23 December, 2012

It's almost Christmas 2012

Lot's of life has happened since I last wrote. Not much riding bikes though. 

I must say I am staying busy at work, plenty to learn. Everyone is busy and the lady I've replaced is now retired. It's good. My brain is getting much needed exercise. I've been out of shape. So now I need to get back to where I can work and work out on regular basis. The bike is on the trainer. I even bought a special trainer tire.

I've slowly started riding again. I've started a strength/stretching training program as well. The days are getting longer again, which is always a good thing. We've gotten a lot of rain. I have a feeling we will continue to get some kind of precipitation. At least if it snows and is below freezing we can ride trails. That would be so much fun. Especially under a full moon.

Last weekend there was an Alley Cat "race". Some raced, some just enjoyed the ride (me). I rode my SS. That wasn't so bright, but had mechanical issues at home so that is the bike that was available. There were about 25 of us I think. It was so much fun, riding in the city at night. Exploring with other routes. We even rode up and over a walking bridge. It had two 180 degree turns that were fun!

I rode fire roads today. It was short though ~10 miles on mtb. It's frustrating. The lungs are bad and what little cardio I had is nonexistant. You have to be able to handle the spikes in HR. I need to ride. So traininer/rollers it will be for me now. I'm putting together my race/training plan over the next week. Already looking at going south to ride for a week come March.

The world hasn't ended. That was funny to read everyone's posts.  There have been many sad events though. Friends and strangers alike are experiencing losses, illnesses and tragedies. 

Christmas means a lot of things to many people and has no meaning for others. I'm thankful that this is a time of year I get to spend time with my family and friends. I hope to snap more pictures of Mom and all of us. The best gift in the world as far as I'm concerned is to spend quality time with the ones you love and care about. And that gift should happen year 'round.

We have some bigs things happening in our fair city soon. The culmination of years of work and sacrifice of a friend of mine will happen end of January, first weekend of Feb. Louisville2013 will be the first time cyclocross Elite Worlds will take place outside of Europe. I'm so excited. Eva Bandman park is the place to be. I hope to see all of my pro CX heroes!

Merry Christmas to everyone, much love to each of you.

peace

17 November, 2012

Rode today

First time since the face plant 3.5 weeks ago. Though I've wanted to ride, my head just hasn't felt quite right. So, I took some time and put on some weight unfortunately. Hah!

I'm fairly positive most fitness is gone. The ride was better than I expected. That's not saying much.  My arches started aching by the time I reached top of Hogan's fountain climb. Looking at my stats I was shocked my HR hit 174. Normally, that is saved for racing. I was "riding easy". 

I've spent a lot of time off the bike this year. I hope that is limited to 2012. But I know it's probably going to continue. Not due to crashes necessarily, more of the saddle problem. It's not caused by riding, this I know. I had issues while off the bike and not doing anything.

I love to sweat and today felt great. I haven't gone this long without sweating since before I started riding in 2007. 

Looking at next year's calendar and races. Probably won't set anything in place until Christmas/New Year's. Hope to get to some new venues. 

Today's weather was great. Lots of people in the park and on the trails. 

All the best to all of you. 

peace   

30 October, 2012

and life keeps rolling

After race weekend at Land between the Lakes, there was no way I could sit on a saddle Monday night. I hated missing that ride last week. Love getting out there with the ladies. Tuesday wasn't any better for me. Then a friend called a beer ride to NABC for Wednesday, FINALLY! Had been waiting for Evah. 

A girlfriend met me at my house and we rode to Kye's across the Ohio river. Met up with several friends and rode to NABC. We rode Mtb's with lights since it was dark. We had a great time. There is some single track, double track, gravel paths, 2 wooden rickety bridges and paved path before riding the last 1/4 mile on city streets. The company was great, the beers (I had 2) were tasty and the frites were delicious. We headed back and one peeled off as he had parked his car in New Albany. Somewhere not too far into the ride we were going to ride up to the top of the flood wall. I turned a little early and while I thought I was riding on grass, I rolled up onto a large pile of boulders (rocks about the size of your head). I remember trying to pedal and wondering why it was so difficult. Don't remember much until I'm back on the bike riding back towards the 2nd Street bridge. People said it was a GoPro moment. Someone said there was blood, but my clothes didn't have any on them. Once back to Jeffersonville, one of the guys offered me a ride home which I readily accepted. 

I think I landed nose first. Thank goodness I had on my Oakleys. They saved my right eye. There's a huge scratch/gouge right in the center of the lens. I lost the right nose piece too. Nothing was broken and bike seemed to be fine. But I scraped my nose and wound up with 2 black eyes. I missed work on Thursday, mostly due to vanity. I looked pretty pathetic by Friday, but felt ok.

Sunday saw Stormin' Eva, our local CX race. I had planned to race just for fun, but after Wednesday's crash and not remembering it decided I would sit out this year. I truly wanted to race. I think I'm out for the season. So sad. I have missed my CX family something terrible. Friends I only see at these races were coming to town, so of course I had to go and cheer them on! It was a great time. But of course I never got to spend much time with anyone, but got to talk a little bit to most. There are a few I didn't and am very sad about that. Being this close to Halloween most people come in costume and lots of them race in costume. Since I had a ghoulish face I wore a black blouse with flowing sleeves and a long skirt. From afar people thought I had a great makeup job. I felt terrible because they realized when they got close it was real and then weren't sure what to say. 

I am so glad I got to cheer all my lady racer friends on in their races. The fields have grown so much in three years. Makes me proud to have been a part of it. I have no CX fitness and right now need to wait at least til weekend before I even get back on bike again. I want to be out there. But there's always next year, right? If everything aligns properly.

I had an interview yesterday for a full-time position. The hiring manager seemed ok with the fact that I had two black eyes. We chatted about my crash but he wanted to talk about CX. That was cool. Not sure what the outcome will be. It will be what it will. I'm liking what I'm doing right now and the people are very nice. 

Live now, yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn't arrived.

peace 

23 October, 2012

Work and ride

That was my pat answer to people asking what I do until last October 25, which was my last day at my former employer. Since then I have traveled, searched for jobs and ridden my bikes. No need to complain or be upset as I've come to realize there is very little in my control. 

So I went to work last week. Boy am I out of shape! Getting up to an alarm, finding proper clothes to wear, fixing my hair!, using my brain for 6-7 hours each day, staying focused, learning new things for 5 days in a row was tough. But I enjoyed it. The people I am working with are very nice. The hiring manager and 2 team members took me to lunch on my first day and we broke the ice. I'll start training on something new tomorrow. It's definitely time for my brain to get a real workout.

Speaking of out of shape, wow I have no speed and no power on the bike these days. I rode as much as I could week before last as a last hurrah before starting work.

I took an overnight trip and drove to Owensboro. Got up and rode Ben Hawes. What a fun place! No climbing to speak of but fast and flowy and whoop-di-dos. If I hadn't already planned on riding at a second location I would've ridden both directions. Good reason to go back and ride with someone next time too. Next I went to Ferdinand. Wow, just wow. Tons of climbing and it's pretty rugged as well. Found out afterward that I should’ve ridden clockwise and not CCW. It definitely showed my climbing weakness, which I already knew about. But I must say it’s a lovely place to enjoy nature. The colors were starting to pop and I saw some wildlife and heard lots of birds singing. I will definitely go back and ride. Well hopefully ride and not push my bike so much up those hills. One climb was like 12%!

Last Mtn bike race of year (for me) was this past weekend at Land between the Lakes, Race to the Canal. I’ve never ridden there before. Decided to drive down on Friday, find a camp site and ride at least the start on Saturday. The ride down WK Pkwyhasn’t changed much since the 70s except for a few more exits. Traffic is still very light and makes for a nice drive. There is still a service center in between the East/West bound lanes at Beaver Dam.There used to be those on I65 decades ago. The colors were just past peak I think, though there is still quite a bit of green left.  I found a camp site, went to Grand Rivers and had dinner. There's not much choice for a vegetarian that is trying to be gluten-free. Salmon over rice worked. 

Pre-ride: I talked it over with a friend and decided best thing was to check out the start. So I took my time about getting started, it was quite chilly Saturday morning early. I drove to Sugar Bay about lunchtime and started out. The start was a short steep climb with loose gravel and washed out roots. I started out in too hard of a gear and almost blew up my right knee which has been aggravating since Lock 4. Then it leveled out for a bit and then started climbing, longer and less steep than the immediate start but still challenging.Once I reached the top of that climb it didn't seem so bad. Except that the trail was covered by freshly fallen leaves. Initially I thought I would get lost, but then noticed the white trail markings on the trees every 100 yards or so. The single track dumped onto double track which was flat and fairly smooth at first. I started to think maybe I had missed the re-entry to single track as it went further than I expected. Then it started to climb and the gravel got deeper and was loose where it filled in the washed out ruts. There was another cyclist ahead of me and so I tried to follow his lines and spin. Once at the top it didn't take too long to dump back into single track, which i much prefer. I rode to Hatchery Hollow which is about 5.5 miles from Sugar Bay and turned around. There were birds; I heard them, but didn't see them. I think they saw me and wanted me out of there from the sounds they were making. For some reason the ride back seemed a lot easier. I know knew what to expect for the first 20% of the race. I reckoned the rest would be similar at best but most likely worse.

I was lucky a couple of friends were also racing. Since this is a point to point race I did not want to either ride to the start before or after the race. It was about 12 miles on paved road that looked challenging in itself. So I drove them to their starts and left my van. They drove me back to it after the race. Kiersta joined me at my campsite on Saturday night. It was nice to have someone to chat with before turning in.


Everyone gets their numbers, load the van and drive to the Cat 1 start. Sure seemed like a long drive there. I figure it was 15+ miles. Dropped him and his bike and head back to the Cat 2 start. I still had to check air pressure, lube my chain, finish getting on my gear. Wasn't as prepped as I like to be. I tell the other friend to go ahead and ride to the start as it was down a side road about 2 miles or so. By the time I got there they were lined up and getting ready to start the 19-29 age group. No time for a potty break! I moved to the back and realized there were no other women in the Cat 2 race. This saddened me. I assumed everyone has moved on to CX. But after the race I began to think they were just smart not to race this one. :)


I start behind the Clydesdales. At some point in the first 2 miles I pass one of them. Then a couple of more miles (after the gravel double track) I catch site of another. I worked to get closer to him, but he heard me and at the top of a climb he took off. I assume he descends very well considering his Cat. Somehow I managed to turn off my Garmin right after the start of the race. I notice this about 4 miles in and note the mileage at Hatchery Hollow. 1.79, right so I missed about 4 miles, which is what I would added to the odometer as I got closer to the finish. I reached the Cat 3 start and took a short respite and ate some chomps. I was getting tired at 15.5 miles The ladies there said I could look forward to a few miles of less climbing and a fast descent and then more climbing. I was grateful for the info. The more climbing definitely seemed more intense that all that previous. The Cat 1 pros started passing me. With about 4 miles to go both calves started cramping and my hands were killing me. I would have to walk part of a steep climb and as soon as I clipped back into my pedals the cramps would start again. I think this is the closest I've come to crying in a race it hurt so bad. But I was not going to quit. Everyone that raced and finished, finished ahead of me. I was slow. 3:37 is a long time for 24 miles (though someone said it was shorter). I was so happy when I got to the pavement and road up to the finish line.


At some point I said, "I won!" and a friend looked at me and smiled. I should've said, "I finished!" instead. Yes I won and got some cash too. But I know if anyone else had showed up they would've finished in a much faster time than me. So my story stays the same, "I have a lot of work to do". Most of the people from the Louisville area podiumed, which was nice to see. (they didn't setup a podium but called out winners and handed envelopes or prizes).

I was so tired I just wanted to get home. So I filled up the tank and drove straight through. Both calves and my left hand cramped the whole way home. At least I wasn't going to fall asleep at the wheel! haha 

I've not been on a CX course this year. I've not attempted a dismount/remount. I'm not sure I'm going to. It's been a different kind of year, but then the last 3.5 have been so much different than before. No complaints. I want to race CX, but doubt my body will allow it this year. 5 weeks off the bike didn't help. Neither has the "saddle" issue I've had since January. I hope I can find my mojo again. But right now I don't want to sit on a saddle for any long duration. And my hands still hurt from Sunday


Sunday is Storm Eva which is a local CX race. I'm looking forward to seeing all of my CX friends. I've missed them so very much this year. I peruse their pictures on FB and read all of their posts about training and racing. It's such a fun experience.

Sorry about the novella. I got a bit wordy. I started typing this yesterday and lost internet. Then Word got locked up and I lost half of it. Tonight I almost gave up because my computer decided to shut down as I was typing with no warning. But it's done. 


Now I have to decide on what's next if anything. Then start to work out a training plan to get to Bear Creek Resort, PA in July.


If you made it this far just know I wish only the best for you and yours.


peace

04 October, 2012

Up and downs

Haven't felt like posting. 

Crashed hard at Lock 4 on 8/19. Major face plant/endo with the bike going over my back while still clipped in. It happens when you hit a big tree stump. It's a fun course and has some challenges. Not a lot of climbing, but lots of twisty and technical sections. I sprained my right wrist big time. It took 3 weeks to heal enough to feel like riding again. Then I catch this virus crud that got into my chest. That took 2 weeks to get over.

So my plan to start being serious about CX training end of August went kaput. I still haven't started. Not sure if I will at this point. 

I went to Raccoon Mtn last weekend and "raced". Did fairly well in the 4 mile TT, got second and $10. Woo hoo! The XC race was 2 laps of "approximately 12 miles". That turned out to be 13.5 on the first and only lap I did.  Talk about brutal. Rock gardens like I'd never seen before. Each lap had 1350 ft of climbing, which should be fine when one is fit. But I'd only ridden about 5 times since Lock 4 and 2 on trails. I was not fit. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. I always like seeing and experiencing new places. A team mate showed up and raced. We went to The Terminal Brewing Company after the TT for dinner and had a couple of beers. Good times.

So, there's Race to the Canal coming up at LBL in two weeks. It's the state championship. I'd love to qualify for Natz next summer. Natz is in Pennsylvania and so much closer than Bend or Sun Prairie. Cheaper too I hope.

I've been unemployed for 10+ months now. Apply for jobs daily. Plenty of rejection letters.  Much more with no response what so ever. I'd like to say it's better to receive the rejection than be left hanging. It's just common courtesy. Well, I've been on numerous interview, both phone and in person. I received an offer today for a part-time contractor position. I've accepted. It's not what I want, but better than unemployment. Max benefits on Unemployment is $400 a week, after taxes it's $356. I'm not going to complain, lucky it's there. But it doesn't cover the bills, Barely pays for the mortgage and utilities. That leaves the phone, gas, food, car and health insurance. I'm lucky I've set money aside for rainy day.

A friend contacted me today as well. It seems there are openings at their company and they suggested I apply. Full-time with good benefits is what I'd like to have. Then I wouldn't have to pay quarterly taxes and both parts of Social Security. I would like to have paid time off again and this company has them.

Life is full of ups and downs. I've tried to stay positive. But I've had my dark periods in the last year. Change is inevitable. I had all of these plans for CX this year. Do better at Master's Natz and worlds. Just not sure I'll make it to either one as a participant. It's just not as big of a deal as it was this time last year.

I live right now. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn't arrived. But I have to say I am a lucky, fortunate rich woman to have so many good friends around me. Yep damned lucky.

peace

30 August, 2012

aging

An article I just read:
http://tinyurl.com/9kf4laa

it's helpful. Now to think.

03 August, 2012

August has arrived

July 23 saw my 5 year mark of no tobacco. At first I thought it was a big deal. Then when a friend didn't want to join me in celebration I realized it's just a mark in time. No big deal. Five days, five weeks or five months were so much more important.

Women go through a lot of changes throughout their lives. I'm not saying if men do or not, I'm not a man and don't know about that. Puberty is difficult on both genders, that I remember. There was a lot of education about that, I assume there still is. 

I am amazed that more women don't go off the deep end and do drastic things while going through the stages of menopause. It's so trying. The inability to focus was the hardest part for me. Employers don't care and don't understand. Mood swings are intolerable and night sweats prevent any kind of decent sleep. Hot flashes start in the lower back just inside the spine and radiate outwards throughout your body to the most extreme parts. Heat so intolerable you think you are in hell. Then, finally at your breaking point it relents. 

Once in post menopause even more changes take place. No one ever talks about these. I can understand why. Estrogen levels drop. This causes so much havoc I don't want to explain. If you are curious send me a note. Once upon a time a varied audience read this and I don't want to shock or put anyone off from reading. I've not written for a while and may have lost most of what little audience I had.

Not sure about racing at this point. Too many physical changes and still unemployed.  I have an interview on Monday I am cautiously optimistic about though.

Love and peace to you

21 June, 2012

Lemonade?

Is what you make with lemons, right?


I keep working at finding the best parts of not so great things. Sometimes it works and sometimes I could do better.

A friendship that has waned. I see this person has made wonderful new friendships and is having great times with them. My heart twinges and I get sad. But all in all I'm quite happy for them. Good things should happen to good people. 

Training is in a state of blegh.Maybe I was just riding too too much. Or maybe I wasn't focusing on the right things. I knew I didn't want to race the short entry level 5 mile in DINO this year. So, this has put me in the back of the results. I knew this was going to happen. Doesn't make me any happier though. Brown County is a beautiful place, but the race start is tough. It definitely separates the true climbers from the rest of the field and strings everyone out along a mile of pavement before finally arriving at the single track. The day was beautiful and temps were about perfect. Two hours after this race though I lost about 20 minutes. We know I didn't have a stroke. We don't know exactly why this occurred. I was not to do any "strenuous" activity for at least a week. So, I behaved for the most part. I went with two friends and rode French Lick on Tuesday before that race. I just can't keep up with those two. No matter how much I push and will myself this body is not going to go that fast. We are in drought conditions and the course is full of loose rock and dust. I decided not to race the night before and threw away my $20 entry fee. Now it's hot and I've lost my mojo. There's a race in 9 days and I just don't know if I'll be ready. 

With lack of racing and training I'm not burning the calories I should be. This needs to change! 

Still nothing on the employment front. I'm fairly certain there is one company I have no desire to work, ever. I keep spending hours each day applying. It's a frustrating thing. Some places never send anything when a job has been filled. One local company does send emails though. I'd rather know I didn't get a job than wonder for weeks and weeks. Then there are some places that have posted jobs since February and they are still open. Makes me wonder if they are actively recruiting. I know I haven't gotten a call for phone screen at this one company. I know something will happen in good time. This is just a slow period.

I had another birthday this week. Now I will be in the next age group for Cyclocross nationals and worlds in January/February if I compete. Since the season spans end/beginning of years your racing age is as of Dec 31 the year Worlds are being held. 54 isn't so old. At least I don't think it is. I'll be racing with the 55-59 year olds now.

I've spent too much time wondering worrying about lack of romance. It's a silly thing to waste time and thought on I've decided. I never thought what it would be like to go for so long when I was younger and married. Now I realize it's been good to have this time with myself. I'm learning a lot. I think I'm growing some too.

I have lots of friends and make new ones each day. It's time to get back on my bike and ride I think. This is where I have the most fun and feel the best.

Along with my birthday always comes summer solstice. Even though the days will shorten they will continue to heat up for a few months. I always reminisce at this time of year. I am a very healthy woman. I have two beautiful daughters that love me. Life is good. Lemonade!

peace

20 May, 2012

So mtb season is in full swing

I went to Chickasaw Trace in Tennessee end of March and then Tsali for one of the SERC races on April Fool's day. The DINO tune-up at Town Run just didn't work out for me and then the first of the Kentucky Point Series @ Fort Duffield was Mother's Day which just so happened to be my daughter's birthday and I didn't get to race it either. But since it poured rain that morning I'm not too sad about missing it.

Chickasaw, was a tough race, but I loved it. Was lucky to get to ride to the race with one of the Red Zone families. I've never been there before and didn't get a pre-ride. I'm always nervous to race a course sight unseen. Somehow I came in 3rd of 7 in Cat 3 women for a 9 mile race. About 300 yards into the single track there was a deep dip and then climb back up. Somehow I bounced on my saddle and knocked it where the nose was pointing straight up. I was 3rd in the hole shot and then everyone passed me as I beat on my saddle to straighten it out. It took most of the race to pick off the 4 women I beat. This race is a qualifier for the USA XC nationals in July in Sun Valley. Nice to know I can go. But I'm not this year. Need employment first.

Tsali was a wonderful course with great views. I drove down on Friday and camped in my van. I pre-rode on Saturday. Was lucky that a friend also drove down to pre-ride and so we started out together. But she is a Cat 1 so our ride together was very short, different courses about 1/2 mile from the start. There were a couple of tough climbs up washed out rutted and rocky. I could ride up about 3/5 but would lose traction. One climb was right after a sharp left hand turn. I have so much work to do and lots of riding experience to gain. I had a blast and am so glad I made the trip to North Carolina for this. Wound up 7 of 10 in a 13 mile race with a lot of climbing.

DB has been good to join me on weekly treks to mtb trails in the region. We've gone to Brown County numerous times, Versailles, French Lick and Younger's Creek. CH has travelled with me twice also. I've been so fortunate to get to "play" and get in some very good riding this spring. I was invited to camp at Brown County with some of the Red Zone kids and moms during their spring break. We had a blast. 

I originally planned to go to Ducktown and race another of the SERC races. But feeling the need to conserve $ and gas I went to Brown County and did a XC Time Trial race instead. It was 16 miles, I was dead last, but it was a very good experience. Starts were order of registration. My start was about 25. There were 94 racers. So about 60 people passed me in the first 8 miles of the course. One guy knocked into me. But I needed to learn to not get rattled by people passing. It's going to happen.

This weekend was the first race of the DINO (Do INdiana OffRoad) series. It was in Warsaw, IN which is a good 4.5 hour drive with no rush hour in Indianapolis. DB was gracious enough to go with me. I have decided to race the Cat 2 women's instead of the Cat 3. The distances in this series are considerably shorter for women than most of the other series. I don't want to race 5.5 or 6 miles. I'd rather be challenged and know I won't be so competitive and race with the Cat 2 women whose race is 9 or 10 miles. The venue was gorgeous. This is also part of the Fat and Skinny tire festival, so there are road races and leisure road rides as well as mtb race. It's at The Village on Winona Lake which is a beautiful setting and very quaint little town. Traffic kept us on the road longer than hoped on Friday. We arrived about 8:30 and didn't get to pre-ride. We camped at the mtb start/finish area. DB raced Cat 1. Both Cat 1 and 2 women started at the same time. Cat 1 raced 2 laps for 20 miles. I had tough competition. Several women from last year also jumped in the Cat 2 race. I was dead last again, but I learned a few more things. This course was fairly flat with some punchy climbs and descents and a LOT of twisty turns. There were hardly any obstacles except for the roots on some of the climbs/descents. One right-hand switchback to a steep drop put me off the bike and I slid down it. DB rode it like a pro. After about the 3rd or 4th mile I rode solo most of the rest of the race. The last mile or two the Cat 1 men were lapping me. But I just got out of their way. They are FAST! or I am slow. It's all relative.

There's a kypointseries race here this weekend, I'm trying to decide whether to do. Next weekend is the next DINO at Brown County. It has a tough road climb ascent before dropping into the single track. 

I've ridden and ridden. I know I'm improving but there are times I feel I'm going backwards. Last week I just didn't ride well at all. Wound up endoing on No Net and crashing in Wilderness at Chero/Seneca. Something I haven't done in a long while there. 

To change the subject briefly, I had my first phone interview ever on Thursday. We'll see if they call to schedule a face to face this week. At least this is good practice. There's one job I have applied for that i really would like to get. But life turns out as it should, right? Severance runs out end of this month so I need to get to the unemployment office soon. Tomorrow will be more job hunting and filling out online applications.

I hope all of you are enjoying this beautiful spring. It's going to be in the 90s this week here so it already feels like summer. 

peace

04 April, 2012

I'm behind on race updates

maybe I'll write something tomorrow.  tomorrow will be day #3 running for Mom. Glad I'm able to do it. She has a CT scan tomorrow. 

I have read and read and read job postings. It's so discouraging. Doesn't seem like I'm qualified for anything. Eh, it'll work out. Always does. right?

It's interesting how things turn out. How I set expectations and am disappointed. Note to self: Stop doing that!  ha ha

I try to be there for friends when they go through tough times. Lend an ear mostly. There've been a few over the last couple of years that lost their jobs. Now they are busy or have other things to talk about. 

Life is change. Nothing stays the same. Nope it's always different.

peace to you 

21 March, 2012

French Lick

is a fabulous place to ride MTB!!! DB and I drove up there this morning. Neither of us had ever been before. WOW  WOW  WOW, what a fun place to ride. That's not to say it's easy. There is an "easy" Green trail that is posted at 5.5 miles and a "more difficult" Blue trail that is posted at 4.5 miles. Somehow when we put the two together we came up with 9.2 miles on the Garmin and did one small section three times.

There were waterfalls and delicate flowers, deer and only a handful of other mtn bikers. There were climbs and rock gardens, creeks and fast downhills. Flowy sections and technical parts. 

My plan was to ride as long as possible. My right knee has been giving me fits and I was on flat pedals (the kind that come with bikes) with tennis shoes. DB was good natured as always. She followed me on some sections and took the lead on others. She was on her "pit" bike and had to deal with some adjustments to saddle position/height among other things. 

We were having a blast and climbing a rocky technical section when all of a sudden I managed to fall. I grabbed a tree with my left hand and somehow was laying on my stomach, left armed stretched clinging to the tree, right leg hooked under the bike saddle and right foot hinged over a small but strong tree limb (4 inch diameter). My left leg was under the bike with the chain ring biting the front of my calf/lower leg and my foot somehow in between some spokes. Normally I belly laugh when I fall. Not this time. I watched DB climb the rocky ascent and I yelled her name. My left hand slipping around the tree trunk. She turned and looked at me and I yelled her name again. She started back down pushing her bike. My hand was slipping and I thought I was going to lose it and slide down the embankment and must've grunted or something. She put down her bike and ran down to me. Somehow, miraculously she helped me get unwoven and upright. Once composed  we continued on the ride.

We finished the loop and decided upon having a bite to eat and head back out for another lap. Unfortunately, halfway into the first part of the lap my right quad began to ache. So, instead of riding a complete lap in reverse we only did the green trail for a total of about 14 miles. 

I have to say this is a beautiful trail system. Very different from the others I've ridden in Indiana. I want to go back and spend a whole day, doing at least three laps and mixing up directions etc.

I'm so fortunate to have DB to ride with. Also, I am lucky to have the time to ride (no job) and Mother Nature has blessed us with some outstanding weather this March of 2012. I won't complain about the heat today. There was almost always a constant breeze that kept us cooled down.

Peace and much love to you all

20 March, 2012

Monday Night Recovery may never be the same

There used to be Skirt Rides (skirts ride) that was mostly riding road with other women on Monday nights. 

Now there is Monday Ladies Only MTB ride put on by a friend of mine, Steph and assisted by another friend Deb. We all converge at the parking lot by frisbee field at Cherokee Park. I was thrilled by the 14 women who showed up. Katherine, a remarkable 14 year old cyclist was enlisted to help along with me. There was a wide variety of skill level. I decided to hang in the back; for a couple of reasons. 1) I wanted to help anyone that might be tentative on trails and 2) I was riding flat pedals for the first time.

This was the best experience I've had in a long time. It felt good to help others build confidence to do something they'd never done before. There were several women who had been on their bikes once, twice or three times before. To watch them want to stop 100 feet onto the first trail to seeing them clear roots and rocks, climb some good ascents and descend some gnarly root drop-offs was inspiring! I just kept encouraging and coaching as best I could. 

I can't wait until next week! I hoping we have even more women come out and participate.

Several times a group of guys would come upon us and we would let them through. Once a gentleman said, "wow, this is nice to see a lot of pretty girls riding!"  Others asked if they could join us and of course were told no. It's nothing personal. It's just that trail riding is intimidating enough without the added pressure of trying to not look stupid or worse in front of guys.

I honestly can't wait until next Monday! I hope Mother Nature cooperates. 

Peace and Love to all of you!

18 March, 2012

First road races of season started

this weekend with Long Run Park in Louisville and Deer Creek in OH. I've decided to forego road racing at least this early. Legs have no speed in them, yet.

I road out to Long Run and caught a few races. It was great to see 6 women toe the line for the 1/2/3 race and 17 in the 4s! I saw numerous faces and chatted with lots of people I've not seen in at least 2 months, some much longer. I cheered as the cyclists came 'round each lap. Long Run is a circuit race, so it runs however many laps necessary for a time frame. Easier than a typical road race, less so than a crit (and not nearly as much fun as CX). ;)

I rode my Cervelo to and from the race. It was a nice 43ish miles for the most part. Thunderstorms moved in late evening and stayed most of the night, lots of rain and thunder rumbling. Coco was scared. I'd never seen her like that. She finally snuck under covers, something else I've never seen her do. 

I watched radar for quite sometime and it seemed that most of the rain would stay south of some parks in IN. Finally, HMBA posted up that Brown County was good to ride. I decided to head to Muscatatuck instead. It's a beautiful park and has it's own set of climbs and technical aspects. Thought I might get DB to join me, but that was not to be. I rode what I thought was the race loop, not sure I stayed on all of it. My memory fades over a few months. My right knee has been bothering me when I ride mtb. Not so much with road, except for yesterday. Today I had twinges and after about 75 minutes of pedalling I got this searing burning sensation. Decided it was time to stop and head home. Of course, I had to ride back to the car and that meant one more good climb out of the valley. I had spoken with a good friend and moved my cleat like was told. It didn't really want to move too much. May need to get a professional to look at my shoe/cleat and help me straighten it out. First mtb race is next Sunday. I need to get this knee problem corrected. 


Mother Nature has decided to bring us springtime early. 80s most of the week ahead it seems. Really need to ride trails while they are dry! 


A glimpse of springtime in the woods. There are the smallest delicate flowers, but they are difficult to see mixed in all of the leaves. :(

I think it was best that I rode solo today. Some rides are just like that. I wasn't trying to go fast. I just wanted to take in all of the nature around me. Once my knee started bothering me I struggled to stay in a good humor. Solitude is good at times. Today was one day that I came home to an empty house and was OK with that. (many times not so much)

It's been an absolutely wonderful week for several reasons. I hope you've soaked up some fresh air and sunshine this weekend!


peace
 

16 March, 2012

Recovery week from Death March

OK, so I'm not the brightest bulb on the tree! Sunday I planned to get up and meet a friend that had come into town for the weekend. Could.Not.Get.Out.Of.Bed! So I lazed around and finally ate a big breakfast and decided to get out and ride. Called my friend and suggested the local club ride. Having moved here last summer and being a mtn biker had never joined a club ride. Trails were not in good shape so she joined me. Why tell me did I think I could hang with the front group? I lost my mind some time ago. Got dropped on Lexington, caught up at light at Jefferson, got dropped somewhere on Jefferson and caught up again. This continued until I missed their turn onto River Rd. Quads were screaming and calves were tight. So I backed off and took Mockingbird back to the ride start. Finally met up with DB and rode home. I got in over 30 miles so all in all a good weekend. 

Monday, I couldn't move so I didn't. ;) and I didn't ride either. Tuesday I rode to the LBS and back. Needed to have my Cervelo checked out and found the rear derailleur hanger was bent. Most likely from shipping. He got that fixed, toute suite and I was on my way. That 14 miles wasn't enough so I joined DB and hit the trails. We went out easy but needed a tuneup for Wednesday. Wednesday was another 20 miles of Brown County trails. We changed it up a bit from last week but still had a blast. Lots of climbing and shorter amount of time out there, both total time and ride time. The temps were pushing 80F and we didn't get started until almost noon. I think we hydrated much better than last week. One gets smarter as time goes on (usually).

I was a slacker on Thursday and only got in an almost ride. Finally put a saddle and pedals on the Van Dessel and rode it around the block to check out saddle position, etc. I had this converted to single speed before Spain, but never got it road ready til now. It's been raining and raining so trails are soggy. I took the SS out today for a real ride. Got about 14 miles in just over and hour. I need lots and lots of practice with spinning at a high cadence. I was bouncing out of the saddle something crazy. But I need work with that and learning to climb hills faster too, so I hope the SS does just that.

Tomorrow is the first road race of the season. I plan to ride to the venue and cheer for fellow cyclists and ride home. It's about 20 miles each way, so I haven't decided which bike I'll ride. I'm thinking the SS. Opened a bottle of Shiraz earlier. I'm not a big wine drinker, but was thinking about #SLB2012 and Spainuary so I have imbibed.

Still haven't found anything job-wise that I've applied for yet. Think I'm going to have to lower my bar and just get back out there. Surely something will open up soon. 

Enjoy your weekend everyone! I hope to ride and ride and laugh and play.

peace 

11 March, 2012

March has arrived and Sub9 DeathMarch is in the books!

and it started out with exciting weather happenings, like tornadoes. There's been some nasty devastation not far from here, but the community has pulled together and donated over $400,000 and many many man hours already to help clean up and more to come in the next weeks. 

Friends came and picked me up last Sunday and we headed to Waverly. It's a great place to ride trails. And it's a great place for me to fall down. But I fall down most anywhere I ride my mtn bike. Debbie and I were getting ready to ride up Montana when another woman cyclist was just pulling into the park. She joined us once she got parked and we climbed the hill. Montana is on my list of "need to conquer". I know I'll do it, once I get the negativity out of my brain about it. I've climbed mountains, I can do this Dag gone it. :)  We had a great ride, even if I fell twice. One of these days I'll stop doing that. Monday was a cold day and I was sore so I went for a nice brisk 4 mile walk. Rode 25 miles on my SuperX to get used to it's feel on Tuesday in prep for Saturday. Weather has been great so Wednesday we headed to Brown County for some trail riding. I Love That Place! It has some of everything but mostly great flow. About the time you think you can't climb anymore the trail gives you some reprieve and a lot of the climbing doesn't feel like climbing, unless you've been riding a while and your body is exhausted. 22 miles of trails and 2000 ft of climbing OUCH, rain on Thursday and tune up on Friday.


Sub9 DeathMarch: the day starts @ 4:50 am, fix breakfast, finish packing and load the van. Pull out @ 6:15. The moon was gorgeous in the western sky as I drove north.
I arrived, knocked on the window of the Rogue-mobile and headed to registration to pick up my number, etc. My team mate had already picked it up! and in true Sherri fashion I get back to the Rogue-mobile and demand my stuff! hmm, not the best way to start the day. But everyone shook me off and we put on our smiley faces. It was quite chilly, 34F at the ride start, but not a cloud in the sky. Total participation was twice 2011. There were lots of cyclists as the mass start. It's always interesting to watch who's going in which direction and try to determine some of their strategy. Heather is our navigator and does the job fabulously. She keeps the map tucked in nice and dry under her jersey, easy access! Here's the first picture at the first cemetery:
I told Heather that I had forgotten most of the ride until I was driving to the Boy Scout camp and bits and pieces started coming back. Pain and climbing and exhaustion and flat tires were the first memories I had. Heather of course remember most every detail and would give me the play by play before we reached each obstacle/climb. This was much like my daughter telling me what's going to happen next in a movie I've never seen. :-)   But this was a fun day and most of my complaining is in jest. I won't be able to give a play by play from yesterday, even though it should still be fresh in my mind. I can give you some numbers and highlights:


Heading to the 2nd cemetery we have to ride miles of fresh gravel. I hate fresh gravel. (it might've only been 2 miles) We go off road where there's no real road or gravel, just muddy ruts and many creeks to cross. One crossing is deep enough and wide enough that no matter what, your feet will get wet. Mine were soaked well above my ankles. Thank goodness for wool socks, it stays warm even when wet and it dries fairly quickly.  I fell once due to failing to hop a log. I slid once walking across a bog and got muddy. I fell another time but can't remember the details. My feet had pretty much dried and we had to cross that creek again just to get soaked once more. 


The ride is posted on Strava along with many others that rode yesterday: http://app.strava.com/rides/5034615


We got off course once. We spent at least one hour less out there than last year. Out of 22 teams in the women's category we came in 3rd. Officials made a correction and rightly so and we did not come in third after all. Congrats to the winners Janet and Jayne!  We rode 52.5 miles, climbed 3,600 ft in just under 5 hours (though we were out there 6.5 hours taking pictures, climbing fire towers, asking directions). We pretty much rocked this race this year. Last year I walked several climbs on paved roads, but this year I rode all of those. There was still a nasty off road climb that we walked and a gravel road climb we walked because the gravel was so deep and loose we couldn't do anything but spin out. 


Spain definitely got me ready for this event, as much mentally as physically. I am much more ready to just do it instead of telling myself I can't. Strong Like Bull made me stronger than I'd ever thought possible. Also, I was pleasantly surprised how good my legs felt once I got home and this morning. I expected to be miserable. So I went for a 30+ mile ride today and now my butt is killing me!  haha.

Here's the next to last cemetery picture.


The one picture we failed to get both years was at the finish line. We will get that one in 2013!


I thoroughly enjoy riding my bike. I had a BLAST doing this race with Heather and look forward to doing it again next year. 


The weather looks to be fantastic this week, with temps in the 70s from Tuesday onward. More off road riding is in our future for Wednesday! 


I hope you are enjoying March as much as I am. Life is good. Smile, laugh, love and commit acts of kindness when you can.


peace