Monday, March 31, 2008

Palm Desert

View from my Aunt and Uncles patio

After our big day on Sunday I dropped Chris off at the airport (sad!) and I headed down to Palm Desert where my Aunt and Uncle have a house. I can't tell you how lucky I feel that my job takes me so close to family that I may not otherwise see during the year! They have a wonderful home right on the golf course (of course!) and it has been "nap city" for me. Tired tired tired. But every time I hear someone whack the golf ball I cringe hoping its headed in the direction they want and not my face!

I did get out for some road riding. Got to love it. Is this what they call "Share the Road?"

Tearing up the bike path. Oh I mean tearing up my knobby tires....

Cute little old people on bikes with an engine:

I really do like this climate. 30 degree high in Heber today. Seriously??? That can't be right.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

NMBS #1 STXC and Super D - Fontana, CA

A zen moment before the STXC race (me? not!):

5th place in the Short Track:

Warming up

Need some chain?

What can I say except for wow, what a day. Team Sherwin got 3 podiums overall today. One for Chris in Super D and two for me - one for Short Track and one for Super D.

Here are a few shots from today's Short Track race.

I told you that I felt good yesterday in the Cross Country race didn't I? But others just felt better and you always hope its the other way around right? Well it was the other way around today!!! I felt like I was breathing through a straw today. Got to love those days!! But it made me wonder if I could have gone harder? The answer to that is yes but no. I COULD have but I had to be smart, conserve energy and draft some if I wanted to be in contention for a podium spot. It is hard making decisions like that. Should I stay (with this group) or go (to the next)?? You WANT to go to bridge up to the next. You have what it takes to go to the next but is it smart to go to the next? You have to really think about what you are doing in situations like that. Like I said after the race to many people......I was happier with my brain today than my body. I knew my body could pull it off but it was just a matter if I could play my cards right.

So you are probably wondering how things went down in my race eh? Yeah me too. You think I had my wits about me to recount it all? Not so much. Ha ha! Actually I remember a lot of it but I start second guessing myself when I read other race reports on and Whatever. Here is what I remember:

A strong start. I was out of the gate like a shotgun and got immediately on the leaders (Wendy Simms/Kona) wheel. Georgia (Luna) came around on the next lap and I jumped on her wheel hoping to hang on for dear life which I did for about 0.5 seconds perhaps. When you are already pinned there is something about those extra mighty surges that just top off the pain and sometimes even if you are in it to win it, the body is just not there with that extra touch of fitness that could really be used at a moment like that. Then gaps form of only a bike length and it seems like its a mile and a half away.

After a few laps I found myself with Heather Irminger for a while and then the chase group caught us and I was going to have nothing to do with that!! I think I got stubborn and thought "hey, I have been up here for 20 minutes in the front and I am NOT letting you guys get around NOW" No stinking way! I had worked too hard mentally and physically to let that happen at that point! So once the chase group bridged I went to the front and took it up a notch and dropped them all except the Gary Fisher Subaru girls, Willow and Heather. Great two against one. Not a good scenario but I knew how strong I was, and I knew I was feeling good and I new that I had some more matches to burn. That is all a great place to be in.

But I do admit that at one point during the race I found myself telling myself "you are in over your head and you don't know what to do tactically". Can you believe that self talk? That is bad but on a positive side of things I remember immediately turning all that around telling myself that I am smart and that I can figure this is freaking bike racing for lords sake! And I did.

I knew where I was going to make my final surge against Willow and Heather and I did it. I also capitalized on some very tiny mistakes they made which is what you need to look for and do. Anything and everything helps. I surged past them both on the Mountain Cross corkscrew and got to the top first but it wasn't over yet because we still had to make 2 more loose corners before heading back to the start finish area where the last podium spot awaited. I told myself to keep it clean and not go crazy and you will find yourself on a podium soon. And I did!!! 5th place to be exact. This is my second podium for Short Track.


Then it was back to the tent to warm down, then the Short Track podium presentation, then get ready for the Super D race, ride up to the start of that, ride the Super D course (where I saw another snake!) and then ride back up to the start of the Super D race, race the Super D and then finally collapse. :) I think I was on my bike riding for over 4 hours today before the races, after the races, in between the races, etc, which isn't long but it was more riding than you would expect when you are participating in a 25 minute Short Track race and and 15 minute Super D Race.

So the Super D course started near the top of the cross country course, took you to the very top of it, dropped you into singletrack downhill section and then went up a little bit more before it turned you around to head back to the start/finish area. It was all on the cross country course from yesterday but just a shortened version of it.

It was a lamens start and first we had to leave our bikes 50 feet below us on some pavement. When the gun went off we had to run down to our bikes with our carbon shoes slipping and sliding all over the place, pick up our bike, turn it around, jump on it and head back up the pavement where we hit the single track cross country race course.

I was in about 4th at that time but made some sheeky passes to get closer to the front on the uphill section. I was trying so hard to close that gap between myself and Kelli E. and time was ticking. I knew I had one more opportunity to pass her before the end of the 15 minute race which is what I call couch hill. It is the garbage dump where there is a quick steep pitch but by the time we got to it she was in the middle of it heading up and over and was at the bottom starting up it. I was close but not close enough and had to settle for the second place.

Chris (in orange) got 3rd place in his Super D race. It was pretty cool to both have podium presentations to go to afterwards. Go Team Sherwin!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

NMBS #1 XC - Fontana, CA

Luckily I have played in these reindeer games before and never believed for one minute that 3 laps was actually the final word for race laps. I just had this feeling that it could and would change to 4 laps AFTER the managers meeting had already been held on Friday (where they said it would be 3).

And it did change to 4 but I heard about the change ON THE LINE with one minute till race start. Sweet. Thanks for the update in a timely fashion. After the race I talked to a UCI official and he claimed that everyone who was set up in the vendor area should have been told. But they must have missed our Cannondale tent because no one under our tent had heard anything about the change. Nice attention to important detail eh? GRRRRRR.

Luckily I had prepared 4 bottles (1 per lap) and taken enough gel packets with me in case I was given such news as an additional lap on the line because there would have been nothing I could have done at that point anyway if I hadn't thought ahead. Why should I have to operate like that though? It is ridiculous. Things like this happen all the time!

I have been dealing with these guys long enough that when I FINALLY heard the new news of 4 laps I just simply shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. My heart didn't skip a beat because this is just so typical, so typical. Why even have a big meeting if you are going to change it all later and not let everyone know? How about having the meeting later in the day when you feel good and solid about the info that you are giving the athletes, team directors and mechanics? Seems logical to me. It didn't affect me any (only because I thought ahead) but it sure would have been nice to be mentally prepared in advance for a longer race. And what about those NEW today to the reindeer games? It sure would be nice to have them back and grow the sport instead of freaking them out with news of 4 laps at the line. Not everyone has a team manager to keep track of all the changes all the time either!

In addition to this, before the race while we were all warming up, Bill Peterson saved the day. UCI (Union Cyclist Internationale) had the first feed zone set up ON THE LEFT SIDE at the very bottom of the first steep steep pitch that is considered hard to get up if you don't have good momentum going into it. Recognizing that this isn't such a great idea Bill clamored up bunch of folks to complain that the feed zone should be ON THE RIGHT and perhaps even be moved further down away from the section that every athlete was going to be sprinting in to get good momentum for the hill. At first the UCI tried to tell him that he was wrong and that is the way they have been doing things forever but Bill was persistent and got it changed for the Pro races at least. Thanks for caring Bill!

On to the actual race. I was called up to the line for the start and had a choice of first row inside on the left or second row middle. I went for the front row because I was banking on my strong starts to get out in front and therefore NOT get squeezed out on the first hairpin left hand turn. Kind of a gamble there that I was willing to take for whatever reason because if I had a bad start.....there would go my race. The second row was a sure bet that I wouldn't get squeezed out but I would be putting myself behind people already and I didn't like that idea all too much.

But my gamble paid off and I moved up and into third position immediately allowing for an easy left turn with plenty of real estate to move around on. I hung on in third for a while up the climbs but got passed slowly but surely as I made my way up further on the dusty singletrack. And the thing was I was feeling good and I was climbing really well but everyone else just had more today to give. That is what happens in this biz sometimes though.

Overall it was a rippen fast pace. Holy cow fast. People were like rocket ships I tell you. Everyone is in top form for the first World Cup that is just around the corner in Belgium (April 19-20) which will be a factor in determining who goes to the Olympics and who doesn't. So no one is messing around with their fitness right now to say the least.

The Canadians were out in full force too today. I have never seen so much representation at a NMBS race before. And strong too...they took 4 out of the 5 spots on the podium in the Pro Women's Cross Country. It is going to be a rippen fast paced year at the races indeed if they all continue to bless us with their fast pace (competition is GOOD!).

So despite my plentiful amounts of attacks, good solid down hilling, no incidents, good legs, good lungs I still ended up in 11th. That is a solid finish-not my best, not my worst but solid and I will take it in the field I was dealt today.

Oh and I saw a snake that I just about rolled over during the race but I swung around it just in time to save it. I saw one yesterday too when I was pre-riding which was the exact color of the sand and about 3-4 feet long and skinny. It was like a dart in front of my tire as it ripped across the course. This one today was dark and tiny. It is a jungle out here!

Short Track and Super D tomorrow. Yeah!

** pix when get I em'

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Word Is

3 short laps on the course for the women. That will be about an hour and a half race give or take. Wow. Short. It was so on the fence of where the women might land time wise and according to UCI rules women cannot go over 2 hours so they have to err on the light side.

This is the venue but really more the parking lot for the venue. I need zoom on the cam.

What a pro racer does while waiting for a race. Notice the luxury of both the computer and TV in sight AND feet are up all in the yucky hotel room.

NMBS #1 - Fontana, CA Race Course

I made it to Fontucky without incident in exactly 5 hours total. Not bad but the second I merged onto I-10 from I 15 I ran into this only 3 miles or so from my exit to get to the venue. Good ole CA!

And once I made it off off I-10 I drove past the Truck driving school:

And the graffiti:

And the trash:

And not to mention panhandlers to get there.

Not much has changed since last year really except that there are more houses and it does seem to be an up and coming area for the most part. It is still heading in that direction from what I can see. More trees, plants and development for sure.

The course is the same as in years past EXCEPT that they shortened the loop significantly for the Pro's only to adhere to UCI rules of a certain distance of 9k I believe it is. So all is the same until you get to the garbage dump where people got paint balled the other year during the race:

Then after this you still switchback up a bit and just as you are starting that final climb the course takes you to the left and down where it connects to the old loop. This takes out that final climb along with all the fun semi techy stuff on the far end of the course. Kind of sad but I enjoy short courses too.

Aside from that not much has changed except for a few more houses down in that valley there (that was bare bones years ago). Picture taken from the course.

Looking to the west side of the course from the course

The new section takes you here then drops you back down into a sand wash.

On course looking to the East:

And here is what makes this place what it is. We get to ride past graffiti:

And rotting old hairspray bottles:

And more graphic art:

And shopping carts too:

And even trash dumps!

And then more trash:

And then there is Shannon Boffelli who fit right into the whole scene. I found him walking around the parking lot with suitcase in tow. He hitched a ride from the airport over and then hitched a ride back with me.

He fit in perfect. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Car Blogging

Heard it's snowing in SLC?

Not making great time but do I gain an hour? I need it.

Lost wages...

Leg #1 - St .George, UT

After just under 4 hours of driving and no music (my choice.. but really??.... what was I thinking about the whole way I have to ask myself......see folks this is how I can ride the trainer for hours on end no problem. It is quite the talent to zone out for that long if I do say so myself) I made it safe and sound to St. George, UT where I got in a pretty ok mtb ride at Churchrock.

I say it was only ok cuz the there were few long sand pit sections that were kind of annoying (and they are only going to get longer as things continue to dry out) and I had to go back to the car mid ride to unplug my refrigerator. Yes, you read it correctly. My refrigerator. It plugs into the car cigarette lighter (has anyone ever used the "cigarette lighter" for what it is actually intended for?). Anyway, so that kind of threw things off a bit because I didn't want the car battery to die on me. That would have sucked.

Once done riding I headed over to a local racer Danny, his wife Kim, and kids place. They even made dinner for me and had it waiting when I walked in the door! That was nice since I told them that I a self sufficient traveler and they don't need to lift a finger for me. And then their 6 year old daughter Cameron gave up her princess bedroom for the night for me too. Felt like a Queen I tell you. Me, queen? Not.

And now as I sit here procrastinating the rest of the drive (5 Hours) to Fontucky I get to listen to this guy whistling at me. At least it is the weee - whooo (your hot!) whistle eh?

And on that note my friends I have to git r done and git on the road. By for now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Goodbye Husband, House, Heber

and HELLO to the heat!!! Yes!!!! Ok, well I admit that I will of course miss my husband dearly on some of the trips that he can't make. As for the house, luckily I am satisfied with the state it's in at the moment because the way it looks at this very second inside and out is pretty much the way it is going to stay until the end of the season. Is there ever an end to the season? Ok that's a whole another story there. And, Heber yes, I will miss it too but it has been yucky cold for a while now and I am ready to hit the heat!

Getting in the car and taking off right now for the first part of my journey to St. George, UT, then to good ole Fontana, CA tomorrow. I will keep you all updated of course too!

Alright off I go........

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Start of the Season

I am packing today for the first time this year for a bike race. It will be the first of many many many races and packing sessions to come. But the first pack is always the hardest because you are rusty from the winter and can't quite remember what mattered to you and what didn't during the last season. Plus, its all "out with the old and in with new" meaning swapping out all your bike clothes, any sponsor clothing, bikes, parts, etc. with the new stuff. So its not like you can just take your pre packed bag and go which would be ideal. All fun but time consuming.

I spent a good 6 hours packing today because I can't just simply PACK either. To simply pack would mean I am not a type A personality therefore if I get in that sock drawer and it needs is getting organized right then and there. So between that and changing out all my gear things take me FOREVER on the first trip of the year. Did I mention FOREVER?

When I was cleaning out my files (no not today, the other month!!....I am not THAT bad) I ran across this article from a 2004 Velo News. I clipped it for good reason because as I get ready for the start of my season today, this says it all. I took the bits and pieces of it that really tells it like it is.

*Oh and the "him" they refer to below can also be a girl too I think for my purposes. :)

Happy trails to you all that are heading to a race this weekend!

Let the season and fun begin!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Heat Stroke

Today was one of the first days that it hit 50ish in Heber. It was gorgeous out but I couldn't follow suit and wear one layer like I wanted to. I wore my staple two very thick "winter" layers in hopes of continuing to help my body get used to heat and warmer temps again for this weekends up and coming first National MTB race in CA. Read about Heat Acclimatization here.

This has been a rare year where Heber hasn't reached the 60's and 70's yet which means I am still training in colder weather. And, in order to offset that a bit and to try and adapt to warmer temperatures (which will eventually come but not soon enough!!) I have been bundling up and sweating to death on each ride in order to simulate a warmer environment. Makes for a pretty miserable experience really but that what MTB racing is all about in the much misery, suffering and pain you can take which sounds terrible but is so fun to challenge yourself with.

So, heat wise, this is the best I can do at the moment to prepare for this weekends race. Everything like that matters even if its only makes a 1% difference because sometimes that percent is all you need. But I sure would like to just slip a pair of shorts and jersey on and enjoy the weather some too! Soon enough I guess......

**oh and I took the above picture cuz I thought it was kind of a funky view of whatever that is covering the ground. Here is a closer shot:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good Friends

I needed to get a few mtb miles in today on my new Cannondale Taurine so who else would I call on an Easter Sunday to fit the bill?

It started with I love mayonnaise who agreed to be a part of the "no place to go on Easter" crew and we ended up with more buddies who happened to also be a part of the "no place to go for Christmas" crew in 07. See a trend here for all of us?

So all us misfits which included Bobbay, Fox, Ali and his buddy set out for a ripper of a ride in Salt Lake City from Shoreline towards Dry Creek. And it was ON from the start which of course is a steep climb. Ugh. Good thing I warmed up while driving myself to the trailhead. Not!

The Taurine was awesome and was like a dart. It handled exceptionally well and soaked up all the nasty bumps so my body didn't have too. That is what I am talking about! It was the first time out on it and I am very psyched to have it as part of my fleet for the season.

It was good to see that we weren't the only people with no place to go today as we knew almost every group we came across whether it was TONS of roadies on the road, hikers w/ their dogs or other mtber's on the trail. Pretty much everyone from SLC was out and about today enjoying the almost 60 degree weather.

What a good day. The trails were nice and ridable (with a few flash backs from the CX US Nats Kansas City race here and there) and the company was more than fun. Everyone knows how to laugh and have a good time whether its doing nasty stuff like this to see if they can suck it back up or just trying to out sprint each other to a stop sign. I am lucky to have friends that I love and who know how to rip on a bike. I am looking forward to getting in some more group rides with these guys as the snow continues to melt.

***photo courtesy of Sly. I wasn't all that into the pic thing today for whatever reason. Like Ali's sox?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I Broke the Bank

Have you ever broken the bank? I did today. You know what I did? I put a ton of coins in the plastic case that shoots up and over from my car to the teller so she can deposit the $ in my account.

..............and it was too heavy for the air to push it.

So it's stuck there now where I last placed it until after Easter cuz the bank has to call the service people.

Crud. That is embarrassing eh?

Here, I will say it for you.............."nice work Sherwin."

But it made me feel better that the very first person I told had done the same thing.........uh, yeah, when she was 18!!!!!!!

Here I was thinking that it is the year 2008 and the coins shouldn't be a problem BUT what I should have been thinking was, you live in Heber girl!! :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Teeter Totter

All I have to say is don't get sick because it makes life so incredibly difficult. For about over a week now I have been sick. It is such a bummer when that happens after you take all the precautions too. But once sick, you find yourself fighting everyday with the ever pending and annoying questions like:

to train, to go, to not go, to do half the training, to do all of the training, maybe none of the training, how about some of the training, to rest, to sleep instead, to relax, to not do errands that NEED to get done, etc. And those were just the questions regarding trying to get on the bike.....then there is yoga and pilates - what about those and fitting those in? The whole series of questions starts all over. Oh joy.

Being an athlete is finding that fine balance of everything and thankfully at this point I know my body on and off the bike. I can tell you when I am getting sick before it happens in most cases and I can tell you when I can feel myself riding into a hole of sickness. It has all come from experience and not very good ones at that but I learned from them at least. Every time I get better and better at reading when it is ok to get on the bike again and for how long and at what intensity making life a little easier without racking the brain too much.

Here is to good health!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It Is Still Not Warm

but I will take anything I can get at this point!

In other words 40 works just fine right now. It is weird to need to put on sunscreen when its that chilly out, but breaking it out is a sure sign that SUN may be on the way perhaps. Yes!

Kind of an uneventful day on the bike aside that I almost ran over a punt dog which in turn almost got run over by a school bus, which in turn had every kid in Heber Valley loaded up in all the windows checking out the action.

I have noticed that school buses around here stop at least every 30 seconds (this bus today was 15 seconds in between stops). Is that really necessary? Walking is supposed to be good for you I thought???

Monday, March 17, 2008

More For Leno

I found a couple other ads for Jay Leno's Headlines that I am sending their way.....

Kid with a a stroller?

Check out the second sentence. That seat does that, does it?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Snowy March

I forgot to load this picture from yesterday of our deck.

Is there an "off" button for this stuff or what?
Makes for good skiing though!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St. Pattys Party

Someone informed me that yesterday was Pi Day. Do you get it? I didn't. I will let you think about it if you don't already know.

Like the bow tie? Suits him well.

Rams was excited!

For Fox, who has not eaten in over 3 weeks on purpose.

Ok, did you think about it?


I hadn't ever heard of that in my life but it makes sense I guess.