After washing bikes this morning, I thought up a fun plan for the day’s training. Jens was at Bikes Plus in Germantown getting a brake lever replaced (it wasn’t my fault! Warranty issue…), so I decided that I’d do a training brick (two or more activities back to back) and run to the shop then ride back home. I couldn’t fit my cycling shoes in my camelback, so I just wore my Saloman trail shoes, packed some flat pedals, and strapped my helmet to the back.

I didn’t set out until around 11:00, so yes, it was very hot and humid. It’s OK… there’s only one way to get better at racing in the heat, right? Along the way, I remembered that my dad had been bugging me to “help him” (read- do it myself under his direction) move a load of sand off of a trailer in his yard.

Side note: No one knows why Gerald felt compelled to buy 1 ton of red sand, but you can bet he got a good deal on it.

Anyway- the shop ended up being 11.5 miles away. I drank about two liters of water and ate a powerbar getting there. I chatted for a few minutes, refilled the camelback, and rode 3.5 miles to my parents’ house to move some sand. Surprisingly, it only took about half an hour. Afterward, my mom made a PB&J for me and I washed it down with a few ginger snaps and a dark chocolate truffle. I added some ice to my water and was out the door again to finish my day with a 15 mile ride home. The “nice” thing about riding back to my house from Germantown is that the last 4 miles takes you from the Wolf River up about 150 feet of elevation gain to my house. It’s not really that bad unless you preceed it with 3 hours of other activity, then it’s a bit of a hump.

Gotta clean up & go to the store now. Any suggestions for dinner?


A few weeks ago, I was debating what type of plants to put in the flower bed since the pansies were starting to look a bit tired. I finally decided that instead of just planting something pretty, that I’d go for a more “functional” route and plant some tomatoes. I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t grow well in the clay-ish soil in the bed, so I mixed some garden soil and a little fertilizer in when I planted them. Since then, they’ve actually done really well- I tied them up this morning:



I’m wondering (but not really caring) what the neighbors think. Hopefully there will be enough tomatoes to pass out to the surrounding houses to ward off any ill will!

TDL- the rest of the race

The time trial was a flat 3 miles… making it really fast. When we arrived at the TT start, it was hot and humid, and there was a nice tailwind. I found out that my start time wasn’t until 7:01pm, so I turned the car on and laid down for a nap. Eventually I warmed up and got going- by my start time, the temp had dropped a couple of degrees (it was probably a chilly 89 degrees), but the tailwind had died. I managed to roll a time of 6 min 40 sec. I may be showing my hand here, but average power for the effort was just over 300 watts. Woohoo! It was good enough for 2nd place (1st was a time of 3:36… I’m pretty confident that I couldn’t have done any better). My time was good enough to move me up to 3rd overall and, with just second separating the top 8 spots, guaranteed a battle in the Sunday criterium.

For those of us looking for a knock-down, drag-out crit, this one didn’t disappoint. A LaSport rider attacked off the start line. The ensuing chase shattered the pack and left six of us up front. All of us threw in some attacks at various parts of the course, which, despite my initial dislike, actually played well to my strengths of a couple of short power-hills and a long stretch of headwind. Despite our best efforts, the six of us stayed together for the finishing sprint.

For the last lap, my position was perfect- behind a Tiger cycling rider who is an excellent sprinter and was stuck at the front of the group in the long headwind before the finish line. When she started to wind up, I stuck to her wheel, then made my move. It could not have been more perfect- I accelerated and veered to her right to pass and win… until she also, for no explicable reason, veered to the right, nearly taking out my front wheel. Instinct kicked in, and instead of swerving from my line, which could have taken someone else out, I backed off for a second and yelled, to which she responded to by getting off my line… but it was too late- the hesitation allowed her to cross the line first with me about half a bike length back. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed. She apologized during the cool down lap, and luckily, even if I’d finished first, it would not have changed the overall results.

So it was just like old times… I finished 2nd to the infamous Debbie Milne (a.k.a. “Tupelo Debbie”). I figured out that road races are starting to bore me (even the more “lively” ones like we had on Saturday), and I don’t mind criteriums as much as I used to. I’ll probably still race the Memphis race (gotta defend my territory) in a couple of weeks.

Here are a few photos:

...and they're off!
...and they're off!
See those feet on the left (in front of my elbows)? That's an attack in progress.
Me- chasing after the first turn
Me- chasing out of the 1st turn and into turn 2
...and you're caught. No, you can't pull through. I'm gonna stay right here until I recover from that and figure out who is still behind me, wish I had the steam to counter-attack, and hope that Debbie doesn't...



The one & only


Back in the chase group, Casey expresses her frustration through her elbows
I'm going for the pass, but between this photo, and the next, lameness...


Tour de Louisiane Road Race

Someone get me outta here and back into the woods!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(No story short- the pack generally stayed together… I was daydreaming about chiggers or something and had a lame sprint. Ended up 4th. I think.)

Time for a Recon Trip

Since part of my success at Village Creek last weekend was due to being a little bit familiar with the park’s layout and trail system, I’ve decided that I need to get out and do some more reconnaissance before the Devil’s Den and Ouachita adventure races. Unlike Village Creek State Park, those are not day trips! So, I’m going to go on a bit of a road trip next week and hang out for some riding/running in both areas for a day or two. Who knows- maybe I’ll stop by Lake Sylvia along the way back.

‘Til then, I’ve got some road racing to do at the Tour de Louisiane down in Covington, LA. Should turn out to be a great training week if everything goes as planned!

Roasted Brussel’s Sprouts

If you hate Brussel’s sprouts because they’re stinky, slimy, and bitter, then forget everything you know about them, and try this:

Brussel’s Sprouts (I don’t measure… just get however many you want to eat)
Apple (Fuji, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, etc- something very crispy)
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Crushed Red Pepper
Salt & Fresh ground pepper

Preheat the over to 425F. Wash sprouts & cut in half (quarter large ones), picking off any leaves that look like something you shouldn’t eat. Cut the shallot in half, then into slices. Dice the apple. Toss all of those into a bowl, then add a tablespoon or so of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add a good dose of salt & pepper, then sprinkle as much or as little crushed red pepper as you like. Toss and pour into a glass casserole dish.

Now the important part: BAKE FOR 15 MINUTES. NO MORE.

If you bake them longer, then you’ll get brown, stinky sprouts. You want green and crispy. Oh yeah- and chew your damn food and you won’t get gas. (as much)

New Trail at Nesbit Park

Well… soon-to-be new trail, at least. The guys at MSTA are in the process of extending a portion of the white trail at Bartlett/Nesbit/Stanky Creek park (choose a name… it goes by any of those). I found the trail flags and some partially cleared sections today on my run. Here’s a screen shot from Google Earth. The new section is the area circled in red.


Village Creek Sprint Adventure Race

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to stick with the sprint category for my first attempt at adventure racing. This meant that the course was generally marked and required only very basic map following skills in order to confirm that you were on the proper trail.

The race started with a 5-ish mile run. Luckily, it was on the portion of the trail that included all of the steep pitches (I consider that to be lucky because I rode most of it earlier in the week, and my Garmin showed that some of the hills were in the neighborhood of 30-40% pitches- much easier to climb when you’re not pushing a mountain bike). I had already marked my main competition- a guy that won the sprint division races last year and the one earlier this year.

Funny side story… before the race, I was talking to another solo sprint guy. I told him that since no other women signed up that I’d be gunning to beat all the guys. He pointed to a guy on the other side of the parking lot and warned me that I’d OK except for that guy, because he always won by half an hour or something. I chuckled and said something along the line of, “meh, no problem.”

So, when the race started, I just set pace with “that guy.” Soon enough, going uphill, I passed him. He paced me. I eventually put a little bit of a lead on him, but my transition to the bike was somewhat slow, and we ended up leaving the transition area together. I’m not sure when I lost him, but by the time I got to the first bike checkpoint, I looked back and he was nowhere to be seen. I knew better than to take it easy at that point and kept pushing the pace. My race almost took a disastrous turn when I was crossing a creek and got massive chainsuck. I got off of my bike and tried to yank the chain out, but it the top and bottom lengths of chain were wedged in between chainrings like a sweaty fat chick in skinny jeans. Of course, about a minute later, I got passed by my mark… Soon after, I fixed the chain by using the screwdriver on my bike tool to pry it out.

I got back on my bike, determined to catch, attack, and drop. I caught up on a hill. I inched up behind him until I was about a bike length back, then pedaled as hard as I could (wanting to look un-catchable), passed him with a quickness, and bombed down the other side of the hill. This guy had some serious upper body muscle, so I knew I’d be at a disadvantage carrying and paddling the kayak in the next stage and needed all the extra time I could get.

The kayak portion generally sucked. The inflatable boats we used spin around easily in the water, but I quickly figured out how to sit in the front and get moving. The worst part was carrying the awkward, heavy boat back up the hill after paddling a mile.

Amazingly, I was still in the lead when I received instruction for the final stage- run to the swimming area of the lake, swim out to a marker, and swim back. I made the mistake of not removing my hat, sunglasses, and hydration pack, so when I got to the water, I flailed around like a drowning rat. I lost what bit of a lead I had. He exited the water just ahead of me, but headed back up the hill rather than going to the course marshall to get his passport punched, so he had to go back- giving me the few seconds I needed to get back in the lead.

At that point, it was all or nothing. I ran across a grassy field (in lieu of taking the slightly longer road). The ground there was literally like swiss cheese- some sort of burrowing animal colony had entrenched itself. I went for broke- I was thinking to myself, I’m either going to break an ankle or I’m going to win.

Luckily, option B occured. I won by about 30 seconds- 2 hours, 32 minutes & change.

Remember the guy I had talked to before the race? I talked to him later and asked if he’d thought I was joking. It was fun. I got a lot of questions after the race- where did I come from, was this really my first race, etc… it was kinda weird. The coolest thing, though, was actually getting to sit down & talk to Kurt (my “mark”) for a little while. I may actually team up with him and another guy to compete as a co-ed team at the Ouachita 12 Hour Adventure Race in October.

It was a good day.The only downside is that I got home too late to pack up and make it over to Mousetail Landing State Park in time to set up camp before dark. There’s a XC race in the morning that I had previously planned on entering, but I don’t want to wake up early and drive over, so I’m just going to do my usual 70 mile Sunday ride instead. I think my legs will be a little tired, anyway.

First Adventure Race Tomorrow

Well, I didn’t get to practice my navigation like I needed to, so I entered the Sprint division of my first adventure race rather than the advanced division where I’d have to be more proficient with plotting coordinates, counting paces, etc. It’s alright- I’m still really excited.

Of course, I was curious to know what the outcome of a race earlier in the year was- gotta see what the competition will be like, right?

Well, looking at the results from that race, I realized that there’s a very good chance that I’ll be the only woman racing in a category full of men… A quick google search reveals that the previous Solo Sprint winner is an expert-level, masters MTB racer who has also ridden across the US on a bike, not to mention won other solo sprint races from last year.

Sounds like a total creampuff to me. No problem.