Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
TOE 50M MTB: This was quite a race. 8,000 feet of climbing. It was a great way for me to evaluate my MTBing progress. The climbs were long and all on gravel roads with the exception of a few grunt trail sections. Once you completed a 30+ minute climb you would descend on single track. Short, steep and fast. Sometimes the trails were just too gnarly for my skill set which would cause a dismount. Mostly unplanned in the form of a fall. I fell more on this race than I have fallen in my whole short MTBing career. I had only 2 half endo's and believe it or not they were both in the same place! Since the course is 2 loops I got the opportunity to perfect things. Just by accident Micheal and I were together pretty much all day. This made for some good laughs! A nice light hearted approach to craziness made the falls much less painful. I do have a nice large bruise on my right bicep. My handlebar met my arm on the way down, ouch. My splits for the loops were exactly even! Now that is endurance J. I absolutely loved the race and would do it again in heartbeat.
After TOE50M I took one day to get all myself pulled together before I did the 13 hour drive to Utah. My family is in Paris working. Yes, Alex has his first job. It was short 5 day stint at the Paris Air Show. Quite the learning experience for him and dad. Since his job is not affiliated at all with Bill's company Alex got a good lesson in working for someone else. He's growing up! I am spending 2 weeks here in Park City. I've been busy getting to know trail systems I am not familiar with. So far it's been a great time. Bill and Alex will be joining me in a few days and we will make our way to Leadville. It's going to be a great summer but I will miss my animals! I already miss my needy cat. However, our house sitter is spoiling them like crazy. What I am not missing is my "To Do" list. I know I make my life way more complicated than it needs to be. I can't pull my type A distraction tactics here in Park City.
TRAINING: I feel like my training is coming to a close. The volume is still high but mentally I am focusing more on the races which start on July 2nd with the Leadville Marathon. Bill will be running it too. Should be a fun time.
Last Friday I hired a guide to take me on a killer mountain bike ride here in Park City. This is what my workout called for: "2 hours, Mostly below threshold except for a 30 minute black out push. Focus on cadence and holding that hard effort". I have not ever had a workout that said "black out push" but I like it. I envisioned working so hard that my eyes would be rolling in the back of my head. When I showed up for the trip I was ready to get schooled. My guide just happened to be a crew member for the second place woman at Leadville MTB, incredible. He told me right away he would be returning with her this year as her mechanic. Not only did he make adjustments to my bike but he gave advise straight from her mouth. When we arrived at the trailhead he had me go first so he could get an idea of how I rode. It started out uphill and right away my heart rate was screaming. It was narrow, rocky and dry. Wonderful single track but elements I have very little experience on. Where's the wet mud? After about 7 minutes of climbing he had me pull over and this is what he said, "Watching you climb up this hill is making me tired"! Good thing I have no ego around this. My reply, "Well I am already tired". He said, "You have a really strong upper body why aren't you using it"? I said, "Oh, this is just for ascetics it doesn't get used much". He said, "That's about to change"! My thoughts were….bring it on…it's about time this came in handy". He showed me how to stand and ride uphill. My heart rate dropped at least 20 beats and it was so much more efficient and easy. After about an hour warm up and lots of skill lessons it was time to "black out". We stood at the bottom of the valley and he said we're climbing up there. He pointed and I said, "By that house way up there on the third ridge". His reply, "No, beyond that". Sweet! I got my head in the game and off we went. He got in front and tried to keep pace with my new climbing skills. Around tight switchbacks with lots of loose gravel my rear tire would spin. I would reposition and get a better grip all the while
staying out of the gully. He pulled over and got behind me. I continued to ride and my breath was coarse. I needed more air and at moments I felt like I was going to puke. He said, "Your doing awesome Ronda do you need a break"? Nope, I'm riding. That's all I could muster. I crested the top and was elated but almost blew chips. My heart was beating so hard I could see my chest thump through my jersey. A high five from Chris and an atta girl was reassuring. At that moment I felt pretty darn invisible and certainly very alive! It took me 47 minutes to make the climb and someday I will return for a rematch.
That's my only MTB ride since TOE 50M. The rest of my training has all been running. My leg speed has suffered a lot but Matt said that would happen. I have let go of some of those expectations and filed it away under "Fall project". Currently I am around 7,500. The tent I slept in went to 9,000. I think I got some benefit from it since I am not gasping for air too badly. However, it's not gravy. I still feel a tug on my lungs.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
13 chain drops and only 2 working gears made the Washougal 6hr MTB race a bit of challenge. Though my temper tantrum was quite dramatic a good solid time out got me back in the game. It was hot too. 85 degrees at the end of the day. The course was not what I expected. To me it felt like MTB short track racing on steroids. Lots of short steep ascents. The descents weren't long enough to get a good flow and most ended with a hairpin turn. Tons of elements. It had it all, single track, logs to jump, slippery rocks to climb and lovely rutted motor cross track. I took some good falls but nothing horrible. I have a few bruises, a handlebar jab mark on my chest and sunburned arms.
I went into the day ready to test myself. I wanted to see how hard I could go and what might be exposed. A sore butt? Racked up legs? Fatigued arms? The one element I wasn't expecting is mechanical issues. I don't really know much about how to fix my bike. Little by little I am learning which is good. I am like a kid in a candy store when people are working on their bike. Hovering over them asking a ton of annoying questions. Although I dropped a few F-Bombs and had moments that make Barbie look mature I got some great experience. By lap 3 (18+) miles I had put my chain on 13 times. On any shift up my chain would jump off. I now know how to put my chain on!
With the terrain I could have used more gears for sure but since I didn't have them my choice was to quit or deal. I wanted to quit but chose to deal. I always wondered what it would be like to ride a single speed and I got a taste of it. Good news is I was able to ride 4 more laps with the 2 gears and no chain drops. Took my bike in today and the derailer is bent. It's brand new. Cyclepath is awesome. They are going to replace it and bend the one I have back so I can use it as a spare. They walked me through all the issues and I can now see exactly what's going on. Lots of great practice. In Leadville anything can happen so now I know I can work with it, though not at all ideal, doable. Todd Janssen who calmly fixed his punctured tire minutes before the race started was
amazingly calm. I would like to channel that. With all of his adventure racing experience he's a wealth of knowledge. He said, "I can pretty much McIver anything on this bike" when referring to how he handles repairs. That's pretty cool. To have that kind of confidence. The knowledge that you can fix it enough to get you moving again is where I would like to be. With each race and each experience I am gaining just bit more confidence.
My bike handling skills got a serious upgrade on Saturday. With each lap every obstacle got more routine. Jump over a log, sure why not? Point your bike down the rocky hill and fly, okay! Skid around the corner and fall, no big deal. Bill took some serious falls on Saturday. Endoed again but rolled a couple of times along with it. He was battered. Micheal met his share of gravel as well. I think Todd was the only one of us who stayed upright! I was pretty thrashed after the ride. I rode in a high heart rate all day. Pushing myself as much as I could. I was beat for Sunday's long run. Fortunately Micheal was in no rush so in a fogged state I got it done.
I am riding the line of exhaustion right now. The last 2 days have been sort of a blur. I am paying close attention to indicators and trying to eat well and sleep as much as I can. It's busy at home. Alex is finishing up his Freshman year and his Europe trip is right on heals of his last day of school. All the Colorado plans are done and we have everything all lined up. It's coming fast and I am getting increasingly excited.
In a conversation with someone the other day we were talking about Leadwoman events. They wanted to know how I felt about it and if I was concerned. I am most certainly concerned. They looked at me in a comforting manner. Assuring me that I need not be afraid of failing. Failing is okay. I was sort of taken back. I felt like I should be sitting on shrinks couch but yet I have no fear of failing. Failing is not my issue. I have learned and thrived more from my failings as we all do. I don't like it but that's not my issue. What I don't like is bursting my own bubble. My internal feeling and drive that I can do anything I set my mind to. The notion I can put forth the effort and work necessary no matter how hard and achieve my goal. I don't like having my bubble burst. That's what I worry about. I fear becoming complacent with my dreams. Accepting I am not able to dream and accomplish. Not making the cutoff at the Leadville 100 MTB will burst my dream bubble. If I do make the cutoff at MTB race my bubble is still intact and that's what I really want. Nothing catastrophic will happen if it gets burst but I won't lie it's not going to be easy to brush off. The conversation went on and they are still sure it's the same as fear of failing but it's not. For me, it's much different.