Sunday, September 21, 2008

This summer has given me an entirely different perspective to racing. I have gotten to watch a few races and see the lead group (and following groups) go through - especially at the O2S and Chequamegon. I won't get to see that again once I am able to race again. Watching from the sidelines is ok, but I would much rather be racing. As long as I am able to get my exercise in for the day, watching is fine. But, if I cannot exercise then I get really crabby. I have gotten to see Scott race quite a bit this summer, so that has been good. I am especially glad that he is able to race and not DNF! He is still trying to get his full health back from being overly exposed to cat allergens for too many years, but he is coming around and can even pull a desent result when unable to train much or not feeling that great. I am still hoping his best results will come yet in the season, although there are only a few races left.

Scott raced the final MNSCS race in the series held in St. Cloud yesterday. After a bit of deliberation, we decided I wouldn't be going into full blown labor anytime soon (I was hoping, but sure if he didn't go the baby wouldn't come. She didn't come anyway). He didn't feel that great during the race and actually crashed once, hit a tree and reopened his hip wound from last weekend, and struggled a bit the first few laps in the singletrack. We don't have fast big ring singletrack like that in Duluth so it took him a bit to get used to the course as he didn't preride. He still finished fifth which he was pleased with given his mishaps, how much riding he has been able to do lately (he was fighting a cold earlier in the week), and how he felt during the race. Thankfully, Kyia's friends were nice enough to give him water hand-ups. It was 80 + degrees during the race. (Back in Duluth the high may have hit 60 with cold winds off the lake).

Our baby is still incubating and I have to remind myself that although I am not that comfortable, she isn't due until the 26th. We have been given so many due dates, but I think that one is the most accurate. We are both anxious and I have had enough false labor (braxton hicks) that something should start happening soon. I hope so anyay. I tried to ride my trainer last week - I made 7 minutes before I had to pee, and then 8 more after that until my belly just had had enough. My belly hangs too low to bike comfortably anymore. I rode outside for the last time on the 8th - which isn't too bad all things considered. I would need my bars to be higher to ride again and unfortunately we have maxed out my steer tube and riser bar combination height. If we lived on a good road, I would have invested in a cruiser. Trek makes some really nice cruiser bikes. Unfortunately, our road is gravel in one direction and full of pot holes and an 8-9% grade 6' uphill (15' walking) to get to better roads in the other direction. I am still hiking, walking, and lifting weights. As long as I get out everyday I feel pretty good about the day. I am excited to ride my bike again! Even to go running would be nice. I tried to take a few jogging steps (maybe shake the baby out a bit?) yesterday, but flight was non-obtainable. My legs just don't work like that right now. Hopefully, baby will come soon!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Since I got to see the Chequamegon from the sidelines this year, I decided to post Scott's race recap that he sent to our Team Manager, Chris Shaw. I'll post more later, but Scott had quite the eventful day and Trek had a great showing. Read on.......

The Chequamegon Fat Tire 40 is the race to do in the Midwest. For many people, it is the only race they do all season. The festive atmosphere begins on Friday and runs all the way through the weekend. Ken Derico even brings in the big Trek trailer full of demo bikes for everyone to gawk at (and ride when the weather permits) and get a sneak peak at what to expect for the upcoming season. It’s basically a big party with a bike race going on at the same time.

Since Sara is ready to have the baby at any moment, we decided to head down the morning of the race. We pulled in to our usual spot and met up with Chris Shaw and the boys. It was an overcast day and a little chilly, although nothing like last year’s sub 32 degree morning temps. All the usual suspects and many more out of towners showed up for the big show and appeared ready to go. This race always attracts some big names and this year did not disappoint: Jonathan Page and Trek Factory riders Ross Schnell and Lea Davidson showed up to give the local heroes a run for their money.

The worst part about the Chequamegon is the start because there are so many racers in such a small area. One would think that this amount of congestion would chill racers out a bit, but for some reason just the opposite happens. We were 30 seconds into the race when I heard a tremendously loud grinding noise, rubber screeching, yelling, etc. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see Aric Harland’s cross bike come flying at me. My unsuccessful bunny hop attempt over his bike left me bruised, bloodied and confused. I quickly remounted only to realize my front tire burped about 15 pounds of pressure out. I drilled it and almost fell again attempting the left hand corner onto to Highway 77 since my front tire was almost flat. I wanted to get to Rosie’s Field before stopping, but I lost the rest of the air once I hit 77 and had to stop. I couldn’t get my air to work and began running down the road pushing my bike and yelling for a pump, co2, etc. A kind Duluthian stopped to help but his air wouldn’t work either so I began running and hollering again. Thankfully the course is littered with people that live in the area and as I was running and hollering for air, a spectator that lives on 77 said he had a floor pump in his garage. Next I find myself sprinting down this gentleman’s driveway to get to his pump. Of course, I couldn’t get the bead to seat right away and once I did I noticed a small hole in my tire. Thankfully the sealant kept the air in and my race was once again underway. As I re-entered the course I looked left for riders and I can honestly say I didn’t see any. However, looking up the road all I could see was a plethora of jerseys. I must have been darn near dead last and fully aware that my hopes for a good finish were long gone.

Thoughts of dropping out popped into my head for a moment, but I realized that I’d have to ride all the way to Telemark anyway so I might as well finish. It was surprisingly easy to pass people on the Birkie trial and gravel roads, but extremely difficult on the four-wheeler trail. I’m also thankful that Sara waited, and waited and waited for me, because without the water bottle hand-up I would have been in big trouble. Thanks Sara! Needless to say, it was a 40 mile time trial for the entire race and I was smoked by the end. It was a bummer that I didn’t have a result to show for such an effort, but that’s how racing goes sometimes.

Lea rode like the rock star she is and won the race handedly. Mike Simonson had another crash but was able to work his way up to 11th which is quite impressive. Jesrin ended up 20th in the 40 but managed to WIN the Sunday Funday crit. Ross and Zach Vestal both finished around the top 30 and it sounded like they had a good time.

Thankfully the bone-chilling, pounding rain held off until 2:00 or so, but it did put a damper on the festivities. Sara and I got to hang out at the Trek tents and chat. It was fun meeting Ross, Lea and Zach and hearing about some of their adventures this past season. My only win(s) on the day came in the form of a Rummycube game against Chief, Doug and Bob and trouncing Doug in a game of Ms. Packman!

A big thanks goes out to Gary Crandall and his crew for putting together such an organized event. Once again, thanks to Trek for their support and for the HUGE donation to the single track trail construction project that is underway from Hayward to OO! Trek goes out of its way to give back to the cycling community and I am thankful!

Jesrin and I will be heading to St. Cloud for the last MNSCS race of the year this weekend as long as Sara doesn't go into labor within the next 12 hours or so.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My baby belly is getting bigger! We are 37 weeks as of this past Thursday. Thankfully, Chris sent me this new T-shirt that fits! I have finally come back around after having a bad last week. I was exhausted and had to sleep a ton from last thursday until this past thursday. I was having braxton hicks contractions on and off most of the day, with some waking me up at night, but they were not strong enough to be the 'real thing' nor close enough apart to overly concern me. I couldn't exercise much and thus have not ridden my bike in two weeks. I hope to go for a ride this weekend. Hopefully, it will stop raining!

I wasn't able to join Scott at Maplelag last weekend. Riding in a car is not comfortable and four hours one way was out of the question. My belly is too big. I was glad he finished the race. His first two of three laps was not very good for him as he felt like he couldn't race. This race went a bit better than the Border Battle the previous weekend in that he started to come around sooner and able to finish strong. His third lap he was racing, before that just trying to turn the pedals. He would like to race in Rhinelander tomorrow. He is still trying to find someone willing to go with him. Seems most people stop racing this time of year, or are taking the weekend off from racing prior to the Chequamegon, or preriding the Chequamegon racecourse this weekend. I would love to go with him, but four hours one way again is out of the question. I was just shot after traveling to and from the border battle (had tons of contractions and was exhausted the next day).

My last OB appointment went better than the one before it (I had lost 4# and 1 cm the previous visit). Now I am back up 1# and regained some of my belly girth. I was so tired and probably dehydrated the previous week (it was really hot and I was very busy with work). This last ultrasound the baby was totally fine (passed her biophysical profile with flying colors) and although my amniotic fluid is low normal range, it was up a bit from the previous visit. I have never been so nervous and concerned about baby. I have not had any problems the entire preganancy (except for the normal stuff - like heartburn, dizziness upon standing, etc) until that bad week.

We'll see when baby decides to make her grand entrance into the world. I keep telling her to 'take it easy on mom' during birth. We read to her at night - we are reading a great book called Peter and the Flying Starcatchers by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson. It is a 5th/6th grade level book (or so). And I rub my belly a lot. I like to share with others when she is moving - especially Scott, but my coworkers and friends also. It is fun to share her with others.

Otherwise, I am harvesting our garden vegetables. I planted way too many carrots this year. I have frozen 6 # or so of shredded carrots and now make a mean carrot cake. (And still have more to harvest). I'd love to grow all our vegetables for the summer and fall. I've got a way to go.