Sunday, March 27, 2011

2011 Baylor Omnium

The Road Race

This weekend H, J, K and I headed up to Waco for the collegiate race hosted by Baylor. It was the first time for me to do all three events in one weekend. We arose at the buttcrack of dawn and piled into the Grand Prix to make it to the road race location by 8:30. By that time it was already getting toasty. H and J took off with the men's Cs, and before I knew it the women's Bs were lining up. I was a little nervous for two reasons: 1. There only ended up being me and one other teammate in our category and 2. I had gone over my race strategy with the UT girls and they seemed to think it was going to be too fast to do a breakaway.

Women's B Field

The race was 2 laps of a 15 mile loop. I really only had about 10 minutes of warm-up, so I played the first lap pretty cool. After about 15 miles I was warmed up. I made sure my teammate N was behind me, then pulled up next to a UT rider, who was currently pulling, C, and said "next hill?"


Seeing she was sweating bullets (it was already about 90 degrees by that point), and knowing I'd need her help, I asked her "Want to draft for a minute?"


So she got behind me and I pulled us easy for a few minutes. The next hill was just past the first mark line. I was excited and began hammering up the hill, perhaps a little too fast. I passed a group of boys (Men's D I think) and our two respective lead vehicles, which was less than ideal, but I had already used a good deal of energy and couldn't stop myself. I reached the first right turn of the loop and realized I had dropped everyone, including those that were supposed to be in the breakaway with me. An MSU rider had caught up and I muttered to her, "well that was a fail." I waited a few seconds until my N and C had caught up, along with a few other riders, then began hammering again. Then it was me, N, C, 2 MSU riders and an LSU rider in the breakaway. After a few pace line rotations, it was clear everyone was working except LSU. At this point the mens' Ds had passed us and crashed about 1/2 mile ahead. We slowed down to pass through, but not enough to cause more of a dangerous situation by rubbernecking. We were climbing a hill and I became frustrated with LSU because I told her to grab onto the person in front of her's wheel so that she would move forward in the pace line, and she shook her head no. What I didn't realize is that she was starting to bonk. We dropped her one roller later and didn't see her after that.

Everyone in the pack worked well together - it was beautiful. Our speed was about 4 mph higher the last 7 miles than it had been with the pack. It seems it took forever for the last two miles - I kept on thinking the finish line was just around the corner. N and I were off the front with about
1 mile to go, and I told her to stay on my wheel until right before the finish line, then sprint ahead of me. What I hadn't realized was that had a flat in the works. I saw the official's tent with about 0.5 miles to go. We hit a roller to carry us to the finish, and despite going all out, I was slowing down rapidly. I thought I was bonking, but at least I had gotten my teammate nearly to the finish (although she probably didn't even need me that last mile). But I noticed the road felt a little different, and I instinctively looked at my rear wheel. It was halfway flat. I let loose some obscenities but pulled myself the last quarter mile to the finish as fast as I could, despite there being no one behind me in sight. I placed 5th. MSU 1st, N 2nd, C 3rd, and another MSU 4th.

Me getting dropped at the finish (left front rider is a high school rider)

Flat tire

I wish I hadn't gotten a flat and could've participated in the sprint finish. But I got to carry out the rest of my plan, which I've never done before. I worke with a great group of girls and had fun doing it. I helped my teammate place 2nd, and got points for the team myself.

4*win - technical fail = 3 wins!!!

The Time Trial

My teammate, S, had just catted up to the As and needed me and K to do the time trial with her. She had already done a 45 mile time trial for the road race, and I was pretty whipped from pulling during the women's B road race. The first thing I noticed when I started warming up was the course was HILLY. It was only 9 miles, but it was still in the 90s and the whole thing was on a grade. We checked to make sure we were registered under our proper team name, Cero Pelotas. Around 4:15 we rolled out. We worked really well together despite being exhausted - K worked very hard to help us make up for lost time on the hills. Still, it was exhausting. We didn't get passed by the other women's A team - MSU - until halfway through. We ended with an uphill sprint and finished 2nd.

Finishing the TTT with S and K

The Criterium

Unfortunately, we awoke Sunday to 50 degree weather. H tried to escape racing the crit and stay in bed instead, but I was having none of it. We had a winner breakfast of waffles and bananas, then checked out of the hotel and drove to the crit course.

I was hoping my starting line anxiety would have diminished by the second day, but it was still there, raring to go. At least my teammates K and S were there. Then we were off, with an easy pace at the beginning as everyone warmed up at the beginning. I noticed immediately that people were to taking the corners as fast as I wanted to, and I worked my way up to the front. A couple of people from Rice that I didn't recognize tried to pull t the front, but the lineup was shaken after every turn. After a few minutes K hit a slick patch on the turn that every category had crashed on, and crashed herself. Oh noes! A from UT and I waited for everyone to catch up. After a few turns, B from MSU started pulling hard at the front and we were starting to drop people. I said "Keep pulling and we can make this a breakaway!" and she did. It was me, her, and 2 UT riders in the breakaway. This was about 15 minutes into the race. We rotated every minute or so, but I kept seeing the pack trying to catch up, and yelled "they're trying to catch us!" to whoever was pulling. I felt like this was the first race where I actually knew how many laps were left and when the primes were. One prime I was too far back to win, but on the second one, I sprinted from 4th place to win the prime. I was pulling so hard my rear wheel started skipping on the pavement, but I got it. It felt good. We kept working together really well as a team. A few times I went to the front to pull faster. Finally we got to where we couldn't see them behind us, and before I know it we were on the last lap. I tried not to pull too much and we switched pulling quickly. We rounded the last turn and it was the 2 from UT at the front and MSU 3rd wheel. Everyone was sprinting hard, and I had in the back of my head I couldn't catch them. But I started gaining on MSU with barely any distance to go, and I threw my bike forward right at the finish line. I had to ask because it was so close, but I got 3rd!

The breakaway

Crit happy face

I got 2nd overall in the omnium, and after 2 races I'm 5th place in the conference.

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Location:Waco, TX

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Many Bothans died to bring us this awesome smoothie

I went out for a pre-race day MTB ride at Lake Bryan today. H kept me company. I am really starting to realize how important it is to get out the day before a race "and remind your body that it needs to work." I didn't get to do this the day before the crit, and I could tell it affected me. We had gone on the hill interval ride Tuesday, so Thursday when I was warming up for the crit (only got 15 minutes, another mistake) my legs felt like lead. They did for the first half of today's ride, but by the end I could tell I would be ready for tomorrow's race. I just catted up to women's 2s and I'm a little nervous about that, so I want to be prepared.

My favorite post-workout snack is a protein smoothie.

I usually make it up as I go, but it's usually a little something like this:

Half a banana (I like to freeze mine with the peel off)
Mixed fruit (fill the cup about halfway)
Fresh raspberries
I scoop soy protein isolate (get from GNC)
2 servings Pure Via no cal sweetener
1/2 a cup OJ

Then I blend it all in the Magic bullet.

The ingredients:

I prefer soy isolate instead of the flavored mixes because I like to cut out calories where I can. I have a sweet tooth so I use PureVia (stevia), which is calorie free, for sweetness. The one at my supermarket comes in little single serving packets and the box looks like this:

I add in OJ at the end to fill the cup most of the way.

Then the fun part is using the Magic Bullet. I've found that it blends better than a lot of blenders, and is better for single servings.

The result:

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Friday, March 18, 2011

How to change your bar tape

The other day, we had to order a derailleur hanger from specialized, so of course I took the opportunity to buy some vanity equipment - matching water bottle cages and some silver S-works bar tape.

I have never installed bar tape, so Henri showed me how to on the first half, and I did the second half.

Before pic:

Then we removed the old tape by cutting the center (blue) tape and unraveling the rest, pulling the hoods back as we went.

Specialized puts this gelatinous stuff on the handlebars to decrease road vibrations.

Really, bar phat is what happens when you bike has too many bagels.

Then you start wrapping the new tape at the end of the bars at a slightly parallel angle. Wrap the tape so that the piece in your hands goes over the top of the bar towards the center.

Leave a little bit at the end to go under the bar plug.

Be careful to pull the tape snug enough so that the edges can't be budged my your hand movement, but not so tight that the tape breaks. As you move up the curve of the bars, wrap the tape on the outside of the curve tighter than on the inside to avoid slack.

When you get get to the hoods, it's just trial and error. We found that it was best to cut a little extra 10 cm strip by itself to go around the bars where the hoods are, then feel out the rest of the hood wrap with the longer piece.

When you get near the center, continue wrapping at an angle. When you get to where you want to stop, cut the tape in a line perpendicular to the bars. It's best to use a razor blade to make a line, then cut with scissors.

Then wrap the border with some high quality electrical tape. You can do 2 or 3 wraps, just try not to increase the width of the tape coverage.

There should be some black tape with your bar tape kit. Use this to hide the white tape and the border between the bar and bar tape.

Carefully cut any of the remaining white tape with an exacto blade, so you have a pretty border.

Now you need to shove the bar plugs in. We found it's easiest to use a few pieces of tape to shove the bar tape in, followed by the bar plugs. Bonus points if you get the symbol right side up.

Then step back and enjoy your masterpiece.

Euro cat finds this bar tape acceptable.

Side note: water bottle cage replacement. Before:


Romance, tradition, ultra.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Austin Driveway Crit

I've always been afraid of the Driveway crit in Austin. The first time Henri raced, about 3 years ago, he couldn't stay with the group for even 1 lap. I was hoping to do ok my first time at this crit, 3 years later, after I'd lost 20 pounds and won several MTB races. At Tunis a few weeks ago, I even managed to place 4th in the crit and 3rd in the ITT. I was on a roll.

Well, everyone needs to be brought back to earth occasionally. I knew from the getgo that the field was strong. I strategically placed myself about 6 places back so that I didn't have to pull. But 3/4 of the way through the first lap, it was evident that the juniors off the front weren't pulling fast enough. The honey badger parade was getting antsy. Several people tried to pull off the front, and I managed to get behind a hoss from Austin Flyers. She was pulling a little too hard than necessary. She was too fast to be pulling the group, but not fast enough for an attack. I should have realized she was trying to wear me out, but I didn't until later, and for now I stuck on her wheel. In hindsight I should have dropped back immediately instead of wearing myself out. I felt myself starting to blow up and suddenly I was at the back of the back. I couldn't push my legs any harder; they were gone. I knew the second I left the wheel of the woman in front of me, it was over. But my muscles were jelly. I couldn't hold onto the back. I pedaled by myself for half a lap and then drafted back to 2 women behind me (a junior and an Austin Flyer). I said that we should work together and try to catch up; the pack was only half a mile ahead.

Work together we did; catch up we did not. No matter how hard we tried, we just could not close the gap. The 3 of us crossed the finish line together, with me being the 3rd. I was gonna try and sprint, just for fun, but I still had nothing left in my legs.

I think if I had been smarter about it, I could have hung on to the main group a little longer. They really weren't going any faster than our 3 person group. Regardless, I don't think I would have been able to sprint and place at the end. But my goal for next time is to be less worried about getting dropped by an attack group - I wasted too much energy spazzing out that I was going to get left in the main group. Next time I just want to stay with the main group the whole time. I'm hoping to make it to some of the women's skills clinics and work on my technical skills. And maybe, just maybe I'll be able to place by the end of the summer.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Oat bran/ granola muffins

I was cooking hot cereal today in preparation for our 30 mile ride. There was some left over, so I thought I would make some bran muffins.

I got everything together before realizing I didn't actually have enough of the main ingredient left. Duh! Too impatient to go to the store, I found some granola and looked up a recipe for it online. The two box recipes looked to be similar, so I just used the remaining bran cereal (about 1/2 cup) and added 2 cups of the Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax granola. I also didn't have any dried fruit, so I drained two cups of no-sugar-added fruit and used those instead.

I used Maple syrup and added a little stevia cane (3 tsp) for my voracious sweet tooth.

The batter tasted decent, but I was skeptical of the final product because I'm a terrible cook. They came out ok, though!

The texture was good and I liked the consistency of the fruit. However, the overall taste was a little bland. Maybe I'll figure out a magic healthy muffin ingredient for the next batch. I'm thinking they need more of a fruity - perhaps peach - flavor.

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