Monday, September 24, 2007

Pioneer Trail

Saturday I rode part of the Pioneer Trail with my brother and Dino. It is the perfect trail for someone like me-- strong legs, stubborn but lacking the mtn. biking gene which allows one to relax and flow over the bumps. As usual I made all of the mistakes I normally do after spending months off the mtn. bike. Some things I've learned but always forget:

1. Do not brake before every obstacle.
2. Do not overgear before steep climbs and stall (for goshsakes you have track sprinter legs!!)
3. Don't forget to breath and relax the upper body.
4. Mtn. Bikes do not turn like 16lb. carbon fiber road bikes in criterium-- you have to turn the handle bars vs. lean hard
5. Everyone makes mistakes mtn. biking-- that's what makes it fun. There is such thing as a "do over" in mtn. biking, unlike the anal sport of road racing. Nothing like a good mtn. bike ride to remind you that you are a mortal and two wheels are about having FUN and not taking things too seriously.

It was raining lightly for the whole ride. I kept expecting members of the House of Flying Daggers to descend from the trees-- beautiful misty tall pines. The smell was wonderful. The climb was fine. The descent chilly. We made it 8 miles and turned around. I was starting to get spooked-- more technical, more wet, ack!! Luckily the boys were fine with turning around.

On a personal note, I had fun watching of my naturally athletic brother and stupendous boyfriend. They are really fun to mtn. bike with-- the whole ride+++ maybe make it to the lake at the end???? are a "do over" I hope.

Here's the map:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back to the Bike Trail

Today we took a nice easy spin up the bike trail to Beales Point. The air had that nice crisp fall feel to it and the people watching was interesting. The squirrels were running around like crazy. It felt nice to take it slow after a busy week.

I took Monday off then rode two hours in the evening on the bike trial with lights. I like how peaceful it is on the trail (and cooler). It's interesting how much things change at night-- the animals are more active and the bugs are loud!

Wednesday as back to school night, so no riding. I was so tired on Thursday that the Thursday South River Ride was tough going. It's a little annoying how work and other stresses interfere with cycling energy. It doesn't seem like it should work that way.

Yesterday was another River Ride + up to Hazel on the bike trail. These rides have felt like great training for the Fall Doubles coming up. Tapping into the endurance systems.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sly Park to Carson Pass

I wasn't really thinking about what I was doing when I planned this ride. The idea was to get in some long climbing miles before the Knoxville Double Century coming up later this month. Well, yeah, I just like to spend all day on my bike climbing up hills looking at the beautiful scenery.

Reality set in on the first steeper pitch when I wasn't warmed up and the bugs swarmed me. I felt so much better back on my triple spinning up the hills. I hope someday that I won't need it! Power to weight ratio-- argh! Although, I have 65cm quads y'all!!

Once I settled in things were nice. The weather was perfect and there were very few cars on the Mormon Emigrant Pass. It's a LONG climb. It pretty much goes up for 25 miles to Hwy. 88. I never would have dreamed as a kid that I'd be riding my bike up there. I think of all the times I drove up to Kirkwood to ski.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the email from the ride leader that the ride had been canceled, but apparently I wasn't the only one. It was four of us for the day, including a very experienced strong cyclist named Dan I. who proved nice company for Dino and I for the day.

We stopped at the Kirkwood A-frame super mini smallest store on earth closet for snickers and Gatorade and I stopped questioning my sanity. I got a great view of my favorite ski run- "Sentinel Bowl".

Carson Pass was just another 5 miles and about 1000 feet of climbing (it seemed like). The top was beautiful. Dino won the hill climb!!! Raised his hands for the victory. The nice docents and the Kit Carson Visitor's Center gave us water even though it was against the rules and then we were in for a long long descent with a few climbs thrown in.

The rain started pit patting on us after a couple of miles... then it got harder... then the hail started in. Hmm.. I was starting to see a connection. The last time I rode up Carson Pass with Dino on the Death Ride two years ago it hailed on us. Coincidence? I think not!!! We anger the weather gods!

Eventually, we outran the storm and powered up the last climbs.

85 miles with 8-10,000 feet of climbing!! Time to eat lots and lots!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

River Ride

It was a perfectly lovely day on the River Ride today... Not much wind, some fasties driving it on the front at a safe and steady pace, lots of good gossip and idle chit chat. It hurt less then it normally does. I was amazed to see Rich Maile doing intervals on the side of the peleton of 50+ doing intervals from back to front while we were doing 28-30mph. I can only imagine doing something like that! My silver bike is back in action and running better than it ever has (or maybe I am). After the sprint, I had a good chat with Steve Rex who just finished PBP. He is amazing and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Tomorrow, we're off to ride the Mormon Emigrant Trail up to Carson Pass. I'm digging my new expanded cycling lifestyle.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dunnigan Hills Road Race -- August 17,2007

I really didn’t feel like racing yesterday morning. After the crash at Timpani, it just didn’t seem as important or fun. My knee felt okay and my boyfriend was racing, so I decided to give it a go anyway. I saw Ryan before her race and wished her the best. I didn’t expect to see any more bellas, but ran into Angela who was racing masters. A new Bella, April was in the Cat 4’s with me. A slew of Velogirls and Hill&Co ladies asked about Tracy Loper and wanted to express their concern. I gave them what I knew and told them about Tim’s blog.

I started towards the back with April, with the plan of moving up as soon as I could. April went up front early on a picked up the pace for the group. Man, she’s got some power. Unfortunately, I was stuck further back with no way out. The whole race was nerve-rackingly slow and bunchie. I was having post crash nerves, but reminded myself to relax and be loose. It was rough when several times there were blood-curdling screams from other girls when someone ran over a bottle in the feed zone and another girl swerved a little to avoid a pothole. I wanted to blast off the front and end the misery, but knew that time-trialing in the wind would be foolhardy after just 10 miles. “Just be patient” I had to tell myself. I got yelled at when I moved closer to the more stable front and stole a wheel. “You’re supposed to signal!” I heard and “pick a wheel”. I was really careful about how I stole it really—the old parallel parking maneuver—get right next to the person in front and slowly gradually move back on their wheel. There was even a big gap there for me to get into. Sigh.

We were neuter-ized 1k from the finish, right before the right hand turn over the overpass. Track season paid off—the minute the motorcycle pulled off I attacked hard and made it to the top with a few others. I was blocked for a minute and then poured on the gas to get 3rd place. It was a close one. Another Velo Promo t-shirt for the collection. Time to send in for my Cat 3 upgrade. Yay! Thanks to everyone for support, advice, and fun.