Monday, September 28, 2009

It's over.

The 2009 racing season is now over. Feels kind of anti-climactic. I guess I had hopes of finishing it out stronger than I did.

Last weekend we raced the US Cup "Unification" race. Same old Bonelli course, wicked heat, no new racers in our group. In retrospect I could have skipped this race and been fine with it. I really wanted to race at Bootleg.

On the first lap the usual suspect attacked, but Marco is really good at Bonelli. The course somehow suits him, and it is cool to see him have great results there. The group stayed together behind him on the first climb and we all hit the fast fire road descent together wheel to wheel. Pretty sure there were 7 of us all together. I was about 4th wheel and felt really good. On the next climb I shifted down to my middle ring and chainsucked. I was forced to jump off and yank my chain out. By the time I looked up the entire group was out of sight. By my estimate I was now 7th or 8th and alone.

I put my head down and went as hard as I dared in the heat with no intention of letting up till I caught the leaders. I passed some people, but didn't ever see the group I was expecting. Little did I know the group had come to pieces and I had clawed my way into third. I was thinking I was 5th or further back and when on my second lap I caught up to the raging battle for the top step on the Pro Women's podium. I sat up a tad so as not to interfere. When I sat up I noted that Matt had tagged onto my wheel, he passed me shortly thereafter. When I felt that I could safely pass and not influence the outcome of the battle in front of me, I did so and then tried to catch up to Matt who had gone by already. It was then that my mental game and leg strength gave out. The heat was getting to me and I just cracked. I had no idea I was in 4th or maybe I could have mustered some strength to stay on the podium. On the last lap I was sitting up and trying to hydrate and get cooled down, I didn't want to DNF. All of a sudden Gary goes by with Umberto in tow and they are racing like they mean it. I was so confused!!! How did Gary get behind me?! What position do they think they are racing for?! I couldn't summon the strength to catch them and find out. I finished out the lap rolling across the line in 6th. I was toasted. Anti-climactic.

The week following was jacked. I planned on not riding Monday, but doing a short hard workout on Tuesday. That got cancelled when I forgot my helmet and there was a fire nearby that was ruining our air quality. Wednesday I was up at 3:45AM to catch a flight to San Francisco for work, didn't get home till 9:45PM. LONG day. Thursday I rode with Allison and felt okay but not great. Friday I couldn't ride due to 5+hrs of driving. Saturday we did openers on part of the course in Big Bear.

Sunday morning my legs and lungs didn't feel spectacular, but I was all-in for the last race of the year. Off the start a group of 5 or 6 of us were setting the pace. Near the top of the first climb there was an acceleration that I couldn't match from a guy that had never raced with us before. Turns out he is CAT1 roadie and CX that has raced in Europe (no wonder I can't match it!). I did my best to manage the gap but the fast fire road and wind favored being part of the group. When I hit the descent I decided to try to make up time but on a corner my rear tire felt soft. I got really worried and dialed it back a bit. Just before the Cabin 89 descent I got within a few yards of Matt's wheel. I didn't push too hard on the climbs figuring I could catch up on the descent, he pulled a bit more of a gap. Then the worst possible thing happened.

Entering the single track a rider came up behind me (it was the top of a climb and I was taking a few deep breaths before I unloaded on the descent) and screamed, "LET ME GET BY!" I had no idea who it was but figured they had to be a wicked descender to be that assertive. WRONG! Two guys go by and then proceed to skid and slide and brake check me the whole descent! At one point they had skidded up a huge cloud of dust in a corner and I couldn't see at all and washed out. I came off my bike and STILL caught them just a few turns later!!! LAME. To all racers out there, please be honest about your self assesment of your abilities. If you suck at descending don't demand a pass at the top of a climb and then hold people up on the descent!

I was frustrated, pissed really, and wasted some energy. Bad move on my part but I had just seen my race strategy blown.

My mom was supporting us at the feed zone. It was great to have support! I grabbed cold bottles and started the climb up Pine Knot but not far into the climb my legs started cramping. Basically my race ended at that point. I did my best to keep moving and put down power where my legs would permit. Matt pulled 4 minutes on me to get 2nd. Griffith had been right with Matt apparently and he pulled 3 minutes on me. I was in 4th.

So now we enter our first "off-season". I am not really looking forward to it. I hope that after another winter of long base miles and drills, and revamping the training plan I can make it past 1hr 20mins without cramps.

I will try to do a Year In Review post that is more up beat. I know I should be celebrating a lot of success. My first year training and racing CAT1 has been more successful than I had originally expected. I think I will try to cling to my 2nd place performance at Windham as my best race of 2009. It's gonna be a long cold winter. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Good Stuff...

It is Monday and as usual I am in need of some rest! :)

Saturday was one packed day. Friday night we were discussing route options and I decided to map something new. Early Saturday morning we left from home...

...with me on the front of the train as usual. :)

I really dug this shot of Allison from her "Glove's Eye View", she needs to pick her artistic shot timing better though as she almost caused a huge pile up with the dog walkers on the path (oblivious people seen walking at me and taking the whole 2 lane path in photo).

The pain started early as we did a solid effort up Rancho Cal...

Allison wasn't going that hard though. "How do you know?", someone might ask. I know because she was still behind me. :) I am used to seeing her posterior on that hill now. :)

After climbing we undulated on Sandia Creek Rd. all the way to Fallbrook.

From Fallbrook we descended Olive Hill into Bonsall. From there we climbed up to the Lilac Bridge and bombed down Hwy 395. Took a quick break at the Pala Market and then dug another solid effort back up the hill.

56 miles in 3hrs with some solid climbing is a nice way to kick start the weekend!

After re-fueling we headed out for some errands and then hit up Trevor's little BBQ shindig. On the way there we saw some interesting stuff.

"Dude, did you forget to close the tailgate?" "Naaaaaaah, nobody will notice the herb duuude. Huh huh."

This Maserati sounded so bad ass!

Best seats in da house!

Some good eats...

Good times! We were up way too late though. Sunday wound up being a wrench-fest, but we still busted out a quick SRP ride with Luke. So glad to have my race bike back!!!!

Happy Monday!!!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just a couple more weeks...

As is evident in my last few posts, the end of the season is just around the corner. The end of the racing season means a lot of different things to us right now, but foremost in my mind is there aren't any more chances to pull out a good race. With that in mind I have been trying to put a little something extra in my training. Likely, yesterday's workout is the last super hard effort. I need rest before the races.

Just a recap of this week's work, Wednesday we hit it hard on Rainbow with a double loop of the lollipop. Tough ride with me pulling most of the time, according to my Garmin we averaged 20mph for 1hr. Thursday we backed up that hard effort with another one, doing 3min efforts up Rancho Cal. In order to help us deal with the heat I gave us 1.5x recovery between intervals. After four of those, and some recovery, we did a 9+ minute force interval up the hill, recovered across the top and on the descent, and then did a solid 6min Z4 effort up the backside. On the descent back down the frontside I did a legspeed drill and held 130rpm for a really long time (fun stuff descending at 50mph!).

Last weekend was interesting. The three day weekend gave us a chance to do two hard days and one easy one. Saturday we got up and hit a fairly easy road ride in the morning.

Followed that up with a good breakfast and a trip to OC to take care of some errand stuff. After the errands it was super hot but we hit up a hard Whiting Ranch - Luge ride. I can't believe how fast we busted that ride out!

I am not sure when Allison got this picture of me in front of her on Santiago Truck Trail. She was blazing fast!

I caught Allison doing her thing right before we took off down Luge!

I jumped out ahead so that I could get a shot of her descending...

It seems like I used to go faster down Luge, but it isn't any less fun!

The ride was a solid 1hr 20mins. I think the high temps really sucked the life out of us though as we were tapped out for such a short duration. We headed home to have a good dinner and rest up. Sunday we decided on a nice easy ride up around Lake Elsinore. Nice and flat.

After our morning ride we made the trek down to San Diego to meet up with my cousin Karen, her son Ben, and my sister. We went over to La Jolla and wandered around a bit.

Sunday we hit up some of our favorite Idyllwild trails with Luke. The three of us climbed Keen Camp together.

After some single track descending it was back to climbing up May Valley road. What a beautiful day. The views were outstanding.

I cleaned some new spots on the Lower Southridge Single Track that I didn't think I would ever get (although I could see the lines, they are hard to get to and have the right power/balance on). I couldn't have imagined a better day of riding, except maybe being able to hold onto Luke and Allison's wheels as they took off up the big climb to Cherry on the Top! Thats okay though, I was tearing up the technical stuff and the descending!

Allison got a good sequence, the following three photos were me having some fun on the rocks.

We then rode some (new to me) trails that are part of the long course at the Idyllwild Spring Challenge. Great trails for sure! After dropping back to the 24hr. course via Missing Link I stopped to get a few shots of Luke and Allison.

And Allison returned the favor nabbing a final parting shot of me at the bottom of the 24hr course.

Good stuff! Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pictures from the week...

I have been working on my race bike. It is torn down to a bare frame and thought it felt pretty light...

...I guess I was right! Pretty crazy to think that the new Cannondale Flash frames are supposed to come in below 900g. Wonder if they will be reliable that low in weight?

Due to the heat Allison's boss approved her to modify her schedult twice this week. Dawn Patrol rides are sweet!

"Just the two of us..."

We got in an after work MTB ride at SRP too. Ran into some familiar faces...

Funny because they don't live far from us and ride all the same trails as us, but we almost never run into each other. We see their car parked at the same trailheads all the time!

Allison and I did a bit of riding...

...before we met up with a couple of our co-workers.

Caption of the day for the above photo: "I think something is wrong with it."

Today I was in a picture taking mood on our nice easy regen ride...

Looking forward to a 3 day weekend... Live it up!!!!