Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
We finally escaped the crowds that just kept coming down 7th street and ducked into Teaism for some limeade and Salty Oat Cookies. And the best part, Michelle pulled up the rally on live feed so we could see and hear everything while nestled in the shop where the air was thick with the sweet scents of tea. Visitors came in to watch with us and remarked how incredible the day was. Jon Stewart requested no douchebags and the masses listened. There was a light-hearted sanity in numbers, we think close to a million, but we'll wait to hear what's reported later this week.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
2011 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar
Mar. 30-Apr. 3: Redlands Bicycle Classic Stage Race
Apr. 9: Sunny King Criterium
Apr. 16: Tour of the Battenkill Road Race
Apr. 27-May 1: SRAM Tour of the Gila
Apr. 30-May 8: USA CRITS Speedweek
May 5-8: Joe Martin Stage Race p/b Nature Valley
May. 14: Tour de Grove
May. 21-22: Wilmington Grand Prix
Jun. 5: Liberty Classic
Jun. 11-12: Air Force Cycling Classic Omnium
Jun. 15-19: Nature Valley Grand Prix
Jul. 3: Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic
Jul. 5-10: Tour de Toona
Jul. 19-24: Cascade Classic Stage Race
July 27-31: Tour de Nez
Aug. 6: Presbyterian Hospital Invitational
Aug. 20: Grand Cycling Classic
Aug. 21: Evanston Grand Prix
Aug. 27-28: Chris Thater Memorial
Sept. 2-5: Labor Day Omnium
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
I swam, biked, ran and then collapsed into a heap of trembling jello, not knowing which way was up. And managed to qualify for 2011 Word 70.3 Championships.
In a little more depth…
I arrived in Austin a bit overwhelmed, befuddled and disheveled. Traveling with the bike just simply sucks, and traveling alone with a bike, a huge bag and a feeling that you’re in completely in over your head is probably the level of hell that resides in the lost manuscripts of Dante’s Inferno. In the week leading up to Austin I had experienced every emption – fear, joy, relief, excitement, and anger. I’m still not exactly sure what each was directed at, and some was most likely a result of tapering and having a slow week at work, but nonetheless by the time I boarded the plane Friday afternoon I was just wishing it was Sunday night already.
However, here’s where I have to give due credit to Ironman. Screw UPS… Ironman loves logistics… or at least blows everyone else out of the water with them. From packet-pick up to a pre ride of the course, to racking my bike to swimming, everything ran smoothly and my nerves began to calm. I chatted with a few people about the course and started to feel ready to go.
Sunday… race time…. The curse of being in the women’s 30-34 age group is that we always tend to start last. While in theory this sounds nice (an 8:30 as opposed to 7am start), the transition area still closes at the same time, so it makes for an hour and a half of standing around and getting nervous waiting to race. It’s also a huge age group (over 180 starters in my wave) which, for a non-swimmer such as myself, can prove a bit intimidating. When the time finally came, I waded myself into the lake, positioned somewhere near the middle front, and just hoped for the best. All in all the swim was one of my best. Though there were a few washing-machine churning moments, for the most part I felt in control. And then something strange happened… I actually started passing people. It took me a minute to realize they were actually women in my heat, not stragglers from the heat prior, as this is not a situation in which I find myself typically. Trudging out of the water I heard the announcer say something to the effect of “the beginning of the women are starting to come out of the water now.” Beginning? I’m never in what could be considered the “top” few coming out of the water. Must be talking about something else. I plopped down to have my wetsuit peeled and ran to my bike.
The transition was when it really hit me. “There are still a lot of bikes here.” I remember thinking to myself. Followed by “holy shit that means I have to actually RACE this thing.” I didn’t dally around transition, but grabbed my helmet, threw on my shoes (after multiple warnings of the stickers and thorns in the grass I opted to wear my shoes out of transition – good call) and portaged my bike ‘cross style (again fearful of thorns) through the grass to the bike exit. As the course unfolded I was thankful for my shoe-wearing/bike-carrying exit from transition. Multiple people were fixing flats or stopping to pull barbs out of their feet. Neither seemed like fun situations. The bike course unfolded along rural central Texas rolling hills. The rollers were such that I was able to stay aero and in the big ring. As I started passing people, the thrill of racing actually caught up with me. Another porps to Ironman for a well-marked and incredibly well supported leg of the course. With the exception of the women who told me she didn’t want me to pass her (well, then you’re going to have to ride faster, lady), I blissfully lost myself in the race. The ride actually felt good…a nice surprise given my feelings on the relative elevation change of the course.
I wish I could say the same for the run. I honestly don’t remember too much about it other than it was not fun. It was half pavement/half grass and all torture. Though I was moving pretty well through the first lap, the big ball of flame that is the central Texas sun decided to rear its ugly head and spew fire upon me. Though the DC summer was hotter than usual, I had started to grow accustomed to fall in the mid-Atlantic. Apparently fall is some sort of cruel joke in Texas, with nice, pleasant mornings and then soul-sapping afternoons that thrive on blasting the hopes of out-of-state racers. With each aid station I passed I tried to calculate how far until the next one. Iced sponges were a cool oasis in the misery, but only temporary relief. As the mercury climbed up, every step felt like hot coals were being jammed up my legs. Ahh… sweet pain. I help a fairly respectable 7min-ish pace until the final two miles, when my body became physically incapable of moving forward. One hears talk to “hitting a wall”, and I’ve run enough marathons to know that said metaphoric wall rears its ugly head. However this was a literal wall… as I had, in my heat-induced delirium ran into the barrier meant to turn the course into the finish stretch. (it’s pretty sad when the “finish stretch” is two miles…) Quickly ascertaining that something was amiss, I managed to turn left and start up the false-flat of doom into the finish area. My somewhat respectable miles pace was gone by now, and after the love affair with the barrier, just moving forward made me happy. I kept telling myself that I could hang on for 15 min (lies!) and that being able to see the finish line somehow would make it all better. In a hodgepodge of noise and lights (the course went in and out of an area twice in the final mile, the contrast between the sunlight and the fluorescent lighting reaking havoc on my eyeballs) I somehow managed to pass at least one more women to solidify my position in the top 10, and top 5% of females overall, qualifying me for Worlds. I was handed a medal and a hat (go Ironman, again, for actually giving me something useful) and slumped down somewhere on the floor until I got enough wits about me to wander to find something to eat. The wonderful people at Ironman outdid themselves once again, and provided mini-milkshakes. Because nothing brings Ramba back from the dead like a milkshake.
The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. However, my one logistical suggestion to Ironman is that they provide all the single women traveling a lone with hot porters for post-race bike carrying and massage. Or, at the very least, give the bike packing, putting-back together and cleaning ninjas my correct address. My bike is still in the box, but I’m already planning the road season and working on gearing up for worlds.
Grr, Kill, Eat Babies,