Monday, February 16, 2009

Tour de Palm Springs

Did it again this weekend. I did another century with my team in training team! WOOHOO! As always, was a great experience. We raised $70,000 for blood cancer research the last couple months, and had a great time riding in the Tour de Palm Springs.

So more of the ride details.

My rode with the B team which included a lot of people doing their first century so we took it pretty casual, but it was a lot of fun. We left the hotel and got on the route about 7 am. The first 2 or 3 miles were nice. Just a casual warm up. From there, we got on a long stretch of road out by all the windmills, and it was dang windy! It was hitting us from the left side and it took most of our strength just to stay upright without being blown over. We were in that strong wind for about an hour so we took a really slow pace for that stretch and used our energy mainly to battle the wind.

Next came the majority of the "climbing" for the route. I use climbing loosely, because it really wasn't a challenging climb. It was about 7 miles long, which is a good stretch, but it was more of a gradual incline of 1-2 percent with only about .3 mile of 4%. I'll take that any day. We got into the first rest stop at the 16 mile mark around 8:30. A little later than I would liked but the wind really slowed down my group.

From there, we turned out onto Dillon road which we were on for probably 35-40 miles out of the 100. I loved it though! It was a great road to ride. It was a lot of short rollers and quite a bit of gradual downhills. Plus the wind was mainly at our backs at this point. I picked up some speed here and got down in my drops and just cruised along about 36 mph for a good stretch of that road. From there it was rest stop number 2. (the SAG stops were btw, wonderful. lots of good stuff and nice people along with our own mini TNT random acts of SAG at every stop).

Then back out onto Dillon for more riding. I think we were on Dillon til the 52 mile stop! (Somewhere between Indio and Cochella) . Woohoo. Half way point was around 11 for us I think. We had lunch and got back out on the road and went through just some country type roads until the 72 mile stop.

After the 72, we tackled the last climb of the day. It was probably about a 5% grade, but pretty short. (although a did hear of a few who missed the turn half way up the hill and continued climbing, but hey guess they got a better work out than the rest of us).

From there we started making our way back towards Palm Springs and got back on real roads that we actually had to share with cars again. Traffic wasn't a problem, but it's always nice during rides to have a whole lane blocked off for you and not have to worry about it. Also around this point, I started feeling the effects of my faux pas during this ride. I tried an electrolyte drink I'd never had before at the 72. I know better. You never eat or drink new things you're body is not used to the day of a big ride like this. You just never know if you're body will love or hate it. My body didn't like the cliff electrolyte drink if anyone is thinking about trying it. Pushed my way through it and got some water at the 90 mile stop.

The last 10 miles are always the longest, cause you know you're almost done. Lots of little turns back into downtown Palm Springs and we crossed the finish line about 4 pm. All and all it was a really fun route to ride and a great experience. Though I have decided I need a better bike seat... (To go along with the new bike I still want to buy before my next century).

Didn't get too many pics of this ride because I'm lazy about carrying a camera while I ride. Hope to get some off the event photographer's site tomorrow though....

Monday, January 12, 2009

spring weather in January!!!

Saturday was our 75 mile ride. It starts at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz, goes up Highway 1, through Pescadero towards Half Moon Bay, and back up Highway 1 back to Santa Cruz. It's my favorite training ride because it's absolutely gorgeous throughout the entire ride and moderately challenging. I was expecting to freeze to death seeing that it was along the coast in January and I've frozen every ride I've been on this winter. Much to my delight, it ended up being clear sunny skies near 70 for the day! Picture perfect!!!

The ride itself was pretty awesome. We had a small ride group this week. Coach George, myself, and Janice and Diana. It was good company, good cycling and a lot of breath taking scenery. All in all pretty awesome!

Swanton road off Highway 1 just north of Davenport is what I remember being the challenge of the ride. It was a decent climb, but not bad. It was a lot of fun actually.

In Pescadero, Mike and Hilton were doing SAG at the rest stop. It was cool to see some old teammates. They were both in my ride group my first season.

Stage Hill Road in Pescadero I have climbed several times on several different rides. It's a good climb but I forgot about the second half of it. That's an even better climb. It was a good work out.

Coming back up Highway 1, my knee really started giving me grief around mile 60. Think I just overdid it. My body hasn't been reacclaimated towards these long rides at all. Also I went snowboarding the day before. I think by that point it was just tired. It's feeling a lot better though and I wasn't even sore the next day, so guess it's all good.

Time to actually be more viligent about the gym again I think. I really need to strengthen it and get it used to long rides again. I'm sure it will come with time though.

I'll see if I can gather of some pics of this ride, because it really is the most beautiful ride in the bay area!!

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

chamois butter!!!!

I coulda used some yesterday!

So, I went on my first long ride since my surgery. It was successful though my butt is quite sore. This was actually one of my team rides I had never been on. The route is called "tour of de montanas" which should of clued me in. It was 65 miles and included just about every major climb I can think of in this area. I do feel good that I finished it and that I finally did some of the benchmark climbs around here I have avoided.

First, let me say, winter cycling was not made for someone who is as cold as I am as often as I am. I don't know how cold it was yesterday morning, but it was dang cold. I started the ride wearing:

A skull cap under my helmet
winter gloves
a base layer
a cycling jersey
a heavy hooded sweatshirt
a windbreaker
cycling tights
cyling shorts
winter socks
and booties over my cycling shoes

That being said, I was still cold most of the ride!!!!

The route actually was really pretty. I'll have to do it again sometime in the spring. Though it is no where near the longest route I've ever ridden, I do think it was the most challenging ride I've done to date.

We started in the parking lot at Foothill College. After looping through campus, we headed toward Saratoga and through Steven's Canyon to Mount Eden. Mount Eden used to be a real challenge to me, but I can do it in my sleep after all the days of hill repeats up it. Another team was starting to climb the same time we were, so I sprinted up to see if I could keep up with them. I did, and made it to the top right in the middle of their team. WOOHOO! One hill down. And climbed in fashion passing much of the tough guy's team on the way up! Next came the awesome descent down the back side of Mount Eden over to Pierce Rd.

I've never climbed Pierce before. I've driven it, and it looks brutal, but just haven't made the effort to do it on a bike before. Given that I had just finished climbing Eden, I really wasn't sure how much I had left in me. I had to granny gear it to get started just because it starts on a really steep incline. Got past that, and it only got steeper... However, the whole climb, though incredibly steep was less than 2 miles, so I made it without too much of a problem. (Though my lungs did remind me at the top that they just barely fought off pneumonia). At that point, I did exactly what you're NOT supposed to do, and got off my bike, and layed down on the cement at the top of the hill in the sun while I waited for the rest of my team to make it up.

From there, we got to some easy fun roads. Down highway 9, through Los Gatos and down Foothill Expressway towards Stanford. Oh, and a nice rest stop right before Foothill. AWESOME! I love SAG!!! Hot apple cider never tasted so good! Anyhow, once we got up towards Stanford, we cut over towards Woodside and geared up for climb #3. The dreaded Edgewood Rd. I've heard stories... Now I know why. That was not only a fairly seriously steep grade, but it is long. In the middle, it starts to level out, and and makes you think you're done climbing. Don't be fooled! It gets steeper very quickly after that. I wanted to stop and get off my bike so bad, only I knew I'd never get going again if I did!!!

At the top of Edgewood (mile 40 in our 65) was another rest stop! Yeah for PB&J and cytomax!!! And SAG's comfy camp chairs I collapsed in!!! After a few hits of Janice's inhaler that I was in desparate need of after that Edgewood climb, it was down to Canada Rd. (BTW, my lungs still thank you Janice. Mental note to self- pack your inhaler before the next ride!!!)

Canada road is a great place to paceline, so that is exactly what we did. I talked to Coach George a bit in the back of the paceline about the rest of the ride for a few minutes. I was told we had one more climb at the end, but that it wasn't bad after Edgewood. (Then again, what is?)

We made our way down Mountain Home road, which is one of my favorite places to ride! Absolutely beautiful! From there is was the Portola Loop and up to the Arastradero Preserve. Then back towards Elena which was our last climb. I again, being tired and not used to being on my bike for this long asked what this climb was like. I was told I was strong enough and had experience enough to handle it... Hmmmm....

Elena was evil!!! It may not have been quite as long as Edgewood, but just about as steep and it was still long. Especially after already haven rode 60 + miles. After I made it back to the college parking lot, some support staff were there almost smirking asking how Elena was. All I could do to respond was say "LIES!"

All in all is was absolutely awesome though!!!! It was good to be able to ride that far after being off my bike so long and not having any real mileage on my legs since August. Also, to be able to do like 5 really tough climbs all back to back in one ride makes me feel really good like I actually accomplished something. Grrrr... What out LOTOJA here I come!

Now, to take care of my bum. My butt's not used to being in the saddle that long, even if my legs can handle it! :P

Monday, September 8, 2008

somebody got a new bike...

Now, if someone could help me out with a new leg, I'll be all set!!! My teammate I was borrowing a bike from after the theft of mine, decided to buy a new really nice bike (similar to the one I've been looking at.) Consequently, she is ready to get rid of the one she's been loaning me and offered it to me dirt cheap! WOOHOO! I still want to buy the super nice one I've been looking at-- but now I have something to ride in the meantime, and a spare bike for after!

I also talked to James a little bit yesterday. His father in law rides and rode a double century this weekend and he and Taylor got to serve as his pit crew. James has now caught the bug and is ready to start cycling as well. We plan on doing the same double next year. It's called LOTOJA and covers 206 miles, and 10,000 ft of climbing between Logan, Ut and Jackson Hole, Wy. I can't wait!

I'm actually going to do a few doubles next year (my leg permitting). I want to do STP (Seattle to Portland), LOTOJA (Logan to Jackson Hole) and probably the Solvang double.I'm stoked that James wants to ride because I know he'll enjoy it, and it'll be a blast to be able to ride some centuries with him!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

sticks and stones may break my bones... (and so may road signs)

So, though I have been hurting quite a bit from my crash, I guess I did a bit more damage than even I thought. Finally got my stitches out--YEAH! I get to enjoy my new pool and take a shower like a normal person again. I still can't put weight on or bend my left knee at all though. I went to the orthopedist, and my xrays were impressive. The cut on the side of my knee was so deep it actually showed up on the xrays! Because I couldn't bend my knee, they thought maybe I tore my meniscus or something. An MRI revealed that my meniscus is fine... HOWEVER, I have a broken femur. So, I guess that explains the amount of pain I've been in. I still can't believe I walked around on that for 2 weeks. I chipped off about 15 cm of the bottom of my femur right where it meets my knee. Unfortunately, that means my cycle season is over. I'm really bummed that I'm going to miss my century next month, but the good news is that all my accomodations and flight are booked so I'm still going to go to Hawaii and cheer my team on and enjoy a short vacation. So a month from now, though I may have a broken leg, at least I'll be laying on a beach in Waikiki!Here are some of the gorey pics of my leg the last few weeks. (A few people have actually asked to see them

my stitches

imprint of the road sign on my right thigh

makeshift stop sign over my bruise to remind me that i didn't "stop"

crash and burn

Soooooo... I'm riding a friends bike until I replace mine (mine was stolen a few weeks ago). Anyhow, went to my team training ride Saturday and had my first real crash. Not fun. I heard a commentator for the Tour de France talking about crashes. Someone asked what it felt like to crash. His reply was that is was like being stripped down to your underwear and thrown out of a moving car at about 50 miles per hour. Now that I've experienced it, I think he was pretty much right on!So, a bee was buzzing around in the side of my helmet. I'm allergic, so I started swatting at it and lost my focus on the road for a minute. In that second, I must have hit some gravel or something on the road, lost control of my bike and took out a road sign (or maybe it took me out...). Ended up propelling my body around a reflector post on the side of the road a few times- bending the sign in half before falling about 10-15 ft down an embankment in the side of the road. My right leg that first got the impact of the sign has a black impression of it on my thigh. Somehow my whole body got wrapped around the sign and I filleted the side of my left knee on it. When all was said and done I ended up with about 20 stitches in the side of my knee, a knee brace and crutches, and a lot of bruises and road rash. But in the bigger scheme of things I guess I'm pretty lucky. The doc was amazed I was awake and conscious so I guess I'm really lucky.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

leaving it with the crooks

So, as the quote from Patrick goes, "If you got it- leave it on the road." I got plenty to leave on the road, but no bike to do it with! Some lowlifes decided they needed my bike more than I did. So I'm out a very expensive bike (which will cost me a few thousand to replace), I have a century ride coming up in a few weeks-- that'll be interesting, and lots of pent up frustration over the whole situation and no bike to go spin it out on.

I know I wanted a new bike, but com'n!!! This is not what I had in mind! So if anyone happens to see someone trying to sell a hot 56 cm Trek 2100 let me know so I can go hunt them down and give them a piece of my mind!

Til then, I suppose I can say I have seen the best and worst of people. The worst obviously being the jacka$$ that took my bike. The best being my really cool teammates who have helped me out so much! All my teammates are amazing, but this one couple lent me a bike til I get my new one so I can at least go to my training rides! Will and Kristy, you guys are my heros! `