Tuesday, April 20, 2010

3 Gap in Dahlonega, Georgia

For my last long weekend before taper, I was privileged enough to ride in North Georgia gaps.  I love riding the gaps, this is where I learned to ride longer hills; training for Lake Placid.  Not only did I learn how to go up the hill but also down the hills; which now I am able to decend the hills hitting 50+ mph.   I love this 2 gap loop, we start at about mile 5 and start to climb.  It is a great route and we did the loop twice on Saturday.  After a short swim, heading up to Dahlonega, GA it was apparent we had a perfect day for the ride; the trees, flowers had signs of spring everywhere and many allergins but that is another issue.  I was just enjoying the drive; as we got closer I started to get butterflies in my stomach for the excitemetn of this type of ride.  I know how hard of a ride it is and my hill climbing is not where I was last year.
We get there and the weather was cool but warm to be comfortable with arm warmers for the fast decents but pulled down for the climbs... perfect.  We start out, uphill the long...  Within 3 miles, a group of 4 guys pass me; I hate that and want to stay with them but Kris drops a bottle so we get the bottle and lose the boys.  Hinesight, that was probably the right thing to do, i was not even warmed up.  So we climb
Neals as a warm-up, then the fast desent.  My legs had started to wake-up, left turn time for hog pen.  My last memory of wolf pen had a few choice words flowing from me for a few miles.  (It was the 7th of 8 gaps of a 105 mile ride that day, legs hated me.)  I hoped we could mend the friendship; and we did.  I started the climb and Kris told me to stay out of my granie gear and suck it up.  Arrgghh... This is the first lap; I need to do it twice, his did not listen to me and encouraged me to push up the hill.  So i did, it was not that bad.  The top came much quicker and did not seem as steep.  I think excellent, but lets see the 2nd time.  After wolf pen, are a bunch of rollers which i love ;but they could really cook you if you are not careful.  Felt great through the rollers and up Woody's... now for the fun decent... can i see 50? no not quite but still I think i used the breaks only a handful of times.  Improvement... Ah down the hill and over to Turner's corner, more rollers nothing terrible but do take something out of you. 

Back at car...I think we did that lap 10 minutes faster than any time last year.

Great, more water and go for round 2.  The long ~8 mile climb up Neal's goes well, starting to feel fatigue and practicing standing and sitting on the climb.  Legs are talking back; i am not listening.  Just keep on peddling.  Wolf pen, can i do it without having a fight with the hill.  We start up the hill, humm do i feel a few rain drops.  It looks like rain... there is a chance.  Just keep going, no rain but we round a corner and head wind.  So not only do i have a tough climb but a strong head wind.  Oh well, it will make me stronger, legs disagree but i tell them to go.  so i sprint for the sign with what i have left.  One more gap.  The rollers where brutel but the amazing thing is my legs recovered and i was having fun on them and the last gap was done before i knew it and we were desending.  I did great this time; the only scary part was I was down the hill looked back no Kris.  Crap what happen, so I wait a few minutes then turn to start climbing to find out if something happen.  Then I see him flying down the hill; he lost a bottle and went back for it.  Scared me, but all is well.  The last rollers were fun but my legs were not excited about the 6 mile run.

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The run... not many places to run so I run out and back where we bike, not easy run at all.  The first mile, Kris is saying he is counting every 10th mile... The leg come around, hip is loosening up but where do we turnaround our watches are off by .4 mile.  hum not sure how that happens so we split the difference for the turnaround.  On the last 3 miles, I hear Kris breathing hard means I am making him work a little...  my legs running legs felt great and after that tough ride.  Yippee!

The final for the day we sprint for the county sign... Darn you Kris and your fast twitch muscles. 

There are a few smart things that we did the night before knowing we would be tired, made a small picknic for right after the training since we have a long drive home and we had dinner that needed just heat up for a fast easy meal before crashing.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Powerman Alabama Race Weekend

The weekend was great to race again.  It was a great combination for Kris and I; since he is happier on a mountain bike and trails and I am dangerous on the trails when I try to go fast.  I had my road race and he had his Xterra.  Yippee! 

Saturday morning, we woke up about 6:30 AM and at a relaxing pace readied ourselves for the day at the park.  (Kris's race was not until 1:00 PM)   We had breakfast, of course, I had all my food prepared for the weekend that I brought from home.   Yes, I prepared 2 - dinners, 2 - breakfast, lunch and snacks for the weekend to assure that I do not ingest MSG, BHT or gluten before a race.  We leave for the park planning that we will be away the entire day at the park. 

We get to the part and prepare the mountain bikes for Kris to do his preride on the trail.  The only other time he has ridden the course was 2 years ago and it was the other direction.  So we road about an hour on the course, so he knew the first part of the trail.  I wanted to do the race; I was so close to signing up to do the race but decided it was best for me to just volunteer like i had planned.  We finished up that ride and I did my ride on Connie for one lap of the bike course and some running.  Then off to my volunteer spot on the MTB course keeping a crossing safe.  Standing for 3.5 hours; hum maybe not the best thing to do prerace but it is import to give back to the sport.  It was great because I was able to see Kris on the course; he was 3rd overall at this point and held that position for the remaining of the race.   Congrats Kris.

He was pretty tired after the race so I helped with getting his stuff together and getting the bikes on the car.  We were both pretty tired; he obviously more but I was feeling pretty tired.  I made dinner that night with the food I had brought and we were in bed by 9:30.  Just as I am failing asleep my phone rings; work is having issues.  AUGH, why does this always happen.  So I am able to provide guidance and ask if there is no progress to call be back in an hour.  Anyway, I was called multiple times during the night so a good night rest was not possible. 

Race morning, 5:30 AM alarm, eat, dress, load gear get to park at 7:00, when transition opens.  It is raining and winding and cold.  I go to get my transition setup and complete.  At 8:00, I begin my warm-up 50 minutes before the race start.  I get back to transition/start line from my warm-up at about 8:40 and I am told the race started.  What?!?!  So no prerace gel, just remove warm-up and go.  So I ran my first 10K pissed.  I am certain that I ran a PR 10K on that course, caught and passed many people; into T1... time to laugh... I started my transition with my bike shoes but for some reason; I realized I always do my helmet first.  so i removed my shoes and started again.  I do not know why, just did it.  But on to my bike, hilly course, and windy but everyone has the same conditions so go.  I knew I was catching the front girls because it was 3 laps with out and backs.  On the 3rd lap, i just caught the 1st place girl and I dropped my chain.  D*$#, that was about mile 28 of the 36 miles.  Well this put me in a funk, and struggled the rest of the race getting back into the race.  About mile 32, it started to rain hard felt like hail... I was already cold and that just added to the chill... off the bike.  OUCH my knee, Okay do i call it a day or continue but stay controlled because of the knee.  Okay, i know i am in 2nd i will continue and stay controlled.  It is puring down rain, out of T2 and up a hill, as I am going down a hill after about 1 mile, my shoe is really loose and ready to come off.  I stop and look down my yanks broke.  So, calm relax and figure out how to resolve it.  Good thing I am an engineer.  Do i just go back to and stop???  No continue, you are still in 2nd place.  So after that hurdle I run very controlled.  not to hard because the knee is sore and I do not want any more damage to an existing injury.  About 2 miles the rain slows and eventually stops...great!  I am starting to warmup.  About mile 4, i feel like i can run.  so I run harder the last 2 miles.  I want this race to be over, my legs are tired and my breathing is more labored than normal (allergies) and I feel frustrated.  I finish and never caught the 1st girl again; then I find out I was out of first by 23 seconds...   I did not stop but I know the few mishaps, impacted my attitude during the race.

What did I learn...
1.  I can drop a chain and not have a crash!  Progress
2.  Never give up, no mater what happens you do not know what is going on in front or behind you.
3.  Must work on the transitions. 
4.  Need more outside training, trainer is great but nothing can substitute riding outside.
5.  I love to racing and always learn something from every race.
6.  Need my speedfill, I am not good at getting my water bottles from my cages. 
7.  Can run fast on the first segment and still ride strong felt better the long i was out there on the bike.  (I was riding strong but lost about 2.5 minutes on the chain.) 
8.  I have a great friends out there cheering for me.  I could not do this without Kris and Kathleen!

Thanks to Team Magic for a great race, but need to get the communication out better to the competitors if you are going to start early.  I am the type that plans everything; my plan was based on an 8:50 start not 8:40 start.

Time for 2010 season!