Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
So just about everything was pretty inexpensive in Baker City. I spent $3.50 on breakfast, including tip, $3.90 on dinner, $7 on a she-she breakfast, & $4.50 on 3 very large americanos. This was sweet! I did end up dropping $50 at Safeway though - but most of that stuff came home with me too. I ATE 2 LOAVES OF RAISIN BREAD IN 3 DAYS & like 14 bananas.
Oh yes - and then there was the race -
Day 1 - Oregon Trails RR - 5 mile neutral roll out - yep, 5 miles in scorching heat. We had a police escort out of town & a warning that if we crossed the center line at any point during the race we would fall into a pit of scalding hot lava that would burn the flesh from our skin. On this neutral roll out, one woman had a mechanical (second thoughts) & had to get some mechanical support (emotional guidance). Our lead vehicle had us stop & wait for her - & you know what that means..PEE BREAK! Yes indeed, right in front of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Discovery Multi-Cultural Center Museum Display Area. After the pee-break (we were hydrated women for hot RR), the woman with the mechanical came rolling up to rejoin the pack (meet her destiny) & it was game on into a headwind, going downhill at 14 mph. It was a long ride out to the turn around in Richland, OR. I felt super crappy on the way (it was the she-she breakfast) & knew it was going to be a tough day. I got my ass handed to me on the feed hill out of town & dropped from the lead & chase groups. I managed to regain some strength after sucking down 6 or so bottles of water & begging some more from my teammate, Michele. Once recharged, I started making my way through some stragglers in front of me. There was no relief from the wind & I think it was actually worse on the way back in. The last 5K had insanely strong cross winds & I thought I was going to get blown across the centerline - gasp! I managed 10th in the 1-2's, but around 14th on the road since they were scoring 1-2's & 3-4's separate.
Day 2 - TT
I liked the Time Trial & felt much better after non-she she breakfast. There was a slight headwind on the way out to turn around at 5.5 miles, but it was downhill & you could still keep your speed up. The wind was not as bad as the day prior. On the way back, the little tail wind was nice & I jammed. I wonder if I could have gone harder on the way out or even harder on the way back, but I ended up 8th (still almost 2 min down from TT winner- but an improvement). Allison was TT winner & Michele was 2nd! Nice.
Fun crit! Really wide open & the corners are a nice distance from each other, plus there is a long stretch for the sprint - plenty of time for me to get the long legs moving. There were a ton of primes for cash & prizes for our race. A prime almost every lap! I went for a $50 cash prime about 15 min from the finish & won it. Woo- hoo. At 2 laps to go, I was in good position towards the front, but got boxed in when an attack went & ended up trying to move back up on the last lap. I finished 9th. There was a girl from Australian National Team there who just dusted the field. The GC leader was left to do all the work in the field to try to limit losses. She didn't have a teammate who could really help her out. She was obviously frustrated that no one from the field was going to help her chase the other person back.
Final Day RR
Long race day - 101 miles, 3 PEE BREAKS!, 27 neutralizations & 1-8 mile climb after93 miles of racing. Our average speed was 18.1 MPH - the race took me 5 hours & 25 minutes. Long day. The main group pretty much stayed together. We had some great support in the 2nd feed zone, so I was juiced & ready for the final climb. I lasted about 1/2 way up the climb & managed 4th in 1-2's for the day & I think 6th on the road. Allison was 2nd in 1-2's & 1st overall GC Champion. Very cool! Fun racing this day & I am stoked with my placing. I managed 6th in GC - nice. I am not sure where our other ladies ended up overall or on the stage since results haven't been put up yet, but it was great to have so many of us there.
Long drive home & windy! My little car was having a tough time of it with the bike on top, so had to bring both bikes inside to motor home. Made it back to see Sky & Josh! Yah - great weekend of racing, but nice to come home, too.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
CRIT: Had good start to crit in top position & was comfortable taking corners w/o braking after a couple laps, but had to force myself to relax. Riding well until 1/2 way through when I was further back in the field & there was an attack after a prime & the pack split. Lesson here: move up for primes - even if not going for them - duh - or just don't ride that far back. Finished 8th - 3rd of 4 in little chase group. Allison got worked over in the lead group, but still got 3rd.
Start - into a headwind & things were going slow. It felt really boring & hard just to sit in, but I knew it was going to be a long race & wanted to be fresh for when it really counted. Lea was attacking pretty early in the race & I remember thinking she was going to wear herself out. She did not have any teammates out there.
Jitka did great hanging in there, rotating throug on the way out to the turnaround & was riding well.
There were some attacks heading out to the lolli pop loop of the TT course, but nothing too threatening. When we hit the tail wind section of the TT course, we were flying. Over all the rollers, attacks were going. Allison & I were chasing stuff down & it was great to have the 2 of us to take turns chasing. it also helped that Byrne rider was frisky & wasn't going to let Wines go up the road.
I thought the feed hill would be full of attacks & tough with the false flat after, but the strong headwind neutralized anyone's desires to attack there.
Wines started sending girls up the road on attacks at about 15 miles to go. At about 10 miles to go in a tail/crosswind section WOW rider2 got up the road & I was on her wheel. We had a good gap & she wanted me to pull through & help, but I didn't want to risk her getting the win & leaving Allison teammate-less in a group sprint, especially if there was a chance that Lise could then take 2nd in the overall, so I sat on her wheel.
The group following caught us & WOW rider 1 launched an attack, but with Allison right on her wheel. After going through Winthrop on the way back to Twisp, WOW rider 1 got a gap at one point - this seemed pretty dangerous & Allison was at the front. I jammed up to get ahead of her to tow her up, but then I heard her say "go get her, Carrie." So I went & again just sat on her wheel. I'm a little hazy at exactly what happened then, but I think WOW rider 2 caught us & I sat on them until Allison rejoined us & then it was just down to the 4 of us with the rest of the field behind.
WOW rider 1 & WOW rider 2 were taking turns attacking us. At one point, WOW rider2 was worried the field was closing in on us. I took the bait & went to the front to charge ahead & then WOW rider 1 unleashed an attack; I thought there was no way I would be able to hang on. Allison was with her & I managed to keep up & I swore I was not going to the front the rest of the way to the finish, but I think I was up there a couple more times & each time there was a Wines attack. Allison & I did not have much of a chance to be aggressors & attack becuase we were either chasing or recovering from the last attack.
I recognized the change in pavement surface from old to new & back again from driving the road out to the parking lot from Winthrop that morning & knew we were close & sat on Lise's wheel in 2nd position. we rode by the 1K sign then rounded a bend & all of the sudden the 200m sign was there. I saw red & jammed on the pedals praying that Allison was on my wheel - I hadn't had time to check b/w the 1K sign & 200 m sign (I think the distance was a little miscalculated by whoever set up the signs). I was closing in on the finish line & noticed I did not see Allison coming around & i did not know where she was. I thought I should back off, but did not want to risk the Wines girls coming around so jammed all the way across the line, then looked left & there was Allison. We took 1-2 ahead of Wines!
In the end, Allison maintained her #2 in GC (She would have had to have won & WOW rider 1 finish 5th to take the overall) & I moved up a spot in overall points, Plus we had the pleasure of putting the smackdown on Wines. :)
Friday, June 15, 2007
Around 3:45 am I remember wriggling around trying to get comfortable. I had a bit of a crook in my neck. It hurt to move & I thought it would go away. I got up to get some water & was amazed how stiff my neck felt. I went into the bathroom for some ibuprofen & could not turn my head left or right or look up or down. When I tried to rub the sore spot at the base of my skull, all I got was a shock of shooting pain to my brain stem. Not so good. Back in the bedroom, I gingerly sat on the edge of the bed & tried to scoot my way back to the pillow & muffle my whimpers of pain to not wake up Josh who was finally sleeping. He woke up anyway. Josh was able to help me lower myself to the pillow & get me an ice pack. Such a sweetie. We both fell back to sleep.
5:50 am rolls around & I cannot move or lift my head from the pillow the pain is so bad. Josh tries to lift my head & shoulders together to keep my neck straight from the pillow, but it is so bad! Finally, he just has to do it, like ripping off a band-aid, so I can get out of bed. No way am I going to work today. Who knows about the race this weekend. I email my boss that I am working from home & email Dr. Jo at Tuttle clinic for an emergency adjustment.
I start working away on the laptop with ice pack & pillows supporting me. At 9:30 am, Natasha from Dr's office calls to say I can come right in. I hobble to the car & then drive like an 80 year old woman to the U-District - all mirrors. Dr. Jo had some trouble getting my neck to move because the muscles were clenching so hard at this point, but she was able to get it to move finally after a little massage. She said I probably slept so hard that I did not move & the muscles tightened & pulled something from alignment. How does that happen?! I thought I was getting the best sleep ever, but guess not - it was wicked sleep. I booked it home for some Aleve, more ice & plenty of fluids.
It's 1 pm now & still pretty sore, but able to move & twist now. I think I'll still try driving to Methow for the Omnium this weekend. I am hopeful things will be looser by tomorrow morning.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
This was my first race back from Hood & I felt great - which was a good thing since I had been feeling pretty wrecked the first few days after Hood, then things started to turn around, but I still had to be conservative & keep the recovery going.
The race started out pretty fast & I did not have a great start. Seems to be something I need to work on - crit starts. I was finally able to get into a rythem & I knew I wasn't going to go down in a corner, so I had a few attacks & chased some things down. Jen T had to pull out of the race due to her Hammy acting up & Rachel, well, it was a fast race for her & she was dropped & lapped, but hung on after that. Karen was riding really well & able to help Annette chase things down & then she got off in a break. The break stuck & there were a few attempts by various people, including Annette & I to bridge, but nothing went. It was hard to carry speed through the corners for me b/c I kept feeling my rear slip - I had to think about how to take them. On the last 2 laps, I lead the field at a good clip with Annette on my wheel. I knew she could win the field sprint - she wanted the overall, but would have to settle. I was passed by a Byrne leadout for Deb Preller, then in corner 3 on the cobbles, Deb & Annette collided & Deb ended up going down hard. I was behind the crash & sat up. Annette still won the field sprint for 4th & I was 10th - not a great result for the effort, but I'll take it. It was a photo finish for Karen & she got 2nd.
This week, I rode with coach Ryan & some cat 1,2's for a 'Tuesday ride' around Mercer Island & had my butt handed to me - which was good - forces me to think about how to ride more efficiently & not just throttle for no reason all the time.
Just finished up getting the rig all packed up to head to Methow Valley Tour in Winthrop this weekend. I am looking forward to rocking! Allison & Michele will be there, too. Good times.
I'll miss Sky this weekend. :)
Monday, June 11, 2007
I hear words like 'beauty' and 'handsomeness' and 'incredibly chiseled features' and for me that's like a vanity of self absorption that I try to steer clear of.
I ate fiberglass insulation. It wasn't cotton candy like the guy said... my tummy itches.
Sky had a tussell with the neighbor cat from previous episodes this morning. While sipping coffee & coming out of a coma this Monday morning, I heard what sounded like a crow choking on a tennis ball. This was out of the ordinary for noises coming from the front lawn area, so I took a chance & peeked outside to see if I could actually get a glimpse of a crow meeting death. That's when I saw the neighbor cat & I knew something was afoul. I opened the door & Sky came booking it into the house covered in fresh lawn clippings from some kind of altercation involving lawn clippings. It obviously had Sky upset, as she went straight to her bowl of food, which she does when she is upset, scared, moody, sad, happy, calm, elated & bored.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Earlier this week, it was pretty warm for a few nights here in Seattle. After getting back from Hood River, I was really looking forward to some cool nights of sleeping in my own bed soundly, but it was not to be.
One especially warm night, Josh & I left the slider door from our bedroom to the deck open with the screen door closed. It has been a few moons since the screen door could do much to keep bugs or critters out. It's a little thrashed. The opening at the bottom of the screen door where the mesh wafts in the wind makes a perfect door for Sky to come & go as she pleases, which helps us sleep better normally because she is OCD about coming & going in the night.
We left the slider open & fell asleep with the cool breeze gently swirling in the room. Some time late in the night, I could faintly hear some low growling noise in my distant dreams. It was not enough to rouse me from my slumber, but when Josh leaped from the bed & starting doing his crazy monkey dance & snorts, I was jolted awake...for a few seconds before dozing back to sleepy land.
In the morning, Josh filled me in on what happened. A strange cat, I think I know which one, mozied on into our room & took up camp underneath my grandma's old antique chair. This royally pissed off Sky, who took to defending her turf with really menacing growls & snorts of her own, which in turn woke up Josh who took to chasing all felines from the room.
Since this episode, we've had to defend Grandma's chair from Sky who keeps giving it side ways glances & the sneak attack. Evidently, Sky has some association with the strange cat & the chair that is lasting.
The whole episode has brought Sky & Josh even closer together...
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Below is a post from June 1st - I had not internet connection at the time, so just getting to posting today...I made it through the last stages, too. Stage 5 (88.5 miles, 9200 ft of climbing) was great the first 50 miles or so - I was was climbing better, then it was 40 miles of climbing - no joke - I finished pretty far back on the day. For the final stage, stage 6 - a crit, I thought I felt good, but I started in the back row (oh geeze, no one is lining up yet - I'll just take one more lap before the start) and had to close a bunch of gaps on the uphill section, plus the back section had a wicked tail wind, so it was hard just to keep contact at the back there. It was a short crit for me, but at least I got credit for finishing the race. :) Now rest time to recover & come back flying.
—June 1st, 2007—
It is a long winding, windy, hilly, hot, smooth, fast road. Stage 4 of Mt Hood Cycling Classic is in the books for the upper categories. My goal for the day was to enjoy the scenery & the fun parts of the course. I warmed up for a total of 7.5 minutes on the trainer, then threw my aero wheels on & rode up to the start. A few of us ladies of the bottom of GC realm were chatting it up a bit with each other & the officials before the start of the race. Good times. I was the 2nd to go off, because I was 2nd from last after the 3rd stage! Uggh – hard not to be disappointed & frustrated with that – especially since 2 years ago, I was at least in the top ½ of the field here. I don’t want to focus on the negative too much, but it is quite a disappointment. I know it always ebbs & flows, but holy frigging cow – 2nd from last?!?
Anyway, today was actually fun & the hills were not too bad - especially at the pace I was going - the descents & flat sections were a good place to test my aero equipment & see how fast I could get going & practice corners in the aero bars.
Yesterday was 66 miles of fun – 56 of which were off the back for me. Yessss. I almost made it over the climb the 1st of 4 times with the leaders, but not quite. I fell off at 1 K to go. Liz came screaming by me on the descent & signaled for me to hop on. I tried & for a ways we were together & then I got sketched out when a girl behind me came around & I did not feel as comfortable on her wheel & dropped back – then Liz was gone. She is so rocking on the descents! I passed a few people on the climb – but not many & then never saw them again. This was kind of the whole race. It was freaking hot & the last time through the feed zone, RT from Recycled Cycles handed me a nice, cold Coke – just what I needed to climb that sucker of a climb the 4th & final time. A group of OTB cat 1,2 men came rolling by me – I sat near their group to get a little tow up part of the climb. This helped break up the intense boredom I was beginning to feel. I was totally questioning why I was even out there – just feeling beat down.
However, today in the shuttle ride back to the parking lot after the finish of the TT, there were some girls talking about having the same exact feelings – “I hate my bike, I hate riding & I hate all of you!” So great to know someone else feels the same way.
After the end of yesterday’s stage, Liz came up the road to pick me up, so I would not have to ride all the way back to the parking lot. She had had to pull out of the race due to her hamstring really acting up – she knew if she was having trouble then that the rest of the week would be counter productive & may lead to more injury. Allison is doing great! She was 10th after stage 2 & 12th going into today. I hope she can get back into the top 10 – she is a great time trialist, so I think she has a shot.
The stage the day before was stupid for me. That is when I really, really knew this week would be a brain burner. I was popped from the peleton every time up the “climb.” It was supposed to be a sprinters course – I couldn’t even make it up the sprinters hill. I just have to think of this as training & swallow my pride.
I am afraid of tomorrow’s stage. 89 miles & 9200 feet of climbing. The last 40 miles are all uphill. 40 miles! Are there even 40 mile climbs in the Tour? A few of the ladies at the TT start near the bottom of GC with me were talking about how we should just ride together – we’re all in survival mode anyway. That would make it at least a little better – misery with company.
At least this week, I have gotten what I have been asking for – consistently hot weather. J It’s been around 90 or higher every day. Awesome. Nice Tan Lines.