Monday, October 29, 2007

No longer a CX virgin!

Yet again I got to try something new this weekend - cyclocross. I guess I had to see what all the hoopla is about. A while ago I thought I should do 1 CX race this year and decided I should do the Psycho Cross weekend. That way, I could get a clinic in and then race while it was still fresh in my head. Plus, if all else failed, I could enjoy the costume race!

Some of the girls I've met through Velo Girls decided to do a group costume of superheroines, so I joined in with them. They designated me Cat Woman, since I already had the vinyl and whip. I bought some vinyl cat ears for my helmet and a pin-on vinyl cat tail. It was quite the look. Janet was Bat Girl. Cindy was Robin. Cara and Jenny were Supergirls, and Lauren was Princess Leia. Rick threw on a hoochie tee, boa and tiarra and was a cute diva. All sorts of fun! If you want to see some other cool costume pics, check out Flandria's blog.

I used the costume race as a warmup, but cut the most technical part of the course. The vinyl jacket didn't allow me to stretch back enough for the steep downhills. Our group costume was one of the winners! Yay! Free beer!

Before going to the line for the real race, we bumped into one of my new co-workers, Paul, and his girlfriend. We did quick intros and then I had to get on the line.

The start was weird. They pulled the C's over to the side and let the A/B racers do a lap before starting us. But, I thought they were going to put us on the line and then start us. All of a sudden, the whistle blew, and I wasn't even straddling my bike. Ugh! So, I pretty much started in last, but that was OK, because I just was there for fun. The first series of obstacles was a log, runup, remount and a steep, off-camber little uphill. Two of the C's crashed on that off-camber uphill. After hearing they were OK, I dismounted and ran around them and remounted. At the beginning of the second lap, Beth handed me a water bottle, which was great. Thank you!!! Each lap I heard cheers from my costume buddies who weren't racing, Olaf, Ms. Vello Bella, and of course, my sweetie!

I continued on my own in no-man's land after that - not really passing anyone and not being passed by anyone in my field. I froze at the top of the big, steep downhill and ran down the first time. The next 3 laps I rode it, though. Occasionally As or Bs would ask to pass, so I slowed down and gave them room. At the end of the 3rd lap, I caught and passed a C racer on the big run-up. Yay! I held that to finish in front of her. However, I did get lapped by the top three C racers in the last lap.

I know that if I work on the technical aspects of CX, I could be MUCH faster. My dismounts and mounts were sloppy and I missed a lot of them, coming to a complete standstill over and over. However, it was a victory just to ride through what was described as a very technical course (some things I would have never attempted before this weekend). And, I did it without crashing! Yay!

Thanks to the Bellas for a great race with lots of great prizes and fun. And, thanks for the great clinic, too!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Finding New Muscles Every Day

I went to the Velo Bella CX clinic yesterday, which was a total blast after I got over being terrified of some of the technical aspects of the course. Linda Elgart was coaching our small group. She was great and coached us through each section - how she might approach it and various alternatives.

I finally learned how to do a moving mount, which is cool. It is slow, but I can do it. It's more of a walking mount than a flying mount. Of course, it took me a bit longer than the others in my group to pick it up. When they were moving on to barriers, I was getting "uh, you might want to work on mount and dismount a while longer". Translation: "You are going to hit the barrier and it's going to leave a mark".

Another fun part of the day was hearing Sheila Moon whooping and giggling her way around the course. She was clearly having a LOT of fun!

Then, I woke up this morning and discovered a couple dozen muscles that I didn't even know were there.

Today, Costume Cross! I need to go zip tie some stuff to my helmet.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Josh's 40=40=40

Yesterday, we attended our friend Josh's 40th birthday. He called it the 40=40=40. He rented out the Stanford track to run 40 laps with his friends. But, more importantly, he was trying to rasie $40,000 for the American Cancer Society. Up to yesterday, he had raised $37,000. I walked a few laps with my gimpy back and otherwise joined in the festivities. cyclistrick took lots of pics.

It was a very festive event including a serenade by the Stanford band and cheerleaders. I think Josh will like this photo the best!

Shamless plug: If you feel passionate about the American Cancer Society and want to help Josh reach his goal, visit his fundraising page here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cycling in the deep south - south bay, that is

With no plans for the weekend and most of my thesis signed off, we decided to lolly gag today and go for a long ride. We drove down to Los Gatos to do a ride we haven't done in a long time. We rode down through the Coyote Valley (a little too quickly - WIND!). Then, we turned up in Morgan Hill and rode up to Chesboro reservoir. Then, we turned back in the wind and rode past Calero, through Almaden, up and over Kennedy and back to our car.

It was our first long, fallish ride, with a little crispness to the air. We went through the pumpkin patches on the way down. We saw a few red and orange trees (not enough) and smelled smoke in the air once. But, mostly we just got blown by the wind.

And, I got yet another reminder that I really need to eat more calories when doing these 'easy' rides. I'm defecting all the time, so I can't deficit so much on the bike. Today, the Powertap said I burned 1350 calories. I ate 350. Do'h. I was so bonksville at the end, it was all I could do to hold my head over the handlebars as we descended Kennedy. We piggied out at Willow Street after. Then, I came home and had a hot bath and promptly fell asleep in the tub. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I've left the 60cm+ club :(

This week my quads dropped to 59.5 cm. It must be all the running. Oh well, I also lost a couple pounds. So, I'm not going to complain too much!

I'm all dressed and ready to hit the track today. Maybe that will beef them back up. I hope my back is OK. It's become very cranky during the two weeks off the bike. Thursday riding and yoga helped rehabilitate it a little, but it's definitely not 100%.

I just turned in section 15 of 16 for review on my thesis. 13 of 16 was signed off today, and 14 of 16 is in second round review. If all goes well, tomorrow all 16 sections will be in the review process! Yay! The end of the tunnel is near!

Sunday Update

The track was fun. I could tell my back was hurting my power, but I had fun, nevertheless. All the girls (Me, Dorit, Christine) got paired up, as we were the slowest 3. We had one pursuit in which we worked really well together. The second round, we blew apart a bit. My favorite was the chariot race. I need to get more confident in my starts. I don't start well from a hold. I know this from TT, but it is much more important in a 1 lap race! We started with scratch at the beginning - 8 laps handicapped. That hurt. I was tired from the 40 laps warmup, which was quite brisk. I forgot what it was to suffer since my last race in August. I felt a little queasy. I guess I'll really get a taste of pain at the Halloween CX in a couple weeks. Should be fun.

I sent off the last section of my thesis for review last night. And, I did prep work for the launch of the web site redesign for my former employer. And, I did laundry. It was quite the productive day! I wrapped up all the hard work by 8:00 pm and had time to watch "This film is not yet rated" documentary with the rickster.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Track this weekend and Halloween CX

OK, I'm putting a stake in the ground. I'm going to race low key track this weekend - if it's not raining, that is. To accomplish this, I will dust off my helmet and ride tomorrow and Friday so my legs can remember what it feels like to ride before I punish them.

As of today, I have 10 of 16 sections of my thesis signed off and turned in. Wooo hoo! 14 sections are in the review process. So, what does this mean? Cyclocross weeekend on the 27th and 28th! I'm going to join the Bella clinic on the 27th and then give the race a whirl on the 28th. I just have to decide if I'm going to be Sarah Mistress of the Web or Sarah the voodoo doctor. The mistress of the web thing would have to be modified, since I'm pretty sure I can't ride my bike in vinyl pants....hmmm.

Please vote for a costume.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Being a yahooligan and other general mischief

Well, I'm sitting here on lunch break at my new job hopped up on free espresso drinks trying to get acquainted with all things new. Oh, and I have a nice view of the bay from my cube, so that makes me happy! And, I can walk to work, which is swell (about 30 minutes each way of brisk walking). If I bike, I'll definitely have to add on, or it won't be worth donning ye old spandex.

Last week the boy and I engaged in general mischief before getting back to the grind. We started with an overnight in Carmel and a 20 miles-ish ride out and back on 17 Mile Drive. Some deer decided they wanted to play at Spanish Bay.

Thursday, we drove a little south of Lucia. I almost lost my cookies at one point and had to take over driving. We parked at the base of Nacimiento-Ferguson road to ride up and over to Mission San Antonio. It was wet and drippy at the start of the ride. But, by the time we got to about 800 feet, we were emerging from the fog. Like a dumbass, I decided to bring my standard double chainring bike. I had to hump it up a lot of spots in that brutal 7 miles climb. As we started descending the other side, I realized quickly I had underestimated food and water required for the ride. It was Hooooot over there. I didn't much enjoy the second half of this ride as I was perpetually hungry and dehydrated. But, I survived and enjoyed seeing the mission I had not seen before. It was also cool to check out a new route. 55 miles and 5,900+ feet for those of you climbing gluttons. This is an epic route with VERY little traffic - definitely not to be missed.

Thursday night we stayed over at Ragged Point. The view was minimal, but the hot shower and dinner were great! In the morning, the fog had lifted enough to see the coast, but it was still overcast. Friday morning, we headed down to Piedras Blancas to check out the elephant seals and then went to the new visitor center at Hearst Castle. The visitor center changes were just a bunch of new concessions - thumbs down!

We had a quick lunch in Cambria and then headed to my parents' home. We got to hang out with them, my grandma and uncle (mom's brother) out from Florida. Cyclistrick got busy doing bike maintenance for my mom while I visited.

Saturday morning was the big event. My mom has been training all summer to do her first metric century. She set her sights on the Lighthouse. We weren't really trained up for the 100 mile distance (no time for long rides), so we decided to join her on the 100K. It was basically an out and back on the coast with minimal climbing. And, the weather was perfect. Everything converged well to help her make her goal. I kept her on task with eating (but not too much) and drinking and ran a stop watch at the rest stops so she would not get too cold. We stayed on schedule and finished in 6 hours running time, 5 hours riding time. And, at that nice, mellow pace it was the first endurance ride I've ever done where I didn't get completely dehydrated. I was so proud of my mom for reaching her goal. And, she had a smile on her face all day - even at the end!

Sunday we headed home to a pile of laundry, shopping and some JavaScript homework. And, then the week of settling and orientation began in earnest.

I'm off the bike for two weeks and filling my days with walking, yoga and running. I already miss my bike!