Monday, December 21, 2009

First Snow Ride of the Year

I wish I could suck at my job as much as the weather man sucks at his and still collect a where exactly was it supposed to be 45 and partly cloudy yesterday?

Our plan was to ride the Pinhoti's up to Highway 52 then head over to Tatum Lead Road/and the adjacent ORV area. After climbing up to Hwy 52 and nearly wiping out on the pavement (black ice), we crunched through some fresh snow on Pinhoti 4 that really made for a lot of work on the climbs. We popped out on Tatum Lead Road, which was covered in a sheet of ice. Not so much fun when you need to go downhill. At that point, we decided we didn't want any broken bones for Christmas and we headed back down the mountain and just rode the Pinhoti Trails in reverse. At this point, my lack of cold weather gear (sleep depravation made me forget my jacket) came back to bite me in the arse and I was starting to get chilled. Considering it was 38 degrees at our car when we finished the ride, I'm assuming it was easily in the 20's up at the higher elevations.

Today I started training with my new coach, Mike Schultz. Today was a strength day, tomorrow is an intensity day to gain some data about how my HR responds to stress and how quickly it recovers. Thankfully (or not), Miss Jayden woke up at 5 am this morning, so I was able to get my strength workout in before work. Its nice to know that I can just relax (is that possible with a 4 month old??) when I get home tonight.

Family members will start arriving at our house tomorrow so we should have quite the crowd for Christmas...7 adults, 2 babies, and 4 cats. It should make for a nice chaotic holiday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Specialized Gear Reviews

I had a chance to try out some new Specialized cycling gear that I wanted to comment on (since nothing else exciting is going on).

The first is the Women's Deflect Hybrid Jacket. I won this jacket as a door prize at OutSpokin's Customer Appreciation Night. I was pretty stoked...not that I really NEEDED another jacket, but I liked the cut and styling as well as the fact that the sleeves zip off and the jacket becomes a vest. I am sorry to say that after wearing this jacket 3 times in different conditions, I am quite disappointed. The biggest problem with it is it's lack of breathability. Even with the sleeves zipped open (similar to pit zips) and the front halfway unzipped, I still got a ton of condensation on the inside of the jacket. While the jacket is indeed windproof and hence, quite warm, once you start doing any aerobic activity you end up soaked from the inside. I found this even happened when I did a base level road ride where my heart rate was generally in the 140s. When I wore it on a misty road ride, it stopped raining for the last half hour of our ride, and when we finished, the jacket was dry on the outside and soaked on the inside. Something is wrong with that picture. Bottom line..looks better on the hanger than it performed out in the field. Some smarter fabric would do much to improve this product.

Next I tried the Women's BG Motodiva MTB Shoe. The sole was good and stiff although the tongue was also very stiff and was digging into my ankle. I'm hoping this issue will go away as the shoes break in..if not I will have to do some trimming. The toebox was nice and roomy, with plenty of room for my Merino Swiftwicks. I noticed the ratcheting mechanism did not seem to work as smoothly as on my Sidi's, so I'm anxious to see if I can actually get the shoes off after a bunch of mud buildup. I haven't spent a lot of time in these shoes, so will report back after they have been thoroughly abused. So far, they seem pretty decent, assuming the tongue softens up a bit.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cross Season Finale

Yesterday was the final race of the 2009 Georgia Cross Series. I have to say I'm sad that it is all over as I truly had fun racing this season. Perhaps it was that there were some stong ladies out there that never let me win easy, or perhaps I was motivated and well rested after a 9 month hiatus from interval training. And to think it all started with a "what the hell-lets give it a try" decision to go out and race a month after giving birth. Attending all the races was a constant struggle, as my entire family was sick with cold after cold during the entire month of November. I did quite a few races feeling like crap (of course against my better judgement) but it all worked out (and was somehow worth it) in the end, and I got to stand on the top block of the series podium.

I wasn't where I wanted to be fitness-wise, and the constant illness kept traning to a minimum. Any fitness gains were to be made through racing each weekend, which did not amount to much considering my body was already fighting off various germs and infection. So while I didn't pick up much speed over the course of the season, I did become more comfortable with the high intensity riding, so that the last races of the season seemed much easier physically than the first race, where I was gasping for air and running scared. While I didn't have the speed to match the top girls, I did enjoy playing cat and mouse with some others who were closer to me in terms of speed and that made the racing very enjoyable. There is nothing more satisfying than launching a successful attack.

I am looking forward to next year and hope that some smart training will help me get back the speed I once had, as it seems the Georgia Cross series gets tougher each year.