Riding in Traffic Video, Backwards Circle Success and Posing

Here we go, its a jumbo post! Tuesday I attached a video camera to my bike and filmed my ride into town, the footage came out ok but not great. I need to secure the camera a bit more rigidly to the frame next time and head out during rush hour cause the roads were quite quiet. Check out the video below, I've cut it down to the most 'exciting' bits but had to take others bits out because of the crazy shaking...

video camera rig bike frame

...Secondly, I FINALLY nailed some backwards circles today, after weeks and weeks of trying them, watching videos on YouTube for technique tips and even dreaming that I could do them (yes I am that sad) I got 8 in the bag. I didn't get any on video but I did get Nigel to confirm that they happened.

Lastly, just after the successful execution of 3 circles a young lady and her friend wanted to be photographed with my bike. She seemed to want me sat on the saddle with her straddling my top tube but I wasn't 100% so I just let them do whatever they wanted cause I was so chuffed with my new skillz.


Oh, and I managed my first leg over and through the frame to trackstand and back combo :-D

The debut - Pro XCT Fontana City National!

Let's just say I was stoked when after a little bit of prodding I was able to get my upgrade to the Pro/Elite ranks for the remainder of the 2009 race season. I am still a little sad about missing out on points/ranking that I would've gotten for a possible top-5 at Bonelli Park in the Kenda Cup West, but no regrets. I'm stoked that I was given the opportunity to race with the fast ladies for the rest of the year!

Last week was a rollercoaster for me with a lot of unknowns! Was I going to be lapped and pulled? Would I be able to complete all 4 laps at race pace? No more what-if's!

Friday afternoon came around quick enough, and Justin and I packed up the goods and headed north for some course recon. We had ridden the SRC course the weekend before, but found out last week the course would be changing drastically, with a "new" climb up the old elevator/ladder ascent! It was rumored to be steep and loose.

It was pretty warm when we were suited up and heading out to ride, but I figured it would be similar to race conditions come Sunday. We headed out for a cruiser lap and even though there hadn't been hundreds of feet pounding up the hill yet, it wasn't a climb I was able to clean! I hopped off and hiked up, and we finished off the lap talking race strategy.

We finished up a second lap, and while I felt like I could do more, I knew it was time to call it a day. I took in some calories and we headed south to get back home and cook up dinner.

Saturday was a really chill day - short ride with a few efforts and then hanging out and completing race day prep (getting the bikes dusted off and in perfect condition, putting all the bottles together, packing the cooler with food and water, packing up clothes, etc.). It was supposed to be really nice and easy, but unfortunately Justin took a digger in the last few minutes of our ride and wound up with some massive bruising and cuts. He wasn't sure he would able to race. As much as I would've liked to sleep in on Sunday morning, and not have to worry about support and feed zone time, I told him that he had worked too hard to not race; if he could walk - he would be on the start line!

Sunday morning came around quick and we wound up with a killer parking/pit spot that morning that would yield a ton of afternoon shade (and a front row seat to the motorcycle show!). Justin set up the pit area and got his bike on the trainer while I sat in the truck trying to stay warm and figure out what I was doing racing Pro!

He had to do an extended warm-up as they delayed his start a bit. But, it seemed to work out okay. He took off for the line and I gathered up my chair, his race bottles, a water and a bar for me, and took off to catch the start.

After his age group took off I went to find a spot to hang out in the feed zone. Sat down with my feet up on the mini-cooler for a bit until Tim from Troupe Racing came over. Cool to finally officially meet and chat with him! His team continues to grow and is getting great results.

I realized after the bottle hand-off on lap 2 that I had never done a bottle hand-off before! Good thing it went smoothly!

Thanks to Mark for the photo with my camera!

The other laps went off without a hitch, and I cheered on some of my Cat 1 buddies (Rachel, Lisa, Heidi, Steve, Ryan). I noticed some of the Cat 1 women in my AG looked fast! They were smoking out there!

Justin seemed to be easily in a top 10 position throughout. I had trouble keeping track since everyone got mixed together, and a few of the front runners weren't "marked" with their #'s. Either way, as Justin set out on his 4th and final lap I started back to our pit area to get on my race clothes and do my warmup. Time was running out!

Hopped on the trainer right around 11 am (11:30 start!) and was hoping I'd get in enough time. There was a pre-race call-up that would be going on. I found out that morning that I'd be called up last since I was the newest racer (no results). I had assumed as much, so wasn't worried about it. Just knew it meant I had to make some smart decisions and try to pass where I could!

Justin came back over a few minutes after his race, and a few minutes before mine. He did a few last minute bike checks as he said he got 5th in his AG!! Awesome!

I quickly rolled over to the start about a minute before the call-ups began. It was so cool lininng up behind the World and National champions!

My nerves seemed to be in check, but the HR was definitely slightly elevated!

Soon after it was GO time!

The start was a mad dash off the line. No one hesitated. There was some jostling for position and some slipping and sliding. I ran up a few of the hills I was hoping to be riding, but no worries. We all kept it moving!

I put my head down and cranked out the flats and before I knew it I was on Krista's wheel heading up the big climb. I wound up off line and had to run up the entire climb! So painful! I was not about to give up any positions, though.

I spent the next half a lap trying to decide if I should put in efforts and pass, or just sit in. I passed a few times. Two of the women caught back up to me on the rocky climb near the end of lap 1 and passed me back as I had to dab and run up the hill.

Lap 2 I wound up passing Chloe and Kathy and spent the remainder of the race putting in efforts to stay in front of them and not let the gap close down. Kathy was putting in some massive efforts on the climbs to close the gap, so wherever I could I was pushing it to keep it steady!

Lap 4 I begged my legs to hold out for another 20 minutes as I continued to put in efforts.

I spent a lot of the race on my own, sometimes in the wind, and sometimes just enjoying the singletrack and railing the course like it was a Sport SRC race! I was suffering pretty badly cranking along, but kept it moving. I decided lap 4 I wasn't going to hold anything back and cranked out the final turns and finish straight harder than I had any of the other laps. I wasn't sprinting for position, but pretended like I was!

I was so stoked to have finished and held on to a top 10 position! The women I had gone back and forth with were great competitors and kept me challenged. It was great!

Due to the effort I was hurting pretty bad. Breathing was painful. I took off shortly after I came through to hop back on the trainer and do a good cool down. The motorcycle show was about to start, so we needed to get back to the parking lot before it was a mad house!

I was having trouble thinking straight, but Justin hooked me up with my road shoes and some post-race nutrition. All I wanted was a wet towel and some water, so I focused on taking in some fluids and cleaning up my face before I did anything else.

Stoked, but in so much pain!

Not too long after Justin went to get our free In & Out, so I figured I'd spin until he got back. I was ready to enjoy the fruits of my labor!

(First lunch)

Eventually I got myself together enough to go watch some of the Pro Men's race. It was awesome to watch all those guys come by!

We hiked up the elevator/ladder climb (again! #5 for the day!) and I sat down for second lunch

A few minutes later I realized it was women's podium time, so I headed back down the hill to cheer on the top women. Amazing efforts!

Eventually we were running out of steam (and out of water), so it was time to head home. I enjoyed some quality time on the couch…

Overall, I am totally pleased with my day. I can't wait to keep testing myself and learning this year. I hope I am able to remain competitive at this level. I've got a busy 2 months ahead! Very excited about it all!

US Pro XCT Fontana City National

Well, Sunday has come and gone! Just a super quick update...

I finished 10th Pro woman overall at the US Pro XCT race this past weekend! Absolutely stoked on my result.

Full write-up of some sort coming soon. Stay tuned!

More Ways To Calculate Gear Ratio and Skid Patches

Today I found another two ways for you to work out some stuff. The first one is a java based online gear ratio and skid patch calculator and the second is a Mac Widget for calculating only skid patches. Click on the pix below to go to the relevant pages.

online java gear ratio skid patch calculator

apple widget skid patches

I also spent all day failing miserably (AGAIN) at backwards circles, threw a big paddy, shot my bike into a wall then rode home, burned my food and threw the oven glove from the kitchen into the bath. WHY THE F*CK CAN'T I DO BACKWARDS BLOODY CIRCLES???

fixed gear fixie backwards circle

How's the training going?

Being English I am obsessed by the weather, when it felt as if spring was well on her way I was speeding along in T shirt and three-quarter leggings, now we are back to rain blown horizontally in fierce winds I've returned to gloves and dew drop on the end of my nose. Every year we get it, blackthorn winter still it could be worse the first wood anemones are out near Newmill.Last weekend the weather was fantastic and I did 77 miles which I thought was pretty good until I remembered I have to do that three days running. Living here where its only about 7 miles from the north to the south coast I end up heading east or west: east took me to Breage, St Erth and back along the north coast, decided against carrying a goose egg home in my back pack but the marmalade was tempting. On Sunday I headed west up Paul Hill (confusingly named Chywoone Hill) which is a real chain snapper but worth it as the world opens out to St Buryan and Lamorna. The stuff which Cornwall Hospice Care sent has a 16 week suggested training programme which indicates I could be up to around week 12 with my two 35ish mile rides at the weekend and three 15 or 20 milers during the week. In a month or so I'll have to take the programme a bit more seriously but I think I'll go on just enjoying myself for a bit longer.


Last Friday the Very Hungry Caterpillar introduced Google by celebrating the first day of spring. I thought it all started on 21 March but I'm not going to quibble over a day. It has been a fantastic week, early mists giving way to clear blue skies and wall to wall sunshine.The solar hot water panel is doing its thing, buds are bursting all around I've cut the grass, eaten purple sprouting every evening and even had my first swim at Battery RocksThe larks are trilling and washing is flapping on the line.I've had my first T shirt and shorts bike ride in glorious sunshineeven if it was a bit nippy cycling home in the evening. The moon seems to have gone missing so the night skies are awesome, the mighty procession of Taurus, Orion and the winter Triangle are shuffling off to the west and Arcturus is bright in the east heralding spring.

Drop out with...

...my worn dropouts!

My chain has gone really lose and come off THREE times since Chrimbo, it's been driving me nuts and I've just been waiting for it to happen as I'm flying towards a red light. I went into Schmoos today to check out what they had in the way of botchable chaintugs but ended up buying a bangin' set of Schwalbe Stelvio tyres which have completed my bikes transition from "gay hipster chic" to "BLACK!"

When changing the tyres I decided to sand all the paint off the dropouts in the hope that it would stop the back wheel from slipping and discovered that they were pretty badly worn which may explain why the wheel keeps shifting. I'm assuming that they are badly worn at least, maybe it's normal. Anyway I need to start seriously thinking about whether to track down a nice old road frame or buy a new track frame...

worn, damaged, horizontal, dropout

worn, damaged, horizontal, dropout
Surely not!?!

Now go and check this out.

Midweek update - in photos

"There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you'll be free if you truly wish to be."

I love food!

Only had this one night, but it tastes good. Might go back to it next week a few days.

We saw about 4 of them on Sunday morning

I was so worked that I couldn't even hold myself up. Thought I'd get that one for posterity.

Trackstand skilllzzz


Me doing a skid down in skidsville whilst pulling a jibsville whilst being pulled along by a stream of magical Knog light!

fixed gear skid swansea

It was a beautiful day!

Don't let it get away...

I almost let the day get away from me before it even began. After being a bit overreached after my last cycle and not feeling too great during regen, we were questioning the ride for today. We talked about doing a different ride, but I hadn't done Palomar since September, so it was an itch that needed to be scratched.

Friday night Justin gave me a killer massage and then I sat with my legs up and we had a amazing and anti-inflammatory dinner.

The beer is for James

We shared another tonight!

The alcohol goes straight to my legs, though.

So, I felt pretty good after the evening. Woke up this morning and had my super stout oatmeal and was feeling good. Then I realized it was kind of raining outside. If I were Superman, rain would be my Kryptonite. Not *really*, but I'm not a fan of rain. Luckily earlier this year I did a few rides in the rain, and I didn't melt or get really weak, so I just packed warmer clothes and off we went.

By the time we were on our way to where we park the skies were clearing and I managed to get in a positive, "If this weather holds, it could be a great day!"

It was pretty warm by the time we finished getting ready, and we'd seen a big group heading up the hill before us. Justin wanted to catch some carrots! I thought I wouldn't need my cycling cap for awhile, so stuffed it in my pocket and up we went.

The climb starts out literally right away.

Justin was already pulling away, but I decided to hang back and get in a solid warmup at my own pace.

Yeah, I had to stop to put on the cycling cap pretty much 8 minutes into the ride.

I made sure to check out the sights this time up... It was such a pretty and green climb (as opposed to the end of summer).

Long road ahead... and a few other climbers along the way

Photos from the road...

Breathing hard after a 60s effort

Moto photographer

I got about 2 miles from the top and realized I was not going to beat my previous time up South grade. I thought that was really weird, cause I sort of felt like I'd been booking. I'd passed quite a few people, put in 2 hard efforts where I totally was on, and amazingly enough, I felt *really* good. Oh well. I put in an effort, and then realized that I wasn't going to break my time anyway, so I shouldn't burn the matches. So, I slowed up a bit. Then I put in another effort. I think I did this 2-3 times. Got up to the stop sign and hit the lap button (from the left turn/pavement change). Well, that was it!

Met up with Justin who was sitting down munching on his PB&J bagel (trying to eat real foods instead of bars). I immediately sat down and started to chow on mine also. I did a minute or so of stretching after and Justin was getting cold and ready to head down the East grade.

About 20 minutes later we were turning around (at the lookout, instead of 76) to head back up. I switched around my cycling cap from descend to ascend.

Immediately upon starting to climb back up (we had over 8 miles) I felt horrible. My legs were not coming around, and what was worse...my stomach was severely unhappy. I'd taken in a lot of readily available carbs and fats and calories, and none of them felt digested. I had no idea how I was going to make it back up the hill.

I was barely hanging on and Justin turns around and says, "Let's do a 5 minute effort; hold my wheel."

That just about broke me. I mentally felt like I was right back on the edge. I tried to steel my resolve.

A few mintues later I was pulling around Justin and feeling pretty good, somehow. My legs didn't feel great, but I went for it anyway. Kept it sub-threshold, but was still working plenty hard!

This one is for LMN...

Tried some new "recovery" strategies. Drink mix that was posted up on empty beer and then cereal at home. I've tried the cereal before. We'll see how the legs feel tomorrow!

The beer went straight to the legs again tonight. On the plate? Chicken, salad, whole wheat pasta, and more beer!

FWIW, I came home and downloaded the Garmin. Realized looking at my splits that I beat my time by just over NINE MINUTES! I had the times wrong. Ha!