Saturday, February 11, 2017

2017 Road Race Season is HERE!! :-)

My FB videos and photos do a much better job of telling the story of my first RR of 2017 than I possibly could with a blog post, so here you go! Still as stoked as ever about the 2017 season, and happy to get the bad luck out of the way nice and early this year. . . 😌

Pre-Race EXCITEMENT!



Race Recap



Just a scratch!!!


Better THIS than my Collarbone, I guess? 

Still. . OUCH! That hurts the 2017 Race Budget.. . 


Bright Side!


Thursday, February 09, 2017

Post Men's P123 Road Race Recap. . . A YEAR later!

OK, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. . I'm a horrible blogger. I have all of these grand ideas of topics that I want to write about and great things that I want to share, but finding the time to do so is another story altogether, and blogging gets pushed to the absolute bottom of my priority list.

That said, I'm going to try once again to resurrect this blog of mine.

I figured I'd start out by bringing some closure to the last post that I made about racing my first Men's P123 Road Race in Sealy, TX back in February, 2016.

If you read the previous post, you'll remember that I was really nervous that I wouldn't be able to "hang on", that I would be popped immediately, and that I would make a fool out of myself.

Well, I'm happy to report that NONE of these things happened!

The race started out neutral for the first 2 miles, and once the lead vehicle pulled off, it got semi-rowdy fairly quickly. I positioned myself in the top 1/2 of the field, and feel like I did a pretty good job of holding my position, floating back and forth a bit between the top 1/4 and 1/2 of the field most of the day. There were several attacks early on that were really hard to hold on to, but I managed to hang in there! I took my coach's and Kat's advice and ate and drank very frequently, and never felt like I was running low on fuel - there were a few times during particularly hard attacks that I thought I would get popped, but it was more due to simply (almost) not having the legs to lay down that power output than it was due to a lack of fueling or a bonk :-)

There were a few things that made this race particularly "interesting". Apparently they were running the race over a section of an MS150 course that was being ridden that day. . . . so there were several mile long stretches where we found ourselves dodging MS150 "land mines" for lack of better terminology! That was . .umm. . fun? (NOT!) Let's just say that situational awareness was even more necessary than usual during this race!

The second "interesting" happening was that a local sheriff's deputy tried to PULL ME OVER. Yes, ME! I can't even make this stuff up! It was shortly after we'd passed a group of MS150 riders. We'd come up on them rather quickly, and I had to ride right up against the yellow line (I DID NOT CROSS OVER IT) in order to get around them safely. I was sitting in about the front 1/4 of the peloton at this point, and the next thing I know, this sheriff's deputy is pulled up next to me, flashing his lights, "blipping" his siren, and pointing directly at ME with a bright red face motioning for me to PULL OVER. Are you KIDDING ME?!?! I had no clue what I was supposed to do. I just held my position for a few seconds, but the deputy started motioning more violently, and his face at this point was a dark burgundy. I began to slow down and fade back to the rear of the peloton to pull over, when one of the guys put his hand on my back and nudged me in front of him and said "NO - you are NOT going out like that.", and then looked over to the deputy and shook his head. . . . the deputy continued to ride alongside of the peloton for about another minute more before pulling off, at which point, I breathed a huge sigh of relief! I still don't know exactly what it was all about, as they didn't have any information or complaints from law enforcement at the finish line, but it certainly added a bit of unwanted excitement to my first M P123 race!

Other than these two anomalies, the race was fairly uneventful. It as fast, yes. The racing was in much more "close quarters" than I was used to with the Women's Peletons, yes. The guys protected their wheels and positions more aggressively, yes. And when I fell back a bit, it was DEFINITELY harder to move back up. . . but by about mile 50, I was racing along w/ a big huge grin on my face because I realized that I was actually going to successfully finish this race!

Then "IT" happened. About 74 miles into the race, I heard the guys in front of me all yell, but didn't get on my brakes quite fast enough, and ended up crossing wheels with the guy in front of me, who had slammed on his brakes to avoid **something** (still don't know exactly what). I may have saved it, but then another guy ran into me from behind, and we both went down. I watched the peleton race away as I picked my bike and my broken heart up off the ground. . . assessing the damages, I found that my handlebars and shifters were crooked/bent, and I'd hit something hard w/ my quad and had a huge hematoma developing, but other than that, I seemed to be "ok". . .. same with the other guy that went down. I decided that I was GOING to finish this race, even if I had to walk my bike the final 4 miles! Fortunately, it didn't come down to that. I was able to straighten out my handlebars enough to make my bike (awkwardly) rideable, and me and my crash buddy stumbled in together.

Placement didn't matter at all. I had successfully finished my first M P123 race, and proven (to myself, more than anything) that I was capable of hanging in there with the big boys! At the end of the day, I finished 39th in a field of 49 starters, and averaged 26.0 MPH over the first 74.4 miles before the pileup. I accomplished my goals of sitting in the top 1/2 of the field, protecting my position, and not getting "popped" in any attacks. So even w/ the little mishap at the end - I called the day a success, and it was instrumental in providing me with the confidence that I needed to line up at several USAC PRT races later in the year, knowing that I had earned the right to be there, and I belonged there just as much as any other girl standing at the start line :-)

If you're a data geek like me, feel free to check out my Strava Race Files:

First 74.4 miles (pre-crash): https://www.strava.com/activities/492859666

Final 4.1 miles (post-crash): https://www.strava.com/activities/492859574


Friday, February 12, 2016

My first M P123 Race. . . . BEFORE

So here goes. . .  I'm writing this post ahead of time because I want to capture my thoughts & feelings leading up to Saturday's Race, and then compare/contrast them to what's going through my head after the race :-)

I'm planning to dip my toes into some National Level Racing this year. I love racing at the local level, but I want to become the absolute best version of my racing self that I can be as quickly as possible so that I can enjoy as many years of local podiums as possible before I ride over the top of that bell curve, and my fitness level starts going in the opposite direction due to the increased recovery times that unavoidably come with age at some point. I find that, personally, I improve most quickly when I push myself well outside of my comfort zone. That means jumping into the deep end with no arm floaties when I have barely learned to doggy paddle. . .

Let me clarify up front that I have no (nada, zilch, zero) aspirations of ever being signed to a Pro team or quitting my "day job" (aka REAL CAREER) and racing professionally full time. Maybe, in another life, if I'd found bike racing at a much, much younger age, that would have been a distant dream of mine, but as it stands now, I'm very content to just push my own limits, become the best that I can possibly be, and then maybe push a little bit further past that. . . in the evenings and on the weekends. . . when I'm not sitting behind a desk :-)

In order to do my best to prepare myself (as much as possible) for a "Big Girl Race" at the National Level, I've decided to race a few local Men's P123 races. The thought process behind this is that:
  • The field sizes are much larger than the local W Open fields- a much closer representation of what I'll likely see at the national level
  • The competition is (I've been told) more aggressive - not in a bad way - they just ride a lot closer together, don't soft pedal nearly as much, etc - more like what I'll see on the NRC Circuit
  • The races are longer - closer to the Women's National Level Race distances
  • The average race speeds are faster . . . a LOT faster. . . than what I'm used to
So, here I am. . . 4 days out from my first Men's P123 race (This post is being written on Wed, Feb 10th, although I won't publish it till later), and I have so much going through my head:
  • OMG YAYYY. . . This is going to be AWESOME! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!
  • OMG. . .WTF was I thinking. . . I'm not ready for this!
  • Oh shut up - I'm ready - I've been training my butt off all off-season and am in great shape - I can totally hang in there with these guys. . . 
  • Wait - what if they're super super rowdy and attack/counter relentlessly from the gun? OMG - I'm going to ride the most humiliating 78 mile training ride of my life off the back of the peloton
  • Stop It. It will be FINE. Just be smart and position yourself well. It will be great practice at finding the draft, and holding your positioning. . . .
  • But what will everyone think of me if I register for this race and get popped right away?. . . I don't want anyone to think I've got a big head or think too highly of myself or think I'm "too good" to race w/ the women!!
  • Stop It. It will be FINE. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. You're doing this for YOU and YOUR own personal training plan as a pathway to reach YOUR own personal goals. There are no expectations of you, other than to go out there and do what you've been training all winter to do. Suck it up and get out of your own head. 
  • But damn. 78 miles is a LONG way to go full gas. . .I don't know if I'm ready for this.
  • No better way to find out than to just go do it, right?!? Worst thing that can happen? I'll jump into the deep end, doggie paddle my way across, and finish my race an hour after the peloton. . .thoroughly embarrassed. . .but at the end of the day - who cares? No Harm / No Foul, right?
  • Okay - I'm really doing this. No turning back. I'm registered. I CAN DO THIS. Seriously, what am I so freaked out about? It's just another bike race. . . and it's not like I'm expected to win it! 
Sooo, yeah. I'm really and truly as excited as can be, but also rather terrified, all at the same time. I know it will be fine. I know I can hang in there with these guys if I'm smart, keep my nose out of the wind, stay "invisible" and mid-pack. I can't get stuck "surfing the back" because the slinky effect will destroy me. I have to be forcible enough in my positioning to put myself mid-pack, and then hold my position. Just do it. No if's, and's or but's. I. CAN. DO. THIS.

Also, thanks to the lovely Kat Hunter, who graciously offered me some advice as a woman who's raced men's fields and knows first hand what to expect: EAT (& drink) EARLY and OFTEN. I must remember this. Don't drift too far back because working my way forward will be MUCH harder in this race than what I'm used to (and I'm already not all that good at it in women's races. . . ). Also: Pee Breaks. She was kind enough to fill me in on the etiquette of pee breaks in longer races. . apparently "They are an informal but understood thing: maybe a few of the big teams decide they're going to do it, and the pack is expected to soft pedal until they catch up again". . thank goodness for Kat's shared wisdom b/c I would have been absolutely clueless and thoroughly confused about what the heck to do if this had happened on Saturday and I hadn't been forewarned!!

One final note regarding my decision to race the M P123 field for this race. . .one of the things that I am most sensitive about is taking away from the support of Women's Racing and/or decreasing Women's field sizes by opting to race a men's race. In this particular situation though, the only other option for me would be to race the W P123 field, which is combined with the M 3/4 field. The scoring is also combined. . so basically the women are racing the men's 3/4 race in this instance. For that reason, I don't feel the slightest bit guilty for opting to race with the P123 Men vs opting to race with the 3/4 Men, which is basically what I would be doing if I registered for the WP123.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Asian Curried Poached Eggs and Kale in Bone Broth (Quick/Easy Breakfast Recipe)

Asian Curried Poached Eggs & Kale in Bone Broth (w/ a side of sweet potato hash)


I have got to be the worlds worst blogger - my posts are sporadic at best - but I am going to **attempt** to start posting "recipes" for some of the quick/easy meals that I throw together, at the request of a few of my friends. I put the word "recipes" in quotation marks because I would hardly call most of these actual recipes - they're really just suggestions for combining several pre-made items that work well together. I'm busy. I very rarely have time to spend more than 10 minutes prepping my breakfasts, lunches, OR dinners. The exception to this is the 2 hours that I set aside each week on Saturday or Sunday to prep a ton of things that can then be "thrown together" to make meals later in the week.

Most of us know how good Homemade Bone Broth is for us, but many people don't realize just how versatile it is! I've recently been introduced to the concept of broth for breakfast, and I'm in love with it. I no longer eat oatmeal or other warm and comforting breakfast porridge, so this warm bowl of comfort food was a nice warm-me-up-from-the-inside surprise on this chilly TX morning!

Asian Curried Poached Eggs and Kale in Bone Broth 

Ingredients:


  • Bone Broth (Homemade is best - either chicken or beef will work)
  • 2 - 3 eggs (Cage Free / Organic / Farm Eggs preferred, but any eggs will do)
  • 1-2 tsp Coconut Aminos (or soy sauce if you're not avoiding soy)
  • 1 Tb fat of choice (Ghee or Coconut Oil recommended) 
  • Kale - a few handfuls (I use the HEB Organics kale in a bag)
  • 1-2 tsp Asian Garlic Curry Powder (I get mine in the bulk bins at Central Market)
  • Sea Salt to taste(I use pink Himalayan coarse ground salt due to it's superior mineral content)
  • Optional: 1 scoop Collagen Powder (doesn't add taste/texture, but ups the protein and collagen content of the meal)

Directions:


  • Heat Bone Broth and Coconut Aminos over medium heat in a small saucepan
  • Once it's hot, whisk in collagen (if using), and then drop in 3 eggs and let them poach while sauteing Kale
  • On a separate burner, drop fat of choice onto a skillet, allow to melt, and then toss in a few handfuls of kale, stirring well to coat majority of it w/ fat.
  • Sprinkle some sea salt and curry powder to taste over kale, cover, and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally
  • Once eggs are poached to your liking (~5 minutes for slightly soft/runny yolks), place kale in the bottom of a bowl, spoon Poached Eggs on top of Kale, and pour broth on top, then stir to mix and enjoy!

I served mine this morning with a warmed up side of sweet potato hash that I had prepped over the weekend. If I hadn't had that, I may have tossed a few chunks of Red or Yukon potato into the broth at the start to up the carb content :-)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Whole30 Day 7 Video Log

I said Day 6, but it was actually Day 7.



And, to be honest, for several reasons that I won't go into here, I'm pretty dang scared about the nodule biopsy results, but no amount of worrying or stressing about them will change them, so I'm just doing my best to stay positive until I get the results next Wednesday. . .

And OMG, I look exhausted in this video! Potential W30ers, take note, THIS is what the first week feels (and looks) like. . . but it really does turn around - just hang in there :-)