Monday, June 30, 2008

Pacific Crest Weekend

Pacific Crest is held each year in Sunriver, OR at the end of June. It is a weekend long series of events beginning on Friday with the Kid's Splash Pedal n' Dash, ending on Sunday with the Olympic distance triathlon. I headed out of town on Thursday evening with girlfriends Kristin and Margi. Margi was competing in her first half ironman on Saturday, K and I were doing the Oly on Sunday. K's parent's had rented a vacation home in Sunriver Village, so I was staying with them for the first couple of nights. The boys joined up with us on Saturday morning, when Ken and I departed from the group for our stay at McMenamin's St. Francis in Bend. I LOVE that hotel!

Friday morning Margi and I went out for a quick bike ride -- she needed to loosen up for her race and I needed to test ride my bike after doing some minor maintenance a few days prior. In the afternoon we headed into the main part of the village for packet pickup and to check out the expo. Then we were off to Wikkiup reservoir to drop off Margi's bike at T1 (the swim-to-bike transition) and do a quick practice swim.

Margi, Kristin, and I after a practice swim:

Saturday morning we took Margi to T2 (bike-to-run transition) for body-marking and to set up her transition. Initially, she did not have a ride up to the lake for the race start, but she met up with some friendly folks and got a spot on a bus. That freed K and I up to have a relaxing morning -- K went back to sleep for some much needed rest and I went for a 2 mile run. That gave me my first taste of the heat...and it was only 7 am. Yikes! We finally started milling about the house again, and made our way up to the reservoir to watch the finish of the swim leg and hopefully catch Margi heading out on her ride. She came out of the water on schedule and had a huge smile on her face as she climbed on the bike. We also got to watch her finish the half ironman later that afternoon. She finished just over 6 hours and had a rocking time, placing well both in her age group and overall. Awesome!

T1 opened up for us around noon, so we had brought our bikes with us up to the reservoir. As I was taking them off the bike rack I realized that I had a rear flat tire. Oh, fantastic. It was getting hot, so I shouldered it and started to carry it the half mile to transition so I could change the tube in the shade. That's when I noticed that the front tire was also flat. But I only had one tube with me. And no pump. Oy vey. Well, I might as well get one of the tubes changed. And that's when I noticed that my rim tape was bunko. This was NOT something I would be able to take care of on-site. So I took both wheels off and racked the bike by the saddle, dangling all naked-like. People were pointing and was very embarassing. I should mention that as I was carrying my wheels back to the car, the end of the skewer popped off but I didn't realize that until I was almost to the vehicle. So I spent a good half hour walking back and forth and back and forth looking for the spring and end cap. Anyway, many thanks to Kevin and Ken for hunting for parts all over Bend and Sunriver while I was stuck up at the lake. You guys rock!

My lonely, pathetic-looking bike hanging in T1:
And, on to the race report...

Pacific Crest Olympic Triathlon
Date: Sunday, June 29, 2008
Distance: 1500 meter swim, 28 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Time: 3:27:29 -- Athena division, 3rd place!

My first Oly distance race. Woohoo!

T1 set-up occurred the day before the race. It was then that I discovered my 2 flat tires and bad rim tape job. So I racked my bike by the saddle with both wheels missing. It was very much the most jacked-up looking bike sitting in transition. People were pointing and poor bike.

The morning of the race I set up T2 (it was a point-to-point event) and then hopped on the very first bus up to the reservoir so that I could get my bike put back together and take it for a test spin. I spent the left over time relaxing on the shore with my sweetie pie and chatting with fellow training partners.

Me, after setting up transition, and hanging out with Ken at the water:
Me, Natalie, Jeff, DeDe, and K-Dawg before the race:
Warm Up:
Quick test ride on the bike. Short swim. That's about it.

00:29:54 (pace = 1:59/100m)

About 3 weeks ago the water temp was hovering just over 53°F. Race day was almost 65°F. Wow! I definitely did not need my full-sleeve. I was in the 2nd wave and started in the front inside corner. I thought that I stood a good chance of getting totally plowed over, but it never happened. The bummer is that it was hard to find someone to draft off of. I passed plenty of people from wave 1, and a few from wave 3 shot past me towards the end. Average pace swim for me, but I'm happy with it. Easy pace and I wasn't out of breath coming out of the water.

2nd fastest swim in my division, and 144th out of 484 overall.

I was very nervous the morning of the race, and you can tell by the look on my face in this photo:
Time = 2:04
Fastest T1 time in my division. I'm sort of a transition nazi. Free speed, you know? I did have one screw up though. Since this is a point-to-point race, you have to pack all of your items into a plastic bag and tie it up before you can run your bike out. I shoved all of my things into the bag and double knotted it...then looked down to see my bright red beach towel sitting under my helmet and bike shoes. Doh!

On my way out of T1:

01:37:24 (pace = 17.25 mph)

Overall, the bike course was super fun! Great terrain, however, the road surface pretty much sucks. Rough chip seal type stuff. With big-ass holes in random places. I almost hit one at 30 mph. One of those 6-inch diameter ones that look like they go to the center of the earth. They should mark those...

Anyway, I came out of the water fairly early so I didn't have many people to chase down. I got passed by mostly dudes and only a few women. Towards the end I started passing people though. My max speed on the downhill was 39.9 mph. FUN!!!! I came up on a fellow-Cervelo rider who was trying to rock Zipps and a sperm helmet. He was hugging the yellow line with no one around him and would not move to the right for me. I kept screaming at him, "hey coming up behind you, move over please, on your left, coming up on your left, DUDE MOVE THE F*&K OVER!!!!" He finally gave me a few inches of room, passed me on the next uphill, and then got a flat about a mile later. Karma's a biatch, ain't it.

One of the fun parts of the ride was when Margi's friend Beth caught me on the first set of hills. She can climb like nobody's business. She was also racing Athena division, so I had some motivation to catch her...I did that on the downhill and then she promptly crushed me again on the next hill. Unfortunately she had some mechanical issues so I passed her for the last time and beat her out on the run. She soon caught me though and continued right on to win first place. Yeah Beth!

Finishing up the bike, I slipped my feet out of my bike shoes right before the last hill coming into transition.

Couple of notes from this leg -- I screwed the proverbial pooch on hydration. I ended up with my aero-bottle gone, but my GU2O bottle totally full. Whoops. Not good when temps were approaching 100 degrees. I really wanted a faster bike split, but I did what I could. More riding this winter and I'll crush it next year.

2nd fast transition in my division. I would have been faster, but there was an aid station before the chip mat and I stopped to drink like 4 cups of water and douse my body with a wet towel.

I also almost had a collision with a chic who was running out of transition the wrong direction. With her head down. Directly towards me and my bike as I was running in. She wasn't exactly running in a straight line so I couldn't avoid her. I kept yelling at her to watch it, but she didn't stop until I basically stiff-armed her. I gave her a "damn girl, watch where you're going next time" and then laughed as she tried to exit through the entrance. I think the heat was making people do silly things.

01:16:32 (pace = 12:19 min/mi)

Big sucky suckfest. I had to walk about 100 yards after leaving transition. My heart rate was sky high, I was sweating so much that drops were coming off my finger tips, and my breathing was way out of control. Every time there was a bit of shade I would walk to maximize my time in it, then I would jog through the sunny parts. I also walked the aid stations and would drink 2 cups and dump 1 on my head. No ice or sponges, which was a major bummer. However, Sunriver residents came out of their homes to give us water, shoot us with super soakers, and set up sprinklers on the course. That was awesome!

My friend Kevin from the gym caught up to me at mile 3. At the time, I was STANDING under a sprinkler staring off into space. Not even moving forward. I'm glad he caught me because he stuck with me to the end and kept me going.

People were on the side of the course for the last quarter mile to the finish line, which was motivating. Lots of music and energy to get you in there. Unfortunately I forgot to hop into the cool showers, because I was focused on finding my dude. Who promptly bought me a sno-cone. Fantastic! I HAVE THE BEST BOYFRIEND EVER!!!

K-Dawg and I crossing the finish line:

Warm Down:
Sno-cone and waited for friends to cross the finish line. Then we found some shade and watched them give out awards. I assumed that I was in the bottom half of my division due to the crappy run, so when they called my name I was beyond shocked. That was a nice end to the day!

Event Comments:
This venue really is awesome. The volunteers are great. The run course is stocked with tons of water stations. The expo has lots of vendors. And obviously the weather conditions can't be helped, but they dealt with it quite well. The med tent was packed full at the end of the day, but it appeared that everyone was being attended to.

Beth and I getting our division-winner medals:
As a last note, there was a death on the swim that morning. Details are still sketchy, but it is reported that the man swam to a jet ski and said that he was in trouble. He then passed out and was brought to shore where CPR was started. Some friends of mine witnessed the incident as they were finishing up the swim, which had to have been awful. Efforts to revive him were not successful and he was pronounced dead at the scene. My thoughts and prayers for his friends and family, who were also there that morning. Very sad.

The rest of the photos from the weekend are here:

Natalie, Jeff, K-Dawg, me, and Beth after the race:

Friday, June 20, 2008

What a difference a year makes

Blue Lake 2007 vs. Blue Lake 2008
Division Rank - 2007: 4/5.........2008: 3/11
Gender Rank - 2007: 164/211.........2008: 59/241
Overall Rank - 2007: 390/458.........2008: 217/532

2007 photos...
#1: What I like to call "nervous whale stuffed into black rubber".
#2: My final kick was really a glorified shuffle.

And the 2008 photos...
#1: Heh, I'm actually in an aero position.
#2: Look, I'm really truly running in a forward direction.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

2008 Blue Lake Sprint Tri

My first medal!!!!!

Blue Lake Sprint Triathlon
Date: Saturday, June 14, 2008
Location: Fairview, OR
Distance: 800 meter swim/12 mile bike/5k run
Time: 1:30:01 -- Athena division, 3rd place!!!

Coffee & banana, carpooled to the race, set up transition, and then milled about chatting with other Headhunters.

Nadine, Tracy, and I pre-race/post-body marking:
Warm Up:
Just a quick swim. One of my training partners has a huge fear of open water, so I spent about 10 minutes coaching her into the water and helping her get warmed up and comfortable. Which was great, because it alleviated my own anxiety.

Swim (800 meters):
00:15:52 (pace = 1:59/100m)
During the deep-water start, a lot of people were crowding towards the back and to the sides, so I said "hey, why not?" and swam up to the front inside spot to start. Suprisingly, it was not chaotic at all. The downside is that there wasn't anyone to draft off of until people passed me.
I got a little off-course in the first 200 meters, but once I sighted more often I didn't have any more issues. I had trouble finding someone to draft off, so I hopped from feet to feet until I found a pair that worked. I stayed on him from the second to the third bouy, and then passed him on the sprint into the finish.

I probably could have gone harder on the swim, but I hate coming into T1 with out-of-control breathing. I still knocked almost 3 minutes off of my time from last year, so I'm pretty pleased. I tied for first in my division coming out of the water, and was in the top 23% overall.

Coming out of the water:

T1: time = 2:48
I had the second fastest T2 in my division (she beat me by 1 second) and was about 20 seconds faster than last year. I felt slower, but I think I was a tad slower at my station but ran in and out faster.

Bike (12 miles):
00:37:56 (pace = 18.98 mph)
I definitely passed way more people than passed me, which was a nice change. I passed one guy who blew my mind when he decided to give me a lecture on proper etiquette --

Him as I'm passing: "You know lady, you're supposed to say 'on your left' as you pass."
Me: "yeah well, I can't breathe"
Him: "it's proper etiquette and you need to say it"
Me: blow snot rocket back towards him
Him as he passes me: "here, I'll show you how it's done -- 'ON YOUR LEFT'"
Me as I blow by him and leave him in my dust: "like this? On your left [dill hole -- that part was under my breath]"

My race strategy for the bike and run was to go as hard as I could until I puked. If I hadn't puked, I could still go harder. I was regretting this decision when we hit the head winds and I wanted to slack off. I told myself to suck it up a few times and then reminded myself that I didn't want to get passed by Mr. Dillhole again. Also, one Athena had beat me out of transition and I had leap frogged with another one and was currently in 2nd place. My run is the weakest and I needed as much distance on everyone as I could get.

As we headed back into Blue Lake park, I made the wacky decision to take my shoes off on the bike and try a flying dismount. I say it was a wacky decision, because I've only tried it once on a training day and I almost wrecked. My reasoning was that this was also like a training day and that trying new things would be okay. (Huh? Not sure about that reasoning...) I got my right foot out without any trouble, but my balance taking the left foot out was really shaky. However, running through transition with one shoe on would look absolutely retarded, so I kept trying and finally managed to get it off. My "flying dismount" didn't have too much "flying" in it, but it was nice not to run in my clunky cleats (Keo Look).

Me, on the bike:

T2: time = 01:56
Fastest T2 time in my division. I was 1 second slower than last year though. For the first time ever I had trouble getting my socks on. I have to wear socks due to blistering, but maybe I can figure out a better system. Perhaps a liquid bandage type of thing?

Run (5k):
00:31:29 (pace = 10:10 min/mi)
Well, running is by far my weakest event. I've been working on it a lot over the past year and while I've gone from a 13+ min/mi to a 10 min/mi, I'm just not fast. I saw one gal in my division pass me on the run right from the start and one had beat me in from the bike, so as far as I could tell, I was in third place. I felt a little defeated at that point because I was positive that I hadn't built enough of a lead to hold that position. Which looking back on is quite funny, because I never had any intention (nor thought I ever had any chance) of placing top three in my group. I don't know at what point it became important to me that day...

Anyway, my strategy was still to not back off on pace until I puked. I never did puke, but I was extremely uncomfortable the whole time. At the turn-around point I saw what I thought was someone in my division. That kept me motivated for the second half of the run and I never let her pass me!

I came into the finish chute feeling strong, but worn out. I think I left it all out there, which was my primary goal for the day.

Crossing the finish line:
Denise, Lisa, Dede, Julie, and I after the finish:
Event comments:
This was my first medal ever! When I found out that I had placed, not a single thing could knock me off Cloud 9. I'm still there, actually. :-)

Last year I did this same event as my very first triathlon. I finished happy, but hurting. One solid year of training later and I knocked 12 minutes off my time. In a sprint distance! This was an awesome confidence booster and reinforced that I've chosen the right fitness path for myself. Even better, my sweetie-pie was there to watch it all take place, and he couldn't have been prouder.

The course itself is flat and not very difficult, but it is a great first-time event and/or season opener. I think I'll be doing this each year so I can gauge my progress.

Third Place!!!:
Me, Denise, and Julie with our placing medals:

Cali Trip

Ken and I headed down to northern California last weekend for a mini-holiday. We had plans to attend a wedding, as well as spend some quality time with my family. We left Portland on Thursday afternoon where it was overcast/sprinkling/windy and arrived SUNNY California!
Cute photo of my Mom:
The view from my parent's house:I managed to get in some short runs, as well as an open water swim at Hidden Valley Lake. The rest of the time was filled with cards, yard darts, and eating. Mostly oreos.
Me getting into the cold lake without a wetsuit:
My brother and I taking a break from beer & yard darts:
The wedding was that of an old high school friend and it was nice to see so many faces from the past. Sadly, we had to head back home on Sunday night and back to reality...

Ken and I before Drea & Jared's wedding:

On the way home from the wedding, being goofy in Napa Valley:

2008 Starlight Run 5k

Starlight Run 5k
Date: 5/31/2008
Distance: 5k run (3.1 miles)

Every year during the Rose Festival in Portland, OR, they kick off the week with the Starlight Parade. The Parade routes through downtown Portland and along the waterfront. About an hour prior to the parade, they hold a non-competitional 5k run with a costume theme. We all know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE costumes! This year's theme was "The 70's" since this was the 30th anniversary of the festival (started in the 1970's). I had the perfect material in my sewing stuff!

A couple of days before the event I started working on Ken to get him to do it with me. As much as I'm not a runner, he's even more so not a runner! And he HATES costumes! But I sweet-talked him into
participating, and I even got him into some snazzy polyester green pants and mullet wig.
We took the Max train (again) to the event and put up with the stares and questions (again) as people tried to avoid running into my "boobs". Upon arrival at Franklin Highschool, the start of the run, a reporter came up to me and took my picture. He then asked me a couple of questions about my costume and this is the reply he got:
"Well, I'm wearing a fro wig, I have fem-bot boobies with confetti popping out of the nips, my sparkly-ass skirt is barely covering my heiny, and I have the most awesomest psychedelic fur leg warmers on."

He gave me a horrificly embarassed look and went on his way. Laughing, Ken and I roamed about to find the Crouchers and Gilberts. Bob was Austin Powers, Denise was Felicity Shagwell, their son was Elton John, and their daughter was a hippy girl. Fantastic costumes!

When the run started, we got separated, but still had a blast. There were tons of spectators on the parade route and the children would line up on the side to slap our hands. It was like a 3-mile finish line! The rest of the photos are here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cervelo Rides

Instead of posting individual reports of my rides, here area few shots and descriptions of my favorites (and one not so favorite) over the last month. In reverse order. Lots of fun miles so far!!!!

June 1, 2008:
Northern RACC Route. Cue music "dun, dun, dun...dududun". We met up at Battle Ground Lake at 9am for a quick open water swim and then changed into our riding clothes and prepared for a day of climbing. But a few of us weren't REALLY prepared. Haha. Two hours into the ride we stopped to regroup and compare computer data. Only 15 miles so far! And Bob had a reading of 1800 feet of climbing already. It was going to be a loooooonnnngggg day.

Around mile 30 we stopped again in La Center and had my sweetie-pie Ken come grab Nadine. She hadn't been on her bike much this season, but she kicked major butt by making it this far into the ride!!! About 10-miles later I had him grab me so that we could make it home in time for our wine bottling appointment. Priorities, you know.

Anyway, the ride really was specatcular. It wound up past the East Fork Lewis river, through lots of back country and farm land, past the upper Lewis River, and back through thick cedar forests and lightly populated towns. Lots of wildlife and scenery -- we even saw a bull elk (heard it too!) and a few deer here and there. And honestly, the climbing was EXACTLY what I needed!
Ride time -- 40.40 miles, 3300 ft of climbing, 02:53:42 (13.86 mph pace)

Nadine, Natalie, and Jeff checking out Molton Falls:

Bob at the Molton Falls stop. By the way, this dude kicks some wicked heiny on the bike:

Me at the stop at Molton Falls. I wish I could photo-shop that goofy ass cheese-grin off my face:

May 12, 2008:
Beaches Ride! Every Monday night, the "big kids" meet up for a flat and fast ride out past Vancouver Lake and back. One of two things typically happens: 1) they ride easy on the way out so that I can hang on and then take off fast on the way back and that's where I get dropped, 2) they ride fast the entire time and I get dropped in the first couple of miles. But THIS time, I hung on almost the entire ride, and only fell off when the pace hit 28 mph. Woohoo!!!

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures. I was too busy riding! But here's the ride data -- 28.62 miles, 21.20 mph average which includes some of the puttin' around riding at the beginning and end.

May 9, 2008:
The week leading up to this Saturday ride was a particularly high volume week for me. So I was tired, my attitude sucked, and the last thing I wanted to do that morning was hop in the pool and then climb on the bike for a 3-hour ride. The plan was to go from the club, across the river into Portland, down Marine Drive to Troutdale, then climb up to Crown Point...and then back. About 2 miles into the ride I got dropped from the main group and was pretty much ready to call it a day. A couple people hung back with me (pity ride!), but once I got to Troutdale I knew it was time for me to turn back. K-Dawg turned around with me, and then we met up with Jeff and Natalie (they were on their way to Troutdale, but turned around when they saw us), and we all rode to the club together. So the 3 hr 50-miler turned into a 2.5 hr 37-miler.

Me on the way back. Hey, at least I pulled out a smile!:

May 4, 2008:
I had ridden Ride Around Clark County 67-miler the day prior to this ride. But the sun was shining (a rarity in May) and I hadn't seen my friend Kris in ages. She lives out in the gorge across the river from Hood River -- a beautiful area -- and I just couldn't pass up a play date with her. We drove a few miles from her house in order to avoid the bigger hills (note the 67-miles the day before...) and rode until we reached snow and couldn't go any further. At one point 2 elk jumped across the road right in front of us. Awesome!
We took a slightly different route back to the car in order to cross the Little White Salmon river. I had never seen the put-in for that stretch before, so it was fun to have a picture in my mind for when people talk about kayaking it.

Ride Time -- 20 miles, 01:25:00

Kris and I at the turnaround:

Me at the turnaround (note the snow in the very top of the photo):

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lochsa 2008

Last week I found myself sick with seasonal allergies and a lovely sinus infection. It came just in time for some scheduled rest days -- our annual pilgrimage to the Lochsa River in Idaho. We left town the Friday before Memorial Day and drove 10 hours through to camp. It's really only a 8-9 hour drive, but we got sidetracked (yet again) in Walla-Walla looking for a place to eat. I HATE that town. It's a time sink hole.

This is me being totally fed up in Walla-Walla-Crap-Crap-Town:
We showed up to the welcoming crew: California Kelly, California Eric, Montana Billy, and Montana Dano-the-Mano. Some college friends from Bozeman also rolled through our camp shortly after arrival. The sun was shining, so we set up camp, then pulled out the chairs and some col' beers. Ahhhh, vacation...

Ken about to get rowdy in Lochsa Falls:

Cali Kelly - River Boarder Extraordinare:

The entire weekend was filled with tons of sunshine, great company, some kayaking/rafting, LOTS of carnage at Lochsa Falls, and plenty of relaxation. It was sad when we had to pack up and make the trek back home.

Some of my favorite carange pics at Lochsa Falls:

Eric, Me, and Cali Kelly: