Friday, March 28, 2014

Where Did March Go?

I have to say, I had some mad anxiety about the month of March earlier this year. Now it feels like I blinked my eyes and March slipped away in a second. Where did this month go? 
This week in particular has been crazy busy and gone by crazy fast. Here are some highlights of the week.
On Wednesday I finally won 2048! This was a huge accomplishment, both because I beat Brendan to winning (have I mentioned I am competitive?) and because now I don't feel the need to play it all the time. Although my team mate did make it to 4096...

Successfully made some outstanding meals this week despite not having house guests to motivate us to be creative with dinner. The hard part is that cooking after work and working out means eating after 8:30pm every night. I'm motivated to start crock pot cooking like Erin because walking in the door to an already cooked dinner sounds like heaven right about now.

Woodworking Wednesday was a success. We managed to stay up WAY past our bed time working on a project I have been dying to finish for weeks. Hopefully next week we will have pictures of the completed project. I do love creating things!

Aside from missing our house guests like crazy (who wouldn't when they did all the dishes and made incredible meals all the time?!?) that's pretty much our week. This afternoon we are headed off to the mountains for a fun little mtb stage race, the Keyesville Classic. I'm looking forward to camping out with super cool people and riding my bike on trails I have never seen before!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Beets... The New White Meat

Sunday, March 23rd will go down in the books as the day I learned that I have a "poor diet", the day we consumed the most out of control Breakfast, that day my team mate won the game 2048 for the SECOND time, and the day my sister won a stage race. What a day!
Sister on the podium! Top step, that's right!

The first, and most important thing about Sunday was the epic amount of sleeping in. I love that short track always starts nice and late in the day. Then we ate an epic amount of fresh eggs (plucked from the coop right before being scrambled), bacon, and butter soaked french toast.

Post breakfast I learned through a little test strip that I have virtually no Inorganic Nitrates in my diet despite the large portions of Chard I eat all week! As if this wasn't disturbing enough, I then found out that basically all my competition pounds beet juice non stop, and thus has a Lance on EPO sized advantage over me! Imagine my anger and despair, to learn that no one had informed me of the magic of  beet juice, and that my diet was so deficient in NO! Alas, our nice house guest, who also happened to write this awesome blog post on the benefits of beets in sports, gifted me a bottle of beet juice, so watch out Keyesville!
This little bottle is going to make me FLY!

The rest of the day was a blur of driving through the smog back to Fontana, pedaling my legs off for 15 minutes plus two laps (the kind where your eyes roll back into your skull), and celebrating Cara's Chico Stage race win. When your sister crashes out of more races than she finishes, you get pretty excited at a crit and TT win, topped off with a GC win in the Women's 3 field! Go little Fitchett!!!

Assorted images of Fontana for your enjoyment!
A ridiculous shuttle vehicle! 

How Brendan sets up the car at race venues (nap central).

Brendan tortured Davey while I raced short track. Dogs don't wear hats. Silly husband.

Just hanging with Gavin, the creepster. Really though, I love the Team Big Bear volunteers! Thanks for an awesome race weekend!

Proof I actually did race short track. Finished 11th, thought I was CONVINCED I was in 20th place the whole race. 

Finally, one picture with Carl Decker. Not creepy at all, right?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Most Legit Fun-Tucky Showdown To Date

At it again this weekend with PRO XCT #3 in beautiful Fontana (if you look past the graffiti and homeless camps on the course). Like last weekend, the field was big for a women's race with 41 starters, and full of international competition. Nothing super exciting happened on the morning, besides a hilarious car ride to the venue with Single Speed World Champion Jamie Busch, so I'll get straight to the nitty gritty of the race!

The race started out great, as a result of having basically the last call up (because the USA Cycling official messed up my UCI points), I started in the back and again avoided the crash! This might become my strategy because someone in our field obvi doesn't know how to stay upright! Then I got down to business moving up on the first climb. I think I moved from 41st to 11th by the top on lap one, and then had some very angry Canadians wanting to get around me on the techy, narrow descent. The descent was def my weak point. Every lap I would get gapped off on the descent, and then climb my way back up to the chase group on the climb, just to get gapped again on the descent. Worse was getting stuck behind the same Canadian rider on the narrow part of the climb on EVERY lap. She would not let me by, which was pretty frustrating, but lets be honest, she would out descend me anyway so it prob. doesn't matter. 

On the final lap I dug into one of those pesky Canadians on the climb and made a big enough gap to stay away on the descent. I rolled across the line 15th with no muscle cramps in sight!

Overall it was an awesome race completed with NO DROPPER POST!!!! I'm growing up! I do have to say that Harriet was a blast so thanks to Marin Bikes for introducing us :) 

Post race we "helped feed the boys". HA! And then I pigged out on Ice Cream right before the Super D (in which I did not finish dead last :)

We concluded the day with Steak and Shrimp shish-ka-bobs. There are no pictures because we ate them too fast. Now we are off to race short track! Let the suffering commence. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

By Popular Demand

And because I am too lazy/busy with like for a real post, my wedding dance video. Enjoy :)

On a more mountain bike related note, we pre-rode the Fontana course last night, and my mechanical curse reared it's ugly head again. Broke a spoke not even half way through the first lap, whole rear wheel was wonky, had to go back to the car like a kid on time out. Thankfully the handy team mate was able to kinda true the wheel and I did one full lap, but had to ride very gently, which was frustrating on the fun, rocky descent. I am trying to remain grateful this happened on the pre-ride and not in the race, but any disruption two days till race day like this makes me a bit anxious.

Bryan tightening spokes like a pro.

Wish us luck this weekend as we battle it out against the best mountain bikers in the country (and world really) again!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bonelli Park XCT aka. Mini World Cup

This round of the US Cup Pro XC Tour was in my back yard (basically), so I was pumped to sleep in my own bed, not travel (too much), and race in our typically hot SoCal conditions. Plus I had sexy mechanic Brendan on hand to go over my bike and feed me bottles during the race.
I tried to have fun, but it was a hard race!

It basically went down like this; get pushed around A LOT at the start, which was scary as I did not want to crash, end up dead last on the start lap, move up from 41st place to 20th place by first climb, dropper post breaks, stop to fix it, loose a bunch of places, work SO HARD to make them up that I cramp like mad on last lap, cross the line in 15th. Overall it was a great race, fun course and awesomely fast competition, but I can't help being hard on myself for making some bad decisions, like running a dropper post, and only drinking half a bottle the whole race. 
I got to spend some quality time with some awesome women, and my team mate, Cara!

Super D was also on Sat. I raced it for fun, but looking back I probably should have been resting rather than pre-riding and racing what was essentially a hill climb. I was pretty fun though, and I crossed the line drenched in sweat and totally out of breath from the 7ish min effort. Don't ask me how I finished though, I have no idea, haha!
Getting rad on the Super D course. Who knew I had such wheel popping skill?

The highlight of the weekend for me was very unexpected though. I had the best race of the three in the short track on Sunday. This was a 15 minute, plus 2 lap sprint-ish race that basically ended up being a dirt crit. I had a less than ideal start in this race as well, but was able to fight back from the back to mid pack, and then dig in tooth and nail to move up to 9th by the finish. There were some monster pulls involved to bridge to the lead pack, and a wicked hard sprint finish to seal the deal. I think those torture intervals I've been doing every Wednesday paid off (thanks coach :) The cheering on this race kicked butt as well, I got heckled by many, many people I didn't recognize during the fog of the race. Thanks to all of you who were on the side of the course telling me that the Rads were right behind me!
Another highlight of the weekend, one more picture with this guy!

This bike was a stud and a half out on the loose steep "trails" in Bonelli. Thanks again to Marin Bikes for making such a killer hard tail.

And we wrapped up the weekend by having sushi with no plates as a team!

Needless to say, I am addicted to mountain bike racing, so I am very stoked that this coming weekend is round 3 of the US Cup series, and again here in SoCal. You should come spectate, it's loads of fun!

Friday, March 14, 2014

An Epiphany at the End of a Long Week

Pre-riding the Bonelli Park XC course yesterday, a thought hit me, and I have been relieved of some of the anxiety that has been nagging at me about this race season. Back in Jan and Feb I had the idea in my head that I was improving my fitness, and that it would result in better race results this year. This wasn't necessarily the case for race #1 (back in TX), and looking at the list of reg-ed riders for this weekend I was having my doubts it would be true in Bonelli as well.
The view from part of the Bonelli course. Not a bad place to ride bikes if you ask me.

This is when my epiphany happened. I shouldn't judge my progress on placings when these races may all be harder (in terms of competition) than last year. This weekend is an HC category race. A harder category than I have ever raced before. Instead, I should judge my progress on my own personal improvement, in my own personal fitness and technical skills. So there may be 5 Olympians on the line tomorrow, but who cares? As long as I race my hardest, take chances and have a smile on my face, it will all be worth the hours of training, and the dedication I have been putting in. Now I'm looking forward to 1.5 terribly hard hours of racing tomorrow, it's going to be awesome!
The intersection of the Pro A-line (WAY hard) and B-lines. 

In other news, Davey had a fun little play date with his BFF Tilo on Thursday. Tilo likes to show Davey who's in charge, can you tell?
They could roll around on the floor all day.

They really do love each other though.

And lastly, a pretty view as seen on our Tuesday night ride in Silverado. 
Time change means riding in the daylight. You would think that is a good thing, but sometimes not seeing the scary cliffs right next to you when descending is better :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Student QOTD

Mrs Connors: "If a rhombus and a rectangle had a baby, it would be a square."

Student: "And if the baby had too many chromosomes it would be a circle!"

Don't know why, but this made me chuckle.

Here's a picture of Brendan with a little bird that flew into our house this weekend. 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Road Ride and a Sunburn

Those are two of the things I accomplished this weekend. We also managed to tack on an epic grocery shopping trip (how do two people eat so much?), some garage cleaning, a Sat afternoon nap, and an Oaks session in which Jon Kearly attempted to teach me how to be rad on a bike.
My view from the road ride that followed my field test. Field test = yuck, but riding to the ocean after when it was 85 degrees out was yum. 
Also seen from my ride, Angels Stadium! I had never before ridding SART from Anaheim to the ocean, so that was a cool first. 
As I was rolling into Silverado I saw all these horses parked outside the cafe. Only in Silverado do people still ride their horses to lunch!
Day light savings may suck, but I did catch a glimpse of this pretty sunrise on my way out the door to ride this morning.
Ran into these wicked fast kids during the ride with Jon this am. It was a beautiful day in the oaks, and I learned a lot! Pretty stoked about cleaning some stuff that I had never tried before. 

And there you have it, another non-race weekend filled with the usual antics. Now off to do a woodworking project and change the oil and filters in my car!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thanks To The Rain

Everything is beautiful here. I hope it lasts/we get more rain soon.
Some pretty green views on my ride Wednesday afternoon.

I decided this week that I cannot possibly dislike intervals if I get to do them on Maple Springs Road with the gate closed and green stuff all around me. I even had warm sunshine on my face descending between each repeat. And the gate closed means no cars or motos, my own private road. 
The creek was even full, and making all its glorious creek sounds. 

All mine :)

This view was the prettiest, you can even see a glimpse of creek in there.

And if that wasn't enough landscape pics for you, here is one I snapped on the Tuesday night mtb ride in the middle of a hike-a-bike. Ain't she perty? (the she is my Santa Ana Mountains)
I could look at these hills all day!

So there you have it, living in Silverado is pretty darn close to perfect! Now I'm off to make dinner for the boy, and to try and do some chores (but it's Thursday night, like chores are going to happen! HA).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

On What Makes Race Weekends So Great!

Well you already know all about my race this weekend, but so much more happened this weekend besides the 1.5 hours I was attempting to shred the gnar at Flat Creek Ranch. Here are some highlights about what makes race weekends the greatest!

For starters, my team mate Mike and I got lost trying to find the place we were staying at 1:30am on Friday morning. Both our phones were dead, no maps in the rental van, and no names on the street signs to indicate where we were. We had to jump out of the van and run after a woman driving by to ask for directions, and got really lucky that she knew how to get us where we wanted to go. Needless to say I was convinced we would end up sleeping in the van at one point. 
This is the cute house we stayed in.

An this is the cute view from said house. I even got to "graze" in that garden, but only ended up eating extremely bitter broccoli. 

On Friday, after we slept in... oh wait, there was no sleeping in because I woke up STARVING at 7:30am. So really, after almost sleeping in, and finding decent coffee in Wimberly, we built up our bikes! I almost completed mine all by myself, maybe by the end of the season I will understand bikes :) 
Dialing the headset in the Texas sun. Notice how our bikes are twins, same size and everything. 

Then it was off to pre-ride the course. I have decided my favorite part of racing might be pre-riding because you are basically goofing off on bikes with a bunch of super fun people. I had a great time, and learned some skillz too :)
The picture isn't too good, but I may have been getting some air there... also catching bugs.

You already know all the gory details about Saturday and the race, but the fun didn't end when I crossed the finish line. 
Maybe my favorite moment of the weekend was getting a pic with my favorite bike racer. And look at that hot 'stash!

And Sat night we had dinner with Beth! She drove way out of her way after running a 15 mile race to come see me, so I felt very special.
I miss you Beth! Glad we had a few hours to catch up :)

Other random highlights include hanging out with my team mates (who are super rad. Why must they live so far away?), staying up till midnight Sat night chatting with Erin because she is awesome and we don't get to hang out nearly as much as I would like, and getting to explore part of the country I would otherwise never visit. Texas, you are alright in my book. And that is why race weekends are the greatest. I can't wait till the next one!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mellow Johnny's Classic 2014

The XCT mountain bike season has started off with a heaping serving of Yee-haw and a side of bacon baked beans! This past weekend I was out in Dripping Springs Texas for race #1, the MJC, a seriously technical, kick ass race through chunky, loose rocks and under beautiful oak trees.

I learned a lot out in the Texas sun, including the fact that I ALWAYS stick my tongue out when shredding the gnar.

The race took place at this awesome ranch, which we hit up on Friday afternoon for a little pre-ride fun. 

After a long phone convo with my @CTSathlete coach Matt at the airport on Thurs., I was super prepared and knew just what to do for the pre-ride and race. I was a little shocked at how techy the course was, which planted a few seeds of doubt in my mind on Friday night. I decided to enjoy the mayhem of the race though, instead of obsessing over the idea of wanting a full suspension bike. This mindset worked wonders on the start line, and I was able to focus and keep the nerves under control.

Not as many women as I expected, but there were some crazy fast ladies in this field!

The race started out with the full Luna team on the line, and a big old crash about a quarter mile into the race. I was fortunate enough to narrowly avoid the crash, and charged up the little climb after the insanely fast leaders. From that point on, it was an exercise in riding the loose trails as fast as possible without wiping out, a fine line for me :) When I settled in and found my rhythm, I was in a small group of women, whom I could tell were suffering on the climbs and from the heat. Did I mention it was hot, as in, Southern California hot? So I patiently waited for the climb and attacked it each lap, slowly moving up in position until I was in the top 10. 

Swear on my life I was smiling the whole race, but somehow this photo is the one on the internets!

The spectators were awesome, especially the cheering section on each technical obstetrical. I was able to start putting some time into the women I had passed, and my technique of focusing on attacking the climbs seemed to work, because, even thought I was passed by the Mexican National Champion, I was able to maintain my top 10 position!

I was stoked with this result! Plus I had a blast racing, so I call that a win win day.

There's a short two weeks to go until the next XCT, and I have a lot of work to do to get ready for it. I am super excited the season is under way though, bike racing is just the best!

You all know I couldn't have started the season out so smoothly without the help, support and encouragement of some super rad folks. I especially want to thank ContinentalMTB for setting me up with sick rubber and sealant that held up under some seriously sharp and gnarly conditions, Marin Bikes for making such a kick ass hardtail, and SRAM MTB, because that X11 is smooth like butter, and I want to race on nothing else for the rest of my life!