Hey, y’all, watch this!

A lot (ok, like, 5) people have been asking what my race plans are for next year, and I’ve generally thrown out some sort of roundabout answer that really means, “I’m not sure, but it won’t be 100’s.” When I finally asked this of myself, I figured it was time to come up with some sort of loose idea of what the 2013 season will look like.

The 100% “yes I want to do these” races:
2/16: Southern Cross
4/7: Ouachita Challenge
4/26-28: Whiskey Off-Road
5/26-6/1: TSEpic
7/6: Marathon Nationals
8/11-16: Breck Epic

Then there’s the “Race of Interest” list:
3/9: Sub9 Death March
5/4: Pisgah MTB Adventure Race
5/18: I don’t know if I want to do the Pisgah 111k or Syllamo’s Revenge. Probably Syllamo
6/2: Bump & Grind (if, for some reason, I don’t do TSE)
6/22: Hilly Billy Roubaix
7/18: XC Nationals
8/4: Tahosa (in CO the weekend before the Breck Epic starts)
9/14: Pisgah Monstercross
9/something: Pisgah stage race

That’s prettymuch all I’ve got for now. I’m wide open to suggestions. Requirements include “not a 100″ and “competitive women’s field.” Bonus points for equal payout to such a field as well as a high DNF rate. The high DNF rate is likely to tempt me more than anything else.

State Championship Cyclocross at Lock 4

The State Championship Cyclocross race always brings the power riders out of the proverbial woodwork- there’s always at least one or two women who haven’t raced a single Tennessee cyclocross race all season who will show up to take a shot at the jersey. This year was no different. The night before the race, I checked the “registered riders” list and saw Kim Flynn Fasczewski (AKA Kim “Flynnski”), who, as far as I knew, was undefeated in State Championship cyclocross (possibly all Tennessee races?). She’d kicked my butt on many occasions, but she’d also recently started a PhD program and hadn’t had as much time to train. I knew that she, along with all the rest of the horsepower in Tennessee (including Kat Williams, who, a couple of years ago, beat me on my own bike I’d let her borrow), would be incredibly tough competition.

Sunday morning, I woke up with a nearly sickening case of nerves. I knew that Kim and Kat could win (not that the other women couldn’t, also, but those two, in particular, had laid waste to me in the past). On the drive to Nashville, I was mentally preparing and reconciling with myself the possibility of placing off the top of the podium. However, I had a tiny, insistent voice in the back of my head that, no matter how much I kept telling myself “any placing is good as long as I race as hard as possible,” just kept whispering, “Screw that. You can win this.”

We arrived early so that Ryan could race the Master’s Race just before mine. I did my best to hide my nerves from everyone as I changed and prepped everything so that I could watch the start of Ryan’s race before I left to warm up. After some riding around on the road, his race was over, and I pre-rode the course. It was a demanding mix of power and handling. Both dismount sections were uphill. I practiced that at home, so I was happy to hear everyone else groan about them.

Race time. We line up. I look down at my heart rate- 124 bpm standing still.

When we’re finally off, Kim takes the holeshot, and I fall in one rider behind her. Kim, who, on top of being strong, is also an amazing bike handler, quickly puts a gap between herself and the rest of us. I jump around and get on her wheel, and, within a few turns, we’re gapping the other racers. I followed her for a lap, and, realized within a minute or two that I was very comfortable with her pace. So, at the single uphill barrier near the end of the lap, I ran past her going up the hill.

Feeling well warmed-up for it, I flew through the second lap like a madwoman. I knew I couldn’t overbrake for a corner, so I floated around them and powered up every single hill. I built about a 20 second gap during that lap, then held at 20-30 seconds for nearly the remainder of the race. Every time I wanted to rest in a less demanding section of course, I’d yell at myself in my head and, instead of shifting to an easier gear, throw in 5 hard pedal strokes. On the sections of course that doubled back on each other, I watched as Kat inched her way up towards Kim. I didn’t know if she’d catch/pass her then keep coming after me. Getting tired and slowing down wasn’t an option.

Finally, the bell lap. At that point, I just wanted it to be over. I rode it out with what I had left, and gave the most tired, relieved victory salute of my life. Ow. Looking back at lap times, I “won” the race on the second lap with a time fast enough to be near (but not on) the front of the men’s 1/2 race. I had a couple of other laps that were close to that time, but most were in the 5:40-6:00 range.

 

 

 

Bikes for sale

The only thing that’s currently on my mind is the huge rift in feelings between how outraged we are with physical violence but how, on a daily basis, people hurt each other and leave mental scars that take much longer to heal than the physical ones. Be kind.

In less emo news, Poolboy Matt has mine and Ryan’s previous road bikes on EBay. GO BUY THEM:

Ryan’s: Trek Madone 60cm w/SRAM Red

Mine: BH Connect 54cm w/SRAM Red

 

2 Weeks In

Two weeks in to the “no work” adventure (the initial pre/immediately-post time period doesn’t count since I was busy taking care of everyone else and being injured), and, not only have a settled into a routine, but it’s becoming apparent that even in such a short period of time, it’s paying off.

A lot of people have asked how my training has changed. Well, it’s just hard. To give you an example, I got on the trainer Tuesday night to do a 2nd interval workout of the day (and 6th in the span of 8 days). With State Championships this weekend, it was my last hard training before a series of recovery/tune-up workouts to get prepped for Sunday.

Actually, I didn’t do a recovery ride on Wednesday like I was scheduled. I’m still confounded by how every day seems to be a complete time vacuum, and ended up doing what I’d been putting off for several days- a lot of laundry and shopping for new bedroom furniture. Success on both fronts- the clothes are clean, and new furniture (including Tempurpedic Rhapsody mattress) will be delivered on Tuesday!

Yesterday was a Z5 “tune up” during which I realized that I’m going to go fast this weekend. I also finalized the design on the Brickhouse Racing kit from Nimblewear. Micheal from S2N Design helped (and by “helped,” I mean “did all of the work”) turn my loud, purple dreams into a houndstooth reality. Here’s a proof, though the computer screen doesn’t get the colors right AT ALL. The purple and pink are much deeper and darker on the real thing:

Today is another recovery day, to be spent going to yoga, shopping for new sheets, and cleaning the bedroom out enough that I can get the carpet steam cleaned on Monday. Onward & upward!

Decisions…

I need help picking colors for two Industry Nine wheelsets.

The easier one will be a mountain wheelset- the type with the baller I9 hubs & spokes and a black aluminum rim (the rim I’ll get is not a stan’s rim as pictured in the link, but the other options are the same). I’ve already settled on purple hubs, but the spokes, I’m not 100% sure on. I was thinking that black, gold, and purple should all be included, though I’m not sure as to what extent. My bikes are black (Air 9 RDO) and black & white (Air 9 CYA SS), and my kit will be purple and black.

The one I can’t make up my mind about is the road wheelset. Once again, I’ll have my choice of I9 hub color, but the spoke options are either black or silver with whatever color nipples I’d like as well as either black or silver for the rim. I want flashy without trashy, and this is the bike they’ll be used on most of the time:

Don’t say red. Red is way overdone.

Savings

Yesterday, I started realizing the importance of post-workout recovery. Not that I didn’t know it was important before I started doing more of it, but it’s become much more apparent this week. My training schedule wasn’t too crazy- 4 of 7 days dedicated to intervals (though the number of intervals performed during each workout has increased vs. my previous training). Like I mentioned in my previous post, I generally get home, eat, and rest a little while following each workout.

Lo and behold, yesterday I get to interval workout #4 of the week, and I am banging out 3 minute power numbers as if I’m NOT at the end of a hard-ish training week.

On the commute home, I thought of training as being like a savings account. Every interval is a deposit into the account. The harder I make it, the bigger the deposit. Then, good recovery following a workout is like raising the interest rate on the account. The outcome of bigger deposits and higher interest is more money… er, speed.

Then, later on that afternoon, I lit a starbucks cup on fire in my driveway with a propane torch. Pro Gold towels aren’t as flammable as you’d think they are.

 

My first “big” test of the CX season is the Tennessee State Championship next weekend. I’ve generally been avoiding the Tennessee races because they are further away and a lot of them are single race weekends. So, I’m not totally sure about what to expect, competition-wise. I know that there are more fast women than what I’ve seen so far this season, so it should be a good one.

Settling In

Now that I’ve surpassed both pre-Thanksgiving stress and during-Thanksgiving injury, I’m finally getting into a training/resting/other stuff routine (other stuff includes eating, cleaning, errand-running, and/or a multitude of other 30-60min tasks. It’s taken a couple of weeks to generally classify days under one of two schedules: 1) yoga, errands, snack, ride, lunch, clean, kick back, dinner prep; or 2)ride, lunch, kick back, other stuff, dinner prep.

Of course, there are exceptions, like today, where I went to the store at 6:00am, met with Joe & Joel at Outdoors, Inc. headquarters at 10 to sort through some of the details of 2013 sponsorship, then came home around 11:30, snacked, rode, and now I’m eating some leftover sweet potato chili for lunch before I watch some terrible daytime TV and take a nap before I get up, maybe do some race-prep for Journey Cross, then start on dinner.

I have to say, it’s an interesting slice of psychology to undergo stress from having your normal routine flipped onto its head- even when it’s for super-awesome reasons. I can’t say I wasn’t going a little nuts at first, but I’m getting more comfortable with it day-by-day. The post-ride eating and rest feels vital to survival at this point, seeing as Coach has increased the volume of intervals during my training. I feel a nap coming on.

 

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!

Turbo

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.
F(&^@$(*&^K!!!!!!!
(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.
I’M A USELESS SHELL OF A HUMAN

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.