March 2008
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Month March 2008

getting dirty at blankets

blankets creek dirty duathlon (directed by local adventure racer lisa randall), i jumped at the chance to race on the trails i learned to bike on. they are just north of atlanta (in woodstock), so it was one of our local stomping grounds. after the bodbikegroup xmas party, we rode out here and i was surprised how much better i felt on the trails (yeah, i’ve improved a bit in the 2 years since i’d been here! ;)   so this could be a good race for me!

first, i’ll admit i slacked off with registering and before i knew it the race had filled! i got on the waitlist immediately and luckily a girl i knew couldn’t make it, so i was in. phew! i was able to crash at a friend’s house, so i drove down friday afternoon and was able to squeeze in a meeting with a client before meeting some people for dinner.
saturday morning came early and my plan to arrive at the race an hour early to get a decent transition spot backfired; oh, i was on time, but so was everyone else. i found a spot about 2/3 back – which technically didn’t make a difference as we all made a full loop around the pit. after claiming my spot, i spent the next half hour catching up with friends instead of organizing stuff and testing my bike (afterall, i just had the failed brake lever replaced! fingers crossed the hoff had it all finetuned!) 
the race started in waves to alleviate potential backup. the women went off 5th. as we waited, i checked out my competition – fellow bodettes jackie & mindy, multisport specialists kim & marisa, and sorella badass kerry. it would be a tough day! 1 minute after the masters men, we began our run. i darted to the front and found my pace. from the parking lot, we ran straight back to the dwelling loop, running it counterclockwise. i caught the back of the pack guys quickly, which energized me more. 3 women did pass me (although 2 were in the relay division so i wasn’t as concerned), but i was feeling strong and steady… that is until about 2/3 around the loop when my heart did that weird palpitation thing it does sometimes (like in the Waterfront Tri last summer and Hogpen Hillclimb 2 years prior). it was a very pronounce flutter, followed my a strange draining feeling throughout my body, leading to a bit of dizziness and my vision narrowing. scary, but at least i’ve gone through this before. i slowed, then stopped when i kept tripping. out of a lack of knowing what to do, i grabbed my inhaler which seemed to help settle things. i started jogging again after about 1.5 min, and was up to a run another minute or so later, although somewhat guarded. as we hit the stick of the lollipop that would take us back to the TA, kim caught up with me and we ran it into the pit together. (run time: 40:49.. approx 5 miles)

after a speedy transition, i was on the bike racing down to the right side of mosquito flats. this would have been a nice flat warmup, but there was a bit of a backup and of course its not always easy to pass on singletrack. i was a bit concerned, hoping this wasn’t going to be signs of things to come…   the course next took us through part of the new north loop (SORBA-Woodstock is doing a ton of work on this trail system, with this being their newest concentration – great job!!) kim passed me here, which was no surprise as she is an awesome cyclist; i had planned on chasing her anyways. next we hit the dwelling loop, again going counter-clockwise. this was interesting as all of times i’ve ridden this loop (like nearly a zillion), i’ve only been on it once or twice this direction. this will be interesting! luckily by now the crowd had thinned and i only had the occasional rider to pass (and vice versa). i had passed a few girls, so it was only kim in front of me – until kerry snuck by. grrr….   but a few minutes later (very near where my heart thing happened), i passed her on the side of the trail dealing with cramping. it did not sound good!  i crossed my fingers that the twinges i felt in my calf would not forth….
after dwelling we hit the south loop, which i have not been on in years. it is considered the advanced loop, with a few tricky technical spots and rock gardens – my favorite (not!) i was actually pretty impressed with my riding, easily hitting things that i don’t think i could before. but sometimes i paid a price – the power to get through a section would cause my left calf or right foot to cramp up. yeowsers! yeah, they didn’t stay away and i was left with a dilemma: power through a technical section and cramp, or get off & walk it (& feel like a tool), but not cramp. i ended up doing a bit of both… and at one point (with me off the bike and cramps attacking), jackie pedaled by. i cheered her on and got back on my bike. this loop seemed a bit long, but then again i couldn’t hardly remember it so i wasn’t sure how to pace myself. finally we started weaving through the pines and i knew we were close. after the drop off the hill (fun to zoom down even if i don’t catch any air), it was home james! i boogied it back in (although not catching anyone), finishing with a total time of 1:55… good enough for 2nd place in my age group (right behind jackie) and 3rd overall woman (kim won).  woohooo!!
we cheered on all the other finishers (it was a perfect spring day!) then got ready for the 2nd big event of the day: Outspokin’ Bikes had donated 2 sweet fsr specialized bike to give away. lisa devised a crazy race on clown bikes. it was hilarious! a young guy no more than 10 or 14?? won one, and the girl marisa i know won the other. congrats!!
the awards ceremony was short, sweet, and highly profitable. lisa really outdid herself the amount of prizes she was able to get for the race – over $14,000 of products & gear, with Outspokin’ donating over $9k themselves. (Thank you!!) We got to pick our own prizes, so i immediately went for a Thomson gift certificate (good for a seatpost or stem!) and the collective’s roam dvd  (the collective makes THE best videos out there if you haven’t checked them out yet). then i was also awarded the fastest transition time out of everyone there – yep, more than 200 of us out there and i was #1. hehe! i snagged some tifosi sunglasses. (i also won a bottle of monavie juice – intriguing stuff, where one shot it gives you all your fruits & vegis for the day. and it’s yummy!)

team amino vital! taylor & dayton raced the men’s relay, placing 2nd. 
lisa (the RD) + me, 2nd place age group / 3rd overall woman!

that night, my mtn biking friends had a party, so it was good to kick back, catch up, and drink a few. i drove back to chatt the next day and had a good (although slightly uncoordinated) recovery/easter ride with the hoff at raccoon.

I wanted to give a quick mention to this new series of training dvds that my Rock/Creek teammate Stephen Taylor is producing. Check it out! 

sunday training days

i haven’t kept up with posting things lately but that doesn’t mean i’m sitting back being lazy – on top of lots of training, work has been super busy too. i’ll write more about this past weekend’s duathlon soon, but here’s a quick visual recap of the previous two weekends…

shannon, jeramie and i hit the cherohala skyway for some road bike action. after fueling up with momma’s pancake breakfast, we drove over to tellico plains and parked near the ranger station at the base of the skyway. our plan was to ride up, over, and down to snowbird for a snack, then ride back up, over, and down. jeramie’s modest estimate was 5-5.5hrs. well once we got to the top we realized it was going to be closer to 6.5-7hrs… daylight would have been tight and the skyway isn’t a place to be caught at dusk. plus i don’t think we’d have brought enough clothing for the temps at the top an hour or two later. (and not sure any of us had the legs for 10,000′+ feet of gain today!)

totals: 4.5hrs, 57 miles, 6625′ elevation gain (started around 680′, topped out at 5390′ at Santeelah Gap)

the sunday before (that would be the weekend of the CPZ race i did not do), a group of us headed over to the ocoee for a tour of the big frog 65 race route. sunday’s weather was great – clear skies, but still chilly; a good bit of snow still on the ground. didn’t take too many pics – i had to work hard to keep up with the seasoned riders i was with. that is until my front brakes totally failed. a piston in the lever fell out; no trailside fix for that. luckily we were only 5 or 6 miles from the end, so i took it easy/safe. (thankfully i noticed this problem before a big downhill!)

totals: 4hrs20min, 38 miles, about 4000′ elevation gain

shannon, me, micah, jeramie, jamie

my ghetto feet warmers
(forgot my booties so i was at the mercy of jeramie’s leftovers. 
micah called them “grover feet”. hey, they did the trick…)

a big win in 2007

i need to get caught up on some of my race results listing, but one big thing to note is that i won first place in the multisport division of the Blue Ridge Cup – a year-long race series in the southeast sponsored Blue Ridge Outdoors (a cool magazine – they also have stores, but not near me). i won a great pair of inov-8 shoes (although they sent the wrong size, so my review of the shoes will have to wait; but i’m super excited to test them out!)


not as in from an addiction (although sometimes racing can be considered as such), but as in to no longer participate in. yeah. (big breath.) the kickoff to my team’s adventure racing year was supposed to be this weekend – the Checkpoint Zero Adventure Race. we raced it last year and had a blast: a terrific Berwald-designed course, fab team + support (of course), and a top-notch race experience thanks to Yak. definitely on my list of top 5 races, so of course we were stoked to do it again.

but then hunter broke his hand riding at chicopee. when this happened, we got a few alternates with the caveat it might be last minute notice. hunter cut of his cast about 2 weeks ago (yeah, did it himself) and tried to go out paddling; not so successfully. he still remained optimistic. meanwhile alternate 1 found a team but our backup was ready to go. friday we got the nod that hunter was definitely out (a wise choice, as there is no need to create further injury so early in the season). when i talked to our alternate, he was out. (again, understandably after already racing in long events twice this month, being a newlywed, and moving into a new house.) but now here we are, 5 days before the event… and we don’t have a complete team.

daniel and i talked. a lot. (and i talked a lot with some friends. and the great Berwaldi himself.) we are both all over the place… we definitely desire to do this race. the course we know will rock (even if it does make us suffer). it will be good to see new places and old friends. on the other hand, we aren’t in top shape – i’m only 2 months out from the groin injury and still building up endurance. daniel has been focusing on running (boston here he comes!), so he’s feeling his biking isn’t up there (although he’d still be fine i bet!) then add in my allergies that i think are starting their spring thing with me and the other stress in my life that has been mentally & emotionally wearing me down (my iphone phone # debaucle and the ridiculous arrival of my new road bike damaged and the bike shop not owning up to the fact it was their fault). i haven’t been sleeping well and am just worn down.

so tonight we had the final talk. daniel was leaning towards yes, let’s race as a 2 person team (there is a division for this… although we had our heart set on the elite division). i was still leaning towards the no. it was a tough talk and we analyzed it to death. i feel i ultimately was the one to end it which makes me feel like crap. i’m glad the decision is done, although i know i’ll regret it. (but i think if i was there, i’d still feel some regret for ignoring Life.) i think it is the right decision for me; but that’s the problem with a team sport: my decision affects others too.

as tony said, it’s just a race. there will be more. now i just have to get it through my thick head that this is not the end of the world. i think a soul-cleansing epic bike ride this weekend may help. (as long as i finish my taxes, do AND put away the laundry, catch up on cleaning…. etc….)