Monday, September 29, 2008

Well, that pretty much sucked

When the weather forecast was still good, I pre-reged for a 'cross race 8 miles from my house. (The race was at Middlesex Community College, which had a gorgeous, classic New England college campus. The MCC campus kicks Univ. of Hawaii's ass.)

Then things changed and it rained for three days straight.

My friend Geoff Martin took some great pics.

Some more of Ed, by Geoff.

Some more of me, by Geoff.

Geoff's full album, for those of you who love mud.

Ed and I took these:

There were only five 1/2/3 women, so being DFL was still good for a spot in the podium photo and $20. (Photo courtesy of Teri C., who finished 4th.)

Reminder to self: you have a rule about not racing in the rain for a reason.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lola Bernanke

Lola is working hard on solving the financial crisis in her sleep.

(The reading material upon which she's draped herself: Forbes, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Worry-Free Investing, and Irrational Exuberance.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


On Sunday I headed to Portsmouth for the final crit of the season. It's always a fun race and Susanne Delaney does a great job of promoting it. I got lucky number 13.

The race itself was pretty hard. I managed to hang in with the pack but didn't have the juice to move around much or stay in front. I had a bad feeling going into the penultimate corner on the final lap: it was off-camber, leading people to drift off their lines, and we hadn't taken it very hard on previous laps. I was next to Sam when she went down (fortunately no serious injuries) and briefly locked up my rear wheel when I slammed on my brakes in the turn to avoid her. I still managed to finish in the pack though for a very satisfying end to the season.

Afterwards I got a chance to walk around Portsmouth and chat with JD. Here he is hard at work while the men's race finishes.

David Rizzo posted some photos of the women's race on Flickr.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Swimming, swimming, in a swimming pool

So, I went last night to try out Minuteman Masters on new swimmer orientation night. I thought there would be more talking/touring, but instead we did a shortened workout (probably 1500m). Of course I should have gotten in the pool for a few weeks in advance to get ready, but instead this was the first time I'd swam (with the exception of a few days in 2003 after my shoulder separation) since 1995/96. Because I am a procrastinator like that.

Back then, I swam for a few months for the age-group team at Hickam AFB, where I was the only swimmer old enough to drive. I also swam briefly during my freshmore year in college with the age-group team that practiced at the same pool as the Univerity of Hawaii team. I was never fast enough to get out of the slowest time bracket in any of the events, but I remember really enjoying it.

I think the practice went pretty well, though it took me a long time to feel comfortable breathing. Things got better after the coach helped me make small adjustment that stopped the "OMG I'm drowning" feeling during backstroke. There's nothing like being in a group to make you push yourself. There is no way I would swim 1500m or do stroke drills or use a kickboard on my own. I'll probably sign up officially next week. I'm very slow but my stroke mechanics are okay. Though we didn't do fly and I'm pretty sure I will need to relearn that from the ground up. Not that I was ever able to swim more than 50 yds of fly at a time anyway.

The practices are at Hanscom AFB, which means I have to drive at 14 mph everywhere to be safe. The Air Force takes traffic safety VERY SERIOUSLY.

I'd totally forgotten what it's like to exercise with my upper body. I could barely lift my arms after we were done. In fact, I think my left pec is actually SWOLLEN. Ow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What next?

The track season wrapped up with a Sunday full of racing (Sept. 7) and one final Wednesday night (Sept. 10). The Sunday races in particular were so much fun. I had a great day and posted the fastest flying 200m time for the women. I had some decent results in the many events of the day: 500m, scratch race, points race, team pursuit, match sprints, and keirin. It was pretty tiring and many days later I still did not feel recovered.

Below is a video of one of my first attempts at keirin a couple weeks ago. It took me a little while to warm up to it but it's actually pretty fun. (Thanks for the video, Mark Bowen.)

Last week I did what was probably my final group ride of the year. Even though the CRW groups started at 5:30 p.m., we barely finished before dark, and the crowd was pretty small. This Sunday will be my final crit of the season.

Up next, of course, is cyclocross. I was registered for my second race of the season last weekend but wimped out because I hate riding in rain and mud. So we'll see how long my 'cross season lasts. ;) Obviously I'm not really committed. True 'crossers love the mud.

I've been trying to think of other things to do to keep myself busy in the off-season. I've picked up a knitting project (finally, my sister will be so pleased) and have been devouring books. Two recent faves are Heat and Sweet and Low: A Family Story. I'm looking into joining a swim team (I tore the house apart last night trying to find a swimsuit I purchased in 1998) and I even bought a cheap compass so I can try out orienteering. Sadly, I'm not so great at self-directed exercise; I'm hoping that having a plan to be someplace for a specific event will spur me on.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blunt Park

Again, we have some belated blogging. The day after D2R2 Ed and I did a 'cross race in Blunt Park in Springfield. It seemed like a good idea when we pre-reged and less so after we finished up D2R2 with cooked legs on Saturday. But we raced and both felt much better and had more fun than we expected.

Sadly this the best picture I got of Ed because I didn't know about the "sports mode" setting on our camera.

Before the race, I saw Laura Shuford, who remains one of the very nicest people I've met through bike racing. It seems to me like just yesterday that she was pulling me around during the circuit race at Green Mountain after we both got dropped (she because of a mechanical, me because I was out of shape). But it was not yesterday; in fact she now has three kids. The oldest is 5 and the youngest is 1. Wow. It was wonderful to see her again and meet her gorgeous children.

After that I had the luck to be near Meg when Eric Marro offered to do a lap of the course and show us the good lines, hazards, etc. This was super helpful and made me feel more confident about the twistiness and frequent dismounts. In fact the course was kind of like a clinic for 'cross skills.

I lined up next to a woman with a figure-eight shoulder brace on. She told me that she had a broken collarbone and that if she crashed again, she would have to have surgery. So my mission was to get as far away from her as possible so that I would not in any way be responsible if she crashed. I rode as hard as I could and was pleased that the mounts/dismounts went okay, though I had trouble steering my bike through all the twists and turns. But I was pretty happy with how it went.

Here's a picture of Ed taken as we were packing up. I love it when he wears this shirt.