Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last Week in Texas

Well, last week flew by with all the packing, finding a new place to live when I get back to Austin, and all the other fun little details that had to be taken care of before leaving for Dallas, the beginning of my adventures. I had intentions of racing all three days of the crits, but with unforeseen and foreseen complications, I ended up being so exhausted and sore by the time I got to Dallas, I opted for de-stressing and sleeping instead and chose to just race Monday. Unfortunately, the race didn't go quite as planned. I know what I should have done differently, but even then, it just wasn't our day. I did somehow end up winning the field sprint...on my hoods. Haha...oops.

The rest of the week has been and will be devoted to preparing for Switzerland. There are so many loose ends to tie up, it's crazy. After watching the Twilight movie about eight times in California earlier this season, I succumbed to reading the book, which my mom had given me earlier this year. Yeah, I'm hooked. It's a problem and I've been dragging poor Peter to Half-Priced Books almost everyday hoping to find the next book for cheap. Sigh. I've read the first two in less than a week. Friday we're leaving for Tulsa Tough so we just have one more day to get all our stuff in order. Yikes!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rugby Nationals

I found out this person is the epitome of rugby!

So this weekend I worked the Clif booth at Rugby Nationals with Hana.  She's such a great gal to work with and we always have a lot of fun.  This event ended up being a little odd.  It went perfectly with my very odd week.  When we arrived Saturday, there was a random thunderstorm threatening, which ended up turning into a very big thunderstorm that lasted four hours!  If you are not familiar with the average rugby player, they are pretty big and muscularly, like to drink, love to get muddy, and are flirty.  Being stuck in a tiny clubhouse for four hours packed in like sardines with these guys is an...adventure.  When Hana and I tried to pack up shop and leave, the truck got stuck in the mud and ended up sinking down a good six inches.  We couldn't get it out.  A bunch of burly rugby dudes tried to get it out too, but couldn't.  We ended up having to get a ride home from the director of the tournament.  

There was no grass left after the game after the storm

The picture does not do it justice, the truck is very deep in the mud.

The next day was better.  It had dried up a little bit and Hana and I wedged rocks under the truck and got it out.  

Always happy to pose.  They also asked if we wanted single shots.  Haha.

We are actually quite wet.  We got stuck outside in the rain before wedging our way in the clubhouse.

They loved my tanlines.

Life has been a little hectic trying to finish up everything in Austin but I'm trying to take it one day at a time.  I've been able to see some friends lately which has been really nice.  Some more notable events:  Friday, I went to an awesome wine bar named Uncorked with Tammy and Pat.  Definitely check it out, if you live in Austin.  Tammy and I got flights of wine which was a lot more fun!  Monday I went to Red House Pizzeria with Tammy, Brenna, and Olivia.  That place is amazing and has half-off pizza for happy hour! We got one with pesto, chicken, roasted bell peppers, tomato, and big globs of goat cheese...18' for $8!  Can't beat that and it was so good.  They also have really good drinks.  

I've pretty much spent my every moment finishing up stuff around here- packing, cleaning, doing stuff for Texas Cycling, and even doing some stuff for me like seeing friends!  As much as I love Austin, I'm looking forward to hitting the road in a couple hours (waiting on some laundry) because that means that my summer adventure is officially beginning.  I'm really looking forward to Colorado- my parents are probably the coolest parents (maybe that's just because we're a lot alike) and I should get to ride this time because it won't be 10 degrees!  I have no idea what the rest of this summer will bring.  I just know my arrival and departure date at each place, starting with Dallas...I'll be there until Tulsa Tough.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Joe Martin, Stage 3-4

Stage 3 was a 69-mile "circuit race" in which we only did two laps of the circuit.  Each lap there was a 2-mile climb with a very steep last 300m.  The rest of the course was rolling.  It was raining for the first hour and a half of the three hour race which made for some super sketchy descending.  Shannon had the misfortune of flatting just before the climb on the first lap.  Poor girl, definitely not a weekend for Metro girls.  We ended up doing the first lap so freaking fast.  Every time I looked down we were over 30mph.  The race felt fine and I just hung out and waited for the finish with my teammate playing catch up.  It must have been a pretty fast race because we finished in 3 hours flat. I felt good for the finish and moved up in the last 2-3k when we got on the highway and there was actually room to move up.  I probably should have gone to the left side of the road where there was more room but beggars can't be choosers.  I did my best in the sprint dodging those pulling off their leadout train and ended up 13th.  Not too shabby for me.  Shannon was able to make time cut after TTing pretty much by herself for 60 miles so we'd see the next day together.

Stage 4 was an hour long crit.  The course is arguably the hardest course of Joe Martin.  There was a steep climb every lap and lots of downhill turns and cobbles.  We had the misfortune once again to have it rain for the first part of the crit making for very slick, fast, downhill turns.  Shannon and I got to the line first, only to have Tibco come from up the road and line up in front of everyone.  Everyone was pissed.  We had a false start so after a 1-lap fake race, we had to start again, but this time Shannon and I were in the very back.  Definitely not a good course for that.  Eventually we ended up in a chase group.  Right before the climb about 23 minutes in I dropped by chain and ended up having to get off my bike and put it back on.  By the time I was able to go through the line, I was far enough back to get pulled. 
 So I was given a DNF...argh.

Peter and Christian had a much better time at the race though. Peter was able to get top 5 in 3 of 4 stages and win GC.  Christian was able to place equally well and finish second in GC.  I'm sure they'll each have race reports with details :-)  

After a long 8.5 hour drive, Peter and I arrived back in Austin at 3:30am...late night.  Now I just have to buckle down this week for one more final!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Joe Martin, Stage 1-2

Stage 1: This was a 2.8 mile uphill time trial.  Before, Shannon and I went on an hour road ride, but on the way back through a muddy and very downhill switchback, someone was standing with their bike in the middle of the switchback, making Shannon change her line in the mud and making her go down pretty hard and me ice-skate, trying to find traction with my cleats on the mud.  She busted her chin pretty good and has lots of lovely bruises.  That little shocker made for a stressful TT.  I didn't feel too good for the TT- I'm not sure why.  Maybe it was too short, maybe my legs were rusty from not riding between Speedweek and Joe Martin, maybe it was the combined 30 hours in the car in the last three days- who knows?  I ended up 34th of 70 starters and a minute and a half back.  Injured Shannon was just behind.  We booked it out of there post-TT and went to the ER.  She ended up being there for 6 hours to get a couple measly stitches.  Lame!

Stage 2: This was a 64 mile road race with one main climb, but this climb was a good 10-miler.  I was actually feeling pretty good, but I let myself get gapped near the beginning.  It's so hard to get gapped and have to get out of your rhythm.  I was passed by the caravan.  I worked with a Webcor and a Mellow Mushroom(?) girl and we re passed the caravan.  The Webcor girl jumped across the last 50 feet when I was pulling really hard but I didn't have the strength to pull those last 50 feet myself and the other girl had dropped off.  It was disheartening to see the front group so close and yet so far.  I watched as the group slowly pulled away.  At the top of the climb I sat up and waited for the second group, which by that time was closer.  Our "chase" was anything but and the gap increased over the last 20 miles to four minutes.  We made time cut at least.  

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Speed Week + Journey to Arkansas

Day 1: Beaufort, South Carolina
We arrived in the wee hours of the morning, somewhere around 2am.  When I woke up and walked into the living room, I was a bit surprised to see estuaries of the Atlantic right outside my window!  We went to a school that morning with the Colavita men, Hub Racing, and Team Revolution and talked to kids about bike racing and bike safety- the kids were cute.  The race itself went well.  The course was pretty rectangle shaped, with one turn going from about three lanes wide to a dinky alleyway.  It took awhile for me to get up to close to where I should have been.  I think I was a little out of it and didn't stay up quite where I should have been.  I ended up 17th.  I guess the race was pretty fast becasue only 29 finished.  Shrug.

Day 2: Walterboro, South Carolina
This race was fun and fast!  The last corner was pretty sketch with bricks.  I did a much better job staying up front where I was supposed to and following moves and such.  Pretty satisfied with this one.  Ended up 20th.  

Day 3: Spartenburg, South Carolina
This race was rectangular with a rise on two sides.  One corner was pretty sketchy.  There were a couple good wrecks but I stayed out of trouble being more up front for most of the race.  I tried to attack, but didn't really manage to do much more than pull the pack up to the break.  Oh well.  Ended up 20th again.  How annoying!

Day 4: Dilworth, North Carolina
This race wasn't a part of the series for the women, but it was for the men.  Our race was a lot smaller, maybe around 40 gals.  It was half up hill and half downhill with a turn at the top and bottom of the climb.  Rebecca Larson and a Vanderkitten gal got away unfortunately at a bad time.  Eventually the Vanderkitten girl got dropped.  I kept trying to get away but no one would have any of it.  Frustrating race for many reasons.  Ended up 9th.  Dumb.

Day 5: Sandy Springs, Georgia
Final day!  This race was the hardest and felt the fastest for me.  There was a steep-ish climb every lap and the rest of the course had lots of fast turns.  The best/safest place to move up was up the climb, which meant an all out sprint up it every lap.  I felt pretty bad but survived.  Ended up 24th...slowly going down haha.  

I was pretty happy with the week all-in-all.  If it was last year, I probably would have been tail-gunning it the whole race or gotten dropped.  I definitely need to learn how to sprint though :-P

After a 20 hour journey from Sandy Springs to Dallas to Austin, I had three finals in the following day and a half.  I managed to plow through them and I *think* I pulled off all A's.  Funny how good grades almost seem easier when you are crazy busy.  Peter and I left yesterday after a final for the 10 hour drive to Fayetteville, Arkansas.  I've never been here before but it's very green and very humid!  Time trial is this afternoon.  Updates later!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mini Update on Speed Week

It's been a long week, but it's managing to come to a close.  I'm pretty sleepy, so just a brief update for tonight.  I've never been out in this part of the country and have enjoyed the scenery and some of the towns have been pretty neat.   Traveling with 6 guys and no gals has been an adventure to say the least.  I've been practicing at staying top 5-20 riders for the races here and have definitely done better as the week has progressed.  The fitness is definitely there which is great, it's just the focus that is hard.  I've stayed in the top 20 all week, but tomorrow I'm aiming a little higher ;-)  We'll see what happens.  Post race will be a long drive back through the night to Dallas and then to Austin, to a group meeting Monday night, class Tuesday, final Tuesday, final Wednesday, leave for Joe Martin Wednesday.  Short 36 hours in Austin, but I'll update on Speed Week as soon as I have a moment to breathe!