Sunday, July 28, 2013

US Pro National Criterium Championships

Beautiful drive through the Smoky Mountains... my nice big borrowed SUV

This weekend was another professional race: The US Pro Criterium National Championships in High Point, North Carolina (we raced the US Pro RR and TT National Championships back in May). I drove over solo on Friday to get there in time for number pick up. During that time, I chatted with some refs, met the race director (who offered me help in the feed zone if I needed it on Saturday), and checked out the venue, wandering around a few of the turns. Then I headed to Alex’s House for some local eats.

Eating local

They had been setting up fencing already on Friday, so I knew that by Saturday morning they’d have most if not all of the roads closed. I got up early and rode over to the course, stopped at the Shimano neutral support tent for the use of their pump, chatted with the Swiftwick guys (they always spot their socks), and then rode multiple laps of the course. I wanted to get an idea of what it was like, imagine what line the ladies would take around each of the corners, and generally prepare for the race. Then it was time for the kids’ races, for which a few Optum ladies and I, along with some pro men and parents, escorted the racers.

Escorting the kids' race

And we thought the numbers were big on us!

Because my race wasn’t until 4:50 pm, I also walked over there later to watch the Women 2/3/4 race, and they raced in a downpour. We were dry watching, but it was a sign of what was to come…rain in the later races as well. That would be the reason I found myself warming up in my hotel room an hour later.

For our race, we had to sign in at the main stage. They announced our names and team names and everything, and it was a pretty cool experience. I hung around the stage for a while and was approached by the cutest 5-ish-year-old there. Little Frank was fascinated by everything, I really enjoyed interacting with him. He wanted to know about everything and try on my gloves and sunglasses and he even wanted to ride my bike. It was fun to see his enthusiasm, and it was kind of the perfect interaction for before my race. One of my focuses for the weekend was being willing to meet and chat with new people…which for me means being open and looking approachable. It’s not always a challenge, but because I was also focusing on racing, it was more of a challenging this weekend but also more rewarding. I wanted to be a light in the darkness, and this was one way I could be that.

For our race, 44 women lined up. These are 44 of the best of the best, pro women from around the entire country, all Americans, mostly professional (four of us were Cat 2s/part of Elite Teams). I am one of those four Cat 2s, and it was truly an honor and humbling to line up with these amazing ladies. We started out at a fast but reasonable pace, and we had to contend with rain and slippery corners for a while. That meant braking a lot in every corner and staying off the painted lines, but I managed. Around minute 16, a duo from two different teams attacked, and at minute 17 I fell of the back of the group as the field reacted. I rode another at least two laps by myself and was pulled from the course at minute 26.

You can't see me, but I promise I'm in a decent position
on the left side (outside through the first turn)

I was hurting when I fell off…like at that point where you just want to stop and throw up. But I kept going—this was the professional championships, after all, and I wanted to give 100% for the entire time I was allowed to be out there. One girl had fallen off just after me, so I could see a solo rider in front of me. This was motivation for me to keep going, and I did. Around minute 22, although I wasn’t getting any closer to the field and perhaps not even making up any ground on that Kenda girl, I didn’t just want to throw up—I wanted to quit all together. At this point, I should have taken a drink, but I didn’t even think about it. I was focused on going hard for as long as I could that I forgot to take a drink. It wouldn’t have kept me in the race any longer, but it probably would have kept me from feeling like I was going to die by the time I got pulled.

It took me a good 10 minutes to relax after that, and I just sat on a bench near the start line trying to breathe. I watched a few more laps, and then I went back to my hotel to shower and change before going back down to watch the finish. That tells you just how long a 90-minute race is! The finish was super exciting as the duo who attacked at minute ~16 stayed away until the end but was very close to being caught by the field.

I really wanted to finish this race, but I also wanted to give 100% for the entire time I was in the race. I achieved the second goal, and the first will come the more of these I do. Todd agrees that I need to do way more of these to get to the level where I can finish and then begin to compete against these crazy strong ladies. I’m pleased with this performance but definitely have some work to do before this same race next year!

Stats: 26:10, 9.78 miles, 22.4 mph, 165 bpm, 1382’ ascent, 1467’ descent

As shown by the stats, this was not a flat course and it was fast. It was a long (1.3-mile) figure-eight course going clockwise (1 left, 3 right, 1 left, 3 right turns). The finish stretch was ~400m and uphill; the stretch after turn 4 was ~300m and uphill. These weren’t necessarily hills though, at least not in terms of road races. In a road race, we’d probably call them false flats. In a crit where you do 30 laps (or in my case, 7), they become hills.

Sunday I got up early and went to Oak Ridge to watch Catherine race. I debated doing the race, discussed the pros and cons, and decided to not race given how mentally exhausted I was from Saturday’s race. I didn’t want to make a mistake, and with the way I felt I thought I’d be putting myself into the position of possibly making a mistake and thus putting everyone else at risk. It was not a risk I wanted to take, and although I felt terrible about leaving Catherine with no teammates (this happened to me last year at the same race), it was the right decision for me. I will make it up to her next weekend!

Cat 4 omnium

Cat 1/2/3 omnium

Thursday, July 25, 2013 Crit #8

Start line

Wednesday was the 8th race in the crit series. There were 20 of us on the line, and the race started fast. I was ready to go and jumped on the wheel of a pro racer (who I will see again on Saturday) for the first few laps. With the wind, we didn't stay away, but she kept attacking. I'd react a few times and I'd wait for Catherine and Kat to react other times. Sometimes we did well, when it mattered we didn't.

Mary (pro) and Jes got a little gap maybe 12-15 minutes in. Cath and Kat were in the perfect position to bridge up, and I was in the perfect position to hold the field. (I didn't feel like I was in position to bridge up solo: Jess was watching every move I made, and if I went I'd do all the work for her, which I didn't want to do.) Unfortunately, Cath and Kat weren't able to bridge up, and at that point we were racing for 3rd place. I don't mind racing for third when I have a teammate up the road. I wouldn't have minded racing for 5th with two teammates up the road. But this time no teammates were up the road, and I wasn't too pleased. Oh, well, it is what it is.

Field sprint. I'm the butt and wheel you see on the far right.

We continued our race, Cath set me up perfectly with a great leadout, and I finished 3rd to win the field sprint. I am happy with how I raced and had fun. I would have liked to be in the lead group, though. Maybe next week.

Jes, Mary, and me on the podium

Race #8, 7-24-13: 29:29, 11.38 miles, 23.1 mph, 180 bpm, 3/21 and 3/5 Cat 1/2s
Race #7, 7-20-13: 49:57, 18.92 miles, 22.2 mph, 182 bpm, 1/12 and 1/5 Cat 2s
Race #6, 7-03-13: 31:05, 11.98 miles, 23.1 mph, 184 bpm, 1/18 and 1/5 Cat 2s
Race #5, 6-26-13: 29:26, 10.92 miles, 22.3 mph, 183 bpm, 6/23 and 4/5 Cat 2s
Race #4, 6-19-13: 29:48, 11.89 miles, 23.9 mph, 186 bpm, 5/19 and 3/4 Cat 2s
Race #3, 6-12-13: 28:48, 10.73 miles, 22.3 mph, 189 bpm, 2/18 and 1/3 Cat 2s
Race #2, 5-29-13: 30:39, 11.31 miles, 22.1 mph, 2/18 and 2/4 Cat 2s
Race #1, 5-22-13: 35:36, 12.88 miles, 21.7 mph, 4/14 and 2/3 Cat 2s (incorrect time and mileage)

Tuesday's "recovery" ride
After some fun (but hard) races on Saturday and Sunday, I thought I'd need a recovery ride Tuesday so I decided to ride solo rather than join the group for the Harpeth ride through Cool Springs. Turns out my legs felt great and I had fun doing one of my usual routes a little faster than normal.

While riding up McEwen (both times) I even thought maybe I'd want to join Strava just for those segments. So, I did a little digging. Currently, there is one segment, up from Wilson Pike going west to the top, and the QoM is Marsha. Now I'm even more motivated, because I can add a new segment!

Are you on Strava? If so, what is the best segment?

Monday, July 22, 2013

All Smiles

Race days and rest days make me happy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

MOAB State Criterium

Shannon, Cali, me, Kiki, Kat, and Catherine

Today was another good day for Team B! Kiki won her race to become the TN Cat 4 champ. Our race had 11 of us: me, Kat, Jes, and Catherine were the 4 Cat 1/2s; Cali, Kathy, Jess, Martha, Shannon, Leah, and Marsha were the Cat 4s. We all raced together, but it was essentially two races.

Kat, Cali, and Kiki -- jersey winners!

In the first few laps there were a few attacks but none stuck. At one point Shannon and Jes and I were of the front and I thought it could stick. However, we got caught but Cali countered immediately and at the perfect time. Kathy went with her as did Jes and me. This was the break that would stick. Catherine and Kat bridged up to us, and the six of us remained together for the rest of the race. Belladiun did a lot of work (our four to SVMIC's two meant wet had to), and we also communicated really well.

When it came down to the last lap, SVMIC was on the front and we let them stay there until Catherine started the leadout. We knew we wanted Cali to beat Kathy and anything among us 1/2s was fair game. I went around Cath pretty early because I wanted to keep the gap she'd created to Jes. I went into leadout mode and almost started letting up just after the final corner. But both Cali and Kat yelled at me to keep going and I did. It hurt! Kat came around me but forced me into one of the hardest sprints yet. She won by about 5 inches and Cali came in 3rd -- Another podium sweep for Team Belladium!

Stats: 47:37, ~17.6 miles, ~23mph (approximate stats because I forgot to press the lap button), 2 of 11 overall, 1 of 4 Cat 1/2s

Silver medal...woot!

Cat 1/2 podium -- me, Kath and Jes

Cat 3 podium -- Kathy, Cali, and Jess

Cat 4 podium -- Kristi, Kiki, and Rachel

Saturday, July 20, 2013 Crit #7

W 1/2/3 Start Line

We had our 7th race in the crit series today. It was slightly different in that it was on a Saturday and it was only a 1/2/3 race (the 4s had their own race). And we raced for longer than normal (50 minutes vs. 30 minutes). But it was a good race. 12 of us lined up, 6 being Belladium (me, Catherine, Shannon, Shelly, Cali, and Katherine), 2 were SVMIC (Jes and Leah), 2 were I AM Racing, and the other 2 were Gear Up and Treehouse. Kat and I had some fun for the first 20 minutes, with Leah and Jes doing some chasing. After that, for the next 15 minutes, there were a few attacks and responses by Lisa and Jess. The final 15 minutes contained the least amount of action, but we still tried to make a few things happen. By 7 to go, I knew it would come down to a field sprint, so I did a lot of nothing.

Shannon and Catherine both put in a couple good, hard attacks in the final two laps, and then Katherine and Cali led me out for the final sprint. We timed it about as perfectly as we could have and finished 1-2-3!

Podium shot! Cali, me, and Kat

Race #7, 7-20-13: 49:57, 18.92 miles, 22.2 mph, 182 bpm, 1/12 and 1/5 Cat 2s
Race #6, 7-03-13: 31:05, 11.98 miles, 23.1 mph, 184 bpm, 1/18 and 1/5 Cat 2s
Race #5, 6-26-13: 29:26, 10.92 miles, 22.3 mph, 183 bpm, 6/23 and 4/5 Cat 2s
Race #4, 6-19-13: 29:48, 11.89 miles, 23.9 mph, 186 bpm, 5/19 and 3/4 Cat 2s
Race #3, 6-12-13: 28:48, 10.73 miles, 22.3 mph, 189 bpm, 2/18 and 1/3 Cat 2s
Race #2, 5-29-13: 30:39, 11.31 miles, 22.1 mph, 2/18 and 2/4 Cat 2s
Race #1, 5-22-13: 35:36, 12.88 miles, 21.7 mph, 4/14 and 2/3 Cat 2s (incorrect time and mileage)

W4 Podium shot! Kiki, Caitlin, and Jena

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Creator God

"I am regularly overwhelmed simple things, like being able to use our hands and feet. I see a delicate and powerful dance of blood, electricity, bone structure, and muscle power that flows in harmony just so we can perform the simple act of pointing our fingers! There is no doubt in my mind that this dance is orchestrated by God, and I will do my best to ever point my finger in God's direction." --Nabeel Qureshi, in the Summer 2013 issue of the RZIM magazine

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Long Swim

One of my goals this year was to swim 3000m per month. Today I hit that goal for the first time this year. My closest was June when I did 2700. Today I had to do 700 to make the goal. I did 700 and then kept going for 2300 total, which doubled this month's total. Woot! Hopefully my arms work tomorrow. After I finished I went down the two slides at the Y and then joined the family for dinner. Despite the rain (or maybe because of it) there was a beautiful sunset. God truly does hold the whole world in His hands!

Sunset from Farmington
Maryland Farms nice outdoor 50-meter pool
The longer the pool, the longer I'll swim!
Deals at Kroger

*Edited to change the size of the pictures. Still trying to figure out this whole blogging-from-the-phone thing.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Team Ride

Sunday team ride route

I left from home and rode to the BFY to meet Anna, Parri, and AJ for a nice long ride. We went on a few new roads, climbed a little (Sunset, Pleasant Hill, and Del Thomas), and ran out of water. But it was super pleasant. I had been hoping to run after, but since I hadn't hydrated well enough while riding, I didn't think it would be smart to continue in the heat and humidity. I will run long soon!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Spontaneous Team Ride

Val and I randomly (or not so randomly) met up with Parri, Amanda,  Cali, and some Treehouse guys on our ride today! We swam early and then hit the road on our bikes. Just before we got to Beech Creek Road, we saw Belladium kits and turned around. We joined the crew for the end of their ride and then continued ours.

Parri, Val, me, Cali, and AJ

Saturday's route...lots of backtracking and repeating,
and actually quite a bit shorter than I'd hoped for

Later in the afternoon I went to church and then stayed after for a picnic that was a thank you for the Saturday night volunteers. They had pizza, salad, and Sno-Balls for us. Yum!

*Edited to include pictures, which were supposed to have been there in the first place. Still trying to figure out the whole blogging-from-the-smart-phone thing.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday Thunder

As I was getting my bike ready this afternoon, I heard a couple thunder cracks and looked at the dark, ominous sky. I was chatting with a guy about electric cars, and before he drove away he said, "Be careful!" I had by that time decided to not ride and said, "Well, I think I'm going to run today. I heard the thunder and do not need a lightning strike today." He laughed and drove away, and I put on my Zoots and hit the road.

This is pretty close to the route I took. I think I mapped an extra time around Granny White Park (the red lines at the bottom), because on my Garmin I have 8.5 miles back to the red square. Then I walked the final half-mile back to my car (green square). I averaged ~8:15, which was much faster than I was planning on. I wanted to run ~9 or 10 minutes per mile and felt like it during the first one. When my Garmin beeped, I expected to see 10:00; instead, it was 8:05. So I just rolled with it :-) I did have to stop twice for bathroom breaks, hence the slightly slower pace per mile.

Someday when I'm feeling really good and actually remember to take water with me, I'll run more through the Deerwood Arboretum and those neighborhoods (the red line on the far left).

I ran into SR at mile 5; he was riding in a kit I didn't recognize. Not that I would have known it was him even if he had been wearing a recognizable kit--I usually get into the running zone and don't save energy for figuring out who people are (and I don't even run with headphones, so I don't have that to blame it on). I always say hi, but it's never an "I recognize you, you are my friend, hi, how are you today?" hello, it's always a, "Hi!" and then 20 seconds later a thought: Hey, I think I know who that was. Wasn't it xyz? Oh, yeah! Guess I should have said, "Hey, xyz! What's up!". Oh, well, I don't think he'll hate me, even though he knew it was me and said ho to me by name.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


In between rain storms I went recycling and found these treasures. I will be going back for more tomorrow!

I made it to MFY for a short (but seemingly forever-long) 1100m swim. It was perfectly sunny and humid, and the water felt great :-)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hillview and Forest Acres

Monday was a rest day. My fave :-) Tuesday I rode into work and then rode home.

Atop one hill...headed to the one on the right...

In case there was a question where I was headed...
I saw two of these signs during today's ride!

Here's my route to and from work. Same end point, different route, though you can't really tell from this map. One of the best parts was exploring the Forest Acres Road, just to the west of Franklin Road. Forest Acres Court is the hill at mile 36.01 on the map, and it was just as bad as it looks. But it wasn't even designated "Hill" like Lakemont and Hillview were.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Weekend Rides

Little Blue wanted to stop and make a friend

Thanks to a significant amount of rain this weekend, I didn't get as many miles a as I was hoping to. I still got 112, to, and that was my main goal. Thursday I did the Firecracker 5K and then added 5 more miles.

Friday I met Kat and Amanda for 36 miles after I'd done 26 by myself. My first 26 miles were mostly dry but it was drizzling someso not completely dry. Our group ride, however, was quite wet. We pretty much got poured on for half the ride. On the plus side, it was warm and very pleasant.

It continued to rain. Saturday I spent a few hours at the Cool Springs Y on the step mill and the True elliptical machine. 45 minutes on each equals about 4.5 miles plus 8 miles. After getting a new phone and playing in it some, it was off to church for children's church. All us leaders were there and we had 9 kids, so as CC goes, it was actually pretty easy and fun (even tho we couldn't go outside because of the rain.

Sunday I got up early to go to church. Helping out Saturday nights means I can't go to the service; and I like to go back on Sunday mornings if I can. Then I headed out for a solo 50-mile ride around Brentwood and Nolensville. It was absolutely beautiful, so much so that I didn't mind being alone. Also that means 112 miles for the weekend and good Ironman miles!

I plan my routes around bubblers and right-hand turns

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Firecracker 5K

Start line...rain, rain, rain!

Today was the annual July 4th Andrews Cadillac Firecracker 5K in Maryland Farms. It is one of my favorite races because it is practically in my backyard--it starts at the MFY and goes on roads I ride or run on quite frequently, so I know the course well.

It was raining this morning, but that didn't stop over 700 participants from running. After last night's race and because of my lack of running lately, I was hoping for around 24 minutes and somewhere in the top half of my age group. When I looked at the results I was completely surprised: 23:26 and 4th of 55 in my AG! I definitely started out fast and slowed down slightly, but I think if I'd have started at the pace I ended at I wouldn't have ended any faster, so faster at the start is better for me! As soon as I finished, I walked 2 minutes and then did the entire course again, adding a few miles at the end to complete 7 miles in just under an hour. Still have a little work to do with speed and endurance, but it was a good run and I really enjoyed it!

Oh, boy!

Pictures are from here. I got tons of comments about my socks (red and white striped tall compression ones) and the flowered lei I was wearing. This picture is from about 10 seconds after the start. I was thinking, What is this camera person doing in the middle of the road?!? He's going to get run over! Maybe I should have been enjoying the race like the lady next to me was.

It was about 68* and raining the entire race, and the temperature was perfect.

Garmin Stats: 3.14 miles, 23:22, 7:27 pace. Mile 1: 7:07; Mile 2: 7:27; Mile 3: 7:50; Mile 3.14: 00:57
Rest of run stats: 4.09 miles, 26:00, 8:48 pace. Mi 1: 9:03; Mi 2: 8:10; Mi 3: 8:45; Mi 4: 9:14; Mi 4.09: 00:47
(I walked through a water stop at Mi 3 and up a hill at Mi 4.)

2011 race recap is here.
2010 race recap is here.
2009 race recap is here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

NC.Com Crit #6

Tuesday's recovery ride

Monday was a rest day; I walked 2 miles at lunch and 4 miles in the afternoon but did nothing else besides a few push ups. Tuesday was a recovery day. I walked 3 miles at lunch and then rode for 93 minutes what turned out to be a GREAT ride. The weather was perfect, my legs felt great, and I went exploring. Turns out Pleasant Hill Road really is pleasant :-) Also, Sunset Road and Ragsdale Road are two of my favorite roads on the east side of I-65. Considering I rode on all 3, it had to be a good ride!

Shannon, me, and AJ. We wore the stripes today for the holiday

Wednesday I hit the True treadmill for 5K in the morning, and my legs felt really good. This is always my indicator for the evening race, and I was encouraged. We had a fairly large field (18 ladies) for our race that night, but it was only Shannon, AJ, and me from Team Belladium. Usually we are very aggressive because we have the numbers; tonight we played a very different game.

SVMIC, I AM Racing, and Belladium were the three main teams, and our lead group was Jes/Katie (SVMIC), Jess/Rachel (IAR), and AJ/Shannon/me (Bd). Shannon covered the first attack while AJ and I sat back to see what else would happen. When we caught them, AJ covered the next attack. We caught her and either Jes or Katie (I forget who), and I countered. That wasn't necessarily the plan, but I felt like Jes, Katie, and Jess were all significantly compromised that it would be worth it. I got caught, but it still felt like a good attack.

At some point (from my Garmin it looks like 18:30 in to the 30-minute race), I realized that Jess C was no longer with us. She is one of the top 3 overall, so it would have benefited us immensely if we had been able to create separation between her and us. I went to the front for a couple laps to drive the pace and never saw Jess. Then, with 6 to go (min 22), I saw her coming out of the wheel pit to join us. I should have known where she was and didn't, and I definitely should have known she was in the pit. Had I known, I wouldn't have done so much work. But it is what it is. I continued hard but started thinking about the finish.

I could tell that the other girls were getting tired, and I knew Shannon could attack and force the hand of at least one SVMIC girls and possibly Jess. However, the message didn't get to her as clearly as I'd hoped, and she didn't attack. Instead, she waited until just before the bell and started to pick up the pace for a leadout. I had found AJ's wheel when 3 to go and stayed there, and when she moved around Shannon I was right where I needed to be. Just after the 6th of 8 turns I came around her for the sprint finish. I knew at the bell that we'd have it, but it seemed afterward that she was more concerned than I was :-)

I finished in 1st, Jess 2nd, Jes 3rd, Katie 4th, AJ 5th, and Shannon 6th. It was a pretty leadout and exactly as hard as it should have been, so I was happy. I know the girls would have hoped for higher placing, but sometimes after you do your job (lead out) it's hard to do someone else's job too (sprint). I'm proud of them for a good hard effort, and I'm especially happy with a win!

Race #6, 7-03-13: 31:05, 11.98 miles, 23.1 mph, 184 bpm, 1/18 and 1/5 Cat 2s
Race #5, 6-26-13: 29:26, 10.92 miles, 22.3 mph, 183 bpm, 6/23 and 4/5 Cat 2s
Race #4, 6-19-13: 29:48, 11.89 miles, 23.9 mph, 186 bpm, 5/19 and 3/4 Cat 2s
Race #3, 6-12-13: 28:48, 10.73 miles, 22.3 mph, 189 bpm, 2/18 and 1/3 Cat 2s
Race #2, 5-29-13: 30:39, 11.31 miles, 22.1 mph, 2/18 and 2/4 Cat 2s
Race #1, 5-22-13: 35:36, 12.88 miles, 21.7 mph, 4/14 and 2/3 Cat 2s (incorrect time and mileage)