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!


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.


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.


03 March, 2012

Spain and Strong Like Bull Kicked My Ass

Thought all week about posting a good post about it. But life and sleep got in the way. I typed out a lot on the airplane home, but it just sounded too blase'.

I climbed 20,000 feet on my bike in 7 days of riding. I was the caboose. I did so much stuff I never imagined possible. 

I want to go back and do it all and not cut any days short. To do that will take better preparation. Which might be difficult being so close to the end of CX season. Another obstacle is $, I need to make some if I want to go back.  ;)

The crew were fantastic. Christine, John and Sean rocked it out. 

My fellow campers were great. Room mate Lisa is a 20 year veteran at triathlons. Clare is a TV news producer. Dylan is a pro bike racer (road and CX!). Syngen is an up and coming bike prodigy I think, he's a monster on the climbs. The Hammer and Jen are a great couple. Annie and Jimmy are wild and wonderful and I love those two so much! Anna was studying and taking tests for her doctorate while not riding and is one Strong Cyclista! Serge might be fairly new to racing, but he is strong and will be upgrading by end of this road season I think. Jeff and Ray were under the weather with a stupid cold, but great guys all the same.

The food was outstanding. Kudos to Christine. 

Which is important when you ride as much as we did. The wine flowed freely and though I rarely imbibe, I did this trip (with no headaches!). The roads were great and the auto drivers were friendly and courteous to cyclistas. The views were awe inspiring.

It's been a week since I was in the saddle. I ventured out today and cut the ride short. The trails were primo, but the crotch was not. :(

I'm a very lucky girl. I have made some wonderful new friends. Have come home to some steadfast friends I'm very grateful for. And now have a fun race to do on Saturday with a team mate, finding cemeteries in Hoosier National Forest at the Sub 9 Death March. Always time for another adventure!

I hope your February was as fun as as mine.

peace and much love