brickhouseracing

May 9, 2013

aaaaaaand, Done.

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 6:23 am

Yesterday I put the wraps on my aforementioned training block by going out and riding 100 miles. Typically, I’d connect a couple of my longer routes with some gravel out on the eastern ends of each loop. However, this time, I was recon-ing for the “Poolboy Matt’s 2013 Gentleman’s Ride,” and had a “no gravel” stipulation on the route choice. At first, I was a little disappointed, but it turned out really well because I found some gorgeous, rolling farmland and hardly any traffic. I’ve found that once you get out past a certain point, the traffic that you do encounter gives you the three finger country wave from the steering wheel (not to be confused with the one finger wave that you get closer to town).

The way I do long rides is to carry all the food I need then stop at various churches (or volunteer fire dept.) along my route to refill my bottles:

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Side note: For those of you wondering how I have a “working” EVO frame- it’s not. It’s one of the out-of-spec frames with a PF30 to English adapter and the GXP Quarq off of my cyclocross bike. I’m not sure when the new warranty frame will be available.

 

90 miles in:

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Salty:

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I needed a “snack” after I cleaned up, so I went for the (grass-fed/nitrate & antibiotic free) bacon cheese burger:

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I generally felt good for the entire ride, which was great considering the training I’ve done over the past few days. If you’re actually interested in what I do, you can take a look at Strava. If you don’t really care about training, but you want to see random photos (and you aren’t already inundated with social media), you can look at Instagram instead.

Now it’s mostly recovery until Syllamo and TSE where hopefully the hours of saddle time invested turn in to successful racing dividends.

May 7, 2013

Doing the work…

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 7:20 am

I haven’t had much opportunity to sit around and be disappointed that I wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be at the Whiskey 50. That’s due, in  part, to starting in on my last hard training block before Trans-Sylvania Epic. In 4 days of riding (May 5-8), I’ m slated to put in 16 hours worth of riding, all of which includes some sort of  intervals. So far, so good- I’m halfway through, and I’m feeling better than I would have expected (I’ve got another 4 hours on tap for today, so we’ll see if I’m saying the same thing this afternoon). After these 4 days, I’ve got a couple of more reasonably spaced hard rides, Syllamo’s Revenge 50 (May 18th), and lots of recovery rides.

It’s been a little cold and really rainy since I came home from Whiskey. I’ve managed to get rained a little (and a lot) during all of my rides up until today (forecast is for 70 and sunny, so that’ll be a pleasant change). However, as I mentioned yesterday on my Facebook page (link is on the right sidebar if you’re not already on there), my desire to get faster has completely overridden my want for personal comfort. The only thing that I’m disappointed with right now is that the trails are so soaked that it’ll be this weekend before anyone should touch tires to them again.
As a side project/torture test, I applied some ProGold Xtreme lube to the chain on my road bike on Thursday before heading out for 3.5 hours in the rain, and I’m waiting to see how long it is before my chain starts making tweety bird noises. If you’re like me, you’ve probably noticed a lot of people plugging ProGold lately on their blogs/facebook/wherever. It’s not just because Bruce Dickman is a nice guy who hands out a bunch of lube- it’s because, as a whole, it’s been stupid rainy here in the Southeast, and ProGold makes a lot of stuff that will very effectively clean/lubricate the parts on your bike.

(I didn’t really mean to shill for the sponsors for two posts in a row, it’s just that mentioning how much rain riding I’ve done lately reminded me of my lube experiment)

Somewhere in the mix of training, raining, and recovery, I’ll be turning 32 on May 15th. In light of the slowly growing number of scars and dents on my body from various & sundry wrecks, as well as my recent run-in with a motor vehicle, I’m coming to realize the reality of this quote from Hunter S. Thompson:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

A safe, pretty-bodied life seems way too boring. When I look at a scar or a bruise, I don’t think that it’s made my body less attractive, but that it’s a reminder of the fun and/or adventure I was having at the time of its installation.

May 4, 2013

Photos & Great Sponsors!

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 7:18 am

This weekend was a reminder (from my road racing days) that, if you race with the big-name pros of your sport and don’t hang with them, then NO PHOTOS FOR YOU!

My one exception was a listener of the Just Riding Along radio show- Benjamin Wendorf. He took photos and video of Friday night’s crit and sent them to me Thursday (including a good nosebleed shot that’s now my photo on the Brickhouse Facebook Page)…

 

DAMN that kit looks good! (thanks to Micheal at Second to Nuun for the design) If you’re interested in purchasing one, my plan is to get a Nimblewear shop set up soon for orders. It will likely be a slightly modified version of what you see here- the same black/purple houndstooth w/pink accents, but without the sponsor roll-call down the front & back (not sure on that yet- feedback from YOU would help me out there). Hit me back on the comments below, or on Facebook/Twitter if you would purchase one- I’d really like to get a feel for reader interest so I know if I’d hit minimums or not.

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Here’s another photo of the leaders that includes a good view of the crest of the first hill/crowds…

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Take notice of the Giant GuEnergy Gel. Having Gu (who sponsors me) sponsoring a race is pretty awesome, because I get to meet all the people I’ve emailed with the past few months, and they’ve got all my favorite stuff at the booth/aid stations. I’ve also never seen any other nutrition companies send a giant gel mascot into the crowd.

In general, I’ve got a great bunch of sponsors this year.

Everyone from bystanders to the pros I lined up with were stoked on the bling-ness of the I9 Trail 24 wheels. Surprisingly, a lot of people have never seen Industry 9 wheels in person, so I have a good time telling them how not only do they look awesome, they kick ass as well.
On the same “awesome” list is ProGold. If you’ve only used the lube (something I’ve been doing long before I knew Bruce Dickman, ProGold rep extraordinaire and Brickhouse Racing superfan), I highly recommend trying the rest of their line of stuff. I got some of the bike polish (and some other stuff to try out and report on later) from Bruce over the weekend, and it made my beat-up Air9RDO look new again. Plus, Bruce gave me a call-up at the start of Sunday’s race as well as a kickass pair of ProGold Swiftwick 7s
If you go back to my post about Friday’s race, you’ll see the Maxxlite 29s that I raced in the crit. Maxxis has a very diverse mountain tire selection (I saw other  ladies riding hybrid tires. They fared fine, but personally- and you know how picky I am- given the high-speed nature of the downhill turns on course, I’d rather have something a little more performance-oriented rather than commuter/cruiser oriented). Sunday, I rode an Ardent 2.25 front (favorite all-around front tire, ever) and the Ikon 2.35 rear. The Ikon 2.35 is available now. If you live in Memphis, Outdoors Inc in Cordova should have some in stock. As I’ve said in the past- a fat, fast-rolling rear tire on a hardtail makes a lot of sense.

I couldn’t do it without them. My advice to you is to look at who makes your favorite bike stuff and see who they sponsor. See what shops in town sponsor riders in your area (I know it sounds cliche, but I couldn’t do this without the help of Outdoors, Inc.) Let those companies know that not only do you like their products, but that you also like that they help people in the cycling community. It reinforces their decision to help out racers like me.

 

 

May 3, 2013

Whiskey Off Road Race Report

Filed under: Bike Racing,Training — Andrea @ 6:44 am

This might quite possibly be the most boring race report I’ve ever written. I generally had a great race, but the results were not very impressive.

As I mentioned before- Saturday I took as a very relaxing recovery day. I had a good night’s sleep Saturday night and woke up in plenty of time to eat, pack up the hotel room, and get to downtown Prescott before the crowds took all of the good parking spots. I changed and started rolling around to get a good warmup.

The awesome thing about racing the Pro category (other than getting to meet some of my favorite MTB heros on the start line) is that the 44 of us entered were privileged to our own start. Anyone who has ever raced an NUE race (or the Whiskey 50-proof amateur race the day before) can attest to the misery of traffic jams that result when huge numbers of riders of all shapes/sizes/abilities (whether real or perceived) all take off at the same time. Instead of arriving at the start 15 minutes early to elbow my way up to a good spot on the line, I meandered my way over once I heard the men’s race start 10 minutes ahead of us.

The race began with a gunshot fired by an old guy in old-time western costume. The course starts with a long climb out of town. It’s eerily quiet with the exception of the pockets of crowds that had gathered to cheer us along. At first, the pace remained easier than I thought it would as we negotiated the last of the city streets. However, once the road went to gravel and pitched up steeply, the leaders kicked it up, and the group strung out with me about 3/4 of the way back. I knew the pace I could maintain, and I knew that some of the women ahead of me were going harder than what they should, so I stuck with my effort and soon started to reel them in one at a time.

“Reeling them in” is a relative term here. Yes, I passed ladies who generally never passed me back. However, I wasn’t passing the women who were using my same strategy, but had all-around better fitness than me.

The only difficulty I suffered during the race was coming up the long dirt road climb out of Skull Valley. I was doing a great job of “singlespeeding it” by picking a really comfortable gear and standing/using my bodyweight to go faster than I could seated for the same amount of effort (it’s a learned skill- if you’ve never done much singlespeed climbing, you’ll find that until you figure it out otherwise, you’ll use more energy standing than you do when you sit). Example- if I stand and climb at a heart rate of ~170bpm, I’m going 9mph, whereas, if I sit and spin at  ~170bpm, I’m only doing 8 mph.
Anyways… I got a terrible case of hot foot (I think?) My outer two toes on both feet felt like someone was clamping them into a vice and they were about to explode off of the end of my foot. I was forced to sit. I’d been hanging with Li’l Karen Jarchow for a while, but when the toe thing screwed up my singlespeeder mojo, she dropped me like the 105 pounds of stone cold killer that she is.  I still passed a couple more ladies on my way to the top, but I wasn’t a happy camper.

Once I was up to the overlook where I’d taken photos on Friday, I made the right hand turn and started the descent back down to town. The descending out there was a ton of fun, though once I nearly made contact with a prickly pear cactus bush the size of a smartcar. I stayed on the gas the whole way in to make sure that no one caught up to me.

My finish time was 4 hours, 10 minutes. 27th place. Meh-pic!

 

Don’t get me wrong- given the all-star nature of the field, I wasn’t expecting a top 10 (or even necessarily top 15) finish. I was, however, hoping to be at least in the top half of the finishers. I’ve come to the following conclusions: A) Fitness is the obvious improvement. That’s a work in progress, as always, but this just provides a little extra something in the back of my head next time I don’t think I have the extra 5 watts at the end of an interval. B) The altitude had a little bit to do with it. It was day #3 at ~5300ft, so it would explain why I’d felt like a rockstar on Friday but maybe a little blunted on Sunday. C)I have to go downhill faster. That’s a tough one to work on in Memphis because the hills here are short. Descending at 20mph is what feels “normal” to me. When I get to where the descents are longer and faster, it feels crazy- I’m just not accustomed to the speed. It’s kinda like when you go from a state where the speed limit is 70mph to one where it’s 75mph. When you make that 5mph jump on the cruise control, it feels like you’re flying at first, but by the time you’re at the next state where it goes back to down, 70 feels like you’re standing still. I realized at Breck Epic last year that I can adapt to the speed pretty quickly with a little practice. It’s just finding a way to practice less brake and more shred. Maybe I need to learn to ride a moto… though that could become a “habit” in and of itself.

So, it was a good race to see both my strengths (I did a great job with pacing and nutrition), and my weaknesses (listed above). Trans-Transylvania is on the horizon, and it’s slated to be another stellar field of women. Along the way there, some hard training, a birthday, and Syllamo’s Revenge. Commence to hard work…

 

April 30, 2013

Fat Tire Criterium- Whiskey Off-Road #2

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 7:43 am

Friday morning, I packed some riding stuff in the car and headed to downtown Prescott to pre-ride some of Sunday’s 50 mile course. There was a 15 mile “fun ride” Friday afternoon that used the first and last climbs of the race course, so I figured that was the easiest way to see the good parts of the course and not get lost in the process.

My pre-ride was nice. The sections I got to see were a nice mix of flowy and rowdy, and were a good sample of the rest of the 50 mile course. Since I was taking it kinda easy, I stopped for some photos at the overlook that you pass just before dropping back down to the city (some other riders were stopped & taking photos, too, so we traded cameras)…

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After I arrived back downtown, I cleaned up, grabbed lunch from a local place on the square, and headed to the Pro Race meeting. Highlight of the meeting? The women’s lead moto guy telling the men something along the lines of, “I will catch some of you. Move out of the way and don’t make me force the issue, because I’ve got an x00 pound bike with a motor, and I can force the issue.” (the women’s race started 10 minutes after the men’s race)

Following the meeting, I stopped at a local shop- High Gear Bicycle Shop- to clean my bike up and swap tires for the Friday night fat tire crit. I picked the Maxxis Maxxlite 29. It’s ~250g, and has a very minimal tread. They make  no bones about it- it’s a race-only, no sharp-stuff tire. It turned out to be an excellent choice for the crit (I’m kinda stoked to have a set to try in other random race situations, too. I’m thinking Clear Creek in Oxford and maybe Stanky Creek for the TN State Championships). I put a super light 650b tube in them just for ease of setup, but they popped onto the rim like they’d work tubeless.

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By the time I’d done all that, I had to hustle back to the hotel, eat a snack, relax a few minutes, and get packed to come back to the 5:15 crit. Here’s the deal with the crit- the only “prize” for the crit, other than some nice cash primes, is that the top 5 finishers get a call-up for Sunday’s race. However, the nature of the start of Sunday’s race doesn’t really make a call-up that beneficial. So, since all of the racers are required to toe the line and start, and riders in contention to be lapped are pulled by officials, a bunch of racers end up just riding a few laps then pulling out. It sucks a little that more don’t stay in the race, but, given the course and the pace, I understand the pursuit of self preservation.

The course is pretty brutal. For you stats junkies out there, here’s the Training Peaks graph of the first lap:

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For those of you who are familiar with “Crybaby Hill” on the Tulsa Tough criterium course, this was essentially two of those (crowds/hecklers/onlookers included!), with the first one being a steeper (~11%) grade than the second. On the flipside, it made me giggle a little to watch some of the best women I’ve seen on a MTB get a little freaked out by the 30-something mph turn on the bottom side of the hill.

When the race started, I didn’t hold back. I stuck in the tail end of the lead group. A couple of laps later, and I’m in a pack of really strong chasers, still watching some of the most awesome women in mountain biking just seconds ahead of me. I was literally looking at the awesome riders next to me and thinking, “WTF am I doing here, and how am I going this fast?!?”

In the second half of the race, things blew apart some more. I gained/lost/gained/lost a few spots. I couldn’t see straight, and it seemed like there was so much lactic acid in my blood that it was leaking out into my ears and mouth. I couldn’t help but love it, and I couldn’t have made myself quit at that point. I kept wiping what I thought was snot and drool off of my face, only to find out after the race that my nose had started bleeding…

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Gnarly.

I ended up 13th place out of 46 starters. Sounds really impressive, given the field, but, given the fact that a lot of the fast women quit in the name of self-preservation, not quite as awesome as it would be if everyone was out there giving 100%. I didn’t care- it was probably the most agonizing and awesome race of my life, and I had a blast doing it.

After I caught my breath and rinsed my nose/face off (thanks to the Prescott firefighters for the saline and gauze), I walked back up the hill to cheer the men’s race a little, and meet some JRA fans who had been cheering me on earlier. Ben gave me a shot of  Scotch, and it made my legs feel better. I think he should have some action shots as well, and I’ll post them if he does.

The fun thing about the Whiskey Off-Road is that you race Friday night, then again on Sunday. So, you’ve got all day to lay around and recover on Saturday. I stopped by the bike shop to put my regular tires back on, then found the greenway, the pumptrack, and a great massage… prettymuch my definition of the most perfect recovery day possible.

April 27, 2013

Getting There- Whiskey Off-Road #1

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 8:13 pm

I figure I should get a jump on my Whiskey blogs since it’s been an exciting weekend so far (and the main race hasn’t even happened yet!)

I hate flying. I hate being x-ray raped in security, I hate being in cramped quarters with lots of people, and I hate the potential of both flight delays/cancellations and the possible disaster of having my luggage & bike lost or severely damaged. Also, my ears hurt really bad during landings.

So, I pack up the toaster and drive all over the place. The trip out to Prescott, AZ was completed in two days’ worth of driving.

I don’t always take pictures when I’m driving, but when I do, it’s because this dude in the Sprinter van has been tailing me since West Memphis, and I wanted to send it to someone so that the police would have a primary suspect if I were to be kidnapped…

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(he exited in Little Rock)

I stopped in Amarillo. I probably could have made it a couple hours further down I40, but the timing and location worked out so that I was able to ride some of the local trails just before sunset on Wednesday afternoon. That part of Texas is beautiful…

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Thursday, I figured I’d go ahead and get to Prescott so I could settle in and ride a little to loosen up the car legs. The drive across the Great Plains area and New Mexico is equally as gorgeous as the previous day’s drive. The sky is so huge, it makes you feel like you’re in a giant bubble.

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Once I was at my hotel, I decided that I needed yoga more than a ride, and found a class at a studio about 15 minutes away from where I was staying. It felt goooood, and afterward, I met up with Bruce from ProGold and some guys for Thai food in downtown Prescott. By then, I was dragging ass pretty hard. Arizona doesn’t celebrate daylight savings time, so, during day #2 of driving, time changed by 2 hours. The first night/morning was a little rough, but as I type this, I’m feeling pretty used to the change. I’m sure that once I’m home, I’ll be obnoxiously awake at my usual pre-10pm bedtime.

Post #2 will encompass Friday- some pre-riding, a riders’ meeting, and a killer fat-tire criterium race.

April 23, 2013

Road Trip Time

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 7:19 am

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading out to make the 21ish hour drive from Memphis to Prescott, AZ for the Whiskey Off-Road. It’s basically straight west on I-40 until Flagstaff, Arizona. So, since I’m gonna make most of the drive in the next two days, I was hoping to get a little help from the readers out there with finding a spot to spin around at the end of the driving days. A trail would be nice, but a “this 10-20 mile road route won’t get you killed by traffic” would be fine as well. I don’t want to get too far from the interstate, but I’m willing to go up to 30 minutes if necessary.

Tomorrow- somewhere in North Texas. Amarillo is about the halfway point of the drive for me, so there or a little west of there.

Thursday- somewhere on I-17 in Arizona (basically anywhere between Flagstaff and Prescott). I plan on being in Prescott for the Pro Rider meeting at noon on Friday, so as long as I’m at least south of Flagstaff, the drive won’t be too bad.

 

If anyone has suggestions or wants to grab lunch in Prescott on Saturday, hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, or email (andrea at brickhouseracing.com)!

April 22, 2013

Recovery Day Shennanigans

Filed under: Bike Racing,Training — Andrea @ 10:31 am

We had so much fun with the triathletes a couple of weekends ago, that Poolboy Matt and I decided to “spectate” Sunday’s XC race at Herb Parson’s Lake. This time, we switched roles and added a horsehead mask. Hilarity ensued.

As always, follow the karma rules of photo-grabbing: these are totally free for everyone to download. If you email me (andrea at brickhouseracing.com) and ask for a file, I’ll send you the high-res version. In exchange, though, I ask that you please link to my blog (copy and paste from the address bar above) wherever you decide you’d like to display your photo on the internet. Practice good photo credit  karma or else you’ll get a flat tire!

 

Slobberknocker Race Report

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 7:34 am

Like I mentioned before, I was highly undecided as to whether I’d race this weekend. Coach had said something along the lines of, “racing this weekend will either put your fitness over the top or into a hole for Whiskey next weekend.”

Friday morning, I felt pretty good… still undecided, though. I had a bunch of errands to run, yoga, a PT appointment, and a ride to see how I was feeling. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I was thinking about bike racing and heard this song:

 

I can’t explain why, but while I was listening to it, I decided to take my chances and race.  After the errands were done, I went home and pulled my Cannondale SuperX off of the wall, put some fresh sealant in the tires (running my favorite wheel/tire setup for this sort of race- Industry 9 i25TL road wheels and some tubeless CX tires), and installed a 34t small ring in place of the 36t that was on my CX crank at the time. There was an 11-26 cassette on the wheels already, and I didn’t feel like hunting down the 11-28, so I decided I’d just go for it on the gearing. By 5:00, I was packed and ready to roll to Perryville, AR.

Fast forward a little, and I’m in a quaint motel on Harris Brake Lake just south of Perryville. One thing I’ve learned through half a year of gluten-free eating is how to make a pretty good chicken/veggie/rice bowl prior to going out of town. It takes a little extra work on the front end, but having a healthy meal waiting for you when you arrive into the middle of nowhere at 9:00pm is totally worth it…

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I battled through a night of fitful sleep (the little Harris Brake motel is nice, but the walls are paper-thin, and apparently the guys next door were in & out all night fishing or something). Saturday morning, it was 37deg cold, and the sunrise was beautiful…

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I had some breakfast and packed everything into the car to go to registration. I paid, briefly discussed my views on pros who feel “entitled” to race any race they want, went to the start, and rode around a little trying to warm up. Luckily, the start of the race is a neutral rollout past the Perryville city limits. It has potential to be somewhat of a clusterufck (like any mass-start-for-all MTB race), so I lined up in the front and, when the signal was given to go, jumped into the slipstream of the lead vehicle… safety and a nice motorpace warmup, all in one!

Once the lead vehicle pulled off, a group of hammery guys formed. They took off hard up the first road climb, and I decided to slide back into the next group, which included another woman (Priscilla Cazer, who had finished 15 minutes after me at Ouachita). I hung with them as they chased after the lead group, and felt like I was going a little harder than I really wanted to given the 70 miles and lots of climbing we had ahead of us. I stuck with it, though, and, as we crested the top of the hill, Priscilla informed me that she was only racing the 45 mile “tour” version of the Slobberknocker.

Ohhhh… ok.

We turned off of the main road onto the gravel, and I backed off a little bit and had some gel to prep for the first of the bigger climbs. It was a good idea, because my legs really started to come back around just as I came to the initial pitches of the longest one of the day. I paced myself into a mix of “singlespeed” and seated-type climbing (not my favorite, but gearing and traction don’t always allow for standing on the steeper stuff), and felt good all the way up. I remembered on the way down that I was on a CX bike, and that I’d need to dial the descending down a notch or two in order to avoid killing a tire or something on one of the rowdy sections of forest road.

For a while, I basically rode in the same rhythm. Just like last year,  I had a few guys on MTBs that I’d pass going uphill, then they’d pass me back going downhill. It continued that way until just after the “rowdiest” section of “road” on the course (a sharp, washed out jeep road made mostly of exposed rock beds), when, on a seemingly normal gravel section, I cut my rear tire on a rock. Sealant went everywhere. Without panic, I pulled off and installed a tube as quickly as possible…

4 minutes and 8 seconds, to be exact.

Between the previous section of tricky road descending, the flat, and the long descent into the next aid station (an out & back section of the course), Laureen Coffelt  (riding a full suspension MTB and able to go waaaay faster than me downhill) put a serious dent into my lead. As I was about 100 feet out of the aid station, she was on her way in- maybe a minute back at the most. Knowing that she was a) wearing a camelback and not likely to stop and b) going to come out of it with extra motivation that I was so close, I stepped my climbing game up a notch or two.

At that point in the race, on a cyclocross bike, nothing doesn’t hurt. I’ve always said that, compared to racing on a mountain bike, the places where the CX bike is faster will outweigh the places where it’s slower. However, that comes with the caveat of “if you can deal with the fact that the roughness of the roads is going to make you hurt all over.” The forest roads around that area are pretty rocky, and have the ability to remove small cars from service, as I learned the hard way several years ago. At 3 hours in, not only do you have a healthy dose of climbing in your legs, but everything from your butt up to your neck/shoulders, arms, and hands is aching from the constant forest road beating.

It was at that point that I channeled something I’d learned about in Yoga… the idea of Santosha, or contentment. It’s something that I’d heard from several yoga instructors, but that Kirsti talked about at length during a challenging class the previous Thursday. As we were holding a particular pose for an extended period of time, she asked us to focus on the sensations that we were feeling right then rather than avoiding them. The idea was, rather than trying to tune out feelings of discomfort, to explore them and accept them as a means of finding Santosha. I found myself doing the same thing as I was hammering through the final two hours of racing. Rather than attaching negative emotions to the pain and trying to distract my mind into thinking about something else, I went back to the idea of accepting the discomfort and being content despite all of it.

During that time, I built my lead back up to nearly 20 minutes.

So, I won in a time of 4 hours, 53 minutes- about a minute faster than last year (though, last year, I hadn’t flatted). The Slobberknocker not only offers a nice cash prize, but the trophies are some of the best out there… handmade by a local firefighter:

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Now, it’s a race to see how well I can recover before Friday evening’s Whiskey Fat-tire criterium and the 50-mile race on Sunday.

 

 

April 17, 2013

Balancing build and recover

Filed under: Bike Racing,Training — Andrea @ 11:46 am

I’ve never been much of a gambler, but it seems that my (usual) slow recovery from the Ouachita Challenge and the proximity of the Whiskey Off-Road weekend (4/26-28) are making my participation in this weekend’s Slobberknocker race a proverbial roll of the recovery dice. If my last two hard training rides on Saturday and Monday had felt like 100% awesome, I wouldn’t question anything, and  I’d go to one of my favorite regional races and have a great time. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Given my current fitness, the power numbers were about 95% of what I’d normally expect. Sure, a 5% drop doesn’t sound like much, but when the amount of recovery days I took following Ouachita don’t produce the amount of recovery I’d usually expect, then I start to get nervous.

I’m not sure what it is about Ouachita that does it to me, but I’m trying to prevent what happened last year from happening again this year. I raced, thought I’d recovered, then went to Slobberknocker and Cohutta 100 on back-to-back weekends. The three proved to be a deadly combination from a recovery standpoint, because by Syllamo’s Revenge (mid-may), I felt absolutely useless. I was basically forced off of my usual training for the weeks leading up to the Mohican 100 at the beginning of June. I managed to make the best of it, but it didn’t do much for my race results.

So, as Coach said, we’re taking it day by day. My legs felt alright yesterday on my recovery-ish ride (mostly spinning with a few hammery-spots to see if I still felt gassed). I’m going to the Tiger Lane crit tonight to race with the Cat4 men. The short/high-intensity effort should be good for fitness without too much stress. It’s sad that even though there are enough capable women in Memphis to make a decent criterium, they’ve so rarely shown up to the event in years past that the promoter actually took women off the website flyer and just asked me which race I want to jump into, and that he’d give me a requisite payout just for showing up (if you register online, they actually have all women listed with cat5 men, though in the past, they were on the flyer as racing with the cat 4s).

I digress.

In hit-by-car news, I’ve started PT sessions to try and heal the severe contusion in my right glute where I hit the ground in my Mazda-induced flight. The muscle is so hard and knotted that I can barely get into it by sitting on a lacrosse ball (a foam roller or quad baller is basically useless). Physical therapy has been a combination of the therapist digging knuckles/thumbs into the area and using Ultrasound to control the resulting pain/inflammation. It’s pretty intense, but hopefully it will bring back my original level of muscle function for that area.

I’ve got a huge season ahead, so hopefully I can skirt the edge of “too much” that I’m finding right now and get right into “totally kicking ass.”

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