Since shacking up in SoCal beginning in late March, I’ve been concentrating on swimming, partially because it’s GORGEOUS AND I GET TO SWIM OUTDOORS HERE!!! …. and mostly by default: running and biking haven’t happened since unraveling some old injuries. Tis a pity, seeing as I have a sweet new bike setup and brand new fit, but we’ll have to talk about that another day. For now I want to talk about a little swim meet I did and my experience doing the “aquabeer” at Wildflower.
You know I grew up swimming. That doesn’t mean that I love it, it certainly doesn’t mean I’m the fastest one in the pool, and I’m definitely not swimming 9x a week or anything (though I could, seeing as there are pools and practices EVERYWHERE here). I am putting in about twice as many yards as I ever did while training in Chicago. <rant> Gains in swimming are infinitesimal and don’t happen overnight, or even in one season. They aren’t even measured in seconds, sometimes, but in how you feel going into and coming out from the water: are you anxious? Do you have to soft pedal the opening miles of the bike? If you want to play at the pointy end of the race, you have to get in the water. A lot. A lot more than 2x a week, swimming behind the same people, never pushing or making it uncomfortable for yourself. </rant>
On April 27 I partook of my first swim meet since college. The Conejo Vally Multisport Masters (CVMM) group has been wonderful and welcoming, and I was happy to register for the 500 free to try to earn a few points for the team’s standings at this little regional champ meet. Coach Nancy Reno and her staff are legit swimmers who put together great workouts that really challenge me and help set benchmarks. I’ve identified exactly where I’m weakest (swimming 25s, 50s, and 100s –still can’t sprint!), and where I’m stronger (finding a pace and nailing it). I had formed a general idea how to swim the event: to take the first 100 for what it was (it would be fast given the dive and initial adrenaline rush), but manage the effort so as not to completely fall apart in the back half. Ideally my last 100 would be my fastest, but since I hadn’t swum the 500 in 19+ years I didn’t give myself enough credit to pull off a negative-split like that.
The 500 was the first event on Saturday morning, which allowed us to get in a good warm-up and do the event as a swim test, then move on with the rest of our day (Dusty had a ridiculous bike and run. I sat by the pool). I had thrown out my back TWICE in the previous week, though, so wasn’t sure if I was going to participate. We got there and I just felt like jumping in the (gorgeous, sparkling) water. I’m really glad I gave it a shot, since my back loosened up nicely during warm-up in my ol’ practice suit.
The hardest part of the day was squeezing in to my new Blue Seventy neroXII race suit before the event. Anyone remember paper suits? It’s like that, but with way less “accidental transparency” (plus it’s now available in blue and pink!). I had never used the suit before, and decided to go into the event “dry” (ie with no splashy-splashy before diving off the block). What a feeling! The FINA-approved suit is really incredible: via space-age voodoo, it basically repels water so you have that shark skin effect, and it compresses your bits so there’s no extra flop when you flip. Quite a rush.
Thankfully we had done some sets off the blocks at Saturday morning workouts, so I remembered how to keep my goggles on and didn’t mess up my depth too much. What’s eerie is as soon as I dove off the block, my mind went blank and all I did was swim. I didn’t over-think, and I wasn’t distracted so kept count myself (but big thanks to CVMM’s Addie for being my lap counter anyway!), and I even put together my walls and underwaters with both feet planted on my turns and tight butterfly-kickin’ streamlines. I guess it was like “going back to my roots” –back to summer league swim meets when all you had to do was GO –executing the race as your coach prescribed wasn’t even a *thing.* Really, though, I think it was the lack of pressure for tying something NEW(ish). I didn’t know how I’d do or what I was capable of, so let it all go and just swam. I really encourage everyone to join a masters team to make new friends, learn what “swimming like a swimmer” really means, and remember what it’s like to HAVE FUN on race day.
Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the results, and I like that you could play a game of “go fish” with my 50 splits.
On to Wildflower!
A few weeks ago, Dusty kindly skipped the Mulholland Challenge so as to allow me to preview the course at Wildflower. All I can say is… wow. After running a mere 5.4 miles of the course, I was totally OK when Coach Steve and I decided it was best if I didn’t push through 12.7 relatively untrained miles on race day. When Blair told me it would be best if I avoided using my hip flexors for a little while, not biking was kinda OK too. The Wildflower bike and run courses are really challenging, especially for a flatlander like me, and going into it crippled and out of shape wouldn’t have been too smart.
I would be “just swimming” the long course course on Saturday, and otherwise generally hanging out with the Wattie Ink crew there to support Heather Jackson as she defended her title from last year.
After a stop in Ventura for some MAT with Blair, and a quick lunch in oh-so-charming Solvang, Dusty and I arrived at Lake San Antonio on Thursday. We were greeted by Massi (who may or may not be associated with the now-famous Eurostar) and Mrs. Massi, Jeff “Pompadong” “Big Pompa” Mo, and Robert “Flabby” Flannigan, as well as Wattie, Heather “HJ” Jackson, Chris “ChiChi” Jackson (Heather’s dad, who races long course, as does her mom), the Leavitt family, and other assorted Inkers. It was great to meet people, and to be there early enough to enjoy a few beers before race nerves set in for everyone –or while Heather could still hide hers. =)
Friday was fairly quiet, beginning with breakfast in the VIP tent –where I ran in to the Anderson brothers (hey Gavin, update your blog!) and Michellie Jones– then a brief 10 minute swim chasing Heather and Jackie Arendt (unbeknownst to them). Later, we received shipment of our much-awaited special-order Blue Seventy Helix wetsuits! I took mine out of the package to admire it and let it flatten out a bit before its maiden voyage the following day. I was thrilled to find a cap and timing chip strap, some RAD STICKERS (which I love), as well as a bright yellow cap and matching Vision goggles, both of which will get a test run at the Tower26 open water swim workouts I’m going to starting next week! Squee, new equipment!
I prettymuch sat around and drank beer while everyone set up their bikes and started getting more and more “in the zone.” We Watties gathered at the top of Lynch Hill for a group photo shoot with Dusty’s buddy, Tyler Olson, as well as the Reynold’s Cycling (wheels, yo) reps. The pics look pretty badass, but I can’t share them yet Then early to bed, early to rise, etc.
Saturday wasn’t that early for me, actually. The pro race at Wildflower begins at a very civilized 8am, and transition remains wide open, you just have to have bikes racked by 7:30. I didn’t have to worry about a bike, but I did want to watch the start and Sherpa for Dusty as he set up. Michellie Jones and Julie Moss were emceeing the event… which, between Michellie’s Aussie accent-cum-drawl-cum-question-mark-at-the-end-of-each-statement? and Moss’ penchant to shout into the mic, was comedy (and not in the Lucy/Ethyl sense). Dusty got settled in and we watched many many waves together before he went off at 8:30. After bidding him adieu for his start, I had plenty of time to watch the pros come in, then see Dusty transition and take off on the bike before my wave at 9:20 –or so I thought.
Among the highlights –beside seeing Thomas Gerlach (who I didn’t realize was here) run up the boat ramp wearing shoes (not “pro” but it gave him a slight advantage)– was watching Wattie take pics and spot for Heather. He positioned himself on the boat ramp and signaled that Heather was 3 minutes behind the leaders after her non-wetsuit swim.
When you’re the defending champ and at the front of the race, you need this kind of help to inform your race tactics. Heather has always been a baller cyclist, but has sacrificed some of that speed in order to become a stellar runner (with a 1:14 open half-mary time). She has confidence in her run, and was able to run down ITU athlete Sarah Groff at the Olympic distance. Her race would require her to manage the competition and her effort on the bike to ensure a great run on in extremely challenging conditions (HJ’s ebullient race report here). I also got to see Dusty head out of transition onto the bike. He was being smart in the opening yards while the riff-raff around him were weaving all over the course.
So then I had aaaaaaaaall this time before my own wave, right? I meandered back into transition and put some things down in my spot, then started working in to my new wetsuit. Before I knew it, though, Michellie Jones was shouting “OKAAAY WEHMEN 35-39 WEETH THE BROITE GREEN KEPS? YOOAH NAEXT?” into the mic. FUCKBALLS! I yanked up my wetsuit and went barreling down the boat ramp (this “ramp” is like .2 miles long of sharp ouchy concrete, by the way), paused just long enough to get two other women to help me get my sleeves on and zip me up, then elbowed my way up to the front of the pack. The adrenaline was great, but so much for a good warm-up.
Before I knew it, Julie Moss was counting us down from 5, the airhorn blew, and we were off. I got a quick running (some would say “slightly illegal”) start and found myself a body length ahead. WOOO ADRENALINE! Before we got to the first buoy, however, I felt constant tapping on my feet. As we rounded the buoy, FOUR women surrounded me and quickly shot off into the distance. WTF? This is a new experience for me. Or, not since 2010 have I been so thoroughly trounced in the swim. I immediately started referring to (cursing) them as “the Cali girls,” and sure enough, when I reviewed the results later it turned out that all 4 were from California. The fastest of them went on to have a 25 minute swim split. Shitfire!
The remaining mile of the swim was pretty unremarkable: after the Cali girls went by I didn’t see another BROITE GREEN KEP to pace with. Instead I saw a sea of bobbing purple ones: my wave went off third-to-last and after the Team in Training wave. So. I spent a ton of time and effort weaving between the Teamsters, attempting to sight into the sun, and regretting not having the opportunity to soak my brand new (tight) wetsuit the night before. The Helix is amazingly buoyant with the most flexible arms of any wetsuit I’ve ever used, but it didn’t save my lats from getting a little tight (lack of warm-up is to blame, really, not the suit). I completed the swim in 30:21, which is pretty good, but I wish I had arbitrarily broken 30. (Concensus is that the course was about 200 yards long, accounting for slow pro splits and making me think I could have gone 28ish in better circumstances. C’est la vie!)
I decided it would be HILARIOUS to run through T1 in my wetsuit and steal the fastest split from whoever looks at that kind of thing. I shuffled up the boat ramp and straight to the bike out. Hilarity (?). The boat ramp is looooong and I was slooooow and can’t run right now, certainly not uphill. My split there was 1:49.
And that was the end of my race day.
I spent the rest of the day managing the heat and waiting for people to finish. I just missed Jesse THOMAS (NOT “THOMPSON,” Michellie and Julie) win his third Wildflower, but did see the bulk of the pro men come in. There was a lot of build up for Heather’s finish: she had taken the lead at mile 4 on the run, having finally caught superstud cyclist and dark horse Kat Baker, and was putting in time. After grabbing the tape in triumph, she immediately clutched her side, suffering from a major side stitch brought on by the massive downhill on Lynch just before the finish. That was her second win at Wildflower, and her third major win this season.
I “get” why both Heather and Jesse came back to Wildflower: Ironman St. George 70.3, which took place the same weekend, offered triple the appearance fee, triple the primes, triple the prize money, but Wildflower is a true, grassroots race with high production value, and EVERYONE is treated really well there. Your attendance is rewarded with a great event and rockstar status. I can’t neglect to admit that my experience was made particularly amazing for being there with Dusty (race report
pending COMPLETE!) and Wattie Ink: we had a great RV rental (I DON’T DO TENTS) set up in a little Wattie Ink enclave, right next to Wattie and Heather and everyone. We were hooked up with the VIP treatment, and got a ton of attention from the Tri California folks as well as grateful and generous Wattie Ink sponsors including PowerBar, Scott Bikes, Reynolds, and BlueSeventy (in absentia). The Wattie Ink Elite Team is twice as big as it was last year, which makes it an unruly but noisy bunch of promoters, but also means that we had people finishing across the board, all day; from OG and neo-pro Erin Green, to overall female winner (Sarah Barkley), through all the age groups, to second-to-last. Heather’s likeness, smile and tats and midriff and all, was engraved on the back of this year’s prize medals –even Jesse’s, which was funny. Here’s fellow Wattie Gerry Forman, the new owner of the 75-79 course record and all-around inspirational guy, with his.
Saturday night was the awards ceremony (where we squatted with Wattie and Heather as well as Jesse THOMAS and his something-like-37-week-pregnant and arguably-the-best-athlete-in-attendance wife, Lauren Fleshman), and a huge party (made sweeter by being able to toast the champ, and made weirder when we merged with Triathlete Magazine’s party). Sunday was a major shift in weather and the Olympic distance race (featuring a major Collegiate competition). All in all, Wildflower was a great time, and I highly recommend making the trip to anyone who wants to feel close to both the roots and the stars of triathlon.
So I had this whole navel-gazing post all worked up in advance of my birthday this Saturday, but have decided to publish it another time (like, maybe on Saturday). Meanwhile, I noticed someone was directed to my blargh here by searching for the “’shower smoothie’ recipe.”
I don’t know if the searcher was looking for Craig Alexander’s recipe, here (scroll down), or what, but I have a different favorite. It’s the deliciousness that’s pictured with my blue toes in a post-long-run ice bath.
Here’s the basic premise:
(frozen solids (fruit) + liquid) x blender = smoothie
smoothie + supplements = post-workout smoothie
post-workout smoothie + ((hungry)(stinky))^post-workout athlete = shower smoothie
Caution: the shower smoothie is prepared in the kitchen, but shower smoothie time is spent in the bathroom. If you have a problem mixing food with fixtures, this is not the recipe or recovery method for you.
First, choose your frozen solids:
Frozen bananas are kinda clutch, in my opinion. They make your shower smoothie frothy and filling. I peel and freeze smoothie bananas once cereal bananas become too ripe for my taste. My freezer looks like a banana morgue.
Choose your own “flavor fruit”: mixed berries, blueberries, mangos, cherries, even spinach (yes, I KNOW spinach isn’t a fruit). Take into account what kind of supplements you may be adding; don’t mix spinach with vanilla protein powder.
Next, choose your liquid:
I always have almond milk on hand, but you can use anything (except water. Blandzilla!): orange juice, apple juice, coconut water, coconut milk, regular milk, even iced tea. Almond milk is my favorite. Apple juice is good for “savory” smoothies like Green Monster-style spinach ones, and tea is nice because it lends herbaceousness and is non-caloric. I wouldn’t use tea with protein, though I’ve never tried it.
There’s plenty to choose from out there, but I like the vanilla flavored whey protein stuff from Whole Foods’ 365 line just fine. Adding protein makes a shower smoothie what it is –a recovery drink– and whey protein is faster absorbed than soy protein. I have this FRS concentrate stuff on hand if I just want a jolt in my breakfast fix.
Two “specialty” items I include in a good shower smoothie are lecithin granules (not pictured; I’ve run out) and flaxseed oil. Add 1-2 tablespoons of each. The oil has all yer Omega-3s and whatnot, which are good for your muscles, and the lecithin is good for your brain and nervous system and junk. The lecithin also acts as an emulsifier, so your water-based fruits blend nicely with the oil.
Pro tip: shake up your flaxseed oil and store it on its side in the feezer. There are solids in there –the hulls of the flaxseed which are high in fiber and good for you– and this helps squirt them out in even ratios with the oil.
Here we have:
1/2 banana + mixed berries + coconut milk + vanilla protein
Throw it all in there. There’s no point in measuring everything, especially after a workout when you’re just concerned with cramming something into your stomach, getting clean, and going to bed. If you’re an obsessive food logger, God bless you. Let’s just say a whole banana plus ¾ to 1 cup fruit needs about 1½ cups of liquid (?).
Serve and enjoy!
I’ve tried lots of combinations of all of the above. I think my absolute favorite so far, though, was this combo:
Banana + cherries + almond milk + vanilla protein (+lecithin + flax oil, optional) = amazeballs.
November 28, 2012 Update:
I just tried a new combo. I was dragging after my run this afternoon and realized I hadn’t had anything but coffee beforehand. Oops. HOWEVER I was about to leave for an insanely delicious meal involving approximately ZERO vegetables, so wanted something low cal and green to hydrate with. Enter HULK SMOOTHIE:
1/2 banana + 2 tbsp Green Vibrance* + frozen mango chunks + iced tea (+ flax oil, optional) =
This is a variation on a tried and true but about 500 calorie smoothie I’ve made while doing crazy cleanse diets:
1 full banana + 1 cup unfiltered apple juice + 2 tbsp each (Green Vibrance, lecithin, flax oil).
stay tuned. maybe i’ll keep adding to this post…
FIVE weeks and many many beers later, my memory and testimonial of the Galena Triathlon may not be too reliable. Luckily, this was my fifth time racing this event, it is near and dear to my heart, and it marks the kickoff of the tri season hereabouts. I have good institutional and emotional knowledge of Galena. It is a beautiful setting.
Setting (Geological): Galena is a sleepy, lush Mississippi-River-tributary town in the very northwestern corner of Illinois, that is carved out of the Driftless Region’s hills. Technically speaking, this area of the Mississippi River Valley is the hilliest shit we Midwesterners can hope for. The hills aren’t long, but they’re frequent and steep, and the race organizers do a pretty good job of finding some challenging roads for us to sweat on.
Setting (Sociological): Several Chicagoland triathlon clubs, including the Chicago Tri Club and Well-Fit, of course, use this race as their first major social/training/racing event of the year. Very large groups rent very large houses in the Galena Territory and Eagle Ridge, make a weekend of it, and turn the post-race party into a shit show (more on that later, maybe).
Setting (Political): I don’t know if it’s necessarily fitting that Galena is the home of U.S. Grant or not, but the Galena Triathlon has the power to divide houses. All things being equal – namely the reach of this race is hyper local, attracting mostly flatlanders who have little to no experience on hills this early in the Midwestern tri season – this race helps shake out “who’s fast/strong” among local athletes. It is surprisingly competitive, exceedingly difficult to get on the podium, and sets a baseline for the rest of the season. At least I’ve always seen it that way. In prior years, I had finished 7th AG, 6th AG, 4th AG, and (weirdly) 3rd OA, and basically had entire seasons to match those results.
Setting (Mental): Sparing some details here, a week and a half prior to this event, I snapped and left my life as I knew it. Training/sleeping/eating was pretty difficult (but had been for a while), but I got to move in to my friend Stacey’s spare office. Thank god for Stacey! Around this time, another major breakup involving a teammate and good friends took place, and my teammate Marc lost his father. The emotional milieu was NOT ideal, but (almost) everyone decided to make the best of it out of respect for the tradition of having insane amounts of fun at the race.
Let’s start a little before race day. Three weeks prior, a group of Well-Fitters rented a house and held a big bike weekend in the Galena Territory. I rode pretty well for 2 days, didn’t do much in terms of running (I mean it is so goddamn hilly, people) but dug a little hole for myself in the nutrition and sleep department. I didn’t rest or recover, or take in enough calories while training, and had a totally shitty bonk on our third day. I suppose it’s best to get that type of thing out of the way when training and hope you’re spared of the experience on race day.
Race weekend, we arrived in Galena laaaaaaate Thursday night in order to enjoy all of Friday doing “shake out” shit and race prep. This involved sleeping in, a group bike wash on the front porch, brief group ride in full race set-up mode, and a really fun swim. Unlike previous years (when organizers have kept a daily vigil by the thermometer, hoping that the lake temperature will come up enough to actually hold the swim and not force EVERYONE into a duathlon situation), there was no doubt the swim was on for race day. Friday, the water temp was comfortable enough that we left our wetsuits in the car. Thank you La Nina and global warming for the beautiful spring! Anyway, a group of us swam the entire course, with a king-of-the-mountain play break at the diving dock, obviously, and practiced a few beach starts.
Race day… I don’t even know what happened. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep and have no recollection of what I ate (English muffin and peanut butter, banana, Starbucks Double Shots as is my tradition … maybe? Boring!). We set up T2 and trundled over to T1 in this point-to-point setup. I did a little 8 mile ride (nearly killing Henry when he took a fun left turn right in front of me as I was descending at 30 mph. Fucker), said howdy to a few people, but generally tried to keep calm and not freak that there were 3 former pros in attendance (my former coach, Liz Waterstraat, Jenny Parker Harrison, and Jennifer Garrison (two of whom are in my age group)).
Who am I kidding: I was TOTALLY freaking out.
Somewhat-unfortunately for me, I insisted I be put in the F35-39 wave for USAT accuracy (which the race organizers are a little soft on). That took me out of the wave with the F30-34ers, who would have been great to race against too. My new wave went second-to-last. More time to watch friends in previous waves and be proud of my teammates. In retrospect the lesson is, if you have a chance to be in an earlier wave (and against the presumed winner), take it.
Swim: my new roomie Stacey and former coach Liz and I all toed the line together, front and center. The two of them planned to stay on my feet…like as part of their race plans. I mean, talk about pressure! So basically I went balls out and tried to look for them over my shoulder at the first turn. They were a few yards behind me, but as I looked for them I ran into two big dudes from a previous wave and a kayak, all hiding on the other side of the buoy. I popped my head up and screamed “MOVE! MOVE!!!” Although I could bust between them myself, there were 30 pairs of arms and legs behind me, too. I swam hard but never found a good rythem thanks to having to swim over so many bodies stranded by their waves. I exited the water first in my wave with Stacey close behind. Thanks to a clumsy attempt at wetsuit-stripping efficiency on my part, Stacey entered T1 before me. I was on a different rack, though, so I never saw her again (apparently we passed again at the mount line).
Bike: haaaard! My grand experiment for this race, as a swimmer/biker, was to blow myself out and try to hold on for the run. This is a biker’s course, but the run is, as always, important too. As is the way with hilly courses (especially after a hypoxic swim like I had), I never quite caught my breath during this ride. I don’t train or race with a heart rate monitor, and that’s probably a good thing or I may have psyched myself out. I stayed aero almost the whole ride (unless I was climbing at <11mph, or about to crash into someone who had crashed on the trickiest descent on the course). All power data from my Power Tap is long gone by now, unfortunately. It would have been fun to look at.
Run?: This didn’t go well. I started out feeling pretty strong, but soon the sun and unfamiliar heat got to me. I couldn’t feel my quads after that ride. Or more accurately ALL I COULD FEEL WAS MY QUADS SCREAMING AT ME. LIKE THIS!! AAAAAGH!!! About a hundred yards outside of transition, you have to run down a giant hill, then up another. I let my legs really spin for free speed on the downhills, but going up the other side they flipped me the bird. To keep this unpleasant portion of my race report brief: I melted. Down. Luckily there was some great stranger who was running slower than I, but who kept chugging along while I took little (walking, shh) breaks. He encouraged me every time he passed, urging me to stay strong, complimenting my pace, and saying “there ya go!” every time I passed him back. All I could muster was a “nice!” whenever he came around me.
Eventually I got over myself and wanting to die and realized Liz Waterstraat was a hard-charging runner and would be coming for me any second. Sure enough, on a switchback about a mile from the finish, I saw her coming. I dug deep and kept running, knowing a pass so close to the finish would be hard for her and heartbreaking for me.
Settling: The finish line is a little like the first day back at elementary school. There are not only bananas cut in half and wax paper cups filled with bright liquid, but a lot of familiar faces and people you’ve lost touch with during the off-season. Lots of asking about summer plans, lots of “how ya been, how’d ya do?” stuff. I rehydrated and took a little walk with some teammates, then ran back to the after party. The waiting game is intense, eased with more fun conversation (and, in my case, a little Frisbee, and a handstand competition with an 8 year old). There was a lot of speculation among the 30-34-35-39 women under the Well-Fit tent as to who did what. I was told by agents doing recon (“WHAT WAS YOUR TIME?”) that I most likely got 4th overall, winning my age group, at least. Cool, hand me another beer now, please.
By awards time I was pretty well ruddy with sunburn and drink, and I gave up caring about results. They finally got to my age group and rattled off Stacey’s name… which meant… something… I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Liz won the age group. My name wasn’t called. They probably fucked up my timing thanks to switching waves. I decided to go for a jump in the Bounce House instead of caring. I handed out a few high-5s to people heading up for their awards. Then they called my name.
Swim (660 yards) 8:53
Bike (16.8 miles) 48:02:00
Run (4.3 miles) 32:20:00, pace 7:31
This was 8 seconds behind 2nd (my teammate, Erin), and another stellar competitor, Adrienne Shields, who crushed us all with her run.
Hand me another beer.
Sorry I’ve been MIA during what has turned out to be a gorgeous early spring here in the Midwest! Although I’ve always been one of those people who says “I could never live anywhere that doesn’t have all four seasons,” I have to say I now *get* the appeal of a non-existent (or at least curtailed) winter.
The great weather and resultant vitamin D-induced high has not only inspired a few dreams of running away to anywhere in the Southwest, but has:
- healed up my calf injury, and I’m happy to report that I’m back at running (within reason –I still have to be smart, which is HARD). I’ve been hitting the track and hill repeats, the transition runs, and some hour-ish whatever runs, and will be working on getting my long runs longer in anticipation of Kansas 70.3
- inspired me to get outside and not spend my weekends shackled to this laptop, which is how I spend most of my weekdays. So, sorry for the lack of BLARGH entries, here.
Watt I’ve been doing instead of Blarghing:
I’ve been rolling with an ever-changing crew of Well-Fit Elite and Development Teammates out in the suburbs for a 50-something mile ride once a weekend. This ride is honestly the highlight of my week: Chase tapes a $10 speaker and his iPod between his aerobars and bumps a really random mix of terrible songs the whole way. We dance and sing, and when “Jump Around” comes on, it’s time to bunny-hop and practice those bike handling skills…on your TT bike. AWESOME!
A few weeks ago I participated in the Barry-Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race. I say “participated” instead of “raced” because I was COMPLETELY unprepared for the thing. This was my maybe-fourth time on my CX bike, definitely-first time riding it more than 9 miles, and virgin-run as far as, uh, gravel or the 2-mile stretches of deep sand and puddles. To everyone who said “with your power, it should be no problem,” I say EFF-U, it was a problem. However, after I let my ego get bruised within the first 5 miles, I had a really, really, really fun 30 left to enjoy. The best part (for me) was the last 4 miles on ACTUAL PAVEMENT (thank God), where I got to channel my inner Fabian Cancellara, drape my forearms over my bars, and TT my way home.
TT? Did someone say TT? Yup… To Be Continued in next post…!