Thursday, June 19, 2008

Urban Assault, Paula style

Hi kids! Last weekend was the Urban Assault race, the race I won last year. My friend Paula races Expert and she did the race this year even though I declined. She's adept at winning (though she'll protest this until she's blue in the face) and this race was no exception. This girl races to win, rather than my lame strategy of racing-to-maybe-finish. Anyway, because I did not attend, I asked Paula to be my guest blogger today! Here's her race report:

I’m not generally the blogger type but since a few of my teammates have written about their recent Xterra/Urban Assault race experience, I thought I would give it a go. It was HOT HOT HOT on Saturday. Given the temperatures over the past several weeks, I thought I would have been prepared. I guess saying to myself and many others that “the heat doesn’t bother me” came back to punish me with a vengeance. So much for positive thinking…!

There were only two of us in my category but I came to realize that this had no bearing, whatsoever, on my pre-race jitters. There could have been 20 of us, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. That being said, nerves all aflutter, we were off! I, like Brad, almost bought it over the first berm. Now Brad, being in the beginner category, had an excuse, I did not. I should have known better but I was already on the right side and would have had to go around the whole field of one other person to get into a position in which I didn’t have to launch over the berm. Thinking I would lose precious time doing this, I thought I was playing it smart to go right over the berm.

Continuing the race, down the gravel road…hmmm, everyone says this is where you can gain precious time, being a roadie and all. Well, when it feels like it’s 110 degrees out and you are gasping for breath, this may not be the case. Who knows, I managed to pass a few people and climb the stairs, 9 flights. (I had counted them before, I was prepared.) I wasn’t prepared for my first crash though. I had 12 feet of clearance after I crossed the bridge. Normally, this is not an issue. For some reason, I looked right at the concrete wall and my left handlebar clipped it. Don’t ask me why, perhaps hyper anaerobicism (my new word).

Down I went, with a group of Sport guys behind me. Oh well, what good is a crash if there’s no one to see it? Continuing on, I manage to almost make it up the steep clay hill (my definition of “almost” being over the first big hump), out to Riverside drive and down the dreaded rocky descent. I hate this descent, but phew, I made it down, no, on second thought I didn’t, out of nowhere some guy decides to pass me on the inside, takes the turn too wide and plows into me.

Never asking me if I am o.k., the guy gets back on his bike and pedals away. I yell a few choice words after him, I mean the adrenalin and all…they weren’t real pleasant but I got my point across.

Back on my bike, yikes, what is this horrible pain in my side? Have I fractured a rib? Will it puncture my lung? I’m short of breath, I’m dizzy…no maybe that’s just the heat. “I guess it’s not excruciating pain I say to myself” so I decide to continue on. On to Forest Hill, this was pretty uneventful although my ribs are feeling the climbs. I reach the end and, given that I did an endo there last year in front of the crowd, I decide I will not give them a show this year. I prudently dismount to go back into the tunnel. O.k., I’m past most of the real technical stuff, now I can really start to gain some time.

Ouch, what is this pain in my legs? Am I cramping, has my newly-deflated lung robbed my muscles of the precious oxygen they need? Drink, drink, drink I say forgetting all about the two Cliff shots that would have been of great benefit, I continue on. Down that gravel road (again) up the stairs, this time clearing the concrete wall with ease. I finish Buttermilk, cross over the Nickel Bridge, Northbank….legs are really starting to cramp but I am reaching the end…I pick it up here, I mean I want to look like I rode the race that fast the entire time as I cross over the finish line. The heat is excruciating but I am done! Some guy I have never seen before comes up to me with a bottle of COLD water and tells me this is the last one there is…I am too stunned to thank him as much as he deserves…I am finished. (Until next year that is!)

(Note how she doesn't mention she won? That Paula. I'll have photos to post as soon as PhotoBucket stops freaking out. )

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

She updates!

Don't mess with me! I'm covered in poison ivy and spider webs.

I can't believe how long it's been since I added an entry. It's hard to keep up with both blogs and keep finding new stuff to write about, especially since I'm not doing any racing this spring. Last year at this time I was gearing up for the Urban Assault and even though I'm not in any shape to race, I'm still a little sad to be missing it. Not sad about paying $40 to suffer for half and hour in the 90 degree heat on trails I normally ride for free, however. Not sad about that at all.

But, I have been riding! I swear! All of it local because gas is just too expensive to justify driving all over the place just to ride a bike, when we have trails so close to home. Powhite park is always an easy option and a favorite of mine unless I'm the first rider of the day which means getting liberally frosted with spiderwebs. Those spiders freaking HATE my ass. My favorite trail is a tight uphill route with lots of switchback turns, which is prime real estate for spiders. I usually make Kenny go first because I'm selfish.

We've also been hitting the river trails quite a bit, though you have to be really careful to stay in the exact middle of the trail because it's all POISON IVY EVERYWHERE. I know what it looks like now but that doesn't mean that every green leaf doesn't also look like it. I'm convinced that every leaf that gently brushes my leg is poison and...gross. It usually is.

Anyway, just a quick update to let you know I'm still a-riding. I'll take my camera out and get some new photos up soon.

See? I always make him go first.