Thursday, April 30, 2009

Matrix Challenge

So last weekend was Matrix Challenge in Dallas, Texas. The course was pretty sweet...figure eight shaped in a shady non-profit district downtown. The wind was pretty strong but that's definitely an advantage for me- I like the wind! Lauren, our newest teammate, joined Shannon and I for the weekend and, boy, she's strong! Shannon and I were focused on going 1-2 both days and just worrying about that and nothing else.

Saturday, after some attacks early in the first couple of laps, I was able to counter Shannon and get a good gap about ten or fifteen minutes in. Once the gap was large enough, the chasing let up a bit and I was able to increase the gap substantially. Shannon and Lauren were able to sit at the front and cover any moves and slow down the pace if possible. I lapped the field by five to go and just sat at the front and gave the rest of what I had to help out Lauren and Shannon for the lead out. They were able to get 1st and 2nd in the field sprint, so we went 1-2-3! We also won Brad's daily double too ;-)

Sunday, people were much less willing to let us get away but about halfway through, Shannon was the lucky one of the day and was able to counter Lauren. Lots of chasing went on for a good twenty minutes awhile Lauren and I made sure nothing got away. Shannon was able to get just about a minute up on the field. Jen went for a prime and kept going so I chased her down, somehow losing the pack so went I got to her, I just attacked and went by her and soloed in the for last five laps. Shannon won, I got second, and Lauren ended up 6th. Definitely a successful weekend for us and a lot of fun. I definitely have some great teammates.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Green Machine

So apparently people find amusement much more in what I cook than what races I do ;-)  So I bring you the Green Smoothie.  Scary, huh?  In an attempt to eat mo' veggies, especially the dark, green kind, I decided to add some raw spinach to my smoothies.  I've been craving a lot more smoothies lately than anything else these days as the weather gets hotter so it seemed like a perfect fit.  Green-veggie haters- don't fear!  I promise you can't even taste it.  Even Peter, Mister I-won't-eat-it-unless-it-looks-pretty, said it was good but only when he didn't have to look at the color.  The usual mix is something of the following:

Frozen fruit (whatever kind, I've been using peaches)
Banana (if I've got one)
Two big handfuls of spinach
Plain Yogurt and Milk or OJ
Protein Powder

Mm mm mm.  Sometimes I add some peanut butter as well.  Pretty healthy.  Yum!

All served up in my very special Scooby Doo cup and eaten with a spoon! 

I don't think it's that ugly- it's sea foam green!  Lovely.  Off to Matrix Crits tomorrow, but not before girl's night tonight.  Then it's on to Speed Week with the boys, hurray!

Monday, April 20, 2009

MSU Race Weekend

This weekend I journeyed six hours to Wichita Falls, Texas, the home of MSU.  I was pretty excited to get to do a collegiate race because they are always a lot of fun and pretty low-key.  Collegiate races also remind me why I dedicate my time and efforts into the organization even when I'm unable participate as often these days.  

Saturday's road race started at a grueling 7:30am but luckily the women's A field of six (4 MSU, 1 A&M, and me) was combined with the men's B field.  It was fun racing with the guys and a good time for me to practice jumping with attacks and work on positioning and taking wheels and stuff.  By the end of the 4th lap, I was the only girl left, so mostly John (I helped a bit) worked to keep the pace high and keep those girls from catching back on.  I attacked in the last 1k (hey, I had to try something- I'm not a stellar sprinter!) but was swarmed.  Fun.

The time trial was in the late afternoon/early evening and, boy, it was windy!  The course was pretty flat so I enjoyed getting to go fast(er) ;-)  I ended up passing three girls, but still fell short of my time goal, so mixed feelings on that one.  

The crit on Sunday ended up being separated from the guys.  If you've ever done a crit with six people total where you are outnumbered 4:1 you know how lame that is.  Nathan had me do LT intervals during the crit which made me drop and lap all but one who sat on the entire race (lame and boring) and sprinted around at the end.  I didn't care intervals went great and I won GC by over 15 minutes.  

One of the primes I won was for a bike pump...not just any old bike pump...check it out:
Jacob called this "cute."  I've never considered trying to be "cute" while doing bike-related activities.  Seems silly.

Yes and check out the intricate, tropical-flower design.
Yep there is even one on the gauge!

I feel like my legs are coming back after being sick, so that's awesome!  This week is the last full week of classes I'll be here for, so I'm booked all week with school and UT Cycling stuff!  I'll be heading to Dallas Friday for some Matrix Crit action and off to Speed Week!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mad Dash to the End of the Semester

Wow.  Today I realized that I only have three class days and a final left before the semester is finished.  Granted, I will be missing a few days to go to Speed Week during the last week of April and then the last class day for Joe Martin.  Luckily, I've had a pretty chill semester with some pretty flexible teachers and have lucked out on presentation days falling juuuust right ;-)  It's still hard to believe since it feels like the semester just started. 

Well, I'm off to MSU tomorrow afternoon but not without a jammed-packed morning.  Good luck to the guys this weekend in Mississippi- they'll do great!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Brunch

I love holidays and I love any excuse to celebrate.  With my family being far, far away in snowy Colorado, I decided to put together a little brunch for a few friends in town away from their own families.  It turned out quite pleasant.  Everyone made something to share so between our little group we had an enormous amount of food.  Delicious.  Home fries, apple-cinnamon waffles, french toast with marscapone and chocolate sauce, spring vegetable frittata, phyllo with spinach and feta, fruit salad, banana bread, poached pears...delightful.  It was a great afternoon with great people!  Thanks everyone :-)

Vegetables are delicious on Easter.

I love Easter :-)

Brenna's Challah French Toast with Chocolate Sauce

Peter's Apple Cinnamon Waffles

Now it's back to the grind of school and then my schedule gets a little whacky starting next week.  This weekend I'll be heading to Wichita Falls to race the collegiate MSU Race Weekend.  I'm really looking forward to it and hoping to beat up on the guys ;-)  I'll be seeing teammate Natalie too and her new-and-improved feet!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Metro VW Crit Clinic

Well last weekend was the Metro VW Crit Clinic and Crit.  The whole thing turned out pretty well.  From what I gathered, most that attended felt like they got a lot out of it.  Bahati joined us on the second day to lead the clinic and then race in the crit.  There was one guy who showed up in his Rock Racing kit the first day and he seemed pretty pysched to meet him Sunday.  It was really enjoyable working with everyone.  Oftentimes I feel like I don't know much about racing and tactics and stuff, but I guess I've picked up a few things during these past two years on a bike.  Katty was out not just attending the clinic but racing and being the photographer for the weekend. She took some great shots and her album is posted on facebook if you'd like to see the pictures.

I've enjoyed spending the weekend at home in what feels like awhile now.  Unfortunately, I still seem to have whatever ailment I managed to get from California.  I don't think a series of midterms right when I got back helped too much.  I've gotten a lot of sleep the past couple of days and lots and lots of wellness tea with honey and vitamin C!  Hope everyone has a great Easter!

Friday, April 3, 2009

San Dimas Day 3 + Redlands

Well, I got back from California on Monday and have been playing a bit of catch-up with school all week.  Day 3 at San Dimas was the crit- a 6-corner course that wasn't completely flat but not really hilly either.  I don't remember that much of the crit except that a very large dog that looked like the one from the Little Mermaid ran out into the middle of the pack.  We did pretty good for the most part.  I had one spectacular attack, but I think I wore myself out doing it as I was pretty much useless for the rest of the race.  Whoops.

We headed to Redlands a couple days later.  Redlands was the biggest and best it's ever been apparently.  150 women including a few international teams (it was a UCI event this year!).  It's funny having just read about these women in the past and now racing at the same races as them.  The Prologue was a 5k TT that had a couple of pretty good rollers and a long false flat before a long steep climb to the finish.  I decided that the false flat was long enough to use the TT bike.  Definitely felt like crap- I thought, at this point, that I was having bad allergies, but a couple days from then I'd finally realize it was a cold...again.  Casey did really well and placed 52nd.
Stage 1 was the Beaumont Road Race.  It was craaaazy-windy and we started out really fast.  On this one basically flat but barely downhill 5 mile section, we hit 52mph.  You kinda have to spin absurdly fast to get any sort of tension to keep up.  I ended up in a group of ~50, including Ashley and Kendall.  We finished about 13 minutes back.  Casey, Shannon, and Coryn were all able to stay up with that front group of ~20.  All-in-all, 96 girls made time cut out of 150! Stage 2 was the crit in downtown Redlands.  Seven turns per lap, including two almost 180* turns.  It was hard to move.  Stage 3 was the Sunset Road Race.  I'm not sure why it's even called a road race since the loop was 6 miles.  This was a super technical course- climbing and half descending and 20 turns per lap!  As you can imagine, it pretty much was torn apart...people even started falling off in the neutral section.  Shannon and Casey stayed in about the second or third group (there were seriously like a dozen groups) and the rest of us were a little bit behind.  It was a really cool course- I just wish I had been able to enjoy it more instead of being in pain :-p  All in all, Redlands was a great experience and definitely the toughest race I've done.  A big thanks to Coryn's family, Randy and Lisa, and our host family in Redlands for taking good care of us the past couple of weeks.  And a big thanks to Nathan for somehow being the one-man show (who knows how he does it).

I've enjoyed a bit of recovery this week and am getting ready to head to Dallas for the Metro VW Crit and Crit Clinic this weekend.  I'll be coming back to Austin with a couple of exams for the week :-\