Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pimp my ride

Hunker down, boys, this one's for you! No, actually its for the ladies too (except for maybe my 2 girlfriends who aren't into bikes or triathlon that read this). Sometimes ladies like to geek out on their carbon & componentry too.

Ready for some miles! 
I've never been so geeked out on a bike before, but I've also never had the opportunity to work with someone like Mandy at Cannondale who has helped me build the bike of my dreams. Each part is perfection for me. 

Here is the rundown of what we've got on there....
Frame: Women's Cannondale Slice 
Chainrings/Crankset: 53/39 SRAM Red Black
Brakes/Derailleurs/Brake Levers: SRAM Red Black
Shifters: SRAM R2C Aero shifters (return to center- these are so cool!)
Saddle: ISM Adamo Racing 2 saddle with Betty Designs signature graphics (true love in a saddle!)
Aero Bars: 3T Mistral  (so cool, the extensions are mounted under the bars to get my best position)
Stem: FSA SL-K 110cm +/-6
Training wheels: SRAM S60
Cassette: 11/28 SRAM Red
Tires: Continental 4000

My undying love to all those who have helped me make this bike happen, ensuring that I have no excuses in the bike department in 2012.

Thanks to Chris, Russ, and the guys at Nytro for building it up (in a rush, I might add!) and helping me make little (but important!) fixes.
Thanks to SRAM & 3T for helping the new girl ride in style.

 Nestor & Darla at Studeo DNA have given me the perfect Retul fit and spent hours making sure I'm fast and comfortable.
Nes dialing it in

And last, but most certainly not least, thank you to Cannondale :
Took it out for a spin on the coast yesterday...and IS my perfect ride.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Not much time to post because we're headed out for my husband James' birthday. He's a ripe ole 34. One of the only guys I know who actually can't wait to get older...He's dying to be 35 to race in the Master's 35+ division with his ancient cycling buddies....
Getting ready for his birthday ride. The sun came out and we enjoyed 70+ degree sunny skies with the Wednesday team . 
Getting reacquainted with my friend ROB (run off bike). Not a bad day to do so. 

Backing up a bit......Our dear friend Heather (future 70.3 World Champion, mark my words) ran a 1:16 half marathon in Carlsbad on Sunday. Off very little (if any) speedwork. Be afriad, ladies! We popped some bubbly to celebrate with coach Pete

My SLICE has finally arrived. Just in time, 10 weeks until Oceanside 70.3! It's at Nytro being built up right now- Can't wait to share the bike geekiness of it in my next post.

From bike geekiness to swim geekery. I clearly bribed the swim coach by telling him how awesome he was on my blog, so he would give me the "most improved swimmer" award at our Masters swim team party. No, really. This means more than you can imagine since I swim Masters an average of 5 times per week. Swim progress don't come cheap 'round here. Cost me lots of hours, yards, poorly executed flip turns, saggy worn out swimsuits, extra trips to the hairdresser,  pounds of lotion, and at least 3 wet hair days per week when I stay in for that last "fast 200" or whatever when I should be already showered on my way to work. 

My goodness, that's a lot of goodness going on around here. It's not all sunshine and roses, I promise. Luckily, only James, Donna & Pete witnessed my "I-want-to-throw-my-bike-over-the-guard-rail-and -I-am SO-not-recovered-from-the-coast-ride" episode on Sunday. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Coast Ride take 2

Best trip in America on two wheels
I know its been nearly a week since the two wheeled trek from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, but I've been BUSY & sick (much more on the "busy" later, but good things happening!)

After a solid night's sleep Chez Blanco in San Francisco, we rode to the Golden Gate Bridge Saturday morning to meet the Coast Ride crew. This involved the weekend's only truly terrifying experience as Katya and I attempted to navigate San Francisco (hilly!) streets with backpacks larger than ourselves. No photographic evidence unfortunately, as a camera attempt would have definitely resulted in disaster.

Shockingly, we made it to the bridge without incident, said hello to friends we hadn't seen in a year, and got ready to ride. Scotty & co. have the trip wired (thank you a million times over for the best adventure in the USA!) and we were able to drop our bags with the SAG vehicle and set off for Day 1.

2012 crew
Last year, I remember being terrified as we descended from San Francisco through Pacifica. I was riding tri bike and was NOT a fan on descending in a group. Right away, I realized that this year was going to be different. I cruised down the hills easily and with confidence on my new SuperSix....Soon we hit a big climb near Half Moon Bay. Last year, I recall being popped off the back and then riding many miles alone until lunch. This year, I was riding that hill instead of the other way around, quickly starting to realize that my fall miles with Pete, James, HJ, wattie, Nestor & Katya are paying off. BIG TIME. Thanks guys :)

I'm not going to go into the details of the ride each day and all that because it is just overload! It can easily be abbreviated like this: We rode 125-130 miles down California Hwy 1 overlooking the ocean and climbing through the redwoods for 3 days. The weather was epic for January- super chilly (LOW 40s) in the a.m., but warming up to 60s by the afternoon. Sunshine all over the place and tailwinds for the final day into Santa Barbara. Throughout the entire trip, I was whispering sweet nothings to my bike as I'm totally in love. The ride is SO comfortable, so smooth, so "responsive" (yeah, cliche, but there is no other word!). I am now officially pissed at all y'all that told me that the bike doesn't make that much of the difference when I was riding around my old clunker road bike I got when I learned to clip-in in 2007. LIARS! All that "it's the rider blah blah blah" is CRAP.

Anyway, back to the ride. We'd finish on our bikes by around 2pm (ride time was  6 to 6 and a half hours each day....yeah- not such a leisurely pace when you figure in 19k of climbing over 3 days) and then hit the food and a beer or 2 while telling bad jokes and wearing the same outfit every night with our Coast Ride buddies. Each night finishes with ice cream, my favorite Coast ride "tradition".
Can't say "No" to tradition! 

The friends I've made on this trip over the past two years are pretty awesome and we may be an unlikely match. As Bethany said to the guys on Day 2, "Well, the odds are good, but the goods are odd!" (that's the quote of the trip!) No, in all truth, There is a nice group of more mature ;) (happily married) gentlemen from Santa Barbara & san Francisco that keep their eyes out for my girlfriends & I and help us along. When the going gets tough, they remind me to hang in there, give me a push up the hill, and I even had an escort or two bring me back to the group....
The odds are good, but the goods are odd! 

Friends and fun aside, this trip is also about training and I have to admit I really surprised myself. I know that my cycling has improved in the last year, but this trip gave me some really tangible things to look at to see how far I've come. I climbed with people I couldn't even suck wheel with last year, I stayed within myself while riding strong, and couldn't wipe the realization from my mind that every (traumatizing) memory from 2011 was being rewritten in 2012. I had a lot of check-ins with myself realizing that I was not a sham on the ride this year: I was no longer pretending to fit in with the roadies (the SuperSix vs. tri bike helped ;), getting shot off the back, resigning myself to riding solo, and experiencing more pain than is probably healthy.

Instead, this year i was RIGHT THERE. No, not always in the front group, but never far. And NEVER in the "box" the way I was last year.I feel like I am not putting the right words to this, but it was a huge mental jump for me. I'm not writing this to tell you how awesome I am, I really hope that someone who feels hopeless on the bike (as I did for several years) reads this and sees that the hard work WILL eventually pay off. One day, like me, you will no longer suck! Sure, it took thousands of miles and thousands of hours, but it did pay off. Never give up!

I think the final day captures the moment I'll really remember....Last year,I hitched a ride for about 20 miles to avoid the last huge climb of the ride. I knew in 2011 that I would lose time on the climb, lose more time on the descent, and end up riding the last 40ish miles to Santa Barbara alone in a pity party. Not to mention, I was DESTROYED. I couldn't fathom another hill.

This year, we arrived at the lunch stop before the monster climb and I was feeling great. Quitting never crossed my mind. As we approach the hill after lunch, I knew I was ready for a little redemption. The boys started climbing "easy" and I kept pace, thinking "that's it?" After a while, the pace picked up but I hung in there, knowing this was the LAST big climb. Pretty soon, I looked around, seeing mostly Cat1 & 2 roadie dudes...What was I doing here? Oh yes, I was CLIMBING! When we reached the top, I'm not sure I've ever been so satisfied on a bike. Not that I had hung on and QOM'd the thing, but that I was in SUCH a different place physically and mentally than last year.

Ok, so the Rudy soundtrack stops there, because I totally got dropped on the descent and was alone for about 10 miles until I scooped up/was scooped up by some other stragglers. We hammered to SB with a rippin' tailwind and called it ay.....Until next year!

DAY 1 San Francisco --> Seaside, CA
getting ready to roll

Hot Tub with Bethany!

DAY 2 Seaside --> Morro Bay
Me, Bethany, Jonathan
Big Sur= Big Day 8k of climbing
Hard to focus on the wheel not the view
met a new friend, Daniel, who grew up in my hometown

Aaron,, Bill, Duane, & Randy - some of my "helpers" all in here...

$1 Tecates! Who could say no! 

DAY 3 Morro Bay --> Santa Barbara

Rollin' DEEP (I'm there 2nd wheel white jacket)

Heavy D, Randy, Katya

Saturday, January 14, 2012

En Route!

The deal with a long point-to-point ride is that, in our case, you may need to travel to get to the start....Katya & I left on Thursday for Santa Barbara. We awoke Friday morning to a beautiful sunrise from our friend's house up in the hills.

After a quick jog, we hit the road (packed 5 people & 5 bikes into a Ford Expedition, I kid you not!!!)
Randy's car packing skills are unparalled.

Not the sunrise, but shortly thereafter

jogging around

Stopped for coffee at a cyclist's coffee shop

After several stops, including lunch in San Luis Obispo, we made it to San Francisco in time for dinner. Now all that's left to do is to ride 400 miles back down to where we came from. The Coast Ride is underway.

Hoping for sunny skies and tail winds...I'll check in with updates as long as I can see straight!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

life is good....

Southern California January...Spent the weekend.....
Playing in the sunshine with friends
Enjoying a new toy
 (or two... Cannondale Teramo  girly helmet to accessorize the roadie...)
Eating bananas

Appreciating quality time with the ones I love

This weekend I covered 122 human (& solar!) powered miles with friends & family. Enjoyed almost every breath, stroke, stride, and sigh. What did you enjoy this weekend?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


2012 will be the year of Souplesse on the bike. Did you know I was a French major in college and studied in Aix-en-Provence? True story. If you read the piece on Souplesse I linked above, you'll see that cycling "souplesse" is a sort of one-ness with the bike that most roadies probably think us triathletes sorely lack. In some cases (mine!), they may be correct. I'm the climber with the wiggly hips, the audible sigh, the death grip on the bars choosing the squiggly line.

In 2012 that's going to change. I will channel style, grace, and stillness on the bike. My riding partners might be laughing right now because there is quite a long way to go. But, the project is underway, and it's starting with the bikes...

If you had three cups of coffee and nothing to do, you may have made it to the section of my blog post on going pro where I mentioned that I'm going to be riding one of these in 2012:
Cannondale WOMEN's Slice

Remember when I rode a borrowed Slice at Oceanside 70.3 in 2010 and got my first Kona spot?
My borrowed rig with "fake" Zipp 808s (we got ripped off on craigslist but thats a whole different blog  post :)
Even though I know I was a better cyclist in 2011, my PR on the Oceanside course was set on the Cannondale Slice in 2010...hmmmmm.....On that day in 2010, on that borrowed bike, I felt more "at home"on a bike than I ever have. Clearly, the Slice must be my bike soul mate and I'm excited to be reunited and get some one-ness with my bicycle. I'm quite sure that feeling in touch with my Slice will most certainly help in the Souplesse department.

If you can't tell, I'm beyond excited to be supported by Cannondale Women's bicycles and can't wait to ride the s$%t out of some bikes the next couple of years (WHOA, that was not very souplesse-like). My Cannondales will also be SRAM equipped with better components than I've ever had the pleasure of riding. The soft clikety click of SRAM Red will most certainly help me to shift with grace and ease, right?

My Slice hasn't arrived yet, but I did just receive a super pretty road bike that will be all set to go for the Coast Ride next weekend. Heading to Studeo DNA to get all dialed in and then we'll be ready to party pedal gracefully- can't wait to get some pics of the newest addition to the Walsh family! I don't really name my bikes, but if I were going to name this roadie, I think she'd be called Souplesse.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

moments in time: 2011

2011  memories in pictures...thanks to the iphone, they won't be forgotten! 

Janurary 2011
 The Coast ride. 375 miles San Francisco to Santa Barbara...

February 2011
Putting in the base miles with James & Dirk

A Superbowl party with a view

Winter in Encinitas
Running hill repeats up Torrey Pines

March 2011

Strawberry season

First open water swim of the year
April 2011
Qualifying for Kona with James at California 70.3 

James wins his age group & decides he likes long course triathlon again...

Leading out the pack at the Gran Fondo with Nytro Women

Tucscon training camp chez Hillary Biscay
Last long run before Ironman Texas...19 miles after work. ouch! 
Staple dinners by Chef James
May 2011
Ironman Texas- sharing the podium with great friends & going sub 10
James' first Ironman...
June 2011
Family sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands
Beach day with the girls...Southern California SUMMER!
East County adventures with Julie & Liz
July 2011
2nd honeymoon with James...5 days in California wine country riding bikes, drinking wine (&beer & coffee) and eating good food.
When in Sonoma County...
Bear Republic Brewing Company, chamois and all....

Discovering new roads with my husband
August 2011
Enjoying a nap during the last few days of summer break
Colorful salads
A girls training trip to Las Vegas
Hundred degree happiness
My mom's first 70.3 in New Hampshire
Race morning at Timberman 70.3

Post-race Timberman lobster buffet

September 2011
Las Vegas 70.3 World Championships with James 

3rd place at 70.3 WC 

 October 2011
Trip to Kona... 
The Underpants Run

The swim that made James decide he was over long course triathlon

Finishing Ironman World Championships in 10:04

November 2011
Back on the bike

Spectating at Ironman Arizona

 Hitting the trails
 December 2011
Coffee Rides with rest stops at the beach

And A niece and nephew as christmas gifts

Happy New Year to all! Wishing you peace, love, and good coffee in 2012!