So yeah, I traveled home yesterday from Kentucky. 10 hours door to door.
Everything was on time the whole day. Go Southwest! On the first leg to Chicago, some guy was ranting on how he left a bag at the security screening. That's gotta suck. Second leg of which was the longest there was a screaming baby directly behind me. Talk about sucking. Third leg, caught up on lots of old magazines..... in silence!! Today = catch up on life and train the one time that it rained today. That always happens to me I swear!
Dang that is a lot of dudes in the first corner after the start (Sunday-Elite Men)
Same course, different day. Well, almost the same course. They just changed it up a little bit to add even more turns to it which I never thought was possible. As for the barriers, today it was smoken' fast approach instead of having tight turns right before them like on Saturdays race. That was the only difference along with a beautiful sunny sunny and almost shall I say, warm day.
I can't say that when the race started (with me on the very back row again-yes!!) that I was feeling all the love in the world. Despite that though I actually had a pretty good start and made my way up into the Top 15 pretty quickly before the first set of barriers, which if you read my entry yesterday, was a must. After that things got broken up soooooo fast with little groups remaining. And, unfortunately at times I found just myself in the middle of those tiny groups which pretty much sucked because you have to make a decision to either keep on hammering by yourself to catch the next group and expend lots of energy doing it or let the next group behind pick your sorry buns up and hope they will take you to that next group that you are trying to get to by yourself. Tough decision for a mountain biker to make I tell you. We have ONE pace and ONE pace only and that is redline with a little strategy here and there when the course allows for it in an mtb race. But in cyclocross, while it's definitely a redline sport also, strategy does play a bigger role.
Because I was pinning it hard already trying to bridge to the next group by myself and really not making headway I decide to let the group behind me swoop me up. I only had to soft peddle a few strokes really because they were coming around fast. Soft pedaling for just that little bit allowed me to recover enough to comfortably sit on and get some rest and then use the same strategy that I did yesterday through the technical sections...gun it past em and lose em. Thank heavens that all worked out for me because I would have kicked myself if I had soft pedaled and then been shelled off the back somehow.
Meanwhile, the group ahead continued to shatter and things got pretty mixed up. By the time the end of the race was approaching it was looking like I was going to be left with final sprint for 14th place with another gal which is kind of funny actually because, me??? sprint??, come again?? ugh?, what was that?, how do you call it?. In other words. Good lord I have no idea what I am doing on something like that which I single handily showed everyone that I am a clueless wonder on that subject. I am going to have to learn!! Even with my poor form, poor technique, poor timing, poor everything I got the sprint. Maybe it was my rocking tires from Challenge or my stiff wheels from Reynolds that did the trick there in the end. Nothing like the last 10 seconds of your already redline race coming down to that but in fact it was fun and it passed the time pretty well until we crossed the line.
I had no problems today at all which was nice. In other words, I stayed on the bike. But that almost wasn't the case because at one point the gal in front of me went down on a corner but I had this weird feeling that may happen (based on the fact that I had been drafting her for a while and I knew she was tired, breathing hard, etc.). I therefore dropped back about a bike length through the techy section in anticipation of things that may come...... and thank heavens I did because in under 0.5 seconds, BAM, she was down and sliding across the grass. Whew. Another mishap avoided as I threw on the brakes and made my way slowly around the carnage.
As for the teams tricks and treats for today.....
We decorated are helmets in the name of Halloween coming up on Wednesday. I forgot to get pics of Barb and have one taken of me too with our silly ghost and bat antennas but at least I got this one of Amy's helmet. That head on her helmet is nasty looking.
How the day turned out for me was far more than just my final placement of 13th in the Elite Women's field. I was SO happy with how my body did and felt. This was the first true test of how well my ribs had healed over these last few months of off season and I was very pleased with what I didn't feel. No pain!! No gouging jabs!! No restriction on breathing!! No shear and utter misery in technical sections. I think the ribs are there finally. And actually, its just been in this last week that I haven't needed IB Profin to sleep through the night so I knew things were on the right track.
And As for my fitness right after taking many weeks off and doing nothing........ I am pleased and I seem have some high end at this point in the game. Yes!! As for power, that seems to be there too at this point and I will take what I can get being that I am training for the mtb season that is months and months and months away. I really shouldn't have much to give right now but something is there and I will take it!
Today I got a pretty close to last row call up at the start of the race which I expected since I have minus UCI cross points to my name. The start was interesting because we started on pavement for about 100 feet and then the course swooshed us left and onto the grass and since that grass section of the course was kind of tight you had to be SUPER aggressive and trust your skills to get by people. This was no time to dink around with self doubt because the everything was about to go down to single file at the barriers within the next two minutes! You know what single file means....where you are at that moment is where you are in the race unless you work your tail off to change it. That said, I got as far as I could go by the time we hit the barriers and then the real work of trying to move up really came into play and really required effort. I gaged myself closely and tried to jump head from group to group by sitting on, resting and then blasting past them right before the technical sections where I knew I could accelerate away and get a gap behind me. That plan worked out well because I went from about 20th to 13th by the end of the 40 minute race.
Of course that wasn't with out a mishap. On the first lap going through the deep sand pits something grabbed at my wheel and I did a slow endo. The crowd gasped but it really wasn't that bad. I just landed in the soft sand grabbed my bike that was 2 feet behind me and took off trying to get back into the position I had just lost. People were going down everywhere but mainly they were going down on the back section where the course transitioned from muddy grass to pavement. I definitely could have run over bodies if I hadn't been anticipating the problem. But dang some of those gals went down HARD right in from of me and I would just watch them slide, bike and all across the pavement. Oooh. Yuck!! Tough chicks.
Afterwords the Velo Bella - Kona team jumped in a car to start heading back to base and we suddenly found ourselves on a local street that was having a block Halloween decorating contest. By the time I figured out what was going on, I bet we had passed 10 houses that were fully decked out with lights and moving objects and scary things in their yards. Here are the ones that I was able to shoot:
Then on to a team dinner at a Cuban Restaurant (left to right: Melanie, Alex, Amy, myself, Barb, Anna):
Then we were off to get our own decorations. We have some tricks up our sleeves for tomorrow!
We got on course today and there is about 1 foot of elevation gain. I got out there in time for a dry lap along with many rainy laps and the course held up well.
There are lots of fun sand traps (since this race is on an old golf course), muddy off camber sections around corners immediately followed by a quick run up, plenty of s-turns and curves and of course the much talked about green monster. Here is what the area and the course off in the distance looks like. Like I said, about a foot of elevation gain or maybe its an elevation loss? Hmmm.
Here is a picture of the start of teams moving into and getting set up in the expo area.
I flew to Kentucky today, got to the hotel, got my bike out of the box and everything looked groovy. Then I immediately screwed that grooviness up. How? Well I took a hand pump to my newly mounted tubular tires that have a valve extension on them; all I wanted to do was top the tires off with some air so I could get my training ride in before the sun went down. Bad idea as it turned out.
At first I thought I had accomplished that goal of inflating the tires and went to jump on my bike only to discover a squishy front tire. LOVELY. And like I mentioned before, it’s a tubular tire so its not like you can just put a tube in and go (for those still learning all the weird ins and outs of the cycling world…., i.e. MOM, …a tubular tire is glued to the rim of the wheel).
So here I am in the hotel, no one is around, I have a flat and I need to train like nobody’s business. What’s one to do? No, not call the pizza delivery guy and just jump into some PJ’s, but instead call a reliable mechanic in Utah of course!! Word was that I needed to mess with the valve extender to see if it needed tightening and it seemed like it did. Yes!! So I tried pumping the tire again and this time when I got done, the tire went completely flat. Guess that didn’t work. So I start messing with the valve extender again trying tighten it and it wasn't grabbing at all so I tried something that I hoped wasn’t going to happen and I pulled up on the valve extension...... and it ends up coming straight off the valve- I didn’t even have to unscrew it. Not good.
But I refused to believe it was broken so for the next 40 minutes I am sitting in my hotel room floor completely dressed for a ride watching the sun go down with each passing minute and trying to fit the valve extender into the Reynolds rim hoping to get it screwed back on there somehow. But every time I thought I got it screwed on, I was able to pull it right back off with one motion. It took a while for me to figure out that it wasn’t supposed to be that hard to do and what really had happened was somehow the valve on the tire got stripped.
Well that sucked because that meant there is no chance of getting air in the thing for the moment. A very fixable problem but that meant I had to set up the trainer in the hotel room for a few hours of spinning. Ugh. I am not that adverse to trainers actually but I was really looking forward to heading out on the streets of Kentucky and exploring. Oh well. All's well that ends well.
I just got this sucker all built up and ready to rumble officially with all the goodies on it. And now I am ready to tear it apart and stick it in a box headed for Kentucky this weekend. I tell you...sometimes!!
I guess the course in Louisville has a section named the "Green Monster" too like we have in Utah. Check it out here.
I think this is a bit of why Cyclocross is so fun to watch. It is a crazy sport!! Let's go splash around in the mud on our skinny (almost basically) road bikes with some knobs and run up things that can't be ridden, jump over barriers, navigate around hidden potholes ...
I think the most fun I had in a cross race was when I did this to myself last year. Luckily it was runny mud.
Cool!! I found this out by opening up Cycling Utah. That is always a nice surprise!
Thanks for all who voted and who voted for me! It is nice to get recognition for the hard work and sacrifice. Check out the article here. And congrats to Bart G. as well who is an amazing athlete. I will share the title with him any day!!
There is nothing like peeling off the layers down to ONE and exposing bare legs to the 38 degrees weather. Welcome to the wonderful world of Cyclocross! And yes I DO love it if you are asking yourself why-why -why, does she do this? :)
The weather was brisk one could say but it was a fairly nice day out for the race at Wheeler Farm in Salt Lake. Wheeler will always throw some off camber sections, pea gravel road, grass, singletrack and a fast moving paver sections at you. And of course there are the barriers to jump over, this time with one set conveniently located at the bottom of a bit of a slope, the other in a smoken' fast section just waiting for you to get too much speed and topple over them instead of running over them.
One flat for me before the race and one flat after the race and none in between. Whew. That was a close one! I was running tubes today. Not even Slime tubes, just tubes. Chris had tried and tried and tried to make something work with the rims I was using but to no avail and I was stuck with the heaven forbid tubes!!! I am not a fan of tubes because I always always, did I mention ALWAYS flat them. In this case it wasn't my riding style leading to the flats but it was instead the goatheads that were scattered throughout the course. EEEOOOHHHH - goatheads?? NO, not a real goathead silly. Goatheads are seedpods that fall from plants and have a pointy end on them . It is a thorn that looks like just that, a goat’s head. And they lay on the ground waiting to get a free ride on your tire so they can spread themselves throughout the area. They are little buggers.
So anyway, no flats during the race for me along with a strong start put me in the lead and kept me there and I won. The Masters 35 +B and Single Speeders started about a minute up from the Women A group that I was in so that gave me lots and lots of carrots to chase. And it really got my rusty wheels in my brain turning thinking about tactics and getting into the singletrack first and what I would have to do and when I would have to do it to accomplish that goal. It was really good for me because I raced fair but aggressive and was able to pass about 20 or so men. They don't make it easy as they are a strong bunch and that is the way I like it!
Chris had yet another awesome race, racing in the B men's category. He placed 3rd!! And that was after racing yesterday at the Utah Cyclocross Race Series #4 in Ogden, UT (I didn't race that one), then doing errands in Salt Lake and finally coming home to work in the garage for 4.5 hours cleaning and maintaining bikes. Really not the way you want to "recover" from a race in preparation for another race the next day but it worked for him!! Go figure! I am proud of him for doing so well given the amount of time he doesn't have to ride and recover and train these days. Good on him!
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Do you even know how fried I am right now? Holy cow. And not from riding either. I have been thinking about bike parts and talking to sponsors all day long. Although that is fun stuff I have a headache and feel totally whacked right now - rightly so I think.
You name a part on your bike and I have thought about it, its function and its weight in the last 9 hours, or shall I say for the last 9 hours......hence the headache. This was a day off the bike and I am still at the computer in my pj's (yes you read that correctly) where I started this morning, haven't had lunch yet, and I am DONE. Don't plan on emailing me if you need any answers tonight because I am shutting this baby down. Toodles.
Whew. Did I ever go down hard during the race today. Better the bike than me though......
Race Course: The race started at the Rocky Mountain Raceway and then dumped you in the center of it where grass and barriers waited patiently for you to trip on. After remounting your bike, the course shot you out of the raceway on pavement followed by a very sketchy u turn that was laced with tiny pebbles most of the way to a run up, which was a flight of stairs. The course then sent us to the outside of the raceway on an off camber dirt singletrack section which led conveniently to another very off camber grass section better known as the "green monster". The green monster consisted of two 90 degree turns, the first of which took you straight up the grass to where the other 90 degree turn awaited you. This was the official "run up" where you needed to jump off the bike at the first turn and boogy up the grass and remount after the next 90 degree turn. After remounting, you road the off camber grass onto a paved path that took you back into the stadium for another round of fun for a total of 45 minutes.
The Race: So I mentioned I fell down and went boom boom today. Yep. I had a solid start and was in the the lead. I even won some swag for being leader of the first lap too. That was cool. I like swag! But back to the "I fell" part... I was heading into the barrier section and the next thing I know I am struggling not to fall on top of my bike that had decided it was done for the day and was trying to take a nap in the grass. Boy that stuff happens SOOOOOOO fast. So I think to myself, no problem, pick the bike up and go - you still have your lead. So I do and the handlebars are cranked to the left a good amount. DANG IT!!!!!
My first thought was to just straighten them quick and get back in the race and maintain the lead but considering the bike was just built up not even 20 hours before this race I opted for "safety first" and decided to take the time to tighten everything and make sure things were TRULY in working order vs fixing the bars on my own in a hurry and unknowingly heading out on a bike that was being held together by gum.
So the gal in second gets by as I trot out of the course, through the pits and back over to registration where luckily the Contender Bicycles tent was set up. Nope, I had nothing in the pits, no wheels, no bike, no tools.......I mentioned tool? Yeah that's me. But at the Contender Bicycles tent I found the nicest guy who helped me straighten and most importantly tighten things up on the stem and headset.
By the time I got going again and back in the race I certainly knew that I was going to be playing "catch up" the rest of the race. So I chose to plan on closing the gap to 1st place the best I could which I did with each lap. But unfortunately it wasn't enough by the time the race ended and 2nd place was my destiny.
The one thing that I was really excited about though, was that during my fall I didn't even think about my ribs and protecting them nor did I get any kind of jabbing pain from them either! I haven't raced on them in 2 months so that was great news because I didn't know what to expect today with them. Although the ribs are still finicky they are truly better now which I can say with confidence.
The Kona bike was a fast and light sweet running machine with the prettiest little pink clamps on the end of the cable wires and I am grateful to our sponsors for letting us ride on such a nice bike.
But I do think I ought to put the second one together ASAP because apparently I am going to need it according to Bob-bay who reminded me that at the first 07 NMBS race in Arizona this year, I was crashed into leaving me again with a tweaked headset. So if I am on the same path for Cyclocross (a great thing result wise actually!!), I need that second bike NOW. :)
Thank heavens for Bingham Cyclery and Revolution Mountain Sports. Without those guys who build, tweak, service, size and adjust my bikes, I wouldn't be riding. Or shall I say, I wouldn't be riding on the right bike parts and comfortably.
Between the 2 shops today I was able to get my new Kona Cyclocross bike up and running for the race tomorrow. Thanks ever so much you guys! It was a busy day for us all but everything worked out and we are on for tomorrow's CX race!
Well geez, I am not short of any STUPID things happening to me. Today I was eating some sunflower seeds (shells on) and one of them spiked right into my gum. Then the top of it that was sticking out fell off leaving me with just the tiniest little point sticking out to work with. This was good size "splinter" too (about a .5 cm) that lodged itself behind a tooth and I NEEDED to get it out. Can you even believe this?
So yet again, not wanting to head to the doctor or the dentist to get it extracted I performed oral surgery on myself and finally finally finally got it out. My goodness!!!
I went for my training ride today and a bug, with the accuracy of a scud missile, flew right in my ear. It was dancing around in there for a good half hour creating this nasty nasty tickle deep in there-oh gross!!! Try that one on for size as you are trying to deal with traffic and deer that are roaming across the road along with loose chickens wandering around (go Heber!!!). Really my only concern was NOT having to head into my docs office AGAIN asking them to extract the thing. I had visions of me the dummy walking in there explaining I got a bug in my ear- oh lord!
So I didn't go in to the docs because I am stubborn at this point. And quite honestly, I really don't know what happened to the bug because I don't remember it flying away. Ugh yeah, so I am saying that there may be a new pet nesting in my ear. OOOOOH Yuck! Shall I name it?
Before all this, another cyclist approached me and started asking how he would go about riding the outskirts of the whole Heber Valley. My response:
Ugh, oh, um, well, there's this street, yeah, ok, then left, no right?, oh yeah, then well, I think......
And I am thinking to myself, good lord Kathy don't you know the street names BY NOW. For the love of god you have been training in the valley for years and years on the same roads and you can't tell this guy where to go?? The answer? NO, not really.
I think some people think you are loony tunes when they see you on the trails with your Cyclocross bike. I am not sure they are even aware that its not a road bike. I got lots of laughs and weird looks today. Kind of funny.
I just wanted to let you all know that since my stitches were healing up so well and my ribs are doing better that I decided to cut the tip of my finger pretty good with a knife. I don't care if it needs stitches, I am NOT going back in to the doctor. It is not that bad anyway. Oh and, I just saw the doc again (who I have seen what seems like almost everyday of my life these last few weeks) at Home Depot today!! I can't seem to get away from him even on the weekends. Ack!
But I did get this cute little guy out of the salad I was making. Call me crazy but, hey, its all about how you look at things right?
See? I am not a freak out in the woods for no reason because I finally almost ran into a coyote this morning. I was being pretty quiet and so was it and I rounded the singletrack dirt corner and BAM. There it was. I actually thought it was someones dog because it was pretty fluffy and had more meat on it than a normal scrawny coyote. But it was no ones dog, that's for sure. It made a bee line for the scrub oak and I never saw it again.
Then to add to things I went to a party and this gal was telling me that in the same place I saw the coyote, she had been followed with her dog all the way down the trail by a pack of them. She said it was the first time she had ever really gotten nervous out in Heber's Dutch Canyon. I guess she spotted them at the top of the trail and then she could hear them parallelling her in the woods all the way down to the parking lot! That is freaky.
So after my "in the wild" experiences, I did something WAY out of the ordinary for me and something totally on the other end of the spectrum. I went to a casting call. The only reason I knew about it was because a friend (who believes in me and what I do) has friends in the production business. They were looking for some mtber's and outdoorsy people for an advertisement for a very popular brand of food. And really what they were looking for was someone who was willing to get muddy for a shoot, someone down to earth and athletic. How about that? So I went and took some head shots. Might as well right because it's a unique experience?! Turned out too that I knew the lady taking the shots and the other lady that was there has a husband that has been involved with Titus Cycles for some time. Small world. Hollywood here I come. OR NOT.
Today was a yoga day and I just couldn't get into "the flow". I think maybe it was the fact that some gal came in late and put her mat about 6" away from my mat and we kept hitting feet and hands and all. That was gross. Oh and THEN I suddenly noticed movement on the floor by my mat and I bent down to get a better look and it was a little furry spider! Looked like a baby tarantula I tell you. That is just what I need crawling all over me while lying down at the end of practice. I mean, I know I eat an ungodly amount of bugs will training and riding all the time but spiders?......yeah....well that is a totally different story. I know they pretty much rule, but I really don't want them around me.
I got my stitches out of my back yesterday and that should be IT. I am crossing my fingers that I don't have to go back to the clinic anytime soon since I have become a frequent flyer. I still have to finish off the 2nd round of antibiotics though and am hoping this round will actually do the trick this time. Otherwise I am going to have to enter the land of the sick again at the clinic. Not a good land to be in when training.
So in yoga today the lady asked us who works on computers for a living and I found myself raising my hand while wondering why my hand was going up. But it is amazing how much time you spend on the computer as a so called professional athlete.....inputting stuff into your training diary, downloading info, uploading info, registering, planning logistics for the next race trip, emailing everyone (no, not just fun emails believe it or not), along with a bunch of other stuff.
I do spend a bunch of time on the computer it seems and I know I have had discussions with other pro women in the same boat. It's kind of a crazy sport and life that way but I guess it's essentially an at home business. Alright enough babble. Nighty night.
Oh man, Chris just called and said that we have just inherited a motorcycle (thank you!). But I am not sure a Sherwin (namely HIM) should be on one of those things............I mean you do know how much stuff he has ruined? The amount of of skis and bindings Chris goes through in a normal ski season right down right crazy. "I just broke it" is what I hear all winter long. Same goes for bikes - lets see, there is currently a trashed front wheel in the garage, he put a dent in my old road bike, broke the rear triangle on another bike like 3 times, shall I go on? I have never seen a guys ruin so much stuff in my life. But you see I would rather he do it to the item and not himself for sure.
Oh ya and to add to the madness, how could I have forgotten? The icing on the cake is that he has layed out this exact motorcycle before while riding it on the streets. Broke something on it - can't remember what - but didn't hurt himself thank heavens.
After losing both parents 8 weeks apart in 2009 I almost pulled the plug on racing; thankfully I didn’t! After getting through the hardest time in my life I have had my best years racing yet, getting 4th at Cyclocross Nationals in December and going on to place 4th at Short Track Nationals in July. With the support of the Stan’s NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team I am gunning for a slot on the 2012 US Worlds CX Team. Needless to say, I am so glad I did quit!!