Monday, November 30, 2009

In the Middle of a Good Drunk

The initial buzz of having some good wins is gone and I am now in that in between phase of a good drunk. Just like any drunk I had a super high last week in Indy with my own state's championship title and now I added a Ohio state championship race win to the mix this past weekend. It wasn't as much of a buzz, but I did enjoy the feeling quite a bit. Like all drunks (which is a thing of the past for me), they eventually end, and I know what that is going to ential in the next week. With one more cyclocross race left to the season, I hope that buzz continues until I enter "hangover" phase 2 days after that last race. That would be the day I have surgery, and the day my riding goes from top of the world, to laying on the couch being dependent on others. In the mean time I'm looking forward to the week of riding and running the same routine I have gotten used to for the last 14 weeks. That's right, for the last 14 weeks I have raced every weekend, sometimes 2 or 3 races a weekend. I race, come home late Sunday nights, unpack the car or RV before heading off to bed usually around midnight. Then Monday its up around 530 am for work, do the anesthesia thing, then head off to Joe's for massage and reflexology. Once back home I finish unpacking and usually start a 24 call shift at 6pm at work. Then sometimes I get really lucky and sleep through the night, but not always. I work Tuesday until 6pm, come home and do a 1.5 hour training ride, clean the bikes from the weekend along with bike laundry, eat, pack for Wed night cx worlds in Ft Wayne the next day, and pass out in bed. Back to work early on Wed, then do cyclocross worlds in Fort Wayne or at home if time doesn't allow 2 hours of driving. Then I'm usually back on a 24 call shift at 6pm and work until 6pm Thursday. After that I head out for more cross practice, eat and head to bed. Fridays I sometimes take off work to travel, but most times I work. After work I head to do a killer core workout with Darrel and after that I'm home and getting the gear and truck packed for a early morning trip to some race somewhere. Then once Saturday arrives I do what I trained for all week and if I'm really able to put it together- I win.

So, it's a good feeling to be rewarded for the routine. I don't change the plan, I don't take a "easy" day and skip workouts or bike cleaning or laundry. Because if I don't do it, no one will do it for me. The routine becomes quite normal really and I feel a little lost without it. So after next weekend when I am recovering from surgery I may actually go a little insane and that will be the "hangover" phase in full force.

But for now... the good drunk continues. I decided to skip Jingle Cross that I had planned on doing for a few reasons. Mostly, because after the Brookside win, I actually could figure into the OVCX series overall win. Plus, spending the bling and traveling early the day after Thanksgiving would have made things a little hairy for me. I opted out of Jingle this year, but that's okay since I plan on a much more national focused cross scene next year.

So Sunday morning Josh Johnson and I headed for Yellow Springs near Dayton. It was a great day for racing as the weather was perfect and the venue was pretty sweet too. The course was pretty fast and had some good stretches for me to lay down some power, but I wish there was at least 1 more on and off the bike for me to throw down some skills in that regard. The start was pretty fast and it was all business for the Ohio residents as it was their state championships. Terri Meek and Sam House had great starts and put the pressure on from the get go, showing that this was going to be a battle for sure. Nikki D., who leads the series quickly went to the front and started laying down the power. I needed to beat Nikki in order to have any chance at the series, so I didn't want to give her any space. I found myself 3rd wheel behind her and Terri and I was content to sit there and draft and put the pressure on the front gals to take the lines and try and shake me. I had no problem matching the speeds and settled in until Nikki tried to step it up a notch and went into a corner too hot, hit some loose ground and ended up on it herself. Too bad for the wreck, but I knew I had to attack at that moment and after sitting behind Terri for a short section, I didn't want to give Nikki any chance to get back near me. We had 4 laps and I pretty much gave an easy effort for laps 1-3. After getting lap times from Mike B on the sidelines, I saw that my slacking ways had Nikki gaining a few seconds on me and I decided I should go into race mode on the last lap. I got on the gas and coasted across the line with a comfortable lead for the win! Kudos for Nikki to work all the way back to 2nd after hitting the deck.

It was win #2 for the State title runs this time of year. Last year I won the elite OH and KY state races and missed out on the IN win. This year the wins have been a lot harder to get with such a increase in the level of competition that the series is bringing. So they seem a little sweeter to have. I would love to win the series title based on that above statement and am undecided if I will attend the last OVCX race. Crazy I know, however, my anesthesia group Christmas fling is the Saturday before that event and it is such a party that I really hate to not get to celebrate all the hard work and long hours I put in as a professional all year at work. What to do? I will see how my week goes and will stick to the same routine and be ready for anything.
If I race the last race of the year I have to win in order to take the title.
No pressure right?
One more toast for the good drunk?
I like the sound of that.
Time will tell.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Back on the high- the fix is found.

Its one thing to win the race and another thing to win the battle. I won the OVCX stop in Brookside Park in Indy on Sunday, thus claiming the elite women state title along with it. It was a great race against Nikki D and me, we went back and forth and we really had to ride smart races in order to take the victory. It is always fun to smash the competition on magical days and have "no one else in the picture" victories, but I think most competitive athletes will tell you that the most memorable victories come after fighting hard to earn them. This wasn't as sweet as winning Nationals last year, but it is pretty high up on the list. I really wanted to win this race for a few reason and I mostly wanted to prove to myself that I had improved to a level where I could go bar to bar with the best in the area at a venue that didn't really favor me. The last 2 years of Brookside had been a struggle for me with the uphill paved climbs, but this year they felt like time had eroded them down. I actually think I went faster going up, then going down them. The other worry was the stair section with the ankle. It didn't feel good feeling the tendon dislocate every step, but I think I actually mastered them without problems. Also, not to dwell on it, but I wanted to go into surgery in the next couple weeks with the motivation that I can win, and I have every reason to put all my heart into working back to health for next year to be even stronger. Add in a little political/personal push and I wanted this race bad. Plus, it was the state championships. 'Nuff said.
My day started pretty good. I had a great night's sleep and a Starbucks next door to the hotel. Now that I'm back on coffee, that was a bonus. I had plenty of time to go over my errors from the previous day and focus on not making the same ones again. I also knew the venue pretty good and visualized as much of it as I could remember. Gotta love the Jedi mind tricks!

I hit a few practice laps and watched the other races and relaxed listing to the great announcing that the host provided. Not bad to have TwoJohns Podcasts Gatch as one of your local callers along with Bloomington's accented Geriant P. Just as I was getting into my main warm-up I watched my travel partner and teammate Josh Johnson take a great victory in the Cat 3 men. That got me even more pumped to get another win for DRT on the day. I actually got a good warm up in and was ready to get going at start time.
I was a little worried at the start. I went into the first turn in 3rd. Not my normal spot, and I was behind Amanda, and Nikki was ahead of her. I wanted to make quick work to get around Amanda just in case she got sketchy to allow Nikki any gap at all. Amanda is a good rider, but I didn't want to take chances. After getting around her I quickly found myself on Nikki's wheel with little effort and I knew then that I wasn't gonna be beat on the day. I rode on her wheel and drafted for the first lap and then made my move in the barriers to lead after that. I threw down all I had to get a gap and held that until lap 3. We usually do 5 laps, but on lap 3 the official called "4 more to go" and I knew that we must have been flying. Indeed, we were as the master's men that started 1 minute ahead of us were quickly getting passed one by one like they were out for a Sunday recreational ride. I saw Nikki gaining me a little and I decided to let her catch back on so I could draft off her for a couple laps. Even though I felt I was standing still at times, I hung in behind her waiting for the final 2 laps to make my move on the barriers again. On lap 5 going onto the finish area she sprinted away from me in what I thought to be a attempted break, however, she thought that was the last lap and finish. After seeing her confusion I slowed to let her get back up with me. I didn't really want to win on a lap error count on her part. After letting her sit in a little and regain her rhythm I decided to step on the gas and get on with winning. I slowly gained seconds and then a few more. I attacked the dismounts and knew all I had to do was stay smooth and coast in for the win.

Funny thing about winning, sometimes you cross the line so fast you hardly have time to realize your victory, others happen so slow and you recall all things that got you there. I had one of those slow days on a fast ride before crossing the line... I was closing my eyes seeing my friend put me under anesthesia; I was watching my Mom help dress me after my ankle surgery in the hospital; I was watching my sister carry everything to me when I was on crutches; moaning for hours in pain while I dealt with severe nerve damage in my foot from complications; I was doing the most simple core workouts with my trainer Darrell while in a cast; I was in Florida detached from my team for my "flat" solo training camp in so much pain I couldn't ride for more then a half hour; yet I was spending a few moments with my parents sitting on the beach being thankful they loved me; knowing God loves me and feeling blessed to be His child; I remembered the great feeling of riding my mtb again; drooling on myself up horseman's camp climb; struggling through back pain from walking in a cast for months; being amazed at being able to jump rope and do the most simple things; training in the rain, heat, dark, more rain and lots of mindless hours in the basement; kettle bell after kettle bell after kettle bell; nailing Wapahini; starving to lose a few pounds; chillin in the RV with friends; knowing and feeling like very few people in your home cycling community gives a damn if you do well; realizing is okay if they don't; working all hours of the night only to head out and train again; feeling so truly happy for others I know when they have good rides; not drinking alcohol; sweet rewards of post ride Mexican food; finding out I need surgery again; long, fun rides with Anne; watching others grow as riders and people as a result; being able to finally move my big toe after 10 months; having no chain moments; countless hours of planning my daily grind with Coach Don G., Barry M., Terry T., Dan H., Anne Y., Tim W., John C., Josh J., Bri M., Darell C., Joey H., my sister, and Mom and Dad. Knowing victory is ultimately my own personal perception.

These memories all flashed in my head... and then it was time to raise my hands in the "V," and the moment passed as quickly as it came and the fix was there, but ready to be sought again some other day.
One thing I know.
The highs are only truly cherished when you respect and remember the lows.
I'm back on a HIGH.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Looking for the next fix.

Its always hard coming off of a great high. Just like cocaine addicts, or any drug addicts do when they try to quite cold turkey. It's a real killer, and can be a little bit of a strange feeling. I don't know this first hand but have studied and understood the concept in anesthesia, since illicit drug use greatly effects anesthesia planning. So I came down a little from my cycling form high I was on last weekend today. I'm still riding strong, but not like wonder women. Like I said, once you get that "no chain" feeling you are on a constant search to get it back. It is such a fix, and you always want it back, even though it may take months to get it. Kinda like crackies do for their drugs.
I was all pumped up this week to have the perfect race Saturday at the Indy Southeast parkway venue. I knew I was a little behind on form with having a few late nights at the hospital, but I think my fitness is good enough right now to carry me to the races. Despite the motivation to do well, I struggled to get out of bed and get going, leaving me a little rushed to get in a good warm up. I know I'm getting a little tired of being on the road at this point in the year, and a few extra z's were very tempting. I just couldn't find that fierceness all day today and kinda went through the motions of it all. Regardless, it was a perfect fall day once again and it was sweet to be racing along on a short sleeve skin suit! I somehow managed my worse start of the year, or maybe Nikki and Amanda had good ones, but I decided to get going a little into the first lap and made a pass on Amanda. She is doing great and is a fun competitor right now. With that positioned gained, I set my sights on Nikki D. She had a pretty big gap on me, but I managed to close it a little and finally made got into the lead for the 3rd lap of 5. With 2 to go, she gained back on me and after I made a little bobble on the uphill climb she took back over on the lead. I stayed with her, but she ended up gapping me a little in the end and she had a good win with me taking second. It was a fun battle and its great to have such a competitive field of women in the region.
I thought the new venue was great and had nice flow for a change. I was a screwed with the up hill run up with the bum ankle. It couldn't have been set up any more painful for me. With a sweeping right, uphill turn right before the barrier at the base, it required a slight cutting action of the ankle. That's no bueno for me. I imagine I lost my share of time here, but we all have our weakness. It just wasn't good for me.
So, I'm chillin in my $42 dollar crib in Indy in room 142, waiting for the good fight to continue at Brookside in the morning. I hope my steak from Texas roadhouse has me supercharged for the State title, because I would really like to get my fix again real soon!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Worth While?

Some days just sing along like a song. Some days go ALL right. Waking up and getting on the road at the perfect time in no rush, having good company to share a long trip to a race with, not hitting any stop lights on the way out of town, finding the perfect draft behind a truck, getting to the race site in plenty of time in order to hit up a quaint little coffee shop, having the best raspberry white chocolate scone you've ever had in your life there, then getting back to the race with plenty of time to pre-ride on a warm fall day with a beuatiful backdrop, riding the venue and thinking it was something you would have designed to suit your riding style perfectly, seeing your friends do great in their races before you start, and having that "on" feeling in your warm-up... and then some days even get better by winning your own race! Top it off with mexican food post-race and getting home to shower and unpack and get at least 6 hours of sleep for work the next day; makes for a pretty song at that!

So I finally had a good day, and my mental state really needed it. With the gloom of finding out I need major surgery, and feeling a little over exhausted from tons of racing and travel in the last 2 months, I needed a uplifting day. I felt like I've had a pretty good form the last week during training and I was excited to hit up the OVCX in Columbus, OH to see how that would match up against the regions best. After doing my pre-ride I knew that if any one was going to best me, they would have to be over the top of their game. Not to discredit my competition, but I was en fuente! When I have that attitude before the race and have no doubt that I can win- I usually do. The mild uphill start didn't even bother me as usual. I got the hole shot and didn't look back from there. I put down the power and focused on nailing my technique. I was able to pedal over the small barrier on the run-up and being that I was the only gal to do that, I gained valuable seconds. This was critical for me since I am not able to run in my training and any chance to not run on the ankle is a welcome break. Plus, I was surprised to learn that not even the majority of the elite men did that little "trick." Cool. I always love to show up the boys a little and I even passed a few of them after starting about 30 seconds behind them. Sorry guys, but you got beat by a girl. I so love to say that.
After the first 3 laps of the 5, I had a pretty comfortable lead over Amanda McKay. She has been riding strong for the last few weeks and she had to be taken seriously, she always finishes the last portion strong and I wasn't about to let that happen on such fine form. I backed off my power a little on the hiller portions enough to maintain what I had. This was all fine until I had a little chain slip on the next to last lap coming out of the double barriers. I was then upset with myself for a few seconds for backing off, but my trusty Paul chain keeper got back on track and I was off again. Never, get comfortable in cross- you never know what it has in store for you!
I finished off with a fun last lap and enjoyed flowing around the bowl type turns they had placed while fully trusting my tubies. I was very happy to get the Win, and it was even better to get knowing Amanda and Terri were riding good that day too. I really enjoyed the venue and I was happy to not be racing in the mud. I love the mud, but I wanted a day to just lay down the power and that is exactly what I got.
Some days just go ALL right. There are times in cycling and cross where you can feel like a fish out of water. At Gun club, I think I made every technical and pre-race error I could, and it showed. Other days you feel like chunky peanut butter- pretty sweet, a little smooth, but a few ruff edges, and then there are creamy Jiff days. Smooth as silk, effortless, and perfect. You are sitting on a seat and look down and realize you are actually pedaling a bike at race pace. I believe they call it no chain. Those Jiff moments are a part of what keeps me going every day I train. There may only be a few of those a year, but that's okay, it's the best sounding tune you could listen too and you never will forget it.
I needed that day and I'd like to think that was another little gift that God gave me. I've kept a positive attitude about my recent news and kept my head up. After learning I need more surgery as a result of being an athlete sometimes I wander if it is all worth while. But I just remember this:
It is easy enough to be pleasant, when life flows by like a song. But the man worth while is the man who will smile when everyhthing goes dead wrong. For the test of the heart is trouble, and it always come with the years, and the smile that is worth the praises of earth, is the smile that shines through tears.
The no chain is worth while... and I'm still smiling.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So what's up with your ankle? and what about Nats?

My vague twittering once again is resulting in some questions. After posting a blurb about the recent ankle surgeon visit, I got a few questions from all you really awsome people out there, so maybe I should just tell the whole story (mostly) in a quick blog post. So here is the story, as boring as it may be:
Most of you know I had my ankle reconstructed 12/28/09 after having some long term problems that really become worse once I turned onto the cross thing. Running, jumping, and cutting sent it over the deep end. I had some major problems with my recovery. Most of which was some nerve damage from cast compression that made for a very painful recovery. I have just now begun to gain the full function of my great toe back from this. I also had a rare complication of having a tendon sublux over my fibula bone, that still continues today and is getting to be very painful as the season rolls on. I am not able to run for my training or do too much skills practice on barriers as a result of this snapping out of place all the time. I have also continued to have foot pain. Adding all these up I have had lots of ankle specialist consults, tests and the whole bit and needed to see the best ankle guy I could find. So I did.
Dr David Porter with IU sports medicine in Indy may be my hero soon. After seeing him yesterday I was confident that he will be able to help me get over the difficulty that has been haunting me for 2 seasons now. Basically and complexly, I need some major work done. This doesn't surprise me since I have been pretty far off my normal since the year began. According to him, my previous reconstruction does not have my ankle bones lining up at all the right angles. This is causing the joint to articulate in the wrong positions. I also need to fix the painful tendon subluxation. So the plan is this (bear with my medical terms, I will try to simplify): He is going to make another incision then undo the previous reconstruction and tendon grafts that were harvested from my calf. He will then "hope" to get a good piece of graft and lengthen it and do another type of reconstruction called a Brostrum repair. After that, he will pull the tissue and skin back a little further and take a look at one of my ankle ligaments, the AITFL, and see if it is okay, and repair it of not. Next he has to reconstruct the tendon subluxtion problem. This is done by drilling a "ledge" in the fibula to give it a groove to fit in again and will then reconstruct a sheath to hold it in place by drilling some drills holes to place anchors in. Plus, take out all the crap that doesn't belong in there like spurs and sutures from before. Close it up with some nice sutures and place in a cast and that is a wrap! Yeah, that pretty much is gonna cover it. And yes, with words like "drill, and anchor" this will hurt. I know, I did it before on a much lessor scale. I'm already gonna start storing up ice to put on it.
(THE ankle man: Dr David Porter)
David A Porter, MDI'm a really sad about the fact that I face another major surgery and have another long recovery in the off- season ahead of me. Surgery just plain sucks and I have had my share of it over the last 3 years. This will actually make my 6th surgery in that time frame and it is such a crappy thing to do and I can't stress how much it takes to get over it. However, I am pleased with the feeling that I think I will have good results this time and having confidence while going under the knife is very helpful. I am really looking forward to healing up and approaching a cross season with the proper training, of which I have never done.
So based on the fact that I need major surgery, I will not be attending the National Championships this year in Bend, OR. This was based on a couple factors:
1) I really would like to get this done as fast as possible to get back to training for next season and that means December. 2) I also would like to do it before the end of the year for insurance reasons. 3) Also, since December is our busiest time of the month in my own anesthesia world, I don't want to ask my group to give me all of December off to race and have surgery. 4) Plus, the bling needed to have surgery and pay for a trip to Bend would be a lot, and I don't want to break the bank doing so. I would like to pocket that money for next year to hit all the USGP races and maybe do a trip to Belgium for some cross racing over there.

That's the ankle update. For now, I'm gonna put it in the back of my mind and focus on the remainder of the season. I have the Indiana State Champs ahead of me, JingleCross, and a few more OVCX races to rack up. Until next time.... thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Iceman Cometh and Goeth

Another Iceman Cometh made its way into my race list, as the 20th year it has been run and my personal 4th year. I have done this race 2 years on a singlespeed and 2 in the pro race. Funny how I forget how hard it is and keep coming back every year. I had a great result last year of 8th place and I was hungry to improve on that finish this year. The weeks leading up to Iceman proved that would be a tall order as a stacked field of some top name pros decided to place this race on their calender also. With the likes of previous multiple Ice winners, world champions and national champions, I knew top 10 would have to be my goal. My other concern for this race was my lack of proper training for it. Seeing how I have been focusing on this little cross thing, I hadn't really even been on a bike for more than 1.5 hours in a couple months, let alone a mtb. We didn't really want to sacrifice my cross training for 1 late mtb race, so I knew I would be suffering through the last 50 minutes. Regardless, Iceman is a great event and I wouldn't want to miss it. The crowds are super for the pro race and it always is fun to see a gazillion bikers take over a community.
Iceman is also a fun time since my Dad and I make this trip together every year. He is a busy sports official and the fact that we both have packed schedules, makes it a little hard for him to watch too many of my races. I guess it is a little father/ daughter weekend and we always enjoy hanging out together without the rest of the family around for a change. So off to Northern Michigan we went...
Race day shaped up to be the nicest ever, with temps nearing 60 degrees by race start, it wasn't a typical Iceman. I got in a good warm up and was able to line up on the front row. The start this year was a long road section and I didn't want to get mixed up in any wrecks (which did happen behind me). I had a great start and actually road about 3- 4th wheel for the majority of the 2 mile start. Nice and safe.

After dipping into the trail section we starting hitting the "go" button. Things got fast quick and I stayed right there in about 4-5th wheel. The race quickly shaped into a group of about 15 up front and it was a sprint from there to the end. I found myself at about mile 10 getting in a group of 4 gals that were slowly getting strung out by the super stars up front. We would be battling for 8-13th for the finish. The wind was a factor as it gusted to 30 mph at times and I tried my best to stay out of it as much as I could. My usual iceman competitor, Danielle Musto was busy taking great pulls with me and we kept the pace at about 14-16 mph averages. With about 10 to go we had a gal attack and our group couldn't pull her back after I spent a large effort trying. With 5 to go I ran into a major problem of my hamstring cramping. I highly underestimated the typical fluid intake due to the warmer temps and ran out of water by mile 15. I dropped my hand up and at this point I was paying for it big time. I decided to set back in my group and hope the pain would pass. It didn't. It was bad timing for cramps as we were just getting into the punchy rollers, and at mile 3 I was totally unable to pull on my upstroke through the climbs. With 2 miles to go, my group gaped me a little on a climb and I pretty much road in f0r 13th place a few ticks behind top 10 placers. Not much you can do when your legs are in knots...
I was a little bummed to be off the top 10, but then again, it wasn't too far off and I was riding in good company. I actually felt I had a good race and aside from my fluid mishap, I know I put it all out there. This race is kinda tricky in the fact that everyone would agree that is not all that technically challenging, but it makes for an all out sprint because of it. That fast pace consistency is a challenge and will have your legs screaming at you for sure. So is was unlucky 13 for me. Funny, that number is one of my few superstitions.

I have to say, this year was a lot of fun during the race for me. It seemed the crowds were in great cowbell form for us pros and it was very encouraging and meaningful to have people out there cheering me on personally. If you were one of those people, thanks so much and every "let's go Nik," was heard and appreciated! Iceman always reminds me of mountain biking in the good ole days. It has a kinda laid back, have fun atmosphere that is so cool considering the place is packed with 4,000 riders. Speaking of the numbers: I was able to get some riding in Sunday after the race at the venue and I was able to witness the mass production that the Traverse City Community is responsible for to pull this event off. I have to say that after talking with several of the locals who were cool enough to know I was one of the pros out there; that they love when Iceman comes to town and they do a wonderful job to make this happen for us. If you ever get a chance to thank them, make sure you do it, it means a lot to them and the future of their community.
As far as that post race ride went: well, it was perfect. The weather was in the mid 60's, the trail was perfectly rode in, and I pretty much had the whole Vasa trail to myself. It was pure silence in the pines, and it was kinda weird to not hear the your own breathing labored, chains clinking around you, or the cheers of the crowd. But then again, I kinda daydreamed of hearing the announcer calling my name somewhere in that top 3 position, and I was a kid again daydreaming and just out riding my bike.
My quest and dreams will continue next year. Thanks again Iceman!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ring around the Rosie.... we all fall down.

We all the know that nursery rhyme well. Ring around the Rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down. Sounds nice and fun until you learn it is really about the Black Plague. But it still sounds fun until the fall down part.
Well, that was me last weekend. I had a fun time racing the Gun Club cross, it was well run, but it was not a race I should have even done. I didn't fall down by wrecking, but I dug myself a hole of physical fatigue before I even started.
I think I am going on being on the road every weekend since about mid-august, with a busy work schedule and trying to squeeze in a small amount of "normal people" social time, that is a lot to take on week after week. It finally kicked my ass last weekend and it showed, I just dug my head down an tried to survive.
Despite my coach, Don G., getting the feel that I may be on a downward spiral, I decided it was necessary for me to race instead of take the week off to prep for Iceman. I felt I should do the race to maintain my series lead in the OVCX elite women since I would be missing a couple upcoming races for some other national events. With that plan set in place, I was happy to be home on Saturday to do some normal stuff.
That's where I went wrong. Friday I had a great (but killer) workout with my trainer after working about 10 hours. I hadn't worked out in about 2 weeks and I really missed the abuse that Darrell throws at me. Needless to say, I was brought to my knees with any type of ab use for the next 3 days. Love it!
Saturday was a major clean the house, do laundry and prep the rv for the winter day. After that, I had a OR Halloween party to see to. I wouldn't miss that if given the chance again, Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. You get to dress up, ward of evil spirits, eat candy for free and enjoy the fall splendor with friends! I love it! After a little mingling at the party and eating some great deer chili and a few eyeballs, my duty was to be the wicked witch for the haunted woods we had going on that night. I was to run around at free will and scare as many people I could on the 4 hay rides we had scheduled. It was a blast. My man Mike B and his family really put on a great party and we had so much blood and gore it even had the OR staff a little spooked! Needless to say, by the time it was all over I had ran about 20 miles of trail and not only was my ankle the size of a softball, my hips were aching from the running. Not really optimal for a muddy cross race the next day. Off to bed at 2 am I went.
Back up at 530 am to make the trip to Cinci, I was already zonked just getting packed up. I headed down the road hoping my body would wake up a little after grabbing a coffee in Gas City, but it did not. I debated weather to turn the car around, or maybe keep heading to BC to mtb, but my stupid self kept on.
After arriving to the site and doing a quick glance of the venue, I knew I was screwed. It was up and down and I could see it was very thick mud and a lot of running. Didn't I already run enough this weekend? My pre-ride confirmed the large amount of running and I had already defeated myself by that point. Mud requires a full commitment on the riders part. If you aren't in race mode, it will be a long day of mud. That's what is was for me. After having a decent first lap on and near the front, I blew up. It was just too much for me that day, and I couldn't bring myself to be in the hurt box as easily as I almost always enjoy doing most of the time. Not being able to train running because of my ankle surgery and need for more ankle surgery, leaves me the disadvantage to have to make up time on other sections and this coarse didn't really help me much there. I slowly let off the gas and by lap 2. I was basically soft pedaling and trying to salvage any type of muscle I may have left to have for Iceman. I shouldn't complain that I placed 3rd in the end with having to put so little effort forth. I was basically able to stay in my easier zone 2 heart rate area and not cause much more damage. Props to Nikki and Amanda, they prepped better than me and had good showings. I would have done the Halloween thing again- its important to maintain some bit of other social skills aside from cycling. However, I should have listened to my body and stayed in bed Sunday morning. That's often hard to do since I am always hungry for competition.
Lesson learned: if you doubt if you should race when you wake up and that doubt continues on a 5 hour drive; you should not race! I've been in the hurt box up until today! I am walking like a very old, sick lady! Entertaining for some- not me.

Regardless, I was stoked to get to race in an event that aired both Beasties and Ben Harper during my race. That was bad ass. Thanks John G and all the other dudes for the time put into this event.

Up next: Iceman Cometh. I haven't really had any endurance training (other than my witch running) to prep for this ideally. That's okay since I would rather keep my cross training going, but it is a little hard to tack another hour onto a race. I hope to break the top 6 in the pro field this year. It will take some careful recovery and diet here the next couple days to do it, but hopefully it will work out. I am trying the 29er set up this year and can't wait to see how that goes. Lots of top women on tap to race and I'm excited to have a full field this year to see what I can do!

I still have a pocket full of posies!