Thursday, May 24, 2007

Muskego & Denzer.... Delightful!

Hey CoWgirLs...

My bud Evan H sent me some sweet photos-- It is always a great surprise to get awesome e-mails!! :) (thanks ev.).

We'll start with shenanigans. Becccs and I are styling our "moo-i-licious" changing skirts. Yet to come... the WEIGHTED changing skirts. Yes, that's right, no more Marilyn Monroe moments when the wind picks up... and you end up mooning the entire parking lot. Phhhhffff-- we all know THAT has never happened. (from our photo, no one would have ever known that I had just been sick after my race 45 mins earlier from (an excellent) breakfast that was too large, toooooo late!!) live and learn! :)

Next is shot at the line at Denzer-

I'm just crossing the line (behind) the majority of our field for the sprint- If I were first I would have had to practice the jersey zip up/victory fist shake/"hiieeeeya"... Remember, Julie had already crossed the line some time before us!! Again, Great job Julie! You kick boo-tay on the hills!

I had a blast at WheelsONwilly- Looking forward to being more active in the field- Enjoy your weekends.

Anyhone heading to the Quad Cities Crit??

Much Love!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunny Sunday

Well, this weekend in Colorado was gorgeous weather. These are the days I was dreaming of in Dec-Jan-Feb-March when we had our horrific winter.

I was teased for a little while with the thought that Rebecca might come visit us Colorado Cowgirls. But, understandably, when that fell apart, I decided to head to the track. Yep, that's right... I missed some super fun local races to go try and find my track legs.
After all, it is almost June and I need to know if the speed is with me. Friday we trained and Saturday we did have some low-key racing on the track; they call it the Creamed Corn Cup because all you win is a can of creamed corn. But, it is fun to see everyone out on the track and get those early season nerves over with. I raced with the men and my legs still felt super heavy from last weekend. So nothing to write about. Today, I worked with my coach on standing starts in big gear for strength... UGH!

Greg and I (and Elke) packed up the car and headed down for the full weekend. We stayed with our friend Katie and Mark and their sweet dogs. Just for the sake of you guys getting to know my world out here, I am posting pictures of th dogs. The rottweiller on the right is Elke- my precious monkey. We sometimes call her Moochie; she is for sure the sweetest rottweiller ever. Bella is Katie & Mark's rottie. And the Aussie Sheppard is Katie & Mark's little Ruffus.

A Win, and a TON of Fun

Hi y'all!
Me, Kate, Eikes, Dr. J and Anna kept the silliness going all weekend. We were in rare form (in the humor department) and somewhere in there we did some bike racing.

Short story is one win, two top 10s for the weekend and some fine teamwork to boot. We'll call that a good weekend.

Weekend officially started on Friday when Kate got to town. One of the neighbor dogs came over to say hi so Alibi (Al) got to play with Gabby.

He's got nuclear energy and does not stand or sit still longer than .5 seconds.

Here he is doing an Al move, what I call the "Stealth Slime" because he is so quick he can slime up your face in no time.

I think Al is a Boston Terrier. Here he is...the most photogenic little dog in the world. Makes me look good! I should carry around a funny looking dog then no one will notice that I haven't combed my hair all day.

Since Kate and I were hungry we rolled over to Noodles for some take out. I was short .66 and the guy let us go. How cool is that? We must of looked like really hungry girls on bikes. Anyway, we were really tired and hit the hay soon after dinner.

We all trooped up to Baraboo on Saturday for a race that has a main feature of a 1 mile climb with a grade of about 10%. Due to some last minute wheel issues and flat tire, I didn't get a warm up and so the first lap was a bit rough on the ole quads. Julie cracked open the race on the climb and went zoom...only me and one other could stay with her and then I had to ease off and watch J and the other rider cruise off. I fought it for awhile, thinking I could ride solo but then realized I needed to ease up and get my legs loose so I waited for the field. We had a fun bit of cat and mouse the rest of the way, with me making a bit of an error in my leadout in the end but all the same, Eikes had a good finish and so did Kate. Dr. J won the race by about 10 minutes and even better she caught and blew through the men's field that started 5 minutes ahead of us. Some of my pals in the men's field said that when she went by they they were in awe of her just cruising on by while they labored up the climb. Welcome to the hurt locker, courtesy of Dr. J!

Since so much of bike racing is tactical in nature it's rare to see a win on pure strength. Clearly J is in a class all her own.

After the race we sat around waiting for official results and there was a creaky old swing that we decided to play with. Here's a few photos.

Kate looked like a little kid waiting for someone to push the swing.

So eiks gave a good shove.

Then Anna hopped on while Julie held on.

Sunday was a super fun local crit called "Wheels on Willy." We won it last year with a stellar team leadout of Natalie. She was there and it was awesome to see her. She repeated her win in fine form. The race was interesting in that the course was new and there were a lot of strong, solo riders willing to chase. Rachel and I took turns trying to get away and covering other moves but after a few tries we realized it was fruitless to try and slip away. Still, one of the best attacks of the day belong to Kate whose attack with about 6 laps to go just about cracked things open. She had a large gap but as they did in all the other attemps, the solo riders just sat on not pulling through. We decided to set up for the field sprint. Unfortunatley, a crash with a lap to go took out a couple riders and Kate had to unclip and while she managed not to crash it took her out of the finish as well. The crash messed the final sprint in that the spot to make any final move was littered with a body and a car and officials flagging us to the side. Eikes and I had to slow down and move over which cost us in the sprint, but in the big scheme of things, everyone got through safely and there will be more races. It was great to see Natalie repeat her win and no one was hurt, including the two who hit the deck--always good when everyone can walk away.

So that's the wrap up. Sounds like Cari had some fun on the track and heather is still tending to her knee. Hopefully the Betsy's had fun in their events.
Talk to you all soon!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rainy Day Mischief

Here's a photo of Rachel from Downers Grove last year. She looks good in a towel.

I'm really bored!! I left a message for Anna, then decided I'd pick on Rachel on the blog. I never had a use for this photo except for messing with her. Love ya Eikes!!

This next photo is one Trish took last summer of some weird cow puppets. Ya know, when you are on this team it's a given that you'll notice cows more. Cows are fair game for lots of venues. My parents have a crumb vacuum that is a hostein. I tried to "borrow" it for Betsy G but they weren't ready to give it up yet. They have no idea of what they have and how good I would feel if I posessed the cow crumb vacuum.

I'd say that's about enough from me. Over and out from headquarters on a rainy Tuesday.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cari's School Visit... Surprise!

Check it out... I can even do school visits in Boulder! Well, this school visit had a little different focus the the ones you guys do in WI. But, for what it is worth, check out my friend's blog.

Jenni is a shcool teacher at a Waldorf school here in Boulder. During this time of year, the high school kids get to pick a "Spring Experience." Jenni organized a week of teaching and training some kids on how to prepare for a duathlon. Luckily, she asked Greg and I to help her out and teach the kids some general cycling skills. So much fun!

On another note, I am sitting in our host house here in Fayetteville. Bunny, Dr. J, Big Red, and I are all here. (Well Big Red just got back from the race meeting.) Betsy1 arrives late tonight. Tomorrow starts the big weekend... we will keep you updated.


Kate & DQ in Platteville

Kate and I did a school presentation in Platteville on Wednesday. When I left I stopped in Belmont (first capitol of Wisconsin--just think...this statue could have been on top of the statehouse) and HAD to get a photo of this dancing cow. Dang, she's all ready to dos-i-do or something. Swing your partner to the left, now the right, now milk your partner, dos-i-do, milkshake left and milkshake right, yeeeeharrwwww!!

(I took sqauredancing in high school).

Anyway, I met up with Kate at her friend TIm's bike shop on main street, conveniently loacted across the street from the Badger Coffee shop. Kate had lost her car keys somewhere so we hatched a plan to drive her home, get her spare key, then go for a ride. But first, we needed coffee. Turns out Kate knew the owners and we had a schwag swap. Kate and I got coffee shop shirts and we gave back posters and our pink t-shirt. We talked to the owners, Bob and Linda, about making up some team coffee and they loved the idea. Note to Eikes; I need a coffee label..we will just add that to our to do list.

I got to see Kate's house--too cute!! It's cozy and has a fantastic view. We decided it'd be an awesome place to have a girl retreat. We'll work on that for the fall.

Riding in Platteville means riding hills. Kate is a wicked fast descender and I had to big ring it on her wheel just to stay with her. We did some sprint practice and it was an awesome ride. It was 80 degrees so we worked up a nice sweat and made progress on our bad tans lines. THen we gave a presentation to all the kids at Platteville High School. That went fine, but I had to really think hard so I didn't say anything that I'd normally say to 6th graders. Kate did a great job and the youth seemed to like it. At that age you never know...16 year olds are hard to talk to at times.

That's it for now. Good luck to everyone riding Joe Martin: The Betsys, Cari and Dr. J. Heather, I hope your knee is doing better. Me, Eikes, Kate and Anna are tackling Muskego on Saturday. I think between me and Rachel we've won that race about 6 times, so maybe a 7th is in order.

Cheers til soon,

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Rachel's Triathlon Adventure

Fresh from Rachel....a report on her Wildflower Tri last weekend in San Francisco.
Swim (1.2 miles): 0:46:51

I was extremely nervous standing on the boat launch ramp waiting for my wave to start. It has been a long time since I have been so nervous since bike races don't really
phase me anymore. I was about to attempt something that I truly didn't know if I could accomplish. 1.2 miles looks a lot longer when it is stretched out in a lake instead
of divided into laps in a pool! I just took it one buoy at a time, and didn't have any near-drowning issues. Sure, people ran into me, and I ran into them, but it was more
of an annoyance than a life-threatening experience. Having a good-fitting wetsuit was awesome. It kept me floating even when I was running into people instead of actually
swimming. I had a non conventional strategy of switching to the breast stroke when I wanted to sight since I couldn't get my face far enough out of the water to sight while
doing freestyle.

It was a windy day, and the waves were noticeable, but not terrible. They we worse on the way back when I could feel them slamming into my head with every
swell, but I kept forward progress. Thank goodness for bilateral breathing. I actually ended up breathing on the right on my way out and on my left on the way back because
of the direction the waves were coming from. I'm glad I had practice on both sides!

Transition 1: 0:09:50.

This was by far the slowest transition time in my age group ;) I walked out of the water and walked up the ramp while fumbling with my wetsuit. It
took me a while to get it off since I forgot about my ankle, and got stuck on that for awhile. After I got my wetsuit off, I proceded to don my changing skirt and change
completely out of my swim clothes into my cycling kit. I decided to go for comfort instead of speed in the transitions. Not that my cycling gear definitely would have been
more comfortable than some tri outfit, but I never managed to find a tri outfit beforehand, and I didn't want to try anything new for the race. So, tried-and-true cycling
kit it was--I even got a few compliments on it during the ride. I then walk/skipped my bike to the "loading" area and hopped on cyclocross style while everyone else around
me fumbled to clip in and get rolling.

Bike (56 miles): 3:18:24.

I had the 14th fastest bike split in my age group out of 93 gals. Having a respectable bike leg was my main goal--given that I am a cyclist! However, I did go to new
triathlete levels that I never thought I'd reach including: peeing while riding and sticking a Power Bar to my top tube so that I could take small chunks of it over the
course of about half an hour.

I got to pass people right and left, which was a good confidence builder--actually, I only passed them on the left 'cause that's how you do it in triathlons :) Less than a
dozen people passed me, so even though I was feeling like I could be going harder, I felt like I must be going fast enough if I was still passing people, and I needed to have
something left in my legs for the run.

I didn't even start feeling a bit fatigued until over 3/4ths into the ride. This was also around the time that "Nasty Grade" came along. This was a 2 mile climb that starts
out with an incline of about 2-3%. The real kicker comes toward the end of the hill, when there's about a half mile to the top. You see the Energizer bunny cheering you on,
then there's a sharp right hand turn at what you will think is the top, but after this turn it gets a little bit steeper (about 10% grade) and a little bit nastier--hence the
name. I played it pretty conservative on this hill, and while it was slightly uncomfortable, I was never in the hurt box, and I was never anywhere near considering getting
off my bike and walking like a few people I saw. Actually, I looked forward to the hills that made most people groan when they came into view on the horizon. I just floated
up them keeping my power in check.

In retrospect, I could have pushed it more on the bike, but I was worried about the run. For the last 15 miles I even toned down the pace a bit more to try to let my legs
fully recover from Nasty Grade in anticipation of the run.

Transition 2: 0:10:21.

Again, this was by far the slowest transition time in my age group ;) I changed completely out of my cycling kit into running clothes, and even put on a fresh pair of socks.

Run (13.1 miles): 2:34:12

Not fabulous, and not the time I was shooting for, but the course was really hilly and mostly offroad, and the longest run I'd done previously in training was a little over 8
miles. So, I was happy that I ran the entire 13.1 regardless of my time. I actually walked though every aid station to drink a few swigs of water. I knew getting
dehydrated on a day like that on a course like that would be a death wish. I took the cue from Allen and Floyd
(,category,Floyd%20Landis.aspx), and also poured water on my head at every aid station. I actually did that in the bike too, and I
never felt like I was overheating during any of the race.

After about 4 miles, the running started getting uncomfortable. I wasn't feeling fatigued, but my knees and IT bands were not feeling great on the downhills. I even
hop-skipped down a few of them to make them not hurt. It wasn't that bad until we popped off the dirt trail into the road for the last 3-4 miles. We had to run down this
climb then up another one and down the backside, and then turn around and go back--up, down, up, then up again, and then down to the finish line.

It was a L-O-N-G half mile DOWN to the finish line. Every step was jabbing my knee with pain, and people who I had passed on the uphill were merrily clomping by me driven forward by the call of the finishing shoot. When I finally made it there, I wanted to savor the crowd, and take it all in, but then all of a sudden, some girl in my age group sprinted by me. I was
like Oh no you di'n't! And I looked over my shoulder, and saw another one coming; I was like WTF, Bitches! And I sprinted to the line. For a moment, my legs were like,
excuse me, what to you think you're doing to us? But they complied, and I finished in just under 7 hours. I'll take that for my half ironman ever.

Thanks for your patience with me this Spring. Now onto Nature Valley!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Gone to Carolina in My MInd...

Racing update!

Well, Monday was a travel day with no racing. I drove down to Bluffton, SC (basically Hilton Head) to stay with some extended family. The next two races were close enough that I would stay here for 2 nights.

Tuesday's race was so frustrating for me. It was supposed to start at 6:30 in downtown Beaufort, SC. This was about 30 miles from my host housing. So, naturally, I left 2.5 hours before the race was to start. I was about 3 miles away from downtown and the traffic just stopped.... dead. I asked several people around me how long it should take for me to just get downtown and they said at least 2 hours. What? Serious? There apparently was an incident between a bridge/barge/crane that didn't go well and the bridge was closed. So, I pulled over and packed everything I could in a bag and rode to downtown. I will skip all the "poor-me" details about not having anywhere to warm-up and no trainer (left it in the car), etc. and get to the start of the race. We finally started about about 8:20. Yes, almost 2 hours late. And now it was dark. Remember that the race director was not planning on having a nighttime race and didn't have the lights. The course was super narrow, dark, and technical in certain parts. Because of the sketchiness of the course, the leaders really pushed the pace so they could keep up front. My learning experience in this race was not to be a mental head case when I arrive at the starting line. I had already talked myself out of this race and had this list of reasons why I was frustrating and therefore would not do well. The truth is that everyone else had to deal with the late start and the dark, etc.

Well, there is a pattern this week.... bad race, good race, bad race, good race.

Last night was so much fun! We were in downtown Walterboro, SC. The course was pretty wide in most parts with sweeping turns and only had 1 section with 2 tight turns and narrow roads. I finally felt great... I finally felt like I had control over where I was in the pack and where I was going in the pack. I had one goal set for myself (not losing any places in the corners) and did a pretty good job in the corners. I realized something this week that only these NRC races could teach me. In local races (even ones with lots of Colorado big names), I am able to make up any lost ground coming out of a corner by just using natural strength and speed. So, I didn't really know how bad I was at cornering until this week. Athens was my rude awakening and I figured out quickly that at this speed and pace, I am not able to always make up lost ground coming out of a corner. The other super rewarding feeling last night is that my legs finally felt great. Even though Sunday was a good day... I was still in the hurt box the whole race. Last night, no real hurt box. (Maybe the pace was super slow... I will read other bloggers and find out.) I set myself up for a couple primes (sitting somewhere between 2-4 wheel) but didn't trust my fitness to sprint for it. With 3 laps to go, I was still in a decent position and still felt good. The leaders really ramped the pace. I gave in on the last lap and decided to be mellow in the finish.... finished with the pack. So, the finish was not so exciting but I was super excited after the race because I found my confidence in the pack.

So, tonight I hope to trust my fitness and be more aggresive!

Since I am now traveling alone and have no family at these races, I don't have any pictures to share. Sorry!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hey Y'all!

First of all, whenever I come back to the south, I start talking with a draw again. I lose it as soon as I get on the plane to go back to Colorado. I guess all those years of growing up in Atlanta left me with something... a gift of the southern girl thang.

Wow, so much to tell and I don't even know where to start! I just finished my 3rd crit in this series tonight.

The first was Athens Twilight on Saturday night. I must tell you that this was the most incredible experience I have had racing my bike. They said there were 30,000 people there and I might believe it. It was a crazy, nighttime, drinking thing. It was dark and loud... and I got crushed! Ok, I said it. It didn't go well. My legs were not all there. Welcome to the big league Cari! The course was short and technical... and the girls kept it super fast. Girls were flying off the back from the start. I got dropped about 1/2 way into the race and tried to work it with about 5-6 other girls to catch back on. Unfortunately, I felt like I wasn't getting much help and I just got frustrated. Then, the inevitable (does this thing spell check), crash. Well, the good news is that it was not me. But, the bad news is that the crash was my kiss of death. It was in the main pack and my group came into it right after it happened so bikes and people were everywhere still. Luckily, I was in front pulling the group (again...and again...) so I was able to react and miss it. But, the girls behind me went down after tapping my wheel. So, now it was time to reorganize. But, the slow down hurt us too much and eventually the leaders lapped us and we were pulled. The course was too short to let anyone stay on it once lapped. The good news is that I wasn't the only one in the hurt box- 1/3-1/2 of the field was pulled. But, I learned many good leasons (the hard way) and was determined to not let it get to me the next day.

Roswell Crit was on Sunday. It was a late afternoon race on a perdect afternoon. Well, I thought it was perfect until I started warming up and I realized how darn hot and humid it really was... UGH! I don't sweat like this in Colorado. To me, this course was not as technical and tight. It was 1 mile in comparison to 1 kilometer. And, it only had 1 corner to really watch... the others were somewhat mild. Although I really was suckin' (imagine my pretend southern accent here) wind, I was actually in a good place mentally. I would spend the backside of the course gaining positions and then find myself towards the back again. But, I was confident that I would not get dropped today! Lots of primes and therefore the pace was kept high. But, today, no breaks got away for long. With about 4 laps to go and 2/3 the field present, I started to move up. I felt pretty good about positioning until about 1.5 laps to go. That is where I slowiy got pushed back. Should I have been more aggresive? Ya. But, when Cheerwine and Colivita and everyone started really making themselves known in the pack, I became a little submissive. This is when I would have loved to have you (Rebecca, Betsy, anybody) to really help me maintain the good positioning. I ended in the pack somewhere. But, I needed that for confidence... since Athens did not help!

You know the interesting part... some of the girls who I stalk via their blogs said that Sunday was much faster the Saturday. WHAT? My big butt got lapped on Saturday and I was right there on Sunday... and you are going to tell me that Sunday was faster! Hmm... maybe my legs were just bad news on Saturday?

I will post more about tonights race tomorrow... I am still pondering this one.

Good night,