August 20, 2009

Restless- Confessions of an Adrenaline Junkie

Filed under: Bike Racing,non-bike — Andrea @ 6:36 am

I think that the term “Adrenaline Junkie” is something that’s pretty cliched, but now that I’ve got excess time to sit around and think, it makes more sense.Â

With the exception of the torn adductor, I’m ready to get out and bend some cranks. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this motivated to train. I want to shake things up on the MTB next year, and I’m ready to get started NOW. Something about the anti-inflammatory med the doc has me on (Voltaren) seems to make me feel a little crazy on top of being restless.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the whole weekend experience that’s making me crazy. Here’s a quote from someone RBR about people that do ultra-endurance sports: “People do this stuff for the same reason heroin addicts OD…. they keep chasing the high and it takes more and more to get that high.” This is how I feel right now. If I can’t get out and ride my bike, I want to get in my car and do 100mph on the interstate or something.

After thinking that you’re going to die for even a fraction of a second, ordinary life suddenly becomes the most painfully boring thing you’ve ever experienced.

At least for me, it’s like that. Other people would probably just be happy that they’re alive (of course, other people wouldn’t have been going fast enough to wreck and think that they’re going to die during mid-flight). I guess that’s the “adrenaline junkie” personality type. I keep sitting here while my hip mends wishing that someone would bust through my front door and try to rob me just to add some excitement to the mundane. Maybe it’s a psychological side-effect of attention deficit disorder… certainly sounds less goofy than “adrenaline junkie”!

It’s why I’ve decided to go ahead and race the Oak ridge Omnium this weekend. I want to take my frustrations out on the race. It’s gonna hurt, but I can’t wait. Really- if I have to wait any longer, I’m gonna go nuts!!! So, it’s time to defend the TN State Champion Road Race title. I’m very much looking forward to it :)

August 18, 2009

Injury Update

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 6:03 am

A couple of days later, and I’m amazed at how I’ve healed up. Other than random bruises showing up all over my arms and legs, the only thing I’m feeling from my Saturday mid-race flight is the groin pull. It’s pretty bad. I’m guessing that if I went to a doc that she/he would just recommend ice, rest, and anti-inflammatories, so I’ll skip the trip & just keep doing that. I took a photo of the trail rash on my hip, but it’s not really in a spot that I want to post on the internet, so you’ll just have to use your imaginations…

Update: At the recommendation of a PT friend who said that the pain I was having could be a broken hip, I went for an x-ray. Nothing is broken, but I do have a torn hip adductor. I’ve got some good anti-inflammatories and instructions to “take it easy” for a while so it can heal on its own.

August 17, 2009

Fool’s Gold 50 Race Report

Filed under: Bike Racing,Epic Summer of 2009 — Andrea @ 7:35 am

Well, my weekend didn’t go quite as planned, but I still consider it a success.

I arrived at Camp Wahsega late in the afternoon and went out for a quick spin to get my legs moving again after the 7+ hour drive. Afterward, I cleaned up and figured I’d drive back to town for dinner. I was joined by Cesar Grajales… who, I have to admit, I first thought was just a guy in a rock racing t-shirt he’d picked up at the bike shop until he talked about his team, and I asked who his team was… oops. Dinner was good- we met up with Mike from Niner bikes and some other racers at Caruso’s- an Italian place that was a race sponsor. When we got back, I got to meet with a lot of the other women who were racing… I think that the people I’ve met at MTB races are part of the reason why I love it so much!

The next day started at 5:00 am with the ringing of the canteen bell (just like summer camp back in the day!) By 7:00, I was at the start area to watch the 100 mile racers take off. At 7:15, we were off. The course started on a 12 mile climb. It was pretty gradual, so I settled in to a nice tempo pace. At the top, we passed the first aid station, and only one woman- Loretta Simpson (local expert MTB racer) had stayed with me. I threw in a couple of attacks on the flat section at the top just for good measure. It was very tempting to go a lot harder at that point, but I made myself maintain the same tempo pace so that I’d be able to finish strong. It seemed to have worked, because she dropped back before the next aid station, which was at 19 miles in. I had to stop for water, and she caught up to me.

Once we were back on the trail, I kept with my strategy- tempo riding then letting it rip whenever I was on a descent. That was working well until mile 21… I hit a descent that started out looking as if it’d be fine at high speed, but about halfway down, it got really rocky. I took a bad line into the rocks, hit a large rock, and lost all control… I found out from my Garmin file last night that my speed at that point was 35 mph. I am not sure what happened between hitting the rock and becoming airborne, but I was in the air long enough to hear people yelling and to think to myself, “this is really, really bad.” All I could think to do was tuck my arms up to my sides and relax… it sounds weird, but it’s probably why I didn’t break anything. I bounced into a rock garden then slid downhill for what seemed like forever. When I came to a stop, I could barely breathe- I didn’t know where I was hurt because everything hurt so much. All I could do was just lay on the trail in a fetal position and let space and time catch up with me. I think I heard someone offer to go back to the aid station and call for help, but I managed to communicate that I thought I might be OK.

This was the type of wreck where even the guy that usually rides by and asks if everyone is OK over his shoulder stops… even if just out of morbid curiosity.

After I laid there for a minute, I sat up- at which point (according to Laureen Coffelt), I turned white, but realized that I was (reletively) OK. After another minute, I stood up and slowly got back on my bike. Everyone asked if I was going to continue the race, and I told them I’d at least ride to the next aid station. Somehow, I ended up on the wheel of Laureen (Memphis local from RB’s Racing who was in the 100 mile race). She asked if I wanted to get by, and I told her that I was just going to follow her for a little while- she was very steady and had pre-ridden the course enough to know where the good lines were and would even yell back to me when we came to a section that was easier in the granny gear. It really let me get my rhythm and nerve back. I don’t think she realizes how much that helped me. I honestly don’t know if I could have kept going if it weren’t for her wheel and her encouragement. Huge thanks are deserved…

Once we were off singletrack and back on some forest road, I decided to pick the pace up a little. At that point, my right groin and forearm were hurting a lot, and I had a dull headache (I saw later that I’d cracked the shell of my helmet) and sore back. I just went into survival mode. The fall broke my spirit as much as it broke my body, so I had no drive to even attempt to chase down Loretta, who’d gone ahead once she was sure that I was alive and not on my way to the hospital. All I could do was think about George Hincapie riding in the Tour with a broken collarbone and count the miles.

Somehow, I managed to drag myself the remaining 30 miles to the finish. I held on to 2nd place, too. I wanted to cry when I got there. After I showered, I packed up the car with all intentions of driving back to Memphis to race at the Stanky Creek XC race the next day. However, I changed my mind as I became progressively more sore and noticed some blood in my urine. I was really disappointed that I didn’t race Stanky because it’s a trail where I feel that I do really well, but I was comforted by kegs of Terrapin beer and a bunch of new friends to swap stories and do a little hiking with (the camp has some pretty cool trails/waterfalls to check out).

Today (Monday), I still feel like I’ve been beaten with a lead pipe. My muscles ache, I think I broke a rib, and mentally, I’m in an odd fog- I don’t think I hit my head, but I can’t think straight, and I’ve lost my appetite. Hopefully it’ll clear up in a day or two. I’ve entered the Oak Ridge Omnium that’s scheduled for next weekend, which includes the TN State Championship Road Race. Even if I’m still a little banged up, the payout is great, and I need to defend my RR Jersey!

I’ll update with some photos soon…

August 12, 2009

Double-up time

Filed under: Bike Racing,Epic Summer of 2009,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 1:52 pm

I’ve been planning on the Fool’s Gold MTB race for a while, and I figured I’d be exhausted after the 50 miler. So I was planning on staying overnight and making the drive back home on Sunday… which means that I’d miss the Legends of Stanky Creek XC race back in Memphis on Sunday. That would suck… I’m pretty good at the Stanky Creek trail, AND it’s my home territory! No one likes to NOT show up for the home game.

So I started contemplating an 8 hour drive back on Saturday. Then one of the local guys offered a 6-pack of my favorite beer if I made it back to Memphis for the race… I contemplated harder. Enter my internet buddies over at the forums… I posted about my potential weekend, and they were all for it… a few people are going to send random text messages to me throughout the afternoon on Saturday to keep me from going insane while driving.

You know what’s even more insane than doing both of these races with the help of random friends from the internet??? I want to win both of them.

August 9, 2009

Ouachita Road Trip Wrap-up

Filed under: Epic Summer of 2009,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 9:02 pm

Good times!

I packed up Thursday morning and headed to Bikes Plus to pick Jens up from getting some work done. It took a little longer than expected, so I ended up not getting to Lake Sylvia until around 2:00. I picked a quiet-looking spot and set up camp, changed, and headed out for a short ride. It was nice- I rode a familiar loop that included some rocky goat-trail type roads and a few long climbs/descents. I saw a black bear running through the woods. That was pretty sweet.

When I arrived back a little less than 2 hours later, no fewer than 20 people had moved in to the two sites next to me. I have no idea how many families it was, but there were 6 tents, 4 dogs, 3 vehicles (one being a loud lifted truck), and half the occupants were children ranging in age from ~1-17. Their tents had overflowed their campsites into the area just behind mine (three teenagers were setting one up no less than 10 feet behind my tent). One woman had two volumes to her voice- talk loud and yell until her voice cracked. They drove the very loud truck any time they needed to move more than one person to another area of the campgrounds- they’d load up the back and drive to the bathroom, periodically stepping on the accelerator and gunning the motor. The bathroom was about 100 feet away from their campsite if they’d take the walking trail through the open wooded area. Luckily, the camp host was really nice- he came over as soon as he saw me ride in and helped me move my tent to the other side of the campgrounds into the “primitive” camping area. He had his hands full keeping those folks in line the entire time I was there.

Friday, I packed up early and headed to Story, Arkasas to meet up with Todd Henne. He gave me the introductory tour to the north end of the Womble trail. It kicked my butt so hard that I was wiped out in 20 miles. I know it’s not toally accurate (always on the over-estimation side), but my Garmin 205 said that the elevation gain was just over 6600 feet. Eek! Even if it was just half of that, it’s a good bit of gain for a short ride (by contrast, the entire 50 mile loop for next weekend’s Fool’s Gold race is estimated to be ~6700 feet total gain). Makes me feel a little bit better about the upcoming race…

Saturday morning I went to a short track race (Big Ballin’ Dirt Track Classic) at Burns Park (Little Rock). Short track racing is pretty freakin’ sweet. It’s kinda like cyclocross, criteriums, and XC races all rolled in to one. My race was 30 minutes plus a lap. The only other woman that showed up was riding a single speed… the course didn’t have much elevation change, and was pretty twisty, so I knew that it wouldn’t put her at much of a disadvantage (especially since her bike was about 10 pounds lighter than mine, and a rigid frame rather than full suspension).
We lined up with the category 2/3 men. I figured I should go all out for the holeshot. I did, and it paid off. I settled in behind two men for about 20 minutes until a prime was called, at which point, they dropped me. Luckily, I’d held on to a good lead and finished the last few laps up as best I could. First woman and third overall (against a few guys!) I won a sweet Giro helmet!

After the race, I headed back to camp, rode a little more (just up the FR132 climb and back) then showered, struck camp, and headed back to Memphis. Last night, sleep didn’t come easy. It was too quiet after being in the company of countless noise-making insects and amphibions. I also could feel chiggers crawling all over me (at least, in my head… I don’t think they were actually there) as well as some poison ivy emerging on my left ankle. I got up and rode 70 miles this morning. My legs were pretty torched from the weekend, but I did manage a few threshold intervals once we were with the group. Afterwards, I was beat. Ryan and I got some lunch and went to Lowe’s… I fell asleep in the car on the way to Lowe’s. I guess that’s how you know that it was a good weekend!

August 6, 2009

Training Peaks Blog

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 7:03 am

I’m famous! Woohoo!

Training Peaks

…and now, I must pack the car and get going over to my 2nd home in the Ouachitas…

August 4, 2009

Arkansas Trails

Filed under: Trail Riding — Andrea @ 4:42 am

Bored with all 30 miles of trail we have here in Memphis? Take a trip to Arkansas, but visit this site first to get the lowdown on the multitude of trails: Mountain Bike Arkansas

I’m gonna put a permanent link over on the sidebar for it. Enjoy!

August 3, 2009

Ouachita National Forest Adventure, Take 2

Filed under: Epic Summer of 2009,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 7:42 am

Not much going on around Memphis right now, and I’m still trying my best to prepare for the Fool’s Gold 50 in a couple of weeks. There’s a short track MTB race in Little Rock next Saturday, which, by itself, isn’t very much like a 50 mile endurance race, but is a good draw to venture to Arkansas for other riding…


Pink: Mt Ida- closest town to the Womble Trail
Purple: Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) Trailhead
Blue: Little Blakely (mixed reviews from what I’ve seen
Green: the old stand-by, Lake Sylvia, and miles of forest/4×4 roads with some long, occasionally steep climbs

A visit to those would be a great addition to my dwindling weeks of summer vacation, and would give me an opportunity to try out my Element as a camping vehicle.

July 30, 2009

Kitty Integration

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 7:05 pm

Chunky the Ninja Kitty is venturing downstairs a lot more now that she & the dogs are getting used to each other.

Her favorite place to snooze & hang out

Her favorite place to snooze & hang out

She also enjoys watching cars out the window

She also enjoys watching cars out the window

However, they still have their differences…


July 28, 2009

New Ride… the 4-Wheeled type

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 4:33 pm

Traded in the Fit this morning…




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