Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Las Vegas 2.0: Interbike

Less than two weeks after 70.3 Worlds, Mark and I headed back to Vegas to have fun help out at the booth a bit during Interbike.  Neither of us had ever been to Interbike and had heard that it is truly bike porn for those of us lovers of all things on two wheels.  There was also the opportunity to race Cross Vegas for Mark and he couldn't resist. Couple that that we had also only ever been to Vegas together for races and we knew we needed to go and have a GOOD time with friends.

Wednesday night was Cross Vegas and Mark rode over to the race and I met him after a run.  Now most CX races take place in Belgium when winter is descending and the conditions are cold, muddy and not at all Vegas like.  Even in the Bay Area, CX races are usually in the fog and have an air of Fall about them.  Cross riders are known for their grit.  Vegas would offer them the opportunity to show a different side of their grit. Last week it was still 95+ in Vegas and the race started for M at 5PM.  Did I mention the guy in arm warmers?  Dude had sweat dripping off his face and evaporating so quickly he looked like a salt block.  It was 40 minutes of pure madness as the racers took on a 9-10 minute lap of grass, barriers to hop over and stairs.  I ran around like a mad woman with a camera around my neck snapping photos.  Mark finished well and upon crossing, looked like a man who hadn't had a drink in weeks, politely asked me for a cold beverage. I have to return the SUPER sherpa duties a few times a year since Mark is pretty much the best you could ask for at my races.  I met up with Jeff from Sinclair, and he got me an Argon18 for me to demo on my ride with Chrissie the next morning.  As soon as I hopped on that rocket ship ride, I was in heaven.  Fast and fit me like a glove. 

Me, Lance and Mario Cipollini
JP, me and Chrissie
I had contacted my other sponsors that I knew would be in Vegas to offer up my assistance and ended up getting treated like royalty instead.  Ummm, when can we go back?  Already making plans to go back next year and "help".  Turns out Cytomax team mate Chrissie Wellington was going to be doing a small group ride put together by the awesome crew at Cyto/Muscle Milk, and would I like to go?  Muscle Milk for breakfast AND riding with Chrissie?  Count me in.  This would also mean that I got to escape the strip, a land where people take pictures in front of water falls that smell like chlorine...can it be that they actually think it's pretty?  So, I woke my butt up at 5:00 to get shuttled outside of Stripland to meet at a local bike shop and ride the 35 miles with Chrissie and co.  I was determined not to be "that girl", you know the one, "oh Chrissie, I am your BIGGEST fan, please sign my forehead!"  She was amazing at working through the crew of riders and chatting.  We ended up talking about how I came to be in Vegas and I mentioned the team and she immediately knew about our teammate Amy, who had been hit by a gravel truck not a week earlier and asked what she could do for her.  I was amazed...that she knew our team and that she offered to help in any way she could to support her recovery.  Amy now has a book signed by CW to look forward to reading when she wakes up.  That is RAD.  Also, it turns out that Vegas is pretty once you are off the strip, although at night the strip is definitely alive with energy and has it's own beauty.

Sisters From Anotha Motha
OK, back to booth babe duty Thursday morning and then it was time for the REAL fun to begin.

Big George!
The team at Sinclair hosts THE party of Interbike every year at club XS.  I have only heard of this party, famous cyclists, cycling streaming on the mega screens in the club while music thumps and drinks flow.  Like a dream really for me, a previous lover of all things thumping in clubs and bikes.  We were invited to pre-party with the crew and I was excited to get dressed up and hit the town!  Cue gratuitous photos of me with some cycling icons, George H, Bobke Roll, Todd "Gogo" Gogulski.

Bikes in Clubs: Pure genius

Gogo Inserting Himself into Photos
Aside from cycling, I got to hit up Topshop, my fave place to shop in London, that now has a shop in Vegas, hang with friends, workout in the desert and then come home to my new baby niece and a BIG weekend of workouts.

The Argonettes
Life is darn good right now.  And in only a few weeks, we will head to Kona to have even more fun with friends.  Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The House Wins Again: Las Vegas 2, Hailey 0

Where to even begin? What do you say when training has been great, lead up into the race was good and you get an unprecedented 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep race night eve? And then you have a massive crap of a race...
I'm at a loss. Everything "should" have been great. I felt awesome saturday and even the swim was an improvement over LY at the longish swim at worlds. I had all of my super supporters there and although not over the top excited, was ready to have my way with a course that I had suffered on so badly last year. Scratch that, last year was a cake walk compared to the suffering for me this year.
I am not going to be Debbie Downer here, I was sad yesterday. Today I am hopeful that just as last year went so too will this year. I had a pretty poor showing in Vegas last year, in contrast to what I knew I was capable of and this year was no different. Hopefully just like last year, this will turn into a very good Kona!

So leaving what happens in Vegas here in this blog, the details are below.
I was SUPER pumped to be staying with BFF Kebby and another team mate from back home Willow and their men. Low key ladies, who I love hanging with make going to races fun.
I was feeling good up to the race and and race morning, I had the usual big bowl 'O (gluten free) cereal, a banana with almond butter, and a Big Gulp of cytomax. perfect! Now let's go race.

Swim: it was 83 degrees in the water and 85 when we started...immediately upon starting the swim, I remember thinking to myself, "good God I'm hot!", and not in the In Vegas at the club hot. Last year the swim was LONG and I was out in 32:40, which is about 3 minutes slow for my average. This year I was out in 31:30 so seeing that as I exited, I thought "OK, time to get to work on the bike, you are headed in the right direction for the goal".
T1: 4 minutes...it was long but this was 1 minute slower than LY...there goes my swim improvement!
Bike: I was watching my heart rate and it was pretty high for me and I was feeling it from the beginning. I took two bottles at each aid station, one to fill my bottle and the other to cool me off. From the get go, I felt like I was being cooked like a baked potato! Hot can't describe how I felt yesterday. I was dreaming of ripping my helmet off just to cool off a bit more. Those hills were never ending and I never seemed to be able to get and stay aero. My lower back was talking to me which isn't normal for such a short ride. Gals that don't normally pass me until the run/maybe not at all, were passing me EARLY on the bike. I did my best to say, no worries, it's still a long day, but pretty early on I knew it was not going to be the day I had hoped for.
Nutrition on the bike: 2scoops cytomax, 1 1/2 bags of Cyto energy drops, 3 Crank e-gels and 4 succeed salt tabs. Total kcal for just under three hours 850. About right on target...maybe could have had another gel at start of ride instead of waiting 20 minutes.

Run...can we call it that? I haven't moved this slowly (for me) on a run in years. 8:53/mile. There was walking, there we're tears, thoughts of pulling out ran through my mind. Again, queue people passing me still and my having a big ol pity party for myself on that first loop. Why is my body letting me down?!! Thankfully, Mark and Kebby were in strategic places on the run and were there for me every step of the way telling me to just keep moving, loads of folks looked like poo and to just gut it out and get to the finish line.
Around mile 7 I began to come around. The side stitches were going away and I was constantly "running" as opposed to running for a few steps and then walking. At each aid station I was taking double cups of coke, as much ice down my shirt as possible and then would rally for a few minutes. Ever feel like a mile is too far inbetween aid stations? This race makes me think that. And by my final loop, ice was no where to to found, they had run out of coke and the sponges were filled with hot water. SO glad I wasn't in a later start wave as it would have been even worse a bit later on. I was so hot, I had my shorts rolled down and my race tank doubled over to look like a sports bra. When I first started to roll my pants down, the guy behind me must have thought I was about to pop a squat as he was like "woah". Then when I tried to explain myself, he started talking to me in German. That was my lost in translation moment of the day.
I was very thankful for one gal on the run who when I was
cryingtalking to Kebby about the crapper of a day told me to not let "that shit" get into my head. Everyone was hot and suffering and that, yes life sucked right then, but keep it going. That was good. I am normally the one doing the ass smacking telling people to keep running and yesterday those favors got returned. A guy smacked my booty and told me to keep running, and when I started to run, he supported me. These are the special moments in our sport. As agro and selfish as it is, every once in a while you get a glimpse of just how much everyone out there understands what you're going through and will offer a word or ass smack to get you going.

Total damage? 5:30 and 40th place. 24 minutes slower than last year and 22 places south. I think it was overall slower than LY, but this was definitely a sup par day for me.
From here, we have fun, prep for Kona and put this day in the bank. A day to be called upon when other lows are happening and to tell myself that this too shall pass and I will get through. No quitting allowed. When the day is rough, you see the true state of your mental tool box and mine still needs a bit of work.

Thank you to all of my team mates, family and amazing support team for getting me to the line. I couldn't do it without Cytomax, TYR, Argon18 and Gray wheels.
See you all in Kona!