Friday, January 30, 2009

Solid Base

Entering my last weekend of base training here. Finishing up some solid time on the bike and I've hit all of my volume so far this week. Hope I can continue the trend this weekend.

I've got quite a bit of hours coming up, and a big ride planned for tomorrow. Setting out to hit the first of my annual goals in the morning. I'm not overly confident, but I feel like I have a good shot at it. Just gotta keep moving and keep myself hydrated and fueled. Hopefully the legs will respond the way they have been and I can keep myself out of the redzone. I probably need to be IN the redzone to hit my time, but I haven't been spending a lot of time redlining it since November, so it's going to be tough to keep it pegged. There's definitely some nice recovery, but very spreadout.

This week, though, I did a nice solo regen ride ON THE ROAD on Wednesday, and hit the trails last night. Trying to get used to being off the trainer as much as possible, and only one day out of six is a great way to start! Hope to be on the road next week three days, and then the trails next Thursday (as always). Sooo looking forward to March 8, though. You have no idea. Actually, you probably do. Who doesn't look forward to springing ahead?

Business park riding

Self portrait on the bike path (the only one in town)

Fork shot

Bike path

It was nice to get out, but has been super windy here. And WARM. I pulled up my arm warmers as far as they would go last night (to no avail, nothing stays on my upper arms anymore unless it's attached to my shoulders), and wound up 9 minutes later pulling them down and not needing them again! I was thankful for the knee warmers and wool base layer.

We started out with a big climb, and I set a personal record for myself. Unfortunately I haven't kept track of my time up the climb except for 3 times in the past year, and I've climbed it probably about 40+ times the past year.

Sunsettin' in the background

Justin always takes the singletrack. I need to start doing that also.

I also woke up with a sore throad on Thursday. Spent the entire day planning around my intake of Cold-Eeze, Zicam, and Echinacea. They don’t say not to mix them, but I'm trying to space them out anyway! Sometimes I'll feel all whacked out, but I gotta beat this thing. I have NO idea where a cold would come from. No one is sick anymore!

Since I was desperate and open to suggestion I tried Joy's concoction of a tea:

Hot water mix with lemon juice, pressed garlic, and cayenne pepper. It's an eye opener. I went to bed feeling good, and slept great last night. Unfortunately the sore throat was worse this morning. After breakfast, and burning my mouth on the tea this morning at work, my throat felt great. I actually felt really good on my road ride today also. But, now my throat is sort of irritated again, and I'm back to spacing out the echinacea, Zicam, and Cold-Eeze lozenges.

I'm also going "old school" and continuing to eat my daily apple, and have OJ in the morning. I know what I really need is to get more than 7 hours of sleep a night. But, um, yeah. That ain't happening.

Happy Friday!

Parting shot...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Want to lighten up? SCRUB some

I got in my order of Scrub Components brake rotors tonight.

They are sweet!

We had no idea how light they were, but after putting them on the gram scale it's clear they provide a massive weight savings!

Scrub Rotors:

Avid Rotors:

So, I've now shaved an additional 94g from the bike!

Every little bit helps. We weighed the bike with Candy 4Ti's and it was set at 21.8lbs. By saving an additional 31g with my new set of Eggbeater 4Ti's I'm up to having lost 1/4lbs from the bike. Should be around 21.5lbs now.

Trying to save where I can cause when I get the Ergon's in it'll probably add some weight. However, that's totally fine by me, cause the stock grips are NOT comfortable. 1:20 of ride time this past Sunday and my hands were already sore and begging for some Ergon love!

Justin has just informed me I'll be dropping another 60-80g with a non-setback seatpost and flat bar.

I have no idea if the Sram X.0 stuff will wind up saving me weight, but I doubt I'll gain any there.

We'll see if I can get 'er down to 21!!

SLK here I come!

No Laundry List

The "excuses" started first thing Saturday morning as I huffed my gear in trips over to our pit area. "I haven't trained so far this winter…I'm just happy to be riding my bike." That means he'd only gotten 20 hours the last 2 weeks, right?

I decided really late in the game to hit up the 12 Hours of Temecula, and it showed. I didn't change my weekly training at all.

If you want to know how the race went, let me break it down: I was chatting way back at the start and didn't even know the race had started! No joke. When the people right in front of me started taking off I realized I should've been paying more attention!

I passed a few people on the parade lap, and felt like I was holding back while racing. HR was high on lap one, cause it always is. I cleaned everything (except for the log jam short steep following the pits - only time I didn't make it all day) and was stoked on that, and on lap 2 I settled in to my endurance pace for day. Wound up spending 2 hours in Z2, and over an hour each in Z1 and Z3. Yeah, out of 5:45 ride time I only had about 45 mins anywhere near threshold.

Around lap 4 I was coming up with excuses in my head. I started making stupid mistakes on lap 5 and I realized the more I kept riding the worse off I was making it for myself for my Tuesday drills set, my Thursday tempo day, and my big day for this coming Saturday.

Coach had warned me on going out and racing this one too hard and we spent a lot of time talking about it all week. I'm mid-base, and only have so many matches to burn. I could've gone the distance, but would've had very little matches left over. I had already scheduled for this coming Saturday a really big ride. I'm going after one of my annual goals for the year and the longer I rode on Saturday, the less prepared and ready I'd be for that. Was it worth it to blow an annual goal? Nah. I pulled the plug after 6. I was disappointed in myself a bit, but I knew I had other things on my plate.

When I woke up Sunday morning and spent over an hour cleaning house I knew I'd made the right decision. I can't clean house and look forward to a ride the day after a 12 hour effort.

We got to the trailhead a little after ten on Sunday morning to head out for some recovery. I wanted more time than I got, but put in some harder efforts trying to stay on Luke's wheel throughout.

I was stoked to be on the Epic again and can't wait to really hit the races on this bike.

I finally got to try out my new Sworks shoes as well. They are comfy. Luke was asking about the Crankbrothers socks. The best thing I can say about the shoe/sock combo is I totally forgot about my feet entirely. My feet were warm, comfy, and I didn't notice a thing. They must be a perfect combo!

The first bit was fairly easy paced recovery stuff.

Luke showed us a trail we hadn't been on before that was a blast. I'm looking forward to the time change so we can get in some solid time on the dirt out here in March/April. Nothing technical and no real climbs, but it's a lot of high speed fun singletrack/doubletrack.

We turned around before the neighborhood, and as soon as I took off my saddle slammed nose up. I stopped and moved it back to level. Then I sat down and jammed nose down. Then I scooted and it went nose up. Ugh.

I pedaled out of the saddle for about 1.5-2 miles back to the car. I couldn't sit on the teeter totter saddle without difficulty.

Luckily Luke had his tool box, so Justin tightened up the seat post clamp and we went back out. I led off this time, wanting to go fast.

I hadn't been having a stellar time on the bike. The legs felt good with little to no soreness what-so-ever.

The thing about the Epic is that you can't go cruise and have a great ride on it. I hammered off and stayed out in front for awhile and this bike just likes to scoot. If you're out for a hammer fest this bike will leave you grinning ear to ear.

Luke and I switched off and on leading out chasing each other and having short recoveries. Justin finally decided to do a recovery ride instead of hammer, but he was never far behind.

I had SO.MUCH.FUN. We got near the end and were totally hammering. The Epic accelerates like its got rocket boosters. It moves out. The power transfer goes straight to the pedals and it just books.

I was grinning and having a total blast going along the rolling trails at speed.

Note to self - this isn't a Sunday cruiser. Ride it like you stole it or leave it at home!

The Dos is going to continue to be my high mileage bike, but I hope to save up for some parts and re-paint it and turn it into a SS for next winter. I'm actually way too excited about that for it still being January of this winter.

FWIW, I loved the Dos out at Vail on Saturday. That bike and I have ridden the trails out there soo much in the past 9 months or so. 8 laps in June, 10 in November, 6 this past weekend, and countless Thursday nights. The Dos rails the trails like it was built there, and we know every nook and cranny. I know how it responds, I know how to position myself for the steeps, and where I can hit the rocks and drops. We go together like peas and carrots.

Some day I'll feel that way on the Epic, but for now I'm just enjoying pushing my limits while riding it.

I hope to have a good report after next Saturday's goal attempt. It is a good goal, IMO, because I'm not at all sure I can meet it. I'm going to do my best. I know that playing it smart this past weekend at least didn't hurt my chances.

Besides, it's hard to miss out on a great event that is well-run, well-organized, and well-attended!

Parting thought: it's great to finally have jeans that fit again.

Happy Monday.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent;

"...curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism have brought me to my ideas."

Jason's recent post got me thinking and provided this quick response:

I guess my first (and second) events weren't "races" per se. They're on national forest land, so can only be timed events, not actual races. Counting Coup in 07 and its big brother Vision Quest in 2008.

The Coup started Mar 3, 2007 at 5:30 am. In the dark with only the lights of other riders I tried to hold my husband's wheel, got separated and as I went to ride through 2 riders (spaced about 10 yards apart) one of them turned into me and we went down on broken gravel. I was 50 yards from the start, total yardsale, and dead last. I had no idea how badly I was cut up, but everything hurt.

Hubby said, "Quit now or finish." I guess that really started it all. I hate giving up. I had trained for months (ha, "trained") and wanted a feather, so I hopped on my bike and pedaled.

As the sun rose in the east and pinked the sky I was able to tell I had cuts on my left wrist (nice scars today), both elbows, and my entire left leg screamed in agony. Abrasions on my outer shin, and as I later saw, my left hip was covered in deep road rash. Not to mention I had a massive dent in the top tube of my newest bike (only 5 months old - my first Dos Niner frame).

I held on, taking 2 Aleve about 12 miles in because everytime I hit a bump massive pain shot through my arms through the tender and exposed nerve endings.

I made both of the cut offs and finished, and even went back for the longer, more difficult version the next year.

Oddly enough in 2008 I crashed on the initial climb (fell in a rut in the dark) breaking my Garmin off my bar which led to me not eating as much as I should have, and having massive paranoia about the time cut off (I had no idea what time it was all day). Made the final cut off with hubby and a good friend and broke out in tears of joy. I hammered all the way to the finish line after 50 miles and was soo happy to finish. Said I wouldn't do it again in 09, and I didn't lie.

Since then I've done two 12 hour races (they keep getting harder, but oh how I love them). Doing #3 tomorrow. It's low on my race priority and I'm mid-base for XC racing, so gonna try to take it easy. haha! Good luck with that one, eh?


Upon further reflection, this in particular stands out to me: Hubby said, "Quit now or finish." I guess that really started it all. I hate giving up. I had trained for months (ha, "trained") and wanted a feather, so I hopped on my bike and pedaled.

My husband has a strong character. He doesn't like to quit or give up. He likes to push himself, and has high expectations of himself, and also of those around him.

He would've been okay with me quitting, seeing my injuries and my bike that day. He would've accepted it. The thing is, I wasn't going to let myself quit.

I've done many things throughout my life that I tried for a short time and didn't really get into them, so I quit. Girl Scouts, softball, basketball, guitar, jet skiing. The list is probably much longer if you ask my parents. I tried those things and they were okay, but I'd just go back to reading, writing stories, watching TV. Nothing really grabbed me and changed my life.

I'll admit, the first time I hopped on a real mountain bike on a real trail in Jan 03 or 04 it didn't catch my attention, either. Except of my sitbones for 2 weeks after the 6~ mile ride. It started with a climb, and the remainder was rocky singletrack. It made me nervous and I was sooo out of shape.

I've always been more of a couch potato than anything else. In college I started lifting a little and did about 45 minutes of cardio a week. I was at my heighest weight ever.

We raced r/c cars and had a lot of fun with the racing, travel, people, and I was writing articles and taking pics for a magazine.

But, we were also getting more and more unhealthy all the time. I decided in early 2005 I was going to start exercising, so I did. I'd start out with running or swimming and then lift. We did karate for awhile.

Justin likes to get outside, so none of this really was that cool for him. We turned on the Tour de France in 2005 and watched Lance ride to his 7th and final (er, at the time) victory. I decided I wanted to get a bike. Naturally, I wanted the sleek and fast road bike. Justin, however, had been hit a few times while riding on the road, and thoroughly refused to get road bikes. His heart was in the dirt (it always was - we never even raced r/c cars on the road).

So, we started looking at mountain bikes. While we've never had much money, what little we do have has always gone to hobbies. We overspend on hobbies. Not to play keeping up with the Jones's, but just to have nice stuff. So, we got nice bikes in August 2005. It'd ensure a bit of guilt if we let them sit and collect dust, and it'd also make the rides nicer with better suspension and shifty bits.

I remember my first ride on the bike. I didn't know how to do anything. Rocks, hills (up and more specifically down) scared me, I couldn't climb, couldn't go over anything, and he made me go right into clipless pedals, so I'd fall over a lot. It was a short 4.5miles or so, and the next week we went out to a place a bit further away with a TON of climbing. Mostly fire roads. It was still really warm out in August, and since I didn't know much about bikes, I just climbed in the middle ring. I'd pull quickly away from hubby, who sat in his granny gear keeping his body in check, and then I'd stop, overheated and red faced, gasping for air and feeling faint.

Once he showed me the small ring I never looked back. Mostly because I was always the last one to the top of any hill.

2 weeks later we had a trip planned for Phoenix to visit family and I suggested taking our bikes and riding in Sedona. That pretty much started it all. I sucked thoroughly on the bike, fell a bunch, had bad bruises on both hips, walked a ton, but I loved seeing the scenery on the bikes, the trails, and taking pictures.

We started driving to more trails, like up in Idyllwild.

And we even went on a Columbus Day 3-day weekend trip to Bootleg Canyon and Gooseberry Mesa based on pictures I'd seen on mtbr.

We followed up that trip by craving more slickrock, and heading back to Gooseberry and JEM over MLK weekend in 2006. It's been a favorite stop-in locale of ours ever since.

Despite the fact that I'd only been riding for 4 months by December of 05, I already wanted a SS. I still love the idea of a single-speed, but have never been a strong enough rider to pull it off full time. Not with hubby wanting all day epics with a ton of singletrack and climbing! But, in January of 06 we put together a fairly budget SS, and thus started our obsession with bikes of all kinds...

Everytime I rode the Surly I had a blast. I just wasn't strong enough to rock it for an entire day. I remember seeing a woman once blazin' up San Juan Trail on a Surly and I thought "man, I wish I could do that. I'll never be that strong."

Well, for about a year and a half I had a random goal of SSing San Juan. So one day I posted up a SS Sufferfest on our local board and had 25 people show up (about 19-20 on SS's).

The only photos I have of that outing of myself are my seriously scraped leg (fell down a switchback right onto an exposed newly cut tree) and my scraped up elbow from another crash. My third crash landed me on my head after an OTB that smashed my first Garmin 305. I guess I wasn't used to riding rigid!

Found I preferred carbon to steel...

I sold the bike not long after. Not because I didn't enjoy it, just because I wanted a fully 29er.

Wow, I skipped a bunch there.

Sometime in early-mid 2006 I decided I wanted to do Counting Coup and get a feather for finishing. We spent the entire winter training in the local mountains, riding and re-riding the trails. We knew we'd make the cutoffs, but not by much. It was a huge challenge, and really gave us something to ride for. We were riding ALMOST EVERY WEEKEND! It seemed like a lot of riding.

So, we went out and raced the Coup, as you read above. The following weekend we did our first races. We both did XC and DH at Southridge USA. I was racing the SS, crashed on my first lap and had crooked bars and a scraped chin. I walked a lot. A LOT. We went back 2 weeks later.

We did a lot of basic riding that year, and that fall did 3 races, and I was talked into racing EXPERT at the local DH race. I'd been doing a ton of DH in 2007 (including multiple trips to Mammoth, and topping it off with a KILLER trip to Whistler). My DHing was on fire. I came in 2nd in Expert and was stoked. Then it was back to business in late 2007 to train for VQ.

OMG how painful was the difference. It's easy to go fast downhill. It's not so easy to go fast up hill. My body had forgotten the endless pedaling, the ceaseless hills, the almost overwhelming pain of 4+ hours in the saddle and an 8 hour day.

I'd always start out nice and easy. I'd be last, with the training group far ahead and gaining every pedal stroke. But, I stuck to my own pace. Later in the day they would sometimes slow, cramping, hurting, and I'd pedal on, suffering quietly too, but maybe not as much.

Justin commented once that I was as fast the first ten minutes of the ride as I was in the last 30 minutes. Just steady throughout the whole day.

I may not have ever been the first one to the top of a climb, or to the bottom of a descent, but I could ride all day and feel okay throughout. I had endurance.

I feel like since I started riding my bike, and competing, I've some had great accomplishments: hitting 1,000 miles on my mountain bike in less than a year; earning two feathers; racing DH and being competitive; racing XC and being competitive. But, through everything two moments stand out in my mind:

1. Making the last cut-off of Vision Quest in 2008. I had been paranoid the entire climb up from Holy Jim to the cut off that I was late and wouldn't make it. Fast racers blazed down the singletrack at me, not budging an inch, and here I was just fighting for seconds to get there. I had no watch, and rode mostly alone. Justin was somewhere in the distance behind me, as he'd stopped to get oranges and juice at the aid station.

I got to that cut off with Justin; Stephanie just a minute behind us, and as she pulled up, the 3 of making the cutoff and knowing we'd finish it out after 3 long months of hard training. I broke out in tears of joy. It was brief, but uncontainable. A flood of emotions so strong they couldn't be held in. I was in pain, cold, hungry, tired, but so elated that the bottom of West Horsethief wasn't quite as hard as it normally is.

2. Finishing the 12 Hours of Temecula in November, 1st place women's pro/expert solo. I went into that race with no expectations. I hadn't done a long ride in weeks, and hadn't been training endurance what-so-ever. My legs felt like crap on lap one. I somehow found myself in 2nd most of the race, and was resigned to finish that way since the time differential was not changing. I was maxed out for a 12 hour event, and she wasn't slowing down. I held on, though. I wasn't going to give up. Sometimes things happen. Like a flat tire, or a really long bathroom break.

I left the pits around lap 7 or 8 in first place. I learned on going out for 8, I think, that she was determined to do 10. I hadn't even been sure if I'd do NINE, much less TEN! There, unfortunately, was plenty of time for me to finish ten. I thought a lot about it on those last laps. I had first place, did I want to give it up? HELL NO.

I fought through those last 2 laps, holding on as best as I could in the dark. I crashed at least once on my last lap, and was outclimbed by people that I normally beat to the top of the hill (and I was stoked for their energy and enthusiasm). Toward the end of the lap I came across this incredible bout of paranoia that she was right behind me and would take the win. I hammered harder than I had on lap one to the finish line.

There is something so ultimately RAW about endurance racing. You're faced with every demon in your head and body. Everything hurts. You want to stop, but when you tell your legs to keep pedaling they do, and so you continue, questioning in your head why and how.

I learned that race that I'm capable of so much more than I ever gave myself credit for, and found out that I'm actually pretty good at something.

I've gone from being the shy, introverted girl with no coordination what-so-ever, and no self-esteem or confidence to being the shy, reserved racer girl that knows she can do a lot more than she ever thought possible.

I may not win every race, and I hope I don't so I can learn and grow and gain experience as a racer, but I know that I have just as much of a shot as anyone else, and as long as I keep at it the journey is as important as the finish line, no matter how it shakes out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All About Getting the Edge

I had typed up a blog post on Tuesday during some of my internet issues, and I didn't publish it (for a few reasons). The first of which is my incredibly spotty internet at work. Some people are unaffected. Others, like me, have barely been able to load anything for a week now. Just luck of the draw, I guess.

The other problem was that Monday, and unfortunately Tuesday, were rough days for me. Monday's have been lately in general. I think Luke was spot on when he told me to take Monday's off from riding/exercising to rest/recover from a full week of work and the big volume weekends. Monday's just have been sucking. It's not even that I'm sore (I don't mind being sore, particularly - it means I'm working hard), it's just I'm usually tired and stressed out. I'm used to having hours in the evening to de-stress, watch TV, sit on my computer, do my exercises, hang out, and hit the hay around 10.

Well, lately it seems like I get home, eat, make lunch, clean up, and it's 9:30 and I haven't gotten anything done. I've actually taken to making lists of what I need to get done every night just so I don't leave anything out. I almost forgot to put laundry in the dryer last night I got so pre-occupied doing other stuff.

This is all without me even sitting at my computer or watching TV other than when I'm eating! It's been hectic.

Monday just sucked. Nothing bad happened. Justin said, "Have a bad day" as parting words (as a joke). It was my own fault for being a jerk that morning to begin with. Then I had no internet at work. I'm a creature of habit. If you take away my daily rituals I don't like it. So, it was a tough transition.

We got home late Monday, and I just have been sleeping like crap. We picked up a humidifier so Justin could breathe better at night and that coupled with our loud ass upstairs neighbors (who keeps 2 year old kids up until midnight? Seriously?) just have had me not being able to fall asleep. Then I'm up at 5 in the mornings to train, cause work has been crazy and we've had other stuff going on in the evenings...

So, I got all set up for my Tuesday drills, got up Tuesday and went to hop on the bike.

Garmin turned on, but I couldn't get off of the searching for satellites screen. My "Mode" button was no longer there. I should have just waited for the unit to say "Use without GPS" and gone from there. But, I was somewhat on..."edge" anyway, so Justin offered to take it apart. Now it's been 10 + minutes and I'm not on the trainer. He opens it up and says the "Mode" button has been smashed to smithereens. I have no idea what happened. Sunday it was fine. Tuesday morning it's not.

So he's messing with the unit and says again, "It's broken." "I don't need the 'Mode' button this morning, it's fine." "No, it's broken now." "What do you mean?" "The screwdriver just went through the board. Here, take mine."

I broke down. This really should have been a simple thing; to hop on the trainer and kill my legs with drills before work. He left the room frustrated and not working out, and I set about being able to use his unit for workable information. It was now almost 6 (30 minutes later than I should've started the workout).

I finished the workout and was left sore, but not dead and felt good for the day once I got breakfast in me.

Got to work and still had no internet and no real reason why not or when it'd be resolved (it still isn't, but it's slowly getting better as they turn off more and more websites available to us). But, at least I had a few things to keep me busy. Had dinner with dad after work (FYI - BJ's will do pizza without cheese! Way less greasy and it's gotta be healthier. Unfortunately the toppings do not stick to the bread, but it was good anyway).

I've surpassed week one without alcohol. I think my last glass of wine was 1/13. I'm pretty sure if I can go another week or so I'll be past the hump and not care anymore. It's like anything else; if you want to ween yourself it takes about 2-3 weeks in my experience for the body to stop looking for it.

For example, I don't taste Panda Express and have that heightened sense of YUM in my mouth when we drive by one. I don't crave Chipotle every week. And soon I won't get home and "want" that glass of wine with dinner.

So far I don't know that cutting it out has made any difference what-so-ever. My weight hasn't changed (I didn't cut it out to lose weight, but those 200~ calories a day could go to something filling and nutritious), and I seem to be eating the way I did before (i.e. I haven't added in those calories). So, I don't know. I'm not sleeping well (coming close to overtraining? I don't know - I feel good today). Legs feel fully recovered after my efforts, though. Not sure if that is affecting anything or not.

Saturday after our near century we had Recoverite, food, and then strong coffee, and I felt really good on Sunday. Tuesday after drills I had my normal morning coffee. We'll see how I feel if I get to put in some efforts tonight.

Not sure what the consensus is on alcohol. I guess it's also another $10 every 2 weeks I can spend on food? :) Anyone else cut back/cut it out and notice anything? Keep it in?

So, my Edge... I spent the morning yesterday calling around So Cal to find an REI that had one IN STOCK! You'd never believe how hard they are to find. The San Diego store had one, so I put it on hold. Since Justin is the best husband ever, he went and picked it up so we could get home and get stuff done last night.

Now I've got THE EDGE (705). I had THE EDGE (305) before. I honestly didn't want to have to purchase this, but it was the easiest/best option (e.g. I don't need to change anything on my system for a new program, and I don't need to relearn a new unit and its software). I have many many complaints about Garmin products that stems from us never having one that hasn't had an issue. I hope Garmin got it right with this iteration...

Justin loves his, and the color screen and street maps I think will be useful this year. Also, power! Not that I have a Power Tap, but it's on my long list of "wants".

At any rate, starting with yesterday my week was looking better. I picked up my Crankbrother's order. The 4Ti pedals are SWEET!!! Looking forward to trying out the mini-cleats that were included (seriously! They're like half cleats!).

Sportin' the shirt today!

Here are the pedals (sticker(s) courtesty of Interbike in 07)

Okay, now onto a few food related topics...

We picked up some Almond Butter at Costco a few weeks ago. I've never tried it, but thought I'd make one sandwich with it this weekend to try out... anyone use it instead of peanut butter? Almonds are a'ight (I eat them weekly), but I prefer peanuts. It also has no salt! The horror! I looove salt.

Also, we eat canned turkey chili every now and then, and while not totally unhealthy, there's a lot of sodium and not a ton of flavor. We've been buying packages of 4 containers of ground turkey at Costco, and I also just picked up some dried lentils and barley...

Sooo, anyone have any good chili recipes, or even recipes for something like stew/soup to include the turkey and lentils/barley?

I tried some beef barley soup a few weeks ago and it was killer. Just looking for healthier/athlete recipes!

Lastly... my home gym continues to grow. I need to learn how to use the foam roller.

Happy Thursday. Here's hoping we don't get hit too hard by the rain this evening. I'm itchin' for dirt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wasted & Ready

EDIT: this blog has been a long process. I started it on Sunday, finished it yesterday, and after spending a long time on it Monday night had issues. No internet at work is causing me anxienty and stress. Here's hoping this one works...

"I am wasted but I'm ready. I am wasted but I'm ready.
Running as fast as I can. Running as fast as I can."

Not really, but we got in yet another pretty solid weekend of base riding! I know a lot of the enduro nuts are out putting in crazy hours, but I'm still building a fitness base in general and working FT, so I'm happy to be getting in the time that I am.

We set off Friday night for a somewhat wide-open weekend. We knew we'd be riding in Palm Springs both days on the road, and generally, where we were headed on Saturday. I had no idea how long the ride would take, and I wasn't sure how long it'd be either. Saturday was set for the i.e. Bikes team ride so the roadies could get their road license re-instated for the team.

I don't have a road license, and am not planning on getting one, but it was a team activity! A small group of us set off from a park in La Quinta and headed out on the rural farm roads toward a school just before Mecca.

It was cool that Pua wound up coming out to participate in the ride as well!

After the first part of the ride she set off on her own to do 5 hours of tempo riding.

At a super easy pace it took us about 45 or so minutes to cover the first part of the ride before we met up with the majority of the riders. By the time we all met up at the school it was warm outside already. Gone was the cold weather that was forcing winter knickers and wool base layers just a few weekends ago. It was almost 80!

We all set off together and once through Mecca the group split up.

All together now

The paparazzi/SAG for the ride

I stayed in the middle of the front group for a few minutes at the base of the 15 mile climb, but it became clear pretty early on that if I wanted to get in "my" training I couldn't ride at threshold with this group, so I peeled off the back and watched them pull further away.

Justin soft pedaled for about 10 minutes until I finally caught him. At that point I figured I was due for another interval, so he pulled me back to within sight of the group before my time was up and I was back to endurance pace. He kept at his own pace for awhile as I fell further back again.

I caught him on my next interval, but then didn't see him again until a regroup. From the regroup (complete with cold water, bananas, and oranges) we all headed into Joshua Tree. It was really windy. Super windy. And all of a sudden I went from holding Z2 to struggling to stay out of Z4. Crazy. Apparently the grade had gone up a few %, so while it seemed like I was just being weak, it was actually the start of the real climb. And, we climbed for awhile. Into the wind. It sucked. Every now and then we'd get to a short section of no wind and concrete and it felt like I was flying, and about 10 seconds later that would end!

Refueling mid-ride in the new kit

We stopped at the gate/entrance where you have to pay usage fees, refueled, regrouped, and then set off back down the hill!

Justin and I got out front, and I was there for about 5 seconds until all the guys with lots of power and triple rings went flying by. I did wind up riding with one other woman most of the way down. We'd trade spots in a quasi-pace line, and eventually I got paranoid that my camera
fell out of my pocket (or was falling out), so I slowed up to take a hand off the bar and check it.

Justin waited up for me a bit once we got to flat ground, and he pulled me back to Raegan and Ryan and the 4 of us stayed together all the way back to the school. We were working pretty hard most of the way, but finally uncomfortable sit bones after a long day in the saddle on rough
roads forced us to slow up to conversational pace and take more butt breaks.

Coming back with Salton Sea in the background

Seemed like Justin and I were the only ones around that needed to head back to the park from the school, so we didn't even stop at the school; we kept powering on.

We got about 10 miles further and spotted the rest of the bonus milers up ahead. It took a few minutes, but we caught up and rode with them the rest of the way. I kinda felt like ass, and totally felt like I was pre-bonk, but since it was a group of strong guys I held on and rode near the front of the pack.

Got back to the park just in time; I really needed the Recoverite and PB&J!

Justin and I stopped at a local coffee joint on the way back to my mom's. Caffeine post-ride works IMO. I'm definitely going to keep drinking coffee after big rides!

We got back, sat around, then I got down to business making dinner. Chicken breasts and sweet potatoes. YUM. She had nothing for post-dinner snacks, so I had one unfulfilling cookie and a handful of peanuts and called it a night.

Sunday we slept in a bit, and I had a huge bowl of cereal and 2 cups of coffee. We need a bigger coffee pot at home. I ran around for a bit, and eventually realized we were running really late to make my bike fit later in the afternoon. We headed out the door after Justin got a route picked out.

The legs felt pretty good. How my legs felt that good after 95 miles the day before I have no idea. I never put down a ton of power, but they didn't feel fatigued. I hated sitting on the saddle, but otherwise was good to go.

New Socks! My favorite thing!

I had to re-arrange my training for the weekend a bit, but I got in my time and spent most of it at endurance pace, so that was good. Got back after just 2 hours and had a huge turkey sandwich with some minor fixins. It was pretty bomb, but I was hungry. Headed out the door, and made it to the shop just in time to meet Mike as he was setting up for my bike fit.

All hooked up and nowhere to go

We put some new cleats on my new shoes and Mike got down to business getting me all measured and stretched to discern my flexibility and any imbalances.

Then he told me we'd be doing a 1 mile TT (half flat, half at 4% grade). I didn't know I actually had to do any work during this thing! Just as a heads up to anyone in the future getting a power fit - you have to work hard! He said to go about 5/6 on exertion.

For the first TT it was a bit modified version of my set up. He had fixed the seat position so my knee was right above the crank arm, etc. and got me pedaling. I got to watch the virtual me barely tick by the white lines on the road. Wow was I slow.

As I was pedaling he put up the spin efficiency screen and told us a bit about it, but said not to pay attention to it (if I watched it I could alter my pedal stroke, and therefore his advice couldn't be as useful). So, I didn't pay attention to the screen after that.

He made some minor adjustments putting the saddle to the general fit height, etc.

Then it was time to go again!

I was sweating like crazy and my legs were burning after the 2nd time.

He raised the saddle up about a cm or so, and had me go again. I took a short break after to hydrate a bit and cool off, then we were at it for the last one, with the saddle down a bit more.

I had by now found the "distance" meter so I at least could tell how far away I was from finishing. It was a rough set, but I felt like the position was pretty good since my legs felt a bit faster.

After that he brought in my road bike to move the saddle height around a little and set me with a medieval torture device

I have a few things to work on now. Looking forward to seeing the progress over the next 2 months.

Overall I was super happy with the bike fit and his advice. I can't wait to get in the gym and start the exercises! Today is my "off" day though, so I'm holding back on doing them today. Gonna do full recovery after the big volume (for me) weekend and hope my legs are ready to go.

After we left the bike fit Justin and I were starving. I felt shaky. We happened to notice a Chipotle lurking off the highway and ran in. I think the last time I had Chipotle was in November! The horror! I got a chicken fajita bowl with black beans (no cheese). It was gooood.

I've got a killer set of drills for tomorrow (my legs are quivering just thinking about them). If I'm not too sore at lunch I might try the drills, otherwise Wednesday as part of regen sounds like a good idea.

At any rate, if you're looking for a bike fit and want the whole deal, check out Mike's site and fit info. He spent a good part of the afternoon with us, and I didn't feel rushed or anything. He took his time and explained what he was doing, and gave me some exercises to do to help out with my issues. He even tape the end of the torture device, so yay for not being scratched up ;) We'll see how that goes tomorrow!!

Overall, great weekend. Weather was killer.

Just as we were heading out the door to drive home I saw this view

Just doesn't get any better than that!

Also, for anyone looking for light-weight brake rotors - check out Scrub Components. Will have some photos and beta on those in a week or two.