Thursday, July 31, 2008

Still Safe

Well, the CPS rankings have been updated, and I'm still in first place—by 6 points. The margin is getting smaller and smaller. I'm enjoying my time in the sun and basking in my glory. I did, however, give myself a reality check by subtracting the number of points I got for my worst race (Ft. Custer) so I could see where I'd fall if I didn't have one more race under my belt than all my competitors. Turns out, the reality is that I'm in fourth, which is where I think I'll finish at the end of the season.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I picked up my Badger frame yesterday. I post some photos as soon as I can figure out where the heck my camera is.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm it!

Those of you who read a lot of blogs all know what this tagging thing is. In my experience, most bloggers are somewhat annoyed when they get tagged. They complain a lot and usually participate anyway, particularly if Fat Cyclist threatens them with leprosy if they don't. I, however, am out of the ordinary and am thrilled to have been tagged. This is mainly because it is proof that someone has paid attention to my blog for some amount of time at some point. I was tagged by Ali B., who must have been to my blog, and in fact, I think she's been twice. Check out her blog, which is much cooler than mine. The second reason I'm excited is that ostensibly, someone wants to hear my opinion. And, as my two loyal blog readers and everyone in my office who feels the wrath of my red pen knows, I love to tell people what I think. So, here goes.

If you could have any one—and only one—bike in the world, what would it be?

A 29er. I'm not going to be any more specific or picky than that.

Do you already have that coveted dream bike? If so, is it everything you hoped it would be? If not, are you working toward getting it? If you're not working toward getting it, why not?

I don't, but I'm buying the frame tomorrow. Then I just need to buy a fork, wheels, etc., which probably won't happen until next spring when we've financially recovered from the wedding.

If you had to choose one—and only one—bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?

I think I'd get sick of riding the same thing every day, no matter how much fun it was. If I had to choose the kind of ride I like best, though, I'd say it would be in a pine forest, probably mostly twisty singletrack with no gnarly downhills, but two track would be okay, too.

What kind of sick person would force another person to ride one and only one bike ride to do for the rest of her/his life?

A control freak

Do you ride both road and mountain bikes? If both, which do you prefer and why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrow minded?

I have and ride both. Last summer, I barely touched my mountain bike, but rode my first century and also rode from Lansing to Mackinaw City. This year, I prefer riding my mountain bike while my road bike collects dust sitting in the trainer, where it sat all winter. I think I'm probably stuck on the mountain bike thing for a while. The pros of mountain biking are woods instead of pavement, no cars and not having to come up with a route. So far, the biggest thing my road bike has going for it is that I don't crash on it anything like as much as my mountain bike.

Have you ever ridden a recumbent? If so, why? If not, describe the circumstances under which you would ride a recumbent.

I've ridden a stationary one at the gym. There is no other circumstance under which I would ride one.

Have you ever raced a triathlon? If so, have you also ever tried strangling yourself with dental floss?

I have done neither. I have little interest in running and even less in swimming.

Suppose you were forced to either give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would you give up, and why?

Probably ice cream, because there are many good things to eat, but few things as fun as mountain biking.

What is a question you think this questionnaire should have asked, but has not? Also, answer it.

How many bikes do you currently own, and what are they?

  • Haro v5 (mountain bike)
  • KHS CX200 (cyclocross)
  • Bianchi Imola (road)
  • Nirve Lahaina (cruiser)
And coming soon, the Badger 29er!

You’re riding your bike in the wilderness (if you’re a roadie, you’re on a road, but otherwise the surroundings are quite wilderness-like) and you see a bear. The bear sees you. What do you do?


Now, tag three biking bloggers. List them below.

Ugh. This is the hardest part. I don't know that many biking bloggers personally, so I'll have to wuss out and just choose my husband.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stony Creek TT Race Report

Yesterday was the Stony Creek race. Chris decided he didn't feel like racing, so he became my personal photographer. First of all, let me say that I wasn't anywhere near as miserable during this race as I look in all the photos.

I learned a lot during this race. The first thing I learned, which I should have known already, but it's been cemented now, is that I really need to warm up. I'm always afraid of burning myself out by riding too much before the race, but yesterday, as usual, I felt like I could barely move my legs for the first mile or so. After that, I started feeling fine. This always happens, even when I'm just riding. If there's a hill in the beginning, even a very small one, I can barely make it up. Now that I know I can ride 30 or 40 miles (at least) in one race, I should be able to spend some time warming up prior to the race starting without worrying I won't be able to finish.

(Seriously, doesn't this look excruciating?) This course was really bizarre. It started out on grass, then went to gravel two track. Every once in a while, there was a small section of singletrack mixed in. After my initial lethargy, I rebounded and felt pretty good for the next several miles. When I hit the six-mile mark, I looked at my computer and realized that although I wasn't going to break any land speed records, I was on track to finish considerably ahead of my goal time of 1:40.

Famous last words. About a mile later, I hit the longest section of singletrack, considerably harder than anything thus far, and slowed way down. For one reason or another, I found myself getting off the bike a lot and having trouble getting up all the hills. The last challenge was a deep water crossing which I was told not to even try riding through, followed by a long section of mud too deep to ride through.

Finally, I was out on the gravel two track again and I started hitting it hard to make up some time. I still had a little time left to make my goal, but it was rapidly getting away from me. By the time I was going up the last little rise to finish line, I barely had anything left. Chris was there taking my picture and yelling "hammer, hammer!" but I had no hammering in me. I ended up missing my goal by about three minutes.

I came in 11 out of 13 people. I earned one more point than I did at Fort Custer, so I can still throw that one out if I do all the rest of the races. All four of the other women who are in my category in the CPS were there, and I only beat one of them. I'm not sure how many of them will pass me in the standings because the final results are not posted yet and I don't remember what place any of them came in, with the exception of the girl I beat.

There are three more races in the series, so I have some time to redeem myself. I have high hopes for the Maybury race, which is Aug. 23.

Overall, I feel okay about how I did. I just keep chalking these races up to experience, reminding myself that this is a learning year for me and thinking back to the days when I wouldn't have attempted riding three or four miles on the trail, let alone regularly completing mountain bike races.

Weight Report

As a result of the first week of my "drastic, but healthy" measures, I lost 8 pounds! I know that first week is always the best and after that the losing starts to taper off, but losing a bunch in the first week is good motivation to keep going.

I owe my two loyal blog readers a race report from the Stony Creek TT, but I'm still waiting for Chris to process the photos, so I will probably post it tonight.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Race Fever

For the past few weeks it seems like my excitement for racing has started to overshadow my apprehension. Don't get me wrong—I'm still nervous about tomorrow's race at Stony Creek. After all, I'm almost assured of losing my position in the CPS and we decided a couple weeks ago that it was too far away to waste the gas just to preride it. Needless to say, we're both going into it blind since we've never ridden there. However, I find that I'm actually really looking forward to it. Go figure. In fact, I've just been surfing the Internet, looking to see if there are other races I could try to fit into the schedule yet this year. For instance, there's another 6/12 hour race at Pando in August. I really enjoyed the last one, but I've heard Pando is a really tough course. It's starting to feel really good to push myself, though, and I think I want to do more endurance racing next year. I'd like to eventually work up to Lumberjack, although it may be a couple years before I get there.

Of course, I also can't wait for Kisscross season ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Something I finally got through my head in the past couple of weeks is that riding your bike, no matter how much, does not make you skinny. It doesn't even make you healthy or fit. This was a delusion perpetuated by the large amount of thin people I see when I'm at bike races. (Somehow, the hefty ones were just ignored.) I'm not going to belabor this, but the point is that my delusion is over. I've realized, once and for all, that no matter how much I ride my bike, I need to stop eating at the Chinese buffet, at the Mexican buffet, at random fast food joints, etc. And since I don't seem to be able to handle moderation, I've opted to take drastic (but still healthy) measures to get this extra weight off once and for all. I'll post updates occasionally, but don't worry, both of my loyal blog readers. This is not about to become a weight loss blog. It will still be mostly bike stuff.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

6 Hours of Triumph!

Well, I made it through the 6 Hours of Ithaca. This is how it played out:

During the first lap I was the absolute dead last person on the course. I felt like I was going in slow motion and was very tentative. However, when I got to the end and could see the pit area, I couldn't believe the lap was over already. For a minute I was scared I might have accidentally skipped part of the course. For some reason, the fact that the end came sooner than I expected it energized me. Or maybe it was just that I was starting to get warmed up. At any rate, I started my second lap right away, without stopping at all, which I wasn't expecting to do.

I felt a lot better on the second lap, but I started to get a headache and my back was getting sore, so I stopped briefly after that lap to take some Vitamin I. I felt pretty good the next couple of laps and with each lap I completed, my confidence was increasing.

After the fifth lap, I was so excited that I was close to my goal and it looked like I could actually do it, so I took my longest break of the day—about 25 minutes. I felt rested enough after that to complete three more laps. When I completed my eighth lap, it was about 5:50, so I could have gone out for another lap, but I was pretty gassed and decided what I really wanted to do was be done, particularly with another race coming up in a week.

My goal for the race was to do seven laps, so to get eight was above and beyond. There were five solo women in the six-hour race. I ended up coming in fourth. Another lap wouldn't have helped much. The third place woman had 13 laps.

Chris also met his goal, which was 10 laps, so it was a successful day for the Davis household. All in all, I feel pretty pleased with our first six-hour race.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Well, the big race is tomorrow. I have to go into work until noon (love those half day summer Fridays) and then I need to start getting my fuel and my bike ready for the race. According to Chris' training plan, we're supposed to ride for an hour today. Before yesterday, I was thinking I would just ride something easy like the River Trail. But I'm starting to reconsider even riding today at all. I've put a lot more time on the bike in the last few weeks than I'm used to and I think it might be catching up with me. I have felt somewhat lethargic since Saturday when I did my hard ride and my legs are sore when riding and even when going up the stairs. It seems to me another day of rest before the race would do me more good than riding for an hour.

I'm also having trouble deciding what to do about food. I've been reading a lot online and the consensus is that there isn't one. It seems to be that everyone likes something different and different things work well for different people. As an avid reader of Alaska Jill's blog, I've witnessed her struggles with food during long and epic rides. I actually wish I would have spent some time testing different products and food items during training to see how my body would react to them. It's a little late for that now, though, so I guess I'll just have to wing it. Right now I'm leaning toward endurance drink, PB & J, fig newtons and shot blocks. I don't usually have a problem eating one way or the other, so I guess I shouldn't be too concerned.

I still haven't decided what I want my goal to be, either. I guess I'm having trouble making up my mind about a lot of things.

Nerves have just started to set in. I should be good for one frantic post tomorrow morning before we hit the road. I'm sure I'll be awake way before I need to be.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dodging the Bullet

I was expecting to be knocked out of first place in the CPS as soon as the Boyne race was over. I don't think I specifically talked about it on my blog, but Chris and I had decided early on not to do the race at Boyne for a number of reasons. The most important was that we really just had no interest in riding it. I have never ridden at Boyne personally, but I have been to the 24-hour race there and I have walked on that trail. It didn't look like anything I wanted to ride. We will probably do all the other races in the series, though we only need five to qualify. I'm thinking it would be good to have more chances to throw out the first two races when I did so poorly, or at least Fort Custer.

That being said, I was sure some of my close competitors (none of whom have done as many races as I have, hence the reason I'm in first place) would race Boyne and quickly fly past me in the standings. I had mixed feelings when I saw the results the other day. There was only one competitor in my age group, and she is not registered for the CPS. That meant I could hold on to my fragile, ill-fated first place ranking until the end of this month when the Stony Creek TT takes place. Of course, I also thought, if I would have gone and raced,the worst I could have placed would be second, and I could have had 27 more points, which I could have used to replace the pathetic 11 points I earned at Fort Custer. I could also have DNFd.

Today's a rest day and I'll ride for an hour tomorrow, most likely on the River Trail. Saturday is the big six-hour race and I'm busy scheming about what to bring and trying not to freak out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


As I'm sure my two loyal blog readers know, we've been riding a lot more lately—about five days a week. For a number of reasons (gas prices, laziness, etc.), we've been pretty much riding the same trail over and over. Now I'll admit that riding the same trail five days a week can get pretty boring, particularly if you're putting multiple hours in. It means either riding every single offshoot of the trail (even the ones you don't like) or riding parts of the trail multiple times.
There have been some advantages, though. Namely discovering this trail section. I had been on it before at least once, but in the last couple of weeks I have been riding it more and more. It's probably something I wouldn't even bother with if I weren't spending so much time at Burchfield.

I think that would have been bad, too, because I've come to really enjoy this trail. I only wish it were longer. It seems to end too quickly.

There's nothing spectacular about it. As I said, it's pretty short, it's somewhat twisty in places, is a little rooty and has a few logs and log piles. I'm not sure why I like it so much, besides the fact that it goes right along the river, is pretty fast and is just very scenic.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


It's that time of year again when my t.v. is on vs. (not to be confused with hockey season, when it is also on vs. quite a bit), when mixed in with the other sounds of summer are the voices of Phil, Paul and Bobke. Yes, despite the ridiculous shenanigans of the ASO, I am still watching the TdF. Of course, watching the Tour makes me thinking about road cycling, which I have not been doing.

In particular, I'm thinking about my Bianchi Imola, which sits upstairs in the trainer, where it sat all winter as I pedalled away on it. Last year at this time, I was riding on the road three or four times a week, getting in shape for DALMAC and completing my first century. I was also having the habitual argument with Chris—road or trail. (This always ended in me grudgingly riding the trail or him grudgingly riding the road.) My mountain bike barely saw its way out of the garage until KissCross season.

I knew this year was going to be somewhat different. After a fabulously fun and unsuccessful cross season, I was all fired up for my first mountain bike racing season. What I didn't expect was the fact that I would have virtually no desire whatsoever to take my road bike out. The other day I even opted to do a trail ride when Chris was training on the road.

No matter what, my road bike will see some hours this winter. Even though I'm pleased that I've gotten so excited about mountain biking, I do hope I will get that road bike out before the season is over. It deserves to see some pavement.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Photographer Extraordinaire

I have to interrupt my regularly scheduled blogging to brag about my husband. Last year he bought a digital SLR camera and he's been having a lot of fun taking pictures. In June when we went up to Lumberjack, he took about 500. At any rate, he found out Michigan Sports & Fitness was looking for some photos so he submitted them. Their July issue just came out, and not only did they print two of his photos with the article, they also used one of his photos for the cover!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I have this problem. I need to know how far I'm riding. I had a computer on my first mountain bike, but I put it on my road bike when I bought that and it never got replaced. I was convinced by a few people that there was no reason for a computer on a mountain bike and it never really bothered me until I started racing.

The other day, Chris and I were talking about the race we have coming up on July 19. It's our first six-hour race and I think we're both pretty nervous. We had originally planned to do a six-hour race at the end of the summer at Drummond Island, which we may still do. However, we decided to do this race as a trial run, since it is at Ithaca and we can get there in about 45 minutes. We figured that before we spent all that time and money going all the way to Drummond Island, we'd make sure we had some chance of putting a good effort into a six-hour race.

At any rate, Chris shared with me that he had a goal of a certain amount of miles at Ithaca and it seemed like a lot to me. I knew it was something I couldn't even get close to and I wondered what kind of a goal I would set for myself. After all, as far as I was concerned the farthest I had ever ridden on a mountain bike trail was at the Yankee Springs Time Trial, which is something like 12 miles. Chris thought I had ridden a lot more miles than that just when we've been riding at Burchfield, but honestly I had no idea.

So, yesterday, when Chris was doing intervals on the road, I decided to head back to Burchfield by myself and see how many miles I could ride in two hours. You see, Burchfield is not like other mountain bike trails I've been to. From the trailhead, there's a 3.5 mile easy South loop and a 1.5 mile easy North loop. There are also several "advanced" mountain bike trails that are either offshoots of one of the easy loops or you can reach them through other advanced trails. None of the advanced trails have any indications of mileage. Normally, what I do is a warm up on the South loop and then head up the North loop a little before shooting off onto the advanced trails. By the time I'm done, I've done so many different combinations of trails I barely remember where I've been. Obviously, I have no indication of what my mileage is.

This time, I opted to just do laps of the South loop so I would be able to see how many miles I'd done. It was like a simulated portion of a six-hour race for me. Granted, I didn't do any hard trails, but from what I've heard Ithaca is supposed to be an easy trail anyway. What I was mostly concerned with was my ability to keep going out again after I'd returned to the trailhead.

It was the best I've felt on a ride in a long time. I figured out after the first lap that I should do six laps total. I was starting to get pretty tired by the end of the fourth, but I made myself go out twice more to get the entire six in. The last two were a little slow, but I was rewarded with some wildlife viewing. On the fifth lap, I saw two fawns feeding at the side of the trail. (Of course, by the time I got my camera out of my jersey pocket, they were gone.) This guy was a little less skittish, though, and I was able to capture him. If the trail signs are correct, I got in about 21 miles, which I am pretty pleased with. I definitely need to get a computer for my mountain bike, though.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Back to the Trail

We went riding at Burchfield last night. We were supposed to ride for 2 hours, but I ended up quitting after an hour and a half and reading my book in the car while I waited for Chris. I don't know what's wrong with me. I felt lethargic the entire time. I hope I'm not coming down with anything, because I felt dizzy all day yesterday and had some head and stomach issues, too. I actually feel a bit worse today.
Even so, the ride was emotionally gratifying because the weather was perfect for riding and it was just so beautiful. Riding in the evening is nice because of the way the light and shadow fall on and enhance the natural look of everything.

Regardless, I've got to keep putting in the miles. We haven't had a race since June 1, but we've got some coming up very soon. The way I've been riding lately, I don't know how I'm going to kick it up to race pace.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Serious Slacking

We missed four training days. Four. So much for consistency. Last Wednesday, I think we had a legitimate excuse because it was a torrential downpour with thunder and lightening. The holiday weekend was a different story. I'm not sure what that was about, other than laziness, wanting to do other things at our cabin and the fact that we hadn't had our kayaks in the water since last fall. But, the only the thing to do when you fall off the horse is get back on, so last night we resumed our training (sort of). Given the type of training Chris was supposed to be doing and the timeframe, we thought the best thing to do was ride the river trail.
We were supposed to ride for an hour and a half. I knew I needed to get out there because I was still reeling from some bad news that led to a huge disappointment that I don't see getting over any time soon. I thought riding would be good therapy, but it wasn't doing it for me. Hopefully, when I get out on the trail tonight it will be a different story. We were a little afraid the trail would be flooded in parts because of the amount of rain and storms we've had lately, but that wasn't a problem.

Common Ground, our week-long area music festival, was what stopped us. We weren't able to get to the end of the trail because it was blocked by this. Chris spent did some doubling back to get his time in, but I had enough, so I just headed home. I was bored and my foot was bothering me (more about that it a later post) so I really didn't feel like going any farther. I ended up with a pretty pathetic 55 minute ride. (It's funny how your perspective changes. Three years ago I would have thought an hour was a long time to spend on a bike.) Some random photos from our weekend up North are below.

Puppy girls relaxing at the Creek

A field of unidentified purple stuff on our road my mom and I discovered while going for a walk

Kayaking the lovely Au Sable

Thursday, July 3, 2008

How I Rate

Last year Chris got some cool new Ergon grips, which he really likes. I mentioned to him earlier this year that I would like a pair. He told me he was going to order another pair for his full suspension bike, but that he was waiting until he could get the super cool carbon model. So, a couple weeks ago he told me he "ordered our grips." When we finally went to pick them up yesterday, suddenly both pairs were "his" grips. Wait a minute, I thought you were ordering me a pair. You already have a pair of grips. Then he explained it to me. He ordered himself two new pairs of grips so I could get his castoffs. When I protested, he just told me how ridiculous I was being. "Like I'm really going to put a pair of $100 grips on your $800 bike so I can have a $65 pair of grips on my $3,000 bike!" Silly me. I guess I now have a slightly used pair of $65 Ergon grips, which is still pretty cool.

P.S. I am well aware that if I wanted the carbon grips I could buy myself a pair. That's not the point!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Time Crunch

I know it has barely been a week since Chris and I ramped up our hours on the bike, but I'm already wondering how people who do this all the time manage to get anything else done. They can't have jobs, can they? For example, last night we rode right after work. We were scheduled for 2 1/2 hours. By the time we got home it was 9 p.m. So, I had time to make some dinner, throw in a load of laundry, plug my MP3 player in to charge and hit the hay. The puppy girls went to bed with me, but I felt like that was the only time I had spent with them all day. Now I'm up getting ready to do the whole thing over again. (At least I don't have to spend as much time washing my hair!)

The riding is good, don't get me wrong, and I think it's really beneficial for both of us. I'm just wondering when you fit in things like dishes, taking the dogs to the vet, packing. Oh, yeah, packing. We're supposed to go up to our cabin for the holiday weekend and we're leaving after work tomorrow. That works out well because Thursday is a rest day, but it also means I'm going to have to pack everything after I ride tonight. If only I didn't have that pesky job to contend with.