Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I've decided to sign up for the BU Masters LMSC Championship meet coming up December 14th. I did the 800 free last year so I thought it would be fun to do it again. BU has a nice facility and the 800 free is exclusively a Friday night event so I don't have to get wrapped up in all the other short course events on Saturday or Sunday. Last year I won my age group for the 800 free.How I managed that is still a wonder.

Unfortunately, I'm far from being in stellar swim shape at the moment and this week I set a record by attending Masters 3 days in a row AND stayed for the entire workout instead of slithering out of the pool in the middle of the main set when Coach Paine wasn't looking. Whoo Hoo! Today, I nabbed an empty lane and Bill had me do an 800 broken up into 100's with a 5 second rest to see where my base time was. 1:20 it appears.

Then I had to do a 400 with no rest, just watching the clock at every 100 trying to go under a 1:20 pace. Ouch.
I was all over the place. 1:10 1:25 1:20 1:17. I started riggin' (as in rigor mortis) by the last 100.

At least the pain from doing cyclocross has taken the edge off the discomfort of swimming hard.

It seems that the MIT Masters Committee can swim but just can't get it together for a simple logo design for a cap and swimsuit for those of us participating in meets this winter, so I took it upon myself to visit and order up a suit for the meet. Burn baby burn....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Palmer Cross

This week we went with the pink star( as opposed to polka dot) knee socks with matching pink bandanna, yet another reminder to myself that I'm here to have fun and if you can't be fast, you can at least look fashionably coordinated, right? I'm happy to report Palmer now reigns as my favorite course overtaking last weeks' Lowell race. Lowell's on my Sh*t list anyway for screwing up the race results.

Palmer was a last minute ditch effort to make up for missing Sterling. It was so hard to get up and drive back in the direction we had just come from visiting family in NY but we packed up the truck and off we went.

No expectations for myself knowing that I would be racing in the women's "open" at 12:15 for 45 (ouch!) minutes.
I was pleasantly surprised. The wait from getting there at 8am so Paul could race at 9 went by fast. I watched quite a bit of racing, got in a good warm up and the best part that I took notice of were the lines on the course. They were already picked for me! It was a no brainer in the trails or on the open fields to which line I should take having 3 races already over with by the time the women were up. The course was a mix of wooded single track type trails with 3(ugh)run ups and 2 sets of barriers. I wore my heart rate monitor again and noticed I could get my heart rate to 189 at times especially on the last long steep run up where everyone loved to hang out and watch us suffer.. loop after loop...

I mentally prepared myself for getting lapped after looking at the starting line and I did. The first 3 women caught me on the back side of the course near the finish. I reeled in 3 women myself and stuck to the wheel of one woman for one loop and passed her out in open field area. I could tell at every run up it was wearing her down more so then me and I decided I'd lead for a while and thought she would stick to me but she didn't.

Overall I felt way more comfortable with my bike and skills this weekend than I ever have. I was not tentative on any part of the course and I finally felt a sense of confidence instead of worrying about what was coming up next. I am so much better now and it's paying off even if marginally. The other women I see week after week are getting better and stronger too, so it's hard to bridge that gap.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lower Hanging Fruit Got Shafted

Bizarre results from Lowell but I snagged a good photo from the day! :-)

Looking at the results from Sunday's race,I don't understand the process of how they decided to post them.

No times were posted for the women Cat 4 race and they didn't post the entire Cat 4 women's field placings. Frankly, I would have been happy to be left OFF the list then to be posted as last. I have nothing to compare last year with.

The men's Cat 4 race was a huge field, certainly more than the 26 they posted.

Why wouldn't they just post the top ten with times in each category, explain this at the top of the results and call it a day? My personal opinion is everyone paid the fee to race and should get results.

I guess I'm spoiled with the wearing of a small disk attached to a neoprene ankle wrap that gives me a plethora of information from triathlons

The fee's would increase but maybe not a bad idea for cyclocross especially if the fields keep growing. Ends the confusion of trying to manually and visually record data.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Oxi Clean

A must have if you ever want to wear your kit after a day like yesterday in Lowell. I must admit, I was forewarned. "Lowell- as far as i understand, don't bring the nicest kit (or bring an old one and check out the course before). there's some tacky mud on the track they are sending you around that hardly comes out.." Tacky mud? It was liquid/granular asphalt! My skin suit is still soaking in a bucket.

This had to be my favorite course this year! I just loved it. It was technical but not overwhelming. Lots of turns some nice flats to motor on and a long (I'll call) run up but I heard and witnessed after, most of the men had no problem riding.

I had a solid warm up and felt pretty good. I vowed to have FUN today and not be so concerned with who was around me or the lack of. I wore my black and pink polka dot knee socks over my tights that matched my helmet and bar tape just perfect-o! They were a reminder to me that this is supposed to be fun. I got lots of comments about them during my race.
The men's 4 race started just before us and it was a HUGE group. We chicks were up next. I was clipped in on my right pedal with my foot at 12 o'clock ready to roll. I had stopped chatting with my new friend Sally so I could pay attention and get a good start.
Awe geeze.. I blew it! What a dope.
I slipped off my left pedal trying to clip in so I was fumbling with that but hammered right back and was smack in the middle it seemed. Then I could see up ahead at the very first minor up hill with a tight right turn that went down, what I've come to dread and why you are told to get out hard and fast so you can avoid this. The pile up. There I was walking my bike up and around with 6-7 others of us with this poor girl sandwiched in between a tree, her bike and all of us trying to scramble around her!

What I've come to learn:

You can listen until you eyes glaze over to someone spouting off tips to you and what to try to accomplish at the start and what to avoid but until you have actually experienced it, it's really the only way to figure it out.
Needless to say, the first girls that avoided that pile up got a good lead. Smart ladies.. (and lucky)

The rest of the race was pretty standard in the Trigirlpink book. I did manage to reel in 2 women and rode as HARD as I could. I wore my heart rate monitor for the first time so I could get a sense of how hard I was working and maybe to prove just a teeny tiny bit that I'm not a complete slacker out there to my coach and although I do not have this in file form to download as proof, I averaged 172 on the low side and up to 179- 182 for most of the race it seemed. It was a fun course and after loop two, you could find a good sense of where you could recover and where you could try and make up some time if only in your head!
Next up, Palmer after my bike gets both wobbling wheels trued this week and my bars get some fresh new pink tape.
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back Sliding

Plymouth Cross was this weekend. This was race #7 for me in this wonderful wacky world of cyclocross. I should be getting my groove on, stickin' to a wheel or two, zipping over those barriers, ya think??(Insert laughter) This time I was determined to stick with some of these chicks no matter what. This was a CAT 4 only women's race so I couldn't fall back on my safe excuse that all the women are much more seasoned and have loads of mountain biking skills.
It was frigid and super windy. Instantly, I found another excuse AND to add insult, someone inadvertently attached a cement mixer to the back of my seat post. Ugh… I knew something wasn't right on my first warm up loop. 15 minutes before the start, I pulled out of my warm up to jump in the truck blast some heat on my cold hands, and eat a bag of Cliff Bloks with caffeine washed down with 1/2 bottle of water to try and clear out the cobwebs after a laborious warm up.
During my warm up, I mentioned to Paul that I thought the course was a bit too tame. Lots of open grassy sections and only one technical part that was well, way too technical for my liking. This included multiple tight turns going down a trail that was rocky and had exposed roots and sand and was narrow. The perfect recipe for me to chicken out and want to walk my bike down. Want and did are two different things. During warm up on the first loop, I went down dropping my chain to boot after picking a poor line to get around a big exposed tree root smack in the middle of the narrow trail that had a sharp left downhill turn. "HTFU", I told myself. Some nice dude caught the whole experience and kindly threw some advice out while skillfully maneuvering around it.
"Better to stay to the left" he said. I was too miffed to thank him trying to gather my trail-side yard sale and mumbling under my breath about ripping yet another pair of tights. Good advice and I took heed to it for the remainder of the warm up and race. The race itself was uneventful. Start was open with no hole shot to try and scramble to. Usually I'm last being polite and letting all the other chicks go through a narrow start or tight start if there is one. Like every race, slowly the women in front of me got further and further away. I managed to stick with one woman who I knew but I observed 2 things that are becoming a pattern that I need to try and work on. #1. Any screw up on a turn or bobble on a barrier dismount or mount and bingo the person I was trying to stay with would gain 3-4 bike lengths. #2. If I let any Jr. riders get in front of me especially in a wooded section, I would be content and settle in behind instead of trying to go around and stay with the woman I was trying to stick with then, I would realize (too late) that joe jr. was petering out and I'd go around and poof, there would be no one in sight anymore in front of me. I had no one to work off of for 2 laps but didn't give up. My quads were BURNING but I felt like I was going nowhere in the wind and grass. Oh well it was a no energy day for sure. Just didn't feel good. Maybe I shouldn't have done a hard trainer ride on Thursday followed by a skills ride at Delany on Friday with a race on Saturday....
I'm sooo bummed that Sterling is Thanksgiving weekend. No way can get out of coming back early from a trip to NY with the inlaws for a Saturday race. Any and all excuses to somehow manage this and still save face for attempting it are welcome.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Official First One

This is my very first post! I've been playing around with the features,templates and such getting used to this blogger format. I'm not sure I'll be posting that much. First of all, I'm not a very articulate writer and I'm not sure many will be interested in what I'm actually posting for that matter.

Cross season is in full schwing! I've got 5 races under my ever expanding waistline. SuckerBrook, Bedford, Amesbury, Gloucester, and Canton. They've all been fun and each and every race I learn something new in this nutty sport. It's quite addictive and after every race, I'm looking to see when I can do another one to add to my connect-the-dots bruise fest my legs seem to be in. No one forewarned me of this continual format. I've met some really nice people this season being my second.

Last night Paul and I did our own Blairwitch Halloween ride in the trails in West Concord, MA. It was the first time I rode with a bike light in the dark. It was fun! I only crashed once on a stair run up. At least my knees are evenly bruised on both sides now so I'm balanced in the bruise department.

I'm trying to think of a good adjective to describe myself as a competitive age grouper in triathlon and a back of the pack, official course sweeper, scaredy cat cross racer.