Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fort Yargo Duathon

Yesterday we packed up the family and headed to the Fort Yargo Duathlon. No pictures because this time both Chris and I raced while our friend Kathleen watched Jayden. The weather was absolutely perfect - overcast and maybe 72 degrees. I was looking forward to this race because the runs were shorter and the bike was longer than the previous two. Of course, the shorter run just meant I had to run faster which made it all the more unpleasant. There haven't been any super fast runner girls who have shown up at these races, so I end up using the guys for motivation...and they seemed to be flying on the shorter-than-usual run. Near the end, I checked my HR and I was above 170 so I knew I was working pretty hard. My GPS showed the run being a bit longer than the posted distance so my average pace ended up being 6:28 min/mile for 2.2 miles. Excuse me a sec while I go hurl!

I did a quick transition to bike - then proceeded to pick off a bunch of relay team people and fast runners on the bike loop. I rode my SS again and was loving it. No issues keeping up with the gearies on the flats and downhills, because I was so much smoother. I was shocked when I came up upon a fast looking guy who was riding really smoothly and I actually needed to pass him. No complaints about the bike loop, as I really enjoyed it and felt good pretty much the entire time.

The last run went well and I achieved my usual goal of not getting passed by anyone on the last run. This one was more mellow, at about a 7:30 min/mile pace. I probably could have done low sevens, but I felt like I was working hard enough and knew there were no women on my no need to overly abuse myself.

I ended up winning the women's division by a large margin again, and was 8th overall in the solo men. I have had better overall finishes at the earlier races, but I think having the shorter runs in this race actually hurt me a bit. The guys were able to run faster for the short distance, whereas I'm better when the run is a bit longer because I seem to go the same speed regardless.

Chris had a good race with an exciting sprint finish at the end. A friend of ours who wasn't even in his category figured he'd give him a challenge and he accepted. I thought he was toast but he must have been saving it till the end and got the holeshot around the last corner and crossed the line first. That made me proud, because the last time I had to do a sprint finish, I didn't win : )

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I have mailed in my waiver for the first ever Trans North Georgia MTB "Adventure" so I guess now I'm committed. I'm actually pretty excited because I've been wanting to do a race like this for some time now. I love racing through the night in adventure races - something about the moonlight makes me come alive while others tend to want to go to sleep. I feed off of moves me.

I have some pretty high expectations for this race. My goal is 3 days, though I'd be happy to beat that time, because my friend Carey has already warned me that she intends to crush whatever time I happen to post if the"adventure" happens next year. Ok, so she didn't use those exact words but I know she'll be gunning for me, so I have some serious work to do.

I have a nice recovery week coming up, which is good, so I can catch back up on all the things I've been slacking off at over the past 3 weeks.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quiet Week

By our standards, we had a slow week which was actually nice for a change. No frantic gear packing on Friday - just hanging out with Jayden, training, working, eating and sleeping. We even managed a couple of hours on Saturday night to watch "The Blind Side", which was a nice feel-good movie.

Jayden went to a birthday party on Saturday morning and later that night, we had dinner at a friends house and she got to meet their son Art, who is a month older. Jayden was more interested in Art's toys than him I think, but that's ok. She needs to learn early not to go chasing after boys.

I got in some solid road rides this past weekend, and was feeling pretty good once I recovered from the previous week's hard singlespeed rides. This coming week will be more of the same, as we have no racing planned until May 29th. Time to get caught up on work work and house work!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

My Mother's Day gift this year was a nice long ride with perfect weather. With PotatoPatch being freshly graded, I headed over to the Bull Mountain area to ride the Fools Gold 50 route. I have never done that particular race and I hadn't ridden many of those trails in several years. Just to make sure I didn't slack off, I rode my singlespeed, as it was supposed to be MY day, and I really didn't want to have to think about shifting gears. Another plus, was that this would be a test run for some longer races on the SS.

The route was definitely challenging and there were some trails that I'd never ride if they weren't part of the route. Unfortunately, the reason I'd never ride them is because they are just crappy in general..eroded and/or sandy. There were a couple of short singletrack connectors that just seemed like a waste of energy and didn't flow very well. Assuming I was on the right trail (Moss Branch Connector?), one had a straight-up hike-a-bike that I didn't see anyone being able to ride. I guess its just in there to up the suffer level a bit.

The Bull Mtn section ended up being much easier than I anticipated...I thought climbing the singletrack would be horrible, but it wasn't too bad. I think the worst climbs were over on Black Branch..seemed like I was climbing forever over there!

All in all, it was a good ride on a perfect day. I rode solo to minimize having to stop and managed to ride just under 5 hours without having a body meltdown - so that is very encouraging.

I returned home to find a yummy dinner waiting for me and a picture that Chris and Jayden drew with markers. It was definitely my kind of Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Conyers Duathlon

After having some mild sick symptoms all week, and still having good workouts, I figured I was good enough for an off-road Duathlon at Conyers. It was the second of a four race series being put on by Dirty Spokes. The worst part would be the 5:30 am wake up call on Saturday morning.

The morning went smoothly and we got the car packed and Jayden ready to go and actually left right on time. I felt great on Thursday night and probably pushed it a bit too much on my run, as when I did my warm up my legs weren't feeling as snappy. Oh, tired hip flexors! I wasn't terribly worried, as I knew even a tired run would get the job done, it would just mean I'd suffer more. And suffer I did...having to keep up a 6:30 mile trail run pace with a bunch of dudes ranks right up there with going to the dentist for me. The run course this time was especially mind-numbing, as there was a lot of wide, flat gravel and a lot of grass field that just made it seem like you were moving really slow. After about 17 minutes of mild torture, it was onto the bike...whoo hoo!

The bike course was two 5 mile laps and it was much more exciting. It had a good mix of everything...climbs, techy sections, swoopies, fast easy double track, creeks, rocks, roots, etc... I was in the top 10-12 people coming off the first run and my first victims on the bike were guys who were very obviously runners and not bikers. I slowly picked off a few more as they would bobble on technical sections. I was pretty taxed on the first lap, after coming off the run, but I was still making good time and no one was catching me from behind. I was staying with the gearies on the flats and wide open downhills, so I was happy with my bike/gear choice. The second lap I picked off two more guys and had a mostly open trail. My HR was lower and I was feeling good. Rockin' and rollin' on my haaa! There was one short section I had to run as it was a steep uphill with a momentum killing turn and creek right before it. I managed to whack my calf really hard with my pedal, which surprised me, as I usually am not so clumsy.

The last run was not as bad as the first since it was a bit slower, but it was even more mind-numbing since it was slower, and there was no one around me. By the end of the lap, a guy on a relay team had caught me. He was a muscular, shirtless runner looking type and at first I was just going to let him pass me. Then I decided..oh hell, were almost done, lets have some fun with this guy. So I kept the pace up enough that he didn't feel the need to challenge me...and of course it would have looked really lame if he tried to sprint a girl to the finish. Its not like you get bragging rights for beating a girl, right?

So in the end, I finished 6th overall and was the first woman by an even larger margin than last race - probably due to the much more technically demanding trail. I scored some sweet tortoise shell Tifosi's that may even make me appear stylish, and Jayden and Chris seemed to have a good time. Jay kept an eye on my transition stuff and picked honeysuckle flowers.

Now we're at home, chillin' on the back deck. I put the pack and play out in the shade so Jay could get some good ol' fresh air. She's been entertaining herself for close to an hour, so it must be working!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On the mend, back to the grind...

Had to sit out the 6 hour race at Fort Yargo because I finally caught the cold that has been plaguing the other members of my household for the past two weeks. The symptoms seem to be pretty mild now, and I'm feeling pretty good so I started back up with my training.

I did some good force work on the singlespeed up in Ellijay but I'm disappointed to say that the Forest Service just graded the road up to Potatopatch Mtn., so now its all loose and dusty. It was actually more annoying on the downhills, so hopefully we'll get a good rain soon to pack it down. In the meantime, I think I'll head over to the Blue Ridge WMA area to do my long rides.

I'm contemplating doing the rest of my races this season on my SS. (The exception being the Trans North Georgia, if I decide to do it). I need to do a couple of test runs on some long routes that have a good deal of singletrack to decide for sure.

So speaking of the Trans North Georgia, I think I will likely do it as long as I'm healthy. I wanted to race with a partner, but Chris said I should just man-up and go solo. I mean, we will have SPOT units tracking us at all times (kind of creepy actually), so its not like he won't know where I am. Introducing a partner introduces more delay and more potential for problems, so I'll probably take his advice and just ride solo.

I think this race is right up my follow a certain route, but I doubt it will be marked, so you still need to know which way to go. There are hike-a-bikes - love those..ok, so I don't LOVE them, but I'm good at them. I also think pre-planning will be key, so we don't have to ride with pounds and pounds of extra gear. Oh, and then there is the whole no sleep/very little sleep aspect..been there, done that plenty of times. I know from past experience that I'm good to go through one night no problem, but I may stop for a bit just to get out of the saddle. Most importantly, I have the best butt cream on the planet, which I will be applying liberally, so hopefully my ass will survive all those hours on the bike.