Saturday, July 31, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
If getting to work by bike requires multi-modal logistics from getting dropped off at the station, taking the bus, then riding an hour.. treat yourself!
That's what I do. :)
I take a coffee stop (cappuccino and a treat) for second breakfast, then order a smoothie when I get to work to tide me over until lunch.
Monday, July 19, 2010
TRACK > MTB > CX > COMMUTE
Friday night I raced on the track.
Saturday, all day, I mountain biked while working a trail run event.
Sunday, I took the cyclocross bike out for a quick single track spin after work.
Monday, I bus and biked with my touring rig.
Tomorrow, I'll bus and bike again.
Wednesday, track racing with the boys.
Thursday, a swim to prep for off-road triathlon coming up.
Friday, back to the track.
Saturday, urban orienteering by bike in the night.
Sunday, take the cross bike to the park.
Monday, bus and bike.
And so forth and so on.
Monday, July 12, 2010
An adventure race!
It's inevitable that I'd end up here-- knocking at the front door of adventure racing.
This fall, I began orienteering with the Cascade Orienteering Club. Every other Saturday, I'd be running, bushwhacking, screeing, wading, climbing and scrambling around a park, map in hand, looking for the next orange flag.
This winter, I got my first mountain bike (full suspension!) and have been discovering the art or ramming into obstacles with gusto.
Pour them in a pot, mix them together, and..
The Lord Hill Adventure Race included kayaking (optional), orienteering, mountain biking and trekking. But basically, for me, it was 5 hours of traversing up and down the landscape, on foot and bike, eating peanut M&M's, Snickers and Clif Bloks. And it was AWESOME.
I did it solo, and was the only female to do so. I think I came across as a bit stoic-- but really, I was just a bit nervous and self-conscious. There was no one around for me to bounce jokes, funny observations, or navigational queries off of. It was me, my head and my sugary treats. While I value alone athletic time for it's introspection, I would have had more fun with a friend or three.
"Do da ditty dum ditty doo,we're lookin' for T 12 on a knoll..Do da ditty dum ditty doo.."-Team of 4 sang while trotting behind me
*The team behind me in the photo won a prize for best team name with "Blackman and Robin". The best team names are never PC.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Even if you're not a cyclist
...you probably know that the Tour de France is going on right now.
If you are a cyclist
...you probably know that Lance Armstrong is in it.
If you are a very avid [road] cyclist
...you probably know that Andy Schleck has a good chance this year.
There are, after all-- an overbearing amount of resources to get your Men's Tour de France news:
- magazines devoted to entirely to previews
- highlight reels
- technical articles
- helicopter shots
- race recaps and analysis
- and for $29.99, get it every minute of it streamed to your computer.
Unfortunately, you probably don't know that the hardest women's stage race-- the Giro Donne (Women's Giro d' Italia) just concluded and the best female climber in the world-- Mara Abbott-- just became the first American to take home the pink jersey (and it's not pink just because they're women, thank God!).
Cycling history was just made-- but, oh, what did Mark Cavendish have for breakfast? Is his book tour distracting him from training?
So no, I'm not watching the Men's Tour de France-- because the amount of coverage in contrast to the women's depresses and disgusts me.
I want to punch the Men's Tour de France in the balls-- because if Mara had them, we'd all be watching.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Click the link above to see a larger version at Vimeo.
Another night at the track! We did a--
Each lap, the sprint for points gains in value.
1st lap = 1 pt, 2nd lap = 2pts and so on.
Simple-- winner on the final lap is the winner!
MISS N OUT
Each lap, the last person is eliminated (they have to get off the track!) until 3 remain-- who sprint one final lap for the win!
The Miss n Out was surely my favorite race-- and not because I won, but because I was nervous! The good, thrilling kind of nervous. The kind of nervous that plays selectively with your senses so that you are acutely in the moment, feeling deliciously alive. Then focus gives way to chaos and it's happening, you're there, it's moving, you respond, you try to make good decisions.
Having no teammates and being a marked woman, I could not risk getting boxed in-- so I sat at the front and middle of the wide group. I caught a lot of wind, but it guaranteed my place in the final 3. Then the sprint lap came, and I thought, "HEY! I'm still on the front!? ..why does this always happen? Ah, well.." so I just went for it, cranked it up, and had JUST enough to hold off Hong! She's got some sprint, though-- and after I lead the final laps, I thought she was gonna get me. As a veteran trackie from the shop put it, "DON'T GET COCKY." ..I can't just ride in the wind then sprint/take a flyer. Well, I can (blush)-- but it's not a good habit. Especially when the racing gets faster. Smart cookies like Kym have learned to pick my wheel while I'm floating in the wind like a hawk. She beat me in the Scratch! I need to buy her a beer. If I win just one more week in Women's Cat 4, though-- then I'll be upgraded and it's on to Cat 4 Men and Friday Nights with the 1/2/3 Women!
I hope to be competitive with the men and just be able to HANG with the women. AND, it'll be TWO nights of track racing a week! SWEET!!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Last Wednesday, for the first time (ever?!), enough Category 4 women racers showed up to actually require TWO separate groups! An 'A' group and a 'B' group (evenly split, neither faster than the other). AWESOME!
Side note: racing "categories" are to group people by their ability and experience. All (female) racers must start in Category 4 (men have a Category 5) and work their way up. So while I may quickly upgrade to Category 3, there aren't enough Category 3 women out there to be a group of their own-- so they (we) often get lumped into Women 1/2/3. This happens in just about every cycling discipline-- road, cyclocross, etc. So instead of relying on your category to maintain a level playing field, one just has to pick a race that tends to attract more 3's or 2's or 1's. If I wanted to place well, I could race the 1/2/3's at the Elkhorn Stage Race, if I just wanted to turn my poop runny while dogging at the back of the pack-- I could race the 1/2/3's at Cascade Classic.
Unfortunately, sometimes these options are not available and the chasm between 4's and 1/2/3's is just plain difficult to cross. It's a rough bridge to the other side-- a lot of people fall off it and it's lonely to hang out on it.
Once I upgrade to a 3 on the track, I will be eligible to race on Friday night with the 1/2/3 women-- where there is a high concentration of 2's. My racing experience will go from demolishing the 4's with breath to spare to just-hangin' with the 1/2/3's. I'll be able to ride with the group and be active, but the chances of me actually winning a race will go from virtually guaranteed to slim. However, women can also race "down 1" category with the men. So to bridge the gap, I will also be racing with the Category 4 men on Wednesday nights.
It was my first Wednesday night with the 4 ladies.
The first event of the evening was a 'Win and Out'-- and I thought about this particular race allll day at work! The way a Win and Out works, is that every bell lap, the sprint is to place. So the first bell, the winner of the sprint takes first place and the winner peels off the track while everyone else keeps rolling. Second bell, the winner of the sprint takes second place, they peel off, and so on. So if you want to win, you've got to put it ALL on the line! And what happens if you use all your gas to win, only to fall into second place? Whoa-hoh! Better hope the pack doesn't tear you apart before you're ready to gun again. For all your effort, you could slide into 5th because you gambled on 1st.
So I got some advice from an "old pro" at the shop and I visualized it, visualized it, visualized it.. because I knew I had just ONE lap to work with and win! No time to settle in. Then I found out that the bell laps were every other lap, not every lap! D'OH! There was going to be a whole EXTRA lap before the bell lap?! Secret plans spoiled! But off we went and I spent the first lap and a half wondering why people weren't doing what I wanted them to (I know, right?), until in the second to last corner I swore under my breath-- I was too caught up in having a 'plan' that I failed to really respond to what was going on around me, and there I was, several bike lengths away from the charge, approaching the last corner. Lucky for me, my strength saved me-- and I VVVVVVRRRrooom.. accelerated to first with a grunt. Then I got off the track. SWEET! ..I like that race. Can we do it again?
The second race was a Tempo. Every lap 2 points are awarded to 1st and 1 point to second. Whoa, scrambled eggs! Starbucks went whipping off the front from the whistle, while I picked daisies at the back. Whoops! She kept her gap and gobbled up the first 2 points. She was quickly caught, but the group mushroomed into conflicted agendas-- some wanted rest and some wanted action and it was crazy pants on the velodrome. If I were in a faster race, my poor positioning could have cost me the race-- I was just too far from the front-- but I took the fast lane and rode past the entire group, smashing into point after point, earning enough to win the race. WOO HOO!
And the last race, well-- watch the video! I sat on the front the whole time, which is a poor, poor tactic. But I didn't do it to be smart, I did it because I could. I didn't need the rest, I could patrol the attacks and avoid getting boxed in. There was, however, one point where I nearly screamed, "COME ON! ATTACK ME NOW!!" I made myself pretty vulnerable.
One more week with the 4 ladies methinks, and they'll move me up.
Watch out, boys.