Friday, January 30

cross ride 1.30.09

January 30, 2009
28 degrees
very cloudy

My plan called for a cross bike ride today. I checked the weather yesterday and it was calling for a high in the upper 20's which fits within my parameters for 'warm enough' to ride outdoors. So i started to pull together all the stuff. tights, warm socks, shoe covers, foot warmers, layers, merino wool, balaclava, big jacket. on-and-on-and-on-and-on. that's a lot of stuff and i was sorely reminded about how little I needed in AZ last weekend.

I launched my ride (once the temp hit it's high point for the day) from my gym down the street. We have a shower and changing room at work, but i'm just not that keen to have all my co-workers gawking at me as i clump out to go for a ride. i'd rather have strangers gawking at the oddball going out to ride a bike. 

The ride was about 75% paved roads and 25% dirt. A little sloppy, mostly it wasn't too bad out there. the dirt roads were slick under the slush and i ended up letting some air out of my tires for the 2nd dirt section for additional traction which helped a lot.

In the end I really enjoyed the ride. After my last snowy ride, which was miserable cold, I was apprehensive and not really looking forward to it. But putting more thought into my route (more climbing, as little descending as possible) made a big difference.

Sunday, January 25


We own a bike shop. this means that George and I can never travel anywhere together from March through November. We also live in VT where it is very cold and snowy these days. I decided that this year, we were going to take a trip somewhere warm during those few months that we can actually escape. We're not really beach people, prefering the active getaway. So when Deejay started talking about SSAZ in Tucson, our decision was pretty easy. We were headed to AZ to ride singlespeeds in the desert.

The first couple of days in Tucson it was raining. Pouring at times. At least it was a warm rain, but I was really hoping for some sunshine. We had to get up wicked early on Saturday morning to make it over to the starting park, as we drove there the moisture had made fog as thick as pea soup. Temps weren't bad for us northerners, i didn't bother with arm or leg warmers to start - wasn't that cold.Above is the starting group. There were about 60 riders headed up, only 5 of them were women including myself.
We left the staging park and rolled out en mass to the starting line, chit chatting and getting to know some of the other riders.
The first part was a long fireroad climb. You can see in the photo above that i'm pretty much solo at this point. There were a couple of people behind me somewhere, which made me feel just a little bit better. But, you see, it was all part of my strategy. I knew it was going to be a long day and I wasn't going to waste all my energy on the fireroad and have nothing left for the singletrack. Besides, I had a backpack full of food and water and nothing better to do than ride my bike all day. Why rush things?
Here I am rolling up to the first aid station, end of the fireroad climbing part. You can see that there are others here, I wasn't actually too far behind. George and I headed out together onto a super fun singletrack section. It was fast and smooth and just amazing. It was still early in the morning, so the light was perfect and the whole desert riding experience was really amazing. It wasn't too long when we caught up to a pair of riders fixing a flat. We passed them there, but ended up riding with them for a little while afterwards.
Above you can get an idea of the landscape and the beautiful day. So different than VT riding and such a nice change from snow.
Due to all the rain they head earlier in the week, all the washes and streams were flowing. The first half of the ride was definitely a wet feet ride with loads of crossings. Some you could ride, others got a little deep and George wasn't keen on me to submerse my hubs. I wore the wrong socks for this ride, I should have scrounged up some wool socks as the synthetics rubbed wrong when they were wet and I was hiking - which was unfortunately pretty frequently.

So after the superfun singletrack, came some steep climbing and lots of stream crossings. Followed by fire road climbing and descending. This area is heavily used by off-road vehicles and we saw a lot of them. They were all quite friendly and courteous and looked like they were having a blast. It seemed to take forever to get to the next rest stop - you know it's coming up, you just have to get back to the main road but it was taking forever. I was already tired at this point and we'd been at it for 3 and a half hours - the amount of a normal long ride for me. And we were only about half way done. I knew George was feeling it to - after all, he hadn't been on his bike for a month. We agreed that we were going to ride on at a totally sustainable pace and we were going to finish the whole ride.

So back on up the fireroad to the other aid station for a beer. We were right on the heels of a group of 3 guys and there were a couple of other riders just hanging out there drinking in the sun and beer. After eating as much food as we could stomach, off we went for more singletrack. This stuff was pretty fun too, though more climbing in the first part. It would have been more fun with fresh legs, but I certainly enjoyed it.

After a little while we joined forces with the group of three in front of us. They had one guy who was not doing well and they were locals and knew where we were going and what sort of terrain lay ahead. Towards the end the trail got really technical and rocky and rough. I was beat and having a hard time steering and braking appropriately and was definitely walking a lot of the stuff. There were cacti of all sorts all along the trail, and landing on one was not something I wanted to do. Sure enough, I fell over at one point. Thought I was good, but when I stood up there was a cacti ball lodged in my butt. You cannot pull them off like burdock seeds, i tried.
Anyway, we made it to the end. 48.5 miles on a mountain bike with only one speed. It took us 8+ hours, but we weren't last and there was still beer and pizza left when we got there. I'm stoked. Three months ago i was in the cardiologist office on a treadmill trying to figure out why my heart didn't work right when exercising. I didn't know if I would ever get to have a good ride or run again. And so it was just a huge personal victory to do this ride.

Saturday, January 17

saturday - january 17

we've been in the middle of a major cold 'snap'. seriously. it was -33* degrees when I woke up on Friday morning. You know it's cold when 9* feels warm and toasty.

there's been a lot of time spent on indoor bikes this week. frankly i'm tired of it - but it is what it is. Since it's Saturday and it was -20* this morning and no new snow, i headed out to get my workouts done first thing in the morning.

First up, a delightful pilates class. Challenging, but still fun. Then onto the bike for an hour. However, since I haven't done laundry in a long time, I didn't actually have any sports bras or bike shorts in any type of condition to wear. I ended up going with a yoga top and the unders to an old Nema bike kilt. Those suckers are short. Honestly, the lovely women on Rock of Love wear more clothes than I had on for this ride. 

Made it through and it was actually a good workout. The sun is shining and K and the dog and I spent some time out of doors for the first time in many days. I pulled out my old Kona and started to get the dog accustomed to running next to the bike. But I guess he got tired cause after a couple of trips up and down our road he refused to go farther.

Wednesday, January 14

It's really going to happen

View of the full moon over the Green Mountains from the plane as I was landing at BTV on 1/10/09. Click to see larger and check out the bridge and waterfall in lower left corner.

Last week the posted the registration form for SSWC09. I colored it in and sent it in right away - even though as a woman I'm guaranteed a place on the start list as long as I pay my $35 USD. BTW - i think it is very cool that they've done this for the ladies. It's such a male dominated sport in general and particularly with the SS category. I bet they'll see a ton more female participation this way.

Anyway. So I'm on the list. I'm paid. I'm signed up and I'm going. Which means I've got to be ready. I can't go out there and ride like the lazybones that I've been for the past few years. That's not going to work in this instance.

All things considered, the fact that I began this training as winter arrived. The fact that it's been freezing cold and snowing. The fact that I've got a job and family to juggle - I think i'm doing well. The workouts are happening. I'm enjoying them. and I'm seeing results. So here's my big goal - it's concrete. No longer am I wondering if I'm putting in my base miles for naught. It's on.

Tuesday, January 6

Monday - January 5

January 5
Singlespeed ride
30 degrees (ish)
Not enough clothing
Picking up the new pooch took all of the day on Sunday, and with family visiting I had no opportunity to fit in a long ride on the weekend. Seemed the right thing to do to squeeze it in on Monday, besides it was going to be a whole 30 degrees which seemed a lot more palatable than 16 degrees.

Sure enough it was 'warmer', but the wind was blowing, the roads were slushy, wet, sloppy and for some reason no matter which way I went there wasn't enough climbing. I was freezing on this ride. Hands. Feet. Core. Just completely chilled and uphappy.
I rode in Stowe and headed up Nebraska Notch road to the Trout Club. That was an enjoyable climb, mostly in the saddle with my gearing. The Weirwolfs did great at about 20 psi on the roads which were covered in about 1" of new snow on top of old crunchy snow. Not much ice on the dirt roads yesterday.
Here's the dam at the Trout Club lake. The water was still flowing over the ice and it was very pretty.

Although I was aiming for a LONG ride, I just couldn't stay out any longer. Sucks because I know that I'll be wishing I had a lot more hours in the saddle when we're in AZ. But at least I don't have frostbite I guess.

Sunday, January 4

why my long ride didn't happen today

Because we had to go on an 8 hour excursion to get this guy.  But I am going to reschedule for tomorrow. It's supposed to be a lot warmer tomorrow than it was today and warmer makes it a lot easier for spending hours and hours out on a ride. And by warmer, i mean 27 instead of 13 degrees.

Friday, January 2

January 2

Attempting to start the new year right. I was up extra early this morning and hit the gym. I sat on that bike and started pedaling and just felt like crud.  Like that cold that i've been so smug about not getting was being gotten.

My heartrate wouldn't really go up. My tv wouldn't do the closed captioning thing. It was a pretty miserable morning on the bike.