Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Misc ramblings in the off season...

It's been a crazy busy off season... scattered thoughts:

- We're off to Maui tomorrow! Vacation (and maybe a 10K trail run race) for me, and Vacation and Xterra for Drew. Yup... we're on Vacation!

- We did the 24 Hours of Triathlon as part of Team Gu. TOO fun! 3rd place 4 person team and won some sweet new sunglasses...

- We went to Laramie last weekend with the awesome Linda Guerette and rode the Laramie Enduro Course (or as much of it as daylight and bad directions would allow). This race could be a fun one for next year!

- Schedule for next year is slowly coming together as races start to update their websites with dates... One more year as an ultracyclist then it's time to head back to triathlon... Will try to mix in some swimming and running as cross training through 2010 so that it's not such a shock when 2011 rolls around.

- Weight lifting, core strength, and interval training is the mode through November. Leaves me a little time to play, and I'm making the most of it!

And, finally, here's my cool news for October...

Keep on riding!!!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ring of Fire

Headed up to Portland this past weekend for the 24 Hour Ring of Fire...

Leading up to the race has been interesting. After the Leadville debacle I got back on my beloved RT900 (Artemous) and we've fallen in love all over again. My longest ride has only been 6 hours since RAW, and since I haven't had a chance to sort out my saddle/shorts issues going into the race I was a little nervous how my bum would hold up. Decided to just roll with it and see how the day went.

Drew's sister, bro-in-law, and 2 nephews live in Portland so it was a good opportunity for some kid-hanging. Jen and the kids drove out to the race course Saturday to play with Drew for the day, and then he planned to crew for me through the night. I prepped 5 drop bags with coke, bars, and treats and figured I was good to go for the race.

My race started at 6:41am. There were 6 gals in the race and we were separated by about a minute. This race featured LOTS of climbing and some high desert heat. Start out with a 5 mile climb out of the gate, followed with some downhill, and the some steep short stuff. My inner quads wanted to cramp so I tried to just spin and ease them out. We climbed from the high desert (read no trees and lots of brown grasses/sage) into the forests around Mt. Hood. Awesome views, some fabulous road surfaces, and lots of long climbing. The day loop was 156 miles, and then we came down to do a 26.5 mile night loop.

After 40 miles we had a fabulous decent, and then on more 10 mile climb before dropping back to the plains. The temps rose, and I was holding it together but rather slowly. Filled my bottles at each checkpoint and tried to stay on top of my electrolytes. Just taking the miles. Around 90 miles there was another 9 mile climb, but rather gentle, and wicked hot. Some folks had support crews with them and one of them gave me a baggie of ice. She was like an angel! Then at the top of the climb she offered me a huge bowl of fruit salad. I could have cried at how delicious and cool the berries were on my parched throat.

A nice down and I saw Jenn and Drew driving by. They came out to say hello and offered up a coke and some blueberries (delicious) and a turkey wrap (gag.. not a chance that would get choked down). We turned and got to preview the second half of the night loop. Some short climbs, then a steep downhill and a gorgeous 8 mile stretch by the Deschutes river. Drew and Jenn stopped to cheer a few times by the river. It was well needed as I was pretty baked.

After the river the 12 hour folks turned right and headed to do short loops and the 24 hour folks went by an unmanned aid station and then started a 20'ish mile climb... 4 steep miles and then gradual climbing to 3200ft. I was anxiously waiting for the aid station to get my drop bag. Got there, opened the cooler and there was my bag. SWEET! Wait, so NOT sweet! Someone had drank my coke, ate my bars, took my gels, and left my bag in the cooler with the discarded wrappers. WHAT? I was calmly pissed, filled up my bottles with ice water and started to climb. A mile into the steepness it hit me that I had no nutrition, 30 some miles since I had real food (other than fruit), and miles of pain until the next aid station. I was climbing and crying and finally pulled over. Called Drew and he didn't answer so I left a message saying I needed him to bring stuff NOW. Called my coach just to vent, because I needed to settle or my race would be over. (she was understandably confused). A crew came by the other direction, saw me there, slowed down and lobbed a V8 can out to me. (It was JUST what I needed, and I have no idea how they knew that).

I drank the V8 and got back on and figured Drew would be by eventually so what I needed to do was just settle and ride. This climb was really dispiriting. After a few miles only, Drew and Jenn pulled up with food. YEAH! And Drew said he'd meet me at 7 with my bike lights so just keep on rolling. Eventually I saw my competition coming back at me and they were miles ahead. It was a struggle to hold it together mentally and I just wanted to turna round and call it a day. Hot, tired, way behind, and miserable.

At 7 Drew rolled up with lights and sweet potato fries and I had 2 more miles of climbing. Finally made the top and turned to go down. Drew passed by 15 miles down and I was grinning madly, spinning and refinding my fun. Even saw a shooting star.

Hit the start/finish way behind schedule and started in on my night loops. Still lots of climbing (we had that 5 mile climb at the start of each one). I'd eat at the start/finish line, and then by the top of the climb be dealing with heartburn. Blech! After 2 laps I had a vivarin and a espresso. Struggling to stay awake out there in the slightly cold and very solitary night. I only saw maybe 2 other riders the whole night, because the loop was so long we were all spread out. Had to take a 10 minute catnap before my last lap, inhaled an apple danish and away I went.

YUCK! I had serious heartburn by the top of the climb and stopped 4 or 5 times through that lap with vomitous burps. I could push to a certain level and then it would get worse so I played with that threshold. Daylight started to break and I knew I needed to put my foot into it to finish the lap before 6:41. Going down the river I was holding over 16mph, which was wicked fast for the condition I was in but I made it.

Finished 4th female (of 6) and 7 (of 15) soloists. The night riding treated me well, although I didn;t realize it at the time. I ended up only 18 miles out of 2nd place female after being WAY down from the long loop.

Lessons learned:
- Take Pepto-Bismol often and early when eating then climbing
- Stick with it, things will turn around.
- Bring a little extra nutrition, even when there are drop bags because people can be dorks.

That's the wrap of my serious racing season. Two more fun races to go, a 4 person team at the 24 Hours of Triathlon and then Drew and I are teaming up for a 25 hour MTB race at the end of October. Goals for the next month are to have fun, recharge, lose a little weight and start to lay the foundations for a strong 2010.

Ride on!

ps. At the post race brekkie the RD called me up and gave me 2 Starbucks drinks and told the story of how I was riding unsupported, counting on my drop bags, and someone took my stuff... He handled it well, I hope whoever did it was there and was ashamed of himself!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009


In short... I SUCK on a mountain bike...

The race started well... lots of bikes on the start line, so many that we actually couldn't get in the corral... but the gun went off and people started to move and we eased in and were on our way. I hung with Drew the first few miles on the pavement... saw a rainbow ahead. I thought this was a good sign... pretty rainbow and all... but forgot that rainbows are due to sun hitting rain... and we were heading straight towards that rain.

Got to the dirt and settled in for a long ride. Saw the first casualty, a guy down on the side of the road with a likely broken collerbone. Ouch! Don't want to be him! We hit the first climb, which I had prerode the day before, but not with a thousand of my closest friends. Add them in and it was a trackstand/crawl followed by a foot down and group trudge. Okay, no biggie. 3-4 miles up and finally there was some free space. Breathing heavy, but feeling okay. Starts to sprinkle. Starts to RAIN. The trail goes up and down and then hits a paved road and screams down. BRR! Soaking wet and cold.

Then we start going up, and up. Road turns to dirt/rocks/mud/wet. Alternate riding and trudging. My brakes (oh yeah, I have regular old rim brakes) are full of grit so my bike pulls and grinds with every roll. Still plenty of folks around. It's fun, miserable, and goofy. I have to laugh. I dread what comes at the top of the hill, a steep downhill through the powerline that Drew and I hiked up to take a looksee at the day before. I made it down on my bike, but was a total pansy doing it. Everything was slippery and muddy, and there was alot of skidding going on but I knew it was better to ride than hike...

Hit the road at the bottom and saw I was at 23 miles... CRAP! I have 17 miles to go and just over an hour to do it before the cutoff. Between the rain, the mud, and my general suckiness that first 23 took WAY too long! Tried to rally the guys around me to work together to try to make it but they just looked at me dazedly so I took off. Held speed til the next climbs and then realized there was just no way.

Came to a sweet downhill singletrack. Was near the bottom when Lance came up. Pulled to the side to let him by and got a smile and a Thank you. (We're best buddies now, think he'll put me on his christmas card list?).

Pulled into the aid station a half hour late, and they took my chip and wristband. Waited for Drew to come back by then rode it back to town on the roads...

Drew had an okay day, 10:30 for the finish. Slower than planned, but fun all the same.

So? What's next? Will I do it again?

Next up is the 24 hours road race, the Ring of Fire near Portlan in September.
Then I'll end my season by teaming up with Drew at a 25 hour mountain bike race in St George on Halloween. What can I say, I like getting muddy!

Leadville again? Maybe some day. I do really enjoy the MTB despite my lack of skills, or maybe because of it... but I think I'd need a new bike, and to go pre-ride the course several times before I commit to the race again. I do think I'll see about keeping the MTB in my schedule next year, but lowkey as strength rides... maybe a lil 50 miler on a course I ride alot (the Front Range 50)...

Back to the roads!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lance is going to get chic'd!

I get a handicap of finishing under two times his time, right? Off to do the Leadville 100 MTB race on Saturday. (Lance has stated he is going for under 6 hours... me? I'm shooting for under 12)

Training/motivation has been interesting since RAW. It has been fun re-learning how to mountain bike, and rediscovering K... my retro-fun Kestrel CSX non-suspension mountain bike. I've had some great rides where I feel in control and light on my wheels, and some "rides" where I have been in completely over my head and had to push K for miles uphill. I feel pretty strong, and should have the endurance still... but I haven't done a ride longer than 7 hours.

We need to be there early tomorrow to pick up our packets, so the plan is to take a look see at as much of the climbing/downhill as is accessable. I expect that will both give me confidence and increase the fear-load at the same time. But...

I'm going to go into this with the have fun attitude... I'm going to go get greasepaint stickers for under my eyes (like baseball players wear... but the stickers not the grease because as Drew pointed out if I use grease it'll be all over my face by the end)... yeah, that's right. I'll look tough! Just let those boyz try to give me flak... I'll give em a glare and they'll offer to push my bike for me!

I plan on chatting people up as we do the climbs, cheering on the fast guys as they come shooting back towards me (it's an out and back course), and just generally having a blast.

It's going to be good times at 10000 feet!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Misc ramblings...

It's been a rough few weeks with work, Drew's appendix, only having 1 car, etc...

But THIS is the week I reestablish my balance. A lil training every day, a solid work day, and some time at home awake... and, it seems to be working!

I am making some small modifications to the end of the season... just not interested in spending 2 days/nights on the bike yet so I'm going to skip the Hoodoo 500 (though it is a most awesome race). Instead I'm planning to do the Ring of Fire, a 24 hour race in Oregon. It will give us a chance to visit with Drew's sister and see the kids and all and be a good, but not overly insane, challenge for me.

2 weeks now until the Leadville 100 MTB race. I've been spending some good time with K (my old school Kestrel CSX bike) and am starting to feel comfortable on him. Still a chicken on downhill switchbacks, and still pretty tired on steep uphills.... but I'll be ready to go out and do my best at Leadville.... and as Michelle says, no mayyet what I get to sleep in a bed the night of the race. Gotta like that!

Finding my balance...


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Trying to drop some weight

This is a quick one.

So it's been 3 weeks since Ironman Coeur d'Alene with maybe 10 days totally off and then back building back up for a week to 10 days. I was entered in the Boulder Peak Triathlon this past weekend and then I was going to do the Xterra Mountain Cup at Beaver Creek next saturday. Anyway, Friday Leslie and I did the work thing and met some surveyor guys at home. We went back down the hill because we had time and I swam, then ran, and mtb while leslie mtb the whole time. At dinner, my lower abs were a touch sore but nothing really of any concern. Saturday, Patty Jo an ultra cycling friend of ours came into town to visit. We all drove up to Boulder so I could get my race packet stuff. On the drive up there though, I just couldn't get comfortable and kept twisting and turning. I felt like I was having hot flashes. Well I still did a short swim in Boulder Res. and we headed back. Same thing on the drive back, twisting and turning and totally uncomfortable. When we got back Patty Jo & Leslie went mtb and I laid on the couch hoping something would change since I really didn't feel like riding. At dinner I didn't really eat anything.

The ultimatum came as soon as we got home from dinner. If you race you stop if the pain changes or gets worse. If the pain gets worse over night we go to the emergency room. If you still hurt when you wake up you don't race. Well, it seemed to feel worse by the time I went to bed and I really couldn't sleep. The alarm goes off, "No, I'm not racing".

We end up going to the emergency room and after a Cat Scan, they tell us it looks like aqute appendicitis and we've paged the surgeon, that was a little bit of a relief since I didn't want to look stupid when they say "looks like a sever case of gas". I get surgery at 7:30 and I'm back in my room by 8:30. Leslie picks me up on Monday in the afternoon. And now I'm in recovery not allowed to do much of anything and really can't do much of anything because I'm still pretty sore.

Anyway, I'm out of commission for 2 weeks or so until things heal up.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ironman Coeur d'Alene (aka: why wasn't Drew with Leslie for RAW)

Alrighty, I don't think I have as gripping a story as Leslie has but it definitely started off like I could.

So to kick things off I had a 7:05 am flight on Thursday before IM CDA. I had be rolling down the road by 4:30 am in order to insure I could carry everything to the check in counter and not stress out some obscure muscle (done that before). About 4:45 am BAM!!! THUMPPP!!!!

Yup, you guessed it Bambi, Bambi's BFF and their boyfriend all decided to jump out in front of me at the same time. The long story shortened for time constraints is the car still worked and I drove it to the airport since I couldn't get a cab for cheap and the bus would have been a nightmare with all the transfers to get out to the airport. I parked it, checked in, and made the 8:40 am flight, only 4 hours behind schedule getting to Coeur d'Alene when all was said and done.

Oh yeah, couldn't get a tow, left a message with the insurance folks since they don't open til 10, out of the service area for a taxi and where is Conifer anyway. Normally I print off directions to the hotel, race sight, flight itinerary and rental car stuff. For some reason it occurred to me that I hadn't printed off rental car information. So at the at the airport I'm leaving info for the insurance folks and hunting for a rental car online since I was borrowing a friends laptop so I could keep track of Leslie through our blogspot. Somehow I managed to reserve a rental car before I took off and everything was peachy. Landed in Salt Lake for a little layover before heading to Spokane and insurance called, got that all squared away or at least ready to be when I got back to work on Tuesday after the race.

So, now I'm in Coeur d'Alene where the original plan was to get my bike together and get in a little ride and run and maybe a swim since I was supposed to be in at 10 am. Instead I road on a back street for about 10 minutes making sure everything still worked then ran about 4 or 5 minutes. Chatted with Tony from Canada, who was suppose to be my roommate for the weekend and had made the reservation for the room but was leaving in the morning because of a work commitment that came up, for a little bit then it was time for dinner where we were meeting up with Andrew from around Boulder (Erie I think) and his family. Tony and Andrew are from Leslie's Trideads online group. I brought the laptop to dinner so we could stop at a place that had wifi on the way back since the hotel room wifi was miserable.

So it's been raining and kind of cool almost the whole spring and summer so far in Denver. Making rather difficult to get aclimated to heat. Lucky for me it wasn't supposed to be hot this weekend and in fact was predicting rain for at least part of the day on race day and 60's for a high. I'm a little sick of rain at this point to say the least. Friday I packed up everything in the car and went down to the lake to swim and then I was going to check out the bike course. Oh man, talk about a little chop on the water. The temperature wasn't too bad 65 or so. Got out of there and went to drive the bike course. It was quiet overcast and I was hoping it would hold out until I got in a ride before it rained. Nope. So I hit a coffee shop to check up Leslie's race and wait for the rain. Ultimately only got in 12 miles before it started to rain hard. After wasting a few more hours on a bunch of little things and nothing productive I ended up driving out to the hill on the run course and got in around 3 miles. Ended up having a late dinner.

I wasn't thrilled with the miles I got in but I guess less is better this close to race day. Same thing happened to me in Boston and ended up taking the day completely off before that and had a good race.

Well, race morning came it and it actually was sunny but had those real thick but puffy clouds around the lake, okay maybe they were a little grey. I debated for awhile where to put my arm warmers and gloves. Coming out of the water or coming off the bike. It was only in the 50's at the start so there was potential to be cold on the bike. I opted for coming off the bike and got in the lake to warm-up a touch. The lake was still choppy. The gun went off and I had a fairly good start and didn't too beat up until the start of the second loop, no clue why, but my right eye socket was sore because of it. My 1st lap was 34 minutes or so and I thought perfect especially with the chop. Well apparently it got worse the second lap and that's why I got beat up so much. So I ended up at 1:13, not what I was planning for but I figured everyone had to be off as well.

The bike started out real nice and was partly sunny. Went through the hills comfortably and was actually passing alot of people on the hills with not much perceived effort on my part. Rolling into downtown I was averaging 21 mph give or take and thought that was about perfect, if I ride even I'll have a great bike split and if I fade a little because it's the second lap I'll still have a decent split for me. Out on the second lap it ended up being very grey and over cast and all I was thinking was don't rain. It was a bit chilly and if it had started to rain I think I would have froze. I came back into town again and saw 5:33 and kind of got excited because I felt really good.

I have to say that in the couple weeks leading up to the race I kept getting this weird feeling where I get a chilly up my back when I thought about running a race and running it fast. It's hard to describe. When I was doing duathlons it happened a few times where I would come off the bike for the second run and I would get this chill and all I could do was just hammer the run. Like you'd go out a pace that normally would be way to fast but it was comfortable and easy and you'd just keep running faster. I would win those races with really fast runs.

Anyway, I handed off my bike and ran into the tent to put on shoes and start running. Took the arm warmers and gloves and put those on while I was running. Out on the course I did the evaluation of everything and basically I felt really good. I settled into a good pace by 3 miles and just tried to stay consistent. I really wanted to go faster but in the back of my head I had that thought of knowing things always change around 20 miles. I probably could have gone faster for the 1st half but I don't know if it would have caught up to me worse or soon. Up until 22 miles I hadn't look at my watch all day. I started thinking if I'm at 9:45 or better I have a shot at 10:15. Which I kind of thought might get me close to a shot at a roll down spot to Kona. I hit 22 in 9:44 and got another chill, and really contiously tried to pick it up. Apparently I slowed down and while I was finish the last 4 miles I made the realization that I had forgot the 365 yards at the end. I ended up running 3:28. That gave me a 10:19:33 and 25th in my age group. At roll down, my age group had 9 slots and 3 rolled. They went to 10th, 11th, and 12th places where 12th was 10:02. As usual, a good day for me is a good day for everyone. I'm a little discouraged by that but it was a 22 minute PR for me, and if I get that same feeling again I think I'm going to let it all hang out and hope I can hold it to the end.

I think I'm getting closer to my potential and maybe I have the nutrition figured out. Okay, maybe I have the nutrition figured out for cool, rainy weather. Next Ironman is St. George May 1st next year.

Race across the West (from the end to the start...)

After almost 104 hours I turned the corner into Moab and the finish line of the Race Across the West… a closed Conoco station. Stopped feeling slightly bewildered as my crew got out of the car and we just started to laugh. This is it. A closed gas station, with no lights on except one dim light over the tanks. No signs, no people, no tables… just a closed gas station. A police car pulls up and asks if everything is okay, and I had to sit down I was laughing so hard. Bill, my crew chief, called us in to race HQ and that was it. Time to go find a shower and a bed for a few hours sleep.

At 104 hours I was unofficial, but I was also the first women to finish the race and only the 3rd person ever to complete it. One guy finished in 2008. Dallas Morris finished officially this year with 21 minutes before the 92 hour cutoff. After the giggles wore off I had to grin… I did it, my first 1044 mile race, and though I was (way) over the cutoff I learned a lot and I am positive I could make the cutoff if I did it again. And, I was only an hour over the RAAM women's cutoff in Taos, I could definitely make that if I want…

The race is billed as 1000 miles, but is really 1044. The last 44 went by as a dream. Slight grades, white concrete road, and nothing to see on the sides (it was the middle of the night after all). My crew vehicle was following me and I rode in the headlights of the car, my bike lights hardly needed. The only thing keeping me awake was the occasional bump which would shoot pain through the sores on my tookus. That and one stop I made, I stopped at the side of the road and Bill and Kate came out and asked if I needed anything. I said I was looking forward to showering and putting on real clothes… Bill said "about that…" and Kate added in "um, we don't have your spare clothes, they went home in the other vehicle"… That was my first hard giggle fest. No clothes? Really?

The time station before Taos was Antonito, CO. I had stayed here and trained on the course a few weeks before the race. The TS was actually at the same hotel I stayed at. And the 20 miles before this… still lovely. Slight downhill with a tail wind. 20+mph, easy spinning, trying to stay light on my seat. Before that… Bite Me pass (well, actually La Manga Pass). The highest climb on the race at over 10000ft. A long rideable but tough climb up from Chama, NM. On this leg I got smart and thought to switch my seats on my bikes so that I could drop my seat height and duct tape two towels onto the seat to try to relieve my tookal pain. (My seatpost on Artemous is the perfect height for me sunk as low as it will fit into the bike… should have chopped off a bit to allow for adjustments!). It helped a bit, I could sit on the climb with a low steady pain.

Chama, NM. I love this town. Coming into it I had some intestinal distress, so I took a long break here. Changed shorts (necessary), drank a lot of Gatorade, ate a lunchable. I knew I was over the cutoff (this is where the race site lists me as a DNF), but I was going to finish this so I took as long as I had to in order to prepare for Bite Me pass. This was also where two of my crew, and our 2nd vehicle, had to leave so they would make their flights… and where the fudge store owner remembered me from my training ride, walked over to where I was sitting in the shade and gave us a pound of fudge to eat at the finish and a warm (sorry I'm disgustingly sweaty) hug.

About my crew. They were the best!!! I rode my bike, yes, but they made it all possible. There was Bill, my crew chief, who was a calm and steady presence. Larry, the leader of the second crew who again was steady, calm, and positive. My sister Christie, who was upbeat and bubbly, and made me feel like I was doing her proud the whole way. Lauren, the voice of experience, who had done this before on a RAAM attempt a few years ago. Vibol, a friend of my sisters who I had never met before but was just awesome, running my handoffs, smiling, and quietly doing what needed done. And Kate + 0.2… who I have not seen in too many years, but picked up again with as if it was yesterday. And her 0.2, the twins to be, who (she says) wiggled when I came by. I cannot really say how important each of these folks were, and how awesome and positive they stayed no matter how much I was sagging. They made the finish happen. I'm racing to help promote the Save the Tata's foundation, and my crew wore their Tshirts and handed out stickers across the path of the route to curious people wondering what we were doing… the shirts received several interesting comments and sparked some really nice conversations with peple affected by Bresat Cancer.

Before Chama there was Pagosa Springs… and before that a 20 mile climb I did after my 3rd nap. This nap was unscheduled, but we decided to take it to ensure the finish, knowing the cutoff was unrealistic by this time. 3 hours on the ground next to the vehicle. Unlike the first two naps, this one wasn't too good as my knees were aching and I just couldn’t turn off. Before the nap, I shocked my crew with 30 miles of speed. I had caught a second (third? tenth?) wind coming out of Durango, I was on terrain I knew, and I was feeling good in the early evening hours. (Yeah, we're already back to the night before). There was a fabulous downhill coming into Durango that I just grinned through, some 20+ miles of down with the sun setting. A perfect pick-me up from the hours before…

The downhill came at the cost of a LONG uphill grind. My bum hurt, I was exhausted, and near the top of this grind was the one place I came close to calling it a day. I was just done, and could not summon the energy to continue. I had broken down into tears a few times in the days before, just out of exhaustion, but never seriously thought to quit. This time I did. Somehow Bill, Christie, and Vibol got me be back on my bike. Fortunately, it was just a short while to the top of the climb and then the euphoria of the downhill to change my attitude. In Cortez (the CP before) I had looked in the mirror and saw the damage to my bum. I called in Kate and showed her and she got on the phone with her Dad the Dr and my coach Michelle (who was in pretty constant contact with my crew throughout the race) and thus began the strategy of creams and bandages. It made riding bearable, but just barely. And, unfortunately, required frequent dressing changes and they would come off whenever I needed to stop for a nature break.

The ride into Cortez was the breaking point for my tookus. The road was old chip and seal and just torture. We pulled my timetrial bike down for a time and I rode that in a weirdly hiked over hip position that offered some relief. The problem started in day 2 somewhere but really got intolerable here. This was also a weird out of it section for me, coming into Cortez I could barely remember the last few hours. Just this nightmare of riding and being pursued by a big grey vehicle with nice people in it.

Before Cortez was Montezuma Creek, and another awesome section was for Mexican Hat to Montezeuma Creek. The scenery was just phenomenal (lots of red rock), we had a bit of overcast in the sky, and there was a little coffee shop. Bill says my head swiveled so fast when I saw the coffee shop they knew they would have to go back to it and this iced latte they got there was just liquid love. So delicious! It was somewhere in the early morning… not but a few hours after I had woken up from my second 3 hour nap atop a mountain just as the sun came up. I had gone to sleep exhausted and sick of heat, climbing, and Artemous and woke up to overcast skies and a view that was indescribably lovely.

Kayenta was the previous checkpoint, and I learned that my crew had saved my life. On the trip into Kayenta from Tuba City the road was pretty busy and Larry, Lauren, and Kate debated whether to follow me or leapfrog me (leapfrogging is allowed during the day). They decided to follow. A pick-up truck was apparently in a rush, came around them tight, and took off their drivers side mirror. Lauren was driving and managed to remain calm and all I knew was that there was a big loud noise, I saw some glittery stuff dash across the pavement behind me, and that was it. The truck sped away, and now that I know what happened… OY! The crew in Kayenta hit the hardware store and from then on they McGuyvered a handheld mirror duct taped to what was left of the car mirror with a fish eye stuck on so they could meet the rules to be my follow car.

Before Tuba City was Flagstaff, and before that we went through Sedona (gorgeous but narrow winding roads) and some hellaceous 4ish mile steep climb. Before Sedona was Cottonwood, and about 20 miles before that my first 3 hours sleep. This one was deep and restful coming 410+ miles into the race. Before Cottoonwood was Prescott and a gorgeous climb there. Red rocky but green, a long one but pretty enough to smile all the way through. The towns blend together before this… the next thing back I really remember was a hot hot 8 mile climb out of the oasis.

The Oasis was a time station that had a pool, and delicious food, and was a major relief as it came after the longest hottest stretch of the race. The temps were in the high 90's and on the asphalt pavement it was just scorching. I spent the better part of a day miserably hot with only the glove of love (a glove stuffed with ice) stuffed in my sports bra, and cooling ties around my neck, and frequent changes of waterbottles to help keep my core temps down. The oasis is also where we passed the other gal left in the race… and from that point on we'd get reports of the gap between us widening. While I was admittedly racing myself and my abilities, it was a small pick-me-up to get these reports.

We had dropped into the desert a few hours before dusk the night before down what they call the glass staircase. This was one of those times that was just special. A smooth road, a steep but not scary descent, incredible views... just made me glad to be a cyclist. Even a rear flat (discovered by an odd noise as my tire went soft but quickly changed out by the ubercrew) could not mar the awesomeness of this descent. The temps rose quickly and I was glad to see the sun go, but I'll leave out the details of that night (mainly because I cannot really remember them… I remember a sweet tailwind, a bad sleepy section, and the sun coming up and the furnace beginning but that's it).

Going back a bit further was California, maybe 50 miles into the race when I had my own police escort. It was on a climb, and I stopped to breath. And a cop came up behind me. And stayed. Whether I was climbing 6mph, or going down at 20+ he stayed back there for some 40 miles. My crew was leapfrogging me, so I would see them every 5 miles or so, but my escort remained. We even stopped briefly at a CP, and he stopped back there too. At some point I was riding alone, and heard a voice over a loudspeaker… "I'm turning off now Ma'am… be safe and have a great day" and he was gone.

And back further, the first 21 miles of the race we were unsupported. I was happy, smooth, giddy and got no flats! Was great to meet up with my crew and settle in for the ride.

And, a half mile from the start. There were people flagging us through the course… but somehow I missed one and was off course less than 5 minutes into the race. Drats! I had to laugh and hope this wasn't an omen for the days to come.

And… the start. A time trial start (with people holding my bike up and a ramp to negotiate down.. .yikes!). They announced my name and I couldn’t stop the grin, the nerves, and all that. It was awesome.

I was terrified pulling into the parking lot, got a hug from Linda (another racer) and we wished each other well. My crew was excited but focused and there was a huge buzz in the air. I did not know if I could do this… I certainly trained for it, but had never done 1044 miles in one stretch. My crew, my hubby (who was off doing an Ironman himself) and my coach were behind me and I knew that. But, that's why I do this. If I know the finish is a definite, then the challenge is not big enough.

So, what comes next? This was the biggest event for this season. I'm healing and playing on my mountain bike now and going to do the Leadville 100 MTB race. Simple goal, don't embarrass myself too much. Then I want to go back to the Hoodoo 500 in September and kick that course's butt. In the long term I think one more year of ultracycling focus, gearing towards the 1300 mile Race Around Ireland in September 2010 and then it's back to the UltraTri scene.

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far) and a big thank you again to my crew, my hubby, my coach, Steven at Kestrel, Dennis, Alec… and everyone else who believes in me… it was a blast and I am still grinning!


Thursday, July 2, 2009


Still very tired...

Suffering a weird bout of PTSD. I wake up in the middle of the night heart racing convinced I just fell asleep on the bike. Realize I am not wearing my bike clothes. Where is my crew? Open my eyes and see the window, the door, and the bed and remember I'm at home asleep. Lay down and gradually fall back to sleep...
Race report should be coming next week.
Looking forward to a 3 day weekend, and being back to myself next week. Will start gradually building up time on the mountain bike. Leadville Silver Rush 50 miler is July 25th, Leadville 100 is August 15th. There are just for fun and giggles and remembering what it's like to be silly on my bike.
Enjoy the long weekend!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm back to work today, sitting a bit gingerly but with a big old tired grin on my face. Even with missing the cutoff, it was a fabulous experience and I think I have places to go with this sport…

My current thought is another 1000 miler next year… now that I've covered the miles I want to try to do them better! Ireland? Slovenia? Centrel Europe? The West again? Not sure… but you can be certain I'll have a tentative plan in the next few weeks!

I'll put together a race report soon, as soon as I can but here is a picture of the best crew ever, and a link to a really nice article:
Keeping on...


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kick Ass and Take Names!!!!


Only a few more hours. We .......................want to say kick some ass and take names!!!

Don't stop until you're in Taos. At this point it's all mental and turning around is not an option.......all you can do is ride towards the sun.

We got your back !!! Go Mom!!!

The training is in and when the going gets tough you know the course .

No Excuses!!!

We love you!!

Let's rock!!!

Drew, Maddy, Gretchen, & Salida

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Here we go!

This is Leslie from Oceanside California...

The cars are packed...

My crew rocks...

We start tomorrow and I'm ready to go! Looking at three hard days of ups and downs, and highs and lows, but ultimately it is 3 days on my bike going through beautiful country celebrating that I am able to even be able to be doing this.

Another huge thank you to my crew and I'll talk to you on the other side...

Christie will be tweeting updates...

Here we go!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A big thank you!

Still spazzy today, but also so grateful to the folks who are making this race happen for me...

  • Drew: Hubby extroidenaire who has put up with my long training and grumpiness and believes without a doubt that I will do this.
  • Michelle: Coach extroidenaire, brain behind my torture sessions but also a fabulous mentor, enforcer of rest days, and believer.
  • Bill, Kate, Lauren, Christie, Larry: The CREW! The folks who will be out there with me, and who will both drive and nuture me to the finish. I sure hope this is going to be a fun week for them!
  • Steven from Kestrel: who made Artemous happen
  • Dennis from Denver Spoke: who made Artemous fit
  • Alec from Big Ring: who makes Artemous work
  • Jasmine from Save the Tata's: laughter heals!
  • My fur family: who rush to welcome me home no matter how sweaty I am

and all my friends and co-workers who have listened to my tales, dealt with my moods, and helped me to remember what it is all really about.



Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I am not panicking...


I am quite calm. And, if I just don't think about it maybe I won't realize the race starts in just a week...

More later this week when I can run two thoughts together...


OCN: Oh who really cares, I've ridden a lot of miles, but is it enough?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Big test weekend

So I've been quiet for a little bit now. I've been really concentrating on upping my mileage and being consistent in May. This past weekend was my first test in a while and overall I think it went real well. I was entered in the Olympic distance on saturday and the Xterra on Sunday, something I've done for 4 years now. At dinner with Leslie on Thursday night, I started thinking that maybe doing the Deuceman (1/2 iron distance) instead of the Olympic might be a good idea considering I was going to do an extra 50 or so miles after the Olympic and then run another 4 miles. And after the Xterra I was going to run 13 miles and ride another 25 before heading home. Leslie said of course it's a good idea and so we came up with a new plan if I could switch into the long course. I kind of had anxiety over this decision and kind of got nervous even though I knew it probably was a better idea and about perfect timing with 3 weeks to go til IM Coeur d'Alene. I finally got to Show Low, AZ after much rain, sun, rain, and some short lived warmth. I went to check in half hoping they wouldn't let me "upgrade", some would probably call it crazy, since most in the line were "downgrading". Well, gave the lady a little extra money and the switch was complete. Over to the hotel to switch wheels and eat and watch the Nuggets get crushed.

I woke and headed over to lake. Set up and basically was ready to go pretty quickly. "Set, Go" and were off. A pretty clean start and felt pretty strong the whole way, almost fast. Come out and off to a clean transition and bike mount. I usually have one of the top transitions no matter what the distance. Out hammering on the bike and noticing there really isn't any wind. That was short lived as we turn east and end up having some kind of wind the rest of the way back. I'm pushing 25 for quiet a bit and get a little concerned I'm blowing out my legs. On the downhills I'm going 35+ and getting my doors just totally blown off. I really don't think I'm going that slow but apparently I am. We come into Taylor and turn to come back to Show Low, this is when the real climbs or gradual grinds start. As soon as we start up the 1st one, 4 guys are right in front of me. By the time we get to where the Olympic distance merges I've past back 7-8 speed demons that can go up hill. I come into transition and get out pretty quick again and actually feel pretty good considering how hard I pushed the bike. The run went pretty well the first lap probably because of all the Olympic folks I had to pass. The second lap went pretty good for 4 miles or so and then around 10 miles I really started to feel it and faded hard. The temperature was about perfect mid 60's just didn't get the heat aclimation I was hoping for. I ended up S-32:56 B-2:34:49 R-1:46:29 for a 4:57:20. That got me 21st overall and 5th in my age group. Not a great day but I took on probably one package of those Gu Chomps and one water bottle of water on the bike. I know it wasn't enough and trying to dial in my nutrition was one of the major goals. At the finish I was a little baked, but the skies were getting pretty black and so I packed up and headed back to the hotel to try and ride and run a little more. I got back and it just started pouring so I headed out to get something to eat and recover, which was probably the smarter idea anyway. By 4 it had stopped raining and was getting semi dry. I drug myself out and did some loops past the park entrance and the hotel to get in 17 miles and then ran close to 3 miles. Both felt real good considering how fried I was earlier. Went back to dinner and mulled over narrow tires or fatter tires for the Xterra. I eventually stuck with the narrow tires which I think saved me some major grief on the mtb course.

Sunday I awake to another perfectly clear day and head over to the lake once again. Long story short get all set up in seconds and we go. Another scrum in the swim. I'm not so sure why the Xterra swims are so crazy and knock down grind outs but they are. It opened up by the 1st turn and I started passing people back at this point. Another clean transition and out on the mtb. This is the first time I've been on this course where it was wet or even slightly moist, there were puddles everywhere, normally it is a choking dust bin. Started up the gradually climb and it got really slippery and the mud just really caked up. I past a few people that were getting gummed up and their tires wouldn't role. When we got to the up hill rock garden the 5 guys that had just past me were off their bikes. I took the opportunity to run up and past them. I think I got a good gap which I knew I'd need for the downhill, since I've been over the front of the bike a couple times here. I managed to only loose one place where I usually loose 4 or 5 on the downhill. Most guys are physco's downhill, I prefer to not crash and get hurt. From here it's pretty much a smoker back to transition. Apparently people recognize me and just after leaving transition I pass 3 or 4 guys and I say "come on guys lets run this out" and one responds with "I knew I had to get ahead of you before the run". I pass 6 or so folks which is good for 17th. My legs felt very good on the run and I didn't have any deep down tired feeling in my legs on the bike which would be fairly normal after a 1/2 iron distance. The numbers, S-14:15 B-1:25:19 R-37:05 for 17th overall and 5th in my age group. Same drill as yesterday, pack up, clean the bike, and head back to the car to get in another run before the rain. I got in 3.5 mile or so and felt fairly good although I wasn't running very fast. Got in the car and decided to wait on food til Snowflake or Holbrook. By Holbrook it was raining and thundering like crazy again.

It rained pretty much the whole way back last night and it was raining still this morning when I woke up. Overall I think I got in exactly the perfect weekend and I'm not sore just a touch tired probably more from the driving. I really feel like I'm ready and due for a good IM in Idaho if I can get my nutrition figured out better. As much as I hope it is hot, I actually hope it ends up not being hot since I haven't really had any heat training in several weeks and that seems to be the X factor in me getting my nutrition figured out................I think. I got the nutrition down once or at least it worked, but I haven't been able to get it right since. It wasn't good, maybe it was the week or so leading up to the race that was the difference............Not exactly sure. So that's what I'm working on from here on.

Anyway, I know the details are kind of boring but I have an Xterra this Saturday and then 2 weeks of tapering and obsessing over food on the bike.

Til next time

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spending some time on the course

So, this weekend was the last BIG training weekend for me for Race Across the West (coming up on June 17th) and stacked in with a big 3-Day weekend last weekend of 513 miles. But this weekend was me, girl alone, vs. the route that crosses Colorado.

I headed out to Antonito on the south east corner of Colorado Friday night. Got in to my hotel around 9:30, asked the innkeep if I could leave my car there and told him I'd be back on Monday. Quickly to bed and the alarm started going off at 6:00, though my pedals didn't turn til 6:45.

Saturday: Got up and pulled Artemous from the car. Loaded a backpack with raingear, credit card and ID, food, cell phone, and my new SPOT device. My plan was to ride the RAW course backwards to Durango, CO and spend the night there. Started out with a 20 mile gradual climb, followed by 5 miles of steepness to cross La Mangia Pass (or what I like to call Bite Me Pass). The weather was cool, but not too bad and my attitude was pretty good. Went down the other side (WHEE!) into Chama, NM. There's a steam railway between the two (tourist attraction) that unfortunately crosses the road a few times. WHAM. Hit one crossing at 45mph hard and I felt it. Stopped and saw my rear wheel was no longer true. Loosened the brakes and groaned a bit but was overall glad the damage wasn't worse. Saw a big plume of black smoke and cars pulled over on the road and it turns out this was opening day for the railroad.

Stopped in Chama for a cappuccino and watched the sites... townsfolk dressed in historical clothes and street fair atmosphere.

Left Chama to head towards Pagosa Springs. The route here was small rollers for about 20 miles then big rollers (a 1, 3, 4,and 5 mile climbs). Very pretty, lots of baby cows and horses. Got into Pagosa Spings around 2:00 and decided to have some pizza. As I was leaving the skies were starting to darken and that when things started to get interesting. The next 50+ miles were rain, hail, rain, and more rain.

Missed a turn, which gave me a shorter route than planned, but now I got to go across another pass with lots of dead deer on the side of the road. Scenic? Would have been without the deer and water. Made it to Durango at 7. (155 miles, 10:40 ridetime, 12 hours real time) Checked into the hotel and first showered the bike, then myself, and ordered in some Chinese delivery. Watched the game, and Drew (who got a late start) drove in around 9:30.

Sunday: All night it rained. Drip. Drip. Crap. And, my nose decided to start in on the fun. Drew decided to head back to Denver at 6:30 am and see if he could find dry land. I sat in bed like an abandoned puppy... wanting to go but knowing I needed to stay. My head was stuffed up, throat sore, ears sore, and did I mention it was raining.

Decided to go easy on Sunday, waited until the rain stopped at about 11 and rode the route out towards Cortez, CO. Misread the map and after an hour I was really discouraged by how hard I was working on a downhill. Looked again and it was uphill. Okay. That's better. Crested the hill and found I had to work the downhill too due to a strong West wind. Gave up after 24 miles, turned around and flew up the hill, then down 18 miles into Durango. Ate well, to bed early, tomorrow was the long day back to Antonito. (51 miles, 4:01 ride time)

Monday: Up and out the door by 6am. 5 mile climb out of Durango then made the turn (I missed on Sat) and did a nice roller section followed by 30 mile easy grade climb back to Pagosa Springs. Then the big rollers... uh oh. BIG storm brewing behind me. Found a RV park store right as the storm broke. Hung out there for awhile chatting with the owner... he has cats... lots of them... He started creeping me out asking why a "lil thing like me is out here all alone" so I thanked him for the shelter and headed out. Now the little rollers, the sun came back out, and I'm back to Chama. Stopped at the same gift shop for coke and cheetoes (dreaming of real food, but it is Mem Day evening in Chama NM). The store owner says that if my crew stops there he will give them some free fudge for me to eat at the finish of RAW.

Time to climb. 20 gradual miles, 3ish steeper, drop 5, then 5 miles to the top of Bite Me pass. Here we go. Hit the steep section and the rain drops start. Hit the first summit (10,100) and it starts to snow.
CRAP! I stop and assess the situation and I'm just screwed. Nowhere to go but continue. The drop was cold, but the next climb warmed me up.

But then badness. As I dropped off Bite Me pass my hand and feet froze, as did my brakes. I could barely control the bike, going 45mph. Finally stopped it and pulled off my wet gloves. This helped thaw my hands a little, I pulled my arm warmers down over them and continued on.
It's not like I had any choice.

Finally made if off the steep section and then it was an easy cruise into Antonito (20+ miles, 20+MPH). My feet were ice blocks, and I was a shivering mess when I hit the hotel at 8:30pm. Asked the innkeeper if there was any food around, and the restaurant nextdoor had just closed but he called and they threw together a cold ham sandwich for me (bless them! Wonder bread, American cheese and ham never tasted so good). Showered and crawled into bed.
169 miles, 12:34 ride time, 14+ hours road time.

Tuesday: Woke up with a good solid cold. Ears, nose, head all stuffed up. Coughing, sneezing, the works. SICK SUCK! Decided to ride the last climb towards Taos easy, just so I could feel it. Then, coast back to the hotel. (45 miles, 3:10). Drove the last part of the course into Taos. Had a good lunch (poached eggs on Spanish rice... YUM! I wish I knew how to make poached eggs!). Thought about riding the tail of the course but a look at the sky changed my mind fast. Bought a cool amber bracelet to remind myself where I am going... then drove home.

Now: Hmm... got a pretty serious spring cold going full steam today...
glad to have seen/felt most of the last 275 or so miles of the course...
really really glad I will be racing with a crew... Artemous will be visiting the shop again tomorrow for a cleanup, wheel truing, and 170 cranks... time to recover/taper/start the freak...3 weeks til race time...

Thanks for reading...
OCN: 5784 miles this year...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The leash...

You may have noticed the new links on the left... they are my virtual leash. Drew got me a Spot, which will track where I am and update a map every 10 minutes or so. Should be really handy for RAW, and also for this weekend. I'm doing a 4 day ride down on the bike course and will be solo for a good bit of it, the Spot will help give us all piece of mind.

Another new link is the twitter feed. Christie will be tweeting during the race, and they'll show up here. If there is time/service she'll also be doing blog posts but the twiittering will give more real time updates.

Training update. Yup, doing alot of it. I had a 3 day back to back long ride weekend last weekend. It was tough, but good. Artemous (2) is sweet!

I'm pretty tired, but can see the end of the big training and I think that bright light in the distance is the train that is RAW screaming towards me.

I'll leave you with a picture of my heart... or at least 4 big pieces of it...
OCN: 5351 miles so far this year...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Recovery week...

I've been enjoying a nice recovery week. The pups are having fun playing with each other, I've discovered another yummy recipe (a cold shrimp/avacado/tomoato/lime mixture on fresh wheat tortillas), the house is gradually becoming clean again... and... tomorrow is Saturday and I get to turn off the alarm and sleep in as long as I want!!! It's been too many weeks since I have done that.
Artemous 2 should be arriving soon (thank you Kestrel!), and I will be all ready for my next big training push. May 16th to 26th looks like a doozy and by the end of that set I should be ready to go. The race is less than 6 weeks out... have much to do to get ready!
OCN: 4676 this year... yeah, it's been a seriously low mileage week!

Monday, May 4, 2009

24 Hours of Misery, I mean Davis

Short story on the race this weekend... I got 2nd of 4 women in incredibly bad conditions (50's and solid rain through the day which finally relented at night, only to start up again a half hour before the finish). I wasn't pleased with my total mileage (~290), and I'm not thrilled by how badly I hurt today (from cramping on the downhills in the wet cold), but at least it was a really good mental toughness race.

The long story...

We arrived at Winters, CA on Friday morning and it was raining. Had a nice lunch, went to the hotel to unpack our bike boxes, got in a short ride (1 hour in, oh yeah, the rain), checked in at the race and stashed our bike boxes under someone's RV (they said we could), good dinner and to bed early.

Woke up Saturday morning and looked out the window and it was DRY! Thus the debate began. What to wear. The skies looked like they were clearing, forecast was 30% chance of rain. Hmm. Drew was doing the 12 hour race, and I was doing the 24. We decided to start in normal tights and a light rain coat, and stash rain pants in a drop bag half way through the day loop in case conditions changed. They started the race in a TT format, I was at 6:34:45, and Drew at 6:35. Time to go!

Rode easily and happily through the orchards. This is going to be a great day. A big 162.4 mile day loop to start. Hit some climbs, but it's all good. Starts misting a bit. Crossed over a cool dam.
Somewhere in the first half hour it started raining for good. No worries. One gal screamed by me, and another was right in front of me on the first big climb of the day. I tried to keep her in sight, then caught up to her on the downhill. We introduced ourselves (she's Patty Jo... an older gal with a huge ultracycling resume and lots to talk about) and spent the next flat section chatting (you are allowed to ride with another racer for 15 minutes and we took advantage of it). Hit the next climb and we repeated her getting ahead, me catching up on the down.

The course was truly scenic, going through the mountains next to Davis. I was soaked, and cold but trying to have fun. My whole body cramped up on the downhills even as I tried to spin easy to stay loose. Sucked down the Nuun but the elecrolyes couldn't save my muscles from the cold rest/wet/work triad. Got to the first aid station (~50 miles in) and enjoyed a PB&Honey sandwich. There was a triathlon going on so got too see the pointy end of the bike leg as I continues on (getting passed by guys wearing next to nothing tri suits and slowly turning blue). Came to the biggest climb on the course (~10 miles with some good steep pitches) and shivered my way up it.. Really made the wrong call on clothes.

The 2nd aid station was about 3 miles from the top. Got there and the aid station folks stared dressing me in trash bags, then Patty Jo walked over. She'd had enough and called it a day. Pulled out a bag of clothes and the three of them stripped me to shorts and a sports bra and then proceeded to dress me in all of Patty's dry clothes. From this point on I could not complain about the cold! If anything I was too warm on the climbs (and she's a bit taller than me so I looked a bit like a papoose). She and her crew offered to be my support crew (Drew and I were part of the few soloists without crews) and of course I said yes! Headed up the rest of the climb and they waited for me at a tricky turn on the downhill.

Saw them ever hour or so after that, I rode on staying warm and laughing at the absurdity of the weather. Came an intersection at around 100 miles and Patty Jo's car was there and she and Drew got out. Eh?? He missed a turn, got in an extra 20 miles, and when he finally got on course he ran in to Patty Jo and a few other support vehicles at this intersection and asked for a ride home. Patty Jo said she was crewing for Leslie, he had a "My Leslie?" minute and her crew went back in another vehicle and now she and Drew were my crew.

Downhill. 5 mile climb. Aid station (with Cup of Noodles). Turn to what should have been 30 miles of loveliness but was spoiled by a headwind, bad pavement, and the ever present rain. Finally made it in off the day loop in just under 13 hours. Yikes. I was WAY behind plan.
Took a long (30 minute) stop to change back into my own clothes (had my nice rain gear in the car), at some veggie soup, lubed up Artemous and headed out on the first of many night loops. The night loops were 18.4 miles and pretty quiet as many folks dropped out or switched over to the 12 hour race. The only gal left, Sandy, was miles ahead of me. She was trying to qualify for RAAM (400 miles at a 24 hours race), was local and trained on the course, had a great crew, and came at the race ready to do it... conditions got her as well and while she had a better day than me she did not make it.

So the night loop. Pretty much flat, 2 sections (2 miles each) of icky pavement, one section (4 miles) into a headwind. The rain stopped and most of the night was dry... by 5am the roads were even dry except for some puddles... All in all not bad. Around 4am I started getting sleepy. Shut my eyes on the bike a few times and jolted awake. Came in off that lap and tried to drink a shot of instant coffee with sugar (BLECH)... knew I needed to so something because falling asleep while riding wasn't the thing to do. Got a Vivarin from someone... Did the trick! Went back out still sleepy but able to stay awake.

I held my focus pretty well through the race, never just pedaled it in, but was never able to really make up the speed I had lost. Went out on my last lap with intent, crossed the 13 mile mark at 6:34 (you get credit for the last mile you make), and then the skies opened up again.
I was drenched and just had to laugh as I soft pedaled the last 5.5 miles to the finish.
Changed clothes, boxed up the bike, and spent the day travelling to get home last night. I'll unbox Artemous tonight and do some serious cleaning.

Another not so confidence building kind of day. I was 50+ miles short of my goal, 30+ short of my last 24 hour race in February. This week is focused on recovering. The weekend after next is a good challenge weekend (back to back 200 milers) and I can only hope the weather will be good, I can have good solid rides, and will start thinking about how I am going to rock at RAW and stop calculating just how little I can sleep so that I can make the cutoffs...

Tired and flat but hoping the optimism will return, Leslie

OCN: 4660 this year
And.. how to not smile at least a little at how maddy is spending her days at Drew's office...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

More reason Leslie couldn't resist those eyes

Like I promised a few more pictures after a couple days of settling in. She has come out of her shell now and really likes to play and run. I'm sure we'll have more next week as the yard training gets in full swing. The other two have accepted her pretty well, especially Salida. On Tuesday Leslie was starting to get Maddy used to the yard and Gretchen wanted to play with her and might have been a little rough. Salida came over and put her paw around Maddy and basically stood over her to protect her from Gretchen. Salida used to do the same type of protecting when Trixie would get into the invisible fence a little too far since she had lost her hearing.

Til next time, Drew

Monday, April 27, 2009

How could you resist these eyes?

I couldn't!
Spending alot of time on my bike...
OCN: 4344 this year...

Our new addition

So Leslie has been squerming for a new dog ever since we had to put Trixie to sleep. It was looking like this summer after her Race Across the West might be the perfect time. Well, of course she can't stop looking at websites and found BigDogsHugePaws. We now are the parents
of Maddy Anna (formerly Anna), she is half Mastiff/half German Shepard, oh yeah she's going to be big. She currently is fascinated by snow and it just so happens to be snowing again today. The other two (Gretchen and Salida) are still not sure what to make of her but are tolerant at this point. Maddy is still quiet shy with them and growls a little. The cats (Kisa and Shu) are having nothing to do with her at this point. So all in all not to bad for 12 hours into her new home, oh and only one accident so far. I'll put up more pictures as she gets more comfortable.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boston '09

This years' training has been going pretty well, the weather has been cooperative and for the most part warm. I've only had a couple long runs that didn't go to well but they were 2 months back. This all changed with 2 weeks to go, it snowed 4 times in the last 2 weeks either on track days or key days. So nothing new when the predictions were snow on Friday and Saturday, except we were to leave on Saturday. Our flight was supposed to be at 11 so we figured we'd leave around 8 to anticipate problems. Checked in way early and we were cool..........nope, flight showed on-time on the departure schedule but was really an hour behind by the time we actually took off. Suck, because we had an hour layover in Cincinnati, that turned into 3 hours of waiting and we finally got into Boston 2 hours late.

Sunday, the plan was get up and head downtown to get my number and check out the expo and get back for the brunch and get off my feet. Came close to doing that although it took longer than planned. Joe wasn't running on Sunday so I thought I'd follow his lead and not bother with the 2 miles I had planned on besides I had been on my feet longer than I wanted already.

So the race........my goal was 3 hours or under if possible. The last thing Julia said was go out slow, hold back. I kind of had no choice this year since I was in the 4th corral and last year I was in the 1st corral. The long story short I went out slow, 7:10, but made up for it and hit 2 miles in 13:45. Some how I hit 5k in 21:00 and 10k in 42:00. I felt pretty good at this point and tried to get through the miles without over extending myself since I knew how mile 15 up through heart break hill and mile 18 or so killed me last year. Got through but my quads were starting to ache. At 20 miles (2:18 or so), my quads were screaming, but some how I kept gutting it out from there. If I could hit a 42 minute last 10k I would be close to breaking 3 hours. Well, 47 and some change is what ended up happening, closer to 8 minutes a mile, but wayyyy better than the walking I did last year in the last 10k.

It's the Friday after and this is the 1st day my quads aren't sore to the touch, definitely sore deeper in the muscle. I been on my bike 3 days and in the pool twice, so I would say that is some kind of active recovery. This weekend looks to be cool (50 or so) and some rain, so not sure if I'll be getting alot of long miles on the bike this weekend but I'll try. I may start running real easy Saturday but not real long yet.

Plan now is to ramp up the miles for the month of May, then I have the Deuces Wild Tri Fest May 30-31st, which I'm doing an Olympic distance one day and an Xterra the next. The next weekend I'm doing an Xterra in Farmington, NM and then 2 weeks to fine tune and taper for Ironman Coeur d'Alene. As demoralizing as 70.3 New Orleans was, Boston was encouraging. I feel like if I get my climbing legs on the bike and I get my nutrition right, Coeur d'Alene could be a good race.

Sorry I don't have more pictures. I should have pictures after the weekend of the house with most of the snow melted maybe even our new addition to the pack.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Bonding with Artemous

Ride report…

Since Drew is running Boston this weekend, I took Wednesday off to get my long ride in. I was planning to do it Friday, but the weather forecast was grim (snow) for Friday and 70's for Weds. A no-brainer!

I picked up Artemous last week (a beautiful new Kestrel RT-900) and had gotten 180 miles on him but this was to be our big bonding day. (Pictures will be posted here whenever we manage to get me, Artemous, and a camera to gather at the same time… a picture of her frame is a few posts down). Tuesday night I installed her fancy seat post, mounted headlights and a taillight, packed a bag to give to Drew, and tried to think of anything I was forgetting. To bed at 10…

The alarm went off at 3am and up I go. Ate a muffin and drank some decaf coffee (I'm caffeine tapering for my race May 2nd) and hit the car. Drove to a park n ride in Aspen Park, which is between my house and Denver at 7600 feet or so. Put on a ton of clothes, turned on the lights, and headed out at 4am. It was chilly, but not too cold. A bit spooky to be out on the deserted roads. A few lights on in houses as people were beginning to stir but mostly quiet. I cruised down the hill, but pretty cautiously because there's a lot of gravel left from last week's snow, plus the faster I went the colder I felt. Down to Denver and then looped out to Parker. Watched the sunrise, and ate some Gu chews (blueberry pomegranate, YUM!). Saw my odometer as the sun came up and I was definitely cruising slowly… under 14mph. Picked up the pace. At 9:30 I was definitely getting warm so I stopped by Drew's office, drank a Boost (sorta yuck but okay), dropped off my outer layers and lights. Had pulled my average to 14.5, so 5:30 in I was at mile 80.

I added a second pair of bike shorts. On Saturday's ride I tenderized my bum (new bike seat, not quite the same position) and the second pair really did the trick. My bum was tired by the end of the day, but not raw.

Headed South for my next leg. Unfortunately the wind had come up, straight from the south. 3 hours later I was barely 30 miles in. Stopped and ate a nutter butter, pushed another 30 minutes then decided to turn around. Flew down the road barely pedaling. Got a bit sleepy actually since I wasn't working hard. Stopped for a drink and Resse cups and kept on. Decided to do some laps on the road around a state park so that I could at least phase the wind… phase 1: easy pedaling, phase 2: stiff crosswind, phase 3: work as hard as I could, phase 4: stiff crosswind. Did 2 laps and then back to Drew's office. Stop by McDonald's for a Southern chicken sandwich (a gift from the bike gods… would never touch it in real life but it is the thang on the bike) and chocolate chip cookie. I was 11:05 in, so I grabbed my lights and agreed to meet him at 8:30 in Morrison.

Had the wind at my back for awhile but then it switched up and came out of the West. The rest of the ride was wind, hills, grr… repeat. The sun went down and I put on my lights and knew I was less than a half hour to go. Had to make a few little laps in the parking lot, but I managed to hit my 15 hours… only 214 miles but they were hard fought and I'm pleased with them. 16:30 including stops.

Artemous is a champ! We went full carbon (the frame of course, but also seatpost, handlebars, and all…) and he dampens out the road noise beautifully. Decided to not put on aerobars (which looks weird to me) which gives me a lot of nice positions on the bars. I'm learning to ride in the drops too… All in all I'm pretty tired today, and somewhat ravenous, but I have no real aches and pains.

I know these long rides are supposed to be tough, and it was in a good way. But, I have a real hard time wrapping my head around doing it 6 times. I expect RAW to take around 90 hours… I can’t quite fathom that today. Next week is a pretty long training week (the highlight on the schedule says "LONG WEEK ALL WEEK" in caps and everything) and then I've got 24 Hours of Davis on May 2nd. May looks to be a doozy, and hopefully by the end of it I can truly envision crossing the finish line strong.

Snowing like crazy here today… glad I did this on Weds!


OCN: 3757 miles this year

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

70.3 New Orleans and the state of affairs

Well.....been back from New Orleans for a little over a week now. Getting set to run the Boston Marathon for the 2nd time, running is going well although not necessarily according to plan. Oh yeah, how did the race go? Well as they say "a picture says a thousand words" so here is about 3000 words, a photo with about 10 miles to go and maybe 1 mile to go. A more appropriate photo for how the day went and how I felt is something more like the third photo.

After evaluation and assessment on the way home we have decided this was the perfect example of how not to prepare to race. It all started out getting packed up on Thursday night, this turned into being late leaving for work on Friday. Then the boss wanted to do a site visit on a potential new project which took me out of the office until the time I was planning to leave to meet Leslie to go to the airport. Dragging our stuff into the airport and getting it checked (Leslie brought her bike as well since she needed to get some miles in) it dawned on me I forgot my goggles. No big deal just need to buy some new ones. We get into New Orleans smoothly and Leslie got a pretty good deal on a hotel right on Bourbon street, pretty cool. Ouch, no parking anywhere. So we check in and find the hotel has parking but it's $25 a day not including tax, so much for the deal at the hotel. The front desk lady doesn't have a room for us and ends up pulling strings and puts us in a suite, how Sweet!

We get up the next morning put the bikes together and then head over to the race hotel to get my number etc., miss the 1st meeting by 10 minutes, so we have to wait for another 45 minutes (mandatory meeting to get your number). We get some coffee cake at Starbucks and wait and pick up some goggles in the expo. Back to the hotel, pack up to head out to the lake and check out the race course. Have to call down to get the car pulled around, that will take 20 minutes, so wait some more. We get downstairs and no car. Tell the dude we need our car and he takes off running across the street to get it, so much for calling ahead. Long story short we get out to the lake after taking a few wrong turns maybe around 2. Leslie is going to get in 4 hours of riding so I decide to ride 1st since she has the map of the course then I'll do a run and swim and wait for her at transition. That all works out pretty well. Feel real strong on the bike, the run felt good not lethargic, and the water was beautiful just the right temperature. Check my bike in and I think I'm set.

We head back to the hotel to clean up and try to eat a semi early dinner. Drop the car with the bell boy and try to schedule a time for the car to be out front in the morning, we scrap that idea and decide I'll take the shuttle in the morning and Leslie will ride out.

Now at this point it really hasn't occurred to me that I had planned on getting something for breakfast as well as put some GU on my bike and part of the point of eating semi early was to get in a snack before I fell asleep and we hadn't done any of them as well as had no lunch.

Anyway, I think I slept 2 hours, we had a false alarm on the smoke detector at 2:30 am which basically scared the livin' S..t! out of me. I don't think I slept after that. Well, I had thought I might be able to pick up some little donuts on the way over to the shuttle, no such luck. Get to the transition and all set up and make the walk all the way to the swim start (about 1 mile), I happen to be in one of the last waves this time so I start over an hour after the pros. Long story short, I have an okay swim, a spectacular 1st 30-35 miles on the bike but it is very clear at this point that there weren't enough aid stations on the bike let along Gatorade. In fact, I ended up getting water bottles that other people had discarded and had been refilled. So I had not had enough liquid or food (Gu or otherwise) and the trip back to transition just crushed me, the wind normally something I can get through pretty well just kept slowing me down and had nothing to fight back with. I hit transition with a chance to salvage things if I ran even just a little. Pulled out of transition and made it about 1/2 a mile before I was just done. I gutted out what I could but because my electrolytes were all jacked I just never had a chance get enough in on the run to recover.
So we learned: must have drinks on bike and must have Gu or gels on bike especially if there is any chance it will be hot and humid (which it was, in fact warmest day of the year so far for them). Nothing new here, knew all this before but I guess things just worked against we and I wasn't focused on what was needed.
Moving on, this coming Monday is Boston, I feel good, running is progressing nicely, and I guess you can say I'm tapered for it. 3 hours is the goal.
After Boston, I have a few races (an olympic and a couple Xterra) to try and get the itch out and around a month and a half before Ironman Coeur d'Alene. I always want to kick ass at my Ironman races but this one in particular I'm feeling like I could get it all figured out. I need to if nothing else. Besides Leslie is going to be finishing as the 1st woman finisher in RAW (Race Across the West) on Saturday and what would be a more perfect way to end the week than to end it with me qualifying for Hawaii on my umpteenth try.
Ciao for now

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March ends...

Waiting on the last few kinks to be worked out on this (PRETTY!):

So I can do more of this:

To be ready for this:


OCN: 3073 miles this year...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An auspicious number!

Today I saw my race number for Race Across the West is a truly auspicious number!


It reads the same upside down and right side up!!!

Still putting in some good miles, working on my climbing, and waiting (im)patiently for the new ride... which should be ready to fit on March 28th!!!!


OCN: 2549 miles so far this year!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another 1000 mile month...

1005 to be exact, whew!

The weather in Colorado has been just perfect for training on the bike!

Started some focused climbing training yesterday... I have alot of work to do. Coach Michelle sent me a plan this month that makes my legs ache if I look at it too long. Just taking it one ride at a time and hoping to see improvements.

No news yet on when the new bike will arrive... I'm hoping too see it soon. It will be light, and fast, and just darned pretty and will certainly give me speed all by itself!

Keeping on riding...


OCN: 2065 this year...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Drew and Sebring

Ha, second post in 2 or 3 weeks, craziness. So Sebring was last week as you may have seen from Leslie's post. I went and rode mostly because we were there for Leslie and it's always easier for me to do the event than to watch it. Started off pretty good, some crazy paceline for the 1st 3 laps on the track. Eventually got close to the front and it was a tandem setting the pace with 3 recumbants following closely. I sat there for a lap and a half or so and then tried to prepare for the exit off the track and no more drafting. I'd say once on the open road the lead pack was 60 or so and then I was off the back easily 300 yards. After 30 miles the lead group was out of sight and there were 2 guys just up the road that had passed me and were solo, so I figured I was maybe in the top 5 or so maybe, didn't really matter. Hit the turnaround and filled my bottles back up and asked how many solo RAAM folks had been through, 19, no f'n way, they're all drafting. I was a little put out by that while I was riding back but put it out of my mind since I wasn't really planning to win coming in not to mention it is the middle of February. Got back to the track and was feeling a little fried, took on most of a coke and part of a sandwich and headed out for a few laps of the smaller loop. Coming on my second loop I saw leslie heading out and was wondering if she was just starting her 1st small loop or what. The issue really should have been maybe I rest, na. So back out and see leslie at the end but a little farther out of the turnaround than last time, hmmmmm. I stopped and pulled out the chair and sat in the shade for maybe 30-45 minutes, leslie came in stopped and grabbed some coke. I said I was only going to do a few more laps and probably pack it in, I just was fried and didn't see much point in tapping/taxing my body so early in the season for a race that I really wasn't racing. So I went out and rode with leslie for part of the next lap and I think I did one more then waited for her to come in. Leslie put on her lights and I said I would wait til she got back and on the track before I moved the vehicle and got more coke & ice. She left and yelled at me a couple minutes later as she went by on the track already. Anyway, long story short I got in a hair over 170 miles and although I wasn't too happy with it and how I felt it was probably wiser considering I have another long season planned again.

Back home I was a bit tired on Monday but needed to get in the 16 mile run I missed on Sunday since we were travelling back. Ouch, that run hurt and my calves are sore as a result, the first time this year. I don't think it was the extra 2 miles from last weeks 14 miles to this weeks 16 miles, probably more like the tired legs from the ride. After all my longest ride was 60-70 miles going into that 170. Now by the end of the week my legs are coming around I think and we'll see how they do tomorrow at the 10 mile race I have. At tomorrow's race I'm hopeing for 7 minute mile average or better and I will feel like I'm on track.

Oh, so I owe you photos of the new cross bike.

And while I'm at it I'll show the new wheels on the Pinarello that Leslie gave me for Christmas.

Well til next time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sebring 24 Hour road race

It was a pretty good day…

Race started at 6:30am with 3 laps around the race track (3.7 miles) of fast and furious and I tried not to look at the 21mph my odometer was showing… chatted with some folks, watched the fog rolling around and the sun coming up. After that we went out on a 90+ mile jaunt through the countryside. I settled in and tried to ride steady but comfy. Very cool riding in shorts and a jersey and being warm! Very cool seeing all the orange groves and watching folks harvesting the oranges. Sipped on InfinIT and at 2 hours ate a payday. Pretty yummy! Only bad is that my bike is creaking. No idea what. Stopped at one point and reseated the front wheel but that didn't fix it. Creak creak creak.. Every pedal stroke. Old bike in humidity?

Turn around (bananna) and back and oh, there's some wind. That's okay, I'm used to wind. Kept on riding and enjoying the day. I haven’t been riding my aerobars enough in training lately so I could only handle 15 minutes at a stretch before I got uncomfortable. Need to work on that! Good news is that I stood up for a few minutes on a hill and sat back down and my creak was GONE! Sweet! Put in a earbud and enjoy the tunes. There were a bunch of hawks riding the thermals and they were sweet to watch!

Miles 90-100 seemed to take forever going into the headwind. Finally got back to the car and stopped for a shorts change, a coke, and some bananna/vanilla wafer pudding (YUM! This was the food score of the race, went down easy and tasted great!). After about 15 minute break hopped back on the bike and started in on the 11 mile laps. Saw Drew as I headed out and he was coming back in, big wave.

The 11 mile lap was 4 miles of headwind, some cross, and then a nice tail. So, 20 minutes of work, 20 minutes of relax. Stop at the bathroom, and back out again. Saw Drew coming in again, and he made the hand across the throat motion… uh oh. Around the loop and came in and Drew is sitting in a chair looking mighty relaxed. He's pooped, and not sure he wants to continue. I hit the bathroom again and he's on his bike and we ride out together. Chat a bit, then he takes off. 2 more laps in and he's decided to call it a day. Good for me, I now have a crew!

Around 5pm I come in and eat part of a sandwich and put on my lights. Drew is going to go get coke and ice and then move the car to the pit area of the track. Get ready to go out and get directed to the track, so I'm in for 3.7 miles loops for the night.

Night is LONG in February, over 12 hours of dark. I rigged up a keylight LED to point to my odometer, which gave me feedback on time and speed. Sweet. Round and round the track. 2 stretches of headwind, a few stretched of tail, and lots of cross. The track is a F1 track, not an oval but some sorta weird shape with 11 turns or so. Round and round. Stop every 4 laps for a bite, or a drink. The bathroom was off the pit area so wasted time every 4 laps or so there too. Put on too many clothes and stopped 4 laps later to lighten up a tad.

Got some serious heartburn in the 18 hours range that refused to go away. Made drinking and eating unpleasant. Next time DO NOT FORGET drugs for this! After 20 hours or so I really lost focus. It’s early season and all (and my longest ride to date is 6 hours) but looking back today I'm disappointed in the lack of drive. Kept going around. 21 hours in the bike creak came back… crap. Creak creak creak, every pedal stroke. 23 hours in the fog rolled in and I knew I had less than 4 laps to go. Should of pushed them, but just pedaled instead. Stopped at 23:45, because partial laps don't count. 326 miles. (21:15 ride time, wasted 2:30 on stops… 5 minutes stopping every hour through the night = 1 hour easily wasted with no good reason). Placed 4th (last) in my age group, but I didn’t get embarrassed… will analyze the results when they come out. Maybe 6th of 9 women.

So. I'm generally pleased. Although I did lose focus, I didn’t pack it in and that's good. My body held up reasonably well (need better padded gloves, continue with the core work, and my pinky toes didn’t wake up til today). My quads are sore today, and I'm pretty tired (long travel day back yesterday getting home at 2am with misc sleep on the planes).

And so, a pretty easy week this week and the journey continues. I'll be doing another 24 hour race in Davis in May and will shoot for 350 miles as my minimum distance and to finish that last few hours STRONG.

Ride on…


OCN: 1698 miles so far this year

Pics will be posted to "the blog" when I get them…