Monday, December 29, 2008

new rides, old fun

Took a ride to Queen Mary Falls with a great bunch on the weekend. It is really fun to ride somewhere new, and good to have that 'not knowing how far you have to go and will I make it' feeling. Was a great group - Meg, Kim, Pete, Sean, Nick, and my usual ride company TR.

The ride started about 20km outside of boonah and went up almost immediately along a road called 'the falls drive'. The mist was swirling as the clouds were lifted over the mountain and there was some reasonable rain - actually quite welcome given it was already 24'c at 6.30 in the morning. Made a mental note never to ride with Meg and Pete again and pledged to give up bikes. We missed out on the view as we reached the first plateau - but not the chain smoking bogans. Once regrouped we quickly pressed on up the second climb. I don't know how high the climbs were or how long we took but I remember that it hurt. I'd like to know the gradient. It was definitely double digits in parts I think.

The scenery on the ride was awesome - rain forest alternating with lush green paddocks. Beautiful river spots with big flat boulders perfect for swimming holes. We noted a few mystery tracks for exploring next time. The traffic was light and ridiculously courteous. Every one waved, people even pulled off the road to allow us to pass - amazing stuff!

We reached Queen Mary and stopped at the cafe for snacks and the obligatory WRB photo shoot.
Back on the bikes and onto the outskirts of Killarney before turning north(ish?) along the condamine river gorge. We made a total of 14 creek crossings travelling the 4WD track back before rejoining the road at the top of the first climb.

By this time both the clouds and bogans had cleared and we got to see the view we had earned. I couldn't see much though, thanks to the size of TR's head.

Wicked descent reminded me of why I LOVE my new bike so much. It is better to descend fast mountain roads on than my road bike. Ridley have it dialled. Thanks to Jez & Ride Inn I dropped everyone on the way down. Some fairly stupid sprinting along the flats to the cars saw 80ish kms in the bank, and 1800m of ascent, followed by chips, beers, and roast beef rolls at the boonah pub. Not a typical MTB day out, but solid training and great fun.

Note to self. Anytime Meg & Pete invite me riding - say yes.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Contemplation

Over christmas it is time to kick back with the family, and ride for fun. No programs, no pressure. If I don't feel like it, sleep in.

With 2008 drawing to a close, there is reflection on the year that was.
Like 2007 I have completed some great adventures - Inferno, Dusk 2 Dawn, The national 24s, ARQ Adventure racing series incuding Hells Bells, Geoquest, Insomnia, The Epic, Teva Adventure Race, Kona 24 hour.

What will 2009 hold?
World Solo Champs? Nationals? More marathons? Probably.

And I can't wait.
It starts again with an epic ride to Queen Mary Falls on the 27th with a couple of my bike heros (hello Meg, hello Winner).

It is probably also time to say thanks to my main riding buddy for 2008. Always up for a ride, and always happy to do whatever it is I am meant to be doing that day. Thanks TR.And buy a new undershirt. That one is nasty!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kona Qualifying.

It wasn't my day. There were no parking spaces, there were no luggage trolleys, there were huge lines. My flight was delayed, the aerobridge was busted. There were road detours on route to Apollo Bay, there was fog. Was the universe trying to tell me something? I had to push so hard just to get to the start line, that I was tense and uneasy arriving. Everything was rushed and I knew I hadnt had enough sleep, food or hydration for the ideal race. But I was determined to take the chance and see what I could do. Alex did an awesome job setting up our campsite while I contemplated what was ahead.

video

The Day 1 lap was more than I expected. Tight, twisty and logs a plenty. I had just fought my way clear of the mad rush, and then BANG.... Ripped my tyre off the rear, despite my tubeless there was no resealing. Tried some CO2 to get it beaded and resealed. Forget it. Watched all the people I passed get back in front while I struggled to rip off the rim strip and get stem out to replace with a tube. Done and back on, but alot of time lost. Got by with another few laps before another slow flat. Pumped it twice, before giving in and accepting I needed to change the tube. In hindsight, apart from being demoralising these mechs were seriously messing with my nutrition plans (forgotten in the heat of the moment!). Very hard to shake the feeling it was not my race... to give today away. That stayed with me, to be my battle for the rest of the race.

Night came, and with it a new lap. Slightly less climbing but long and gradual and man I totally froze. Seriously. It was down around 2 or 3' and damp. I have never been that cold in all my racing. I struggled with strong sleepiness - in hindsight I think it was mainly the cold, and the missed nutrition - though at the time my addled brain was blaming my poor preparation and advising I give up. I also started to have some problems with my eyes from the dust. Another good reason to quit. I had a lap where I went awol and took forever my support crew kicked into overdrive realising how cold I was. Sleeping bags and hot noodles - shame I was so wasted I didn't know what day it was! Anyone tried to get me out of here, I stab.
Every lap from here was a struggle but I kept them coming. Breaks were longer than they should have been but I didn't quit and I knew I was still within the 75% of the leader I was hoping for.

Dawn came and onto the Day 2 lap. HOLY CRAP! This was a BT. Major part of it was marriners run, a black diamond trail with plenty of climb and far too long (close to 18kms I believe). Pretty hardcore if you have been riding for 18hours..... Still managed my first lap and found out on my return that I was well within my 25% - one more lap and I had it, plus just as a bonus I would finish on the podium for third!

Massive thanks to Alex and Christa for giving up their weekend to stand around in the cold, wondering what the hell was taking so long! You guys rock!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just do it

So surgery it is, but hopefully the result will be a thumb that works.
Luckily for me it turns out to be day surgery and not a general - so with a bit of quick flight rescheduling, and begging family favours to get someone to nurse poor Gareth, the update is I am still headed for Kona. I am fairly sure I can get there sometime before the race starts. At the moment I am cramming in work, family and race organisation... .my office looks like this...

Friday will be mad. It will be close to midnight by the time I get in. Not ideal I know.
But you know what? I am going to do it anyway.

Thoughts are turning inward now to focus on the race. Push the stress and noise aside and j u s t d o i t. For me ipods help with staying focused on myself, especially personalised funky ones like this...
I did the work, now it is time to ride. I think I have learned to settle and ride my own race this year. If I forget my race plan, I can always refer to my socks...
Forrest here we come.

Monday, November 24, 2008

limbo

What to say.
I live in the Gap - we got smashed with an incredibly powerful microburst in the supercell storm last sunday. Didn't get power back until bedtime on Tuesday. Damaged roof, smashed windows, amazing amount of debris to clean up, insurance companies to keep you on hold, all food in fridge and freezer gone. Cleaned up as best we could, and now living in a giant tent (tarps on the roof) but still a hell of a lot better off than some around these parts.

Ok, crisis over - time to focus on Kona. Great brekkie ride with the boys on sunday morning, followed by the next crisis.

Husband G stacks his bike badly jumping down a staircase and calls me to tell me a) to pick him up and b) he doesn't quite know where he is. Result = concussion, and badly busted thumb. Now waiting to hear from the ortho hand specialist for an appointment to discuss surgery.

And Kona..... anyone's guess.......

Nationals anyone?

Monday, November 10, 2008

ride revisited.

So this weekends long ride was another solid trip up nebo, down to lake manchester via creek road, and back up to nebo via light line road. I have to say I felt much, much better on this ride compared to the last. Thankfully. With a 24 hour solo ride just around the corner I am not sure what I would have thought if I found myself with less than no legs again.

Was great company with this lot - Mick (hard man), Sean (my bro) and TR (faithful training buddy). Mick is mental, and insanely strong. Despite never once riding off the front, he left no doubt as to his position in the ride pecking order casually pulling the longest one handed mono I have ever seen on a pinch on light line whilst eating peanut butter and nutella rice cakes, and talking to me. I couldn't speak as my lungs were hanging out.

It really is beautiful down the bottom near the lake with plenty of water in the creeks at the moment. Almost makes up for the 11km climb out. Almost!

This week will consist of a skills ride on the MTB, a couple or road rides, LOAD week in the gym at Race Elements, and then another smashfest of either lake manchester, or maybe GT followed by the 'Super V' ride through northbrook gorge for the weekend. Race Day is on my mind, and it is time for the last hard kms.
That is all!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

long time no blog

Sorry guys, been having one of those busy periods where the demands of life prevent any meaningful time to blog. So what's been doing?

Well - firstly there was the lake manchester epic ride. A bunch of us thought it would be a good ride, but come ride day there was only two of us.... huh? Where'd everybody go? It was nearly only one, as I suffered a nasty bout of gastro and spend the Friday puking! Saturday was a recovery, and come Sunday morning the scales told me I was rehydrated so I made the call to go and at least try.... we were off.

I quickly discovered that although I managed to replace the lost fluid, I certainly hadn't replaced the lost glycogen. Despite many feed stops I hit the wall early and stayed hanging on by finger nails for the majority of this ride.

What I can say is that the track at the bottom of Creek Road and in and around Lake Manchester is beautiful, and under water!!! Here's a shot of TR contemplating riding it.


We opted for the side track.....
At the bottom we found a likely looking sign (light line link break) and headed off that way. Also known as the WRONG WAY. I have since learned that this track is also known as cricket balls. It is a very, very steep track littered with baby head rocks and for me was utterly unrideable. Nothing a couple of kms of hike-a-bike wouldn't fix. Ugh! DON'T DO IT!


Reaching the top of light line link break the view looked like this... brooooooken!

Hardened up enough to ride lightline pretty much uninterrupted, and was glad to see the cafe. Mentioned maybe calling my husband to come get me, before a hard look for my riding buddy convinced me to ride home. Heading out for this ride again this weekend -and hoping I feel not so empty!!!!

Can't wait.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

where you been?

Holidays at this place www.theracha.com
What an incredible spot - the andaman sea is insanely blue and clear. Managed to get some serious rest and recreation in.
And when I say rest I mean this:
And when I say recreation I mean this:
Kona is 6 weeks away.
Enough rest. Enough recreation. It is HURT O'Clock starting sunday with our nebo/lake manchester epic!!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

8 Hour Enduro Honours.

Raced the 8 hour yesterday.
Had an excellent pit crew lead by Bec my personal punisher, ahem, I mean trainer.
Ran over a snake.
Had a close call with a massive goanna.
Rode with no front brakes.
Regretted not having the new bike properly set up for me.
Cooked in 32 degree heat.
Didn't stop.
Won the solo.
130 kms or so tells me the training is working. Legs felt good, and I coped with the heat better than I expected too. Not spending time getting my bike set up was my biggest issue. The suspension was rock hard leaving me in rigid land. Hands, neck, shoulders and ass are NOT pretty after 8 hours on a rigid. How do those psycho 24 hour solo rigid singlespeeding freaks do it??!

Practiced a few mind tricks to help me remember which lap I was on, and take my mind away from other more unpleasant thoughts (like faarrrrk my neck hurts, and daaaaaaaamn my hands must be blistered under these gloves). Here is how it goes. Take one lap number. Make a up lame rhyme. Repeat. For example; Lap seven. Seven in heaven. Lap eight. trying not to hate! Lap nine feelin fine. Lap ten. In the pen (I don't even know what that means, I think I was belted by this point). Lap eleven better than seven.... But 12 had me beaten - I was blank! Any suggestions?


Big UPS to the WRB crew/ tent city who kept the encouragement coming all day, and jumped in to attend to bike problems without even being asked. Rocking. Was great to see my brother race his first solo race and come in strong. Only one lap behind me - damn, I better step it up!!!

Next stop - a weeks R&R for the family on a remote beach. Ahhh palm trees and cocktails and $12 thai massages.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dodging the plague.

I am interested at the moment in training and it's effect on your immune system. Mainly this is driven by wanting to avoid a cold or flu at a critical time such a race week, but generally because I hate being sick! I won't go into the science and mechanisms here for how this stuff works for fear of boring you to death, but will give you the practical bits of what I have figured out, and how I plan to apply it for myself.

I've got a qualification in Nutrition and Body Fat Management, so I know the basics about how many calories, carbs, protein and fat my diet should include. I think most keen athletes these days would know this stuff, so I am not going to go over that. What I was really interested in here was reading a bit more on immune suppression and exercise, and what the research is currently showing.


On top of the standard advice in ensuring your diet has adequate carbs, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals - I learnt some interesting stuff - specifically:
  • When you don't consume enough carbohydrate you become more susceptible to infection. In particular it is during your sessions that the damage is done, not so much after. For me this is key, as often I will not eat during a ride, and simply ensure I refuel adequately off the bike. It's a no-no. Apart from avoiding hitting the wall, eating on the bike on long or tough sessions can also protect your immune response. So more attention to eating on the bike then (stop laughing TR)! Even a hard 40 minute session is enough to induce the response. So more eload and gels for the miles ahead.

  • Zinc was another interesting one. It has been shown as critical in the function of our immune response. It has also been shown that serious athletes have lower plasma levels of zinc compared to couch sitters. Basically we sweat our zinc out. Ok then, so I just need to take a Zinc supplement right? Wrong. Some studies have figured out that too much Zinc also interfers with the immune response, just as much as having too little. What is the answer? Eat more zinc-rich foods (poultry, meat, fish and dairy) and if you must (say because you are vegetarian) only supplement with a small dose (say no more than 10mg/day).

  • Even with these tricks recognise that after a smashing race or training session you mostly likely will have a dampened immune function. Where you can, go into avoidance mode (as a parent with a young child I am laughing as I type this... but anyways..). This means avoid crowded places (big shopping centres, trains etc), wash you hands like there is something OCD wrong with you, stay warm (not really a problem in BrisVegas), and keep away for people who are ill.

There you go.

Monday, September 22, 2008

4 parks.

For the long ride this week what started as a random wander turned into an epic that took in four forest parks in one ride!!! We opted for MTBs this week, as mine has been in the shop and was begging to be ridden plus conditions had been wet. TR demonstrated that road bikes and wet roads don't mix by crashing his roadie on Friday so I took little convincing. As I stepped out my front door I found these two waiting.
As you can see it was so foggy we were soon wet as if riding in rain. It wasn't too long until it cleared and was replaced with heat, heat and more heat. The route ended up being a half nebo (centre road) down in to Bellbird Grove, across and up Camp Mountain, down into Samford for an obligatory bakery stop. I was definitely feeling the hard weeks training in my legs by then, and while I was ok on the hills staying with the boys on the flats was hard if not impossible. Actually ok on the hills is probably a stretch, as I thought camp mountain was going to kill me. Here I am thinking about how to kill TR - if only I could catch him.

The view from the top was pretty special, we paused long enough for me to figure out how to set the timer on my camera and take this photo of the escaped mental patients.
After Samford we headed back to ironbark gully down sunset and then across to Bunya and along Jurassic. Then out the other side of Bunya and on to Albany Creek where Mrs. TR had cold drinks and freshly baked biscuits waiting. Thanks Sandy.

I can't wait for next week. Something tells me it will include Camp Mt.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The hard yards

This has been a solid week. After the usual cruisy ride to kick off the week (river loop, mainly focused on coffee intervals and bacon) it was into Race Elements for strength and conditioning. This is usually where the week gets hard, and this week was no exception. Thing i hate the most about weights is knowing at the time although the session itself is not that bad, in 48 hours you will be in a world of HURT. But there are still rides to be done.

Wednesday AM was a hard ride from ironbark into Dayboro and back with Matt Dog and TR. I was meant to be doing an E1 ride, but when Matt Dog calls you for a turn on the front what are you going to do! And when he says from your wheel 'push it, just to the next yellow sign' what are you going to do?! Hurt yourself. Thankgod for the banana in my jersey pocket as TR hit the wall and I was right there too giving him a leg up. Have you ever seen two idiots happier to be back at a carpark?


Today I picked up my MTB from some work from my great sponsor Riders. And it helped me remember why I am doing this all this hard work. NO CHARGE. I could get used to that, thank Jezza. Even better I then took Gareth (husband) out to Daisy Hill for his first visit, and after the trails we hammered a few laps on this just to be kids.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not much doing.

Nothing much doing this week. Clocking up the kilometers as per the program.
Spring is definitely here, with the light and temperatures seriously on the up this week. It is great but it also tells me that November is not far away!

Highlight of the week was the long ride on Sunday. TR and Nick, who are turning out to be my weekend long ride regulars, were present and accounted for. We were also joined by Meg, who is nothing short of "hero" on the Aus MTB scene. We cruised over to Samford from the Gap, and out a bit towards Dayboro before looping back and taking on the Goat Track. We bumped into other ride buddies at the cafe at Nebo and had some laughs at Matt Dog trying to drown himself by shaking pepsi and putting his mouth over it as he opened it..... toooooo funny!
It was a great morning, and nice to chat as we rode, though we did suffer a bit of a case of 'keepstopping-itis'. The picture below, shows a case - note the key symptoms -the rider has thrown his bike in the bush, is sitting on his ass, and is eating. The head may also seem larger than normal. If this happens to you immediate treatment with a good dose of HTFU is recommended.For once it was not an E1 type ride for me - I had some heavy work sections prescribed in my long ride, so when we hit the hill I hurt myself all the way up. I was satisified with my efforts, and even better today there is no trace of fatigue in my legs. I AM getting stronger, I can feel it.

Bring it on.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Riders Christmas Comes Early

One of the best times in a bike nuts life is the getting of a new bike.
And I don't have long to wait. Thanks to my great sponsors at Riders Cyclery I will soon be aboard a new Ridley Blaze 2.0.

Ridleys have not really been about too much in Australia. No-one here really paid much attention until Cadel rode his Ridley into 2nd at this years Tour. Most people are surprised to hear I am getting onboard a Ridley mountain bike. Do Ridely even make mountain bikes?
Yep, they sure do. The 2009 range is also second generation, despite the fact we haven't seen many here. I guess Belgium is a long way! The Blaze design is centred around the horst/FSR linkage so that is well and truly proven design, not much risk there. As a 24 rider, the most attractive thing about the Ridley Blaze to me was the weight. Off the shelf this bike is considerably lighter that the other brands I considered. With a bit of bling it will be superlight. And I can't wait.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cross Training

In addition to loving mountain biking, I also spend time racing around the Adventure Racing circuit. Having hung up the AR boots to get a bit of focused riding done, I have discovered something new. An AR racer not currently in a team is a popular person. AR is tough, right. And bodies get busted. So if people know you are not entered, the week before the race the phone starts ringing as people search for replacements for sick, busy or broken team mates.

I ended up saying yes to a good friend of mine - Sharyn. She loves her AR and generally ends up on the podium for the female teams. Never having raced a girls team, I thought why not!! What a great day out! We had a great time together and the team work and encouragement absolutely made the race for me. We had a very exciting and tense race, exchanging the lead with the 'Injini Salomon Suuntos' too many times to count. In the end our monolopy knowledge let us down and they got away. Thanks guys! The 2nd place and new shoes was just icing on the cake.
This bull's got NOTHING!
My 80's song identification wasn't too bad.
Slip and slide target practice is harder than it looks.
Finished!!!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Epic Epic.

Race day started early as I drove myself down to Peppers, the finish line for my days racing. Travelling solo was different, usually it is a car full of mates laughing and trash talking but it gave me time to think through my race and my aims for the day. I had booked myself to get the bus and to have my bike transported to the start for me by the race organisers. Problem one. An hour before the bus was due to leave, the bike truck is already CHOCKERS. As in no more bikes folks. Crap!!!! Luckily some guys drove past on their way out to head to the 50km start line, and they had a spare slot on their trailer. I didn't have to be asked twice. THANKS to Neil and his mates. You guys totally saved my ass.

Ok, so happy to be on the start line I thanked my new buds and headed off to find my WRB race mates. Found Trickle, who was peaking out. He made me feel positively calm!! Deef and Nick weren't too far behind and were their typical laid back selves. Rolled around for a 3 minute warm up before realising my start was not too far away and then we were off. Managed to get lost in the paddocks in the first 5 km, somehow missing a turn off. First extras of the day were in the bank! Climbing barbed wire fences while lifting bikes is not hot. Recovered I was back on track only to be caught in a little traffic. The hills were bad (walkers), but the loose downs were worse.... people were going so slow it was dangerous stall territory. I was passed by another girl and let her go. Having avoided an OTB, I made it out onto the road. It was not long before Trickle found me, and dropped me like a hot rock..... I felt like crap and was struggling to push 25km/hr on the road. I tried for his wheel, but there was no way I was holding his pace so he disappeared chasing the leaders in his class. Shortly we turned upwards for the first climb of the day. Seemed brutally steep and everything was burning by the top but strangely enough this seemed to sort something out. Coming off the other side I felt great and started to ride strong. I tried not to think about whether there were girls in front of me and focused inward on riding strong and steady. Coming through checkpoint 3 one of the elite girls and her riding partner blew by me onto the road. I knew if I let them go I would be looooong gone so I pushed to jump on the back of the 5 or 6 rider train. We hammered along clocking 40km/hr and I was feeling awesome. As soon as we hit the offroad I put on a move and attacked on the climb. Quick look over the shoulder confirmed I had dropped her and then onwards. Who should I find on the next road section but Trickle!!! He informed me he had blown.... BIG TIME. I told him to get on my wheel and did my best to encourage him along. I also found the other girl who passed me in the first 5 km. Again I waited till we hit the offroad and a climb and attacked. This time there was only about 12km to go so I didn't look back and focused instead on just riding as fast as I could.

Worked a treat. Held them both off and rode in 2.57, 1st place Open womens and 2nd overall.
Spent the afternoon eating steak sandwiches and chomps (thanks fly) and thinking I may just come back for next year. Top day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No-one Else

This weekend I am off to ride the Half Epic. Scary! I have entered in my age group as I have absolutely no idea how this race will go. It is a lot quicker than my normal long, slow efforts so I expect it will hurt. A lot. I am confident with most of the course, but I have had some hard crashes at Grandchester before and split helmets into pieces, so caution will be the word of the day. Descents full of baby head sized rocks sound like fun!?!?!!!

Despite having gotten around the enduro circuit I have never, ever ridden any type of marathon MTB race - half or otherwise. I decided to enter to practice some of the mental skills I need for 24 hour racing. I know I can do the distance. The challenge for me is to settle and race without paying attention to anyone else. Focus on the process. Learning to ride your own race is, in my opinion, a critical skill in 24 racing. I can already feel the temptation. Who has entered, what do they look like, should I start near them. No, no, no. Ride your own race. A reminder.To this end, I have no buddies coming to the event with me. No support. Drive myself down, ride, drive myself back. Of course there will be plenty of mates around at the finish line to talk trash with - actually I am sure that will be my favourite part. A few easy rides for the rest of the week and Sunday will be here before I know it. I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brass Monkeys.

This week Brisvegas has been experiencing some really cold, cold nights. For those of us that squeeze our training into the wee hours, prior to jobs, family and other things this is prime time.
Tuesday is my mountain bike ride and easily the favourite of the week. Even with that in mind, it was hard to get out the door and on the bike at 5.30.
There was frost everywhere as we rolled into the reserve area at Gap Creek. I would have appreciated the view of everything sparkling under lights, except that my eyeballs were frozen almost solid. It took a long time to warm up, but eventually we able to smile again for the camera... Despite the cold, I enjoyed myself - rode more than last week and was definitely off the brakes a little more!

The real challenge was this morning. With all my ride buddies bailing, I still had 2 hours saddle time on the road to clock. It was cold. It is a holiday. I am sore from weights. I am tired. How to get out the door? Remember WHY. Why I am doing it. I want to ride well at the Kona 24 in November and will my qualification for the 2009 24 solo world champs. That's why. Gear on, bike ridden, kms in the bank. Word.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Better Days

This weekend like all others was time for the long ride of the week. And it was time to take it to the hills. It has been a really, really long time. I used to love the hills, but with my current lack of form I have been experiencing a change of heart. I hate the hills. It is no fun falling off the back, and watching everyone disappear upwards as you push the pedals around and try to get get it over with! Your legs burn and you heart pounds. You can't get your breath in hard or fast enough. And it smashes you. For the rest of the ride, molehills are mountains. And mountains .. urrrghhhhhhhhh don't even go there. This ride was to take us up the goat track, and then onwards and upwards to Mt Glorious. The turn for home would be via Mt Nebo, and while there are some great descents there are still a number of climbs.

On the road through Samford I sat on the wheels of the boys, concerned already about how hard I was working to stay with them on the flat. If I was working this hard now, how would I be when we hit the hills... would I hit the wall? Only one way to find out!!!
We reached the goat track. The climbs were here. I jumped on Andrews wheel and concentrated on finding a rhythm. TR and I changed up a few gears so we had somewhere to go when it hurt later! And you know what..... I think better days are on their way.... For the first time in a long time I wasn't last. In fact I was pretty close to first up that climb. And don't it feeeeeel good!




I was really happy with the rest of my ride to Glorious and then on via Nebo to home.... we arrived at my place smashed enough to lay on the lawn and eat the food left in our pockets!
What a great ride.....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

WHERE TO START

So I am in my third week of a program and suffering. Not just here and there, but every session.
What is the culprit? Is it simple fitness? Is it the weight training I introduced and resultant changes in my body? Is it residual fatigue from the mega-long events I have done? Is my program right?

I don't know the answer to any of these. The urge is to start changing things. But the reality is I have only just started. I need to give myself at least 4 weeks to settle in. I think the diagnosis is a simple case "i-used-to-be-better-than-this-itis".

It is an interesting question. Am I better off carrying an extra 4kgs (that's a lot when you weigh in the 50's - like adding say 6 to 8% of your body mass) for the additional power it provides?
4 kilos may not sound like much..... but think of those rides when you put on a camelbak with a full 3litre bladder on. That sucker is heavy...... so an extra 4kgs must require greater effort. My mind is not set. Some riders I have spoken to say ditch it. Some say stick with it. I will give the program some time to settle and then I may have to run some controlled experiments!!!


One thing is for sure. The first ride of the week is my favourite. It is my only MTB ride at the moment.... and even the pre-dawn freezing cold creek crossings couldnt spoil the fun of ripping down the singletrack with a couple of ride buddies. Note to self - take camera with. Blogs without pictures SUCK!.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

COMMITTING

I made a promise that once I got my plan together I would start a blog. Keep me honest. Once you put it out there that you plan to do it, then you are doing it; no backing away and no sneaky changing your mind. So here I am and no getting away from it, it is time. Welcome to Sock Puppet Racing.

This blog will follow my preparation, and hopefully transformation from an average weekend warrior into a beast 24 hour solo MTB rider who will be good enough to represent her country at the world championships in 2009. Already the preparations have begun. In the last couple of weeks a few things come together for me.

Tick: finished up my adventure racing commitments, and have turned my attention to all things bike. Good!
Tick: I have picked up a coach. Better!
Tick: I have picked up a sponsor. Best!
Tick: I have been horrified at just how slow I am riding. WTF!!! That was not part of the plan.

It is tempting to push up the speed and just ride faster. I know I can. But training is about the right efforts at the right intensities. Your heart rate doesn't lie. I have to push ego aside and tell myself 'You are where you are. Accept it. Start the work'. Doesn't mean I have to like it though, not one little bit.

Someone told me once if you want to get better, ride with those that are better than you. I think there is something in that. I've embraced it by sharing my long ride this weekend with mlegs. Argueably one of the best female MTBs Australia has ever produced. I look forward to the hurt tomorrow as we head up and back to Mount Mee. I am balancing it out by taking along my regular ride buddy TR. Who is also kicking my ass at the moment. There 's motivation if I ever saw it!