Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ride with the Felt Guys & Some

I'll admit, I was a little nervous when I woke up Tuesday morning, all in anticipation of noon. I was invited by the guys who work at Felt headquarters to go on their lunchtime ride with them. Sweet! But, a bunch of guys...who work for a leading bicycle company - could I hang?? It was worth giving it a shot! Come Tuesday, part of me was afraid if I'd be recovered enough to hang on - Sunday I did a 72-mile ride with 6,000 feet of climbing (fast Carol was with me for about 35 miles, great ride) followed by a T-run, had a Monday long run and swam 3,000 yds just hours before the Felt ride. But, thankfully, the ride went great!!

But first, how did little ol' nothing me even get invited on this ride? Kind of random... I've been having problems with my Bayonet system making terrible creaking noises and coming loose. Numerous trips to various bike shops, and the problem still wasn't getting fixed. Frustrating! So, I called Jim Felt, and he was super willing to help. I love that guy, so nice!! He had me go straight over to Felt, which happens to be conveniently located a few minutes from my house in Irvine - no joke, like a 10 minute bike ride away. See....

I met with Felt's senior design engineer Jeff, who was so awesome. Together, he and I took apart the Bayonet piece by piece to find the problem(s). Well, he took it apart and I watched intensely. Sure enough, he found a couple areas where it wasn't assembled correctly, and he corrected the problems. I'm happy to report after about 175 miles of riding since that meeting (last Tuesday), there is no noise and the Bayonet is as tight as can be! It's a complicated system, no doubt, and it just needs to be built correctly.

NOW, I really want to make this point: If anyone is considering a Felt bike, don't let this story have you questioning the quality of Felt bikes and/or the Bayonet. My B2R is an amazing bike and I'm proud to own it. Now that it's dialed in correctly, it's virtually flawless. Not to mention, I've gotten top-of-the-line customer service! Jim Felt runs an excellent business and puts out quality products. How many people (i.e. non-pro, average cyclists) can call up the founder/owner of their bike company and have him bend over backwards to make sure things are OK, and then get to hang out and ride with the guys who freakin designed your bike? Just plain awesome. Inside the Bayonet...

Onto the ride... Anyways, Jim mentioned the guys do lunchtime rides, so I brought up the topic to Jeff and some of the other guys working in the back while the Bayonet was getting fixed, and they totally invited me to join. Of course I accepted the offer! (In my head, though, I was thinking...they'll leave me in the dust.)

So Tuesday I raced home from class, did a quick change and rode over to Felt. A group of us took off, and I was all smiles. Call me lame, but being along on their ride was pretty special for me. The best part, I was totally cool with the pace they were going. No problems keeping up, but I'm sure it was just an easy effort for them. They took me on their Shady Canyon loop in Irvine, which is definitely a ride I'll be doing a lot more of - some rolling hills and partly on a bike trail so minimal lights. Meanwhile, it was great chatting it up with the Felt guys. I mostly rode next to one of the design engineers, Ty, who clearly is an amazing cyclist and super enthusiastic, he just raced in the Dana Point Grand Prix over the weekend and knows his stuff! These guys have dream jobs in my opinion! I definitely plan on sneaking over there during lunchtime a lot more in the future.

I was going to write about a couple other random things that have happened to me in the last week, but I'm exhausted. It's almost 10 p.m., and I haven't stopped since I woke up at 4:30. What a day: Swim, bike, run, morning/night classes and some other stuff...man, I'm beat!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Race Report: Newport Beach Triathlon

Today was amazing. Must have been my breakfast. I've found the perfect pre-race/pre-hard-training day concoction: Slow-cooked oatmeal with butter, milk, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, almonds, fruit and stevia for sweetness! Amazing, I highly recommend.

On to the race. I did the Newport Beach Triathlon this morning, which is a longer-ish sprint: 1/2 mile swim, 15 mi bike, 5k run. It was a fairly flat course, so you basically go all out. I finished in 1:20:14.8.... Got 1st in my age group, 8th female and 96 overall out of 750 racers. I'm super stoked on that, considering there were some legit racers out there. The top male overall finished in 1:05...smokin'!
Got to Newport Dunes at 5:30 a.m., paid $10 parking (ridiculous!) and set up transition in the dark. That's it, I'm adding flashlight to my race-prep checklist! Saw some of my friends, and made a friend who racked next to me named Carol, an Ironman rockstar who I would later come to find rides the exact same speed as me on the bike.

The swim was in the very disgusting Back Bay, which is worse than Mission Bay. Straight up nasty. The swim was in a counterclockwise circle, which sucks because I usually end up breathing on my right side only in races (although I always breathe bilateral in practice), so I was looking the wrong way. But I'm getting better a spotting and staying on track. And to my surprise, I had a really good swim! I was out of the water in 13 minutes. And that's including some blind swimming due to heading right into the sunrise. I really felt like I pushed myself and aggressively worked through the crowd, it was a big wave-all women under 39.

So the run to our stuff took forever, no joke like 2-3 minutes! And I think that's added onto our swim because I don't recall touching a mat for quite a while. Other than that, no fuss in T1. In, out & go time.

A two-loop course on a very narrow street (Back Bay Drive). Mostly flat expect for one steep grade of about 1/4 mile that's repeated. Translation: haul @$$. My goal on the bike is always to catch people who out-swim me, particularly those female calves with 20-24 ages. I passed quite a few chicks today, guys too for that matter, and felt like I was in a good position overall. I also didn't have to deal with a lot of a lot traffic because I was in the second wave, so that was nice. My new friend Carol and I were neck-in-neck literally the whole time, kinda crazy! She's 30-34, so not a threat AG-wise. I did the bike in 43 minutes and averaged about 21 mph. Felt & Zipps did me well.

Here are some pics I took of Back Bay Drive on a pre-race course drive, beautiful area....
I have to say, I do well in T2. I don't waste a second. So I won't waste words talking about it.

I'll admit, I was most nervous about the run. In fact, I think I subconsciously held back on the bike a little so I'd have good running legs. After Oceanside, there's a bit of fear. But it was only 3 miles, so I was just over-thinking it. Whatever. Biggest observation of the day: I always burp very big whenever I start a run off the bike. Oh man, all that gas just comes out after the position change. Quite funny and definitely not lady like- I totally burp like a big ol' dude drinking Budweiser.

Anyways, feet were a little numb when I started, but things were going well. There was only one 1/2 mile-ish hill to climb. I still didn't see too many women around, so I was determined to keep a good pace going. I had my eye on one woman about 30 seconds behind me. Meanwhile, I saw my friend from swim class, my friend who works at Edge Cyclesports, my ex-boyfriend (random!)...so I was cheerfully saying my hellooos!

20 minutes later I made the left turn into the straightaway to the finishline and that one chick who was trailing me started sprinting to pass me last-second style. Uh-uh! No way was she getting past me! I started sprinting like a madwoman and I beat her! (By literally .2 seconds.) We laughed about it afterwards...I was 1:22:14.8, she was 1:22:15. Turns out I ran a 20:37 5k, impressive for me!

At first I was one of the top females overall, but I got bumped back by a couple smokin fast 40-somethings who started after me and who showed that course who's boss! It was actually very inspiring to see how gnarly these ladies are!! And 8th female is still pretty nice!

In my 20-24 world, I was stoked to grab 1st place. Not a bad way to start off the day, or the still-fresh season for that matter. I also realized this is only my 4th tri since 2007!! Man, did that pump me up to make it a solid post-race training day.

Here's me (in the middle) with 2nd and 3rd in my AG.
Me and Carol, who got 1st in 30-34 females! Perk of the day: I've found a new riding buddy!! We're both doing Vineman, so good training times ahead!

This picture is sooooo special to me! My beautiful grandma showed up to root me on. I don't think I've ever seen someone so excited, and it was awesome feeling to make her so proud! Words can't describe how happy I am that she saw me get that medal.

Getting a big Grandma hug and squishing her dog Coco (aww!)So after all was said and done, I still had a ton of energy to burn... despite the extreme heat (high 90s?) and extreme winds. Hey, to me that means good training weather... makes you tough! So I went out for a spin through Santiago Canyon+. Thought two water bottles w/ Cyto would be enough. Oh man, was I wrong. I was parched after about 15 miles. I stopped at a park to refill, but that wasn't enough. Not to mention, I was battling some major winds! Let's just say, I didn't see too many bikers... only the Harley kind (Cook's Corner anyone?). I cut the ride off at 35 miles to save me from destroying my body.

I stopped by Irvine Lake for a pic, and man I was tempted to go jump in! Holy
$@%&! Can you see that sexy stream of snot going down my face...niiiice.

An immediate calorie-dense smoothie followed that ride. It tasted like heaven! I was hungry for dinner merely minutes later, I was a calorie-burning machine today! I'm hungry again just while writing this!!!!

So now...all training and two races until Vineman. Hard work ahead. I'm damn excited!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Race Report, Recovery, More Racing & Awkward T1

Check out my full race report on EverymanTri.

So for the last two days I've basically sat on my ass and have done nothing. I have never been so sore. I even kicked back with several glasses of wine and a movie on Sunday. Rare. By last night my body was feeling pretty good, which I attribute to the foam roller, mass quantities of food and lots of sleep. So the little post-race vacation is over, and I'm slowly going to get back at it. That started before sunrise this morning with swim. I probably shouldn't have gone and slept in instead (I could tell I'm not fully recovered; my swimming begin to lag about halfway through), but I missed my class, my friends, listening to am radio as I drive to the pool and getting an early start to the day. The cool thing: after enduring the brisk start on Saturday morning, it didn't seem so cold running around in my bathing suit at 5:45 a.m.

I've also signed up for two more triathlons since Saturday's 70.3. I won't be doing Wildflower this year, I'm just not ready. So instead, I'm doing a sprint in Newport Beach on April 19 and the San Diego International on June 28. I might to Spring Sprint in SD too, but all these race fees are getting a little ridiculous considering my income is, uh...well, I don't need to go there. Ha ha.

One more thing....
Checking out his ass During T1?
Huh? Here are a couple more race pictures I find funny. I decided against arm warmers for the bike, but still debated gloves in those frantic seconds. (Cold hands, big issue.) I almost went without them, but still grabbed them and decided to put them on as I was running out. Killed my T1 time but whatever. In the second picutre, it looks like I'm playing with and/or staring at that guy's ass. I swear, though, it's the gloves that have my attention :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

4th in AG & what an experience

Well I did it. I successfully completed my first half-Ironman, but by no means did I kill it out there. Quite the contrary. Still, I'm happy enough with my results given this was my first HIM. I finished in 5:40:13, with my worst leg being the run (it was baaad). Believe it or not, that time was good enough to get me 4th place in my age group! And at Cali 70.3, the awards go five deep, so I got a rad little plaque -- I guess you could say I podiumed. Hee hee.

That's me standing in blue at 4th place. I'll take it!! Funny how I'm the only one still in my race outfit. Not all showered and dressed up like the AG winner on the right!

I'll do a full race report later, I'm too tired right now and want to go get frozen yogurt. One thing I'll say: During those hours out on the course today I realized a million things I need to work on in training. That was a hard race, but what a fun learning experience!!

Some Pictures!!

It was absolutely freeeeeeezing in the morning!!

Right before the swim...a surreal moment

T1 was so-so, but I had a fast T2!

Some of my fans :)

Look close and I'm about to cross the finish line!! Whew

Friday, April 3, 2009

T-Minus 15ish Hours

Notice Mr. No. 1 above me? Nice. Also, is Jon Prasuhn the same as Jay Prasuhn of Triathlete Magazine? Hm. Well, we P's rock :)
I'm counting down the hours! As expected, this week has been whack. Everything feels "off" from my normal routine and it's driving me nuts. Plus, my sleeping is all weird - I've been getting enough of it, but in abnormal hours. I've also been having the craziest food cravings, while stuff I normally love eating is grossing me out. Weird.

My workouts the last several days have been generally shorter and easier with some intensity mixed in -- how could I not go all out riding with the Zipps for the first time; man I love those things!! This morning I got in my last easy 30 minutes on the bike. During my ride, I was thinking about the day I signed up for Oceanside. It was late September, and I was still at my old job. I was kind of in a funk then. Out of shape coming off the knee surgery, recently turned single, not liking my job so much... and I was ready for a new challenge! I signed up during work; must have been an exciting day at the office.

Headed out for the last pre-IMCA ride

Now with the race merely hours away, I'm so happy I signed up for this. I'm excited, nervous... every emotion! I've been imaging race morning in my head, and one thing I was planning on doing was getting a solid warm-up swim in. Well, that's clearly not going to happen! There's no warming up in the Harbor before the race. Automatic DQ. Period. We get in the water about 3 minutes before our wave goes off, that's it. Gnarly. I'm at least glad the swim is marked every 100 meters, I need that!!

A peak at the swim

At race check in, the weather was pretty nice. A tad on the windy side, but that's all - plenty of sun, no rain. Hopefully the sunshine sticks. I've been warned about the wind during this race, so that's no surprise. Plus, I've gotten in plenty of training rides in the good ol' Santa Anas.
Anyways, everyone keeps asking, "Are you ready?" "What's your goal time?" Being that this is my first half-Ironman, who knows! I've been dedicated to my training, so we'll see what happens. I honestly don't have a goal time. I'll set more specific goals and put more pressure on myself in future races, once I have some of these longer races under my belt. This is a test run. However, that's not to say I'm not feeling the pressure -- I'm a competitive chick, and I have some gnarly butterflies right now. I want to do well, of course, it's in my nature.
OK, now it's time to go pack up the gear, eat, label things, eat more, check the bike, eat, chill out, eat more, watch TV, eat more, rest. Ya know, typical day-before-the-race routine. Bright and early tomorrow! Well, it won't be so bright...we're leaving my house at 4 a.m. Ha ha.

It's all about getting here . Ahhhh!