Monday, April 27, 2009

Best Weekend Ever!

(Warning: seriously long post, but well worth it to describe such a great couple of days.)
This weekend was incredible!

Seriously. We left Friday at 8, 7 of us squeezing ourselves, our bikes, an air mattress, and pillows and blankets into one Rutgers van. It was impressive! The cast included: Chris, Dave Kim, Karina, Zen, Charlie, and myself. Of course, the bikes are the most important part, so:

After a very long drive, we got to our Motel 6 and settled in for the night, knowing we'd be up in only a few short hours. Morning came fast, but instead of being bummed about waking up, I was super psyched to get out and race. After all, it was 65 and sunny by 7 in the morning! It only got warmer and nicer as the day progressed (ok, maybe a bit too warm.)

My collection of stuff: (note the running shoes, bike shoes, and ever important flip-flops, as well as the pink changing skirt, Rudy Project helmet, Rutgers kit, camera case, and god knows what else stuffed in my incredible Bailey Works bag that never fails to astonish me with how much it holds.)

Anyway, we got there and Karina and I got ready for our 7 mile rolling team time trial. I was feeling pretty good, so I took the first pull. I managed to clip in with no problems (yay) and we were off to a great start. I pushed it the whole way, and I think our average speed was around 21 mph, with highs of 26 and lows of only 18. Still, we figured we'd be one of the last teams, since there are only 2 of us and most teams have 4 women on them. So when results came in, we were amazed to see:
3rd place!

After that race, we started getting ready for our 36 mile long road race- 4 9 mile loops, with one huge hill. I felt good but was wishing that I had a second water bottle cage. I had to fill my only bottle with Tango Mango Gu2O, which tastes awesome, though not as good warm...

The race started well, I was staying with the pack for the first few miles easily. Then, the hill. At first, it seems like a short steep incline. Then, when you think you're done, you realize that there's another just like it. And then another. This is the one time I missed my Trek with it's granny gear. My Cannondale doesn't do that- it's too manly, so I was standing while other girls were spinning in their granny gears. Still, managed to catch the dwindling pack easily and keep up. By the second lap, I realized that I should start drinking, so I did. Only to find that I couldn't swallow, thanks to all the crap in my throat. It felt like I had an entire Gu pack that I couldn't swallow lodged in my throat. All I wanted was water, but warm Mango was all I had. I took a sip, and immediately felt like I was starting to throw up. Bad sign. So, I stopped drinking it. 36 miles with only about 2 oz of fluid from my bottle gone by the end. Yikes.

Last lap, Karina and I took the lead for a couple miles. Being up front is so much fun! Then, the hill hit. I was dehydrated and pushing as hard as I could but falling behind. Got behind the pack with 5 miles to go. They were about 30 seconds ahead of me after the hill, and I passed a few that fell back, but couldn't catch back on, so I was alone for the rest of the circuit. Finally, finish line in sight, I pushed as hard as I could and finished behind Karina, who was at the back of the pack, ahead of me by around 30 seconds- meaning I hadn't lost any time on the pack since the hill, which rules considering I was almost entirely solo. We got 15th and 16th, and I was super pissed about missing points, but such is life. Drank about a gallon of water, threw up, then did a 20 minute hellish run.

Pizza Hut and watching Just Married at the hotel was a pretty great way to spend the night and relax before the insane crit the next day.

Women's B was the third group on the course, which was great because it meant that before 10 AM we would be done for the day and could relax and cheer everyone else on. I wasn't feeling great, still dehydrated a bit and generally feeling sluggish, but I was hoping I'd snap out of it. The crit course was a very very crappy road, an even crappier turn onto a (you guessed it) even crappier hill. So many potholes! Then, a downhill, a turn, and start over again- a ~1 mile loop. I started ok, hanging with the pack. Then, a couple of loops in, the worst case scenario happened- a girl crashed on the turn after the downhill, took a few girls out with her, and started screaming "my back!" I was behind her and just managed to avoid it, but the sound of the crash and her saying that just shot all of the adrenaline out of my body and my legs pretty much turned to mush. I tried to hang in, and did a decent job, but my legs were just sluggish and unresponsive. I didn't drink because I was working so hard to catch up, but I think that worked against me, since I was dehydrated from the start. I was in a lower gear pedaling faster than normal but couldn't keep up. I ended up getting 24th, Karina got 18th, so I wasn't totally unhappy, since the field was in the 40's. I just hope that the other girl who crashed is ok!

I talked to Charlie afterwards, and he told me that it's weird because I have a style of pedaling and pushing bigger gears and timing for switching gears that they've never seen before. I guess it's from triathlon, trying to use more power but less cardiovascular for the bike to save my legs for the run. That and it's how dad rides.

After I ate and drank some more and started feeling better so I went for a 45 min run along the time trial course:
View of my new haircut from the road: (I didn't mean to take this picture, I was just swinging my camera phone around to get the scenery and got this!)
And came back to this: (Charlie is wearing the changing skirt that I made for him, but we had to trim it down because it was too long, leaving him with this gorgeous ensemble. Sexy, right? Rutgers Cyling: Always Classy)

And at the end of the day, I was looking like this: (very sweaty, very suntan-lotion covered, very unshowered, and very happy)

I survived a long ride home, including a ridiculously roundabout but totally worth it trip to Taco Bell, and finally got home to my bed, my shower, and my ridiculously good recovery Powerbar in chocolate-caramel-peanut-butter amazing-ness.

This morning, I staggered out of bed, rode over to the gym, swam alone for an hour, then went for an hour of cornering practice in the park (including some turnaround practice for the next time trial) and ran 30 minutes. I'm feeling recovered and back in action after all of my various medical problems. My run isn't amazing yet, but it's getting so much better. It feels great ot be back to (almost) normal, and just in time for the great weather!

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