Monday, April 30, 2012

The Typical Erin & Bryce Weekend

I generally don't get much enjoyment racing my road bike but there are a few select races in the Spring time that contain significant dirt sections that are pretty fun to jump into. The Koppenberg is one of Boulder's classic races that is 5.5 mile loop with over 300ft of climbing per lap and a gnarly steep dirt hill that breaks up the field. I've raced it in the past and thought it would be a great way to start the weekend. Although I had to race in a category down, I still had a great time and got in a good workout. I got pipped on the line for the win but considering the sprint work I've done over the past 6 months, it wasn't a surprise. It was so great to see some old friends and faces and it got the blood flowing for the upcoming 5 hour ride to Nebraska.

We had to make a mad dash to Crawford, NE in order to get registered on time but we made it. We had some pizza and cookies for dinner then watched a moto movie in the van to get pumped up for the next day's race. It was quite chilly outside and we were worried it would be too cold in the van but it was actually really nice. The 6:45am rider's meeting came quickly and before we knew it, we were out racing. Bryce was having an amazing day until his chain broke after the 6th check. Super big bummer and the first ever mechanical DNF of his career. My day was a complete shit show with a variety of issues from crashes to getting stuck in mud holes to making a wrong turns, etc. I somehow made my way onto the A/B course because some crazy environmentalist lady took down the sign so my day was extended by an extra 2.5hrs of riding. I won't complain as it was a lot of fun trail, but I was a little unprepared and knew Bryce was going to freak out when I wasn't back on time. Regardless of the crappy results, we're both in one piece and still smiling - that's all that counts. There will be many more races to crush ass and take names :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Does your 29er need more wheel clearance?


No matter how you look at it, the geometry of the 29er frame for smaller riders just isn't quite right. We battle with too high of a front end, little to no rear wheel clearance and several other misc issues.

After having major rear wheel clearance issues and going through a few different front derailleurs trying to solve the problem, I was still getting a bit of wheel rub. There was a small plastic tab on the backside of the derailleur that wasn't being used with this bike's cable routing so we just decided to cut it off.

Bryce used the dremel tool to cut the excess plastic away with compromising any integrity for a modified derailleur that added a solid half inch of clearance. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Voodoo Fire MTB Race Report

It's been quite a while since I've raced my bicycle, October 16th of last year to be exact, so I came into this race with absolutely no expectations. I have been riding since February but have only done 3 'real' workouts prior to coming down to Pueblo so finishing was honestly on the top of my list!

The race unfolded a little bit more spastic-ally than I would have hoped. The women's field started behind the 50+/60+/Singlespeed/Clydesdale men's classes so the first lap was absolute chaos. All the women struggled to get around the various packs and because it was extremely difficult to pass, we got very split up right off the bat.

The race was two 22 mile laps on very rocky/desert like terrain. I attempted this race last year but wasn't informed we would be riding on trails resembling broken dinner plates so I ran lightweight tires with minimal tire pressure - I triple flatted and walked my butt in for almost 2 hours! Luckily I learned from my mistake and ran heavy duty tires with sidewall protection and inflated my tires almost 4 psi more than I normally run. It took a while to get used to the rock hard tires (I did have a few stellar front wheel wash outs), but unlike many others, I didn't flat!!!

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the fitness I had during the race. My average heart rate of 177 for 3hrs45min is definitely a sign that I have a lot more work to be be done before I hit any sort of peak, but compared to my competition, I wasn't too far off. The new Timex Cycle Trainer worked like a charm and gave me all the info I needed to get through the race - this is my all time favorite Timex product EVER! As with all races, I had lots of random hiccups - in a really bumpy section my seat slipped on the rails and went nose up so I had to stop, I didn't eat or drink nearly as much as I should have resulting in a massive bonk 7 miles from the finish and I forgot to take off my base layer before the was in the mid 80s with zero shade the entire race :)

This was also my first true mountain bike ride on my new Litespeed Cohutta 29er. It was an extremely rough course which was probably more suited for a dual suspension bike, however, I couldn't have been happier with how the bike handled. The titanium frame and carbon seat post gave me a little relief on the bumpy terrain but what made the day was the stability and pop the bike gave me to accelerated out of the hundreds of corners and up the short/steep little climbs. I'm still tweaking a few things with the handlebars and wheel-sets but I'm really excited to be riding this bike in 2012.

I was battling for 2nd and 3rd with Annie (age 51) almost the entire race, but really lost a lot of time on the last few miles with my big bonk. When I had to stop at the final aid station to rehydrate and stop seeing stars, that is when Rebecca came flying by (she had been struggling with 2 flats). After getting back on the bike, I eventually made my way to the finish in 4th overall for the day. As a whole, the race went 100 times better than I could have ever imagined - I wasn't kidding about just wanting to finish. It's a huge relief to know that I do have some fitness still lingering from year's past, but most importantly, it just feels good to be back out racing with all my close friends. The Colorado MTB crowd is one big family that is so supportive both on and off the race course and it's really hard being away from it with sickness and injury. I think I'm finally past my string of bad luck so I'm really looking forward to ripping it up for a full season this year. 2012, it's game time :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Let the mountain bike racing begin!

After getting the van packed up with bicycles, coolers, gear, etc, we started the trip down to Pueblo Friday evening. Our friends, Ray and Emily, were super kind and let Bryce, Allen, Tony and myself crash at their place before Saturday's MTB race.

As usual, race morning came super early and it was a bit frantic trying to find a good breakfast place, get registered, park in the appropriate lot, etc.

Allen was the first to start so we did what we could to be sure he was ready to rock and roll. This was his first MTB race in many years so he was super excited!

I'm going to write a detailed race report this week but figured I'd show a few fun podium shots now. After a long and hard 44 miles of racing, I managed to slip into 3rd in the pro women and 4th overall for the day. With very little training, I'm really pleased how the day unfolded.

Bryce had a great race as well and finished 2nd in his class. He had a fun battle with the guy who won but had a little bonk at the end of the day which didn't allow him to hang on to that top position. Maybe he should start riding his bicycle 2 times a week instead of just once :)

Tony T finished 8th in his class and Allen rounded out the day with a 9th overall in the pro class in the full 66 mile race! 

Somehow we ended up bringing a bunch of champagne and beer back with us...I think Lynn and Derek had something to do with it! At any rate, it was so great to finally be back on the race scene and see all my favorite mountain bike friends. It's like a big family that never grows apart and it's something I honestly cannot live without :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

GPS Run Trainer Demo in FoCo!

My Timex teammate, Wendy Mader, coaches a running group every Wednesday night and thought it would be a great opportunity to have some avid runners try out the new GPS Run Trainer!

She couldn't have picked a better day and a better group of people. The first 10 people there were all incredibly interested in trying it out and unfortunately we ran out before everyone could get a chance to give it a try.

Although the workout was only on the track and elevation wasn't something that you could see on the graphs, everyone liked to seeing their various times from the 800s they were running. I got a lot of really great questions about all of the different Timex GPS watches and everyone loved the ease of use of the Run Trainer.

A selected few athletes stuck around after the session to geek out on watch functions and chat about the pros and cons of racing/training/recovering in compression gear. All in all, it was a great and successful demo with lots of smiles :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Good Stuff

It's scary to think that our summer schedule is pretty much set and like every year, we have very limited weekends in Boulder. Since the weather was supposed to get very ugly on Sunday, we decided to do a little tour of Boulder's local trails with a few good friends on Saturday.

The boys at The Service Course (a client of mine), built up a set of custom 29er wheels for me with Stans rims and XTR hubs. I wanted to get them a good trial so we gathered the troops and did a 4hr adventure on all the singletrack we could find out south. 

We had an absolute blast until I almost ran over a huge king snake in the middle of the trail. You might have to enlarge the photo, but there's definitely a massive snake that was coiled up in the middle of the trail that I almost rolled over. After coming to a complete screaming halt and having Mel and Bryce almost run into me, I'm pretty sure we pissed the thing off bad. He slithered off the trail and began hissing like I've never seen a snake hiss before. It's been a while since I've freaked like that but it was scary...funny afterward but dang, not cool when it happened :) The rest of the weekend was relaxing and chill. We did another fun MTB ride around town on Sunday then caught up on some work, laundry, errands and sleep.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Boulder Junior Cycling

This evening I had the opportunity to assist my good friend, Taylor Sheldon, in my first Boulder Junior Cycling road practice session. Not only was it a great time, I am really looking forward to seeing the improvements of each of the young riders throughout the year! I will be joining the road group on Mondays and Wednesdays evenings through mid August :)

Boulder Junior Cycling has multiple components to its program including mountain, track, cyclocross and road. This gives the kids an opportunity to try out all the various types of riding and racing their bikes with superb guidance and coaching. BJC has also been named a USA Cycling Center for Excellence for a 4th year in a row. Check out their website here for more info and pics. What a stellar program!

I've been in Boulder for over 10 years and it's amazing how every day I am beyond 'wow-ed' at the new programs and opportunities the city offers for its people. Gotta love the bubble!

Monday, April 09, 2012

A fun Easter weekend

I'm starting to integrate some power hikes into the training mix so Bryce joined me up one of Boulder's finest hikes in Gregory canyon on Friday afternoon. It was a super windy day so it worked out perfectly!

Since Tom is still in rehab from his shoulder surgery, we decided to join him on another dirt road hill climb Saturday morning. I couldn't have been happier because it was my first ride on the new Litespeed Cohutta. I'm pretty sure I'm in love...

Nothing like spending 5hrs in the sunshine with two of my favorite boys :)

We made an impulse decision to head up to the mountains late Saturday afternoon to spend Easter Sunday with the Binghams. As usual, we were pampered beyond belief and fed like kings and queens. Although I'm trying to be a little bit better about my crap food consumption, Easter just isn't the same without Reese's Eggs...I only had 3 of the 6 :)

After our delicious homemade waffle breakfast, we headed out to McCoy with our friend Kevin for a little moto session. It's crazy how dry and warm everything is up high, but I won't complain! After a fun and technical couple of hours, we went back into Edwards to shower and enjoy a delicious Easter dinner and dessert! Another fabulous holiday with amazing friends and family :)

Friday, April 06, 2012

First 2012 Timex Run Trainer GPS Demo

On Wednesday afternoon, I drove down to the Denver's Runners Roost to meet up with Timex teammate, Trista Francis, and Colorado Timex rep, Brett Rose.

We set up a station just before their weekly run so that people could demo the new Timex Run Trainer GPS watch. 

We had a great turnout and lots of people took advantage of the opportunity to test out the demo watches. As usual, we set up computers and showed the runners how you can customize the various screens, vitals, intervals, etc directly through Device Agent then got them connected to the satellites and sent them on their way. 

After the runners returned from their workout, we gave them a brief tutorial of Training Peaks and showed them how simple it is to download the information right off the watch. Everyone is always wow-ed by the cool factor of the maps and graphs tab which definitely puts a smile on my face.

This week's run included an Easter Egg hunt and a big raffle at the end. We donated two Timex watches which were a bit hit. We had lots of good questions and overall, the demo was a great success!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Getting Ready!

I know it may be over the top, but I did just sore a set of Shimano XTR trail wheels for my squishy fun bike :) The main reason for the change was because the Rallon came with a quick release back wheel versus a thru axle. Luckily, Orbea made adapters that would allow us to change the dropouts to thru axle compatible and now I have a stiffer and more rockin' setup for those long and rough trail rides! Soooo excited.

In other news, I had my first lactate threshold test done at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine yesterday in order to establish my baseline for some structured training. I have not done one interval or hard effort since the last CX race I finished last October so I wasn't really sure what to expect. Fortunately, the long and easy rides I've been doing for the past couple months have really improved my base fitness but as expected, I was pretty weak on the high end side of things. Overall, it was better than I thought and I'm really excited to be back on a training program and ready to start crushing ass and taking names :)

Monday, April 02, 2012

A dusty weekend

 I apologize in advance for not getting better photos but with the extremely dusty conditions, I really didn't want sand grit stuck in my phone for whatever duration it has left :)

Although, I've probably done nothing but complain about this past weekend's race, Bryce and I actually had a really great weekend. We drove up to Vail on Friday evening to meet up with the Bingham's where they treated us to a delicious dinner at La Tour downtown. You'll have to check out the website because Brent does all the photography for them :) We woke up refreshed on Saturday morning, enjoyed a fun hike above Singletree and had a great homemade breakfast before we hit the road to Grand Junction.

We went over the race site to get checked in, watch the kids races and mingle with friends but the combination of 85 degrees, windy and dust was not exceptionally pleasant. Instead, we headed back into town. We played around in the Harley/KTM dealership for a bit then had a great dinner with the usual crew. We spent our second night sleeping in the van and it couldn't have been more perfect. A couple cookies and a movie on the laptop later, we were sound asleep!

I couldn't help but take a picture of this sign because it's absolutely hilarious!

Above is a video from one of the tests at the enduro sine I don't have any pics. Instead of whining about how miserable it was, I'll just start by saying that I was still pretty under the weather from my cold and not super excited to race my opinion is probably jaded. At any rate, I rode super slowly and carefully and didn't have any issues until the last test where I managed to crash on every technical hill and lose over 10min. I somehow managed to sneak into 3rd for the Ladies. Bryce was fortunate to have gotten row 1 and he had a great day finishing 14th overall considering the amount of pro riders out there competing for a decent prize purse. We jetted out of the venue quickly so we could get yet another homemade dinner from Momma Bingham and a hot shower on our way back home. Definitely not my type of racing but I guess you have to take the bad with the good...we were too spoiled in Texas last month :)