Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stick a Fork in Me

I am done. Wow. Can you say beyond tired and fried right now? Thank the good lord that this is a recovery week because I need it more than ever. Seems like the only things I have been doing are sleeping and riding.....that is if you can call what I am doing riding. It is more like pushing the pedals barely enough to get around the Heber Valley every day. It is pathetic!

What is more pathetic is the lack of snow and the lack of snow that is to come according to the weather people. Now....mind you...I don't mind this in the bike sense of the things but in the "I would like my husband and all my friends to have a job" sense of things this is not so good right now.

I know it will get here in time and in the meantime we are enjoying some luxury unheard of 45-50 degree temps here at the end of the November.

To give you a sense of what the sich-ee-ation looks like, this is a picture with the ski mountains in the distance. And just to really confuse you, that is only a white cloud on top of the mountain, not snow.

There is touch of snow on the left but normally THE BASE of those mountains look like this after a good year:

I know it will get here and at least Deer Valley is able to blow snow in order to open next Saturday, December 6th.

In the meantime, here is to some nice "warm" weather riding!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgive Me-Food

We went over to Wayne and Debs for the huge meal today. This is Wayne. Wayne is a "bike tour organizer and leader - aholic" in the summer and a ski instructor bar none in the winter.

And this is Deb. She is some cook. Holy yummy!

Lotta people and a lotta food. Some people were even Thanksgiving virgins since over half of the 19 people there were Aussies!!

The secret to not overeating? Sit next to the Director of Sport Science for the US Ski Team. Makes you all nervous, self conscious and stuff about what your are chowing on.

Ok, guess I wasn't that nervous.

I can have 6th's right?

And as the night progressed, things got outta hand. Yeah, that is a doggy door but in his defense, the beer was on the deck.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NY to UT

I travelled on Monday and got back to Utah fine and dandy. Since I was jonesing for some salad after having nothing but fruit and carbs all day on the plane, Chris took me right to Olive Garden for the soup, salad and breadstix menu. Perfecto since I wasn't about to start cooking when I got home!

After that it was mess the house up unloading all my junk that I needed for the almost 2 weeks gone on the east coast. According to Chris the place was looking good until I came home with all my stuff and threw it everywhere. He is probably right.

Then it was to bed by 7pm for another 11 hours of sleep. I have to start catching up on sleep.... and NOW!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NACT #8 - Southampton, NY

After 11 hours of sleep which for me is unheard of after an intense race (usually am too wired to sleep) I woke up feeling a smidge better. Not superstar better but better.

It was a tad warmer today and there was less wind on the water as we drove to the course.

My warm up was good but off the line I was still sluggish. But unlike yesterday I was able to make some passes, hold onto wheels, attack and basically race instead of ride my bike in circles. Amazing what a wicked good nights sleep will do to a body that you hammer on every day. It was ok enough for 9th place today. I will need to be happy with the forward movement in the pack instead of any backward movement.

Amy was able to pull through a tough week or so to have a wicked good race today. She was able to hang on Georgia's wheel for a whole lap even! She totally rocked it today and came in 4th, which sealed her Overall Standing in the NACT Series in 2nd. I came in 5th Overall in the NACT Series despite some good times and some bad times over the course of the series.

I had some friends (Frank and Harriet) make the drive from Manhattan to watch the race too. It is so nice to have support like that on the far end of the country from where I live. They were happy to take a ton of pictures of the race as he is a professional photographer. Check out is insanely incredible work here.

Speaking of work, it was gonna take some serious WORK for Frank to put all this down at the Southampton pizza parlor afterwards.

I don't know....somehow when we weren't looking he ordered like 3 or 4 meals for himself! It was dang funny to see all his plates of salad, pasta, chicken, bread, pizza lined up in front of him.

He barely got through anything either but he has meals for the whole next week now, that is for sure!

Next up for moi??? HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NACT #7 - Southampton, NY

Well that pretty much blew Popsicle sticks. I sucked. I suppose waking up completey sobbing because you are so totally drained and exhausted didn't help the matter. But as a pro athlete you have to set that stuff aside and just go out there and do it. And I tried but it was definitely one of those days that you would rather not even be on your bike.

I certainly had moments of thinking I shouldn't start the race today because I was so exhausted I wasn't sure I could navigate my bike and stay upright. And like I said before, this course required technical skills.

It was butt a%# cold today. 20 degrees while "warming up" and the wind chill put us in the teens during the race. I actually wore my baklava (Chris makes fun of me for calling it that) during the race!!!! I looked like a total tool but it got the job done.

The wind on the way to the race was creating WAVES!!!!

I lined up on the line in a complete haze really and truly wondering how my body was going to cope with me trying to race on no sleep since I left Utah 10 days ago. I really did try to put that aside but it just wasn't happening for me today. I was sluggish off the line and had one speed the entire race. If you passed me you passed me and I wasn't chasing because I couldn't. I just wanted to go to bed the whole race. I pushed through it for 10th place but when you are mathematically in the running for winning a series, 10th blows.

Sag Harbor as seen from the car window......just get me to bed!!

Kathy need serious sleepy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Southampton, NY Course Pre-Ride

After a huge night of sleeping in Amy and I got on the road once again with the final destination of host housing in Sag Harbor, NY. She and I were like Batman and Robin taking names all the way to Southampton with are finely tuned navigation skills....well until we actually tried to find the house.

Once in the area where host housing was, Googlemaps took us to a dirt road that wasn't the road the house was on. Hmmmm?? We drove around for about 30 minutes and begged Amy's GPS to work before we finally stopped the UPS guy. UPS people are always a good bet when you are lost and he got us right to the house no problem thank heavens!

Driving around Sag Harbor looking for our housing. Surprisingly there were tons of trees. Don't know why I didn't expect that.

Ahhhhhhh, we found it!!!

Upon arrival we were completely in love with the house we were going to be staying in. Dennis and Sinead, friends of Anna's, were kind enough to let us show them just how ridiculous a bike racers life if they don't really know - they are crazy crazy active!!!! Oh yeah, thanks Amy for the pics. hee hee.

They built their house ground up in Sag. Cool stairs eh?
So we unpacked chaotically, got in our riding gear, jumped back in the rental car and met Anna M at the rental car return place (thanks so much Anna!). Then it was another transfer of our junk into Anna's car with our next stop the Southampton course. I think by the time I got into Anna's car I was zonked. No more energy to do much of anything.

Anna drove us to the course while I was in total in la la land with all the travel we had been doing. It has been a crazy time back east with lots and lots and lots and lots of coordinating things (logistically) ourselves. It was taking a toll on me.

There were only a few riders pre-riding the dry course in the cold today but getting a few laps in was vital for figuring out where things were and what pressure you should run. Too bad I didn't feel like doing any of it. I was exhausted and wanting to just curl up in the car instead. Not a great way to feel the day before a pretty big race but that was my reality.

The course was really mountain bike-ee with some singletrack up in the wood sections that you would weave in and out of. The rest of the course was flat open grass areas. Some of the sections really required some good bike skills which was super fun and challenging! There was also one really steep section that started out as a bumpy off camber. Getting up that thing was gonna be interesting in the race as I would rather ride it than run it....but we all know that depending on who is in front of you and what line they take and how THEY go about getting up that thing dictates what you are able to do. Should be good stuff tomorrow!

So all in all it is a super fun course, but mustering up the energy to tackle it fully was going to take everything I had from within.....I am running on empty. Perfect timing for 2 races this weekend.

Some of the off camber course going into and out of the woods

Flat sections of the course

The area the course is in

Far side of the course

The main side of the course by the Red Bull tent we get to ride through.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

PA to NY

Today after a nice spin in Gettysburg, PA Amy and I spent the rest of the day in a car. We found out it was a long drive out to Long Island and we wanted to split up the drive in 2 days.

For starters though we had to drive to Harrisburg, about an hour away to pick up a rental car, then drive back to Gettysburg, pack our stuff and then drive right back up and through Harrisburg on our way to New York City area.

We didn't know where we were going to stop along the way but as traffic was moving dandily through the New York City area, we decided to go for broke and make our way onto Long Island and spend the night there. Plus the chances of getting on the wrong road and getting lost were huge with all the different roads, freeways, routes, bridges, connectors and we would have rather gotten lost tonight and not tomorrow. Getting lost in New York would be a 30 minute plus mistake unlike in Heber where its a 4 second mistake.

But with my superstar navigator in the passenger seat, we made it with no problems. But we did of course have to be reassured by every toll booth operator that we were going the right way.

It was kind of a long day and I was eager to put my head on the pillow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gettysburg National Military Park, PA

Today Amy and I got out for a good solid ride trying to kick each others tail. It was super good for us and she only proved that she is certainly ready to hold onto and win the NACT leaders jersey this weekend in Southampton. That girl is on fire!

On our warm down we ran across the Gettysburg National Military Park. I love how you just "run across" these things here in PA.

This isn't just a park dedicated to the Battle of Gettysburg; it is one of the parks where it all went down!

This Barlow’s Knoll. Brigadier-General Francis C. Barlow is said to have survived a cannonball through the stomach to the spine suffering from paralysis. I only know this stuff because Amy reads me the plaques....

Afterwards, Amy settles in for a long winter nap with a little Tinkerbell (sheets) and a nice philosophical book.

Same with this guy except he can't read all too well.

Ah heck, neither can I. Why else do you think Amy has to read to me?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gettysburg, PA

Talk about being in a place with a lot of history! Amy and I couldn't even go 10 minutes on our bike before running into a Civil War hospital that was still standing like this one:

Or this one. All fresh from 1863.

Placard's, memorials, plaques, signs, markers inundate this place around EVERY corner. Huge open battlefields, artillery and weapons are all a very common sights around here as well. Kinda weird to be riding your bike right by old cannons in someones yard.

Open land is quite common here. It isn't farm land, it is open battlefield land we are assuming. We are hoping to maybe get out on a tour of some sort this week to get some answers. There are plenty of tours to choose from that is for sure!

They even have homes still standing with gun shots and marks in them! Unbelievable this place is.

Word is too that Gettysburg is a very haunted place having lost some 51,000 lives on this land in the 3 day Battle of Gettysburg.

Weird to think too that Abraham Lincoln was wandering these parts while preparing a pretty important address! "Four score and seven years ago our fathers".....told us to go to bed.

Good night.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

USGPCX #4 - Trenton, NJ

Todays race ended with both good news and bad news. The good news was that I felt like myself today. The bad news was that I couldn't hold a line to save my life.

The mud was almost the same, maybe a bit runnier but not much. They even shortened the course eliminating some of the running but we still only did 3 laps total. And we still had to take a bike change every half lap if we were lucky enough to have someone working their tails off for us in the pits....which Velo Bella did yet again. Thank heavens for our willing team mechanic and crew!!! Amazing amazing amazing! They were so wonderful!!

Ok, so yeah, I had a few mishaps here and there like the time I ran through the pits and dropped the new bike that was given to me and the other time that I couldn't figure out I was supposed to immediately throw my bike on my shoulder instead of run with it. Ah well, those were just two mistakes out of many like drifting into course tape, hitting the course posts, crashing, falling over, almost colliding with other riders, missing the saddle on a remount on the green monster as my front wheel started to dip over the edge (scary!!), getting taped wrapped all around my handlebars, etc. I was a complete mess today.

In all, todays race was one where you were beaten by the person who made less mistakes than you and that accounted for the 13 others that placed ahead of me today who were clearly way more on top of their game than I was.

I ran into some Utahan's too......

Peterson's- note the muddy pants from working the pits

And one even from Heber! Jon G with his Sports Base Events trailer:

And remember Thomas Spannring?? Another ole Heber-ite that now lives in Jersey was there working.

A view from the course over the water that normally packs a wicked cold wind punch.

On our way out and onto Gettysburg, PA we had a beautiful sunset.

Amy and I will be hunkering down in good old historic land of Gettysburg for the week and then heading to the Southamptons race with Morgan and crew.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

USGPCX #3 - Trenton, NJ

I don't remember signing up for a running race???

The day turned out really nice unfortunately....and I say that because of the conditions it created which was mud that was like peanut butter. What is peanut butter? Envision an entire course completely lined with jars of peanut butter. Now take those jars and turn them upside down letting all the peanut butter ooze out. Now you have the exact consistency of the sometimes up to 8" of mud that we got to race in today. That is basically THE WORST because you are putting out huge watts and not moving. It is demoralizing. Had it continued to rain it would have been thinner mud and which would have been easier to ride through but that clearly wasn't the case today and we were all forced to run about 1/3 of each lap we did. The course was so slow that we only did 3 laps total today too (we normally do about 6-7 laps).

When we walked out of the hotel today it felt like a sauna with high humid and an outside temp of around 67! Is it really November?

The race started and in about the fourth corner I started to feel like something was way wrong. And it was. I didn't feel like myself and felt like hell on the bike. Absolute hell. I couldn't run fast and I couldn't ride fast. I didn't feel good doing either. I had to push beyond that hell and talk myself into making every pedal stroke that I made to come across the finish line in 13th. I had one speed today which is the worst when people are passing you and you can do nothing about it. Nothing. It was god awful.

Warming up: (Amy and father, some gal I never met)

The mud was so bad that we were taking bike changes every half lap - something I have never done. In fact, I have only ever taken a bike change once in my life. Think that was in Portland last year. A BIG shout out to Morgan, Hilary and support crew on that one in the pits. They worked their tales off, got sprayed with water lap after lap while cleaning our bikes and then fretted over if they were going to make it back to the pits in time for the next bike exchange. Physically and mentally challenging for them = exhausted support crew afterwards. Poor Morgan.

Unfortunately my own personal hell wasn't over after I cross the finish line. Once I finished I noticed that I could barely pedal, had no balance, felt dizzy and couldn't even walk a straight line. I made my way shakily over to the car and curled up into ball on the ground because I couldn't stand or really even think straight. It was slightly alarming. I ended up dry heaving in the bathrooms immediately following all of that. It was not a stomach bug but was instead a factor of pushing my body beyond its limits and a bit of dehydration too if I had to guess even though I was hydrated at the beginning of the race.

Trying eating your recovery food when you feel like I did. Yep that is about how awesome it was but you have to start planning for the next days race.

Oh yeah and I broke two things. My Zeal sunny's cracked (my fault) and I hit a course marking pole during the race and heard a snap. Now I can't get my shoe off. I really hope I don't have to sleep with it tonight!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

PA to NJ

Road trip! Ok, so it only took 3 or so hours to get to Trenton today but it was still a road trip.

Does anyone else do this to themselves too????? All the stuff I wanted in the car was right by my feet. What is the deal!? I always do that. Always.

For most of (ok - ALL of) the drive it was misty out. Not really raining but just misty enough to need your windshield wipers on....along with needing a really good map because as you can see the MAIN sign for the road we were looking for had been knocked over. Lovely.

Another lovely thing is the gas prices here. A $1 something??

Got to the course just in time to almost get a full lap in. Finished my routine in the dark on the pavement dodging deer and cars on the tiny road that led in and out of the park. Excellent. It was a balmy 60 out which compared to Utah right now seemed down right warm. Loving every minute of that in the dark tonight.

Conditions this year here are soupier than normal. Last year it was pretty dry. But its going to be muddier race tomorrow especially with this forecast that I just looked at:

Rain and patchy fog in the morning...then showers with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Precipitation may be heavy at times. Highs in the mid 60s. South winds 10 to 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. Chance of rain near 100 percent

If this is the case, I seriously cannot wait to race!!! It is going to be fun times!

Alicia is our fellow Velo Bella ripper. She will be looking for a podium spot tomorrow morning in her race. She has so many medals in her room all over her wall that this shouldn't be a problem. Good luck Alicia!!!