Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Dark Horse!

“Another dark horse to watch, Bridget Donovan (BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing), took fifth in the womens’ 100km last year and is moving up to the 100-mile distance.”

Sunday, May 27, 2012

One Week Completely Self-Propelled

This is lame but as a racing cyclist I definitely have to take 1-2 days off a week to rest and heal up from training. So it is very seldom that every commute is on a bike. But I chose to challenge myself this Bike to Work week, so I went without a car Sunday to Sunday. Here are a few of my favorite highlights:

Friday night we met up with our friends Dan and Nicole as we all biked downtown. We had some drinks and appetizers at the 1215 Wine Bar, then dinner at A Tavola. We rode down the the Smale Grand Opening and checked out the new Cincinnati Bike Center. It was so nice and relaxing, more time to chill and talk and no need to worry about parking. Plus, you get to burn off all the calories from dinner.

Working near Over-the-Rhine is such a convenience. I can ride up to Shadeau for bread and Findlay Market for fresh ingredients.

I love to wear my smug cyclist commuter tee that accentuates my man boobs. I bought some new Levi's commuter jeans — and it's a must to color coordinate the ensemble.

Ride, Rad, Ride.
Saturday I commuted downtown, filled my belly up with food at AsianFest. I rode over to the Devou trails and had a blast for about an hour. Then I swung down to MainStraße for MaiFest. Filled my belly with German pork products, MaiBock and a WindBeutel (cream puff) as my fuel for the ride home.

One of the ironic things about mountain biking is that you have to drive, sometimes for over an hour, to appreciate nature. Theoretically the CO2 is going to effect the environment, thus killing the nature. Thanks to Devou trails, Tower Park, Mariemont trails and the future Mt Airy trails we will have options we can bike commute to.

Breaking the Cycle.
So Sunday I did use a car... We drove out to Versailles, Indiana for their epic mountain bike trails.

But all the commuting gave me a monster training week! Not bad.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Crying over spilled winnings

Damn, my trophy from the 6 Hours of John Bryan. You think the Pros ever break the blue plates they win from the Tour de France? While drinking beer out of ‘em?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Race #123: The Race of Truth, part 1

After thinking about it for years I finally did my first Cleve Time Trial. The Shawnee Lookout area is this epic peninsula wedged between Indiana and Ohio — and side from some powerplants and asphalt factories it is very scenic.

So I had not idea what to expect. I know my best speed for an hour is around 22 mph, so I figured this would be similar. As I warmed up I felt pretty good and this course seemed automatically fast. What I didn't know was that the course is a little more downhill on the way up — the course feel a smidge more uphill while riding it.

So I get in the "starting block" and when I get let go I absolutely floor it. Why? What an idiot. My heart rate jacks and I am holding on for the rest of the ride! Not so smart for a TT.

I surprised myself and averaged 22 mph. My first time is set at 25:33. I hope to get out there once a month and use it as a tool to get stronger for cross.

After the Ride my teammate Brian rode around the area, there are some fun hills. On Cliff road there is this incredible view (complete with Jesus statue). I prefer to get more riding in if I am going to be stuck in a car driving to the race — makes it feel worth the gas/pollution.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Price of Immortality

The hangtags at BioWheels have photos of all the legends of the team. No picture of me...yet. What is it going to take? I got some wins and podiums last year? I'm off the shave the legs and get out the baby oil. This is going to be my year.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Race #122: I am a Flying Pig!

Photo by Andrea Torgerson

Man, I am glad this is over! It was interesting to put myself through the test and see what I could do.

Overall Time:

Overall Pace:


Overall Place:
247 out of 4084
Age Division Place (35-39):
33 out of 347
Gender Place:
206 out of 2395

50:03 (pace 7:20, rank 135)
13.1 (First Half):
1:34:45 (pace 7:14, rank 134)
2:24:18 (pace 7:20, rank 131)
3:18:34 (pace 7:53, rank 235)
Second Half (13.2-26.2mi)
1:53:10 (pace 8:39)
Last Mile:

Splits (from Nike+):
MI 1 7:11  7'11"/mi
MI 2 14:05 6'54"/mi
MI21:16  7'11"/mi
MI28:19 7'03"/mi
MI35:20  7'02"/mi
MI42:03  6'43"/mi *Fastest
MI49:33  7'30"/mi
MI56:32  6'59"/mi
MI1:03:34  7'02"/mi
MI 10  1:10:35  7'01"/mi
MI 11  1:17:23  6'48"/mi
MI 12  1:24:26  7'04"/mi
MI 13  1:31:29  7'03"/mi
MI 14  1:38:27  6'58"/mi
MI 15  1:45:37  7'10"/mi
MI 16  1:52:38  7'01"/mi
MI 17  1:59:39  7'02"/mi 
MI 18  2:06:59  7'20"/mi *Wait for me pace group!
MI 19  2:14:19  7'20"/mi *Goodbye Boston!
MI 20  2:22:23  8'04"/mi
MI 21  2:30:48  8'25"/mi
MI 22  2:39:11  8'23"/mi *Cheered up by teammates Joe and Dan
MI 23  2:48:21  9'10"/mi
MI 24  2:58:13  9'52"/mi
MI 25  3:08:43  10'31"/mi *Waaaaaaaaah! Ouch Ouch Ouch!
MI 26  3:18:23  9'39"/mi

Up all night:
I did not sleep a wink the night before the race. I wish I were exaggerating. I would doze off and then suddenly re-awake, sometimes my heart was racing. I watched the clock waiting for 4:30 to roll around.

It's a shame that six months of training could have been ruined due to one night of insomnia. This is lame, but one culprit may be one square of dark chocolate consumed before I went to bed. I'm a lightweight when it comes to caffeine and I have had issues with this in the past.

But it was probably my nerves. I put too much pressure on myself. I've been stressed out with work leading into the event, and now the stress of the event really whooped me.

The Big Event:
It was really cool. The crowds were great, the race was well organized, and there was a super fun, festive atmosphere. I am really glad to have seen it from the inside. At one point were were running over the bridge back into Ohio just as the sun was rising. It was beautiful.

Pace Group:
So I jumped in the Ronker's 3:10 pace group. These guys are fantastic, the keep the crowds pumped and they keep us on target. They were like a metronome. They were taking it easy on the hills, but my heart rate was still rising into the 170s. Not good for endurance...

So they past 2 races I have started dumping water over my head in an attempt to cool myself down, hoping to keep the engine revving longer. It's called a "Landis-Douche," you create a cooler climate around yourself by dumping water on your head. Supposedly Floyd Landis thought of this while watching an episode of the Snorks during a Jack Daniels binge.

Hitting the Wall:
I think somewhere during the 18 mile the wheels came off! I did the first 18.6 miles around 2:12. I looked great, I was running, I was a competitor, I was Boston-bound. So there is a hill just outside my house, I was with the group on that short hill. Then I wasn't. The elevation distance is only 33 feet, but I guess that's like climbing a 3-story house. At one spot it touches 11%... Ugh, my "heartbreak hill" is right out my front door.

So I think I look okay through Mile 20ish. I conceded about 40 secs but at least I could see my pace group. Then it happened. I fell apart. I became a "jogger." And to top it off, I was Landis-douching like a maniac so I looked like a mess. I could hear at least one person audibly laugh at me per mile! It wasn't my imagination — I was running slow enough to make the eye-contact, see the laughter and see the knee-slap... I did the last 7.6 miles in about 1:16, at about a 10:00 pace. That still isn't bad, but I tacked on about 3 minutes extra per mile.  All the early miles flew by quickly, these last miles felt so drawn out and excrutiating. 

Among the Greats:
One cool aspect of running the marathon would be to see how I compare to some of my heroes:

Lance Armstrong, NYC, 2:46:43
Laurent Jalabert, NYC, 2:55:39
Chris Boardman, London, 3:19:27

Look out Boardman! I'll be gunning for you next time!

So I definitely carbo-loaded going into the event. When I am injured I tend to eat a lot of food, I feel like I am seeking the nutrients to heal me. So having 2 weeks of reduced athletic activity + overeating going into the event put a few pounds on my waistline. In March I was around 140 pounds. I think race day I was around 144-146... I wonder if dragging that extra weight around hindered my performance as well. But, I would rather have the extra weight than to by malnourished and bonky.

I have to admit this has been a bittersweet journey. I certainly love running and it is really cool to see how far you can go by your own propulsion. Although, I do prefer trail running. I think that my body is not totally suited for running, I have flat feet and one leg that is shorter. This makes for a lot of motion while I run and these distance events really wear on my body.

Personally I feel running is like organ meats. A bit of paté is quite nice, but I am not sure I was to sit down to a 5 lb. platter of fried calf livers and foie gras. The marathon was that 5 lb platter...

Going into the event a lot of wear-and-tear built up. Actually I am very worried about my knee, I hope the pain will go away with time. Because of these injuries I kind of wish I just focused on cycling and did not take on this challenge. (Editor's note: I began writing this the day after race, as of now I am feeling much better and the injuries are healed — although I feel like I am still lacking my punch that I had last year. Basically my legs are all slow-twitch muscles right now!).

I am still looking forward to doing some events in the future. I really dig the TOPO trail runs. I am definitely not planning to do another marathon or road running race anytime soon.

Since I began exercising I was felt a sense of accomplishment after an achievement or an event. Once completed, I see a higher summit, I seek a greater challenge. In my mind I saw the marathon as a stepping stone to a future Ironman. For once I feel like I can stop. I have tested myself and I feel like I have reached my limits. I love cycling and I am happy to focus on my passion!

This is soooo lame but despite all the trials and tribulations I wept like a little girl when I logged into Nike+ and I had a video message from Paula Radcliffe congratulating me on the accomplishment.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Shut up histamines!

I just saw this story about Jens Voigt... Sorry PETA, guess Jensie is not a vegan.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bike to Work Week!

Image Credit: found on the interwebs.

So this week I commuted everyday, every commute. I commute to work often, and when I don't commute it's typically due to weather or I need to rest from heavy training. Typically when I don't ride my bike, I ride the bus.

It's easy to be green, plus to get to save money!

Commuting by Car:
10 commutes x 10 miles / 20 mpg x $3.51 gas price = $175.5
+ $6 per day for parking = $205.50
Commute time about 30 minutes.
About 80 calories burned.
Benefit: Convenience.

Commuting by Bus:
10 commutes x $1.75 bus fare = $17.5
Commute time about 45 minutes.
About 80 calories burned. 
Benefits: I get to catch up on reading, people watch/meeting new people.

Commuting by Bike:
10 commutes x 10 miles (100 miles in a week)... Free.
Commute time about 45 minutes.
About 300 calories burned.
Benefits: Enjoying the weather, getting to explore, meeting new people, increasing life expectancy, burning calories…

I love commuting in with Dan Korman from Park and Vine (left). Here we stopped at the commuter station staffed by Jim from the City Planning, Frank from Queen City Bike and Oakley Cycles.

I know I am lucky though. I live relatively close to work (10 miles), I live along roads that are more bike friendly and I have an office place that is cool with me storing my bike in my office.

I heard a stat that 40% of trips in the US are 2 miles or less — and I heard a car's emission control system does not fully kick in on such a short trip. So even if you cannot commute to work, perhaps you can commute to the local shops or to run errands occasionally. Every little bit helps!

Let me know if you have questions or need advice about commuting. If you live near me, we could even ride into work together.

LeBron recently commuted to a game to avoid traffic congestion; the Bengals' Dhani Jones used to bike commute to games and practices to warm up.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

OVCX is right around the corner!

The schedule is announced!

  • Sept 16 Huber’s Apple Cross (NEW!) Louisville
  • Sept 30 St. Mary’s Cyclocross Indianapolis
  • Oct 7 Midwest Outdoor Experience CX (Gearfest) Dayton
  • Oct 14 Gun Club Cross Cincinnati
  • Oct 21 Bloomingcross Bloomington
  • Oct 28 Storm the Greens Louisville
  • Nov 2 Cincy3 CX Festival (Devou, Kings, Harbin) Cincinnati
  • Nov 18 Promotion Cross Lexington
  • Nov 25 Brookside Cup Indianapolis
  • Dec 9 Buckingham Financial John Bryan CX Dayton
  • Dec 16 Major Taylor Velodrome (NEW)! Indianapolis
  • Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    The Third Wheel

    It's really great to have a hobby that I can share with my wife Bjet. Sometimes the only quality time we get together are our training rides. With Bjet's job in retail sometimes she works at night and we don't get to see each other so much, so our rides are times to talk and catch up.

    Infrequently another rider will come along and want to join our ride. I have to balance between being friendly and wanting to get left alone.

    Well last night this one guy really took the cake. We passed this guy and he latched onto Bridget's back wheel. After a few minutes he said "I really like your hairdo, it's classy" to Bjet! We were like ????? We couldn't tell if it was an odd come-on, or some odd way of saying you don't look like a "butch" female athlete, or if he thought she was a guy or what.

    One thing is for sure, we need to start riding faster!

    Bicycle Friendly?

    So the League of American Bicyclists announced their lists of Bicycle friendly cities, states and businesses.

    Cincinnati is a new member of the "Bronze" level. I am really happy with the advances we have made the past few years. I can commute thousands of miles a year and feel like I have some decent options to get around. I do admit, some days certain "agro" drivers really test these views on our progress.

    I'm not sure why Ohio is so far down the list, it looks like we are doing pretty well with legislation and enforcement. Perhaps it is the number of cyclists in our state, or the number of cyclists registered with LAB...

    Bloomington is the most bicycle-friendly of the local cities, although I would like to nominate Yellow Springs for next year's ranking.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    May is Bike Month!

    There are so many cool activities going on for cyclists this month. Check out the calendar at Queen City Bike's website for events.

    We kicked off Bike Month during April's Final Friday with an exhibit of Bike posters at Coffee Emporium. There was so much happening that night, it was a blast to go on a date with Bjet and see some art, a band playing at the Emery Theatre, and eating some killer food at Mayberry and A Tavola. I also wanted to say thanks to friends who have purchased some of my prints!

    This week is Bike to Work Week. I'm planning to bike commute every commute this week. I will report back with my experiences.

    Saturday, May 5, 2012

    Ready, Set, Go!

    Tomorrow will be the first marathon I have ever attempted. I've run 2.9 Half-Marathons but I know from my training that the marathon is a monster all it's own. I can't believe that I have been preparing for this day for about 6 months now! And in some ways this day has been years in the making, ever since the day a 205 lb Jimmy got a Nike+ for his birthday in November of 2006.

    1. Finish: All things aside, I need to make sure that I get to the end.
    2. Qualify for Boston: I need to run a 3:10 to do this. I'm not sure if the course or the conditions will allow me to complete this goal but I will give it my best shot.
    3. Run a 3:00 Marathon: Ha! I set this goal last year, but I know now that this is near impossible at this point in my life. Perhaps someday dreamer! When jet packs are legal...

    Start slow. I have to make sure that the heat and hills don't destroy me. I'm going to monitor my heart rate and make sure it doesn't get too high too early — gotta stay out of my zone 5 (somewhere around 164 bpm).

    So I am planning to run in the 3:10 pace group. Not sure what they are planning to do. Are they going to start slow too? So I plan to sit in the back, stay out of the wind. If they are running too hard for me I will allow myself to fall off in the first half of the race and

    I'm planning to use 3 bottles of GU Roctaine, a drink that not only has electrolytes but plenty of carbohydrates and over 200 calories per bottle. I also plan to use GU gels for any other calories I might need. Actually, I think I'm going to be drinking my calories from the time I wake up.

    Definitely using a recovery drink after the event. And making sure I dose myself with protein every few hours after.

    Tapering or Trashed?:
    In my training I pushed myself too hard and did not allow for more time to recover. Over months this added up to a lot of tight, twisted muscles in my legs. So a few weeks ago my quad would not stop hurting after workouts. I was worried my knee was starting to go. So a week ago I cut back training and began to rest. In fact, I haven't run in a week and a half because every training run re-injured my quad. Also, my calf muscles have also been tight as a fiddle.

    So this means about 3 weeks off from training (1 week rest for injury, 1 week rest before the marathon, and 1 week to recover). I hope this won't effect my second Mohican 100 attempt, but in some ways I think it's a blessing and hopefully my legs will be fresher and less prone to injury throughout this year.

    It's just frustrating to go into a big event and not feel your best. It really kills your confidence.

    I've been going to Norwood Chiropractic to see Doctors Yost and Ogden. They use Active Release Technique massage to work out all the kinks, twists, blood and lactic acid built up in my legs. They have been keeping me going for the past 3 years. Give them a try, they are life-savers!

    I've been using CEP compression socks to repair my calf muscles and to keep my legs fresh even on those days where I have to do a lot of standing. The compression increases blood flow and allows for muscles to be repaired quicker.

    I started carbo-loading, sodium-loading and hydrating days ago. I stopped drinking alcohol around last weekend too. I've been trying to consume anti-oxidents and omega-fats to make sure my muscles are at their best.

    I wish I did more core work as part of my training.  I've been doing yoga and some weights at home but I always feel like a strong core is beneficial to everyone, including endurance athletes.

    I wish I went to Pendleton Pilates this year. Their Pilates mat classes are fun and challenging and keep me at my most fit. I also never got to check out Elmntl Fitness, they offer cross-fit type exercises in an outdoor, natural environment.