Thursday, April 30, 2009

E2 Performance

I think way back to when Justin and I first started riding bikes, all the way back in August of 2005... we filled up our Camelbak's (get this - I used a 2.5L Dream that fits nothing, and he carried around a 3L TransAlp that you could fit not only a tent and light-weight backpacking gear in, but also the kitchen sink!) with water, packed some Clif Shots and Power Bars, and off we went. I don't think it was until 2006 that we ever tried any kind of drink mix aside from pre-packaged Gatorade. I don't remember why we did, either, but we did.

I remember thinking that Cytomax helped my performance a ton! I was able to ride longer, and a tad faster (I was extremely slow then; think not only the last person to the top of the hill, but the last person down to the bottom, and not by just a minute or a REALLY long time) than before. We used to be out riding for a few hours at a time, and really knew nothing about nutrition or fueling for endurance sports. Honestly, I know I still have a lot to learn (that's half the fun!).

But, I've pretty much religiously used Cytomax ever since. I had a brief stint where I used HEED for a month or so, and in the one XC race I did I nearly cramped up (that's only happened one other time), and had a horrible endurance ride, so back to Cytomax I went. I always really liked the flavor.

I know Cyto has a lot of sugar, but it probably is part of why it tastes so dang good in the first place.

I'm a fan of other Hammer Nutrition products (though I'm not currently using any), but for some reason for drink mix I went back to Cytomax. I had wanted to try out the CytoSport recovery mix, but never got the container from the bike shop I'd asked to order it. So, I've used Recoverite in the past. My recent favorite recovery mix was Strawberry Recoverite, OJ, water, and Vanilla Whey Protein.

Needless to say... when I pre-registered for the US Kenda Cup West - Bonelli Park race, I knew I was guaranteed a swag bag! I LOVE swag bags. No joke. It is almost my favorite part of every race.

"What kind of gel flavor am I going to get?? What kind of other samples will be included? Ooh, goodies!" I LOVE goodies.

So, when I picked up my bag at Bonelli and in it was included a sample of E2 Hydro, I was looking forward to trying it. The packaging made it look really interesting, the flavor sounded really good, and I couldn't wait to mix it up.

I didn't mix it up for the race - you never try something new on race day!

But, I used it in a training ride a week or so later. The taste is a bit different than what I was used to (a bit less sweet, and it definitely took a little getting used to), but I liked it! It was oddly refreshing and tasty. Not medicine-like, but definitely not sugar-filled.

I made sure to grab some extra sample packets at the Pro XCT Fontana National in March, and grabbed a few more at Sea Otter. I'd only gotten 3 other sample packets of it through registration for the Kenda Cup West, so it was in high demand! Not only did I take Justin's samples, but I made sure he didn't "want" to use it either!

I talked to one of the other Sho-Air pro racers the morning of Sea Otter, and he's a big proponent of no supplementation (I believe some of the WC women are the same way, though I've never directly spoken to them regarding supplements - e.g. nutritional products, whey protein, etc.). So, post-race I asked him what he used. He tossed me a sample packet of E2 ProCharge. I had my recovery drink already mixed, so I'd had that already, but knew I'd save the ProCharge for another day!

Luckily for me Sho-Air/Specialized is supported by E2 Performance, so I was able to get hooked up with some E2 Hydro and some ProCharge!

I used both in the course recon and race at Santa Ynez last weekend and was pleasantly surprised. I knew it would work for me since I'd been using it in training, and also was able to try the Hydro in the heat the week before Santa Ynez.

I have struggled a bit in the past in taking in Cytomax when it's hot. I've actually discussed this with other racers, and they agree Cytomax is not easy to ingest while racing in the heat. For some reason it makes me have a much worse feeling of cottonmouth than I would probably not drinking anything at all. Despite a weak concentration at Sea Otter, I still struggled to take in enough fluids during the race until I went through the feed zone and picked up an extra bottle of water from the neutral feed.

The Hydro from E2 is still really drinkable, even mixed at one full scoop/one serving per 21-24oz. I've yet to try it in the HEAT of battle (e.g. 85F+ in an XC race), but I know I will get a chance at some point this summer, and I know it won't disappoint.

I could rehash the info from the site, but just check out the info and if you can pick up some samples of the product - definitely try it out for your next training ride!

I plan on training and racing with E2 Hydro and recovering with ProCharge (mixed with milk for some additional carbs - followed up with AB&J!!) this season.

Maybe it'll work for you, too!

Getting back to it

When you're racing every weekend, and have some higher priority events, it's tough to get in any decent training. Well, when you have a full time desk job that requires you to be at your desk for 8 hours a day, during normal work hours, it's tough to get in any decent training. My schedule has been sporadic and interesting at best, lately.

If I want to ride at lunch, I need to be up before 6 am, and at work at 7. Then I'm at work until 5. By the time I've run errands and gotten home and we have dinner cooked, eaten, and cleaned up, it's usually 7 or 8, and then it's time to get lunch together.

I know Luke thinks that we spend too much time with food prep, but we can't afford to eat out during the week (in addition to it costing too much, I can't afford the extra sodium, butter, fat, etc!), so it's all about taking time to get dinner and lunch RIGHT. If you're going to do something, you may as well do it 100%!

Justin and I also enjoy the food stuff lately. I used to hate the kitchen. I'm still not as good at cooking and experimenting as he is, but we kind of enjoy getting dinner together.

At any rate… got out on the bike yesterday for a solo spin. I went over an hour and a quarter, and oddly enough until the last .5mi of the ride, I didn't have to unclip ONCE! I know most of you don't ride where I do, but let me tell you… in this traffic-opolis, that is UNUSUAL!

Intervals went pretty well. I actually felt stellar for the first few. Legs were still feeling some left over fatigue by the last 2. Weather was great, and aside from thinking I was getting sideswiped on my way back to work, it was a good ride. The lady in the Lexus actually swerved two additional times into the bike lane, so I think she was probably just drunk. Or on her iPhone. Or eating. Or putting on makeup.

Next up? E2 Performance write-up and report!! Check it out later today.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kenda Cup West: Santa Ynez Race Report

I thought Sea Otter was a whirlwind! Justin and I got home late Monday, and were up and at'em early on Tuesday for 4-days full of work. Mid-week we traveled west to partake of a cool group ride with Ergon and Crankbrothers and that made for another really late night. Super on track for back to back race weekends! :)

Friday we got stuff packed up for an early Saturday morning departure to head north to Santa Ynez!

Podium bottle I got free from Sea Otter (thanks Camelbak, Garmin, and Clif!)

We got to the venue in the early afternoon, picked up our registration packets (series plate #5w, stoked!), chatted with Ty and Davey in the Sho-Air RV, and headed out for our pre-ride. The course was shortened a bit from 2008, but still included some fun sections. The course was both in better and worse condition than last year if that is possible? It seemed like it hadn't been used a lot, so the cows had been enjoying the trails, but I don't think the dirt had been soaked as much and then dried out, so there wasn't a lot of caked/broken earth like last year.

There were a few sketchy corners, but otherwise everything was in great condition.

It's all about product placement!

I'm trying to switch over to exclusively using E2Hydro drink mix and the E2 ProCharge recovery. Hopefully I can continue to use this stuff (I'm running sample packets at the moment). I've been really happy with the E2 Hydro on hot days (wish I would have tried it last weekend at Sea Otter, actually). I've struggled with Cytomax in the heat quite a bit. It just isn't really drinkable. With only one bottle cage on the bike I've got to have a mix that I can drink no matter what the temps, and something to wash the gel mix down with! I was really happy with the E2 Hydro on Tuesday in the heat on our lunch ride, so used it this weekend. The ProCharge ice cream tastes great with both water and milk, and is chock full of protein mix! Mixing it with milk I think ups the carbs a bit and gives it a nice blend of nutrients. Follow that up with PB&J and I was good to go!

Driving back to the hotel through Solvang we were scoping restaurants. There wasn't much for seafood except in Lompoc (according to the Garmin 705 "Where To? Feature), and neither of us felt like making the drive. We decided on AJ Spur's Steakhouse. The food was great, but we got a little more than I had bargained on! No worries - meant I didn't have to make lunch last night! It was the happening place to be I think. It was half empty when we got there, but full when we left!

The rest of the evening was spent preppin bottles and food (me)

The set-up

and going through the bikes and changing tires (Justin). He switched out my front tire to a brand new Specialized LK. It was great for Sunday's main event!

Despite trying to sleep in, it was an early morning for us (we're usually up before 6). We got to making breakfast and playing online, but it was pretty quiet! We anxiously awaited word on Luke's finish up at the 8 hours of Hurkey since he raced solo and was going for the big "W".

Eventually around 9 we figured we may as well head out to the venue, so packed up and off we went. The Cat 2 and 3 riders were just finishing up warmups, and we watched the waves take off as we chatted with Jason and Heather from So-Cal Endurance.

After some relaxation and race spectating it was time to suit up!

We did our warm-up on the hill that was used to shuttle downhill riders up to their start last year. This time they were using the "old" course, so the shuttle trucks weren't using it. There were quite a few others warming up there as well. The wind was picking up, but otherwise the weather was pretty good.

Justin went back to the truck to fiddle with his shifting, and I put in two more efforts and rode the finish chicane. We met back on the line where XC Pro and super supporter Robert Herber was set up with our start line/lap 1 bottles ready for take off!

The "call up" was kind of random, and I wound up on Joy's right side up against the barriers. Despite the series ranking plates, the call-up didn't seem to go by series placing. I knew it was going to be a weird start, and one or more of us was going to get squeezed out. I think I wound up 6th or 7th off the line; not a great place to start on the singletrack. The pace was smoking fast from the get-go as I think Amanda led us out for the first mile or so with Kathy and Zephanie right on her wheel. I moved up a few spots and I think was sitting 5th behind Krista as we made our way to the first singletrack climb. Passing is tough on a lot of the course since it is a lot of bench-cut singletrack. I put in a few efforts to try to move up, since I wasn't sure if the Kenda women had any tactics going into the race or not! The 3 of them held the top 3 spots all the way up the climb and I knew Kathy was putting in efforts to create an early gap.

Eventually I settled into 2nd and kept Kathy in my sights. Near the end of lap 1 I bridged up and sat behind her for a bit. She sat up to feed and I went around, but that didn't last long! She moved around me again on the ridgeline and I just tried to keep the gap manageable.

I had a bit of miscommunication in the feedzone and was not sure where Robert was, and I slowed up way too much. He was at the end of the line in a clear position (no one in front or behind him, so clear spot), so lesson learned. Keep it moving the ENTIRE time! Jason told me to make a move as Kathy was pulling more time! I kept her in sight for most of lap 2, and saw Amanda closing in on me.

They were both riding really strong throughout.

Lap 3 I was slowing down big time. General body fatigue was setting in and everything hurt (especially my legs!). Justin caught up to me and I tried to enjoy the windbreak, but couldn't hold his wheel at all. I yelled to him to go after Matt who wasn't TOO far ahead, and eventually he took off up the singletrack climb to try to bridge up in his class.

Amanda passed me easily near the top of the first singletrack climb, and my body wouldn't respond to hold her wheel. I settled in to a pace, trying to recover and make up time on the descents. Eventually I noticed my HR just wouldn't climb back up to race pace, so it was all about damage control and making sure to keep the pace just enough to hold on to 3rd.

The wind on lap 3 was downright brutal, but I tried to put in a final effort on the flats back to the venue to stay in 3rd, and just tried to finish strong.

Super tough race after Sea Otter last weekend. Gotta get the body used to these back to back hard race weekends!

Everyone raced and rode really strong and I was definitely pushed a lot. Had a blast out there racing. The course was a lot of fun.

I tried to spin for a bit, but I was pretty shot. Wound up doing a little loop with Heather, Joy, Krista, and Justin post-race and had fun hanging out and chatting! Definitely makes it worthwhile when you can hang out with other racers and get out of race mode. I've noticed there's not much time to chat when we're out trying to rip each other's legs off during the race!

Overall, great weekend. Definitely looking forward to backing off the racing and getting back to solid miles on the bike at a bit slower pace.

Pro Women podium

Pro Men podium

Cat 1 30-34 men

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pics from the Ergon-Crankbrothers ride!

I forgot to put up pics earlier this week...

Carlton leads the way!


Justin right behind

Group shots

Sweet dinner!

Friday, April 24, 2009


The SRAM order finally shipped last week! Not in time for Sea Otter or this weekend's race, but I do look forward to rocking/rubbing/rolling the goods soon!

Got a chance to utilize my sweet new Crankbrothers shortie socks last night! Ran out of evening time to hit up a short dirt ride, so on the trainer it was for me.

I inadvertently left my snaps from the ride earlier this week on my home computer! D'oh. More pics later from Tuesday and Wednesday's riding.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sea Otter Classic '09

Wow, what a weekend! Sea Otter always seems to go by in a blur. Last year we arrived in the early afternoon on Thursday, did some DH runs, did a XC pre-ride, and prepped for a full day Friday. I felt like I didn't see anything, hang out with anyone, and it was just a busy non-stop whirlwind!

This year wasn't much different! We took off Thursday around 10 to head north so we'd be there Friday morning in time for the Pro rider meeting at noon. This was my first ever UCI race, so I didn't want to miss any info.

Fuel for the drive

I packed a LOT



On the way up we stopped at Rock N Road Cyclery in Anaheim Hills to pick up a few last minute items. I wound up getting a hat and socks in addition to a tire, chain, and some other random parts for the weekend. We wound up running into Chuck and after a long pit stop of ours he caught up and remained our caravan buddy for the day!

We got to the venue just in time on Thursday to pick up our registration packets and have dinner with DenMother, Roger, Mark, Chuck, and a few others at the Black Bear Diner? I had a good steak!

Friday we slept in a tad, got to the venue around 9:30 or so, and took our time seeing the sights. Well, I somehow missed the new Specialized 29ers all weekend, but other than that we saw a lot!

We stopped by Specy early on so they could take a look at my suspension and make sure it was race ready!

Hit up Crankbrothers - they had their killer new wheelsets on display and a ton of racers rolling around on them all weekend! - Ergon - with some new grips and all the packs - Nema - lifestyle wear, bike shorts and jerseys, gloves, socks - SRAM - they had some BLINGing new colored parts out; stoked to see the red! I also highly enjoyed hanging out at the Clif Bar booth trying out their samples of new flavors (the white chocolate macadamia? is KILLER) and snacking on Builder Bars (those and Luna bars are my go-to easy food right now) and also stopped by Simbree for some amazing granola and energy bites! If you haven't checked this stuff out, definitely hit up the site. Organic, and it is sooo good you probably won't even save it for snacking on the bike! The Cocoa Almond Cherry granola is awesome in vanilla yogurt!

After we cruised around a bunch we hit up the Pro meeting. Not many people showed up! I know a lot weren't in town yet, and many others were working vendor booths. Found out a bit about the feed/tech zones and the anti-doping control info (totally new to me!) and it was over pretty quickly. Time to for lunch after that!

I had planned to do some course recon around lunchtime, but someone said beginners were going off at 1pm. Then I heard 2pm. I didn't want to get in the way of anyone's race, so we wound up holding off on riding until almost 5. :eek:

Lunch (it was the same all weekend!)

Eventually after cruising around the venue for another few hours we hit up the course with Christina (ex-DH champ and also raced XC!). She was keeping up with me no problem on a much heavier bike ;) Was fun to follow her lines down the hills!

She's back at it racing XC this year and doing really well! Despite our late pre-ride she still finished 2nd the next morning!!

Eventually it was dinner time! We stayed in Monterey last year also, but never made it past the hotel. This year was my first time seeing the water up here!


I had fully "moved in" to the hotel...

We didn't eat home cooked dinners, but everything else I had covered!

The micro-fridge was awesome!

Traci racing downhill!! Braaap!

Julia on her way to her first ever Sea Otter Classic podium!

Sweet SRAM parts

The new Intense 9-5-1 DH bike complete with the Crankbrothers DH wheels! Pimp!

I almost want to race DH again!

It was already almost lunch time after we cruised the venue for a bit, so it was SNACK time before our openers

I was in such a hurry to down this delish dish I didn't get a shot of it mixed up.


Justin working an interval

Justin spent the afternoon prepping the bikes while I chilled in the shade... then he took me back to the hotel to prep bottles and bags and he headed back to the venue to drop off about 3 loads of gear at the Sho-Air RV for the next morning.

Eventually (way later than I'd hoped!) we got out to a nice dinner on the Wharf at Cafe Fina. Great service and food. I got my salmon and rice, and we shared a spectacular dessert!

We got to bed kind of late for our 5 am wake-up call, but no worries!

Sunday started early; we got to the venue at daybreak and just before 7 headed in to see if Sam was up yet at the RV. He wasn't out and about, so Justin cruised around and I sat and enjoyed the calm morning.

Justin got his warm-up on and we headed over to his start around 8 am. It was HOT already.

On the line

I sat back down for awhile after he took off, and eventually headed out on Laguna Seca's race course to do his lap 2 feed. I cheered on the SSers and fast kids, and then came Justin solidly in the top 5 of his field! He was looking strong, but I knew he had missed a feed mid-lap. I handed him what I had left of my small bottle, and gave him his normal feed bottle, and then it was off to sit in the A/C some more!

Sam was really cool answering my thousand inane questions about racing, and Colt from Cycling Dirt showed up for a bit to do some interviews with the guys and update his site. Check it out for all kinds of race coverage!

It started to get a bit more hectic as the pro start was coming up in just about 2.5 hours. Scott announced that the race was changing a bit - men would do 1.5 laps, and women just 1. I was actually pretty stoked on that! It was hot out!

Eventually I went over to the start/finish to try to see Justin come in. Trevor and James were both done, and he had been in front of them at the feed zone. Hmm. He came in about a minute later and did not look good. He had cramped really bad on course after he lost his only bottle about 15 mintues in to lap 1.

He couldn't really spin, so we went back to the RV where he laid in the shade and tried to massage out the cramps. Being the awesome supporter he is, he still managed to get changed out of his race clothes, get in some food and got right to work on my bike and a few others and helping get about 25 bottles packed up for the far feed zone. I tried to sit down out of the way as the rest of the Sho-Air/Specialized team arrived, and then it was time for Justin and John to head out to the feed zone.

The guys all got suited up, and I followed "suit". Most went out to warm-up on the tarmac, but I used my trainer in the shade. HR was HIGH for warm-up, but I stuck to it and headed to the start/finish just as the pro men took off.

After a short spin call-ups were happening. Thanks a TON to Trish for the umbrella! It was nice to have a little bit of shade at the start. Some of the women on the front line had cold bottles of water they were dumping in their shoes and down their backs, and that definitely looked like it was a good idea! I didn't have any extra, so pretended my feet weren't on fire! It was scorching hot on the line.

We took off in a blur and I felt pretty good on the road course. I was holding decent position onto the dirt, and pretty sure I was still top 10 on the first singletrack descent. I started having some GI problems and I think I was really over-heated, so started to go backwards. Tried to hold what pace I could and eventually forced myself to drink and take in some gel. Next time in the heat - water only! Had problems getting the Cytomax down.

My skin and brain were on fire for the early part of the lap. The singletrack was brutal. No air what-so-ever other than the hot baking oven feeling. The descents didn't offer any relief.

I picked up some water in the feedzone, and eventually felt like I was coming back to life.

Catherine Vipond of Norco Factory and Kathy Sherwin from Kenda/Tomac passed me and I decided I was NOT going to lose them. Kathy and I fell off from Catherine a bit eventually, and on the pavement climb I went around Kathy feeling pretty good. I rode the following descent like it was a downhill race and hammered it out from there. I started feeling pretty good on the fire road climb out, but man was it windy! Just tried to hold a good pace. I was reeling in riders, but had no idea who they were up ahead.

Once I turned off on the last singletrack I decided to just grin and enjoy it! This was my first Pro Sea Otter race, first UCI race, and the largest field I'd EVER raced in! I had no idea where I was at placing-wise, but I knew it had to be top-20. I was stoked to just be feeling better and able to put in some efforts again. At the final turn before the tarmac finish I saw it was Catherine in front of me. She saw me also and hammered up the short climb, and I was in pursuit. She turned onto the pavement ahead of me, and I cranked as hard as I could for most of the descent. Ran out of legs, gears, and room and backed off a tad when I saw no one was directly behind me.

All in all, was really happy with the race. I was able to learn a few things and generally had a good time. It was brutal out there, and after seeing Krista taken away in an ambulance I was happy to just be alive and able to stand up. Seriously scary.

I did a short spin with Catherine and Catharine Pendrel, and eventually it was time to grab my recovery drink.

I brain-farted and didn't think to call Justin, who was still down at the far feed zone for Max, Manny, and Sid. He and John didn't know Sam had had a mechanical and had to call it a day.

Got back to the hotel finally around 6pm and had a beer!

Team dinner in downtown Monterey Sunday night was a blast and great food to boot (more salmon and rice!). Specialized showed up a bit after us, so we were "hanging" with World Champ Sauser, Conrad Stolz, T Wells, and the rest of the gang! Super cool.

Monday morning we headed back into town and while we couldn't find breakfast on the Wharf, got some decent grub near downtown before heading down "THE" 1.

Overall - great weekend. We saw some cool stuff, got to hang out with some great people, picked up some good Simbree, and generally had fun. I couldn't have done it without Justin's support. He made sure my bike was working flawlessly, totally clean and ready to go, and that I was well-taken care of. Not only that, but in addition to dealing with me and helping me out, doing the feeds for some of the Pro men, and carting around gear for 2 days, he also raced TWO full laps on the course Sunday morning! No rest for the wicked. He makes it all possible.