December 15, 2008

Day 3- I finally race @ KCCX

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 9:11 pm

I think it’s some sort of sick joke that the powers that be schedule the singlespeed CX race to go at 8:00a.m. on Sunday morning. Other than the potential for frigid temps, it doesn’t bother me (and lucky for me, it was unusually balmy Sunday morning). However, singlespeeders are notorious debaucherers…

From the singlespeed world championship event in Portland, OR:

I was hoping for some craziness at the line for my race, but, alas, other than being weird enough in the first place to want to ride a cyclocross race using only one gear was as odd as it got.
There were 82 starters, though only 55 official finishers. Why the 27 DNFs? Honestly, I have no idea, but I’m guessing it was a combination of a wreck in the first 100 yards as well as the countless riders I witnessed with dropped chains… I’m going on a little bit of a rant here: What’s with the dropped chains?!? I consider chain tension something to check along with tire pressure before every single ride. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but it’s never been an issue for me.

Anyway- back to the race…
When the official blew the whistle, we took off at full spin. As we passed the beer tent, someone from the sideline yelled, “SHIFT, DAMNIT!” A second or two later, someone must have tried, because there was a giant pile-up just before as well as just after turn #1. I used my elite wreck-avoiding skills to jump up a few positions as I negotiated my way through the melee. From there on out, I rode hard and had fun. I don’t know if I ever “turned myself inside-out” (in the words of the great Dave Towle), but I was pretty damn exhausted when I got pulled in 45th place just before the leader (who lapped me about halfway through my last lap) got the bell for his final lap. The only other woman in the race (Elizabeth Shogren- Sobe Cannondale) finished in an awesome 22nd place and went on to finish 35th in the Elite women’s race.

Some photos:

I tried to channel the energy of Laura Van Gilder while I warmed up (ok, it didnt really work)

I tried to channel the energy of Laura Van Gilder while I warmed up (ok, it didn't really work)



wreck-avoiding skills  nunchuck skills

After the first couple of turns

still with the pack

leading some random guys around course

leading some random guys around course



I finally figured out how to get my freakishly long arm though my freakishly small front triangle! (side note- that guy in front of me wrecked hard @ the start of the masters race the day before)

I finally figured out how to get my freakishly long arm though my freakishly small front triangle! (side note- that guy in front of me wrecked hard @ the start of the master's race the day before)

I got a little over-confident in the chicane and went trolling for earthworms

I got a little over-confident in the chicane and went trolling for earthworms

These are just a few of the singlespeed photos that Ryan took. For more, including Master’s men 30-34, Women 30-34 and 35-40, elite women, a few elite men, and some candids, check out Ryan’s KCCX PHOTO PAGE

After cleaning up and checking out of the hotel, Ryan and I went back to watch the Elite races. However, plummeting temps and a parking situation with potential to become a supreme cluster-ufck led to our leaving about halfway through the men’s race.

Fun. Hopefully the race remains centrally located so that we can go again next year!

December 13, 2008

Saturday at KCCX

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 4:03 pm

Ryan raced today in the Masters 30-34 race. See photos from the race & his report HERE. I doubled as photographer and pit crew, though I wasn’t totally successful at both- his rear tubeless tire burped flat and I had to give him a bike change. That went well, but instead of getting a replacement rear wheel from the SRAM neutral equipment, I wasn’t thinking, and just re-inflated the flat tire and handed his bike back off to him 1/2 a lap later. The re-inflation mostly worked, though it still burped a couple more times during the course of the race, leaving him with the unsettling feeling of not knowing how flat his tire was during the remainder of the race.

I did manage to snap a few other random shots:

On the trainer before the race

On the trainer before the race

Too much meat in the meat grinder! (wreck from the start line)

Too much meat in the meat grinder! (wreck from the start line)

To be on the Kona team, you must be over 6'2" tall and under 150 pounds

December 12, 2008

Fun with Kansas City Mud

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 6:02 pm

Ryan and I arrived at the cyclocross nationals venue around 10:30 thins morning. After checking in and getting our numbers, we suited up to ride during the 12:00-1:00 open course time. There was some rain earlier in the week, so the 1.6 mile course was a combination of both the greasy-slippery and sticky peanut butter types of mud. I guess now is a good time to mention… I’ve never really ridden in the mud.

Needless to say, I fell down a few times! The sun came out and the winds picked up, and the surface actually improved a bit during the hour that we rode, and by the time the masters women started racing, it was getting a lot faster. As long as there is no more rain between now & Sunday, it should be in great shape for my race Sunday morning.

Afterward, I took some photos of the women’s 30-34 and 35-39 race since Kym (Vantaggio) and Kristen Wentworth (former teammate from Kenda) were racing in their respective categories.

Here are a few photos:

Post-ride mud

Post-ride mud

The Legend

The Legend

Kym cornering- MTB style

Kym cornering- MTB style

Kristen @ full-speed over the barriers

Kristen @ full-speed over the barriers

Kristen in a sprint for the finishline

Kristen in a sprint for the finish line

December 9, 2008

Andrea’s Rules of the Weightroom

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 8:56 pm

If you’ve visited the “about me” section of my long-un-updated Brickhouseracing homepage, you know that I’ve spent my fair share of time in the weightroom. Lately, I’ve been hitting the weights a couple of times a week, and I thought that maybe a few of you could use some help… (this goes for cyclists as well as you run-of-the-mill “meatheads” out there!)

1. When you see/hear about how desirable it is to have a “V” shape, it is in reference to your torso ABOVE the waist- NOT your entire body. PUT THE DUMBELLS DOWN AND DO SOME EFFING SQUATS ALREADY! If you see me “checking you out,” it’s probably because I’m in awe of how large your upper body is and how stupidly small your legs are.

2. While we’re on the topic of squats: IT’S A SQUAT RACK. NOT A BICEPS-CURL RACK. Biceps femoris > Biceps Brachii. If this confuses you, check your muscle anatomy charts.
-One last thing about squats: top of thigh parallel to the ground or they don’t count.
-One last thing about biceps curl: elbow goes through a full range of motion or they don’t count. Stop lowering the weight to ~90-100 degrees @ the elbow just so you can use the 30s instead of the 25s.

3. If you sweat a little, use the paper towels, etc. that the gym provides to get your booty/back/head sweat off of the machine you just used. If you sweat a lot, save some trees and bring your own towel. Either way, don’t leave a damp patch for someone else to lay on.

4. Learn correct form. Don’t be “that guy” that’s turning a lat pull-down into a row or a bench press into anything that doesn’t involve the bar contacting the chest in a way other than a giant bounce.

5. There are two types of women in the weightroom:
-Those that are there to pick up guys (either at the weightroom itself or by “toning up” a bit to make themselves more attractive outside the weightroom)
-Those that are there to get stronger and, as an added bonus, possibly make themselves more attractive to themselves regardless of how they appear to the opposite sex.
-Do not gawk or stare at the latter of the two. She does not want your number, does not want to talk to you unless you honestly need help with your workout, and she does not want you using the mirror in front of her squat rack to watch yourself do biceps curls while she’s squatting.

6. Don’t sit on benches/machines in between sets if you even have the slightest inkling that someone may want to work in with you between your sets.

7. Stop treating your abs like they’re made of something other than skeletal muscle. There’s no reason to do 11ty billion repetitions of a bunch of rediculous “core” exercises. See that decline bench? Hold a 10 pound plate behind your head and do some situps.

8. Put your weights away when you’re finished with them

9. Don’t use lifting straps unless you absolutely HAVE to. Ever hear the phrase “wet noodle” used to describe a handshake? Yeah, that’s you, Mr. “I use straps for my entire back workout.” My grandmother has more grip strength than you.

10. While you’re at it, do some deadlifts… and no, I’m not talking about the “straight leg” type…

Me and 275 pounds of iron

Me and 275 pounds of iron

In case just stalking me by blog isn’t enough…

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 3:32 pm

I started a Twitter thing… my username is AndreaMemphis. Creative, eh?

December 8, 2008

Countdown to KCCX

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 5:11 pm

Ryan & I are leaving on Thursday for Cyclocross Nationals in Kansas City, MO. Last year, the weather was foul. It snowed several inches, and high temps were in the teens. The course was just a bunch of frozen, ice-covered ruts. This year, it looks like it will be warmer, with some rain chances thrown in. Sounds like a recipe for slop to me… luckily, I’ll be prepared:

Before- Kenda Kommando Clinchers (and Turbo)

Before- Kenda Kommando Clinchers (and Turbo)

Add one Stan's No-Tubes! CX Kit

Add one Stan's No Tubes! CX Kit

Hutchison Bulldog Tubeless!

Hutchison Bulldog Tubeless!

Sorry, I don’t have photos of the actual sealing process. It takes both hands and can get a tiny bit messy if you’re not careful. Stan’s site has some great video of the process, though.

Training Zombie

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 11:00 am

The more than 11 hours I’ve spent on a bike between Friday & Sunday are catching up with me. I worked on some grades this morning, but after spacing out a few times while staring at my computer, I decided to call it a day. Now, I’m listening to the wind howling outside and thinking about how awesome it is that I get to ride 2 more hours today… I can’t wait for race season, when this will all pay off.

December 7, 2008

80 miles, tractors, and a near-epic chili failure

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 4:23 pm

Even though I stayed up late last night for a Christmas party, I managed to drag my butt out of bed early enough to start a crock pot of sweet potato chili before my planned 10:00 departure for my long solo base ride. Everything looked good- I even remembered to turn the Crock Pot on! There’s nothing better after a long, chilly ride than a giant bowl of chili, right?

So I head out on my ride (I altered the last bit to go through Arlington in order to make it longer, so it was close to 80 rather than 74):

After 3 hours of riding, I made a stop at the infamous “Cat Pee Store” on the north side of Oakland. It was closed, but it’s got couches on the porch, so it’s still a nice place to take a break and have a snack. While I was there, I got a text message from Ryan:
“Do you mean for crock pot to be cooking? It is unplugged!”

Oops. So at the time of this posting, I’m having leftovers instead of chili. It will be ready by dinner time, but it would have been much worse if my goof-up hadn’t been caught!

So I head back out towards home. Along the way, I was on Hwy 196 outside of Galloway (it’s not on the above route since I changed plans mid-ride). I ride up behind a large tractor with two men on it- a driver and his passenger. They’re going about 15mph, and I was cruising at 17-18mph. So, I go to pass them… the passenger starts lauging and pointing at me- and the driver guns the motor to match my speed. The passenger is still laughing, and in the distance, there is a car coming in the lane that I’m trying to use to pass. WTF?! Effing rednecks. So, rather than slow down and get back behind them, I (for lack of a better term) attack the bejezus out of the tractor and ride my butt off until I was sure that they weren’t going to catch back up with me. They were close for a minute. It kinda sucked. I got away, though, so it’s all good. I imagine they’re back at home sippin’ Natty Lite and tellin’ me-maw & the kids about some crazy idjut on a bike that they were messin’ with the same way I’m telling the story about some backwoods rednecks not wanting to share their tractor-transporting road.

Thankfully, the rest of the ride was uneventful (though I did get chased by several dogs earlier in the ride). I felt like I still had a little “go” in my legs near the end, which is a nice feeling.

December 5, 2008

Please Drink Responsibly

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 6:58 am

Or else… (Create your own caption. Post it in the comments)

December 1, 2008

Product Review: Descente “Wombat” Gloves

Filed under: Product Reviews — Andrea @ 8:40 am

…possibly another addition to my “top 10 favorite things of all time” list.

Those of you that know me might know that I have HORRIBLE problems with cold hands in the winter. I have all the syptoms of Reynaud’s Phenomena, so cold hands to me aren’t just uncomfortable- they’re effing PAINFUL and put me at risk for tissue damage.

Because of this, good gloves are a must for me. I’ve got a pair of Pearl Izumi “lobster” gloves, which I don’t especially like because A) They’re PI, and I think that PI is trash for their latest ad campaign, B) the liner is really bulky, and C) if I sweat in them, they get reeeealy cold and cause my usual hand issues.

So, when it got cold out, I went out in search of something less bulky than the lobsters, and NOT made by PI (I swear, if you have any respect for female cyclists, you’ll avoid giving them your money). Enter the Descente “Wombat” glove. They’re a mid to heavyweight glove that have a cool little wind/waterproof “mitten” cover that can either wrap around your fingers or tuck into the back of the glove if not needed. They’ve also got a decent amount of snot-wipe area, and stretchy, articulated knuckles.

I LOVE these! The knuckles make them much more “wearable” than other gloves in the same category- meaning that you don’t have to take them off if you want to lock a door, use an allen key to adjust your saddle, zip your jacket, etc. The finger cover is the absolute BEST feature, though. I pull it over my fingers for the first few minutes of a cold ride while I’m warming up, then tuck it in, and will get it back out any time my fingers threaten to lose circulation… and it’s worked so far!

Yesterday was a great test- temps in the low 40′s, and two hours of riding followed by a 10 minute rest stop and another two hours of riding. Typically, the worst pain I experience is following a rest stop- my gloves are sweaty, then I stop, and both me and the sweat cools off, so when I start back, the cold, wet gloves will often cause the painful vasospasm associated with Reynaud’s. After my rest stop, I pulled the windproof covers over my fingers and it prevented this from happening! Not to say that my hands didn’t get a bit cold, because they did. They just didn’t get to the point of losing circulation & going numb.

As long as these don’t disintegrate like the Gore Vulcano gloves I bought last year, they’re WELL worth the $55.00 I paid at the LBS (you can get them cheaper online, but I can’t stand buying gloves w/out trying them on).

UPDATE: I wore them today w/temps in the 30′s, and they were comfy. I’ve seen reports of people using them in colder temps, but I think that I’ve found my personal limit for them.

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