Sunday, March 29, 2009

Semi-Productive Weekend

Well, despite the weather, we still got some stuff accomplished this weekend. On Saturday we drove through some mud so we could do some trail work. Afterwards, Chris's truck looked like this..

...But its a truck and that's what its supposed to look like. I told him I'd be more than happy to drive it to work like that.

On Sunday we figured we'd wait for the sunny and 56 to happen..and ride later in the afternoon, but the sun and warm temps never made an appearance. So we sucked it up and headed up to Snake Creek Gap where it was 48 and windy. The riding was still pretty good, as nearly all of the singletrack was dry. The creeks were deep and the feets got thoroughly soaked, which made for a chilly 8 mile road ride back to the car, which was parked at the top of the mountain.

Of course the forecast for tomorrow is 70 and sunny...on a rest day AND a day when I'll be stuck in the office. Summer where are you??!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The rain hath ended?

Looks like the sun is desperately trying to peek through the clouds. I'm hoping to at least get out for a ride on the pavement if the roads dry up a bit. Tomorrow they are calling for thunderstorms, so that might throw a wrench in our plans of going to Pine Log and sawing out some more logs. I'm ready for 80 degrees and sunny any day now...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rain Again

Blaugh! I went to the chiro this morning for a tune back has been a bit sore when I run..go figure. I hit the pool afterwards as I need to get back into swimming, especially since bombing down Snake Creek Gap, Pine Log, and Fort Mountain will soon become a distant memory. I think I have another month maybe before I'm relegated to forest roads and road rides.

Apparently my body was still pretty tired from the race Saturday, so I decided against going hiking in the rain today (tough decision, eh?) in favor of going to go get my hair done at the salon. Yes, underneath the dirt and rough exterior, I really am a girl..

Monday, March 23, 2009

Natchez Trace Adventure Race

Yes, I just HAD to do one more race! I'm thinking this REALLY will be my last one until Nov/Dec.

Julia and I made the 5 hour drive to Natchez Trace State Park on Friday afternoon, and thanks to the time zone change, barely made it there for check-in. Thankfully Kevin was already there and had our TA set up so all we had to do was unload the car and go to sleep. I couldn't find any info on this race, even though it has been going for a few years now, so I didn't know what to expect.

We didn't get our race maps and instructions until the next morning when the race started. Nothing like plotting on the clock! Each team had a certain sequence they had to do the various bike and trek sections in, so this helped to eliminate follow-the-leader situations. It also meant you had no idea how you were really doing, but it did a good job of taking the pressure off.

We started with a bike section, which had 15 checkpoints and a lot of road riding. Ugh..road riding. I've been avoiding road riding like the plague, unless I'm doing a recovery ride and poking along at a 135 HR. The terrain was gently rolling with short climbs, so by the end, my legs were starting to tire from all the big-ring mashing that they just weren't used to. One of the special tests was apparently figuring out which trails to use to get to all the points, because there were a ton of trails and roads out there that weren't on the map. Once we kind of figured out that they hung the CP's relatively close to the next unmapped trail you were supposed to take, the navigation became pretty easy. We finished that section in less than 3 hours and made it back to our TA.

Next we had a running section where I gladly handed off the map to Kevin so I could just relax (ha!) and concentrate on following along. It was mostly bushwhacking and pretty short, so we were back to the TA 40 minutes later.

Next a 4 mile bike to another short run section, where we again knocked all the points off without incident. I think this section took us a little over an hour. I managed to roll my ankle on this section, but it thankfully didn't cause any permanent damage.

Our final section, was to be the paddle so I was happy to just plop my butt in the canoe and knock out what looked to be an easy 4 mile paddle with 5 easy CPs to pick up along the way. At the far end of the paddle, we had saw another team - an all male team - coming into some CP's right as we were leaving. Now we had chasers, so now we had motivation! No matter that they weren't in our way were we going to let them catch us without a fight!

We paddled pretty hard to ensure they didn't creep up on us and hustled into the finish after 6 hours and 20 minutes. There we were were greeted by a smirking race official who handed us another sheet of coordinates for another (SURPRISE!) running section. All hopes of chowing down at the post-race buffet were shot and we had to go retrieve more points!!! Worse than that was the fact that we had to move somehat quickly since we had that all male team still close behind us.

Thankfully Kevin got us through this section quickly and we finished about an hour and 20 minutes later. We were not surprised with any additional tasks or checkpoints, so we headed straight for the buffet without even changing out of our bike shorts.

The all male team that was chasing us came in close to 40 minutes later and the next coed team was several hours later. A fun day in the woods for sure!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pinhoti Happiness

Had a great ride on the Pinhoti today. Conditions were perfect and the trail was smokin' fast. Ahhh, Heaven!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back to Normal (or at least my version)

Even though my garage is still full of cones, bike racks, and other race supplies, the race has come and gone and my Gmail box is back to its normal level of activity. Between race related work and the lousy weather, I logged a whopping 4.5 hours of riding last week...and that was ALL I did. It would have been nice to do something on Sunday, but I just couldn't bring myself to go out and get cold and wet again. Instead, we all went out for a really nice dinner and ate way too much food.

Things are looking good for this week...good weather and not much going on at the office, so my stress level should be pretty low. I'm racing this weekend at Natchez Trace up in Tennessee. It's an adventure race, so it shouldn't be too intense, I'm just hoping they don't make us do a 1 mile sprint right at the start. My HR hasn't been over 165 in weeks and well...I quite enjoy that! Nothing like having a legitimate excuse to NOT have to hammer all the time.

For those that are always the last to know, I guess its safe to let the cat out of the bag and say that Chris and I are expecting in September. I've been reading a lot of books, and I have to say I'm disappointed at the information that's out there - including from some old-fashioned Doctors. I know the books/advice are meant to make pregnant women feel better, but all they REALLY do is ENABLE women to be lazy, gain a bunch of excess weight, and instill fear in you of what can possibly happen next. How about a book that EMPOWERS women..."So you're pregnant, now get off your ass!". Granted, I had a two week stint from 6-8 weeks where I was nauseous all the time, extremely fatigued, and pretty much wanted to crawl in hole and die...BUT I still sucked it up and managed around 8-10 hours a week of light exercise. I did feel better...and the activity got my mind off the nausea. Once I took charge of my body again and got past the fatigue and nausea, everything started to feel normal again, and since then I've been able to resume my usual activities, although I keep myself in the aerobic HR range whenever possible. I don't feel the need to "eat for two" (perhaps I was already doing that anyways..) and I feel good about myself and the fact that I haven't gained any excess weight yet. Moral of the story? Life isn't over just because you're pregnant, and once I myself understood that, my entire outlook on the situation changed.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blankets Creek Dirty, Cold, and Rainy Duathlon

Whew! Another one in the books. As happy as I was yesterday when I was able to mark the course without getting rained on, this morning we were greeted with pretty steady rain that started about 30 minutes after we set up registration. I was fairly concerned when it was 7:15 and there were only about 10 cars in the parking lot. Of course everyone waited till the last minute to show up to registration, so they got to stand in a mile long line, all the while getting rained on. My fingers were frozen from flipping through wet numbers and I couldn't WAIT to get out of registration and get some feeling back in my limbs. We had a fair number of no-shows, so thankfully parking and TA space were not an issue.

The conditions were pretty miserable...steady rain and 40 degrees with a cold breeze every once and again. There wasn't a whole lot of cover, so I was really glad I wasn't racing and could hide under the timing tent.

The run seemed to go pretty well, but the bike was a disaster for a lot of folks. Tons of mechanicals...mostly people walking out with their chains in their hands or brake problems. OutSpokin had a good day, where Thomas Turner and Derek Boyd took first place in the 2 person male and Julia Radmann won the overall women's title. Everyone who finished the bike course was covered from head to toe with mud...most looked like they had rolled around in it, but I don't think that was the case.

Two high end Specialized Bikes were awarded via a banana eating contest, where the much smaller women had to go into triple OT and ended up eating the same number of bananas as the men.

In the end, the only malfunction we had was with the printer as it wouldn't feed the damp paper, so we weren't able to post full results for folks to see. Perhaps that was for the best, as some folks tend to be overly concerned about their split times. Some more pleasant weather would have been nice, but we had a good crowd of spectators and sponsors despite the conditions. Now its time to relax..I wish the weather called for sun tomorrow, as I just don't think I can tolerate any more rain after today.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eventful day

A few hours of work, a 3 hour ride at Pine Log and 5 hours of race bag stuffing...meh! I'm tired!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Can I just get some ME time?

Ayeee...down to the wire and the Dirty Duathlon is in 4 days. Anyone who's put on a race knows that no matter how good of a planner you are or how far in advance you start planning...$hit always happens at the last minute that throws a wrench in the works.

Volunteers fall through, sponsors want this or that or both, and constant racer questions...What tire should I use? What if it rains? What is a transition area? How does a duathlon exactly work? I'm disappointed that the course is shorter. Can I switch my T-shirt size? Arghh!!!!!!!!

On the bright side, it will all be over in just a few more days...Tomorrow will likely be my only decent ride of the week.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy Now...

What a fantastic weekend! The sun and warm temps more than made up for the absolute crap we were handed last weekend.

The weekend kicked off with an easy road ride on Friday night, followed by a ride at Pine Log on Saturday afternoon. It was SO NICE stepping out of the car and actually having to REMOVE layers! We had a great ride, climbing to the towers and then descending via the usual Hanging Mountain route. We tried sawing the log out of one of the better rock gardens, but were limited by the size of the saw and waning daylight...we were SO CLOSE! Stubborn Tree! We're going to head up there in the near future and just walk that 6-7 mile section with some bigger tools and a chainsaw to clean it up a bit. The pinetree descent that we already cleared was again a zillion times better. Even Chris had fun and I think he likes that I'm faster on the scary looking stuff. I think he also likes that I now have an excuse to go slower on the climbs, but you'd never know it since he was off-the-front for most of the ride...both up and down. We followed the ride with about 10 lbs of Mexican food, which my stomach clearly did not have room for...

Sunday was another visit to Fort Mountain to get in some good 'ol suffering on the East West Loop. After four days of riding I'm surprised my legs were even functional, and amazingly I cleaned all but a 2 foot section on every straight up and rocky pitch in that place (minus those 6 or so tight switchbacks of course...) Highlight of the day was barreling down a downhill and seeing a family of black bears on the road right in front of me. It was a momma and two cubs, so we gave them a few minutes to move on before continuing. Of course that section of the trail seemed to switchback in the same area for over a mile, so I was constantly looking around for big black things moving in the woods...we definitely didn't want to spook them and make the mother feel threatened. Yeah, its quite a challenge to roll down a typical Ft. Mtn downhill when scanning the woods for bears....thankfully we didn't see anymore wildlife on our ride and made it back to the car in good spirits. Despite its toughness, I really like the East West Loop. Its like a Pine Log that actually gets ridden once in a while and cleared out occasionally.

Right now I'm soaking up my Vitamin D on the back deck, nursing a glass of sweet tea hoping that my hubby makes it home from the O-meet though all the drunken NASCAR race traffic. is good...and Miss Banshee thinks so too!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Recharged my Batteries

Finally...some decent riding weather! We headed up to Pine Log today and rode for about 3 hours. Since the weekend was so miserable, I hadn't been on the MTB since last Wednesday, so I think I was going through withdrawl!

The ride was good, the weather was good, and the company was good. I'm looking forward to four more days of sunshine and warm temps. Perhaps I can work on getting rid of my winter white legs!

Sunday, March 1, 2009