Thursday, September 27, 2007

Turtle Karma

In the SE United States, turtles are everywhere; especially on the roads. The "good karma" thing to do is to stop one's bike/car and move said turtle to the other side of the road. For as long as I have been riding bikes we have been "saving" turtles. We actually have started a tally of "turtle points" to keep track of our good karma. I know, cyclists are a weird breed, but the turtles thank us.

This past week Mark and I went camping at our favorite place on this planet, Pisgah National Forest in NC. Think all day mountain bike rides on trails that are as good as it gets. On the way there Mark unavoidably "clipped" a turtle on the interstate. We were in heavy traffic and he swerved the best he could but it was not enough. We were worried. Hitting a turtle is really BAD turtle karma. Uh oh. Little did we know how quickly it would come back on Mark.

Our first ride out we made it 40 minutes and karma got him. BEE STING!! Ouch. it was a big wasp too. After a painful ride back and a good dose of benadryl we figured that karma had gotten him back for the turtle. Nope. It was just getting warmed up. Two days later he got into not one but TWO nests of yellow jackets for a total of five more stings. That must have been one important turtle because karma was really getting him. Of course it didn't help that I was first on the trail and kept stirring up the yellow jackets in time for him to feel the wrath.

The moral of the story: don't hit turtles. Or maybe just don't be the second guy on the trail.

Specialized Demo Day

Saturday was "demo day" here in Chattanooga. Wiley from Specialized Bikes was here with the demo trailer and the whole team went out to support the event and ride some kick butt bikes. The favorite bike of the day was the women's specific road bike "Ruby". Lisa and Star are in LOVE. I think our team road bikes next year have been chosen. Gina fell in love with full suspension in the form of the "Epic" and Paula was drooling over the "Stumpjumper 29er" hardtail mountain bike. It was a great day for us to really get to know all the bikes Specialized makes, not just the ones we've been racing all year. And what better excuse to spend all day out on bikes!!

Thanks to Wiley for a great day. He was AWESOME.... next time I'll get a picture of that trailer on the NARROW road over the dam.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Team Time Trial and Criterium

We did it!!! We lived through the Team TT and even looked darn good while doing it. Star, Lisa, Gina and I took second by four seconds (OUCH!!) but in the end, we accomplished all of our goals and had a great weekend.

It was COLD when we got to the race at 7:30am on Sunday... I guess fall arrived sometime in the middle of the night Saturday, the car said 48 degrees. We shivered through a warm up (which included a 15 minute "huddle" in the bathroom for warmth) and rolled up to the line with a plan. I think we were all nervous but excited With 15 seconds until they said "go" Lisa dropped her chain!!! Talk about nerves... we got it on with a couple of seconds to spare and we were off. The goal was to work together flawlessly and ride a smooth race... winning would be a bonus. We rode a great was a success on all counts. The only HUGE bummer was that we took second by four seconds. FOUR SECONDS!!!

After a long lunch we suited up for a second time that day for the crit. The course was really SKETCHY and we were all a bit nervous and tired. Once they said "go" we were too focused to worry about it. It was fast and our legs were TIRED. Gina and I worked hard early and dropped the majority of the field. After a hard fought battle at the finish line I took second and Gina was third. I made an unfortunate call on where to start my sprint... a little too late. I ran out of real estate but 2nd and 3rd is still not all bad. The girl that won didn't do the time trial that morning so she was fresh and it showed. Lisa and Star got 8th and 9th, great job guys!!! Crit racing is an art that they are both still learning so it was a huge success.

All in all it was a great weekend. We learned a ton about racing together as a TEAM and what each of our riding styles bring to things. It was an awesome way to get a jump on 2008 and we had a blast doing it.

Gina, what category are you again???

Thanks for reading....

Monday, September 17, 2007

What we REALLY do on race weekend....

I was going through more photos today, now that race season is over and I am home a little more, and I found this one from Vermont at the National Championships.
As you can see, when we are left to our own defenses anything can happen. In the spirit of being good athletes, we are HUGE fans of the "ice bath" (yes, it is as miserable as it sounds, but it is SO good for recovery) and while traveling we sometimes have to get creative. The condo we stayed at up there had a really scenic ICE COLD mountain stream running behind it. With winter clothing and bathing suits on we headed out there every afternoon for our "recovery time". Yes, we got some mighty strange looks and eventually decided that we did in fact look a bit silly and should document it on film.
From left: Kym, Shannon, Margaret (we miss you...) and Jamie. Love those tan lines!!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Team TT Practice

This weekend we have a Team Time Trial in Knoxville. I figured this would be a GREAT team building experience for our newly added road team. With this being said, the weekend is fast approaching and we needed to get out and practice together. Wednesday was the day and it was a perfect day for it.

Star, Gina, Lisa and I met up and rolled out up over Suck Creek Mountain and into the valley for some rolling to flat riding. Mark got to drive the support vehicle and fill the team director role, radios and all. It was so much easier to get us dialed in with someone else talking us through the good and bad of what we were doing. After about an hour and a half in Sequatchie Valley we were really impressed with ourselves. We were moving along as one and it was a BLAST!! Sunday is going to be really fun...and if we are lucky, we'll have good results too.

The added treat of the whole day was Bill Parsons, our "team photographer", taking time out of his busy day to hang out of the back of the car to shoot the whole thing. We have an entire disc of great pictures of our success. And Mark only tried to dump him out the hatch a couple of times....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lock 4

The season is officially over but I cannot seem to stop racing. For the first time since I started down this career path, I am not ready for a break. On the contrary, I am LOOKING for more. Not that I really have any race fitness right now, but I am still loving getting out there, much to the dismay of the poor soul that I keep convincing to go with me, namely my wonderfully understanding husband.

The TBRA calendar has a couple of late season races still left and I am THERE! Mark's response was "alright, if we have to". So, we loaded up the car and headed to Gallatin, TN to the Lock 4 mountain bike race. This trail is always really fun and fast; a virtual roller coaster through the trees. As we got closer to the race, Mark looks at me and says "does that look like rain?" RAIN?? No, couldn't be...we haven't had rain in MONTHS. This has been the driest summer in something like 75 years. In fact, we had just pulled all of our rain gear out of our bags and put it away. Yes, it was rain. It started as we pulled into the park and was pouring by the time Mark started. Hmmmm, I think I'll wait in the car until my race. (That went over well...) Judging from the appearance of the racers, it was going to be a muddy day. I hate what mud does to my bike but I am good at riding in it so I was almost excited about it. Mark was not. He suffered through and had a decent day but was none too happy about it.

About 30 minutes before my start, the skies parted and the rain went away. They said "go" and it was muddy for the first lap but after that it ended up being dry and fast. I had a long week of training in my legs (I am already doing base for next year) so I started hard but backed off quickly to a nice tempo pace and had a blast. And to top it off, I WON. With weekends like this it is hard to hang up the race numbers for the winter.

Thanks for reading...