Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This weekend's deathmarch
132 miles. 14,500 feet of climbing. 20-24% grade on Lincoln Gap. One day.

"Unless you geared your bike very low, like near 1:1, you will cry on this pitch. I’ve seen strong riders give up and walk before reaching the top, cussing along the way. "

I'm so scared, but I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Skier Superiority Complex

This is the idea that because I'm a skier, I can do anything. Most nordies I know have the same complex. Its never failed me, either, until sunday's mountain bike race.

Saturday I went to Pawtuckaway state park in NH for an orienteering camp. That was fun, but the mosquitos were really bad, so if you stopped jogging for an instant you were swarmed. The terrain there is all boulders and swamps, with a couple little rolling hills, and its all open woods, and its just not my favorite kind of place to orienteer. Good for training, though. So I ended up running ~18km, mostly through the woods. Only rolled my ankle once, and never got lost. These are good things. That night we camped in someone's backyard who sort of knew the college roommate of one of the orienteers' parents... they were super nice though, and their kids wanted to sleep outside too since we were all out there.

Sunday morning I met Jess Ingram (another IBC mtber) at an exit off 93, and we drove the rest of the way up to vermont. The course started with a pretty long but gradual dirt road uphill, and then the rest was singletrack, pretty rooty and rocky in places but totally rideable and really fun. I rode with warmup with Jess and she was saying encouraging things like "you'll be fine in sport, don't worry, you're riding great, etc.

So the race starts, and we go up the hill, and things are good because its uphill, and then we start riding the singletrack and things go to pieces. I never really got myself totally concentrating--the best example of this would be one section that had two bridges. I went over one, and realized I had been kind of close to the edge, and was like, "holy shit! I almost fell off the bridge! that would be bad!" and then I was still thinking that when I fell off the second bridge... by second lap, my technical skills had completely disappeared and I may have been making little whimpering noises going down the hills. My confidence was also pretty shaken from the bridge event, and then I endoed doing something stupid, and that really kind of hurt, and then I kept falling off my bike because I would start going too slowly down the hills to keep my wheels moving. It was like any time I actually got my rhythm back, I would do something like catch my handlebars on a tree, or just kind of not see a rock and slam into it and fall over. It was almost like a bad bonk in a bad dream... anyway, end of story is that I was 6th in my age class, I have never cried in a race before (that bridge thing really hurt), and I can't wait to do another race!

I hung around to watch the expert class--Linnea just moved up, and in my opinion totally kicked ass, even though as she was going through the feed zone was telling us she was totally cooked. She and Jess rode pretty close for most of the race, apparently, but there was this other woman in the expert class who really should have been racing the pro/open class, because she beat all the pros. dirty sandbagger. Anyway, both Jess and Linnea beat the little 12 year old who is amazing on a bike, but thats because Libby (the 12 year old) flatted and we're not sure she knows how to fix a flat. So yeah, fun day, and once I was removed from the pain and mental exhaustion of my race it seemed kind of fun too. I feel like the mental exhaustion of running around in the woods being chased by mosquitos for 12 hours the day before might have contributed... but whatever. Now I have a reason to do another race--revenge!

So yesterday, Anna Mcloon wanted to ride out to Wachusett to go up it to see what its like for the Fitchburg road race... Don't know why, but I agreed to do it with her. We had a nice chatting-pace going on for most of the ride; it got pretty hilly once we crossed 495, but Anna was super nice and waited at the top of the hills if I didn't feel like busting my chops to keep up. The first section of Wachusett is super steep and all out of the saddle climbing, and then you hit the entrance to Wachusett itself, and it flattens out and loops around the mountain, although there were some steep pitches in there. The first part just sucked because it was straight so you could see that the pitch didn't level out at all. I got to the top, and Anna had already gone down (in my defense, she WAS time trialing it so she could see how it felt after riding 50 miles), so I headed back down. Not great pavement and I may have burned through my brake pads, but it was still a fun descent. We hung out at the ranger station before heading back, and thank god it was mostly downhill with a tailwind the whole way, because I was cooked. Ended up being 95 miles, I wish I had my bike computer working, because I'm sure I would have done an extra five miles just to call it a century, but whatever, it was fun! Took us 6:45 from Waltham, plus about 40 minutes on my end to get to waltham and back. I wasn't tired last night, but now I might be a little tired...

Long weekend... and my body wants a rest. Which it will get, if I plan on finishing the gaps next weekend...

Here is a picture of me all smiley in my warmup...

Friday, May 25, 2007


My legs are trashed. It feels like somebody took out all the useful bits like tendons and muscles and bones and stuff and re-filled the skin with jello. Jello doesn't do much for trying to ride a bike.

Here's to hoping that the jello will drain out and the muscles will re-appear before sunday... I should probably bring some cookies to the race just so that when it goes horribly at least I can be happy afterwards :)

On that topic, I desperately need new mtb brake pads. But my logic is that the last time I tried to change something right before a race, things went badly, so I'll just change the pads after the race. The second part of this logic is that if I'm racing I won't need my brakes, right? Because if its technical you'll find me just running... and not being able to fully stop will just make me a better (or more bruised) biker! continuing on that topic all of my bikes need some serious attention. I hope nothing breaks before I get around to it.

And completely off topic, they widened and repaved a long and [previously] really sucky section of the charles river bikepath! rollerskiing heaven! No more jumping over roots and dodging out of the way of crazy bikers! Once my hands toughen up I'll ski to work again. real soon now.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Yesterday was the 29th annual billygoat. The billygoat is an orienteering race that is a little unique--you can follow people (in fact, following is "explicitly permitted"), and you can skip one control. Which can get you in trouble if you're following people and they skip a control and you don't notice, or variations on that theme. The other thing about the Billygoat is that if you finish in under 3.5 hours, you get a t-shirt. Its a pride thing too, its considered a DNF if you finish in after 3.5.

So, Ed and I drove over from Vermont the night before, got our numbers, read the instructions, and headed to the start. Its a mass start, and basically, everybody just runs in the same direction as the people in front. Which would suck if the people in front went the wrong way. But, they went the right way, and we sort of all got to #1 in a big strung out pack. I decided that since this was the first running I had done on my shin I was going to take it pretty easy, so I backed off to just run my own race. I was feeling relatively confident in my navigational skills (my confidence in my orienteering varies from day to day...), and it was sunny out, so I was in a chill sort of mood. I ended up running most of the course with adventure racer Tracy Olafson, I think of; she had a daughter ski at UNH, and we sort of know each other, so it was a pretty chatty race all in all.

I was pretty much hitting each control spot on, and if for some reason I felt like I wasn't going in the right direction, the woods were so muddy you could just look for the elephant trail where the lead group had gone through. Eventually we had it down to a group of four, with me doing most of the navigating. Around control #13, I took a better route over a cliff, and dropped that little group. I ended up putting about 10 minutes on Tracy and co., but I lost some time on the woman who had only been about 4 minutes ahead of us at the feed station.

I ended up running controls 14-25 alone, just doing my own thing, and mostly navigating pretty well. My shin held out great, which I think means I can start running again (easy). I finished in 2:23, well under the 3.5hr cutoff, and Ed finished soon after, in 2:35 or something. This was a considerably nicer course than the other two Billygoats that I've run--there were some long legs, and some slightly technical ones with no catching features if you overran it, but overall, it was a very runnable course. Plus, it was sunny. Did I mention that already? After all the rain we've been having, even if the woods were insanely muddy, the sun felt great.

Here is the map, except for #20 which didn't fit apparently. scanning credit to Peter Gagarin, an orienteer who posts his maps online. A muddy, but extremely fun, course!

As an afterthought, maybe a two and a half hour run in the woods was not the best way to see if my shin could handle running. But it can!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mt. Sunapee road race

A couple weeks ago, I went riding in the rain when it was cold, and things ended badly. You'd think I'd have learned...

I was planning a long, slow, easy ride. Then Darcy asked if I wanted to come watch Sunapee. I looked at bikereg to see what time it started, and next thing I knew, I was signed up. Lets keep in mind I haven't been training four weeks yet... Stephanie's description of this course is "you go around a round-about, then you go up a hill, then you go up another hill, then you go up another hill, you make a right turn, you go up a hill, you go up a wall, you go up a hill, and then you finish on an uphill". Great! So, I went up there with Giulia, the other cat 4 from IBC, and it was pouring rain. The whole way up. The temperature was up to 48 degrees by the time we got to Sunapee; we figured that was a good sign. The uphill finish didn't look that hard, so we were somewhat relieved. Warmed up on the trainer under an overhanging roof, and we decided we were ready to go. Rather than bore you with the details of racing in the rain, I'll bore you with a play-by-play of my thoughts while riding.

The gist is that Giulia ended up 4th, I was 7th, I think there were something like 30 finishers, and it was cold and wet. Anna Mcloon won the pro-1-2-3 race, easily. That girl is a house.

Anyway. My race:

I'm cold.

Daaamn I'm really cold.

Wow I do not feel like riding in the rain anymore. I wonder if I can drop out somewhere? Shit, there's Darcy. Gotta keep riding.

Ooh! a hill!

Shit my legs are all cramped up.

That NEBC girl just said something that sounded like code for "I'm going to attack". I think I'll follow her, she has a nice wide ass to draft off.

My legs hurt.

My hands are cold.

Oh good, Giulia came with me. The pack looks kind of strung out, I wonder if we're breaking?

Ooh!! I'm in a break! I'm in a break!

Wow, I just made it up another hill with the break.

Cool, I can ride with these girls, thats two hills. No sign of that pack.

Oof my legs hurt.

I'm not with the break anymore. Darn.

I could fight for it and time trial back up to them... shit my chain won't shift out of the big ring and I'm going uphill. shift! shift!

I guess I'll just wait for the pack and block for Giulia.

Where is the damn pack?

Ow my legs hurt.

This must be the wall Stephanie was talking about.

No, this must be the wall.

I'm freezing. When is the next dang uphill?

Ooh theres someone in front of me. Maybe I'll try to catch her.

When did my bike get so heavy?

I'm sopping wet. This sucks.

So as Giulia would say, I earned mad Belgian points. You get Belgian points for doing hardcore things, like racing in the rain when its cold out. I don't think I'll do another road race unless its sunny this summer. Because I think I have enough Belgian points to last me for a while. I wonder if those points come with Belgian beer and chocolate?

Monday, May 14, 2007


Me and Christophe at the top of Moosilauke.

My brother came to visit last weekend, on his way from Colgate to London to Rochester to Seattle to Los Angelos to Lima Peru. And you thought I travel a lot?
He couldn't show up until saturday afternoon, and left monday morning at 6:30am, but he wanted to go hike in the Whites. So, we went up to Moosilauke Sunday, since none of us had ever climbed it and we heard it had a good view on top. Of course, there was a mtb race that I wanted to do AND an orienteering meet I wanted to go to, but its not every day that I can see Christophe. Sometimes, sacrifices must be made.

Moosilauke is 4800 ft, which is pretty big for around here. I figured that meant that it would be a pretty challenging hike, and had minor qualms about my leg acting all funny after a couple hours of hiking. I also figured that it would take us longer than the suggsted 5.5 hrs, since none of us are really in shape, and I was guessing there would be snow. Christophe and Ed were convinced there would be no snow, and Christophe even wore shorts... Dummy :). We had about four feet of snow while in the woods once we'd gotten up to about 3000-3500 ft, and there was one long section of trail that had a river running under the snow. This meant that although I could walk on the snow without any problem, being the small person, the guys were breaking through occasionally, really slowing things down.

Ed decided that just walking up the mountain would be too easy, so brought along a tree... (actually, he's clearing the trail).


After they had cursed at the snow enough, we got to someplace with some dry rocks to sit on and ate lunch #1. I thought we'd have a ton more climbing since so far the ascent had been really mellow. Practically flat. But no, that was it for climbing. We kind of rolled for a bit up a ridge to the top of Moosilauke, which was all open tundra with a stiff wind. Shot some pictures (I'll post them in a bit) and then headed down, mostly just sliding on the snow. That actually takes a fair bit of concentration--I thought I was going to totally lose it and go slamming into the trees or rocks a couple times, but I held it together. The weather was pretty much the best hiking weather you could ask for, with the exception of the wind on the top. Great day to be climbing mountains!

View from the top.

My shin held out great for the hike, so I'm feeling pretty positive about the Billygoat, which is next weekend. The Billygoat is an orienteering race that has to be completed in under 3.5 hrs to get your t-shirt. Its typically long, hard, hot, gnarly, and demanding both technically and physically. I think my first and only true bonk came at the Billygoat a few years ago, when I started with only a redbull and a brownie for sustenance. I don't recommend that one. I finished, but I finished in 3:34... after falling down a lot, bumping into trees, and having visions of oreos and apple juice floating before my eyes. As I said, I don't recommend that strategy. This year, I'll be eating a full breakfast and bringing food and water with me... normal actions, I guess, but sometimes the skier superiority complext gets the best of you. Now I'm going to go ride my pinarello in perfect weather :).

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Sometimes, you put on spandex and sunglasses and you ride a bike really fast.

Sometimes, you find yourself tootling down the street on a mountain bike in flip flops and a skirt.

And sometimes, you find yourself riding around the streets of San Francisco naked covered in body paint with a bunch of other naked crazy people...
(Don't know who to credit for photo, but it was sent to me by Marion Bullitt. And no, I'm not in that picture, nor was I at that event. But I feel like I could fit right in...).

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sunshine in the turret

Just one more reason why I love the turret: sunshine in the morning :)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Still no racing...

Not racing on weekends almost makes for a boring life. Except that Ed and I went to a junkyard saturday, and that was pretty cool. We wanted to find a new door handle thingy for my car, since its broken, and the uninitiated don't know how to open the passenger side door from the inside. I'd never been to a junkyard before--Ed says next he'll take me to a demolition derby, just to get in touch with my redneck side. I can't wait! Anyway, there were cars everywhere, mostly missing large pieces that would make it difficult for them to roll, and usually stacked. We found our way to the Honda section, and man, there were a lot of Hondas. I don't know if that means that Hondas are shitty cars that die a lot, or just that most of them end up in junkyards. Maybe there were that many other types of cars too, I wasn't really paying attention to that. So we checked every dang Honda in that lot for a passenger side door handle with the electronic locking bit, because Ed says it has to be the exact same piece or it won't work. I'll trust him, since I wouldn't be the one installing the thing. It turns out that every Honda with a door handle similar to mine (i.e. the hinge is plastic, not metal) either had a broken handle or it had already been taken. But at least I got to go to a junkyard!

Thursday, May 3, 2007


So last December Colin decided to start rollerskiing, and his first workout was intervals at 6:00 AM at heartbreak hill. I girled him, six times up that hill. I guess I shouldn't have rubbed it in so much. He was real gentleman-like today after he and Linnea and Ann schooled me riding repeats up that hill in Arlington...

I might not be able to move tomorrow.