Thursday, May 23, 2013

It's Official!

This bitch is registered to race!

My heart rate is soaring and I feel like I am going to barf. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” - Benjamin Franklin

Possibly. I'd like to think that I am good at a lot of things, yet I have been making more excuses lately than normal. I am good, but sometimes I wonder if I there is anything I am really, truly great at. Maybe that's where the excuses come to play.

I'm guilty. Guilty as charged. I was finally called on it today and it was something I knew I was doing but I found a way within myself to justify it, and eventually believed it was the truth. But it's not.

What's weighing me down? Racing. I want to race my bike, I do, but I know I am nowhere near where I need to be (by my standards) in order to compete successfully. I've heard it takes 3 solid years to develop yourself as a cyclist. I've been going at it hard for 2 months. That's it! I've been riding for a year but after a crash and long work hours, I wasn't able to give it my all. I want to be fast, I want to have the endurance and the ability to push through the pain. 

What's stopping me? 

Probably my pride and my ego. I've never thrown myself into something without the assurance that I was going to be good or great. I don't have that here. I know I will be dead last, not even fair, just straight poor. I know at some point I will throw up at the start line, during the race, or both. I know I will get lapped, and lapped, and lapped, and eventually pulled, if I haven't already given up on myself before the ref comes around. Why can't I accept that?

I have an amazing team of women, all new to the competitive aspect of the sport. Some have been riding hard for a year and are making amazing strides. I am so proud of these women! I wish I could fast forward and be right there with them. 

What's stopping me? 

I was raised that an A in school was good but an A+ would have been better. Why didn't I get an A+? 

How do I accept the truth, and dive in with both feet, knowing I will most likely walk away with a F, maybe a D if I am lucky? 

How do I accept the fact that I am not going to do as well as I want to until I put in the hours, days, weeks and months of training needed to earn that better time, to not get lapped 5 times, and to be able to stick with at least the chase pack?

How do I suck up my pride and throw myself to the wolves knowing that what I want won't happen, but that is okay, I have to start somewhere?

I know the answer is easy. Just get in there and do it. That's what I tell all the ladies who are interested in racing. I need to take my own advice.

The best way to learn is to do. Quit the excuses, make yourself vulnerable, embrace a last place finish or a DNF. Wear it proud and know that if you put in the work, the only place to go is up. 

So.... that's exactly what I am going to do.

I know these ladies will always have my back. Or in this case... my ass.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Infamous "Race Face"

The best part about taking pictures at the crit races is seeing what I end up with. Half the time the pictures are blurry or I've cut of the head of the rider I was trying to shoot. Every so often I manage to take an AMAZING picture, but my favorite ones are the infamous "Race Face" pictures. I get it, it's hard out there, you're giving it all you've got and that is clearly read across your face. 

Here's a few of my favorite Race Faces so far. If you're in any of these pictures, I mean no disrespect! Race Face is a badge of honor. Wear it proud! I can only imagine what I am going to look like when I start racing, but I am sure I will fall into one of the categories below.

He's either got to poop or Rob's let one loose. Either way, I feel for the guy.

Now there's a distraction technique.

This is my favorite. Whoever you are, keep it coming! 
Eau de Final Sprint. These never disappoint. 
Someone's realized he isn't winning.

Breathing not required.
50+ FACE
This just looks like it hurts!

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

That Dreaded Email...

Look Out! **Doesn't Matter What The Name Is You're Officially Now At War** just took your QOM!

Me: That bitch!

In my defense, halfway through this ride we stopped to talk plan of action with Coach BF Rob...
which was AT LEAST 10 minutes. Oh AJ, sorry for putting you on blast but... I'm coming for you.

I have a love-hate relationship with Strava. I act like it's "Strava? Whatever. No big deal. Seriously. I've got better things to do." (well those better things to do is really just one thing, ride my bike). Unless I get a QOM or did something rad like rode 60 miles. You better believe I'll be posting it up on facebook and sending an mass email. Heck... it'd be worthy of a blog post.

But when I do get that crown, all that sparkly gold, it's an uplifting mood moment that gives the feeling that I can walk on water. So, when I get that email saying that someone took my QOM... damn son, bring it on!

I act like I don't care but it's really because I am still not as fast as I was pre-crash (oh did I ever mention I was chasing a QOM when I crashed - Oopsy! Bitter, slightly). I cling to my few QOMs with all my might (even telling the Tam-Tam to back off and let me have at least one. She's just THAT GOOD).

When I upload my rides... it goes like this:

  1. Put the bike down and run to the computer. Scrambling for the cable, all while still in my sweaty lycra.
  2. I know I totally got that segment! Grins, grins grins.
  3. Plug Garmin into computer.
  4. Garmin not detected. #$%@! Unplug, replug, hit refresh a zillion times.
  5. New (ride date, yadda-yadda). Click to upload. Why is it taking FOREVER...
  6. Name ride something to make others jealous (Climb, Climb, Climb to the Sexy Firemen Ride) - anyone who posts this (my H&S ladies you know who you are) better know that I am coming after all the QOM's on every segment of this ride. I heart Firemen!
  7. Open the ride and... NOTHING. Or maybe (x3) but they are all 2nd and 3rd best times that are no better than the last time you did that ride (yet you swore you kicked but but then you realized you forgot to turn your Garmin back on after you stopped or stopped in the wrong spot - oh Tam-Tam).
  8. Create a new segment during the ride in a spot you are certain you killed it in, only to watch it go to your best friend/fierce competitor/amazing teammate.
So for now I am carrying on, pretending that it doesn't really matter and hoping that the less I focus on those QOM crowns and the more I just ride, ride, ride that those crowns will start appearing and ladies all over Southern California will be getting that dreaded email.  

Keep on pedaling!

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Cycling Ritual

It wasn't until my whole routine was thrown off by one simple misplacement that I realized, I have a cycling ritual, and it's a mood changer.

One small hiccup in my 20 minute prep ritual falls out of place and my ride is guaranteed to start off on the wrong foot. Luckily, after 5 minutes on the bike I have usually snapped out of it, but still... it messes with my mojo!

First, I wrangle all required cycling items:

  • sports bra
  • heart rate monitor
  • chamois cream
  • jersey
  • bib
  • socks
  • cycling shoes
  • Oakley's
  • helmet
  • hair tie
  • gloves
  • Garmin
  • water bottle
  • tire pump
  • Gu
  • Cash and ID

The order of my assembly is crucial in keeping the balance:
  1. Strap the girls in and put on the sports bra
  2. Apply my chamois cream in the appropriate places
  3. Wash hands
  4. Slap on the heart rate monitor
  5. Get into the bib and do the Lycra dance. I was shocked to find that nothing comes up when you google "Lycra Cycling Dance". I think I found a video that needs to be made. Stay tuned.
  6. Put on the jersey, followed by the socks and then cycling shoes.
  7. Hook your Garmin to the bike (I do so using a FABULOUS K-Edge Garmin Mount) and turn it on because sometimes it takes FOREEEEEEEEEVER to get it up and running.
  8. Load in a water bottle with fresh water. I say fresh because once I kinda, sorta, forgot to put a new water bottle on my bike and learned the nasty way.
  9. Pump up the jam on those tires. I do100 in the front and 110 in the back. Why? Because Rob said so.
  10. Pull hair back into a ponytail, put on Oakley's, tack on the helmet, slap on the gloves, toss a GU, cash and ID into my pocket, turn on the Garmin (nothing is worse than realizing you forgot to do that) and hit the road.
Today I road a quick ride on my lunch break and my whole world was turned upside down when:
  1. I forgot a hair tie. Rob said, No worries, use a rubber band. A RUBBER BAND????????? He just doesn't get me sometimes. I could never do that to my hair.
  2. I realized my lack of time to sort laundry came back to bite me in the arse when I put on a bib that seems a little bigger than I remembered. Did I lose weight!?!?! YAY! Oh no wait... they say OTR Racing on them and were clearly Rob's. Riding in mismatched Lycra is a sin and so I started my ride in shame, with my head hung low. I look like that person who has no idea what's going on. That can't be me, IT CAN'T!!! 
H&S Bikes and OTR Racing, what a beautiful union.

Despite my ritual being incomplete and me having to do a little improvisation, the ride wasn't all that bad (well except for the side wind that was determined to take me out). I started out a little grumpy, but that might have been due to the fact I broke the stem of the valve off in my pump and I wasn't sure if the tire was going to hold. I decided to risk it. It was lunch time and I knew one of my 70 Wipeout co-workers would pass me on the road and I  wouldn't be stranded for long.

Post ride, now I am in a great mood, relieved a little stress and discovered that sometimes you got to take what life hands you, and make due with what you've got. If you're determined, anything is possible, and it's not worth it to sweat the small stuff. So it's time I throw, not the routine out the window (I'm a Virgo. I could never) but the little anxieties that come up when something is not perfect and out of line... I'll learn to do without those.
Post ride, it turned out to be a bright, bright, bright, bright sun shiny day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Not So Sunny Sunday

It's been quite an eventful week to say the least.

As I sit and type, the boyfriend is currently under the knife, getting a steal rod placed in his right collarbone (to match the titanium in his back of course). Before we know it, he really will be RoboRob. I wonder if the rods come in carbon fiber... 

The past 3 days have gone on forever. What a trooper he's been. There is no way I would have had the strength to handle the injury as well as he did. After getting patched up, I drove him to the hospital. All was good until we got into the ER. As soon as the nurse came in to check him, I turned the palest of whites and broke into a sweat I started to faint and so the nurse made Rob get up off the gurney and put him in the visitor chair while she laid me down in the bed with my head below my feet. Rob desperately searched for the phone to take a picture (thankfully he couldn't find it). How dare I steal his thunder!

Sunday, at the 3rd Annual NOW Energy Bar Criterium in Carson, CA, Rob was in the final sprint. He held his position as planned and everything was coming together. He was right where he needed to be to get a Top Ten finish. Of course, a 1st place was most ideal, but at this point we were shooting to bank the one more Top Ten finish that Rob needed to upgrade to Cat 3.

That didn't happen. In that final sprint, Rob got tangled with a junior rider and hit the deck like a sack of bricks. I don't know how everyone else in the pack managed to avoid him, but I am so thankful they did.

In case you missed it, here's the video (fast forward to 1:30).

The past 3 days have been spent in and out of the hospital. It's amazing how quickly your life gets turned upside down and nothing else matters anymore. Getting Rob fixed is all that matters now. With his great spirits it's evident that he will pull through quicker than anyone else who's gone through this and will be back on his bike before we know what hit us (well, maybe not as fast as that guy from the Tour de France, but pretty damn close).

Despite all this, I managed to pick myself up a USA Cycling license. Why not? Seems like the practical thing to do. It was actually more of a "in the heat of the moment" purchase so that I could discuss Rob's situation with the Technical Director at USA Cycling (can you believe they wouldn't talk to me because I wasn't a licensed member - OH NO YOU DIDN'T). But in all fairness, after we weeded through the initial banter, they ended up being pretty helpful. Kudos for restoring my faith USA Cycling.

So what did I learn? Bicycle racing is an EXPENSIVE hobby (doesn't mean I will quit before I start), and USA Cycling has an insurance plan if you get injured during a race. Just be sure to get it reported by the officials otherwise it will be another level of hell added to your life. No bueno. 

So now I have a license. I guess that means I better get on my bike and start training so I can catch up to the lovely ladies of H&S Bicycles!

- Keep on pedaling. I'll be out there with you all soon!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Wanna Race My Bicycle!

This past Sunday, H&S Ladies debuted in their first race of the season at the Roger Millikan Crit. I was very sad (and jealous) that I couldn't be a part of it, but SO SO SO proud of the ladies. I've been on the bike twice in the past month and am recovering from a nasty cold. Didn't want to risk an injury so I sat it out (insert pouty face here).

Warming up. Damn! It was cold!

Anyways, so proud of my ladies! Everyone Needs a Jenny (one day after riding a century no less) and the amazing Tammy both raced, as well as two ladies new to the group. They all pushed hard and finished with smiles on their faces.  It was a great race with a pack of about 21 ladies (2 of whom I question...?). Although there were no "wins" for H&S, all the ladies raced well, and most important, FINISHED!

All smiles all the time.

I have always been a little skeptical about racing. I am a competitive person and I want to win! Knowing I am not physically prepared to take on a race at this time, I probably would have been the one throwing my bike in the grass out of frustration after coming in dead last. I know, I know... lame, childish, call it what you will but how do you deal with that emotion? I want to be better than I am. As a single parent working full time in television, it can be hard to find the time to get on the bike. I'm motivated but I don't have the skill. I struggle to find the time to ride, and to ride without having to be heavily hopped up on caffeine. I made it a goal this year to make riding a priority but so far I have failed. That ends today!

Who's with me? Stopping with the excuses here and buying a Costco size pack of Sugar Free Rebull. Let's keep on pedaling and do this!

Power baby!

Powerhouse Jen making a comeback.
Clearly she needs a little Jenny in her life.