Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keepin' bizay

Last time you heard from me, I was preparing for a team mini-camp where we would be doing six big training days...I've never done huge mileage like that and was eager to see how my body reacted.  As luck would have it, I got slammed with a cold after 300 miles in 3 days.  I was already fatigued and then I got sick....

So I took 2 days of laying around, eating, and reading.  After that was done, I worked my way back into training. Meanwhile, I'd begun work on building out the inside of our team trailer to haul bikes...a lot of bikes.  It was a fun challenge with some tricky design constraints: 16 bikes, all on one wall of the trailer; leave room underneath for storage space; allow for time trial and road bikes in any position, and any size.  Lots of planning and some discussion with Devin later, I'd revised my design and got to work.
Devin and I have some experience with building out trailers with tight constraints.  Lee was a contributor as well.
50 man-hours and much sawing and welding later, it was done and in the trailer!

It's difficult to see how it really works, but I'll get a photo sometime with it fully loaded--I'm just so excited that it works!

With that done, I needed to truly rest for a bit.  I still had (and have) a lingering cough from the cold but am over it otherwise.  My body recovered well and it was time to hit the road for San Dimas Stage Race in California.

Day one of the trip ended with an overnight stay in Las Vegas.  I'd only been through Vegas before and never really saw it up close.  After 16 hours in the road we were pretty wiped out, so we had dinner at the 24 hour restaraunt next to the casino in the hotel (we stayed at the Tuscany, just off the main strip).  Half of the team went to bed right after dinner, and the other 4 of us decided to forgo the gambling and just walk about the strip and see what it was all about.

Lots and lots of colors and things going on as I expected, but it was hard to enjoy any of it because every ten feet you had to walk around a newstand filled with flyers for hookers and guys standing on every streetcorner trying to hand you flyers for hookers.  The ground is literally covered in playing cards of hookers.  Gotta catch 'em all...std's, that is.  Every other car on the strip is a driving billboard for callgirls, and every person that isn't moving is waiting to tell you they have a limo waiting to take you to a strip club.

I will say that the water show in front of the Bellagio is pretty spectacular, though. I just kept thinking of the Ocean's movies. The rooms were unbelievable at the hotel.  $43 for the night for each room, and they had two double beds in a suite that is double the size of a normal big suite.

The following morning we went back to the restaurant for their breakfast special: 2 big flapjacks, 2 eggs, hashbrowns, and a 6oz steak for $7. 6 out of the 8 of us got the special, and a few hours later John was returning his to a plastic bag in the van...the best we can figure is that his steak wasn't so great.  He was over it later that evening, though.

After getting to our host house on Tuesday, we rode around on the circuit course. It should be a pretty crazy race, but very scenic.  We got dozens of catcalls and hoots on our ride, apparently cyclists aren't very common around here...especially not 8 identically dressed cyclists riding together.

Tuesday was Adam's birthday, so he got to choose the dinner spot.  He chose a sushi place.  I've wanted to try sushi for a while, so I jumped in.  4 of us got the all you can eat buffet, and we dominated it.  Over the course of an hour, we had about 60% of the menu, and ordered the next round as each one was brought to the table to keep it coming.  By our calculations, we each ate $50 in sushi for $22.  Good stuff!

Then we went grocery shopping.  Arrgh!  Prices are insane!  Just one example that is characteristic of everything here: V8 juice in Texas and Colorado is $ it is $4.60.  Holy catfish, Batman!

Yesterday and today we rode the time trial course for some practice.  It's only 3.8 miles long, but climbs 1100 feet. I'm glad I've shed a few pounds over the past few weeks! (Yes, Mom, I'm still eating enough).  On an all-out practice run on the course with two full bottles, heavy wheels, and not knowing the course well, I put up a fast time.  So when my bike has been dropped to a barely-legal 15lbs with some race wheels and taking off every unnecessary item (goodbye, bottlecages) and with better pacing, I've got high hopes for this time trial (and the whole race in general).

Side note, it feels good to make progress! The power I'll be putting out for 13-14 minutes in the time trial tomorrow is what I was able to sustain for 4-5 minutes a year ago.

Another side note: my Uncle Bear will be coming out to see me race for the first time.  It's always fun to have family and friends watch you race, but he especially has been one of my biggest supporters for years now.

Now then, to distract myself enough from thoughts of the time trial to fall asleep easily tonight... Oh, and I race at 5pm pacific time tomorrow, 7pm for my Texas readers.