Friday, October 28, 2011

2 by 20

Wanna see what I've been doing to burn off my pre Halloween candy??  Here's classic threshold workout I've done once a week for a total of 4 weeks so far. It's a pretty standard workout for cyclocross. It simulates riding at threshold (hell) so when
race day comes, your mind and hopefully your body will snap to attention and say..
"Yeah, I can do this"
 *2x20 minutes*
The idea is to go as hard as you possibly can but not so hard that you are coming undone and unable to maintain the SAME effort/wattage
for the second 20 minute interval.
I am not kidding when I say I dread this 
trainer ride when it's on the docket. It floats over my head all
day like a green smoggy cloud of impending doom but when it's over it's very
self satisfying.
Kudos to  Cat 1 rider,Matt Hill who generously gives his time in updating a  blog daily with solid workouts, training advice along with guidance on nailing skills and technique all for FREE. Perhaps  next year I will
breakdown and pay him out of guilt not withholding my fantasy he could quite possibly make me a cyclocross Diva.
 He is very bright and knows his stuff for sure.

Ok, so not to bore you into a coma, Here is the first time I did the workout. I rode a tad 
conservatively so I wouldn't completely drive myself over a cliff and I didn't really know what I was capable of.
Oct 4th 2011

Oct 26, 2011
And here is this week's session. It was a dozy.  The more
you do this workout, the more you push harder because A: you
are fitter and B: you certainly don't want to backslide or go into reverse over that cliff.

Happy Halloween /Candy Consumption Weekend  Feel free to send all your Mounds candy bars because
sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yes You Can!!!

Is there no better feeling of mastering a task that you've been struggling with then FINALLY being rewarded after countless hours of dedicated practice getting it?
 I GOT *IT*  yesterday and I have a video just for you to laugh witness my seemingly unreachable goal.

  Remounting a bike while moving seems simple, no? Just swing your leg over and off you go. What is the BIG DEAL?? Well, I'm a good example of how difficult learning this skill can really be for some.  This is my fourth year doing the sport of cyclocross and I finally made the commitment this year that I was going to GET this skill  DOWN if it killed me. I am growing weary of being the kid in the playground too scared to go down the slide and left over at the sandpit feeling left out. Typically, I 'm left at the barriers or the top of a steep run up standing in a complete shut down of forward momentum while trying to re-clip into my pedals as the field of girls gets further and further from me.  Like learning to drive a standard,  or getting that pace clock down for swimming, I am almost there. Victory is near, I can smell the barn door but it didn't come without endless repeats riding around a field in a obsessive compulsive haze not clearly understanding my complete inability of hopping on a saddle just inches from where I stood and why it was so damn hard. It doesn't make sense and heck, I don't even have appendages exposed in my crotch area to SMASH on a saddle.  I will admit I still need much refinement to make this a habit. Until then, I will SAVOR this little victory of a skill I thought I'd NEVER GET. Varooom....It's the best Monday ever! Get out and whip a$$ your own
nagging hurdle! 

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Providence Cyclocross Festival Oct 8-9

 As the cyclocross world turns,I was off to Providence Rhode Island  for another 2 days of UCI caliber cyclocross racing last weekend.  If I wasn't turning the pedals, I was snapping some pictures.
 I raced both days in the women's 3/4 race which was unusual for me in that I have never raced back to back. If you play your cards right in your recovery, (go straight to the beer tent and chow down some pizza) and you are fairly fit, you can race just as well if not better the second day. Another bit of drama I got to experience was  my very first mechanical issue(s) in the 4 years I've participated in this sport. Pretty darn good odds I'd say, so I was DUE. But 2 days in a row????
  I snapped a spoke on Saturday just riding along and then on Sunday I skidded on some gravel  and bent the hanger on my derailleur falling on the right side of my bike and smacking down  pretty hard but not enough to kept me from pedaling on allbeit a crippled bike.   I am now "one of them" the countless racers I see either carrying their bike or wheeling it through the course to get to the pit area, what I like to call *bike triage* Get the massive blood flow to stop, do some quick surgery, and back out you go.
On Saturday's spoke surprise, I stopped quickly to "get the stick out" and realized, sticks aren't metal and within seconds, I had a spoke in my hand while left standing, jaw hung open wondering what I should do. I quickly wedged it in between my teeth ( exclusively for sympathy purposes) and pedaled gingerly over to the pit to exchange the wheel.  I contemplated dropping out feeling as though at that point, all the other women were so far ahead convinced I would either get lapped or pulled by the officials.  The Shimano mechanic suggested I get right back out there after slapping on a spare in seconds,so I did just that. It was a good workout,I didn't get lapped and I had 1.5 laps remaining and I'm even happier I didn't DNF. The course was fun but tricky and just another opportunity to sharpen my less than desirable skills and get in a good workout.  64 out of  78.

Day two brought a different course layout and after a solid 3 lap warm up, my legs felt snappy, (thank you Harpoon beer tent!)and not at all trashed from Saturday. The course suited me better with less hilly twisty sections and I was looking forward to a mechanical free day and a better placing. During the last lap when things start to come undone, and my not-so-pretty-skills look even scarier, I went down on some loose gravel I hadn't thought twice about the 12-14 times I had gone over it the day before or Sunday yet there I was, feet up, bike DOWN.  Call me Grace. Unbeknownst to me, I had bent the hanger on my rear derailleur. Fun! Think single speed for the remainder of the race.  If I shifted,  my bike said, "screw you"  and (bonus) the chain would fall off. Super Fun!!  3 times I stopped to put my chain back on and had to run my bike up any hills (ok, even mini inclines)  I couldn't manage in the gear I was left with. Doh!  62 out of 72.  Another race, more experience, calories I'd otherwise not be burning so I can have my well earned margarita on ice with that yummy salty rim.    Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Great BrewersGran Prix of Gloucester Cyclocross

Below are just a few of my favorite shots I captured at last week's 2 Day event in Gloucester MA. I spectated, volunteered and photographed on Saturday while jumping into Sunday's women's 3/4  to race.

 If you know anything about cyclocross and staging (how you start the race) my prize for signing up *day of* got me lined up in the very last row of 99 Cat 3/4 women with the ankle biting cub juniors right behind me. I am used to bringing up the rear in this particular sport, but managed to move myself up to 67 position by the bell lap and hung on for dear life. I'll take it. The shear fact of having other women to ride with and not tooling around the course like a time trial solo effort is huge and rather new for me.
Which brings me to another new observation:
How high I can actually get my heart rate when the heat is on. Specifically cyclocross  searing heat.  I am so preoccupied/focused in getting myself around the course without bashing into someone or tripping over a barrier while trying to maintain a steady effort but not without skills that would make you FLINCH  and in no way shape or form am I  paying attention to heart rates during the race. I had no idea I could maintain or crest into a heart rate zone (as seen below) that  I actually do until I strapped on my Garmin for the first time this year to record some data.  Now put me on my Computrainer for an indoor focused effort, interval workout and there is no way in fiery hell, I can get myself to suffer in that manner. Not even CLOSE.  By maintaining a fixed wattage of 200 for 3 minutes and not letting my cadence drop below 92,  my heart rate never goes ANY HIGHER than 173-174 max  yet  I am BLEEDING from my eyeballs and suffering with a capital *S*.  Go figure.

Garmin data, day two Gloucester Gran Prix

This weekend rounded out another 2 day event at The Providence Cyclocross Festival. Stay tuned for
more high heart rates, a broken spoke on day one, a bent hanger from crashing in gravel on day two and more favorite captured moments. 
Thanks for stopping by!