Friday, July 23, 2010

Love at first ride

Last year before the TLE party, I went watch my first crit race. the Westlake Training Series Race.  It looked fun and ever since I have wanted to try it.  Yet there are some crashes and I was a little intimidated to give it my first go.  I fancy my bike handling skills to be pretty decent between all my road riding, Rays MTB and a lot of mountain biking but the cornering, pack racing, accelerations and breaks were a little new so I was not sure exactly what to expect.

I was very happy fellow TLE teamie, Gwen took me under her wing to ride the warm-up of 2  loops with me going over the course and giving me some tips.  The course is a completely flat 2 mile loop, located primarily in a suburban office park.  The B race for this week was set to be 17 loops or 34 miles.  I was super excited but a little nervous.  It was a neutral start meaning we all rode 1 loop easy and when we crossed the start, it was on.  I sat back in the middle for the first 1/3 of the race, watching lines, watching cornering and trying to get it all figured out.  OMIGOSH was this fun.  There is such an art to this race and making sure you are where you need to be when the breaks happen and watching lines as not to get boxed out.  I learned about protecting my front wheel.

There were cards flipped on various laps for points, cash, or merchandise primes.  However pretty much I was just trying to sort it all out...moving over when the A group flew by, trying to be cognizant of picking up the race ettiquete, not wanting to tick anyone off and so on!  I went out hard a couple times and was not having any issues sticking with the main group...heck I was really just enjoying it.  For an hour and a half, I was not stressed about anything and was just enjoying the moment.  The laps were just flying by.  One time I did lean into a corner hard and I caught a whole lot of a black tar snake which sent my rear end sliding a bit so I did make a mental note to be more careful there but other than that, I was feeling quite comfortable.  There are tons of fast acceleration intervals but there are tons of opportunities where the pace slows and I thought it was not too hard to stay well within my comfort zone.  I was one of four ladies in the race and 3 of us were all on the same team so that was comforting.  As we rounded the final corner, I pedaled out and sprinted towards the finish.  OH SUCH FUN STUFF!  Then we rode one final cool down lap.  I hit stop on the Garmin after my cool down lap which we rode easy and was shocked to see an average speed of 24.0 for the 36 miles!  Guess the draft helps!!!

I can not get this race out of my head as this way so up my alley.  I think it plays into my sense of adventure personality.  Now I am pondering my normal weekly riding schedule...usually Tuesdays are my 33 mile hilly ride with the touring club but  I think I need to do this again next week....and maybe every other week or something!  LOVED IT and think I may have to try out some more bike racing!  Plus it would be nice to support the other TLE teammates!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Time to brag!  I am very proud to say that I am a member of the Cleveland Triathlon Club.  It is composed of 250 members or so, is a pretty active club which knows how to have some fun and is made up of some of my very favorite people!

This year the club has been working very hard to bring a lot more to our members-  many more sponsor discounts, a widely successful swim challenge / clinic in February, an awesome triathlon training camp down at Mohican, TT races galore, picnics, more training opportunities and this past Saturday, a CTC-REV3 Preview Day which was a GIGANTIC HIT!  PEOPLE ARE EXCITED ABOUT REV3 coming to am I!

In my humble opinion (as someone who is totally biased here), this was such a FANTASTIC training day.  120 athletes or so in total showed up on the gorgeous day in sunny warm Ohio!

I drove the 1.5 hours to Sandusky with the hubby on Friday and went straight to meet RD, Eric for dinner/drinks with some other folks that were in town early.  It was awesome to get the low key skinny on things and chat with Eric on the patio of Mulligans Pub at Sawmill Creek.  Speaking of Sawmill Creek, they went so over the top with helping us out, bring out water and ice, ferrying people on golf carts, opening restaurants early, letting us use their facilities & showers and just being the nicest people to work with and their grounds were gorgeous!  If you need a place to stay that weekend, consider supporting Sawmill!

Saturday morning came and the 5 of us in our hotel room were up early to start the day.  There was Sailfish wetsuits to demo, Leah Nyikes with Liquid Lifestyles on the gorgeous beach leading an open water swim clinic....and LEAH ROCKS BTW!   I demoed a high end Sailfish wetsuit.  I am not sure if it was the calm water or the wetsuit or what but that morning, swimming just seemed so effortless.  WEIRD FOR ME!

Then we got to hear more from E Opdyke (REV3 CP RD) about the course and we rode the course.  We were fortunate to have Bike Authority assisting with bike maintenance before heading out and Spin and Idutri helping with SAG and a bike course aid station.  We had a nice tailwind on the way out and the roads were marked and in great shape.  We FLEW with the tail wind on the way out as I rode with the A group.  The course was pretty flat but there were a fair amount of rolllers especially on the way back when we hit a strong headwind.  I am just planning on a headwind for the the 2nd half of the bike loops now because I think it is better to mentally prepare myself for what might be tough and faced on raceday.  Hopefully if the wind gets us on the way back, it will even it out on the way out!

Upon my 59 mile bike return, I grabbed some liquid and changed my shoes to get in some running!  Wow it was hot!  JP, TR and I clipped a quick pace along the path on Sawmill property while I baked in the warm sun.  Upon our return I rushed into Sawmill to grab a quick shower before the clinics started.

First up was Michael Folan from Infinit who really gave everyone some good insight with regard to calorie replacement, water and salt intake.  It sounded like my approach using First Endurance products was very much in line with topics he spoke of which made me feel better about what I was doing! Then one of the respected area coaches, Angela Forester, had a discussion of long course strategy and tips.  I really believe everyone walked away from those clinics knowing more and both speakers gave me a lot to think about!  SO VALUABLE!  Thanks to both of of them!

Last up was the post preview day food and drinks and giveaway at Black Bear Saloon on Sawmill's property.  Beer and a cheeseburger never tasted so good!  There were lots of nice giveaways and it was just good times to chat with other participants about the day and the course.  I know this race will be a hit and people are excited!!!  Next up is the official REV 3 preview day on know where I will be!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oh why must I stress myself out so bad???

So far summer has been crazy busy-work, training, travel and plenty of other things. I just got back from an action packed weekend in AL with lots of training and fun in the sun!

I try to keep things light on here for the most part and only reflect mainly on fun and training but I have been working pretty hard to stay on top of it all.  There does seem to be a situation developing which could be a little stressful but I suppose life is never simple.  Stress can do funny things it seems.  Sometimes I am so stressed I have trouble sleeping which sort of stinks because being tired and stressed is even worse!  Sometimes this leads to a funk where I don't feel like training and can't seem to get going.  Then sometimes I force myself to go and just do not feel it at all and have pathetic workouts.  Then there are times you are soooo stressed that you just go run and go so hard that it just feels with every pounding of the pavement, you are working it out.  Yesterday was one of those runs...simply flying and trying to blow off my stress!

So for now I am not sure how the situation will develop.  I just know I will put my best foot forward and try to handle it with grace (unlike my cat tripping, heel ripping open step out my bedroom door today).  Thank goodness I have my family, friends and laid back hubby to lean on and my health!  Who know, sometimes you find out you stress for no reason at all!  And then sometimes stress can lead you to do things that are good for you in the end!  Fingers crossed everything works out!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Biking & Beers with my Buds!

That pretty much sums up the long fourth of July holiday!  Tons of fun but definitely tiring!

Friday, I had lucked out and worked from home so I actually got in about half my workout with my sister.  We ran 6.3 miles together before she took my car home and I picked up the pace to finish out my 12 miles.  It was a bit of a sizzler but I did not mind as I knew the pool awaited!

Saturday was another early day (after a later night over a friends with a few cold ones) and I made the trek over to the west side of town.  I had a 70/3 brick on tap and opted to drive a bit for some company.  It was a nice change with the exception of a whole lot of rude car drivers that just cannot deal with cyclists on the parkway when they see a paved path on the side of the road.  I had got out there a bit early to tack on a few extra miles before heading out with the main group.  The group had got split up a bit and it ended up being just my teammate, CV and I for much of the ride.  I really enjoyed catching up with her and seeing that she is getting back from her hamstring issues.  Those 71 miles went by pretty easy....amazing what a difference a lack of many hills makes as I am used to much hillier east side rides!  As I returned to the car, I switched out the shoes and headed out for the run.  I picked up the pace a bit more because I was in a hurry to get done and not so much that I was trying.  Then it was off to the bike shop and two parties with more brews and some cornhole!

Come Sunday, the Saturday parties made prying myself out of bed difficult but I finally got up just after 7 and managed to get the house picked up and some laundry going.  Is that what normal people do I suppose???  By 10:30 it was time to get rolling on the bicycle for my focus bike which I usually try to do on the trainer per coach but I wanted to ride over to my sister's so we would only have one car there later so I made the exception.  I was trying to settle into the specified heart rate zones but my legs just felt a bit drained and I knew Monday's big workout was looming so to be honest, I was just not hitting where I should have been.  One would have thought in that heat and it that wind, it would not have been so hard to get the HR up there but I decided I would just roll with what was comfy.  Made it to my sister's place 22 miles later and relaxed poolside and enjoyed the part-tay!

Another late night and another early morning alarm on Monday and I was off to meet up with the Gorris/Slov Gang.  This group included some BAFF teamies and my coach with 6 of us in total.  We shoved off just after 7 am for 79 mile bike with some hills early and towards the end leaving out of Brecksville and heading out to Grafton.  Oh I was worried when we started...lots of strong guys and the air was already so thick that I could feel the tightness in my lungs and was regretting that I had not brought an inhaler as a precaution.  However all went well and I really enjoyed checking out some new scenery and was fortunate to have a nice strong group of riders to take turns pulling.  I was feeling pretty good still as we hit the hills towards the end but then it was time for the run.  Did I mention it was hot???? With a quick shoe change we were all off on our 3 mile run.  The plan was 2 miles hard, one mile easy.  Mile one was ALL uphill and I was trying to keep up with KS and complaining out loud about the hill and the heat 7:09.  Kept on maintaining a nice effort at the 1.5 turnaround and was trying to hang on and finally hit mile 2 at 6:59....those hurt!  Walked for a short bit and started my trot back down to the start.  I think ES's neighbors must have thought we were all nuts, running so hard in that heat as I saw them watching!  It was nice to have so many fast runners in the group to push me to work hard on the run because trust me, I did not even really want to run at all really and joked I would just stay back drinking some iced fluids and time them all!  The rest of the day included another trip to Bike Authority and the pool and some more cold brews!

What a totally fabulous weekend!  Great mix of fun in the sun with family and friends and lots of good quality training.  Today I sit here so sad that the long fun weekend is over but I think my saddle area is in bad need of  a little break!  Oh and what even made the weekend even better was the start of the Tour (yes, I had to up my cable package Saturday to get Versus) that I caught a couple minutes of the last few nights before I fell asleep!  BEST TV OF THE YEAR!  Wooot!