Monday, January 26, 2009

Race summaries

Every weekend has a race, so I am falling behind in my blogging (as pointed out by Liane). So I shall provide a summary of each race so far.

Tour de Cookie
This race was on the Sunday after the Blue Pants Trail Run. Basically it was a scavenger hunt with cookies. Riders were given a map of a course and each stop along the way was a cookie stand where you could buy cookies. Riders could go as far as they wanted. It was crazy cold that morning, and for the first few miles we couldn't feel our hands or feet. Zac, Krista, TJ, and I stuck together in our own little group and hit most of the cookie stands. There were lots of stories, laughing, and signing at the top of our lungs. Everything from "Stray Cat Strut" to the Apollo College theme song. I also have a new appreciation for manholes (yes, exactly).

It was a very low-key event for us, more about having fun than focusing on max speed, cadence, or any of those other hard core bike training things. I rode my cyclocross bike with my trunk on the back so that I could pack my cookies with me. I also affixed a talking Cookie Monster to the front of my bike. If you tilted his head back he would say "Cookie!" "Meh!" and "Yawm yawm yawm!" So of course at each stop I had to make him talk for everyone. It was kind of funny because as we rode, each rough patch I hit made Cookie Monster talk.

I brought home a TON of cookies to be enjoyed after the race. This race is on the calendar for next year for sure!

MBAA Race #1 - White Tanks

I had no idea how to approach this race. Go out fast with the group and hang with them for as long as possible, or hang back and go out not as fast and catch up hoping to pass bikers that either had their bikes or lungs explode. When they said "go" the decision was made for me and I tried to hang with the pack. I haven't done a sprint mountain bike race in forever, but the point of this race and doing as many of the MBAA races as possible is to get faster on the trails. My wave (Wave 6) had to do 3 long loops. I didn't pre-ride the course as I figured that's what the first lap was for.

We started out on some rolling terrain, where I took the chance to pass as many people in my wave as possible. The front runners were gone, but my only goal was to not come in last in my age group. Oh, that's the other thing. My age group sucks. In mountain bike racing, I'm in the 19-39 age groupers. Liane is gloating that she's in 40+. With the 60 year olds. I keep reminding her about the "+" in her age group. Anyways, back to the race. We got into some rollers before the hike-a-bike section and my bike started to take on multiple personalities, deciding when to shift, which was never when I wanted to shift. Over the winter it got a full re-build, and of course new cables stretch within the first few rides. There was no way I was stopping to fix it and figured I'd just have to deal with the psycho bike.

The hike-a-bikes didn't give me much of a chance to rest. I felt redlined the entire time. I finally hit one last climb, then started a slight downhill back to the start/finish. I rolled past the s/f area in 45 minutes and had done 7 miles. The only thing I could think was that there was NO way I could do another 2 loops like that!

The second loop I got into the little kid wave, and let them know where I was going to pass. They would bonsai down the hills, then walk up the uphills. By this time, the faster waves were coming through, so I had to pass carefully.

The third lap I picked up some foreign object on my bike that made a horrible plinking sound with each turn of the wheel. I figured it was a piece of gravel, but I wasn't stopping to find out. I caught up to a girl in capris and she had a "6" on her leg, so I had to pass her! By this time, the teenage boys came through, so I used them to put as much distance between me and her. I noticed there was one girl stalking me, walking when I walked and riding when I rode. I just KNEW she had a 6 on her leg. As we crested the top of the last hill, I threw it into the big ring even though my legs were doing the wet noodle thing. I could hear Coach Troy screaming "Spin! Spin!" (not the real Coach Troy, the video one) and I pushed it as hard as I could. Then I hear the dreadful "On your left" and sure enough, the stalker passed by with a 6 on her leg. It was honestly the fastest I could go. I biked as hard as I could all the way to the end and finished 10 seconds behind the stalker. But, it was good enough for 5th place! (Out of 9, yeah!) I waited for the others to finish their races, collected my bling, and proceeded to die 5 times over on the ride home. I've never been more wasted from a race. And there are how many more of these left?!?

On the box!

The source of the plinking was discovered when we got home.

Blue Pants Winter Trail Race #2

I left for this race in the dark and proceeded to drive through the clouds that had descended upon Tucson. I figured once the sun came up the fog would disappear. But when I got to the trailhead the sun had started to come up and the fog was thicker. Trail Race #2 was at the 36th street entrance to Starr Pass. I have ridden several of the trails in Starr Pass, but not this one. There were about 20 racers or so, and we all hit the singletrack at the same time. For awhile it was like playing the whip game that you play in 3rd grade. After awhile the group thinned out. I was drenched in condensation and sweat, which caused my glasses to fog up like mad. I kept taking them off to try to wipe them clear enough to see but it really didn't help. I tripped twice but pulled out the crash and avoided going down. We finally hit the intersection of the Yetman trail and at this point I knew where I was. We climbed up Yetman and I realized it is so much easier to bike the trails versus running them. We took a side trail down to the housing division, and turned at Lot 27 to start a steep and rocky climb up to the stone house. By this time the fog had cleared. It was a crazy fast downhill to the finish. I rolled my left ankle a bit on this descent but was able to keep running. I crossed the finish area and stopped my Garmin. I averaged 11:28 min/mile. I would be SO happy to run that at Deuces Wild this year! So I will need to keep up with the trail running.

The 36th street trailhead gets trashed from wildcat dumpers, so all the racers did some trail clean-up and picked up trash after the race. A few people from the neighborhood association stopped by to say thanks, as they are usually the ones to clean up the mess from the idiots that dump trash at the trail. I thought the cleanup was a great idea. Do a trail run and then do a cleanup right after.

Speaking of trail runs, the next trail run race is the Fleet Feet AZ Trail race on 2/1. And of course I'm running in it. ;)

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