Friday, October 31, 2008

Boulder Cup Course Pre-Ride

Can you say goathead central?

4 of us pre-riding = 8 flats in under 6 minutes.

That was our pre-ride and with not enough tubes to go around we had to stock up along with everyone else and their mother at the local bike shop.

Thank heavens we didn't take our tubbies out there today!

After getting geared up all over again and getting some lunch we decided to play it safe and hit the roads instead. There are some great views outta Boulder for sure!

Then kids starting coming to the house one after the next for some trick - or - treats. And, in full on Boulder style, the first to arrive were the Devo kids:

I am sorry to report though that I missed the kid wearing a homemade Styrofoam toilet costume where you were supposed to through the candy in the bowl. Dang it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And I Call Myself a Bike Racer?

I have NEVER been to Boulder, CO. Yep, that is some confession. Boulder - home of what seems to be almost every successful road and mountain cyclist known to mankind.

I was actually pretty anxious to see this place after all I have been reading and hearing about for the last decade. And as we came up and over a hill from the airport "bam" we get the full view of the Boulder Valley. The shuttle driver said "There she is, 24 square miles on the edge of reality." I can relate to that pretty well though being that I am from the Park City area.

Boulder is actually pretty big. I had envisioned something like Durango but its not. I mean heck, how can it be since its got the University of Colorado at Boulder smack dab in the middle of it. Pretty cool. A building ordinance keeps buildings at respective heights. And there are plenty of bike paths to go around. The downtown area (Pearl Street) to me resembles Europe a bit as it is a pedestrian only area on brick walkways.

I am lucky enough to be staying with Shannon Gibsons sister and brother in law in Boulder. And, Nick gave me the bike path tour almost immediately upon arriving. It is not a tour you can really do by yourself either. There are bike paths everywhere going up and over the roads, under the roads, around the roads. Secret entrances here and there and everywhere. Dirt paths that lead to a Wed night Short track series, a crit series, a this series, a that series. Impressive. And many cyclists to go around as well. Pretty cool. It doesn't sound as though the area is super populated with mountain bike trails, but they are working with some success to change that. The road riding here as I understand is out of this world though.

My tour guide extraordinaire, Nick Stevens who when he decides to race his Pro/Elite class will have to start on the last row with very few points and always ends up killing it to come in at least mid pack. That takes work!!!! Let's just say he is extremely used to the phrase "on your left".

But really I think that is just par for the course here. Everyone has extreme talent and when they come out of hiding they will kick your pants off.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's in His Wheaties?

I leave tomorrow for Denver by air for the next races. The bikes have been packed since I got back from Delaware so that makes things super easy. I know that is way bad but I chose to put my energies into something watching Chris train for bike racing:

Yep, he's Kite Boarding again. I wish I knew his secret. Maybe it's just a good dose of doing whatever you can because you can and loving every bit of it. He came away with another win last weekend in the Utah Cyclocross Series!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

MTBing Deer Valley

It is still getting up to 70-75 during the day here which is the perfect time to get out on the mountain bike and take er for a spin......although I haven't done that since the day I broke my hand and wrist in Windham, NY in July.

So today was the maiden voyage on the dirt with my Cannondale Scalpel since my incident. It had been sitting in the garage collecting dust this entire time which is so sad. I hadn't even touched it but when I did today that thing felt like a Cadillac - with suspension and the whole nine yards. I am so used to my cross bike right now!

Riding with the da boys (Chris, The Chad and Blake-ee-poo)

We got a good 3000 feet of vertical in, saw a dog that we thought was bear, put up with Chris's stinky's (and he was leading!!!) and even got a tad off the beaten path too but what else is new on that one.....we were with The Chad after all. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hand Surgeon

We had a nice sunset tonight!

This week has just been a down right cluster. Between trying to nail down sponsorship for next year, bills up the yang coming in for all my broken body parts from this race season, a full email inbox and appts everyday I have had plenty do to.

So when my Hand Surgeon was 1.5 hours late to see me today I didn't even notice. Seriously. I was on the phone and texting the entire time I waited. Too much shiz going on right now for sure.

But once I got in to see my Hand Surgeon he let me know that he was breaking up with me and this would be our last visit unless I wanted to consider having the metal plates taken out. People leave them in mostly but some have them taken out if they are inter fearing with life. For instance, my left hand gets extremely cold compared to my right hand because there is freaking metal in there not far from the surface of the top of my hand. And I guess if its too annoying I can have the plates removes. They also remove them if range of motion is still hindered which mine still is. I am opting to leave everything as is for the moment because it's another 6 weeks of recovery time after yet another surgery. And although the second time around is not as insanely intense as these last 3 months have been therapy wise I will opt out on that one for now. Plus I am just not into opening the body up unless you HAVE to.

So I guess I am fully healed according to the x-rays that were taken today and my doctor about fell off his chair when I told him what I had been up to (9 races in 6 states) since I last saw him 6 weeks ago. He was psyched and blown away too at just how well my racing is going and even told me that I had come VERY far in a VERY short time. I love hearing that!

He did scare me though. He told me that I only had 1 - 2 months left for trying to get my range of motion back and that was about it. That sucks.

Right now I am completely pain free (hail to a good hand surgeon!!) and I don't feel it or think about it at all while I am on the bike. The only thing I am lacking is range of motion and strength in that hand. The only way I can describe the range of motion thing is that if I were to grab a bunch of almonds with that hand, I wouldn't be able to hold onto all of them completely because I can't make a tight fist yet. Is that something I could live the rest of my life with? Sure, and people do, but why should I if I can do therapy myself to get as much range as I can in the next 2 months out of it. You never know when you may actually NEED that motion later in life either!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hand Therapy

Yep, still doing plenty of therapy when I am home in between races. It is still extremely time consuming but if I want full use of my hand, I have to do it. The cool thing is that racing is therapy for it. I never thought THAT was possible, but just gripping the bike bars and using my hand during the races works the range of motion as well as the strength aspect.

That is a good thing since I walked back in to see my Hand Therapist in Park City, UT with my tail between my legs. I had to confess yet again that I hadn't done any formal therapy on my own while I travelled to races. She was ok with that though but did say that this patient did the same thing one to many times.

I love Halloween! Actually, she didn't say that and was cool with it but then proceeded to make me hit the ceiling trying to force the range of motion as she wrenched my hand for the next hour.

We did some testing again on it too and despite my lack of therapy on it the last few weeks, I had improved range of motion wise by a few degrees as well as strength wise too. Cool. You have to love the body for always wanting to build itself again and be healthy when it's not. My right hand is still twice as strong as my left but the left is catching up on its own! Yes!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good Lord It's Cold Here

Ever have those days where you are cold all day? I hate that!

Even so, it is great to be home. I missed my hubby!

Monday, October 20, 2008

PA to UT

If I hear one more person sneeze or cough....

The not so joys of travel.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

MAC Series #4 - Ludwigs Corner, PA

Today started out a lot better than it did yesterday since no one ran over my bike wheel with their car prior to my race but their were still bike issues.....just not during the race.

So I am trying to not be too hard on myself but I have to say that the outcome of today's race was a bit a of a bummer for me. I came in 5th but should have done much better than that because my fitness is there.

I had the power today but just not when I needed it which was at the very beginning of the race. A bit of a lack of power off the line despite a great warm up and a great call up along with a problem getting into my pedals left me fighting to get to the front by the first corner of the race. NOT the position you want to be in on the first corner. But you take it for what its worth and move forward.....or you try to until someone makes an inside pass causing a big tangle of your pedals in other peoples wheels. So after getting off my bike and untangling things I was on my way again and the lead group of four were "gone baby gone". GREAT. Here we are 2 minutes into the race and I am in the chase group already.

Seeing that it was now or never for me I sat in on the chase group, got my brief rest in and then started the process of bridging across to the lead group by myself in the howling wind. They were far far ahead already but I HAD to at least try. Why not? What is the worst that can happen? You blow and get a good workout in? Ya, maybe but you have to try.

I knew I had the overall power to get there and I had to try as the race was unfolding in front of me and I didn't like that! I wanted to be a part of it like I was yesterday! So I gave it the longest and hardest effort with absolutely no break in order to bridge alone. And with every lap I was seeing the rewards of doing so as I was closing in on the lead group!! The crowd was super supportive in helping to motivate me even more by hooting, screaming and yelling. I was giving it all I had hands down and even started to think that I was going to be in trouble once I got there because I knew someone would (should!!) attack once reconnected with the group. But that never came to fruition because I only got as close as 7 seconds off the lead group and then started feeling the effects of my lonely efforts in the head wind. That left me with 2 laps to go and dieing on the inside. Completely turned inside out, body is trying to recover and I am now just simply trying to hold on to 5th without having a late race meltdown.

Success....I got my 5th and I should be happy with that especially since I know deep down inside that I gave it absolutely positively all I had today. Everything.

Here is a picture of the finishing straight and area

And the ever so popular Circle of Death in the background. You somehow wind yourself in there making nothing but a right hand turn and then wind yourself back out doing nothing but a left hand turn. Very dizzy-ing when you are on the rivet.

So the drama of today unfolded AFTER the race. My bike fell partway off the bike (trunk) rack on the freeway and was dragging behind the car. Luckily Dee Dee (who came in 2nd today!!!) was paying attention to the rear view mirror because Buck, her hubby and I, were just chatting it up as if all was wonderful. Meanwhile my bike is hanging on for dear life on the back of the car!

They have since bought a new rack, the bike is ok and because I didn't freak out at all as all of this was happening (and knowing what happened to me yesterday with someone running over my wheel and having a bent derailleur too prior to the race) I was deemed by Buck as either a really good actor OR someone that just doesn't let things work them up.

I can definitely get worked up but you just have to pick your battles and decide what your energy is going to be wasted on I guess. Plus, you do this long enough and you start to see things happening again and again and it comes as no surprise anymore!

Home tomorrow!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

MAC Series #3 - Wilmington, DE

You could say today didn't start out peachy. First I took my A Bike out of the car and the derailleur was bent. Lovely. Thank heavens we have to 2 trusty mechanics on hand, Buck and Morgan. They rule. I wasn't worried a bit that they would have the bike up and running in no time. And I still had my B bike with me right? So one bike was working and it'd be all fine and dandy if we couldn't get the other up and running in time.

...Well that is what I was thinking until some dude RUNS OVER my Reynolds carbon wheel that was attached to my B bike laying on the ground not far from my passenger door WITH HIS CAR.

Yes, CAR.

He stops the car ON MY WHEEL and looks at me; I am doing other stuff until I feel the loomy shadow of his car and turn around and about have a heart attack. Nothing like seeing a CAR tire sitting on your bike wheel before your race. I tell him to GET OFF IT and he drives away as if NOTHING has happened. Not a care or concern in the world for him and yet he has potentially ruined my race. That was less that considerate I must say.

And, luckily the Reynolds wheel HELD UP if you can even believe it and so did the Challenge Tire! Buy Reynolds Wheels and Challenge everyone! They rock! I was SO lucky.

So those were my 2 pre race dramatics which it seems you always have whether its forgetting your GU gel at the line or having your bike wheel run over by a car. It is always something and you must be prepared to "deal" at all times.

Alright now for the race. It was super hilly for cross race. It was dry and sunny out with grass off camber FAST descents and steep pitches that were barely barely barely ridable. Overall the course was super bumpy requiring low tire pressure to take the burden off your arms. One barrier section in a very inconvenient spot.....what else is new?

Got a picture of this tower that sits on the DuPont estates that we were racing on. We climbed up to that thing on every lap on some singletrack that made it feel like an mtb race. It was fun although quite painful. I just put the pain in the back of my head on that one.

I had a first row start which I found to be very convenient heading up the pavement like a bat out of hell with everyone. And right away Mo, Deidre (my teammate!!) and I got a gap that we just kept growing and growing over then next 40 minutes.

And mid race........I became a yo yo again. Losing time over the barriers and in other "cross" sections and then closing the gap. It was well said when a reporter came up to me at the end and said "how many times did you close the gap...172". I think it was 173 though. But I did not give up. That thought and notion wasn't part of what I was thinking so it wasn't an option.

The finish line came down to a sprint for 1-2-3. Yes again. Same thing happened in Gloucester, MA last weekend. Starting out the sprint was Deidre in 1st, Mo second and me on the back. Deidre wound it up and so did Mo and I thought hey, why not be a copy cat and so I wound it up too and was able to take Mo just moments before crossing the finish line.

Velo Bella went 1-2!!!! And 5 (Barb) and 8 (Anna)!! Nice work!

Here is a picture of the area

Deidre, Barb H, Anna, Mo, some random chick.

And more pics of the area.

Here is a bit of a wright up on the race although they have the story wrong in the end. I came in 2nd.

Tomorrow is more racing up in Ludwigs Corner, PA. Yee Haw!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Boston to DE

On the road again!

And still enjoying the leaves....this time from my car.

Got to New Haven, CT and saw Yale which was a first for both. Anna, who I met up with there goes to Yale; she is an amazing athlete and scholar. Impressive.

Got to see New York City from a distance for the first time in my life. Yes, first time. This is the George Washington Bridge......and a dirty windshield! :)

And after 6 hours of driving we got to Wilmington, DE! Never been to Delaware either. We got here just in the knick of time for me to get a bit of a ride in too and it was gorgeous! The trees were so thick in sections on the road that you thought it was midnight out.

And after a long day in the car we settled in at host housing at essentially crashed almost immediately.

Still in Boston

Well, for like 5 more minutes...

I am getting ready to head to PA and DE for the next races this weekend right now. But in the meantime I have been squeezing out every last bit of a gorgeous fall here in Boston that I can!

So now off I go to Connecticut to meet up with my teammate Anna. From there we head to our host housing.

On the road again!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Sara left Michael (her hubby) and I alone for 2 seconds and we successfully and pretty much immediately went and locked ourselves out of the house.

Sooooo, we got a great look at the moon as we sat outside on the stoop waiting for her to come home.

At least it was warm. Can't take us anywhere can you?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nap Time

Wow I am tired today. I need super sleep right now because I can barely move. Apparently I gave it all I had this weekend so that is good. My left hand is really sore though. It will hopefully get used to the pounding that I give it every weekend soon.

But I did slowly get my stuff ready and got outside for a ride today hitting the bike path.

and some wooded trails too.

It was fun but it was more fun to get home and go to bed.

I am whooped.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

CX Gran Prix of Gloucester #2-Gloucester, MA

Stage Fort Park is on the water

Yo - yo.

No, I am not saying "hi" or trying to get your attention I am simply stating the only fact from the race today: I was a yo - yo the entire race.

The race started off like a shot except for this time I didn't hear blowing tires behind me along with the clanging of metal from wrecks occurring. A much cleaner start today I must say for us all. Amy D my teammate was off like a shot and never to be seen again. Oh yeah and on that note, the UCI lady said to us on the line not to go crazy up the pavement of the start because the race isn't won there. Are you kidding? Yeah it is. What's up with these strange lectures on the line anyway? Shouldn't they be taking the time instead to calculate THIS YEARS points so that we can line up accordingly .....instead of using last years UCI points to do this? For some reason (and maybe there is a darn good one) they wait until the first World Cup Cyclocross race (October 19th) to calculate this years points that you have been getting. So we are lining up this year on last years points. Sweet guys - yeah I will be sure to go slow on the pavement. I guess there intentions of being safe are all good though.

So yeah, Amy is off like a shot and takes the lead and I am sitting around 5th or 6th I suppose going into the first grassy corner.

Today we had the same obstacles as yesterday (sandpit and barriers) IN ADDITION to a run up. This run up was like the one in Lakewood, WA that I did a few weeks ago in steepness but thankfully not in length. This one today seemed like a hop-skip- and a jump compared to the other!

The very top of today's run up

Looking down the run up. The path to it down below is right on the water.

But the problem for me today was that I felt flat running the sandpit and running the run up. I was no gazelle....lets put it that way. And that left me getting gapped after EACH obstacle on EACH lap EACH time. It sucked!! Then in between those I would have time to chase down 2nd -4th and by the time I got to them I was tired and had to sit. Then the next obstacle would come and got it .....they gap me a few bike lengths. It was a constant yo yo where I was attached to the group and then would fall off after the obstacle. It was so bad that it became predicable in my head as to exactly where on course I was going to catch back on. Ridiculous. I guess I need to look at it like: at least I had the oomph and gumption to get my tail back onto the group each time. It would be really easy to give up but I didn't and it did pay off because I could have come in 2nd if I had known what I was doing in the sprint finish at the end. Of course firing off all those matches to get back on the group each time didn't help anything........

At the tippy end of the last lap I successfully positioned myself into 4th place, one gal right behind me and 2 pulling. The 3 of us got a bit of a gap on the gal behind and I decide to attack Mo (in 3rd) on a pitchy uphill section that immediately u turns back down an off camber hill and then goes up again. Successful attack? - yes but she was able to counter that and we were back at square one sitting in (her) 3rd and (me) 4th. Hmmmm? Now I gotta think quick since that didn't work and the finish line is know....around the corner and up paved hill and its anyones game at this point. Not much time to get it done now!

And before I can begin formalizing a plan - BAM - 5th comes around like a shot on the pavement taking both of us. I was able to follow and pass Mo but it was over. 2nd - 5th place all came across the line within a few seconds from each other. I came in 4th. Meanwhile Amy D. was already napping after reveling in her 2nd win of the weekend. You go girl!

Meanwhile Sara got the same start position on the last row, passed on any fights with hay bales and let it fly coming in 14th!! Well done considering she isn't training with any intensity at all right now since her focus is La Ruta MTB Race coming up in November. Oh yeah, and after the race today she decided to ride her bike home 35 miles back to Boston. Yeah, I think I will drive thank you. :)

The venue

Some spectators sat on that rock to watch the races

Part of the mostly grass course.

Nice views of the Gloucester Harbor from the park

And while I was out East racing, Chris just went down the block from our house and raced the B Men 35+ in the Utah Cyclocross Series. It was cold and snowy out in Heber City but he still came away with his 2nd victory of the season! Check out a picture of him here. (in blue). Yey Chris!

Oh yeah...and this thing on my arm???? It is from doing something really weird when I go to set my bike back on the ground after shouldering it. I need to stop that.... and quick! if they would just make "pedal pads" for the end of your pedal that DIGS into your lower back when you are shouldering. But since they don't make pedal pads I got something that looks like that thing on my arm on my back too!

Yeah!!! Pedal pads!! :) That'd look sweet! Or maybe just encase myself in bubble wrap. That'd do the trick!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

CX Gran Prix of Gloucester #1-Gloucester, MA

Geez. I never knew that the Gloucester race was RIGHT on the water. Very cool.

We were met with sunny skies and warm air for the cyclocross race today which is unbelievable on the East Coast in late October.

The race course was fairly straight forward with one curvy sandpit that for me was best to run through and one set of barriers in the most awkward of spots:

imagine flat s turns
now imagine tipping those s turn up 40 degrees or so
imagine looser ground
imagine the barriers being in the middle of those turns on that 40 degree uphill.

you don't have any momentum, you have to get off before the turn to the barriers, then SHOULDER the bike because suitcasing it just takes to much out of you (me) on an angle like that.

It was tricky but doable and at race pace it was even trickier. I wasn't scared of it like I would have been last year though which was a nice feeling. And that is not to imply that I looked "good" going over those things. Certain laps I was chaotic trying to grab my downtube, not fall, not loose positions while simultaneously running over the barriers. WAY too much going on and so much to think about!

I got off to a slower start today which wasn't surprising to me for some reason. But I stuck in there mixing it up in the top 7. And as things went on I started feeling better but it was too late by then and Mo and I were left to duke it out for 6th place. I attacked with 2 laps to go but she responded by flying through the sand pits on by me with no effort at all. I sat, I waited, I planned and I jumped on the last lap and was able to hold it this time. Sloppy sixths.

But my team mate Amy D WON!!! That girl is on fire! Good on her. I remember riding with her at one point during the race today and then looking up a half a lap later and seeing her OFF the front with a gap and remember thinking.....where was I when she did this? There is always tomorrow right?!

This was her massive beer glass that she won - FULL of beer. That thing is as big as she is! Good thing she just turned 21 last month!

Sara did awsome today too. She got a last row call up, hasn't put in one VO2 effort for months, hasn't raced cross in YEARS and was top 15 easy before she had a fight with a bail of hay. But she still stuck it out for a top 20! Yeah!

After the race I got the tour of Josie Beggs and Andy Jacques Maynes home on wheels. It is a freakin' PALACE. Unbelievable.

Traffic on the way back to Boston. HEY!!!!!! That guy is going the wrong way!

Holy moon bat man. Does this mean I am not going to sleep tonight? Rats.

Nighty night- uh- er....I hope!