Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer time and the living is...biking!

So things continue the rollar-coaster of riding, training, working and recovering. I have had some great mountain bike rides since the last post as the weather and trails have had some spectacular moments in the last few weeks. Its hard to beat perfectly packed singletrack with 65 degree temps as you blaze by a huge patch of sweet William. Sometimes the air is filled with so much sweetness it is almost unbearable. Those days are moving on to warmer temps and 3Ibs of weight loss after sweaty rides, as summer starts to set in. That also means the heart of the mtb racing season for me and my team. Starting this weekend, its full-on for several weeks as I will be traveling to many places to see how all my hard work has prepped me against other girls in the nation. This weekend I head to North Carolina for the Cowbell Challenge Kenda Cup and am hoping to showcase the DRT training plan and come away with a high placing. I would be lying if I said I just wanted to do good. I have all intentions of doing my best to win this race.

  I am gradually getting stronger, both with my power and with knowing what to do with it.  This just shows that my Coach Don G. has developed a great training plan to bring me back from a major injury. I also attribute a lot of my gain in technical sections to the work I have been doing with Darrell Carr at the balanced body. My core is super strong and being able to "pull through" the rocks and roots is so integral to the core being in top shape. Now if I only had a six pack to prove it!
 Aside from the NC trip I will be doing the remainder of the DINO races and may even throw in a few road crits for good measure.  Once again, I will get to know my good state of Indiana very well in the upcoming weeks as I look forward to a strong mtb season. 

Last weekend was the DINO Frankie race. I was happy to have another race close to home where things are familiar. It was nice to see all the DRT team there and also the guys at Summit City Bicycles doing support and grilling dogs for the racers. I was fortunate to get a good start (which I usually do thanks to the BMX days) and dip into the woods in the lead. I was able to lead for the good majority of the first lap until the race became more vertical. My legs were heavy upon getting out of bed that morning and I debated to even race, so that first incline was a challenge to take at any reputable pace. Oh well, I needed to work with what I had. I held 2nd until about the same spot on the second lap then was passed again by Erin. I hung with her as long as I could, then fell off her pace and settled into third. Erin usually kills me,  so I was pleased to lead her, then stay with her for as long as I did, especially with my subpar feelings that day.  I finished in 3rd not to far off the leaders. It was a draining race since the ground was so soft and the lack of lead up to get the momentum going. By the last lap it was getting better and cornering become more enjoyable instead of terrifyingly slick. I spent a good portion of this race convincing myself to drop out because my foot was killing me. It was so painful that I started riding one legged on the first lap. I may have looked to be in agony from the tough riding, but it was really my foot that had me yelping out loud at times. I crossed a whole new world of tolerating pain in this race. It wasn't as bad as the pain I had with my double shoulder surgeries (that was a mess), but it was the first time that dropping out even crossed my mind. I simply don't drop out unless someone makes me. So this week I have decided to take it easy for about 4 days and give the foot a rest until I see the ankle surgeon again to review my recent mri. We decided to get this done since that pain is increasing and now is worse than what it was before surgery. I hope he has some answers for me to help me make it through the next 6 months. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A little time in heaven: BCSP

I think its pretty safe to say that Brown County pretty much fits me to a tee. I love to go there whenever I have the chance and it kills me to come back to the Northern part of the state. I come back only because I love my job, the people I work for and the people I work with. Aside from that, I would move in a heartbeat and so would my family. If I play the cards right (which I'm doing) I will have a vacation home there in the next 10 years and look forward to that day. Until then, I visit as much as I can. The last week I took Mom and we headed down for her annual Mother's day trip to a nice cabin in the woods. Its a dual trip for me as I also get my share of bike time in while I'm there. We took Sunday to get settled in and then the rest of the week I was blessed with the bcsp for longer trail rides. It is a great place to ride and I loved every minute of it! 
Mom and I had a great time and we even had a guest cat at our cabin that helped us feel right at home since we always miss our cats when we are gone. 
There is just something about having a little animal around to keep a smile on your face. This big guy was awesome and due to his Kiss like marking we named him Kiss for a few days. 
After about 4 days it was back to work for Mom, so I came home to make a quick drop- off of her and grabbed to camper, did some laundry and headed back to BC.
After cruising around the trails for several days, it was up to higher heart rate times to get in the DINO race #2 of the year. I was feeling a little "okay" with this race because it involves a lot more climbing than my big frame is skilled at. I woke up that morning feeling just okay, but ready to get racing. I saw I had some great competition show up and was really happy about that since I thought a lot of people might opt for the AL US Cup race. We had a great field of almost 20 gals line up! How sweet is that? 
I knew the steep hill at the beginning would kill, but  it really wasn't that bad. I paced up the first part, then picked up the hurt on the second half. Pretty good plan since I started dead last on the first part, but made it up to third by the midway point. I know I had the training to recover from the first section and was counting on some of the girls burning a few of their matches.  I know my weakness and tried to limit my losses as much as I could, but as a result AnnaJean D. was well ahead of me by the time we dropped in the woods. After that I focused on working up to second, which really didn't take me too long once we got to the more technical sections. At that point I was trying to salvage as much time as I could to the leader, but I simply wasn't the best rider on the coarse that day. I knew I would need to feel great in order to do that, but I really did not and just felt okay. Despite that, I felt I recovered well from the climbs and nailed the downhill technical portions as much as I hoped. I feel my cornering is really coming around which will only help me in the near cross future.  I think that mtb is a great place to gain some technical finesse for cross, especially in the women's field where having the ability to handle the bike plays big gains in results. 
I finished second in the race, holding off a late charge by the KY gang of Kiersta Tucker and Terri Meek. I did the best I could, even though I still look forward to a win at all times. The rest of the DRT squad had some great results with Andy Messer at 3rd in expert and Josh Johnson 3rd for sport open. Zach E. also had a strong result. Not to mention showings by Chad Murphy, David Coar, Scott Wagner, Coach Don G., and Dave Strole. Great job everyone! It was good to see everyone out to get their race on!
In foot/ ankle news: the ankle surgery part is getting stronger, I continue my PT at home a few times a week. The dislocations continue, but right now I feel I have more time before that surgery needs done. My lateral foot pain that I had before surgery has returned in a big way and now feels like a ice pick being jammed in my foot every time I go over any type of a bump. After talking with the surgeon, we have decided to get a MRI to see if there is a fracture or more torn ligaments. I'm so frustrated with this injury that it is making me crazy. I am trying to figure out what is going on, but I feel I just keep hitting dead ends. At this rate, I don't think I can walk without a limp for much longer, but am hoping something is just flaired up right now. But for some reason I have reasoned in my mind that I should have no problem with 'cross. Crazy, I know. But it would take a lot to keep me down at this point.