Sunday, January 31, 2010

All long rides should be catered

Another long ride with the Birmingham Bike League, another 4hrs+ in the freezing cold rain. Saturday was supposed to be cold but clear, NOT. Since the group ride was starting at 9am and only going to be 3.5hrs I decided to go early and get an extra hour in before hand. I bundled up and headed out in a light drizzle and about 40deg. After the hour I decided that I had way too much clothes on and decided to take a few layers off and switch to my lighter weight gloves, BIG MISTAKE!!! About 30 riders showed up for the ride and as we headed out the drizzle turned to rain and the temperature started to drop. By the end it was about 36deg. and still raining. My hands were so numb I couldn't shift my front derailleur and was having to use my right hand to reach across to try and shift into my big ring which usually caused me to swerve dangerously, not good in a group ride. By the end the derailleur just quit working and I had to ride the last hour in my small ring. Good for going uphill, not so good trying to stay with the pack on the downhills. Big thanks to Brian for pulling me back home after getting dropped on the downhills. Also huge thanks to the Birmingham Bicycle Company and Tracy's Restaurant for the awesome post-ride feast, it almost made up for the hours of miserable suffering. They had platters of hot yummy food all set out for us when we rolled back in. Definitely better than the scavenging that usually goes on after rides when I am starving and have no energy to make something myself. Otherwise training is rolling along. Put in my biggest week ever on the bike with some good intensity and the ankle is slowly healing up. Weather forecast is calling for lots of rain next week so might decide to skip the second Snake Creek Gap ride of the year. I just don't think I can handle another long ride with wet cold feet covered in mud. PS - Lauren, the Mantra is all yours!! Hope the injuries are healing up quickly and the trainer riding isn't driving you nuts!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

This Year's Mantra

I saw this painted on the side of a house in Atlanta and just had to take a picture of it. I think the house was being used for some new age enlightenment center or something, but it still made me smile every time I drove by it.
Otherwise the ankle is doing much better. The deep shade of purple has receded to a greeny yellow and the swelling is almost gone. Surprisingly enough with just a bit of shuffling around I managed to get in all my planned training this week, just with the running pushed back a bit. As long as I am running on a flat even surface the ankle is fine. The only thing that still aggravates it is unclipping on the bike and pushing off on flipturns at an angle. So for now no more trail runs unfortunately until everything heals up and the ankle is stable again.
Tomorrow is the first ride out at Oak Mountain on the mtb, can wait. Rumour has it that the Xterra race here is going to happen, so exciting, it really would have been unfortunate to loose it from the schedule.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Life's Little Ironies

I'm sure everyone feels this way at some point during their career. Just two weeks into the new season and training has been going great, then out for a long run on the trails today and oops, over goes the ankle. I guess that teaches me to go trail running in the rain. I probably used up all my good luck riding safely rubber side down for four hours in the rain with the roadies yesterday on the BBL ride in Birmingham. (Great Saturday morning ride if you are ever in the area during the winter months) I have always had loose ankle joints and been prone to ankle and achilles injuries but it seems the ankles have been extra instable recently. I now have a swollen right foot with a knob about the size of an egg growing on the outside of my ankle bone. Hopefully with lots of ice and a couple days of rest it will be back to good soon. In other news I said goodbye to Atlanta and the Rudder's and moved over to Birmingham, Alabama. Big thanks to Gary Harris who hooked me up with some sweet passes to the Concorse Athletic Club where I got in some nice outdoor swimming sessions, and of course Mark, Vicki, Alex and Sarah for opening up their home to me. I got to do some great riding despite the cold weather. I even got over to check out the trails at Fort Yargo where Xterra puts on a points race, lots of fun. Now it's time to play on the trails at Oak Mountain. There is still some question as to whether the Regional Cup race will come back to Pelham this year. Hopefully everything will work out as it is such a fun set of trails and an awesome venue for Xterra.

Sarah and Alex Rudder

I made the short drive over, past Talladega speedway (which I strangely always thought was in Florida) on Thursday, my rest day. Friday was beautiful and I got in a great tempo run in shorts and a t-shirt. One of the local high schools in Hoover has put in a really nice 5k limestone running trail that is great for some fast off road running without having to worry about rocks and roots. Saturday morning the weather turned ugly with cold weather and rain moving in. With a four hour long ride on the schedule I decided I needed some company to help me with my motivation so I headed out on the local group ride. We started out dry at 9am with 60+ riders. The rain started right about the first attack zone at 10:15 and rained pretty much the rest of the way. I was pretty proud to not drop out or get shelled and rolled back in with the lead pack that ended up being about 12 riders. Definitely earned some respect from the boys being the only chick to hang. Then today... well lets just forget about today, time to go ice again.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Atlanta Training

Canadian Snow Day

Atlanta Snow Day

Today Atlanta got a slight dusting of snow and immediately declared a snow day and closed all the schools. Judging by the number of massive car pile-ups on the roads it was probably a good idea. I had to laugh at Alex and Sarah Rudder and the rest of the neighbourhood kids that got all dressed up in their winter snow suits and had a ton of fun sliding down the driveway.

Almost done the first week of serious training for 2010 and I am definitely feeling it. Last Saturday I rode the Snake Creek Gap MTB TT in Dalton Georgia and nearly froze my toes off. It took over 4.5 hours of riding, almost 5hrs total to get through it as I had to stop at both aid stations to thaw out my camelback straw that was frozen solid, my bottle only made it to slushy status. I thought my feet weren't doing to bad at the end until I changed out of my bike shoes and realized that they were frozen solid and I just couldn't feel them. They did hurt like crazy for the next couple of hours as they warmed up. The race goes again first Saturday of February and March and hopefully with better weather I can beat my best time from last year of just under 4hours total time.

After the race I headed south to Atlanta to stay with fellow Xterra triathlete Mark Rudder, his wife Vicki and two daughters Alex and Sarah. They have been taking great care of me and allowed me to take over their basement. I was hoping for some warmer weather to train in but have still manage to get out to the nearby trails to do some biking and running. It is always fun trying out new trails and for a big city Atlanta has several great areas to go play in the dirt. Mark and I are headed out for a long MTB ride tomorrow at the IMBA Chicopee Trails. From here it is on to Birmingham Alabama where I will be based for the next couple of weeks enjoying the great trails at Oak Mountain.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. Hopefully you all had a great 2009 and are looking forward to 2010. The start of the new year means getting down to the business of training. I packed up the car full of hopefully all I will need for the next two months and headed south. I celebrated the New Year with Craig Evans and friends in Nashville after 12 hours in the car. I even made it to midnight (eastern time not central) before the caffeine high wore off and I crashed. We got the new year started with a nice freezing cold run as Craig, Omar, Richard and I headed out for a loop around the neighbourhood. We are now in Dalton Georgia getting ready to ride (not race) the Snake Creek Gap MTB TT in the morning. The morning weather is supposed to be 23 degrees Fahrenheit and the creeks are said to be running extra full, oh yeah!!! Frozen feet are going to be inevitable I am afraid. From there it is going to be a week in Atlanta then on to Birmingham. Hopefully it will warm up and the trails will dry out quickly so I can get some serious miles in before having to head back to the great white north.