Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ceraland showed I still may have it!

This past weekend was pretty much my favorite road race of the year  in Columbus, IN. Since I do a minimal amount of road racing, I guess this isn't saying much,  but it really is a nice place to put on a race. Anne and I headed down late on Friday night to set up camp at their camp area very close to the coarse. We ended up finishing our camp at about 130 am and finally got to sleep at about 2 am. Not much time to get in a good nights rest for a wake up time of 7am to start the pre-race routine.                                                                                                                           
 We were super stoked about the weather forecast and were pleased to find perfect racing weather once race time lined up. This area is so pretty right now as you can see above from the flowering tree near the start/ finish line. I thought little red bike looked  pretty nice up against it. 
We had a fairly good showing with some strong riders in the pack. This would be a great gauge for me as my first race back from major leg surgery. I was a little taken off guard at the gun and the 3 Aldefer riders took off full on to make a early, early break. I finally realized what was happening and started a chase after them, but by then the gap was already to big to make a solo effort after a 3 women break. So after riding with another Nebo ridge rider for a couple laps I decided to make it a TT effort to see where my watts would be and wanted to see how my cardio would hold up over 60 minutes all out. Unfortunately, the nebo rider decided to join the Citizen pack and draft off of them for a few laps while I hung out in the wind away from the pack. We agreed before the race that we would not draft off the Citz, but I guess she thought a 4th place would be rewarding to her regardless of how unfairly she earned it. Not to complain, but there are rules, and we must follow them. When people don't, it kinda ruins the day for those who didn't cheat. I'm just saying...
So, after a 30 min solo effort the race leaders came back around and I stayed with their effort without any real problem as they tried to drop me several times. I was very pleased with my ease of this pace especially since these gals are way more experienced road riders and are cats up on my cat3. I came to the line with them in the end and passed one in the sprint finish. Not to shabby, and I truly feel that I could have stayed with them had I not got caught off guard early on.

I finished in fourth place (or 5th since the Nebo rider is dq'd by several opinions for illegal drafting). I was happy with this result considering my training hasn't really pushed me into the red zone yet. Anne ended 1 lap down in 5th to me and this was a great showing for her and she has really stepped it up this year. Great job Anne.
The rest of the day was spent watching the other races and spent lounging around the camper. We were super tired from the lack of sleep.  Nice to have a camper on-site to get vertical and rest.
Sunday had us getting up super early to get a few hours of riding in before we needed to head home. We spent the day riding in and out of rain showers, but the temps were in the 50's so it wasn't that bad. I was super pleased about the ride because I saw several birds on my "must see" list. We also finished with Horseman's camp loop. This killed me a couple weeks ago, and I rode it like a totally different person this time around. Doing this climb better and having a good showing in the race really helped boost my confidence that I am getting back to where I need to be! I will be staying around home for the next couple weekends and am thankful for that. I love the traveling, but things start to pile-up when I leave too much. This weekend we have our DRT time trial series kick off here in Winona. Don does a great job with running these events and look forward to getting my first mtb race effort done with. After that, its Fat and Skinny time. Looks like I will only be doing the mtb race this year and skipping on the added stress of the crit the next day.  This is Don's decision and I don't really question his plan too much for me on things like this, I think he has more than proved that his plan makes champions. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Girls Gone Camping

My first camping trip is in the books.  As I stated in the last post,  I had my first trip to Brown County with the camper and pulled Anne along with me in the new experience. After 40 mph winds on the way down there, I was pretty stressed after the 4 hour drive getting there. That broke me into driving a house on wheels pretty quickly. Once we arrived at The Last Resort park in Nashville, I was totally stoked at my ability to back the camper into its spot. I had to nail it since it was a cliff drop off on the back side. Dropping a new camper off a cliff would not have been smooth. 
Once we settled we headed out on a ride in the afternoon. I am always amazed how much I love the area, even in the early spring when it is still a little dirty out. The ride was a little tough for me and I was thankful I played the girl card by bringing CiCi along with the easier gear ratios. The hills are a major work over for me right now and with such steep grades,  the new 53/39 may have had me push instead of pedal. It was super sweet to finish the ride and walk into the camper and have everything ready for us when we were done. 
Day 2 of riding, or as I say, day 2 of my reintroduction back to real training, was perfect! It was just warm enough and sunny enough to spotlight the red buds in bloom.  It was cool to have a lazy morning start around the camper before heading out. Anne made us a great cup of air pressed coffee, she got some bike work done (in above pic) and after a hot breakfast we headed out on about a 4.5 hour ride. I was amused the whole time how all three of our bikes above did not have matching wheel sets (seen in the pic above). I don't know why this seemed funny since I'm usually such a stickler to detailing a bike to a tee, but since the day was so nice I didn't even obsess over it.  The evening was spent refueling and hanging out around the campfire and was reminded of how much fun I had as a young girl when we camped every weekend. 
After a good nights rest, since I finally decided to turn the heat on, we woke up for our final day of camping and riding. We had a time line to work on so we had to get up and get going. Don, Anne, and I headed out on a 2.5 hour trek for one last view of the overflowing creek beds and hills.  I was super stiff in the morning, but I was happy to loosen up and pedal comfortably along after a short warm-up. I was surprised how good I felt after the previous days of riding and finished wishing we had more time to keep going. Don finished off the ride in Brown County State park by taking us up the famous Horseman's camp ride. It was my first time climbing this historic hill and it was super tough. For those who think we don't have hills in IN, come and ride this! It has a grade that compares to some of the climbs in the tour de france. I was doing okay until I realized there was drool hanging out my mouth because I couldn't expend the energy to wipe it off. How's that for girlie? I can't wait to do it again and improve my time on it.
That was it, we hitched up and headed home. This time in the pouring rain. More excellent practice. Anne returned to her family and me back to work. Hopefully the next trip will be just as great and a little less challenging for hauling. We will find out soon, we are heading to Columbus, IN this weekend for our first race of the year. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hung out to dry!

This spring weather we are having is cracking me up. At least it isn't cracking me. So I spend 20 minutes yesterday getting on the multiple layers to go ride in the massive wind only to have my whole bottom half drenched with rain in about 10 minutes. Then the rain stopped the very minute I was finished. Ha! If it hasn't been raining it has been 20-30 mph winds here and sometimes both together. I was wandering on my rainy ride yesterday if there was any benefit to my complexion by having rain slam into my face at 20 mph+. I really couldn't think of any. I spent a great deal of mental effort yesterday trying to figure out how riding in the rain was helpful to me. I finally just resolved myself to the fact that my competition was training someplace else that wasn't so challenging, therefor giving me a hand up in cyclocross at some point.
 Honestly though, I rather didn't mind the cold, windy, rainy ride. Maybe that's not right, but as I say, once a person resolves themselves to something it isn't that bad. That goes for pretty much anything in life. You take what your given,  and just go with it and make of it what you can. If you don't like it, you put the effort in to change it. 
So, everything I have is just about dried out for me to hide in the basement and ride the trainer today after work. I knew it was gonna be a trainer day when I looked out at the birds on the feeder and they were blown away by the wind. I have a short ride of 1 hour planned today and that works out okay on the trainer. It also gives me a good excuse to get in 2 episodes
 of Battle star Galactica watched. My sister will be happy since a trainer ride means less laundry. She does the laundry and house cleaning in exchange for a free place to live. She hates Spring/ Winter and Fall because bike layers are constant. She said the best part of my surgery was no bike clothes to wash and no bender to clean everyday from recovery smoothies. I'm glad I could help her out with that, but would rather not have had to had surgery. 
Otherwise, I'm off for a few days from work and down to Brown County!  I hope to meet up with a several friends for some great long rides. Maybe the hills will break the wind a little. I won't know what to do with no wind, I'll feel so fast.