brickhouseracing

October 10, 2009

Cyclocrunk #1

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 6:29 pm

Yes, this is a bit belated.

Ryan and I headed to midtown last week for the local cyclocross training series (Cyclocrunk) held @ Tobey Park.

The course included 9 barriers- 8 of which were obviously taller than the 40cm “legal” height, 1 going downhill, and 2 sets just far enough apart that you could almost ride between them, but not quite. Oh yeah- and a sand pit.

Otherwise, the course was pretty easy. Following a LeMans start, I spent the next 40 minutes riding pretty damn hard. I ended up somewhere around 8th overall (1st for the 3 or 4 women that showed up). I beat a few guys that were obviously faster than me last year, so that was nice.

We’ll race again the next two Tuesdays. Barring injury (my previously torn hip adductor started to ache a bit w/ the repeated dismounts), I should end up being the 2009 “Queen of Crunk.” Wooha!

Here are a couple of photos, courtesy of Micheal Carpenter @ Switch Creative:

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October 7, 2009

12 Hours of Stank!

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 7:10 am

It’s not often that you get the opportunity to go to a 12 hour race that’s ~10 miles from your house, so I was excited to enter the 12 Hours of Stank @ Nesbit Park in Bartlett. Since I’ve been in post-season break mode since Oak Ridge, I wasn’t feeling particularly ready for a 12 hour solo race. No worries, though, because Carter, Ryan, and I decided to form a relay team.

We couldn’t have asked for better race-day weather (ok, so I was a little bit cold, but I can’t really complain). We decided that I’d ride the opening lap since I’d likely have the fastest lap times. Even with a slip up on some Blue Trail roots (first of several falls of the day), I still managed a lap time of close to 53 minutes.

At the start line (side note… dang, I look skinny here!):

prerace12

We swapped single laps all day. Unfortunately, Ryan had a flat tire on one lap and a broken chain during the next. The time it took to repair those mechanicals meant that we’d each complete 4 laps (otherwise, I would have gone out for a 5th sometime before the cutoff of 9:00pm).

Steve is my co-pilot:

steve

Even so, we still won the Co-ed 3-person relay division of the race (ok, I’ll admit- we were the only entry… though I still think we kicked a little butt!)

Post race photo:
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October 4, 2009

Bike Parts!

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 5:46 pm

Eventually, I’ll have an Air9 frame… when? No idea. So, in the meantime, I’ll just post (in true Weight Weenie style) parts that I’ve bought to lighten up my current set of components that were on the Jet9:

SRAM Red Front Derailleur:

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SPEEN Umlenker Top-Pull Adapter:

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Installed:

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X.0 Grip Shift (+cables):

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I’ve got Easton Carbon bars, too, but I didn’t take a photo.

Oh yeah, and Ryan, Carter, and I raced as a relay team in the 12 hours of Stank yesterday… I’ll write up a report tomorrow at some point…

October 1, 2009

Moment of Silence

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 8:39 am

Text messge transcript from a friend out in Cali who happens to be friends w/the guys @ Niner:

HW: Yo. Did Jens have Bikes Plus stickies on it?If so, I’m totally holding your rear triangle.
Me: OMG Yes!!!
HW: :P
Me: You can go ahead and overnight that Air frame to me- K THX!
HW: Wish I could
Me: That’s pretty cool that you got to play with my bike. Is it taken apart and thrown in the scrap pile now?
HW: I didn’t want to say anything but yeah, pretty much scrap piled. And I could only find the rear. They’re hammering the frames to death even if they’re new. Sad to watch.

Yes. Jens is gone.

September 29, 2009

Air9 coming soon…

Filed under: Trail Riding — Andrea @ 8:49 pm

Eventually, at least. Jens arrived at Niner for disassembly and destruction yesterday. The Air9 should ship out sometime this week and arrive a week after the ship date. I figured since I’ll eventually end up with two frames that I’d go ahead & purchase a few new parts for the Air build. SO… here’s the list:

SRAM X.0 Grip Shifters
SRAM Red FD
Speen Umlenker (converts bottom pull FD into top pull)
Blackspire 24t and 36t chainrings
Middleburn 6mm chainring bolts (red)
Easton Monkey Lite Carbon low-rise bars
Thompson 31.8mm x 410mm setback seatpost
Still need a new cassette & chain… waiting to snipe those on flEbay

I’ll post some photos once I get motivated enough to get the camera out. I’m hoping to have somewhat of a light build. The next big purchase will likely be a set of Stan’s ZTR Race wheels. Stay tuned…

Beat the Freak Cyclocross #1 and #2

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 7:20 pm

I know, I know… I’ve been slacking on writing my race reports. It was a really good weekend…

Saturday was all about rain. About halfway to Fayettville, it started, and it didn’t stop until much later in the afternoon. When we arrived at the race course, it was coming down pretty hard, and soon enough, parts of the course were under more than a foot of water. The entire thing was a mud pit.

Only one other woman (Kim Bishop) showed up to race the 1/2/3 race, and we lined up with the cat 3 men. I got off to a slightly sluggish start, but managed to pass her early in the first lap. From there, I just worked on picking off the guys. The course was good for me- the mud was either deep or greasy, so I used all of the mud-riding skills I learned during the 1st lap of DSG (the 12 hour race that went horribly wrong back in May). I ended up coming in 5th overall (against 10 men). Sweet!

Photos (Courtesy of Tina Freeman):

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Conditions on Sunday were not nearly as harsh. The sun was actually out, and a little bit of the mud had dried up. The course was less technical, but did include a sand pit. I lined up with the same group as the previous race. This time, my start was much better- I entered the first part of the course flawlessly tucked up in the middle of the group. There was still a lot of mud & soft grass as well as a nasty sand pit, but some parts of the course were hard and fast. I passed a lot of guys. A couple of them (Ryan included) had mechanical issues. Because of that, I ended up finishing 2nd overall. Woohoo! I like beating up on the guys a little bit :)

Here’s me in the sand & over some barriers:

sandsmall

barrier

I’m amazed at how much of a difference a nice bike makes! The BH Carbon is a cyclocross machine (though, unlike the Surly, it’s no fun to ride on singletrack because of the stiffness). I’m really excited for the entire season, but even moreso for what’s coming up in January- Yesterday on Facebook I saw that Eddie O’Dea (55nine Performance) is making preparations for Southern Cross. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I experienced an episode of Epic Fail when I lost that race to Carey Lowery in the final runup before the finish line.

Yeah. That race and I have unfinished business.

September 25, 2009

Weekend Prep

Filed under: Bike Racing,non-bike — Andrea @ 9:10 pm

I’m about to do a little packing & hit the hay since Ryan & I are leaving in the morning for Fayetteville and the Beat the Freak cyclocross races. It’s been interesting to ready my food for the weekend since I’m still doing the “daniel fast” thing for two more weeks. I figured I’d post up a couple of roadworthy recipes:

Trail Mix:
1 can cashews
1 bag wasabi edamame (I think that “wasabi powder” is OK as an ingredient…)
Walnuts
Unsweetened dried Apricots, chopped
Raisins

Toss all of those into a Ziploc bag, shake up, and enjoy.

Brown Rice & Lentil Curry:
1 cup brown rice
1 cup lentils
1 box Pacific veggie broth
Red curry paste

Bring the broth to a boil and add the rice. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the lentils and a tablespoon of red curry paste (you can add more later if you want). Cover back up & simmer for 20 more minutes. Eat as is or add to vegetables or an Ezekiel-brand sandwich wrap (they’re yeast & sugar free) with some spinach & other “burrito” filling of your choice.

Along with those, some of my other staples include peanut butter & rice cakes, protein shakes, soy-crisps, Larabars, and various whole fruits.

September 22, 2009

Clear Creek Challenge

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 10:07 am

The alarm clock went off early Sunday morning. We had some breakfast, packed the car, and headed down to Oxford for the Clear Creek Challenge MTB race.

The skies were cloudy, but the radar had been clear. Ryan was very brave and entered the cat 2 race insted of beginner, even though it was his first XC race ever, and he’s only ridden a MTB a handful of times. However, by the time we toed the line, the conditions went from dry to thunderstorm.

When the official told us to go, I took off and grabbed the holeshot. The trail was a river, but didn’t seem too slippery yet, so I used it to my advantage and tested the nerve of the other two ladies I was racing against. The strategy worked well- after a few minutes of hammering, I started passing the master’s men (and an expert woman who had started with them on her single speed). I looked back periodically and saw no one, so I backed off to a more sustainable tempo pace so that I wouldn’t have to take as many chances or risk getting too tired. At about mile 4, I passed Ryan, who was cursing and generally hating life.

This strategy worked swimmingly for the first lap. I freaking NAILED the steep switchback section. I mean KILLED it! I think the switchback is still cowering in fear over how much I kicked its butt. I have to gloat, because switchbacks have been the bain of my short MTB existance…

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I started to feel kinda tired during the last couple of miles of the first lap, so I figured I needed to eat some calories. I’m currently participating in a research study where I’m following the Daniel Fast for three weeks, so my options are somewhat limited. During the first few miles of the next lap, I managed to cram a Larabar down my throat.

Despite this, I only felt worse. Trying to preserve what energy was left, I shifted into my granny gear for a short hill somewhere around mile 4. I never left the granny gear after that. It was either what I had/hadn’t eaten, the 8 hours of Raid the Rock the day before, or a combination of both, but I hit the wall. The remaining lap was a death march. I kept waiting for the other women to pass me back as I crawled down the trail, which had turned into greasy mud in many sections as the rain tailed off.

Luckily, between the bad conditions and some mechanicals, no one caught me…

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Luck. Lots of it. I discussed my luck with Mike and Darryl during RTR on Saturday. I happened to see a couple of checkpoints where we’d been somewhat off on our heading/pace counting, so when we were looking for one later on, he referred to me as “eagle eyes.” Hell, I don’t have eagle eyes… I’m just plain lucky more often than I’m not.

Other Happenings:
-It’s gonna be a while before I have more adventure/xc races, because I just mailed my Jet 9 frame back to Niner for the recall. Hopefully the turnaround is fast, because I don’t know if I’ll be able to find a bike to ride in the meantime.
-Saturday will be my first CX race on the new BH rig as well as the first race of this season. I haven’t drilled nearly enough, but I’m hoping for the usual trial by fire learning experience. That reminds me- I need to whip up a set of pit wheels for when I burp my rear tubeless tire in a botched, flying remount.
-This morning, I applied/recieved my upgrade to cat 1 for both road racing and XC racing. Hopefully CX 3 to 2 will follow shortly, but I figure I need more than 5 races under my belt before then…

September 21, 2009

Raid the Rock Adventure Race

Filed under: Trail Riding,Trails — Andrea @ 7:59 am

Prior to this weekend, I’d only been to one adventure race, and it was just a solo sprint-type event (Ozark Extreme- Village Creek). Raid the Rock was a lot different- I raced with Mike and Darryl for Ozark Outdoors Supply, and the race itself was a lot longer.

When I arrived at check-in on Friday, I met up with Darryl and we discussed the plan of action for the race. He informed me that in the co-ed division that the races were often decided by who had the fastest woman on their team, and that I’d be a “ringer” for them. Sounds like a plan! Mike arrived soon after, and we went through gear check and the pre-race meeting, where we learned that the race would start at Burns Park at 5:30am. After that, it was off to dinner and sleep!

Wake up call: 3:15am!

Apparently, with a start at Burns Park, that means that the race could start out with any activity- paddling, trekking, cycling… etc. Mike and Darryl guessed correctly when they thought it would be paddling (based on the mandatory gear including glow sticks, which are hung on the front/back of the canoes if you’re paddling in the dark).

So, we got our maps, went back to our support van to plot coordinates, then headed out to the water. As everyone slipped into the Arkansas River in the dark, the combination of canoes/glow sticks/headlamps looked incredibly eerie.

Oh yeah- now would be a good time to mention that it’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been in a canoe. Luckily, Darryl and Mike were awesome canoe-drivers, so my job was to just sit in the middle and stay in-sync with Mike while Darryl steered from the back.

We punched the first few of our checkpoints (CPs) in the general vicinity of the launch. One required a little up-current paddling, but we generally zipped right through everything and were headed down the river to the first transition as the sun was rising from behind the Little Rock capitol building.

Side note- one CP was on a boat dock that had a large, sleeping wasp nest under it. I had to hold the canoe steady up against the dock while Mike punched the passport. I have a bad phobia of wasps and let the guys know that I’d be exiting the canoe if they came after me. Luckily, the wasps were still asleep.

After about an hour of paddling, we arrived at the transition 1 boat ramp several miles down the river. From there we hopped on our bikes to head back to Burns Park. After weaving through some neighborhoods, we got onto the River Trail MUT. This was my time to be useful- I sat on the front and pulled while Mike & Darryl drafted. It helped us catch up to other teams that had finished ahead the paddling section. However, I think we lost a little time on some of the singletrack with Mike struggling over some of the slippery, rocky terrain/climbs (at some point, it had started raining, and was on & off all day long). About halfway through, we arrived at a huge, steep hill that looked like a former quarry. It had ropes hung down from the top, and we had to climb up with our bikes. That was “interesting” to say the least :) After about 20 miles of riding, we arrived back at Burns Park for transition 2.

At the support van, we changed shoes and refilled out hydration packs. The race instructions were to pack climbing gear with us and keep our bike helmets as well. Unfortunately, we rushed out and forgot the helmets. When we arrived at a righteous zip line about half a mile later, we were forced to go back to the van and get the helmets before we could harness up and cross the river. Crap!

We soon arrived back at the zip line. It was on a cliff high above a small river and crossed down to the bank on the other side. This is probably a good time to mention, I’ve never been on a zip line before, and, based on what everyone said, this was one of the tallest/longest ones they’d experienced.

When the safety-guy told me to step off and cross my legs, I took one fast step and jumped- woohoo!!! Someone was taking photos on the other side. Hopefully I can find those soon…

Once we got moving again on the other side, we found CP22. Then we noticed some ruckus in the woods. All of the other teams who were ahead of us were milling around, and the race director was on his radio. Apparently, they’d been searching for a long time for CP23 and no one could find it. Darryl decided to give it a shot while the other teams decided to skip it. A few minutes later, the race director found us and told us to skip it and move on. We had caught up with everyone ahead of us, but they gained time back while we were searching.

The next few hours were spent running, hiking, and bushwhacking around the park. We went through everything- trails, open woods, walls of privet, briers, swamps, drainage ditches, tunnels… you name it. We found a lot of the CPs quickly, but others took 10-15 minutes of searching. Eventually, we worked our way back into the main part of the park. We went back into the woods for CP46, and, as we were jogging out, I felt a jab on my right thigh. I slowed, thinking I was caught on a thorny vine when I felt a second, harder jab on the back of my left thigh followed by an insane burning sensation…

F*%#!!! HORNETS!!! RUN!!!

I envisioned myself being engulfed by a swarm of evil, angry, flying hypodermic needles full of posion and ran for my life, bursting out of the woods and nearly into traffic on the main road through the park. Holy crap, that hurt- the pain was a burning & aching feeling that extended into the top layers of muscle. It kept hurting all day/night, too…

At that point in the race, there was a time cutoff- if you make it back by 1:15, you get to go out for another 7 CPs. Otherwise, your day is over. We made it in at 1:14, so we headed back out. There were 5 teams way ahead of us, and no one else made it in after us, so the pressure was basically off, and we finished up laughing, joking, and having a good time. We arrived back to the finish about an hour later, 6th out of 17 co-ed teams, and still friends. I’m pretty sure that qualifies as a successful adventure race!

After heading back to Darryl’s house and cleaning up (OMG it felt soooo good to be dry!), I relaxed a bit, ate a snack, and hit the road back to Memphis so that I could get home & rest up for the Clear Creek XC race on Sunday.

September 16, 2009

Break time is OVER

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 6:39 am

First, let me preface this by saying that if I name you in here, it’s out of the utmost respect and admiration for your riding abilities, determination, and drive. I love my competitors more than anyone else on the planet, because without you all, this training stuff is meaningless!

Since Oak Ridge, I’ve been slacking. The combo of Fool’s Gold and Oak Ridge weekends was physically and mentally exhausting. I won’t make excuses, though- some break time was needed, but I’ve also just been feeling lazy since then. I’ve barely had the impetus to ride my MTB enough to keep some fitness for the upcoming adventure/MTB races. Then, this morning, on XM radio, I heard every song that’s played on my brain’s mp3 player during my last two weekends of racing. Lazy time needs to be over.

I’ve had enough recovery time. Time to get off of my butt. I’m reading blog/facebook posts of some of the ladies that will be my toughest competitors during the next year, and I feel like a bum. In order to motivate myself (and maybe you?) I want to call you out. OK, maybe I’m just calling myself out to be as tough and driven as all of you, but doing this keeps me honest.

So (in no particular order), to Debbie, Kim, Loretta, Betsy, Namrita, Carey (I’ve got a special place in my heart for Carey when it comes to Southern Cross!) and any other badass chick on a bike that I’m forgetting… right now, you could all kick my butt, and rightly so. I’ve been training like an amateur and trying to rely on my innate stubbornness and tenacity to get me through my races. That ends this winter. If you read this and you are planning on winning some races in the next year (namely endurance, CX, XC, and road), just know that I’m coming for you. All of you. Tell your friends.

I love you all, and I can’t wait to see you again,

Andrea

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