Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Seeing The Good

So I was wrong about the lunchtime group. Only four people were able to sneak away from their jobs for a little mid-day play today.

I was hoping to be able to climb Provo Canyon in my endurance zone again, like I did last week. But the rest of the group that showed up are all top-placing tri-geeks. I told them, early on in the ride, to go ahead without me - I had already left my endurance zone. But they just slowed down and let me catch my breath a bit.

I suffered the mild climb up the canyon to Vivian Park in my small chain ring. I felt maxed out, and my legs were tired, sore, and heavy. Why? I slept in this morning and have been taking it pretty easy lately. Maybe that's the reason...or maybe it was from not enough food...or not enough warm up...or maybe my body is still trying to recover from last week's wreck. Whatever the cause, I did not like it.

Then an interesting thing happened. Something in me switched, and I climbed the steeper grades up South Fork-IN MY BIG CHAIN RING. Not cross-chained either. I did drop into my small chain ring a couple of times when the road grade kicked up to 11-12 percent, but for the most part I mashed the climb. The best part is that I felt much better doing this - my heart rate stayed low and my legs quit whimpering. I've gotta figure out how to switch my brain into strength mode more often. Not because mashing is the best thing, just to feel and believe I'm strong.

This is why South Fork is a favorite ride.

The descent out of South Fork is always fun. It is the only time on the ride today that I was able to catch and pass the ultra-skinny tri girl.

Oh, and my shoulder didn't bother me a bit on the ride. I've dodged the chiropractor again.

Now for some deep thinking: it occurred to me today that I really have no interest in upgrading. I have been a Cat 4 for three years now, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm fine with that. I have toyed around with the idea of upgrading for the last couple of years, but now realize that my heart isn't into it. I have wanted to upgrade for reasons beyond myself. In other words, if I upgraded it wouldn't be doing it for me. I would be doing it to impress others, and quite frankly I don't care what others think of me anymore. I'm going to stop focusing on points. At least for this week. Who knows, maybe I'll start enjoying myself again and things will change. But this is how I feel today. I'm going to stop taking racing so seriously that I suck the life out of it, and I'm just going to ride and have fun and focus on improving.

And believe me, I have improved. I only started riding a bike in early 2006. At that time I was a terrified biker. I was afraid of corners, nervous about clipping into my pedals, and would panic if there was a pebble in the road. And forget about descending...I would give myself hand cramps from braking so hard on mild descents. I stayed awake at night imagining the carnage I was sure to cause myself if I were to ever wreck my bike. Yet, I wanted to race so badly! So, without more than a couple of months of riding I signed up for my first race - Buffalo Stampede on Antelope Island. I lost. I lost big. But I didn't give up.

And here I am today. I still don't win races but I no longer lose. For the most part I've had a lot of fun participating. I've done plenty of terrifying things to get to where I am today: I've learned to push into descents without braking. I've climbed and come down roads I never thought I possibly could. I hardly notice rocks in the road, let alone pebbles. I enjoy cornering. I have wrecked - and it wasn't the horrible carnage I had always imagined. And I have found that I won't die if I push myself harder than I thought was possible.

I'm done being stressed about having to do every race for fear of losing points. So, when you see me at the races, know that I'm there because I am ready for a good time.

Make Up Your Minds Already!

Everytime I check the weather forecast for this weekend, it has changed.

First, it looked cold and rainy. Crap.

Then, sunny and warm. Nice.





I wish the weather people would just make up their minds!

In recovery news, I am feeling much better. Scabs are coming off, and I can sleep on my bruised right side now without too much pain. Every day is a little better than the one before. The only issue I'm currently having is that my right shoulder muscles have shut down on me. It's difficult to lift my arm up higher than shoulder height, hold anything with weight, zip zippers or tie shoes. Even just keeping my arm in one position for too long fatigues the shoulder muscles. I keep thinking I'll go to the chiropractor, but can't talk myself into spending the money. If it is still bothering me after today's ride, I'll break down and go. Hopefully, he won't mess anything else up while he's fixing me.

Speaking of today's ride, I'll be riding up Provo Canyon to the top of South Fork again with the lunchtime group. It always amazes me how many people can get away for a bike ride on their lunch "hour." Last week there were eight of us and I expect at least that many again today.

Antelope Island race for me this weekend - regardless of the weather forecast. I'm excited to see the return of this race. It's been one of my favorites. I hope the change in course doesn't affect my feel-good attitude about it. It seems to me that starting the race at the end of the causeway and finishing it miles away on the island makes for a very spectator-unfriendly race.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Let's Not Make This an Annual Event

Today was the second annual Rio's Rider Wrecks event. I am such a dork.

Ragla and I were heading to the mouth of Provo Canyon to meet a group for a lunch ride. We came up to the busy intersection at 1200 N and 800 E in Orem (when ARE they going to put a traffic light there, anyway?). Traffic was bad so we had to wait a couple of minutes to cross. Finally, traffic cleared and we went to go across.

So did the van turning left on the other side of the intersection.

No, I didn't get hit by the van. This accident is all mine - I totally own it.

The van stopped for us to cross, and I stood up and cranked hard to get across fast. At the same time, I lifted my left hand up to wave a courtesy "thanks" to the van. I'm not exactly sure what took me down, but I theorize that I must have had all my weight down hard on the right while lifting my left hand. I went down really hard on my right side. So hard that I knocked off my glasses and stuff came flying out of my pockets. I still can't figure out how I managed to knock the cap off my LEFT shifter. The shifter cap didn't just fly off, it for sure hit the ground. It's cracked and scratched up bad.

I hurried and jumped up and got off the road. As Ragla and I stood there assessing the damages and putting my chain back on, a car pulled up. Surprise! It was Hilslug! At the time I figured she had been on her way to meet us for the ride and had stopped to help out. She came prepared, too. She cleaned up my wounds with some antibacterial wipes and offered a glove to keep grease off our hands while we put the chain back on.

My next surprise was that the Orem City Police showed up, lights flashing and all. I looked at the officer utter amazement and asked if someone had called him. Nope, he just happened to be in the area and thought it looked like I had been hit by a car. He pulled out his first-aid kit and helped bandage up my road rash.

Once I was all fixed up, we continued on the ride. 24 miles up to the top of South Fork and back home. The group teased me the whole ride with comments about not wanting to ride too close to me and reminding me not to wave at anyone.

When I got home I realized that I could hardly walk. Funny how riding my bike didn't hurt, but walking does???? Anyway, my elbow had gotten so stiff that I couldn't even get my clothes changed. So I decided to make a trip to the Instacare. They x-rayed my wrist and elbow, deemed me unbroken, re-bandaged me up and sent me on my way with instructions to rest and ice.

So I called a sub in to teach Spinning for me in the morning. Doctor's orders to rest, so I'm taking it for all it's worth.

***THANKS to Hilslug for documenting the event with her camera!

Other things to note:

  • I managed to not rip any of my clothes.
  • The van didn't even bother stopping or asking if I was okay.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Here Comes the Sun and I Say, "It's Alright"

Philpot invited me to go riding after Spinning class this morning. I really didn't feel like going, but couldn't turn down the invitation, so I went.

The weather was so nice with temperatures around 70-75 degrees (F) and not a cloud in the sky. I was able to ride in shorts and a short-sleeved jersey for the first time this year.

We took the neighborhood roads through Orem, Lindon, Pleasant Grove, American Fork and Alpine before turning around to head back home. My rear derailleur had started phantom shifting, and on a descent back into American Fork I realized that I could no longer get into my smallest rear gear. So we headed to my favorite bike shop where they dropped what they were doing and fixed my problem. They're great! Thanks, guys!

Once back home, I realized that I had gotten some sun. My fabulous biker tan lines have returned! Only later did I realize that I had not only gotten a tan, but I was SUNBURNED!!! Ouch! Yes, I will continue to refuse to wear sunblock. It'll be a tan by tomorrow anyway.

  • 2 hours in the sun
  • More climbing than I wanted to do
  • Slowmo pace
  • I had fun and am glad that I went
  • Plans to ride with Ragla on Thursday after class
  • I have great friends who are not going to let me give up

Monday, April 20, 2009

Couldn't Resist

Tried to take Rodney (my new 'cross bike) out for a spin today.

Didn't make it past the driveway.

I'd forgotten that I'd stolen the cassette off the 'cross wheel to use on my training wheels for backup wheels at Hell of the North. Bikes don't go so good without gears.

All was not lost. I came back in and switched bikes, and Rio and I had a fabulous time riding around the park with the kids.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Farewell Brandi

I made a good choice with what to do with my time today. I drove an hour up to Salt Lake and rode with my teammate who's moving away.

It was a great ride - just what I needed. The weather was great - much better than the last couple of weeks. It was good to feel the sun again.

I was glad to get away and ride on roads that I hadn't ridden before.

It was gratifying to just go ride. No training, just riding for the pleasure of riding.

It was good to visit with Brandi one more time. I will miss her.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I can't make up my mind what to do this weekend.

Here are my choices:

  • Lead a group ride from Orem to Draper and back over Traverse Ridge. This was my original plan, and I still feel a little obligated to do this ride.
  • Help out with the Timp TELOS tri. Once I found out they were looking for help, I changed my plan from the group ride so I could volunteer at the tri. The TELOS boys ride in some of my Spinning classes, so I wanted to be a support to them.
  • Ride with a teammate. She's moving out of state, and this will be her last ride with the team. This is probably my top choice. I would feel really bad if she left without my being able to ride with her for (possibly) the last time. The only problem is that this ride involves a one hour drive to the meeting point.
  • Do another group training ride I've been invited to. This one is tempting since I can always use some coaching/training tips.
  • Do nothing. Not that this is really a choice, but with the mood I've been in lately, it may turn into what really happens. Being in a lonely house, I could easily slip into sit-around-and-feel-sorry-for-myself mode. It especially didn't help my mood to wake up to this this morning:

    At least the sun is shining now, lifting my mood.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Jeremy and Ski Utah put on an awesome race in Tooele this weekend!

I raced the Tour of the Depot on Saturday.

I beat my goal time in the morning time trial.

I didn't do as well as I'd hoped in the circuit race later in the afternoon.

I missed the third stage road race on Sunday to spend Easter with my family.

I'm going to take a couple of weeks off and see if I can find my motivation again.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Experiment - Warm FX

After calling and checking into several stores looking for the muscle-warming embrocation I wanted, I finally settled for Warm FX by Bodyglide.

Since I was a little sore from yesterday's ride and from this morning's interval Spinning class (5x5s - ouch, those hurt!), I decided to try some on.

I rubbed some on all my stiff or sore spots: my quads, my lower back, my neck and my shoulders.

At first I didn't notice anything, other than the smell. Then I got really cold. I was starting to take chills so I wrapped myself in a blanket. That helped. I stayed cold for about a half an hour and then everything got nice and warm. My neck was no longer stiff, but my legs are still sore.

The warm effect wore off my legs first, then the shoulders. But now, after and hour and 15 minutes, I can still feel the warmth on my neck and lower back.

I like the final warming effect of this product. But, I didn't so much enjoy the chills that came with getting there (or the menthol smell). If I'm going to use this before a race I will need to remember to apply it before I leave the house to give it plenty of time to soak in and give me that warm feeling.

I give the product a B+. I think I could get the same effect using Icy Hot.

Does anyone know where I can get my hands on some Qoleum products?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lunch Ride

Rode with BDE (Best Draft Ever) to Saratoga Springs today. He was the only one who showed for the ride.

He and I have very different ideas of what an "endurance" ride should be. Actually, I think he was going easy, but I was pretty much zone 4 the whole ride trying to focus on holding his wheel. I need to learn to focus. No more, "Hey look, a bird!" only to find myself dropped.

We did throw in a sprint once, just for fun. Who can resist when one of those "your speed is ____" trailers is parked on the side of the road. We managed to get going fast enough to make the lights blink at us, warning us to slow down.

Temperatures were mid-60s when we started and mid-70s when we got back. It was nice! Starting to see the tan lines on my wrists again. Yay, sun!

36.26 miles in 2 hours.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hell of the North - A Lesson in Distraction

I woke bright and early this morning and was pleased to see that the weather didn't look too bad after all. Even though I have been stoked for this race the last few days (and hoping that it would be nasty weather so it would really live up to it's name), this morning I wasn't too sure.

I started driving toward Salt Lake, and by the time I got to American Fork it was snowing. Hard. But I was okay about it. Calm actually. I knew what I had signed up for, and I was going to do it no matter what. I guess I've raced enough now that my days of hyperventilating and freaking out before a race are over. Too bad. I think freaking out actually helps me race better. I've found that it's the races that I'm the most calm about that I do the worst at.

As I pulled into the race parking lot, I found a huge muddy mess. There was a little bit a snow covering everything too.

(A quick course description for those readers who may not know: Hell of the North is a flat 5-mile circuit north of the Salt Lake International Airport with the inclusion of a 1.75 mile stretch of Dirt/Gravel road.)

I hoped I would be able to talk myself into getting out of the car and onto my bike. I got into Slingshot's truck, and he drove me over to the gravel/mud section of the course where I got on my bike to test it out. I rode from one end of the dirt to the other and back. I found only one small section where it was really muddy. The rest was just wet packed dirt. I rode back to the parking area, got registered, and geared up for the race. But after walking around in the muddy parking area my Speedplay cleats were packed with mud. I rode over to the start line and found someone with a pocket knife so I could dig the mud out. But I still couldn't get my left cleat clipped into my pedal.

Lap 1

As we started off, everything was going great and I felt really good. We had ridden half the course and were heading west into the cross/headwind when a girl in a red jacket suddenly moved laterally into me. My bike skipped sideways on the wet concrete, and I braced myself for a wreck. Surprisingly, I didn't go down. Then she did it again. I backed off. What the??? I tried to get up next to her again for wind protection, but couldn't make myself get there because I had figured out what a sketchy rider she was, and I didn't want to be anywhere near her. By the time we got to the gravel, I had lost focus and was dropped from the lead pack. Almost five miles into the race I was finally able to get clipped into my left pedal.

Lap 2
I rode lap two solo, trying to catch the girl just ahead of me. The winds had picked up and it was now raining ice. I wished I had my glasses on, but had left them in the car thinking they would be of little use if they got all muddied. The mud section had been fine with just one 15-or-so foot section where it was a bog. This section felt just like I was riding through peanut butter. By the end of the race much of the dirt course had this sloppy peanut butter from all the rain and so many riders stirring it all together.

Lap 3
I continued to gain on the girl ahead of me. I had almost caught her as we headed back into the mud. Slingshot had been driving the wheel vehicle for our group and as he came around to pass me he decided to try to chat with me. Once again, I let myself lose focus on the race as I tried to understand what he was saying to me and tried to figure out how to answer him.

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.

I looked up to see that the girl I had been catching had a good gap on me again. The next thing I knew I was caught by a couple of teammates. I jumped on a wheel and tasted mud for the first time - crunch, crunch. I started crying. Not from the pain and suffering, but from all the mud in my eye.

All three of us stuck together as we came back around past the finish line and turned to head south again. One of my teammates cranked up the pace, and soon we were passing one of the Cat 5 men. My teammate went around him first, and as I went to go around him, he jumped on my teammate's wheel. Fine. I decided to tuck in behind him instead. Shortly after this, I felt my bike jar a bit and then heard a sound. At first I thought I had flatted. Then I heard more noises - like metal grinding on pavement. I glanced back to see my teammate rolling down the road. Crap! What I had felt was her tapping my back wheel. For the last half of the third lap all I could think about was my teammate hitting the ground. Had I caused the accident? I couldn't think of anything I would have done to have caused it. Would she get help? Was she okay? Should I have stopped to help her? It was all I could focus on, and I was dropped again.

Lap 4
By the time I got to lap four I knew I was no longer racing. I decided to just finish the race and went into riding-my-bike-for-enjoyment mode.

As I came around to start the fourth lap I was surprised that the last-lap bell was being rung. Funny, I was sure I had two more laps to go (finishing this lap then the next lap). I was enjoying spending time on my bike and felt like I could ride around several more times after the race was over, so I was going to do two more laps regardless.

Lap 5
As I was crossing the start finish line going into my last lap I was caught by the two lead riders. They came flying past me like I was standing still. I pretty much was. I congratulated them on their wins and continued on my merry way. I noticed the girl in red was standing by the side of the road as I passed, so I knew that she hadn't finished the race. Little did I know at the time that the entire rest of the field had been pulled after lap four. The only ones who did the entire race were the two race leaders and myself. Yea, lap five was just for the pleasure of doing it again. As I turned out of the mud for the last time and tried to shift into a harder gear, I found that my derailleur was so muddied that it would no longer shift.

Post Race
I rode back over to the parking lot and was surprised to find that my teammates had already changed their clothes. Was I really that slow? Probably. I had just done five more miles than they did and I did it at la-la pace.

They had been waiting around for results and were losing patience. After they left, the officials were still trying to figure out what was up with our results. The results were showing me in third place since I came across the finish line with the leaders. But they were confused because we were the only ones who had done all five laps. Once we figured out that the rest of the field had been pulled pre-maturely, they could post results. I came in 6th out of 9. Not too bad for my lollygagging for two and a half laps, I guess.

I also learned that the teammate who went down got help right after the accident, she knew that the accident was caused because she tapped my wheel and I didn't cause it, and she was going to be fine. Just some road rash and a torn jersey.

I couldn't believe how wet and muddy I was after the race! I changed into some clean, dry clothes, grabbed a bite to eat, and headed over the the start/finish line again. My day was not over yet.

I spent the rest of the race day scoring the remaining races. As the Cat 1/2 men lined up the sun was shining and the wind had stopped. No fair! But it didn't last long before the clouds moved back in and the winds picked back up. And now that I was just standing around, I got cold! I had on a base layer, my official's shirt, a hoodie, and two jackets, and I was still shivering.

Scoring a race is kinda exciting. It's fun to watch for the racers and try your best to write their race numbers down as fast as you can as they go flying by. I especially liked playing detective a little as we used our notes to figure out which riders had been lapped.

I was super glad to get home. After eight hours in the cold, snow, rain, and mud, a shower has never felt so good.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Guess I Should Put My Bike Back Together

As part of my relaxing recovery day today, I made a trip to my awesome massage therapist. He's a bike guy who works part-time at my favorite bike shop. So he really knows his cycling-specific body work.

We were talking about my bike race tomorrow, and as I was leaving he says, "It'd be a good idea if you would go home and ride your trainer to re-fire all the muscles that we just relaxed. I didn't realize you were racing tomorrow when you scheduled."

I'm good with that. I was actually thinking of riding my trainer anyway since I wasn't able to ride much in this morning's class.

I do feel really good after the rub down, but I guess from now on I'll have to be a little more careful about when I schedule my massages.

Recovery Day

Taking a fabulous rest and recovery day today. More so than I expected.

Last week I promised my Spinning class a really hard ride for today. Then I looked at my schedule: recovery day. Usually I can fake it in Spinning, but I wasn't so sure with today's planned profile: multiple sprints, power jumps, climbing with high cadence and finishing off with a time-trial simulation.

Lucky for me the class was packed. So when this guy came in looking for a bike, I was happy to give up mine.

I think I might push people too hard in class when I'm off the bike. It's hard for me to gauge the intensity when I'm not riding along. I heard lots of "griping" after class. But everyone finished still upright, so I guess they can't be too mad at me, right?

I am amped for the Hell of the North race tomorrow. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Public Service Announcement #5

Race season starts this Saturday with the Hell of the North race. I couldn't be more stoked! Bring on the snow and mud and gravel! Yeah!!!

The following message is for all of you who are planning to road race this year:

"Saturday is our first UCA points race for 2009. Things will be different than years past. Because we are using timing chips, the registration process is a little more involved. We now have to list each rider’s information with the timing chip ID. We all can mitigate much if this by making sure that everyone’s chip has been properly registered at If you have yet to register you chip, please go to the website, open your profile and enter your chip ID. The instructions should have been mailed with your chip. Believe it or not, of the hundreds of chips sold so far more than 25% of them have not been properly registered with SBO.

I would ask everyone to open the attachment and look it over. It explains how the registration will be handled on Saturday and for most all of the races this year.

If you do not have a Winning Time chip, you will be able to rent one onsite for $10. It must be done with a credit card. If you want to purchase one, you can do so at Just look for the “Winning Time” link. However, there is a good chance that you will not receive it by Saturday. But, you will be able to use
it for almost all of our future races and for RMR.

On Saturday and for most all races, REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE THIRTY MINUTES PRIOR TO THE START OF YOUR RACE! Please be there in plenty of time to register. Please don’t wait until the last minute.

The new process will ensure accurate and quick results. The extra work that we need to do prior to the races will pay huge dividends after the race.

I hope that all of you are as excited for the start of the season as I am.

Executive Director