The “penis” league…

I have been a slacker in the blogging department for the past few months and it’s embarrassing but I’m back now! I’ve been riding five days a week doing some pretty intense interval training and working two jobs which has been quite the juggling act but I’m making it work so far. I know many cyclist run into the problem of being “too busy to ride” because cycling is a time consuming sport, but I find it more than worth it to loose a few hours of sleep to be able to get my ride in because I feel that riding is a constant in my life and it makes me a better person.

Recently a local cycling team, Mrs. Rose’s Racing, has a training crit series of four crits held every other Tuesday for the months of August and September. I am planning to participate in all of them come hell or high water because I really want to get more race experience under my belt before the season is over. The one catch to these races is that they are open categories which means I’m racing with the men. Yeah, that’s right. One girl, thirty dudes. I have managed to do the first two races and I was really nervous to race with the guys. Not because I was nervous to ride with guys (that is nothing new) I was nervous because I wasn’t sure how I would be treated as the only woman in a competitive situation. I figure the response I would get would be “What the F#$! is this? Who does this girl think she is?” but much to my surprise the guys have been very respectful and actually cheer me on. Of course I have a few allies out there on the course because I do ride with a lot of these guys but there are also some guys who do give me the “Are you serious?!” look. But the only way to gain respect from these guys is to go out there and take the shit and ride your ass off. 

The first race was crazy hot, I believe it was 100 degrees that day and of course the race starts at 6pm so the asphalt has had the whole entire day to soak up every bit of heat the day has been able to supply. I was dehydrated by the third lap and we had a 50 minute race to complete. I was in pain by the time we were done. I got lapped approximately 5 times, but I am okay with that because a quarter of the guys that started didn’t finish. I also had a mom come up to me after the race with her young daughter and the mom said to me “She was SO excited to see a girl racing!” and the little girl looked at me and said “You are cool!”. This is why I have a rule for myself, no DNF’s unless you are hemorrhaging, there are little girls watching you. And also in this situation there are thirty guys waiting for you to buckle under the pressure. 

The second race went much better, the heat index was nowhere as high as the previous race and once again I was the only girl out there. I was only lapped 3 times, so hopefully next week I will continue the trend and my speed will increase and my times lapped with also decrease. I have an awesome coach who has been supporting me ever step of the way and encouraging me to get out there and get it done. He sent me this email after the first race and I had mentioned to him that I did feel a bit defeated after the race. 

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New developments include I’M GETTING A POWER METER!!! I’m so excited, I should have my power meter by the end of the week and It should be in working order for my next race this coming Tuesday! I will keep you guys updated about how that is going once everything is all set up and running.  

 

Until then xoxo

 

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Home, nothing sweeter….

I just got back from four weeks of vacation in Italy, which was undoubtedly fabulous, but I was extremely ready to be home. My dad and I flew over and met my sister and mom, who had already been over there for several weeks, in Milan and we all headed to Lake Como. It was absolutely breath taking! I have never seen the alps, except out of a plane window. It was amazing to see them in person and you feel so small next to them. My dad and I were able to hire bikes for the day while in Bellagio and we did the Giro di’ Italia TT course, which completely kicked my ass! I have never experienced riding at that high of an altitude and I almost threw up a few times, but I made it!

The next week we spent in Cinque Terre, which was surreally beautiful. It is so colorful and charming there but everything was on a hill! I’m pretty sure I have never done that much hill walking in my life, but we did spend a lot of time at the beach and also got to go sailing so that made up for that walking a bit.  My dad had to leave after the second week and head back home to work but my mom, sister and I continued onto Cortona for a week and then to Siena. 

Siena was amazing, I had been there once before but this year we were there during the Palio. If you have never heard of the Palio please look it up, it is an amazing tradition which has been going of for centuries. There are 17 neighborhoods that make up Siena and each has a coat of arms. Each year in July and then again in August there is a horse race held in the main piazza. Everything about this race is left up to chance and luck. Each neighborhood is given a horse which is determined by a drawing process and then they must scramble to find a jokey and make arrangements for the next three days. There is an incredible sense of excitement in the air you can just feel it, it’s amazing. 

Italy is amazing but I learned that two weeks is my limit, I’m such a home body and I was so homesick for my bike, friends, work, and my bed. I also learned that when you love your life you really don’t need a vacation from it. Now that I have been back for a few days, I have had a chance to ride and every time I get back on my bike after being gone I fall in love all over again. There is no love like the love of cycling, it runs deep and true. It also keeps me sane which is a bonus 🙂 

Rachel and I have ridden a couple of times and the traffic has just been horrendous! The tourists are now in town enjoying our beautiful city and beaches and I’m glad they are here, but boy is it terrifying to ride with them on the road! We almost got hit several times by people who were not paying attention and this was all within the period of an hour. Please be respectful of cyclists, this is our home and we welcome you so please don’t hit us! Okay my rant is over, glad to be back 😀

Long time no blog…

There has been a lot going on in my life lately so I have neglected to write in quite some time.  I have been doing more individual training doing lower zone heart rate intervals which sounds boring and let me assure you that it most definitely is boring. I do usually 2-3 hours of riding everyday, alone… I also live alone and riding is usually my “social life” (I know this is sad) so I definitely find myself longing to go on group rides or be able to have someone to talk to on those 3 hour rides. Occasionally I can persuade Daniel or Rachael to tag along and to 12 mph but only occasionally. 

Last week I decided I was going to cheat and go on a group ride. I don’t know what possessed me to think that this was such a marvelous idea but I did and let’s just say that going on a 60 mile group ride and averaging 20.1 mph when you haven’t ridden more that 30 miles or averaged higher that 15 mph in months is not the best plan. I had to walk down the stairs sideways and I also felt as though I had a hangover from the ride. My head throbbed, I was dehydrated, and my whole body hurt. I met a guy when my dad and I were returning from West Ashley through downtown and he was from out of town visiting family and said he would like to ride with me, I kindly told him that I would not be getting on a bike for a couple days and if he was still in town that I would be very happy to go on a ride with him. He was still in town on Tuesday so I reluctantly got on a bike with protesting legs and went on a ride, my legs did not recover until this past Sunday.

This coming Friday I will start a 3 1/2 week vacation in Italy which means a 3 1/2 week vacation from the bike. I’m already feeling a little bit of separation anxiety from my bike, I’ve been riding for three years now and I haven’t spent more than a week away form a bike in that time… I’m slightly nervous to say the least. It will be a blast but I sure will be happy to see my bike again.

Issaqueena, that bitch…

I know it has been while since I have written but moving and having my mother here for over a week has occupied my time. A couple weekends ago the team ventured out of the low country for a training ride up in Walhalla, SC. It was really early Saturday morning and the rain was pelting down on the tin roof of my parents house and I groaned as a drug myself out of my cozy bed that I had not spent nearly enough time in yet. I light wasn’t even coming through the windows as a tiptoed around the house and out to my car and the rain was still coming down as I drove down the driveway. Not feeling it. 100 miles with 11,000 feet of climbing on a gorgeous day is a feat but in these conditions not fun. 

I kept driving towards Walhalla and the rain kept pelting on my windshield. I exited and tried to call Mike. No answer. I do a u turn and then start driving back home, I was not going to do this. As soon as it hit the interstate Mike calls me “CC, where you at? I’m just downstairs getting Joachim a cup of coffee!” Damn it, Joachim came now I have to go. So I take the next exit and do another u turn and head back in the direction of Walhalla and reluctantly tell Mike that I will be there shortly and that I will meet them in the lobby. 

We finally get over to the ride site and start getting ready to ride. The rain had subsided at this point and it was actually pretty warm so we all opt to leave the leg warmers at camp and just sport arm warmers with wind vests in our pocket for the decants. We take off and Jason, Gregg and Joachim all decide they are going to hammer the ride, Mike, Billy and I decide that we are going to stop at the rest stations and take advantage of the snacks. After the second stop we start some more serious climbing. The first little stretch was a decent little climb then it flattened out then the next was a little steeper and so on and so forth. It started to rain and it was beginning to get cool, we finally reach the 1 mile 14% grade climb. Yeah, you read that ride 1 mile 14% grade. At this point my legs are done, they were tiered when we started,  my knees hurting because I didn’t have my shems in my shoes, and I’m freezing cold. Mike is beside my “Come on CC!” I was almost there tears streaming down my face and my knees just gave out on me just before the top and I had to walk the last 100 yards.  I. Was. Done. I hopped in a sag and headed back and the boys took the sag behind me. It was just to f*&#$!@ cold to do that decent and the rain was horrific. I finally got home, got food,  warmed up and got to spend some time with my whole family which was really nice. It was my aunts birthday and I was able to see her.

 

This weekend It was rainy and nasty but we had to do team pictures on the York Town which was epic! We were all waiting in the parking lot and Joachim was looking at the radar and pacing saying “It’s coming, the rain is coming the radar doesn’t lie!” then thirty minutes later he started saying “It’s over, turn back, we can’t do this anymore the radar doesn’t lie!” We finally get up there and the wind is dreadful, it blew a bike out of the stand but we kept taking pictures. We are taking the last pictures and it starts pouring, I mean POURING. We all run inside and Jimmy our lovely team director says “OK, head shots!” all the girl are like “Uh, seriously?!” He was serious and we took head shots. The pictures actually all turned out really well. Rachel turned to me while we were waiting in the parking lot and said “I don’t think I have ever seen so many weirdos in one place.” It’s true but when you are on a cycling team that’s how it goes, you are all weirdos and you all love each other.

State champs…

I haven’t written in a while due to the chaos of buying a house/getting the place ready to move into/training/working. It has been slightly insane the past few weeks but despite the chaos it has been a really good few weeks. This past weekend was the Low Country Race Weekend sponsored by Low Country Elite Racing and might I say they did a beautiful job of putting on the weekend. These two days of racing are the crit state championships as well. I was not sure about racing, especially Saturday.

The course for Saturday happens  to be very technical and I had a chance to ride it with my team on Thursday and was like “Oh, hell no!”  then later I started considering it and had Daniel look over my bike and make sure everything was in running order and got a bonus pep talk. He told me that it seemed like I wanted to race, I just needed to go do it. He said take your stuff and if you get there and aren’t into it then don’t race Saturday, fine, there are races on Sunday and isn’t this was to ride/train for? GO DO iT! And he was right… 

Friday night the rain was pouring down and I had decided that if the course was wet and I was nervous I wouldn’t handle the bike as well so I would opt out if the course was still wet by race time. It was so I didn’t race Saturday, but one of U18 kids braved the weather and raced his first ever races in Juniors and Men’s Cat 5. I felt like a proud mama, I was so nervous for him but he did awesome!

Sunday’s course was much less technical and I had actually run the course before when a friend of mine lived in the neighborhood that is attached to the West Ashley High School. I raced women’s cat 4 at 8:30 and had the privilege of racing with some really amazing girls and a few bitches. The race went well no crashes and I placed 9th out of 11. I raced again at 3:55 in the women’s open cat and had the privilege of once again racing with some of the girls I had teamed up with in the earlier race. There were four of us racing and we split off into two groups of two and Shelby from team Massage Envy and I took .7mile pull turns and then on the last lap we rode side by side trying to play it clean and I out sprinted her on the last stretch grabbing 3rd but she put up a fight for sure. It was an awesome weekend and lots of great race experience.Image

Team time…

As I have mentioned I have been very unmotivated to spend time on the bike. It’s all I can do to get out the door with a kit on and bike in hand but I’ve been doing it anyway. Sunday was a much needed ride with the majority of my team. We participate every year in the After the Bridge Run Ride sponsored by the Trek store here in town. My dad, mom, and sister all were in town and all rode in various distances that were available. Dad took on the 100 miler with a couple of my teammates, I took on the 70 miler with the remaining crew and  my mom and sister did the 25 miler together. 

It was an absolutely glorious day and I had a blast. It was really exactly what I needed. I just needed to be surrounded by my teammates and the support and fun and love that comes with that and the joy was back. Sometimes I just need a reminder of why I do this, why I work so hard, and why I put my body through such harsh training. I love it! My mojo isn’t back in full swing but it’s at least having a come back.

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After the ride dad and I went to get some food and my mom and sister joined us for a bit. They started talking to us we asked how their ride was and they said it was quite wonderful until a dog came after them. Andrea said “I was riding at about 20mph and then this dog came out of nowhere and was being really aggressive in chasing me so a sped up and started screaming.” then Andrea continues to tell us that mom ended up climbing a fence in attempt to get away from the dog! We were all laughing hysterically, my mother climbed a fence… Oh dear.

Thursday I rode with Mike who has been put on a strict training schedule, by our in house exercise science PhD, of riding everyday at a very low heart rate for at least two hours for the next eight days in preparation for a 100 miler our team will be doing in a couple weeks. I decided that I would drive up to Summerville and keep a poor chap company on a lonely ride. We had a lovely ride and I now have been written a training schedule for the next two weeks by Joachim so I begin that tomorrow, wish me luck!

Over it…

I never thought I would hear myself say these words but I have. I am over it. I am sick of sprinting, long rides, fast rides all of it, over it. I don’t want to go to the gym or run, I want to get fat. Well not really but what I really want is to eat like a fat person and not workout like an athlete and not get fat. The worst part of this is that my double trouble partner is also over it so there is no outside source of training inspiration currently besides the fact that we are right at the beginning of the season which is proving to not be any motivation at all. I honestly want to buy a beach cruiser. 

This weekend I was able to take two days off and do absolutely nothing and spend time with my family which was wonderful. I made the three hour drive home for Easter and was able to see my girlfriends that I hadn’t seen since New Years. On my way back to Charleston I took a brief stop in Summerville to meet up with my co-workers/friends to celebrate Sara’s birthday. We went to Accent on Wine and More and it was absolutely lovely. The weather has finally warmed and we were able to sit outside on the sidewalk and drink our wine. So wonderful to be surrounded by good company. 

Tuesday I made myself go out to ride laps with Daniel at Edgewater. Which wasn’t too bad considering the company was good, but it still took a little effort to get myself on a bike. Tuesday night was team sprints at Hampton Park which is gorgeous! I had never been out there but it is a beautiful place. Rachael and I got there at 5:30 which is when it is supposed to start and we started riding and we did several laps and no one was there so we decided that no one was there and we were not feeling this so we were going to go get fat. So we pulled into the parking lot and low and behold Jason and Timmy were behind us. Damn it. Then we had to confess our plan and Timmy gave us shit about it and then told us we had two minutes to decide and well we went and got burgers. We were sitting down eating and we get this text from our team director Jimmy:

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Timmy tattled. 

Yesterday I decided that I would start running again thinking maybe if is start doing something I really hate exercise wise then maybe I will want to ride again. We will see how this works out over the next few weeks. I do know one thing for sure though, I am not riding today, it is ridiculously windy.