Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bike Camp and a Practice Tri

Me, Alex, Thomas, Max, Hans, Zack(AMC Staff
Jeremy, Joe, Jack, Tyler and Greg(AMC Staff)
Back to reality, I've been away for the past few days leading teens on a 5 day mountain bike camp. All boys and lots of fun. The best part is seeing them progress and grow so much over the few days I have to work with them. The camp ran from Tuesday to Saturday. During camp I had two races; Tuesday afternoon, Great Glen Trails Summer bike series and Thursday is my long day-Red Jersey Summer Race Series 9 miles and co-ed ice hockey in the evening. My legs get a great workout! I packed everything I needed for biking, camping, racing and hockey loaded it on top of the van, picked up the boys and headed south to North Conway. Luckily I was able to stay at a friends house (thanks Anne!) in a nice comfy bed on Thursday night and not roll back into camp at 10:30 pm. Day 4 camp started at 8:30 and they were all ready to go. Cedar Creek- fun, fast easy singletrack trails! We took the Mineral Site trail to descend about 2 miles down to the singletrack flats. We were just about to pop back out on the fire road, I turned and the group was not behind me. I stopped and waited and waited- no sign or sound. I make the climb back up and everything went through my mind. Someone got hurt, how bad? Just some scrapes, broken wrist, broken leg? head injury? We are about 3 miles from the van and another 15-20 minutes to the hospital. I meet the group and was relieved to find Jack and Hans looking at the bike. Jack had gone over the handlebars and somehow there was not a scratch on him. The bike did not fair so well. I always bring an extra bike just in case. We made a plan to split up, a few kids and Greg walked back to the van for the spare bike while Zach and I rode with the rest of the group. We met for lunch about an hour later and enjoyed the rest of the ride together. I camped with them that night after some fun swimming in the river. Day 5 was a half day, we rode for 3 hours at Sticks and Stones, I dropped them back at AMC for 12:30. My day was only half over, after camp I unload all bikes, reported bike issues to our mechanic, Chris, she does a fantastic job keeping them working so well. I vacuumed and washed the van and returned my supplies. It takes about 2-3 hours after catching up with co-workers, but it's nice to unwind and think about my camp and figure out where I can improve.

I've got one day off and back to another one day guide on Monday.

Sunday workout-sprint triathlon. Swim 1/2 mile, bike 12, run 3-Nationals are just 5 weeks away and putting it all together helps me get the kinks out. I swam in Durand Lake, one of the most beautiful and peaceful places. The northern presidential range sits in the background, a freshly mowed path circles the pond, and there is no real beach just a few dirt steps cut into the bank- it's quaint and perfect.

As I prepare, Gina snaps a few photos.

I pictured myself on race day visualizing every part of the race, I know I will be ready. I'll just need to execute it all perfectly and remember to take take it all in- I'm competing with some of the best in the country. I felt pretty good in the water, but when I transitioned to my bike I could feel the past 5 days of riding and 2 races- my legs were tired. I backed off to 50% and settled into the aero bars. The temp was 90ยบ I didn't need to push too hard because then it would take longer to recover.  I really felt the heat on the run and finished at a slow jog. It was a great training block and will tweak it a little for next Sunday's mock triathlon. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

To Burlington!

If I can, I always try to view a race course before
race day.  Knowing what is coming at you-hills, tight corners, railroad tracks etc, during a race helps big time if you are prepared. Gina and I took a trip over to Burlington, Vt to scope out the bike and run course set for Nationals. I can't really preview the swim course in person because swimming is not allowed in the bay, but looking at it on the map shows me enough-and I know there are no hills. We camped on the way over and was on course by 10am. Man is it different riding in the city, starting and stopping all the time, watching for cars, pedestrians. Here in the White Mountains your biggest concern is whacking a moose and getting blown over by 18 wheelers! Obviously the roads will be closed to traffic on race day. We weave our way though Burlington and head out on Park street. About a mile in it seems Park St veers left and right, straight is not an option-it's one way. We know we've got to get on 127 make a loop, continue north and turn around at Plattsburg Ave. We see signs for 127 but are a little hesitant the road looks like it leads to an on ramp for the highway. We check the map and directions: Take the highway 127 exit to take you West towards North Ave. We continued until we saw the highway sign Not Permitted: pedestrians, scooter, bicycles etc.  We checked the map again and we were not in the right area but we confirmed most of the course is on the highway! Back where Park St turns to one way, the race course continues straight onto the ramp for the highway. To lengthen the course we exit the highway, turn around and get back on-that's where we were, right at the turn around spot. Apparently the event staff doesn't feel it's important to tell you on the directions, 127 is a real highway and is only open on race day. I was so mad but excited at the same time- I get to ride my bike on a highway!

We have reservations at Mallets Bay Campground a few miles beyond the course so we rode up and checked it out. I wasn't too impressed. Site 25A was mostly big roots and is designated for motor homes and RVs. Gina and I decided we weren't to happy with the site but we'd figure it out later, we were here to ride! On the return trip we split, I did intervals 30 seconds hard as possible 1 min rest. She set a goal of 30 mins to get back to Waterfront Park. My intervals were interrupted due to traffic lights but I was pretty happy with the workout and Gina arrived in 32 minutes - "damn traffic lights" she muttered.  I changed my shoes and headed out to preview the run course. I knew it began with a steep hill 110 feet of gain in about 1/4 of a mile. It was tough but not super hard, now I will modify my brick workouts to mimic this course. A brick workout is running immediately after you dismount your bike or biking as soon as you exit the water.  Your legs feel like bricks when using different muscles to propel yourself. Training your muscles to adapt to this feeling is very important in triathlon. After the climb the course is a very gradual uphill gaining only another 50 ft over 3/4 a mile. It descends into North Beach Campground- much nicer than Mallots Bay. I want to stay here instead. I make the left turn onto the Island Line Trail which follows the shores of Lake Champlain-its just about flat for the remaining mile and packed with walkers, kids on bikes, strollers, rollerbladers. I even pass a group of 10 casual bikers must be a family reunion or something.

As I return to Waterfront Park I picture myself on race day. The finish chute is lined with spectators cheering us all on, my friends and family are there and I finish strong in the top 18 in my age group. I see myself qualifying for Worlds!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Team Skidmore Apparel and a Race!

Today was the first race of the Great Glen Trails Summer Mountain Bike Series. After a hard run yesterday afternoon my legs were a little tired and sore. I made sure I ate and drank enough throughout the day. Today I would be getting some "Team SKIDMORE" clothing complete with my sponsor logos!! Wow I'm not sure it has hit me yet- I am a sponsored athlete! Qualifying for Nationals is also slowly beginning to hit me. With training, working, getting sponsors, putting together a design for my racing/training gear, my mind has been pretty occupied.

My race went well and I can do better without tired legs. The course is 5.5 miles mixed carriage roads and singletrack (similar to a hiking trail) some good short hills and some super fast descents! All in all it's a very fun course, I can't wait for next week. The series is every Tuesday and lasts 8 weeks. Now I know the course and each week I'll find better lines to shave seconds off my time, also making good transitions is key. Transitions when riding - shifting smoothly and maintaining speed up hill and vise versa-coming downhill into a tight corner, the correct shifting and timing makes all the difference. I'm pretty lucky living here at work I have the opportunity to ride the course anytime I want.

I took a phone call at work from Corrigan Screen Printing & Awards, late afternoon letting me know my running t-shirts and warm up jacket were ready. I was so excited I could barley contain myself! I asked a friend in town if she could pick them up on her way to the mtn bike race. She agreed and I confirmed with Nathan they would be picked up shortly. Unfortunately, Nathan had to step out of the office unexpectedly and missed my friend. I was hoping to wear my new shirt for the bike race.  I met Nathan in town after the race, the shirts and jacket look fantastic! I'll be wearing it at my next mtn bike race, this Thursday for week 2 of the Red Jersey Summer Mtn Bike Series!!

Check them out!!!

Bike jersey, shorts and tri suit should be here by the end of the month if not sooner!

It's already 10pm, I feel like I just left work!
Tomorrow will come way too fast, up at 4:30am for a training swim about 30 minutes away, afternoon run and cookout with fireworks!

Thank you so much to all my sponsors, Mt. Washington Auto Road, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, Porky Gulch Bike Shop, Corrigan Screen Printing & Awards, Peak Health-Sports Medicine & Medical Massage Therapy, White Mountain Celebrations, Gorham Hardware, Jay's Quick Lube, Lydia's Golden Touch Hair Salon, Top Notch Inn, Gorham House of Pizza and Saladino's Italian Market.