Holiday Travels

The week before Christmas Justin and I spent a good amount of time in the evenings cooking up way too much food. Justin made almond milk, and then we made some festive raw nog out of the almond milk, bananas, nutmeg, and spiced rum and Kahlua. It was delish. The Kahlua really makes it!

We also made sure to pick up provisions since we didn’t inherit our beer tastes from our parents!

We got all loaded up to head south for our first stop at Justin’s mom’s house for Christmas Eve hanging out. Justin was able to finish up the rack last week and got some lights on there also.

All green and red on the way down to the desert

Justin graciously cooked a delish Christmas Eve dinner of lobster tails and ahi while mom and I roasted up some veggies.

That was the end of eating paleo for a few days!

Grandma brought her homemade cookies for Christmas. YUM.

Yes, I ate quite a few, and no, I don’t feel guilty.

Justin and I went on a long road ride Saturday to try to burn off Christmas dinner. I didn’t have room for the camera, but we rode on some pretty wide open empty roads, and a few narrow crowded roads, and ended up climbing up Box Canyon toward Joshua Tree. We turned around midway up the canyon to head home. Long day on the road and it felt great to get back and relax!

Sunday we slept in a bit and then got ready for a few hours on some new (to us) singletrack.

Brown Santa had brought me some new grips before we left, so I was stoked to try out the Ergon team green GA1 grips. Previously I’d only used the GP1 and GX1 grips, or the GX2’s with bar ends. At first it was a little weird for me to not have the bigger platform for my palm, but as we climbed up the uber tech singletrack on Art Smith I was totally lovin’ the GA1’s. I got used to them really quick, and even with the tech riding uphill and down my hands felt great the entire ride. I can’t wait to try these out on more and different trails while training and racing this winter.

I really felt like I had a lot of control and grip ability, and full maneuverability to get the front end to do what I wanted it to do. I don’t think my previous GX1’s were holding me back, but I did feel like I was better able to control the handlebar with the GA1’s. They just loved the techy climbing.

Big thanks to Ergon USA and Jeff Kerkove. I’m more than stoked to be getting support as an Ergon Factory Rider for 2010.

Grip-eye view

The trail went on endlessly!

STIL and RTIL (Rockier Than It Looks)

Grip and Go

I was looking and looking for Dunn Road, but at this point we were only halfway there!

Bombing back down the trail

Up a small hill, through a small wash, down a small hill.

Man-reinforced structure

Rocky descending

Gettin' around!

With training, of course!

This past weekend Justin and I did a bit of jet-settin' (locally, at least). Friday started out early since I was given the heave-ho at work. Instead of sitting on the trainer doing drills I enjoyed some 70*F weather and went for a long ride instead!

Tons of crazy drivers out, but it was stellar anyway.

We ran to Henry's afterwards and picked up some surf & turf for dinner!

Saturday morning we got up early and cruised it over to Irvine for Rock N' Road's Hunger Ride. Huge crowd! It was awesome. Piles of canned goods.

Matt tried to keep everyone in check by giving his "This is a fun/social/charity ride, let's keep it together." It lasted, for about a mile!

Cruising out

Front group regroups before heading through the super windy streets back to the shop

Gnoshing on Chik-Fil-A post-ride

After we hung out for a bit and picked up some needed goodies from the shop we headed north west toward Laguna to hit up the Crankbrothers sale. Saw some good people and hung for a bit. I picked up a zip hoodie (sweet!) and then it was time to head NE to Santa Ana to hit up REI for some waterproof cell phone packs. Then it was sit in bumper-to-bumper on the 91 for awhile, house cleaning for me, then a drills session.

My legs were torqued from the effort on the road ride, and from me nearing the end of this cycle... Got the workout done, and that was one of my weekly goals (finish all scheduled workouts, no shortcuts).

Legs were still feeling fatigued and heavy Sunday morning when we cruised south to meet up with Steph and Dan for some loops at Daley. Also sold an old Reba and Dos frame to Zippy so he could build it up for Holly! Can't wait to see her out tearing it up on the trails.

Steph and Justin led us out

Fail at trying to take a self-portrait over-the-shoulder-rider-photo

Heading up Tank Trail before the techy stuff

Everyone but me cleaned both switchbacks! I dabbed on the first, re-clipped and got the second one.

Unfortunately Dan wound up being stronger than he imagined and not only busted his derailleur, but also broke his chain, and had a flat tire. My goodness, man!!

He cruised it back to the lot chainless while we finished up a loop (or 2).

Trying to rail it

Steph needed to get back and pack for airline fails, so Justin and I cruised out to finish up my workout. I wanted another go at the switchbacks!

Got the first one, but not the second one. Put all the tries together and I had one successful go!

On the drive home I realized my camera was nowhere in sight. Hmm. The only place I could have left it was on the bumper. I am notorious for leaving stuff on the bumper. New Rule: Allison is not to ever set anything on the bumper. Ever. For any reason.

So we're debating whether or not to drive back down to Esco to see if the camera fell off the bumper when we get home. I took a load of stuff in the house, walk back out and what do I see?

My camera. Sitting motionless. On the bumper. After a 40 minute drive home.

OMG. Sooo lucky. The pictures turned out pretty stellar, so I think the fresh air did it good.

Great weekend. Stoked to be taking it easy this week and partaking in a much deserved day off today!

It's All Good: Rock N' Road Cyclery, and Base Miles with the Mann

Life is pretty good right now, if I may say so. I started this blog over the weekend, in my head, climbing in the rain on Saturday. It initially started out:

3 weekends of training...3 weekends of rain.


I hope not! Lucky for me it hasn't been too bad, and it seems like the next 5-7 days should be pretty clear and nice. Just in time for all day training sessions at work with no outdoor riding!

Back to the good life... I was STOKED that Justin finally was able to get out and train with me this past weekend! 5 hours over 2 days. He was working hard all weekend on and off the bike. More on that to come.

All week we all watched the weather to see if the storm(s) would somehow miraculously disappear and allow us to train as we wished, dry and clean. Unfortunately when we woke up Saturday morning it was drizzle, the forecast was for continued rain showers all day. Honestly, I don't think there was a dry spot at all except for about a 1/4mi as we drove across Ortega Highway. Justin and I decided to find some well-draining dirt anyway, and set off for a late morning 2 hour ride.

Justin took off a minute or so before I did and I set off in search of my pace for the day (taking it nice and easy). I caught up to him about 5 or so minutes in and he hung with me for a bit, cheering me on later as he saw me up ahead.

I was pretty good early on. The drizzle continued, and while my helmet dripped water everywhere and I was soaked, I was plenty warm in my clear plastic rain jacket sauna. My feet were good in just plain wool socks. Legs were warm enough.

The rain pounded down in spots and the wind whipped and whistled and scoured the mountainside, and me, with downpour. I had a few low points where I just wanted to stop and wait for Justin and turn around. But, I told myself plenty of people train in this everyday. It was a mental training day. I got up to a break spot pretty slow, and needed around 45-50 minutes more. I knew another loop would take me at least another hour, plus time to get back to the trailhead. So, I opted to head out opposite of what I normally do and ride for 15 minutes, then come back. I wrote Justin a note in the dirt since I had no desire to pull out my DROID in the rain.

I had fun on some slow-speed tech descending, but the rain kept pouring down. I was soaked, and now my hands and feet were getting cold to boot. I made it about 6.5 minutes before turning around. Justin caught up not long after. 7 weeks off the bike and he was only about 1-2 minutes behind me. Ridiculous!

We descended together. He was having a blast. I just wanted to get dry and warm!

Once we finished up and cleaned up a bit we headed north to run some errands. Had to stop by Oakley for a Rx lens warranty for both of us and Ryan hooked us up with a 25% off card, so we were stoked and stocked up on replacements. Looking forward to a new calendar year next year so I can get another set of Rx lenses.

It was getting late, but we headed even further north to stop by Rock N' Road Cyclery in Irvine to meet Mr. Matt Ford! I am utterly excited to be riding for Rock 'N Road next year. They are a great shop full of killer Specialized products and a ton of good nutritionals. I even noticed they have the Vitargo that James and Slater are raving about! If only Luke and I could sell some organs to afford the stuff :D

In addition to new kits and bottles I also picked up a Deflect convertible jacket and Deflect gloves.

Justin decided to try his hand at training again, so joined me on Sunday for a road cruise down the "drag strip".

I was pretty happy to have Justin along all weekend, as training didn't really align for me to ride with Luke, as I have been the past few weekends. Good thing for all of us as I rode right over a huge screw (I need my Rx lenses back!) and got a massive flat. First C02 was empty, and my tube didn't hold any air. I would've been SOL! I did have a 2nd CO2 and a patch kit at least. I don't think Luke would've appreciated being my sherpa all morning, though!

Always a good time riding with my "Mann"

I'd like to throw in that the Deflect gloves worked pretty killer yesterday on the road. I've used PI Cyclone's previously for this kind of weather. My hands never got over-heated in the new gloves, and they were awesome for wind-proofing. The wind was ripping all day yesterday. I also didn't wind up taking them off. I usually do since a) I prefer road riding gloveless, but also b) when I wear cooler weather gloves my hands always are too hot. I've yet to see how waterproof the gloves are, but will definitely be trying that out at some point this winter.

I've also never had a cycling kit vest, so was excited to try that out yesterday as well. Keeps the wind off without being too warm - my favorite! I know there will be colder days where the Deflect convertible will come in handy.

So, all in all, despite the inclement weather, I had a really great weekend.

If you're in Orange County and looking for a great shop with a ton of Specialized products on hand (S-Works bikes and frames down to Comp HT's, winter gear, summer gear, helmets, shoes, gloves, tires/tubes, and a huge nutritional wall), check out one of the four Rock N' Road locations: Irvine, Anaheim Hills, Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel.

If you've got any canned goods in the cabinet that you aren't eating and are still good make sure you stop by the Irvine store next Saturday at 8 am for the 3rd Annual Hunger Ride. A few hour easy ride through the Canyon. I'm excited! I've never done a road ride in Orange County before.

I've yet to figure out how the split of the US Cup promoter's and the Pro XCT will affect my race season, but I do know it's pretty much up in the air at the moment. Definitely lots of racing locally and regionally, and who knows what else the future will hold!