9.12.2011

How ya' like me now?!

I'm on the leaderboard, I'm on the leaderboard, I'm on the leaderboard... *does a little dance*
Turns out my suspicions were correct--the original 2nd place "female" finisher wasn't a female named Brian...it was a male named Brian.  Once the race photos came out I was able to get a gander at the participant in question and verify that Brian was either a guy or a kinda fugly and androgynous woman with 5 o'clock shadow.

I e-mailed the race director late last week and this AM the results had been adjusted. Hopefully the legitimate 3rd place woman in my age group and will receive her deserved reward.  I'm happy to be 4th in my AG and 5th woman, overall, too.  I've never seen my name on the leaderboard like that, before.

I also discovered that there were actually 32 women in the race, not 25, as had originally been printed somewhere.

Woot woot!

Yesterday I was not 100% recovered from the race 6 days earlier AND was feeling pretty beat-up from inadequate sleep for a couple of nights (thanks, cat puking next to my bed early Sat. AM!) and a day on my bike during a pedal-powered poker run on the White Pine Trail the day before...involving beer at each stop (5 beers + 1 cider). Sounds like the perfect set-up for my very first Kisscross (keep it simple, stupid) cyclocross race...whoohoooo!!!

It was a blast! Maybe the most fun I've ever had being miserable for 40 minutes. That may still go to the 2010 North Country Trail Relay when I FUBARd my ankle, though. That was more miserable. Cyclocross is kind of comical misery. A prime example can be seen here (photos are copyright-protected and the guy who does all the photography events is a truly awesome, class-act guy, so I won't douche-ily make a screen grab. I hope by the end of CX season that he snags a few shots of me that I'll want to purchase).

Note that I am not leaping or flying over the barriers...I trotted between each barrier, then had to pretty much stop and step over them.  That trail relay-bummed ankle still doesn't really do leaping or jumping, either.  I have my doubts that it ever will, again, which is part of the reason that I'm sporting that ankle brace.  It's mostly as a buttress against further injury, which cyclocross definitely invites.

Another funny photo...this one is my hubby, marking his territory, apparently.

Bruiser...sorta-kinda
As proof that I rode hard yesterday (hey, I was 2nd to last female in the C race, not last or even last, overall, though I think I did get lapped by at least a couple of riders...damn!), I have random broken blood vessels on my legs.  Not bruises--there was no impact.  I get these funny little ruptures any time I ride with any level of intensity.  It's weird.

I was proud of myself for making it through 8 miles of mostly unpaved riding without falling even once.  I even made it down a SCARY downhill 7 times (warm-up lap and 6 race laps).  I've never before done a real downhill on sand and dirt.  But I found that the more tired I got, the better I seemed to ride, almost.  At least on the scarier spots.  I lost much of my tentativeness.  Where I started doing dumb things was on the easier sections...things like taking corners with my inside leg down.  I caught my pedal in the ground at one point and it's amazing that I didn't fall, then.  I really struggled on one particular slow, sharp turn around a tree, too, since I have a very small frame (shut up, it's because I have a short inseam!), so my toes will overlap my front wheel.  This isn't an issue at all at faster speeds, but at slow speeds and tight turns when the wheel is turned more to either side...well, it is something I have to be ever conscious of.

I'm really looking forward to my next race, this coming Sunday.  I should be better rested, stronger, and more confident.  Someday maybe I can even fantasize about finishing in the first half of the C-field, too, heh.  It's definitely one of many things that gives me more incentive to want to drop these same freaking, nagging 20#s that have been dogging me for the last 6 years, or so.  I could be faster at pretty much everything I enjoy, with the same effort and training.  I'm not getting any younger...40 is breathing down my neck and I know losing the chub is only going to get harder with each passing year.  Would be nice to not have the degree of cellulite and extra chins, too. It would help if there weren't treats like Founders' Brewery (race sponsor) porter floats at the race finish, too, ahem.

9.08.2011

We're gonna need a bigger garage!

Needs a name...perhaps "Johnny 5" (Short Circuit was a funny movie)...?
Again, our 2-wheeled stable is growing. This time we are adding a "petite" Cannondale mountain bike. Apparently Cannondale had something like 500 size XS/petite 2009 F5 Féminine bikes languishing in their warehouse. So our favorite shop *cough* drug-pushers *cough* got a bunch and are selling them for about half of original retail. Hubby insisted we get one, even though I don't really have any interest in mountain biking...for several reasons.

#1: I already struggle to fit in all of the running and biking I want to do before my body starts to fight back with exhaustion and/or injury issues.

#2: I am a friggin' klutz and bruise and bleed like no one else (I apparently am "a bleeder," according to a surgeon who nearly gave me a unit of blood during elective surgery). I have visions of crashing and bleeding-out on a trail before emergency crews are able to get to me. Seriously.

This river of blood was the result of a super-slow tip-over on my bike, recently...as I was unable to unclip (again) from those Shimano 105 SPD-SL pedals (which have since been returned to Amazon.com.  I am now pedaling on a pair of Look Keo Plus pedals, which have given me 0 issues...even several cranks tighter than the loosest tension setting).

If I can bleed like that after a simple <3mph fall, just imagine what an actual crash in the woods could render in terms of blood-loss... *shudder*

So mostly my plan is to play with this bike on roads and snow that my cyclocross bike can't handle, then hand it off to the rugrat when he's big enough to ride it, which shouldn't be much more than a year or two from now.

Speaking of cyclocross, I was able to put a few more miles on my relatively new Redline Conquest in recent weeks.  A week+ ago the relatively subtle snap/crackle/popping that had started during the One Day Ride Across MI became increasingly louder and more persistent.  Apparently the left side bottom bracket bearing was shot.  So while my zippy road bike was in the shop I did a longish ride on my 'cross bike, with road tires.  It was surprisingly agile on the road.  And FAR smoother than my previous aluminum road bike.  What a difference geometry and tube construction can make!

Last night I enjoyed my 2nd ride exploring backroads on the bike (with true cyclocross tires back on).  Hubby showed me some previously unexplored (by me) backroads.  Fun FUN!  My first ever cyclocross race is this coming Sunday...in 3 days.  Hopefully I will feel fully recovered from my 3rd and final sprint duathlon of the year, which took place on Labor Day (3 days ago).

What a fun race!  It was the inaugural Honey Creek Inn Duathlon.  And my favorite race of the year, thus far.  Even though it was my shortest duathlon, it may have been the hardest.  Fortunately it was not hot or humid, unlike my previous race...but it was chilly and WINDY...and pretty danged hilly.  The bike leg was about the same length as that of my previous duathlon, but my pace was about a half mph slower.  Given the challenges of the course I think I was actually stronger, for this race.

The run legs went better than the previous race, too.  Heat really beats me down.  Even with the hills and wind, I think my overall run pace was better on this race, as we were in the lower 50s for the duration of the event.

My results: 42/86 overall, 6/25 women, 5/12 age group (30-39...4/11 if we don't count the first place in my age group, since she was overall female winner. Half of the female field was in my AG, sheesh). I know how to cherry-pick my races! Also, I only got passed by ONE person on the entire cycling leg.

I think it's possible that I may have podiumed for my age group, but not certain.  The 2nd place winner in my AG has a masculine name...and there is a person with that same name from the same town who does running and cycling races, according to Athlinks.com, but no evidence anywhere of a female by that name anywhere.  Weird. So, assuming something got entered incorrectly and that participant is a guy AND if the 1st place female in my AG wasn't counted, since she was the overall female winner...that would put me in 3rd.  Pretty groovy!

The race didn't provide detailed leg splits, unfortunately.  They had a timing mat coming into the 1st transition and then at the finish.  Somehow they extrapolated splits from this (?).  According to that I was 51/86 on the first run, 31/86 on the bike, and 45/86 on the 2nd run.  But the paces and places are including transitions in some way.  So it's not particularly accurate.  The race directors asked for comments and suggestions on their Facebook page.  I asked that next year they have fully timed transitions/legs...I'd gladly pay $5-10 more for that.

I also asked that they institute a stricter no-iPod/headphones policy.  I had TWO issues with blissfully unaware participants during the race.  One in transition moseying-along with people running up behind him and one during the bike leg...on an open course with cars.  The rider had no clue I was attempting to pass, even though I called-out to alert them.  Headphones have no place on an open road race, particularly not one with hills and winding roads without good lines of sight.

The last few days have been all about recovery.  I have been more wiped-out and sore from this race than I was after riding across the state.  Probably didn't help that I tacked-on another 35 hilly and windy training miles with a small group of riders from the JDRF Ride to Cure team after the race, heh.