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Flexibility

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Drink up, little flowers!

 

Flexibility.  The new way to describe my 2015 race season thus far!

I’m very detail oriented and a huge planner.  I like everything minutely figured out, usually months in advance in the case of bike races.  I like a schedule, and sticking to that schedule.

Ways 2015 is teaching me to just go with the flow:

  • I got into the Leadville 100 on my first try ever.  Goodbye Pierre’s Hole 50 race in Grand Targhee, goodbye considering the Steamboat Stinger, and goodbye for training just around cross country events and racing.
  • My “A” cross country race, the Nordic Valley ProXCT in Ogden, UT in May, was cancelled a month out.  Suddenly I was without the need to ever be in super fast XC race shape this year.  But I also felt relief of not having to be in super fast XC shape, surprisingly.  I quickly shrugged off negative feelings, and registered for a 60 mile gravel grinder up in Casper, the Rattlesnake Rally.  Lemons, lemonades, something to that effect.
  • I decided against Rumble at 18 Road for the first time in my very short XC racing “career” just a couple of weeks ago.  Which was an awesome decision as this crazy winter storm going on closed I-70 and the promoters postponed the race due to mud today (taking a hint from last year’s mudfest, apparently).  That all worked out in the best way possible.
  • I was all excited to give another road race a go after my surprisingly awesome results at last weekend’s Boulder Roubaix.  Naturally, Mother Nature this week has gone psycho, and the gravel portion of the Clasica de Rio Grande is unrideable (to most of roadie persuasion I’m guessing, I’d still try it 😛 ) so my race was canceled 24 hours out this morning.

Not so long ago, I’m pretty sure I’d be crying over all these changes to my race season and normal “routine.”  Now I just laugh. I feel like I’m doomed when it comes to racing a mountain bike this year, as the 10 day forecast is saying rain for next weekend’s Ridgeline Rampage.  HAHAHAHA.  Just laugh, Heidi, just laugh!  After all, it’s just racing bikes!

So I’m sitting here with a rare weekend to have this time of year:  no races.  I considered the Denver Fed Center crit, but decided to plan a long road ride with some teammates in Fort Collins.  If it ever stops raining.  This storm is just about the most bizarre storm I’ve seen… 6″ of snow in my lawn with heavy rain, thunder, and lightning going on in the present moment.  I’m literally confused when I look at the window and see rain with all the snow piled around.  However, I am LOVING this moisture… my lawn and berry garden really needed it, and naturally so does the mountains, reservoirs, etc.  Gowdy has been scary dry, so I’m hoping this helps calm down the dusty trails a bit!

But yes, rare weekend.  I’m almost lost at what to do… and of course unfortunately the weather puts a damper on just long fun rides until Sunday.  But it’s also refreshing knowing I can sleep in, get stuff around the house done, hang out, relax, and be off the roads, which are quite frightening right now (or closed).  Whew, this going with the flow and having the flexibility to adapt and change is nice.  I think I’ll stick with it 🙂

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Not Too Pro To Wave

So this is, and always will be, an interesting debate in the cycling community… waving or acknowledging other cyclists when you’re out riding.

One of my favorite moments to this day on a bike was back in 2012 when I was struggling up LCR38 to Horsetooth Reservoir, some 50-odd miles into a torturous “A” pace group ride that was advertised as beginner friendly and no drop, and Georgia Gould passed me with a friendly “Hi!!” as she zoomed off by me.  I think my eyeballs about popped out of my head and I was almost too shocked to respond.  An Olympic medalist and mountain biking royalty took the time to acknowledge little me in a collection of random REI clothing wearing a helmet with a visor (gasp!) pushing 7mph up a road!

I’ve always been the waving or acknowledging type, and I think this is partly based on when I was a newbie and how cool it was to feel like I was part of “something.”  Like, whoa, they waved at me-type of something.  Everybody on a bike I make a point of waving at, or if I’m descending at a decent speed or otherwise need to keep my hands where they are I still nod, smile, or lift a few fingers.  My latest thing is waving to vehicles who take the time to wait out the 5 seconds or so for me to clear an intersection before they proceed.  I usually get smiles and waves back, and hey, maybe I changed the “cyclists are evil” perception a bit along the way.

However, apparently I am a minority.  Getting waves in Colorado is almost like pulling teeth sometimes, and it’s spreading to Cheyenne, where we’re already a pretty tiny cycling community (I will not even mention Seattle… not a single wave, just these weird deathly glares every time).  Heck, yesterday I got a blank stare back from someone I know and have ridden with.  I’ll admit, it irked me.  Seriously, just wave!  Yell hi!  Smile!  Cuss me out, throw something, do something!  We’re a small group, we should stick together…  (maybe I just need to buy a motorcycle??)

Aside from the horror of everyone failing to acknowledge me, I think it’s just part of being a welcoming member of the cycling community and being a good ambassador (along with not riding like a jackass, and you know, making an effort at those stop signs).  You could make a newbie’s day, as Georgia did in my case back in 2012.  People in full on team kits can be intimidating whether they’re a cat 5 or a pro – it all looks the same to people who aren’t in the know, so sometimes that mean mug look isn’t the most welcoming.  I use the Greenway here in Cheyenne a lot to connect to different roads, or on days when I just don’t want to deal with cars, so naturally I run into a lot of recreational cyclists, and I always make sure to slow and say hi.  I slow and ask people if they’re alright if they’re off on the side fiddling with their bikes, especially out mountain biking since it’s remote a lot of the times (I “rescued” a mom on a cruiser bike a few weeks ago who couldn’t get her chain back on and was getting ready to push the bike and trailer back home on the Greenway.. .made me feel happy that I could get her on her way again and that she could finish her ride with her family!).  Yeah, sure, there’s intervals and steady states and blah blah blah for training, but a couple of minutes isn’t going to kill anyone.  Neither does lifting up a hand for a wave, regardless of how many darn cyclists there are nowadays on the Front Range.

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Being a good ambassador of the sport is something I’ve been acutely more in touch with since joining a bigger team with a rather pronounce logo stating NAKED on my kits that makes me, well, more rememberable.  So maybe my waving and smiles and hellos are in hyper mode, but at least no one can accuse me of being too pro to wave, right?

So what’s everyone’s thoughts… am I overboard with the waving expectations?  Do you wave or acknowledge other cyclists in some manner?

 

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March Wrap Up

Three months down!

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I missed this being my highest mileage month by 6 miles, whoops!  Which is kind of impressive, since my week in Seattle wasn’t high mileage and the week following I was knocked on my butt by some severe respiratory virus.  Of course, you see the difference in the amount of time, which hey, still isn’t too shabby at 31+ hours.

March was a struggle for me, I won’t lie.  I did have two good early starts to my “road race” season (I’ve never considered myself to have a road race season before this year… I’m doing a significant amount of road stuff this spring, however, when compared to previous years), and am super proud of my effort during the Oredigger Classic Hill Climb up Lookout Mountain.  Otherwise, my training wasn’t exactly on target.  I think I ended up feeling more tired than usual, and then I picked up that virus during my Seattle trip and that was the fork stuck into me saying, “you’re done!”

I managed to get out to Hewlett Gulch last weekend for a short mountain bike ride to test the lungs.  I had a good time, minus the one crash, and realized my technical skills aren’t as rusty as I thought.  Then Sunday, Jim and I climbed up to Estes Park – a ride we’ve been talking about foreverrrrr.  So fun to finally get it done!  I took it easy in order to not stress my body, and we battled a headwind descending which is always a buzzkill.  I followed up with a decent after work ride on Monday, and an amazing evening yesterday at Gowdy on the mountain bike.  Rode some trails that I haven’t done in a long time, and after about 10 miles run into some of my buddies so I chatted it up for awhile, and then did another 2.6 miles with them.

I’m struggling with mountain bike fitness.  The short punches of power and climbing just seem to do me in… but luckily there’s starva to compare my results and I’m actually kinda kicking butt.  I guess it’s true… it never gets easy, you just start going faster!

Unfortunately today I’m back to feeling really crappy and have developed a cough, so I wonder if I overdid the past few days.  My mental status isn’t the best… I’m feeling worn out and burned out.  A lot of little things that shouldn’t bother me have started pissing me off, and I’m finding myself really irritable.  And I’m looking at my race schedule and seeing what I can subtract… something that never really happens in March!  I already nixed Rumble at 18 Road for this year.  The cost + lack of exciting course + really no reason to do it did that race in.  Which is fine, because it opened up to two local options for me… the road race in Johnstown and the following weekend Ridgeline Rampage, which I’ve decided I will race the “marathon” 50 mile distance… in… wait for it… the pro category.  I’ve come to the realization that I’m racing pro/open in everything this year except the two USAC races I’ve entered due to my cat 1 license (and of course the races like Leadville where there are no categories, just age groupings), so I might as well just make it pro/open across the board in non-sanctioned races.  Screw it, go big!  At least I can’t bitch about sandbaggers when I’m in pro/open, ha!

But yeah… I’m trying to reign in some of my negative feelings.  I just don’t want to look back on 2015 and regret the things I missed out on because I was so married to a training schedule I couldn’t “cheat” a bit.  I want to climb a 14er by using my feet (I’ll do it on road bike in July), I want to go fishing in Flaming Gorge, I want to have some fun adventures.  One of the things that adds insult to injury to last year’s cyclocross season is how many fun fall mountain bike adventures I missed out on because I was dragging myself to races when the people who invited me were off for epic 30-50 mile adventures off in the mountains.  I don’t want to repeat that!  I don’t like how I’m feeling so burned out before I’ve even started racing, so I’m partially in panic mode and partially in a “I give up mode.”  I want the bike to be a happy place, not another job I go to after my day job.  I want to smile and whoop and holler at races at the joy of just being able to race my bike.

So here’s to April is a happier place for me on and off the bike.  Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and the trails are scary dry, so there’s hope!

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(Not So) Bikeless in Seattle

No way I could take an 8 day work trip to Seattle and not ride, right?  I mean, middle of training, beginning of race season, eating out for every meal, and my mental health… all depends on riding a darn bike!

Pretty crazy storm greeted me in Seattle.  One of those descent on a plane that everyone applauds at the end and thanks the pilot for not crashing us out of the sky.
Pretty crazy storm greeted me in Seattle. One of those descent on a plane that everyone applauds at the end and thanks the pilot for not crashing us out of the sky.

So I rounded up a rental road bike from the Bicycle Repair Shop in downtown, and made some rough route plans using Strava and Google.  I kinda freaked out once I arrived in Seattle and was walking down to the shop and realized downtown Seattle was a lot like… any major city downtown.  Crazy traffic with murderous drivers.  Eek.

I picked up “my” 2015 Giant Defy 1, added my pedals and Garmin mount and nervously headed out into the scary streets of Seattle.  The shop is located on Alaskan Way, so I made my way north and ended up on the bike path.  Whew.  Still alive.  The weather was sunny and I saw a nice view of Mt. Rainier.  I rode up a bit and then turned around and then nervously entered downtown traffic.  I struggled because I had a bag with my street clothes and shoes in it (from my walk to the bike shop) and it kept swinging around in front of me.  But wouldn’t you know, I survived and made it back to my hotel in one piece!

Volcano and a road bike :)
Volcano and a road bike 🙂
Mt. Rainier... the only day it was really clear enough to see it well!
Mt. Rainier… the only day it was really clear enough to see it well!
Selfie with a volcano.  My life is complete!
Selfie with a volcano. My life is complete!
Spring is definitely happening in Seattle!  Got a few months more to wait in Wyoming for blooming stuff...
Spring is definitely happening in Seattle! Got a few months more to wait in Wyoming for blooming stuff…
Elliot Bay from the Elliot Bay Bike Trail
Elliot Bay from the Elliot Bay Bike Trail
Riding back to my hotel in downtown.
Riding back to my hotel in downtown.

Tuesday was rainy so I donned my new Showers Pass rain jacket and threw on my Columbia capris which are water repellent over my bibs and headed north on the bike path to Magnolia and Discovery Park.  Took a wrong turn at a marina and realized that all I really needed to do was follow the signage that they have set up bikes.  I eventually made my way to Discovery Park, which I found kinda creepy as it’s quiet and abandoned looking, and I’m sure I did one of the fastest uphill sprints ever to get out of the creepy trees I found my way into.  Rode my way back down Magnolia and back via the bike path.

Discovery Park... pretty, but eery.  And by eery I mean creepy
Discovery Park… pretty, but eery. And by eery I mean creepy
My random trees I found... and this turned into dirt single track, which yes, I rode on the road bike!
My random trees I found… and this turned into dirt single track, which yes, I rode on the road bike!

Wednesday was my big day to conquer my fear of bridges over water and ride the I-90 floating bridge over to Mercer Island.  After conquering Chinatown at the start of rush hour (an experience in its own right), I found my way to the bike path that heads to the bridge.  I made it across the bridge with some fierce concentration on the road in front of my tire to avoid the water of Lake Washington to my left and found myself safely on Mercer Island.  Mercer Way is a pretty enjoyable ride, about 10.5 miles of curves and punchy climbs without any stop signs or stop lights.  It winds it’s way through the temperate rainforest and big lakefront homes.  Once I looped around once I turned around and went back the way I came, to make it about a 33 mile ride once I got back to my hotel.  It was a gorgeous day which made it that much better!

I-90 floating bridge across Lake Washington
I-90 floating bridge across Lake Washington
Tree lined Mercer Way on, you guessed it, Mercer Island
Tree lined Mercer Way on, you guessed it, Mercer Island
Just pedalin' along in the sunshine!
Just pedalin’ along in the sunshine!
Made it across twice!  Oh, and I named this bike Bert.
Made it across twice! Oh, and I named this bike Bert.
I-90 Bike Tunnel
I-90 Bike Tunnel

I took Thursday off from the bike to explore downtown a bit with some newfound friends.  After walking through Pike Place Market, I made my way to the Gum Wall in Post Alley, which was my top thing to do in Seattle aside from riding across the I-90 floating bridge.  Nothing like an alley filled with chewed gum, right?

This fish was quite the character!!
This fish was quite the character!!
OK, lobsters look like big crusty worms to me.  Yuck.
OK, lobsters look like big crusty worms to me. Yuck.
I swear there's a flying fish in this photo!
I swear there’s a flying fish in this photo!
Gum Wall in Post Alley
Gum Wall in Post Alley
Adding my piece in the grossest way an infection preventionist can scheme up
Adding my piece in the grossest way an infection preventionist can scheme up
My puke green contribution
My puke green contribution

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An example of the bike signage found in the Seattle area... very easy to navigate around!
An example of the bike signage found in the Seattle area… very easy to navigate around!

Friday was rainy and dreary.  Not a good day on the bike… I was forced off the street by a car and chose to hit the pavement on the curb side (alternative was a car… I’ll take the curb!).  The wreck shook me up, and after several days of dealing with the horrid drivers of Seattle, I was broke.  Done and done.  After checking out my wounds – skinned knee and ankle, cut palms (stupidly didn’t have gloves on), torn rain pants, and a hole in my favorite “Fat Fish Racing” socks – I climbed on the bike and still continued on to Alki Beach, which was my final choice of a bike destination.  Yes, I still rode another hour, ha!  After getting some photos of the Seattle skyline, I turned around and decided to return the bike a day early.  I was just done with the whole cycling in Seattle thing.  Dripped blood on the bike shop floor, swapped stories, and bought some cleat covers for my carbon soled S-Works shoes I’d be walking a mile back to the hotel in, and I officially said goodbye to riding a bike in Seattle.  For forever.

Alki Beach in the rain
Alki Beach in the rain
Seattle skyline
Seattle skyline
Alki Beach
Alki Beach

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Overall, glad I got to get in some miles in Washington, which means another state checked off the list!  I vow to never ride a bicycle in Seattle ever again, though.  Painting some lines on a road and making bike paths does not make a place cyclist friendly in the definition I think of when I hear “cyclist friendly.”  Plus I miss cyclists who at least nod, smile, or goodness, even wave when you pass them!  I got stoney glares the entire time.  Eek.  Nope.  I ride a bike with a smile on my face, and with cars at least a good 3 feet away from me, thanks!

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February Wrap Up

The second month of 2015 has come and gone!

1) Training continued on

2) The weather was way wonky, going from summer to frozen over winter in a matter of a week

3) I had a great pre-season taste of mountain bike racing

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Still on my kick with making charts, so here’s my February stats and comparison to years earlier.  Once again, a big month, though the return of winter did kill my miles and time slightly the past two weeks, along with having a solid week of recovery after returning from Arizona.  Still, over 30 hours of training/racing/riding is nothing to sneeze at!  Not to mentioned I had my highest time duration week ever February 9th – 15th 🙂

I had some bad days on the bike, and plenty of days where I dreaded doing my intervals only to kick their ass in an awesome fashion.  Today I struggled with high heart rates and dead legs, so I promised myself I’d bundle up and get outside on the cross bike for a road ride to get a change of scenery and breathe in some fresh air.  I did move my bike/trainer set up out of the “bike room” in the basement to the living room so I can watch TV.  My new favorite thing is catching “Jeopardy” at 6:30pm and breathlessly muttering out answers in the middle of intervals.

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24 Hour Town – Photo by Sportigraf

 

The highlight of February was of course getting in a teaser of mountain bike race season at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo.  The race exceeded my expectations and goals in so many ways and set me on a positive path for the rest of the season.  And it introduced me to 24 hour endurance racing, and makes me want to try more of them!

A week from now road racing season starts, so effectively my off season has only 7 days ;eft.  Whew… always seems like it goes by way too fast.  Most years I’m chomping at the bit to start racing, but I’m a bit more reserved this year.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited but I know I have a longggggggg season ahead of me.  Luckily it’s broken into two peaks – XC “A” race at Nordic Valley ProXCT in May and endurance “A” at Leadville 100 in August.  I’m already critically looking at my race calendar and am thinking of cutting a race or two, or substituting races that are closer to home and offer something more helpful (like perhaps 9000′ of climbing in 40 miles…).  Road season is nothing I take too seriously since I’m still not a roadie racer in any shape or form, but they’re nice for getting in some tough road miles and changing up the scenery (and a chance to see some of my cyclocross buddies and teammates).  Frostbite TT is next weekend, which I missed last year due to a weather reschedule.  I sold my TT bike last spring, but I’m still going to rock the alien helmet on the road bike (and plan on riding a good 20-30+ miles after the race, as 11 miles is not long enough for me anymore!).  Then it’s the Lookout Mtn TT, where I just want to set a PR over last year’s time the following weekend.  And – BIG NEWS – the weather is suppose to get nice, so next weekend I hope to get in a long ride on Sunday outside.  Whew.  I love me some good weather 🙂

February… you were kind to me in so many ways… from the 70 degree outdoor rides to my first win of the season in my first 24 hour race to pushing me to break through mental barriers and do silly things like “enjoy” a CritFit Two/Twenty workout.

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Enjoying the sun and fun of racing my mountain bike… time for the final push before mountain bike race season begins for real in April – Photo by Sportigraf

 

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The return to “real life”

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There’s always bit of a let down after coming home from a big race, and even more so after doing well at a big race.  Life goes on, work continues on without a beat, but my mind thinks “oh man, it’s been 3 days since this… a week since I left…” etc.

Katey and I arrived back from Tucson to be greeted by a good foot of snow in Denver.  So much for our non-existent winter.  I returned back to work like nothing happened, and I must admit I was quite down the entire week after coming back from 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo.  I had a hard time balancing my “real life” – work as an infection preventionist, bills, cleaning the house, laundry, and my “wanna be bike racer life” where I’m just off riding my bike super fast and living a life in a town of RVs and campers in the desert.  It also didn’t help that my beloved cat was still at my parents’ house.  And oddly enough, I missed my routine of hard workouts on the bike since I was slated for a week of recovery.  Everything just seemed out of whack and I was crying at a moment’s notice over the silliest of things.

And winter continued to happen all week into the weekend so I was effectively snowed in at my parents’ house with my cat in Laramie.  Lots of cake and napping on the couch, and ignoring my bike on the trainer that I convinced my parents to let me set up (there is usually a strict “no bikes in the house” rule at their place).  The winter blues struck hard.

Bam!  Order was restored today with a return to hard training.  Coach T has a busy three weeks planned for me leading up to a work trip that I’ll be taking which will take me away from a bike for a good 8 days (gasp, I might ride one of those exercise spin bikes at the hotel… you can’t keep me from pedaling, it’s a sickness!).  It hurt and was tough, but it felt good.  I am back on track.  Some probably think that I should be happy I had a recovery week to celebrate my great race and to just be lazy, but it just irked me.  I don’t know why, as it’s silly and my body truly needed a recovery.  I’m just a bit OCD and routine oriented.  Ha!

Awesome things in my life at the moment:

  • I finally bought a roller massage stick while snowed in this weekend.  I have a foam roller, but I find it so awkward to use and bulky to tote around.  I’m in love with the massage stick!  It was marked $15 at Walmart and rang up $9, which makes it that much better.  My right hamstring has been sore for some random reason and it’s been awesome to be able to easily roll it out.  Here’s to happy muscles!
  • I got a new Pedal House tee shirt thanks to Dewey this weekend.  Even better, it’s brown and gold and has “We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming” BIG on the back.  My old shirt from the Pedal House from when I bought my first mountain bike in 2012 has been worn enough the lettering wore off, so this excited me to have a new one!
  • Sammie is back at home with me.  Yay… I love my cat.  My house feels way too empty without her.
  • Despite going off track with diet and then of course eating like crap during 24HOP, my weight has reached it’s lowest point so far of 146.2lb.  Woohoo!
  • I registered for the Laramie Enduro in the open women class.  Say what?
  • The days are getting longer!!!
  • I’ve already ridden 750 miles this year! 😀

Some not great things:

  • Ugh, snow and cold.  Dammit, I was really starting to enjoying long road rides!  HATE THIS.
  • I have to have a minor procedure to take biopsies on Wednesday.  My biggest concern is if I’ll feel good enough to nail my billats workout on the trainer.  Priorities, clearly.
  • My Fate is still in pieces from my trip and I realized it would be a hell of a lot easier to build if I had a work stand.  I might have to buy one… At least the bike is all clean!

OK, the good clearly outweighs the bad 🙂  The routine has been restored and I’ve integrated back into my “real life” after getting to play bike racer for a few days.

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Make a difference!

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Just say no to government enforced neon lycra

 

I did something awesome last Tuesday night!

A bill was introduced by a Wyoming House of Representatives member, House Bill 0206 (HB0206 for short), or “Bicycles on Roadways.”  It quickly caught on among the Wyoming cycling groups and we were instantly alarmed.

Long story short, HB0206 was compromised of three parts:

  • All cyclists must wear 200 square inches of high visibility green, orange, or pink while operating a bicycle on any roadway within the state of Wyoming
    • Say what?
  • All bicycles must be equipped with a rear flashing light
    • Even in the day…
  • All cyclists must carry a government issued ID at all times
    • Dang, that sucks for the elementary-aged child…

I’m not sure I really have to go into detail on why this was just BAD NEWS for bicycling in Wyoming.

I wrote a decently long email to my house district representative, urging her to not support this piece of legislation.  Later that day on Tuesday I just happened to stop by the Bicycle Station and Patrick (the owner) was in a flurry to get to the State Capitol Building to testify before the House Transportation Committee against this bill.  So I ran home, grabbed my team’s jacket, and joined Patrick, George from Rock on Wheels, Shareen, Mike, Amber Travsky, and another cyclist named Patrick.

I was kinda amazed… I had no idea that the general people could go and speak at such things!  It’s been a long time since 9th grade civics class, and my knowledge of the legislative process is lacking.  Patrick briefed me on how to address the committee (“Mr. Chairman, members of the committee..”).  After waiting about 3.5 hours HB0206 was called to be discussed by the committee.

I was nervous.  Representative Northrup, the bill’s author and main sponsor presented the bill and I had to control my face as he tried to justify his actions.  After he spoke the committee questioned him, and the Wyoming Highway Patrol didn’t have any comments, which meant the floor was open to public comments.  Patrick went first with a well prepared speech in opposition (which included using Shareen and I as models of cycling kits, ha!), followed by Amber who shared what she wears, her experience getting hit by cars, and experiences on the Tour de Wyoming.  Then I jumped up.

I could feel my heart beating in my jugular veins and wanted to puke.  Downright one of the scariest things I have ever done!  I started out by telling the committee how my Colorado teammates and friends are always asking why I don’t just move to Colorado and I talked about growing up in Wyoming and how I’ve established my life here and like it here.  I segwayed that into why I disagreed with 200 square inches of neon being the solution to cyclist safety, bringing up distracted drivers and hostile drivers and how neon does not change those situations.  I talked about my RoadID, which offers more than my driver’s license does in terms of emergency info (though I will say the ID requirement was not my major beef with this bill – it was the forced regulation of the cycling clothing I choose to wear).  The committee asked me about my experiences riding and racing in other states since I had mentioned that, and if other states had laws like this.  I talked about how Colorado has the 3 foot law, but otherwise I have NEVER been told what to wear while on a bicycle in any other state.

It was such a relief to sit down, but I’m happy I spoke!  The rest soon followed.  When the committee went to vote I crossed my fingers and counted off all the nays – and it was voted down unanimously!  I could’ve screamed in joy!

High fives and hugs were shared.  Several committee members came up and shook my hand and thanked me for speaking.  Overall, it was an awesome experience.  Like I said, I had no idea that the general people could play a role in whether a bill passes or dies.  I’m so happy I went and spoke in opposition to something that would’ve had a stupidly stupid impact on a very big part of my life.

There’s two more cycling related bills in the legislative session right now: House Bill 85, or the “3 foot passing law” and a Senate file about studying the impact of bicycling (I can’t remember the exact number).  HB85 has been passed by the House of Representatives and has been introduced to the Senate.  I am hoping I will be able to go and speak in favor of both HB85 and the Senate file.  I think this won’t be the last time I’m in the State Capitol building with a jacket on that says “Naked” right across my chest!  😀

I do believe South Dakota has introduced a bill similar to HB0206, trying to regulate cyclists’ clothing colors, so it’s just not Wyoming drinking the crazy Kool-aid.  This has definitely opened my eyes to how people who aren’t cyclists are trying to regulate cyclists all across the country. I know some of their intentions may be good (as who doesn’t want people to be safe?), but on the other hand you cannot regulate and enforce common sense.  I know the serious cyclists already do what they can to be seen, ID’d, and safe.  The college kids, drunks coming from the bar, and random hooligans on bicycles already don’t follow the laws and wouldn’t follow any new laws.  So who does bills like this really hurt?  Yeah, us that are already playing safe 😦

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January Wrap-Up

Whoa, January was a big month for me!

1) Highest mileage and duration month on a bike EVER.  Um, it’s winter… what is up with that?!

2) The weather allowed for a ton of outdoor riding.

3) I’m down just about 9 pounds.

Woohoo!

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OK, so I have a new obsession with making charts and tables.  I can’t tell you why, maybe it’s because after decades of using a computer I finally can efficiently make a table in Word.  Either way, here’s a nice comparison of my Januarys past.  Definitely a jump in everything!  I average over 8 hours weekly, and thanks to crazy weather (and the fat bike) I was able to get outside a whole lot more!  I’ll also venture to say that I’ve gotten a bit hardier and adventurous when it comes to riding outside and dressing the part.

The weather wasn’t the best for this weekend… we did 53 miles yesterday with an average temperature of 34 degrees.  My toes were frozen the whole time, and I got a bit whiney about 40 miles in about them but trudged on back to the car.  Normally I’d call someone crazy for riding 53 miles in 34 degree weather, but it sure beat the trainer!  I seriously, utterly, totally cannot do long endurance rides on a trainer, so I don’t have much choice!  Today it’s really cold, I’m not sure it has gotten above 20 here in Cheyenne, so I do plan on spinning on the trainer while watching the Super Bowl.  I was going to do a mountain bike group ride in Fort Collins, but I woke up with a decently bad sore throat and figured it would be smart to play it safe and stay inside, ride the trainer, and get caught up on household chores that I’ve been slacking on since I spend my weekends playing on the bike.

This past week wasn’t the best for my nutrition, I was feeling like I fell off the bus a bit and got a bit sloppy with my portions.  Still no daily cheesecake, but I did have two trips to Chipotle in there, and on Wednesday I do believe I consumed 3 dinners.  Yes, 3.  Luckily I think my whoopsies weren’t too bad, and I’ve continued to drop the weight!  I was down to 146.6 this morning.  I was 155.8 on December 28th, so I’d say January has gone quite well in the weight loss department!  I’m feeling really good, and probably most important to me is that I like how I look again.  I know, HUGE TABOO to say in today’s society, especially as a person who wasn’t definition overweight to begin with.  I’ve always had great self esteem when it came to my body, until about this fall when I felt like a lumpy oomphaloompa in my skinsuit during cyclocross season.  I’d sit around and just eat to deal with it.  I’m happy I made the change to reel in my eating habits.  And naturally it has really been helping on the bike.  The fact I can go out and do 50 miles rides and not be utterly destroyed by them in a sign (of both consistent training and getting on track with nutrition).  Cyclists love to chase the newest and lightest bike components, but look, I just lost 9 pounds off my bike/rider combo, and it didn’t cost me thousands of dollars!  In fact, it’s saved me money as I’m not buying tons of food every day at lunch!  😀  The goal was 145 pounds originally, and at the time I thought it would be pretty unachievable and that I would settle for 150 pounds.  Now that I’m almost there, I want to readjust my goal to 140 pounds.  I weighed 130-140 pounds most of my adult life, so I know it’s not something crazy or dangerous to set a goal for.  So here’s for one month down of eating better, and many more to go!

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo continues to creep closer!  Today I cleaned up the Fate and degreased the drivetrain.  On Friday I swapped out to a Fast Track Control tire (my SWorks Fast Track had been fine, but I decided to try a slightly thicker tire) and refreshed the Stans.  Most likely I’ll be shipping out the bike on Tuesday afternoon to Tucson.  Eek!

I decided to register for the 100km long course of the Old Man Winter Bike Rally next weekend in Lyons, CO.  I debated this event for a long time, originally thinking of doing the short course.  Now that I have some longer rides under my belt already this year, I decided to see what 100km on a cross bike could feel like!  Seems like it’ll be a fun event!  I know I won’t be vying for the top 3 podium, but still looking forward to seeing how I do, and of course my socks in the swag bag.  I love socks!

So yeah… January.  What a big month for me!  I feeling good, riding strong and I’m assuming it only gets better from here!

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Ending this post with a photo of a baby alpaca for no particular reason, except road rides are a million more times better when there’s alpacas running towards you!

 

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Forget Christmas in July, it’s Summer in January!

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Making some vitamin D!

This January has just been bizarre… a week ago I was fat biking in 10 degree weather and today I was in shorts and a short sleeve jersey and Cheyenne set a record at 70 degrees!

This past weekend was in the 50s and 60s down in Fort Collins so I got some good miles in.  Saturday Jim and I rode about 29 miles/2 hours, looping down Taft Hill to Loveland, and back up through Masonville and Horsetooth.  It was a nice chill ride complete with tons of alpacas and llamas.  Any ride with alpacas and llamas is awesome!  Saturday was actually an amazing day… I had a huge grin on my face and was just so happy.  Sometimes I just need a good, fun, low key day on the bike with great company (and llamas)!  We were also on a mission to get every cyclist that passed us to wave… only had one guy refuse to wave, woohoo!

Sunday I headed back down solo to get in at least 50 miles.  I repeated the loop from Saturday, except at the end I turned off to go up over the Horsetooth dams.  This part of the ride I had a stiff headwind, so being up on the dams was slightly sketchy.  After the dams (I actually obeyed the speed limit off the north dam, thank you very much… but only due to the wind!) I climbed up the Bingham hills and headed north on the “cement plant loop” and then finally headed back to the car.  Did 50.2 miles in just a smidge over 3 hours, which surprised me!  I was super hammering, but felt good!  I rarely ride over 25-30 miles, but the 50 felt good, even with all the steep climbing.  I knocked minutes off some segment PR’s, which is always nice to see.  Definitely enjoyed the long hours in the sun, and look forward to longer rides in nice weather!

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Not a view usually seen in Wyoming in January!

The warm weather has continued into the week.  Monday I ran out of work and jumped on my bike.  It was 65 degrees and I was shocked I was wearing summer gear on my ride… no long fingered gloves, no long sleeve base layer, no knee or leg warms, no shoe covers, and even no wool socks!  It was suppose to be a recovery ride, but for the first half I was so damn excited to be outside dressed like it was June instead of January that I was going super hard and pounding some climbs.  I eventually came to my senses, but my 30 minute scheduled recovery ride became an hour and almost 17 miles.

Today was I antsy again to get out of work and on the bike for my scheduled 1 hour 15 minute endurance ride.  Lately these have had to be done on a trainer, so I was just soooooooo eager to get outside!  There was a stiff west wind, and I (somewhat stupidly) rode east for whatever reason, meaning a headwind on the way home.  It was slightly chillier feeling due to some clouds, but once again I was dressed for summer!  I was only miserable on Hwy 30 from Sapp Brothers truck stop to Reese Road, otherwise riding back west felt OK.  By the time I hit the Greenway to head home the sun was out and I was smiling!

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Cruising along the Greenway with my new awesome neon yellow Rudy Project helmet!  Maybe cars can see me better now?

So spoiled we have been lately… unfortunately we must say goodbye to the 70 degree weather.  50s is predicted for the rest of the week, with 30s and snow on Saturday, and maybe touching 40 on Sunday.  BIG SAD FACE.  I’ve gotten so use to getting my endurance rides done outside that I am scared of not getting in the miles/hours I want as I have a low tolerance for being on a trainer over an hour (and it gets super uncomfortable).  Sunday is a group mountain bike ride in Fort Collins for us that don’t follow football and that thing called a “Super Bowl” going on, so I will try to make it to that.  Saturday I’ll just have to figure out…

This January is on track to being my highest amount of time ridden on a bike EVER!  And close to be my second highest mileage month EVER!  Whoa!  At first I was worried what the increase in weekly time would be like, but I’ve fallen into a good routine.  I’m averaging a bit over 8 hours a week so far.  My biggest issues are now alternating angry bunionettes (was just my left foot originally, but now the right is in on the game too) and just realizing I need to use Chamois Butt’r (ahem, TMI, I know!).  The biggest thing that is going to keep my grounded and on track will be keeping things fun.  Could I have rode harder and more miles last Saturday?  Yes, I suppose so.  But would I have been missing out on riding with someone I love spending time with and missing out at yelling at llamas?  Yes.  It’s a balance… I’m not paid to do this, and it’s not my full time job.  It’s something I’m suppose to do for fun, therefore some fun has to stay in the balance.  So far I’ve been good at keeping fun in the mix!

And goodness, my first race of 2015 is coming up so fast!  In just about two weeks I’ll be headed to Tucson for 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo!  Early next week I have to pack up the Fate, lights, other things that I might not be able to fly with, and get it sent off to our sherpa for the weekend.  It’s crazy how close it is coming up!  Just one more thing to tease me with the warm weather and dry trails of summer while still in the dead of winter!

 

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January isn’t all snow and gloom!

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Sun’s out, guns out at Lake Pueblo (Photo: Alan Schenkel)

Last week was awesome, and this is why!

1) Lake Pueblo!  Dry trails, sunny skies, and 60 degree temperatures beckoned us south to Pueblo, CO to ride the trail system at Lake Pueblo State Park.  We ended up with quite the group consisting of people from Laramie, Cheyenne, Fort Collins, and the Denver/Boulder area.  Though the map and signage were sketchy at best, I had an awesome time and it was great to hammer on the trails in just a normal kit and soak up that sunshine!  Elizabeth, Jim, and I cranked out about 28.5 miles, which was a great test of winter fitness.  I felt strong and was shocked to realize that I felt good after all those miles!  We celebrated with some Mexican food at the Cactus Flower before the long drive home.  Elizabeth and I are already talking about going down for a whole weekend for two days of mountain biking!

2) The new “eating plan” (note – I don’t call it a diet… I’m not dieting.  I’m merely changing my eating habits!) has stayed on track!  No cheesecake, no candy!  I discovered that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich has a lot of calories in it… but it’s all about moderation and I enjoyed several throughout the week (and during my ride… nothing like a PB&J on the trail!).

3) Along with eating… I’m down to 150.0 pounds as of this morning! Woohoo!  I’m feeling lighter already 🙂  Amazing what happens when you critically look at food choices and portions.

4) Training is going alright.  I did a good job with my first billat workout last week, though I must admit the 30 on/30 off isn’t the hardest for me… the hardest ones are the 1 minute ones (which is this week’s).  I did a FitStar workout for my core workout, and it included some exercises that made my quads and hamstrings incredibly sore all week.  I fought through it for the billat workout, but the next day for my threshold workout my legs just felt spent.  I hate finding new muscles I forgot I had 😦  Luckily I’m over the soreness hump and the same FitStar workout on Friday didn’t cause any more soreness.  The past three weeks I’ve averaged a smidge over 8 hours a week, which is definitely a step up from last year!

5) My new Sidi Spider mountain bike shoes are awesome now that I’ve gotten out on a proper trail with them… but I’m struggling with keeping them snug enough on my feet.  Apparently my feet get skinnier, way skinnier, over the course of a ride… something to ponder.

6) Thanks to my Lake Pueblo ride, I have a new Camelbak L.U.X.E. NV hydration pack coming.  My Camelbak Aurora has been quite faithful… but it’s small.  It’s great for those loops at Gowdy where my car is close by and I can loop back.  But trying to stuff 4 hours worth of nutrition + arm warmers/jacket/gloves + a full bladder + my car keys leads to a pack ready to explode at the seams!  So I decided to get a bit larger of a bike-specific pack for my longer rides (and races coming up) to fill in the spot between my Aurora and my Camelbak Adventura (which is a huge backpacking/hiking hydration pack that I use for… hiking, and the fat bike).

Not going so well… my bunionette on my left foot is angry again after a few weeks of relief from the pain I struggled with throughout December.  I’ve named “him” Benny the Bunionette.  And he needs to knock it off!  Back on the ibuprofen regimen…