Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Call Me Crazy

I was miserable last year at the Stony Creek TT. I remember it vividly. I went back and read my blog post from that race and it didn't seem that bad, but I think I was just trying to be positive. All I can remember is just hating it.

For that reason, I opted to go up North last weekend instead of doing that race with my teammates. I subsequently read the negative reports about it on some of their blogs and was glad I skipped it.

So guess what I'm doing this weekend? Racing 6 Hours of Stony, of course.

I really want to get a few more 6-hour races under my belt this season and I'm running out of options. I won't be able to do Pando because we'll be on our fantastic trip. That leaves Stony, Drummond Island and the rescheduled Addison Oaks. Drummond Island is out of the question this year, although I do want to do it one of these days. Hanson Hills is unfortunately at 12/24 this year. I was going to try the 12, but after the debacle at Hanson earlier this year, and given the fact that it conflicts with a Kisscross race, I'm going to skip it.

So, if I want to do two more 6-hour races, I have to do Stony. And on top of the fact that I'm not a fan of that course, the race starts at 8 a.m. I know Brent did it that way because then it can be a daylight race, but Stony is at least 2 hours away. That means I'll have to leave the house by 5. Ouch!

Maybe I'll be so pumped up and excited from my success at Ithaca that it will carry over to Stony. I hope.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mid-State Group Ride

I went on the Mid-State Chapter's Monday night group ride last night at Burchfield. We had the first one last week after some discussion at our last meeting. Chris Mensing, our president, suggested it as a way to get more people involved and have them learn about the MMBA. Our chapter has been kind of languishing, with membership numbers down and not a lot of involvement among most of the people who are members.

We were a little concerned that it wouldn't be successful, since group rides have been tried and failed there, but we figured it was worth another shot. After all, someone really cool was willing to lead the ride. The first week we had 12 people, which was great. Last night, it seemed like there were only a few, but then a bunch more showed up right at the last minute. We ended up with 12 or 13 last night, too, which is more than any of us were expecting when we planned it, I think.
Last night we rode for about an hour and 20 minutes and even stopped for a while to let some braver riders do some of the stunts. (Not me, of course.) It's so much fun riding with a big group like that and it's great getting to know some new people. My husband even came, which is getting more and more unusual these days.

If you're in the area, you should join us. It's Mondays at 6:30 at
In my next post, I'll tell all about the crazy thing I plan to do this weekend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Anderson Park

Last night after work, Chris and I headed for Anderson Park, the newest trail developed by the MMBA chapter in our area. It's out on the west side of Lansing and is pretty close to where Chris has been working on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Brad, the vice president of Mid-State MMBA, has been putting lots of hours in on this trail. Chris and I hadn't been out there since last fall and I was flabbergasted by how much work has been done on it. It's still very new, but I think it shows a lot of potential. There's at least four miles worth of trail there now and it's not finished yet.

Unlike those on the east and west sides of the state, we don't have an abundance of places to ride in the Lansing area, so it's great to have a new trail, especially one that's so convenient. Thanks to Brad and everyone who helped out at Anderson Park.

We may not have the amount of participation we would like to have in our chapter, but we do have a few committed individuals like those who made Anderson Park a reality. Their efforts are definitely appreciated.

If you're in the area, make sure you check out Anderson Park.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why Didn't I Listen?

I don't know why I've never followed the advice of people who clearly know more than me when it comes to recovering from a race. My M.O. has always been spending the entire day after a race lounging on the couch and whining about how sore I am. Then I continue to feel crappy for the next several days during which I am motivated to do absolutely nothing. I always assumed people who did recovery rides were "hardcore."

What I finally realized after the Ithaca race is that those people are just smart. I pushed myself to do more miles at Ithaca than I was really in shape for. As a result, I was hurting pretty badly. On Sunday, I really wanted to lie in bed all day, but I didn't. I forced myself to go on a recovery ride—about 40 minutes on the River Trail, going really slow. And even though my butt was protesting and my legs were tired, it really wasn't that bad.

Monday when I woke up, my legs were still sore, especially when I was going up and down stairs at work, but not nearly as bad as the day before. I was supposed to do a group ride at after work at Burchfield and I was a bit worried. Somehow, though, my legs were pretty much back to normal by the end of the day. I was still a bit slow during the group ride, but I was actually in decent shape. I guess this active recovery stuff really does work.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Recipe for a Bad (Good?) Race

2 weeks of no riding
1 week jam-packed with activities
12+ hour workday the day before (on my feet all day)
Restless night's sleep the night before
Poor nutrition

All this should have added up to a crappy race, but it didn't turn out that way. When I woke up yesterday morning, I was so exhausted I could barely force myself out of bed. The last thing I wanted to do was race at all, let alone for six hours. I knew I was going to go, but I thought it would be a similar experience to Cannonsburg. Earlier in the week, I had decided to try to ride 10 laps, which would best my lap count from last year's race by 2, but the closer the race got, the more unlikely that seemed.

I puttered around the house for a couple of hours, gathering gear and equipment, but not feeling very motivated. I checked the weather forecast and it was not promising. It seemed I was going to spend a long day racing in the rain. As soon as I got out on the road, though, I felt a lot better. Although it had started to cloud up a bit, the sun was still out. I was humming along the highway, finally fully awake, listening to Weekend Edition and feeling pretty good.

I arrived at Ithaca just barely in time to register. Jake flagged me down and I parked next to him and Cameron. The sky got more and more ominous as the start time approached.

The first lap went pretty well. My legs felt decent, the course was in good condition and the hills were small and manageable. I realized near the end of the first lap, though, that I was hungry. Why was I hungry already?

I thought back on my nutrition that morning. I had eaten my normal breakfast of oatmeal. Then I had a Kashi bar for a mid-morning snack. And that was it. Now it was the time I normally eat lunch. No wonder I was hungry.

I finished the first lap in about 33 minutes, which was close to the 30 minutes I was shooting for. I ignored the growling of my stomach as I blew by my pit area.

By the end of the second lap I was plagued by the foot problems that have defined my cycling experience. This one was different than the foot issues I have on my road bike—this time the side of my foot was aching. My back was also sore and I had forgotten to bring along my good friend vitamin I. Still, all in all I felt pretty good.

I stopped after the second lap and got some food and took my shoes off for about five minutes. When I got back on the trail, my foot was back to normal, but it would continue to act up throughout the day.

My legs felt really fresh until the sixth lap. Then I started hurting a bit. My lap times were all between 31 and 34 minutes and my stops after every other lap had been pretty short. Even so, I was starting to wonder whether I would be able to get my 10 laps in, especially as I got tired and began riding slower.

I decided that as long as I finished my ninth lap before six, I would make myself go out to get the 10th, no matter how tired I was. The good thing about a course that short is that you can almost always talk yourself into another lap as long as you still have time.

For my eighth lap, I had slowed down considerably and it took me about 35 minutes to finish. I had planned to keep going without stopping again, but I thought I had enough time left and I was gassed, so I stopped for about 10 minutes before starting lap 9. I was watching the clock the entire time, wondering if I was going to make it back to start another lap, but I was seriously slowing down and doing a lot of coasting.

After a 38-minute lap, I crossed the line at 5:50. I dug into my suitcase of courage as I rolled past the pit area for another lap. The last lap was painfully slow. My legs were beyond dead tired. Every time someone needed to pass me, I would pull over and put my foot down and actually stand there for a while resting. (Earlier in the race, I would pull over and quickly and get back on the trail as soon as I could.) I even walked up two of the climbs, which are normally nothing to get over, because I just had no climb left in me.

At one point, I actually waited for a minute for someone to catch up with me so they could pass. Unfortunately, I realized as the rider passed me that it was one of the six-hour women I had passed earlier. I would live to regret that decision. The only other thing of note that happened was that, due to sheer exhaustion, when I pulled over to get out of the way for one rider, I forgot to clip out and ended up falling over. That was the closest thing I had to a crash in the whole race, believe it or not.

I pulled into the finish line from my 10th lap at about 6:37. That meant my last lap took about 47 minutes. I came in 5th out of 7 women solo riders. I was pleased with finishing 10 laps, but was extremely irritated that the 3rd, 4th and 5th place finishers all had 10 laps. And that girl I pulled over for came in 4th. If I had just ridden a bit faster and/or taken shorter breaks, I might have been able to pull off third.

Still, it was a good race. I'm happy with my willingness to stick to it. And the weather actually ended up being perfect. With the exception of a few sprinkles during the first lap, the rain held off and during the last several laps, it was actually quite sunny.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blog? What Blog?

It's been a busy but fun couple of weeks. Clearly, I've neglected my blog (along with a few other things). The summer is sadly flying by. I've been busy at work with a bunch of events, presentations and the like. This coming week is going to be the worst. I literally have plans or a work event every single night.

Family has been the name of the game lately. I've been catching up with my cousins at open houses and other events.

We said a fond farewell to Fran before she left on an exciting trip overseas. It's been amazing to have her back with us after so many years. I know it's too early for things to be settled, but seeing her with my bro again makes me believe that occasionally things really do work out the way they're supposed to.
We spent the weekend of the 4th as we always do, in Comins. As we commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the July 3 Comins tornado, my husband described waiting out the storm under the pool table at the Knot Hole Bar. The girls enjoyed the sights of the parade, but Maddy sat on my lap and shook with fear as the fire trucks went by with all their sirens. What kind of bird dog is terrified of loud noises, I ask you?

Red's train, filled with kids, snaked by us. Small town parades are the best.

I had a nice, peaceful Independence Day hike with my bro and the girls.

I had to watch Chris like a hawk. Can you believe he tried picking up some floozy right in front of me?
Yesterday we spent a long, leisurely day at the lake where I spent much of my time during childhood summers. My great friend and cousin Becky is here for a two-week visit from Philly. It was fun to see her son Ethan looking not much like a baby anymore. My awesome nephew Sebastian even taught Ethan the finer points of playing in the sand.

Chris' dad is also staying with us for several days. He's visiting from Florida. Between all the work stuff and family stuff, I really haven't found much time to ride. It makes me a little nervous about the Ithaca race, which will be here next weekend. I'm a little anxious about how the race will go after running myself ragged and barely riding for a couple weeks leading up to it.
I guess in the overall scheme of things, it's more important to spend time with family, especially those I don't see very often, than to be able to ride one more lap at Ithaca. I just wish I could do both.

Today is shaping up to be another beautiful day. I should be thinking about getting a long ride in, but I'm leaning toward heading back to the lake. I'll let you know what happens.