Monday, March 31, 2008

Starting a new decade

This morning I woke up a decade older.

For some reason I had a hard time with this birthday - more than any other. As a result I decided to go skydiving and excite myself. But that was delayed due to the wonderful spring weather - so I'll get to experience it in April. I guess you could call it a midlife crisis.

It's hard to believe 30 years has flown by - and will continue to fly by. Just think how far society has come since 1978. And how far it will go in the next 30 years.

Thank you all who have sent me birthday wishes - it's nice to be remembered on your birfday. :)

Yet another reason I love Seattle

Pillow Fights - are becoming quite the rage.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jennie Reed is my hero

Gold in the Keirin at the World Championships! Way to go Jennie!!!!
Yeah, yeah. I know, I heard. Sequim was sunny and nice and you all had a great time racing. Whatever! At least I got to see some snow for the last time in a while (I hope)!

Not only was racing canceled, but so was our date to jump out of a plane. How lame is that? Pretty lame.

Skydiving and ushering in my thirties will happen though.... soon.

Friday, March 28, 2008

White Weekend?

Looking out my window right now, it's snowing. It's not sticking - but it's definitely coming down in big white chunks. And it's supposed to continue through tomorrow. We're headed up to Bellingham tonight for some racing and hanging with family and friends. My sister is going too - but to go skiing. She's smarter and younger than I. Baker is boasting 45" of new snow in the last 48 hours.

Am I nuts for looking forward to racing in this weather? I'm ready to put those last clinging winter pounds to use and punch it in the face. If anything, it should make for some good blog fodder later.

A few last minute items thrown into my bag:

1. Diving gloves. Stinky, as I mentioned before. But life saving when it's cold and wet.

2. Atmoic balm (balm, balm, balm, balm). Actually, I never removed it from my bag. I just need to make sure I grab the alcohol to remove it from my hands and make sure I put the Chamois butter on first.

3. Belgian Knee Warmers. I remember TST a few years ago when Symmetrics showed up and it was pouring down rain and their legs looked like they had spread a full coat of butter on them. Did you hear those ladies complaining? Nope. And they finished the race.

4. Certified Ass Kicking Attitude. Need I explain?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ryan's Mom Trish Harding is a local artist in Bellingham, WA. The Blue Horse Gallery is debuting all of Trish's amazing work that she's amassed in the short time she has completely devoted herself as a full time artist. We're headed up on Friday to see the tail end of the show and congratulate her on her amazing success and let her know how proud we are. She is quite the woman!

She runs Studio UFO, right next to the Blue Horse Gallery - so if you're ever in need of some art classes - she's your lady!

In Limbo

Funny how reliant we've become on computers for information. Two weeks ago my powertap cpu stopped working. It wouldn't advance from one screen to the next. Bottom line - I had to send it into Wisconsin for a replacement. Unfortunately Saris will not send its twin replacement until they receive the damaged one, which means I've been flying blind during my efforts for two solid weeks now. You bet I'm curious to see if that has made any difference without knowing the data.

Feeling fast and actually being fast are two different things though.

Ever drunk Bailey's from a shoe?

Do you love me?

A friend of mine who teaches in Aberdeen high school showed me this one.... little did I know how popular it is with teenagers these days. Old Greg? Weird.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Death by Bagel Chip

Today I had an incurable craving for salty crunchy toasted bagel chips. There's something about their crunch that makes me reach back in the bag again and again. But I must say - today I earned it.

42 degrees and "light rain" as I headed out on my training ride. On the menu today - LT intervals which tend to keep things interesting and keep me in the saddle for the duration of the ride. Without that purpose - without the sheer enjoyment of having accomplished something on a ride - who knows what I would be doing. It keeps me disciplined and out in the elements and as a reward I crunch crunch crunch a munch away on my bagel chips.

At one point, it was raining sideways on the I-90 bridge and the oncoming traffic was spraying lots of residue up while I leaned into the wind to stay upright. I was in the middle of an interval thinking, when is this going to be over? Am I at the end of the bridge yet - oh crap here comes another semi - braise yourself! And yet managed to get across unscathed and low and behold the sun started peaking out. Dressed for the monsoon I just rode through, I was a little warm when I ventured back home. My neoprene diving gloves work really well when it's raining hard - otherwise they stink like Ryan's 18 year old hockey gear. Peew!

I just had to remove the bagel chips from next to the computer.

I do want to mention a little personal victory I had recently. Every Easter I gorge Gorge GORGE myself on Cadbury mini eggs. They're way worse than bagel chips. I've been known to eat an entire big bag of them in one sitting. One year my brother bought me the Walmart 2 lb. bag for my birthday and I had Ryan hide them from me until after boxing Nationals. You bet I ransacked the house several times to search for them. Well this year - this year, of all years, I avoided all Easter chocolate. Don't ask me how - but I managed to do it. If you only knew what kind of chocoholic I am you'd realize what a HUGE step that is in my recovery. Now I have to wait another year until the mini eggs come back onto the market...

Is sleeping 9 hours a night average?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Picture Round Up

Just downloaded some pictures from the past few weeks. The first is a shot of Ryan climbing at Vantage, near the Gorge in George, WA. He made a one day trip a few weekends ago with his friends while I was out racing. Looks like some interesting blocky features - and pretty solid rock compared to what Vantage usually offers (CHOSS!)

Flash forward several days to just last Friday. I headed out for a nice little spin to wake the legs up and do some race prep on my shiny Kona. Not even a mile from my house, I crossed some rail road tracks, heard a something snap and figured, since my wheels were ok - I would continue. About a mile later, I looked down to realize my speedo was missing. I sprinted back to the tracks, having a car pass me only to roll directly over my computer. Damn! 10 seconds too late!

Then Sunday morning, we woke up a little late and I had a nice soggy wet ride. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera - but I'm sure it would have gotten wet and been ruined anyways. It was a day just for the hard core people - I maybe saw 3 people on the entire ride? I headed east to get some climbing in and met up with Ryan at Coolan park to head south to our friend Chris's house who lives down in Salmon Bay. It's a hippie community located near Pt. Defiance park that's been around since the 1970's. It's only accessible via a steep sandy trail that washes out during heavy rains. Chris bought this "shack" several years ago with the intention of fully remodeling it and calling it home.

He had amazing momentum at first - replacing some pylons, adding structural integrity, new windows, new roof, etc - but the interior is now filled with the tools necessary to do the outdoor projects. He also has become quite a collector of items left in the free box at the top of the hill. (You should see his mugs!) He has fully replaced the sub flooring (it was completely rotten before), replaced the windows with a windowed garage doors, added another bathroom upstairs (tiled with 1970 orange Caribbean "free" tile) and installed a cool 2'x6' glass floor which you can see directly down below the house and watch the tide wash in and out.

Ah, home sweet home. We had a serious clam and oyster feed while we were there and we got to watch the series of weather patterns blow in from the Olympics. One minute it would be super sunny and nice - and the next a total downpour where you couldn't see the Narrows. During one of the dry spells we tried sailing a kite and it did about three turns and then went crashing down into the water. The guys also had a go at chopping up parts of a log that Chris had hauled up from the sound to use as fire wood. Laughs were had by all. I attempted to chop a piece of wood too - and the ax didn't even penetrate the wet wood - it just bounced off. Don't worry - I didn't strain my milk on that one. :)

We topped the weekend off with my new favorite movie, "Blades of Glory." If you haven't seen it yet - I highly, highly recommend it.

Fire and Ice baby, fire and ice.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

4 out of 5

Another OTBer told me today her old coach used to tell her that it takes 5 weeks to start noticing you can hang in the races better. Then suddenly, your pain threshold increases and those efforts that made you wheeze, struggle, gasp and heave yourself up start to become less painful. Well this weekend marked 4 out of 5 - so if all is going according to plan, April should be a much better month for the old Juicer.

Need I remind you it's still March.

We (Liz, Brook and I) showed up at 8:30 to 33 degree weather. A fog enveloped the entire valley. Fun times! 3 laps of a 19.5 mile loop with two significant hills (not long, just steep) with a rewarding and fun downhill and then open roads through the country that surround Rochester, WA. Something about those downhills and pushing the limits gets me giddy like a school girl!

We had a good showing of ladies - maybe due to the fact that this is the only race on the NW calendar this weekend - or maybe they are starting to think it's time to start racing. We rode with the Master A/B men again - which meant a "neutral" slog up the first hill - but ended up tearing my legs off. I made it almost up the second hill and just couldn't latch on to the swiftly descending group. Add on lots of little rollers, wind and other groups and you have yourself a good mental workout! Luckily I had some company this time - and we both agreed it's early season and we're just where we need to be to finish it up strong. Which boasts nothing for the ego now - but putting a huge deposit down for sometime in the future. Paying your dues, if you will.

Oi, that one hurt. But I'm okay with it. You begin to tolerate mediocrity when you know there's a means to the end. Just a little taste of speed, just a small dose of candy, makes you perk up and eager for the next ass whopping. Bring it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Magic Jacket

I bought a new spiffy rain coat last week at Gregg's. It's see through and was not your typical $15 garbage-bag-can't-breath-in-this-thing-am-I-wetter-on-the-inside? jacket. Oh no, this jacket has certain magical powers. Not only does it breath but it also changes shape when waters applied, or so I'm told. So far it has had the ability to fend off rain whenever I stash it in my back pocket and manages to make dark gray clouds lighten up and halt any precipitation coming down from the sky.

Forecasters predicted definite rain showers this afternoon - from about 3 pm on. Expecting rain and 44 degrees (as brutal of conditions as it gets here!), I jumped on my rain bike and headed North to meet up with Ryan at his work. I a-balmed up my legs, applying a thicker than normal layer. Out the door I went.

Nearing Shoreline, about 45 minutes later, my legs started to tingle with a nice heat. Then once I neared Bothell 10 minutes later, I knew I had applied a little too much. I was accompanied by a nice little tail wind - which did nothing to cool my blistering legs. Have you ever gotten so sunburn you feel like your skin is going to burn off? Similar feeling.

I arrived at Ryan's office, dry. Surrounding his office were dark looming clouds - and moments after we got in the car, I pulled my rain jacket out of my pocket and the skies opened up. Magic powers I tell you, magic powers.

Now if I can just get my legs to stop burning...

Dear Mr. Crazy Man,

I heard you yelling again today as you walked your Jack Russell Terrier along the Canal. I know we've never met and I'm not one to judge but your dog is starting to put on a little weight. It didn't happen over night, mind you. But slowly and surely over the past 5 years I've worked here, the pounds have started to settle in.

Remember last spring when Leo (how do I know the dogs name you ask? I can hear you yell it every time you walk by) slipped out of your reach and attacked some poor girl on a bike? He nipped her something good and you yelled at Leo, who un-fazed kept chasing the cyclist. A little white dog on a mission.

I must admit, I do enjoy watching you walk your dog by my window. Even when you get Leo wound up like a flip toy who barks as though he's going to come out of his skin. And then you throw the object in your hand, while still holding onto the leash. And of course Leo bounds after the object, choking his muscular neck while standing up on his rear feet and nearly knocking you off yours.

And then you slowly shuffle away, Leo in tow, licking his chops for his next well earned treat.

See you tomorrow, Mr. Crazy Man.

A Year Ago...

I received news that my grandfather had passed away while being cared for in a nursing home. For the first time in over two decades, my dad's entire immediate family gathered to pay their respects and honor my grandfather.

Crazy how quickly a year passes, let alone a lifetime. My grandfather had a huge passion for cycling and a few years ago we rode the first Livestrong ride in Portland, Oregon together. Being outside put a big smile on his face and his enjoyment has certainly influenced me to get out and ride.

The things he must have seen!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I was really starting to doubt the weatherman

And then, without warning, the skies opened up around 6pm tonight and started dumping cold, wet rain. Poor Ryan took off for the climbing gym on my motorcycle and has to ride home in this wonderful weather. Burrr!

Calling Mr. David Tiemeyer in a few minutes to measure a few last minute things before he sends my new frame to the production stage. SICK!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ballard in da his-ouse!

Check out what we missed on Sunday. Man, that looks like fun!

Massive pillow fights - I think I'm going to aspire to be an organizer of one. It makes you giggle like a little kid. Punch someone in the head with a pillow today.

St. Paddy's

Luckily my rest day fell on St. Patricks day so I got to cook my brains out. We had the traditional corned beef and cabbage with beef stout stew, colcannon, and Treacle Farls. Lip smacking good - but entirely way too much food! Our fridge is loaded with leftovers - I guess we over estimated.

Funny how cooking takes so long to prepare - the processes each item has to go through, the timing, the coaxing and improvising if things don't go according to plan. Hours of hovering over the stove, patiently waiting for everything to come out all at once. And then within about 20 minutes the food is consumed and you can barely move since you over ate. It always baffles me how it can take hours to get things on the table and then just like that it's over. Just goes to show, like all things that take time in life, you have to enjoy the process getting there. Each time adjusting a recipe to make sure you get it right next time, taking notes, incorporating new ideas - whoa, it's really parallel to cycling. It's definitely a science where experience pays. But you can't be afraid to try something new - sometimes the best things result from taking risks (and sometimes the worst - a crisco pie crust comes to mind).

Last night, as we sat around the dinner table laughing and joking - I remember thinking to myself, this is what it's all about. Having family and loved ones near you and celebrating life. Cheers!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Early spring racing in the NW means wet, wet weather and 40 degree racing. Fun. To offset this bone chilling effect I've discovered "ATOMIC BALM" (cue the echo voice: balm, balm, balm), which when applied directly to your skin, not only heats but keeps on giving for hours afterward. Today we pulled up to the start line and you could see the snow line in the distance. Reminiscent of last year, where I re-strained my hamstring, I decided to apply a big dosage of Atomic Balm to my legs. It's 2 pm now - our race was at 8:30 - and they're still on Fire! If they're still burning by bedtime, I'll know I over did it. :)

Oh training races. They definitely have their purpose. They help you remember how to hurt and pound some intensity into your legs. As a team we did a great job sticking to our game plan - but it fell apart once the pace got crackin' and those early season peakers dialed up the pace and the attacks, destroying the weak. Honestly, as humbling as it is - I wouldn't have it any other way. Our peloton is stout - we have some serious NRC contenders. The attacks are constant and fierce and if you're not on your toes then OTB (off the back) you go.

Road racing has proven to be a real challenge for me so far this season. I keep telling myself it's March and I have to survive a LONG season - all the way into October. So it's ok if I'm not going fast right now. Really, it's ok. Thankfully I have other trackie teammates who are in the same boat and we have created a nice little support group. Having teammates who understand you and are there for you no matter what is invaluable. But I'll be damned if I'm satisfied with not giving it my all each and every time I hop on the saddle in my kit with numbers attached.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Don't strain your milk!

My late grandfather was full of great sayings - one of which was repeated at the perfect time today.

My mom, sister and I were stuck in traffic at the Fremont bridge on our way home today. My mom was driving, sister in the passenger and I was in the back seat. A cyclist was in our lane, waiting for the light to change. My mom, a little impatient, decided to switch lanes. Only to find out a car had stalled in the far left turn lane. We quickly pulled into the other lane, only to discover the bridge was up.

Poor guy in soccer shorts, afro and a worn sweatshirt popped the hood of his Jeep Cherokee and was frantically looking through his trunk for a set of jumper cables. I felt compelled to help the poor guy - by at least seeing about pushing him over into the Nickerson Street Saloon parking lot. My mom, in perfect form, responded, "Jennifer, don't strain your milk!"

Worried I would pull a muscle or get injured somehow from helping the poor guy out - she then proceeded to tell me, that's a man's job! Only men should help women; women should not help men! Your grandfather would tell you in a heartbeat, don't strain your milk!

Needless to say, I couldn't get out of the car because I was laughing so hard. Good thing too - apparently his little jeep just needed a rest - he restarted a few minutes later, no problem.

Don't strain your milk - classic.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pivot Point

Do you ever wonder how you got to be where you are in life? Were there any moments that seemed pivotal to your current employment or outlook that completely shifted your perspective? Or were they a sum of its many parts, decisions, outcomes, relationships, etc that fate bestowed on you?

I think everyone has an interesting story to tell. The twists and turns, the ups and downs that make up our realities. The thread of passions, interwoven throughout time and our ability to follow them and make them happen. Can we alter an eventual outcome? Can small decisions made today greatly effect where we will be in 10, 20, or 30 years?

In 2002, I landed a job in Bellevue selling floors from the Internet. It was a small startup company that hit it big with all of the development nationwide and they expanded quickly. Each morning I would wake up and fight the traffic across the 520 bridge and put in my 9 hours of customer service via IP phones, then return home. At first it was exciting - and then when I learned the ins and outs of how to efficiently do my job, I got extremely bored. I was also out of shape, smoking and making everyday nutritional choices that spiraled my weight higher and higher.

I expressed my unhappiness to my friend Nina and she suggested I start biking to work. First things first, I had to buy a bike. I was also working part time at REI and got a screaming pro deal on a Big Buzz. Within a week I was riding into work - and felt amazing! My mind was stronger than my body though and within a few short weeks my trick knee went out on me and I knew it was time to go under the knife and scope my meniscus. With just a little taste of the long missed aerobic exercise, I was hooked and eagerly looking forward to getting in the saddle again once I healed from surgery.

Meanwhile, another friend was looking for flooring and worked in the biking industry. We bartered each others killer hook up and next thing we know he's walking on brand new cork flooring and I'm zipping around a on Mary Kay Pink Kona. I quite smoking, started eating right, started taking the really long way home and signing up for as many centuries as possible.

With a new perspective on life, a pivotal moment if you will, I realized I needed to make some more changes to be completely happy. Basically the job had to go. Being yelled at by customers and a few lame decisions by the leadership in the company (like not having any women in upper management) fueled my fire to quit and walk away. I had also finished the RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver to Party) and found I was passing most men. That competitive edge came out - and I knew I wanted to try racing.

Things worked out really well when my mom let me know she would like help in the family property management business. Suddenly my commute went from an hour by bike to 6 minutes. My hours reduced from 9 to 4. I was able to ride more and more. Stress lifted from my shoulders, the planets aligned and in 2005 I did my first Mason Lake race and placed 3rd. The following week I was so amped to race and had my mom come and watch - and placed first. She videoed the finish - screaming uncontrollably in my support and hasn't stopped since.

So back to my original question... I think life is a sum of its many parts, altered if things are missing. Sure there are things I would have changed - like smoking, what was I thinking? But maybe I wouldn't have pushed myself as hard to get in shape? Who knows - but when it all boils down, I'm pretty happy with the outcome. I'm doing what I love now and wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Candy - but from the wrong box of chocolates...

As Linda wisely put it, sprinting is like candy for the legs. You make them endure long bouts of suffering and general fatigue and reward the with a heavy hit of sprinting - which last but a few seconds and then you pay for it later. Personally I LOVE sprinting. Thankfully I was given the right amount of fast twitch muscle fiber and agility to propel myself forward quickly. And after Saturday's snafu - I was bound and determined to not botch the final sprint.

Now - onto which box of chocolates I had my hands in. We had our own field of just the ladies which was great, although we lacked the numbers. The weather was slightly chilly but DRY. The course was flat - perfect for a sprinter. The first lap saw some action - oddly enough thrown into the wind. Several attempts were made and then one stuck - and much to my surprise I was in it. But those chicas worked me over! I glanced down to see 27mph pulls - and after climbing a hill and trying to settle in - I popped like a gushy pimple from an adolescent teenagers face. It was gross - I felt disgusted, but was able to climb back on the chase pack.

Let the suffering begin. At one point the official told us the break was 4 1/2 minutes up the road. Um, yeah, we're not going to catch that one! But we tried like hell and it seemed no one in the remaining bunch had the early season form that the lead group did. Around and around we went - it was pretty boring after that. Until the final sprint - coming down between Avanti and TGH. Mindy did a stellar lead out, Annette on her wheel and me right behind. With 200m to go I hit the gas and gave myself a big dose of candy. Sure it felt good - but it would have felt so much better in the lead group.

Overall it was a HUGE improvement from last week and I'm happy with learning more and gaining more fitness. Maybe next week I'll get some more candy....

Pedestrians have the RIGHT of way!

Headed into work, my mom and I came across about a dozen police officers in front of our buildings, redirecting traffic from what we thought was a car accident on Nickerson Street. Turns out a pedestrian was hit while crossing in the cross walk by a Dodge Durango heading West. Further investigation and the guy is in critical care at the hospital and is an employee of one of our tenants from King County. Talk about a shitty Monday.

My thoughts and prayers go out to him and has family - I hope he can pull through.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

24 to 60!

Things went much much better this week out at good old Mason Lake. Thankfully the weather gods shined on us again and other than a slight mist at the start, we were dry the entire race. My plan, sit in. That worked much better than last weeks attempt of being aggressive in the first two laps and then getting dropped like a rock. This time I made it all 60 miles - but botched the sprint. I suppose in my head I had only rehearsed the completion of the race with the pack - I hadn't anticipated the sprint finish. Um... hello, Jen? You in there? Time to come out of hibernation and do what you love - SPRINT! The thing is, when I attempted to go my legs screamed in protest and next thing I know the ladies are galloping up the road and I roll in dead last. But not as dead as last week - which is a HUGE improvement.

And Liz, my partner in crime from last weeks fiasco ended up 3rd! Way to go Liz!

Tomorrow we repeat the dosage of high mileage and intensity. We'll see how different the dynamics will be without the guys in the mix. Hopefully I'll be able to gallop into the finish this time and let my legs have some candy. :)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Paying the Man

It's that time of year again - Tax time. I dread it year after year, because no matter how hopeful I am we'll get a refund, my optimism is quickly squashed by accountants. I've tried filing the taxes myself, hiring people, with holding more cash, burying money in the back yard, laundering funds in off shore accounts (cha, right!) - all of which results in us owing more money to the good old United States Treasury. And when I did file the return myself, the good IRS noticed a ton of errors and let me know I made a mistake and owed more money, plus interest.

What happened to getting a refund once we got married? Yah, that only happened once. Bummer. Back to work so I can pay off our taxes.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My little sis

Turns 24 today. We're 6 years apart - and no, she wasn't an accident. Actually we took a family vote on whether or not to have another family member added to the clan and I remember screaming YES!!! and then resuming play with my Barbies.

I can't believe how quickly 24 years has whizzed by.

Yesterday we went for a quick jaunt to Magnolia to take in the views and hills. She bought a bike about a year ago and has taken up the love for cycling. Rumor has it she's going to dabble in racing once she's done with her second degree. How cool would that be? Move over Meare sisters!

Fortunately she got a flat - and wasn't prepared at all to fix it. No pump, no tube, no tire irons. I got to do my older sister duties and help her out - and was happy to do it. I love helping out the ones you love - just because.

Happy Birthday Marcy!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Is Blogging for everyone?

I just read some excerpts from various blogs, where I know for a fact the authors are paid to write. Yah, um... their blogs pretty much suck. Several of the entries on one blog were about 5 sentences, with no conclusion or rhyme or reason. I know my blog can be lame and boring - but seriously - can you at least make it somewhat interesting and cohesive?

I guess the moral of the story - I don't ever have to visit their blogs again. Easy enough. They've just been black blog listed.(Harsh, I know - but come on!)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ode to the Burn

It's hard to accept defeat. Especially in something you feel passionate about. Our Western views place extreme emphasis on outcome and results - rather than celebrating the journey. As an athlete, this difference can rear its ugly head when ever an outcome doesn't go your way, a time isn't achieved or a race isn't won. It's important not dwell on it - but accept it, learn from it and move on. The fluctuations of performance are a reminder that life is a journey and we are all part of a process that ebbs, flows and cycles through.

This weekend was defeating. Straight up. I can easily (too easily?!) make up a million excuses and blame different things. But that will only make me feel better temporarily. Instead, I'm going to use this learning as part of the necessary journey to excellence. I'm so thankful for the ability to race my bike, feel the wind running through my hair and across my face - to feel the burn and intoxication of high intensity. It's my drug of choice. I missed it. And now, I must embrace it and welcome it back with open arms. Hello burn, nice to see you again. Now let's work together and see what we can do. :)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Does asthma have anything to do with it?

I picked up a Peak Flow meter from my doctor a few years ago and found it in a bike box as I was rummaging through it this morning. I blew a 450 this morning - somewhat normal for me. Compared to other people my height and age, that's a little low (should be in the 500 range). And with the increased tree pollen in the air, I decided not to leave it to chance and bring and use my inhaler. Earlier this week I had a full on allergy attack thanks to the poplars and junipers reaping in the spring sun.

After having a humble pie today, I checked my air flow when I got back to the car and I blew a meager 350. Not to make excuses - but maybe my lack of air flow prevents oxygen from being carried into my legs and reduces performance? Time to check in with the doc and figure out some proactive things I can do to reduce my asthmatic lungs.


Suspicions confirmed - skiing does take those important base miles out of your legs and makes you race like shiz in the early season!

A couple of notes though. First, my prescribed method of "racing like an idiot" was pretty much ridiculous. Instead of gaining great fitness, improving my stamina and high end, it ended up biting me in the ass. I had forgotten - racing with the fellas means no fruitless matches to burn otherwise they'll turn on you and burn you!

Second, and this is silly I had forgotten it, but nutrition plays a HUGE roll in being able to get to the finish line in the end. Pre-race jitters shrink your tummy tum but you must, you must, you MUST force it down. Dually noted.

I think I decided to be a rookie today. Sweetness.

The pluses - first race of the season is DUN. The weather gods were gracious today and blessed us with sunny blue skies. The bike felt great.

Now it's all about recovery and getting up early in the morning to head south for a nice TT in the morning! Ciao for now....