps. I was getting pretty irritated. I just wanted to drop him! I kept my sights on Kate, but she kept up her speed and got further away.
With 3-4 to go, Phil passed me. He had two guys on his wheel. It took me a second, but I quickly realized one of those guys was the guy I was fighting against. I let the anger motivate me and caught his wheel. I sat there til he tuckered out again at the top and passed him - AGAIN! I got away from him again on the last lap. I thought I had a good advantage going into the last turn. I picked up speed then took off out of there, trying to stay ahead on the climb. He caught me at the top of the climb - Turn 3. Then I saw him drop down and prepare to sprint. There was no way I was going to let this guy go. I grabbed some gears and off we went toward the line. We stayed neck in neck but I think he got me by about 1/4 of a wheel. Next time.....

Overall, it was a good race. Chris commented that it doesn't usually get so strung out. I am not sure if that was meant to encourage me or what. Phil, who got 6th or 7th by his own estimate, said his average was 22.6! I didn't even look at my computer. I felt great on the ride home. That's what happens when you have an intense 20 minute race!

Til next week....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tour of Hermann 2009

Bring on the weekend:
Phil and I had a wedding to go to in Washington MO on Friday night. To cut down on drive time and increase sleep time, we opted to stay over in Washington Friday night.
The wedding was fun, but of course we left later than we wanted. I was surprized that the Super 8 was clean and in good condition; however, I soon learned that the noise from the hallway was channeled and amplified directly into our room! That combined with someone talking loudly every hour made for a poor night's sleep.

5:30 am came too quickly. We wandered around the room, got into cycling gear, loaded up the car and hit the road by 6:15 am. Here comes the rain. And more rain.

It had decreased to a spinkle when we arrived in Hermann; however, as we drove to the start area, we quickly realized how detrimental it was not to bring trainers. We parked, got in line for numbers/chips, pinned numbers, said quick hellos to friends as they rolled in. By that time, we had 15 minutes to warm up, on wet roads. Fortunately the rain had stopped. The sun even came out for a minute. We warmed up around town, including of course, hills. Some how, the only time I got my heart rate above zone 3 was on one of many climbs off the main drag. Actually, I think it was a descent (Steep, with a stop sign and traffic at the bottom). White knuckling!

Although the start was delayed by 15 minutes, that time passed quickly. We continued to roll around near the start and began to shed layers of clothing we realized we wouldn't need. It wasn't until I lined up that I realized we had a REAL start house, complete with a RAMP!
Phil went off :30 before me. As he climbed the step to the start house, I heard the announcer comment about him. I laughed when he stated "Phil got up this morning and thought this would be a great day for a bike race." Little did he know what Phil really thought about this day! I was laughing and shaking my head, which lead the announcer to comment that I was laughing at Phil! Laughing is a good way to start a race.

I was up next. I was leaning so far to the left, I thought I was going to roll off the side of the start house ramp when the holder let me go. After I made it out of the start house, the time trial was relatively uneventful for me. It always takes me a second to realize that I should be racing, as I usually start like I'm going on a group ride. I got to the top of the bridge, realized I hadn't started my computer or hr monitor, got them started then tucked into a more aero position (at least attempted to). I also couldn't figure out where to put myself on the road. The shoulder was quickly disappearing and the rumble strip getting closer. To the right- rocks and clutter, to the left, traffic. I stuck right and dodged rocks til the first turn.
Fortunately, some one very fast passed me before the turn and I could watch his wheels through the turn. I followed his lead and turned without losing too much speed.

Right at that point when I start to get tired, heart rate spikes a little and I wonder WHY?, the head-wind took it's cue. Argh. I watched as my heart rate crept up and my speed dropped. I tried to change gears, spin more, spin less but it still hurt, I was still going slower and my heart rate did not cooperate.
Yay! Turn around point..... Oh, wait... I had to clip out to avoid crashing myself!
I stood and charged on. To my delight, there was a nice tail wind.
I enjoyed that wind. Picked up speed, decreased HR. YAY!
Solid left turn on the return. I gave a quick yell of thanks to the Police Officer directing traffic. Still feeling good. Cue wind, Cue bridge... ARGH. Repeat:increase HR, decrease speed. I must have just crested the hill when the picture was snapped (see above).And I then I was Done - and from what I could tell, I was under 30 minutes.

I found Phil on the cool down and we agreed to ride over to check out the crit course. We found some barriers and no parking signs and figured we were on course. I knew there was a hill so we climbed the first one we saw. Man, it sucked. I was using the whole road. When I reached the top, I thought "There is NO WAY I am doing this in a crit!" I could barely climb it once.
Soon, we realized we were backwards on the course. Yay!....Damn!.... We have to go DOWN that hill. It was poor pavement, with holes marked with spray paint, patches, loose stuff and STEEP!

Back to the car with a couple of hours to kill. Quick rest/nap. Bite to eat, something to drink. Radar to watch. A small rain cloud was overhead. It looked innocent and should blow through. A major storm was north/west of us but not a concern for us.
That little cloud stalled right over us. It rained from 11 -12:15. Our race was to start at 12:30 with the Jrs at 12. Those poor Juniors. I could see some of them warming up on the course in the rain.
I was warm and dry, in my car, getting ready to bail on the crit all together.

Peer pressure got me out of the car as the rain slowed to a sprinkle. Peer pressure got me on the bike, off the bike to take off my tights, back on and riding. (Thanks Jamie, Teresa, Alice, Cory, Allison). We did a lap to check it out. The hill climb wasn't fun. The descent was wet/scary. We climbed back to the start line.
As the Jrs went off, I stood around and made jokes to keep the anxiety down. One by one, up come the Mercy women. Yikes! This was truely a women's open. We were racing against some of the strongest women in the Midwest. It was bad enough that we had to race this challenging course, with wet roads! At least the rain had stopped.

Next thing I know, we were at the start line. 33 women signed up. I think 25 started. I positioned myself in the middle, back row to stay out of the way. Buddy talked, whistle blew and we were off. I heard a tangle to my left and right. Those in front of me were making their way quickly up the road. I instinctively went with them and soon realized that this was not really where I wanted to be. My goals for this race were to play it safe, have fun, finish (in that order). I slowed and let those behind me pass.
Down the hill we go. Some how, it wasn't as scary. Then again, I let the main group go down first. There were still a few behind be but we were spread out enough.
One of the PRC girls passed me at the bottom with such speed that I seriously though she was lapping me! No, she had gotten behind in the start tangle.

Somewhere in the non-hilly part, I found Cory. She already sounded none-to-happy, so we agreed to stick together, have fun. We stayed in sight of the pack up the first climb. Cory climbed strong and got a couple of bike lengths away from me. I got back to her at the top and we relaxed, breathed! Then, sprinkles, then rain! ARGH! We talked about bailing, but kept rolling.
Around we go again. Climb... clearly Cory has been working on hills. She was doing great! Up at the top, relax,breath then PSSSSSSS! Cory got a flat! I yelled to her to get a wheel and rode on.
When I got around to the hill again, there was Cory on the side doing cheerleader moves! I asked her what happened to the wheel and she let me know she didn't have the spares. Ok, on my own.
Around, SMILE, climb, SMILE, descend, SMILE, repeat.
SMILE, talk to volunteers, have fun.

Soon, Sidney passed me. She had quite a break. As quick as she came, she was gone.
At the top of the climb, I saw Rhiannon. I think she's quitting so I encouraged her to finish with me. She tells me she has a flat. ARGH again. Down the hill I go.
I am actually getting better at doing it with speed/less breaking and see my computer hit 35 mph.
I think I was on climb 5. Amy S lapped me. I catch up to her at the top of the climb. We realize that it's the last lap. Sidney is at the bottom of the hill and those lucky enough to be behind her are done. WE have to go around ONE MORE TIME.
I keep hoping that Sidney will catch up to me, ride with me on her cool down lap. That would have been cool. Rhiannon is still at the top, waiting for a bike so she can finish.
Last descent was fast, fun. Last climb was slower than ever. I savored it. Almost pulled my front wheel off the ground, I was going so slow.
Smiled again. Done.

I figured I was in last place from the first lap. I was ok with that. There's a time to be last and I was going to do it gracefully.
I thought everyone passed me. Little did I know that there were two more behind me, and Rhiannon finished on her sister's bike. I placed 20th out of 23. Smile again.

Sometimes you jump in with both feet and go. Other times you have to break down the challenges and tackle them one at a time.
I didn't fight to stay with the pack. That would be my goal for any other crit- just try to stay on, try to hold out the attacks, try to sprint at the finish. I am sure that is the way my friends raced. And they did well. They reached those goals.
I managed to stay safe, have fun and finish. It was a good day.

Phil raced the Men's 4/5. The rain stayed away for his race. He placed better than he thought, but not as well as he had hoped. 14th out of 20 finishers (+19 who did not start!)

I didn't do the Road Race on Sunday. I had planned to go into work to make a little time-and-a-half $$, but our computers were down. It rained all day and I ate all day. I am very very proud of my friends who did the road race (Cory, Jamie, Teresa, Alice, Lisa Q, Both Susans, Gina, Todd and Tim). I think it was a good weekend for all. We all have something to be proud of.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Ride 2009

MK, Phil and I headed out at 8am, to do a new loop of familiar roads. MK and I donned Bunny ears on our lids in honor of the big bunny himself.
Despite the hilly and windy ride - Bellevue, Clayton west, Warson north, Baur/Schuetz to Adie loop and back in via Midland (we added a neighborhood climb from the Trailnet Weds ride for good measure) we had a good time.
We got lots of friendly honks, waves and happy Easter wishes. The best one was the cheers from a group of people leaving a church on Lockwood. After about 30 miles, we ended at First Watch to have Breakfast with David and AJ. Should have been a good breakfast, but the manager made it clear he does not like bikes/cyclists. Still, the food was good.
The 3 miles to home were windy and colder. That front with all the rain is on it's way.

So, I am obviously not a good Catholic. I didn't go to church on Christmas and now, not Easter either.
MK, Phil and I had a discussion as we rolled out about what church and God means to us.
Without going into too much, we basically all agreed that it is a personal relationship with God. We are all comfortable with that relationship and do our best to display God's love to one another on a daily basis - not just Christmas and Easter.
Still, I am grateful for this day - what it signifies. I don't need to prove it to anyone but God, and he doesn't even require me to PROVE it. (don't believe me, see for yourself: Ephesian 2:8)

Christos Anesti!

(and in the words of the guy on Greenwood as I rode past, "Girl, get me my eggs!")

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My life with the Thrill Kill Kult, err, I mean Team Revolution

"Good things are coming your way, you know they always have" -Rival Schools

The only thing constant is life is change. Some changes truely bring surprize, while others are more or less expected. This change falls somewhere in between.

Team Revolution's Elite Race team disbanded last week. I don't know all the details. I'm not sure I ever will, nor do I want to. It's not for me to know.
What I do know is that the Team Revolution founders, Carrie and Chris, have a renewed sense of purpose and direction with Team Revolution, the Club. That piece is important for me, being the board president (no, not the bored president!)

We've seen a lot of great changes this year and I hope they can continue. Our first annual Frostbike ride series in January was a HUGE sucess. Spin class has gone on for 9 weeks as of today, with one hiccup that turned into a fun outdoor spin class during an unseasonable warm February night. The technique development clinic had almost 20 participants! We have 12 signed up for the "Dirty Girls" Maintenance Clinic next week. We've started a ride committee, found leaders for the Weds rides - starting 3/18 and are planning other regular Team Revolution rides. I am looking forward to more clinics, rides, charity events and Happy Hours.
While I am sad for the members of the Elite Team, I am happy for myself and the members of the club. Having increased attention, effort and work is a good thing.
I am sad about losing Jessi's role. She put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the race team and the club had started to reap direct benefit. I wonder what will become of all of this work and hard-earned relationships with sponsors.
Still, I am hopeful that good things are coming our way.

As an unrelated aside, if I were a Roller Derby Girl, my name would be: Kitty Kildare! (My original name was already taken).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Froze Toes 2009

My toes were actually warm! Of course, as you can see from the picture, I was over dressed. I wasn't frozen as we waited, patiently, for the women's cat four race to start, the last race of the day. We are in fact, as reported by one official, a smaller group and thus of least importance. I was thankful that we were allowed the chipx timers. Apparently there was concern that they'd run out and if that happened, the women's cat four race would go sans-chips.
I think our race started about 15 minutes later than posted. I didn't know what to do with the nervous energy but was sure it would shake out after our race rolled past the start (past the neutral zone) and got up to the speeds I remembered from last year.
Boy, was I wrong. We started at a snail's pace. It was a little funny, a little embarrassing. I heard Carrie Cash's voice echo in my head as we cruised down the road at 11/12 mph (!) "This ain't no cupcake race!" Well, I was sure getting hungry for some baked goods of some sort. But of course, like all things, this too did pass. We eventually picked up the pace to a respectable level and soldiered on. Ghisallo's team was large and in charge. They got themselves to the front and Deanna kept them moving and organized. It was kind of neat to see and I motored myself to the front to take a pull and get in the mix a little. I think my pull was a little longer than I my body agreed with.
Oh well, it was fun!
After the first turn, the Ghisallo ladies stepped on the gas and tried to break off the front, but we didn't let them go. Turn two, same thing - they were reeled back in; however, one girl got enough of a break and there was just enough of a lack of response to let her get going. I encouraged the girl in front of me, at the third wheel to jump and I was fast on her wheel. Unfortunately, I can't seem to bridge. I got about half way there and boom, done? really? I watched about 10 ladies go around me and make it successfully to our carrot up the road. Of course, this group included Kate and Alice! Go Hub ladies!

I continued, in vain, to try to bridge. Cat joined me, we worked together (both hacking due to recent bronchitis!) but again, bam (where does that wall keep coming from?). Soon, one at a time, more Ghisallo, veloforce and various other ladies bridged to me, then past me. I tried to hang on to each one as long as I could. Of course, I did also try to spend some time pulling them too (so as not to be a total wheel sucker!). It was fun while it lasted. It just didn't last long enough. Soon, too soon, I was alone in the wind again. When the hills (rollers) set in, I was crispy on the edges and ready to be done (for the season?... well, no but close!). I just needed to hang on for 10 more miles.

That was the LONGEST ten miles! By the time I reached the 1 k mark, I couldn't believe how far 1k could be. I noticed one of the ladies from the "break" was now sitting on the side of the road and a police car was there. I would have wiped my eyes in disbelief, but they were cemented to my handlebars. Later, I learned of the crash that took out the lead pack and it was Julie who was sitting there in a daze. (The last I heard, she was battered/bruised but otherwise OK).

I didn't even attempt to sprint to the line. Just rolled over it. I actually may have decelerated as I reached it. I tried not to finish like I finish a long hard group ride, but I think I was on automatic at that point. I likely would have stopped right at the line, if there hadn't been tons of people yelling things that sounded (muffled) like "keep going" and, "turn in your chip" and "get out of the road" - these things did not make a bit of sense to me. My brain was thinking only one thing - I was happy to be done.

The results say I took 18th, out of 23 finishers. My average was just under 18 mph.
My results say I did not die of wheezing coughs, I did not flat and stand on the side of the road for a long time and I did not crash. Overall, I laughed some, smiled some, pulled some, time-trailed some, wheel-sucked some, ached/cramped some, cursed very little. In my book, I won!

I also looked good in my Hub Vest (thanks to Devin) and spent a little extra time out on the course so the TV crews could catch me!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

update schmupdate

I have already established that I am a terrible blogger, so you (if anyone is reading this) will not expect too much out of me. HOWEVER, I got a little inspired by Chris' blog (www.mastersaysfaster.blogspot.com), so I thought I'd try to do more.

I've been keeping busy with loads of Team Rev stuff.
I was made into el presidente sometime in December. No inauguration balls or anything here, just lots of work. We are halfway through out successful "Frostbike" winter ride series.
Hey, why not - go to www.teamrevcycling.org for more info?

We've also started a indoor trainer spin series. (Girls only). It runs Weds nights through 3/4 at which time we hope to get our butts outside for regular Weds, leave from Straubs in Webster route. Come join us!

I did spinning class at the Hub last night with the guys. The class was tough and I nearly got tipped over thanks to Chris (the OTHER chris) and his Mavic skewers! All was good though and no damage done. Those guys are really nice! They always make me feel welcome, even though I am the "slow, girl."

Back to Team Rev stuff- we have a Bike Maintenance clinic on Friday Febuary 6 at 7pm at velocity cafe and cyclery. Should be a good time. Only $5 (Ladies only, again- if you haven't figured out already, Team Rev is a WOMEN's cycling club). If you are a girl and want to join us, email me at steph@teamrevcycling.com
If you haven't been to velocity cafe yet, you need to get over there. They are north of the History Museum in Forest Park. The coffee is excellent. Well, the food is excellent too. And the service....excellent! (I need to find some new words).

We'll that's enough dribble for now. Later Alligators!