Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stage Four

The objective: position yourself as best as possible throughout the entire 4 corner straight forward course.

Result: okay positioning - but not the best for the final sprint as thoughts of last years crash and the previous week's dance in my head. This hesitation amplified in every corner and we all know that stressed cornering leaves little room for error and fatigues the body more than a relaxed approach. So in that regard - I had a kind of a downer race. But the good news is that I'm eager and excited to work on that mental aspect and have already visualized killing it for the next one. I think the thing that scares me the most is having other bad handlers around me (which you can't control at all) and now that I've recognized it and will only be responsible for myself - I'll be gracefully diving through those corners in no time. Look out!

Melissa Sandborn was on fire - taking nearly every prime and winning the race. She came ready to throw down more than the rest of us and it showed.

Next on tap? A weekend at the cabin in Mazama. We're joining friends Camille, Josh (happy anniversary by the way!) Kyle, and Laura for some mountain biking and running adventures. I'm stoked! I haven't been over there since January and look forward to spending some time in the valley.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stage Three

That night after the mother stage part deux we headed up in the hills outside of Mosier to get our pasta feed on with Cutler, Varland, and the Kauper crew (plus some other team members). Maggie labored going up the climb - but showers and food beckoned at the top so I would have gotten out to push her if need be.

One of the perks of being on local cycling team is taking advantage of their goods - and Jessica's Cucina Fresca delivered. It's pretty amazing how much food skinny cyclists can put down without hesitation.

We slept like babies in the van that night - mainly because it was super quiet - and were awaken by someone who decided to start moving things in and out of his car at 6 am. Open door. Close door. Open. Close. Open, open, open - close, close, close. Then he started up his car - and was ready to squeeze past the van, which didn't have enough room... so I hopped up in my sleeping bag and rolled Maggie forward a couple of feet. He pulled forward, then parked his car - blocking us in. Somewhat hilarious in that "I'm- not-quite-awake-yet-and-you-got-me-up-for-no-reason" kind of way.

Regardless - we had to get up too, so after a quick coffee brew off we went to the time trial start.

We arrived a little over an hour before the start - ample time to warm up and get ready. Except my heart rate wouldn't get up over 140 bpms. Uh oh. Plan B- I head out to the road to see if I can get it up out there. 150 bpms. With the clock rapidly approaching my start time, I calmly work my way to the start and am surprised I'm able to put in a harder dig than expected. We're not talking world records or anything - but for being fatigued and day three of hard racing - I still come out with a 12th place and am looking forward to the crit that afternoon.

Back in the school parking lot, we fire up the stove and start working on some more pasta with turkey, asparagus, onions, bok choy and chill. We only had a few hours between stages so we relaxed and propped the feet up. Bringing Maggie to this race was the best decision I could have made.

Stage Four to come...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stage Two

All night I repeated a mantra to myself - and envisioned myself staying with the pack on the circuit course. It was hard to get dinner down - my endorphins and adrenaline were buzzing all night.

After scouting the next day's course, Chris and I headed to the hospital to check on HB teammates Jake and Michael. They were involved in a horrendous crash in the 4/5 field, seeing 20 guys go down, hospitalizing 8 riders and rumor has it breaking 3 to 4 collar bones. Miraculously no one was seriously injured - despite crashing on the 38 mph descent after the hill, which is actually pretty impressive. Thinking about rolling around on the chip seal dressed in spandex and the nasty road rash is not my idea of a good time. Fast healing thoughts go out to all of those involved.

That night we drove Maggie down to the Memloose State Park, 11 miles West of the Dalles and were lullaby-ed to sleep by the constant drone of the freeway and occasional train rumbling the van awake in the middle of the night. Not to mention Makiah was moaning and whining all night - to be let out and then to start whining again later that night. I remember waking up to hear her ralphing and thought maybe I had caught it in time... only to find out later that morning she had yakked all over Chris's sleeping bag and everything else on the floor. And she had some how rolled in it. Sweet. Dog puke. And rain. And wind. Mother nature had decided to show back up and punish us for having such nice weather on Friday.

The winds continued blowing a gale all day - but thankfully the rain decided to hold off from the start point of the course (appropriately named Dry Hollow). Chris set off to race with the Masters 40+, which contained multiple world and national champions. Had he known how competitive of a field he was going to be in (he's had 5 races under his belt) - there is no way he would have signed up. Instead he dutifully made his way to the back and then rolled all of the courses - but finished every single stage. His misadventures include: being crop dusted on stage one; being physically shoved off a wheel from a guy who had flatted in stage one and shoving him back (Kierin practice!); being chased by rabid dogs on stage two; having to stop to take a tumble weed out of his cranks; missing his TT start time by a minute 30 seconds.... All in all a very eventful yet uneventful in terms of bodily harm outing. Oh, and did I mention the dog puke sleeping bag? Yet throughout it all he still kept a smile on his face and good humor.

This is the second year for the Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic - and classic it is. Instead of including the mother load 7 mile hill, Chad decided to mix it up a bit and throw in a circuit race. The guys had a big loop containing an unpaved section that they had to do 2-3 times (depending on the category) and then finished on the short loop (3-4 times). Us ladies were given only the short loop option that we had to complete 8 times. EIGHT TIMES!!! Not a big deal except each loop contained roughly 900 feet of elevation gain - giving us about 7,200 feet of climbing. Luckily I hadn't figured out those calculations until after the race was over... otherwise I'm sure my off the back time would have been much, much worse.

First time up the hill - Tricia punches it. I get on her wheel. I find my heart rate through the roof and by the time we hit the second hill, I'm seeing the red zone and know I'm in trouble. Unfortunately the descent is windy and technical especially with side winds and deep dish wheels. By the time we reach the second loop, I pop like an over sized pimple and watch helplessly as the lead group gallops away. Thankfully Christine and I were near one another and do the remaining laps together. She paces me on the uphill, I pace her on the downhill. We roll in 16 minutes down. Ouch. The thing that kept me going? Time suffering now is money in the bank. Money in the bank come October....

That night I felt destroyed. D.E.S.T.R.O.Y.E.D. Thankfully the coach called me back before bed and we talked strategy for the time trial and crit - both of which I was ready to sand bag so I could just call it a day. But no - she wants me to attack them as if I was in the lead and put in the solid training work. I get my mojo back and fall into a deep slumber, seeing myself TT onto the podium.....

Stage Three to be continued.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Together, the mind and the body can unlock anything you set your mind to. Keeping those positive affirmations and a humble attitude evens out the ups and downs that life can throw in the mix. I enjoy the journey and the process of self discovery that cycling provides and don't take for granted my health or ability to move my body for one minute. Even on those days when things don't go according to plan - when you're unable to keep up with the lead pack or pull off that final interval because of an asthma attack. What keeps me going is the process of it all - enjoying the now and smiling at how happy I am in the moment, enjoying life. Bike racing is a wonderful way to pass the limited time we have on this planet and I couldn't imagine my life without two wheeled adventures.

This past weekend reaffirmed my love for bike racing. An unexpected surprise - especially with a 2nd place result in the first stage. Even in a stage that crushed my spirits last year but this year proved to be one of the top ten times I've had riding my bike. The more I think about it, the more those experiences have happened in the last year. And I would like to give Ms. Jennie Reed credit for that. And of course all of the people who support me in my endeavors - but Jennie's insight and coaching has been nothing less than spot on.

Going into a bigger stage race with no teammates was somewhat intimidating. But it also allowed me to sit in and play it smart and not have to expend any energy chasing anything down. The first lap was eventful - with lots of attacks off the front. But neither KR or Riverstone was going to let anything get up the road. We reached the hill - I conquered my demons and stuck with the bunch shooting off the front on the descent and getting a little separation from the field. Come to find out later from Christine that right when I rolled off the front someone in the front of the pack dropped their chain and caused a big panic in the pack. Lap two saw additional attacks and this time I was ready to participate (knowing that legs would be tired and the chances of getting into a move were higher than earlier in the race). The second time up the hill the pack was together and by the third lap, everyone was happy to just hang out and let it come down to a field sprint. I was salivating just thinking about it.

The final 3 k saw some sketchy riders, fatigued from the length of race, and handling that nearly caused a crash. But as the 1 k approached, the road opened and all of the sprinters surged to the front. I took the inside line, breaking a little of my momentum on the corner and watched Melissa jet rocket off the left side and sail into the finishing straight. Climbing up the hill - I punched it, passing the 5 riders in front of me, sitting on Jadine's wheel for a split second, then sling shot past her in for second across the line. I pushed so hard in that final sprint I was pretty cross eyed. And VERY elated. It's nice when something comes along completely unexpected and wonderful - and I was stoked.

(Photo from Pat Malach of Oregon Cycling Action.)

More report to come soon....

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I can climb hills!

I can time trial!

I can push my body.

I am strong, confident and open to new experiences.

I LOVE hills! They are my friends.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Go Westy

Last Wednesday I mentioned to Jennie my interest in participating in the Cherry Blossom stage race down in the Dalles area as a way to help Wheeler and gain some fitness. She saw it as a great opportunity to work on more road fitness so I registered that night, barely making the registration cut off and committing to 4 stages of pure fun.

My intention was to be there to support Wheels and make some new memories of that race since last year's attempt was marred with a bad crash and personal grief. I remember thinking during the last stage how emotionally and physically drained I was and the thought of climbing up a 13 mile hill twice a little daunting. It had only been seven months since Ryan had passed and I was hurting. Nothing can prepare you for that kind of trauma and thankfully I weathered the storm.

Now here I am - back for more - a year later. I am ready and eager to make new experiences there. I've always wanted to camp while racing and finally after 6 years of hanging out in hotels and biscuit and gravy continental breakfasts - I'm taking the plunge by loading up Maggie (my 1990 VW Westfalia) equipped with propane stove, fridge and beds and found a place down on the river. The campsite has showers - so going to bed with sticky legs shouldn't be a problem. My puffy jacket weighs close to nothing - and I can cook every meal my heart desires.... not to mention s'mores with every meal if I want.

Jealous? You should be. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"When that one Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he marks not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.... and how you lived your life day by day."

- Grantland Rice

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stoked/Not so stoked

Lots of pluses and a couple of minuses this weekend. Let's play the good old game of highlight/lowlight... with more emphasis on the highlight.

Got to get out of the ci-tay for the weekend and head to that land of rolling hills and sweet, sweet onions. The weather forecast predicted 70s all weekend and it delivered!

The first stage, which hasn't been mandatory until recently, did not have the battering winds and harsh conditions. Instead it was super pleasant.

Hitting my VO2 max on the QOM hill and not recovering in time to catch the peloton. MAN! That hurt! But the bonus is - I find it super hard to train in this zone so I definitely got some good hard work done in this arena. I look forward to displaying this punishment come October....

Wheeler came to play! She was ready for a solid performance and the team was ready and set to rally around her for the GC win.

Wheels loses both contacts in the crit and crashes HARD with 2 laps to go. She has to go to the ER and get checked out.

Wheeler only broke her collarbone despite being twisted up like a pretzel on the ground and not moving. She was smiling in the hospital bed and giving the doctors hell. So glad she's okay!

Unfortunately at Sunday's road race 3 more HBer's went down - taking both Liz's out of the race and banging up Julie a little bit.

Sunday was 75 miles of pure bliss. Well, sort of. If you take out the 3 times up the 2+ mile hill at 5% gradient. Oh - and the winds. And the screaming hot feet. But thankfully - I jumped on the "cool kid" ride and we made the most of the remaining time off the back. This was the best thing I could have done - I feel mentally fresh and ready to go again next weekend.

Hats off to KR team for the dominance this weekend. You ladies came and threw down the gauntlet! Well done, well done.

And for once - this trackie isn't thinking only about track now? Wow - that's a first.

YAY for biker tan lines!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lately I've been super chipper in the morning - up and at em at the break of dawn and raring to go. I get all of my house chores done as fast as possible, avoid the computer and make my food for the day. I head into work, eat more food, catch up on the computer and then start planning my afternoon riding and dinner. By the time dinner is done and the sun sets, my eyes start drifting further and further shut until I can barely keep myself awake. Last night the clock read 9:20 when that happened.

Ah...there's nothing like a solid 9+ hours of sleep a few nights before a stage race and a two hour blissful massage by Genevieve.

This weekend takes the HB ladies to the town name they liked so much they named it twice - Walla Walla. Where sweet, sweet onions grow, wine is made in droves and bikes are raced with fury. Time to test the legs and put some hurt on.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Grunt work

I thought I'd be able to avoid the rain today - but now it's coming down in a steady drizzle. No matter though - the rain will make my scheduled afternoon Cougar Mountain repeats all that much sweeter. Oh and don't forget the 4 x 4's. The slick roads give my mind something else to think about other than the pain.

A champion is made a day at a time.

Yesterday's time trial bike session was challenging. Jennie joined me for the 3x10 minute intervals and there's nothing like having an Olympian sit on your wheel pushing you beyond what you think is possible. The tunnel vision came, the legs screaming in protest, the lungs and breathing labored, yet focusing on engaging the core, keeping a straight and steady line - pulling yourself out of the tunnel and beyond until you think you're going to faint and glancing down to realize only 5 minutes have passed. Pushing your body till it's dramatically swaying on the bike and giving it everything you've got. Throwing out the notion of being steady and consistent and instead working out every last ounce of power from your being and transferring it into a man made machine. Then for the last minute pushing past the red zone into purple and holding it for the full 60 seconds. Going so hard that it takes 5 minutes of no spinning to return to 150 beats per minute and realizing it's absolutely beautiful out in the Snoqualmie Valley this time of year.

There's nothing like a little self-induced pain to make you feel alive.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

No more bonkage

I laid awake in bed this morning, replaying the race over and over in my head. Yesterday's lackluster performance has me reeling - what went wrong? Did I over train this week? Why couldn't I push into the pain cave more? Is that all I have? What's the deal, yo?

But sometimes you just have a poor performance just because. It's hard to admit this - that you just had a bad day on the bike. Especially compared to the hundreds of good days on the bike - but they're bound to happen.

And being the over analytical woman that I am, I think I may have pinpointed it. Food. It all comes down to food. Eating a breakfast at 8:30, no matter how big it is, and then racing at 2 in the afternoon is just plain suicide. No wonder I felt like caca. My engine was on empty. The real bummer part is that this is something I can easily control. Dope!

Training this week? Did I over due it? I don't think so - I really think it can be pinned to poor nutrition this week and a few days leading up to the race. Time to revisit the old cookbooks and make a week long plan in preparation for Walla Walla. I'm vowing to myself to always have food on hand ready for munching all week long... it's not rocket science.

Big huge congrats to Wheeler for another fabulous win yesterday. This girl wants it so bad she's laying everything on the line and going for it. It's super inspiring and makes me want to push to new levels too. Thanks Wheels!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ready, set ...

The anxious moments before the race. Especially one that's just up the street... the normal pre race motions thrown out the window since I can get ready at home vs on the side of the road out of my car. Which do I prefer? Probably out of the car to be honest. I've taken three craps already. At least its at my own toilet vs. a porta potty. Sorry - a little graphic but true.

Embrace the nervousness. Let it flow through you. Enjoy this moment and the time to come. The leg shakes, the finger nail biting, the inability to chill and sit still. The feeling of about to get your body to move as fast as possible. It seems intensified when I get ready at home. Seattle's speed week is later this season and you can bet I'll be just as nervous - if not more so.

It's go time.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Happiness is....

...discovering that Hollywood hill is no longer long or hard enough for my 10 minute efforts.

...finding out that the base road work we've been working on for the past six months is on track and now I get to work on that snap and pop in the legs and sustaining a massive power output for 15 seconds.

...out of the saddle climbing is stronger than ever - and I'm utilizing the strength in my newly found shelf butt and steady core. Those swimmer exercises, though a pain in the hiney, pay off!!!

...I can get my heart rate up! And finding my zones is easier now than ever thanks to keeping it in check in racing.

...realizing that I'm living in the moment, enjoying this process of kicking ass and being in the best shape of my life.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


I think of you often, Brad.

Just where the trail splits in two, north of the University, next to Metropolitan Market. One day in early spring we crossed paths - you on one side of the moat, I on the other. You took your hands off your bars, sat up and said, "hey fast lady!"

I think of you every time I ride there, which is pretty much every other day.

I remember that morning. It was raining, as usual. You were helping with the race - spearheading it and coordinated volunteers. Your contribution to the cycling community unparalleled. Calmly, you told me how to take that final corner - instilling confidence in a daunting task of taking a slippery turn at 30 mph.

And the time Emily and I traveled down to Alpenrose for the AVC my first year of track racing. How happy you were to see your wife home that Sunday, commenting "thanks for bringing my wife home safely." That kind of love makes tears well up in my eyes.

I think of you when I look at Rainer. Knowing you're there in spirit and mind. Probably hanging with Ryan and having a great time.

You are missed Brad. You are missed.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Whoa, where did last week go?

It's funny how when it's a rest week a lot of things don't get done even though you have the time. Why is that? Is it because when you don't have time you're suddenly able to do more? Or is it because the beauty of being a woman comes into play and your multitasking skills shine through?

Or was it from the keg stands I did at my birthday party on Wednesday that had me rocked until just yesterday? It couldn't be that... no way! It totally was.

Thank you all who came out to my house on a Wednesday to help me celebrate the milestone year of 32. Not to mention the Tallboys who played in my living room and Danielle's amazing BBQ catering - along with a Maritime Pale Ale keg. Good times! I even got to wear my new Value Village chaps.

But this week it's back to reality - including back to some hard core training. The rest week is over! And now I'm facing back to back to back double day workouts with some serious interval training sessions in prep for the upcoming season. Jennie increased the intensity of everything - from weights to intervals. My motto? Suffer now so you don't have to suffer later. And it pays off - it already has - so I know the deeper I dig now, the more it'll pay off later. And there are National titles to win and world cup aspirations to be had... so giddy up!

On a side note - our MVA auction was another HUGE success. I got some sweet Edge track wheels out of the deal and the best part? 100% of the amount I paid for them goes directly to the MVA. Thanks to everyone who went to the auction and donated as well as bought some items there.

Oh and Squadra is back to their short shenanigans. Remember last years fiasco with the sugar shorts? Well this year there appears to be something missing from the side panel... DOPE!