Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I've had a new bike for a few weeks.  Her name is Pepita.  No mom, not Pedita - Pepita!  She is a blue BH Cristal.  I find it awesome that I started this blog about 2.5 years ago to chronicle my pilgrimage across Spain on The Camino de Santiago.  On that trip, I rode a borrowed BH bike and now I own a BH.  She is blue. Not pink. There will only be one pink bike (RIP).

It took me a while to get used to the different components (I switched to Shimano).  But today I had my first ride on Shimano's new Ultegra di2.  The shifting is all electronic.  It's still new and my fingers are still figuring out the new shifting mechanics.  BUT I can see good things in my future with this new shifting.  Since my fingers aren't especially strong, I often struggle to shift.  But with the electronic shifting, one touch of a button and the bike flawlessly shifts.  The soft buzz that I hear is music to my ears.

As I was riding this afternoon, I thought about how far I had come in a short time.  In April, it will be two years since I went to development camp.  In that time I've learned an immense amount about bikes. I learned that the track exists.  I learned about time trial bikes. I learned about overtraining, overhydrating, caring too much about a race, caring too little about a race. I know about failure of my muscles. I know about (most) parts of my bike.  I'm proud of the things I've learned and the things I've accomplished over the past two years.  I look ahead to the future and know that even greater things lie ahead.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

National Team Camp

I'm a bit behind on blogging.  A week ago, I got home from "camp."  Now by camp, I don't mean campfires and tents.  We ride bikes. We eat.  We nap. We eat. We ride bikes. We eat.  We sleep.  It's fantastic.  

This year we had winter camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista (near San Diego). It was COLD!  

The first day we had early morning blood tests.  I survived.  I turned on some Little Big Town and let them take their vials of blood.  That afternoon, I was the very last member of the team to do the ramp test.  I'm not a fan of trainers.  But my bike was hooked up to the trainer and every three minutes, the tension was increased by 25 watts, until failure. I made it far longer than I expected. I lasted a minute and some change at 225 watts.  And that's where pleasantly surprising myself ended.

The next day we did the flat time trial (Otay Lakes). I ended the time trial last, even though I started second. That became a trend.  On the third day, we did the infamous Honey Springs time trial:

I flatted about .5 miles from the top.  Thus marked as DNF (did not finish).  But, that happens.  I felt terrible after every time trial. But when I sat down with my power files, it wasn't that horrible. I'll keep that in mind.

I spent the week with "the baby" group.  Some day I might get to play with the big kids, but first I just need to learn to ride my bike without killing anyone!  We rode 3-4 hours every day.  It was exhausting trying to keep up.  Sometimes, I have to remind myself that as a female and one of the more disabled athletes at camp, I'm working harder than most just to keep up in warm up.  It was a stark reminder of how much I have to learn and how far I have to go.

We do get to eat good food!  That we don't have to cook!

I think they should let us out on the BMX track.

This year is going to prove to be exciting.  The door is open, I just have to work hard and push through.  Stay tuned...

Otay Lakes TT

I am going to write this tonight because today was just a baseline.  That's all it was. One data point.

Yesterday we had a Lactic Threshold ramp test. What is that you ask?  Our bikes were hooked up to a computrainer - a torture device that adjusts the tension on your bike to "make" you pedal a certain power.  We started at 100 watts and every three minutes we were increased by 25 watts.  I had no idea what expect.  I ended up pulling off a good result. I got up to 225 watts for about a minute and some change.

Today was not so surprising.  We had a 15k time trial. It's mostly flat with some rollers.  I was started second (we were in reverse order of expected speed - slowest goes first).  I finished last. It was disheartening to be passed by every member of my team.