Tuesday, May 29

The long road to Arkansas!

It seems like a lifetime ago, but back in April we traveled to Fayetteville, AR for the Joe Martin Stage Race. Being that I can work remotely and that part of my work includes working for CashCall Cycling Team, I got to tag along. Sadly, we had to leave Brian at home to tackle his day job. He flew in for the event though which was great!

We all raced LA Circuit race in the morning, and I made the not-so-educated decision to race the men's p1/2 event. Now I have done quite a few mens/masters events, but never one this long. Due to the nature of the course, there was a lot of surging and rubber band effect was in high force. The shuffle put me at the front of the race a handful of times which was not where I wanted to be! Brian was pumped to have me there, and as he rode through group, he would get me on his wheel and have me move up with him. Some of the other riders were not too pumped on this however, and I received a good half-dozen rib shots and hip shoves from these guys! Really dude? Keep your hands on your bars! This race ended up being 2:15 race time. That's LONG long long. With 2 laps to go on the 4 mile circuit, a rider told me "Maybe you don't belong here!" Thanks for the motivation pal!! I told him "Thanks so much for the support. I really appreciate it. And since your behind me, you don't belong here either." Not sure how I came up with that, and that I said it nicely, but I did. I rode right next to him for the last 2 laps. I'm probably NOT the chick you want to pick on. I know way too many people, and my husband is 5 wheels away. He and his teammates, lets just say, are a bit protective of me. 

As we loaded up, Brian was insistant on the following rules: Never go into a truck stop alone. Always be with one of the male riders. Bad things happen at these places! Always have your cell phone charged and lock the car. Always have cash. Never go anywhere alone. As he walked away I told driving partner Shelby we probably won't ever have kids. Unless we could put them in a bubble. 

3 days to Arkansas! We saw LOTS of this!
The front seat became command central as I updated training schedules for clients, scheduled hotels for the team, coordinated with our host families in Fayetteville and worked on more logistics.

I was super impressed with this truck stop find! No junk!
We finally arrived in AR and the riders were starving! They found the closest Chipotle as I hit the pavement to find local food!
Crepe truck!

Roasted local chicken and veggies! Awesome!
Once to the riders host houses, we fired up the iPhones to find a nice spin route. I am always glad to have 6 riders to sit behind, because their recovery pace....not so much mine.
Heading onto new roads in AR.

Awesome lush forest and smooth roads. With dead armadillos. 
At my host house, I found this card! 2010 Webcor including my good friend Lindsay Myers, now of Tibco. Host families really love having riders at their homes and follow them for years. So cool!
Host house decorations. 

Host house COFFEE. So. Awesome. 

Host house welcome!

Heading to the Time Trial. I loved the area!
I went to Joe Martin as a solo rider. This was an NRC event and one that we thought may suit my riding style a bit more than the massive climbs of Gila. This speculation proved true as I had a great time, and some solid results. Traveling with CashCall makes being a solo rider much easier as they help with just about everything a girl could want! At the start of the first road race though, a guy walks up to me and asks "how's LA?" Turns out to be the brother of a longtime Helen's racer. His wife was in my race and was able to give me bottles, carry my spare wheels in his truck, and give me an instant calm feeling that I had a friend in the caravan.

After the TT, we were at the host house washing all the team bikes outside. I took my flip flops off and promptly stepped on a bee, ending his short life in my foot. Here's the problem. I am really really really allergic to bee's. I quickly plucked the stinger out and found a sharpie to outline his death circle. I had a lot of work to do, so taking benedryl at 4pm was a bad idea. On the following road race stage, lets just say my inner character was tested multiple time with the hottest, itchiest, most annoying foot ever. The sweet relief of taking my shoe off and putting ice cold water on it after the event was quite satisfying.

The time trial was uphill, which is much more awesome than something technical, or something long like the Gila 16 mile TT. So Brian and I had "fun" with this one, and he got in the local newspaper. Always looking for fame. :-) The yuckiest thing ever: We shared a TT helmet. Brian raced first, and as if the humidity hadn't made me sweat enough in my warmup, putting his soaked helmet on and having his sweat run all over my face was the icing on the cake. Now that's love.
Brian is famous. 
For one of the road stages, Brian loaded me in the team car and dropped me in the parking lot and left me to my own devices. So this is it. This is the life. My little base camp as everyone else sat in nice chairs under their ez-ups with a cooler filled with nice drinks. It's great practice for me, and if I can thrive in this setting, I like to think that in a more structured setting I will be able to really excel.
"Team" set up
Host housing is awesome. And Brian says he doesn't like small pets. At Merco, the cats slept on him every night, and little Princess here did not disappoint! And yes, we were in trundle beds. :-)
Pet friend!
Joe Martin was a bit of a break through for me. I finished just at the 50% point for the TT which for me is a big goal achievement. The field was smaller, and leading into the first road stage, I knew that Tibco and Optum would be active all day. And they were. I made the split and barely missed the break. Paul of CashCall had given me one goal: Finish top 10. If a break of 2 goes, let it go. So I played it slightly safe, riding in a group that was 5-15 on the road. I ended up 10th on the stage and completely spent. I loved the route and terrain and made sure to check out the pastures and scenery from time to time, so the experience wouldn't pass me by!

Stage 3 the group stayed together, after being whittled down quite a bit. It came down to a wicked fast bunch sprint finish, where I stayed in for 13th. Totally new experience for me, and watching the bigger teams navigate the finishing 5k was awesome.

The crit had a horrid hill in it right at the start finish. It was one of the races that you go into with lofty expectations of making a break, which gets down graded into make the split, to at the half way point not losing a GC spot. it was really really hard. Probably the hardest crit course so far this season. I was able to actually move up a spot - the value of finishing!!! - and finished 11th GC. I was very very excited about this result even though the field was smaller.

I quickly took Brian and some of the staff to the airport and settled in to mentally prepping for the 2 day drive home. Michael, our German rider who flew to the event, really wanted to be home Monday. I said that ain't gonna happen. We are going to show you AMERICA! Oklahoma and New Mexico did not impress.

Saturday, May 26

I had an Amelie week.

Upon my arrival in Boulder, I felt a bit "off." I attributed this to the long drive, the altitude change and a long first half of the season. Translate into a mid-week head/chest cold that knocked me flat! All good though, as I got to enjoy some much needed extended family time and again enjoy some uncharted territory. 

My local friends know that I am a minimalist with my cycling attire. For me to have ALL my SoCal clothing on and soon don a borrowed jacket, it was COLD!! My bro took me on a spin to Lyons, CO through the "Fruit Loops" and to an excellent hot latte

Cold yet happy. 

Latte! My feet were SO COLD I took my shoes off and warmed my toes up by the heater before getting back on the road. 
Not sure how my brother did it, but after a freezing 3:30 ride, he jumped on his horse Stadt for some skills and drills. 
Thankfully, the next day warmed up and we got to do some more riding in squares. Everything is a square here! And what looks like a country road is actually a fast and busy thorough-fare.

Lunch break on Monday, Jeremy shows up on with his "bike-on-bike"! I got to spend half a day at his work, Trainingpeaks, and even got to work from a desk like normal people. Cool place with some awesome staff!

And now, for the Amelie bit. In 2002, I took a trip to CO solo and that was a loooooong time ago! Now I have a little family with Brian and Moto, and their absence did not go unnoticed. Thankfully I am quite self-sufficient and independent (to a fault...) but I still really missed Brian. A few Halloweens ago, we put him in a gnome outfit and the name has stuck, with affection of course! So I went and found my own Gnome and took him on some adventures!

The original Gnome, eating a cookie. 

Atop Flagstaff Mountain, where a stage of the CO Pro Tour will end. Ouch!

Jeremy looks like "Ernest Goes to Camp!"

Hiking is not our forte, so we got to the base of the trail...

View of the Rockies and the Continental Divide at Sundown.

I thought Boulder was fun, and for outdoors stuff! Not on Pearl Street at least. 

Good thing I had an assitant. I don't like kids. Or magicians. 

And there was fire! And the Gnome was as relaxed as ever. 

We grabbed some Kale Chips and roasted vegetables on the porch of an eatery, and got to see some firetruck action!

Brian has QUITE the affinity for peanut butter, almond butter, all butter...so when I saw this at Whole Foods, I went back and got him out of the car. The cashier asked me "I can't help but notice, but is that a Gnome in your bag?!?!" hahahaha. 

The slightly crazed Husky's wanted a piece of him!

To say thank you for their hospitality, I left this little gem for Jeremy and Suzanne. 

Finally home with our favorite pet, MOTO!

It's summer at home!

And back to the crazy colorful breakfasts!

I took my bike on a trip!

My neighbor asked me yesterday if I had found work. The reality is, I have more work than I can handle some days! My client list has grown to over 23 athletes and my contract work is picking up fast! The awesome thing about that is that I can do all that work in my jammies in the house. Thus the neighbors think I don't work. Sigh...

Our adventures have been colored and many, so on easy ride day may just allow me rehash some of them! I have a fresh french press of coffee percolating as I listen to/watch the Exergy Tour and all the awesome women competing there!

We decided I needed to go to Colorado for some bike racing, and realizing the cool fact that I could not only see my brother and his wife, but my parents, 3 cousins and their families and one awesome aunt! So on the road I went, 16 hour drive with a few detours, the complete Hunger Games trilogy on my iPod, my lap top and my bikes!

Before I left, I spun the legs out up and around Oak Glen. I have yet to actually eat apple pie or an apple dumpling up at the top...one day! 
A quick spin up to Oak Glen before heading out of town. This route is awesome on a weekday morning!
People tend to mock me for living in the not-so-hopping metropolis of Yucaipa. But hey, we are above the smog a lot of the time, right at the base of the mountains, we can see the starts, and we are at 2,300ft. Not bad! Yucaipa BLVD has gone through major changes in a city-wide attempt to boost our presence in the area. The roundabouts are pretty cool! And this sculpture was completed just in time for the carnival. Pretty cool!
Yucaipa roundabout! In honor of the Oak Glen Apple Orchards. 

Moto knew it was trip time. And that she wasn't coming along!
My trip took me straight out the I-15 to Grand Junction. I utilized my contacts on FB and received an excellent ride selection: The Colorado Monument Loop! 3 hours with +/- 3k climbing and views that were pretty rad. I never train with headphones - I have enough going on in my head anyways - and I was pumped to have complete silence on this solo ride on smooth new pavement under sparkling blue skies.

Grand Junction, CO

This road went straight UP from the Ranger Station!
Riding through the park, the ranger gave me a tail and front light for my bike. For the 3 tunnels! This one actually got me a bit sketched out, so I put in my one effort of the day. There was no light at the end of the tunnel! It was hot and dry, above 90 degrees, but once I dipped into the shade of the tunnel, it was easily 20 degrees cooler and damp. And creepy! There were no cars out, period, so I am not sure what my issue was!

Up, up and away!

Highest spot on the route. 

Amazing view back to where I rode up from. The colors were amazingly vibrant, no photo could do it justice. At least from the iPhone. 
From Grand Junction, I headed to higher ground in Frisco, CO. Roughly 9,000ft and threats of thunderstorms and hail! I took an easy easy easy spin on one of the coolest community bike paths I have ever been on! I took it towards Breckenridge, where I ran into hail and flipped it quick! But not so quick as to get winded...

The plan was to just pass by Frisco, but my parents - who live near Sacramento - just happened to be staying there with their friends! So I spent the night. Why not!? There is always wifi to be found which allows me to complete training plans, athlete communication, and facebook posting.
Bike path day!
Don't worry, we were stopped - snow storm gridlock!
 I guess the hail meant something else was coming! Good thing I got new wiper blades. This was my 2 days of winter, all winter.

I love food, and my parents friends bought me a sandwich. But I couldn't eat it for like 4 hours!! It tortured me in the passengers seat, but proved to be very delicious once I got to sink my teeth into it!
 I hustled down to the "flat" lands outside of Boulder for my sister-in-law, Suzanne's first ever horse show!! It was pretty awesome to watch and such a complicated, multi-faceted event, it was really fun to get to watch. But those metal bleachers in 50 degree misty weather....brrrrr.
Suzanne jumping!
 This horse is HUGE! And I could live in their horse trailer. So nice and spacious!