Saturday, March 29, 2008

RMR & Hell

RMR's race was different today. There weren't as many racers, the wind was even more brutal than before, and the pack seemed to stay together better than usual. Plus, dare I say I'm getting a little better at this? I was only lapped by the breakaway and nobody else. I even caught on and rode with the breakaway for a couple of hundred yards before I'd had enough of their pace.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. As the race started the guy next to me took off in a sprint. As I watched him go, I realized that he's getting over to get out of the wind. I wanted to be out of the wind too, so I chased him down. The bad thing was that this set a super fast pace from the get go. I liked last week's start better when we all rode easy to the first turn. Sprinting off the line kind of burned me out. Pretty soon, most of the pack had come around, and before long I was off the back, again.

The bad part of the race happened on the last lap when Sling yelled something at me. What he tells me he yelled was, "Draft!" but what I heard was, "You're flat!" I had been thinking that my bike felt a little funny, so I believed what I heard and pulled over. I glanced down at my tire just as another rider passed me. It wasn't flat! I got back on and worked my butt off to catch, pass, and beat the girl who had passed me.

Here's my teammate, Shanna. She's super strong, and I hope someday I can keep up with her.

After the race Sling and I went over and did a lap of the Hell of the North course. The gravel section was a bit more challenging when pushing into a headwind. It's a lot more fun when you can get some speed and fly over the gravel. We only did one lap because Sling got a flat and we decided we should get back. That ended up being a good decision. By the time we got back home his tire had a huge gash in the side and the new tube was sticking out. Time to get some new tires...always buying new tires.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It Took This Ride to Bring Me Back

I'm excited about riding again! It took several near death experiences on the road today to make me realize that I'm going to be okay, and that I can trust myself on the bike again.

Highlights of the ride:

  • Just as I started going full tilt into a sprint, some guy decides to pull in front of me and hit the brakes.
  • As I was heading into a fast descent, a city bus pulls over, the car in front of me goes to go around, I follow, and a car pulls out in front of us. More locking up of brakes. Ruined my fast descent. But, it showed me that I do have skills when it comes to saving myself in an instant.
  • Coming out of the descent an older guy wearing calf-high white socks is weaving all over the road in front of me. I announced my presence as I pass. He decided that I was some good company, so he chased me down. The first word out of his mouth are, "I'm 75!" "Wow!" I say, "You're sure looking good out here." Then he proceeds to tell me that he's from California and that he's done several centuries and doubles. About that time I realize I'm supposed to be sprinting again. So I take off and drop him.
  • Down by Utah Lake I decided to take the bike path because it's smoother than the road and there's never anyone on it anyway. Almost to the end of the path, as I'm watching the birds out on the lake, I look up and there's a bike in my lane heading right at me. It's the old guy again (he'd gone a different way). He's got a huge grin on his face and he's waving at me. He pulled into his own lane after I acknowledged him, at the last second.
  • I drafted off a semi. Not intentionally. He pulled in front of me and I couldn't get around him. If I could have gotten around him, it would have been better. He was only doing around 15 mph and I was caught in his draft, just coasting along. If I tried to pedal I would get too close, and I didn't really want to do a face plant into the back of him if he hit the brakes.
  • Since I had ridden down to the lake, the only way back home was up. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but I was supposed to be in zone1-2. I tried to climb 2000 North in Orem aerobically, but if I had gone any slower, I would have tipped over.
At any rate, I am feeling much more confident with riding after today. It feels good.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

RMR - Round Two

I raced RMR again yesterday. I sucked. I really only raced to chase down some lost confidence. Although, I'm not sure that racing with stronger, faster men is the way for me to gain confidence. Sling says I really didn't do as badly as I thought I did. He didn't race with me this time -- he just observed and took pictures. If you really want more race details than what I provide here, you'll have to ask.

Here I am chasing from off the back (My team kit hasn't come in yet):

Here's my teammate, BG:

The most important part is that I had fun. The drag strip course is more challenging and interesting than the circle track was. I'll be back next week to chase down some lost aggression.

Monday, March 17, 2008

How to Gain 5 Pounds in a Day

The Sundance eating experience: unbelieveable!

Sunday I had the pleasure of dining at Sundance Resort for both breakfast and dinner. Those were the only two meals I had that day. They were the only two I needed.

9:30 a.m. Brunch, buffet style, at the Foundry Grill. As soon as I sat down to the table with my plate full of food I thought, "Dang! I should have brought my camera so I could remember and show off all of this beautiful food!"

There was every type of food imaginable available to choose from:

Breakfast-type foods: cereals, muffins, pancakes, waffles, smoked-salmon eggs benedict (yum!), fruits (strawberries, grapes, pineapple, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries), yogurt, and eggs and omelets made to order.

Foods I wouldn't normally eat in the morning: pot roast with mushroom gravy (which ended up being my favorite), prime rib (so tender), roast leg of lamb, roasted vegetables, salads of every variety, guacamole, halibut, and ravioli.

Desserts (because you can't end any meal this fabulous without something sinful): cakes, cookies, tarts, chocolates, and, most importantly, cheesecakes.

The list could go on - this is just what I can remember. I had a hard time being selective. I wanted to try everything. And I would have, had my bulging belly let me.

Brunch lasted me all day. I was just starting to feel like I could eat again when it came time to meet Sling for dinner in the Tree Room.

6:00 p.m. Wow! The Tree Room... this is what it's like to eat! Each of us had three servers to take care of our every need. After you'd finished with each course of the meal, someone would come and switch out your silverware - whether you'd used it or not. My glass was constantly full. It was awesome service! But the food was better.

I started out with the Wild Game Tortellini. I'm not sure what was in it, but it was tasty! Next came a baby beet salad - soooo good. I wonder how someone came up with the interesting combination of flavors for a salad - sweet, tart, tangy - it was a dance on my tongue! Then came the main dish: Buffalo Tenderloin. So tender, so flavorful, so good. The meat was sitting on top of some arugula that had been cooked in a port wine reduction. There was also a bread pudding muffin and some spaghetti squash. All so yummy! For dessert I had the vanilla bean creme brulee. It had a hard coating of caramelized sugar - just like candy - and it was so smooth. Sling had the chocolate truffle cake. I think I enjoyed his cake just a little more than my creme brulee. It was a tall cake with a gooey chocolate center on a dried cherry sauce. I would have tried some of his ice cream too, but by this time I was too full.

If you've never had the opportunity to enjoy a meal at the Sundance Resort - please plan to spoil yourself at least once. It is so worth it!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Something's Wrong

I have no desire to ride my bike. It's not right. I won't be racing RMR today because I have absolutely no inclination to do so. I've never felt this way before, and I want to figure out what is going on. Some other weird symptoms I'm having are extreme fatigue and muscle soreness when I haven't been working hard. You'd have to think that it sounds a lot like overtraining, but this is a rest week for me, and I haven't done much at all.

I know it's bad when a package of bike parts comes in the mail and I set it aside without opening it. It's even worse when I hope it snows or I get sick so I won't have to ride.

My coach thinks that since I've wrecked my bike lately, and have been sick recently too, that my body just needs some extra rest. He told me to get extra sleep at night and to take naps during the day. I have been: 9+ hours of sleep at night plus a (sometimes 2 hour) nap. Still, I'm so tired.

My chiropractor thinks that I'm not getting enough protein. He has ordered me to have a 10+ ounce rare steak, taken with some enzymes (which I have lost). If I feel better the next day, that may be the answer. I'm going to be having my steak tomorrow night at the Tree Room up at Sundance. This I'm excited for. Not only do I get dinner at the Tree Room, I get to have brunch in the morning at the Sundance Grill. Yum!

I think that maybe it's all the emotional stuff I've got going on. Too much stuff to worry about, so maybe my brain just can't handle riding right now. Who knows?

No matter what the cause, it's really got me down. I love riding my bike. It has been all I've thought about and wanted to do for the last two years.

I hope this goes away soon.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rocky Mountain Raceway

I raced at Rocky Mountain Raceway again today. Only today was a little different than the last time I raced there. This time I was on a bike instead of in a race car. Today the quarter mile was a lot slower than it used to be. I used to run a 15-second quarter mile in a stock '67 El Camino. And I used to beat the guys! I remember once walking past one of the guys I beat just as he was complaining to his buddy that he'd lost. I looked over at him and said, "Yea, and you lost to a girl!" Yes, I was a brat. But I digress...

It was a little freaky for me to warm up going backwards on the familiar drag strip today. But the race wasn't held on the drag strip. We raced the circle track.

Round and round and round the circle track. Racing with a group of mostly men. Slingshot came out and raced with me. That was cool. He beat me. I have no idea where I placed, but I know I didn't lose. Which is actually surprising because I've been sick for most of the week. I went to the Dr. for strep on Wednesday. Hopefully next week's RMR race will be a little kinder on me.

Being out at the track again today inspires me to want to relive the rush. I'm going to race a dragster down the drag strip this summer. Bring back the old times, baby!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Trip to St. George

I had a great time in St. George this weekend! Saturday I rode around in warm sunshine (see previous post). On Sunday, I took off for a ride from my brother's house to see my grandparents. It was only about a mile and a half, but by the time I got there I had pretty much decided it wasn't worth it to ride in such brutal wind. When I left my grandparent's place I had planned just to go back to my brother's house and get ready to drive back home. But once I got on the road, I had changed my mind (I'm always changing my mind). I had a fantastic tailwind pushing me along. It felt so good that even though I knew it would be super hard on the way back, I just kept riding. But, those winds were relentless. There were several times I was sure I was going to be knocked over. It was so bad that on one descent, where normally I would have gotten going 35+ mph, I was pushing against the wind at 10 mph! I almost got killed by a giant tumbleweed, too! I rode out to Bloomington to see my mom's old house, then headed back to my brother's house. Sure enough, just as I expected, it was hard and slow going back. I had to keep telling myself what great training this was.

Total mileage for the weekend = 54 miles
Total time spent on the bike = 4 hours

Here are some of the sights I enjoyed while riding around:
Such pretty scenery!


Yard Art

Staying at my brother's house is always an adventure. I got to have some almost Redneck type experiences: sleeping on camouflage sheets, eating venison, and watching the teenagers load the 4-wheeler into the bed of the truck to drive around and impress their friends. My littlest niece was so cute... she just wanted to hang out with me all day. She told me she was going with me on my bike ride. So she went and got her helmet. I decided I would take her for a quick round-the-block trip. Then I found out that she didn't know how to ride a bike yet. So we got out the scooter and off we went. Here's some of the conversation I got on that 20 minute ride around the block: "My scooter feels funny." (She gets off and starts walking.) "Oh, look a rolly-polly!" (We stop and pick it up. She puts it in her pocket.) "Wait for me!" (I stop...and wait...) "Ha, ha, I'm beating you!" (Thought I'd let her get ahead so I could ride faster than 2 mph catching back up.) "Stop, I've gotta rest." (Aaaa! Am I ever going to get out for a real ride!) Anyway, you get the point. She was a hoot the whole weekend. Here's some pictures of her living it up.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ah, Sunshine!

Yes! Rode 34 miles in the beautiful, warm sunshine of St. George today. I started in Washington City, went through the south end of St. George to Green Valley (where I looked down on the Rampage race that was going on--didn't dare take Rio down on the dirt road), then rode north past my old house in the Dixie Downs area, hit the newish Snow Canyon Road and rode to the Tuacahn amphitheater, then out to Ivans. Then I turned around and rode back to Washington.

It was fabulous to have some warm sunshine on my skin today. I'm hoping tomorrow is nice so I can get in another ride before I head back home.

I'll post pictures when I get back home.