An Update…for the past 4 months
I have not been writing much at all this year. I think I got bored with the race reports. I should probably be better at updating what has been going on, so consider this post a catch up for March to the present moment.
At the beginning of March I went to Tucson to hang with Hillary and Maik and help coach their camp. We had 25 campers come in and everyone had a good time riding the well known Tucson routes. We hit the Shootout Loop (with the Madera Canyon add on), Gates Pass and of course, Mt. Lemmon. It was my first time all the way up to the Cookie Cabin. With bellies full of cookies we descended quickly 🙂
After camp I spent a few days recovering. Five days of Hillary-esque training plus having to coach/advise others took it out of me! Once I caught up on some sleep and did a few days of light workouts I was back to normal for a quick build to my first race of the year, Oceanside. I knew going in I was not exactly firing on all cylinders but it is a race I can drive to and it is always fun to see friends in Southern California. The problem with Oceanside is that it is always super stacked and I sometimes come away with the “I suck” feeling. However, I tried to stay focused on my own effort and used it as a gauge for what I needed to work on in the coming months. Plus, I got to visit with the guys at Focus and ride my new bike (!!!).
Not surprisingly, I did a lot of cycling between Oceanside and my next race, Wildflower. I felt like my winter bike training had been less consistent than usual due to some travel, a pulled back muscle (hello, I am old!) and then the early March camp and recovery.
In addition to training, I had some work to do for the Bottega Gran Fondo, a cycling event taking place in Yountville. I was the volunteer coordinator. Working behind the scenes for an event really gives you an idea of what it takes to pull together a race. I have a new respect for all my race directors, that is for sure! Anyway, the Bottega Gran Fondo is awesome. It is a weekend of food, wine and cycling. There are famous chefs, sommeliers and cyclists in town for the ride. They do wine tastings and chef demos on Saturday (Michael Chiarello cooking with Cadel Evans as an example) and then a classic Napa route with lots of climbing on Sunday (40, 55 and 80 mile options). The cool thing about the ride are the “Chef stops.” All the chefs make the mid ride snacks. At the end is a big picnic of Chef Chiarello food from Bottega. Amazing!
After eating good food and cycling for the weekend in Napa at the BGF, I headed down to Wildflower. Due to the continued drought, it was another year with the altered course (swim, run, bike, run). It’s always hard and, like usual, I leave happy with the effort, relaxed after hanging out at the lake for the weekend and motivated to get faster. This race challenges me and makes me better. That is why I will always go back.
In between all of this, my 103.5 year old grandmother passed away. While it was the end, it was definitely a celebration of a long and well lived life for my “Ama.” It was hard to be truly sad when we all knew it was time and part of life. Plus, I think she was ready. She talked of going to see Jim, her husband, who passed away 25 years ago.
The day after I returned from Portland, I got these two cats from my friend Brooke in Chicago. Yes, maybe slightly over the top to “ship” cats out to California but she trusted me to adopt and take exceptional care of her kitties. Plus, I learned there are Pet Transporters who fly animals all around the country! Who knew?? The guy who flew these cuties out from Chicago was heading to pick a few puppies in Oklahoma City after meeting me in Sacramento. A crazy life I would not want but glad he was able to get them out here safely.
After losing both our cats last year at relatively young ages (heart failure and stomach cancer) it is nice to have felines back in the house. Except for when I was in college and my first few years in Chicago, I have always had cats living with me. It makes me and my home a happy place.
After Wildflower, I put together three great weeks of training and was ready for a solid race at Escape from Alcatraz, my favorite race. It was my 9th start at this race, more than any other I have done! I had a solid swim and was riding well until I made the right turn out of Golden Gate Park and onto the Cliff House climb. The handling of my bike started to get a little squirrely and it was pretty apparent I had a flat tire on my front wheel. I pulled over and sure enough, it was flat. Boo…. Given the talent in the field I raced without a fix (tubulars) so I was done. I am definitely kicking myself for not carrying Pitstop but there is no guarantee it would have worked. In addition, given the fast descents on the course, I would not have wanted to use it, start riding and then have it go flat again on a descent. I felt fortunate I got the flat on an uphill in the first place. It was definitely disappointing but it happens. I took half a day to be slightly irritated about it and then jumped right back into training for Vineman 70.3.
In other fun developments, I have been doing Fantasy Triathlon analysis for TRS Triathlon. We post video analysis for the weekend races on Thursday or Friday each week. I consider myself more of a Rachel Nichols type of gal instead of that blond ESPN chick who cussed out the worker at the towing company.
So, that’s it. You are caught up on the year thus far. Happy and safe training everyone!