Monday, June 29

anti-dooring campaign

thankfully i haven't been "doored" but have had some close calls. Dooring is when a person in a car opens a car door into or in front of a cyclist. I guess it might be more of a problem in chicago, where they actually have an awareness campaign going on. i ran across this nice poster recently when i was browsing for design inspiration...

this post has been sitting in my blogger "almost ready to post" file for awhile, but was having problems getting the photo to upload. my friend joel out in SF got doored today. thankfully he was ok, but thought i should go ahead and get this up!

so riders, don't get too close to parked cars.
and drivers, look back before you open your door!


bug season

unfortunately, it's still gnat season in the south. (does it ever end?)

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Monday, September 29

Moronic Bicyclists In Clown Suits

some interesting points (there are a few cyclists out there that don't follow the rules of the road that really ruin it for the rest of us), but it is sad to see the thoughts of some motorists out there.


Thursday, June 5

cycling + design

being a designer by day (and some nights), i love it when i see great design within the world of cycling, running, etc. (hopefully one day i'll be able to concentrate more on event marketing, catalog design, and other promo-type stuff...)

here are some awesome illustrations from the Montreal Bike Fest that just happened. i think a future trip to this is in order, especially since i have relatives there!

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Wednesday, May 14

cycling + music

ah frazz, such a wise one. it's a bit of a controversial topic in the cycling world though. yes, it's nice to have some tunes to keep you company on long solo rides, or during the nth hour of an endurance race. but at what cost? on the road, it's listening for cars; on the trail, it's listening for other riders & hikers. i usually only wear my shuffle running (but even not so much since the emerson murder).

somewhat unrelated is the awful accident 2 weekends ago that left a georgia cyclist in bad shape. ryan was prepping for the roswell criterium, when a truck with a landscaping trailer hit him. he's undergoing surgery today at the shepherd center to hopefully alleviate the paralysis. thoughts & prayers are with him.


Wednesday, May 7

King of the Mtns Challenge

No, I'm not doing this (I have a different birthday ride in mind), but I thought it was worth posting the elevation profile. Gosh, I could eat a lot of cake after this....

Last year the eventual winner went back up Roberts Mill, to make it 11 climbs. He's really not quite right ;)  (and makes some great bikes!)

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Sunday, April 20

Cohutta 65

one of the key races i was using as a benchmark for leadville was the cohutta 65. (once upon a time i was thinking i would do the 100 mile option, but that 6 wk break off my feet earlier this year had me rethink that plan...)  

while not the full monty, the 65, just shy of 11k of elevation gain, was still going to be a respectable day. the rain overnight and during the first hour of the race added another twist to the day. luckily it wasn't that cold (although there was a bit of snow here on monday!)

we started at the ocoee whitewater center at 7:15am with a light drizzle. after a quick 3 miles down hwy 64 (a nice climb to break up the field of 160+ riders in this distance), we turned into the brush creek singletrack trails. i actually haven't ridden this section before and i'd imagine it would be quite nice and flowy if it wasn't for the thick, slick mud everywhere. after some speedier guys passed me, i settled into a nice pace, yo-yo'ing with a few guys for the next 2 hrs. all was going well until i wiped out hard on a bridge. we had lots of short wooden bridges going over creeks & such and i really did try to take them easy; i'm not exactly sure what happened here, but next thing i know i lay my bike out and we're sliding across the bridge... i see a pole and think "this will not be good if my body slams into this". luckily my bike hit it first - but that just meant i hit my bike... groin into the handlebars and stem. yeowsers. i layed there a minute taking some deep breaths (people making sure i was ok), but when i saw a girl pass, i was back on my feet.  time to go!

i was a bit slow for a bit, trying to get my balance again. things hurt for sure. i was a bit slower than anticipated getting back to the WWC; now time for some tanasi trail action... by the time i was up bear paw, i was able to pass the girls that had passed me when i was down. once i hit the forest service roads, i was back in my element. it did seem to go on forever - funny how things didn't look that familiar even though i've ridden here several times this year. i was alone for a long time here, just doing my thing and riding hard. 2 voices were constantly in my head - matt's voice saying "attack the hills" and jeramie saying (in response to me wondering how he thought i'd do) "well, depends on what cathi shows up".  early on it was "cathi that crashed hard and was in pain". but now it was "cathi that was on a mission". i wasn't there to just ride; i wanted to race.

finally the turn from 221 to 62 (the "big frog loop") came, along with the aid station with our drop bags and the smiling & energetic ken radley (always good to see a familiar face on a grueling course!) i actually didn't need anything in my bag - i had been filling up with heed at some earlier stops and did so again here (i actually like the light taste of the stuff - i do get tired of the gatorade/powerade sweetness, which was what i had stashed...). some quick lube on the chain and i was off again - i has seen a pink jersey when i pulled in and really wanted to reel in that potential girl. which i did soon enough - along with 2 others on this section. that was energizing! i hooked up with a few guys that had a solid pace and good conversations for a bit. i suck at remembering names sometimes... there was the singlespeeder from atl that knew some of the addictive crew... and a bike zoo guy from knox with cool checkered arm warmers... 

once back on 221, i just kept on... my legs were feeling fabulous, although the shoulder/neck pain i get sometimes was now setting in  - at least that made me forget about my pelvis. the big neverending climb came and went without problem - with the leaders of the 100 mile passing me here - damn they looked fresh! 

finally the last aid station before the final singletrack section. hooray! they didn't have any heed, so i just kept the 1 full bottle i had, figuring it would be enough for the last 12 miles or so. about 10 minutes in, i started hearing some noise from my bike... not the hiss of flat tires (like last weekend), but something else. then without warning, chain suck. aaah, so that is the sound of a bone dry chain that doesn't want to move. what sucked even more was the fact i didn't have any lube on me. every 5-10 minutes my bike would seize. sometimes i could get through it, but half the time i was going up a hill or over some rocks/roots, so it royally f'd me up. for once i was totally thankful for every descent i could find - if i didn't pedal, i didn't have problems. i passed lots of people sidelined with mechanicals (including a friend with a snapped derailleur), but no one with lube. so basically this last section (which initially i was worried about, not knowing how tired i'd be going through it, then was excited about because i was feeling great), ended up sucking royally, taking at least 30 min longer than it should have. 

thunder rock express could not come soon enough. i got through that easily and was thankful for the fsr at the end - that signalled about a mile of road to the finish. liz & evan were right there waiting for me - i tried to look fast for him :)  (erick was with ethan, who was napping).
it was definitely cool to have my little nephews up from orlando so they could see aunt cathi ride bikes (inspire them young!) after some wrinkles getting results posted, i ended up 5th in the women's 65, with a time of 7:32:06. (this would have been 56 out of 100 total riders in this distance - always like to see how i compare to the guys ;). while i'm definitely happy with this, 4th place was only 32 min ahead, so it could have been an interesting finish without the mechanicals.

me + my # 1 fan evan

desperate for drink

ahhh, hydrated & happy (i swear this isn't a coke commercial)

ken helping me out with a post-race shower

So now... the next day... 
I am definitely happy with my race - my body felt great (except for the crash of course) and I was happy with how my legs responded. my nutrition and hydration was on. what to change? well, carry lube!! other than that, just continue on with matt's plans, whatever they may be. (it's working so far!) i did see an old friend, zeke, at the race and i hope to catch some long rides and leadville knowledge from him in the future. i am a bit sore - that great post-long-workout soreness where you know you did something good... but then my left knee that i landed on is aching good (the cuts aren't too bad), along with my neck (and not the part that was sore during the race - maybe i hit that when i fell too?? hmmm)

I’ll be interested to see how this experience relates to Leadville. I’ll have 4.5 more hrs to tackle 35 more miles and 3000’ more elevation gain. Altitude will be the determining factor I think, as my fitness track seems to be right on.

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Friday, April 11

i should be in bed right now... but....

we all know i have problems going to bed at decent hours. so a quick update on this weekend...

the Georgia Cup is a great series of road cycling races throughout georgia (duh). well this weekend it comes to the great atlanta suburb of chattaboogie. so, why not indulge.... matt worked it into my training so i'll be out there hitting it during saturday's time trial (at 8:09.30 a.m.!) and crit (2:00), then on sunday during the road race (another early one - 8:45am). this is more of a "c" race, so while i'll try as hard as i can, i'm definitely not aiming to do too stellar (that will come at next weekend's cohutta race!)

there will be lots of vixens out there, so we'll have a ton of fun. i'm especially looking forward to the men's pro/am crit tomorrow night downtown. some of the teams participating in the upcoming tour de georgia will be using it as a bit of a warm up. report + pics to come! meanwhile, just wish me luck in the crit. after last years, i swore i'd never do one again.....  

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Monday, March 24

sunday training days

i haven't kept up with posting things lately but that doesn't mean i'm sitting back being lazy - on top of lots of training, work has been super busy too. i'll write more about this past weekend's duathlon soon, but here's a quick visual recap of the previous two weekends...

shannon, jeramie and i hit the cherohala skyway for some road bike action. after fueling up with momma's pancake breakfast, we drove over to tellico plains and parked near the ranger station at the base of the skyway. our plan was to ride up, over, and down to snowbird for a snack, then ride back up, over, and down. jeramie's modest estimate was 5-5.5hrs. well once we got to the top we realized it was going to be closer to 6.5-7hrs... daylight would have been tight and the skyway isn't a place to be caught at dusk. plus i don't think we'd have brought enough clothing for the temps at the top an hour or two later. (and not sure any of us had the legs for 10,000'+ feet of gain today!)

totals: 4.5hrs, 57 miles, 6625' elevation gain (started around 680', topped out at 5390' at Santeelah Gap)

the sunday before (that would be the weekend of the CPZ race i did not do), a group of us headed over to the ocoee for a tour of the big frog 65 race route. sunday's weather was great - clear skies, but still chilly; a good bit of snow still on the ground. didn't take too many pics - i had to work hard to keep up with the seasoned riders i was with. that is until my front brakes totally failed. a piston in the lever fell out; no trailside fix for that. luckily we were only 5 or 6 miles from the end, so i took it easy/safe. (thankfully i noticed this problem before a big downhill!)

totals: 4hrs20min, 38 miles, about 4000' elevation gain

shannon, me, micah, jeramie, jamie

my ghetto feet warmers
(forgot my booties so i was at the mercy of jeramie's leftovers. 
micah called them "grover feet". hey, they did the trick...)

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Thursday, November 22

Upchuck Adventure Run, TBARC Bike Nav

So it's a lazy Thanksgiving Day, so I thought I'd catch up on a few posts before braving the chilly temps & wind for a run or bike - trying to wait till it warms up a tad, but I don't think it's going to get much better (cloudy & 50 degrees, winds around 10-25mph, and pretty wet out after over an inch of rain yesterday).

The Upchuck Adventure Run was an "event" put on by the Boonies 2 weeks ago on the Cumberland Trail. A few run distances were available. Matt & Chad ran the whole thing, starting at Hotwater Road and running the 11 mile Soddy segment, followed by the Possum Creek Gorge and Rock Creek segments (20 miles). Another Matt joined them for the first segment, then Natalie, Kathy and I ran the last ones together...although we didn't time our start right and had to wait on the guys for about 45 min at the end. (or maybe we just ran that fast??! :) ) Big thanks to Chad for the pizza and beer at the end and the warm blanket from Nat since I forgot to leave a drop bag at the end.

Natalie & Kathy

the two (k)cathi(y)s

Last weekend was the local TrailBlazers' end of year party, consisting of a bike navigation event and mystery beer party. Jim put together a fun course that showcased our lovely townships to the north (Soddy Daisy, Bakewell, Sale Creek). Since my road bike is still not here, I borrowed my old one from Michelle and hit the course solo style. It was another beautiful day to be out. I nabbed all the points in around 4 hrs. Carol and Cecilia beat my time by a little bit to sneak in the win... but having someone to ride with in the wind definitely gave them the advantage :)

After the ride, I jetted downtown quick to see some friends that were in town riding Raccoon. Then I showered and headed back to the Farmer casa to chill in the backyard with cold beer & a hot bonfire (and s'mores). Oh, the mystery part of the beer was that the hosts handed you random stuff - you didn't get to choose what you got. But I did sneak my own stuff...Denver IPA from the Great Divide Brewing Company. It had a great label :)

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Wednesday, September 12

The Omnium

I had been waffling about doing the Omnium... the weekend was busy enough as it was. The River Gorge Road Race would certainly whoop me - 37 miles, finishing with a 3.5 mile climb straight up Raccoon Mtn. Then the 4 mile time trial that afternoon - in the middle of the afternoon. I'd be spent. Then, to try a criterium the next morning? I had no experience in this type of sufferfest. I polled my friends... "You'll love it!" "OMG, they scare me!" I ended up going for it, figuring since the event was here in town, I wouldn't be spending extra money on traveling and hotel expenses... so why not spend it on an extra race?!

The fun started Friday night with a Cowboy Mouth concert - my fav band, so I couldn't say no. I did however slide out early... luckily Rebecca was with me, so the peer pressure helped with our self-imposed curfew of midnight. Unfortunately that gave us only 45 minutes of show time, but it still made me happy - and helped me fall asleep quick :)

Saturday morning we had an 8:50am start from Tiftonia. The women's field was large, but I saw several familiar faces. We had a neutral start then most of us stayed together for a few more miles. A hill around mile 8 sadly spit me off the back with a group of others. 6 of us worked together for the next hour. I was the only Vixen, but recognized Marsha and Nancy from other races. Once we hit Whiteside, we were on the familiar roads of spring's Raccoon Mtn Road Race. The stairsteps came around mile 20 and again I fell back a bit. The weather today was much more humid than it had been for the last 2 weeks and I didn't want my asthma to blow up. Once at the top, it really didn't take much effort to catch up to the 4 gals ahead (1 never caught back up to us). We worked together through the backside of 41. Once we we made the left turn onto the road that would lead us up the mtn, things split up. Again, I played it conservatively so that I would actually make it up. I had only done this climb once on a mountain bike (and in the rain), so I was a bit nervous (and mad at myself for not ever coming out to practice it). The 3.5 miles seemed to last forever. Half of it was in the shade; the other half had the sun beating on me. About halfway up, David Meek drove by and cheered me on. Once we were through the gates, I caught up with Marsha... and then the pro guys caught up with us. While it sorta sucked (because they rode much further than we did and literally flew by), I have to admit they pepped me up a bit :) I ended up finishing in 9th place in the Cat 4 division (out of 18).

marsha & i heading up the mountain... speedy guys creeping up behind...

me making a weird face & rebecca at the overlook, finally done!

Of course now that we were at the top, we had to ride back down to our cars - it was actually a nice cool down. I grabbed a sandwich and headed home for bit, although I was scared to relax too much. I went back up the mountain at 2:30 to get ready for the afternoon time trial. My start time was 3:53pm. We started at the entrance to the East Overlook and followed the reservoir counter clockwise. There would be 1 pretty good size climb, but mostly downhill from here. Reba and I did ride it a few times the week before, so I felt somewhat prepared. What wasn't ideal is that I had the 2 fastest Cat4 girls starting right behind me... at a mere 30/60 seconds. I joked about "seeing them soon".... and yeah, I did. Nicole passed on the climb and Andrea when we were on the dam. After making the sharp turn into Laurel Point, we had a fast downhill.... unfortunately there was a gradual ascent before hitting the finish line. I was spent and out of oxygen. Sure, I'm not used to doing these "speed workouts", but I'm sure my asthma is playing a role in how I feel, as it's usually my lungs stopping me before my legs. I didn't do so hot here... finishing 10th/13.

at the start line... and me smiling big (to cover the nerves)

Saturday night was lazy... just rented a movie and hit the sack early. (partially because I thought I rented a comedy and it was more like a tearjerker.) Sunday was the big day - my first crit. I headed downtown early to warm up and watch a few races before ours (at 11:50am). Inbetween races I was able to take a spin around and get a feel for the road. I also watched the guys go around each corner to try to figure out where I should be. Honestly, I was clueless about the whole thing, but hey, why not dive in. At the start, 40 women gathered which was apparently pretty large for a women's field. We tried to split up - it's not that enticing for us beginners to hang with the pro/1/2/3 chicks (and they don't want us newbies around either); but the officials kept us together. The actual start was ok... I was with the pack in the first turn. Then the 2nd turn came... then all of a sudden on the back I was alone. WTF?? I rode hard trying to catch up to the gals in front of me, but couldn't quite make it. Soon I realized I wasn't just alone, I was last. wow. I actually have never been in this position before and it was weird. unsettling. And the worst part was being in Chattanooga... with people I knew all rooting me on. I was hoping they wouldn't recognize me, but alas, the did. sigh. After 3-4 laps I finally caught up to 2 girls in front, then we got another. We worked together for the rest of the 30 minutes. Yes, the main pack did lap us (but only once). Luckily we were not pulled from the course, which happens in most crits. Finally we were on the last corner. I really tried to sprint to the finish, but I had nothing. absolutely nothing. I think I sounded like I was about to keel over, as Monica asked me if I was OK. (yeah, you know, just can't breathe.) Thankfully I did sneak past a few girls, finishing 12th/14.

I ended up with an 8th place finish in the omnium. Nothing fabulous, but hey, something new and different for sure. It was tough. And I'm not sure if I can call the crit fun. It was pure pain. (but oh yeah, I like that sometimes.) If I do another, I'll have to definitely get some practice in. On the bright side, I did notice my cornering improve 150% during the course of the event.

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Tuesday, September 11

BMW of Chattanooga Downtown Criterium

Since I've been slacking on writing about this, I can at least post the link to the pictures.

A few to check out from the pro/1/2/3 men's race:

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Thursday, August 23

record temps

i swear i've never experienced temperatues this high this much ever. i think this is the 3rd week of 100+ degree readings - today was a record at 105. !!! it is not easy (and entirely safe) to be training in this heat. i've been getting up in the mornings to do a little bit to supplement shortened evening sessions.

this weekend is the bmw of chattanooga omnium. i bit the bullet and signed up for the whole thing: river gorge road race (37 miles, including a final climb all the way to the top of raccoon mountain. i hope i make it!), river gorge time trial (4.11 miles, around the reservoir on raccoon), then the downtown criterium - 30 minutes of maximum effort. this will be my first crit and i am nervous!! i figured since it is here, at home, why not... it's a fairly short, non-technical race so it seems to be a good introduction. my goals are: 1, not to crash; 2, not get lapped and pulled from the course. i really have no idea what to expect - wish me luck!

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Saturday, August 11

Allanti Cycling Classic

Last weekend was the Allanti Cycling Classic, in Leiper's Fork, TN (just south of Nashville). I headed up there with Michelle, where we met several other Velo Vixens for a day of road bike racing. The cat 4 women's race started at 9am (with the Masters 50+ men) and would be 40 miles of rolling and flat roads with a few short climbs. The rollout is always interesting, as you don't know what riders have up their sleeves. At the Raccoon Mtn race, it was slow and easy. At Avery Trace, the break started right away. Today we stuck together for 20 minutes before the first hill broke things up. At this point, I was spit off the back but joined up with Cecelia and Beth to work together for much of the race. It was really quite uneventful. It was a hot hot day and drinking alot was essential. I really had wished someone was at the feed zone with bottles for us. I had to ration what I had, but made it to the end with 1 sip to spare. The finish was a 200m sprint that I wasn't entirely ready for. Fellow teammate Beth edged me out by a half wheel, finishing 6th in my division.

We then chilled for a few hours, seeking refuge in the a/c of a cute deli in Franklin while we had some lunch. The time trial began at 3pm, right in the worst heat of the day. This was my first time doing one of these and I wasn't really sure what to expect. The heat had tired me out, giving me a slight headache. My body was beat from the morning race. I was 4th person out - so at least I'd get it over with quick! At the line, I was clipped in while race officials held my bike up and gave me the countdown. Go! What I failed to remember was to adjust my gearing for a proper start. I was in too hard of a gear and without much of a push, barely stayed upright. (but thankfully did!) From the first pedal stroke, it was all business. The course was 5 miles with small uphill grade nearly the entire way. wow. This was TOUGH. I was hot, hurting, thirsty and my calf was all but cramping. I don't have a computer on my bike so I really had no idea how far I'd gone, and how much was left. Finally someone on the side shouts 1k left. yeah! but.... how far is 1k? I really don't have that concept of distance yet. Finally at the top of a hill I see what looks like official tents, so I crank up the pace one final time. I felt like I crept over the finish line - certainly nothing like some of the juniors I saw crossing at full throttle. impressive stuff! I finished in 16m51s, good enough for 4th. (not bad for being whooped, not having a tri bike or aero bars, and using my old mountain bike shoes still!)

At the time I thought I didn't want to do any more multi-event road races, but now that a week has gone by, I'm considering.... There is an omnium coming to Raccoon Mtn / Downtown Chatt at the end of the month that I'm toying with.... def will do the RR & TT... but the crit has me curious. I know nothing about them, but... since it's right here.... I'm considering :)

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Sunday, June 3

steppin up the training

so with the Montana race around the corner (in exactly 2 months we'll be done with it!), i really need to log a lot of miles and elevation. this past weekend, i joined star & lisa (both training for the Leadville 100 mtn bike race) for two days of biking. on saturday we headed back to the ocoee for a 5hr ride (about 4 hrs on forest service roads and 1 hr on singletrack). then on sunday when our legs were nice & tired, we hit the road for a 5hr ride from red bank to graysville (79 miles). while i took today off, i decided to register for the Cherohala Challenge, a 115-mile road ride in the Smoky Mountains in 2 weeks.

Here's what they say about it:
THE Challenge: 115-Miles
The Dragon: US129 with its famous 318 curves in 11 miles.
Cherohala Skyway: a road with the highest average elevation of any road its length east of the Mississippi.

These legendry ribbons of pavement are joined by scenic, rolling, country roads in Tennessee and North Carolina and together create an unforgettable epic ride.

The 115-mile loop begins/ends in Tellico Plains at an elevation of 900 feet. The route twists through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests and climbs to 5,300 feet with over 9,000 feet of elevation gain. Enjoy some long descents after reaching the top, but before you coast into town, you will contend with "the sawteeth", over a dozen 0.5-1 mile rollers.

And check out this profile - ouch!!

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playing hookie

amanda (my colorado cousin) got into town on tuesday morning for her whirlwind trip thru tennessee. after some coffee, we headed up to lookout mountain for some hiking. i'm not too familiar with the area and wasn't sure how to get us to sunset rock. finally we found the incline and parked there, depositing all the quarters we had (1hr, 45min). we walked down to point park, but not wanting to pay the entry fee (yeah, we're cheap), we walked 30min along west brow road (gorgeous homes!) and finally got to sunset rock.

from there, we hiked along the bluff trail and went in the back way to point park. by now we were running low on meter time and hightailed it... but alas, the evil meter maids had left me a nice lil present. (luckily only a $5 fine). then we hit the Y for a swim (first time i've been in the water since last summer's xterra!).

on wednesday we hit the road and headed east to asheville. we stopped at the ocoee to check out the whitewater center (site of the 96 olympics). the water was down on the upper section, but still cool to look around.

next, we headed up the nantahala gorge. after a late lunch at the River's End restaurant (using a gift cert I won at last year's tsali challenge), we hit the trails for some mountain biking. i got the old tre8k in working order for amanda to use. even though she usually rides a full suspension, she rode strong. we did both the left & right loops plus the overlook, for a total of about 20 miles.

after, we snuck a quick shower at the campgrounds and headed to asheville. we stopped in at my friends' house for a bit (chilton had just gotten a new rope swing in the tree and was having a ball!). then on to see amanda's old roommate sara, whom we stayed with.

thursday, after a lazy breakfast at the early girl eatery (my fav there), we headed to out for some more mtn biking at nearby bent creek. this was my first time here and sara led us on a great 2+hr ride. these gals love their downhill! (greens lick trail nearly licked me!) after a late lunch and shower, i headed back to chatty.

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Wednesday, May 23


i knew it was going to happen soon but of all weeks, this was not the one for my clutch to decide to all but die. but it did, so you just gotta roll with it. i dropped it off today and after a ride back to my office, i am embarking on a few days of self-imposed bike commuting. sure, i've had many generous offers to drive me around, but i'm actually looking forward to this. i have a few friends that bike to work 3-5 times per week, and they have further to ride than i do (approx 5 miles, mostly downhill from home... which means coming home is quite a workout). sure, i've biked to work a few times, but honestly not as much as i want to or should. mostly, it is my beloved laptop that prevents me from doing so - i usually work at home a few hours (ok, work/goof off, etc) at night, so i always take it home from the studio. and yes, 95% of the time i use it. but i am not about to put that laptop in a bag on my back to bike in - it's just too expensive and invaluable to take that risk. so, i drive.

not having my work computer at home for a few nights has been refreshing. (ok yeah, i am on one now, but this old laptop doesn't have all my work stuff on it to keep me busy)... last night, i worked in the yard, cleaned the house, started reading a new book, and went to bed at a reasonable hour. tonight has been relaxing as well. tomorrow night i may start going thru withdrawal, but i'll manage.

i hope i can really make this more of a habit... start with maybe 2 days a week where i can leave the computer at work and make sure i don't schedule any client appts out of the studio (that gets tricky). i have a bit to learn though; tips are appreciated!
- how to stash what i need into 1 bag (clothes to change into, lunch + my running clothes & shoes)
- how to keep fresh when your office doesn't have a shower (a stash of Wet Ones are helpful I've heard... and i think a baseball cap may be mandatory)
- do i always change into cycling clothes, or do go more commuter casual? (certainly not as comfy so i'm not planningon testing this one yet....)


Wednesday, May 9

Quote from the Tues Night Ride

"You were pulling like a freight train..."
- Ted

uhh, Ted, is that supposed to flatter the ladies?


Tuesday, April 24

Finally, back on track...

I had a great weekend of training! The last few months have been a bit weird... sure, I've been "training" and racing, but my intensity has been lacking. This was proven recently when my VO2 max tests at ATS came back with dismal numbers. (ok, not dismal.. I topped out at 55, which is still pretty damn good, but not even comparable to the 62 I had last time). The graphs that the machine/program spit out did not hide anything... Coach Tony explained the numbers (aerobic & lactate threshold, recovery heart rate, etc) and why he thought things had dropped: lack of intensity in my workouts had caused my body to reclaim the extra blood vessels it had created in my legs, thereby reducing how much oxygen my body was utilizing. It does make sense - all winter I ran long, collecting basemiles for my ultra adventures. There was no speed work, no tempo work, no intervals. Gosh, I sound like a slacker....

Anyways, my challenge lately has been to add this intensity into my weekly training schedule. With so many group trainings, it's difficult sometimes to make them hard. I guess I need to take some of the socialness out of the workouts? (without making it seem like I'm ignoring my friends). Hmm... it will be an effort in progress... The speedwork on Thursdays will be a good addition. Then if I can incorporate a ride like I did this past weekend, improvements will come!

Saturday, I met Dreama out in Soddy for a road ride. 4 SCV guys came out as well. Oh boy, the pace just went up! All I knew about this ride was to expect about 60 miles, and about 3.5/4 hours. Things started off ok.... a bit cool in the morning, but knowing it would heat up, opted for short sleeves + arm warmers. We wound all through Soddy, Sale Creek & Graysville, before starting our first climb up Brayton Mountain. Up on top, we were amazed at how long we rode on flat/rolling terrain - yet we were on top of a mountain! Then came our descent on Pitts Gap Road. I have one word - YIKES! I don't like descents to begin with, but this has got to be the worst I've had to suffer through. The views of the valley on the west side were amazing, which did nothing to calm my fears. I even stopped once because my hands hurt from braking so much. (I reallly gotta improve on this soon. somehow. please send me tips!) Once I caught up to everyone (who kindly waited for me), we battled some wind as we headed south towards our next ascent - something very special apparently: Henson Gap Road. It had some killer switchbacks where you had to stand and really muscle over them. Something easier said than done when you're already tired! Once on top, my water bottles were nearly drained. I rationed the last few ounces, but still had about 20 minutes of nothing. This section was pretty exposed to both wind and sun (oops, really should have put more sunscreen on since the arm warmers were now off!). Finally we hit a mini mart and fueled up on ice cold drinks. After a decent on Hotwater Road, we were done. Yeah!!

It was a hard workout and I chased them the whole time... but it was nice to do that and not just go out for a casual ride. I really appreciated everyone helping me out and (seemingly) not get frustrated by having a slower person along for the ride. It's rides like this that will help me get better.

Check out the map here... this is my first attempt at creating a map on Google.. pretty cool stuff! (although not quite as handy and detailed as those rockin' Garmin 305s.)

Sunday was no rest! The running crew hit the Cumberland Trail for a point-to-point run of the Possum Creek Gorge Segment - the absolute hardest 10 miles of trail to run I've ever been on. And yes, on tired legs, they seemed nearly impossible at times. It took us about 2hrs 50min, including a break at the waterfall where most of the guys actually jumped in (they said it was like ice!) Dreama and I had stashed our bikes in Joey's car at the end and worked out the lactic acid with an "easy" 15 mile ride back to our cars... easy, except for the killer, long, exposed climb up 111. A brutal way to end the weekend!

Here are some more pictures...

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Friday, April 20

Tour Pics

I was lucky to catch Stage 5 of the Tour today (Dalton to Brasstown). Cat and I dodged clients and made our way to the top of Fort Mountain (where we were just a few weeks ago for Saul's Raisin Hope ride). It was definitely fun, although not as much excitement as the top of Brasstown (where I hung out last year).

See more pics here

Stage 3 in Chattanooga (above)
Stage 5 on Fort Mountain (below)


Wednesday, April 18

My first road cycling race!

Really, it was only a matter of time before I tried this out, so the Raccoon Mountain Road Race made perfect sense for me to jump in on, especially with so many of my teammates also riding. What wasn't so perfect that day was the weather: drizzly and temps in the mid 40s, with wind chills dropping things to around freezing with gusts up to 30mph. Ick!! But hey, I'm an adventure racer and have been through much worse... right?!

The women's Cat-4 race (basically that means beginner) was the last division to start, at 2:50pm. This was definitely weird, as I got to sleep in a bit, have a big breakfast (Lorraine's Oatmeal Bar - good fuel!), and get some cleaning done around the house. I headed over to Raccoon Mountain around 1 to get checked in and organized. Our coach John had reserved 2 campgrounds at the front for us, complete with an EZup tent filled with wonderful things from our sponsors (the new Tea Cakes & Elixir from LunaBar are amazing!), mobile bike shop for last minute tuneups, and 5 trainers set up for us to warm up on - which was definitely needed on a nasty day like this! I think we all changed at least 3 times, trying to figure out the best combination to keep warm, but not overheat in.

We rolled down to the start, circling to keep warm & calm the nerves until the juniors took off. A few minutes later, our motorcycle (guide? marshal? leader? I gotta get this road lingo down...) signalled it was our turn. The first 2 (or was it 4?) miles were neutral, meaning the race wasn't yet started. Finally, we were turned loose.... I expected to launch forward, but we didn't. In fact, we continued in a nice easy pace for awhile (thanks to the controlling games Cat & Dreama had going on - nice work!) Early on, the wind was horrible. I remember one gust of wind that pushed Star a good foot to the right... definitely a scary moment! It was on this stretch towards Nickajack that it started sleeting on us. *lovely*! There was a small decent at some point where the leaders picked up some speed. It took some effort, but I kept up with them, latching on wisely as I knew if I was dropped here, I likely wouldn't get back with them.

We hit Nickajack Lake (mile 15.2) seemingly quick, which meant the Stair Steps were right around the corner: a series of 6 hills where we would gain about 600' of elevation. Here I dropped off the back of this front group a bit and worked hard not to fall too far behind. I did pass Cat, telling her I'd see her soon (that woman can descend like nobody's business!) Upon reaching the top (and seeing fellow Vixens & company cheering us on), I kicked it into high gear, trying to gain every second I could. The break ahead didn't look that far away, but they benefited from having eachother, whereas I was fighting the wind all by my lonesome. About halfway through this last stretch, I hear a voice - the downhill diva herself has arrived! I jumped on Cat's wheel and we worked together for the next few miles until the final ascent. We had closed the gap significantly with 1 mile till the finish.

Soon, Jesus signalled 1km to go (seriously... there's a huge sign that reads Jesus is Coming). I pumped it up one final notch, trying to ignore the lactic acid tearing up my legs. In the end, I finished in 11th place (out of 23), with a time of 1:35:34.989 on the 27mile course. (yes, all the way down to the thousandth of a second!) Teammates Gina & Collette easily took 1st & 2nd, with a time of 1:32:25. Dreama & Star also rocked it with top 10 finishes. Lisa is who really amazed me though... she fell early on (just a few miles after the neutral zone ended) after catching someone's rear wheel. She was ok, but flatted in the process and found out the hard way we had no wheel truck following. Luckily the good graces of a support vehicle helped her out with a wheel and she hopped back in the race, finishing strongly.

Big thanks to everyone braving the elements and cheering us on, and to photographer friend Tim who came out and snapped a gazillion pictures, certainly catching every bit of emotion that ran across my face (and I'm sure a few nose-clearing shots that hopefully won't be publicized!)

I definitely walked away with a very positive feeling... I really don't think I knew what to expect, and what I did experience was much different than any other event I've raced in. Definitely looking forward to the next one!

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Tour de Georgia in Tennessee

I'm not sure how time has flown by... I still haven't written more about the Checkpoint Zero AR, and already I have several other happenings to post about.

Today, the Tour de Georgia rolled into Chatt and the Vixens were on hand to help make sure everything happened smoothly. We were originally going to be at the finish line (and then part of the awards ceremony), but apparently a truckload of barricades never made it downtown, so we were shipped off to block roads. Yeah, it sucked not to see the finish line festivities, but knew the need was important. Once the roads were blocked, we had to be on our toes with rush hour traffic starting and cars pulling out of lots, not happy about us saying they couldn't go anywhere. We were expecting riders to come through starting at 4:05, but they didn't show up for about another 25 minutes - talk about ancy! The leader and first chase group came flying by... and few others... then it was another 20 minutes before the peloton came racing thru. And in that whirlwind, it was over. Oh, except for some of the SCV guys and other random riders trying to catch a tailwind.

Afterwards, we headed to Big River for a post-event part sponsored by Litespeed. (And I ended up hanging out there till I headed home.. missing the Suck Creek/Lynskey party, and feeling pretty guilty....sorry guys!)


Wednesday, April 4


My normal teammates decided this morning that we weren't going to do the annual Blue Ridge Mtn Adventure Race - an event in north GA that I've done/been at for the last 4 years. Ironically, I received an email from an old friend last night who was looking for a replacement for herself on her team. Both her and her husband are great people and solid athletes, although they don't race a lot. Since it's last minute, the team spot would be complimentary...


The Raccoon Mountain Road Race is going on the same weekend. I had already told the Vixens I was committed to another race. But now, committments are gone and my schedule is mine for the planning. It would be a good first road race to do - I'm familiar with the course (riding it again tomorrow night) and it is a bit favorable to me (decent climbing which I'm pretty ok with, and the descent (my worst thing!) is not bad and I can let loose on it. Also... the Vixens are volunteering as Bike Valets at the museum Saturday and there is a big party that night at the museum - Cycledelic. (The race is Sunday).


trying something new, while staying in town (and maybe getting caught up/ahead on stuff so I can play hookie the next week and watch the Tour de Georgia)? or... be gone basically all weekend, attend the reunion that is Blue Ridge, race hard for 8 hrs with people I don't really know, then chill at the cabin (hot tub?!)

too many pluses and minuses for both to count. and there really isn't a wrong decision (just a hard one!)
let me know what you think!

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Saturday, March 31

Velo Vixens!

Oh yeah... guess I haven't said it yet. I joined the new women's road cycling team here. Several of the gals I ride with are on it, so I thought I'd support the cause. Plus it will be a great way for me to learn more about road cycling in general and get comfortable with the many problem areas I have (like descending & drafting). And maybe even try out a race or two! (Hey, I have to try something new this year!)

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