March Blues

March always seems to be a tough month for me, and 2016’s edition was no different.  After Fat Bike Nationals I had my usual bottoming out of my mood as I came back to real life.  But for some reason I just couldn’t get over the hump to feeling better.  This whole month I fought constant fatigue (talking about “sleep 30 hours of the 48 hours you’re off of work” type of fatigue) and overall just not feeling well type of feeling.  Then my knees have been acting up.  Dr. Google suggests it’s patellofemoral pain, though Dr. Google also suggest torn meniscus.  All I know is anything hurts my knee, including sleeping, and it’s been popping all sorts of funny.  And naturally, the weather has me all sorts of down… we get glimpses of spring with 60-70 degree weather and dry trails, and then BAM!  Several feet of snow, and wind.  Lots of wind.  Trailing derailed, and I pretty much as okay with it as my couch is comfortable, and sleep is wonderful.  But not all is lost… so here’s the updates!

1. Chubby Chaser Fat Bike Race

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2016 Chubby Chaser Fat Bike Race at Happy Jack (Photo by Jessica Flock)

This is Laramie’s version of fat bike racing, which as held March 5th this year.  I took 10th overall, and 1st among the women… but it wasn’t easy!  There’s a HUGE difference between racing on groomed trails (aka Fat Bike Nationals), and racing on normal single track.  The power curve is completely different (road-style vs. cross country MTB), and it hurt!  The first climb up Pole Creek out of the Happy Jack trailhead I wanted to puke and quit as my body struggled to find that sort of race rhythm months before it needs to happen.  The temperatures were warm which also lead to rapidly changing conditions, with the trails being quite mushy at the end of the 3 lap race, and there was indeed mud.  I crashed hard on an icy off camber on Headquarters, managing to bloody my knee.  By the second lap I found a good race rhythm.  Happy I got to race in the snow at Happy Jack and experience a different side of fat biking racing compared to what I had done the previous weekend!

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I won a coffee mug! Because let’s face it, when I win bike races, it’s always a drinking apparatus I win! (Photo by Dewey Gallegos)

2. New sponsors!

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Woohoo, I have two new sponsors on board – Tailwind Nutrition and Dirt Components.  I was selected to be a Tailwind Trailblazer for 2016, which is super exciting stuff as Tailwind really changed my on-the-bike and race nutrition in my 2015 season.  I got to listen in on an informative presentation on the science behind Tailwind which appeased the science nerd in me, and now I know what additional foods I should avoid (like watermelon… who knew?) during races.  Dirt Components hand makes the “Thumper” all carbon fat bike wheels, and we’ve partnered up for all sorts of shenanigans when it comes to fat biking this upcoming year!  Because I needed to add another race season, right?  😀  I’m looking forward to dropping the pounds on my Salsa Beargrease with these sexy carbon hoops, and heck, maybe I’ll even ride the bike some this summer!?  Oh goody!

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3.  Umm… I went pro.

Yes, that’s right… USA Cycling granted me my pro mountain bike license upgrade!  Whoa, what?!  So I decided that doing this hybrid “pro non-sanctioned, but cat 1 USAC” stuff was for the birds, and decided to be pro across the board, and randomly applied for my upgrade, and received it!  This does change my plans for the National Championships slightly, as it opens up racing singlespeed as an option, but puts all my racing at the end of the week instead of slightly spread out.  But considering that in 2017 I am targeting a trip to Iceland instead of nationals, I am happy that I’ll get to race pro at nationals this year and get this newest step in my mountain bike racing journey underway!

4.  Training

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The Gail & Heidi Weekday Ride Club… so exciting to have this awesome chick to ride with on weekdays! Even if she tricks me into climbing Stove Prairie

It wasn’t pretty.  There was a whole lot of laziness this month.  Sadly the weather didn’t always play nice when I had the days off to ride outdoors, either.  Not all was lost, and I did get to spend a day doing hill repeats of Indian Summer down in Fort Collins, which was surprisingly fun.  Then I got to spend a day at Soapstone with my friend, Chris. It was an awesome ride, and one of the first that I stopped and took a lot of photos during.  I also got out on some good road rides, including tackling the dams (and establishing a lot of new PR’s), “attacking” Georgia up a couple of climbs (leading to the new joke, “You doing intervals or something?”), and a fun day with Gail going up Poudre and Stove Prairie for some big climbing miles before the next round of storms.  Today I finally did the FTP test I’ve been avoiding for 4 weeks, and though it wasn’t pretty and I didn’t push as hard on the first 8 minute block as I could’ve, I obtained the “typical” 2% increase to 221 watts.  My highest FTP ever!  I’m looking forward to building on it, and eventually testing outdoors one of these days.  And whoops… turned out TrainerRoad never had my updated FTP from my test in January saved in my profile (most likely my mistake and misclick somewhere), so from January to middle of March I was doing all my workouts with an FTP set to 205 instead of 217… caused slight panic, but I realized I had been doing a lot of billat workouts which are VO2max and I was still in the proper zone.  My threshold and tempo workouts were probably the most affected.  Shucks.  I took careful caution today to make sure my new number was updated!

Beautiful 70 degree mid-March day at Soapstone!  Too bad all the trails are once again snow covered

Beautiful 70 degree mid-March day at Soapstone! Too bad all the trails are once again snow covered

5.  Pedal House.  They rock.

My 2013 Specialized Epic FINALLY had a full tune up performed… for the first time ever!  Once again Pedal House in Laramie worked their magic, with Joel going above and beyond to scrub off some sort of biohazardous substance that had molded itself to my frame (guessing hydration mix + mud + dirt + saliva), along with installing a new bottom bracket, cassette, chain rings, and brakes.  Seriously, this is the bike shop everyone needs to be going to!

Mr. Allosaurus, my new adventure buddy, proclaims the Pedal House the best bike shop ever after getting that Epic in the background all fixed up!

Mr. Allosaurus, my new adventure buddy, proclaims the Pedal House the best bike shop ever after getting that Epic in the background all fixed up!

April is going to be a big month… Next week is my team’s training camp in Fruita.  I have a “conservative” 27.5 hours of riding mapped out in Training Peaks over 6 days!  Oh boy!  But with temps in the 70s it’ll be great to be out in the sun logging some good mountain bike and road miles as I prep for mountain bike season to begin in May.  It’s time to buckle down, get the motivation going again, and put in the work!  (It’s also time for this damn weather to be nice and warm!)

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