25 June 2007
22 June 2007
I have come to the conclusion that sometimes I make decisions that look really good on paper, but in reality turn-out to be absolute chaos. Here is what the last 24 hours have been like for me. This is what it takes for me to actually make it to a bike race, and why I usually show-up to them exhausted.
Wednesday June 20
5:00 a.m.-Wake-up, go to work
10:00 a.m.-Come home from work, stop at River City for the requisite “last minute” things for the Elkhorn stage race
10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.-Frantically pack for Elkhorn, pack Lander for a 2 week stay in Utah and pack myself for an overnight trip to Utah.
3:00-4:15 p.m.-Drive to the airport, take shuttle from parking to the terminal, I am on schedule to get there just in time to board and get a good seat in the mayhem of flying Southwest when Lander throws a hitch in my plans.
4:15-4:30-Lander’s bathroom break. Despite my best efforts to avoid this at the airport, Lander foiled my plans. We still made it to the plane in time for our 4:40 p.m. departure and miraculously found two seats together and Lander was able to sit by the window. Of course, Lander still had to use the bathroom, again, on the airplane.
7:30 p.m.-Arrive in SLC, UT and immediately go to Olive Garden for dinner, Lander and I are two very hungry travelers.
10:00 p.m.-Go to Ryun’s house so I can use his wireless to check emails. End up eating more food and drinking some awesome non-alcoholic wine with Ryun and Phil. Ryun shows off his new Hummer, Phil his decked out D90 Defender and we try to see how far across the valley we can make Ryun’s new 8 bizillion candle power HID spotlight shine. It’s like I never left, those boys are still the same.
Thursday June 21
12:00 a.m.-Go to bed. It feels good to be at my parent’s house, if only for one night.
7:00 a.m.-Wake up, shower, eat breakfast and leave for the airport
9:20 a.m.- Get to the airport, realize I am not going to make my 10 am flight if I stand in the security line that is now about to go out the door. I manage to weave myself into the line where there is a disturbance by a TSA Nazi screaming at the top of her lungs about bagging up your liquids. I manage to inconspicuously cut in line, pretty impressive for a 6’ tall girl with a bright orange messenger bag. I have never, in my adult life cut in line before. I felt bad, but no one said anything, I think they could see the panic on my face.
9:21 a.m.- Go back to screaming TSA lady to get bag so security doesn’t confiscate my lip-gloss and inhaler.
9:24 a.m.- Cut in line, again. I am really pushing it this time.
9:35 a.m.- I am standing in line and realize that I don’t know what gate I need to go to since I printed my boarding pass yesterday and I didn’t check-in since I am not checking bags. Hmm, panic.
9:40 a.m.- Do the usual “what will make the alarm go off” mental check at security. I only have to partially disrobe this time.
9:44 a.m.- Make it through security, unscathed. Thank goodness I wasn’t “randomly” selected to be searched. I have 6 minutes to get to the plane before my seat becomes available for standby. I find the departure screen and find my terminal. Of course, my terminal is literally the farthest point away from where I am standing. I run through the concourse trying to tighten the straps on my Chacos so they don’t go flying off with my belt in my hand that I have not had time to put back on yet. I must have looked like an absolute freak!
9:48 a.m.- Get to the gate, find a seat and try to relax. Fly back home and have a nice chat with an Australian couple.
11:30 a.m.- Arrive back in Portland, take shuttle back to my truck.
12:30 p.m.- Eat lunch with Bryan, try not to be stressed about the million things I have to do before we can leave.
1:00-3:00 p.m.- Frantically clean house to get it ready for an open house while we are at Elkhorn. I really hope that someone will buy it soon, keeping it spotless clean is killing me!
3:00 p.m.- Pack final items for Elkhorn and go over my packing list to make sure I don’t forget anything, like my helmet or shoes.
3:30-4:30 p.m.- Remember that I need to do a 1 hour pre-race ride. I actually feel pretty good when I ride, gives me hope for Elkhorn. We abandon the hope of leaving Vancouver at 4:00.
4:30-6:00 p.m.- Shower, pack, one more trip to the store for last minute things.
6:00 p.m.- Finally out the door
11:00 p.m.- Arrive in Baker City, unpack and crash into bed at midnight.
Whew! I hope I have the energy to race tomorrow.
12 June 2007
Most of my mtn. biking experience has been in Utah, where it's dry and it doesn't rain a whole lot during the riding season. Things are really dry in Utah, so when they get wet, the water gets absorbed quickly and it's usually not too terrible to ride in. Here in the PacNW it's totally different. It is so wet here most of the time that a slimy biofilm covers pretty much everything that can't move on its own volition and the soil has a lot of clay in it. Rain makes things go from moderately slippery to "What the, how did I end up on the ground so fast" slippery. This is exactly how my ride went. Multiple crashes on a not too technical trail close to my house, I usually tear through it when it's dry. That was not the case. Of course, every time I crashed, it was in front of some other random trail user. There weren't that many people out there, why was my timing so bad? It's me, my timing is always bad. My favorite crash occurred when I was riding over a root that I happened to hit one degree less from perpendicular. This caused my front wheel and entire bike to literally fly out from underneath me and all of a sudden I was on the ground sliding on my butt across wet, packed clay. It kind of reminded me of one of the finishes of the Giro. I was fine, my bike was fine, but I was totally embarrassed when I heard some guys ask me if I was ok. At least someone got a good laugh. I collected myself and and hopped back on my bike and decided that I had done enough ego damage for one day and headed home. I was also pretty certain that I had toasted my team kit. I was completely covered in pine needles and mud. Why go to a spa for a mud treatment? Just go ride your bike in the mud for a couple of hours. Here's the damage:
It was a great ride. There really is something fun about riding in the rain and coming home completely covered in mud. After I cleaned off my bike I turned the hose on myself so that I had some chance of removing most of the mud and pine needles before I went inside to shower. Miraculously, my kit came completely clean and looks brand new. I love these kits!
04 June 2007
Stage 1 Pre-ride
On Monday Suz, Leah, Dana and I met up in the afternoon to pre-ride the TT course for stage 1. It was great to meet Dana and Leah since we had not met before and they are AWESOME. I can't wait to race with them. After pre-riding the course on our TT bikes we jumped on the road bikes to practice taking bottle feeds from our support car that would be in the race caravan. We practiced dropping back to the car, getting rid of empty bottles and taking new bottles. When you get new bottles you get to hang on for a few seconds before Eric lets go and take a "pull" so you can get a tiny break before you have to move back up to the peleton. It was lot's of fun. Here's some pictures that Eric took on our pre-ride
Suz, Dana, Jeanie (I am the tall amazon girl) and Lea at Panorama Point
Since I am behind schedule on blogging (today was Stage 3 and I have yet to post on Stage 1), I will do a short synopsis with some great pictures that Eric took. Suz made us all proud and took 2nd in the stage.
Trish, Lise, Lea and Jeanie warming-up
Suz getting ready to kick some bootay!
Stage 2-Rattlesnakes, Illness and Hottness
Today was HOT! At the start of stage 2 I was excited, the finish was slightly downhill and was geared for sprinters. I am a sprinter. What I wasn't excited for was the 1 mile hill in the middle of the course that we did 3 times. That hill had queen of the mountains points on every lap so the pace was going to pick-up very quickly. Oh yeah, did I mention it was hot? I had a feeling that I might be playing catch-up on the downhill sections to get back to the main group when they ramped up the pace on the hill. After the first of 3 laps I was able to catch back on, but I never felt quite right on the 2nd lap. On the second lap, everything fell apart for me. I ended up running over a dead rattlesnake, running over road kill is something I really try to avoid. After that I got sick and had to pull over to the side of the road and, well you don't want all the details. In short, the great attention I had been paying to staying hydrated and eating all went out the window, or should I say, onto the side of the road. After this lovely event my legs decided to leave the building and I was left to suffer through the last lap with legs that had no intention of co-operating with me.. The good thing is I was able to chase back onto the main group and stay with them to the bottom of the climb, again. I also got shot of the back, again because my legs were no where to be found. I caught some girls and we worked to the finish line.
Our team did great yesterday, despite me having nothing in me to help. Suz did great on the climbs despite the fact that she had 4 mechanicals during the race. The story is really a great one and I will let her tell it. You could not believe what happened in one race. Lea had a great sprint at the end and came in 7th. Trish had a small fall in some gravel and had some great road rash (pictures to be posted soon). It was a great day for the team and I only hope that tomorrow I don't get sick and run over dead snakes!
Stage 3-More Hotness
My dream for slightly cooler weather did not come true. They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then today pretty much went like this:
Need I say more? This is pretty much how Dana and I felt after today. There were some attacks on the climb on lap 2 of 3 and the pace ramped up hard and I went out the back, then Dana and Trish. I really wish I could have caught up with them, it would have made my ride so much more enjoyable. Lea and Lisa did a great job of chasing the attacks for Suz, I could hear all of this over my race radio, I just wish I could have been there to help. I ended up finishing the race with some girls from other teams and had fun on the long descent each lap so it was a hard day, but a good one.
Tomorrow is the long time trial and I will be rolling it (not riding hard) to recover and save myself for the crit on Sunday. I am looking forward to a small break from pain of racing. Tomorrow will be a nice ride to spin the legs out and take in some food while I ride. Only 3 more days of racing.
Rolling in the Hotness
More hotness today, I am actually starting to get a really good tan and I don't look like the pale Northwest person that I am.
I really like time trials, even when they are painful. I like time trials even more when I get to "roll" them. Today was the least stressful race I have had in a long time. Rolling the TT means I get to ride the TT at a decent pace and not blow myself up in the hopes that I will have some legs left over for the massive stage on Saturday and the crit on Sunday. So basically I got to take the scenic tour of the course, which is really beautiful. It was nice to not have to stress out before the race, worry about warming up and wondering if my one inch long ponytail was "aero". I did choose to ride my TT bike because I generally believe that any time spent on the TT bike is good training and I will feel less guilty about not riding my TT bike next week considering I have been on it 3 times this week already. I had fun thanking the volunteers at the corners and telling the girls who passed me "good job" as they went by.
Later this evening Eric was looking at my road bike and discovered that my brakes were so close to my rims that the brakes were actually rubbing when I would stand up to pedal. Hmm, maybe the last two days wouldn't have been so painful if I hadn't been expending so much energy on the climbs. Maybe there is a good excuse for why I have been sucking the last two days. I can only hope that tomorrow I will be climbing like a rock star now that Eric has fixed my bike up nicely. Well, I am off to bed so I can be well rested for the 90 miles and 9200 feet of climbing that will be the hell I am in tomorrow. There will be some interesting tactics going on with the teams that are defending the leaders jersey and the teams that want control of the leaders jersey. It will be an interesting stage.
Stage 5-The Real 89 Mile Time Trial in the Hotness
It was hot, again. The absolute best part about stage 5 was the first 5 kilometers. It was a screaming fast descent down to where the first climb started. I was actually in the front on the descent, which was probably the most time I have spent on the front of the pack the whole race. One of the Aaron's girls commented to me at the bottom that we didn't need to push it on the descent since it was a long race. I don't think she could figure out that as an amazon woman I weigh 30 pounds more than she does and that I tend to go downhill really fast without any effort.
Once we started climbing I moved up to the front of the pack and was actually feeling pretty good and able to keep my position. Climbing up to the first QOM Aaron's got on the front and started to slowly ramp up the pace. I new that my time with the main group was numbered at this point and that I would eventually fall off and have to catch back on after the descent. I soon found myself out the back of the group with some girls behind me and some girls ahead of me. This is where my 80 mile individual time trial started. I caught up to two girls that were in front of me and we climbed well together. I felt great climbing, my wheel issues were worked out and I could tell that I had more power now that my wheels weren't rubbing. I can climb at a steady pace, I just can't accelerate on climbs, so I just paced myself. Jill from Bend Bike and Sport and I dropped the Velo Bella girl that was with us on the climb, I felt bad, but what can you do? I then ended up dropping Jill on the descent on the other side. I was hoping that she could stay on my wheel, but it didn't happen. I passed Nicole Evans (Lipton) towards the bottom of the hill and chatted with her a bit, she was having mechanical problems. I was hoping to have found the race caravan by now, so I was still by myself chasing the back of the caravan. Soon I could see the caravan in the distance. I pushed as hard as I could to catch on and managed to get into the caravan right after the first feed zone. As I went past Eric I grabbed a second bottle and a short rest and made my way into the field. The unfortunate thing for me was that I managed to catch on right before this short, steep climb that can be best described as a wall. I was able to move up in the field, hand my extra bottle off to a teammate and then immediately got shot off the back on the wall when Aaron's launched a monster attack. Thus began the second part of my time trial. I caught a couple more girls and rode with them to the second QOM, down the descent, but lost them when we started climbing again. I was actually feeling pretty good and they wanted to ride a bit slower and chat so I was on my own again. This lasted for a while until I ran into Sal Collura from OBRA and Laura Brown from my group. Sal eventually had to drop back because of a mechanical. So Laura and I rode together for a while. We passed some more girls that couldn't stay with us and rode with Heather Clark from Bend Bike and Sport. I stayed with them until the last push up to the ski resort. I wanted to quit, I wanted to cry, but I managed to finish. I hope that the crit goes good tomorrow. It's only 50 minutes, but it is going to hurt.