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.


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.


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.