Despite my best lazy intentions, I headed out to the track for another points race sufferfest last night. Thank you to Matt for keeping it going while Larry is at Master Nationals by the way.
So far, I have done 4 points races, each race with 7 opportunities to score points to the first 4 riders. I am going to go grab my ten key and figure something out...just a sec...
(crunch, crunch, crunch)
In the points races I have done so far, I had 112 chances to score some points. So, guess how many points I have scored in my illustrious points racing career?
(crunch, crunch, crunch)
I am batting 0/112.
But I am having so much fun, that I am going to take improvement where I can:
I can now sit up and air out my chamois region without forgetting to pedal. I can ride in the narrow area between the grass and the official stand without freaking out. I found the angle at which I can fill up my waterbottle from the little fountain in the track. I can stop my bike without doing the Fred Flintstone thing. I made it through a race without spazzing and yelling "whoah!" at anyone.
I did have a schlepping setback however. I was doing so well on being able to schlep all my stuff from the car to the track in one trip, but last night I forgot my bike shoes and towel at the track. So next week I will refocus on my schlepping skills.
I have improved so much, that last night Beth was trying to talk me into racing States next weekend.
Beth: "You should race States next weekend" Me: "Really? I don't know...." Beth: "Yes, you should totally do it. We need more slow people out there" Me: "Okay"
I want to help Beth find more slow people. So, I have been convincing my friends and teammates to come out to Saturday sessions. Except I am a little more diplomatic than Beth, so I don't actually tell them to their face that they should come because they are slow. I tell them to come because its FUN!
The last Saturday we went, we had 4 bellas. We practiced the team pursuit. We were awesome...after a few tries anyway. This Saturday we will have, just a sec.....
(crunch, crunch, crunch)
7 bellas there! I expect some mayhem and lots of giggles. Oh, and Quad measurements.
Thanks to Tracie and Bunny, I went and got a full panel blood test after feeling increasingly tired and unmotivated near the end of this season.
Fatigue, thats almost manageable because I am a good german and I can push through that. But the lack of motivation was getting to me. I just didn't feel like doing anything, and I mean anything. Didn't feel like doing all the Velo Bella stuff that I used to love doing, didn't feel like putting on a cross race, didn't feel like remodeling the house. Didn't feel like calling up friends, going to the movies....or even riding my bike. Just didn't have the itch to do anything. And I am usually full of itches, too many itches. I was sad that I had no more itches.
So it turns out I am hypothryoid. Hashimoto's...so hot right now. I am of course, going to have to stop reading Velogirl's blog now. One, because I seem to be following in her health footsteps and two, because I am a clinical hypochondriac.
(And one thing that hypochondriacs should not do is play Googledoc. Yikes.)
Anyhow, I start my Synthroid today and I am hopeful that I find a dosage that works and get my itches back.
Good news was that my hematocrit was like 43%. Thats like 10% higher than my usual. Its too bad I've been too unmotivated to race, because I would be flying right now!
Okay...I'll try to think of a funnier post next time. Or at least one with some hot quad photos or something...
I snuck out for a ride today. I was tired and poopy and not feeling like it at all. Because it was close to the hospital, I decided to head out to DeLaVeaga. But I had never been there before and didnt know where to go. I ended up on the lamest trail ever. It was covered in those stupid slippery Eucalyptus leaves and poison oak and the scene was just making me even grumpier.
But I kept riding because I needed to and I didnt want to give up because just maybe it got better. So I climbed through the stupid leaves and the oak and huffed up the hill and the trail ended...at a golf course.
I rolled back down the stupid hill and decided to try a different trail or something. As I was puttering all mopey like on the road I sensed someone coming up on me. And then I heard, in the mellowest and familiar drawl, "I know that butt"
It was my buddy Jen. She was on her way to the top of the world and she asked me if I wanted to go. I had no idea where that was, but as long as there was no golf course there, I was game.
We rode up and over some fun little trails, and got a little but not a lot lost. And eventually we popped out at the top of the world. Otherwise known as Disc Golf basket #27.
And Jen handed me a Tecate and we joined the rest of the crew that was already up there and we heckled disc (dont call if frisbee) golfers and we were just as silly and juvenile as a group could be. And my tummy hurt from laughing.
Steve gave me a bud to take back to Michael. It was his get well gift. He explained that Michael did not have to drink it, just wanted him to put it on his rolly table next to the bed.
Michael popped it open as soon as he saw it. He said it hit the spot and he was touched by the gift. And then he took a drip of morphine and said "nigh nigh".
And I wish I could say its because I was so awesome at the track last night that my quad grew 2.5cm, but really it was because I applied the correct quad measuring procedures as wonderfully illustrated by the orange-undied Beth. I measured in the squeezie zone.
And wow, I really suck at the track. And I am glad I do.
I know my weakness in crits is 1. hesitation and 2. confidence in the pack. But I can overcome that in crits. I ride on the outside at crits, I move up my sticking my nose in the wind or ride in the buffer zone at the back. I use extra energy, but I can roll around on flats at high speed so I get by. And if I hesitate, then there is probably 40 more minutes of racing to make up for it.
But not at the track. The racing is all about NOW. Its not so much that you need to think faster, you need to not think. Thinking takes too long. Reacting even takes too long. You need to ACT on instinct.
Whenever I do these races, its like someone hit fast forward on the Tivo. Even the sounds are faster. Its a total trip for an overanalyzer like me.
So, last night's menu of races was Keirin, Scratch, Miss and Out and Points. I was scared to death of the Keirin. I am just not one for the argy bargy for positioning that happens. Angela describes it as fun in her post today. Eeek, not me. Get the F away from me is my motto.
But I actually liked the Keirin. It was my favorite race of the evening. I loved getting up to speed behind the moto. I wanted it to go faster and faster. Maybe not even sprint, just keep going faster and faster until the last person is left would have been fun. Anyhoo, with a lap a half to go, the moto pulls off and we all sprint. I was near the back both times and both times I was too far back and gapped off from the real action up front. But I was happy that I was able to accelerate off that speed. It felt really good to open up the legs like that. Even though I was totally dropped, I kept sprinting because it felt Guuuud.
In the scratch race I was just a lame wussy wuss. The last time I did this event, I was on the outside, which is a tougher place to ride. So I wanted to try the inside this time. Ack! I am not ready for the inside. An acceleration went and the line of riders on top of me all dove down on me. The first few riders had room, but the ones after that were coming right down on my front wheel. And I totally spazzed. Riders on top have the momentum and so there is not much you can do. But spazzing probably isn't a good option I'm sure.
And before I knew it I was at the back of the group and looking for a way out of the spaz lane. I had to get around some gapped riders and by the time I did, the group was gone. Thats how fast that shit happens. Boom..gone. I tried like mad to get back on, but just like that, the race was over. I needed like, 10 more laps or something.
Then there was the old miss and out. The miss and out is all about positioning. Hahaha. Check. However there was improvement. Last time I was first out, and this time I was third out. Weeee.
Since my miss and out was so short, I was all jazzed about the final event, a points race with the Bs. I knew if nothing else that would be a good workout. But remember how I said things happen fast at the track? Well they happen so fast that I totally missed my race. One minute I was talking to Mary and the next minute I looked up and noticed my group was out racing.
Now you know why I don't volunteer to do the lap cards.
I am bummed that these races end next Wednesday. I have enjoyed coming out and doing so horribly. Because its sort of forcing me to improve on things that I make do with on the road. I figure, if I can impove on things even just a fraction at the track, it will mean huge dividends on the road. And plus, its been a total hoot.
And you take joy in all of the little improvements that happen when the learning curve is so big. I've been racing road and mtb so long, that measurable improvements are hard to come by. But with something totally new, you can see improvements each race. Of course, you may have to get creative about those improvements. For instance, I am no longer scared of starting on the boards or having someone hold me at the start. I know how to hang my bike on the racky thing without dinging anyone else's bike. I know what gear in inches I am running. I am not afraid to stop and unclip anymore. I also know how to schlep 2 chairs, my gear, water, food and bicycle in one trip.
I made my track debut this past Wednesday. And if I was in Ben Hur, I would have been one of those extras that you hardly notice that gets killed in the first scene by getting run over by the horses or something equally undignified.
I did not grunt or growl, I whimpered and hyperventilated.
Totally hyperventilated because I am a wussy. The wussy gladiator. I wish I could be all brave and crazy-eyed like Grace Jones in Conan. Except without the flat top...and maybe with a different sports bra.
The Chariot races turned out to be full on little drag races. Its a holding start and then a quick lap and a quarter. Basically its a sprint from an almost standing start. The holders push you at the whistle so you get a little bit of momentum.
The first round there was 5 or 6 of us and I was pretty scared. Hutch was my holder and I told him to not really push me because I was scared just being held there. Without a big push and with my monster gear, I was pretty doomed.
The secound round was for all the losers of the first rounds. There were nine of us this time. Nine mostly beginner racers lined up side by side on the track about to be pushed into a full sprint at the same time. EEEK! This time Michael (mine, not Hutch) would be my holder. And he was pretty intent on giving me a wallop of a push. I think the holders were all having their own competition to see who could do the biggest push.
And I got an awesome push that got me right out in front, but as soon as I saw the bars of other racers near me, I whimpered and waited for things to settle up front. Of course, by then, the coliseum was practically empty.
Next up was some other short sprinty race and there was a swarm for position and swerving on both sides of me. Someone swerved right about two lanes without looking (Almost took out Beth, but Beth wasn't fazed, is that normal in track racing?) and the whole mess freaked me out. I think I actually gasped out loud at one point. I settled to the rear of the group and of course got gapped off from the front four who pulled away and sprinted and stuff.
The last race was a miss and out, a sort of bicycle musical chairs. I always hated musical chairs because you had to be rude to win. And you have to be sort of rude in the miss and out too. Beth told me to try and be the devil, except she was also the devil, and so was some other guy and there is only room for so many devils I guess. I was first out.
But I still had a blast. I survived intact and learned stuff about track and me. Track racing is so focused and distilled that it will highlight in bright yellow neon, any of your roadie weaknesses.
I came back for the Thursday session last night. Thursdays are more endurance focused. The C's were to do a 60 lap points race. We had about 15 people, and since people freak me out, and swarming freaks me out and I am a big wussy, I attacked on the first lap.
The attack didn't do anything but string things out a bit, but that was good for me. I don't remember much more about this race except going hard a lot and wondering how Jen C could keep attacking. Every ten laps there was a sprint for points with the top four scoring and I think I was 5th or 6th every single time. Not that I sprinted, I pretty much just kept going hard. I felt like a crazy hamster in a wheel. At one point I was freaked to see that we had 28 laps to go, and then I had to remember that we were on a track oval and not a crit course.
Somehow our group dwindled down to 6 riders. One guy got away with 9 laps to go and won and I swear I never even knew. I had no fricken clue what was going on in front of or behind me. Just run hamster run. Run round and round.
And then suddenly it was bell lap and then it was over. I didn't score a single point, but somehow I won a preme for a pound of Peets! And I got the most amazing compact little workout that is just perfect from cyclocross training. And maybe I can get my quads to the 60cm bethbarrier.
About a month ago I watched a Wednesday Night Track race. Ohhhweee it looked like a lot of fun. A lot more fun than sitting on the bleacher eating a burrito and taking pictures with a flash the size of a pen light.
That week I went out and bought a track bike. A cute (and cheap) little chrome pista.
All that chrome bling was just begging to be pimped. So Michael slapped some dope white walls on my ride and I headed out for a Saturday beginner session.
I needed to do one more Saturday in order to race on Wednesdays. Since I have decided to stop racing, I now have time to race.
We started Saturday out with a 30 lap paceline. Its a little disconcerting when you don't have brakes to let go and get close to the wheel in front. But after a bit I eased into it and as long as you are paying attention to the pace up ahead, as well as the wheel in front of you, its good.
Then we did whistle sprints. I had to sprint against 3 guys including a former football player. I learned that if I grunt and growl while sprinting I go faster. My standing sprint was decent, my sitting sprint was for shit. My sprintmates were nice and let me win sometimes. Not that we were racing or anything.
Then we did an 11 (normal is 3) person team sprint. What a cluster fuck that was. We didn't know what the hell we were doing. What a mess. What fun.
Then we did some other stuff that I can't totally remember. And then I did a really long cool down mostly because I didnt want to get off my bike. They had to practically kick me out of the velodrome. I couldn't wait until Wednesday.
And now its Wednesday and my little donk pista is in the car.
And I got the email for whats on tap for tonight's races and the first event is a chariot race.
I don't remember doing any of those on Saturday. And I am pretty sure I would have remembered something named after a gladiator thingie what with the recent men in skirts fascination.
So my first ever track race event will be a Chariot race. cool. Giddydamnup!
Oh, and don't laugh at me because I can't ride up to the boards yet.
Today I decided to commute on my bike. My training is only 2 miles from my house. I know... you’re thinking I could walk too, its not a big deal, but to me it is. I have wanted to commute to work on my bike since I moved here, which was more than 15 years ago. I attended a small college where I could commute everywhere and when I graduated I vowed to continue. I still haven’t worked up the nerve because I work in the worst part of town. Forget about the glass and the flat tire magnet debris scattered everywhere, forget about the lack of bike lanes, forget about crossing an overpass while cars are exiting on and off the freeway, it is just plain unsafe because it is a gang “claimed” hood. Let me put it this way, some long time residents never venture to my working neighborhood. I think about it all the time when I drive back and forth to work when I finally build the nerve, that morning a street is crossed off with yellow tape, I read about some drive by near where I would have to ride by and I just chicken out. I am one big scaredy cat.
But my training is in the direct opposite direction. It is being held in an all boy’s Catholic High School, so for the first time in my life I was able to bike to work today. I already learned a few tips like:
1.Don’t wear pants that show butt crack 2.wear gloves its chilly in the morning 3.roll up pant leg 4.unroll pant leg (it took me until break time to do this, no one said a word to me, they just let me walk around class like a little goober...but my group is very forgiving, what can you expect from a jumper clad, seasonal sweater wearing finger waggers? Today we all are going to be on the don’t side of fashion, you may not be so lucky) 5.don’t forget keys in work place ( that can never happen when you drive but bike commuting...)
Boy’s schools are weird venues for training elementary teachers. They didn’t have enough women’s bathrooms so they converted their boy’s rooms to women’s restrooms. Most of my colleagues couldn’t get past the stinky urinals...not me.
There are no mirrors anywhere...one of my colleagues grabbed a colored lipgloss instead of the clear balm she usually wears and it was pretty funny because you put on lip balm much more carelessly than lip colored gloss...I didn’t tell her about that neither.
We have our lunch catered and they insist we wear our name badges so some of the catholic football team practicing doesn’t try to sneak in and eat our lunch, yeah I could see how they might mix us up.
The caterer is the same company our Deli Diva sang Aretha Franklin's motown hit, Son Of A Preacher Man
I am hoping they don’t recognize me, I don’t want my worlds to collide again. Maybe they won't ask to see my name badge.
Today was my first day back to work...sort of, I had to report to a week long training session. I don't expect you to feel sorry for me, I know I am one of those lucky ones that get summers off...but still...*sniff, *sniff a little indulgence please, here's my violin song, You're welcome to sing along to the tune of Bye Bye Love.
I've been playing it in my head all day, while I try to shock my brain in to thinking.
Bye Bye lovely life Bye Bye happiness, hello bitterness I think I'm gonna cryyy... Bye Bye lovely bike, Bye Bye legs with zest, Hello laundry list, I feel like I could die...
Now there's a sad song. Summer is officially over for me. At least I checked everything off my summer to do list.
The invitations went out last week, Warrior Sue threatened to spank any of us if we dared DNF or DNS for her hometown race. With our leader going batty and our bunny playing doctor our sextuplet was down to a quad squad. Sue was not letting any of us bail.
As soon as I arrived it became evident she not only succeeded getting us to the start she intimidated any other team from registering in our category. It was at the start line that our warrior’s master plan was unveiled...she planned an end of the season party for our own Kitty cat, Erika.
Yeah, don’t be fooled by how cute Sue is... She made the soldiers stand to attention in mutual respect.
Grinning from ear to ear, we thought of endless possibilities we could do today. How often do you get to race with ONLY your teammates? How do we do this? I just couldn’t get my mind wrapped around it...this momentary celebration was squashed by the news there would be only 3 prizes...3 velo promo tees were in our 4 lap future. No worries being the Latina fashionista that I am, I mentally recorded an image of 3 cut up tees resewn to create 4. I may have to enlist the help of a bunny.
We entered the 30+ W event mainly because I am a lightweight and could not possibly handle 6 Heinekens of this race, Hennekens is Ft. Ord’s make or break climb that lasts 3- 4 minutes and after a few of them I just get woozy. Besides it was the only category we all could compete in together. I just couldn’t believe our luck you mean all other women were up for the 6 pak? Dang...that’s tolerance.
So... how do you race when all your teammates are in the same cat? We discussed this at length, we could do all those things you wished you could do but were too afraid of the drop page factor.
Oh...with endless possibilities our quad squad began our list. Linda crossed the double line, with no screaming nor protests from our opponents. Erika wished for a pee break where she could read the daily paper and take her time pulling up her drawers. Sue wanted to call the winner by unsprinting, I brought my camera and perfected the technique of “non climbing” dedicated to the climbing challenged cyclists...imagine a race where you wouldn’t be dropped on the main climb, that was my wish.
I wish I could show you more pictures but I dropped my camera and somehow after 3 Heinekens, the manual control went wacko... But I got a picture of this lovely bum...
Anyway as much fun as we wanted to have the weather was very uncooperative, the refs had no idea it was a Bella bash, and we spent most of the time getting whipped around by the headwinds pretending to race lest we get pulled from the event. With the early warning from the officials they would not wait all day for us, we figured we only had to NOT be the last cats out on the course. Thank God those 3’s had to do 6 laps, way to put it out there for the Bella quad squad, we barely managed to unsprint our finish when they rolled around for their final lap.
We did have one eventful inSUEdent (its not a race with Sue unless there is an incident.). Her cosmic red target knee attracted a bee. While celebrating our victories, eating killer burgers and fries her knee just exploded in size. Sue is an anti doping activist and refused to get on the Velobella “medical program”, but with the three of us pinning her down, we managed to pop some benedryls into her mouth.
Check it out.
Oh and the doggies thank the kitty people for the killer burgers leftovers.
Happy End of The Season to Erika. You are an awesome teammate!