Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Night Recap

Today the new team gear arrived. This is my very deep pile. Matt has his own. Everything ordered was received, and all of my gear fits well. Not that my first skin suit doesn't reinforce the need to reduce the body fat percent, but then skin tight Lycra certainly doesn't lie. Yoiks.

The gear is Hawt. I like it a lot better than the mock ups I saw ~ can't wait to see the team show up in the new kit.

At three o'clock I stuffed my face during my last meeting of the day - making sure to take on fuel in advance of racing. I knew there would be no time to eat between getting home and leaving for the race. I was right, and minus one poorly timed bite (it was my turn to present - a little difficult with the mouthful) it worked out well.

I had a much longer warm up than the prior week, and it went much better. I still need to improve it Significantly from there, as I found out later during the races. Race one ~ way off the back. Lindsey (earning wins without batting an eye) lapped me, and I felt pa-the-tic. Race two wasn't much better, excepting I pushed so hard my quads wanted to barf when I was done. Race three felt slower, and I was able to stay in it. I finished mid pack, and once again completely forgot to stand up on the final sprint effort. I think I was also afraid that the legs didn't have anything else to give, so I didn't ask them to. But, my legs felt much better, and just *might* mean that they finally warmed up. ::roll eyes::

I received lots of great advice, avoided the one wreck in our field, and stayed cool enough & sunburn free on another hot night. Tomorrow? Club Ride, Wash all the new gear, and Bike Shopping.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

452 different smells on a sneezy ride

Driving home in the 87 degree weather we quickly decided to make tonight's rolling recovery a late ride. So we got home, and had a green salad with sauteed chicken, various fruits, spicy pecans, and honey sesame sticks. So good we both had seconds.

By 7pm we were ready to head out, and it cooled off enough to be comfortable. I don't know if it was the late hour, or simply the fact that Everything is in bloom right now, but the ride was a constant bombardment of fragrance and small bugs. From roses to horses to dead skunk to hay to underbrush ~ it was a constant and changing experience. Achoo, I say. By the final stretch home, the sun was low on the horizon and it was nice and cool in the shadows.

Tomorrow looks to be just as warm. Time to buy more sunscreen, and start the long mental preparation for track night.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ride Reports

Saturday ~ club ride, 19s, over a very hilly loop. I managed to stay close enough to the group that I wasn't relegated to dropping down to the next pack, and even tho I was slow I was able to ride and finish strong. 40 miles, and about 3500 feet of climbing. We had a fabulous group & a lot of fun on the route. I felt good when we finished, appropriately tired, but none of the nearly-falling-over nonsense. We sat outside at Longbottom's chatting for good a long while; Bob and son rode over for breakfast, and he very kindly pointed out that I should accept Jen's invitation to join Bike Central at the track the next day. Thank you Bob.

I'm so glad I did.

Sunday ~ I managed to get a bike from the trailer, hauled my too-much-stuff to the infield, and did some warm up laps. Then Lynn took me under her wing, and I tried to absorb everything she told me. I was finally able to settle down on the track, and to remain calm as we pushed thru the various drills. Soft left elbow, looking thru the turns, standing, and eventually rolling with the paceline for the cool down. It. Was. Awesome! I owe the team a million thanks for letting me roll with them, and for being so kind and supportive. I was unexpectedly complimented ~ and am still aglow for the experience.

Now? It's time to shop for a bike!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Alpenrose Fail

Foreground: my rental bike, as I waited for the novice women call up.

Warmup - I really don't know what I'm doing, so I ride a bunch of laps, go hard once or twice, and notice a slew of potentially dangerous problems... my legs won't turn quickly, my breathing won't relax, my brain is shutting off. If it's not these, I'm making stupid mistakes like, say, wanting to stop and coast as I'm above the stair line in the middle of turn two... or exiting to the apron at too high speed and barely recovering before going back on to the wall between turns three and four. I'm an accident waiting to happen, my legs are tight, and I'm very nervous. Warmup laps, break. Warmup, break. repeat ~ and during each break try to focus, calm down, and remember what it takes to ride safely out here.

The racing starts, flying 200s to seed the sprinters. Before I know what's happened, they are calling up novice women for a win-and-out. Bwah?! I'm not ready. It is too early! I'm so not ready. I grab the bike, do two quick laps around the warmup track then head to the rail. After a neutral lap, race on. First one to cross the line has won, and is done. Next lap takes second, and so on until everyone finishes.

The neutral roll out starts, and I'm near the back. Legs act like they've never done this before. My position is... still at the back. I'm lost, I feel stuck, and I'm barely hanging on as the speed picks up. This is not me. My breathing is a shuddering, panic-y mess. I can't even remember to relax, I'm just trying to stick with the group, and watching the laps continue and winners ride off. Then it gets worse, toes and calf cramp, and I pull myself out. I can't possibly do 8 more laps like this, and given my current output it'll be at least that many.

I roll off the back stretch, into the grass and lay the bike down. It doesn't move again until I exit the bowl. My toes are all curled up and painful - I keep drinking electrolytes & water, get my breathing under control, and admit that I am done for the night.

I watch the remainder of the races, educating myself and absorbing all I can - so that Sunday's training will go more smoothly, and next Friday I will leave "freaked-the-hell-out" self at home.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Wedding

This weekend was a whirlwind vacation to Miami, where our dear friends Danny & Irena said I Do. It is impossible for me to describe how beautiful the day was, or how in love they are with each other. Happily there are plenty of photos that describe it far better than I ever could. Happy honeymooning, you two!

I was prepared for the amount of work this weekend would take. All the chaos of a destination wedding, the million last minute details, the emotion, the various family dynamics... wasn't quite ready for that little sleep, but managed thru somehow... nor spending very little time with Matt, even tho he was always nearby and ready to lend a hand.

What I wasn't prepared for was the ginormous hug I got the instant we got to the hotel and to be immersed in friendships, old and brand new, from the moment we arrived. It was like slipping on your favorite pair of old worn in jeans that you thought you'd lost, having them fit perfectly, and finding a $20 in the pocket. I'm quite happily bewildered.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Birthday G!

Turns out the Fancy Dessert I grew up with was a BH&G dish. who knew?!
Instead of one large torte, I made (with the help of the fabulously talented 'Berly) mini meringue cookies that would fit inside individual footed glasses, perfect for trifle-like desserts.

Chocolate Torte Royale

1 pack (6-ounce) semisweet chocolate pieces
2 Beaten egg yolks
¼ cup Water
1 cup Whipping cream
¼ cup Sugar
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Egg whites
½ teaspoon Vinegar*
¼ teaspoon Salt
½ cup Sugar
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon

*raspberry red wine vinegar was a success!

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Cinnamon Meringue Shell: Beat 2 egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt till frothy. Blend 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; add to egg whites a little at a time, beating to very stiff peaks. Cover cookie sheet with heavy paper. Trace 8-inch circle in center. Spread meringue on circle; shape into shell-make bottom 1/2 inch thick and mound around edge to 1 3/4 inches high. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Turn off heat; let dry in oven (door closed) 2 hours.

Melt chocolate over hot water. Cool slightly; spread 2 tablespoons over bottom of cooled meringue. (This isn't nearly enough chocolate for this step, honestly)

To remaining chocolate, add egg yolks and water; blend; chill till thick. Combine cream, sugar, and cinnamon; whip till stiff. Spread half over chocolate in shell; fold remainder into chocolate mixture, spread on top. Chill several hours or overnight.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Our presentation yielded 6 servings. I should have doubled the amount of whipped cream to really fill up those glasses.
Layers: Chocolate covered meringue, chocolate mousse, cinnamon whipped cream, and another chocolate covered meringue.

Photo, courtesy the birthday girl herself

Friday, May 8, 2009

Velodrome - First Race

It's Friday night, and a couple of hours ago I raced my first race out at the Alpenrose Velodrome.

Last week I attended the Women's clinic, my first time on a fixie & on the velodrome. It was Awesome. Lap set 1 - I'm the last person in our groupetto, and the train stretches and slows before every turn, where you want the power. By the third or fourth lap I start "encouraging" the woman in front of me to go faster. She would sweep way up the wall, then back down again in front of my wheel. This was nerve-wracking enough to send my teammate home - he couldn't watch. Lap set 2 I put myself on the instructor's wheel, and held it, as we pushed lap after lap thru the sprinters lane. So much fun, and I still wanted to go faster. A quick break, and we went out again, this time high and low thru the bowl. Unfortunately, near the end of our set the last bit of the virus/fatigue that kept me down weeks previous caught up - and I decided to cautiously exit and call it a day. Unfortunately, that meant I missed out on the mass start race. But I watched, I cheered, and I was able to mark the race winner very early on. I drove home with a Huge grin on my face, and had to consciously keep my speed in check.

I grew up with roller coasters. Big ones. I love them ~ and this is the only experience I've had that could compete with the rush... because on this you get to Control the speed and dives and climbs. You get to Fly.

Not surprisingly, the excitement returned as soon as Friday Night Race at the Track showed up in my training plan. I was excited All Day. I told everyone that would listen that I was racing Friday Night! Everything was fantastic, until I got my rental bike down to the infield.

What am I doing? I've never gone up on the track on my own. I have no spedometer ~ I have No Idea if I'm going fast enough, and I'm quickly losing courage to try. I am feeling Way in over my head, and it takes a bit of encouragement to get out there. I ride around the apron, noodling with the rest. I stop for another pep talk. Fortunately Bob is getting ready to go back out, and he takes me with him.

Aaaah ~ I Can do it! I follow his wheel for a few laps, and then he sprints away to open up his legs. Mine are feeling heavy - yesterday was much more effort than my prescribed recovery ride, due to the severe winds blowing thru. We regroup, and this time he talks me thru the lines I should take for this race. He talks me thru as we ride the lines. Hints here, a warning there. I repeat it in my mind. We get off the track and races start. The announcer talks us all thru the lines the first racer takes - exactly as Bob describes. I watch him cross the line, and in my mind I stop pedaling. I cannot stop pedaling! That is sure disaster, and I split my time waiting between mentally racing my lines, and telling myself to NOT Stop pedaling!

Nearly everyone goes ~ I watch, I get on the warmup track, and keep up the internal monologues. Finally they call my name. I get in line, Matt asks if he should shout at me to not stop, and I decline. I'm ready. My mental race carries thru.

I'm released. I roll slowly to the back field, not sure where the racer that just finished will exit. As soon as she does, I jump on the track and get the speed up. I'm following the blue line - realizing only now that's probably higher than I needed for that moment. Out to the rail, check. Up high and to the far rail, check and check. Bring the speed up - woah, I'm pretty tired. The bell rings, the announcer informs us that this is my first 200. I try to step on the gas, but find I'm just trying to hang on. High to low, and I don't drop fast enough. I am too high, I miss the mark I'm aiming for, but keep going and get in the sprinters lane as soon as possible. Holy dead legs - push push - they are so heavy! Here's corner 3, and as warned it spits me out. I attempt to regain the lane and keep going - trying to dig deep, only to find nothing there. I'm out of gas, and start slowing just before the finish. Not quite the race my mind drew, but respectable for my first time out. I finish with 17.66 seconds on the clock, on an ill fitting $5 rental bike, shabby saddle, my legs hurt, my toes in my right foot are cramping, my breathing is raspy - turning quickly to coughing fits, and I can't wait to do it again!

(video evidence to follow)