Sunday, November 14, 2010

USGPCX #6 - Fort Collins, CO

Yay!!! I got to race today!! The evidence is here in this pic.

I felt so good to be out there racing normally today after yesterday's horrible incident. On that note, I woke up with absolutely positively NOTHING sore, swollen or even scratched. A whole lotta nothing from the crash. I still can't believe that.

Now if only I hadn't had to start the race on my muddied up new B Bike, while not having seen the whole course yet and after not getting a great warm up in, it would have been awesome.

What is this amateur hour? Good lord.

So the bike situation was all a mess because I broke my frame in two spots in the crash yesterday so my B bike became my A Bike and my team manger had to piece together another bike last night and this morning so I could have something in the pits heaven forbid I need a bike change again.

This is also when you feel like bowing down to your team that you already thought was wonderful. Trying to deal with this jargon while supporting yourself is not fun (been there). I don't take anything i have for granted and am so thankful for any and all help that I get!!!! And here I now miraculously had a second bike for the Sunday race. Wow that is awesome, thanks guys!!!!!

So off I went on my, shall we call it almost a C Bike, on the start line. Nice. It was fitting a bit odd even after trying to get it right and it was rolling different too which is to all be expected since it was a different size and the whole nine yards.

Now had this been.....oh say.....5+ years to go and had I rolled to the line on a bike that really didn't fit me and that I wasn't used to I would have had an internal explosion of freaked outness (my new phrase). But today it just simply was what it was and I laughed about it on the start with my teammate Amanda. Yeah, its not the greatest scenario but whatever, I will figure it out. I think one might call that plenty of experience with a lotta different junk happening to you over the years of racing. You learn to roll with it instead of wasting precious energy having a cardiac arrest about it.

Oh and if that wasn't weird enough to start a race on an unfamiliar bike, you think I wasn't freaking out just a tiny bit about that first corner?? Last thing I wanted to do was cause another commotion so I got a great start, then laid off in the corner staying FAAAAAAAAR away from everyone and THEN started my race. I had issues with that corner. I just felt BAD about what went down the day before because it sucked. But once thru that corner it was on like Donkey Kong.

Amanda Miller and I riding in the Top 10

The course which I didn't mention in the previous post was interesting in that it had a lot of climbing in it. "A lot" when you are talking about cyclocross that is. It had dried out much more today and was tackier. That would be good for me as maybe I wouldn't need to pit after I pitted the one time to get MY bike back.

I just had to plan when to pit and get my normal bike back and get rid of this other bike that didn't really fit me. I did about 3 laps and kind of established my position and then went in for the pit change. I wanted to do it way earlier but I really needed to get where I wanted to be for the most part in the race. And that I did and then went in and got "my" bike. Ahhh.

Once on that thing I really started to make headway as I knew how to turn it a lot better and I knew how the pressure in the tires would roll over things. Life was good!

It turned out to be a solid day coming in 8th with just about everyone who's anyone there racing. And most importantly, no incidences either!

Taking a corner with Amanda C. hot on my trail

USGPCX #5 - Fort Collins, CO

Ah yes, another easy hop skip and jump over the mountains for another big race near Boulder. I love these fast flights vs. layovers and all. I am starting to feel spoiled as UCI races make their way toward the West coast a bit more!

So if the race could have been just as nice as the plane ride, all would have been extremely good. But the race was awful. Do you know why it was awful? Click here to watch this video of the race start and you will see just why. Or maybe just take a look at these pics as I am face first into the pavement:

And then sitting dazed and confused wondering A) where my bike is and B) why I am not on it. Sunglasses even popped off my nose.

Yes, that is me sliding across the pavement on my rear and head in the video only seconds into the race. It was awful in so many ways!! A lot of people asked me what happened assuming I just know how to fall off my bike on flat dry pavement. Let's just say I had help and leave it at that. NOTHING was intentional but this is just how things panned out. I have never had that happen and it was gut wrenching in all respects. The last thing I want to do is ruin someone elses race!! But that can be racing unfortunately.

After making sure that everything was moving on my body I found my bike and hopped back on and tried to pedal. You can see that in the vid too. And, I was not able to pedal at all!!! The derailleur was jammed in between the cassette and the wheel which I found out later after the race was the least of the bikes worries.

After trying to pedal and remount and trying to get it thru my thick head that the bike was flat out broken I decided that maybe I ought to focus on my own body for a second because my rear was starting to hurt BAD as I slid on it for quite a ways. I screamed for medical as I was sure something was super wrong and I needed stitches or something. I decided to take the time and check for blood which thank heavens I found none despite expecting the worst. Other than that area driving me crazy, I was all good to go with no bruises, bumps, hema tomatoes and not even one tiny scratch. You have to be kidding me? My skinsuit was even intact with no holes. That night I wasn't even sore!!! NOW THAT is a weird crash.

The bike on the other hand, well it had 2 broken chain stays and some severely bent handlebars in addition to the derailleur issue. Check out the right handlebar compared to the left in this pic. It goes inwards quite a ways from being bent in the crash.

Man I was lucky - the bike, not so much. It was the one that ended up broken and seeking medical attention.

Ok, so any reasonable human being might call it a day and head for the spa at this point but I am always programmed to forge ahead no matter what like a robot (I have finished races with broken bones - maybe not the greatest choice).

So I headed for the pits running with my totally busted up bike on my back. And by the time I actually started running, there was NO ONE around. I mean no one. The race, its leaders and anyone dangling off the back had already made their way to the other side of the course. I could have heard crickets if I had listened close enough over the sound of my huffing and puffing.

Once to the pits I turned in my mangled bike and got my "B Bike". Ok, now I can start racing. Good thing I am only starting about 10min later than everyone hugh?! Try finding motivation at that point?! Well, I found it because I didn't want to DNF and I came out there to race!

I got in as much as I could getting back up to the tail end of the girls and making a few passes before my race was over. I placed poorly but I wasn't expecting the world after all that happened. Such is racing and luckily there are tons more races to come!! Today's happiness falls with the fact that I CAN race tomorrow, didn't get hurt, and didn't hurt anyone else. What a day.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dam Cross Race #2 - LA, CA

Another beautiful day in CA to race bikes!! And again it was Sue and myself establishing a bit a gap off the front from the rest of the field although no one goes down without a fight at any race!

Today in warm up I could feel the hemo tomato in my arm but only when I went to brake and only when the course was a bit bumpy which it certainly had sections of. But anytime I pulled the brake lever I felt like I had no power because I immediately wanted to let go because of the pain involved with braking. Ok, guess I won't be using the brake much then! Problem solved.

There was one time because of the pain in my arm going across the really bumpy section that my hand actually fell off the handlebars! It was a super BAD place for that to happen and I really cannot believe I kept it upright at race pace, while hitting huge bumps and guiding the bike thru everything with one hand on the bars. I think I was a lucky ducky there.

When it was all said and done, Sue took another win and I doubled up for another 2nd place. It was a good weekend for the Hudz-Vist Subaru team!!

Remounting over the barriers

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dam Cross Race #1 - LA, CA

Flying to Hollywood........for a race???? Yes, really. The race was held at Griffith Park near the Griffith Observatory in the hills of West Hollywood only blocks from the famous Hollywood Blvd.

And here is the famous "Hollywood" sign that I got a glimpse of on my Friday training ride. I have never seen it before in my life so that was pretty cool. I guess I need to get out more hugh......or not!!!

Here is bit of the park on Friday before the course was set up. Everything pretty much took place within the boundaries of where I am standing to take the pic to the far side of the pic. Let's just say there were A LOT of turns when the course was finally up and running.

Still standing in the same spot taking the picture there were a few coves that the course went up into and then u-turned back down.

Given the awesome location and the ease of getting there, this was a great race! Dorothy Wong, whom I have raced mtb with for years did a stand out job getting this together and getting the west coast another big UCI race. Thanks Dorothy for making it happen!

And speaking of finally making it happen, I did what I set out to do. My teammate Sue was there and once the gun went off there was no mercy. We were socking it to each other, driving each other into the ground. It was awesome. Neither one of us were coming away with anything given to us.

We got off the front fairly quickly and established a good gap from the rest of the field and that is when the fire works started with me taking the lead, then Sue and back and forth. It was quite fun actually!

The only not so fun part was me hitting a big plastic garbage can with my arm while flying down a paved straight. Luckily I took the garbage can out instead of visa versa. That could have been real bad. All it did was leave a good mark and a nice hema tomato as well. It didn't affect me too much the rest of the race other than being aware of "the garbage" can each time I road by it.

After it was all said and done, Sue took the big win with me right behind her in second. What a fun day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Tribute to Dad

It is hard to believe that one year ago today I lost my father unexpectedly after a continued battle from effects of a stroke he had 4 years prior. Dad was such a strong man to have made it FOUR YEARS without being about to tell his family that he loved them, without being able to tell us what he needed, wanted, was thinking about, etc. He was a prisoner in his own head for four years – bless his heart – but could still walk and get around just fine although a bit slower.

If that doesn’t say something about my father’s determination and strength I don’t know what would. He was an amazing man and the fact that he dealt with all of that for so long gives me even more amazing things to think and say about him.

When I think of my father I remember his crazy wit he always had. I remember him laughing along with others at the things that rolled of his tongue. Sometimes those things would just flat out floor you too and I really have to wonder if he wasn’t staggered himself at how fast he could come up with stuff. But his wit was certainly where he would display that never ending honesty and perhaps his silly side as well!

My dad had great character, was honest, determined, had integrity and never strayed far if at all from his beliefs. He was dedicated to his family, friends and clients in the investment business and had a keen eye for a fashion. Oh my, did he have any array of shoes and jackets and was always “Dressed to the Nines” as he would say!

I will always remember dad for his sense of humor, intellect and his vivacious personality. When I think of him I remember him enjoying a good read about World War II in his big chair, him chopping up trees and rose bushes to oblivion while calling it “pruning” (it was done well, just maybe went a tad far).

And of course the German thing….good lord the GERMAN thing. Anything made in Germany was love at first sight for him. He LOVED Nutcrackers, Hummel’s and any other collectible made in Germany of course. Heaven forbid you brought a fake Nutcracker home!!!

I also remember him studying charts, tables and graphs endlessly and reading the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily like they were going out of style. He always kept on top of things in his investment business and was very successful at what he did. I sure hope he was proud of himself because I am not sure he ever knew that or felt that about himself.

Dad, thank you for being there for me for 37 years and for giving your all to our family. You taught me life lessons well. I was lucky to have you and mom for as long as I did. And with that I will say “Ahviterzen dad, until we meet again!”

With all my love,

Your Daughter