Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NC.Com Crit #2

Kat, AK (with Porter and Anna), me

Tonight was the second of the criterium series. Because tomorrow is my birthday, I asked my teammates to come out and have fun with me today, and they did. So it was Kat, me, Anna, Catherine, Shelly, and Valerie who all got to race together, and Parri and Cali were there cheering. Awesome!

We had a few more primes (intermediate-sprint prizes) tonight, so they called one for the first lap. Kat was the first off the line and went hard, and AJ and I went with her. I ended up getting the prime, and the 3 of us created a gap from the rest of the field and stayed away. Kat is super fast, and my legs weren't feeling too spunky, so I dropped off after about 5 laps and stayed by myself until Katie caught me.

Katie and me mid-race, with Cali in the background
I love our kits and our cheering squad!

We rode together for the rest of the race, with Katie doing the brunt of the work (pulling 3 laps to my 1, approximately). I didn't want to catch Kat if Katie and I were together, and Katie wanted to stay away from the rest of the group, so I gave her a break every once in a while and we both made sure we wouldn't get caught. We didn't, and I outsprinted her (since she'd been doing all the work) for 3rd place. AJ beat Kat to the line, so Team Belladium ended up 2nd and 3rd, 6th and 7th, and 11th and 12th. Pretty good night, especially considering that there were 21 women for the 30-minute race!

Then we all headed to Rose Pepper's Cantina to celebrate mine and Catherine's birthdays with some Mexican food and Parri's baked goods. Yum!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Josh Byers 5K Memorial Day Run Race Report

Kat and me post-race
Kat (my teammate) was the race director for a local 5K (at D1, basically in my backyard; I could ride my bike there in as much time as it would've taken me to drive and park!) that I ran today. The last 5K I race was the Fangtastic 5K back in February, and I really haven't been running much at all. I've been on the elliptical and step mill, but not outside and not on the tready. So I didn't know how I'd do today and what time I'd finish in. I pretty much just ran for fun, paced off a couple people, passed two in the finishing chute (the girl looked like she was in my AG, so I had to beat her; turns out she is 30 but I didn't know that so I still beat her), and ended up beating my time from the Fangtastic 5K, winning my age group, and winning a prize for the best patriotic costume. It was a good day!

Age Group Results

SWAG: bib number, Road ID GC, certificate,
D1 certificate, and free race entry for a June race

Before the race at D1

The back

The front
The outfit project was super fun. Lauren helped me cut all the stars and lay them out, then I sewed them all on. There are 29, one for each of my years and they all have names. Each one is a person who has influenced me throughout my life, and I was running today in honor of them and their influence. It took me a long time to sew them all but it was so worth it.

I did the Fangtastic 5K in 22:53, my first time under 23 since 2009. I did this race in 22:48, and even better time than in February and I am thrilled! I think I was the 7th female overall, but when I see official results I'll post them.

Since this race was at D1, I went inside and asked whether I could use the glute ham stand. Will would be so proud.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

TN State TT, MOAB Crit Race Report

Saturday was our annual state time trial race (40K) in Lascassas, and Sunday was a crit in Murfreesboro. So we had two races close to home, and I wasn't gone all day either day, which meant that even though I was pretty exhausted, I still got a lot done. Here are some pictures:

Anna and me before the TT. We started 30 seconds apart so we were lined up together. Before we started, we prayed for safety and strength. God answered (as He always does).

Pretty close to my start time. Lisa S let me borrow her bike, and it was super fast! I was so thankful to have a TT bike. Last year I rode my Trek and had TT bars on it. That was better than no TT bars, but it couldn't compare to this TT bike. It was so smooth and fast and nice! I had done the exact same course last year in 1:11:03, and I figured the bike would give me 3 minutes--that made my goal 1:08 (to not be worse than last year) for sure, and anything faster would be positive and unexpected. Friday I rode easy and pretty much visualized the TT--thinking of any possible scenario I could and figuring out how to positively make it through everything. Like what I would do if someone passed me or if I passed someone, what I would do if I started to feel tired, etc. Even though it meant an easy ride so I could think, it was so great because come Saturday in the race, I was ready for anything.

I got to the 20K/turnaround in 33:03 and knew I'd have a slight tailwind coming back in, so I already knew I'd beat my time and was thrilled. I also never gave up. Amy passed me first, and I made her work to pass me by pacing legally behind her up the hill we were on and then staying with her for a couple miles. Anna passed me a little after (and at the same time as Kirsten, who I'd actually forgotten about as the race continued because I was focusing on Anna), and Anna and I played cat-and-mouse for the next 10 miles. I would stay behind her using her as my pacer, but then I would start making up ground on her and would pass her. Then she would pass me again, and I would pass her back eventually. I almost got to the point in my mind where I was ready to let her go, but then Katie passed me and I knew I had to work hard again. So I stayed legally behind Katie and passed her again a mile or so later. She passed me again, but I knew she was working hard and I loved that. I wasn't far from her at the end, and I ended up beating Anna to the finish only because she flatted with 5 miles to go.

2011 Stats: 1:11:03, 24.82 mi, 21 mph (35.2 max), 179 bpm (189 max); 20/27 women
2012 Stats: 1:05:35, 24.85 mi, 22.8 mph (38.1 max), 170 bpm (192 max); 5/8 Cat 3; 10/21 women

Catherine was 2nd in the TT for the Cat 4 women

Parri was 3rd in the TT for the Cat 1/2 women
My legs were pretty tired after this hard effort, but I had a project to work on:

Shelly let me borrow her steam cleaner, so I cleaned all my carpets in my apt. It took me a couple hours (I can only imagine how long an entire house would take!), but my carpets and apartment are so clean now and I love it! Here is a sneak preview of Monday's project that I worked on tonight:

Sunday I spent in Murfreesboro at the MOAB crit. We had done this race last year as well, the day after the TT, and for some reason it seems to not be a good race for us as a team. Maybe we are all just so exhausted from the TT and under pressure to race well in our hometown area or something, but last year didn't end well and neither did this year. Last year's results were better (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th) but we weren't happy after the race, and this year's results didn't really compare (5th and 6th) and we still weren't happy after the race.

We pretty much controlled the entire race (at least it felt like it). Parri, Anna, and I were the three from Team B racing, and we were against Jes and Katie (SVMIC), Amanda (Treehouse), and Marda and Pam (Marx & Bendsdorff). We attacked pretty relentlessly. I was off the front a few times, Anna was off the front for a few laps, Parri had some great attacks, and all that together meant that the other teams had to scramble and work hard to chase us down. I wanted to win, and if I couldn't, I wanted Parri to win. So with just over 1 lap to go, I attacked and created a pretty big gap between me and everyone else. I couldn't turn around, I just knew I couldn't hear anyone, I just went hard. I really wanted to stay away, but AJ and Pam caught me with part of a hill and one corner to go. At that point, my only hope at a team win was for Parri to be with them, but she wasn't right up there with them to get around that last corner first, so we ended up finishing 5th and 6th (Anna wasn't too far behind either).

It was not at all what I'd hoped for, and I was disappointed after the race. I felt like I raced very well, smart, and strong, and all we got were 5th and 6th. I am hoping that Wednesday night goes better for our team!

Stats: 41:13, 14.68 miles, 21.4 mph (28.8 max), 171 bpm (194 max)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

NC.Com Crit #1 and Publix Trip

Cali's baby shower, Bricks Cafe, Brentwood
Catherine and Madi, Valerie, Anna, Shelly, Kat, me, Cali, Lee, and Parri

Today was the first criterium race of the Crit Series. Valerie and I were the only 2 from Team Belladium out racing, but we had a blast. SVMIC had 6 women (Jes, Kathy, Katie, Sandra, Leah, and Tami) and Treehouse had 4 women (Amanda, Marsha, and Alli), so we had 12 women for this first race...a great number for a week night and some good competition.

A few laps into the 30-minute crit, Jes attacked. AJ and Kathy went with her, and although I was ready, I was slightly blocked in and couldn't get up there with them immediately. As soon as I was able to, though (really only a couple seconds later), I bridged up and the 4 of us ended up staying away for the remainder of the race (the attack was no later than 8 minutes in) and lapping the field. AJ wanted to get away from at least one of the SVMIC girls, and I would have supported her had my hand and feet wanted to play along also. Unfortunately, both feet and my right hand were feeling/going numb (Valerie called it "bike palsy" afterward). I sometimes get this when it's cold outside just because I'm cold, but it was 85* today, so that wasn't it. Instead, it was probably just that I didn't change my hand position much (in the drops the whole time); by the final few laps, I couldn't even tell whether I was shifting/touching the shifters with my fingers. It's hard to feel in control when you can't feel your hand.

I ended up in 3rd to Jes and Kathy; I edged Amanda at the line. Hopefully next week will go better and I will remember to move my hands around a little.

Stats: 31:08, 11.63 miles, 22.4 mph (31.1 max)

After watching Todd race (which he hasn't done in the few years I've known him, I think!), I headed to Publix because I had Qs expiring before the weekend and won't have another chance to get there before then. This was a good trip in terms of savings.

Item (Quantity)  
Regular Price 
Sale Price  
Final Price  
Yakisoba entrees (2)0.99
--2 × $0.50/1 MQ
Blue Diamond
almond milk
Morningstar entrees (2)4.39
2 × $1/1 MQ$2.39
Sabra hummus (2)3.99
2 × $1/1 PQ $1.99
Diet Coke (7)1.59
--7 × free-product
Voskos yogurt (2)1.75
--2 × free-product
Kraft dressing (2)3.29
$1/2 MQ$2.29
Stacy's pita chips (2)3.49
2 × $1/1 MQ
$1/1 CQ
Celery (2)1.49
Breyer's ice cream (2)5.99
2 × $0.50/1 MQ
Publix peanut butter 6.79----$6.79
Totals: 26 items74.06--26.63 in Qs
5.00 from $5/$40
+$3.60 tax
$26.39 total
(saved $47.67/

There are still more awesome deals this week, so I will likely make another run before this sale cycle ends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Meeting a Legend

Today I got to meet Chrissie Wellington, one of the triathlon world's greatest athletes. She was promoting her new book, A Life Without Limits, at Acme Multisports, a local tri shop. She told a little of her story, answered some question, and signed books for the 150 or so people who were there. Definitely a nice lady and an amazing athlete (4-time Ironman World Champion and undefeated in Iron-distance races)!

2011 Ironman World Championships spectating report (and a second blog)
2010 Ironman World Championships spectating report (and a second blog)
2009 Ironman Louisville race report
2008 Ironman Louisville race report

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rocket City Omnium Race Report

Jessica, Shelly, me, and Megan after the circuit race

Huntsville is fairly close to us, and either I’d never realized it before or I’d just never cared. Maybe it was a little of both. We went to Huntsville this weekend to race, just Shelly and me from Team Belladium, and I did a TT, two crits, and a circuit race. Saturday was an early morning for me because I didn’t stay over night. Since my TT start time was around 8:45 and I wanted to be there around 7:30, I set my alarm for my normal time (4:44) and got up like it was a week day. There was little traffic on the road that early on a weekend, so I made good time and got there plenty early.

I got in a good warm up but didn’t pre-ride the 1.8-mile course. We drove up one road, so I thought I had a good idea of what it was going to be like—basically a 1.3-mile climb and a final 0.5-mile flat stretch. It turned out that the climb wasn’t as steep or as hard as I’d expected; that’s not to say I didn’t work hard, but I didn’t even go into my easiest gear like I normally do in climbs. I think I stayed in the middle of the cassette block on the back and the little ring on the front. I had a 2-minute gap between me and girl in front of me and I knew that on such a short course I definitely wouldn’t get passed, but it was kind of boring to not see anyone (except the volunteer pointing out the sinkhole and the couple walking on the path) the entire climb.

TT Results - in alphabetical order by last name...WHAT?!?!

The course was heavily shaded and not a driving road; it was more of a paved hiking path used like the road through Radnor Lake. I don’t think the path had been swept at all, and there was a good bit of debris throughout. I though I was working very hard, but my HR data shows that I wasn’t working nearly as hard here as I was during the final 3 races of the weekend.

View from Monte Sano State Park

The TT was so early that I had a few hours before my next race. So I stayed for a while at Monte Sano State Park, which is absolutely beautiful. From where I was reading in the parking lot, I could see a playground, part of a disc golf course, a picnic shelter, the main road, a view of the mountains and valleys, and at least two different hiking trails. This is definitely a park I want to come back to for hiking purposes—it looks like it would be similar to or perhaps more challenging than Percy Warner (which I hiked on Friday) and just as fun.

TT Course through Monte Sano State Park

As a Cat 3 racer, I can sometimes do two crit races: the Cat 3/4 race and the Cat 1/2/3 race. Not every promoter offers both races, but when they do I like to do them both. Saturday I was allowed to do both, so I did. These crits were the Alabama State Crit races, so I expected there to be more women than the 5 in the 3/4 race and the 8 in the 1/2/3 race. Even more sad is the fact that none of the 5 women in the 3/4 race were from Alabama—which means they don’t have a champion in either category! (Four of us were from TN and the fifth was from Washington DC.) I knew Amy P from Mystique as well as Kathy and Leah from SVMIC and knew how they raced. I didn’t know Christina but decided I could figure her out. Thirty minutes is a long time to be patient, but I was. I think I attacked 3 times (maybe 2), but with only 5 of us it was hard for 1 or 2 to get away; plus they never called any primes for our race—if they had, I think Amy and I could have gone off the front together and stayed away. Instead we ended up all together for most of the race. I had picked a place to attack on the last lap to hopefully get away from the rest of the group (with a strong enough attack to get away and not have everyone else jump on my wheel and use me to lead them out). Unfortunately, Amy had picked pretty much the same spot only one light post sooner, so she jumped first halfway through the last lap. I reacted what I thought was pretty much right away, but it wasn’t enough to get on Amy’s wheel and finish with or ahead of her—I think she had about 4 bike lengths on me by the time we crossed the finish line.

Crit course in downtown Huntsville

The second crit had a slightly larger field (8) and some Alabama women (2)! However, only two ladies were on the same team, and one of them dropped out on the 2nd or 3rd lap. So again, there was a small group and no team dynamics to help. There was one prime in this race, and I think I decided to not go for it because I didn’t know what it was and I wanted to make sure I had something left for the finish (after 2 previous races and this one, I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel). At one point in the race, Sonja from Sticky Fingers (who had won the TT in 6:40, beating me by 45 seconds) Amy, and I had a slight gap on the field. I thought we had a very strong chance at staying away, but it seemed to me that Sonja gave up or sat up to allow the field to catch up; that said, they might have caught up regardless because Stephanie from Frazier Cycling was trying to bridge up or bring us back in. It was still kind of disappointing, because I really thought we had a chance and I was working hard to try to stay away. Someone went early again on the last lap, but everyone reacted; immediately after we caught her (maybe it was Sonja?), Amy went. It was a brilliant move, in close to the same place as the previous race, and everyone was trying to catch their breath from the first move. My problem in this race is that I was in the worst position all race. I didn’t want to do any work and I wanted to be able to see Sonja, Amy, and Stephanie (I’d determined they would be strong and aggressive). That meant that I was 6th or 7th most of the race until I moved up slightly on the last lap. But it was too little too late, even in that small a field. I ended up 5th in what was definitely not a bunch sprint.

Kathy, Amy, Christina, and me in the 1st crit
Source for all 3 photos

1st crit

2nd crit...pretty much my position all race :-( 

The circuit was the final race, on Sunday, and it was a 5K loop on a closed, flat course. We made only 3 real turns, and at least one was a very wide open and the rest weren’t tough, so it felt more like a road race than a crit from that perspective. Today, finally, we had some teams out to play: 2 from Team Belladium, 2 from Sticky Fingers, 3 from a team in Birmingham, and 2 others. Although this race was only 50 minutes (and I think we did 7 laps), a lot happened—there were attacks from nearly everyone, there was some bridging, there were some team tactics for recovery, and it was fun. Again in this race, I knew who I had to watch and where I wanted to be positioned coming into the finish. It went pretty much as I’d hoped except for Stephanie crashing in the final corner about 600 meters from the finish line. This left me and Sonja, and I was too far behind Sonja to catch her but far enough ahead of everyone else for them to catch me (especially after they had to avoid the crash). I learned from Saturday’s second crit that I’d have to be in a better position if I wanted to have a chance at winning.

Circuit Race in an industrial/business district

  • TT: 4/6; 7:25, 1.85 miles, 14.9 mph (30.3 max), 161 bpm (188 max)
  • Crit #1: 2/5; 31:47, 11.08 miles, 20.9 mph (33 max), 159 bpm (192 max)
  • Crit #2: 5/8; 41:19, 14.23 miles, 20.7 mph (33 max), 163 bpm (190 max)
  • Circuit: 2/9; 49:35, 18.25 miles, 22.1 mph (30 max), 167 bpm (191 max)
I came home to this rainbow!

I kind of felt that all weekend, any of the attacks by others (and maybe a few of my own) were just attacks for attacks’ sake—the girl who attacked really didn’t intend to stay away. Every time I attacked, I wanted to stay away; there were a couple times I sat up because no one had come with me and I knew I couldn’t stay away by myself and it would be silly to try for too long and wear myself out, but there were also a couple times where I’d been with two others in what felt like it could have been a break that stayed away but one of the girls decided that she didn’t want to be in a break anymore. And it wasn’t that she just dropped off—it was that she was on the front and just didn’t work as hard as she had been, thus allowing the pack to catch up. Maybe I need to make my attacks even more aggressive so that only those who are really interested in staying away will come with me, and/or maybe I need to be more choosey in who I decide to go with when someone else attacks.

I am happy with my mindset in all these races. I went into each one thinking, If someone is off the front and I am not with her, I cannot win the race. Either I have to be off the front with her, or I have to bring her back in. So I definitely did some work, especially in the circuit, to keep everyone together or to stay at the front.

  • The TT course felt more like a false flat than a climb for 1.3 miles, then it was pretty much flat for the final 0.5 miles. There were no switchbacks, and it was beautiful.
  • The crit course was 0.85 miles around with a short, fairly easy climb, right turn into a headwind, right turn still into the wind, right turn into a nice sweeping descent, right turn again, and then right turn toward the finish, still descending. This was nothing like Tuscaloosa’s crit course and maybe similar to Oak Ridge’s (although the pace felt significantly slower here, so it felt much easier.
  • The circuit was a 5K loop that was mostly flat with a long stretch that kind of wound around to a right turn into a headwind, right turn to another shorter left-hand sweep to the final right turn. The final turn is about 600 meters from the flat finish, but you can see the finish line and it looks deceptively close.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I hit another milestone on my car today: 150,000 miles. I hit 100,000 at Thanksgiving in 2009, so that means I put 50,000 miles on my car in less than 3 years. Yikes!

150,000 miles, May 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Berry Peddler RR

In Chattanooga

Anna, Val, Shelly, and I headed to Dayton, TN, for the Berry Peddler Road Race and Time Trial. The RR was first, and it was 32 miles with a 4.5-mile climb beginning around mile 7. I was hoping to be able to start the climb before the rest of the group list I had last week in the Highland Rim RR. However, that did not happen, since Amy, Pam, and Jes wouldn’t let me get away. They would, however, let Shelly get away, so she did with Jenny and Alison (from Mystique). I was still with the group when we started the climb, but I couldn’t stay with them long. I didn’t have to do the entire climb by myself, though; I caught Shelly eventually, and I was with or slightly behind another girl until the top. However, at the top, she and I weren’t going the same pace and I didn’t have the patience to wait for her.


I ended up riding around 15 miles by myself after I left that girl and before I got caught by a few of the Masters and Cat 5 men. I stayed with those guys for the final 4 miles and was really happy to have the company. Also, the final 3.5 miles of the RR were the same as the TT, so I got to check out that course before we raced on it a few hours later. I didn’t lose or gain any positions in the RR after the climb and ended up 13/18 total women, 8/9 Cat 3 women. I need a race that doesn’t include a 2- to 4-mile climb so I have a chance at finishing with a group.


We had about 2 hours between our RR finish and our TT start, basically enough time to get food and drive back to the TT start place. My legs were exhausted, and my results show it. The TT was only 7 miles, 3.5 miles out and back, and it seemed to take me forever. I got passed the first time, by Shannon, 5 minutes in. I got passed again, by Jenny, just before the turnaround but passed her back immediately after the turnaround. She passed me for the final time shortly after, and Anna passed me as well. I didn’t even have enough to match the pace of any of the three of them, and I had no chance at passing the two who had started before me. Amy, who won, finished in about 18 minutes. I finished in almost 21 minutes; yes, I really was crawling.


RR Stats: 31.26 miles, 1:50, 17.1 mph (36.3 max), 169 bpm (192 max), 3643’ ascent, 2487’ descent
TT Stats: 7.05 miles, 20:56, 20.1 mph (30.3 max), 164 bpm (180 max), 342’ ascent, 386’ descent

On our way home, we stopped in Chattanooga for some ice cream, which we justified by walking across their pedestrian bridge over the Tennessee River.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Map and Pins

Here is a picture of the map I put pins in when I visit a state (or another country) and race in a state. The blue pins are visits, and the white pins are races. It is still very heavily weighted to the east!

I added a new white pin to it after the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, AR a couple weeks ago.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Highland Rim Omnium Race Report

This weekend was the Highland Rim Omnium. It’s been at least 3 years, maybe 4, since I last did this race (2011: Rev3 Knoxville; 2010: Rev3 Knoxville; 2009: training for IM Loo). My memory did not fail me, though, and I remembered that the road race had a tough climb, the TT was all climbing, and the crit was fun. This year, however, there was no TT and the crit was modified. I wasn’t too disappointed about the TT, but I definitely was disappointed about the crit—this year’s course wasn’t very challenging at all compared to some others we’ve done.

The crit was Saturday, and it was only Parri and me from Team Belladium. We started with 7 other Cat 1/2/3 women, and I took off from the whistle. Jes was on my wheel immediately, and AJ was close enough behind to catch up within a lap. Parri also wasn’t far behind and caught on within a few laps. The 4 of us stayed together until Parri took a little detour and dropped off the back (she somehow went up a driveway, into some gravel, and then back onto the road, all without panicking or wiping out). The 3 of us together kept the pace up the whole time and ended up lapping everyone except Parri, some multiple times and one only once (Alison caught on when we were lapping her and finished with us). I think I looked at my watch twice during the entire 45 minutes, just to see how far into the race we were. At the finish, Jes went a little sooner than I’d planned on and I didn’t react quickly, which meant that she was the first into what Todd had said was the critical corner and won the race. I finished 3rd.

The course was a 4-corner, clockwise, short course that took what felt like 1 minute to go around (it might have been 1:15, and I’m guessing we did at least 35+ laps.

Sunday was the RR, and we had a much bigger Team Belladium showing: Kat, Catherine, Parri, me, Valerie, and Shelly. Twenty-two of us started together—they joined the 14-woman Cat 1/2/3 and 8-woman Cat 4 fields because they were running slightly behind and more is better. The 2-mile climb comes around mile 15, the next 30 miles are pretty flat to rolling, there is a 3+mile descent, and then the final 2 miles are rolling to uphill (that somehow equals 55). My only hope at staying with the lead group was to be one of the first up the climb and then hope I could stay with them whenever they caught me. After a few attacks, I was the first to start to the climb but not far enough ahead to put me where I wanted. Instead, I ended up by myself from mile 17 until possibly mile 47 or so. It felt like forever.

For most of those 30 miles, I was able to see Valerie and a Marx & Bendsdorff girl but couldn't make up much ground on them. Finally we all ended up together for a couple miles before the descent. Valerie let me lead (and pretty much let me get away) on the descent, so I crossed the finish line solo in 9th place for the Cat 1/2/3 women and 11th place overall. Kat won the race; Catherine won the Cat 4 race; Parri was the 3rd Cat 1/2/3; Val was the 3rd Cat 4; Shelly was the 4th Cat 4. Pretty successful day all around, even if at least half of us rode alone! Kat was by herself after the climb too because Parri and Catherine kept anyone else from catching her.

Saturday afternoon crit: 45 minutes, 14.41 miles, 21.3 mph (30.3 max), 185 bpm (199 max)
Sunday morning RR: 55 miles, 2:56:36, 18.5 mph (43.3 max), 160 bpm (190 max)
Total Sunday mileage: 3:28:31, 62.57 mi, 8.0 mph, 155 bpm; 12:45, 3.93 rollout; 19:09, 4.04 roll in

I will be honest—I did not want to ride those 4 miles back to our car!