Friday, April 27, 2012

Joe Martin Stage Race Report

This was a super fun weekend. It ended up being only Anna, Kat, and me who went to the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, AR. This was my first time racing in Arkansas, which means that I got to add another pin to my map! (Maybe a picture will come; I was going to take one earlier but got distracted and am no longer at home.)

Kat was racing in the Pro/1/2 category, which meant she had to be there by Thursday noon to race her TT on that day (she then had a road race Friday, another one Saturday, and a crit Sunday). We were able to pre-ride the TT course with her as her warmup, and I was really happy to be able to see and ride the course. Then on Friday, before Kat’s race, Anna and I rode the first and last 10 miles (it was a lollipop) of the road race course. We also drove the crit course on two different days, so I felt quite well prepared.

The TT on Saturday morning went about as well as I could have hoped. I knew I could do it in about 13 minutes (though anything faster would’ve been best) and it would pretty much feel like the TTTs we do bi-monthly or so. It pretty much felt just like that. I got passed by one person and passed one person, and I finished in 13:22—about what I expected. This was good enough for 13/18 (Cat 3/4) but put me 1:44 behind the leader. In omniums, which we normally do, time doesn’t matter so much; however, this was a stage race, which means time matters more than finish position, especially in the TT, because in the other races, if you finish in 13th but in the same group as the winner, you get the winner’s time. Then, at the end of the weekend, the person who completed all races in the least amount of time is the winner of everything. Starting out 1:44 down is not a pleasant position to be in.

Our RR was Saturday early afternoon—we had about enough time to cool down for 10 minutes, load our bikes in the car, and drive to the RR start before we had to sign in and get a little warmup in for our RR. The RR was the Cat 3/4 women and the Master Women, so we started with 31 women. The first 10 miles, which I’d pre-ridden, were great for me despite a few of the sketchiest riders I’ve ever ridden with. Then, around mile 15, we hit a decent climb. I was fairly close to the group, if not in it, until maybe a mile later when we were still climbing (or maybe hit another little climb). At that point, I fell off the group. Anna was with me as well, and we worked with 4 other women for at least 10 miles and finally caught back up to the leaders.

At that point, we were all together for the final 10 miles or so, and I tried to maintain a decent position at the front of the group without working too much. The finish was downhill and very wide open, and we came in fast. I thought I finished better than 6th (since we were all together, Masters and Cat 3/4, there were a lot of us), because I thought I was one of the first 6 who crossed the line and there were probably Masters women in those 6 somewhere. However, either all 5 of the ones who beat me were category women or I wasn't really 6th across the line, because my final result was 6th place, same time as the rest of the women in our group. I was happy to have finished with the group, tho, and not have had even more time to make up!

The final race was the crit early Sunday morning (early like before 8 AM!). We raced 25 minutes, and I ended up 3rd of the 15 who started (at the very end of our RR, like after the finish line, there was a massive crash that sent at least 2 to the hospital and caused another 5 to not start either the Cat 3/4 race or the Masters women race). I got a 2-second time bonus, but it wasn't enough to make up any positions; my overall position was 10 of 15, total time was 2:51:10, and time back on the overall winner was 1:44. In other words, not much changed in the overall position or time even though I went from 13th (TT) to 6th (RR) to 3rd (crit). Bummer.

Saturday AM TT: 13/18; 2.5-mile climb, 13:22, 183 bpm (194 max)
Saturday afternoon RR: 6/18; 45 miles, 2:13:40, 20.2 mph (44.9 max), 162 bpm (198 max)
Sunday morning crit: 3/15; 25 minutes, 8.75 miles, 21.0 mph (33.7 max), 174 bpm (194 max)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunny King Crit and Foothills RR Race Report

The Sunny King Crit and the Foothills Road Race are two separate races on two different days (but on the same weekend), and last year each got its own report (SK Crit 2011; Foothills 2011). This year, however, they are getting only one for both of them because of my road race results.

Anna, Catherine, and me
We got new kits, and they are awesome!

Catherine, Anna, and I raced together in the 3/4 crit with 16 other women. We had a few primes, and after the second Amy P from Mystique and I were off the front with a little gap. She looked at me and said that, and I said, "OK, let's go!" This was maybe 10 or so minutes into the 35-minute race. After a few laps with Amy (all of which I made her lead up the hill and into the wind), I just couldn't hang with her any more, so I had to let her go (this meant, Amy by herself at the front, me in the middle by myself, and the field containing Anna and Catherine behind me). I made a valiant effort to stay by myself, but with 5 or 6 laps left they caught me.

I got in the group to recover while Catherine attacked and stayed away for a couple laps. If she had stayed away for 2 more laps, she'd have gotten second by herself, and it was a good risk to take. Especially since it forced some of the other girls in the group to work hard to catch back up to her. We were all together (minus Amy) on the final lap, and Anna drove the pace enough to drop a few girls and keep most of the others from passing her or getting close to the front. I came around her at the end to win the field sprint (2nd overall; 2/6 Cat 3), and she stayed in it long enough to get 4th overall and 3rd Cat 3 (we raced together, but they scored us and payed out separately). Catherine ended up as the 3rd Cat 4.

After our race, we had some down time before we watched Kat and Parri race with the P/1/2 (and some 3) women. They were all super fast and worked very well together--it is fun to watch those pro teams and hope to be like them some day!

Kat and Parri

Sunday was the 57-mile road race that last year was rough for me (I dropped off the group within the first 5 miles and rode the final 52 by myself, finishing last). This year I went into it with a much better attitude and evidently legs that were more tired than I'd expected. I thought if I could make it up that first climb with the group, I'd be OK. However, I made it about 5.5 miles when I realized I just wouldn't be able to stay with them the entire time. Then I folded. Todd was right there in the caravan behind our group, and I told him I didn't want to quit but I didn't want to ride 50 miles by myself, either. He said if I didn't get back on my bike right then, I would be by myself, so I'd better make a quick decision. I put my bike on his car and called it a day.

Instead of racing, I got to sit in the car and watch the race unfold (until we got to the feed zone, where we stayed until all the Team B women rode through). Then we went to the staging area (not the finish) and chilled until everyone was done. It was not how I'd expected the day to go. As soon as I got home, I got on my bike and rode some miles just to get a ride in.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

CompuTrainer Class: Muscular Endurance VI

Here is today's workout, which was the same as Tuesday with the exception of a sprint at the end (I hit 707W):

The warmup was at about 50% of 216W. The 12-minute tempo efforts were between 84% and 104%, but I did only efforts 1 and 3 at their prescribed percentage (and I bumped it up from 216 to 220); efforts 2 and 4 were between 84% and 104% of 200W.

I felt great throughout the entire workout. Between the 2nd and 3rd blocks, and between the 3rd and 4th blocks, instead of straight recovery I spun up to about 120 RPM every minute beginning at minute 3. I wasn't expecting the sprint at the end, and I didn't just want to sit tight and do nothing. I think, though, that spinning up helped keep my legs loose and my mind focused, hence the 707 at the end (it was WAY higher than I thought I'd hit; not that I didn't go all out, just that I didn't think I got that high).

At lunch, I did 30 minutes on the step mill (training for the 35-min crit on Saturday)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Life Without Limits

Chrissie Wellington's book A Life Without Limits is on my list of books I want to read. Maybe once I finish reading the books I'm currently reading. But definitely before this:

Chrissie Wellington A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS
Q&A and Book Signing at Acme Multisports
900 Conference Drive, Goodlettsville, TN 37072
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 7:00pm

The Element of Beauty and Strength

We got our new kits today, and they are awesome! I'd seen the renderings, and we looked at the jerseys earlier, but once I saw everything together I realized how sweet they actually are. Bring on the races!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

CompuTrainer Class: Muscular Endurance V

Here is today's workout, which was the same (or nearly the same) as two weeks ago:

The warmup was at about 50% of 216W. The 12-minute tempo efforts were between 84% and 104%, but I did only efforts 1 and 3 at their prescribed percentage; efforts 2 and 4 were between 84% and 104% of 200W (Todd suggested that all of us Team Belladium ladies go down a little so that we could continue recovering from our team camp last weekend and preparing for the Sunny King Crit and Foothills Road Race this coming weekend.

Surprisingly, I felt GREAT. My legs were tired but my mind was not, so I was golden.

This afternoon, I did 3 min extreme slow lunge, squat, standing ham, pull up, curl, and push up. It's been a while since I've done that workout, and today was a good day for it.

Monday I did 1h on the step mill and took a 3-mile walk at lunch around the pond.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Team Camp: Chattanooga, TN

At the top of Signal Moutain
Catherine, Kat, Valerie, Parri, Anna, Lee, me, and Shelly
photo credit

This weekend was amazing. It was our team camp in Chattanooga, and everyone (minus a pregnant Cali) was able to make it. We left Friday and stopped in Sewanee for a fun 1:50, 29-mile ride. We rode up and down Monteagle twice and then in the valley for a little while. I wish I had the route, but I don’t since Todd made up all the routes for the weekend and I had no idea where we were. I have stats, though, so that’s what you’ll get. One of the climbs was 3.8 miles, and that took me 20:30 (11.3 mph). The other climb was 2.3 miles, and that took me 17:00 (8.2 mph). Not ridiculous because they weren’t all that long, but definitely a challenge.

1:50:26, 29.32 miles, 15.9 mph (37.9 max), 3190’ ascent, 3276’ descent.

Friday elevation and speed

We had fun chilling around a great campfire made by Todd and enjoyed being able to relax outside.

Saturday we slept in a little and after a great breakfast by our resident chef Parri, we headed out from Lookout Mountain for a long, hilly ride. This one included 2 significant climbs again, and I think both were up Lookout Mountain. The first was 2.75 miles and took about 28 minutes (according to MapMyRide, 4.09 miles and 5.3% grade). The second climb was 1.58 miles and took 17:13 (5.5 mph; according to MapMyRide, 2.39 miles and 5.4% grade). This climb was crazy hard, and it was all I could do to stay moving on my bike. I felt like I was going to slowly, but I was still moving, so I just kept pedaling. I don’t know why, but this ride was more mentally exhausting than anything else. Between the two climbs, we had fun playing on the road, doing a good bit of work with a double pace line. Dave F was along with us, and he is so experienced and knowledgeable. He was talking us through everything, helping us improve and ride as strong as we could while all working together.

I missed almost 30 of the middle miles, but here is part of the route we did:

4:08:03, 68.76 miles, 16.6 mph (48.4 max), 142 bpm (182 max), 7412’ ascent, 6811’ descent

Saturday elevation and speed

We had a great team meeting Saturday night and took care of lots of business.

Sunday we packed everything up and got the cabin in checkout order. Then we had a little tire-changing competition, to see who could properly change hers the fastest. I won this, but it turned out later that I really didn’t change it properly (I tried to return my prize, but they let me keep it and said it was a good learning experience). We met Bill P on the other side of Chattanooga to ride up and around Signal Mountain. After a very short warmup, we hit the mountain for a 3.35-mile climb that took me 24:20 minutes (don’t know pace). I managed to climb fine, but as soon as I got to the top I was done. Mentally done. Physically I could’ve continued, but my mindset was all wrong and I couldn’t get back into it. We rode a little while longer, and I called Todd for sag. It was a weak moment and I hate being weak, but I just couldn’t climb and descend, and ride, really, any more. He came to get me, we had a good athlete-coach talk, and then we headed down the mountain (in the car) to wait for the rest of the team.

46:47, 8.94 miles, 11.5 mph (30.9 max), 147 bpm (176 max), 2016’ ascent, 871’ descent

Sunday elevation and speed

I don’t know what my problem was, and I didn’t like having to stop. It was the right decision, stopping and letting the rest of the team continue, but it was not an easy thing to say to my team that I was done. I was definitely happy to be off the bike, though, and I know it was just time to be done.

Photo credit

It’s now getting late on Sunday night and now that my bike is clean, I’m ready for some good sleep. That’s all for today.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

CompuTrainer Class: Muscular Endurance IV (Max Sprint Watts)

Today's workout was the same as last Tuesday's. a surprise. Initially I wasn't going to write a blog (because I have to post-date it and it won't get read), but I hit my max sprint watts today so I have to record it.We did five 1-min high-cadence efforts, 1 tempo effort (25 min), 2 threshold efforts (10 min each), and a sprint (to 714 watts, better than the 712 I hit on 3-20-12).

Red line: ignore
Orange line: sprint

I asked Todd about the "sweet spot" he had noted on the class description, and he said it's where you get the most benefit from the training. Since I had a different attitude than Tuesday, I did tons better physically.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Publix and Kroger Runs

I'm going to call this a good shopping trip, even though it's not the best I've done. I got a lot of good food for much less than retail, but I saved just over 45%, which is why this isn't a great trip (55% or higher would be a great trip). Here's the food:

Publix and Kroger shopping trip; details below
Totals: 34 items; $94.14 regular price; $51.05 paid; 46% saved

Item (Quantity)  

Regular Price

Sale Price  
Final Price  
Ensure (2)7.23
--$3/2 PQ
$2/2 MQ
Clif Bar (2)3.39
$1/1 MQ
$1/1 MQ
M&Ms (2)4.59
M&Ms (1)2.81--free wyb 2
Kellogg's cereals
(took off 2.86) 
Rice Krispies (2) 4.29
Butterscotch chips (1)2.29----$2.89
Dental floss (1)0.89----$0.89
Hummus (2)2.99
Mayonnaise (1)4.652.33--$2.33
Celery (3)1.69
Ranch dip (1)1.69----$1.69
Green beans (1.29 lb)  1.04/lb
0.74/lb --$0.95
Totals: 19 items63.72--11.86 in Qs
5.00 from $5/$40
5.00 from GC
+$4.52 tax
$32.16 total
(saved $31.56/

Item (Quantity)          

Regular Price

Sale Price  
Final Price  
Almond milk (4)2.69
Ice cream (1)2.191.50--$1.50
Dried pineapple (1)2.79--$0.75/1$2.04
Cadbury egg (1)0.890.25--$0.25
Chocolate piece (1)0.890.25--$0.25
Carrots (1)2.891.99--$1.99
Broccoli (2)2.28
Peppers (3)0.85
Pineapple (1)2.891.99--$1.99
Totals: 15 items30.42--2.95 in Qs           +$1.58 tax
$18.89 total
(saved $11.53/

Then, of course, I had to take care of everything. Having one rest day a week is nice because it gives me time to take care of these things. I didn't get everything done I wanted to, but I did get more done than I would have had I needed to ride today!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

CompuTrainer Class: Muscular Endurance III and Cool Springs Long Route

I rode 3 hours today, which didn't leave time for much else besides work. But they were a good 3 hours, two different rides. The first was at Todd's, 1:40 on the CompuTrainers with Parri, Anna, and Val. The second was outside, 1:20 with the Harpeth Bike Club. The afternoon ride was actually pretty rough--my legs were definitely tired from the hard morning workout! But it was a good kind of tired because I knew I'd worked hard, and it wasn't unbearable, because even though I didn't end up with the lead group, I didn't ride alone in no-man's land, either.

Today's workout was a surprise. I'd expected at least 4 threshold efforts, similar to last week's workouts. Instead, we did five 1-min high-cadence efforts, 1 tempo effort (25 min), 2 threshold efforts (10 min each), and a sprint (to 666 watts).

Red line: wall
Orange line: sprint

My muscles were pretty tight all morning and even tighter in the evening. In the morning, I hit a wall a 9 minutes in to the first 10-minute threshold effort. I gutted out the last minute and the first 3 of the next effort, but then I dropped the watts a ton. I slowly amped back up (increasing every minute), but that was not a pleasant wall!

When we race omniums, we will race twice a day on at least one day of the weekend, so I wanted to see how I'd handle another ride. Besides that every pedal stroke was a lot more effort than it usually is, the ride went well. Basically, I was in the hang-on-or-you'll-die-by-yourself mode and really just hung on. I did not ride to Healthways to warm up (it's not staying light quite late enough), so today's was only the CS route with no additional mileage:

1:16:00 total
8:30 rollout (red)
1:07:00 main ride
0:30 cooldown

Sunday, April 8, 2012

CompuTrainer Class: Muscular Endurance II; Easter with the Fam

Me, Caleb, and Grandpa Bob at the Lehigh Valley Airport

Today was exactly the same workout as Tuesday, except that today I had to skip the final 12-minute block to get ready to catch a plane to PA. Surprisingly, it was significantly easier. That probably has something to do with the fact that yesterday was a rest day for me, and besides going for a walk with Tigger and Madison, I didn't do much. Here is what the workout looked like:

The warmup was at about 50% of 216W. The 12-minute tempo efforts were between 84% and 104%. I didn't need to do the same mental exercise as I had on Tuesday, making each one a different race. I managed to ride through each one just fine.

At the Detroit airport, I did 5 on, 5 off thru 20, rest, 5 on, 5 off thru 20 workout during my layover (a good use of my time, Will said). Then finally I got to see this little guy:

Caleb in the car ready for a road trip

Caleb and me waiting on the (great)grandparents

Detroit airport light show

Playing Telestrations...everyone is so intent!
I ran once (5K) while at my sisters, took a couple walks, and did one 10-10-10 EDI (2 sets) workout.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

CompuTrainer Class: Muscular Endurance I

Today was the first day of a new series, and it started a week earlier than last year. The minute I got on the bike, I was already feeling pretty tired, but I was determined to make it through this workout:

The warmup was at about 50% of 216W. The 12-minute tempo efforts were between 84% and 104%. I treated each one as a different race:

  1. Joe Martin Time Trial
  2. River Gorge Time Trial
  3. French Broad Time Trial
  4. Highland Rim Road Race (the fastest 52-mile RR ever!)

I needed something to focus on, and races were a great focus. The only thing is, I had to get off the bike during the 8-minute active recovery intervals so that I could start another race when the work interval started again—I asked Todd if it was OK, and he said yes; I just needed to treat one as a 12-minute interval, not as one 1:40:00 workout. It worked.

The hardest effort by far was the 3rd one—if that middle bump had been any longer than 4 minutes, I don't know whether I would've made it. But I made it through, so it was a success!

I haven't had much time lately to get in more than one workout per day, and this week while I'm dogsitting hasn't been much different. However, I was able to do 5 on, 5 off thru 40 lunge R/L and standing ham. Hopefully soon I'll be able to get back to the gym!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hell of the South Race Report, Early Easter

Coming into the gravel control!
Source (James Weeks)

Today's race was the Hell of the South, the first TBRA race of the year, in Lewisberg, TN. It is so called because the roads are rough. Very rough. In fact, as I write this I am looking at a bruise on my forearm that I got from my handlebars; while I was holding onto the drops, my forearm was hitting the top part of the bars. Oh, well, that will heal. But it is a reminder that the roads were rough and I was working hard. Parri and I ended up with the lead group of 9, she finished in 4th and I was 7th. Twenty-six women finished; 5 Cat 1/2s, 10 Cat 3s, and 11 Cat 4s. I was 7th overall and 4th Cat 3.

Chillin' – This was the second time
through the gravel section, and I
knew the camera was there

The course was lollipop-shaped, with a very short stem and a pop that we did twice: each loop for us 9 (then 8) in the lead was almost the same. I obviously didn't split at the same place every time, but I came pretty close considering I was more focused on racing then keeping track of mileage. I really didn't look at my watch at all during the race.

HoS 2012 course
Stem 1: 9:03, 2.44 miles
Loop 1: 1:04:45, 21.75 miles, 20.2 mph
Loop 2: 1:05:02, 21.92 miles, 20.2 mph
Stem 2: 6:09, 2.18 miles

Coming into the finish, we had about 2 miles to set up. I was set to lead out Parri, and when we saw the 1KM TO GO sign, Shannon (next to me, and she and I were at the front of the group) started picking up the pace. I couldn't just let her go, so I had to start my leadout too. It was sooner than I'd wanted to start, and I didn't leave Parri in the best position. She still put up a good fight and ended up 4th. Somehow I didn't even make it into this picture (but I could see them finishing), and I finished 7th.

Parri (in yellow), with Liz, Amy, and AJ (from L to R)

Considering that last year I wasn't even close to Parri (who TT-ed nearly the whole race) and the first chase group, I am pleased with how this year's race went.

Finished...a little bit off the winner, but not too much

2012 race: 2:28:06, 48.78 miles, 19.8 mph (36.3 max), 138 bpm (189 max); 7/26 overall, 4/10 Cat 3
2011 race: 2:45:15, 50.03 miles, 18.2 mph (34.8 max), 173 bpm (196 max); 9/17 overall, 5/9 Cat 1/2/3

First time through the gravel section;
determined to get through in one piece


Catherine ended up by herself in no-man's land, and Val and a couple people she was with ended up missing a turn (they were not the only ones who missed that same turn). It was so nice to have a lead vehicle--we didn't have to pay attention to where we were going. Since it is the racer's responsibility to know the course and I hadn't ridden this route, though, I did have a cue sheet in my pocket just in case I needed it. Thankfully I didn't!

Sunday was a beautiful day all day, and my cousin was home for the weekend from college. I went over to my aunt and uncle's house, where we hunted for (and found) our Easter baskets and all enjoyed some tasty brunch on the back porch. If I hadn't had to ride with my team, I might have just stayed out there all day.

Lotion, bunny-shaped Mac'n'Cheese, Clif bars, applesauce,
and post-its from my Easter basket; I also got dark-chocolate
eggs, but those were gone by the time I took this picture

Anna, Parri, Todd, Lee, Catherine, and I went out for a ride, but Todd and Anna ended up cutting their rides short. Parri, Lee, Catherine, and I rode the following route and enjoyed the sunshine. It took us about 2:05/2:10; I don't have the stats because I accidentally pressed the STOP button on my Garmin. 

I had very little time between my team ride and my softball game that evening. I am not really on the team because I won't be here for much of the season, but I was here today and they needed a girl. I was more than happy to play! It was with the same team I played with last year, but half of us hadn't picked up a bat or a ball since last October. I would've had an error in the field, but thankfully my right-center fielder was backing me up and caught the ball I tipped off my glove. After that, no issues for me in the field. And then I hit 2 in-the-park home runs. An over-the-fence HR would be nearly impossible, since the fences are at 281 on the sides and 285' in the center; there is only a line that fielders are required to stand behind when women are up to bat. But I will take HRs any way I can get them, and as much as I enjoy playing in a women's league, co-ed leagues are almost more fun because at least half the batters can hit (and it's not always the guys who can hit).