#projectreturntofitness and a Race Report

My last post here was well over a year ago. I’ve spent from about July 2016 to late July 2017 in a huge funk. Yes, hockey season was fantastic and oh so much fun, but life was work, hockey, drink beer, eat crap and barely work out. Somewhere along the way, I lost the love of riding my bike – winter and cold weather, other things going on, work travel, being fat and out of shape, probably some mild depression. The last time I had any good rides was the Slowtwitch Womens’ Camp in April and I didn’t pin on a number all spring or summer.

Sometime in August, after a trip to San Francisco, I decided that I was tired of being tired, out of shape, not fitting into the clothes I already have, and that it was time to do something about it. A new gym (World Gym Music City) opened near where I used to live, so convenient to where I now live and to work.   And the best thing? It’s open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Believe me, that is a big deal here. I shot off an email to the program director giving him my background and current state of fitness, well, actually the lack of fitness, and after a few emails back and forth, I went in to check things out. My lucky day as I was able to meet him, the membership director and the head of personal training. I got a great vibe from all of them and signed up that day and did a fitness evaluation, which was about what I thought it would be – out of shape!

I’ve started working out with Evan, the trainer, and I early on came to the realization that I really need accountability and feedback, and I haven’t had that since working with Scott and Kenny. So I’ve had 4 sessions with Evan and I’m starting to feel the athlete come back. And Evan just seems to get me (which I think is super important).  I’ve also gotten back in the pool and have been twice to Masters. The goal is to swim 2-3 times a week, ride the trainer or bike or walk, then work out with Evan twice a week until I get in good enough shape to go to the organized weight classes (sort of like Crossfit?) and do that and keep working out with Evan at least once a week.  We’ve been doing a lot of functional strength stuff and the treadmill, plus keeping a food journal (which I have to give to him). Let’s just say, I’ve skipped one outing where I knew the food would be crap and lots of beer just so I wouldn’t be tempted!  Oh yeah, they have this machine which tells you how fat you are and sends you drawings of your body.  That is eye opening!  But, what gets measured, gets monitored.

In addition, a few weeks ago I decided I needed a goal, so I signed up for a 5K to walk and today was the day. This morning when I woke up, I almost talked myself out of it, but got ready and went to the start. It was a half marathon, 10K and 5K, benefitting Best Buddies. I told myself I’d walk the entire 5K and my goal was to break an hour.

The weather was perfect – overcast and 59 degrees. The first mile was mentally hard but my watch said 17:09 for the first mile. That’s faster than I thought I’d be. Mile 2 was better – I started to eye people in front of me and tried to reel them in. Got to the turn and about 2.5 miles in, I got pretty tired, but didn’t want to let anyone behind me catch up (that “being last” monkey was on my shoulder big time). Got to the last turn and it was about a 0.2 mile straight shot to the finish. Kept to my promise to myself to only walk and crossed the finish line in 53:30, well under my 60 minute goal. Average pace – 17:13 min/mi. 142nd out of 160 in the 5K and 6th out of 7th in my age group. A good start.

What didn’t work so well was walking the 5K in basic (non-running/walking) shoes, so this afternoon I made a visit to the new Rhythm Running store on Demonbruen Street and bought a new pair of shoes. I never did replace any of my running shoes after knee replacement surgery, so I should probably get rid of them.

Pretty happy with the race. Maybe down the line I’ll add in some slow jogging, but for now, walking is good.  #projectreturntofitness

RR: Bells Bend Short Track 06-09-16

Bells Bend 2

My team is putting on a short track series this summer and Marsha said, “It’s an easy course – doable on a cross bike!” Well, I have the new cross bike so why not try it. But what is short track racing? Short track MTB racing takes place on a ~3/4 mile trail and is a cross between a criterium, cyclo-cross and single-track off-road racing. Racers do multiple laps on the short 3-5 minute course, and most races are about 20-30 minutes in length. My race for the Cat. 3 (beginner MTB category) women’s race was 20 minutes.

I drive out to Bells Bend (about 15 minutes north from my house) and park and get the bike out and walk over to where the registration was being set up. Rocks! Lots of them! “Oh yeah, there are snakes here.” WHAT!?! What came to mind immediately was, “Why don’t we have a velodrome?” Putting the snakes out of my mind, I helped set up the tent and got oriented about where the number goes (on the bike, not the person), gave out that important information to a few newbies, and then Tammy said she’d take me around the course.

Well, I haven’t really ridden off-road regularly since 2008 when I raced a lot of cyclocross so my off-road skills are rusty. Plus, a new bike. Most of the course was OK, though there was one double whoop-de-doop. In the trees. With rocks and roots. All I could think was my knee being a big vase or urn and falling and smashing into a million pieces. Probably wouldn’t happen, I know, but my mind still doesn’t believe it. So I got off and walked the double w-d-d. Finished up the lap (0.8 miles long) and really wasn’t sure I’d race. Velodrome anyone???

There were two races before the W3s so I had about 45 minutes to think about it. Finally it was time time to line up so I decided to do one lap and stop. There were 10 women in the Cat. 3s and I lined up in the back, next to teammate (and virgin racer) Dawn. At the whistle, we were off and I rode at my own pace, with Dawn behind me. We got over to the trees and I told Dawn I was getting off and walking it and she said that was fine. “Do you want to go ahead of me?” “No, you’re a good lead” so on through the rest of the lap and to the start finish. Somewhere along the way I decided to do another lap. Again, stop to walk the double-w-d-d and I let Dawn go ahead. I started to feel a little better on the bike and when I got to the start finish, official Izzy rang the bell and said, “One more!” so I headed out on lap 3. Finished upright and last, but I did it and didn’t quit. And today the knee is stiff but feels pretty good. Next race is July 14th.

Bells Bend

RR: Music City Sprint Tri


July 27, 2014


The last triathlon I completed was the full Vinemen in 2007 (I did swim/bike Kansas 70.3 in 2008 but a tornado cancelled the run). After that I'd turned to bike racing only, then a crash, knee surgery, rehab, and told by the surgeon that I should never run again, so I didn't really think about triathlon. I followed who won the various Ironman races and the results of my friends, but I rarely swam and never ran.  But then with moving to Tennessee, I thought maybe I'd try a tri again and Music City Tri was a good choice. And hopefully I'd be ready for the sprint.


The start is in downtown Nashville, with the transition area right on Broadway, within spitting distance of the honky tonks, less that 2 miles from my house and a few blocks from work. What wasn't to love! The day before the tri we did an open water swim race to test out the course and the river. There was a current in the river and I probably swam closer to 500 meters than 400. But it was good to get in the water and test the course.  And we didn't seem to have any adverse effects from the water.  (Everyone at work said, "You are going to swim WHERE!?!?!?!  Ick!")


Sunday morning I checked the weather and it was about 75F.  Yea!  Until I walked outside and it was super humid! Oh boy. I picked up Kathy, we drove to my office and parked there and walked our bikes and stuff to transition. They were doing a sprint, an international/Olympic distance, an Aquabike and a "velo-run" dividsion.  The sprint started first, with a time trial swim start – you start one by one about 10 seconds apart, jumping off the dock, with the start order seeded by your projected swim time. Everyone had to be out of the transition area by 7:00 AM, so there was a bit of waiting around to line up for the swim. I was sitting with my swim buddy Pu and we chatted with a gal who was doing her first tri, so there wasn't too much time to get nervous. (Unlike a month earlier when I did the Chattanooga Waterfront Aquabike (swim/bike) where I was extremely nervous before the start!


I was number 280 or so (and remember, you lined up in numerical order) and I wasn't so keen on jumping off the dock into water I couldn't see, so I sat down on the side and went in that way. Swim time was 9:29, about 1 minute faster than the day before. I swam a much straighter line but it was much more crowded than the open water swim on Saturday. Climbed up the ladder and walked up the stairs and to transition.


Helmet on, sunglasses on, shoes on, trot the bike out to the mount/dismount line and head up 2nd Street. One block flat, then uphill about 3 blocks to the bridge to go over the river. The bike course went over by the football stadium, then through an industrial area and onto a 4 lane expressway which was totally closed to traffic. Going out was a net uphill, with a couple of rollers, and I was thinking that once we hit the turnaround we would fly back since it was net downhill. Right. Once we turned around and were headed back, we hit a big headwind.  At this point, I was really glad I didn't have to do a second loop.  I passed a few people on the way out and quite a few passed me, but on the way back, I passed quite a few of them back. Finished the bike in 58:52. Racked the bike, put my running shoes on and...melted.


The 5K run became a 5K walk with a few 50-70 step jogs interspersed. It was sunny, no shade and close to 90F (still humid). Couple that with less than optimal run training, and my whole goal was to just finish. Which is what I did. 52:36. And, as slow as that was, I was only 3 minutes out of 3rd place Masters Athena. Note to self: Do the run training, get thinner and kick some butt next time.


RR: Tennessee State TT

June 14, 2014


The TN State time trial was the first race I did when I moved here two years ago. I flew here on a Thursday, checked into a hotel in Brentwood and on Friday, went to MOAB Franklin to pick up one of my bikes. The guys gave me directions for a ride right out the door and man, it was HOT and HUMID! In the line-up in 2012, I ended up right behind Tammy so she was one of the first people I met here, and now we're on the same team! That race was fun – I was 4th in the 20K Merckyx division (no time trial equipment), riding about 17.1 mph.


Fast forward to this weekend. A lot has happened in two years – lots more work, lots more travel, a real winter (SUCKS!), buying a house, a very, very stressful fall 2013, xx more pounds, and a lot less riding the bike means I am far from the fitness I used to have (but I WILL get it back). So my goal was to just ride within myself and use my new bike (Quintana Roo tri bike). I've only had a few rides on it and no extended time in the aero position, so I was a little worried I'd be riding too much on the bullhorns (definitely NOT aero).


Chrysa picked me up at 6:00 AM and it was actually a little cool. Way better weather than 2 years ago. We drove down to Lascassas and met up with Corrine, who was doing her first ever race. FUN! They'd posted the start list and my start time was 8:25. Get checked in, pin number, get warmed up, then it was time to go line up. There was one other woman in the W55+ division and she was from Indiana. She stated 30 seconds in front of me in full-on aero gear (wheels, skinsuit, booties, etc.)

  State TT Start

Starts were 30 second intervals. Clip in, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go. I'd started too fast in the last TT, so I eased into the first mile. The course is an out and back with a slight false flat and even though it wasn't hot, there was a definite headwind. The IN gal was down the road so I rode controlled but wasn't very happy with my slow speed. In fact, I was in the small chainring most of the way. One good thing is that I was able to stay aero almost the entire time. When I got within a mile of the turnaround, the men coming back all shouted “TAILWIND!” They were right.


Hit the turnaround and clicked it into the big chain ring and coming back, I hit 22-25 mph most of the way, with a few times much higher, once hitting 33 mph. I got to the 1K to go sign and that seemed like the longest kilo ever! Crossed the finish line at full speed and then shut it down and spun around for 20 minutes to loosen up my legs.


2012 20K time: 40:09

2014 20K time: 43:55

Goal for next year – sub-40:00. 

The IN gal dusted me, but, since she's not a TN resident, I am the TN W55+ State TT Champion. Thanks to the women of Tennessee Women's Cycling Project and everyone who's drug me out to ride, to ISM Saddles and Quintana Roo. Now to do the new bike justice.

  State TT Podium




Race Report: Rockabilly Omnium


Rockabilly Ominum

May 31 – June 1, 2014

Jackson, TN

  RGP number

I hadn't really planned on doing these races since I'm vastly undertrained, but I did get 6 days in a row riding in California in mid-May and a few days prior, decided to just go and have fun. It would be a good way to get some enforced training in. W4s could either do the W4 22 mile RR or ride with the 123s in the 44 mile RR.


Friday afternoon I picked up Emily and we were off. We got to the hotel, got checked in, picked up our race packets, then met up with Kristi and Chrysa for dinner. Back to the hotel to figure out when we had to get up and leave and it was then, I had my first “What the hell am I doing?” thought.




Saturday morning we were up and out the door fairly early for our 8:00 AM road race start. It was then that I was really getting nervous. My last road race was in 2009, back when I was decently fit but just a week post-crash. Now, I was way out of shape and a lot fatter. Note to self – rectify this!


The W4s RR was 2 laps of the course, about 22 miles total. TWCP had me, Emily and Paige in the race, plus about 8 other ladies, mostly from the Memphis area. Warm up on the road, then time to line up. The first half mile was neutral roll-out (similar to Snelling for your NorCal readers), then a right hand turn and up a hill and GO! There was a little too much braking and hand signals (just ride over the small cracks please, no need to point them out) but the group stayed together. The right turn came and going up the hill, I was off the back. Well, a nice solo ride. But no, I get to the top of the hill and there is a lone rider not that far ahead! Hammer the slight downhill and catch up with her and we chat and she says, “Let's ride together”. OK by me! She was from Memphis and knew the course, so that was good. The course was flat to rolling, so I got on the front for about 80% of the time and just rode tempo. She kept commenting on how strong I was, which made me keep going.


We go by the finish line and headed out on the second loop. The hills on the neutral rollout were a lot easier when I could take them at speed (use that momentum!), but the right turn hill that dropped me the first lap got me again, but I got to the top and thought, “I don't have to do that again!” Somewhere about 2/3rds of the way through the second loop, I got a gap on my riding partner, and to be honest, I was just wanting to get finished and if I had to sprint her out for “not last”, well, the track legs were getting ready. We get to the 1K sign and I KNOW I can ride hard for the kilo, so I picked it up. At the 200m sign, I took a peek back and saw someone in blue (she was wearing blue) – CRAP! Seated sprint! I crossed the finish line and sat up and the person in blue was a Cat. 5 dude. A few minutes later my riding partner crossed the line. I thanked her for motivating me. Finished 10/11. But hey, finishing was the main goal.



  RGP TT Start

Later Saturday afternoon was a short (5 mi) TT, back on the same RR course (only the opposite direction). We'd left and went to eat, then laid around the hotel until time to come back and get ready for the TT. It was hot and humid (like 85F) and as we were hanging out at the truck, the local TV station had a reporter onsite interviewing people, so I chatted with him.



Lined up for the TT start and I took the first mile out too hard. We made a left turn, straight into a headwind. Since the TT was so short, I'd just ridden the road bike. I do wonder what my time would have been with my TT bike. I ended up sub-17 minutes, which had been my goal, but I could feel the tiredness in my legs. Again, finished “not last”. But had fun. 9/10


Back to the hotel to shower, then the team went out for dinner.




After the TT, teammate Paige was sitting right near the top of the omnium, so the team goal was to get her a high enough finish in the crit to be on the podium of the omnium (hopefully, the top step!) Our race was around 9:00 AM and after about 5 minutes on the rollers in the parking lot at 8:00 AM, I was drenched in sweat. Yes, it was going to be a hot and humid one early.


For the crit, we had a majority of the W4s field – me, Emily, Paige, Kristi, Karah, and Tammy plus Chrysa (who is officially on Team Novo Nordisk). Warmed up, did a few laps of the course – why didn't someone mention the two hills???? Lined up and we were off – up a hill. I was behind someone who had a little trouble getting clipped in, so I was off the back from the gun. I rode around solo and about halfway through, my legs started to cramp, so I put it in the small chain ring and just finished it out. The one very fun part of riding solo was being able to come down the backside hill and just rail that right turn at speed, taking whatever line I wanted. At one point in the race, I came up on the aftermath of a crash and slowed up to make sure Paige and the other gal went to the pit to get their free lap.


There was a strong headwind on the long finishing straight (and up the hill), which made it not so fun, but in the end, Paige WON, even after a crash mid-race, with Karah third and Kristi fourth. And with the crit win, she won the omnium! So a very successful weekend for TN Women's Cycling Project. 6/6 for the omnium.


Yes, a race report!

July 2007 That is the date of my last pure running race. From 2008 up to 2012, I spent the time bike racing, knee surgery, recovery from knee surgery, being told that I should never run again, a year of hell dealing with an unplanned job relocation and trying to settle in (still working on that!), more knee and hip issues, and finally deciding, screw it all, I'm just going to do what I feel like doing. Which yesterday was standing on the start line of a 5K. Image
Del, the trainer I work out with once a week, had mentioned he was doing the Zoo Run with some of his other clients and I figured that it was a fairly large run with lots of walkers, it was at the zoo (where I hadn't been) and it would get me out of the house, that I would sign up and do it. Physical therapist Keith has been working on getting my knee straight (started at 15 degrees and we've gotten to 5 degrees), so I can actually walk with an almost normal gait, which has nearly made the hip pain go away. So walking a 5K would be a good test to see where we are.

The Zoo Run starts at 3:00 PM which really made me think about what and when to eat for the day. I decided on having an early big breakfast and then a very light snack around noon. I also wasn't sure of what to wear since it was going to be only in the 40s, but at least it was sunny. Got to the zoo (after a little getting lost), parked, picked up my number and shirt and cup of free coffee and then I actually ran into Del, so stood in the porta potty line and chatted with him.

Time to line up (people who were racing for time with yellow bibs in front, no time chip and walkers with white bibs in back). Countdown to start and GO. And we wait. It took nearly 3 minutes to get to the start line, but we were off.

Mile 1: Started out walking, but I did a few 30 second jogging intervals. Knee felt pretty good. Cardio was way out of shape. Hit the first (of many) inclines and walked. 15:24 first mile. Pretty much on target for what I wanted.

Mile 2: More hills, but on the flats I did do more jogging intervals, each one lasting a bit longer. Stopped to take a quick picture of the elephants. 16:11 so still OK. Take 20-30 seconds off for photos.

Mile 3: OK, starting to get tired now. Left leg feels weak. More hills and a stretch of gravel/dirt. Stopped to take a photo of the flamingos. Lots of pink ones! Oy, are we finished yet? 16:49, yes, getting tired. Image 4
Last 0.1 mile: Almost to the finish, but some downhill which I could feel in my leg more so more walking. Last picture of some monkeys. Thought was, "That fence isn't very high and those monkeys are clear up in the treetops. What keeps them from swinging over to the tress outside of their pen?" Get to the 100 meters and jog the entire way in. Time 2:04. Total: 50:29 which sets no speed records, but my personal goal was (1) finish and (2) go around 50 minutes, so with 3 photo stops, I hit that target. And, today, I feel pretty good. The leg is a bit stiff, but no worse than any other day. I did use The Stick a lot last night and that helped. Very encouraged about this little test! Image 5
Time to stop living like a semi-invalid and get back out there.

RR: Cherry Pie Crit

Cherry Pie Criterium - February 5, 2012

This was a 30 minute crit on the outskirts of Napa. Women Category 4 (27 in total) and women 15-18 (about 5). Lots of college girls. (Crit = multiple laps, usually for time, on a short course). I'd never raced it and the only time I'd spectated was 2009, the week after my crash at the Squirrely Bird, so Nole drove us up and I hobbled around in lots of pain so I may have forgot a few things, like the steepness of the hill.

What you find in the early season races are fields with (1) people who are really fit since they are a few points from moving up to Cat. 3 so they want to do well in the early races and Cat up; (2) brand new racers with fitness and skills ranging all over the place; and (3) people like me who need more fitness in the early season. Something about 193 hours billed for work in January didn't help that fitness.

Got up at 5AM and went up to Napa early since my 12 yo friend Allie raced in the second race. She did OK considering she's not that experienced with shifting (or brakes!) She was 4th out of 6 and with more fitness and experience, she'll be ripping it up! Not to mention, she has game OFF the bike!

After her race I got on the rollers and did 20 minutes of warm up and got a sweat going and did a few high cadence spin ups to get my breathing going. Then I rode over and did a couple of short hill repeats and also did one loop of the course since I'd not seen the entire thing.

The start of the race is downhill and then a hard right, sweeping left past the hotel, a hard left, another left a block later (into the left side of a road with a curbed/grass median). Then a chicane to go from the left side of the road to the right, then up the hill (a little over 1 mile total). Yes, the hill was harder than I remembered. Looking at my Strava, it was 6-9% in places and I had to stand up every time. At the top we did a 180 and went back down the hill. I ended up going up that hill 8 times.

On the start, I hung with the pack near the back until just before the hill, then I got popped off with another gal (Davis junior "DJr"). She would get ahead of me on the hill and I'd catch back on on the backside. What was nice was railing around that first right corner at full speed without touching the brakes. My max speed was 32 mph. Whee!

About halfway through the race, DJr and I got caught by the moto and the first group of 4-5 and they all passed. No one else caught us or passed. It stayed like that all the way until the last time up the hill, bell lap. I stuck closer to DJr that time up the hill and then caught back on to her wheel sooner on the downhill and went in front of her. Then on the last time up the hill (finish line about 3/4 the way up), she wasn't coming around me. Really? I kept pushing and with about 25 meters to go, I take a little glance back and see she's trying to come up on me and she was almost at my back wheel, so I just dug in hard and stayed in front of her. Yea, not last! It's the small victories.

Goals met: Ride hard the entire way (don't give up); don't get pulled; stay upright! Met all three of those! So, pretty happy with the day.

Post-race cool down, then off to breakfast with Allie, Katy and Tim. Then home to watch the Super Bowl.

Picture from the day

RR: Get Ready for Summer #1

This past Saturday was the first real day of racing on the track for the year!  YEA!!  And really my first time back mass racing on the track in close to two years.  I did a couple of races last year, but more half hearted than anything and then TEAM CLM all decided that mass star racing wasn't such a great idea while still doing knee surgery rehab so I didn't do any more mass start races.  The goal for the day Saturday was to just get through the races and get used to being back out there.

GRFS is a day with 4 different races and my field, Cat. 4/5, was sold out with pre-reg but a couple of no shows meant the two junior girls who showed up day of got to race. One other gal whom I'd not seen before was there in the 4/5s. The rest were all guys. 21 people total. There were also a pretty full Cat. 3/4 field and a P123 field which included a couple of pro men (or ex-pro), a couple of fast juniors, and a pro woman from Switzerland who has been here training and racing. So some fast laps going on!  And some folks I hadn't see for quite a while (Ben, Deano and Katie), so it was nice to see some friendly faces.  There were quite a few new people there whom I didn't know.

The coach wants me to work on spinning more, so I rode a smaller gear than normal. But it was windy so that was probably a very good call. 

Race #1 - Keirin: [follow the motorcycle then sprint]

My heat was me + 6 guys. Thanks again Rick for putting me in with the guys. I drew #6 and slotted in #6 with a good throw from Ben. I was able to hang with the group the entire time on the motor, but when the motor pulled off (going into turn 1 instead of on the back side so a full 2 lap sprint instead of 1.5 laps) I was only able to hang on to the group for about a half lap, then got gapped off. Dude on my wheel sits on my wheel for another lap and then passes me on the back side and I couldn't go with him either. But I had a good hard effort and I was happy with how I rode.  And man, I forgot how hard track racing is!

A lot of time in between all the other keirin heats, rep and final rides, so I jumped on the rollers for a bit and also was a holder twice.

Race #2 - Snowball:

We do this race so infrequently, I'm still not sure how it works, but it's like a freaking 15 lap sprint! With the full field of 21, I was a bit nervous on the line, but once the race got going, everything became totally strung out and then splintered into many groups. I got on with the two junior girls and we started doing half lap pulls and then picked up another guy and we rode the rest of the way in. I looked at it as team pursuit practice as we rode hard the entire way.

Race #3 - Miss-n-Out: [musical chairs on bikes]

With the big field, my intention was to go to the pole/inside lane and sit there as long as possible and stay out of any possible craziness in the back. And that's what I did for about 6-8 laps. Think of it as pursuit training. Once the speed picked up more, I got passed, so I ended up about 14th out of 20.  Super happy to not be one of the first ones out!

Race #4 - Points (15 laps/sprints @ 5): [math on bikes]

The field had dwindled by this point and I'm not sure how many started. The junior girls did not, but one of the Master riders did start and once we got gapped off on the first sprint, he and I worked together to not get lapped. Mission accomplished.

Did a cool down on the rollers and then it was time to head off to a party.

Goal was met and the day was fun.  As the Coach said, "Not a bad start".  We had a 45 minute conversation this morning and we are rethinking the plans for the year.  Just might mix things up and do something different.  I'll keep you posted.

RR: Early Bird Track Race

The coach said we are resuming track workouts, starting this past Sunday, and it was so GREAT to be back on the track!  I hadn't done a real workout since September post-nats/pre-whooping cough, so Sunday was just about getting back into the routine. Since the EB track race was right after the morning workout, we decided that I'd race some and see how things went.

Workout was a 15-20 minute warm-up, plus a jump or two in a small gear (81").

2 x 10 laps in the 50x15 (90") in the aerobars.  For the first one, Lala sat on my wheel which made me ride hard and it was good to have her push me.  I don't have a speedo on the track bike yet so I'm not sure what we ended up at but Lala said we started out a bit aggressive…29 mph.  Oops.  Second one was solo and the wind had picked up.

Last was 3 x 1 lap flying, which was fun.

Then it was time to get ready to race.  There were 18 Cat. 4/5s and only two women (me and a Tibco gal), plus a younger junior girl.  Lots of fixie types who were racing for the first time EVER. 

Race #1 - keirin, 3 heats.  I was in heat #2.  Did Rick put me in the heat with the Tibco gal and the junior? No.  It was me + 4 guys.  Mr. Official says, "Who has raced a keirin before?"  Look around and only clm has her hand raised.  Crap.  Please let me draw #1 so I can take the motor.  (You draw for starting positions and #1 is obligated to take the first spot behind the motor.)  Draw is #5.  Crap!  Alex F. gives me a good shove at the start, but I slot in in the last spot in the line.  Not sure that rider #1 has ever been behind a motor before so there is a pretty big gap, then a very raggedy pace line behind.  4.5 laps in and Peter pulls off and they all shoot away and I get gapped.  It was windy so I geared down to an 88" but should have stayed at the 90 or maybe even higher.  Top 2 go to the final, 3-4 go to the rep ride, 5th (me) is out. 

I thought about doing the rest of the races, but after the keirin final the official called every single rider over to discuss.  I told Rick to scratch me from the rest of the races and called it a day.

Super Bowl Sunday 2009:  Crash at the Early Bird crit and Izumi and I spent all day and half the evening in the ER.

Super Bowl Sunday 2010:  Crash on the Sausalito bike path when a jogger w/headphones cut across the path in front of me.  I'd only been riding outside a month and the surgeon then banned me from riding outside for another 6 weeks.

Super Bowl Sunday 2011:  Not taking any chances with a bunch of new riders.  I'm STILL going to PT and can't afford any more medical bills.

And besides, I had a game to watch!  PACKERS WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kind of long winded for a short race.  But I am so excited to be back on the track!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RR: Track Masters Nats - 500TT and Team Sprint

500 TT:

A race against the clock, two laps of the track from a standing start.

Saturday I didn't have any races and the coach said to go to the track during the break between the sessions and do a workout to get more comfortable on the track.  Warm up, then do 10 laps in the aerobars in the middle of the track (at the blue/stayer's line), then 10 laps in the aerobars in the pole (down near the bottom of the track) and then 10 laps at the rail (the very top of the track).  I did this on Saturday and it helped A LOT. 

Sunday morning I woke up and felt OK and ready to race.  I drank some coffee, ate some eggs and veggies and got everything organinzed to head over to the track.  I wasn't racing until later in the session and you don't want to be out in the heat all day.  I got ready and then suddenly I started feeling sick.  I ended up getting a late start and did not feel good at all.  I got to the track and it was sunny and getting hot, but not too humid.  Since they changed the schedule (stupid idea!), for Sunday there were the kilos and then the 500s and then the team stuff and then madison, with awards intermixed in between, plus a break scheduled mid-afternoon.  Since so many people were racing that day, the place was packed with people so I set up the rollers outside next to the fence.  I got in a warm up on the warm up gear and felt so-so, actually wishing I was back at the hotel in the bed.  After an abbreviated warm up, I went to get off the rollers and the bike to change wheels to finish my warm up on the race gear and the bike was facing the "wrong" direction (which means I got off the bike on the right side) and ended up toppling over.  Dammit.  Never get on/off a bike or a horse on the wrong side!


 I brushed myself off (at least I fell into the grass) and changed wheels and had to rush to finish my warm up, plus I was still feeling like crap.  I got the bike checked and it was time to go to the ready area (like the baseball on-deck circle).  I was first to go in my age group, riding solo.  I used a gear that I normally ride since it wasn't windy but, that wasn't the best idea.  I got an OK start and stood up over halfway around the track and got into the aerobars after coming out of turn 4 and rode the rest in the aerobars (a big win!)  I crossed the finish line and felt like I'd had a decent ride but the announcer 48 seconds.  I couldn't believe it!   That was so freaking slow and I was SO SO SO disappointed.  I got off the track and stopped the bike and went to get off and SHIT…I toppled over AGAIN!  This time in front of everyone and on the concrete!  I walked over to where the Hellyer people were and lost it, sobbing my head off into a towel, still holding onto the bike.  The folks still in the area came over to see if I was OK and Keith came over to put my bike away.  After about 10 minutes I walked outside to call the coach but he didn't answer so I left a sobbing message on his voicemail.  What was done, was done and I ended up 4th.  Nice to be on the podium, but I'm still not happy with the time I rode.


 Team Sprint:

 I'd paid for the TS long ago and was planning to do it with Donna, but after her crash at Districts, I needed to find another partner.  I ended up getting Tracy from Tucson who is in my age group to race with me.  She was pretty gunshy about the steep track but I told her she only needed to do one lap in the pole lane and we were doing it for fun. (Yes, really!)

After talking to Kenny, he said to work on my start and chase Tracy down since there was a differential between our speed.  I told Tracy that I was going to delay my start just a bit but for her to go as fast as she could and I'd run up on her.  She said, "No problem" and we were riding around the warm up circle and heard them DQ one team, then we went up to the ready and watched Beth and Steph from Hellyer ride right before us and THEY got DQed!  The official said something about a zone violation so I asked him what they'd done to get DQed and he said they weren't a meter apart before the end of the pull-off zone, so I told Tracy to really pull off when it was time.  [TS is two riders who start together, one does one lap and pulls off in the zone and the second rider does a second lap solo.  Fastest time amongst the teams wins.]

On the start, I delayed just a bit but still caught her before turn 2 and sat in behind her, resting until my solo lap.  Once she pulled off, I stood up and hit the gas, pedaling through the turn like it was a bell lap in a points race, and rode hard the rest of the way.  We ended up 4th and had fun.


They tally everyone's results and award the BAR to the best all-round rider.  There were 4 of us tied with 16 points and then going to the tie-break, I ended up tied for 3rd (or 4th depending on which print out you look at) out of 7.  Pretty happy with that since that's the highest I've ever finished.  And, I have a clear idea of what I need to do in the next 8 weeks.  I submitted the online entry today for Masters Worlds in late October in Portugal.  That's when the competition gets really tough so I definitely need to step it up.

RR: Masters Nats - Sprints

Match sprints are what you see at the Olympics--2 riders going head to head for 3 laps. Time does not matter. Sprints are run tournament style and to get the seeding, everyone does a flying 200. That's 200 meters with a rolling start. And if you drop down from high on the banking, the more speed you carry.

Flying 200: I got to the track and it was cool and overcast and really windy, but instead of the winds we had for the pursuit, it was really gusty and swirly in the corners.  I decided to not ride the disk wheel because of the winds.  I also geared down to a smaller gear after discussion with Mark Rodamaker, who won the national championship later that night.  I rolled out and up to the blue line, then up to the rail (clear at the top of the track) on the first lap. Continued around the rail (barely freaking out) and probably went a little too fast too early and on the last lap, I stood up about 4 pedal strokes and took a good line into the corner. Ended up feeling pretty good about the effort, especially compared to what I'd done at the LA indoor track 6 weeks ago.  Ended up with the 4th fastest (or, slowest, as there were only 4 of us in our age group) and that meant I got to sprint at night!! Damn, that sprinting stuff takes up the whole day! 

Once they confirmed that we were going to ride that night, I went to lunch with Dad and bro and then they headed back to KS and I came back to the hotel and was relaxing and there was a knock at my door....move rooms please.  Crap! That took 30 minutes, so I got settled in the new room and put my legs up and got organized, had a snack at 3:30 and headed back to the track at 4PM.  Did a warm up on the track and then moved to the rollers when things got busy.  My legs felt OK, not great.

Semi finals (best of 3)

Ride 1 v. Ann Marie: She's only been doing this for 20 years and is a former world champion and it's her home track. And, she's so darned nice and helpful.  I drew #1(which meant I had to lead it out) for the first ride and took her sort of long but didn't fully commit so she came blasting past me.  Afterwards, she said she thought I would do that.

Ride 2: I was behind her to start but she slowed way down high on the steep part of the track and I didn't like that at all so I went around her.  Then I jumped with about 200 meters to go and she beat me, but not as much as in ride 1.

On to the 3rd/4th place finals v. Ann from NC (again, best of 3):

Ride 1:  Ann Marie gave me some tips on riding against Ann and the first ride Ann lead out and I jumped and she caught me in the last 50 meters and beat me by about a bike length.


Ride 2:  I started in the #1 position and led her out and jumped her a little sooner and she only caught me at the line and maybe beat me by 6 inches or so.  Really, really close.  Afterwards everyone in the crowd was applauding and the officials applauded us too. So I ended up 4th. 

Of course I would have liked to been higher up the podium, but I feel pretty good about how I rode, especially since I've done no sprinting in about 3 months, and there is a definite technique to it.  And everyone said how well I rode, which was nice to hear.  Two more races tomorrow. Can't wait.

RR: Masters Nats - 2K Pursuit

2K pursuit (10 laps)

 Frisco, TX Superdrome

250m track w/44 degree banking

 This was one of my big focus races of the year.  I've been riding faster than I ever have in training so the Coach and I were looking for me to ride a good time. 

 I arrived in Texas late Sunday night and Monday midday, I went to the track and rode some and was almost in tears and ready to go home.  The steep banking was scary.  I went back Monday night to ride some more and try out the electronic starting gates and felt a little better.  Another session on Tuesday and I felt OK, but not comfortable.

 Race morning I warmed up a bit on the rollers at the hotel and then went to the track and finished the warm up and got the bike checked and rolled around the warm up circle and...it started to mist!  Nuts!  They called a rain delay for about 15 minutes and finally it was time to go.

 Start--I got a very good start off the line, but of instead of standing up for a half lap or more to get to top speed, I freaked out about not being able to get into the aerobars in time before the second turn and sat down in the middle of the first turn after only 4 or 5 pedal strokes.  So I never got up to speed and then with the wind on the front straight, it put me into an even bigger hole.  Plus, with 10 shorter laps, I wasn't sure on how to pace it, so the entire race ended up being one big mess and a super slow time.  I was definitely not happy with my race but I know what I did wrong and what I need to work on and I have until late October to get it right.  


I will keep the bronze medal, but I'm going to put it up where I can see it every day to remind me of what I need to do.  I won't be riding that slow in October.

RR: Friday Night Racing 06/04/10

Friday Night Races @ the velodrome.  We were lucky enough to have a W3/4 night and probably 15 or so women came out.  Lots of Cat. 2 and 3 roadies and Cat. 3 track women, plus national points champ Julie Nevitt and young Kira riding to mentor our races.  Goal was to get some race miles in my legs and get that race feel back. 

Race #1: 20 lap scratch

Oh hell, 20 laps? I have not raced that many laps in probably a year. I remember what Annabell told me last weekend--hang on and it would slow down. It did but then someone attacked and I got gapped a bit (still don't have that jump) but was able to get back on the back of the pack. At 10 laps another attack and my legs were shot. I tried to stand up and sprint but had jello legs. I took a lap and got back in and stayed with the pack until 2 to go. Fininshed a lap down but pretty happy with how I rode

Race #2: 30 lap points

30 laps? Ouch. This one went about the same as the scratch. Stick with the pack as long as possible, get popped, reintegrate, repeat. Ended up down 2 laps but again happy with how I rode.

Very short turn around and they are calling us to the rail. We all look at each other, "Didnt we just race???"

Race #3: 15 lap Win & Out

What a huge variance in pace from the start....fast, slow down, speed up. A big yoyo effect.  With 6 laps to go, the field slowed down to a crawl (15 mph?) and everyone moved up track leaving the pole wide open. Hello pole lane!  I attacked hard and got a gap!  Kenny had told me that I needed to start "Riding it like you stole it."  Well, that's what I did. I got at least a quarter lap gap and people on the infield and in the stands were yelling to keep it going. I looked back and THERE WAS NO ONE THERE!!! So I rode like hell and stayed away, 5 to go, 4 to go, Argh, I'm getting tired, but the crowd and Hernando on the mic said to keep going, keep pushing. It"s 3 to go and I'm still away!  I get to 2 to go and I'm still away but my legs are starting to turn to cement and I'm sure I'm starting to pedal squares. With 1.5 laps to go I'm nearly blown and the pack starts to attack each other and string out and I'm caught, but I am so damned happy with how I rode.

Cooling down after the race on the warm up circle, the ref who was working the turn 3-4 area told me I rode really, really, really well.  (Yes, 3 reallys). Not bad for now.  143 days till Worlds.

RR: Get Ready For Summer #4

Sunny, warm (75F), some wind, and lots of pollen in the air.
W4s had 9 entered plus 2 mentors.

I've only raced a couple of times in the past 9 months, so I was pretty nervous going in. I do a warm up in the warm-up gear and my legs feel OK, but when I do a couple of jumps (stand up and sprint), my IT band/quad/ham side of my knee hurts when I stand.  Not really painful hurt but enough that it bugs me.  Change to race gear and do another 5 minutes and a couple more jumps and the same.  Not happy at all about this, plus, I had in the back of my mind the fear of riding in a group and almost talked myself out of racing.  Annabell reminded me that I needed to have gearing under 85 inches since most of the women were on rental bikes (and therefore riding 81 or 84" gears) so I changed gears to 47x15 (84.6").  

Race #1:  10 lap tempo
Points to the first two across line every lap. No points for anyone else.

The race took off like a shot and stayed fast.  We split into two groups about 1.5 laps in, fast as hell and not as fast. I was in the not as fast group and there was a little trouble getting a paceline going but we finally did.  I got gapped in the last 2 laps, but then in the bell lap people were starting to die and I picked it up and passed at least three people in the final 200 meters.  6th place.  My sprint is coming back!

Coughed up a lung post-race. Still coughing this morning!

Race #2:  12 lap scratch
The race again started off super fast (26 mph).  Annabell told me to hang on and it would slow down.  I got gapped a bit but it did slow down a couple laps later and I got back on and sat in the back for a bit. With three and a half laps to go, people moved up track and I had the pole lane wide open in front of me and I moved up to the front of the pack in the pole lane.  I was thinking that it was three laps to go and I didn't want to be in the pole the entire three laps, but there was someone next to me so what was I going to do.  We were on the back stretch and I hear bikes hitting the ground pretty close behind me so I stomp the pedals in case something is coming forward and get the heck out of there.  Three down with one broken collarbone.  We had a 40 minute break for the ambulances to come and once we got going again, they restarted us with 3 laps to go.  Again I had no jump when people went, but once I got rolling, I chased down Evan to nip her at the line and take 5th. 

Race #3:  Win & Out
I totally screwed this one up! 
5 laps then a bell lap and the first across wins; everyone else continues racing and another bell and the first across gets second; another bell and then it's racing for the remaining places.
I hung in the 5 laps and then on the first bell lap two people got away and one had a good gap and won.  Next bell we were coming up on the second person who had gotten away but she held on and took second.  For some reason, I thought we had yet another lap to go so I didn't sprint in the last lap, but was sitting on Evan's hip as I'd planned to sprint once we got around to turn 3 again. Well, race over.  I could have easily been at least one place higher. Note to self: PAY ATTENTION!

Race #4:  Points (10 laps/pts every 5)
Thought about skipping this race as I was really tired.  But, I started the race and after the first sprint, my legs didn't have it so I just rode the remaining 5 laps to finish and get my omnium point.

Omnium:  Not in the top 5. 

I was pretty tired last night, but feel pretty good today.  I just don't have the hard racing miles in my legs yet, but I feel pretty good with how I rode.  The coach has put Wednesday night racing on the schedule, so I'll get some racing miles in.

RR: Sprint Tournament #2 (04/25/10)

Sunny, windy and warm (close to 80F later). Drove down w/Mateo. New Mouse Kit Kat showed up later to cheer.

Once the doctor let me on the rollers about a month or so after surgery, I've been riding the track bike on the rollers a lot, but in the 46x16 (77.63") gear. The last couple weekends I'd upped the gearing into the 80s but I'd decided earlier last week that I wanted to try a bigger gear as kind of a test for my knee and see how a bigger gear felt. Goal was to try 50x15 (90.0"). We got to the track and I warmed up in the 50x16 and just riding around felt OK, but with the wind, I started to over think myself and thought maybe the 50x15 wasn't the best idea. But what the heck, just try it and see how it goes. This was just a day to see how everything felt and get a baseline 200m time.

How the tourney works is that everyone does a timed 200m and then we got divided up into groups and you race head-to-head or in a 3-up against people within your own group.

For the 200m TT, I was about 8th to go so I rode around to stay loose and then it was time to roll off the front from the star/finish line. One lap easy, then I don't know what happened but I spaced out how many laps and Kevin was ringing the bell and I get to nearly the s/f line and think, "*#¥+! That was the bell and I'm going in to turn 1 way too slow! CRAP!" So I picked it up, but was way way too slow going in. Stood up and hit it and got up to top speed late, but took a decent line and was able to keep up the leg speed all the way through the finish line. 15.18 sec. Really??? Last year at this time I was hitting 15.5-16!! So I was pretty darned happy for such a sloppy effort.

200m effort:

So, that put me #3/7 in Group 4.

1st match sprint: Lala (slowed down this week due to a crash last week), Donna Woods (55+ dynamo), me, in that order off the rail.

Since Lala is a lot faster than we are, I knew I couldn't leave it to a short sprint, so I sat back off both of them and in the middle of turn 3, I dropped down, full sprint, fully committed. Caught her off guard but she caught me and came around me in turn 4. Happy with that effort. 2nd.

2nd match sprint: Me and Oscar (kid who has just started racing on the track this year. 16 or 17 years old). His 200m was about 1 second faster than mine.

I led him out and kept it slow the first 3/4 of the lap and then sped up and he was on my right hip the entire time so I knew he'd have to go over me. He got a good jump and I couldn't get up to speed quick enough and he was gone.

3rd match sprint: Elizabeth and me.

She and I raced against each other a lot last year and she has been working hard all winter and spring and has made good progress. We both jumped at almost the same time in turn 4 and again, I couldn't get on top of the gear fast enough so she was ahead of me and stayed ahead.

4th match sprint: New guy Terry and me.

This was maybe Terry's 4th time on the track and a friend of Donna. Since he was new to sprinting, I was hoping the intensity of the day and heat had gotten to him, so I took him long and he had to chase to get back to me and only caught me with about 25m to go. By this time I was tired and it was hot and I didn't have enough to drink or eat and I didn't fully commit to it (well, I did, but let up a bit on the back straight). I made him work for it though and he only beat me by a wheel so I was pretty happy with that.

Actually, I was very happy with all of my match sprints. Super motivated for the next training block! And the knee held up really well!!

Photo by Steve Anderson.


Back Racing....FINALLY!!!

 It's been 34 weeks or 238 days or 5712 hours or 342,720 minutes or 20,563,200 seconds since I've last raced. Not that I'm counting or anything! The Coach finally said I could race, so it was off to San Jose to the velodrome! And today was a ~perfect~ day for riding a bike in circles.  Warm (low 70s to start up to mid 70s), sunny and breezy at the track when we got there. 

The Get Ready for Summer series are four Saturdays in the spring, each day having 4 short races for each category and there are 3 separate categories. Got signed in and got my number for the season (lucky #707) and got on the track for warm up.  Since I've only been on the track twice in the past 7.5 months, I had no idea what to expect today. My goals going in were just ride and see how it went.  Test out my knee. Have fun.  

I did 25 minutes warm up in the small gear that I've been riding on the rollers all winter. Very small--like even smaller than junior gears, but it's been good for me to learn to ride a higher cadence. That gear felt pretty good.  Also, I had my new wheels on and this would be the first test for them. The entire warm up I was thinking how FUN it was to be riding my bike on the track. People kept riding up and saying hello and asking how I felt. I realized today that I've missed going down there every week.

Flipped the wheel to a bigger gear and did 10 more minutes, then it was time to come off the track and get ready for the first race.

Race 1:  Keirin

"Oh hell! I'm going to get thrown in." That was my thought when I realized what the first race would be. Keirin is a 6 lap race behind the motorcycle (or the little keirin bike in a official real keirin). There are 6 riders per heat and you line up across the track after drawing for position. You have a holder and on the start whistle, your holder throws/pushes you forward. I found John and asked him to be my holder and told him I didn't want a big throw and maybe delay just a second. I just wanted to get on the back of the line and just get this race over with. I was in heat 3 with two other women and 3 guys and I drew position #6. That was probably the best draw--not in the middle and not obligated to take the motor if I were #1.  I had a decent start (I remembered to pedal!) and I slotted in 5th of 6. Peter took us up to 25 mph before he pulled off and then with 1.5 laps left, two guys got a gap. I hung on to riders #3 and #4 for about 1/2 lap and then they pulled away. I was pedaling for all I was worth but couldn't hold the wheel. The first two went straight to the final and #3/4 went to the rep ride and after they got a good gap, I sat up and rolled in. since 5th or 6th gets you nothing.  So, I was relieved that the first race was over with no issues and happy with how I rode. 29.78 mph max which comes out to about 117 cadence. Not bad!

Race 2: 10 lap Scratch

Field of 19, maybe 8-9 women.  I end up towards the back when we lined up on the wall. Goal for this race was to stick with the pack as long as possible.  It started pretty fast and in a few laps, I got gapped and lost contact so I took a lap and got back in when they came around and was able to hang in a little better. Finished in the back of the field but I felt pretty good. Definitely need to work on riding higher cadence for longer stretches.

After the scratch race I decided to change to a bigger gear since I was WAY under-geared. So I changed to a 48x15 which still isn't that big, but it was better, I think.

Race 3: Miss & Out

Field of 19. Too many in my opinion and I didn't have a good vibe so I rode at the back and was the first one called out (by choice). I was rolling around the warm up circle and the sound you don't want to hear..crash.  Three ambulances. Shit! Not sure what happened as I was on the opposite side of the circle facing the other way. 

Long delay and then a re-start on our race but I didn't restart.

Race 4: 10 lap Points

This got shortened by 5 laps due to time constraints. The bigger gear felt pretty good! I started towards the back and then was on the outside and when the sprint came, I got gapped from the main group but had blue/white kit guy fairly close and at least one or two behind me. Things came back together for a few laps and I thought about attacking just to see if I could get a gap, but trying to go high and around, the door got slammed and I didn't want to try to squeeze through so I sat near the back. The sprint came and the top 4 got a gap, but I stayed with the next group and I saw 115 cadence, so that's 29 mph. Pretty happy with this.

Cooled down a little and packed up and drove back to SF. My knee was a little stiff when I got home, but that's from sitting in the truck for an hour. I'll see how it feels tomorrow, but tonight it feels pretty good. And it didn't hurt at all riding. GOALS MET!

Thanks Rick, Matt and Michael for a fun day. And healing vibes to Lala, Mr. Y and the other rider. Hope you all are back on the bike soon.

RR: Masters' Track Nationals - Day 4


The last day of Nats is the team events (Team Sprint and Team Pursuit) and the Madison. Thanks to Doug Johnston, I had met his training mate Sallie and some other folks from TTown and Sallie and I were a team sprint pair. The Team Sprint is 2 women. You like up at the start together and on the bell, you both take off and teammate #1 slots in in front and teammate #2 slots in right behind. #1 does one full lap, pulling off within a marked area, and #2 continues on for a second lap. Everyone goes against the clock and the fastest time wins.

We got to the track by 8:30 and I got changed and got on the track and did about a 30 minute warmup. The track closed to warmup and I rode around the warmup circle some, got some water and some Gu, rode around a little more, sat down for 10 minutes, then went and rode the coach's rollers until nearly time to go to the ready. They were running the TS as 2-ups, meaning one team on one side, one on the other side of the track, start at the same time and take best times. There were 4 teams, two we knew were much faster and the other one, we thought we could beat them, but it would be close.

It was decided that I would be rider #1 and Sallie would be rider #2. We got on the start line and the countdown commenced...down to, deep breath and GO. I didn't get the best first pedal stroke, but up out of the saddle and pedal, pedal like mad! I stayed standing until nearly the opposite start/finish line....much farther than I had in the 500m TT earlier in the week. Keep the speed up through the turn and then, pull off between the cones and let Sallie shoot through.

Once I'd pulled off, I eased up on my pedaling and my bike started making all kinds of racket! WHAT IS THAT?!?!?! I tried to ease up pedaling as quickly as possible as it sounded like my chain or chain ring was going to fall off and if that happened, I'd be screwed. Big time. But nothing fell off (though the noise remained) and I slowed way down and got off the track. In the meantime, both riders #2 were finishing, but I was too concerned with the bike to listen closely to what the announcer said.

1. 50.584
2,  52.663
3.  57.736 <====
4.  57.885

Goal met!! A PR time in the TS and third place! We were both psyched to be on the podium.

That makes 3 personal bests and 1 other event tied for my personal best. Also, I've moved up in placing in every event and ended up 11/13 in the BAR (best rider) competition. (As opposed to last year when I didn't even get listed.) So I'm pretty happy with how the week went. Can't wait to start working on goals for next year!


RR: Masters' Track Nationals - Day 3

Sprint day!

They way the sprints work is everyone does a flying 200 meters for time first thing, then they seed the tournament from the times. I was 9th to go in the morning, so I got to the track early and did a pretty good warm up on the track--25 minutes in the warm up gear with a couple of jumps, then change to the race gear and do another 20 minutes with two more jumps. Hop on the rollers, stay loose until it's time to go to the ready. I was about the 8th person to go.

For the flying 200, they give you a push off on the back straight when the previous person passes on the way to their finish. You get 2.5 laps and the last 200 meters is timed. I rolled out and had gone through this in my mind many times the night before and during the warm up. Stay near to above the blue line the first 3/4 lap, then head up towards the rail and start to pick up the speed. On the second time around, get it rolling and up hill going into turn 2, keep the pressure on the pedals, then get to turn 3 and stand up and hit it, standing as long as possible. Take the corner a little late, which I did, but maybe too late. The corners in Colorado are tight, so I've been having a hard time keeping the bike down at the bottom of the curve and today was no different. Too high (which means losing time). Keep pedaling all the way across the line. I felt like it was a decent effort, but when the announcer said, 14.74 seconds, I was not happy at all. That equalled my best 200m time but I was expecting faster. I groused about it to the coach and of course everything he said was right (thanks Kenny), so all I could do was sit and wait to see where I was (as I had gone first). I ended up seed 5th of 6 (we started with 7, with one scratch). It was then another long wait until they decided how they would run my AG. The decision was for #1-4 to go straight to the evening's semifinals and #5-6 would have a one-ride final for the last podium spot. 

Back on the rollers to stay loose, ride around the warm up circle, sit and hydrate (as it was hot and sunny--my preferred weather!)  Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Finally, they called us to the ready. For the match sprint, you draw for position--#1 or #2. If you are #1, you have to obligation to lead things out. Since my qualifying time was quite a bit faster than the other gal's time, Kenny and Curtis gave me a few options of things to do. The official had her draw and she drew #2, so that made me #1. Her holder placed her bike fairly low on the track and Kenny told him to move it up as she was #2. (#1 has the lower spot on the track and #2 is higher.)  I saw him grimace and they weren't very happy with that. Good for me! I got on the bike and sat up, finally getting down into the drops and the official blew the whistle and Kenny gave me a push. I immediately went up above the blue line and kept going up higher into the corner as I was pretty sure she would not like that at all. Plus, I slowed way down, which I don't think she liked either. Continue nice and slow out of turn 2 and then pick it up a little. Uphill into turn 3 taking her really high and just past the midpoint between turns 3 and 4, I shot down the banking (which seems like falling off a building), standing up and sprinting as hard as I could, and I kept sprinting for the rest of the race. I took a peek back coming out of turn 4 and didn't see her, but I kept pedaling like mad until I heard Kenny say to shut it down. But I've been beaten in other sprints by letting up in the last 50 meters, so I did not want it to happen here! Win and 5th place for me, which meant the podium!  Standing on the podium tonight was SWEET!!

Thanks Coach.

Thanks Annabell for all the advice and for making me play follow the leader on the track yesterday. It helped.

Thanks Kevin for putting on the sprint tournament series. Match sprinting is like chess on bikes and it takes a lot of practice. The sprint tournaments are a great way to try out new things.

Thanks to all the Hellyer folks who were out there cheering today. What a fun week this has been. I'm already thinking about next year.

Thanks to my boys for all the trips to Hellyer this year. The best part of my week.

Sprint podium

RR: Masters' Track Nationals - Day 2

2k pursuit - 6 laps against the clock.

11 women in my AG. Goals again were to ride a best time and not be last. There were some super fast women in this race, so the second goal would be tough. The morning started out dead still and warming up, but mid-morning the wind kicked up. By the time we raced, it was nice and warm and the wind was down a bit. I was in the first heat, riding solo.

I got in a good warm up, first in the warm up gear, then in the race gear. Since the morning warm up is really crowded on the track, I did the entire warm up on the rollers which worked out pretty well. We got my bike measured (mandatory) and it was fine, both the saddle position and aerobars. To the ready area and then to the start.

Countdown to zero and stand up, stiff arms, pedal forward, stand up until I spin out. I stood up over half a lap--yea! Sit down easy, get into the aero bars before the corner. Done and done. In July at States, I went out way too fast and then slowed down too much (but still rode a PR), so I knew I couldn't go out so hard today. Ease off a bit in lap 2 and try to float the pedals. Going into turn 2 on the second lap, the wind caught the disc and gave me a little shove, then some head wind on the back straight. At least the rest of the laps I could anticipate the wind in turn 2 and had no problem after that.

Lap 3 I heard Kenny yell at me to pick it up. As we were sitting in the ready, he'd asked if I wanted to hear splits. I told him, "No. Just tell me if I am over or under a PR time." So when he said to pick it up, I thought, "CRAP! I can't be behind, can I?" I pedaled a little faster and then coming around again I knew it was only 2 laps to go, so pick it up again and bust it out on the last lap. I crossed the line and heard the announcer say, "3:05". YES! That was a BIG PR!!! Just over 5 seconds. Super happy about that and I was in first place for 3 minutes. ha

I ended up in 10th and negative split the second kilo. Real happy about that. And both goals for the day met.


RR: Masters' Track Nationals - Day 1

Last year I rode at nats since they were at our home track. I didn't have much idea of what I was doing and did it for the experience. I pretty much came in last in all but one events. There are some fast women who race the track and they've been doing it for a long time. This year my goals are to ride personal best times in all the events and see if I can move up in the placings. Funny thing is that the 50-54 age group has nearly twice as many women as any other age group.

Our track is 335 meters with nice wide turns and 25 degrees banking. The 7-11 velodrome here in Colorado Springs is 330 meters and 33 degrees banking with tighter turns. I arrived Sunday and that afternoon we went over to the track so I could ride it. A little intimidating at first. It took me about 10 laps to get up to where the Olympic rings are painted on the cement (about 2/3rds of the way up) and another 10 laps to get clear to the top of the track (the rail). Another ride on Monday and I was feeling much better about it. Legs up Monday and relax all day, but the doing nothing actually made me a little stressed out though I did do 4 hours of work. Friends from our track came over and cooked dinner and we had good food, a couple of beers and then it was time to pack the bag and hit the bed. Right when I went to bed, it started to rain and was still raining in the middle of the night.

Got up this morning to overcast and cool. I'd prefer sunny and 90F, but it wasn't to be. We got to the track and got warmed up. Noticed some headwind on the finishing straight, so where you started your 500m might make a difference. (Two people ride at a time--one starting on the back straight, the other on the front straight. Fastest time of all riders wins.) I was seeded 10th/11, so riding in the second heat, starting on the backside.

Got in a pretty good warm up--a few laps on the track just to get the feel, then the rest on the rollers. My coach came down and that was a big help as I was a little stressed. I was definitely in the "let's just get this going" mindset. Watched a few of the earlier races, finished warming up, the coach took the bike to get measured, rolled around on the warm up circle, with a couple of people to go I sat and watched their starts, then I got called to the ready.

The 500m is 1.5 laps (more or less), so I was starting on the backside, finishing on the front side.  15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, beep. Look down the track; pedal forward, not down; keep the arms stiff; breathe! Keep standing as long as possible, then sit and 4 hard pedal strokes and then keep it rolling to the end.  First lap, OK, and then my legs started to tire, but I told myself to keep pedaling as fast as I could. Across the line and I felt good about the effort. Then I heard him call my time and I was pretty happy---a huge PR.  By over 2%!  I ended up 10th/11 which means I met my other goal. The gal I rode with ended up winning and setting a new world record and Lorraine, from our Hellyer track ended up second, also breaking the world record and 0.1 behind the winner.  Also from our track we had one National champion in the men's 65-69 AG, 2nd place in the men's 60-64 and Annabell also broke the world record for the women's 45-49 AG, unfortunately, coming in second, but a PR ride for her. So a very good first session. More racing by others tonight if the rains hold off.

Next race: 2K pursuit tomorrow morning.

RR: Masters' States - Day 2

Today was the 500m TT, Points Race and the Team events. The day started out a bit overcast and cool with light to gusting winds and warmed up and cleared off and got windy.

500m TT:

1.5 laps on our track.

After yesterday's quick start in the 2K, I was ready to bust out a good 500. I was about 6th woman to go and I got a decent start (standing start) and stood until nearly half a lap. I hit 28.9 mph and was pedaling like mad. I ended up 0.05 off my PR in much worse conditions, so I'm happy. 3rd place.


Points race:
30 laps (6 miles), sprints every 6 laps

Since the numbers weren't high for the points race, they combined all the women's age groups and we all raced and were scored together. But then they split out the age groups for awards. We had two points racing national champions in the field, one in my AG. And the race was FREAKING FAST!  We averaged about 25 mph for the first 12 laps.  On the first sprint I got 4th. Second sprint, got 4th again. At this point the front three kept the speed up and I was on the edge of breathing difficulty and then I got gapped just a bit so I pulled up to get my breathing under control and took a lap. When the group came around I got back in and then one person didn't look (always look before you move!) and came down on me and drove me off the track and onto the blue line. On the next sprint lap Donna and I got gapped and she and I traded pulls to the end. Unfortunately, we got caught 10 meters before the line on the last lap. Damn! Donna was in front of me and I thought she would pull off in turn 3 like we'd been doing, but she didn't so I was stuck behind her as the front group came up on me so I was pinned in.  I ended up 3rd in the AG. Not exactly happy about getting passed at the end but I am happy about hanging for the first 12 laps with the National Champions.


We had a long break between the rest of the points races and team stuff. During open track, I got on the track and just rode around easy for a bit. Wind had picked up quite a bit by this time.

W45+ Team Sprint:

Two laps, two people. One person does one lap with the second person sitting on their wheel. After a lap, the first person pulls off within the zone and the second person continues solo on the second lap.

Team Donna & Cathy (yea, original). She and I have done this a few times now and her coach was there and said I should go first and Donna second. Fine with me. Got to the start and on the gun, I had a HORRIBLE start. Not sure what happened but I went right, towards Donna. Crap! Get it lined out and take off as fast as I can and pedal like hell until the pull-off zone. She kept going but we both thought the points race took some out of our legs. Afterwards, her coach said we should have switched order. 2nd place.

W30+ Team Pursuit (or, all women's TP...no split of age groups)

3K or 9 laps on our track. They changed the Women's TP this year from 4 to 3 people, so you couldn't drop off one person as the time stopped after the third rider. It was me, Donna and Elizabeth, who just started racing this year and had never done a team pursuit. She wanted to bail, but we wouldn't let her. We told her that it was about just racing, having fun and getting the experience. We decided that she would lead it out, Donna second and me last, then do 1/2 lap pulls. 

The start was OK. Not fast, but OK. Elizabeth took us up to speed and the first lap I felt like I was going pretty easy. When Donna pulled off after the first lap, I slightly picked it up and after a couple of laps, when I hit the front again, I did full lap pulls. We picked it up a little more the last couple of laps and finished feeling good in 3rd place.

So, 6 races this weekend and 6 medals. Some good racing, some stupid racing. So many people told me that I am racing much better this year than last year which is always good for the motivation. I'm looking forward to Nats in August.

RR: Masters' States - Day 1

This weekend is Masters' States and my goals are to ride faster times than I did last year at this event. Last year it was about 3 weeks later in the season too.

Today: Sprints and pursuits

For the sprints, everyone did a flying 200m to get a time to then set up the brackets.  Going up an age group didn't mean fewer women. Instead, the 50-54 AG has the most women entered over all of the events. Very cool to see! And, it includes the national champion in a couple of events, so I have my work cut out for me.

I only have the wheels that came on my bike, which are good training wheels, but not aero race wheels.  Anabell gave her deep dish front and tri spoke back tubular wheels to ride. Thanks Anabell!! Rode a decent sized gear and with the wheels, I felt like I was flying, but in the end, I was off my best time overall and off my best time for this year. Then again, everyone had slower times for the 200.  Maybe due to a bit of wind?

Qualifying: Lorraine was first, me second, Dorrit 3rd.


Me v. Dorrit

Ride #1.  I beat Dorrit to the line and then got relegated!!! I was told that I came out of the sprinters lane. I told the head ref (whom I know) that I wanted a video replay.  Which they didn't have. Everyone said I might have come out one inch but she was way high and behind me (and I knew exactly where she was) and I didn't impede her.  I was pissed.

Ride #2. I was stupid and went way too early and was going too fast too soon and she came around me in the last 25 meters. Really pissed. At least I hit a new max speed: 31.9 mph.

Ended up 3rd.


Long break and back on the track to warm up for the pursuit. Changed gear, rode some, changed gear again. Decisions, decisions!! It seemed like the wind was picking up so I went with the same gear that I'd ridden in the one-on-one sprints. Good choice.

The 2K pursuit is 6 laps on our track. One person starts on one side of the track and the other person starts on the other side of the track and you ride against the clock. When everyone has finished, the fastest time wins. I got a decent start and stayed standing all the way through the turn until I thought my legs would spin off. Sat down and kept pedaling at that speed and effort. I came across the finish line for lap 1 and looked at my speedo and it said 27.x mph and I thought to myself, yikes! That's way too fast!! Like a time that would win Nationals easily. So I eased up some and still felt good. I really wish it had been a kilo as by the end of lap 3, I was ready to be finished. I tried to float my pedals to get a micro-rest, but the winds were all swirly and there didn't seem to be a good place to get a rest. Everyone was yelling to pick it up and on laps 5 and 6 I tried. Lap 5 maybe not so much, but lap 6 I think I did pick it back up some. Crossed the finish line and I felt that I went as hard as I could have. Wasn't sure of the time, but I didn't really matter as the effort had been really good.

I ended up 4th, missing 3rd by 2 seconds. But even better, the time was a personal best (and was over 10 seconds faster than last year).  Oh yeah, everyone else had aerobars and I was riding regular road bars (due to not getting my tri bars fixed in time since I thought someone was loaning me clip ons but that didn't happen. So there's the 2 seconds right there. I WILL have aerobars at Nationals.

MS-2k podium

So, good and not so good today. But the not so good was a good learning experience. Can't wait until tomorrow.

RR: Beat the Clock TTs

Yesterday at the velodrome was the Beat the Clock time trials, a fund raiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. One fun thing that they do is to open it up to road bikes and track bikes (NOT at the same time!) So this way the roadies and triathletes can check out the track. The coach had put this on my schedule and I'd done it last year, so it would be a good test. And also a chance to practice starts and the new aero helmet prior to next week's Masters States.

I was entered in 3 races but they added the 200m at the last minute, so I did that too, mostly to practice a couple of things (as riding a good 200 is somewhat technical), plus to use it as part of the warm up. I got to the track and first on the track to warm up were the road bikes, so I got on the rollers and did 10 minutes of warming up. Got off and changed cog and chainring and by then it was the track bike rider's turn to get on the track. Another 15-20 minutes of warm up on the track and I felt good to go. It was warm (not hot) and really really windy. Especially in turn 3 to 4.

First up, flying 200m:

I was the first woman to go after all the men. This was a track bike only event. I ramped it up early and was rolling pretty good through the turn but I guess in the wind you need to drop down sooner. I did keep my speed up through turns 3 and 4 and all the way to the finish. I was super happy with the effort, just not with the time, though seeing that everyone else's time was slow, the time didn't matter. Especially since I had the fastest time of the women!!  1st place.

Next up, 500m TT:

The 500m on our track is 1.5 times around and you do it from a standing start. I was about in the middle of the group of women to start and was feeling a bit nervous. Probably because I hadn't done a race with a standing start for 10 months. I didn't have my pedals in the best place to start and kind of lost focus during the countdown so I don't think I had a great start. Once I got going, again I felt really good and was able to keep it rolling the entire 1.5 laps. Again, not happy with my time, but OK with the effort.  4th place.


The coach put the kilo on the schedule and I've never done one as in official competitions only men get to do the kilo. All I knew was that it was a hard race if you do it right. Like falling over and puking hard. I didn't even know how many laps it was so I asked Warren how to approach it. He gave me some tips (and also said it was 3 laps), so I went to the start line and thought, "I'll have a PR time no matter what!" 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - whistle.....head in the game and a much better start. Got into the rhythm and the first lap went by. Float the pedals on the second lap and try to pick it up on the third lap. I felt good and kept up the cadence and crossed the line feeling good. The first thing Warren said was, "You look like a pursuiter!!" My time was pretty good I guess and again, the fastest time of the women! I like the kilo!!  1st place.

2K pursuit:

My legs were feeling a bit tired by this time, and I had no aerobars, so this was going to be--take it out somewhat hard and try to hold on.  Six laps from a standing start. This start was the worst of all for some reason, but I got it rolling and felt pretty good. Lap 2, still feeling good, but float the pedals in the turn in the wind. Keep it rolling lap 3. Float the pedals again in lap 4. Around lap 5 I get passed by the State Time Trial Champion and I used her to lift my speed and keep it lifted. Lap 6 was probably the fastest lap of the entire 2K. Pretty tired when I finished. 6th place.

Got on the rollers and did a cool down. Very fun day and very happy with my riding.

RR: Tuesday Night Racing 06/23/09

Nice and warm to start. A little windy, but that died down some. Alternate Tuesdays are women-specific races with an emphasis on beginner women and Cat. 4 women so we have a chance to race against our peers, instead of the Cat. 2 women or the men. Thanks Michael for putting these races on! Last night we had fifteen women, split into two groups, with a few people doing both A1 and A2 scratch or points races.

8 lap Scratch:
We rolled off the rail and in my group were a number of the gals who had done the beginner women's camp last month. There was one gal who is training for multiple century rides so she has good fitness and another gal has been road racing and time trialing all spring, so she has really good fitness. Nearly the entire group (8 people?) stayed together for most of the 8 laps. I was using the first race mostly as a harder warmup and with two laps to go, things sped up quite a bit. I was able to stay with the front few and the Tina and Maryanne pulled away at the end of the last lap and someone pulled a little ahead of me for 3rd. I got 4th. Felt pretty good, especially breathing-wise. Hard to breathe in the last two laps when we ramped it up to 27-28 mph. First couple of laps were to shake things out, then the middle 4 laps were about 23-24 mph. A good warm up!

Match Sprint #1:
3-up with Elizabeth and new gal Casey. Elizabeth and I have match sprinted against each other quite a few times in the past month. I started out in the middle with Elizabeth in front and Casey behind. We got to just before turn 3 and I slowed way down and Casey went by and both of them were ahead of me and I let them get a 2-3 bike length gap and in the middle of the turn I stood up and hit the gas as hard as I could go and was gone before they could react. Rode like hell for a lap and eased up in turn 4, then I could hear everyone yelling that Elizabeth was gaining, so I picked it up. Win!  Afterwards everyone there said it was a great ride. Very happy about this one.

12 lap Points, sprint every 4:
Pretty much the same group as the scratch race. I knew to watch Maryanne and Tina and pretty much stuck with the group. On the first bell I got gapped a little, but was able to get up for 4th. 1 point scored!  We then regrouped and I forget what happened on the second sprint. Tina went early (one lap before the bell lap) and stayed away. Maryann tried to follow her but went too late, then everyone else went and I think I got 5th on the last sprint. So either 5th or 6th overall maybe. Michael didn't have the points totaled and I'm not sure. Points racing involves a lot of math on the fly, so I'm not yet up to speed on that aspect of racing. I was happy that I scored at least once, as this would be only the second time ever that I've scored any points in a points race.

Match Sprint #2: 
2-up with Casey
For this one, my plan was to go early. Got just an OK jump, but rode hard for the lap and a half. Win!

Next was some Madison practice for the boys, but Daniel wasn't there and since I'm not very experienced at throwing/getting thrown, I just rode around to stay loose.

Match Sprint #3:
2-up with Elizabeth.
Legs were starting to get tired, but overall I felt pretty good. She took the back and so I led out and was doing a good job keeping an eye on her. But then just before turn 4, I'd been looking left and had drifted down below the blue/stayer's line and I wanted to get a little higher so I had my front wheel turned just a tiny bit too much up track and she saw that and took off, and by the time I got going she was gone. DAMMIT! I was gaining on her at the end, but she'd gotten too good of a jump. I was moving pretty good though, especially going into turn 3….my back wheel skipped and I was flying. So I feel good about all of it except for that little mental lapse. And to give her credit….she's been a very good student, always asking me questions when we ride and then putting different things to good use. I'll have to stop giving her my secrets!!

After that we packed up and the 5 Mice who were there went for Mexican food. A very fun evening and some good racing.


WOMEN'S OMNIUM 1 (15 riders)
















Marianne Hernandez


Bike Club







Tina Huang








Cathy Morgan

Team Roaring Mouse







Kathryn Grass









Angela Aldrich








Rubi Ramirez




RR: Low-Key Racing

Keith puts on an occasional low-key racing day where the goal is to get some racing in, try new things and use it for a training day. No official results are kept and there is no set race schedule--make it up as we go, depending on who shows up. Yesterday was sunny, warm (high 74), very windy (16-17 mph, gusting to 24 mph according the Natl. Weather Service website) and the turnout was about 8 in my group and 6-8 guys in the "A" group. I goofed around and didn't get there until late, right when the paceline warm up was starting, so I changed and jumped on the track, just as they were starting. We did thirty laps, I think. I had 20 minutes on my computer. At the end we were doing 23-24 mph. Felt pretty good, but cotton mouth (from the new asthma meds).

Keith divided us up into two groups (A and B). I was in the B group with 3 other gals, junior Zeke that we've raced with a lot, a younger junior kid, a new guy I don't know (New Guy #1 - "NG1") and one more guy that has been out there some (though he may have done the first couple of races in the A group). Changed gearing to race gearing.

Race #1:  handicapped scratch race (I forget how many laps, 7 or 8 maybe?)
The two juniors had a headstart (young junior on the rail with us, one lap up, Zeke a half lap up). I told Keith that was way too much of a lead for Zeke. It was. He kept his half lap and maybe added to it. Young junior fell off the pace pretty quick and the other 5 of us stayed together the entire time, working together to try to catch Zeke. Until the bell, the it was sprint on. I came around and dropped into the pole and held off everyone until about 3 inches before the line where NG1 caught me. Damn! Keith said it was only a couple of inches. So, second in the group sprint, 3rd overall with the handicap.

Race #2:  handicapped win & out, 6 laps then the bell.
Keith changed the handicaps--None to Zeke, young junior with a full lap, Katie with about 1/4 lap. Start was from the rail and start right off (no rolling around to turn 3). Well, I got a crappy start off the rail and Zeke in his junior gearing and ability to spin about 140 rpm was gone. Everyone was chasing him and the group got all split up pretty quick. I ended up riding solo the whole way. My legs felt terrible! I couldn't get the gear to turn over and I was thinking, "Is this a 49x14?????"  [A way bigger gear] I actually checked after the race (it wasn't).  DNP (did not place)

Race #3:  Chariot race 
Group 1: 4 people
Got a bit of a push from Ted and I had a good 500M start! I immediately pulled away and kept the hammer down. Legs felt great on this one! WIN!!!!!    ;-)

Race #4:  Keirin (with MarkR as the 2-legged motor)
Zeke jumped on Mark's wheel and I stuck like glue to Zeke. When Mark pulled off, it was Zeke, me and "one more guy-OMG". I knew that Zeke was going to go when Mark pulled off so I was ready and I stuck with him. He pulled up track in turn 3 and I stayed in the pole lane. OMG tried to come around me but I went with him, keeping him high, but that also meant that I was taking the wind too. Then he got a bit ahead of me and Zeke was right on his wheel and Zeke went around him for the win. I couldn't get around either of them and eased up a little bit and NG1 came up on me and I think I held him off for 3rd. NOTE TO SELF:  Never let up until after the finish line!

Race #5: Two-man pursuit (coed), 6 laps
By this time, a number of people were finished for the day, but there were 4 of us from the B group left so we split into coed teams and did a 6 lap pursuit. Katie and OMG v. me and NG1. We started on the front side from the rail and were rolling about 23-24 mph. Each time we came by, Keith gave us a status update. We were ahead but kept having to push hard to stay ahead. We creeped up to high 24s and maybe hit 25 mph. We'd been doing 1/2 lap pulls from the start and when we got to 1.5 laps to go, I gasped out for NG1 to take a full lap pull if he could. So he did and then I was able to slightly recover and we picked it up the last 100 meters. We won. And if I was going to have an asthma issue, this would have been the race. But, I felt OK, so I was pretty happy about that. 

Luckily, I recovered pretty quick for....

Race #6: MATCH SPRINT!   v. Katie
She won the toss and picked front position. Fine with me!!  We rolled out and I stayed behind her a good bike length, shadowing her every move. Then with 1.25 laps to go, she picked up the pace and I jumped and held her off the rest of the way. WIN!!!  ;-)   Happy with this. Rode smart and had a decent jump and kept it rolling.

That was it. Cooled down and helped Keith put everything away and then came home. Lots of fun. Thanks Keith!

RR: Sprint Tournament #3

Sunny, warm (75F+), very windy

17 people.

I got there fairly early and WIN #1....I changed the cog by myself!! Small victories, you know.

I did about 15 minutes in the warm up gear with one jump and then changed to the race gear and did another 10 minutes with two short jumps. Legs felt pretty good, but I was a little concerned about the wind (normal turn 2-3 headwind but strong, probably the strongest wind I've felt there in a long time). 

Flying 200 to set the brackets: I started out OK, first lap go easy, float the pedals, don't use any extra energy. Second lap, pick it up and get speed up earlier. I knew I sat down too early and was thinking about that so my line wasn't the best. Pedaled like hell and tried to hold it. Max speed was 30.3 mph. 200 time: 15.08. That put me 15th out of 17. Everyone's time was slower today though and Kevin thought about 1/2 second average off the last sprint tourney. Goal had been to break 15, so oh-so-close. Race wheels or less wind? Probably. Que sera, sera.

Today's format was a double-elimination, divided into two groups. I was seed #7/9 in the second group. Changed gears to a bit smaller gear.

First round: Me, Kelly (#1 seed), Tracey (? seed)

I knew that both of them were a lot faster than me and both had better jumps, so John told me to go early. We rolled out and I was in the back, Kelly in front and Tracey in the middle. Between turn 3-4, Kelly faked going early but then he went up high and I took off and Kelly didn't pass me until just before turn 3 on the last lap and Tracey came around me coming out of turn 4. Rode hard and felt pretty good about this one.

Second round: Me, Elizabeth (#9), Dorrit (#8)

I rolled off the rail in second position and was keeping an eye on Dorrit and Elizabeth got a pretty good jump as I'd let her get a little too far ahead. I chased and got on her wheel and coming out of turn 4 I moved up on her hip, but I couldn't get past her. Another 25 meters, and I think I would have. I didn't ride smart. Not winning that round meant I was out of the tournament.

But instead of that being the end of the day, Kevin did some other matches in between the official tournament matches. Elizabeth, Dorrit and I had another 3-up and this time I rolled off the rail in the front and kept the speed up from the start and between turn 3-4, I slowed WAY down, almost to a stop and made both of them go by me. Once they did, I jumped and held them both off. Very happy with this effort. I think I played it smart and did pretty much everything right. Best effort of the day.

Kevin called another match up between me and Tracey but she had to get home. So instead, Kevin asked me if I wanted to do another 200. Sure! I kept it in the smaller gear to see what difference it made. This effort was much better technically, but my time was slower (15.4). One thing I'm really happy with is that I don't think I slowed down in the second 100m. It would have been interesting to have the times of the first 100 and the second 100 to see.

Called it a day after that and did a cool down.

The good news: Legs felt good after having cement block legs on Tuesday and Wednesday and then a couple of days total rest. And asthma issues were minimal. Coughing after every effort, but nothing during. So I'm happy about that. Also, my knee, which has been hurting when walking or even sitting (but never riding), felt great today!

RR: Get Ready For Summer #4 (Velodrome)

Warm and sunny and breezy with a lot of allergy crap in the air.
10 people in the "C" category--4 women, 1 junior and 5 men.
Started with a fairly big gear (51x15).

Close to a 30 minute warm up with two jumps in the 51x16, then another two in the 51x15. Got in the paceline for about 6 laps before swapping gears. Felt pretty good in the warm up.

Race #1: Keirin (this is the race behind the motorcycle for 3 laps, then he pulls off and it's 1.5 lap sprint)

Not sure how Rick divided up the heats, but I ended up in the first heat with Alyssa, new gal who is really strong, young Zeke, who is improving every week and 3 guys. The usual moto driver is out so there is a new guy and he's still learning. He ramped us up really fast to 28-30 mph instead of hitting that on his last lap. We were flying from the start! At the start, I'd drawn position #2 which is what I wanted. Alyssa had never done a start like this (you are pushed or thrown) and Gio pushed her hard....right into me. We didn't hit, or if we did it wasn't much, but I had to scrub off speed and go down track, so I was playing catch up and got on the back of the group. Then the speed ramped up fast and I was hanging on and when the motor pulled off, the three guys sprinted away from me, Alyssa and Zeke, so I just sat up as only 2 went automatically to the final and the rest of us went to the repechage.

Rep ride:  I drew #6, at the top of the track. Not my favorite spot. Start was OK. Zeke on the motor, Katie behind him, Alyssa behind Katie and I sat off Katie's shoulder. Again, he ramped it up pretty fast and about 4 laps in, I started to not be able to breathe so well and ended up having an asthma attack. Rode it in and off the bike and I got the inhaler and started to feel better and figured there was time to recover to do the next race.

Race #2: Scratch 15 laps

The race started out fast, but slowed down and sped up and they kept doing that the entire race. About 5 laps in, I had another asthma attack and really couldn't breathe and came off the track and about coughed a lung up. Zeke's dad came over to see if I was OK as did a couple of other people. I finally quit coughing and thought about bagging the rest of the races, but instead, I switched to the 51x16 and figured I'd do at least the Miss&Out and it might be a short race, so no problem.

Race #3: Miss & Out (10 riders)  [Every lap the last person across the line is pulled out of the race. Think musical chairs on bikes.]

Rolling off the rail, I went straight to the pole and stayed there. First sprint, easy, not really a sprint, just picked it up a little and hey, I'm still here! Second sprint, about the same. Third sprint, a little harder, but damn, I'm still here! Fourth sprint, getting harder, but still OK. Fifth sprint, how many are left???? Had to pick it up. Sixth sprint, I just got pipped at the line! Ended up 5th. One Ominum point!! Salvaged the day.

Race #4: Snowball 12 laps

I wasn't going to do this race but I'd felt better in the M&O, so I decided to do it. I also wasn't sure how the race worked, except that every lap the points increased. Matt explained how it worked (yes, increasing points each lap, but points only to the first person across the line, everyone else gets a big, fat zero) and we rolled out and I was again in the pole on the front. On the first lap coming out of turn 4 I decided to jump early as everyone seemed to be sitting around and I held off Katie for the point! The speed then picked up as one of the stronger guys took off and everyone tried to chase and I got gapped as I didn't want to bury myself and go into "unable to breathe" mode. But Rick and Matt kept yelling at me to ride hard to stay away from getting lapped and so I rode a hard pursuit, but unfortunately, I got caught with 2 laps to go. Damn! Ended up throwing up at the end of that race. Rick later told me how the race works and that if I'd stayed away and not gotten lapped, then I would have ended up 4th. Nuts! 

I rode two very smart races. Tactically really good. Now if I just had the legs/lungs to go with the tactics!

RR: Get Ready For Summer #3 (Velodrome)

Another super hot day today, but I felt good this morning. Managed my hydration really well yesterday and last night. High of 95F yesterday and 96F today. Winds today were 12-16 mph according to the weather service website.

Warmed up in the warm up gear. My legs were a little sore but overall felt ok. After about 10 minutes, I jumped into the paceline which was ranging from 21 mph up to 25 mph. I felt pretty good and my legs were spinning fast. After 20 minutes total, I went to get something to drink and switched to race gear and did another 10 minutes, with two 100 meter jumps. Then it was time to get off the track. 

First races were the keirin (which we didn't get to do--bummer as I like that race). Instead, I turned the lap cards. After the keirin heats, it was the C guys' race, then our Win & Out. There were 11 women there for the Cat. 3/4 races.

Win & Out: I had no plan. Just see how I felt. We rolled out and did the two laps (or 3?), then the bell and one person took a flyer and won and was out, then the next bell lap and two people had a bit of a gap and the first across the line was 2nd and out, then the last lap and the sprint was on and 2 people got a gap but the rest of us were right there. Coming around turn 4 I saw the 2 with the gap and then one ahead a bit and I pedaled a ~little~ harder and nipped her at the line. I crossed the finish line and thought to myself, "Did I just get 5th?" I was pretty happy about that. Went to the tent and asked Annabell--did I get 5th? Yes. Yea! Made my legs hurt less.   ;-)

10-lap scratch: We were rolling around and the speed wasn't too high, maybe 21 mph and I'd been on the front some, but had moved up high. With 3 laps to go in turn 3, someone sped up and then everyone sped up and two people bumped hips (or hip/elbow). Not a hard hit, just a little bump. Not exactly sure what happened, but I hear the sound of a crash to my left and behind. Luckily for everyone else only one person went down and she didn't take anyone else down with her. After a break, we restarted and did 3 laps. The 3 laps were pretty fast from the whistle and I ended up 5th again. Super happy!!! Legs hurt again, but maybe not as much when I knew I got 5th.  

Miss & Out: I had a plan. Wednesday night my teammate had told me next time to take the pole and just stay there. So I did, riding right on the red line so no one could go underneath me and keeping an eye to the right on anyone coming up from the outside. There were 10 of us in the race and first person out, no problem, just riding tempo. Second out, again no problem. Speed had picked up a bit. Third out, I had to pick it up in the last 50 meters, but once across the line, I floated the pedals to get a little break. Next out, faster, but still in control of the field. Next out, getting harder. Next time around, I didn't get the pedals moving fast enough soon enough and just got pipped at the line. 5th again! 

Points Race: 15 laps, points every 5. Legs were pretty tired and loaded up by this time. The first 5 laps were OK and I think I was 6th in the sprint (the first 4 had a gap and only the first 4 get points, so I eased up a bit in the last 30 meters). The next 3 laps I started pedaling squares and then the next sprint, gone off the back of the bunch. The last 5 laps I caught on to another one of the gals and we traded half-lap pulls and if we'd had another couple of laps, we might have caught back on. I ended up 8th, but that was good enough to cement my 5th place in the omnium. The first step towards a Cat. 3 upgrade.

Omnium haul: A bottle of Testarossa wine, a bag of Clif and Builder Bars, SportVelo socks and Peets coffee certificates.  Thanks Rick and the sponsors!! A totally great day.GRFS schwag

RR: Sprint Tournament #1

Today was a sprint tournament at the velodrome.  Two people (or sometimes 3) going head to head against each other. Like you see in the Olympics.

Weather: Sunny, warm, windy! I got to the track at noon and got on there and did about 20 minute warmup in the small gears, including two 100 meter efforts. It was windy but the wind was coming a little different than usual. It was almost blowing straight in from the west, hitting you face on as you came around turn 3 and then really blowing hard into turn 4. After the two efforts, I changed to the bigger gear that the coach had told me to ride. 

Warm up finished and Kevin called the order to do the 200s (you do a flying 200 for time in order to set all the brackets). I was 5th to go out of 23. I tried to ramp it up and hold the speed and think about not sitting down hard, but my legs felt like jello and I was going pretty fast and I couldn't really stand up that long, and then coming out of turn 4 I felt like I was pedaling squares, so I didn't really think I did very well. Boy was I surprised to see a 15.68. Very happy with that as that's the fastest time of 2009 so far.

The seeding ended up being 4 groups of 5 or 6, everyone grouped by similar times, and I was in group 4 with Pam and Mary Ellen from the camp I did a few weeks ago and then two junior boys, one more experienced and the other only 12 or 13 and fairly inexperienced. The first match up was a 3-up with me, Pam and Mary Ellen. Mary Ellen and I were side by side behind Pam for most of the first lap. Turn 1 on the second lap, Pam jumps and Mary Ellen is right behind her, but I was right on Mary Ellen's wheel! I was a little surprised (and very happy) and I stuck with them and came around Mary Ellen, but couldn't get past her. Pam won, Mary Ellen second and me third, but only about 1/2 bike length behind. I was VERY happy about that. Legs felt GOOD! Not all jiggy like the 200.

Second match was me and Zeke, the 12/13 year old. The mentor told him to stay on my wheel no matter what I did (and he/mentor told me that and said to do whatever I planned to do). I rolled out and went just over walking pace (you are required to go at least walking pace for the first 100 meters) and was going to try to get him to come around me, but he did as he was told and got on my hip, but not around. Then in the middle of turn 3-4, I got stung by something, which was a pain! Don't stop pedaling! Coming out of turn 1 the second time, I jumped high and he was pretty quick and got the pole lane and he had a pretty good turnover and I thought no way was he going to beat me so I pedaled harder in the turn and came down the finishing straight and beat him, but he made me work for it. Legs felt GOOD again!

Third match, a 3-up with me, Zeke and other junior, Andrew. I was behind both of them off the rail and coming around the second time, Andrew and Zeke were pretty high when Andrew jumped. I was far enough behind them that I could dive down and take the pole lane and had Zeke beat and Andrew had to come around me, but he didn't come around me until the last 50-60 meters and then, I almost held him off, but he beat me by less than 1/2 wheel. Again, my legs felt good (not GOOD), but I was very happy with all three efforts.

Super great day. I can't wait for the next one.

RR: Get Ready For Summer #1 (Velodrome)

Today was the first official day of racing at the track--Get Ready for Summer, 4 races and people were split into A, B, and C groups. A=Pro, Cat. 1 and stronger 2s, B=Cat. 2 and 3 and C=Cat. 4 and 5 and track beginners, so a strong rider will start out as a C, but may get moved up quickly to a B if he isn't a crap rider. Sometimes women and juniors get our own race. Not today, mixed sex for Cs and Bs.

I got there and warmed up for about 20 minutes in the warm up gear. I then flipped my wheel to the other cog (bigger gear). My coach told me to use 88" gearing today (for a comparison, Mr. Harrington, had he been there would have been at least 90, if not 92, I'm guessing. I must have been confused as to what gearing I had on, well, actually, I didn't really think about it, and did another 10 minutes with 2x100m efforts (sprint as hard as you can from a very slow start). Felt pretty good! Weather was low 60s and a little breezy on the backstraight (I had arm warmers on, no leg warmers and later shed the arm warmers).

First race was the keirin (you get a push into the start and ride behind the motorcycle for 5 laps, then with 1.5 laps to go, the motor pulls off and it's a drag race to the finish. Position #1 at the start has the responsibility to take first position behind the motor). I was in Group C which had 15 people, 3 junior girls (two are fairly strong riders and the other I rode with most of last year), Katie--Cat. 3 on the road, me, +65 year old Joe , another guy who I raced with a lot last year, some girl I don't know, then about 7 guys, all new to racing on the track (one was one of my teammates). They had split us into 2 heats and I was in there with Gerry, two strong guys and two juniors and another guy. I drew 5th spot and Johnny, my holder, gave me a great start and I slotted in 3rd behind the motor (15 mph to start, ramping up to 25 mph). I sat easily behind the first two guys and felt good, even when we got up to when the motor pulled off. I stayed third until right before the last time into turn 3 and then Gerry came around me and he and the other two guys got a gap, but I held on for 4th in the heat. Last year I would have been last and off the back the minute the motor pulled off. Actually, I would have been last off the start line and maybe never caught up to the group. So I was pretty happy with the race.

Afterwards, I look at my gearing and oops, it was 92 inches, not 88! But it felt good and no wonder I was hanging in! But Tim loaned me a 49 chainring and he put on the 15 cog, so I had the 88" for the rest of the day like I was supposed to. For some reason, I thought that since I didn't get top 2 in my heat, then I was finished with keirin, but then Matt is reading the list for the rep round and I hear my name and crap, get on the bike and get ready! I forgot about the rep rides to try and get to the final. John was again my holder and I pulled #1 position. Not my favorite place to be. Another decent start though and I tried to let unknown girl take the motor, but no, I had to take it. Again, sitting on the motor wasn't too bad, even with the smaller gear. When the motor pulled off, I picked it up some, but couldn't hold it the lap and a half. Not sure where I finished, but not last. So much better than any time last year!!!  But no keirin final for me.

Next race was scratch race, 15 laps (at the end of 15 laps, first across the line wins). 15 C riders to start. Well, from the get-go, this was a totally sketchy race with some questionable riding. After about 5 laps I didn't like the way things were going and had a bad feeling, so I slid to the back and off the track and went up to Rick and said I wasn't going to race with some of those guys and put my bike up and went to go to the bathroom. I'm outside the fence on the way to the bathroom and shit, CRASH. I KNEW IT! Two ambulances and tonight Joe is in surgery. Hope he's OK.

Anyway, after a long delay, they re-do the C scratch race and I get talked into getting back in it after seeing who was actually going to race. It was shortened to 5 laps, so it was fast from the gun and there were only about 8 or 9 of us. My legs were dead from sitting around so long and Taylor and I got spit out the back after about 3 laps, so we just rode it in.

Next race: Miss-n-Out. After one lap to start, the race is on and each time across the finish line, the last person across [measured by the BACK wheel] is out of the race. When you get to the last 3 people, it's a 2 or 3 lap sprint for 1st, 2nd and 3rd (I forget as I've never gotten this far....YET!) The number of total laps will depend on how many people are in the race. We had 9 starters and my goal was to not be the first person out. We rolled out and I rode just inside the sprinters line (down towards the bottom of the track) which meant no one could come underneath (inside) me and on the first out, I was placed well, probably first across the line. Next time around, OK, still in, cross in top half of group. The third time around, Kira went around me and got in front of me and I got boxed in down on the inside and just barely got nipped at the line since I couldn't sprint since there was someone in front and to the right of me, with out of bounds to the left. So, 7th out of 9. Happy with that, but not happy with getting boxed in. Next time I'll try a different tactic.

Last race: Points race. Due to the crash and delay, our race got shortened to 12 laps, points (sprint) every 4th lap, down from 15 laps and points every 5. How it works is that points are given to the first 4 across the line for each sprint--5 points for 1st, 3 for 2nd, 2 for 3rd and 1 for 4th, then add the points at the end and whomever has the most points, wins. Lap the field, gain +20 points, get lapped, -20 points. The people who were left were all pretty fast so my goal was to just hang on and see how long I could stay with the pack. First 3 laps were OK, then the bell and I'm hanging off the back but then there's a little gap in the wind and I couldn't close it. Taylor was even further back so she and I rode together the rest of the way, doing 1/2 lap exchanges, riding hard and we made it our goal to not let them catch and lap us. Goal accomplished.

Afterwards, cool down and swapped out the gears for tomorrow, then we went to a very late lunch. At the end of the day, the comment to me was, "You are riding SO much better this year."  I feel like I am too so I'm pretty happy.


Today's cross race was so darned fun! Small fields due to nats and maybe the weather forecast scared some people off. No +35 women at all, but all of the +45 womens were there. Location: Ft. Ord, on the interior where the dirt is really sandy. They sent us off up the long hill (about 1/3 mile long) and I'd thought about bringing the single speed and racing it but then I remembered how many hills there were at this location and thought better of it. Instead, just deal with the sandy trails with the cross bike. Good call. Rod lined us up and said the elite gals would do 5 laps and the +45s would go off with the Bs and do 4 laps and the Cs go after and do 3 laps. Hmmm, 4 times up that hill? Rod said to me, "Or, use course management and get lapped and then you only have to do 3." I told him, "No, I will do my best and we'll see how it goes." (I've been lapped by the winner of the +45s in nearly every race.) We were off and it was a sprint up the hill and about 2/3rds of the way, I'm dropped. Just ride my pace and keep pushing. Get to the top where there is a barrier. Over the barrier and some words of encouragement from Johnny C and others. Back on the bike and down the path and around to the next barrier where a couple of guys were cheering and ringing a cowbell the entire race ("We love to see you suffer!" Thanks guys.) Down more single track and then back near the finish where there was a fast downhill with a sweeping right turn and then a hard left turn. The first couple of times, I was pretty cautious here but eventually got to where I wasn't riding the brakes the whole way. [I KNOW! DON'T BRAKE! Working on this!] A down/up and then up a short, steep hill and across the field and another barrier then some back and forths and just a quick little bit on the road, then more back and forths and over the double telephone pole, then down past the finish and yet another barrier (5 in total) and uphill run/carry the bike and a 180 degree, then down the hill and start the next lap. I passed the finish and Rod said, "Two to go." Two? That means three total, not four laps. But then I heard a laugh and, "Oh, I mean 3 to go." Not funny! The top three elite gals pass me somewhere along the line and I get around to the finish line after 3 laps and Rod is smiling and says, "One more!" So off I go for lap number 4. My fellow +45s never did pass me, so I was extremely happy about this. I ended up 4th (out of 4) and should have cemented my 3rd place in the series. I'm very much looking forward to the finale in January. Race and party after! We had perfect weather--overcast and cool with just a few sprinkles. I got loaded up and got into the truck and it started raining and has been raining ever since.



Yesterday was the biggest cross race in the San Francisco area and right ~in~ San Francisco in Golden Gate Park. The venue and course was just incredible and we had a BEAUTIFUL day, sunny and in the low 70s. Yea, not typical cross weather, but fine by me.

Since one can never have too many bikes and since I'd just gotten a new bike and had taken it to the park on Saturday to pre-ride the course and get a second ride on it, Paule talked into racing Sunday on it. It was only my 4th ride on the single speed and I've never raced a cross race on a single speed, so it was going to be a learning, fun time. And I was sure I'd be last, but what the hell. Race, drink beer, have fun.

The Women's C race had 30 entrants, which is a big field! They called up the top 10 and then the rest of us lined up, with teammate Brooke and I towards the back. We also had about 4 other Mice in the race.

I got to the park later than I wanted to and still had to swap out pedals, so I was running real late. Warm up? Who needs a warm up. Thanks to Rocklobster mechanic Ryan and my bike guy Stef for getting the pedals sorted. The guys in the registration line were nice enough to let me jump ahead and I got entered, pinned and time enough to do a quick sprint to the bathrooms.

I do have to thank teammate Brooke for pushing me during the race. We lined up at the back and the group was off at the whistle and I was a little surprised that I was able to stick with the pack up the long straight (about 1/4 mile). I was sure I would get dropped immediately and be last. But there I was, right in the mix. Then came the right hand turn off the pavement, through a little sand and roots and EVERYONE IS STOPPED AND FREAKING ABOUT THE SAND. Get the hell out of the way! Now really, if you can't ride through the little sand, do you think you can just start out from a dead stop trying to ride in the sand? No. Those big, fat tires gave me a fleeting thought to ride right over some people, but I didn't and we were finally off again, but the front of the field was already down the trail.

The course curved around down a path, then back near the road, and then another turn and down through more sand, then dirt, the through a big sand pit. The trick was to ride hard through the sand and try to float the uphill just after (which leveled out and then there was a second, shorter, but still steep uphill. On Saturday, I never did get up the first uphill. About 3/4 of the way up was the furthest I got.) Race day, the first time through the big sand pit I blasted it but had to scrub speed a lot coming out of it since there was another jam up of riders on the uphill, so it was off the bike on the first hill, back on the bike and power up the second hill. Burned a few matches riding up the second hill, so ran it the other two times. Nothing of note the rest of the lap, just go go go. Some single track, some fire road, three areas of barriers, pot smoking onlookers, beer drinking cross fans, dogs, kids, lots of people.

The second time through the big sand pit I was alone and I hit it hard and almost made it up the first hill. Close!

The third time through the sand pit was again slow. I'd scrubbed some speed before the sand pit to let a junior (the leader and eventual winner) get by me before the hill so I wouldn't slow him down. Rest of the course--no problems. Hit the downhills hard, which is a big deal for me.

Came off the last barrier for the last time and I hit the finishing straight and rode as hard as I could in case there was someone behind me and crossed the line really tired, but totally psyched. I beat people! Not last!! A good day!

Man, racing on the single speed was hard, but it was a BLAST! And I am a badass. At least according to one of the spectators (said when he noticed that I was on a SS.). Made my day. (I'm easily amused.)


You must do the thing you think you cannot do.___Eleanor Roosevelt

Ole Eleanor's quote fits quite well with yesterday's race.

CCCX is my favorite series--fun races, good competition, the best race director. Courses that aren't super-duper technical, but challenging.  Yesterday was race #5 in Prunedale, CA, a venue I missed last year. For those not in NorCal, Prunedale is right at 101 where you turn off to go over to Monterrey.

I drove down to the park and drove in up a huge hill, into the parking lot, parked and walked over to register. I race at 12:30 and the 10:00 AM race had already started. As I'm walking to reg, an ambulance goes by up the hill. Uh-oh, not good. I get registered and Katy is over across the way doing feed for a couple of teammates and I go over to talk to her and check out the parts of the course that you can see from there when all of a sudden, people are yelling, "MEDIC! WE NEED A MEDIC DOWN HERE!"  Shite! What the heck now? One ambulance had already gone up the hill to the back side of the course and rumor had it, "...some guy crashed and snapped his leg above the ankle." HELL!  Over at the fence (split-rail, wood), the guy in the lead had his front wheel wash out in the dirt and the bike went left and he went right and his head/face hit the fence so I guess there was a lot of blood and he knocked himself out. So another ambulance and off he went to the hospital (he's OK--just pretty sore and banged up and a concussion, but he posted to the local ccx list last night). All this in less than 20 minutes from my arrival! Needless to say, I was a little freaked out about racing!

There was a long delay, so Ed took me out on a recon of the course. The start up the hill on the road, swing around onto the grass and over the barriers. Onto the dirt and then an off-camber curve and up a short rise, then past some ball fields and back onto the dirt and down and a 90-degree left, then a 180-degree right and over more barriers. Still on the dirt and a slight downhill and then back up and then pick up the speed since there was a right turn and a short, steep uphill. On the first try, I was going way too slow to make it up. Crest that hill and then down and curve around right and up another hill and then a sharp, short downhill, but with a sharp left turn, all in some choppy, rutted hard pack. I got off and ran the bike down that hill and never did ride that downhill in 6 laps. Back on the bike and down a long, gradual hill which flattened out and went through some sand, then down and a right hand off-camber curve and up a little and a sudden dismount and jump over a downed log. Back on the bike and over a little bump (where you could catch some air if you tried), then through some trees and then another turn and another gradual downhill, but rough dirt, then a hard left and a drop-off and down a long hill.

The first time though, I stopped and started to stress as this was exactly like the big hill that freaked me out last year when I met Ben, one of my current teammates, when he stopped because he'd ridden by for about 4 laps and I hadn't moved. I knew that if I was going to race, I'd have to go down the hill and I made myself do it, just really slowly. Down the hill and onto the flat and around the baseball field and to the big hill run up. Off the bike and carry the bike up the hill, then down again in the dirt, along the fence where the second guy had crashed. Back onto the ball field and then through the gate and back onto the road and up the hill to do it all again.

There 5 of us in the Women's +45 division. We lined up and my only goals were to (1) finish--preferably upright and maintain my series standing, and (2) ride down that long hill. The elite women went off, then 35+ women and my group were off. It was a sprint up the hill and I just rode my own race. My foot felt much better on the dismounts, so that was good. I got through the first single track before the B and C groups caught me and once they got by, it was just ride steady and work on skills. So far, so good. But, the second time up the short, steep hill, I carried enough speed to clear the hill, but my front wheel came up and off the ground. Yiyiyi!!! I could just see myself falling over backwards and conking the back of my head on the ground, so the rest of the laps, I rode up, but not over, and put a foot down. Still no riding down the short, steep, left hand at the bottom turn. But I got to the drop off hill and I only hesitated a little, and each time I got more and more comfortable at going down it so by the last time, I didn't even slow down. A big win for me!

Over on the back side of the baseball field, I passed Yvonne who was running and carrying her bike. She'd rolled a tubie and had to run her bike to the pit to get her other bike. Each time past the finish line, Rod would say good job and keep going until finally, "Only one more lap!" Sweet words to hear! By the last lap, it was starting to be fun and I made it around, keeping the rubber side down.

I ended up 4th of 5 and am still 3rd in the series. 

For a look at pure fear...



Last night I left the cross race and came home, unloaded the truck, unpacked, showered, repacked for today's cross race and hit the bed. Up early and I rolled down to Ft. Ord solo since teammate Hank bailed on racing (smart move after racing twice Saturday and having a little dust up with a car on Friday) and met up with teammate Bev, Don and family. Teammate Timmy was there racing and Katy was feeding. But where the heck was everyone else? Anyway... It was HOT and it was sunny. I love hot and sunny for the bike usually, but hot, sunny and really dusty was a little much. The masters men took off and a bunch of the gals took off behind them to pre-ride the course. It was an uphill (does Rod and Keith ever do anything else?) start on the road and then into the dirt/sand. About a quarter mile and a double barrier. My foot/toe is still sore and getting off the bike and landing on my right foot hurts, as does running, and since I haven't figured out to dismount 1-legged, it was get off slow and walk over the barriers. Back on and up the long hill in the dirt. One of the other gals got sideways and had to clip out and I was behind her and also had to step down and walk up the rest of the hill (at least we were near the top). Then came the big sand downhill. In the past, this hill has freaked me out. Today on the first trip down, I rode 3/4 of the way and then had to put a foot down. I got started again and through. Yea me! Into the single track and this part was FUN! Out of the single track and another double barrier near the road. Onto and off the road and around the corner and another set of barriers. It was then a long uphill then downhill on the road. Yea! About a mile (?), then back onto the trail and a hard right and then into a little sand pit. Well, this one was a little more difficult to ride and of the 5 times through (2 pre-ride and 3 laps in the race), I never did make it through this part. Up the incline and then two sets of barriers uphill just far enough apart that you had to run (or walk in my case) between them. It was then a 180-degree turn and back down the hill through the dirt/sand and onto the road, past the finish line and then back onto dirt and another loop. The first time through on the pre-ride, I was almost to the double set of barriers near the end of the loop and my back wheel was kind of fishtailing some. What the hell? I stopped and a flat tire! Well, an omen! My foot hurt and a flat....I shouldn't race. I walked the bike over to the finish area where Katy and Don were and Don said it must be an omen. But then Bev shows up and says she has a tube in the car and Don would change the tire so I"m racing. OK. Since today's fields were smaller than normal (except the women's 45+), Rod started all of us together. Off up the hill and it was more like a hard ride for me instead of a race. My goals were (1) finish and (2) ride that damned sand hill every single time. And I did. Both things. I was quite happy about all of my dirt/sand riding today. Hopefully next week I'll be more back to normal with a not so sore foot and no track racing in my legs from the day before. The race ended up being a lot of fun and I got a huge container of strawberries for 5th place.

RR: Track Elite States

My big goal for the year was track Master's Nationals and with 4 personal best times last week, I met my goals and couldn't have been more pleased. So elite state championships were kind of an afterthought. I'd been floating the idea to teammate Ashley that we could do the team sprint event, but she didn't commit until Friday. Yea! I'll pick you up Saturday morning.

The team sprint was last on the schedule and we were feeling lazy and didn't really want to take our road bikes and trainers with us to keep loose until the sprint, so we decided that we'd do the 500 TT and the keirin just for fun and the experience and to get some more riding in. We got to the track and it was cool and cloudy/foggy. Definitely not the 100F of last week! And not super dry like last week. We got registered and then onto the track and did a warm up and I could tell that my breathing was going to be an issue. "Heavy" air for sure. Luckily it warmed up some and the sun came out, so that was better, but still couldn't breathe that well. And, my legs felt "dead". Sitting on an airplane across country on Thursday after three days of sitting in a conference room all day and eating crap brought into the conference room probably didn't help either.

500 TT: I decided to go with smaller gearing than I'd used last week, just to see if there was a difference and to work on spinning faster. Gearing was 47x15 (as opposed to 47x14 last week). Second person to start. Peter was the holder and it was a good hold. Countdown from 10..... Oops! Not a good start. Getting over on the smaller gear was easier and I wasn't ready for that so the bike didn't go straight, plus, I had a delayed reaction on GO. Eh. Once I got rolling, my legs felt OK for about half a lap. Too bad the race is 1.5 laps! Time was 47.64, which was nearly 0.6 second slower than last week. Ashley did her very first standing start and had a good time for her first ever 500.

Keirin: There were 6 of us in the keirin. This is the race where you have a holder and the motorcycle comes around and they push/throw you and you do 4.5 laps with the motorcycle and then he pulls off and it's a 1.5 lap sprint. We drew for positions and I had #3, third up from the bottom. I was slow off the line (really need to work on starts!) and I slotted in at the end of the line behind Beth W. She kept letting a gap to Ashley open up and I kept thinking I should go around her and take that spot, but didn't. By the fourth lap, we were moving pretty fast and when he pulled off, we were over 30 mph. When the sprint went, I got spit out the back, so rode in the rest of the way. Leg speed--need some!

Team Sprint: There was a break after the keirin, so we had a little bit to eat, sat around and then got ready to race. We'd decided that I would go first and do one lap and pull off and Ashley would do two laps. She's used to sitting right on my wheel and has a faster sprint. We both got pretty good starts and I ramped it up and Ashley was right on my wheel. I tried to accelerated going in to turn 3 and then hold it until pulling off and Ashley shot through and did the second lap. Our time was about 3 seconds faster than what Donna and I had done last week. Sweet! Though we were far off the time of Beth N. and Annabell. Second place and the podium!

All in all, a fun time. Track season is nearly over, so tomorrow begins the official off-season program. I'll be riding the bike a lot.



RR: Masters Nats Team Sprint

Sunday: Team Sprint

The TS for women is two people, start together from a standing start and then one person does one lap and the other person does both laps. Donna and I did the TS back in August at districts and we did OK, but not a really great time (1:05.8).

It was again hot and sunny and I did some of the warm up on the track, but it was pretty crowded. Swapped the wheel to the 47x14 gear and did an effort and then it was time to clear the track. Finished the warm up on the trainer. They made the TS 2-ups, meaning one team starting on one side of the track and another team starting on the other side of the track. There were 5 teams total, down for 6 since Erika and Linda were supposed to ride, but Erika is still in the hospital from Thursday night's crash in the points race. We were in the first heat to go with a mixed team from SoCal. We started on the front side in front of the start/finish stand, Donna low and me high since she was doing one lap and I was doing two. Glenn and one of the Team Specialized junior riders were our holders. I had the junior and he had me leaning a bit, so when the start buzzer rang, I kind of went left and down track instead of straight forward. Luckily, the other team false started and they called it pretty quick, so we barely used up any energy. Instead, we rolled around the track and got set again and this time it was a better hold.

5..4..3..2..1..GO. I powered forward, but with the big gear, I didn't go far fast. Donna is a very fast starter and she was off like a shot before I got rolling. I was up out of the saddle and trying to get up to speed, thinking, "Donna...wait for me!!!!!" We could hear people yelling, "She's not on" but Donna kept rolling and then on the back straight, I got up to speed and caught her going in to turn 3. In fact, I came up on her so fast that I had to move up track or run over her. I suddenly remembered that she would be swinging off SOON and swinging off up track, so I eased up and dropped back in right behind her. We got to the drop off area (first rider must pull off in a specified area between two cones) and once she moved up, I shot through and got a good slingshot effect (just like the Russian drill Kenny taught us at camp!) and my speed jumped up and just tried to maintain it the rest of the lap. I think I did for the most part, maybe dropping off a little bit in the last 50 meters, but not much. I crossed the finish line and our time was 1:01.18....over 4 second improvement! Even better, we beat the other team in our heat by more than a second and we ended up third. PODIUM AND MEDAL!

Afterwards, Donna said she heard people yelling that I wasn't on her wheel, but she said, "She'll catch on, no slowing down!" Harvey said he was thinking, "She's not on her wheel, slow down Donna", but then he said, "What am I thinking...she'll catch her." We figure that we have a year to practice, so come next season, we'll have this down cold!

The entire week was so fun. I met a lot of really great people, made many new friends and got to ride my bike fast. What more could you ask for. (Well, one of those stars and stripes jerseys would be nice. Next year!)


RR: Masters Nats 200m TT/Sprints

First of all, a big thanks to Gio for all the advice yesterday. And the wheel. I'm sure it was good 0.39 of a second!

For the sprints, everyone first does a 200 time trial to set a time so they can then do the seeding for the sprint rounds. Top 8 people only go through to the rounds. In my age group there were only 8 entered so everyone would go through. Yea! It was again warm and sunny, but not as hot as the day before. I was hoping it would heat up. I warmed up with the 47x15 gear and did a couple of efforts, then switched it to the 47x14 (90 inches!) and did a little more warm up and another effort. Time to come off the track and they announced that they had changed the women's 45-49 start list so I went over to look at it and now there were 9 people on the list. Oh boy, I was going to have to get after it if I wanted to move through to the sprint rounds! We had to wait for the men 40-44 and 45-49 to go, so I hopped on the trainer to keep my legs loose. I was picking Gio's brain and all of a sudden he grabs my bike and starts taking the front wheel off and putting on his tri-spoke wheel. SWEET! He said to go roll around the warm up circle, so I headed over.

Rolled around and then it was finally time to go to the ready. I was the first one up in my age group and I got a push out and floated around for lap one and picked it up going into turn 3. I got the bell (from Ben who worked as an official all day) and pushed it coming out of turn 2 and down the back straight. Pedal, pedal, pedal and don't let up! Cross the finish line and hear the announcer say 14.7-something. YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY, that sub-15!!! And at least for one ride, I was in first place. HA!

In retrospect I probably could have been going faster, earlier. Something to work on for next year. And the next gal went 15.0, so I was in first until the 3rd rider! After all the 200s were done, I ended up 7th of 8, so on to the sprint round! (One gal scratched, so 8 started, not 9.) And yes, another PR!

Sprint round, #2 (SoCal gal) v. #7 (me), ride #1.

Sprints were best of three, so I'd be in for two rides at least. Again, so good advice from Gio and he was my holder. I drew the top position which means she would have to lead going out. Gio's advice was to jump her early and be committed when I did so. We rolled out and I stayed behind her and in the middle of turn 3 I jumped and went and stayed ahead of her for a lap. She came around me coming out of turn 4 and I stayed with her to the finish, just a half bike length behind. We rolled on to the warm up circle and she told me good job. Lesson learned--I should have stayed further back before I jumped so I would have been rolling by the time I went by her and then save a little to be able to continue to accelerate on the back side. But all in all, I did OK considering her 200 time was a good second faster than mine.

Sprint round, #2 (SoCal gal) v. #7 (me), ride #2.

This time I would start from the bottom and have to lead it out. The plan was to jump early again, maybe wait a little longer and jump coming out of turn 4. I went up to the rail so I could keep a better eye on her and coming out of turn 4 I jumped again and took off and again, stayed in front of her until coming out of turn 4 again. Same result--she beat me, but only by about half a bike length.

On to the consolation round--riding for 5th through 8th place, so a 4-up. Wow, I've never done a 4-up! We drew for position and I drew the bottom. Glenn was my holder and he placed the bike fairly high up which caused some stress with numbers 3 and 4. Glenn said, "We're messing with their heads already." Gio had said to get on the wheel of the fastest of the group and I guessed that would be Iliana. Luckily, Warren had given her a pretty good push and I hopped on her wheel. Well, with a 4-up, everyone is moving all over the place and it was a little crazy. At one point, I was trying to follow Iliana and she went high and I followed her and one of the other gals thought I was going to take her into the rail and gave a yelp. Coming out of turn 2, Jan from Colorado picked up the pace and Iliana jumped on her wheel and I tried to go with them but was just off the back, but ahead of the 4th gal. Iliana and Jan fought it out for 5th/6th and the other gal and I were neck and neck down the straight to the finish and she just nipped me at the line. So, 8th for me.

Since I didn't make the top 4, my day was finished so we went back to the house to shower and change, then it was back to the track to watch the evening session and drink some beer. The bleachers were full and the atmosphere was lively. (The free beer probably helped too!) Thelast day of racing is today and I'm doing the Team Sprint with Donna. It should be a blast.

Yesterday after my race, Earl Henry, a spark plug of a 65-69 year old from Florida (originally from Jamaica) and a multi-time national champion, came up to me and said I'd done a great job. He said, "No one comes in their first year and wins. You did great and I ~will~ see you at nationals next year!" Yes Earl, you will.


Vineman 70.3 Non-Race Report

Half Vineman was my first every 1/2 IM race and I've done it every year since 1998. This would have been my 10th year in a row to race. But, I woke up Saturday morning with a 100F fever, sore throat, swollen glands, cough and basically feeling like crap. Went back to bed until about 1:00 PM and still didn't feel that great, so that was the end of the race for me. Still have a bit of a fever today, so it's been a very mellow weekend with lots of sleeping and trying to get rid of this. Bummed to have missed the race since they had perfect racing weather.

RR: Wednesday Night Track

Yes, I've been bad about updating. Lots going on!

Fun night at the track last night. Drove down with one teammate and another was there.

Races were scratch, tempo, win & out, combined points. There were 11 or 12 Cs, including lots of juniors who have their state championships this weekend, so they are riding pretty well right now.

Goal for the night: Try something new, like an attack or something. I was told that I need to be more aggressive. OK.

I was also told I need a computer on the bike so we put one on last Saturday. It's a little addicting, checking it after each race. Not that I'm anal or anything. 

Again, a shorter warmup than I'd like. Damn work! Only 16 minutes (thanks computer), and definitely not the Gio-approved warmup.

Scratch race: 7 laps
Decided from the gun to take it out and see if I could get away. Teammate Justin came with me and we pulled the juniors with us for a couple of laps so sat up. Spent the rest of the race trying to stick with the pack and more use it for a better warm up.
Avg. speed: just under 22 mph

Tempo race: 10 laps
Points every lap for top 2 riders then points for top 4 on last lap (I think)
Pace was hard the entire way and I got behind a junior gal who let a gap go and we were screwed. Got pissed off and was ready to quit. Just pedaled it in for the rest of the race.
Avg. speed: 21 mph

Win & Out: 6 laps
Able to stick with the pack until the bell lap. Need to work on sprinting, but ended up 6th out of about 10 which is an improvement.

Points race, combined field of all Cs and Bs who didn't score any points in their other three races: 25 laps
Points every 5
StephenF was in this race, which was very helpful. After the whistle, Stephen took off and got a gap. The juniors chased (we'd heard them talking and they were saying they were going to make one junior guy and the adults do all the work--what's new! The girls did very little work in any race, never pulling through, or pulling through and off.)

After about 9 laps the group came back together in turn 1 and coming out of turn 2 I was on Stephen's right hip clear up at the rail and I jumped and took off and got a gap and pedaled like hell and came oh-so-close to scoring a point, but DAMN!, points went to 1st through 4th and I was just pipped at the line and was 5th. Though I didn't know this at the time. I just knew I was up in the top 5, so was happy. I saw 14 laps to go and those last 14 laps were hard. After a couple of laps, Stephen took off again and I sat on the red line and didn't go and made all the juniors have to go around me to chase, then ended up riding the rest of the race with three junior gals, one of whom pulled most of the way. Hey, if you want to, I'll sit back here and enjoy the free ride.

Major deal that I did not get lapped in a points race. First time this has ever happened! Pretty happy with this race.

21 minutes
22 mph avg.
27.8 mph max speed

I just need a really long warm up since I seem to get stronger and the night goes on. Same thing happened at the Omnium a couple of weeks ago. I rode much better at the end of the day after a lot of warm up and other races.

Looking forward to next week!

RR: Kansas 70.3

Today I realized that I love riding the bike (and especially riding the bike at the track) more than anything.

So...it's a 2/3 race report. I did the swim and the bike. Bailed on the run with a sore knee and since Track Masters Nationals is my A+++ event this year, it was a no-brainer.

Swim: chop and current. I swam just under 49 minutes. Amazingly slow, but I think I added 400-500 meters extra. Swim times were slow across the board according to the RD.

Bike: freaing tough bike! All hills, lots of long rollers. Afterwards some of the pros were saying it's more difficult than the Ironman bike course in Idaho.  Started out ok--hot and sunny and light wind. WIthin 10 miles the wind gusted up and we had headwinds on most of the remaining legs. I was actually getting blown around by the winds coming from the side. The last out/back was a beyotch going out. I was on a loaner bike, so no computer, but if I was going 5 mph up the hills I'd be surprised, though coming back, I knew I wasn't going to do the run, so I put it in the biggest gear and turned up the cadence to about 130 going down the long hills and holding it on the flat. Very fun and I passed a ton of people. Still, one of my slowest 1/2 IM bike times.

About 1:30 PM a huge black cloud dropped out of the sky and the temps dropped by 15 degrees and the wind about blew all the tents down. I think they were diverting the later people directly to the finish (instead of out for the second loop) as then it started to thunder and lightning and two seconds after Dad and I made the long hike to the car and got in, it started to rain.

Super volunteers, super race organization. Swim would be good if the lake hadn't risen 2 feet in the past few days from the big storm on Tu/Wed this week. Very good bike course--hard but doable. Run--Ziebart said he's gonig to work on it and see what they can do about it. It was 2 loops today which made for great spectating. Post-race pizza, sodas and sandwiches. Nice crowd support. Good community support. If I weren't a bike racer, I'd do it again (and actually train next time).

RR: Track This Week

Tuesday: scratch racing

Two 30 lap scratch races for the Cs. Felt sluggish on the warm-up and legs felt tired and not mentally into it (not how you want to be on the track). Note to self--remember that you tend to do MUCH better when you keep it rolling with no days off (at least until life intervenes to cause one. Get back to it.). Then, stomach started to hurt.

Rolled out and after the pace ramped up, felt like crap and didn't stick to a wheel so ended up in no-man's land. Rolled up to the rail until the group came around and jumped back on. Kept coming off and jumping back on for the rest of the race.

Decided that was enough for the night so I changed and chatted with people and watched Ben race. He kicked butt. The track is so social that even if you aren't racing, it's a fun place to be.

Post-race: Stopped for gas. NO TACO TRUCK!!!  We were very sad (and hungry).

Wednesday:  4 races

"That taco truck better be there tonight!" Yes, that was the topic of conversation on the ride down. Yes, we are easily amused. Yes, Mateo thinks we are crazy.

Mouse night at the track!  Me, Ben, Mateo, Jeff, Nole and Jay. There would be multiple Mice in every race!

Points race:  12 laps, points every 3 laps (aka just hammer the whole time). Took off and ended up in front the first couple of laps, then it was hammer time. Latched on to Mateo for a couple laps but didn't mentally commit, so backed off when it got hard. Negative points for me.

Scratch race: 10 laps. This time I decided to not sit in front and sat second wheel, right on some dude with a nice big draft. The pace was nice and pedestrian until Mateo decided to shake things up and ramped up the speed. Damn! I could have ridden piano and then sprinted the last 2 laps. Seriously. Again, didn't commit, but did get a hard effort in working with a nice junior girl (Nikka?) (who knows Christian! "Oh! Christian Villasana!!!")

Miss-n-out:  Kind of crazy riding in the group and going into turn 3, the riders on my left and right just ahead of me started to come together and pinch me out which caused an "oh shit!!!!!!!!! moment. It also caused me to slow down and then have to come around over the top and sprint like mad, but Minty Allie just nipped me at the line so first out. Though they said itwasjustthisclose.

Combined B/C scratch race:  All C racers and Bs who had not placed or scored points in the other three races, so a pretty big field. Again didn't sit on the front at first but after a couple of laps, the pole opened up and I took off and lifted the speed, then some guy took off and it was off to the races. Did the try to grab a wheel and hang on and fall off and then go up to the rail and then hop back on. That worked ok. Held on as long as I could with the faster bunches and towards the end, latched onto Jay's wheel and then we picked up a third guy and we all rode it in together. Good effort.

Packed up, watched the As/Bs race and Nole's crash. He made it look graceful, but how are you feeling now? Loaded up the trucks and we went to buy gas and yes, the taco truck was there!!!! Tacos and a parade of some of San Jose's finest (un)dressed residents.

Very fun night and very good company. Though I am now soliciting Tuesday travel and taco partners since my driver is bailing on me for 8 weeks. Position is open immediately.

Wednesday Night Track Racing

Got home a little while ago from the track and am still amped!! I am super happy with tonight! A HUGE breakthrough!!!!! Maybe I should just race every day!

It was Mice night at the track. Seriously. Me, Mo, Ashley in the Cs. Jeff and Jake in the Bs. Ben and Noel in the As. Mateo and Eduardo as support and photography.

Probably 10-12 Cs, including a gal from the Proman team.
Goals: Work on getting closer to a wheel and staying on it. Hang longer with the pack.

Race 1: 12 lap points race, points every 3rd lap [which effectively means a full on sprint for most of the race]
I led it out and went out too fast. (Afterwards Ashley said she was yelling at me to slow down. Didn't hear her.) And I forget that you have to wait until they ring the bell and then AFTER that it's for points. Went off the front and then when it was really time to sprint, I couldn't go with them. But picked up Mo and we worked together for most of the rest of the race. Proman gal in the Cs so pace was high. Legs felt good though.

Race 2: 10 lap scratch race
Decided to not start in the front, but more towards the middle/back. Group pretty much stayed together until turn 4 of last lap. And...I HUNG WITH THE PACK THE WHOLE WAY! That is a first and I was super jacked!!! Didn't even finish last. Very happy with that race!

Race 3: miss and out
Finished 7/10, I think. Maybe 8th. I know I wasn't the first couple of people out. If I'd hit it just a little harder on the back stretch that last lap I was in, I probably would have not been out on that lap. But, that's the best I've done in that race to date. Still quite happy.

Race 4: 30 lap scratch race, Cs and B riders who hadn't scored any omnium points thus far (a very large field--25+?)
Thought about not doing this race as my legs were kind of tired and the field was really big, but what the hell. Proman girl and a couple of guys went off the front pretty much from the gun and after a couple of laps, I got gapped and lost the pack, so I pulled up to the rail to wait for someone (Ashley? Mo?) to come around and then jump on. Wait, why are Ashley and Mo riding around the warm-up circle??? A number of people dropped out after a few laps, so the faster people were left. I'd wait for Jeff and the riders he was working with to come around and get on the end of their group for a few laps until I thought my lungs would burst, the pull up. Kept doing that and was able to hang a little more each time. Didn't want this race to end! It was hard but so FUN! Afterwards, Proman (Kelly? the one who was there Friday night) told me I had some good pulls. Yea! Felt really good at the end.

There was a crash towards the end of the A/B last scratch race. Not sure what happened as Mo and I were off changing in the bathroom. One guy was a bit bloody and Rick called the ambulance, but the guy didn't go out and was talking and was able to give someone his girlfriend's phone number. Hope he's not too bad.

Stop at Valero and the taco truck where Mateo learned the fine art of roping from Nole. Then it was on the road and back to SF.

I'm still smiling.

RR: Dunlap Time Trial

AKA the clm and Christian Stage Race

Yes, both Christian (12 yo teammate) and I raced the track on Friday night, the ICCC Dash for Cash crit yesterday and the Dunlap TT today. We rock.

Distance: 31k (though my computer says 20.8 miles)
Weather: Sunny, hot, head and crosswinds. Very little tailwind (of course).
Goal: break 60:00: hope my legs don't fall off.

24 women in the 3/4 group, all combined, no picking separately. I was 11th to go, sandwiched between two gals who were wearing CALIFORNIA STATE CHAMPION jerseys. Nice!

Rolled up to the line and since I'd heard the spiel just prior, I said, "Mark, 33, single, attorney, don't live with your mother." He got a funny look on his face then laughed and said, "You were at the track." Yep. The holder guy said he'd been at the track last Saturday afternoon with me and Mo. Yeah--the guy with the Davis kit! Small world.

Took off and planned to ride it in 1/3s. Not too hard on the first 10k (where the long stretch into the wind was), pick it up the next 10k, then just bury myself the last 11k.

And that's what I did. Got to the last 10k and tried to keep it pretty much redlined, then picked it up even more the last 3k. Rolled across the line and heard Ben yell at me, then dropped into a little gear and just kept the legs moving.

57 minutes. Quite pleased with that considering I've only been on the tri bike 2 or 3 times in the past 9 months and the racing over the weekend.

Post-race spun out the legs for 30 minutes with Lauraleen, the second mentor from yesterday's race. Had a very nice chat with her and she had very nice things to say about the Mice women.

Sat around and stretched and drank some fluids and wrote my race report until Ben finished his official's duties and then it was off to eat and drive back to SF. I'm thinking maybe I no race tomorrow. :-)

RR: ICCC Dash for Cash Crit

Women's 4 crit - 30 minutes in the literature, nearly 45 minutes in reality
cold and foggy and windy; field of 31 or so; 4 Mice gals
mentored race with 2 mentors
goal for race: survive considering my legs were toast; make myself ride up somewhere near, if not ~in~ the pack. No 5 feet off a wheel.

Lined up in the front row on the far right side and got a decent start and going into the first turn...I'm off the front. Fun! But not what I wanted to do. Got to the back side and hit the head wind and everyone was glad to let me lead but I slowed down and let a couple of people come by me and then sat in within the top 10. Not sure I breathed much during this time since I was way out of my comfort zone, but I stayed there for a lap or three. Legs were feeling really tired, especially coming out of each corner and the speed picked up a little and I slid back through the field and on the windy backside, I let a little gap grow which became a big gap. Darn! And there went the pack. I looked back and there was someone behind me so I sat up and waited for her (Dolce Vita Julia) and she asked if I wanted to stay in. Yes. So we worked together and were eventually joined by Mentor Holly (who didn't work with us but told us how to work together better).

After a number of laps, the group started to catch us so when they came by, we reintegrated and I was able to hang with the pack for the rest of the race. It came down to a sprint finish and teammate Kate took off and won the race! This was the first time that I'd been able to hang with the pack and my first pack finish. Yea!


RR: Friday Night Race Series, Hellyer Park Velodrome - May 30, 2008

At the velodrome we have racing on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and then a series on Friday nights (7 or 8 races throughout the summer). Fridays are the night the big boys come out and you have to be a higher level category to race, or get the OK of the race promoter. Last Friday I went to watch a teammate race and the promoter said, "next week you race". Who, me? I've done one "Learn to Race" day, one Tuesday night training session (before the actual race series began), one afternoon of time trials (which there would not be on Friday) and two Wednesday night race nights. Not a lot of actual race experience on the track! My goal--don't embarrass myself and have fun.

We (me, teammates Ben, Eduardo and young Christian) headed down early and had a nice drive with little traffic. Got to the track and the first person I see is Mr. Harrington. I got changed and got in a 25 minute warm up. It was quite the sight seeing the paceline with pro BJM and his brother and other really fast dudes flying by. Since Friday night's session was sponsored by the Velo Girls, it was heavy on women only races (YEA!) Well, women and 12 year old Christian. I'd decided to put the other chain ring back on the bike (86.5 inches) and not the training wheels, as Neil calls the 81 inches. I could tell the difference on the warm up--it took me longer to get over the gear and get up to speed. Hmmm, maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all!

Race 1: Points Race (30 laps = 6 miles), points every 5 laps
This was going to be painful. My goal was to hold on to the group for as long as I could, then try to get back on when they came around again. There were quite a few women there--10 or more (?), including one Proman rider and a Vanderkitten gal who races a lot with the men at the track. I held on for a few laps (5?), then fell off the back with Sarah and Christian and we worked back and forth and finished up riding steady but not flat out since we had four more races.

Race 2: Women's Kierin Round #1 (6 laps)
I asked Matt to hold/throw me which was perfect. He's very experienced and very strong and he said, "I'm going to throw you hard." "Uh, not too hard, OK?" We had 8 people on the line (the max) and the motor goes by and the throwers send us off and I got a decent start. I wasn't quite ready to mix it up with the gals up front, so I stayed about 4-5 back and off to the side. I was able to keep up as the motor increased the speed, but when he pulled off and the top 4-5 took off, I fell back and went head to head with Sarah. She pipped me. Fun race though! I like the kierin.

Race 3: Women's Celebrity Death Match Chariot Race Round #1 (1 lap flat out sprint from a throwing start)
Matt had promised the junior girl he'd hold her, so I had one of Neil's Webcor teammates throw me. I wasn't in the best position and my pedals weren't exactly in the right place and the ref did a weird count ("OK, go" what???), so I got a terrible start. Spent the entire race playing catch-up and Christian beat me! So did everyone else.


Race 4: Women's Celebrity Death Match Chariot Race Round #2 (1 lap flat out sprint from a throwing start)
Gio was my holder for this one and I was in a different position on the track, up on the rail. Again, not a very good start and Christian beat me again! He was very happy.

Race 5: Women's Kierin Round #1 (6 laps)
Got Matt back as holder and I was second down from the rail. Proman gal to my right, someone else to my left. Motor goes by and Matt throws me good and HELL!!!!!!! Proman gal doesn't hold her line and cuts across and clips my front wheel!!!!!!!!!!! My heart race jacks to about 300 and somehow I don't panic and am able to stay up. Holy crap! Adrenaline has me up out of the saddle chasing the pack and I get up to Sarah and I think I said something not nice. Since everyone has to stay behind the motor and he's not going that fast yet, I'm back on and move up to 4th position. Beth is on the motor and then Proman and Mary are right behind and they start elbowing and knocking into each other! We go by the start/finish and Matt and Ben are yelling "MOVE UP--get on their wheel"! NO FRIGGIN WAY! (I wasn't the only one either--no one else would move up. Watching the video replay, we are all well back of the front three.) The speed picks up and the motor pulls off and Sarah and I are right together and I'm able to come around her and beat her to the line.

Race 6: Women's Miss & Out: cancelled and anyone who wants to do miss & out can do the men's 3/4 race. No thanks. There's FREE BEER, so that's what I opt for.

Omnium: I was 4th!!!!!!!!!! They added up the finishes of everyone who did all 5 races and I was 4th!!! Maybe only 4 of us did all of them but I get a pair of Sheila Moon shoe covers and a certificate for a pound of Peets Coffee. YES! The perfect prize for me.

Today I looked up the top two gals and note that they are both Cat. 2. So I think I did OK. I was definitely able to hang in longer than I have in the other races. And, I had fun, the most important thing.


Cyclocross Etiquette Question (and Race Report)

So, if you are lined up in the first row clear to the right and the whistle blows and the guy next to you tries to take off and immediately goes off at a diagonal right in front of you and can't get clipped in and the bike comes out underneath him and he straddles the bike and pins you in (big ditch to your right, 35 or more people streaming by on your left), and then the guy gets the bike up and tries it again and can't clip in AGAIN and again gets cross-wise and almost goes down and you are still pinned in, and then gets going again and for a THIRD TIME goes down.......is it OK to ride over the top of him? Or give him a slap upside the head??? Yeah, yeah, it's all for fun. HA. I pin on a number and it's like a switch is flipped.

Yes, that was the start of the C race today. It was nice in SF when I left but there was some serious fog in Santa Rosa when I got up there. And cold. On the warm up laps they had the sprinklers going, right over one lane going out, then 20 minutes later on the other lane coming back. That made it even colder. After a few laps warm up, it was time to line up. There were 6 or 7 C women and we all lined up and one junior boy. Then all of a sudden, there were more than 30 guys behind us. The official showed up and said everyone would start together in one big group. What?

Fast forward to fall-over dude finally getting going and me finally getting around him and off, with the rest of the race 200 meters down the road. Damn! The course was about 1.2 miles long, 90% grass (and long wet grass at that), three double barriers, a couple very minor hills, some gravel, riding along the warning track (crushed red cinder) on the baseball field, a bit along the parking lot and some mud with one off-camber turn that got pretty rutted in the mud. Nothing technical.

After starting dead last, I passed fall-over dude and as Phil Ligget would say, "turned the pedals in anger". We were to ride 30 minutes and on the warm up laps, I was doing a lap in about 10 minutes so I thought we'd get in 3-4 laps, so starting the 4th lap and they hadn't put up any lap cards, was I surprised to see that we'd only been riding just shy of 20 minutes. I felt stronger each lap, but a little rusty getting off and on the bike. Having that last glass of wine last night probably didn't help matters either.

During the first lap, I reeled in a couple of gals and a couple of guys. By about the third lap I passed one of the three NorCal Velo gals, this one on a mountain bike. We kept leapfrogging with each other and we got to the short two uphills where you crossed the parking lot, went up the hill, hard left turn (back 120 degrees), down and around the off-camber, muddy curve (which was next to a small tree), then around and back up the other hill and over the third set of barriers, then back on the bike in the gravel next to the picnic tables. Each time I went through the off-camber section, I put my foot down and slowed down to make sure I stayed upright. I was in front of her on the off-camber section and I heard her go down behind me and she must have stayed down a bit, since she was pretty far behind me the rest of the race.

Finally the one lap to go card came out and I was kind of in no-woman's land....not close enough to probably catch the gals in front of me, but far enough ahead of the ones behind me to stay ahead if I kept the pace up. So that's what I did. Somewhere in the second part of that last lap, my front wheel went flat, but I didn't know it at the time. I crossed the finish line and my friends who live up there and came to watch said they had counted me in 3rd place for the women. Asking about results, the official said she had me as unofficially 4th place woman. When the official results were posted, they didn't make a lot of sense. There was one long column of partial numbers, then a second column of more numbers, then a third column of just a few numbers. I was listed as 26th. So I guess I was 26th overall (out of 35-40?) and either 3rd or 4th woman.

Post race I drank some free coffee, chatted with my friends, then drank a beer and did feed for teammate Tim in his race. Later it was lunch and back to SF. A fun race, but the cross bike needs some serious maintenance and a little rest. On to the road bike and the time trial bike.

RR: Early Bird #2

I had the overwhelming urge to jump on and off my bike all day and to ride it across the grass field, then hang out and drink beer. ;-)

I also guess I should actually ride the bike more than once a week!

But no, today was the time to check out one of the training crits instead of a cross race. I was in the group, "first time ever" even though I did a few of the EBs back in 2002 (I think). The reason I quit back then was one of my teammates ended up going off in an ambulance with a concussion and broken collarbone due to a squirrely junior boy. But since that time, they've moved the junior boys out so I thought I'd give it another go.

Lots of Mouse gals today! That was very nice to see. We did the mentoring and they split us into two groups--those who were there last week and those of us who were not. I'm guessing we had 15 or more in our group and there were probably 10-15 in the other group. The main thing I noticed in the cornering drills was that many of the ladies went for the brakes around every corner or didn't pedal through them. The mentors also forgot to mention the accordian effect, so there was lots of fast/slow.

The training race:

Probably 20 of us at least, maybe more? I was in the second row at the start with Ashley and Barbara and we took off and I got stuck in the middle of the pack and there were a number of squirrely riders. I didn't like where I was, so I let people go by and moved back and to the side and then later moved up along the outside and eventually took a perfect corner moving past about 10 people at once. Put the hammer down and the next thing I knew I was off the front! But after about half a lap, no one would come with me, so I eased up and got eaten up by the pack. I did this a couple more times just for the thrill of it and to try some different things like moving up on the inside and on the outside. On the prime lap, I was in a bad position the first half of the lap, so by the time I moved up, it was too late. I was about 5th across the line (and the prize was velodrome bucks!) The same people stayed squirrely, so it was just try to stay out of trouble and then on the last lap, again I was in a bad position (too far back) and since I'd pulled the group around a few times earlier, I had no legs and I finished probably top 1/3 in the group.

Considering how little I've ridden, I'm pretty happy with how I felt and how good my legs felt. Well, except until I went and ran nearly 40 minutes this afternoon. Plus, the rubber side stayed down, so that's always a win! I am seriously looking forward to hitting the velodrome!!

Next week is another EB, so I'll be there. And I'll get my butt on the bike before that!

RR: CCCX Finale

Today was probably the most fun I've had the entire cyclocross season! Having tweaked my back last Friday and then being in serious pain over the weekend and holiday, I was just hoping to be able to finish the race. I didn't race yesterday in order to be able to race today and felt pretty good when I got up.

All the women started together and before the start, they had a call-up. Since I was in 3rd place in the series for the Women Cs, I got a call-up!! First time ever!!!!! WOO HOO! All of the CCCX races seem to start out going uphill, no matter the course, and today was no change from that. The start was a good half mile or more climb, up a dirt road. With all the rain we've had, it could have been really muddy, but down at Ft. Ord, they have very sandy soil, so not a lot of mud, just wet and mostly packed sandy soil. The start up the hill got everyone strung out a bit and two of the C gals jumped out ahead of me and I stayed ahead of Katy and Debbie.

At the top of the climb, there was a barrier and then you had to run it up a little more and around the corner, then it was off down a long, gradual hill, coming out on the flat through some loose sand and then onto the road. Zip about a quarter mile down the road and then it was off the road and up a short, but steep hill. Of the three times in the race that I hit this hill, I never made it more than half way up before having to get off and run.

It was then through the trees and on some nice track with an out and back where you could see who was ahead or behind you, then a downhill section that curved around and made my heart rate rise (but I didn't stop!) It was a little muddy and curvy, and on the second time through I didn't quite make the curve and almost took out the fence! A foot down averted that little catastrophe!! It was then another short, steep downhill and across the field and a short, steep uphill and then onto some of the same route we'd done the last race here. Another section of road and then back onto the trail and a natural barrier of a tree trunk, then past the parking and the crowd and another double barrier and another curve around and down, then another barrier and down past the finish line and around and another barrier and a carry up the short hill and 180 and down the hill (lots of cheering/friendly heckling fans here) and past the start area and back up the long hill to do it all again.

Yes, it was a REALLY long loop!!!

#1 and #2 C gals got a pretty good gap on me and I knew I just had to finish in order to stay in 3rd overall, so the last lap, I rode pretty controlled. Besides, I was pretty tired going up that darned hill yet again! And Tim and Paul and some other guys had beers in their hands every time we went by and that beer looked GOOD! Since I got lapped by most of the A gals and some of the others, when I came across the finish line the third time, Rod said, "You're finished." YEAH! I was pretty happy to hear that. 3 laps and about 47 minutes.

3rd place today; 3rd place overall in the series (having raced 5/7 races).

After our race, we drank beer and watched the elite men race, then it was time to collect the winnings (t-shirt; nice big plaque; two tires) and then hit the road for a very late lunch and a drive back to SF. This was probably the last cross race for me for this season as it's now time to turn to the road and start tri training. I had a BLAST this first season and am really looking forward to next year. Thanks to Keith and Rod for a super fun CCCX series!

RR: Livermore CCX #6, Series Finale

Today was the last race of the Livermore cyclocross series and I was very much looking forward to it. Until I tweaked my back last night wrestling with my 46 pound bag at the airport. After nearly 12 hours of travel (2 hour drive to airport--delayed flight in KC--delayed flight in Denver--bags took forever to drop), I got home to some rain. Which was better than the 4 inches of snow we'd woken up to that morning. Woke up this morning and wasn't too tired, but trying to bend over....my back would lock up. Nuts! Got ready to go and put the bike in the truck and headed out to Livermore. By the time I got out there, the rain had become more of a drizzle and it was cold, but not as cold as it had been last Saturday and definitely not as cold as Kansas! But the rain we've had here made lots of tacky mud at the rodeo grounds.

How do you ride in mud? I really didn't know because well, I've never ridden in mud! This would be an adventure.

I got registered and went back to the car and who was there but Yvette from Sacramento! She'd driven down with Hank and he and Mike were there so we all chatted as we got ready to warm up. My back still hurt at times (bending forward or to the side), but on the bike, it actually felt better. The question would be...how would it feel getting on and off the bike at speed? I did a couple of warm up laps in full jacket and gloves and was still cold and within those first two laps, I was muddy everywhere. Riding in the mud was a little interesting--kind of like the sand. Don't slow too much, don't oversteer the bike, relax.

The course had more turns on the backside this week, with the long straightaways gone. Bummer! There goes my strength. But overall, it wasn't too bad. After some more warm up on the road, it was time to put the race jersey on, take the jacket off and line up. There were six gals today---1 A gal, 1 Masters' gal and 4 of us Cs. In the overall series, I was in third place, behind teammate Dana in first and Theresa in second. There was only a 6 point difference between Theresa and me and for me to overtake Dana for first, I'd have to win. So, Theresa, Yvette, me and a young gal I didn't recognize. At the start, I got a much better start, but didn't have it in a big enough gear, but was right with the rest of the Cs at the first barrier. Over the barrier and I was right behind young gal (YG) and the two of us got a bit of a gap on Yvette and Theresa. Around to the front and I was feeling pretty good and was sticking pretty close to YG all the way to the stadium stairs. Up the stairs and she got a little gap on me and then on the backside of the course I was able to come back up to her some, but then on the second time up the stairs, my back started to hurt and she got a bigger gap on me that I couldn't get back. I was able to stay about a minute or more ahead of Yvette and she was ahead of Theresa.

The third time up the stairs and my back was hurting more, but once I got back on the bike, it felt better, so I told myself to just suck it up and don't let up and let Yvette get any time back on me. Fourth time up the stairs and it was just a matter of getting around the back side in the turns in the mud, then over the last two barriers and the finish line. I stayed upright and came across the finish line in second place and did NOT get lapped by the A gal!!! I think that might be a first!

So, on the day, I got 2nd place and once the points got sorted out, I was 2nd in the series, 4 points behind Dana. Theresa ended up in 3rd. For 2nd place I got a t-shirt, a pair of socks, a water bottle and a tube, so I pretty much made back today's race entry fee. Even better, I had a blast. The Livermore race was my first ever cyclocross race and this course really suits me. I'll be back next year, racing in the Masters' division!

Next up: Sacramento CCX finale next Saturday; CCCX finale next Sunday.

RR: Livermore CCX #5

Livermore was the site of my first cyclocross race and it's a pretty flat, non-technical course. The biggest challenge is the rocket blast at the start and then the 40 stairs run-up of the grandstands. (Course is at the rodeo grounds.) Since it's the holidays, it was anyone's guess on how many people would show up to race. I rode out to the race with one of my new teammates, Ammon, who won the men's C race two weeks ago out there and Tim, another teammate would also be there.

The first Livermore race was in temps of 95F. Yesterday it was in the 30s in the early morning and I did all my warm-up in long-sleeved jersey (which is flannel-type material on the inside, so pretty heavy), shorts, fleece knee warmers, full winter gloves and a fleece jacket. I was still cold and my fingers were ACHING from the cold. We got there early enough to ride a few laps of the course and see what changes there were. Instead of a lot of short flat bits then turn, the backside was a couple of long straightaways. Perfect for me! The front side is always the same--one double barrier on the flat, up the little rise, around and back down, up the rise again and over another set of barriers, back down, around through a mud puddle and through the cattle chutes and the sand. Though the sand was pretty packed down with a nice path, so very rideable. And due to the cold and hard ground, even if you got out of the track, the sand was hard enough to still ride.

The women all lined up and since there were only 8 of us (3 As, 1 B, 1 Masters, 3 Cs), we all started at the same time and split the difference on race time, aiming for 35-40 minutes. In the Cs it was me, Theresa, who has raced at all the Livermore events and her teammate J--I forget her name, but she's raced mt. bikes but this was her first cross race, so she had the fitness, just not so much the skills.

On the whistle everyone took off and I couldn't get my foot clipped in so I was off the back to start. Story of my life! Nuts! Caught up to just behind Theresa and J by the triple barrier on the back side and passed J on the first of those barriers. Sat in behind Theresa all along the backside of the course since we were racing a little longer, so I knew from two weeks ago that those extra 10 minutes make a difference, so why blow up in the first 10 minutes! We went through the gate and I passed her and picked it up on the flat stretches. I would much rather ride in the heat than the cold and I was really stiff in the hips and left knee, so getting off and on the bike was slow. Well, slower than usual. But on the flats, I felt great. First time through the sand and I took it too fast and got out of the path and in the loose sand. Not good! Note to self--slow down just a bit next time and be more in control. Around to the grandstand and up the stairs and my left knee hurts. Crap! Why is that happening? Down the hill and back to the back side. Ride hard as possible and try to put some time on Theresa and J and it was looking like I did.

Around again and the gap was staying about the same so I couldn't let up. Somewhere in the second or third time around I didn't see Theresa. At one point it looked like J was making up some time so I picked it up on the flats and actually pulled away on the last lap. I didn't get passed by the winner of the As until the backside of the last lap, so I was happy about that. Came across the finish line with the biggest smile on my face as I WON THE Cs RACE!!!!!!! I ended up riding a little over 40 minutes and 4 times up the grandstand. Not so thrilled with how I went over the barriers, but I know I need to practice that a lot more than I have. Very happy with how I rode the flat sections.

In the men's race, Ammon took 2nd in his race and Tim took 3rd in his, so it was a very successful day for the Roaring Mouse Race Team! Post-race it was off to the pub for lunch and a well-deserved beer. Next weekend is the finale of the Livermore series and I'm in 3rd place in the series and only 6 points out of 2nd, so we'll see how it goes!