Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deer Creek Ride

Monday's ride almost didn't happen.

I was invited to ride at 6 a.m., and really should have taken the offer. But doctor's orders are to get as much sleep as I can. Since I'm generally up past 11 p.m. with homework and unfinished household chores, sleeping in is my best option. So I passed on the invite and figured I'd ride at 8 or 9 instead.

Then I realized I had a doctor's appointment at 8:30. About that same time, I got another offer to ride at 8, but I had to pass that offer up too.

I pretty much figured that with work, chores, and errands I wouldn't get a ride in at all. But after I got home from the doctor's office (yes, I STILL have the concussion - probably from lack of sleep and too much stress), I decided to kit up and head out. Then I checked my messages. BDE said he could do a lunch ride after 1 p.m. Yay! Just the motivation I needed.

So I spent the next couple of hours at work before actually heading out the door for my ride. By 1 p.m. it was roasting outside. BDE's temperature gauge said it was 104 degrees. We headed up the canyon hoping to escape the heat.

We did threshold intervals all the way up to Deer Creek Reservoir. I'd never ridden that far up Provo Canyon, so we stopped and tried to get a picture to commemorate the event. We didn't have much luck because the only camera I had on me was my phone.

Photo attempt #1: Good scenery, nice shot of BDE, but I kinda cut myself off.

Photo attempt #2: I think this must be BDE's hand

Photo attempt #3: BDE does a pretty good job getting both of us in the pic along with some scenery, but it's kinda dark.

Photo attempt #4: I try again, but manage to cut myself off again and get too much road in the photo.
Then we gave up trying to take pictures because riding a bike is so much more fun. So, we headed down the canyon, into Provo and back up to Orem.

Thanks for the great ride and the motivating push, BDE!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chalk Creek Race Report

I love the Chalk Creek race. Every year I do it, I like it a little better.

The masters women field was twice the size of the Cat 4 women's field this year. Unusual, but cool. And not surprising since it was the Master Championship race. I've always wondered why more women didn't race masters for this race. Well, this year they finally did. Anyway, I raced Cat 4, because I wasn't going to make the mistake of racing with the master's again and missing out on potential ranking points. I made that mistake two years ago.

At the start line, three of the women announced that it was their first race ever. It always worries me when I hear that because I remember what a sketchy rider I was for my first few races. I was also a little worried because my experience has been to never underestimate the strength of newbies to the race scene. And these ladies looked young and fit. I figured I was in for a good, hard buttkicking.

After the start, we all rode together until the first big climb.
Then I attacked the climb and dropped almost half the field.

Three of us rode off the front for nearly half the race until another one of the longer climbs where the leader, Kandace, slowly pulled away from from us.

I rode with a girl named Megan for most of the rest of the race. She was pretty strong and I was having a hard time dropping her. Every time I would manage to get around her, she would come back around again. So about 12 miles to the finish I hatched a plan.

Yes, it's a secret plan.

No, I'm not going to tell you what it was.

Anyway, at 1K to go, just as the last climb starts, I implemented my plan, and came across the line in second place.

Here I am getting my award:
Thank you, thank you very much! I look like I think I've won the van or something!
Here I am with Kandace, the winner of the race. She's tough! She really should be racing with the 1/2/3s, but doesn't race enough to upgrade.
In case you're wondering... the paper bag is part of my prize. It contained some snacks and a gift certificate to Jason's Deli. Yum!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sundance Hillclimb

I wasn't planning to do the Sundance Hillclimb. I was planning to do a three hour ride going up the American Fork side of the Alpine Loop. But, Friday night I realized that the hillclimb was in the morning, so I decided to include it as part of my ride.

I drove up to Sundance early the next morning to register. I got my number, verified my start time, went back home, kitted up, and hoped on my bike. I figured riding to the start line from my house would make for a good warm up.

The headwind going up the canyon was brutal. I really pushed hard because I didn't want to be late to the start. I arrived just as the official, Gary, was getting ready to send off a small group of men. I asked what time it was. Whew! I had made it there ten minutes before my start time. Or so I thought. I asked Gary which groups were up next. His answer was that "all the women's groups had already started." Then he told me to start with the group of men and said, "Go!" Without having time to take off my armwarmers or even take a recovery breath, I was off. I hung with the guys for maybe a whole half a mile before they dropped me.

I rode angry. Angry that I had chosen not to go to Capitol Reef because they pulled this same stunt of starting my group earlier than they were supposed to last year. I missed that start too and ended up coming in dead last in the GC because of it.

I also rode with the slight hope that maybe Gary was wrong and the rest of the Cat 4 women were still behind me somewhere.

I ended up beating my time (from two years ago - the last time I did this race) by 10 minutes!

Coming to the finish line.

After talking to the officials.

I also ended up coming in second place. I was happy with second...even if it was by default that nobody else showed up to race. I didn't want to have to protest too loudly that I wasn't warned of the earlier start time. They wouldn't even let me adjust my time according to when I actually started.

USAC rule 1O1: "Starting Time. No heat or race may be started before the time stated in the official race announcement except with the consent of all registered riders in the heat or race."

Picking up my award.

After the race, BDE, Slingshot and I continued riding. We ended up in southwest Provo down by Utah Lake before heading back toward the mouth of the canyon. By the time I got back into Orem, it was mid-afternoon and it was hot! I was out of water and hadn't eaten much all day, so I headed back home while the boys continued up the canyon for more climbing action. Not bad for it being less than two months since my crash.

I've got a rest week this week. And then I race Chalk Creek this Saturday...one of my favorite races!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another Terrifying Adventure in Mountain Biking

Last time I went mountain biking I swore I would either never do it again, or I would go somewhere easy and pleasant. After all, isn't mountain biking supposed to be a relaxing sport where you can enjoy beautiful scenery?

Here's the way I think I should be eased into the mountain biking scene if I'm ever going to actually ENJOY it:

  • Ride 1: Big, wide dirt road with mild climbing and descents.
  • Ride 2: Wide gravel road with a little more descent.
  • Ride 3: Singletrack with some gravel, but mostly just dirt and grass.
  • Ride 4: Gravel singletrack with the occasional rock and root.
  • Ride 5: Same as ride 4, only with some descending.
  • Ride 6: Add in some cliffs and technical descents.
But no. For some reason, probably because I'm clueless, I allow myself to be taken to be taken to a ride level 6. And I hate it.

Today's ride could have been a beautiful ride. We went to Sundance and did the trail where they do the weekly race series. I wish I could have enjoyed the scenery. And I seriously need to get some clipless pedals when I ride. That was the biggest frustration: feet flying off the pedals if I was geared too easy and feet flying off every time I'd hit a bump. Then I would put my foot down and stop, and it would take me something like 16 tries to get going again because I wasn't clipped in. Plus, those pedals really dig into the back of a person's legs! I'm all cut up now.

There were a few times when I allowed myself to relax enough to enjoy it, but for the most part I just wanted to chuck the bike off the cliff. The climbing wasn't so bad (if there wasn't a cliff nearby), but the descending was terrifying! It doesn't help that my body is still in protect-yourself-from-more-harm mode. I'm still riding like a chicken on the road, so I don't know why I thought riding on the dirt would be any better.

Anyway, it's late and I'm rambling again, so here are some pictures of the ride:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tax Day Grind

I can tell that some of you are anxious for a new post here. So I'll leave you with this:

I had no idea how much time school was going to take! I don't have a lot of time, so I'll make this quick.

I helped officiate the Tax Day Grind race in Idaho. I had lots of fun! I got to be the official who drove the course and kept an eye on the riders' conduct. The fields were pretty small, and I only witnessed a couple of centerline infractions and one case of a rider riding with a group he shouldn't have been riding with. No accidents or incidents, and the results process went as smoothly and quickly as we could have hoped.

I've gotta be honest: driving the course was sooooo much more pleasant and enjoyable than racing it! Inkom is beautiful in June! I'm glad I had the chance to look around and admire it. Here are some shots I got on my camera phone as I was watching the race: