View from the other side

I knew back in October that I wouldn't be lining up at 5:30 a.m. to plunge into the vast darkness of a hill climb with 350~ other people come March 7, 2009. Instead, I got up around 5:45 and got ready to spectate at arguably the toughest part of the 56-mile course: the top of 45+ minute hike a bike! At least there are only a few more hills, a fun singletrack descent, and a long bumpy fire road to the finish line after that point. The HAB comes in about 42 or so miles into the event (it isn't a race, people), and after about 8000ft of climbing. The participants (not competitors) are then faced with a mile long climb up a few hundred feet. Most don't ride it fresh, much less after a lot of climbing and mileage.

After breakfast we headed up the hill for a day of mostly singletrack! Started the climb just after 8 am. It was cold at the trailhead. Just over 40. Temps weren't supposed to get much warmer, so I opted for two base layers (my new favorite thing - UA Heat compression layer covered with a wool s/s base layer), arm warmers, knee warmers, and mini PhD cycling socks. Was hoping to stay warm. It was cold up the first few turns. Immediately upon entering the sun, however, I was pulling down arm warmers and wishing I'd worn my sweat band! Ridiculous.

Justin pulled away every now and then

Then he took over camera duties!

Got trackstand?

We made pretty good time up to what is normally "the top". Today we were going to refill our bottles, eat a bite or two, and keep climbing up to view the event. In the meantime we wanted to get a few shots of our new jerseys!

Once up at the top I wasn't sure if we had already missed Luke and our buddies. For some reason I thought it was really close. Only one rider had gone by, and #2 was just approaching the end of the climbing and the short descent to the finish line.

We hung out for a few before hitting the rollers to go over to the burger station at the top of the HAB. Yes, they were grilling burgers, and yes they smelled VERY good.


FWIW, yeah, I was digging the cycling cap. It shades more of the face than the visor on the helmet. My complaint is that it makes scanning the trail far ahead a bit difficult. Not sure how to solve that one, yet.

In the meantime, we stopped for a rider climbing and noticed it was Slater! WHAT! He was absolutely killing it in the top 8 or so (I'd lost count). He said he was having a bad race as he went by, but he looked pretty strong and was way up there!

We made it over to the top of the HAB and cheered on the early racers as they trickled in.

The steed for the day

All of a sudden up comes Luke!! He was looking super strong at that point. Grabbed a chip, a cup of liquid, and was on his way! Top 20 I think!

Justin and I headed down the trail a bit to cheer on the riders as they were riding up to the top.

The peak - holding many riders

Up came Scheetz

Then Bruce

Justin did a TDF hill climb cheer

After that we got our gear together and chased down Bruce. Unfortunately Justin got a flat on a rocky fire road descent so we stopped to fix it. We got back up to the final descent for the riders and got to cheer on Jens! He was doing well also.

Time to head back down so we could run errands in OC after that. We took our time descending and had some fun.

I'd cleaned a few things on the way up that I'd never made before, so was stoked on my riding. Felt like I was climbing pretty strong and feeling good, despite putting in a pretty solid week. I was stoked on my technical ability going up a tad.

Justin on some singletrack

Techy climbing (I made this for the first time ever, and I wasn't even really trying. What!)

It's been awhile…

Bonk face

Yeah, it was just before this that I seriously started feeling shaky. Not like Thursday where I just broke down. So, I stopped for a gel shot and finished off my water as a chaser. I walked a bit, then watched Justin do his take 4 and clean a tricky switchback and rocky section.

My rear brake was totally acting up, and while it worked okay, pumping it up after it came to the knuckles wasn't working anymore, and my front brake had started overheating a tad. So, I told Justin I was going to take it easy on the descent. He got some cool pictures!

Don't see this kind of scene often out here, so while I didn't get a rider in the photo at least I got the shot!

I nearly went off a cliff once, and almost hit two groups of riders with about half a functioning brake. I wasn't going fast at all, but when you're going downhill and your brakes don't work it is hard to stop suddenly! But, I wanted to yield the trail to climbers and try the switchbacks. Good times!

Finished up with some berry protein shakes and PB&J, then we headed up to use our shop coupon from the race last weekend and head to REI. I think I correctly predicted that March is probably a huge month for REI. We spent our dividend and then a lot. Oops. We needed clothes, though!

After we hit up two bike shops Justin was hungry again so naturally we went to Chipotle for a late lunch/early dinner.

Got home kinda late and stayed up kinda late, and since we planned on meeting Luke around 10:30 the next morning (the new 10:30) I knew I had to get up somewhat early to get on the road and get in some climbing beforehand. For whatever reason we could NOT get out of the house. I was lagging, Justin was lagging, and we just wound up getting ready really late.

Finally we got out the door. It was COLD. We headed south to hit up the steepest climb in the area (that we know of). Justin only warned me about the "warm up" climb when we were about a mile away from it. What! It was steep, but relatively short. My legs were packed up from nearly 5k feet of climbing the day before and now I had some STEEP climbs to contend with.

Sure, it's less than a mile, but it gets up to 20%+!! Tough with road gearing.

Justin got a Lunch Ride WC jersey!

After the first baby climb

It was really cold (high 40s, low 50s maybe), but I was hot after the climb!

We liked this one since my head was buried in a steep cave

It's totally STIL

As are the rest…

Using my new PI knee warmers. I haven't bought any in awhile, but I seem to go through one pair a year due to holes :\ I really like the new ones.

Pain cave and this is only the first push…

It's probably 18%+ here

The paperboy technique

Works great…until two diesel pumping pickups race by…

FWIW, that isn't the top… and it isn't really flat. I think the lowest grade I saw the entire climb was 17%.

I stopped twice. Justin started mid-hill, so I tried it also. It's tough, but it works. The second time was as the trucks went by. I just couldn't climb in a straight hill, and I wasn't about to get hit, so I stopped and walked for about 15 seconds and then hopped back on and paper-boy'd to the top. Yikes. Felt good to spin the legs out after that!

My HR never got very high, but it was a great force workout.

Ride hard…earn lunch!

I didn't have much left after that, so we called it not long after. Made it short on daily volume, but up overall for the week (not by much, though).

I made some "Ultimate" yogurt and granola.

All mixed up

Sooo good. Protein powder, vanilla yogurt, Bear Naked granola, banana, and blueberries. YUM.

After that we had PB&J again (we eat a lot of PB&J).

I'm pretty stoked on my new "summer" wear. Two pair of above the knee knick's (pricey, but ohh so comfy, I want to live in them), and a pair of short girl shorts! OMG! When I'm standing they almost cover my tan lines. Almost.

I also picked up another nutritional book, since I think I need it. It's about running, but I figured it may have some good info. If nothing else maybe it'll have some good cross training tips for me for this coming fall. "Fast Track: Training and Nutrition Secrets from America's Top Female Runner". The Carmichael nutrition book I read was good, but I think this one by a female might be a bit better.

Justin keeps saying I'm too thin. I eat a lot. On days that we do intervals and hard rides I eat over 3k calories a day. I ate almost 4k calories on Saturday. I ate more on the bike than he did! But, I guess I have a lot less stores now. I'm trying to just constantly have calories coming in on the bike even if I don't feel very hungry. On our 4-hour ride I had 2 Odwalla bars, a Bonk Breaker, a bag of Sport Beans, 2 Fruit Leathers, 3.5 shots of gel, 1.5 scoops of Cytomax, and a trial packet of E2 Hydro. That was after a massive oatmeal breakfast and a banana at the trailhead.

So, if I'm nearly bonking on longer rides am I not eating enough? Not enough while working out? I don't know. There have been nights where I'm just eating food cause I feel like I should, and I eat so much during the day I think I'm giving myself a stomach ache!

Struggling because breakfast is pretty big lately and I'm hungry less than 2 hours later. So then I eat and snack and constantly am thinking about food all day long. Then I want to eat a huge dinner because I love huge dinners. I can't break myself from that. And then snacking after dinner is always good, right?

Seems like too much food! Either way, hoping the female perspective helps me out a little. I'm at the weight now that I want to be at in April-July. No injuries or sickness or anything, just trying to keep myself fueled up all the time.

That's pretty much it. Work, ride, eat, sleep, rinse, repeat.

Oh yeah. I spent Sunday cleaning house (soo nice to know the house is a tad bit cleaner), but Justin spent the day going through his new toy! No, this wasn't the first spin ;) ...just what he needs is to be FASTER.

Oh yeah, part deux - James totally killed it in his Coup attempt, and Ryan did killer also. Check out their blogs for the full story!