Sunday, January 30, 2011

blood, sweat, and big gears

It's been one of those weeks where there has been so much going on and so much I want to post, but one thing at a time. 

On Friday, I headed to The Wolf Studio in Solana Beach for a cycling blood lactate test. Alan and Corina have a really nice setup there and they are total pros. They've been doing this forever in Europe and recently moved here to open up their sports performance center. The testing and entire experience was top notch. Check them out on facebook too! 
Ok, back to me :). I thought I was going to head in, pedal, get some blood taken and head out... Then, coach Dirk showed up to surprise me and see me in pain (how thoughtful :)!) . Dirk is more involved in my training than ever. He is super in-tune with where I am at and where I want to go this year and that is huge. 

So this is how the testing went....(pictures courtesy of Alan at the Wolf Studio...quite the photographer!) 

Hop on and warm up easy for 10 minutes

Add caption

Pedal fast- keep the cadence up!

Every three minutes- your finger gets pricked to draw blood. The blood is tested by a machine for the percentage of  blood lactate.

Pedal harder, pedal faster, every 3 minutes the watts increase by 25. Btw- like the new wheels? Reynolds is sponsoring the Nytro racing team this year- SWEET!
get in the zone. don't let up! See "the Man" in the background. 
More pricking and turning up the intensity until you can't handle it anymore. Apparently, I can keep pedaling until my blood lactate percentage is 13.7.. that is A LOT. however, that has nothing to do with my actual performance on the test. 

We spent some time checking out the data after the test.

What did we find? Well, let's just say that there are wide open spaces just waiting to be filled with some serious improvement. The good news? Well, honestly., there wasn't too much. I did not miraculously turn into a cycling superstar just by taking this test. BUT, looking on the bright side there is some good news:
1) We've got a nice baseline going into the 2011 season. I'm stoked to return to the Wolf  Studio in six months so see  what gains I have made
2) I have an amazing coach that is committed to helping me make those gains and cut my losses on the bike and 
3) This was a good reminder that when all else fails- at least i can run 'em all down :) 

James got his dose of pain too. Check out his blog for the deets....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A picture....

Is worth a thousand words...Or at least saves you from reading 1000 of my babbling ones...Here are some good ones from the past two weeks. 

I found a few more pictures from The Coast Ride that are already making me miss that weekend! Thanks to whoever took them-I borrowed them from Scott W's facebook page but he couldn't have taken them- he was riding!
Looks like Day 2..

The 'ton looks like its stretching out!!! hold on!!

Katya crossing a bridge on Big Sur day 2 (after coming back to fetch me)

Beginning of Day 3- Duane & me (in my ninja getup)

Katya (in blue)  all smiles in her element

The man, the myth, the legend. Tex-Ass Randy

Roll out!

More of the ho-hum!

A monday morning 2-hour run before dawn

followed by a mid-morning Americano-with-an-inch-of-steamed-soy at Zumbar...looks like sludge!  And I needed it after the weekend of chasing the boys around...
Bicep measuring contest Dirk vs. James on our Sunday 90 miler

My new toy! James ordered me a Garmin 500

Kristin and Dirk waiting for team Walsh to arrive to roll out!  

It was a long weekend...but never too tired to have a few friends over for an impromptu dinner party!

Everyone admired my early season cycling tan. the thing about January in so cal is that I have no time to get to the beach to even that thing out! for now, I will embrace it. Come March 1, different story!

And lastly....some food. it's not a good post without some good food! . 

Another great Halibut & Spinach salad prepared by my chef. James. James and a few others are getting into a nightly twitter killer dinner battle. I will not complain! We shall win! He's in the kitchen preparing tonights shrimp & veggies as I type

Thanks for reading (and looking)- Have a lovely weekend! 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ho hum

Back to life as usual! although some would consider that life as usual around here is quite unusual

today has so far included:

"sleeping in"until 6 am

4100 yards master's swim at 7

then a 5 hour, 90 mile ride out to Ramona in the January sunshine with James, Trevor, Lesley, Caroline, and Weeger

Trevor, Weeger, James & Caroline

Lesley setting the pace up the climb to Ramona

Lots of sunshine = good bike shadows and no extra clothes!

apparently 17.5 is the new 15. Miles per hour that is...this ride would usually be 15 ish mph for me (its got a little more than 5,000 feet of climbing). But, the husband (who thinks he is Cancellara on his new Shiv) won't let me slack anymore after reading my blog from last week. He's convinced I only speed it up for other people and slack off around him :)

now, i'm parked on the couch for just a bit for a little compression, elevation, and eating some kabocha squash (have you tried it? if not, RUN to the store it's pretty awesome) & greek yogurt.
Zoot compression & a stack of pillows = heaven!
All training no family time? Nope! been with him since 6am! talk about quality time :)
Tomorrow will be more of the same, but swim will be substituted with a little more running....just the usual "ho-hum" around here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Coast Ride 2011: San Francisco-Santa Barbara

Sometimes there is just too much to write and you don't even know where to begin. The Coast Ride 2011 was one of those things that will be ingrained in my memory, but at the same time be a total blur. Even today, just after returning, the days are blending into each other. Luckily, the illegal percentage of lactic acid in my quads is also diminishing. So, I better get this down on paper before I forget how much that hurt.

The agenda for the ride was 3 days, 375 miles, and 19,000 feet of elevation gain "cruising" the California coastline from San Francisco to Santa Barbara.

On Wednesday, I decided I was going to go and bought a one way ticket to San Francsico. Nothing like a little super last-minute planes, trains, automobiles and bicycles to get the blood flowing! After work on Friday, I flew to San Francisco and got to share an awesome evening with my BFF Blythe in the city. Early Saturday morning, the plan was to meet Caroline and Katya and 40 of our new best friends at the Golden Gate Bridge. Caroline and I didn't get the memo of the exact start location and ended up waaaaaaaay down below the bridge.

Wait! We're supposed to be up There!

A short panic attack and several wasted watts later (carrying HUGE packs uphill=hard work), we arrived fashionably late. Our gracious hosts took our bags in the SAG wagon and we were off! The crew that organized the ride has been doing this for years and had all the logistics nailed down from wonderful SAG, to group hotel rates, to spot on route slips. It was AWESOME so big thank you to Scott and his crew.

DAY 1: San Francisco to Seaside- 125 miles
Ok, off through the city of San Francisco- destination Seaside, CA (just outside Monterey) to the tune of 130 miles (including our pre-start "excursion" to find the group). The pace started off fairly civil, but I was nervous on the winding steeps out of the city and hung on the group but near the back. As we climbed out towards Davenport, the group picked up the pace and to my surprise I was able to hang on. I realized quickly that this was NOT a cruisy recreational ride. Everyone was kitted out and there were several local San Francisco teams that were riding together. I realized that we were nearly the only triathletes on the ride, attempting to masquerade with some hard core cyclists. RUH ROH!

It's a good hurt, right? notice no one behind me but I swear the group is just ahead  :)
At some point (BLUR!) we hit a big climb and I was able to stick with the pack I was with. Unfortuantely the descent was a different story. OTB (off-the-back) I went, but I realized there were only a few miles until the lunch stop in Davenport, so I decided to enjoy my time alone. Soon enough, another group caught me and I decided to hang on (for dear life). For the rest of the day, I believe I somehow managed to stay with the group. I was huffing and puffing too much to take any pictures but I snagged some from Caroline, who I think got a few from someone else- so thanks to all for the photos of all the places I missed by staring at the wheel in front of me :)
Ocean, Rocks...this could be any one of a thousand places we passed

We wove our way through Santa Cruz and eventually onto a LONG bike path in towards Monterey. Lucky for me, these sections involved some turns, lights, roots, narrow passages and other things that slowed us down and I was really able to enjoy the ride and the company of new friends. When we rolled in to the hotel 130 miles later still averaging 18.5 mph even with all those slow sections, I knew I'd be in a spot of bother the next day.

Day 1 done!

Caroline compressing and elevating :)
I drank some Fluid chocolate recovery (yum!) hit the hot tub and then went to dinner with C and the boys from the Thirsty Bear/Iron Data team. Most of the other folks from the ride knew each other prior to the ride, but our crew and the Thirsty men were new additions. I probably owe those guys a few more beers, cookies and wine for pulling my butt around for 3 days and helping me bridge many-a-gap. We topped off the exciting evening with McDonald's vanilla cones at 8pm.
A perfect evening :)

Hanging at McDonald's...Stay Classy! 
DAY 2: Monterey to Morro Bay- 126 miles, 8800 feet up!

Foggy morning- I believe this is Steve's photo...
Day 2 involved the most climbing and was also the most beautiful. We began with neverending climbs and descents and rollers through Big Sur and then some flatter "cruising" into Morro Bay. 

I was quite please with myself for hanging in the group for the first hour of the ride and even stuck right in the middle on a screaming descent into Carmel. Suddenly, my bike wobbled to 45 degrees and THUMP THUMP THUMP. I have NO idea how I stayed upright OR how I did not take anyone out, but I am very lucky. I was SURE I had blown a sidewall or something and pulled over out of the group to deal with the damage. Such a bummer as we were only about 15 miles into the day and I had already lost the group. The great news was that it was actually my seat bag that had come un-velcroed and was thumping into my rear wheel. I replaced and tightened it and looked up to see Katya who had come back to get me. Now, on a normal day, this would be a kind thing to do, but no big deal. Today, this was huge. She had left the group that could get her to the destination FAST to come back and get me (and pull me around until lunch!) Now that's a friend. We climbed and descended through foggy big sur and it was truly amazing.
When riding alone- Self portrait in order! 

I have to admit though, that I was kind of scared as it was so foggy I thought maybe cars wouldn't see me.

 Anywho, we finally made it to lunch, regrouped, and I decided to hang on to the group as long as possible after that. WOW, big mistake. There seemed to be a good deal of (good natured) testosterone floating around and the group started pushing 28-30mph and did.....not......let.....up. I made it as long as I could (15 maybe 20 miles?) and then told Texas Randy, one of the Thirsty Bear boys that I was ready to relax and pop off. Lucky me, he offered to join and pull my arse all the way to Morro Bay! We actually had a very nice time and I was enjoying the ride at a civil pace with good company. We rode by Hearst Castle and eventually grouped up with 4 or 5 others who had also had enough of the Tour de France group riding for the day. 
My view- Randy's arse! 

Cruising towards Hearts Castle

When we made it to Morro Bay, I was, again, crushed, but revived a bit by the "ice" bath we took in the Ocean.

Another great dinner (maybe too much wine!) and of course dessert (the best part!), and I went to bed nervous for day 3 but excited to finish 'er off!

The Brave Ice Bath Crew

DAY 3: The finale! Morro Bay to Santa Barbara - 125 miles (I ended up riding 102....)
On the 3rd day, I woke up with a massive headache (not to mention sore body). I sought out a quadruple Americano to revive me but no such luck. Every surge those first 12 miles of the ride to Santa Barbara felt impossible. I kept trying to channel my inner Jens Voight and say, "shut up legs!" But the legs didn't want to listen. After a regroup in San Luis Obispo (more coffee!) we set out towards Lompoc. Again, the Tour de France Coast was on! Caroline and I encouraged eachother and pedaled our best. We had multiple pushes and helpful tactics from the Thirsty boys and hung on for quite a while. At one point I looked up and saw a WALL in front of us. The steepest climb I've seen in a while. I  had already burned my last match 20 miles ago, but I knew that I needed to stay in the group up the climb to make it. I started shaking my head, "no" and Caroline (who had been looking down at a wheel or something) tried to say, "Come on! You got this!" THEN, she looked up. Then she saw what I saw, and I think she dropped an f-bomb :) . Well, we made it up and over and on a few miles, but eventually we wanted off the party train and bowed out, happily pedaling on to the next rest stop.
Day 3 chilling behind Texas Randy and Caroline

 Later in the day, at lunch, I was toast. I knew that if I wanted to be with the group the last 50 miles, I had to make it up the biggest hill of the day, but more imporantly, down a loooooooong screaming descent. I knew that I simply could not stay with the group for that, and the lovely SAG folks offered to drop me on the other side of the! (Nice service, eh?) I didn't have to think twice. I would still ride more than 100 miles on the day and I didn't feel the need to be a hero. Some people may see this as a cop out, but I had already far exceeded my expectations and was happy to just make it through. 

When I was getting ready to pedal back into the group on the other side of the hill, I realized I couldn't shift my bike. CRAP! SAG pulled over again for me and Steve tried to fix it but we couldn't figure out what was wrong with the rear dearailleur. I was not too sad when I thought that was the end of my ride- after all, if my bike breaks, it's not my fault if I don't finish :). However, Steve is just too good and he fixed the whole thing just in the nick of time. I was able to rejoin the crew and pedaled on in to Santa Barbara.
3 days, 355 miles. whoa. I think I am still in shock!

Caroline and I showered, grabbed some food and waited for our train back to San Diego. I finally crawled into bed close to midnight- back to work bright and early the next morning! It is still definitely all a blur, but I am getting worried that I am already starting to only remember the fun, the beautiful weather, the epic scenery, the new friends, the bad jokes, the delirious chatter and all the other good things. Somehow the pain (and let me tell you, this is THE most painful thing I have ever done. I hurt during those 3 days more than I have ever hurt in Ironman or a marathon or any race. And I hurt for long long LONG periods of time.)

But, I also did a lot of things I didn't believe I could do.I pushed harder and held on longer and rode more aggressively that I EVER have. I found myself saying all the time, "Well, I'm just not a cyclist" but you know what? I am turning into one.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Going Up!

That is the only way to go from here....UP! I lost a sufficient amount of fitness from October to January && properly placed myself in a position where every workout = progress!
Part of going up includes climbing up all the hills we can find out here. Just keep going up up up.

Going up Part 1
One of my very first athlete-friends, Bethany, is also going up. Sadly, she's going up to Northern California for a too-good-to-pass-up job opportunity. I met Bethany in 2007, when I first joined San Diego Track Club, before I met James. We've pushed each other through many-a riding and running adventure. Last week, we enjoyed our last ride together for a while- and it just happened to include three times up the biggest hill around. GOING UP!

We met some amazed folks at the top of Double Peak. They couldn't believe we had ridden bicycles up the hill (even once!) They asked to sit on our bikes, took pictures, lifted them to see how heavy they were, etc. it was awesome. They treated us like we were Lance Armstrong!
Here is one of our fans checkingout Bethany's s bike :) , Bethany in the background. She thinks he looks like "The skinny neighbor dude on King of the Hill". I've never seen it.

Thanks to those fun new friends at the top of Double Peak to remind us that what we do is pretty darn cool!

Going up part 2

The first full week of Ironman training is now complete and I'm confident that UP we will go. CoachDirk has been excellent and is even more involved in my training than ever. On Thursday, he came down to Rehab United's Sports Performance Center to watch the biweekly beatdown of weights and functional strength. I thought it was awesome that he was interested in seeing what we do down there (since it's hard to explain!). It's also very cool that Bryan (RU) and Dirk are collaborating to help James & I be the best we can. Goes without saying that we're super lucky.

Another advantage of having my coach local is that I get to try to whip him into shape! I realize I'm going to have a lot of long aerobic rides on the schedule and I don't want to always (or often) get caught up in the group go-go-go mentality (like Saturday, but that is a whole different post...I planned a "mellow" group "endurance" ride that ended up being a hammerfest and I got dropped quite quickly. It was funny/ironic because I had organized the whole thing and about 20 people showed up and then I ended up solo!)
Point being, I don't want to be one of Joe Friel's Christmas Stars. SO, I recruited Dirk and Tati to get out there on a truly aerobic ride. Dirk's just getting back into it, so I don't know how happy he was 15 minutes in to the climb up Mt. Soledad, but the view from the top was worth it.
Me & Dirk & The Powerbar that saved him :)

the monument at the top of Mt. Soledad. Not sure what it is a monument to...Tati was going to google it...

Had a blast with both of them. I even let Dirk in on some of my training secrets, like what a "Muffin Ride" is. And, Dirk filled me up with many Dirk-isms (i.e. secret German training tips and life lessons in general). Hopefully many more days like this to come (not sure if he has caught on yet that my grand-master-plan is to whip him into shape to be my ride partner extraordinaire :) . And as for now, we're all GOING UP!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ironman training with James

last year I made a video about James hating on triathletes. times have changed, so I made a sequel that details life at the moment..

however, in all honesty- the fact that james has turned to the triathlon dark side makes me happier than anything else i can think of.