Saturday, June 27, 2009

A whole week in Boulder!!!

I can't even remember the last time I spent an entire week back home in Boulder. It's been so nice getting back into training, setting up my new place, seeing all my friends and just enjoying the mountains.

After I got home from Arkansas, I had two welts on my leg that kept getting bigger, itchier and eventually began to puss. Everyone kept telling me it was just a spider bite and not to worry, but after listening to Tingle, I took my butt to the doctor. I ended up bringing home a nice case of 'Rhus Dermatitis', more commonly known as poison oak. I am on antibiotics, antihistamines, topical creams and pounding benadryl like it's my job. Cross your fingers it doesn't spread any more than it already has!

Today I participated in the 2 mile open water swim at the Rez. It was a fundraiser for the Boulder Aquatic Masters Team and a great opportunity to play in the water and hang out with fun people. It was an absolute blast. I did a big mountain bike ride right afterwards then a short run when I got back. Other than not bringing enough water, having some saddle issues on the bike and forgetting to put on sunscreen, it was a great day. If the knee cooperates, I plan on doing a long run tomorrow morning for the first time in a very long time! Cross your fingers :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

XTERRA South Central Race Report

June 20th, 2009
Little Rock, AR
6th Pro Woman

Swim - Let me just start with saying that it was 87* at 8:30am and we didn't start until 10am! By the start it was in the mid 90s and freakin' HOT! The tiny body of water we swam in was not only murky and filled with who knows what, but it was a refreshing 88*. That's warmer than bath water! My plan was to swim as easy as possible and try my best not to overheat. I did just so and the funny thing is that I actually swam faster than I ever have. I really focused on the new things I learned during my swim stroke analysis and really stayed long and strong versus fighting the water and trying to catch up to the other packs. I was super excited and now have a much better outlook on swimming :)

Bike - Although I swam pretty easy, I was still exhausted from the hot water and the insanely hot air temperature. The course was really rocky and bumpy and really worked your whole body. My plan of freezing half my hydration pack the night before and filling the rest full of water to dilute the sports drink/calorie concentrate was an absolute disaster. The thermal pack didn't allow the bladder to melt and I only had a small amount of water and no calories! Talk about a bad time not to have fluid or sugar!!! At that point, I was already so hot that I just put it in cruise control with the goal of simply finishing the race. The two loop course was actually really fun, but the heat just made it 10x harder.

Run - As I was coming into T2, I saw Will soft pedaling into transition. He told me he had overdone it, crashed a few times and wanted to wait to run with me because all he wanted to do was finish too. about a teammate! By this point, it's already noon and well over 100*. The first 2 miles of the run were completely exposed and false flatish uphill. After that, you have a 300-400ft full body climb/hike up these crazy cliffs. Had Will not been with me and brought a water bottle, I honestly would never have made it. I was going off course, I was falling backwards, I was completley dilerious! At the top, we traverse for a good mile or so until you start to descend back down through loose, rocky switchbacks. I finally got my legs turning over, but was still suffering like a dog. The final part of the run consisted of another 300ft climb (a little more gradual) but very exposed. I almost cracked, but Will saved the day again and kept reassuring me I could do it. After another technical decent on the 'rock quarry', we hit the forest for a mile or so and to the finish...THANK GOD!

Finish - Holy crap that was hard. I am so proud of myself for getting through it and NOT going to the med tent! Yes, that is a huge step for me as I'm usually the first to head over. This isn't the first time Will has run with me in a race and helped me to the finish line and having a friend/teammate like that is absolutely priceless. Thank you sooo much Will and if I could do the same for you, I would in a heartbeat.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fun in the South

I know I already mentioned the ride in Tennessee with Dan, Mike and Craig, but I stole a few pics from Dan so you could take a peak :)

Above is a small pic of our clinic we did at Craig's shop...lots of fun!

After a hot run from Craig's place Wednesday morning, I headed back to his shop to have a swim analysis done in their endless pool with Dan Powell. I had never swam in one before and it was really neat. The underwater footage was even cooler. I now have lots of things to work on over the next few months to really get my swim in gear!

Later that afternoon, Will, Mike and I got back in the 'Silver Bullet' aka Will's minivan, and drove down to Little Rock, Arkansas. It was a pretty uneventful drive other than the temperature gauge reading over 100*. We knew it was going to be warm, but not that warm. When we finally arrived at the course around 7:3opm, it was still 97*. The combination of the heat, bugs, little light, stiff legs and no gloves didn't make for an enjoyable pre-ride, but it was good to check out the course. We eventually made our way to a grocery store then to our homestay. Since the temperature didn't get any cooler on Thursday or Friday, we did as little training in the heat as possible and lots of resting in the AC.

Today's race went better than anticipated and I actually finished without going to the med tent :) Let's just put it this way - it was well over 90* when we started at 10am and it just got hotter and hotter and hotter. Although the water temp was 88* (which is warmer than the water Allen shower's in), I still had one of my best swims EVER. I tried to go easier and my time got faster...hmmm, maybe I'll try that next time! The bike was fine other than my camelback not unthawing and I didn't have enough fluid. Then if Will hadn't stuck with me on the run/hike, I might not have made it back. Big thanks to him for doing that. He didn't have the best of days but waited to run the entire course and finish with me. Such a rockstar! 6th overall for the day and very tired. I have a 6:30am flight Sunday morning to Boulder and cannot wait to get home.

Friday, June 19, 2009

XTERRA Atlantic Cup - Race Report

June 14th, 2009

7th Pro Woman

After the crazy travel debacles and my stress levels beyond healthy, I went into this race with absolutely no expectations. Not only was there a potential for duathlon because of high water levels, this is probably the most technical course in the series and Erin ≠ technical!

The Swim – Yes, we did have a swim and it was absolutely hilarious. Although the current wasn’t nearly as strong as it had been the previous two days, it was still flowing pretty well. I honestly had to swim at a 45* angle just to keep myself from drifting down river. Even though the water was way higher than last year, there were still several gigantic rocks through the swim that just come out of nowhere. When your head is submerged in the James River you can’t even see your hands much less anything in front of you…ugh, so disgusting. I ended up having a killer swim coming out 2nd with a pretty good gap. This was the best swim finish for me ever so I was super stoked.

The Bike – My 2nd place lead didn’t last long. Over the next 30 minutes, just about every person behind me came flying by like I was standing still. I was excited I didn’t have any fit issues, but I still didn’t feel very comfortable or confident on the new bike at all. This is not my kind of course with lots of technical sections and windy, narrow trail. Luckily, I only crashed once but did ride very conservatively and SLOW as crap! I’m definitely looking forward to some good training and practice on the 9.9 once I get home and really dial it all in.

The Run – I knew the other girls in front were pretty far up there so I decided to just throw down as hard as I could for the first part of the run that is flat and straight. After climbing up the Mayan Ruins (a section of 2-3ft broken down stairs that go straight up and require full body use to get up), I got right back into a fast pace. As soon as we jumped into the final technical singletrack, I completely hit the wall. I might have run a bit too fast during the first 4 miles or maybe just didn’t eat enough during the bike, but all I know is that my pace slowed to a screeching halt and the technical sections seemed much harder than normal. I hate to say it but my knee was totally killing me too so that definitely wasn’t aiding the process of getting me to the finish line any faster :)

The Race – In the money Baby!!! Although this was yet another frustrating and nothing resembling ‘perfect’ race, I was happy with it. I had a great swim, learned a lot about the different things I need to do on the bike and gave the run the best effort I could. Racing week after week is really hard without having much base from the winter, but it’s such a great experience and with a healthy body, I know it can be much better!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And the fun rolls on...

As always, a full race report will be posted soon, but the Atlantic Cup in Richmond Sunday morning went well. I was 2nd out of the water with the crazy current, got absolutely destroyed on the bike, then had a decent run but blew up at 30 minutes after going out a bit too hard. Finished 7th and in the money so no complaints here :)

We had planned on doing a short spin before hitting the road for 10+hrs to drive to Tennessee but woke up to pouring rain Monday morning. After getting 6 bikes, 5 people's luggage and 3 people in seats packed into Will's van, we set off for the long haul. I couldn't help but snap this picture of Mike Vine...after spilling gas all over the place because the pump didn't stop on it's own, he came back to the car with a huge can of Natural Ice and a few bags of popcorn. Absolutely hilarious.

On another note, Allen sent me this picture of 'Erin's Spinach Garden' the other day!!! That's probably the coolest thing EVER! It's too bad I'm not home for another week to eat all of it. He said there's no way to consume the amount of greens per day at the rate they are growing...I beg to differ. I might turn into a giant spinach leaf when I get home :)

After a swim and bike near Craig Evan's place, Will Kelsay, Bruce Gennari and I headed to his triathlon shop to do a transition clinic presented by Timex. We had a huge showing with about 60 people and lots of great questions and interaction. We gave away tons of free swag and hopefully left the audience with lots of great tips on how to quicken their transitions and be as speedy as Will :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Disasters of Traveling

In my opinion, flying is by far the best option when it comes to traveling as I can’t sit still very long so driving just doesn’t cut it for me. However, flying isn’t always as simple as it seems. After a big storm hit Dallas Thursday, 80% of their flights for the day were cancelled, including mine to Richmond. Luckily Josiah and Rife were on my flight so we were able to get a hotel together for the night. American Airlines paid $200 toward the room and we fronted the other $100 to stay in the Gaylord Texan (a spectacular 2000 room palace) for the night.

We spent the better part of the evening trying to find a way to Richmond since we didn’t have a confirmed flight until Sunday because everything was overbooked and we were in the 30th+ position for standby. We got to the airport in hopes of getting on the first flight out to Richmond but no go. After numerous phone calls, Josiah finally got a flight to Washington Reagan and Rife and I miraculously got on a flight to Washington Dulles. Both airports are 3+hrs away from Richmond, but the chances of us getting on any of the direct flights were slim to none. Any opportunity to head East, we were taking :)

After sitting in traffic for 4hrs, we finally made it into Richmond. We had a bite to eat at Bottom's Up Pizza downtown and unfortunately watched the Red Wings lose the Stanley Cup Finals in game 7 :( Bummer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

XTERRA Northwest Cup Race Report

June 6th, 2009
Coeur d'Alene, ID
8th Pro Woman

This is the first time I have ever had an afternoon start and although it was a bit awkward, it was kind of fun and definitely a new experience.

The Swim - Brrrrr and holy waves! We were told the water temp was around 55*. The worst part was that it was really windy which made for some super choppy water. No worries, I got through it just fine...slow, but safe. I did, however, learn a big lesson on the day. I knew the run from the lake to transition was on really rocky and steep terrain and because I didn't have any other shoes other than my race flats, I thought it would be a good idea to bring those down and put them on to run up. As I put one foot in, I filled it up completely with rocks and sand and remembered that Will told me to be careful of that because I didn't want any debris left in my shoes for the actual run section of the race. After realizing that it would be nearly impossible to get all the rocks out before the run, I decided to just carrying them. Ha...what a stupid move that was. Talk about disoriented! Trying to get your wetsuit off with one hand while running up steep, rocky stairs after swimming in freezing cold, choppy water is probably the hardest thing EVER!

The Bike - The first race on my new bike!!! Hell yeah it’s flashy, fast and beautiful, but let me tell ya, without the correct fit, it doesn't work well at all :( Because I had only done 3 rides on it before the race, I didn’t get a chance to dial everything in and I ended up being way too stretched out. I felt my lower back tighten up immediately after the first short climb and couldn’t get it to calm down afterward. Standing up on the pedals and thrusting my hips forward helped pop some things back into place, but having all the power coming from my back and not my legs definitely didn’t help me get anywhere fast. I swear one of these races everything will be just fine and I’ll be able to hammer and thrash my legs are much as possible…haha.

The Run – You’ll all have to see the video footage of this, but literally within 3 minutes into the run, I tripped and face planted right into a huge pile of rocks and sliced my ‘good’ knee right open. I didn’t think twice about it and got right up and started running as fast as my little legs would go. I’m not sure if it was the adrenaline pumping through my veins or that my ‘bad’ knee is starting to heal, but I honestly had no shooting pain throughout the entire run which was a first! Other than the blood gushing out of my right knee and the pain of running a super technical trail, the run couldn’t have been any better. I definitely wasn’t the speediest on the course, but I wasn’t the slowest either and I actually felt like I was ‘running’. WHOOOAAAA…this is good!
The Race – Things are finally starting to come together. Every race has been better and better and I can only imagine it will keep going in that direction. I am learning from the big girls and once I can get some consistent training in, I have a feeling the latter part of the season is going to kick butt! As for the venue, it was absolutely gorgeous and fun to be part of an inaugural race. Thanks to everyone who helped us out and a big thanks to Phaedra who hosted all of us at her wonderful home :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Timex Clinic - Trek Store - Boulder, CO

On Tuesday evening, 8 Timex athletes who reside in Colorado did a ‘Smorgasbord of triathlon’ at the Trek Store in Boulder. Not only was it great to see some of my teammates that I hadn’t seen since camp, we also had a great turnout. Each of us presented on a different topic and had great response from the audience.

Even though it was raining, I did bring the BMW out with the new bike on it :)

I would like to give a big thank you to The Trek Store in Boulder. Every employee there is absolutely amazing. They have consistently been bending over backwards for us and have provided such great service both bike and customer related. If you ever need anything from a local shop, definitely head over there. I promise they’ll get you all hooked up and ready to roll. Click on the logo above to check out their website!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

News from Farragut, ID – XTERRA NW Cup

Farragut State Park is an absolutely gorgeous place located just north of Coeur d’Alene. Although, it’s a bit far from any major airport, it was a great venue for our new Cup Series this year.

The water was really chilly so using hoodies were a definite must. However, putting it on and running around like a moron totally wasn’t. I guess that’s why you love Will :)

Branden, Will and I set out for another pre-ride Friday afternoon after they changed the course around. As always, there were lots of good laughs and guess what…

I didn’t crash on the pre-ride!

However, both Will and I did manage to leave a little (or a lot) of skin on the course race day! Will tagged a tree and I apparently ‘still can’t run’ and face planted into a pile of rocks 3 minutes into the run. It didn’t slow me down too much as I pulled off a great run considering the last 6 months.

Oh the sexy legs...

The real excitement of the day was in the men’s race. Dan Hugo got his first win after having several 2nd place finishes and Branden came in 4th for his best overall finish in a Championship race! Great job boys :)

Like every race, the ridiculousness that follows the events is never normal. This time, we threw a bowl of semi-hardened oatmeal on Craig’s rental car, ate several pints of ice cream, consumed several cases of beer and played a little Guitar Hero back at Phaedra’s. Let’s just say getting up for an easy spin pre-flight wasn’t the easiest!