Sunday, March 4, 2012

First Races: Training Crits

There was the threat of some pretty severe storms on Friday, and although we didn’t get anything too bad in Williamson County, other TN counties weren’t so fortunate and saw some very strong winds and massive hail. They were predicting the storms for sometime Friday afternoon, and I was supposed to go for an hour on the step mill and I’d been hoping to ride outside. In fact, I really wanted to ride outside—it was 80° outside and I wanted to enjoy it! However, I didn’t want to be caught in hail or a tornado, so I opted for a fast 30-minute walk outside and 30 hard minutes on the step mill. Then I did 10-6-3 EDI and felt great. And, instead of riding outside, I sat on my back porch watching the skies and listening for the tornado sirens. They went off only once, and that was thankfully pretty much the worst of what I saw.

Weather is a strange thing—there is no way we can know what exactly is going to happen, and we definitely can’t control it. I am glad God is in complete control, but that doesn’t help me understand how it is how it is outside. Friday was up to 80°, and when I woke up on Saturday morning, it was 35°! Brrrrrr. Therefore, this morning’s ride was on the trainer. It was a great ride, but not as much challenge as I would have faced had I done the GSD ride this morning. Then again, I would’ve frozen out there, so I was glad I was inside. I got a bunch of stuff done after my early ride and then went to pick up Lauren for lunch at Pei Wei and a short hike at Radnor Lake. The day did warm up some, so it was pleasant at the park and I’d have stayed out longer. Lauren, on the other hand, was all worried about a quiz she’d started earlier and thought was going to time out before we got back. So we opted for the Lake Trail and made it back with 16 minutes to spare.

Then she wanted to do some extra credit for her science class. I don’t remember thinking school on the weekends as much as she does. But I decided to help her with her project even though I’m many years removed from 7th grade. She had to fiddle for worms. Basically, we cut down a honeysuckle tree in their backyard and she sawed down on the little stump we’d left; she wanted to create vibrations in the ground similar to those moles would’ve caused. Then, because of the vibrations and the threat of a predator, worms were supposed to surface. Much to my surprise and Lauren’s pleasure, a few worms did come up! We saw two at the first stump and eight at the second stump. Lauren then took those worms and fed them to her chickens. What a treat.

We also went to see The Lorax (sound alert!) later that night. Lauren wanted to see it (a rarity for her, as she generally doesn’t enjoy watching movies) and invited a friend to join her, Aunt Renee, and me. The movie, based on a Dr. Seuss book, was very well-animated—lots of bright colors and creativity. The story was OK but definitely didn’t remind me of any Dr. Seuss book I’d read. Maybe my grandparents didn’t have that in their collection, and I’m pretty sure we didn’t have many at our house. All the kids in the theater (and it was full) seemed to enjoy it, so maybe you have to be 14 or under to really appreciate Dr. Seuss.

Sunday morning started with church and a trip to Kroger (a good trip, too, because I had quite a few free-product Qs and found Hershey’s Kisses on sale (and had Qs to match). That chocolate will make some of my coworkers very happy. I then headed to downtown Nashville for some bike races! The season’s races officially began today with a 40-minute women’s crit at 12:45 and a 40-minute men’s IV race at 2:25. I have raced two crits in one day before, and I’m sure it was as exhausting as today, but I’d definitely forgotten the feeling. The second race was much harder than the first given the fact that my legs were pretty tired from the first race.

Catherine in the Men's V race

Fourteen of us lined up for the women’s race; Team Belladium had 7 riders, Treehouse Racing had 5, SVMIC had 1, and unattached had 1. We definitely had the advantage in this race, and we used it. Even though it was a long race, we started attacking pretty early. Eventually we ended up with 4 of us away (Parri, Lee, Anna, and me. We worked very well together, stayed away, and lapped nearly all of the other 10 riders. Although we tried to organize for a leadout train and solid team finish, it somehow fell apart and I ended up winning with the other 3 far enough behind me that I wasn’t really sprinting against them. Overall, I’m thrilled with the win and happy that I ended up in that break; Anna and Parri had been off the front, and Lee and I had to work pretty hard to bridge the gap to them without bringing anyone else with us. Then, once we were with them, we had to work to stay with them and stay together, and I never let down. Hooray for pressing on!

Valerie and Shelly in the Men's V race

Stats: 6-minute warm up (for real; the rest of the time I was sitting in my car trying to keep from freezing in the 50°, cloudy, windy weather). 38:43 race; 13.26 miles; 20.5 mph (29.4 max), 175 bpm (192 max). It looks like we rode 22 laps, and the break happened between laps 4 and 5. My HR was very consistent between laps 5 and 21, so I was working pretty hard and we never really let off the gas. Here’s the data:

53:06, 16.3, 18.4 mph totals for this race.

The second race was the men’s cat IV race and Anna, Parri, and I joined for the experience. My goal was to stay with the group for as long as I could and ride smart while I was with them. I definitely rode smart—I knew where I had to be to stay out of the wind, and I knew I couldn’t be at the front or the back of the group. I lasted with them for 7 minutes, and then I just couldn’t hang on any more. It all went downhill from there and I ended up getting lapped 3 times. It’s pretty amazing the difference between being protected from the wind and being in the wind by yourself. Overall, I’m really glad I did this race. I thought I finished dead last, but it turns out I am listed as 17/21 in the final results. During this race, I rode smart while I was in the group and did my best. Plus I got to ride with more than I normally do in women’s races.

Stats: 10-minute warm up. 40:38 race; 13.33 miles, 19.7 mph (29.3 max), 171 bpm (185 max). It looks like we did 22 laps in this race as well. However, my HR and speed are not nearly as consistent from this race. I stayed with the group for 4 or 5 laps, and we took the corners significantly faster than we had with the women. I got back with the group after they lapped me the first time and stayed with them for 3 more laps (9–11). After that, I really could not hang on to anyone when they caught me (until the finish, that is). Here’s the data:

54:23, 16.46, 18.2 mph totals for this race.

Now it’s pretty much time for a nap. Or maybe sleep.

Also, totally random fact but my Garmin decided to sync so I have this data, two times around the park at Percy Warner (on the bike) is almost 4200 feet of climbing and approximately 22 miles.

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