BIOMechaniks Indoor Time Trial Series

Heads up for anyone in Memphis who is looking for a good reason to ride a trainer this fall/winter. BIOMechaniks is hosting an indoor time trial series that starts this weekend. Here’s a flyer:



To sweeten the deal, I’m going to sponsor the Women’s category with an extra $50 cash to the first place overall women. This is probably the first and ONLY race you’ll ever enter where the women have a larger prize money purse than the men! Get in there and RACE!


In knee news, as of yesterday, the bruising is healed enough that I can ride normally (though I have to exercise some caution in riding because if I bump my stitches, I’m likely to bleed a lot). So, I’ll stop wallowing around on the couch feeling sorry for myself and get back to my normal training schedule.

In more important news, Turbo, my Belgian Malinois, had surgery a week ago.

Over the Thanksgiving at Syllamo, I’d found a suspicious-feeling lump under one of her nipples, and I took her in Monday morning to have it checked by the vet. He wanted to remove it and send it off for biopsy, and ended up doing Mastectomy surgery later that afternoon. She came home that evening in a cone of shame and has been recovering well since (I know the picture makes her look pitiful, but, as I type this, she’s out back in the thing, chasing after a squirrel).

Friday afternoon, he called back with biopsy results. The news wasn’t the best or worst- it was a malignant tumor in her mammary glands, but it’s wasn’t an aggressive form, and didn’t seem to have spread to anywhere else where one would expect it to spread. Apparently, there’s no such thing as a dog mammogram, so Turbo will get weekly breast/lymph node exams for the rest of her life to make sure that nothing is coming back. For now, she’s doing fine and getting extra neck scratches (the cone of shame seems to make her neck itchy) as well as the extra bite of food off of my plate.

I love dogs.

5 Stages of Injury Grieving

Stage 1: Denial
“I’ll get this stitched up so I can be back on the bike tomorrow”
(Tomorrow rolls around) Substage: Restless energy
“It’s probably best if I take one more day off. It’s still a little sore”
(Tomorrow rolls around again) Substage: Bored/totally unproductive
Ride easy. Pain returns to original levels.

Stage 2: Anger
Come to the realization that I’m worse off than I wanted to think I was.
(Lots of other random cussing) Substage: Drink wine

Stage 3: Bargaining
I’ll happily give you one more day off if you promise not to hurt the next day. I’ll even ice you all day and try not to walk around too much.

Stage 4: Depression
I’m supposed to be starting down a path that could lead me to be a pro cyclist and I can’t even ride my bike. I’m not working. I don’t feel like doing anything to take care of myself or the ones I care about.

Stage 5: Acceptance
I don’t know how long I’ll be off the bike, but I’m not going to keep re-injuring myself by going back early.
Find other stuff to do to keep myself busy. Substage: shop for Tempurpedic mattress
Feel afraid to eat in fear of gaining injury weight.


As a less cryptic update, yesterday afternoon, I decided I’d try an easy ride. I felt OK, though the pressure of my cold-weather tights was uncomfortable on my busted knee. Within about 10 minutes of arriving home (it was a 1 hour ride), the movement of pedaling was incredibly painful in the area under my kneecap (the stitches felt fine). I ended up going to an orthopedic doc at Campbell Clinic to get it checked out again. He confirmed that nothing is broken, the cartilage feels fine, and the ligaments aren’t damaged. It’s just a bad bruise. In the meantime, I’m on the injury-induced emotional roller coaster.

It should be fine soon enough. I’m just over-reacting.





Thanksyllamo 2012

It’s going to be a bit of a long post, but I figured since the stuff that happened before the termination of my Thanksyllamo weekend wasn’t incredibly interesting, I’d just hit the high points and get to the (blood)gushy stuff.

After a fun Strava-hunt road ride with Ryan, Matt, and (Matt) Robbins (home from PT school for the holiday), Ryan and I got to packing the singlespeeds to make the drive up and over to the cabin in Mountain View. Last year, we started the tradition of inviting friends to the cabin for riding, eating turkey, and all the requisite shenanigans. I brine & roast a turkey, cook other traditional holiday food, and it’s generally declared the “best turkey ever” before everyone passes out on the couch/recliner.

We arrived in Mountain View Thursday evening. WalMart was bustling with employees getting ready for the black friday sale that was starting 2 hours early (preparations included pallets of stuff wrapped in plastic lined up in the aisles with tags saying “do not remove until 10PM” as well as various balloons showing customers where to start lines for bigger ticket items, like the 952in TV and whatnot). We collected what we needed for dinner and got up to the cabin to enjoy some wine, football, and turkey brining. Later that evening, Matt made it over as well.

Friday, we rode the green trail and most of the orange and blue trails. The highlight of the ride was likely the discovery of the beaver dam just downstream from the 3rd creek crossing… and by “discovered,” I mean we were about halfway across the creek when our bikes nearly floated away, and we had to wade through thigh-deep water to the other side. Just past that, there was a huge tree blocking the trail, and, further up, a re-route of some sort that led to us getting out of the woods onto a logging road in an unusual spot. We were out for about 3 hours before we went back to the cabin to meet up with Zandr and start cooking dinner.

Dinner was awesome, by the way:

Saturday morning, we decided we’d wait until Kenny arrived from Memphis before we rode. I gathered some tools and went back to the beaver dam/tree-blocked area of trail and cut a re-route from the main trail to the low side of the dam and back up to the main trail just past the fallen tree. Other than some finessing of the steep section just before the large tree (it’s too soft/steep, so in order to prevent excess erosion/blowout, the trail needs to be a more gentle bench up the side of the hill rather than a straight shot), the re-route should keep the riders and the beavers happy.

When I arrived back from my trailwork, Kenny was at the cabin, and everyone was getting antsy to ride. We decided on a lap of the yellow trail, starting with the “easy” side that climbs from the middle trailhead up to the red trail before dropping back down into the fun/rocky section. Once on the trail, everything was going well. I was leading the train as we hit the first mini-garden of rocks. I rolled though with no problem, but just on the other side, something caught my front wheel and teleported my bike off to the right, slamming me left knee first onto the ground. It hurt like a mofo, and, for a minute, I sat on the ground doing this: (sorry, some glitch in the wordpress matrix is keeping me from posting the actual video here. It’s an all ages video, so click away)

Being chilly out, I was wearing knee warmers. I’d hit my knee hard, but, my usual M.O. is to not look under the knee warmer when I fall. However, just a few minutes up the trail, Matt stopped for a flat tire, and I noticed that there was blood coming out of the knee warmer. Uh-oh.

I decided I was going to go back to the cabin and take care of it. However, by the time I rode back 1/2 an hour and drove 15 min to the cabin, it was still bleeding, and the pain radiating out from my kneecap was ominous. I decided I’d go to WalMart in search of a walk-in clinic, or at least some butterfly strips that I could use to close it up.
I arrived at the pharmacy and, as I’d expected, there is no walk-up clinic at the Mountain View WalMart. I explained my situation to the pharmacist, and he said  that the only place I could get stitches right now would be the emergency room, but he’d be happy to take a look at it and tell me if he thought I’d need stitches. When I pulled the top of my knee warmer down (I’d changed out of cycling clothes otherwise, but the knee warmer was doing a good job of absorbing blood), the cut oozed out enough blood to make the pharmacy tech, who’d also come out from behind the counter out of morbid curiosity, gasp and say, “bless your heart!”

Pharmacist: “How long ago did this happen?”
Me: “Uh… close to 2 hours ago?”
Pharmacist: “If you want this to stop bleeding and heal up faster so you can get back to riding, you’re gonna need 4… maybe 5 stitches. Those butterfly strips aren’t gonna do too well on something that moves as much as your knee.”

Well, crap.

So, I purchased a first aid kit and some other random supplies. I made a deal with myself that if I went to the ER, and it was packed with people, I’d go back to the cabin and try to patch myself up. If it weren’t busy, I’d go in and get a professional to do so.

I walked in, and the waiting room was totally empty. The check-in lady blessed my heart at least 3 more times before they took me back to a gurney and cleaned everything up for evaluation.

A lady who was trying to pass a kidney stone came in just after me, so I think the doc looked at her first, because I was waiting in there a while. He decided on 4 stitches and an x-ray since I was getting a nice bruise and some swelling on my kneecap. Luckily, the x-ray was clear.

The nurse handed me a Tylenol-3 prescription, which I refused and told him I was going back to the cabin to sit in the recliner with an ice pack and a glass of wine. This wasn’t totally true, as when I arrived back at the cabin, I found the four guys (Ryan, Matt, Kenny, and Zandr) pacing around the kitchen like starved animals and snacking on anything that didn’t require cooking. I warmed up leftovers and made fresh cornbread before officially retiring to the recliner for the remainder of the night.

I’d hoped that by getting stitched up that I’d be able to ride a lot sooner, but it’s slowly becoming clear that the badly bruised kneecap/under kneecap area is going to cause me much more pain and suffering than a few stitches. Instead of riding with Kenny and Ryan on Sunday, I went home early with Matt and laid around watching football and periodically icing my knee. I’m bummed, and I’ve got no idea when it’s going to not hurt enough to ride again. At least the weather is crap today. I had to take Turbo to the vet to get a small mammary tumor removed & biopsied, so I’ll probably lay around in my pajamas the rest of the day and attempt to edit some GoPro footage into a cheesy montage while I wait to hear back from the doc. Here’s a picture of some cuddling dogs to pass the time…

Gearhead Cyclocross- Jonesboro

The Arkansas Cyclocross races may be small, but it’s a lot nicer to drive 1.5-2 hours to race instead of the 3-4 hours it takes to get to races east of Memphis. Since it wasn’t part of the Arkansas points series this year, the race in Jonesboro was pretty low-key. When Ryan and I arrived at the park, the B Race was about to start. There were a couple of women lined up there, but none of the ones that I usually race against. We hit the registration table and got changed so we could ride around the park a couple of times to warm up.

I’ve solidified my warmup routine this season- I usually start an hour before the race on my B bike (the Scott Addict CX, which I’ve set up with a water bottle cage, tubeless tires, and my older Quarq powermeter) and ride around on the road for about 30 minutes. After that, I’ll go back to the car, drink a Redbull (caffeine and about the same number of calories as a gel), chase it with water, make any necessary wardrobe adjustments, and switch bikes. I’ll take my B bike to the pit and ride a lap or two of the course if it’s open. The seat height and handlebar height/reach is set up the same on both bikes, so I’m not concerned about training/warming up/racing on different bikes.

My Garmin clock is slow. I almost missed the start. Luckily, I got into the lineup a minute or so before we were off. No women were there, so it was just me and about 10 guys, including Ryan and a handful of other Memphis people. When the race started, four guys formed a lead group. I stayed with them until about halfway through the second lap. There was a small 2-landscape-timber-tall barrier that everyone was bunny hopping. I am generally not a fast/skilled hopper, so, on the second lap, I attempted to go for it at lead-group speed, mistimed, and nearly endoed on the landing. Immediately following that, as I approached the pit, I thought I had a flat rear tire, so I stopped to check (instead of getting into the part of the lap after the pit and having to run/ride in with a flat). The almost-endo and overly cautious flat check took me well off the pace of the leaders, though I did end up passing one of them when he rolled a tubular in the following laps.

I fought to stick with my 4th place spot. I was hoping the entire time that one of the three ahead of me would get popped from the group and I’d fight it out with him for 3rd. Behind me, Ryan was trying to chase me down. I ended up dismounting for the little landscape timber barrier after nearly wrecking. It was, for me, much faster. I’ve been working hard on high speed dismounts, so I’m quicker on my feet than I am trying to bunny hop something.  The course was a constant on/off effort- 30sec-1min of hammering on grass/uphill stretches punctuated by hard, sometimes powdery turns. Every time I’d get to a grassy power section, I was internally yelling at myself to never let up- especially during the 2nd half of the race, where I’ve found myself losing motivation in the past.

$100 only-woman-to-show prize money = earned.


Memphis- a Rant

Since I’ve told people that I’m focusing full-time training and racing, I’ve been bombarded with the same two questions:

Are you leaving Memphis?
Me: No.
Why not?!?

Why? Why would I need to leave?

I’m going out on a limb and assuming that since Memphis isn’t A) exactly overloaded with people racing bikes (relatively speaking, of course) or B) a pristine city in the mountains, people generally think that is somehow going to be a limiting factor to my performance.

Well, guess what… I like it here.
It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s not pristine. The closest thing to a mountain within a bike ride of the city limits is a steep, 200ft hill on the north end of the county. A “large” women’s field for a mountain or CX race in this region is 6 people.
You know what all of that means? You have to want it to succeed here. This city is ripe with excuses for why you can’t be competitive with the chicks that are going on epic 6 hour rides through the Rockies and racing against fields of 20-50+ on a weekly basis. I hear it all the time… “oh, those guys from the mountains kicked my butt because I’m from Memphis.” No, those guys kicked your butt because while you were off feeling sorry for yourself because it’s 98F and 98% humidity with a code orange Ozone air quality alert, they trained harder than you.

I’m the person that’s hoping for an epic thunderstorm during a race. I want a 25mph headwind. I like rocks and briars. I live for conditions that cull the weak and wannabes from the field. Memphis is, in a way, a selective condition.


So, no. I’m not leaving Memphis. I’ll do a fair amount of traveling to Arkansas to ride the techy stuff at Syllamo. I’ll ride, for hours on end, the beautiful rural roads just outside the city, and I’ll get faster than the ladies who “have it easy” in the mountains.

M.E.M.P.H.I.S. (content warning- don’t click that if you don’t like rap music. It will be offensive to you. I don’t use drugs, shoot people, or pimp anything other than bike parts. I just like the first line of the song @30sec in)

Outdoors, Inc. Cyclocross Race Report

There are three things that you can count on at the Outdoors, Inc. Cyclocross race

1. The wind will be awesome*
2. The course will be a killer power course with grass and punchy hills
3. If you’re female, your barriers include a portion of the Cat4 and “Beginner” Masters men who start just ahead of you.

*And, by awesome, I mean that everyone except for me hates having a 20 mph wind blasting from the south because the “easy” part of the course goes straight into it.

Also, In the race’s defense, #3 is in place because the women’s categories get their own start. It’s just awkwardly placed at the tail of the “B” race. It’s always nice to race in your hometown. That, along with the course/wind/etc. is why the Outdoors race has always been one of my favorites.

Sunday morning, I woke up and very quickly realized that I’d done something terrible to my neck muscles. The previous day, I’d gone to my favorite yoga class in the world. We learned this:

The class wasn’t the issue, though. The problem came later when I was showing off the pose to my parents later that evening following my mom’s birthday dinner (Happy Birthday, Mom). I felt my neck strain a little at the time, but didn’t think anything of it. Turns out, you should warm up if you do stuff like that. Who’d ‘ave thought? You should listen to your yoga instructors when they tell you that yoga isn’t about showing off. As a result , I spent a majority of Sunday morning with a heating pad on my neck/shoulders and periodically rolling the area with a lacrosse ball. It felt slightly better by the time we were ready to leave, so I wasn’t quite ready to panic.

Once we arrived at Mud Island, I registered, pinned my number, and went out to warm up. It was then that I realized that my neck was way more sore than I’d originally thought. It hurt to hold my head up in “normal” riding position, and hitting bumps or trying to be “aero” were almost unbearable. I quickly hunted down some ibuprofen then went back out to warm up in the flat area of the park, hoping for the best.

Luckily, the ibuprofen knocked the pain down a couple of notches before the race started. The competition at the line was the same as the Crossroads Clash CX a couple of weeks before- Lucia, Laureen, and Mary. However, since we’d start a minute or so back from the Cat4 men, I couldn’t go head to head with the leaders of that race as I had previously. We did have the juniors race starting with our group, so when the race started and John Brown (big little brother of Nate Brown) took off after one of the other guys, I grabbed his wheel and stuck around there for the first part of the course.

Because of my neck pain, I hadn’t really warmed up well. As a result, the first lap and a half or so were more painful and less fast than they could have been. Eventually, though, I started feeling good, and decided to leave the junior guys behind (John made a move as if he were going to go after me, but I think he was going just fast enough to win in order to save his energy for the “A” race that followed). The following 20 minutes or so (our race was shortened to 35 minutes) was an exercise in reeling the head-start riders in and attacking the ones who tried to follow (actually harder than it sounds since, as you move through the field, the riders are progressively stronger, and you’re getting progressively more tired).

Not my most flattering finish line photo, but it gets the job done. Within the next couple of months, I’ll have some new shorts, courtesy of Nimblewear. They’re guaranteed to NOT make my ass look 10 pounds heavier because they won’t be the same “thigh to thigh” stripe design of my current kit. If you’re looking for small runs (or large ones, for that matter) of custom kit, you should check them out (they also support people like me, which is even more reason to do so).

After cooling down, milling around at the car for a few minutes, and yelling at Ryan during his race, I received what may be one of the nicer prizes I’ve seen at a race (along with cash- Equal payout for men/women FTW!), a huge, yellow, waterproof duffel/backpack with an Outdoors logo embroidered in the top. It’ll stand out when it’s on the luggage carrier in airports of far-off places when I’m racing next summer…

JRA #3

In case you’ve missed it, Kenny, Matt, and I have been doing a mechanically inclined internet radio show called “Just Riding Along” at 7:30 central time on Monday nights. It’s been a lot of fun- we essentially have a couple of drinks and talk about various topics like Chinese carbon, disc brakes for cyclocross/road, the difference between UST and tubeless ready, how much carbon is better than aluminum, and any other random topic that may pop up.

Tonight is episode #3, and I’m taking suggestions as to what we should talk about. I got in a real ride on a Lefty fork for the first time on Saturday, so I figured I’d give some feedback on that, but otherwise, we don’t have a lot of stuff lined up.

Suggestions from the peanut gallery? Anything vaguely technical/mountain bike related is an option.

You can also call in during the show and talk live on the air: (646) 595-4113

Link to the show on Blogtalk Radio:

Share/like/post us everywhere on facebook/social media and I’ll give you a high five next time I see you.

Holy s(&*

I’m slowly coming to the realization that in a few days, I’ll no longer be a part of “normal” working society. This, along with the incoming good news in sponsor support I’ve received is nearly overwhelming at times. I’m also a little surprised by how supportive the local cycling community is. Not that they aren’t a great, friendly group of people- it’s just that I wasn’t expecting them to be so genuinely happy to see me bypass the “what ifs” and go all out in pursuit of my dreams.

I’m every synonym you could possibly imagine for “excited” with a dash of “terrified” thrown in just to make things more interesting.

In the immediate future, tomorrow is the Outdoors, Inc. Cyclocross race. Unfortunately, there’s also a USGP race in Louisville this weekend, so unless someone headed there takes a wrong turn at Albuquerque, the Nashville contingent (and several Arkansas racers) aren’t likely to show up in Memphis on Sunday. After that, I’m generally sticking to more local/regional CX racing.
Zandr asked this morning why I don’t pursue high-end CX sponsorships. Well, I love CX, and I love being in the pain cave for 45-50 minutes at a time, but after traveling all over for a long season of mountain bike races, I’m ready to keep it local(ish) for the winter months. Unfortunately, local(ish) in Memphis means racing a handful of women who like to start slow/in the back (read last Saturday’s race report) and the occasional Men’s race with <20 entries. Not exactly what the bigger companies are looking for marketing purposes. My biggest races this season are the Tennessee State Championships as well as Master’s Worlds at the end of January. It’s going to be interesting to maintain/build top end power for the duration of the winter training season, but it’s not like I won’t have the time ;)


As cheesy as it sounds, I saw this on Facebook this morning, and it makes me think of my upcoming adventures:


Expansion ~~From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: A social security number, a gender, a race, a profession or an I.Q. I ponder if we are more defined by the container we are in, rather than what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies? Would we still be able to exist if we were authentically ‘un-contained’?


Gearhead CX- Village Creek

Sunday presented us with a choice of two cross races- either Nashville, which would be a sure thing as far as the course and competition, or a race at Village Creek State Park in Arkansas, which was a first year event that we hadn’t heard much about. At half the car time it’d take to get to the Nashville race, Arkansas won out.

Ryan, Matt, and I arrived at the park, and I wanted to get in a nice, long warmup like I’d done the previous day. We registered, then I changed and headed out to check out the rest of the park (if you’re ever wondering, the path through the golf course is beautiful and somewhat deserted this time of year). I rode for nearly half an hour before coming back to the car to have a *RedBull, make clothing adjustments, and ride a couple of laps on course. While I was doing that, Matt was getting off of the trainer.

The first course “feature” I hit when I left the car was an ~36in tall pile of dirt that looked like a small BMX jump in steepness and texture. You couldn’t see where the trail went on the other side, so I took it somewhat slow and ratchet-pedaled over the top. Following that, the course was a mix of traditional cyclocross grass hills/off camber/grass that took a turn into the nearby woods for a 1/4 to half mile of singletrack. It was pretty smooth, but also included three 3-4 foot wide bridges with on/off ramps and no side rails. They added a whole ‘nother level of sketch to some of the questionable stuff I’d previously seen on cyclocross courses.

As I rounded the last few turns before I was back at the car, I heard a loud “WHACK” noise and yelling from somewhere on course. I didn’t really think anything of it and continued back to the car to make a final clothing adjustment before the race. A minute later, Matt came walking through the field carrying his bike and obviously shaken. He was covered in dirt and was bleeding from his face, neck, shoulder, knee, and back of his hands. As he dropped his bike and sat down, I tried to figure out what had happened and how badly he was hurt. People started to gather, and someone pointed out that his bike was broken-

(Yeah, I know, bad focus in the photo, but it’s what I’ve got for now. You get the idea)

Matt looked bad. He’d gone too fast over the top of the dirt hump and launched just enough to float above the ground on the other side until his front wheel hit at the bottom. His frame crumpled on impact, and he landed on his face and chest. We called the paramedics over. While they were checking him out, he started to feel dizzy and lightheaded. They didn’t know if he’d hit his head or was just experiencing low blood pressure, so they took him to the ambulance and said they may need to take him to the hospital.

Keep in mind, this is about 10 minutes before the race was supposed to start.

At that point, I’d been not warming up for about 10 minutes, and, as racers were lining up, paramedics are talking about taking my roommate/friend to the hospital. I told Ryan to go on, and that I’d decided not to race. Actually, there was no decision. The whole thing had me so shaken up that I just didn’t even think about it. I changed clothes and stuck around the car in case they decided he needed to go get checked out.

Turns out, he was generally OK. They cleaned him up and let him out about halfway through the race, and he helped me cheer Ryan on for the last couple of laps.

Not that I didn’t know already, but I realized even more so how important your brain is in racing. When I’m focused and ready, I can take on giants. If my brain is worried about my friend smashing his face on the ground, I feel physically incapable of pedaling my bike. I don’t feel bad at all for not racing, either.