Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Reflection

  Cyclocross season 2013 is coming to a close and I find myself a bit pensive that it's winding down but balanced with relief I raced drama free and didn't allow my ACL reconstruction to play but a very minor role. As the season progressed, I  focused less and less on  my knee and after 3 races, I was able to shed a brace that I swore I would never be able
to give up.
I am nine races in and 2 more will close the books for me this year.  It was a really fun season even with a rocky start. I surprised myself a few times accomplishing mini things I just didn't think I could do and each and every race I gained if only a smidgen of confidence in my riding ability along with some good fitness that I haven't had in what feels a very long time.

One thing I lacked this season was a set of goals which I think might have helped me a bit more see clearly  the small victories I've  accomplished instead of focusing on being where I wished I could have been.  I thrive on challenges and cyclocross puts me right smack in the center of the ring. I am tenacious and strong-willed and I will  work for something  until I get it sufficiently right or at least until  I'm satisfied (which is almost never. Ha!)  I think I've lost my drive for triathlon for this very reason.  I lack the pre-race anxiety I used to get and the self induced pressure I buried myself with. I worked hard and I was rewarded but after awhile the challenge along with the desire have faded slowly away.

But not with cyclocross.  Oh no. I show up every race with I'm pretty certain, a face contorted like I'm next up at the town square flogging.
 The line up is the best for stress inducing anxiety!  I've peed six times before any given race  but put me at the start of a cross race and instantly I gotta go. With triathlon, I just conveniently  peed in my wet suit every 15 seconds. The best is  the  30 second warning at the start line " the whistle can come at any time ladies"   I swear one of these
times I'm going to bust an artery and it will be on a day I wear my white skin suit, right?  My reward differs completely compared
to triathlon too.  In cyclocross I'm ecstatic at the finish because I made it through without  leaving  a critical body part out on the course where as in triathlon, an age group win was what I was always after with razor sharp focus.

Two different sports.

Two different results.

  The same  desire and drive to do my very best.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Belgian Beer, Mud, Mo Bruno Roy and October Refection

Trigirlpink's OCTOBER  STATS:

       *  31 days did not pass without consumption of a Tootsie Roll or Snickers mini. I was on a streak and damn it, I wasn't gonna break it.  Props to the candy companies and their sneaky marketing ploys and mind control techniques that forced me into this downward spiral of sugar hell.(as I unwrap another Tootsie roll
 neded to clear my mind to update this blog  )

 *  My body, cyclocross bike and mind have remained intact. 
 *  I have 7 CX races in my pocket thus far with only minor bruising and much less spontaneous outbursts using the *F* word when a jr. cuts me off.

 * My results at are holding an awesome solid steady bottom 50% score. There is something to be said about consistency, right???

 * I booked a December flight to Belgium. 

WHAT???  REALLY??  Sound impulsive?

Well it is. Sort of.

 The primary purpose: Cyclocross. I am going as a rabid spectator/ US NECX one man cheering Squadron ( and hopefully photo taker) to the bpost GP Rouwmoer in Essen on Saturday the 21st and then I will make the trek to Namur the next day for a UCI World Cup race with my Belgian friend/race photographer, Kris Claeye. This will be me taking it all in with my Belgian guide.

So far I'm certain of one American Pro who will be there racing, Maureen Bruno Roy.  Mo certainly influenced my decision for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I have known Mo since 2008. She is my massage therapist and I have always been intrigued with her stellar skills as a top US professional cyclocross racer. Mo has the exterior best described as petite, feminine, soft spoken yet with a polar opposite interior when it comes to the sport of cyclocross. Toss the most technical, muddy course ( her forte) at her and she is a force in her own right. 

Needless to say,  I'm very excited to watch her race within a european circuit on Belgium turf  where cyclocross was born and support her with the very best  NECX love I can muster up.

Expect awesomely rad photos of me drinking Belgian beer and sampling cones of crispy frites while simultaneously yelling  "GO HAAADA!!"  to Mo as she finesses her way down a cliff of greasy mud on two pink FMB SSC pro pink tires.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Torrid Affair With The Sport Of Cyclocross

You wanna know what day it is and it's relative importance?  I'll tell you. Last year at this exact time, I was only 3 days shy of ACL reconstruction. I can't tell you how excited I was to have surgery.  It's a significant time of year now and I'm happy with how it all turned out in the end.  For one, I worked incredibly hard last fall trying to maintain a positive attitude through the process of getting back on my feet which in fact  hadn't even really begun forced  to wait  8 weeks after my mishap before the surgery would be performed.  Consequently, having to wait for the surgery made it all that more challenging to deal with.

I did the opposite of what I really wanted to do during this sucky time. I wanted to shut myself off completely from any and all things related to cyclocross.  But  Instead, I made  myself  go to many of the cyclocross races photographing and supporting my teammates and friends.

Fast forward to Fall 2013.  Here I am all healed and able to ride and very grateful yet  I find myself, timid and tense and any skills or confidence I had (minimal at best) have gone missing.  I keep looking for them but I'm coming up empty and even frustrated.  Right now, I can't even remount my bike properly after spending which felt like years trying to master it.
My other unfortunate confession is I found myself yesterday DREADING to race on the course at the Providence Cyclocross Festival.
"Dreading" and "can't" are two words that shouldn't be part of this.

I slipped back into triathlon seamlessly and even though I seriously  lack the skill , power and speed of the sport of cyclocross, I had hoped I would just jump right back in and pick up where I left off.

Yesterday was a good example of how it's panning out:

I made the trek down to Providence  not really sure I was making the right decision.  I didn't know how my legs were going to respond after  running an 8.5 trail race in Harold Parker State Forest on Saturday. The trail race was challenging at best with plenty of hills and single track to maneuver  through and in 20-20, entering a trail race without any trail running behind me was just dumb.  My heart rate was pegged at 183 for 1 hour and 27 minutes. I ran as if I was doing a 5k with no logical explanation except that I'm way too competitive and if I'm not burying myself (prepared or not) then It must mean that I'm turning into a slacker and  being a slacker just isn't in my genetic make up.

 Back to Sunday:
After arriving and getting checked in, my mission was to get 2 loops of the course in before the start of the men's race at 9. Then one more lap right before the women's 3/4 at 10. The more I can ride a given course the better.

Problem # 1: I only got in one lap

 The course was incredibly crowded for the warm up. This combined with the slick conditions and  technical sections that felt way over my head got me wanting to pedal right back to my car and go home. How the heck was I going to handle some of this stuff if I've never ridden on it before?  Clearly I was letting a little mud, some twisty stuff, wooden stairs, off camber slick sections and the fear of falling overtake me.

I made an emergency text to be coaxed off the ledge from a friend who's been doing cyclocross for 20+ years. "Stand your ground  you can do this. Make sure your tire pressure is low. pedal your bike over the off camber sections with your bike upright and your body slightly leaning into the side
 Don't you do triathlons with tons of people around you?"

Different skill set dude.... Case closed.

I approached my  teammate Michele with ( I'm pretty sure)  the look of panic on my face asking how she thought I could approach the off camber sections that I wouldn't even consider walking on let alone think I could ride on.

"Look past it. Look to where you want to go. Remember what Marla Streb told us this summer. You'll be fine"

The good news is, I  made the best of the advice given and today I'm happy to say I'm at  work  unscathed, teeth intact and relatively content with the result.

Here's what I accomplished:(looking for the positives here!)

1.  I stayed upright the entire race but not without narrowly mixing in with at least 3 crashes right in front of me.

2.  I rode the off camber sections tentatively but successfully. Concurrently this technique only let the other
women pull further away from me. They were tough. I was not.

3.  I didn't swear at the ankle biting juniors who tend to ride up to you within inches of your front wheel and or handlebars without even flinching fall get up, and do it again at the next tricky section..  (Not good for the 50 year old psyche)

4.  The flyover that I couldn't ride once before the race and looked intimidating was a breeze and actually fun.

So why am I doing this sport that I clearly have no skills at and scares me?

I just love it. I love the challenge and because it's so damn hard, it makes me want it even more.

 I suppose  the love of it outweighs my result which remains a constant for me: The back row sections of line up.

 It's not that I don't try or possess the desire to become better, it's just a sport/skill that eludes me even though I try to be better at it.
 In the end,  as I weigh the frustration of my given result with my desire to stick with the sport ultimately the latter keeps me continually banging my head against the barriers.

photo: David Loszewski

Thanks for checking in!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Done and Done

Before we get started,  a sincere thank you must go to Rachel Ross and her run coaching, Runspo for helping me make the transition from a run/walking shuffle to miraculously getting me to the point in which I could run again. Not only did I need help getting my a$$ in gear  but  at the same time, I needed someone to babysit me so that I didn't  binge-run and wind up injured again.  Goal complete.

I have not run consistently in over a year.  After taking a break in 2012 to focus on cycling, I inconveniently tore my knee and added 9 more months to the total. I weighed 151 pounds in January after ACL reconstruction.  I struggled with this the most  and I've spent  a good part of 8 months slowly chipping away at regaining some sense of well being physically as well as mentally. It's been a really long haul to say the least and arduous at that but it's over now and far behind me. If you know anything about me, one of my major flaws is my lack of being* in the moment* and taking one task at a time. My mantra which usually works against me : I want it all back and I want it all right now.  It took much self discipline and self control over the last 8 months, but I did it. Goal complete. And a huge one at that.

When my patience and consistency started to reward me, I decided it might be fun to have an obtainable goal to motivate me further  so I signed up for 4 sprint triathlons for the end of August into September.  My orthopedic warned me back in April that I most likely would experience front of the knee pain when attempting to run as my knee was still healing and to not expect much. Participating would be a good start.  Rachel worked with what I had : No run base coupled with a high risk for getting myself injured.  I signed up for the 4 races and set my expectation bar so low you wouldn't have gotten your big toe under it.  My first prize was the absence of any front of the knee pain. Thankful, I continued and followed the run plan.  Goal complete.

This past weekend closed out  the last of the 4 races I signed up for. It's still  hard to digest that I used to love  and respond  "1/2  ironman" without hesitation when asked what my favorite distance of triathlon was. It's all foreign to me now.  A sprint was now something I wondered if I could finish without blowing up by the run and walking and I did it.  Goal complete.

I managed 2 age group wins and 2 second place age group finishes in my little local New England sprints I picked. This was way more than I hoped for or expected from myself.  Goal complete with a bonus Price Is Right - Spin The Big Wheel without going over.

I ticked  the last box on Sunday with one last race but not without some drama. A heavy rain cancelled the ocean swim portion of our race.  I'd be lying if I  said i was fine with that.  Instead I threw a mini hissy fit while I sat in my car listening to the announcement.  WHAAAAAT???  There's no thunder, there's no lightening!!  I drove for an 1:20  only to have my favorite and strongest discipline at the moment snatched away and my weakest  being two legs of the race now???   I tried to quickly let it go and did some SERIOUS attitude adjustment on the fly after a phone call or two to quiet me down.  I had no control over this. Besides  I wasn't the only one affected.  Instead, I  adjusted my goal along with my attitude and went to Plan B:  I  would cross that finish line leaving nothing out there. Having the swim taken away, I would not get that tiny advantage out of the water and the runners would prevail. I accepted this and got out from the warm and dry cocoon of my car to do a long run warm up.

As we (the last  of 6 waves)  finally got started, I  watched while 4-5 women took off ahead of me for the 1.5 mile run  leaving me in their wake.  Even though I warmed up thoroughly, I had a hard time staying warmed up waiting for our wave. Even with a good warn up,It was a shock to my body and I just had to settle in and maintain a pace I could handle for 1.5 miles and forget what was going on further than my own feet.  I didn't start my watch, I just put my head down and focused on good form and going hard but not so hard I'd tip the scale.  8:48 pace the results show. Seriously??  HORRIBLE.  How could I feel like I was gonna throw up and it be an 8:48 pace? 
 After slipping into transition feeling like I ran a 6:45 minute mile, I rolled out praying someone wouldn't take me down with the wet conditions.  My legs were like quick set cement after my 6:45 minute mile fantasy pace run. my legs were also confused because my arms were supposed to be doing their share of work before getting on my bike.  Ooooof.

I caught myself 2 or 3 times thinking about the run that loomed over me during my 14 mile TT  as if I had to run 26.2 miles.  I even allowed my sensible self to contemplate racking my bike in transition  and forgetting about that little 3.1 part but then I regained composure only because the thought of how my dad was going to appear in front of me showing his disappointment and then would have to go to the Elks Lodge later to watch the Patriots game with his buddies all the while  telling them his daughter was a quitter. 
 14.5 miles/ 20.7 mph   42:58 and that part was over. Goal Completed.

I racked my bike with a 39.9 transition  and If someone had waved one of those giant  bags of swedish fish in front of me to grab on exiting T2, I'd a betcha I could have shaved off another 5 seconds.

Zoom Zoom I went thinking about the pancakes I was gonna have when I finished as my reward for going -Throw Up Mode- the entire race. I ran. I ran as hard as I could. This time I managed a 7:51 pace. I wanted to end this little race on a good note and all I needed to do was put forth my best effort. Nothing more.
I crossed the finish line and looked for my dad.  Another goal attained. And the best part?  My dad didn't have to show up at the Elks later that day telling his Benevolent and Protective order of Elk  brethren  his #2 daughter was a quitter after all. The best goal of all!

Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nubble Light Challenge 2013

It's time to finally stop beating my head against the tile wall of the pool and swallow the bitter pill that I'm not an open water swim specialist. 
There, I said it. 
It pains me to confess to this because I love it and it's not like I haven't tried to think and act otherwise but the truth is,  I'm just not good at it, period. The frustrating thing about open water swimming is, it's almost impossible to point out and fix what is broken (that) what you cannot see.  In a perfect world I would have had my friend and swim guru Nate McBride a 20 year masters swim coach in a kayak next to me on Saturday with a clipboard checking off all the crap I'm doing wrong and wielding a large stick to whack me with every time I gave another second or two away.  Honestly I just can't see( myself )where the breakdown was and if  I can't visualize, digest, and work to improve a particular flaw I seem to be plagued with, I am NEVER going to fix what is broken.

This was my 3rd go at Nubble Light Challenge.  Every year it gets better. The race directors go above and beyond having safety the top priority as they should.  There are boats and kayaks throughout the entire 2.4 miles. Many more than the first year.
You cannot breath to the left or right without seeing a boat or kayak hanging out with it's occupant looking at you. 
I wondered what are they thinking sitting there bobbing in the ocean swells. " That girl is swimming like she'd never
pass a sobriety test "  or "These people are nuts swimming out here" 

The first year they had 4 buoys for sighting for an ocean 2.4 mile swim.  How I even got through that swim with only 4 buoys  frankly is beyond my comprehension.  It's apparent that I suck at slighting and swimming  anything that resembles a straight line so with only 4 instead of the now 10, it's a miracle I didn't  either get plucked from
the mid atlantic or run into the rocks that line the Nubble Light House back in 2010.

Back to Saturday.  Everything was status quo except the tide was in and WAY IN.  Whoopsy..  I thought....more water to swim in.  This ain't gonna be a record breaker.

My wave went off without a hitch except one:  The timing company that was used handed out
chip straps that were  like threads, over stretched and the velcro was all but gone.  I Finally got the 
thing situated on my ankle and it felt secure (as it was gonna be)
Not even to the first buoy, the thing was dangling from my big toe. Granite State Timing should be
grateful  it didn't end up on the ocean floor. I snatched it and hung there treading water for a minute wondering
what I should do with the thing.  I ended up stuffing it under the leg of my wetsuit and off I went.
Crap-ola timing chip
My swim was good (or so I thought).  I swam it a bit conservatively at the start getting out of the waves
and not going hypoxic like I have in the past, gasping for air. I settled into what  appeared a good pace swimming my own race and not concerned with finding any feet to jump on. There just wasn't any in my small-ish wave.

Were there swells? Yes. Was the water cold? Only in spots. Did I feel good?  Yes.
No excuses.  I just sucked and sucked BAD.
A particular individual  that I can pulverize in the pool  exited the water in another wave, 5+ minutes ahead of me. Five minutes in the swimming world is like a week. Just sayin'
When I looked at the results compared to how I felt I did, my jaw went slack.  1:18 and 14th IN MY AGE GROUP.

Numbers don't lie and the Garmin 910 I wore confirmed my lackluster result.

Here's my friend Katie who KILLED it out there and I checking out the Lighthouse pre swim

I didn't leave without a nice parting gift. The worst chaffing from a wetsuit I have ever had.

I know what your asking and YES! I slathered on BodyGlide pre swim. 

So I did my sulking and foot stomping in a huff and now it's time to stash this away and move on to the next big adventure.

I just haven't figured out what that is.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bikes, Swimming and LESS of me!!

July is upon us and I'm settled into a good summer routine.  My knee is 99.9% feeling fabulous and I've even started to run.  The 151 lbs I weighed in January is now down to 140-139. It's been a looooong tenacious road in this department. My hummingbird metabolism is all but a memory and it's been tedious getting back to where I can wear my normal clothes. The biggest PITA now is being forced to wear this carbon brace when I mountain bike, trail run or ride my cross bike in the trails. Anything risky that may force me to twist and snap my graft. (shutter) Are you wondering if I'm miffed that It wasn't offered in pink?  You bet.  For $1000????  The good news is I don't have to wear it past my anniversary/surgery date of Oct 10th and then and only then, can I have a ceremonial toss to a landfill.

So yeah, I got a  mountain bike and here it is for the 2 or 3 of you that missed the social media image overload I made you endure. It's supa nice as you can imagine. Nothing that comes out of Seven Cycles is anything but. I waited foreverandaday for this bike but now that it's in my grips, it's just an amazing bike and honestly, it is way too much bike for the noob mountain biker that I am. I am forever grateful to Rob Vandermark, Patria Lanfranchi and everyone over at Seven Cycles who had a part in making this bike for me, 'specially Mikey Salvatore who hinted I should ask for a pink bike. I've taken 2 clinics and doing my best trying to get out on it as much as I can to (try) and master some of the basics of mountain biking. It can only make my cyclocross skills a smidgen better, right? 
My Honey 29er
Nighty night my sweet Honey

Remember that paddle board lying unpacked screaming to be taken out 2 posts ago?  Finally, It went on it's maiden voyage Fourth of July weekend by me. Gripping the deck with my toes, I got right up on that sucker and never fell off!  Another toy I didn't know squat about but have fallen in love with. You wanna get your back, abs and arms rock solid? SUP. It's fun and relaxing yet you are working out  by trying to keep yourself stabilized on the board while fish gazing and working on your tan!

In other news, The Nubble Light Challenge is less than 5 days away and I've been working hard to prepare for the distance along with the temperatures the unpredictable Maine waters can toss at you.
My friend Elaine Howley, an experienced English Channel swimmer has been dragging me out to open water swim with her in Nahant and South Boston.  I even managed to sneak in a 5k swim down in Mashpee for training. It was held in a pond but it was more like an ocean and I loved every second of it.  I even got FIRST in my age group!!  Ok.. I was the only woman in my age group there. Humpf! What the heck?? I guess they all slept in because it was windy and raining.

Ok, so wish me luck this weekend!! My plan is to stick to Elaine like those crotch protectors in new 
swimwear.  She won't be wearing a wetsuit ( way tougher than I) but she's a pro at navigation and a purest in
the open water.  

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

b2b Ride Number Eight

Steve, Tom, John, Brian

If there's one thing I can take away from this, my 8th Harpoon Brewery to Brewery excursion is it will never ever  be easy or pain free mentally nor physically no matter what  shape you are in.  There are parts of this ride that will tear you up into little pieces if you let it.  It will test your tenacity level  and give you lots of practice  honing your skills at pushing back fatigue that quite simply makes you want to just get off the bike and call it a day. That being said, It really is a fun ride.

As tough as the day can be, I have never once rolled into the brewery finishing the ride without being rewarded (albeit short ) but always the same: A rush of adrenaline that comes with clarity as if it were the very first ride back in 2004.   The day flashes through my mind of all the rest stops, happy helpful volunteers that make this ride what it is. Sometimes minor glitches we've overcome as a group but always it's the same.  The sense of relief  combined with sheer joy that I made it another year. No crashes, no mechanicals and the sense of gratitude that not only am I fortunate to be able to finish the ride but also with  my past experience(s) I can filter quicky through the low points of the day knowing there are plenty of high notes right up the road.

This is typically how the day unfolds: I am literally up almost an entire
24 hours.
3:40 AM- alarm
5:15 -arrival and setup
6AM- roll
3:30/4:30- arrival to VT
6pm - 2+ hour drive back to the waterfront in Boston
8:30 PM-collect bike and drive home (stop at McDonalds for my once a year large fries and vanilla shake)
Mattress dive by11PM but wired from all the caffeine consumed by gels
and rocket fuel (coke/sports drink mix) needed after mile 75.

This year for the first time, I worked the packet pick up on Friday night at the Brewery ( they promised a case of beer!!) It's an option if you don't want to deal with it the race morning. I guess I never really paid much attention to how many women actually do the ride but that night, it was raining testosterone. I don't think I got
one woman in my section of L-M to retrieve a packet. 

As intimidating as the ride might project to many, it runs like a well oiled machine with a concierge at your finger tips out there all day.
  Between the rest stops, The Mavic dudes in the bright yellow (reasurring ) car.  The Cycle Loft
too has a car out there sometimes creeping by to  heckle or tell you that you *look great* when it is crystal clear you do not.

I managed the day well in retrospect but not without a few minor bumps.  I borrowed my friend/Hup team mate Ana's race wheels to lighen the load for the day. They are tubulars and as comfortable as I am dealing with tubulars, I decided I would only carry one can of Pit Stop and some spare air.
Changing out my cassette on Ana's speedy race wheels b4 the ride

A clean cassette is a happy cassette
Not 25 miles into the ride, the can popped out of my  jersey pocket and rolled into the street.
It took me seconds to zip around and head back for it.

Car one- "please don't roll over that! Phew..."
Care number two- "Pleeeeze don't hit that!"  Phew...
Care number three- "OMG.. I can go get the can after this car goes by!"

My can exploded under the car's wheel. It wasn't even rolling at that point so I don't
understand how they couldn't have seen it or me with my hands in prayer postion, eyes locked on it
to retieve.  Instantly the color drained from my face. I was essentially screwed with
no back up for my wheels. I would have to wait for the Mavic gods to save me
IF I flatted.  Within 20 minutes I forgot about cans of Pit Stop and deflating tubulars. No sense
wasting energy on something I couldn't control or predict.

By mile 60, I begain to get slighty concerned. The first 50 didn't click off quickly like they have in the past and my quads started to burn on any hills, short or long way too early in the game.

A mile or so before the 75 aid station stop, a rider behind me informed
me that he could clearly see my right rear brake pad dragging. I thanked him
and rolled in to have it adjusted. ( Thank you Anthony from Cycle Loft)  I was relieved that
 I could most likely point to this as the cause of my premature leg fatigue.  I trained for this ride the most I ever have.  Two centuries and countless rides with plenty of undulating if not
grinding long hills.  It just didn't add up.

For the remainer of the ride my focus was on hording my remaining matches the best I could
I tucked in where ever I could and took no turns pulling in our group mainly because
I just couldn't. I never really got to shake things out and find my legs.
I averaged 17.8 last year and this year was a struggle to average 16.5.

It is what it is. 
 This is not a race but I would be lying if I didn't say I was slightly disappointed.
Long gone is the innocence of knowing nothing but - I'm riding my bike to Vermont!!-
With experience comes expectations.
 My advice if you have this on your bucket list: (and you should!) Prepare as you feel needed but as my friend Skip told me, "It's a sneaky ride an it can go either way."

Make that the carrot in front of your imaginary cart and
Just. Keep. Pedaling.

The Prize 

Monday, June 10, 2013

5 Things I'm Doing, Getting, Not Missing, Or I Paid For -Soon To Be Suffering Through

I have no good  excuses for not updating my blog. There are lots of good things happening to chat about rather than a plateful of complains  so what gives??   (That's me asking me)

Answer: Lazy

Here's a condensed update in short sentences and a little visual as to not bore you to tears. You'll be done in 45 seconds and on with your day.

Here we go.

*My fresh off the press custom Seven Cycles/ Honey Bikes 29er  frame is being built up today. 6-10-13   YAY.

* In  approximately 5 days, I will be on my bike for 8+ hours  riding 148 miles to VT for my 8th b2b ride.  YAY (I think)
b2b 2012. Photo credit: Harpoon Brewery

* I  did some research and finally ordered a SUP board  and it was just delivered.   YAY!

I know, pink.. what a surprise, right??

* My ACL/knee is so back to normal, I rarely think about it now. It will be 8 months June 10th from my surgery.  YAY

Oct 2012

Oh.. and just for kicks, Here I am at a  super fun Luna Chix women's only mountain bike clinic about a week ago with Marla Streb. She was fabulous and made everything look easy breezy. Here I am doing a wall track stand. Add in 85 degrees with 70% humidity with no air flowing in that corner I was in, and damn....It's harder than you think!
Photo credit: Serene Forte

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weeping Willow Mountain Bike Race

It happend!

I did my very first mountain bike race last weekend on a borrowed bike and no real idea on what I was doing.  It wasn't supposed to turn out this way but  I had signed up long ago with the vision I'd have my new bike in my possession way before this race.
  I decided rather last minute that I would head to Ipswich after initially nixing the idea as the race approached, If I could somehow make it work.  Either using my cross bike or borrowing a mountain bike that would fit me, I would do it.  "It,"  everyone kept telling me, was an "easy" course  and I'd have no problems on it.
Eh..not so much for me anyway.

I considered just riding my cyclocross bike but I 
borrowed a mountain bike last minute instead.
 A nice cushy dual suspension Specialized Epic that actually fit me pretty well.  However, I wasn't used to it and in particular, the shifting. Let's just chalk it up as a confusing mess for me.

 I was a total spaz cross chaining and clicking buttons like I had OCD while warming up. Eventually I made some sense out of it by trying to remember - Sliver shifter-BIGGER ring on the left. 
Silver shifter-EASIER gears on the right and managed to settle in during the warm up. 

 Lucky for me, my friend and Hup teammate, Kerry Combs came to the race early just to give me my accelerated course on mountain biking 101. I totally trust her and if she had said, "Don't do this race today" I would have nixed it. Kerry is a avid  mountain bike racer. She's been in the sport since 1993. Just some of the racing she has done include: Wilderness 101, Lumberjack 100 and Shenandoah 100. 100k Mohican, 12 Hour and 6 Hour solo races in (WV, CA, GA, NH, MA, VA, and Canada) I am  very lucky to have her as a mentor in my new venture in mountain biking. 
Hugs to you Kerry.

 The trails at the race were a bit slippery from morning rain and I was super tense at first . I just tried to chill and listen and follow behind Kerry in hopes I wouldn't be dragged out of the woods staring up at the sky in a prone position come race time.  

When the race started, I wasn't the least bit nervous for some reason.
The eight other veteran, (I think that's what they called us) women in my group were really nice and we all chatted waiting to line up.

When they let us go,  adrenaline took over and anything I was timid on (most everything) with Kerry on the warm up, went right out the door.  

Lessons learned:
1..Teetering along at  2mph over roots with stiff arms lands you
on your A$$.
2. Committing to doing something and then choking partially through lands you on your a$$

3. Worrying about what is behind you instead of what you are doing in front of you, lands you, you
guessed it, on your a$$.
4. If you don't have any momentum going up a steep incline,  It matters nothing that youare pedaling in an ez gear to get up it,  Boom! There you will find yourself once again, on your a$$.

All in all, I managed to stay upright a good portion of the way  but not without exiting the woods white knuckled  from my death grip on my handle bars and at the finish sporting a leaf and dirt motif.  I'm sure I was a spectacle in the woods especially when I would
grab on to small trees like safety bars installed in bathtubs for seniors to get through some twisty narrow
junk on some of the trails trying to stay upright. It was super fun though and I'm stoked to  try and get better at it.

Soon I will have my new bike and I hear the awesome Bee Keepers over at Seven Cycles/Honey are STOKED to
design and paint up something new and a little bit out of the ordinary.
I can't wait to see it. But one thing is certain, when I look down at my pretty 
new bike it will remind me of this: 

 I'm trying something new and albeit, somewhat difficult for me. It's for fun
 and it's purpose is
 to keep me fit while I find my way back into cyclocross with an ACL tear far behind and forgotten.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ronde De Rosey # 2

I must start this blog post by  saying I am truly horrified along with our entire nation that again, we've been whacked with the terrorist stick. Whether the blame falls  domestically or internationally It's hard to believe  we were struck in the back of the knees (again) without warning.  After letting this sink in, I keep thinking how the perpetrators  did their homework  in choosing a venue that was universally known and spectated from around the world almost impossible to secure safely, and poised in front of dozens and dozens of media outlets to capture cleanly the destruction, panic, and bloody results of their efforts but with all that media capture, it just might

bring them to justice sooner than we think.

Through all the heartache right now, this will only make our country stronger. We might have to be inconvenienced
 with even more restrictions  and most costs associated with safely precautions, but like we have done in the past, we always prevail and even stronger than before.

I did a little bike ride last Sunday. Like a 10 hour day bike ride.  HA!
It was my second go at the Ronde De Rosy Ride put together by Hup United team mate,Scott Rosenthal
The proceeds from this ride go entirely to Bikes Not Bombs. If you're not familiar with it, it's a
very cool organization. Check it OUT

This year Rosey as we call him,
did not disappoint.

Here's my team all fresh as a daisy pre launch
Team Der French (don't ask....)
David, Erica, Me,Michele, Peter, Laura, Emily-missing from photo,  sporting our
RAD arm bands.

I'm not sure how many teams signed up, but I'm guessing 13-ish.
After unloading our bikes and gearing up, off we went as part of
the first wave.  (8:30 AM)

We were STOKED. The day was beautiful. The trails would be dry.
We were prepared. 3 bikes had mounted GPS to find our way through
the 59.7 miles of road (30%) and trail systems (70%) mapped out. Twizzlers,
homemade chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies, homemade rice cakes,
lots of tubes, spare air and can do attitude: CHECK.

I was nervous to say the least If more about the trails and single track terrain
that I knew would bring out the wuss in me.  I was for sure the WEAKEST LINK
in the trails for our team. Anything that made my armpits itch, I avoided or walked my bike
down or through.  I had my custom carbon brace on my knee which
certainly helped me be less timid but I had a lot of ground and still do to gain
to feel comfortable on my CX bike in the trails with the concern of somehow
ripping my knee apart again looming over me.

Between MIchele  David and Peter, we had a good system going to find our
way through the cue sheet/GPS of endless turns of roads and trails through greater Boston.
We were in Brookline,Watertown, Belmont, Waltham, Weston, Wellesley, Needham back to Brookline.
(Might be missing a town or two) 

Anyway, I had THE BEST team. There was no whining, no downers, just a fun group
dealing with flats, getting lost and burning LOTS and LOTS of matches.

My friend Laura gets special props for doing Battenkill ( a gnarly 60 mile road race the day
before nabbing 5th place in her division AND then coming to the Ronde)

Props to Michele pictured below too. Nothing but tough, determined and
wicked awesome on a CX bike. Our fearless leader/team organizer.

After 4 hours out there, the freshness of the daisy was all but gone in all of us. The ride was challenging to say
the least and each and every time I got in a trail section, I spent lots of energy trying to keep my
hands from a death grasp on my handlebars  and my shoulders from touching my ears with tension 
locked in them.   I felt comfortable on my bike but my brakes weren't quite where I would have
liked them (able to stop me completely) and I spent a good amount of time putting my left foot down to stop myself on sections I 
 would attempt but then bail on or at the end of a decent in the trails in which I couldn't come to
a complete stop.
By the end of the day and not even noticing until I got in the shower that night of the consequences of doing this.


take a deep breath, I'm showing my a$$ cheek 


This is what happens when the nose of your saddle keeps
 smacking you in the bum  over and over and over. This resulted from #1 My lack of confidence in the trails  and #2, The
crappy brakes that kept forcing me to put my left foot down to stop my bike in which the back wheel would come up and the nose of the saddle kept kicking me in the rear. I was so focused on
riding clean and not falling I didn't even feel this happening.
The next day I could barely sit on the right side.   :-(

With 15 miles left of the ride, it was down to two of us, Michele  and I.  Laura was getting a sore throat
and was run down from racing the day before. Other people had to get back and some just
plain bonked.   For me as an endurance athlete for so many years,  I raised my hand when Michele asked
who wanted to finish the ride.

So off we went but not without me running out of liquids completely and
telling her I was fine knowing she had to get back as soon as possible to get
to Connecticut from our starting point in Brookline.  Her husband was there at the finish waiting. We had no time to mess with. With about 8 miles to go, the two of us were getting through yet another trail system when
behind us came the Geekhouse Bikes Squad.  I couldn't believe it!!  I was so happy to see another team and swore Michele and I just had to be
the remaining riders out there. Nope.  They were still out there because they WANTED to be out there having
stopped at Whole Paycheck for burritos and chillaxation. Before passing us they asked if we needed anything.

My tongue was velcroed to roof of my mouth  and before I could even finish asking  if anyone had some extra
fluids I could have.  BAM! they were all trying to fill my bottles.  Just super nice and I was brought back from
the dead!


Wrapping this up, Michele and I did make it.  We did the ride in it's entirety.  6:14 rolling ride time, Finish time with getting
lost and fixing flats:   10 hours.

Thank you Scott and all the sponsors and my very special team! 
Love you guys!!!

Thanks for reading and checking out my basketball size bruise.  Heee heeee!

photo credit: Scott Rosenthal

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Get Out Your Cross Bikes!

Bye bye slicks,hello Michelin Muds
April 3rd 2013 and it's 35 degrees outside. Go figure......  With that said, time marches on and ready or not, some serious cycling is rapidly approaching.  I'm thinking many folks didn't get the training in they wanted for the upcoming annual Ronde de Rosey Ride, just 2 weeks away.

What's this you ask?  It's an off road/some road gnarly 70 mile cycling excursion on a cross bike using gps only to navigate through selected Metro West towns that are not revealed to the teams of riders until the day before starting at The Washington Square Tavern in Brookline and ending there with barely the energy to hold up your beer.  This year promises to be and I quote: "a soul crusher and not for the weak and whiny"

So without sounding too much like a loser, my soul is easily crushed, I'm feelin' wimpy these days and I'm a naturally gifted whiner.  

Last year I felt pretty darn prepared for this ride with a snow free winter and the winter fitness I had gained with indoor time trials, pedaling to work as early as March and not having a bum knee.

This year the facts are:  I haven't commuted to work once yet on my bike (24 miles each way) and l  haven't been on a cross bike in anything that resembles a trail since early summer 2012. 

This coming weekend I'm doing a ride I'm calling * The Ronde Dress Rehearsal* If I make it
through this without peeing myself from fear of falling and wrecking my knee (needless overreacting)
I'm sooo there next weekend with my scheduled team for the Ronde de Rosey.  One of the requirements of the ride this weekend is some fender action.  I'm all ready!
bedazzled fender action
Also I get the fine honor of wearing my custom CARBON.. yes I said CARBON knee brace $1000 out of pocket. (thank you fine healthcare insurance)
waiting to be  bedazzled...

Wish me luck, dry cycling shorts AND a backbone. 


Monday, March 11, 2013

Dear Diary.....

February  4th 2013
Dear Diary
It's the first day back in the pool after a 5 month hiatus.  For months, I've been dragged my feet with my head down murmuring  incessantly  about my restrictions from swimming due to possibly tearing the cadaver graft in my knee and then when I'm finally granted the green light, my  attitude has eroded to:"why bother at this point?"  Yeesh.... I know.. I'm such a knuckle head, don't remind me.
The good news is, my determination is slowly coming 'round if ever so slowly and it's outweighing  the self pity of being completely out of shape and sporting belly lard.
 I dug out my  black * make-me-feel-less-fatter-looking-than- i-really-am* suit, sucked in my gut and headed out to the pool deck this morning.   My goggle straps were dried out and broke in 3 places before I even got in the water.  Ditto on the swim cap,deteriorated  from sitting for so long neglected. My  morning swim mates and coach's greetings of welcome back outweighed the rocky start and by the end of my first practice with 2 of my favorite lane mates,  I was feeling right at home.  I've started back on the bike too taking spin classes at a local gym, using my Computrainer  and even started venturing outside on 2 wheels. Something I haven't done since August 18 when I tore up my knee. Yippee!

March 4th 2013

Dear Diary
Guess What??? Me and my belly fat made it to the 5 week mark in the tank with no setbacks and I'm feeling a bit stronger every week now.  I'm far from barracuda- like, but I'm DEFINITELY minnow status now.  Today I even stayed for the entire set on Distance Day and got in 600 yards of extra credit before practice. Count it diary: 4100 yards. It's like old times right???  I've ridden outside with my Hup United crew twice now and I've even started run/ walking on the treadmill. It's no lie I feel like a gorilla lumbering away on there, huffing and puffing after 3 minutes of something that is supposed to resemble  running but heck,  the girl has gotta start somewhere, right?

March 8th
Dear Diary
 It goes without saying, there have certainly have been some rough patches over the past few weeks but like with everything, if you first possess the desire, sprinkle in some patience,  add a measure of consistency the rewards will come. One thing that is annoying me though is the awol of my metabolism.  It just up and left without any warning. How rude.  I'm still lugging around more than I want yet working out 9+ hours a week now.  Where's my reward for that Diary, Huh??  I'm miffed to say the least. Ok, so it goes without saying, I should just have a Luna Bar minus smearing the 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on TOP of the Luna Bar before consuming.

My belly touches my thighs when I'm in my aero bars. Not good Diary...not good at all.

March 11th

Happy Daylight Saving Time Diary.

 I need toothpicks to hold my eyes open today.  I got up at 4:50 to make it into town to swim but really, it was 3:50 AM. This one hour time change debacle kills me every year.  UGH.   Just brutal.  My kidneys are swimming in caffeinated Green Tea today trying to fight the urge to go curl up in the waiting room carpet here at work for a nap.
It's week 6 back at the pool  today and get this diary,  4400 yards!!  Perhaps that is why I want to go lay down? Today was a break through swim.  I fell strong and in control of the set for the first time in a very long time.

This weekend while at a 50th birthday party, drinking margaritas and stuffing in birthday cake, my friend Steve sent this image to me after chatting about  Ironman Lake Placid across the table. We both course bike marshaled for Ironman in 2011 and he had this Skinny B*tch resembling none other than me on his phone.  Oh Boy...  talk about a wake up call .These Lucky Brand Jeans are hidden in the bowels of my closet screaming at me to PUT DOWN THE FORK!!

I'm working on it diary... I'm working on it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Time Trial Etiquette: Learn it, Live it, Love it!

It's that time of year when Indoor time trials are popping up and I like  'em.  Last year I was super fit coming from a good long season of cyclocross and my body remembered  very quickly how to handle the heat. This year is an entirely different Blue Plate Special.  I'm still walking around with an atrophied right quad and my fitness is well...  eh. Nonetheless I'm going and to THREE of them to be exact.  Even though my  goals have changed, I'm going there to give it my best effort, no excuses.  It's more about the social aspect now with it's main purpose in aiding me back to some strength and general fitness. Gone are the days when I would pout hours after because so- and- so beat me or I didn't hit the wattage  average I wanted.   A major injury will do that to you.  It puts everything into perspective and comparing and worrying about what everyone else can or is doing, is nothing but wasted energy.  

  Indoor TT-ing is a different beast all in it's own.  It's painful and even more exaggerated than the pain associated with cyclocross or even outdoor time trials. In CX, you are too busy paying attention to  avoiding  flipping ass over tea kettle on a tree root waiting to grab your wheel.  You don't have time to think about how awful you really feel. Your goal (ok, mine) is just to get though the laps while keeping everything intact.  The other thing
about TT-ing, is you are on display for others to witness your suffering. Just a sweating gerbil  who paid good money to pedal nowhere and not without someone heckling you standing  2 inches from your ear yelling with their beer breath on you.  There is no hiding and DNF's are taboo.  Frankly, unless you are having a myocardial infarction, you'll look like a complete ass, so avoid this route at all costs. Oh, and trust me, I've witnessed people dropping out in the middle of a heat because they "didn't feel good"  Lame.  Don't. Do. It.
This is not to say after 5 minutes of pedaling your though processes are telling you over and over and over again,  JUST STOP.
All you can hope for is the cable to your Computrainer to just explode or your rear tire blows at the next 12% grade.

I did a little search and I couldn't come up with any links to Indoor Time Trial Etiquette so I'm making up my own and since this is my blog,  I'm callin' it.

Lets  begin:

Obviously show up on time and then again, just show up because if you sign up and
then suddenly have stage fright because you  don't think you can  hold that 350 watts for  15 minutes you've been mouthing off about and smash everyone around you, then you just plain suck.  A Time Trial is not something you train for especially in the dead of winter and if your that competitive, you need to get a life.

moving on:

Get OFF the Computrainer so that the next heat can get their bike set up and ready
to go. We don't care that you want to warm down in your pond of sweat and smelly-ness. GET OFF and go cool down on a trainer. You can beat on your chest and talk it up over in the corner.
 In case you missed it: We don't care.  


This is not a fashion show folks. We don't care if you rode Postal with Lance the Liar.
Come dressed but leave your full kits at home. Its lame unless you are a walking billboard 
 holding full sponsorship and handing out flyers or Power Bars then we can talk.

And here's a fine example: Cort Cramer. Accomplished athlete. Serious wattage beast. Great coach.  I can kick his ASS in the swim but whatever...
Notice his gear. Unassuming and appropriate.   5 stars Cort. 
The rest of you?.... Follow suit. 

Another fine example.  Carmen Monks.  Has been doing Ironman
triathlons before I lost my first molar.  Multiple Kona qualifier 15 + times?  Whatever....
He can kick your ass and more importantly, he's not breaking the fashion law of wearing a kit.
Kudo's  Carmen  and I can kick your ass in the pool too.

At the weigh in:
Ladies... really, if you are carrying the donut poundage, your carrying the donut poundage. Nuff said.  It IS what it IS. Trying to hide your read out so others waiting in line can't see it or making a comment about how the scale is off,
Save. Your. Breath.  SAY IT WITH ME:  We Don't Care.  And you guys are just as bad.

If you feel the need to get almost naked and you look like this, by all means, lemme know ahead of time  so
I can oogle through my camera lens while looking professional.
The rest of you with beer bellies and hairy chests...  Please no.

Now lets get on with it....

Friday, January 25, 2013

Reaching For Svelte-ness

Check. It. Out.

HERE AND NOW  01/25/13

I'm finding more wardrobe options other than my stretchy sweatpants to hide my (now shrinking) buddha belly and all because I stopped inhaling cookies with chunks of peanut butter smeared on them 2 x a day and cutting out alcohol completely. Not without some good 'ol fashion buddha  belly busting workouts in fat burning HR zones though. 

This marks week 16 forACL/meniscus surgery rehab and things couldn't be better.  I've just been granted  use of
a treadmill now alternating walking  a minute and running (if you can call it that).  It's a strange sensation for sure as my knee wants to track to the left or right but not completely where it should yet.
Next week, I see the surgeon to show off my now non atrophied quad muscle and lack of limp.

Exciting right? Me thinks so....

Up next, some indoor Time Trials to ramp the excitement up
a bit 'cause if I'm not suffering paired with the humiliation of the probable outcome of being dead last,
then there's less likely for good drama (bleeding from the eyeballs kind) to report back with.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I wasn't just kidding when I said  "LET'S GO"

Bada Bing

Bada BOOM!
It seems too good to be true but it appears just the absence of  mindless grazing, eliminating some sugar/empty calories  and nixing wine (gasp)   paired with some consistent but still guarded exercise, this is my
 golden ticket for exactly where I want to be.

Using the elliptical, weigh training, and mixing group spin classes with
low intensity solo Computrainer sessions lasting 1:30-1:40 with itsy  bitsy  touches of intensity tossed in are my
drugs of choice at the moment, and DAMN... it feels so good.

burn baby burn...

I'm  lolling around some ideas for 2013. I think triathlon will
not be in the picture and  I am quite sad about this prospect but the fact  remains, if my
knee isn't strong enough or healed enough so that I don't experience front of the knee discomfort, my run will be more like walking and I'm not setting myself up for frustration and disappointment only to have to modify a plan that was out of reach and not realistic. PT says I will be able to run at the end of this month and return to the pool. I can not tell you how excited I am about this. FINALLY the weeks are ticking off and I am out of the woods. 
So... with that I will be working with a coach ( still in the workings) who will help me do
3 things:

Help me fix my body composition.
Guild me back to fitness  with some proper zones to work with consisting of workouts with purpose and
occasionally test me to show the fruits of my labor to keep me focused and reaching.

I'm also considering a season of mountain biking and swimming as my two main
components to participate in until Cyclocross season.  My main purpose is to try and desensitize myself
from the accident that contributed to my ACL/ meniscus tear. I fear I will
be more timid and  chicken than ever and I'm going to fight that  along with
gaining some skills so I can CRUSH it next fall. 

Thanks for stopping by!