11.18.2011

Sneak Peek!

I've been a busy little bee the past couple of days.  The ODRAM (One Day Ride Across MI) planning committee met earlier in the week to start discussing the 2012 ride.  My hubby is the official "cartographer" and had also been the "webmaster" for the previous year.  The "site" consisted of a simple information page with an email contact for more info.  Most riders gleaned info. from a Facebook event page, as well.

This year the committee decided to have a more official and complete site developed and asked me to help--cool beans!

So I kinda dove-in headfirst.  I had considered building the site from scratch, which would be very labor-intensive and probably look incredibly clumsy, since my HTML coding skills are amateur, at best.  I also don't have the best handle on CSS coding.  I'm better at tweaking existing code.

Rough draft of the new-and-improved ODRAM site's FAQs page
The easiest solution I came up with was to take a Blogger template site and customize it to work more as a website than a blog.  Aside from the top navbar it doesn't really function like a typical Blogger site.

Instead of a single page with numerous entries, there are multiple pages...home, route maps, FAQs, organizers' bios, relevant links, contact.  We're also hoping to get some positive testimonials to post on the site.  Once the site is closer to being ready for wide-release we'll point the existing odram.com URL to the Blogger page.

Unlike most blog entries there won't be a spot for comments to be left on any of the pages, instead we will direct people to an official Facebook group page for question/answer.  This will help prevent clutter on the official site and to encourage more discussion and communication amongst participants and organizers.

Miss Matchy-Matchy Muddy Butt
This past weekend I competed in my 5th ever cyclocross race.  Fun times, again!  I placed 7/11 in the women's C race.  Initially the result was 6/10, so a woman's result must have gotten mixed into the men's ranking.  11 women in this race is GREAT!  I think last year they were lucky to have more than 2-3 women riding in any of the races.

Jack Kunnen snagged another nice photo of me...all matchy-matchy with my bike (I took some ribbing for that.  To be fair, I had the arm sleeves and tank under my jersey for years before the bike or jersey were even in existence), scooping in as much air as I could muster with my mouth agape.  When the season has closed I think DH and I are going to have to order a few digital copies of his work.  In all the running races I've done I think I have maybe 2 photos that were worth ordering.  Jack seems to shoot at least one good shot of me at every race.

There were some good spots of mud on the course, which got increasingly muddy with each lap.  The A and B racers got FILTHY!  It was a beautiful thing.

Next Sunday (3 days after Thanksgiving) is the last CX race of the season.  I'm already feeling sorta blue about it.  But there are a few Winter "snowcross" races that I hope to try.  I'm guessing that my mountain bike might be more useful for that.  As if I weren't already completely lacking in barrier-clearing skills.  I think my mtn. bike weighs at least 10#s more than my CX bike, too!  I'd better start pumping iron NOW!

11.07.2011

Dirt Hurts!

10/23/11 - 6/7 C female...
I missed out on a cheesecake
-- that went to the DFL woman!
It's been over 3 weeks since my little 2-wheeled jaunt in the desert. I've managed some rides on my road bike, since then (including nearly 34, today), but most of my time astride a bike has been spent on my cyclocross bike.

Since returning from Death Valley and Las Vegas Derek and I have spent a couple of gorgeous Saturday afternoons bombing-around on our muddy backroads.  I have also "raced" in 2 cyclocross events (in addition to the 2 I participated in prior to the DV ride) and really enjoyed myself. I am by no means good at the sport. I mean, I'm probably worse at cyclocross than I am at running, at least relative to the entire field. In running I generally finish right smack dab in the middle of any field. And in shorter events, like 5ks, I might even finish in the top third, overall and in my age group. In cyclocross I am happy to not be last in the C race (ie the slowest of the A/B/C fields).

To be fair, running races attract a wider range of abilities.  Cycling races are limited to those who are serious enough about the sport to have invested in relatively pricey and specialized gear.  Running shoes enable pretty much anyone to toe-the-line.

But I've yet to fall (*knocks on wood*), which says something, as last week's race photos demonstrated that even faster, more skilled riders were struggling with a section of the course that I managed to make it down 3x without so much as unclipping a single foot.

10/30/11 - 6/9 C female
I'm doing better on hills and feeling more confident and skilled with my bike-handling abilities, as well.  Next year's goals are to continue to progress with these things, but also to improve my mounts and dismounts -- which right now pretty much consist of me coming to a dead stop, dismounting, doing my run-ups and/or barriers, setting my bike down, and starting again from a dead stop...all while people who are actually slower than me on the pedaling parts pass me.  I don't want to lose places over my mounts/dismounts in 2012.

As much as I've come to love these races, I find myself already dreading the end of the season...I was scared shitless for the first few races, but now I'm having such fun gutting it out for 30ish minutes a couple of Sundays each month in the Fall.  Our last race is Thanksgiving Day weekend.  I am thankful for cowbells, hecklers, and good beer at the finish.  There's a good chance that my hubby will be moving up to the B field, so I'll even have him to heckle me in future races.  I respond better to snark than I do to gracious support, heh.

I'm also looking forward to a couple of Winter 'cross races that are offered in the area.  Those should be a fun change of pace.  I think studded tires will be on my Christmas list (is that weird...ya'know, being a girl who wants utilitarian tires, instead of perfume or some designer wardrobe item, or something...?).

Looks kinda like a hedgehog, doesn't it?
In addition to my time on my CX bike I also joined my hubby and a few friends for an afternoon of loops at Luton park.  I will say that my first jaunt at Luton went relatively better than last week's ride.  I just felt..."off" and sort of foggy the entire time.  Towards the end of the day took a bit of a tumble as I attempted a tight turn heading down a hill.  I landed hard on my left hip/thigh (earning myself a 4"x3" bruise), with my feet pointing up the hill.  I recall rolling at least once, and have a smaller bruise on my right thigh to show for it.

The big bruise is still sorta hard 5 days out.  And my legs are littered with bruises from that ride and other random, minor pedal whacks and moments of me lacking grace (at least 75% of the time I can't actually determine the cause of any bruise...I'm just covered with them and some of the larger ones can be painful for days).  We attended Derek's cousin's wedding on Saturday and I was feeling a little self conscious about the abundance of multi-colored splotches on my lower legs.  I'm actually overdue for a physical and I think I'm going to ask about the possibility of a clotting disorder (on paper I have nearly all of the symptoms for von Willenbrand Disease, including anemia, and actually had a surgeon very concerned years ago, as I bled heavily in the OR.  I've always avoided aspirin, just to be safe, but it has me wondering if my diagnosed stage 2 endometriosis isn't just endometriosis, since the heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding could have just as easily been from a clotting disorder).  I've always bruised easily, but it seems to have worsened in the past decade.  It's my ease of bruising and bleeding that has always made me apprehensive to try mountain biking.

Now that I've tried it and like it I don't want to have reason to avoid it, especially if there is some treatable condition at play.  I don't really mind falling.  What I DO mind is the painful after-effect of a big-ass hematoma on my big ass!