Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bye bye Beaufort, Welcome to Walterboro

Last night's race in Beaufort was great. Probably the most encouraging thing was bashed-up teammate Kat electing to race. She has got some seriously tough bruises and lacerations

We rode over to the course from our the casas di Monroe and Wendy--our super sweet host housing. Liza and I got called up for being 6th and 7th in the overall. The racing was fast and active. I liked it much more than roswell. Lins was awesome putting in some good efforts early in the race.

About midway through, a separation occurred, I saw that Liza had it covered so I sat up. The group of 10 staued away for a good part of the race. Colavita attacked the crap out of the group and rushlee eventually got away putting some serious time on the group. She was super strong.

The rest of the field eventually came back together. With 3 laps to go, I glued myself to teammate liza's wheel. The pace stayed relatively high so the swarming wasn't too bad. Liza came out of the last corner and swung out into the wind to avoid any boxation, I jumped around her and passed a few more people finishing 5th in the field sprint for 6th in the race. Theresa cliff-ryan won the field sprint.

Liza finished 12th with lins finishing 14th.

It was so great to have Monroe, Wendy and Dean out there cheering for us! After the race we grabbed dinner with our hosts at a local restaurant called Plums, right on the course.

We said our goodbyes to our hosts and to Beaufort this morning--but not before getting in one more low country spin. On our last ride in beaufort, we got the thrill of watching a swing bridge open to let some boats pass.

We are chillaxing at the rice planters Inn in Walterboro now before our race this evening. I am excited to race with a recovering Kat and of course, with the Liza (the super motivator) and awesome teammate Lins.

It has been a 5 star kick ass trip so far. Probably because of getting to stay with and meet such amazing people, awesome races--and, THE KEWLEST TEAMMATES EVER!

Send us speedy safe vibes...and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Atlanta and beyond

So it was just 3 of us lining up for the Roswell crit, with Kat still barely able to move (from the Athens crash).  Lins wasn't too bad and Liza was ok...except she had to turn her whole body in order to look to the side (on account-a the minor head injury).  The race is held in a super cute neighborhood--suburb of Atlanta.  Lucky for us, it was about an 8 mile ride from Shannon's house.  As Shannon is still as crazy as she used to be, she did a 70 mile ride that morning and then rode with us out to the race. 

Its not snow, its rain (in Athens)

The race wasn't too crazy compared to Athens. 

There were some attempts to get away, but nothing would stick.  I had race brain with 3 laps to go and basically forgot how to count (my new favorite term courtesy of Liza).  I was in decent position, making sure I was near Liza, and then everything sort of went to hell on the last lap and I just got totally swarmed.  Luckily, Liza held good position and finished 7th.  Lins and I finished 23rd and 19th respectively.  Check out the race report here

One of the super cool parts was having Shannon, her parents and a bunch of her friends there to cheer us on.  After the race, we rode home and Lins and I jetted to the store so we could chef up dinner for Shannon and co.  In her own words, Shannon "doesn't do much entertaining" at her house.  She is either triathlon training, working, and for social she goes out to dinner.  So Lins and I picked up paper plates (why doesn't everyone do that for dinner parties--ok except Mrs. Jowegawa because she loves her flatware) and trusty Doug brought dessert and his man-grilling skills. 

It was a really great night and so fun to hang out with Shannon and her peeps.  Oh and of course, Doug's Lemonade layer cake (from Cooking Light! We love him!)

The next morning, Shannon, Lins and I headed out on a little giro di neighborhood.  Shannon toured us around some cool spots where she lives including the homes by the Atlanta Country Club and trails by the Chattahoochee River (yes that really is what its called).  Kat actually got on the trainer for a little spin which was good to see!  Liza and I got awesome massages from Renee and then the 4 of us hit the road--in our SWEET RENTAL MINI VAN!

We drove 5 hours down to Beaufort, South Carolina where we were greeted by our host "parents."  Monroe and Wendy are neighbors right down the street from our awesome host Dean (whom we stayed with last year). All 3 of these guys pal around on the group rides here in Beaufort and are just generally all around excellent people!

Wendy cooked dinner at her beautiful home right on Battery Creek.  After dinner, Kat and Lins headed over to Monroe's gorgeous penthouse in the next building over. 

This morning we were treated to an awesome spin around town by Monroe.  This afternoon has been serious chill time (I'm trying to fight a sore throat) and then we race in Beaufort tonight...under some ominous looking skies.

Despite the crashes, it has been a great trip so far...Good racing and fun times!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Athens Twilight

Lins, Liza, Kat and I all arrived in Atlanta on Friday without incident.  And that's where that ended.  Ok not really that bad.

We raced in a major downpour yesterday in Athens, GA.  It was pretty gnarly--super hard to see.  My bike was awesome (THANK YOU TOM JOW) and my tires were great in the corners.  Aside from the piss poor vision, I felt great and pretty comfortable on my bike.  I won a few primes and ended up getting 6th in the field sprint.

The last lap had bad crashes.  Actually, there were crashes throughout the race.  All 3 of my teammates went down which sucks.  Lins is ok...Kat got pretty worked over on the last lap.  Liza crashed and still finished 14th.  Everyone is mostly ok for the most part.  Well, we'll see how everyone slept.

Good news it that its now sunny skies and the weather looks to be good for the rest of the week. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sucker punched by the sucker hole

Though I was still a little frayed around the edges yesterday, I rode out to RMR to get in a little speed since the weather was looking gnarly for today.

On the way out there, I had to do some serious backtracking on account'a the spontaneous conflagration that erupted on 400 south (west of Redwood Rd) from a downed utility line.  There was a big line of semis and I cruised up to the front (I've been working on moving around in the pack after all).  The nice man in the orange vest said no dice on getting through--so I made my way back and served as the roving information unit--hooking up all the parked trucks with the beta.  It was a good bridging of the cyclist-motorist divide if I do say so myself.

A small group of nice dudes rolled by on my way out there and gave me the go ahead to jump in.  Did I mention it was nuking windy?  For mishap #2 I opted to get a front flat.  Sweet--looks like I'll probably miss the race.  BUUT NOOO, the guys actually had to be good samaritan-y and stop and wait for me.  It was actually super sweet of them to do and I appreciated it...

We made it to the race in time to register, but on my way out of the bathroom, I noticed a massive bulge in my rear tire.  Awesome.  Turns out the tire was separating and good job not flatting.  I started to see if there was a wheel somewhere I could borrow and then I notice my front tire had gone flat.

Sometimes you just need to listen to the universe.

And in another cool turn of events, some gallant gent hooked me up with a tube so I could actually ride home.

I called the hubs for backup (with no spare tubes and a bulging rear tire) and pedalled over to his work.  He was just wrapping up and he rolled home with me which was awesome.  AND we finally had tailwinds on the way home.

Though it would've been good to get in the speed work, I was pretty psyched not to race and totally stoked to get in a little ride with my favorite person, the hubs.

I got up early to do my workout before work and before the weather rolled in as the 801 was meant to get some serious storm action today.

Though it was blue skies (more or less) in my neighborhood, the wind was kicking up and it was looking DARK over the mountains.

Oh and I hadn't *technically* changed my rear, bulging tire yet...

This time I brought the phone.

I proceeded to do my workout (aptly named microbursts).

The sky was getting darker and darker and I was praying harder and harder.

Despite the confluence of what might've been a perfect storm of hell (with the tire and the weather), I actually finished the workout mostly dry and got rained on only in the last 10 minutes of the ride.  AND, my tire made it through the ride (its last one--its going in the trash).  Yes I did get sucker punched by the sucker hole, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it might have been.

I felt really great on the ride, and that's not just the tail wind talking.  Was stoked I didn't dig myself into the hole at RMR and felt like the universe rewarded me for (finally) paying attention to the signs to not race.  The hubs doesn't really like that talk.  But he does think that with my mechanicals at sea otter and the issues from yesterday, I have hopefully satisfied the mishap gods...At least enough to get me through Speedweek hopefully!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Norcal adventures

While the hubs was having an awesome last day of Alta (which isn't actually the last day of Alta), I was racing bikes with Liza and MH in Norcal.  Good times.  I also got to have some qt with one of my bestest buds Erin and her Santa Cruz peeps.

On Thursday, Liza and MH had kicked off the crit with a top 10 (Liza getting 7th; MH having major mechanicals).  I arrived late that night and was picked up by Liza's BF now BEYONCE- Jono.  I crawled into bed for some hours of shuteye before Friday's road race.On Friday, I woke up to a super super awesome host house with an even awesome-er host family.
The coffee was already brewing and over a fresh cuppa, I got to meet lovely hostess Janet, her hilarious husband Kurt, and their rockstar daughter Frannie.  After breakfast we headed over to the road race (a mere 2.5 mile ride from the house).

Our amazing hosts with a bottle of Sheid Wine

The bike was feeling good on the ride over but I slacked off and didn't take the time to really check everything over.  The road race was like a lollipop with 7 laps on about a 10 k lap (or the sucker part).  The start of each lap had about a 1 km climb after the feedzone hill.  It was fairly mellow the first few laps so I was able to stay in.  On the 3rd lap, I couldn't get my chain in the big chain ring on the descent.  Awesome-est teammate Liza gave my no less than 3 monster shoves to get me back in contact with the group.  After the next climb, my crank actually fell off and I had to abandon, oh well.  MH hung tough and finished 14th which was sweet.  A break got away and Carmen Small solo'ed up the final climb for the win which was very impressive!

Erin rallied up to Salinas for some hang time on Friday night which was awesome.  We had a huge feast with Liza's 2009 host family Melissa and her husband and kids.  They were so great and I really enjoyed meeting them!  Our host "dad" Kurt is a vintner and he made sure to keep the Scheid vineyard nectar flowing.   We all know vino is good recovery. 

The next morning we raced the Sea Otter Circuit.  Its about a 5 k lap on the actual Laguna Seca race course.  IT IS A BLAST!  It was SOOOOO fun to rip down the corkscrew descent!  Erin re-rallied herself up to Monterey for some race spectation and did some hard yards with Jono in the Aussie-dominated feed zone.

Liza went off the front for several laps which was sweet!  When she was caught, the actual break ended up getting away.  Bummer.  However, I was getting WORKED on the climb when people were going hard.  Yes, things to work on.  Once again, Liza was a total stud and major motivator. Alison Powers took the win and Liza took 4th in the bunch sprint for 15th.  MH finished in Liza's group and I finished just off the main group.  The last time up the hill really kicked my ass.  Yes, things to work on.

I headed to Santa Cruz after the race with Erin.  We had a lovely sushi dinner at a nearby establishment.  We were joined by Erin's bf Kev, Nicoh, Bob and Keri!  I love the Santa Cruz kids. While we were Nigiri'ing ourselves to the bejesus, Liza and Jono were busy getting ENGAGED!  SO COOL!

The next morning, I rode over to the Santa Cruz crit (a mere 4 miles from Erin's--LOVE THAT!).  While some of the big guns were missing, many superstuds were in attendance.  The race was super techincal with a hairpin descent and a hill before the final sprint.  Ouch.
Tibco, Peanut Butter and Webcor ensured an active race from the gun. Liza was ever present at the front like always and MH covered tons of moves.  A break of 3 got up the road and though the gap actually narrowed to 10 seconds at one point, we just couldn't close it.

As the race went on, I started to feel pretty good and made sure to find teammate Liza's wheel on the last lap (as she always has good position).  Unfortunately, I felt my tire starting to go flat halfway through the last lap.  Bummer. I made it through the last corner and rode it in for 14th (which I was actually psyched with given the flat).  Liza and Megan ended up 11th and 15th respectively and Kat Carroll took the win.   The race was hard and we finished with roughly half the girls that had started.

One of the best parts was having the cheering section---SO GREAT!

After the race, Liza, MH and I rode back to Erin's for showers and bike exchanges.  We met up with prince-among-men Jono and hilarious Aussie Ange and said our goodbyes.  MH opted to stay in Santa Cruz at Erin's to give the newly engageds some alone time.

While MH (as owner of our team) is usually the boss, on this evening she was willing to follow orders including consumption of margaritas, riding on cruisers, hanging out with lots of fun strangers, and sleeping on a chair.  Good value!

It was a SUPER fun afternoon/evening of hang time with Erin and her crew.  I really miss not living in the same town as one of my best buds--but I really do not mind visiting her--especially since she lives in the most amazing place ever!

Here's to old friends, new friends, teammates, racing bikes and amazing experiences!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Otter of the sea and its still winter in the 801

T minus 2 days till Otter of the Sea departure. 
Positives: getting to see best bud Erin, borrowing a bike from Liza so no need to travel with bike, race with Liza and MH on some HARD courses against GREAT competition, SANTA CRUZ
Negatives: 25 minutes connection time in Seattle on Thursday night, racing bike I have never ridden (so what, plus it has a compact which should be fun)

Rode to work in the snow this morning.  It was really gorgeous.  I got slush-pooped on by some trees in Memory Grove, but otherwise it was all good.  Its good that the 801 is not closing the door on winter yet.  Its even better when it can occur whilst I'm out of town.

After Sea Otter its a whirlwind of travel.  Home/work for a few days then off to the NEED for SPEEDWEEK!   So hopefully the winter fun continues in the 801--don't forget to call the hubs to go skiing as he's pretty much a bachelor for the rest of April.

Major backlog of laundry and life maintenance issues already.  Good thing I'm not type A...about some things at least.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What do Durango chicks have against mini vans, anyway?

The hubs and I made it to Moab on Friday night in time for the post rehearsal dinner bonfire extraordinaire.  SO SO awesome to see all the Durango kids.  A post-cake dropping Moira was in RARE form that night.  Hard to believe she was in even rarer form the actual wedding night.  But I digress.

Meredith and Jimmy (2 of the awesome-est Durango peeps ever) got married at the Sorrel Ranch in Moab. Actually, it was about 20 miles outside of Moab heading along the river road.  I guess compared to our super remote wedding spot in the La Sals, it is still Moab.  It was a truly gorgeous spot with the most amazing people ever.  It also goes in the category of best type of wedding ever (emphasis on outdoor activities).

Saturday morning we started the day with a group yoga sesh along the river.  How cool is that? The boyz headed out on a mechanical issue filled ride (riding backwards on Porcupine) while the girls all downward dogged.  After yoga, a bunch of the chicks went for a trail run while fabulous Cathy and I rode our skinny tires up the La Sal loop road.  The weather was amazing--we rode in shorts (gasp), saw about 3 cars, and just soaked up the beauty of that magnificent mountain/desert zone.

We reconvened at the ranch for a fantastic ceremony....Carl Sandburg poetry, singing in Russian, all set against a breathtaking backdrop.  Meredith was beautiful and Jimmy was dashing.  Don't forget the cutest flower girls C (Ted and Moira's daughter) and Teagan (daughter of Frank and the other white Tiff).  Thumbs down on the hubs' camera which stopped working :(

The reception was a total blast.  We sat with hilarious Frank and the other white Tiff and Travis' parents along with some other good Durango folk.  I want me some cowboy boots now.  The food was excellent and the company unparalleled.  The Mapel clan didn't disappoint on their toasts with specifically composed fairy tales and country songs.  The drinks were flowing like wine, and Dean made sure no one's glass was ever empty.  The lovely Mary M. even got the hubs to dance.  I turned to her mother-in-law in astonishment about it and Travis' mom remarked "no one says no to Mary."

Post reception, the die hards convened in cabin G-6 for some triscuits and roe (obtained by Dean--"that fish is still swimming around!).  There were some other interesting drinks and lots of Coke products.  Ted and Kenny were conspicously absent---but not after certain actions taken by a cowboy hat/cowboy boot/bathrobe wearing Moira.  On the way to G-6, Moira slapped the sleeping love of her life to spur him into action ("Get up! We're drinking in G6!").  Upon ascertaining Kenny's whereabouts (and discussing the possible options for getting him out of bed)...Moira and I headed over to his cabin.  Not sure what our plan was, nor how he would handle the disturbance, Moira handed me her boots and her had with an earnest "Here, take these, we might have to run."  Knock and run we did...but we did get Kenny up.  And that was definitely NOT a mistake.  As he is a trained fire fighter (NOT fireman), he ensured the construction of a blaze I won't soon forget.  The tequila continued to flow, and people eventually started dropping off... Ultimately, it was the Moira, Ted, a logrolling Travis, the hubs and me who shut it down at 3 am.  Ouch.

The next morning we groggily arrived at breakfast and had some more laughs about the previous night.  While plans were being made for the day's ride, I took off on my road bike to head into town.  It was nice to spin away the haze.  We did a ride with the new Mr. and Mrs. along with Ted, and my new faves Colby, Cathy and Michael on the Sovereign trail.  We ran into Kenny and Shannon while we were riding, but because they are serious we continued on our own casual course.  There's nothing better than walking up something technical in front of Jimmy so he can ask you why you wore your cycling shoes if you are just going hiking.  Somehow that former downhill /dual slalom champ has a way of insulting in the best way.

While saying our goodbyes in the parking lot, Moira got concerned when the hubs and Ted were deep in conversation about the limosienna.  Many of the Durango guys were INTO the mini van...The girls not so much.  The hubs had asked me earlier that day "What do all those Durango girls have against mini vans anyway? They only want to drive trucks."  Its true.  The cool thing is that we got some good info (especially from Travis) about options for the mini van (hello lift kit!) as the guys totally know the mini van beta.  The bummer is that none of their wives will be caught dead in one.  You gotta love Durango.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More lowlights than highlights

While its not a dilemma I'm having with my hair, it does describe my week. I had to work all week in St. George. Let's just encapsulate that with a resounding thumbs down.

Highlights recounted as follows:
2 sweet (but short) bike rides

Trying to focus on the positive.
I would really like to more fully check out the road riding down there. Another time (and hopefully not for work :(

The hubs and I leave tomorrow for Moab on account-a one of the major events on our social calendars this year (that we will actually attend together!): the nuptials of Meredith and Jimmy.  Ahhhh I remember before you two kids were dating!  That is so neat to have known these 2 fabulosi the entire duration of their courtship and betrothal.  Can't wait to connect back to the Durango slice of my life.  Anticipating much in the way of bikes, booze, belly-laughing AND brilliant bonfires.

AND? The hubs is currently outfitting the limosienna with a rear hitch mount so as to ensure 5 star sleeping accomodations. Yes, we are going to be those dirtbags, sleeping in our car as we were off the back dealing with reservations.  Don't worry, we did arrange for shower poaching, thanks to uber laid back Moira and Ted.

The typing is leading to weekend anticipating which is in turn dissipating the extraordinary buttcheek tightness from this past week.  Aaaand breathe.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Night out in our limosienna

I feel a transportation-based post coming on.
Yesterday's ride turned into an interesting amalgam of transportation...I rolled out on my Specialized yesterday (in the interest of preserving my Cannondale) as I was planning to ride the old bike for today's Hell of the North race (with a dirt road section).  Somewhere in Bountiful I flatted.  I pulled over to fix the flat (did I mention it was cold) and realized I had none of the following:
1. seat bag (on the other bike)
2. any flat fixing items (I'm an idiot?)
3. cell phone

Naturally the 1st thing I did was panic.  Wasatch Blvd is one thing--Bountiful is not the kind of place where I'm going to be able to thumb a ride back into town--or see another cyclist (on a workday).  I walked in my non-walking friendly road shoes to a nearby gas station and called the hubs.  His work is FAR from Bountiful.  Turns out he was busy (but willing to pick me up).  I hung up with him and had a little one-on-one with myself about how I'm resourceful and I should be able to figure something out.  I'd be lying if I said I'd never stranded myself in such a fashion (it has been a long time though).

I realized I had my bus pass and noticed a bus pass across the street from the gas station.  I called the hubs back and told him if he didn't see me by the time he got home from work, then he should start driving north.  Went and plopped my uber cool lycra clad non-functional walking shoe self at the bus stop.  Eventually a bus came by--and it was heading to downtown.  I hopped on feeling extra special.  Oh, it was heading downtown--AWESOME!  Who DOESN'T want to chance running into someone they know downtown when she's all kitted up in the middle of suit-world?  After a bus ride spent alternating between mortification and humor, I used my cerebral garmin to determine that my dis-embarkation was 4 blocks from Bingham Cyclery.  Sweet.  I alternated rim riding and click-click walking in my road shoes.  It may have been the longest 4 blocks of my life.

At Bingham, I was fortunate to run into Nancy who was getting her bike dialed in for today.  By telling the story to her, I was able to laugh about it...Got myself all sorted out (luckily I had a wallet) and started riding home...

I rode over a curb and then flatted again.  So much idiocy in one body (not buying another tube, CO2 set up and riding over a curb?? Its almost impressive).  This time I rode my REAR rim to Contender and just re-filled the tire to hobble home.  I had to just put this bike in bestmechanicever Tom Jow's hands before anything else bad happened.

To make up for the trauma, the hubs and I joined the DBs and Woodies for Takashi sushi (it really is the best ever).  We took the party van...

Wayne-o threw a tantrum over not being able to watch sponge bob.  Woody and Caterina had to be separated.  Finally we put in a movie to simmer everyone down...On the 5 minute drive home from sushi.

We did a brief meetup with the JemClems at the Beerhive after sushi.  Always good to see those kids.  ESPECIALLY when the beer has been flowing like vino since 5 pm and no one has had dinner yet.  Good times.  We called it relatively early as Woody was FIRED UP to go skiing the next morning (though hopefully not so fired up he got a headache) and I had my little bike race today...

I rode out to the Hell of the North course, about 10 miles from my house.  I decided to race with the Men's Cat 3's.  I felt like a jerk since the women's field was small....but I really wanted to get some racing/training in a bigger field over a longer distance.  The men were doing 10 laps on the 5 mile course (with approximately 2 miles of dirt).  I got WORKED the first time over the dirt.  Its so different to ride the course in a bigger field--hammering!  Both my water bottles flew off my bike and I got dropped on the dirt.  I caught back on with another guy on the pavement section.  AWESOME-EST junior rider EVER Julian let me poach some sips from his bottles.  That is what you call a class act, my friends.  He periodically volunteered some of his precious water at numerous other times during the race.  This kid is a talented rider---but the class he showed in not only offering but CONTINUING to offer tells me he will go FAR in a sport often characterized by serious selfishness...Matt from Skull Candy also gave me a few pulls of a bottle about midway through.  SO SO SO awesome of those guys.

Despite the generosity of these 2 outstanding individuals...I got pretty dessicated out there.  Bad times.  The racing was pretty aggressive and HARD! Exactly what I needed!  I was super psyched.  On lap 8, a few of us came off on the dirt.  Nonetheless, Ted from Contender and I worked together to keep the pace high for the last 2 laps.  All the guys were super cool and I'm really grateful I got to race with them!  Post-race I slammed some water and started the ride home.  About 5 minutes into the ride home, the wheels totally came off.  Chills, blurred vision, riding about 2 miles an hour.  It might've been faster to walk--even in my Sidis.  I think the lack of hydration and intensity of the race probably set in about that point.  I limped home--chugged some Genr8, got some food, and haven't moved from this spot since then.

Dinner with Laura and Rodney tonight...If I'm able to move.

The Yogurt on My Pretzels

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