Tuesday, May 28, 2013

WORS # 2 Crystal Lake Classic

Up until this past weekend I have heard nothing but great things about the WORS series!  So let me tell you after making the trip out to Rhinelander this past weekend, all of these things are true!  I had a blast and it was more than worth the the drive and a night at the lovely Quality Inn.  What I have quickly learned in this sport is that you can both pay for your moderately sketchy hotel room and your race entry fee the week of a race... and turns out it's still a bit cheaper than signing up 6 months early for a for a local MN Tri!  That's about as rad as it gets! 

Heading into this race I knew a few things. 1 - It was going to be tough competition, 2 -  It was going to be 3 laps, and 22 miles and  3- crap I wasn't going to have my cute man on the sidelines to hand me fresh water bottles. :(  So...I spent literally an hour last week installing this beast on my bike!  I think I was more stressed out about whether or not this would actually work than I was about my fitness and performing well in the race!  Well turns out it worked!!!  My masterpiece!

I got a good pre-ride in on Saturday and realized that yikes, there was 1.5 mile gravel road prologue before you entered the single track!.  I knew no matter how things went for me at the start this was likely to be painful. The course was awesome with a mix of rocky, rolling single track and some double track sections where you could make a pass (or get passed unfortunately in my case).

Sunday's race seemed to take forever to arrive as I'm still getting used to this 1:30 pm start situation.  I had a great warm up and was ready to rock, then at the last minute realized I had forgot to put air in my tires, what!!?? but that's completely normal for me, so I wasn't even phased.. This girl needs a checklist damn it! Finally we were at the start line and even removed our helmets for the National Anthem...so cool!  Then we were off!  I tried to be smart and hold back a tad on the lead out, but I could only refrain myself for about 1 mile before taking the lead and doing all the work the rest of the way into the single track.  This turned out to not be a great strategy as I was quickly passed by speedy Amber on the first opportunity and then shortly after by Cooper, a super fast young pup racer from the UP.  Oh to be 22 again! She was killing the single track and it wasn't too long before I could no longer see her.  At one point on the 2nd lap I saw her on a turn around section and  estimated that she had a 45 second lead. 

SUFFERIN'! Thanks for the sweet photo Xtreme Photography Unlimited!
So then I was in 3rd ...and appeared to have a good gap on 4th place for what seemed like at least 15 miles of the race....then at right about 18 miles things came crashing down Jenga style and the wheels totally fell off!  Suddenly I was majorly hurting and in the midst of a serious sufffest!!  I'm not sure if  I didn't have enough calories, or if I went out to hard in the beginning, or if  I just didn't have the fitness yet for a nearly 2 hour race; regardless Lindsey passed me at a blistering pace which she made look effortless!  I tried to grab her wheel (and she even encouraged me!) however I literally had nothing left.  I pretty much prayed that the finish line would appear NOW! and thankfully it finally did without me getting passed by the chasing Lisa and Andrea! I held on to 4th and secured a spot on the podium! Sure a top 3 finish would have been more than awesome, but 4th at my first WORS race...heck yeah I'll take that!  Super stoked to have raced against such incredibly strong women and can't wait to make it to a couple more WORS races this summer!  They really put on a first class event!

Meanwhile in Charlotte, Tom and Greg were eating all kinds of terrible food and driving around in this carns mobile (Tom's rental car!)

and watching this on Sunday!! 

Tom had a blast visiting his BFF; but I was more than happy to pick him up at the airport Sunday!   I'm pretty sure Chubbs was asking me (scream meowing at me) all weekend "where is Tom?" "What did you do with him?" 

Lastly, look what happened today!  My Broadaxe got a new buddy!  Tom got a Krampus!! They even rubbed noses like the horses do!! Awe...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mama said there'd be days like this...

Unfortunately Ironman Texas was one of those days.  One of those days where you execute everything according to plan and yet your body responds in a way that is completely unexplainable. After a disappointing race such as this you spend the next few days, weeks and sometimes months (hopefully not a year) questioning where things went wrong.  However in all reality, if you race enough of these things, eventually a bad race is going to happen.  Like my buddy Julie says, "this is why you are wise to enjoy the journey." 

This is a lifestyle for us and this past weekend was an unfortunate rock in the road. We'll get around it and eventually be back on our way. Tom's already discussing what Ironmans 2014 will hold for him and I'm sure at some point along our path he'll get a chance to give IM Texas a rematch.  Until then it's onward and upward. I am so proud of Tom, he rocks my world. 

Tom's cousin Todd  told Tom that since he didn't finish Texas I'm the only one that gets venison sausage when we go up to Brainerd to visit him in a couple weeks...Tom gets hot dogs :)  We are blessed in so many ways, one of them having great family and friends who can pull off jokes such as the above and still get Tom to smile. Life goes on.

Also a huge thanks to our dear friend Lisa who made the trip with us to cheer on Tom and our other friends Jeff, KLo, Margarita and BMoy who all pressed on to finish one of the toughest Ironman courses on the circuit. You're the best Lisa!

Chubbs and Vito were so happy we were back in town that they slept all Monday on the couch with Tom.


This weekend Tom's heading to Charlotte to visit his BFF Greg. Last I heard he was needing to create some jorts for his first NASCAR adventure. Shake and Bake!  I'm set to race my first WORS race on Sunday, the Crystal Lake Classic.  I've heard nothing but great stuff about the WORS races and they seem to always get a really big cat 1 turnout for the women.  Should be a good test of fitness! I can't wait!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Greetings from The Woodlands!

Greetings from Woodlands, Texas!  Ironman Texas weekend has finally arrived and I am beyond stoked to cheer for Tom and some of my favorite buddies tomorrow!  It's also been awesome to be in the south enjoying the sun!  

Thursday was all about hitting up the expo and getting Tommy and Jeff all checked in!  Since this will be Tom's 6th Ironman and Jeff''s 8th Ironman it was pretty much business as usual and just get through the Ironman store as quickly as possible. 

Then as promised I spent a lot of time doing this on Thursday:

And in an effort to try to get ahead of my summer bike farmer tan, I did my usual small amount of time without SPF which apparently should be a bit shorter in Texas.And while chatting it away with Lisa I must have completely forgot to put sunscreen on one of my legs!  So yep, I woke up today with one burned leg and one tan leg.  Oops!  

Lisa and I rented a couple of bikes for Friday as we knew the racers would be just chilling out all day.  So yesterday we heading over to  the Bike Barn (cool name!) in Spring, TX and picked up a couple of road bikes.  They even took the time to properly fit us on our rental bikes....talk about some incredible service for a $30 rental!   If you are ever in the area, this shop rocks!   

yeah....just a nasty bug on my forehead...no big deal

Lisa and I headed out this morning for a 70 mile ride and holy hell,  was it hot!! We hit up the first section of the Ironman course and got to ride through an awesome section of the Sam Houston National Forest.  It was incredible, almost felt like we were in the Lord of the Rings (which is so not my thing btw).

We also saw a ton of cattle ranches and I personally wanted to stop by and see if they needed to buy any soybean hulls...but then Lisa reminded that I was on vacation...what!!

"Hey....whatchu bikers up to?"
We went far too long without water and by the time we finally reached the Oasis (Shell Gas Station) we were in pretty bad shape. I sat down and really enjoyed myself :)

Then, back in town we wrapped things up with a lovely dinner at the Olive Garden! Tom and Jeff are ready to Rock!   I can't wait!!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Camp Ingawanis MTB Race

Last weekend I raced my very first Iowa Series race at Camp Ingawanis in Waverly, IA.  Iowa? Yeah, believe it or not just about every single state in the Midwest cancelled their race last weekend except Iowa.  If you build it they will come, right? 

The plan was to leave Sunday around 7am so we could make it in time for a noon start. Tom had some serious Ironman miles to put in over the weekend so this was just going to be trip with the Spoo. Funny thing is that I was grumbling about this early wake-up the night before and then remembered I used to get up way before the birds back when I raced triathlons.  Yep, don't miss those days at all.  Spoo rolled up 10 minutes early, which meant I needed about 20 more minutes to get all my shit together.  I finally got downstairs and realized hot damn!! we were gonna be riding in some serious style!

Easy on the Broadaxe Spoo!
I was instantly nervous as the last thing someone wants is their nice fancy car is PigPen eating yogurt and Bonkbreaker bars!  At this point I was also concered all the farm folk would be pointing at us as we drove by their acreage. Thankfully there were no farmers to be seen.  For real though, this car is sweet!
Happy Bikes! We get to ride inside!!

Heading into this race I really had no idea what to expect, or what type of condition the course would even be in. Frankly  I didn't care as I was just stoked to be racing my bike on some trail!  Woo hoo!  

Since these mtb weekend travel trips are starting to become routine I realized it was about time I got myself some necessities.  So as I promised Eman and Anne I put their birthday gift card to good use and picked up my very own tool box and tote cooler!  I feel so organized, almost like a soccer mom.

Coach has been on my ass about drinking recovery drinks and since I recover like and elderly fat woman it's definitely more than warranted. I figured maybe this cute little cooler would make packing food fun! It helped a little and so I basically packed the whole kitchen including my lucky Carmichael water bottle.  Every time Tom uses this bottle and leaves his nasty Cytomax  in there I totally freak out!  I'm sure I'll loose this bottle some day, but until then I will treat it like royalty, this bottle has good mojo.

Speaking of bottles....as Spoo and I were getting all our stuff situated on our bike I realize "oh shit!."  Remember the Sylvan Island bike race where I ripped the water bottle cage off like a raging beast...well yeah I forgot to replace it.  Seriously?  So April.  Immediately I was telling Spoo to keep it on the down low and I even admitted there was no way I was gonna cough this one up to coach.  If I went thirsty I'd just keep it my little secret :)  Fortunately Alan, the race director, who is a totally sweet dude lent me his right off his bike, just like the shirt off his back!  Gotta love that!   It was even carbon! You better believe I screwed that one on super tight. Thanks Alan!

oh to be 29 again...just for a day.
 I went and ripped out a bit of a warm up and finally it was time to race!   The Expert women's class was only 4 deep which wasn't a huge turnout but since we started with the Comp men it felt like a normal wave!  I lined up next to a dude that was racing on a Surly Krampus (so cool!) and for the first 20 seconds pretended that I could ride with him but then eventually took my place as we went into the single track.   The course was surprisingly in awesome condition!  Sure it was a little moist in some areas but all in all it was pretty fast and challenging single track, well expect for the last 75 yards or so that took you through a gnarly mud garden.  I ended ended up passing a few comp men throughout the 3 lap race and in the end came out first female!  Sneaky snapper Spoo even caught me on the podium!  I so love when podium steps are made out of tree trunks, the coolest thing ever! 

This week has been all about power intervals and and getting some mileage in this weekend before we head out to IRONMAN TEXAS this Wednesday!  I am beyond pumped to watch Tom race next weekend, so much that I can barely focus at work.  We're gonna be basking in some 85 degree temps finally and I self-proclaimed Thursday a "rest day" so Lisa and I could work on our tan at the pool all day! We are seriously behind here.  These days I look like I am from Antarctica.  Never met anyone from there, but I imagine them to be pretty darn pasty.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Trip to The Bicycle Fit Guru

After Wednesday's rainfest ride  I rushed over to the see the Bicycle Fit Guru to get dialed in on my new Foundry Auger. Chris has been fitting me on all my bikes for the past few years and I firmly believe he is the best bike fitter in town, if not the entire country.  He also was a huge inspiration for me to give this mountain bike thing a try and I'll forever be in debt to him for that! But in all honestly I just can't believe that there is single person out there that gives a damn as much as Chris does.  He is intense and his attention to detail is unmatched.  I remember in my first fit he spent 30+ minutes on my cleats alone!  If you're looking to be get faster, feel more comfortable on your ride, or just flat out learn a few things about being efficient, Chris is your guy.

When I showed up on Wednesday I expected things to be business as usual.  My fittings these days are much quicker than in the past as Chris knows how my body works, and he remembers those things about me that make me different from everyone else. What I wasn't expecting was to be able to see firsthand just how rockstar his new 3D technology is! Chris is a genius and created a bunch of programing and protocol for this new 3D/EMG system, and its revolutionary!  Words like programming and protocol wreck havoc in my brain so I'm probably not doing it justice. Basically what he did was place a bunch of reflective bulbs around my body (very galactic), dimmed the lights and took a 3D snapshot of me riding for a brief period of time.  You end up with a 3D version of yourself on the screen that literally shows you how symmetrical you are,  and you can replay it over and over again and even see with your own eyes some of the hitches in your pedal stroke, etc.  It's crazy cool!   It looks like this afterwards:

This is not a photo of me... just some random person. 
Chris and I were also able to look at a bunch of graphs that show the symmetry of different area's on my body and pedal stroke and determine if changes needed to be made.  Check out the graphs below.  Once the fitting was over we were confident this was the best it could be at this point and also were aware of certain things I needed to focus on such as a tighter right low back/hip.  This is something Chris already knew about this fall, but the data below just confirms it (L3 graph).  If you haven't been fit by Chris you're totally missing out.  I've always said it's far and away the best money I've ever spent on a bike, period!I'm not sure if this 3D stuff is in his current fit packages, but go ahead and ask him about it! 

Hello weather...MN is Bike Friendly!

Well It continues to rain and snow  here and the weather refuses to cooperate with my need to be outside riding my bike.  This past Wednesday it had been raining for most of the day, but it appeared to let up in the afternoon and weather.com said there was 50% chance of rain between 4 and 7pm.  50% chance eh? No problem, heck that's 50% chance I won't get rained on.  So rushed home to rip out 60 minutes before my bike fit with Chris.  And....it poured on me for about 30 minutes, yep 50% of my ride.  Oh and that's not real fun when its 36 degrees out.   I swear Mother Nature is shitting on Minnesota.  I can't figure out her problem.  Our city is working it's butt off to continue to be the best bike friendly city out there.  In fact check out what just popped up on the Cedar Lake Trail!!

The photos pretty much speak for themselves.  Since this one is about 150 yards from our place, I think I'll just walk on down there to work on my bikes!

How can air not be free you ask?  Duh, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Thanks HealthPartners, that's pretty cool.