It's nearly a done deal!

Yup...there it is (with some bad Photoshopping of the "Sid blue" bar tape and cable housings for effect): Oby 2 Kenobi (Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival).  The name was actually chosen by our shop guy and inspired by the name of my current bike, Oberon, aka "Oby."  We ordered "him" (I think this bike is definitely going to be all boy.  Oby is sorta gender neutral) yesterday afternoon.

Hubby and I had thought maybe I'd end up needing the next larger size, but Mike, our shop guy, was certain that 48cm is where I should be, but I could use a longer stem (I think my current is an 8cm, so 9-10 might have me comfier).  He knows his stuff.  I wouldn't have had much--if any--standover height on the next size up, anyhow.  A friend of ours has a 48cm CAAD9 with the same geometry that lives at the shop, so I straddled hers and it seemed like a good fit just from that simple measurement.

I will likely order custom diecut vinyl lettering in a Star Wars font...but have to find out why the font from the signage company (SpeedySigns.com) doesn't render Os at the beginning of a word properly.  The same o mid-word is fine.  At the beginning of a word it renders as an N or R...strange.  There are other companies with similar fonts, but not nearly the degree of customization, colors, or borders.  I have a couple of these stickers on my current bike and they are pretty nifty (as long as they are kept from areas with lots of repetitive abrasion, like near my flubby inner-thighs, as I discovered with one set of lettering on Oby).

We're not sure yet how long it will take to receive the new bike.  Cannondale was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, yesterday, so Mike will possibly have an ETA when he talks to them on Monday.  It would be nice to have it before Christmas.  Even better would be for a mild Winter without much snow so that I can get out on the roads some, and not log all of my early miles on-trainer...but I live in the snow belt of West MI--not getting my hopes up on that one.

Tomorrow is the last cyclocross race of the season.  This will be my hubby's 3rd race, ever, and the first race for a friend of ours.  I'll be there with bells (big-ass cowbell) on!  Afterwards is a soup and bread buffet end-of-season party at one of our favorite brewpubs (across the street from our favorite bike shop...it's like a little piece of Nirvana in MI).



I'm so not good about keeping up my blog like I should.  Instead I tend to wait until a bunch of stuff piles up, then I write stupid-long and rambling posts.  Here goes.

So early last week a cycling friend of mine officially invited me to join a new Luna Chix local team that is forming in our area.  Luna does sponser a pro team, too, but we would not be doing any true competitive work.  Our responsibilities would primarily include promoting Luna (Clif's line of women-specific nutritional bars and energy products), hosting ride clinics, being present at races (as competitors or support for our team members competing--this will be me at mountain bike events.  Me no likey dodging trees on a bike), and raising money for The Breast Cancer Fund.

I feel so amazingly honored to have been asked to join this group of women cyclists.  We will have a really diverse group of women on the team...I'm the newbie and definitely not as strong a rider as the rest of the gals, but they are such a supportive and fun bunch.  I look forward to training rides (2/month) with them.  It will be added incentive to work hard and keep up.

In other news...on Friday I will be breaking my streak of never having shopped on Black Friday (ever...seriously!).  We won't be hitting the mall, however.  We will be hitting our favorite local bike shop for me to be fitted for my new road ride...*squee*  I am positively giddy about this.  I just hope there are a few days in the next couple of months when I can get out and ride without snow and crap on the roads.  I can't wait to feel the difference between relatively harsh aluminum and buttery carbon.  Perhaps I will even stop avoiding some of our rougher chip-sealed roads!

Training for the Vegas Half Marathon has been going well.  Only 8 days until I fly out. I am really excited.  I'm happy to be tapering now, too.  Though this week I am still hitting pretty solid miles.  I think I may manage 30 before the week is out, + 50 on the bike (I plan to do 15 miles on the bike when we get back from Turkey Day dinner, tomorrow.  I will need that).

I had a brief "oh shit" moment during yesterday's run.  I rolled my bad ankle.  I instantly went numb with terror...then realized that nothing hurt, nothing had snapped...my ankle was OK.  Phew.  I honestly believed that a simple roll would prove tragic at this point.  I was relieved-beyond-belief to find that this was not the case.  It makes me feel a lot better about running this Winter.  I tend to roll my ankles every few weeks, primarily on all of the little hunks of ice kicked-up by plows.  Often these are concealed by an inch or two of snow and unavoidable.

Happy Thanksgiving--hope it's a great day.  I have much to be thankful for.  I hope you do, too.


What's Wrong With Me

I think I have it figured out (at least as far as my ankle is concerned).  And it goes by the name of Anterolateral Ankle Impingement.  It has been over 5 months since my sprain and I have had no real improvement in my ankle in probably 2 months time.  Running on paved surfaces is mostly good, though my ankle tends to start muttering at me by 7-8 miles into most longer runs.

This is not what bothers me.  What bothers me is how weak and twinge-y my ankle feels any time I run on non-paved surfaces (like the gravel shoulder or grass).  It feels weak and it hurts sort of from the top of where my ankle and foot meet to around and under my outer ankle bone.  I also cannot do much dorsiflexion beyond normal walking or running without awful stiffness and pain.  I really can't stretch my achilles on my left side, so it's a good thing that I'm not prone to achilles issues.

From the look of things I pretty much have textbook symptoms of the afore-linked condition.  And right now I'm just really thankful that our roads are still clear.  At the moment I'm fairly certain that running on snow is going to be very bad.  I'm also guessing that any trail running in 2011 is going to be no-go.

I have a routine asthma check-up with my PCP in 2 weeks, so I'm going to ask him about this issue then.  My guess is they may schedule me for an MRI and once the condition is confirmed we'll try some corticosteroid injections at the site of the scarring.  If that doesn't help, then I'd likely be looking at surgery.  I guess the timing could be worse.  If I have to lose a few months of running and biking to surgical recovery, Winter is not the worst time to do so.

Since I'm already assuming that trail running will be out for next year, I'm thinking that 2011 might be my year to really embrace the duathlon and shorter distance road races.  Ever since my first (and, thus far, only) duathlon back in April I have REALLY wanted to see what I could do in the 5k.  The first leg of that duathlon gave my my 5k PR...just imagine what I could have done without having to pace myself for the subsequent bike and 2nd 2k legs!

I think I am going to forgo the May 25k, too.  Last Spring it was really difficult to train properly for both that and the duathlon--they are just such different events with training that is often at odds.  I would like to dedicate more bike-specific training to my workouts, instead of so many longer runs, especially now that I'm more comfortable on the bike and will have a new, more performance-oriented ride with which to become more familiar.

More bike time in the Spring will also make it easier to potentially do a few century rides in the Summer, as well as a Summer duathlon or two.  And the bike doesn't bother my ankle...at all.  So my running mileage may be a bit light depending upon the long-term ankle prognosis, anyhow.


Sunday Funday

Yesterday was so nice--50s and sunny, with wind that only became bothersome toward the end of the ride.  The hubby and I attended a "FUNraising" event hosted by our favorite bike shop.  The Pineapple Bob ride (35 and 42 mile routes) takes place on a mix of paved and gravel/dirt roads with beers and taco buffet at the end of the ride.  We chose to hang with the 35 mile group on our tandem (which can roll with skinny/slick road tires or larger, knobbier cyclocross tires, which allows it to be comfortably and safely ridden on pavement or unpaved roads).  This was our first venture "off-road" and my very first ride on gravel in a VERY long time.

It wasn't as scary as I had anticipated, though I definitely feel a slight bit of fishtailing sensation on the back end of the bike while riding the gravel stretches.  Derek felt none of this instability, which is interesting.  We're on the same bike, but our experience of the bike's handling definitely differs.

This was our longest tandem ride and while it was fun, I am finding that I'm having some physical issues that would likely not be present for a taller rider behind my beast of a spouse.  The difference in our height is nearly a foot and since my saddle is already much lower than his so that I can reach the pedals it puts my nose is inches away from his waist.  What this means is that I can't see anything from about 10 o'clock to 2 and my head ends up tilted backwards a bit more than is comfortable for more than maybe 90 minutes.  While on my road bike I tend to prefer a more aggressive "aero" position with torso and head leaned more forward, but the tandem forces me to take a more upright and awkward position.

As a result, my neck and back were pretty sore last night and today aren't feeling the greatest.  With time I'm sure my muscles would adapt--after all, when I first started riding my road bike I had sore neck and shoulder issues for the opposite reasons--but that lack of sight ahead of the bike really puts a damper on the ride experience, too.  Especially on a group ride.  We brought up the rear of of the 35 mile group yesterday (in large part because we're still adapting to the relatively cumbersome handling of the tandem, so it's trickier to ride in a group or paceline) and it was sorta lonely on the back of the tandem, since I could only talk to Derek, but couldn't make eye-contact, of course.

I think my favorite part of the ride was going fast on a straight stretch with a bit of a tailwind.  We can really push that bike to some fun speeds, especially as our comfort level improves.  Perhaps next Summer we will get in on a local time trial or two.  Our beasty quads are good for something!

Today I am taking it sort of easy.  I had planned to do my weight workout and then get in maybe 20 miles on the bike, but the past 2 days of cardio in cool, damp air have done a number on my asthmatic lungs.  So I'm pushing back the bike workout to the middle of the week, which should see the best weather and warmest temps.  60s are so nice in Nov.

We've entered that time of year when I am content to log 50 miles/week on the bike.  A fraction of what I was doing just a few months ago, but the weather is less bike-friendly and now my running miles are back up into a respectable range as I peak for a half-marathon in just under 4 weeks.  I'm OK with just maintaining some bike fitness for a while.  More than 50 miles/week on the trainer is just sorta torturous, anyhow.

I logged my first trainer ride of the season a couple of nights ago and it was a workout without much pleasure.  It was also hard as hell, since our fluid trainer offers a LOT more resistance than the road.  Easily 2.5-3mph (and 2-3 gears) were lost vs. what I can do on the road with equal effort.  I'll pretty happily put my bike on the clunky old magnetic trainer for the rest of the cold season.  Eventually a newer, better magnetic trainer will be on my shopping list, but a newer, better road machine trumps a new torture trainer.