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Barrio Logan Grand Prix 2011

Current Mood:Happy emoticon Happy

This past weekend was the Barrio Logan in San Diego. It’s nice to have races that don’t take forever to drive to occasionally. But before I talk about Barrio I also did two other races in the previous weekends as well as some other things happening in life.

So firstly, my day to day riding has been limited significantly. Back in early February Brandon asked me to marry him and we were planning a small wedding for July. In April we decided we would try and rent a house since out lease was nearing its end at our current residence. Upon looking at places to rent, we decided we’d rather buy something. We both have decent incomes, have some cash saved up, and are established enough in our lives to make this kind of move. I mean we’re old, it’s not like we’re just starting out in life as some just out of college couple!

As we started our house hunt and worked on getting our loan pre-approval we realized we could get a much better loan amount and rate if we were married. So on April 14th 2011 we eloped… We eloped for a loan for a house… Yes, not the most romantic of things but it was the most economical choice which we both agreed on! So Brandon is no longer boyfriend but husband!

We have since found a house we like and are currently in the process of trying to purchase it. Hopefully all goes well, it is quite the “process”.

Anyways, with all the above stuff that’s been going on, and some crappy San Diego weather, I have not been riding much!

So maybe 3 weeks ago was the Cyclo-vets crit. I think I had only rode my bike once in the week before and that was on the track. Pretty sure that was my first real workout on the track too so my legs were sore. It was a 3/4 race around an easy course in Sorrento Valley. Race-wise this was the most comfortable I’ve felt in a crit because I trusted all the girls around me. However, this was also a 40 minute crit, 10 minutes longer than any of the ones I had done before (on top of not riding much). It was mentally brutal for me because I was gassed fast and my legs were slow feeling do to the track. It’s been so long I can’t remember much else from it other than somehow I pulled off a 3rd place finish amongst the Cat4′s.

The next week I went with Alison to the LA Circuit race. I can’t tell if I liked this race or not… I believe it was a 4 mile loop with two 180 turns. I hadn’t rode the bike since the Cyclo-vets crit so I expected little. It was a frustrating race because no one would make a move, we were riding around at like 16mph. I tried 2x time make a break but no luck, so I just stayed near the front of the pack the entire boring ride. I chit chatted a bit and one girl made a comment about it but I said if we’re only going to go this fast we needed to do something to kill the time. She laughed. It was only on the last turn that it really picked up and I screwed up big time. Sprinted WAY too early and was not able to maintain it the distance needed so I just gave up and think I got 20th. It was a good sprint if I didn’t go like a freaking MILE early! :P

Since then I’ve been able to ride a bit more thankfully. So last weekend was the Barrio Logan. Our race wasn’t until 4:30pm. Poor Brandon had to listen to me all day be wishy-washy on whether I was going to go or not. It looked crappy out and it was so late I kinda wanted to just stay home. We went out and did house stuff for the first half of the day. An by 1:30 I decided I should do the race seeing as I had already paid for it.

So I packed up my shit and we headed down to a gross area of San Diego. At a bunch of the races I’ve been too, people feel comfortable leaving their trainers out by their  cars when they race… Not here, it is a super scummy area.

I warmed up on the trainer for a bit and watched the W1-3 and the M3/4 races until it was our turn.

Warming up

The field was SMALL! The results only list 11 people. I thought there were a few more but I can’t imagine anyone dropped off.

This is a figure 8 course meaning 8 turns and there was a pretty decent headwind on the back half. For the most part the street was “good” but there were several reflectors and a couple of bumps here and there. I stayed towards the front the majority of the race. I know people say not to do this but as slow as we were going I felt like I was coasting half the time. I tried to make a break on the backside a few times and I believe a little group of us got away for a bit. We tried to work together to maintain but were brought back after awhile. A few more unsuccessful breaks were attempted and pretty much we just did the hamster thing the entire race. I don’t think I ever fell much behind 4th so I’m not sure what was going on towards the rear.

Interestingly when I was going through some of the photos from Cyclo-vets I was looking at my pedal position while going through turns. It was “close” to the ground but all the turns felt comfortable so I didn’t worry about it. Three days before Barrio I bought some new pedals… better pedals… potentially wider pedals?!… I clipped twice while making turns. The first time it happened it didn’t even occur to me, I just heard a weird noise. The second time I barely felt it but then it dawned on me. Checking out the pedal after the race you can definitely see where I shaved off the edge. I figure now that it’s shaved down sufficiently it won’t be a problem in the future! :pain:

Anyways, it was only on the last lap where the pace picked up. Again I stayed towards the front and out of the final turn I instantly popped in front and sprinted. I felt pretty good at this point and maintained my position all the way until like 5 inches from the finish! Oh well, considering I was debating not even racing, I’m happy with 2nd!

Oh, I also won a prime! Not a nasty sushi-poppers one this time! It was a gift certificate to a place called Heaven Sent Desserts! Now, looking at the photos of me compared to the other girls… I really don’t need to be eating desserts… :( But I’m still going to use the gift certificate, lol. Then maybe I should stop eating desserts and maybe I’ll get first… /sigh food.

:victory:

Stage Race #3

Current Mood:Cool emoticon Cool

Tomorrow I leave for Arizona… again.

This time I’ll be in Tucson with both my TT and road bike. My jeep is so handy. :) Two bikes, one on each side with luggage, trainer, work stand, and whatever else down the center. And now that I’ve discovered cruise control, a 6-7 hour drive doesn’t seem as bad. Plus this time I get to listen to my own music, the entire way!

With the added benefit of the time change, I should actually arrive with sunlight left! Very exciting. Even more exciting is meeting up with the rest of my new team, DudeGirl. It will be nice to have teammates this time to share the experience with.

Brandon just got back home yesterday, so that’s kind of a bummer to bail for the weekend right off the bat but he’s a package of supportive awesomeness and is excited for me.  :heart: As he cannot leave with me on Thursday he may try and fly out Friday night to watch the rest of the race and drive back together. I’m hopeful this works out but also would be fine if he chooses to take the weekend to himself to recuperate from his 3 weeks away from home.

So tonight is go home, grab some travel foodage, clean the bikes, last minute laundry, and Brandon time.

The Friday race doesn’t start until noon so plenty of sleep in time with no urgent rushing to get to the race. That’s a nice way to start. Saturday and Sunday are awful early though… Saturday is like 7am and 30 minutes away from the hotel while Sunday is at like 6:45!!! Sunday is only perhaps 2 miles from our hotel tho. While racing that early kinda stinks it will provide ample time to get back to the hotel, shower, and hopefully be on the road to home no later than 10-11am! Back in San Diego with sunlight to spare again!

As before the goal is to stay safe and do my best. It will be my third time on my TT bike so I just don’t want to be last. :) And I’d really love a crash free race for everyone, especially after Callville.

:victory:

The Bike Fetish…

Current Mood:Happy emoticon Happy

First there was Ruby…

Ruby was a good bike. It got me into the sport, made it to the top of Onyx Summit twice, and now gets me to work when I commute. I outgrew Ruby rather fast, I believe in about 6 months. I probably should have gone for something a little better right off the bat but you never know how much you’re going to like something longterm and bikes are expensive.

Ruby is dying this weekend. It served me well but I’m going to start learning how to take it apart and put it back together so I can be semi-self-sufficient with bike maintenance. I pretty much do all my own technical type stuff, there is no reason to not do the same with bikes.

Then there was Amira…

This is my main bike and I love it. Steve at UC Cyclery built it for me and it is “teh” awesome. This is the bike I’m starting racing with. Someday, hopefully not soon, I’m sure it will die a horrible death in a crash. But right now it’s my favorite thing. We did this bike right with awesome parts. It’s had a few issues along the way but those seem mostly work out at this point.

Now there is Transition!

I caved, I got a TT bike. After Valley of the Sun, seeing that my biggest hold back was on the Time Trial… I decided to take the plunge. It’s interesting and certainly not going to be my favorite thing to ride but it’s still pretty entertaining. I rode it for the first time last Sunday and it’s going to take some getting used to. I was definitely not holding any lines the first couple of times around Fiesta Island. By the third lap though things were starting to get better. Not sure it’s totally fitted yet as after the first ride I went back to UCC and they adjusted some things for me. I haven’t gotten a chance to ride it since so hopefully I will today or Saturday since I signed up for a Fiesta Island TT this weekend! I have no expectations for this little race, it’s mostly just to get on the TT bike and see how it goes. :) I even bought one of the Alien helmets! Yup, you didn’t think we could look any “douchier” in our spandex outfits, did you? Throw on a TT helmet and you have successfully smashed that thought!

Riding the TT bike is way different than the road bike. I must admit I giggled when I heard the boys moan about their balls and looked at all the funky saddles they used on their bikes to relieve pressure on their “always in the way” junk. I didn’t realize how much more forward you sit due to the TT bike position! I mean it make sense that you’d have to roll yourself forward to be able to ride on your elbows… You go from sitting on your butt bones on the road bike to sitting on everything that’s soft and sensitive on that TT bike… It’s not that comfortable, hah. People have said you get used to that but I’m pretty sure that means they’d just killed all the nerves they had in that area. ;)

Over the past year I’ve been to a bunch of the local bike shops. Trek, Performance, Nytro, B&L, and several with names I can’t remember. If you notice one thing about the names of my bikes, they are all Specialized and I’ve bought every one of them at UC Cyclery. With all the bike shops I just mentioned never once have I had nearly as good an experience there like I have every time at UCC. Some of the mentioned stores just wanna make a sale and aren’t really interested in helping you find what’s best for you, others you can walk in and can’t get them to help you even if you were dying on their floor, and then there are the ones who are just plain clueless…

UCC is none of that. You go in, they ask if you need help. You wanna just look around, they back off and let you look. You got a question, they got an answer… if they dunno the answer they FIND you the answer. You buy a bike from them and they will do tune-ups on it for life as long as your the original owner. One of the other shops gives you just 1 free tune-up then charges $60 every time! I just can’t speak highly enough about UCC. I would never recommend another shop to a friend. They’ve always provided quick turn around times if I leave my bike and quite often they are able to just adjust whatever on the spot if I stop by. You aren’t just a faceless person there and that’s important to me.

So that was my shameless plug for the best bike store around. I can do that since this is my blog. :)

Anyways, I should probably go make audio now since my job funds this obscenely expensive hobby!

:victory:

Callville Bay Classic 2011

Current Mood:Exhausted emoticon Exhausted

Stage race 2 is completed!

Another LONG weekend with a decent amount of craziness. Thursday at noon I picked up the same guy I did Valley of the Sun with and we headed off to Vegas. Well, not really Vegas, more like 30 miles east of Vegas… I think it’s called Henderson. It took about 6 hours since we ran into some traffic in a few spots. We made it past a HUGE accident on the 15 right when we started… Probably at least 3-4 cars involved. As we drove by, people were running to an overturned SUV holding some poor guys head as they tried to pull him out.

The hotel we stayed at was friggin’ SWEET. It was like a resort on a man-made lake called Montelago Village. So right down from the hotel was a little “village” with several  and shops. The suite we had was a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom with a full kitchen. It worked out well as it gave us both our own personal space. The hotel was also only about 20 miles from the race site!

Weather was going to be an issue at this race. I had been watching the imminent storm on the radar in the coming days. I was happy that the weather held out on the long drive but that meant it was going to start to pick up when the race began…

Time Trial

I was looking forward to this time trial since it wasn’t as gear slanted as the Valley of the Sun one. This was a 3.4 mile hill climb basically which my bike is perfect for. Enter the weather! The wind on this day was STRONG. It was averaging around 20mph with 35+mph gusts! That was slightly concerning to me but if there was a day to have wind, I’d prefer it on the day where I’m not pack riding! The sky was mostly clear with some scattered clouds, it was fairly warm when the sun was out… maybe low 60s. I started warming up on the trainer about 45 minutes before my start. After about 25-30 minutes on the trainer I made a shift up to the large ring and my chain flew of the outside. I got off, put the chain back on… and then every time I tried to shift up to the large ring the chain would fly off again… Really?! 15 minutes before I need to start?!

I’ve had some issues with the front derailleur since I first got this bike so I started to freak out a bit. Luckily, there were some SDBC guys who had just finished their TTs so I road over to them as they were packing up their stuff and asked for assistance. They were kind enough to help me try and remedy the problem. They adjusted the limiter screws which made the shifting slightly better but it was still sketchy. So I just decided to make sure I stayed in the big ring for the entire TT. I was pretty sure I’d only need the big ring anyways but this kinda hammered in the need to stay there.

I got into line with a minute to spare before my start. I wasn’t overly nervous, I don’t think I had time to be nervous since I was dealing with the bike issue right before! As I got pushed off I just went all out from the get go. The wind was coming from the south which ended up being a great tailwind up the climb! The gusts occasionally pushed me around but it didn’t really affect my riding. I was watching the Garmin every so often just to see how far into the ride I was. I was feeling pretty strong through the majority of the ride. I eventually caught up the the person who started before me and briefly passed her! That motivated her to push passed me again.

Around that time the SDBC guys were driving up the same road to leave the race and were cheering me on. They actually stopped up ahead and got out to motivated me up the final hill. That was AWESOME! While I was not able to pass the girl ahead of me again, their motivation definitely help me up that last climb. Not only was that girl still close ahead but we had both caught up to another girl too!

I tried the best I could on that climb and even though we left before the results were posted I knew I gave it all I had. I reinforced that belief after I got back to the hotel and looked at my Garmin data:

My max is around 190-192. My average for the TT was around 182!

It wasn’t until Friday morning that a friend of mine had messaged me to tell me I got 3rd!

Road Race

Saturday morning was brutal. The full storm had moved in by this point. It was bitter cold and raining. I had bad feelings the minute I saw the weather. It wasn’t even worth wearing my warm clothes because if they were going to be wet… what good were they?! I honestly barely remember much from this race… All I know is it was supposed to be 45 miles and about 3700ft of climbing. We started up the same hill we did for the TT the previous day. My goal was to ride safe and stay with the group. Apparently we started dropping people right at the first climb.

Riding in the rain sucks… Roads are slick and the spray up from other peoples wheels gets in your face. On the first descent out of the climb one ride got kinda sketchy and bumped her back wheel into my front wheel… NOT GOOD! The person whose front wheel gets hit is the one who has to try and not fall… She hit my wheel hard as were were descending about 35mph and I heard a few girls yell as everything kind of turns slow motion for me as I try not to crash. I was told, if this were to happen, to turn your front wheel INTO the wheel that hit you and not away from.. so that’s what I did… and I held my breath at the same time. The handle bars were just shaking back and forth as I was trying to control them. Miraculously, I regained control. Several riders yelled at the girl who hit me. 4 miles into 45 miles….

This road race course wasn’t a loop but more of a out and back type thing with a couple of turn around points. Each category had different turn around points which were noted in the race bible. Our first turn around was 14 miles into the ride. Unfortunately the turn around points were not manned by any type of officiant nor were there any kind of banners indicating who the turn around belonged to… And for whatever reason we did not have a motorcycle leading or following us….

12 miles into the race and we pass a turn around. I was taking pulls along with 2-3 other girls and everyone else was sitting on us. As we passed the turn around some people thought it was for our group and yelled that we should turn, they were wrong and I continued to pedal. Then you hear some screams and as I turn back I see some water bottles fly… I thought someone crashed while turning on the wet pavement but I was very wrong. She got hit by a pickup truck!!!

A line of cars (mostly racers) had built up behind us, probably sensing the confusions since some people were slowing to turn. One impatient driver several cars back decided to cross the yellow line and speed by the cyclists. As he was racing passed one girl was starting to turn around and she was T-boned by his pickup truck. She flew onto the windshield and cracked it before falling to the ground, her bike was busted in two. The driver didn’t stop immediately but rather got back into the correct lane and slow continued to drive. About 3 of us started pedaling after him yelling for him to stop. Eventually he did but it took about 30 seconds of pedaling to get him to.

We all stopped and headed back to the girl. Standing in the cold and rain, waiting for EMS to arrive, some girls helping the injured cyclist. Luckily one of the riders is an ER doctor so she really took control of the situation. It took about 30 minutes of us standing around before the race official neutralized out race. That basically means they called off our categories race and everyone position stays as it was after the TT. So we all rode the 12 miles back to the race start… cold, wet, and now shaken up.

On the ride back one girl gave me a nice compliment about not falling earlier due to the wheel bumps. I also got to chat with a few girls from Team Dude Girl. They are very nice and made the ride back as enjoyable as it could have been all things considered.

The girl who was hit was pretty badly hurt. Fractured skull, broken pelvis, brain bleeding, unable to hear out of one ear last I heard. I wish her a speedy recovery… There were several things that led to that tragedy but ultimately it was an impatient driver who caused this.

Criterium

Sunday morning was frigid and damp. The rain had stopped by this point but nothing was dry. Not really something you want going around as a pack in circles for 30 minutes. That stacked with the previous days accident really weighed heavy on some people. I believe around 8 people just dropped from the race all together. Even the girls who were there didn’t really seem into it. I know I had contemplated bailing on the race, I just wasn’t feeling safe. Steven talked me into continuing.

It was hard to warm up. There was no good place for us to put the trainer so I just pedaled around lightly near the course for 30 minutes. My only thought for this race was to be safe and try to finish with the pack. If I could finished with the pack I could keep my place from the TT.

As I rolled up to the line I wasn’t able to get a front spot. Since this was only my second crit, this concerned me. As they blew the whistle and everyone took off I wasn’t able to clip in! I actually had to slow down and spin the pedal a few times to get it positioned right. UGH! I had to pedal my butt off to catch up but I was able to get back into the middle of the pack pretty easy. From there I moved my way up towards the front. We probably did about 12-15 laps around this course over the 30 minutes. I pretty much was able to stay towards the front. I got stuck pulling once and since no one wanted to pass I got to slow it down and recover for a few about halfway through the race.

The course had a slight uphill section that started to wear on you after about the 5th lap. It lead into a short descent which allowed for some recovery. On the turn after the descent is usually where I was able to make up any position that I lost. It was a fast pace and 10 minutes longer than the crit the previous race. It was hard and I was doubting myself some… just trying to play it safe and stay with the pack. On the final lap the pace started to pick up again and when we got to the hill I decided to give it all I had. I mostly did this so I could get into the position I wanted for the final turn. Apparently I actually broke away during this and was out in the lead while heading for the finish. I was pushing as hard as I had left and the end was in sight but a better sprinter passed me and beat me for first by half a wheels length!

I’m ok with that. :)

I got 2nd in a crit that I was scared to do. I broke away, which I had no real intention of doing. And I stayed safe. I can’t really ask for much more than that. Garmin again shows I gave it my all:

I got a 6 second time bonus for finishing 2nd in the crit. This got me into 2nd place in the overall rankings! Pretty cool for my 3rd race ever! I was stoked!

 

I won $80 and got some random nutrition products. Pretty exciting. I met some really cool girls who I look forward to racing with again. And I have another race under my belt now! It was a pretty successful weekend.

I am so tired now!

The only other thing I have to say about this is I really hope the girl who was hurt has a speedy recovery.

:victory:

Stage Race #2

I’ve signed up for my second stage race (3rd race ever) this weekend called the Callville Bay Classic. It takes place about 40 minutes east of Las Vegas. If you read my previous post, you know I had quite an enjoyable time at the Valley of the Sun race… Callville should be very different experience but I hope I can have a similarly good experience.

This race is going to combine the 3/4 category and they will not be scored separately. That is kind of a bummer but such is life. The Time Trial is a 3.4 mile climb, the Road Race consists of mostly rolling hills. and the crit is 30 minutes long with what looks to be 6ish turns.

Did I mention the weather is supposed to be absolute crap? Yeah… that’s the part that’s got me slightly worried. We’re talking cold, rain, and potential of snow… snow that may even accumulate. Awesome.

I was hoping Brandon would be able to go with me this race. I mean since we’d be right next to Vegas, it would have been a fun time. But, alas, he’s on a “cruise” for the next 2.5 weeks for work. I guess a Navy ship really isn’t comparable to Carnival Cruise Lines… ;)

I was all set to go on this trip alone until by random chance and SDBC friend asked if I had room for one of his friends. I said sure, asked who I’d be bringing and it turns out it’s the same guy I went with to Arizona! Small world, totally fun. That works out well tho, I had a nice time with Steven. He’s nice, helpful, and respectful so I’m comfortable with the co-ed rooming. Actually we got a pretty sick 2 bedroom suite that has a full kitchen and 2 bathrooms. Its only about 20 minutes from the race site too. So the only way this could have been “awesomer” is if Brandon were able to come.

Looks like the drive is a little bit shorter than last weekends coming in at about 5 1/2 hours (hopefully a little less). We’ll be heading out tomorrow (Thursday) and I believe the rain is going to hold off until at least Friday.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to this race. I just hope all goes well and the weather doesn’t make for some nastiness…

I haven’t rode much since Valley of the Sun. I basically took all last week off with only a 30 minute trainer spin and a strength workout. I met up with a friend for a 30 mile ride on Monday (yeah for holidays) and that consisted of a nice amount of climbing. Tuesday I did the Fiesta Island sprint group and felt pretty good. I was worried that maybe I didn’t get enough training in between the 2 races but I felt pretty darn good during that sprint group, probably as good as I felt the Tuesday before VoS. So, all should be well.

The kittens will be “home alone” which is always cause for concern. I had to go out an buy a new automatic feeder… Hopefully this once is a bit more kitten-proof. The last one they were able to reach their little paws up and pull out food like it was a freaking buffet. This new feeder only has compartments for 5 feedings so either it will work and feed them twice a day or if they get into it they’ll pig out with what’s there but can’t get over gluttonous.

So, homeward bound shortly to do some laundry, pack, clean the bike, and whatever else needs to be done before the cold and damp weekend ahead.

:victory:

P.S. I got a TT bike. More on that after Callville!