Thursday, October 25, 2007

Where It's At.

Hi, I know. It's gonna be a bit slower around her for a while because my riding schedule has narrowed to one ride a week, if I'm lucky. Sadly, with an 8:30-5pm work schedule I don't have enough daylight coming or going to ride during the week, and night riding does not appeal. Don't even try to convince me because I don't care. The woods at night is no place for me.

That leaves Sunday and the occasional Saturday to ride, which is okay. I'm ready to slow down on the outdoor cycling and focus on other things, like weight lifting and spinning. Assuming I don't have conflicts, here's my current schedule:

Monday: yoga class w/ super-excellent and hilarious instructor. (I think I have a girl crush on her.)

Tuesday: 20 minute cardio warm-up, 1 hour of free weights

Wednesday: spinning class

Thursday: 20 minute cardio warm-up, 1 hour of free weights

Friday: off

Saturday: spinning class and weight lifting class (or mountain bike ride)

Sunday: mountain bike ride (weather permitting)

I don't always achieve all of it and Saturdays are hard because of craft shows and whatnot, but on the whole it's been working so far. My gym is great for the classes but the weight rooms sucks ass. Sure, it's big, but it's also dark and poorly laid out. I also hate the staring eyes of the weight room guys who seem to think I'm either an interloper or their own personal entertainment. Gross.

To remedy this I've started going to the very swanky (and free) gym on campus. For some reason college guys don't intimidate me at all. I consider them beneath notice and just march in and do my thing. It helps, too, that the weights room is big and light and well-designed. I went on Tuesday night and while I was lifting there was a cardio dance class going on in the glassed-in studio. It was all hip rolling and jazz hands and I could barely drag my eyes away from the horror of it. Dance classes are my hell and I'm impressed by anyone who willingly submits to such outlandish torture.

ANYWAY, i did ride last Sunday, all by myself. Everyone else was busy or feeling under the weather but it was a GORGEOUS day so I took myself over to Powhite and rode for an hour, mostly through some stunningly gross spiderwebs. It was fun though - I don't get to ride alone very often and I like that I can ride whatever pace i feel like and stop whenever I want. I am perfectly happy in my own company that way.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Race Report - Poor Farm Fall Cup

First I'd like to say I felt like total and complete crap yesterday and I think maybe I'm getting too old for this or something. I'm not sure that high-endurance sport events are for me. My body hates me. So much.

So, the race: Sunday morning I got up pretty early because my race start was 10am and I needed time to drive to the course, warm up and pee about 800 times. The good thing about an early race is that the porta-johns aren't yet completely disgusting and it's over before the main event so you can enjoy yourself afterwards while everyone else is suffering. The bad thing about an early race is having to get up early and deal with the temperature shift/what to wear issue.

There were six women signed up for my race, including me. Two of them are women I'm friendly with, both of whom have beat me in past races, though I beat them both earlier this summer in the Urban Assault. We take turns! (I should probably pause here to say that female racers are among the nicest women ever. I think it's cute when you pass someone in your field and they cheer you on. It's all in good fun, which I appreciate!)

I was concerned about the start, because apparently we were in the same wave as all the beginner men. This burns me up because, really, would it be that hard to give us a start of our own? We really have to fight through an adrenalin cloud of nervous, spazzy beginner men? Apparently, yes.

The start was a total mess, as I assumed it would be. The beginner men field was huge and I got in the back so I wouldn't get trampled running for my bike. When the horn went off I had to fight through a cloud of panic, dust, falling dudes, bikes clanking, shoes (!!) flying off feet. We all raced for the entrance into the woods and at that point things came to a grinding dead halt. I was near the back of the pack and had to, no shit, wait in line for my turn to enter the trail. I lost a good minute or two right there and it shows in my lap times.

The course was really tough - very fast and twisty at the beginning and end with all the climbing (mostly short, steep lung-busters) in the middle. It was my kind of course though, as I really like the twisty stuff. Because of the lack of rain the trail was really loose and dusty, which made for some spectacular spills, luckily none of them mine.

The beginning of the singletrack, once I got in, was a dusty rooty switchback turn that continued into the woods. I rode with a couple other women who'd also gotten out of the gate slowly and we worked our way through the crowds until things thinned out. Some of the beginning men were great and some of them were incredibly rude and spazzy and would rather pass like a douchebag than to suffer a couple of minutes of riding behind a woman. I think I yelled a few clipped comments about MANNERS and CALLING YOUR PASS. Hmph.

Eventually I was running in what I thought was 3rd place but I now know was 4th. I was the only woman in sight and only halfway through my first lap. I hit the first big climb and that slowed things down considerably. I started to lose momentum and had to really push myself to keep going. It's hard to race when you have no idea where the rest of your group is or how far ahead they are. Wah wah wah, I finished my first lap and passed by Kenny and a bunch of other teammates and friends, one of whom yelled about the leader, "She's only two minutes up!"

Uh. Great? Ha. I remember thinking she might as well be two hours up because no way could I gain that kind of time without strapping a small motor on my bike.

I continued into my second lap and less than halfway through I saw (what I thought was) #2 through the trees. Well, shit. That means I have to race now. I chased, I caught, and just as I was reeling her in another Sport Woman (actually #2), who'd been sidelined by a chain malfunction jumped in between us. Now I was chasing both of them! Looking back, it was really kind of fun because in most races I'm completely alone. I stuck to them like glue and they switched spots but we all stuck together and damn, the woman in the lead put the pedal down. When we passed other riders we passed as a unit - it was hilarious. We hit the final section of flats and were all three going flat out. I considered passing #3 but she was going so fast that I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. I decided to wait and when we came out fo the woods for the last long run across the field to the finish line, I passed her. In true form she cheered me on and urged me to go after #2. I went.

People. I have never ridden so hard or fast in my life and right as we were coming to the chute I caught her. Woo! Unfortunately, there was another male rider right next to her who inadvertently blocking my pass. She and I crossed the line nearly at the same time and our lap times were identical, but she was still a bit ahead of me. I was pleased anyway and happy to take third place. When we were all across the line the three of us laughed and congratulated each other for a job well done. Dang.

First lap: 38:39
Second lap: 36:35

Kenny started at noon and had a great race too - he finished 9th out of a huge field of 34. Sweet!

Afterwards we went home and both promptly felt like we'd been hit by a truck. Yesterday also sucked, but today I feel fine. I still don't even want to touch my bike for a few more days, though. Yuck.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Condensed Race Update

Hey! I'll post a full blow-by-blow tomorrow but for those two of you who might be wondering, I survived the race and came in 3rd. It was a hard effort and I'm suffering aplenty to because of it. Ow. Anyway, details and pictures tomorrow so check back!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Yes You CAN.

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Hi there. What up? Here's what's been going on:

- sad after-work rides squeezed in until the last possible second of daylight vanishes.
- spinning classes, le sigh.
- a final race of the season, can someone please hold me.

If we hit the trails at 5:45pm we have exactly an hour of light, so we've been heading over to Forest Hill to extract the most amount of suffering possible in that hour. It's nice though, because you do it and then you get to go home and eat dinner. I feel like I've nearly conquered Forest Hill this summer and I can ride every inch of it if you don't count that cement bridge, which I don't.

On Tuesday I left work early to join a weekly ride out at Poor Farm Park, where the race this Sunday is being held. I did a fast 45 minutes with my usual group and then reconvened at the parking lot to try and hook up with a medium-paced group. I lost out on that because I suck at paying attention and they left without me. This left me with the beginner group which I was grumpy about at first, but then I made some new friends and began to enjoy myself. We spent some time practicing a few tricky uphill sections and I think I'm pretty comfortable with most of it. Kenny and I are going to go back out on Saturday to ride the actual course, though, so don't quote me on that. Poor Farm holds the record for "Most Decrepit Little Bridges" and I don't know which ones will be included.

In the meantime, I've been back on the spinning bike at the gym a few times a week, just to keep the legs in a pedal-turning kinda mood. I actually, no shit, took a class last Friday at 6:15am. IN THE MORNING. It really wasn't bad at all because I was too out of it to really understand what I was doing until I was doing it. However, for the rest of the day I was both hyper and starving, so it may not be the best plan going forward.

Last night I took a class from a very nice woman who, unfortunately, really wants some class participation. Now, I'm not vocal in spinning class mostly because I'm trying very hard to focus on the music or my cadence or what is on TV that night or what I'm wearing to work the next day. Important deep thoughts, people. I do not "woo!" I do not feel like I need to give the teacher verbal pats on the back every ten seconds. I'm working here, lady! She really wants it but she won't be getting it from me. On top of that, she talks a lot in a very loud voice and likes to bellow things like, "YES YOU CAN. YES YOU CAN!" during sprints. Um, I guess I already am? So, she's right I suppose.

It's gonna be a long winter.