January 15, 2009

“Fun Time” with Reynaud

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 8:45 pm

You may be asking why I was briefly considering NOT going to Mt. Magazine this weekend for climbing time. Well, the weather was looking like highs would be in the 20′s, and I just can’t ride in those conditions because my circulation just doesn’t function as it should.
Case in point- Walking from my building at U of M out to my car, my left middle finger started to go numb (no problem w/others, just that one). By the time I came home, got the mail, brought in the trash and recycling bins, it was totally white and had no feeling in it.

No one ever believes me when I tell them that my fingers randomly lose circulation, so I figured I’d snap a photo. I had to let the dogs out first, but still managed to catch the tail end of the zombie finger attack as circulation began to get back to it…

(yes, I have bad cuticles... I know this)

(yes, I have bad cuticles... I know this)

It’s one of the symptoms of Reynaud’s Disease, which has been the source of some severe cold-related finger pain the past few winters. There’s not a lot to do about it other than use it as an opportunity to pretend that I’m trying out for a part in a George Romero flick…

Time to Climb!

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 3:18 pm

Looks like the arctic air mass that’s currently forcing me inside to cower under a blanket will get displaced by the weekend! What’s that mean? It means that I’ll be road-trippin’ over to Mt. Magazine (highest point in Arkansas) for some uphill action. If you search my blog pages back to May (hint: use the calendar-thingy), you can find some nicer-weather shots from around the summit that I took while up there for Tour of Arkansas. It’ll be a good warmup climb for Southern Cross. Here is a MapMyRide link of a training ride from last year where we started at the base near Paris, traversed Magazine (cold decent from Hell), then turned around in Havana and came back (click “view full” to get to an elevation profile):

We will probably hit up Petit Jean & possibly Nebo on Sunday & Monday. More updates to follow…

January 12, 2009

Workin’ on Bikes Day

Filed under: non-bike,Training — Andrea @ 7:09 pm

Today Ryan and I worked on putting his new Ridley together. I helped some with the assembly (taping BB threads, installing crank & RD, and some catchy bar tape, of course), but mainly worked on finishing up the Surly’s 1×9 conversion. The final chore was to put the tubeless tires on another set of wheels- which turned out to be a great move, because even though they were a bit harder to get inflated on a set of Zero A028s, they seemed to not have the burping issues that the Mavic wheels experienced. I didn’t think it was possible, but I think that the Zeros could be a few grams lighter as well.

Once we did some test riding in the cove, we changed and headed out to Shelby Farms to really put the spurs to them…
The only issue I really had was rear wheel slippage. Even though I thought I had the skewer reeeeeally tight, I still had a couple of slips under stress in the horizontal rear dropouts. I’m going to have to find a harder clamping skewer before Southern Cross!
I’m not sure if it was just having gears, lighter wheels, more fitness, etc. (maybe a a combo of all 3), but I was hauling some freakin’ walnuts today! I felt like having gears was cheating. I wonder what would happen if I were on a bike that didn’t weight 22 pounds?

Doing what I do best

Doing what I do best

Post-ride shot of my Hoss

Post-ride shot of my Hoss

Is there a better way to end a day like this?

Is there a better way to end a day like this?

January 9, 2009


Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 6:42 pm

…did I do today?!?

So my training assignment for today was a 3 hour ride w/a 1hour interval… at 275watts. My SRM (hopefully) is in the mail today on its way back from being repaired, so I call up “massah” Rogut for directions, and he says that a HR of about 180bpms should just about do it.

FYI- this is between 85 and 90% of my max HR of 205.

Well, I did the damn thing… it was just slightly easier than I expected. I settled in right at 181bpms (with a few excursions up to 185ish when I’d hit a hill), and kept the cruise control on through a ~15mph headwind all the way down highway 196 from Galloway to Seward Road (with some additional sections of other roads… but 196 was the bulk of it).

Afterward, my neck was sore enough that it started to give me a headache. I’m guessing it’s from being in my drops for a little longer than what I’m used to. I felt pretty crappy once I got home & cleaned up- a sure-fire sign that I need to do this more often! Once I had a snack, some Advil, and a half hour nap, I got out of bed feeling much better (and hungrier). My legs are still wondering what just happened, though…

Luckily, tomorrow is “just” a 4-hour base ride

January 8, 2009


Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 4:40 pm

Yeah, I could be…

(Ryan’s new CX rig)

Now I just have to make sure he gets some badass tubular carbon wheels… nothing less!

Training Camp Reminiscance

Filed under: Bike Racing,Training — Andrea @ 9:17 am

This morning, while sitting in traffic, I found myself thinking back to camp. I realized a couple of days ago that stress of camp was not just physical, but mental as well… I’d started experiencing some anxiety while riding- a combination of not wanting to let myself, my teammates, and Nathan down. By the end of the week, during the last ride, while my teammates & I were being pushed to our limit, he told me (loudly), “Come on, Andrea, I know you’re stronger than that!” In my head, something clicked, and I realized that the pain of riding like that was something that I’m good at, I actually enjoy (most of the time!), and that I am “getting paid for.” So, for some reason, everything instantly felt better. I might be a little too old to achieve the glory that some of my teammates have ahead of them, but I’m going to turn myself inside out to help them get it.

Even with this realization, the mental stress from earlier in the week followed me home. The first few nights, I had nightmares about riding my bike and not being able to go fast enough. I realized that I was experiencing a mild case of post-traumatic stress! It’s something I would never have recognized if I hadn’t felt a much, much worse version of it following my trip to NYC on 9/11. I was working with a dog trainer at the time, and we made the trip up to do recovery work (a.k.a. find the dead people/parts of dead people). I had the same feelings of doubt, guilt, anxiety, nightmares, etc. soon after returning home (though exponentially worse and including flashbacks/panic attacks).

So yesterday I rode my bike for the first time since camp. I felt great, especially because my buddy Megan came along:

We had a fun, windy ride. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t have any nightmares last night! I’m ready to train my ass off now, and I’m looking forward to riding harder than I ever have in upcoming races:
Southern Cross on Jan 24th in Mulberry Gap, GA (gravel road, endurance-style CX w/a daunting climb in the middle).
Valley of the Sun Stage Race Feb 13-15th
San Dimas Stage Race- looks to be in March, but I can’t find an official date

January 5, 2009

Feeling Shifty

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 5:44 pm

Today, since the temp never got above 35deg F and the rain never really stopped, I decided that I’d do one of the tasks off of the list I posted earlier.

I’ve got a couple of opportunities to do some climbing in the next month- once for the 2nd annual Memphis Velo training trip to Mt. Magazine in Arkansas, and then again at the Southern Cross race in Ellijay, GA. The latter will be an endurance-style cyclocross race that features a substantial climb on gravel forest roads. To make life a little easier, I figured I’d try out some gears on my previously-single speed Crosscheck.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

I still need to adjust the rear brake and fine tune the shifting, re-mount my Bulldog Tubelesses to my own wheels (ones in the photo are Ryan’s pit wheels), finish off the cables, and re-wrap the handlebars with some fresh white tape.

Oh yeah- and here’s the link to the Southern Cross course. You can click to go to (select the “show elevation” option once you get there), and check out the “fun with elevation” that the race will feature. I’m pretty excited to take on the challenge!

Southern X Race
Find more Bike Rides in Ellijay, Georgia

Now What?

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 9:05 am

So I arrived back home in Memphis yesterday just before 3:00. Unfortunately, while I was away at a fabulous training camp, Ryan found out that his Grandpa Al died (fortunately, I got to meet him once when we took our trip North last summer- he was a really neat person & had some great stories). So, soon after getting home, I went with Ryan to the store to pick out a suit for the funeral (I’m somewhat fashion-challenged, but luckily, the guys/gals @ Men’s Warehouse were more than helpful).
I think he looked pretty snazzy:
(ignore the white socks)

I drove Ryan to the airport this morning, and am not due to pick him up until Thursday evening. This, combined with the fact that I’m out of school until Faculty meetings next Tuesday (the 13th), means that I’ve got a bit of free time on my hands. I don’t really know what do do as far as training… I just rode my tail off in Texas/Oklahoma, but after taking the day off yesterday to drive home & relax, I’m feeling anxious to get back on my bike (though I’ll probably just run today or something since I got a pretty painful saddle sore during our Wednesday ride, and continued riding hasn’t helped it heal much).
Sitting around & brainstorming, I figured I’d make a list of “stuff to do” to keep myself occupied the next few days:

  • Wash some bikes. There are 3 dirty ones calling to me right now!
  • Put some gears on my Surly… I just got an email from the Southern Cross race promoter- seems there’s ~12 miles & 3,000 feet of solid climb on the race course that I’ll be traversing in few weeks. If it were only that, I’d just go with a lower SS gear, BUT the elevation profile shows that the first 12 miles is flat/slightly downhill, so I don’t want to be stuck spinning at 100+ rpms going 17mph while the competition speeds off towards the climb (I entered the women’s category rather than the SS category). I think it’ll be worth the hit I’ll take on weight (in SS form, the Surly is just over 21 pounds!) to get the top end speed that an Ultegra 1×9 setup will give me. Watch out, ladies- I’m bound to be climbing like a mountain goat by then!
  • Cook a gourmet meal using the halibut that Ryan’s brother brought when he came down for X-mas (yes, I’m awesome enough to wrench on my bike, then tie on an apron and be equally capable of greatness!) I’m thinking something invloving lemon, maybe some almonds, and side dishes like asparagus & wild rice.
  • Talk to the nutritionist that we met from Living Well Dallas and lay out some sort of diet plan to help me lose about 10 pounds before my first race of the 2009 season (Valley of the Sun). I look great as is, but Oklahoma was a frustrating reminder that I am too heavy to get up hills efficiently.
  • Along the same lines, I need to talk to the life coach from Living Well Dallas. She had some really good advice about setting up goals and changing behaviors/habits for the better.
  • Maybe go see a movie… but there’s nothing out I really want to see, so I might get a Blockbuster membership and indulge in some old GI Joe episodes or something.
  • Hmm… I’m sure I’ll think of something else…

January 4, 2009

Training Camp: Day 9

Filed under: Training Camp '08,Uncategorized — Andrea @ 7:44 pm

The final day of camp, we went back to the previously rained-out Mad Duck group ride. The instructions were to “just ride,” and, if we wanted to, we could put some of our previously-rehearsed race tactics to the test. We set out at an easy Saturday pace that accelerated as we neared the Robson Ranch loop that we’d practiced on earlier in the week. I was hanging out in the back talking to one of the Metro Volkswagen club members, and ended up getting dropped with Shannon, Whitney, and a few of the other riders in the group. We probably would have just cruised in, but Nathan “motivated” us to try and catch up with/lead out our sprinters by implementing a fast rotation between the three of us. We didn’t catch the group, but we did turn ourselves inside out for about half an hour. It was one of those efforts where I suprised myself at how hard I was able to ride for an extended time period. I have to admit, with Nathan’s help, we did rock pretty damn hard. Luckily, we took a short cut and waited for the group to catch up to us before cruising back to the hotel. It was a good ride to wrap up a week of hard training!

Later on that evening, we had our team dinner and then went out for video games & laser tag! (click on a thumbnail to see the full-sized photo).

January 2, 2009

Training Camp: Day 8

Filed under: Training Camp '08 — Andrea @ 10:27 pm

Today we piled in the van (and my car) and rode to Plano to a crit practice loop (apparently L*nce Armstrong used to ride the same pavement!)

Crit practice was tough. We did 10 laps at a time ending with a 4 lap leadout. I got yelled at for not having my inside foot up, but managed to fix myself pretty quickly. The first set of 10 laps wasn’t bad, but the second time we went through it, I was gassed by the time it came for my leadout lap. My heart rate was pegged in the upper 190′s for most of the lap, and by the time I pulled off, I couldn’t see straight.

Tomorrow, we are riding in the Mad Duck group ride (hopefully we won’t have any weather or traffic related issues). It should be a good wrap-up to camp. Team presentation is tomorrow night as well. Well be doffing the spandex for dress clothes, so it’ll be a good photo opportunity!

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