Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Because I Can't Follow Instructions

Yep. I went skiing today. Nordic. I figured that the skiing would be good after yesterday's snow storm. Guess what? The Sundance Nordic center had gotten LESS snow than we got here in the valley! The trails were thin and even bare in some spots. It will be my last time cross country skiing until next year.

I was going to say that I should have ridden my bike - like I was supposed to - but if I had I wouldn't have been able to see the Great Horned Owl that I startled out of a tree. I watched it cross the trail ten feet ahead of me and disappear into the forest. It was awesome - worth skipping a riding day for.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Message from UDOT

Click here for the Bicycle Priority Routes Project

Snow Day

Woke up this morning to find five or six inches of snow on the ground. I went out and started shoveling, but then figured what the heck, it'll be melted by noon. And sure enough, the sun is out now melting the snow away again.

Sundance is sure to have gotten lots of fresh powder out of this snow storm. Since I'm "special" I think I'll take a ski day tomorrow. It beats riding the trainer.

(The following pictures were taken last week of the same flowers shown above.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rio Wanted More

Went for a quickie ride up Provo Canyon this afternoon. Pushed hard up the trail to Nunn's Park then jumped the gate and took the old road up as far as it would go. Turned around hoping for a fast descent, but ran into my old friend, the headwind, instead. About this time my stomach started to really bother me and my cough kicked back in. I thought I was done with the cough, but have had it the rest of the day since. Found Turbo and his cute family on the way back down the canyon.

About the time I got to the mouth of the canyon I discovered that my front tire was mostly flat. So I stopped and hit it with a shot of CO2. I considered riding further into Provo, but my stomach and lungs were really mad at me. So I went home.

No RMR today since I went to a baby shower for a good friend instead. I'll post a way cute picture I took at the shower when I'm on my computer.

EDIT: As promised here is the cute baby picture:

Tiniest baby foot I've ever seen!

And speaking of cute baby pictures, I found this one online and couldn't resist sharing it. This is how twins are made:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Could You Step it Up?

I'm starting to feel better. Good thing. My life is starting to ramp up again, and I'm going to need to feel good. Hmmm...maybe I got sick because my life has ramped up...

One of the other Spinning instructors at my gym is on maternity leave. I've taken over her classes. They are the early morning classes. You know, the classes that they hold when you are in bed sleeping...or should be. It's dark when I LEAVE the gym after class. That's how early these classes are.

I've never claimed to be an early morning person. To add insult to injury, I started taking these early classes the day after setting the clock forward an hour. Nothing quite like getting up three hours earlier than you're used to getting up - day after day. Somedays I wonder what day it even is...

But, strangely, I like it. I get so much more done during the day when I get up so early. I'm going to ask to keep these classes once maternity leave is done.

Last week, I started working extra hours for my desk job. Then yesterday I get this email from my boss, "your good work is desperately needed...we invite you to step it up." Oooookaaay... I thought I just did just "step it up!" So, now - because I have to be the best at everything I do - I am again adding more hours to my work schedule. Gotta keep the boss happy...

Yes, you read right: I said I have to be the best at everything I do. Having said that, you may wonder why I suck at bike racing. Well, I'm still out there trying because it drives me crazy that I can't be the best at that too. Let's just say that for now I'm doing the best I can at it for what I am capable of doing. I may just have to accept the fact that I can't be the best at EVERYTHING. It doesn't mean I won't keep trying.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm Not Afraid of this Weather

But, I am afraid that I'll get out riding in the cold and my cough will kick in and I'll be far away from home with only pedal power to get me back. I'm still feeling a little weak and run down from this darn cold. It's going on two weeks now...go away dumb sickness, go away!

I'll have to give in and ride the trainer for two hours today. I hope I don't die of boredom.

Friday, March 20, 2009

To Ride or Not to Ride...

I'm supposed to be leading a group ride tomorrow. With temperatures supposed to be in the 70s, it's sure to be a fantastic day for riding.

So why the conflict?

Simply put, it hurts to breathe. I'm fairly sure breathing is an important element of riding a bike. I've felt this cold coming on for nearly a week now. Up until this morning it has been so mild I could deal with it. Then I rode really hard in Spinning class this morning. Before I could even lock the Spinning studio door the coughing fits had started. Now my chest just hurts and my breathing is shallow.

Yet, I feel like I should ride tomorrow. The group needs me there, because how will they possibly know how to ride without me? :)
And I don't want to give up an important training day. How will I make up for lost time?

What to do, what to do...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lots of Stuff

I've gotten pretty backed up with stuff I've wanted to write about lately. Sorry.

I'm going back in time a bit to last Saturday to start things off.

After spending the whole week telling myself that I was going to go to the RMR crit, it actually wasn't too hard to get myself to go. But I hadn't only come to race. I was there to see how the new timing chip system worked.

I got to the race early, signed in, and spent some time watching the crew set up the timing device. It's funny how nice everyone is to me now that I'm an official and not just another racer. One of the guys was like, "What do you want?" (typical leave-us-alone-we're-important attitude) then looked over and saw who I was. Then it was, "Oh, come on in and look at this with us!" I think it's gonna be fun to mess around with these guys (and gals) and their attitudes for a while. If any of you ever notice that I've developed the holier-then-thou attitude, please smack some sense into me.

Because of some issues with the gate being locked, the race had been set back a half and hour. So I went and got a good warm up.

Then I came back and watched DH take the win again. He's awesome - especially to be able to come back so strong after having broken his collar bone only about four months ago.

Not too many of my teammate had made it out to this race. I did see Margret, who seemed happy to see me and gave me a big good luck hug. That was nice. Then it was my turn to race. I really wanted to line up at the back (because I really didn't want to be there), but Brandi made me come forward so I was mid-pack. We took off and I was feeling really good. And then I got passed and dropped. No surprise here. I just can't compete with a bunch of Cat 3 men. I time-trialed most the rest of the crit until the fast guys came around me with three laps to go. I sped up to catch on to the back of them, but lost them again as we made the hairpin turn back onto the drag strip. But, I didn't lose all of them. I was able to work with Tim E. (aka TJs dad) and another girl for the remainder of the race. As we came around to the start/finish line again Gary (the ref) called out to everyone that there was two laps to go. And then he included, "Except you two, (meaning me and Tim) you have 12." Haha. We made another lap, and as we came back onto the drag strip I decided that I was going beat the other two across the line. So I did. I don't think they gave it too much fight.

After the race I went to see how my timing chip had done. Surprise! They hadn't even bothered keeping the box plugged in for my race. I was disappointed. It would have helped me to be able to see how the timing system worked if I could have compared it to my own information.

Anyhow, after the race I went over to the Hell of the North course and did a few laps. I was supposed to be doing another hour and a half of race pace training, but I didn't have much umph left in me, nor much motivation. I got the time in, but not the effort. At least I was content to see that the gravel section of the course looks decent. Hopefully whoever maintains that road won't see any reason to lay down six-inches of fresh gravel in the coming three weeks.

Sometime during the day on Saturday I found my new max heart rate: 227 bpm! Something is definitely wrong with my Garmin.

Sunday I went and spent some time hanging out with my teammates over dinner.

Monday I taught an early morning Spinning class, then came home and showered before I remembered that I was supposed to lift weights. Oh, well. I didn't feel up to lifting weights anyway. I think I'm getting sick. So I calmed my guilt down by doing some push ups and crunches. The OCD side of me is doing this push up program: http://www.hundredpushups.com/ I will make it to 100 push ups!

And that brings us to today.

I had to go into the office at 9 for a quick meeting, and I was planning to ride at 10. I got home shortly before 10 and started getting ready to ride. Everything was going according to plan until I went to pump up my tires. At some point, I had bought those Specialized tubes that have the slick (not threaded) stems. My pump cannot handle those stems without it being a two-person job. One person to hold the pump in place and the other person to pump. I didn't have another person. So I proceeded to let all the air out of my rear tire. Then I tried to tape the pump into place and pump. But that wasn't working either. If I hadn't been kitted up and determined I might have just called it a day at that point. Instead, I decided my only other (and quicker) option was to change out the tire. Since I was running my carbon wheels, that meant I had to change out the brake pads as well.

That done, I grabbed my Garmin and turned it on. It turned off. I turned it on again. It turned itself back off. Grrr!!! Now I was getting mad. I ripped my strap off and grabbed my regular heart-rate monitor. Plus, I turned on my new GPS distance tracker application I added to my phone. Cool. Now I could have distance, speed, and heart rate info when my Garmin was on the fritz.

Now an hour late for my ride, I went outside, locked the door and straddled my bike. Then I noticed that I wasn't wearing my gloves. Screw the gloves! I left, imagining what carnage might happen just because my hands were naked.

I rode down the block and came to the first stop sign. Rear brake not working. Darn! My Eastons are thinner than my Reynolds. I stopped and tried to adjust the brake. Stupid gripper thing had come loose and I couldn't turn the adjuster without a wrench. Fine. I would just ride to the bike shop.

About two blocks before the bike shop I was approaching a corner to make a left-hand turn. I had the right of way and there was a van stopped on my left. As I pulled in front of the van, he started pulling out. I tried to make eye contact, but he was looking the other way. And he kept coming for me. I started yelling. "DON'T HIT THE BIKER, DON'T HIT THE BIKER!" Luckily, he had his window cracked and heard me. He stopped about a foot before hitting me. I heard him say, "Sorry." as I came around him. Scared me to death! And I was wearing my brightest red and green Amici Veloci jersey. How he didn't see me, I don't know.

I got to bike shop and they fixed my brakes, and also my bad attitude. After that all was well. Well, except for when I got home and stopped the timer on my GPS distance tracker. Apparently hitting the stop button clears all the information from the ride. I have no idea how far or how fast I went. I'm a numbers person, so it bothers me not to know.

Later this afternoon, I went up to a meeting with an official and a promoter. I had asked to sit in on the meeting so I could see the whole process of putting on a race. It was an interesting and informative meeting. I have a lot to learn.

After the meeting, I went next door to the bike shop, just to look around and smell the bikes. I was surprised to see Alisha and her hubby sitting out front. Strange that I run into more people I know when I'm out of town (and in the big city) than I do in my own town.

Driving home, I realized that I really am getting sick. I came home and crashed pretty hard.

Well, it's late and I still have to put together a kick-butt ride for my class tomorrow, so I guess I'll stop writing. Why is it that I always write the most when I don't feel good?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Open Letter to Creepy Gym Guys

Dear Creepy Old Men in the weight room,

I realize that you go to the gym to watch the ladies workout. But let me lay down some ground rules for you:

I AM NOT YOUR girl. Please do not tell everyone that I am, especially when you don't think I can hear you.

I do not need help with the weights. I know my limits, please know yours.

As much as you'd like to see me in the pool, I'm not going there, so don't ask.

When I have my headphones on, it means that I don't want to talk. Try not to interrupt my workout. I'm not at the gym to socialize.

I do not want to see your crack. Please pull the pants up!

I really don't like your sweat on my shirt. Please don't use me as your towel.

As a matter of fact, don't touch me. It makes me uncomfortable, and I could get fired if my boss sees it happening.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Rio's Rider

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So Nordical

It turned out to be a pretty darned nice day.

It didn't look that way this morning.

After getting a mere three hours of sleep last night, and only a couple more the night before, I was starting to get pretty glum. Plus, the cloudy skies weren't helping my outlook.

But, I was pleased that we had gotten some more snow yesterday because I have been missing being able to cross country ski. So I headed up to Sundance again this morning for a little Nordic action.

It was cold when I arrived. As I started off up the trail I worried that I hadn't dressed warm enough. But really only my face and lips were cold. I thought they might freeze, crack, and fall off. It was snowing and the wind was blowing.

But that was only for the first five minutes. I had made a wise decision as I left the Nordic Center's yurt: I choose to head straight up Connor's Climb. That sure warmed me up quickly. After that, life was beautiful.

After I got over feeling cold, I noticed that I wasn't gliding as nicely as I felt I should be, and I was feeling tippy. Was it the fact that I hadn't been skiing in three weeks and had lost my form, or was it that my body just wanted to fall over and take a nap?

After getting to the top of Connor's Climb I found that one of my favorite trails was un-groomed. Yay! I love skiing in the powder! But I didn't realize what a hip flexor workout I was getting myself into. I climbed Felonious Colonious in at least six inches of powder. It was more like I was snowshoeing with really long snowshoes. I reached the summit and came down one of the steeper climbs: Ten Lashes. With so much powder, I was able to descend it without snowplowing at all and really didn't go too fast. After that, I was feeling so brave, I went out seeking other steep parts to come down. Which meant I came down Jerry's Lunch. I actually found that part to be less steep than Ten Lashes.

By the time I had gotten to Jerry's Lunch, my left heel was beginning to sting. I tightened up the boot, hoping that would fix the problem. No luck. I tugged at my sock and tights. That didn't fix it either. So I headed back around Lena's Loop and returned to base.

I walked into the yurt and told the guys that I had a blister. One of the guys sat me down, took off my sock and bandaged me up. This is the same guy who had insisted on waxing my skis when I had walked in that morning. Great service! Anyway, he did a super skilled, albeit interesting, bandaging:

So much tape for just for a quarter-sized blister on my heel! But it felt better, so I hit the trail again. By now the sun was shining, and I could really enjoy myself...until the other heel started stinging. What the...? I still haven't figured out what caused the blisters today. I've never gotten a blister in these boots before. Anyway, that pretty much cut my time in the snow short. I was done.

I was shocked to come home and check my GPS stats. Apparently, I hit a new world's record for cross-country ski speed: 65.3 MPH! Wow! Something is definitely wrong with my Garmin.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

MIA at the First RMR Crit Race of the Year

So, I managed to talk myself out of going to the RMR crit yesterday. It wasn't too hard after looking out the window at the snow and thinking the race would be cancelled. I don't know if I appreciate the RMR crits the way they are meant to be appreciated. Besides, for me, RMR is a dragstrip where dragsters and hopped up muscle cars are raced at speeds over 100 mph. Those were the days.

I think I'm going to need someone to come drag me to the race next weekend. I can't miss next week too. I've been too down on myself the whole weekend for missing yesterday's race. I don't like it when I'm down. Plus, the weather is supposed to be nicer next weekend. So I will have no excuses.

So, see you at RMR in 6 days.

Oh, before I go, I have a question for all you mountain bikers: One of my St. George friends has invited me down to ride the JEM trail. Is it very technical? Would it be worth the drive to St. George?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Solo to Saratoga

One of the first things I do when I get up in the morning is check facebook. I'm convinced that so much has gone on in the world of my online friends while I've been sleeping. One of the first things I saw on facebook this morning was Jared's status: "Jared thinks this wind looks brutal for a bike ride." I pondered on this as I walked over to the window to take a peek. Hmmm...not a twig twittering or a weed wiggling. Just a cloud covered sky. Must be a Salt Lake specific wind. I was good to go.

I kitted up. By the time I was out the door, the clouds were gone and the sun was shining. I peeled off my jacket and threw it back into the house. I wouldn't need it today.

Today's ride was an endurance ride. So I choose one of the flattest routes I could. I headed to Saratoga Springs west of Lehi. It's a nice ride with little traffic and lots of scenery. I had to stop and get a picture of this big ol' Texas Longhorn.

I just wish he would have looked over at me so you could see the huge span of those horns.

Plus, the birds were out this morning. I saw four Canadian Geese, an American Kestrel, and I had a near head-on collision with what I think must have been a Golden Eagle. I don't know why he was flying so low - maybe he was injured. But it was cool to see such a huge bird so up close.

It was a peaceful ride. Even after the winds started kicking up. I had ridden west to Lehi before I noticed the winds. I had a good headwind all the way home. I think Jared sent the wind.

31 miles in 2 hours.