Monday, November 30, 2009

Georgia Cross - Elks Aidmore

The second to last stop of the Georgia Cross Series was this past weekend. Of other notable news, our entire household has been sick for the entire month of November. I am keeping Kimberly Clark in business by buying more Kleenex every week!

Anyways, back to the was a really fun course. Lots of high speed corners and fast downhills. Wish I had the opportunity to ride my SS there, as it would have been a great SS cross course.

I had a bad start as I pulled out of my pedal and couldn't get clipped back in quickly enough. I think I had to settle for 5th place going into the woods, which was not what I had planned. We immediately hit some off camber singletrack, and as the riders in front of me slowed, I could see the two leaders pulling away quickly. On a small climb I was able to pop back into 3rd but I botched riding through a ditch a little later, caused a bit of a pile up and lost even more time to second place. By the time I got back on my bike 2nd place was well out of sight. I tried to chase but guess I didn't have that "extra" gear, so I just rode steady. There were a couple of attacks from Becca and Elizabeth, but both riders slowed after attacking so I was able to maintain contact. I pretty much just waited for the others to get worn down a bit, then picked it up and rode off into 3rd place by myself, picking up time in the technical sections.

Next weekend is the final race, which I am thankful for as all these Sunday Cross races, while great fun, are a huge hinderance to my endurance training. I really wish the races were Saturday instead..

Hopefully by early December, Jayden and I can finally get rid of our colds and I can get back to some semblance of actual training. I'm looking into hiring a coach for 2010 so I can try to get back into XC racing shape. I'd like to build some power and improve my speed so that I don't have to use a "wait for the other riders to get tired" strategy in cross. It looks like I'll be focusing on shorter races next year, as well as some off-road duathlons.

Here's our podium..I'm trying to get Jayden comfortable with being up here for when she starts out-riding me!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Barnsley Gardens CX

One word...MUDFEST!

I don't think I have ever felt quite so retarded while doing a cross race...EVER! After being sick all week and not riding and then hearing that the course would be roadie style, I wasn't terribly motivated. I basically figured I'd show up, see what happened, hope I didn't go into a coughing fit during the race, and collect my series points.

My morning started early, as I went to help Chris set up for an Orienteering meet that we (well, really HE) were hosting at Sope Creek. My "help" consisted of dragging 50 lbs of water out into the woods in the tow-behind kid carrier on a saturated Sope Creek trail. It was raining hard when we got there and I figured I'd be going slow anyways, so I didn't feel like taking off my hood and putting on a helmet. I met some runners out on the trail and they must have thought I was the worst parent ever with helmet-less mom dragging the kid trailer around in the 40 degree rain and mud. If they only knew all I had in there were water jugs, and thankfully they didn't see when I flipped the whole damn thing over on my way back in. only pair of bike shoes were soaked and they would remain that way until I put them back on when I got to the cross race.

When I got to Barnsley Gardens, I noticed that the racers were completely covered in mud. Apparently the course had been changed back to its original format and was grassy and very muddy. I was horribly unprepared, as I had left my spiked bike shoes at home, which resulted in me slipping and sliding all over on the messy running sections. Running is usually a strength of mine, but you'd never know it with how I was flailing around out there. I then made the #1 stupid decision of the day and opted to ride my MTB after a quick pre-ride on the cyclocross bike. There were some corners that I couldn't ride well on my CX bike, but I figured I'd be fine on my MTB. WRONG! They were so chewed up by the time we raced that I was off my bike running anyways. I felt like I was just doing everything wrong...picking bad lines and sliding out and bogging down...falling into a creek up to mid-thigh and having to "seal" myself back out...cursing under my breath as my fat tires just bogged down in the peaunt butter mud...and generally just not wanting to push hard...argh!

I rode with two others for 2 laps and we swapped out the lead as each other would fall down or slide out. I think on the third lap we lost one girl and were down to two. I took the lead again as Becca slid out in tight corner. We hit a slippery singletrack section and then all of a sudden it was quiet behind me. When I made it to the long run up the spectators said I had a good 10 second gap. At that point I figured I needed to get my head on straight and ass in gear. I ran hard up that run to get out of sight and had finally gone around enough times to start picking the faster lines through the mud. Over the next 3 laps or so I built up a nice gap by finally starting to ride smarter and was conveniently caught my the men's leader right near the finish so I was done on that lap. I couldn't believe I pulled out a win with how things had shook out, but I guess the other girls were having issues as well. Next stop, Conyers!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On the mend?

So I finally went to the doctor yesterday and got some antibiotics. I SEEM to be feeling better, however, it is Thursday and this is usually the day where I come down with some new, miserable we shall see.

Apparently with the forecasted rain this weekend, the Barnsley Gardens cross course went from "tight and technical" to a mixture of pea gravel and pavement...yuck! Sounds like a suffer fest to me or perhaps a recipe for some road rash - both of which I am not looking forward to. The thought of resting up all weekend to go ride 45 minutes on pea gravel is fairly unappealing to me, so I think I might just head up to do the Chili Dawg ride on Saturday (in the rain...yay!) and show up at the cross race with whatever I have left in my legs and collect my series points. It would be nice to win the series, but at the same time, its a real hassle to HAVE to show up when you're feeling crappy or have a better alternative. Grumble Grumble...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Paulding Meadows Cyclocross

Another week of having a it has taken residence up in my lungs so I spent the greater part of last week coughing up crap. I've decided to go for the Series Overall in cross, so I have to make an appearance at the remaining races...hoping to be healthy by Barnsley Gardens next weekend.

We raced at Paulding Meadows park, which is the site of the very first cross race I ever did back in 2000 or 2001...before all the cool kids were racing cross. The course this past weeknd was the best I've raced on at that park. Very twisty and some super fun, fast, swoopy downhill sections. The sand on the backside was interesting, but it was pretty packed down by the time we raced so it was fairly benign. There were some muddy sections too, mostly on downhills, so I opted to ride my mountain bike again. I knew I'd lose a bit of time on the paved climbs and straightaways, but I'd gain some time in the mud and have a heck of a lot more fun on the downhill sections.

I got a good start, either that or the other girls LET me have a good start, as I kind of have a target on my back after finishing pretty consistent at the last few races. I popped into the grass in the lead and was able to maintain it the entire race. I'd gain a few seconds in the muddy sections, which forced the other girls to have to work harder on the paved climbs to catch back up. I think this took a lot out of them, because after the first lap, I started to open up a sizable gap.

Riding the mountain bike made the course just seem more fun, as even with the fork locked out, it was a much smoother ride than on my cross bike. By my last lap, I had a 1.5+ minute gap, and I could hear the men's race leaders charging up behind me on the course. I only got passed by one guy, but it meant I was done on that lap so I eased up a bit on the final half mile, as my throat was starting to hurt pretty bad...that and my legs were just a wee bit tired.

When I finished, I was very pleased with the victory, but I felt pretty crappy. My throat was dry and irritated, so coughing was pretty unpleasant. The hot 75 degree weather wasn't helping either! After about 10 minutes of drinking fluids, my body settled back down so that I could retrieve my bikes and feed Jayden. I was so dirty that little chunks of mud kept falling out of my hair onto her while she was nursing. Thankfully she didn't notice and was just happy enough to be back in mommy's (dirty yet loving) arms.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Georgia State Cyclocross Championships

After coming down with a nasty fever and sore throat on Thursday night, I thought my hopes of bringing the Georgia CX State Champion Jersey back to the Randall household were all but gone. Thankfully my fever subsided Friday afternoon and with the help of some extra strength Tylenol, we packed up the car Saturday morning and made the long drive to Savannah. Jayden slept the entire 4+ hour drive, even when we stopped to eat lunch. I actually had to wake her up to feed her when we were half way, for fear she'd wake when we were on the road again and turn into a ravenous, screaming velociraptor. She was so conked, we had to do everything short of dumping water on her to get her eyes to open.

When we got to the venue at the Savannah Speedway - a dirt stock car track - I found that the course was flat and extremely sandy. There were a lot of sandy corners and if you overcooked any of them, you'd be on the ground and likely out of contention. There was also a short section of the course that had some BMX style humps that were pretty fun, although I wasn't going to try to jump anything on my cross bike. I was a little worried about Sunday's race because the course didn't seem like one that favored any of my was fast, flat, and only had two short off-the-bike sections.

Only 6 girls lined up at the start (as opposed to the 12 we had at the previous race I did), 5 from Georgia and Kim F. from Tennessee. Only the Georgia residents were eligible for the jersey, and we knew Kim would likely just ride away from all of us, so it was a race for second place in the race AND the State Champion Jersey.

Becca went out hard after Kim and I could tell she meant business. I hopped on her wheel to save some energy and see what she had going on. After she lost her momentum in the first corner, I passed her and took the lead. We went back and forth with her coming around me on the straights and me passing in the corners for much of the first lap.

After she came around for one last attack, I let her burn some energy and then counter attacked right before a twisty section. I was accelerating faster out of the corners so I built up a few second gap.

Once I hit the back side of the course where the BMX humps were, I gunned it again, gaining a few more seconds.

I repeated this process each lap, and gained a couple precious seconds in each corner. I was suprised that I actually felt decent, and while I couldn't power away and come close to catching Kim, I was able to ride pretty steady the entire race.

When I had two laps to go, I rode hard, thinking I'd be passed the men's leaders and would be done with my race on that same lap. Funny enough, I was about 10 seconds too fast and had to ride another lap - which I complained about as I rode by Chris...

It turned out that Becca had been caught by the guys, so she couldn't chase anymore and I could have rode that last lap as a cool down and the outcome would have been the same. However, I was nervous and wasn't 100% certain she had been caught so I still kept getting pipped at the line for me this time!

So I was actually second in the race, but was the first Georgia resident so I got to take home the Jersey. Here's the Georgia State Champs Podium - finally I'm on the tall block!

This is what it feels like when you do a cross race with a head cold...

So I'm wondering how many more colds there are at Jayden's school that we are going to get before we can all be healthy again. I'm tired of being up to my elbows in snot!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekend Update

Friday - OutSpokin' light demo and night ride cancelled due to rain. I went and rode anyways but came home so filthy that I had to get in the shower with my riding clothes still on. Got in trouble because of the mess I left in the shower.

Saturday - Took Jayden and Chris shopping in the morning then Chris and Jayden carved a pumpkin.

For some reason, this photo reminds me of mini-me from Austin Powers...

We went to the GAOC Night-O in the evening...still raining. Chris killed everyone using a strategy that involved hitting all the easy to find, closer in, and lower point value controls. He found a ton of them though in an hour. I, on the other hand, chose to go for the far out, hard to find, high point value controls which did not work out so well. Spent close to a half hour running around in circles in a series of ditches trying to locate one of them. Missed the time cutoff by 16 seconds, so was penalized on top of my already crappy run. Did not feel like I even got a good workout in since I was spending so much time looking at my map going WTF...

Sunday - My mom went back to Illinois and later in the morning I went for a ride at Pine Log.

The leaves are really pretty on the trees but I sure hate them on the ground! I'm waiting to get the stick of death in my spokes...getting faster though and forcing myself to work hard on the climbs...gotta put in a good showing this coming weekend at the Cyclocross State Championships if I'm healthy. Jayden got her first cold yesterday and infected both Mommy and Daddy. Despite having a low grade fever and some sinus congestion, she slept ok and was in a good mood, so we are thankful of that.

Today I'm back at work, but am only staying until around noon so I can go home and take care of my little pumpkin.