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.



Allison said...

Happy Happy Joy Joy on the new job. The MTB race did not sound like a good time for all.

Perkins Blair said...

It is always a nice experience to have oneself riding to work. Motorbikes are particularly a fun to deal with especially when using reliable tires which guarantee comfort and safety. I do enjoy riding on my bike's dual sport tires and my ride has become the envy of masses..