Monday, December 31, 2007

Wouldn't have missed it (would I have?)

This morning I was woken up by the sound of the phone ringing. Already, people were calling me asking if the Polar Pedal was going to happen. I looked out the window to see what the weather looked like. Here's what I saw:

"Uh, no. I don't think I'm riding today." So it was decided. Or, so I thought.

A couple of hours later, the phone rang again. Another person asking if the ride was going down. "Nope, too snowy," came my quick, already decided answer.
"But, there's no snow where I am."
"Well, there is at my house."
"Aw, come on, there can't be that much snow. You don't live that far away from me."
I started to reconsider. I do live rather east and we always tend to get more snow than everyone else.
"Ok, I'll go drive the route and call you back with my final answer." I told the caller.
So I went and drove the route. The further west and north I headed, the clearer the roads got.
I called the person back. "See you in an hour. We'll have to stick to State Street, all the side roads are pretty snowpacked"

By the time I showed up at the Macey's flagpole there was already a group waiting. Not the big group I had originally expected, but a bigger group than I counted on considering the weather. With the weather as it was, we were glad to see the paramedics out in force.

It was snowing as we headed out. We decided we wouldn't go far, but by the time we got to our pre-determined turn-around point, everyone wanted to keep going.

Here's what the roads pretty much looked like (except for a couple of iced over areas once we got off State Street):

We ended up taking last year's route, out to the American Fork temple and back. Since I had driven over to Macey's, the ride ended up being only about 15 miles for me.

Here we are at the temple:

I had wanted to get in a good three hours today, but ended up with only one. I'm still debating finishing out the other two hours with my new love: cross-country skiing. I better get going. I'm running out of daylight play time.

Now, if I only had a New Year's Eve party to go to, the day would be perfect!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm starting to like the snow... a bit.

Spent another Saturday at Sundance. This time I avoided the downhill area and went straight for the Nordic Center. I was much less spastic on the snow today. I was even able to relax a little and let myself get some speed on the downhill parts of the cross-country trail. I may fall in love with xc skiing. We'll see.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Beware! Grumpy Post

I'm thankful for the snow this year. I really am. It's doing a lot of good for the spring flowers and the lawns, and it's providing us with plenty of water.


I feel like a big wuss saying this, but I think I may pull out of the Polar Pedal ride this year. The route out to Saratoga is mostly on outback country roads. Country roads = less traffic to help melt the snow = more snow on the road. My skinny tires don't do so well on snow. If there's going to be snow, I'm going skiing (not that I'm any more skilled at that than riding in the snow).

I just read about the Squaw Peak ride here. I was hoping to do this ride as well, but it looks like I'd need a mountain bike. Oh, why didn't I ask Santa for a mountain bike? Or a cross bike? That would have fixed everything. I want a do over.

The weather forecast looks like more snow is expected throughout the weekend. I can handle the cold temperatures, but not slick, icy snow. I really don't care to fall over and get bloody, dislocated fingers (as promised for the Squaw Peak ride). If the roads are reasonably clear on Monday, I'll ride. Otherwise, those who show up at Macey's at 11 a.m. are on their own. If I'm not there, then good luck to you, my die-hard riding friends.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Polar Pedal

December 31, 2007 will be the THIRD ANNUAL POLAR PEDAL ride. Yes, it's the day where we ride just because it's the last day of the year we can ride.

Here's how it all began: Dec. 31, 2005.
I had owned my road bike for not yet three months. Before I bought my bike, I hadn't ridden a bike since I was about 11 or 12 years old. And, dang, now I was excited to ride any chance I got. So when I heard that there was going to be a group ride, I was there. I drove to the meeting place: Cracker Barrel in Springville. We were to ride from Springville, around West Mountain, through Genola and Payson, and back to Springville - about 50 miles total. A lofty goal for such a newbie. Imagine my disappointment when the only other people who showed up were serious, fast cyclists. I got dropped quickly. Luckily for me, Russ decided he couldn't leave me behind and ordered everyone to slow down. I hung on, anaerobic for several miles. Pretty soon, one guy, I'll call him Hothead, decided to ride away from the group. Hothead didn't know where he was going and soon missed the turn to West Mountain. Everybody in the group started yelling at him to come back, but he was too far out and couldn't hear us. We sent Russ to chase Hothead down and bring him back. In the meantime, the rest of the group tooled around, waiting for the others to return. It never happened. After looking for them for about 45 minutes, we decided to head back toward Cracker Barrel. Total mileage ended up being only about 20 miles.
Coming into the parking lot at Cracker Barrel, I had a little incident. I couldn't clip out of my pedal. My cleat had apparently frozen to the pedal. Now, I could either run into Coach Girl or my car. I chose the car. Once I hit the car, my foot finally unclipped. I felt like such a dork! All of this at a time when I was trying so hard to impress Coach Girl. Good thing she's managed to look past all my goofiness, and we've become good friends.

Dec 30, 2006: The Second Annual Polar Pedal.
This time around I had a year's worth of riding under my belt, and I was a bit less spastic. There were a few more people on this ride. People from all riding abilities. The group managed to drop a couple of riders off the back within 1.5 miles of the start, and Hothead didn't even come this year. I was not one of the dropped this time. By the time we realized we were missing some people it was too late. We didn't see them again for the rest of the ride. (I called them later to check on them. They were fine with doing their own no hurt feelings.) The 2006 ride was to be a much shorter ride. We rode from Orem out to the temple in American Fork and back. It was about 20 miles.
(I have a picture of the group from this ride. I'll have to post it later since it's on another computer.)

This year I expect the Polar Pedal will be even bigger. I've been telling people about it for a couple of weeks now, and several people have expressed interest in coming. The group will be meeting at the Orem Macey's flagpole (800 N State) at 11 am on Monday, Dec. 31. We plan to ride about 30 to 40 miles out to Saratoga Springs. Since I'm expecting that we'll have all different riding abilities, I think we'll split into a fast group and a slower group. I'll probably head up the slower group since I'm riding endurance right now. I don't want anyone getting dropped this year. It's no fun thinking you're going with a group and then ending up riding alone, feeling rotten about yourself the whole time. I know...I've been there too many times.

Anyway, I hope some of you can come ride with me for this year's Polar Pedal ride! As JE would say, be there or be somewhere else.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I am a snow dork!

I spent most of the day today up at Sundance Ski Resort. First downhill skiing, which lasted only about an hour before my knees told me I was done. Then I headed up to the Nordic Center and tried out some cross-country skiing.

I haven't been skiing for probably about 15 years. Boy, am I rusty! I managed to not fall down once all day. Probably only due to the fact that I skied like a giant chicken. I guess you could say I was working on perfecting my snowplow technique. The two-year-olds were moving faster than me!

I (probably stupidly) own a season pass to Sundance. So, I will be making multiple trips up there this season. Hope I can improve.

I can't wait for the spring thaw.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh, fine! I'll play!

I'm not exactly sure how this blog-tagging game is supposed to work, so I'm making up my own rules. I was called out on someone's blog to post six facts or habits about myself, and I have to try to use things I haven't already posted about. Then, I'm going to name a few people I'd like to hear from. And if you find your name here, consider yourself tagged and post your own six facts on your blog. This post is something I haven't wanted to do (don't like exposing myself), but, it's better than doing what I'm supposed to be doing at the moment. So here goes!

(Oh, one more rule I just thought up: if you're the one who put me up to this, you MUST leave a comment!)

1) I love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils. Especially Dixon Ticonderoga brand pencils. And to show my appreciation for the pencil, I have to pick at the sharpened part (brings out the smell) and rub it under my nose until the sharpened part is gone and there's nothing left but a big, long lead. The lead eventually breaks off and I have to resharpen the pencil and start all over. I've had this bizarre, but comforting, habit since the 5th grade. So if you come to my house and notice a bunch of deformed, short pencils, you'll know why. I'm working on one right now.

2) I enjoy watching the clothes wash in the washing machine. I know...washing machines were made to free up time. And it's usually when I'm the most busy and have the least amount of time that I find myself staring, mesmerized, into the washing machine.

3) Okay, enough weird habits. I'll move on to some facts about myself. When I was six years old I was riding on the back of my uncle's bike. He had reminded my to hold my feet out so that they wouldn't get caught in the spokes. I got lazy and forgot. I now have a still-painful-when bumped scar on the outside of my ankle. For years I wondered why the scar was on the outside of my ankle when the spokes should have hit the inside. Recently I figured out that I must have been on a banana seat where the long posts go down the side of the wheel. I guess I must have skewered my ankle on the bottom of the post.

4) I have a talented tongue. I can touch the end of my nose with my tongue. I can fold my tongue in half backwards and it stays like that without holding it against the back of my teeth. I can also make a really loud popping sound off the roof of my mouth with my tongue.

5) Um...this is getting hard. What to write, what to write... Hmmm...
I have never been to Texas. But I have been to both the east coast and the west. I've been to Canada and to Mexico. I hope to go to Switzerland someday.

6) And last, but not least. I own too many pets. I have a chocolate lab, two hermit crabs, a bearded dragon, and a mouse at my house. I'm always having to stop myself from bringing home even more pets. Growing up I had a dog, sheep, pigeons, ducks, a rabbit, and a pig (not all at the same time). I would love to have a bird, a puppy, and a snake. And probably some fish. Kittens are pretty irresistible, but I'm allergic.

So there you have it. Some totally useless facts about Rio's Rider.

Now, I'd like to see some interesting facts about Crazy4Rammstein, JE, and Sling. I'd also really enjoy reading some by T-Bird, DH, and Turbo, but that's asking a lot, I know.

One last thing. If you normally get a Christmas card from me, please don't be offended if you don't get one this year. Unfortunately, cards have been bumped to the bottom of my to-do list for now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Passed!

Yea! I passed recovery at the U! I went back up there today, went through all the drills, and I'm done! I'm still just a teensy bit sore down my right IT band, nothing really worth mentioning.

My wattage numbers were back up to my pre-test numbers. I was finally told what all those numbers were today. It was interesting to see that my lowest wattage day wasn't the day when I hurt the worst, it was the day I did the backward-pedaling bike. Every day thereafter, the watts climbed back up.

Steve, the guy who runs the program, is really a positive, good-natured guy. He's just a young college guy, but he really has a lot going for him. He's already got his life plan all figured out, and he's well on his way. He's really knowledgeable about all this body mechanics stuff, so I picked his brain a bit today. He seems to think that the best way to train is one leg at a time. There will be more testing on that in the future. We also talked a bit about training using something like the motorized backward-pedaling bike. I told him that I thought that if I could use something like that on a regular basis, and get used to it, it would make a great training tool. He says there's also a study on that in the future.

Looks like I'll be doing more studies at the U again in the future. Good thing I think all this science stuff is fun.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So Very Cold!

I'm freezing!

I've had my hot drink. I'm wrapped in a thick blanket. I've turned the thermostat up. I'm still shivering.

I don't think I'm going to be able to convince myself to get on my bike to go out and dodge snow drifts in the road for two hours today.

Boring trainer, here I come.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I Failed Recovery

Apparently, I didn't recover so well after all. I have to make another trip back to the U next week. Which, I guess is fine and dandy with me. Aside from the blood draws, I'm kinda starting to like it up there.

This morning I felt much better, but once I got to the lab and warmed up, I could tell I was still quite sore. I probably shouldn't have announced that piece of info to the study director. I think that's the very reason I was asked to come back.

After I left the lab, my leg just seemed to stay sore. It's mostly sore down the outer quad today. I think it may even feel just a bit worse than yesterday. The good news is that I no longer have restrictions as to what I can do. I can ride again, ski, go to the chiropractor, eat what I want, and take my vitamins and ibuprofen again. And that's the first thing that I did: pop some pain killers! My neck has probably been more painful than anything the last few days. It's been out since I strained it on Tuesday, and I've been restricted from medicine or chiropractic. The meds worked well. It was good to feel normal again, if only for a couple of hours.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Feeling Better Now

Yesterday morning I felt like I had either recently had surgery on my leg, or that I was involved in some sort of car wreck. That's how bad my leg hurt! Today, it's more like I just overdid a workout. A bit stiff and sore, but bearable.

Once I hobbled up to the U of U lab and did my workouts, I started feeling much better. I'm rapidly recovering now.

Every day at the lab this week I've had to do the following:

First, a blood draw, then

1) a five minute warm up on a two-pedaled bike followed by two squats to rate my pain;

2) two three-second left-leg sprints;

3) two three-second right-leg sprints;

4) two right-leg sprints on 120 mm crank;

5) two right-leg sprints on long cranks (I don't know how long, but the pedal circle is about two feet in diameter.);

6) 90-second resistance load holding 80 RPMs with left leg (I hate these!);

7) 90-second resistance load holding 80 RPMs with right leg (I hate these more!);

8) two three-second sprints beyond 120 RPM with right leg.

Whew! It seems like a lot now that I write it down, but it goes by really fast.

Once I leave the U, my leg feels so much better -- like it can actually function as a leg. But then I spend an hour driving home and it gets all stiffened up, and it takes awhile for it to work properly again.

I have one more day to go in this study -- I hope! There is a chance that if I'm not recovered enough (based on my pre-testing and post-testing wattage), I have to come back for a few more days next week.

One of the best things about doing this study is that all my meals are planned for me. All I have to do is grab a pre-measured meal or snack and eat. It's been really convenient. The only problem has been that I've had three holiday parties this week, and I can't eat any of the party food. Looking forward to that cheesecake JE promised!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Owie! I thought yesterday was bad, but today is worse. I am sore from my upper glutes, all the way down both sides of my leg, clear down to my inner knee. The U of U doesn't goof around when they do a study. They know exactly how to make a person sorer than hell! I can't walk gracefully, can't bend down, can't do much at all! Even sitting is uncomfortable. My knee keeps buckling on me if I try to walk too fast or go down the stairs. At first I wondered why they only tortured one leg, now I'm thankful that I have a good leg to get around on. I am totally favoring my right leg. I tried to get a good picture of my legs to post because the right leg is absolutely swollen. But my legs just looked fat and lumpy in all the photos I took, so I'm not posting them. Sorry.

The whole point of this study is to see how well or quickly the participants recover. I don't feel like I'm recovering well at this point. I'm pretty sure I'm on the placebo recovery drink. They have to have someone take a placebo for it to be a valid study, right?

One more thing: The U of U saddles are sooooo uncomfortable! I think they were made in the 1970s. A couple of them have this lip thing that pokes up off the back end. Talk about pain in my um...tailbone! I've contacted a couple of bike shops to see if they'd be willing to donate some better saddles, but so far I haven't gotten a response. If anyone knows of some newer, unwanted saddles that could be donated to a good cause, let me know. They could use #6 actually has a decent saddle.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

University of Utah Cycling Study

I'm not really in the mood to write right now (so pardon my sloppiness and confusion), but I figure I should write about my experience while it's still fresh on my mind.

Last week, I spent three days (Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday) at the U practicing for this week's testing. Basically, they have six bikes, all of which are set up for one-legged pedaling. They have you move from one bike to the next, and each bike is an experience all it's own.

The first bike was used for right leg pedaling. They had me warm up for five minutes using whatever resistance and cadence I wanted. Then they crank the resistance up to a specified level and have you hold 80 RPM for 90 seconds. Then they have you rate your perceived level of exertion on a scale. Some days it seemed easy and other days it was hard. Today, it was harder than usual. I don't know why there was a change. Maybe it has something to do with my fatigue level (or maybe they are doing something different some days. It's all very hush, hush).

The second bike was a repeat of the first, only with the left leg. The interesting part about they way they have you set up is that you have to clip into a stationary pedal with the leg that's not being used. It's really quite uncomfortable. My stationary leg is positioned on the outside of a wooden board to keep it from being hit by the weights. The weights (20 pound worth)are bolted to the other pedal (where your foot would be if it were actually clipped to the bike and not the outside of a board.)

The third bike is used for the left leg again. I have to be seat-belted onto the bike so I can't come out of saddle. This bike is for three-second sprints. Last week they had me do three sets; this week it's two sets. The sprints aren't too bad. They're not long enough to be hard.

Forth bike, same thing as third, only for the right leg.

The fifth bike is strange. It is used for the right leg only. First, they have it set up so that the crank length is only 120 mm. I get to warm up for a minute to get used to it, then I do more three second sprints. I kind of like the short cranks. I can really get the pedals flying. They then adjust the bike so that the crank length is ridiculously long. It makes me feel like I'm pedaling a giant tricycle: leg all the way extended at the bottom of the pedal-stroke, and knee hitting me in the chest at the top. After I get used to it for a minute, I get to do more sprints. These sprints feel awkward, slow, and clumsy.

Next, I move to the sixth and last bike. This bike is motor-powered. Usually, I use this bike for more sprints. The motor is running the flywheel at 120 RPMs. I have to get the pedals up to speed and sprint from there. These are the hardest sprints of them all. It's hard for me to tell if I'm really putting forth more power once I start sprinting.

Today, I used this last bike for ultimate torture! The adjusted the bike so that the motor was pedaling the cranks backwards. My job was to try to resist the motor, with only my right leg. They measure how many watts you're resisting with. I was supposed resist at 125 watts, but it was so hard! I was crying by halfway through. The whole time, they're yelling at me not to let up. My whole body was so tense, and when I'd try to relax one area of my body, I'd let up on the pedaling. Then it was hard to get back into it because it hurt so bad I just wanted to stop. The less watts you push, the longer you have to do it. So I ended up being on the stupid machine for twice as long as I should have been. Ugh!

And then there was a big surprise. I thought I was done after the torture bike. But, no! I had to do an uphill time trial on the computrainer with my left leg. This was the last thing I wanted to do at the time, but it wasn't so bad after what I'd just been through. I was surprised that I actually asked them to make it steeper toward the end. Once again, this was one of those deals where the harder you push the faster it's over. So this one didn't seem to take long at all.

Today, I had to do all the bikes twice. Thankfully, I only had to do torture and time-trial once. Also new this week, blood draws and pain-rating squats. What fun!

I walked out of the lab like a drunk. My knee kept buckling on me, and I couldn't walk a straight line. If you want a good show, come hang out at the U of U and watch the study participants walk out of the building.

Anyway, I'm really hurting already. Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....

Well, it would be looking a lot like Christmas at my house had I done what I was supposed to have done today. The plan was to spend the weekend putting up the holiday decorations. For those of you who have seen my decorations, you know that one weekend alone is not enough time to get everything put out. I think I must own one of every ornament ever made. It's that bad!

Instead of decorating, I headed over to Wheeler Farm to watch the Men's A CX race. It was snowy and wet and cold, but I hardly noticed because of the fun atmosphere of the race.

Here are some pictures that I took of the race:

The starting line. Be sure to click for a bigger image. Dave Harward's got his rock star face on.

Harward on a run up.

Dave Harward

Eric Rasmussen dismounting for a wheel change.


Turbo (Ryan Barrett)

You can see how much fun Turbo and Sam Krieg are having. Here's Sam passing Turbo on a run up.

The funnest part of the race was when Sam Krieg decided to go through the route ribbons and got all tangled up. He then proceeded to take time out of the race to throw snowballs at his teammate, Turbo. He came around a few laps later, parked his bike and threw more snowballs. It was really funny.

I'm not sure if Sam is trying to chuck his bike at Turbo, but it sure looked like it. Nice mullet, Turbo!

Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm still around...

Thanksgiving did not kill me off!

I'm just really, really, really overwhelmed with busyness right now. So much new stuff has been added to my life lately:
1) Another job (that makes 3).
2) The U of U cycling study (it's taking up so much more of my time than I expected. More info on the study coming later).
3) More Spinning classes added to my schedule. One instructor quit and another was asked to leave. Just when we felt shorthanded anyway. I've not only had to take on more classes, but have had to sub a lot of extra classes lately too because someone gets sick or goes out of town (usually this happens at the same time and it's up to me to cover everything).

Well, that's all the time I have for blogging now. Back to real life again. Darn!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Note: Just in case any of you read this earlier and are wondering why it's completely different now: I didn't like the way this was originally posted, so I edited it.)

I have a lot to be thankful for.

1) The ability to ride my bike, even when it's so cold it's probably not a good idea. I went out bright and early this morning for a frigid two-hour ride. It was soooo cold! 22 degrees F to be exact.

2) I'm thankful that I have plenty of cold-weather gear to keep me warm. I was bundled in 2 base layers, arm warmers, a long-sleeved jersey, two jackets, shoe covers, ear warmers, and a balaclava. They did their jobs well. I came home just a bit sweaty, but not overheated.

3) A coach that gives me what I ask for. Back when I asked if I could please ride on Thanksgiving Day, the weather was still really nice and warm. He indulged in my request for some holiday stress relief and gave me a two-hour workout. I hope he'll be just as understanding because I didn't follow the plan exactly as it was laid out. I had a certain workout I was supposed to be working on, and I had stupidly invited some other crazy friends along for the ride. Why was that stupid, you ask? Because I spent the whole ride fighting between trying to keep up with the group and doing what I was supposed to be doing (which wasn't hammering). It was really frustrating. I finally ended up accepting the fact that I was riding off the back, no one was going to wait up, and I really just needed to ride my own ride. Still, even when I was focusing on what I should be doing, my heart rate was way up there. Maybe the frozen air had something to do with it.

4) I'm thankful for good friends. Such good friends that they are willing to ride with me on a day like today. Here's a picture of the crazy cold-weather riders:

Pictured are Sling, Me, Coach Girl, and Phil. (I really am thankful for that balaclava, even if it was scrunching down my eyelids and making me look goofy for the picture.)

5) I'm thankful for family. It was great to see so many of them today. Because I am loved, I got to enjoy not just one, but two feasts today. Good thing I rode my bike this morning!

There are many more things to be thankful for. I'm sorry I don't have the time to list them all.

I hope you all had a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


How did it get cold so fast?

I spent the first part of my day bundled in a thick blanket, shivering and whining that I didn't want to go out in the cold.

I talked myself into going out around 1 pm. Rode for an hour. The first 20 minutes was spent trying to talk myself out of giving up and going back home. My fingers were numb.

Then suddenly, it all felt right. By the time I made it back into the house, I was all warmed up. Walked into the house and thought how hot it felt. What a change from when I left the house.

On a side note, how did I get to this point:

Where did they all come from? Are the multiplying in my cupboard? The picture doesn't even do it justice. There are twice as many in there as you can see. It's ridiculous.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Team Me

I may be looking for a new team to race for. As it looks right now, my club may not want to play race games next year.

So, what I need from all of you is suggestions. Do you love your club? If so, why? I want to hear it all -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Keep in mind that there is that new UCA bylaw in 2008 about team points leader championship. I promise to bring the team some points (maybe not a lot, but some).

So if you think your team could use a Cat 4 woman, give me a holler. If you're not comfortable giving me this information publicly, send me an email at riosrider at gmail dot com.


UCA Meeting Notes

The UCA meeting was interesting and informational. I was excited to see that they announced the 2008 calendar. Here it is. Subject to changes.

Apr. 5 Hell of the North
Apr. 12 Triple Valley Stage Race
Apr. 19 Tax Day
Apr. 25 East Canyon (I'm thinking this date is really the 26th. I probably wrote it down wrong.)

May 3 Buffalo Stampede
May 17 Bear Lake Classic
May 18 Bear Lake TT
May 24 Garden Creek Gap

June 7 Sugar House Crit (I'm disappointed -- I was hoping to do Little Red)
June 14-15 High Unitas Stage Race
June 21 Little Mountain (State Champ Race)
June 22 SLC Crit
June 28-29 Gate City Grind

July 12 Porcupine Hill Climb/Farmington Crit
July 18-19 Capitol Reef Classic (I'm excited! A Fri/Sat stage race)
July 19 Boise Twilight/ Sundance Hill Climb
July 26 Chalk Creek

Aug. 2 Mt. Ogden RR
Aug. 9 Huntsville 100
Aug. 13-17 Tour of Utah returns!!!
Aug. 16-17 Tour de Gap (tentative)
Aug. 17 Motorpark TT
Aug. 23 Worlds Collide CX (where did Sanpete go?)
Aug. 30 Antelope Island TT

Sep. 13 Climber's Cup
Sep. 20 Harvest Moon Crit

Also from the meeting: The Bylaw Amendment changes. Here are the items that passed:

The Team points competition was voted in. Basically, the team with the most points tallied at the end of the season wins.

UCA event fees were eliminated, with an amendment that goes something like this: Promoter pays $200 deposit, and if promoter follows all the rules, they get back $150. UCA keeps $50 and the $.50 per rider surcharge is dropped (eliminating extra paperwork for the promoter).

Race magnitude will now be assigned and set in stone 72 hours before a race.

Amended and passed: Redo the stage race points. Now if a stage race has less than 20 riders the stage point are cut in half.

Amended and passed: Combined fields are now allowed in all fields except masters.

The State Hill Climb will now be a 2.0 multiplier.

There were no changes to the board.

Also discussed at the meeting: They are looking to recruit officials. Apparently Utah is shorthanded on officials. If you or anyone you know would be interested in being an official at the races, there will be a meeting on it in February. Keep your eyes open on the UCA site for more information.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Need StReSs?!?

I am constantly getting myself in over my head. I must love stress in my life.

First off, this week I had to teach Spinning classes to a couple of groups of high schoolers. I was really worked up over this for some reason. I love teaching Spinning. But, put me in a group of cocky teenagers where the coach is making them come and they really don't want to be there, and I'm going to be nervous. Now that it's over, I can look back on it and think that it really went well. The coach told me that they're not used to being worked so hard. What? I thought teenagers were invincible. Or maybe they just think they are.

This week I have signed on to two things that I probably shouldn't have.

1) I am now the club representative at the UCA meeting tomorrow. Me. I have to vote on all the UCA issues in behalf of my club. I hope I know what I'm doing! If anyone's been to this meeting before and can give me some tips, I would most appreciate it.

2) I just signed on to be a guinea pig for the U of U cycling study. I'm actually looking forward to doing this. I am a bit nervous about the amount of pain I will be in during the study. As they said, "this study will make you VERY sore and you will stay sore for several days." But, they will pay me $200 and give me a VO2max test for my efforts. And they will do the same for you. They are looking for more people to participate, so email me if you want more information (or check here).

I'm not really sure I have time for either of these things. But somehow, it always seems to work out.

Adding to my stress this week is the fact that I'm supposed to meet with my coach for power testing. Somehow he doesn't seem to think that I need to know exactly when this is going to happen. I guess I'll just keep my calendar open....

Next week looks like a calm week so far. Let me know if you have anything you need me to volunteer for. I'm awaiting the chance to shout out, "Me, me, pick me!" while wildly waving my arm in the air.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Ha! Now everybody will have Mr. Roger's song on their minds the rest of the day!

It was a fabulous day for bike riding. I rode down to Provo to meet my club for a two hour ride. I started out from home with arm warmers on, but by the time I got to Provo, I peeled them off. It was sooo warm.

We headed out south to Spanish Fork. Our ride leader, Lance (who was wearing his Porcupine kit), led a great ride. I'll have to keep it in mind that when Lance leads, I should go.

When we got out to Spanish Fork, I decided that I'd been out long enough and should head back home. The problem was I didn't know exactly where I was. So I pulled out my phone and called my friend, Michelle, who lives in Spanish Fork. I figured that if she could direct me to her house, I would know where I was and could find my way back home. Unfortunately, she was in St. George for the weekend, so I couldn't stop by for a visit. Bummer! So I just turned around and found my way back the way I came. I didn't think I had payed too good of attention since I was having such a good time chatting with everyone on the way out. But, I managed to get myself back home again.

The coolest part of the ride was when we were passing the Spanish Fork airport and a plane came in for a landing right over our heads. It passed so close that you almost felt like you needed to duck down so it wouldn't hit you.

36 miles

Friday, November 9, 2007

Why You Should Wash Your Bike...

...or only drink water.

I made it out for a late-afternoon ride today. Shortly after saddling up, I discovered that I couldn't shift into my big chain ring. Humm...should I ride to the bike shop? Something is really wrong!

I rode into Provo, all the while grumbling about the easy pedaling. Had to make it a quick ride since the sun was starting to go down and a chill was beginning.

When I got back home, I complained to Sling that my bike wouldn't shift. He took one look at it, flipped it over, and poured hot water over it.

"There. You can shift your bike now."

Apparently, all that Gatorade I've been drinking (and obviously dripping) had hardened onto the bottom of my bike, and had glued the cables solid.

I promise to take better care of Rio in the future.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I didn't Tri

My Telos Turkey Tri team came in second place! Wahooo!

And they managed to do it without me.

I spent last night on the overnight rapid weight loss reduction plan. Lost two pounds. I wouldn't recommend throwing up repeatedly as a real good way to lose weight, however.

Anyway, back to the tri...

Last night I called Binlaw and told her that I wouldn't be biking today and that my team needed her help. Binlaw is pretty amazing on a bike. She said she'd be happy to help out.

So this morning Sling headed over to the tri to get my team put together for me. Since I was the only one who knew all team members, I figured that he could go and make introductions for me. However, Binlaw didn't show up. Decided to sleep in instead. Wouldn't answer her phone or her door. Grrr!!!

My team decided to just roll with it. The runner ran a 5K in under 19 min (I don't have exact numbers yet) and came in with the top five. The swimmer jumped on my bike and did really well, especially since he doesn't normally ride, and he was on a bike he wasn't familiar with. Then he went and did an awesome swim, passing most everyone and coming out of the water second.

I'm so proud of my boys! I wish I could have been there.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I managed to squeeze a quick one hour ride in on Friday. I rode to my favorite bike shop in American Fork, Bike Peddler. Parrish set me up with a new tire to replace the one with a big slice in it. Probably sliced it dodging nails in downtown Provo. I was supposed to be riding endurance, but I was running late, like always, so I pushed it a bit harder than I should have. But, I was glad I got out for a ride. I feel much better because I did.

Today I headed out to meet a group for a two-hour ride. On my way there I ran over a big, fat nail. It went right through the sidewall of my brand new tire.

Since the tire was now junk and I wasn't carrying a spare, I called Sling and told him I needed my race tire. He pumped it up and brought it to me while I froze on the side of the road. For some reason, I broke down in what must have been the coldest part of town. When he got there, that tire had gone flat, too! I started to think something was telling me I shouldn't be riding today. I loaded my bike into the trunk and got in the car. We drove over to see if my group was still waiting for me. Luckily, they were still there and were willing to wait while I got the tubes and tires switched out so I could ride. It felt much warmer, and it was only a couple miles from where I had my flat. Go figure!

As we took off to go do the Telos Turkey Tri route, I mentioned that I wasn't quite sure of the route. I kind of figured that we would all stick together and take the first loop as a warm up. Phil had other ideas. He took off like a bullet with me chasing as hard as I could because I didn't know where I was going. We dropped the rest of the group before we'd gone two blocks. Pretty soon, I got tired of chasing him. I remembered that I wasn't supposed to be in zone 5, so it wasn't worth it. After the first loop, I knew my way around anyway.

After working the tri route over, I said goodbye to my group. They were all going to swim. I still had about an hour and a half to ride. So I headed out west to the lake, then out to American Fork. I was surprised to find that there was a brand new bike path out by the lake. Last time I was out there, probably less than two months ago, there wasn't one. I was tempted to go ride on it. It looked a lot smoother than the road I was on. But I didn't want to waste time hiking through the tundra to get to it. I was still quite cold and just wanted to get back home.

28ish miles (not sure...I messed my computer up pushing buttons)
1 hour 50 min
Interesting birds I spotted while riding: Red-tail hawk, chikadees, Northern Flicker
I usually see pelicans when I ride by the lake, but they weren't there today.

I finally made contact with the swimmer on my relay team for the tri. We've been leaving messages for each other for the last week. Now, if I could just get a hold of that runner. He disappeared about a month ago, and I don't know how to reach him. I may need to find a new runner. And the tri is only a week away! I think I like stress in my life.

Well, I'm off to Bike Peddler to see (beg) if they'll warranty my tire.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Driving Myself into the Ground

I'm exhausted!

I don't even know why I'm up right now. Strange need to blog before crashing into bed, I guess.

I've taught more than half of the Spinning classes at my gym this week. Coach Girl hasn't been teaching since her accident. Another instructor broke her toe and has a sick kid. And another instructor had issues come up with her other job so she couldn't teach her classes. So it's just been me and Ragla teaching all of the classes this week.

I got to teach two interval classes on Monday. I love intervals, so of course I worked it hard in each of the classes (sorry, Coach :-), I know I wasn't supposed to). Tuesday, I managed to let Ragla take all of the classes, so I had the day off from teaching. I lifted weights instead. Wednesday was Strength day. I decided to teach a power build. Huge gears and fast cadence with lots of out of saddle time. The first class was really hard, and I wondered how I would pull off another one a couple of hours later. The second class hurt a little at first, but once I got into the groove, I was able to pull it off. It's hard to fake it when you're the instructor. Today was another interval day. I can't let my people down, so we worked it hard again. They moan and groan, but love it and want more. So I give it to them.

I came home and crashed. Well, I couldn't exactly crash. I had stuff to do. But, I stumbled through my day in a crashing kind of way. I found that I didn't have the time, or the energy to go back to the gym and lift weights. I feel so guilty!

It's always when I feel so wiped out that all the crap starts hitting the fan. Everything seems to be coming down on me at once. Won't go into detail here, but I feel overwhelmed right now.

And I have to sub more classes tomorrow. I was supposed to ride my bike. I need to ride my bike. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Waking to a Winter Wonderland

Woke up to find this this morning:

I'm going to make a prediction here. It seems like in years past when it snows really early in the season, we get a rather dry winter. I think it's going to be another drought year.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Coach Girl Down

Coach Girl was hit by a car this afternoon. Luckily, she came away from the accident with only minor injuries: 5 stitches and some scratches and bruises.

She was out doing the Telos Tri route. As she was descending down the hill at UVSC (UVU, whatever), a car pulled out of a parking lot right in front of her. She locked up her brakes and skidded into the car. As she hit the car, she was flipped right over the hood. Upon landing on the other side of the car, her first thoughts were on her brand new bike (an Orbea, in case you're wondering). She said it was "mangled." She picked it up and moved it out of the road before realizing that she was hurt too.

Even though I wasn't there, I'm pretty shook up about it. My two closest cycling buddies have EACH wrecked twice this year. I haven't had any mishaps any more serious than tipping over when I was learning how to use clipless pedals (please don't let me jinx myself here!). Now I've gotten to wondering when is it going to be MY turn? My confidence is a little shaken right now. How long is my luck going to hold up?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Your road. Your ride.

How come it took all summer long to build up my beautiful biker's tan, and it seems to be gone in one month of not riding? It was such a conversation starter: "That's an interesting tan you have. Why are there tan lines on your wrists?" "Well, you see, I ride my bike excessively. To the exclusion of most everything else, in fact." And then I'd watch their eyes glaze over as I described the mileage I'd put in every week. It was quite entertaining. And now it's gone.

Stolen from the latest Spinning catalog:
"Your friends may not get it, but they probably wish their legs looked like yours. (RR adds: My legs? Yeah, right. Whatever.) You crave intervals like other people crave chocolate (ok, but I still love chocolate more). And the rhythm of your own smooth, uninterrupted pedal strokes puts you into a Zen-like state." Any of this sound familiar?

I was so Zen-like on my ride yesterday that I almost forgot I was riding. Totally checked out mentally a couple of times. It was my first ride in a month. And it felt really good to be back on the bike...when I remembered that I was riding, that is. That's how smooth and uninterrupted my ride was.

There were a few places that I was more aware of my ride. Take Provo High for instance. I usually don't like to ride in downtown Provo. It's pretty crazy. But, and let this be a warning for those of you who do ride in Provo, there is a load of nails in the road right in front of Provo High. Almost seems like they were put there on purpose. I became very aware of my bike while I dodged nails in the road. Luckily, I avoided a flat in downtown Provo. Especially lucky because I had forgotten to bring my phone. Not that I would have needed my phone had I gotten a flat. I am perfectly capable of changing a flat myself. I was just remembering that I had forgotten my phone. It would have been nice to have it had I forgotten anything else -- like my CO2 pump.

Unfortunately, I wasn't lucky enough to avoid a flat altogether. I flatted about a block away from home. I considered, for a second, riding the rest of the way (since I had my junk wheels on and all), but changed my mind when my bike started to fishtail a bit. So I ended up walking home. I felt pretty silly about it since it was right in front of the jr. high and all the kids were out to lunch at the time. But that's ok. They probably wished they had legs like mine, right?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday is a Special Day

Today was the day I was supposed to get back on my bike. I really wanted to ride. But, alas, it wasn't to be.

I'm still too sick.

So instead I went down to UVSC to watch the Crit. If I had been feeling well, I would have raced it myself. Because of the rain and the small numbers of racers, everybody raced together. All the beginners against the seasoned racers. And, I would have been the only woman racing. Maybe that would have been cool.

It was cool to watch, too. Turbo looked great out there, lapping most everyone.

I wish I had brought my camera.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Vicious Cycle of Sickness & A Story

Can you believe I'm sick AGAIN!! What's up with that? This time is the worst yet. Maybe I'm jinxing myself by posting "this time is the worst yet" every time I get sick. Then my body has to show me how much worse it can be. Or, it could be that my body will do anything to get out of lifting weights.

The other day I went out to lunch with my friends. We were celebrating my belated birthday, so of course they had to tell our waiter about it. As we were all sitting around chatting, the subject of guys who shave their legs came up. I, very loudly, announced, "I think guys who shave their legs are HOT!" As I looked around the table at my friends, I noticed that strangely, they were not looking at me, but above my head. "They're standing right behind me, aren't they?" I hesitantly asked. Sure enough, I turned around and found five waiters, holding a treat and waiting to sing to me, standing there. I was too embarrassed to check to see if any of them shaved their legs.

Later, I told the above story in the company of a six-year-old boy, who now tells his mother that he wants to shave his legs so he can be hot when he grows up. Too funny!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Questions to be Answered

Feeling much better today. Thank you for asking.

I went to the gym today and worked out with the city fire department. All of them. I love it when they're there staring at you and whispering. I'm sure it's got to be something about how little weight I'm lifting. Some old guy tried to pick up on me by telling me that it looked like I "work hard in the gym regularly". Ewww! Creepy. I think I'll start wearing a muumuu when I work out.

Talked to my best friend from childhood today. She made the comment about how she couldn't understand why anybody would want to ride their bike uphill. I told her that for me it's that sense of accomplishment you feel when you get to the top and look down at where you came from. Sure, it hurts to climb monster hills, but feels really good when you're done and can come back down at 40+ mph.

So what is it for you? Why do you enjoy climbing, sprinting, racing, or any of the other methods of cycling fun? If you're reading this, and you ride a bike, you are qualified to post a comment. Go ahead -- it won't hurt. Promise.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sick Again

Why do I keep getting sick? Why, Why, WHY? This is the third time I've been sick in the last couple of weeks. Nothing really serious. But this time I feel the worst yet.

Here are my thoughts:

1) The dishwasher has been broken for about 6 weeks. I've been washing dishes by hand. I'm convinced this makes a breeding ground for germies.

2) It's that time of year where the weather turns colder and everyone comes indoors with their germs.

And most importantly:

3) I'm not riding my bike! (Only one more week to go!) Walking the dog just isn't cutting it with immune-boosting.

Maybe this is Mother Nature's way of keeping me from racing cross. Keep me feeling crappy and I won't want to race.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oh, woe is me!

I've always thought of myself as a well rounded person. I enjoy a whole host of interesting things: geology, birds, family history, animals, law, gardening, design, drag racing. You name it, I probably find it fascinating.

So it has been with great dismay that I have recently discovered that I am not as well rounded as I have always pictured myself to be.

Apparently, when it comes to exercise, my body only knows how to ride a bike.

I tried to keep myself active by walking. I managed to give myself a good case of shin splints. Now I can't walk at all, or at least not without great pain.

So, I tried the elliptical machine. Boy, did I feel stoooopid! I learned that you can't pull up on the elliptical's "pedals". I nearly feel off the machine. Several times. My legs are so used to pulling up, I couldn't help it. All the time, I'm trying to keep my cool because I happen to be a fitness instructor at that facility. Can't have the professionals falling off the equipment like dofusses.

Next, I tried lifting weights. I hate lifting weights. Especially when you have to fight over the machines with a bunch of other people. My perfectly-timed circuit was all screwed up when some guy sat down on one of MY pieces of equipment and proceeded to JUST SIT THERE. Wouldn't move. He wasn't working a circuit, see, he was resting in between sets and didn't want to have to give up his space while he waited.

Now my whole body is sore. I thought I was in such great shape. Shows you what I know.

Next up is swimming I suppose. I'll probably ingest a bunch of parasites and have to live out the rest of my grounding in the bathroom.

I can't wait to get back on my bike.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Time Out

I'm bored. Three weeks off my bike, or any bike for that matter is going to kill me.

I still have to teach three to four Spinning classes each week. And I have to teach off the bike. Rio still hangs on my bedroom wall like artwork. So I am allowed to see bikes, wrench bikes, and admire bikes. I'm just not allowed to saddle up.

It's like telling a couple of teenagers that they can kiss each other, touch each other, and admire each other, but they aren't allowed to go all the way.

I'm sure by the end of my grounding, er, I mean time off, I'll be so excited to get back on...and then what? Race season is over and the weather is turning cold.

I know. There's always cross. Believe me, I'm tempted. It's the bad boy Mom always warned me to stay away from. The problem is that I sucked so bad at road racing, I don't wanna go mess up cross too. So I'll try to stay away from it, at least for this year.

So, I'm really trying to come up with stuff to do (exercise-wise, anyway) until I can ride again. Probably end up walking the dog a lot. She's gonna wonder what's up with all the extra attention.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Time for a Break

You know it's time to quit riding for a while when you do an 8-mile race and you're totally wiped out for the rest of the day.

Today's race was a time trial hillclimb, the Climber's Cup.

The scenery was beautiful. The race was held in East Canyon, just east of Salt Lake, but not quite to Park City.

I didn't do so well. I haven't recovered from LOTOJA yet. Coach says I need a break. He's grounded me from my bike for THREE WEEKS!

I'm actually pretty excited about it.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I'm Baaack!

LOTOJA was so much fun!

I'm still pretty spaced out from the whole event, so hopefully something here will make sense. We drove all night to get home, so I've only had about 4 hours of sleep.

My relay partner, Ragla, started us out bright and early in Logan. She rode for 34 miles to Preston, Idaho. Sling and I had driven up to Preston, and thinking we had plenty of time, went to the grocery store so I could change into my bike clothes. I chose this store because I remember from last year that it had a massage chair. After a miserable night's sleep on some stranger's front room floor, I figured a massage was in order. So after changing, I proceeded to sit in the chair and talk to people who were wondering what I was up to. I stood out a bit, I guess. Next thing I knew, my phone was ringing. It was Ragla! Freaked me out! I was sure she had made it to the feed zone already and was wondering where I was. But, luckily, she was only calling to tell me she was seven miles out. So we hurried over to the park and waited for her to come in.

Then it was my turn to ride. I was a bit nervous about climbing Strawberry Summit because my friend had told me how hard it was. I discovered that she lied. I hit the climb and started dropping everyone. I don't think a single person passed me on that climb. It was great! And it gave me a mental boost. The first 16 or so miles had dragged on, but after Strawberry, time passed really quickly. I was in Montpelier, Idaho before I knew it.

In Montpelier, I pulled into my stop, hoping to grab my feed bag and go. But Sling was missing. Ragla ran to find him, and when he showed up, he insisted that I sit and have a quad massage. I did a quick rub down with The Stick, grabbed my stuff, and took off again.

East of Montpelier there was some major road work going on. Luckily the road was totally closed to traffic. There was a place where you had to climb a steep grade, in gravel, come back down another steep grade (I'd guess 10 or more percent), sliding on the dirt and rocks, then ended up crossing a metal bridge made out of railroad cars. It was kind of nerve wracking.

The next climb was Geneva Summit. It was a little more difficult than Strawberry Summit, but not as long. It's almost 1000 feet of elevation gain in nine miles.

The last big climb was Salt River Pass. I had ridden this part last year, but I had forgotten how long of a climb it was. On this climb you gain 1300 feet of elevation in 11 miles. I was so relieved when I got to the top, knowing it was mostly downhill from here.

Coming down from Salt River Pass I felt really weird. Blurry eyes and dizzy. I don't know if it was from the work of climbing, from the sudden change of speed (from about 8 mph to 40 mph), or because of the strong cross winds. I wasn't sure I should go on. But by the time I got to the bottom of the descent, I was feeling back to normal again.

The winds were really bad coming into Afton, Wyoming. It would whip around and smack you in the face every once in a while. I was glad when I was done with my part.

Ragla took the rest of the race, from Afton to Teton Village (11 miles beyond Jackson Hole). She needed me there for her at the end of the race. She felt like she was done at about 20 miles left to go. Said she wanted to throw her bike in the road and watch it get ran over. So, we would drive ahead, wait for her, and encourage her as she went by. I got back on my bike for the last seven miles of the race and rode to the finish line with her. We came into Teton Village about an hour earlier than we expected. Yeah!

Here's a cheesy picture of us at the end of the race:

97 miles
6 hours
6722 feet of ascent

Friday, September 7, 2007

LOTOJA or bust

I'm off to LOTOJA.

Wish me luck -- I'm gonna need it!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Lonely Birthday Ride

It's official. I'm older today. Boo! Hiss!

Went for a ride out to Saratoga Springs to celebrate. Nobody wanted to ride with me. Could it be because I tend to be pretty grumpy on my birthdays? Or maybe everyone wanted to celebrate Labor Day in their own special way. And I thought having my birthday fall on a major holiday would be so fun. I tried to cheer myself up by stopping by my favorite bike shop, but it was closed for the day.

This is the second ride this week where I've tried out a new route only to get stuck waiting for a train for 15 minutes. What is up with that?

Rode really easy today because I feel like I'm getting sick. I can't afford to be sick for LOTOJA, so I didn't push it.

44.5 miles
2 hours 55 minutes


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Hobble Creek

My legs are tired. They didn't want to cooperate this morning. It took over 20 miles before they finally accepted that we were going on a bike ride.

Pretty uneventful ride today. Hobble Creek wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined it was going to be. It's rollery (is that a word?). Usually, I prefer to just climb, but today I appreciated the descents that were interspersed in the climbs.

Took a new route on the way home and got stuck waiting for a train to move out of the road. Once the engineer realized there was a group of bikes waiting to cross the tracks, he backed the train up for us. How courteous!

54.78 miles
3 hours 37 min
2578 feet of ascent
195 miles for the week

Friday, August 31, 2007

Is This What You Mean By Recovery Ride?

The Coach had assigned a one-hour recovery ride for me today. I thought that after the ride yesterday, a recovery ride sounded wonderful.

So how I found myself surrounded by six buff cyclist and triathlete men, all of us hooked up to a computrainer at Elevate Fitness, I don't know.

I raced my heart out against those men. They said they were impressed I could hold my own. Do I not look like I could hold my own, I may ask? Anyway, I came in fourth. Pretty good considering that the guy who won was 2.5 miles ahead of the next guy. It was a hard course, with grades up to 10.4 percent. It was a strange sensation when all of a sudden your bike becomes nearly impossible to pedal, and you're sitting in a perfectly flat room, watching a computer screen.

I was pretty tired and sweaty when I was done. Everyone agreed we'd like to come back and do it again. Only next time, we'd leave the guy who won home.

I came home and recovered with a big bowl of ice cream.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Riding West Mountain

76 miles
4 hours & 20 min
Total ascent = 1782 feet
Two flats

Chocolate milk should NOT be consumed mid-ride.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not the Ride I Had Planned

Today I rode the ride which has been haunting me to do for a couple of weeks now. Or, at least I did most of the ride. More on that later.
First we (Coach Girl, Ragla, Binlaw, and I) rode up Provo Canyon.
Here we are (except me, someone had to take the picture) by Bridal Veil Falls. In case you're wondering, they're holding their bikes because I made them stand in the weeds, and they were worried about sticker weeds puncturing their tires. Rio is looking lonely on the right.

We turned off at the Sundance turn, and climbed the Alpine Loop. It felt better than usual. I didn't HAVE to stop, but stopped anyway at Sundance to get new bottles out of Sling's truck. He just got hired on at Sundance, so it was really convenient to have a cooler with fresh bottles waiting there.

Here I am with Ragla in front of Sundance. The rock we're standing by actually says "Sundance" on it, you just can't see it in the picture.

Ragla wasn't feeling good, so I rode the rest of the way to the top with her. I stopped several times to take photos, and let her get ahead of me so I could catch back up. It rained on us on the way up, and an ambulance passed us (which worried us thinking it could be Coach Girl or Binlaw, who had ridden ahead). Pretty exciting stuff. We found out later that the ambulances were there for a biker who had gone down on the slick, wet road and gave himself a concussion and some road rash on his face.

View of the back of Mount Timpanogos on the way up the Alpine Loop -- so beautiful!

The view looking down at Sundance:

A little higher up. You can see in this picture that it had started to rain:

The way down was wet, but the brakes worked good. It's scary enough riding down the Alpine Loop without the rain...very narrow windy roads, with barely enough room for one car. The wet roads did not help the anxiety factor.

Here's the view on the other side of the Alpine Loop (the American Fork side). Judging by this picture, you probably no longer believe me that it had been raining. You can see the road at the bottom of the photo, the road where I was headed. Yes, it's as steep as it looks:

Ragla and I had considered skipping Traverse, but since we both felt good coming out of American Fork Canyon, we continued. It was a hot climb, but not miserable. Binlaw rode ahead, I rode alone in the middle, and Coach Girl and Ragla rode at the back.

Here's the view of the Utah Valley side:

By the time we got to the top of Traverse Ridge, Ragla was really sick. I stayed with her while she threw up and called her DH to come rescue us. Coach Girl and Binlaw decided they couldn't wait and went on ahead, down the Suncrest (Salt Lake) side. I was kinda glad I didn't have to go down that side today. It's scary fast with a cross wind that tries to blow you into traffic. Plus, in order to get back to my side of the valley, you have to go on the freeway frontage road which is way too narrow with way too many huge cement and dump trucks thundering along.

Anyway, here's a picture of the Salt Lake Valley from the top of Suncrest.

Also, I don't know why this tickled me so, but at the time, I thought it was really funny. I found it in the restroom at the top the Traverse Ridge.

Like I didn't know how to wash my hands and maybe I might think the toilet was where I should clean up.

I'm not giving my numbers today because they're laughable.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Sanpete Road Race--Spring City, Moroni, Fountain Green, and Wales, Utah
I thought this race was gonna be so easy...I thought wrong!
You can see by the bad position I'm in at the finish line that I was hurting:

I hung on to the lead group for about the first half of the race before dropping off the back. I don't know why I did. Maybe the false flat had me fooled, or maybe I thought I'd catch back on to the group again, but I didn't hang on. So I suffered in the headwind and false flats alone for the last half the race. I hate that!

Then the worst happened. Ok, I know there are worse things, but it was bad. The people who were helping on the course directed me left when I should have gone right. Luckily, Sling was there waiting to take a picture and he realized I had gone the wrong way. He chased me down in the car and got me back on the right course. I lost several minutes and gained a couple of miles because of that mistake. Back into the headwind and inclined road.

I think that's about where I gave up. I figured that I was so far behind by now, I really didn't put much effort into the race anymore. Plus, I was really starting to hurt. I don't know why. I've done plenty of rides of this length, so I really shouldn't have been suffering so much. But, my back had locked down, I had gone into some weird position to help it feel better, and therefore caused a lot of sit-bone pain. My tushie was on fire for about the last 10 miles.

The last couple of miles were fun because it was a fast descent with a tailwind. The finish line just kind of snuck up on me, but I was glad to be done.

The race organizers served a really good dutch-oven meal after the race. Pulled pork, chicken breasts, potatoes, salad, and rolls, with peach cobbler and ice cream for dessert. Too bad I didn't feel like eating much.

45.21 miles in 2:20 with 1497 feet of climbing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Housework in Cleats

I'm supposed to be out on a three hour bike ride --right NOW! Actually, I meant to leave an hour and a half ago.

So what's the problem?

First, I couldn't find my heart rate monitor strap. I found it in the most random place after looking everywhere I could think of.

Then, I went to turn on my bike computer to make sure it was reading the monitor. It wouldn't turn on, which is bizarre since I just charged it after my ride yesterday. The only thing I can figure is that I must have left it on after I charged it and it ran dead.

So, here I am waiting for the dumb thing to charge. I know from past experience that if I unplug it before it's done charging, it will go into "punish-user" mode, and won't turn on for a couple of days. So, here I sit watching my computer give me the message, "BATTERY CHARGING IN PROGRESS."

I've been dressed in my bike gear for a while now. Been finding things to do around the house. Cleaning the shower was kinda fun while wearing my bike shoes. I could stand on my toes even better because of the cleats. At least stuff's getting done for a change. Or at least it was before I sat down in front of the computer.

I'm going to be riding well into the afternoon today.

Later in the Day

I've made it back from my ride. I had to cut it a little short because I left so late, and I had other more important things to do.

Ride consisted of riding through construction zones (most memorable one was the total shut down of the southbound lanes coming out of Provo Canyon) and manuvuring around car accidents. Kept me on the edge of my seat.

38 miles in 2:24 with 1286 feet of climbing.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

LOTOJA Worries

I woke up this morning to the sound of thunder in the sky and rain hitting the windows. I was supposed to be meeting a group for a bike ride around the Alpine Loop (which takes you past Sundance Ski Resort into some gorgeous foresty areas, to an elevation over 8000 feet), then into Lehi/Highland, and up Traverse, and over to Salt Lake. We were planning on about 75 miles, and over 4 hours of ride time.

Did I want to ride in the rain and the wind and the lightening? Not really, but I did need the miles.

The phone rang. The group ride was put off with an agreement that if the weather cleared up, we'd go.

I went back to bed and slept for almost three more glorious hours. I really needed that sleep.

At around 2 p.m., things were looking up in the weather department. The group convened, but we decided that because of the chance of a downpour we would skip the Alpine Loop. None of us wanted to risk having no brakes on a scary fast, twisty, windy descent. So we headed out to the other side of the lake. We wound our way around Saratoga Springs then hit the Jordan River Trail toward Lehi. Since we were in Lehi anyway, and since the weather had improved considerably, we decided to climb Traverse Ridge. By the time we got to the base of the mountain, it was getting hot. It was probably about 5 p.m. by this point. The clouds had moved out, and there was no more wind. This is where things got bad for me. About halfway up the climb, I think I was on the verge of heatstroke. I was getting delusional. Coach Girl finally started taking my begging for shade seriously when I asked her if the guy who passed us on a motorcycle had fangs. So we found a corner where there was a big sign to provide me some shade. Luckily, we'd climbed high enough by this point that there was a nice breeze to cool me off. After a couple of minutes of rest and cooling down, we started back up the climb again. I was totally energized by the rest, and the rest of the climb went by really fast. The descent was fast and fun, but the ride home was long because everybody was so tired.

So, I spent almost four hours on my bike, and I am exhausted. In three weeks I will be riding my bike for over six hours of mostly climbing at LOTOJA. I'm worried.

The good news is that my back is feeling better. Only a little bit of cramping during the climb. Or, maybe I was so focused on not dying of the heat that I didn't notice my back?

58.67 miles in 3:45 with 3114 feet of climbing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How long should a two-hour ride take?

It took me only SIX hours to ride a TWO hour bike ride this morning.

I left the house at 6 a.m., and didn't get back home until noon!

In between that time I fixed a flat, came back home for a good tire pump-up, attended a Pilates class, taught a Spinning class, chatted with some students, checked out a friend's new car, talked on the phone with Mom, and went to visit my grandparents to get a snack and refill my bottles.

It seems like forever since this morning, and at the same time, I can't believe it's already almost dinner time.

Why Rio could be my best friend:

  • I can tell Rio anything and she'll never say a word.
  • She offers me plenty of support.
  • We've been through some rough times, and we're still together.
  • I have caused her plenty of scars, and she never complains.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ugh! That Bites!

Wolf Creek Pass Road Race today. It was hard and I hurt. I really had no business being at this race. It was way beyond my capabilities. But I finished it, and I'm calling it a good training ride. The only thing nice I have to say is that the descent was a lot of fun. Shortly into the descent I was passed by the Pro guys: Dave Zabriskie (still racing in his CSC jersey), Burke Swindlehurst (Toyota United), and Jeff Louder (Healthnet). If only I had been thinking straight at the time, I would have enjoyed the view a bit. It wasn't 'til I was down the road a way before I realized what had happened. I was so looking forward to meeting Dave Z. at the finish line, but he had taken off before I got there. I can't say I blame him. I wouldn't want a bunch of groupies like me swarming around.

BTW, Burke was wandering around after the race, but I was too chicken to go up and say "hi." Nice legs on that man. :-)

30 miles
Total climbing (including warm up) 4930 feet

I'm the one riding at the back of the group.

Friday, August 10, 2007

What to do, what to do?

I'm a dope! I managed to miss Wolf Creek registration. I thought I had until midnight last night to register, and at about 10:20 p.m. I pulled out the ol' credit card to get signed up, and low and behold, registration was closed. Apparently I neglected to read the bright red notice: All dates/times above are Eastern. Doh! So I email the race director to see if he's be so kind to let me into a race where I know I'm gonna get my butt kicked. I've dealt with this particular person before, so I don't expect to hear anything from him. My only option now is to drive to the race bright and early in the morning and hope to talk my way in. I'm not excited.

To tell the truth, I don't know why I'm even doing this race. All the ladies who have signed up are ranked so much higher than myself.
I can't afford to go. My back has gone into lock-down. My better senses are telling me to just stay home, save the money, and save my back. But for some reason, I'm not listening to reason. I'll be up early tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Freaking Out!!!

I am VERY nervous for the race this weekend! Wolf Creek Pass Road Race: 2400 feet of climbing in 15 miles, then back down again. My back was feeling better for the past couple of days, just long enough for me to decide for sure that I'm racing. Today, it went whack again. I've been lying low all day, hoping that the problem will fix itself. So now I'm committed to racing, and it should be a suffer-fest. I hate suffering. I don't race well when I hurt, so really, I'm just hoping to finish. What a goal...just finish. This is supposed to be my priority race. If it wasn't for the back pain, I would be feeling pretty confident about things. Oh, why, oh, why must I have to have to deal with this right now?

BTW, why do so many races have the word "Creek" in their names?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Feeling Strong

Feeling good on the ride this morning. Coach Girl, Ragla (my LOTOJA partner), Binlaw, and myself went out for a short, 1-hour, ride. About 5 minutes into the ride, I kindly asked Binlaw to move over so I could make a hill attack on Coach Girl. I went tearing past everyone and away. Nobody went with me (although I later heard that some of them tried). When I realized that I was so far out, I had to rein it back in and wait up. I don't want the reputation of showing off on a group ride. But I was showing off. I couldn't help it...I felt good!

After that, I got lots of comments like: "How many more times are you going to do that?" "What kind of training ride ARE you doing today, anyway?" and "Next time Rio's Rider goes, it's our job to stay with her!" (Bet you can't guess who made that last comment.)

Never train with your friends when you're peaking.

17.5 miles in just over an hour with several shortish, steep hills. The climbing didn't seem to bother my back today. Hopefully it's getting better!

Starting my taper tomorrow for Saturday's race.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Saturday's Ride

I'm supposed to be racing Huntsville today. Obviously, I'm not.

My back has been giving me fits lately. I think my hips are out of alignment, or something. I really should go see the chiropractor. Now's just not a good time. I'm currently the only one in the house with an income, and I can't really call it much of an income.

Anyway, my back has been sending pains and tingling down my left leg. I have no pull up on the left side when I'm pedaling. Not good for climbing. Not good for racing. Especially not good for racing a climb. Thus, no racing for me today.

I really hope it's better for Wolf Creek next week. I have to do that race, even if it's painful. Crossing my fingers that it's not more painful than it should be.

Today I rode to South Fork up Provo Canyon with my LOTOJA partner. We both need to start seriously training and getting some miles in. I'm beginning to really worry about LOTOJA. Will I be ready? I'm a better climber than she is, and she kicks my butt on the flats. So, I'm doing all the LOTOJA hills and she's taking the flatter parts. It evens out that we're each doing about half of the race, or about 100 miles each. I haven't done that kind of mileage yet this year. Next year my goal is to do LOTOJA solo.

Today: 24.5 miles in 1:40

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Summer Fun

Rode this last night:

It was Wicked!

(Sorry about the blurry photo.)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Alpine Loop Revisited

Did the full Alpine Loop this morning. It was the first time I had ridden this route since last year. I was surprised how much easier it seemed this time. I'm getting better at this biking thing!

The first time I climbed the Alpine Loop, I remember suffering the whole way up and down. My heart rate was maxed out and my legs were burning the entire time. I remember my perception of the ride was that it was steep all the way to the top.

The next time I did it, I remember realizing that the climb is really only steep until you get to Sundance Ski Resort. From there to the summit, it's less painful. But I still remember suffering to the top this second time.

Then I raced it. It sucked. I remember being totally blown up before reaching the summit. I also remember telling people on the side of the road watching the race that I'd gladly trade places with them. I finished, but lost.

The Alpine Loop today was glorious in comparison to any of the previous tries. About a mile into it, I commented to Coach Girl that I couldn't believe I hated it so much last year. I was actually having a good time. So good, I ended up easily passing Coach Girl! She looked like she was struggling, and she was slowing down. I still felt really good, and even though I consider it bad manners to pass Coach Girl, I did it. Then my Garmin started acting up. Apparently it couldn't pick up a good satellite signal, so it kept quitting on me. I got so concerned about it that I started dropping back. Pretty soon I was the one being passed. Then the back pain kicked in, and I realized we were on the steepest part of the climb, just before Sundance. Pretty soon I decided that since Coach Girl was riding ahead of me and wouldn't see, I would get off my bike. So I did. The shame! But it did help my back feel better to rest and stretch for a while. I ended up walking my bike about a quarter of a mile, looking for a less steep place to get back on.

Once we got past Sundance, and the endorphins kicked in, my back started feeling better. The rest of the ride to the top was quite pleasant. I don't remember thinking that so much of the Loop was flat up there. But that was the perception today. And the last bit to the top was nothing like I remembered it. Nothing to it, really.

Then came the descent. The road is very narrow..really only about one car width. I knew there was a sharp hairpin turn right away, so I was extra cautious. There seemed to be more traffic on the American Fork side, making things a bit tricky. Most of the cars were riding on my side of the road because there's just not enough room. The scariest parts were when there was a car coming at me and I could hear a car behind me, too. I bet they were just as happy to have me on the road as I was to have them there.

Last year, I could barely make it home after doing the full loop. This year, I felt so good I suggested to Coach Girl that we keep going and do Traverse Ridge while we were at it. We didn't.

Next time I'll bring my camera. The scenery can't be beat!

38.6 miles
14 mph average

Chalk Creek Road Race -- Saturday, July 28

I made the mistake of racing Chalk Creek as a Master. I am seriously kicking myself in the rear end for not racing as a Cat 4. Looking at the results numbers, I would have been 5th as a Cat 4, and therefore would have earned 17 points. Instead I raced against three insanely fast Masters women. Their times beat any of the Cat 4s times by at least 3 minutes! I had no chance. But I did ride with them for a ways into the race, so I managed to pull off 4th place. I raced most of the race by myself...I was off the back of the leading ladies, and a way in front of the rest of the group.

BTW, I raced as a Master because it was the Master's Championship race and I wanted to see if I could get a medal. So, I ended up being only one place away from medaling. I missed out on a medal and I missed out on my Cat 4 points. Grrr!

31 ish miles (as always, I forgot to start my computer at the start)
18 mph average