Monday, September 26, 2011

i am a weed

driving to work the other day and while waiting at a set of traffic lights i found myself gazing at a bunch of weeds. i dont know why but it occurred to me that i am a weed.  not just any weed but a weed like this one.  it had the most amazing flowers.  which is great but it is still a weed. 

it is magpie season.  this brings back memories of trying to swat them away with my hockey stick walking home from school.  it is not too bad being attacked while you are on the bike. as long as you see them coming (the shadow can give them away) and you are wearing a helmet.  you usually move out of their zone pretty quick too.  wouldnt like to get caught out when running.  they are the smartest bird and actually recognise people.  apparently they only attack strangers.

this week there has been two shark sightings around the busselton jetty.  one (a great white apparently) was seen trying to grab a free feed out of someones crab net.  they closed the beach.  we are coming into the migration season so not a good time to go swimming.  i read the other day that during the attack that occurred down port kennedy the shark was seen swimming off with the victim in his mouth.  fuck.  i am not reading this shit anymore. 

it is only 27 days until the cape to cape mountain bike adventure.  a few days ago i suddenly realised (i think after reading the course description) that this is going to be four days of very hard riding.  i need to get some miles into these legs.  my training goal has been to get my base hours up to 10 per week in an average build week.  generally i have done this.  i have been riding to work a bit and got in 200k this last week.  this week i want to ride three days in a row.  60k friday, 40k mtb saturday and 100k sunday. 

i am really excited about this adventure.  i changed my mind about camping.  too much to worry about so i booked into a nice bed and breakfast in margaret river.  i have also decided against attending the functions at the winery and brewery (friday/saturday night) as i will need every little bit of rest i can get.  stage 1 is 40k with a 4k hill climb to start and a 1.5k ride along the beach at low tide included.  stage 2 is 60k, stage 3 - which is meant to be the most challenging is 50k and  stage 4 is another 60k.  i hope to get some great photos along the way and will right up a blog report as i progress.

casey girl is at the vets today getting a disfiguring wart removed from her pretty face.  a $480 wart.  how expensive are these vets.  gotta go pick her up. 

have a great week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dwellingup 40k MTB Race Report 2011

last year this was my first ever official mountain bike event.  i was over the moon to complete the course and at that point in time the most challenging event i had taken on.  this year they did make changes to the course - due to rain damage and to make improvements (although i thought the course was terrific anyway).  they put in more single track which is not my strength and not good for me.  still - the course was excellent. 

events on saturday are a bit annoying as you need to switch your focus from the working week straight to the race.  you need to be organised.  however one advantage is that you do get sunday to recover.  dwellingup is 90 minutes from home and for the first 30 minutes i was in a bit of a panic that i hadnt left home early enough.  i really hate being late.  however i arrived at 8 a.m. (as planned) and had plenty of time to get organised before the 9 a.m. race start.  had green day blasting on stereo which is perfect mountain biking tunes.  i felt the need to be wearing black with skulls and some anti-establishment slogans. 

the weather was perfect and while we would avoid getting wet the track was very wet and muddy.  this did not work in my favour.  i started at the back of the pack and amongst 299 males and 36 females.  very male dominated sport.  the first few kilometres are on easy fire trail and lets you get comfortable and sorts out the pack a bit.  then comes a major downhill.  probably the steepest for the day and it was very muddy.  i walked it last year and due to the mud decided that was the best course of action again.  sadly a girl got caught up in the hype and her day was over before it really began. 

for the first 20k it is a combination of leg busting hill climbs and terrifying downhills with some rolling fire trail to recover.  the 'big bertha' climb was still in and i saw one guy slowly crawl up it on his bike.  there was a new hill called 'blame decy' which i did climb while everyone around me pushed their bikes up.  i did this quite  a few times and was really stoked at my progress.  my legs really hung in there.  however i still suck at single track.  from about the 20k mark to 30k mark the majority is single track.  easier than the rocky outcrops of kalamunda but steep twisting turns and very, very muddy.  i started off quite well but then was passed by quite a few people.  i came off twice.  if i was a guy i would have done some painful package damage but the new extra padded bike shorts were a crutch saver.  then i skidded out in the mud and landed in a prickle bush.  ouch.  it was like pulling out cactus spikes.  i was really disappointed in myself.  next year i am going to get some instruction. 

the last 10k is big climbs and downhill fire trail.  here i managed to catch up with alot of people.  this is when the legs feel it and your true fitness is tested.  i swear as soon as we hit the road and the last 2k back to dwellingup oval i passed 15 people.  i rode like i was on my road bike.  i flicked the rock shotz thingy and peddled like mad.  it is a bit cruel because while you may be back on the road it is still an uphill climb. 

bit disappointed that my time is pretty much the same as last year but the course is different so i will take my placings as a comparison instead.  and this i am stoked about.  okay last year i was overall 251/328.  this year i was 232/335.  for gender i was 35/38 last year and 9/36 this year - MASSIVE improvement.  for age group i was 12/17 last year and 7/16 this year.  interesting fact - of the top ten 7 were in my age group of 40-59.  only 1 girl in the 19-39 group was above me.  GO the old girls.  the winning time for the girls was 2.32.49.  my time was 3.30.38.

trievents are putting together these great youtube clips for all events now so enjoy !  p.s. the riders climbing up big bertha are probably the 100k riders (who btw finished in approx 4.5 hours yikes !).


Monday, September 12, 2011

the glades cyclosportif byford 80k ride

this ride is organised by and is part of a five series of events.  i did the first event at waroona and really enjoyed it.  as mentioned before it is not a race but a team event that encourages people to participate at whatever level and have a great day out.  no pressure right ! 

i was again with the individual team (for the people who have no friends) and two of the guys from waroona were entered again.  i was surprised that they still didnt have a team.  then there were two new guys and me.  the lone chick again. 

the ride starts in byford which is about 45 minutes south of home.  it would be a 40k out and back with the turn around at the serpentine dam.  the first 20k was flat before reaching what was described as undulating and hilly.  we would then turn around at the dam and head back. 

serpentine dam
i figured that the guys would just dump me from the start and i would be on my own again.  but for the first 20k we actually rode together.  the two guys from the waroona ride really put the pressure on (me) when they were at the front but i managed to hang on averaging around 35-40k per hour until we reached the hills.  i dont know if i tested my legs a bit too much trying to keep up at the start but this was a tough ride in as much as i really pushed myself.

i have also come to accept that i have terrible bike skills.  i knew this deep down but i have been trying to avoid the reality of it.  i cant change gears correctly when it comes to hill riding.  i get out of sync and lose cadence.  i get lazy and try to avoid changing.  i also lose some of the free time on the downhills because i dont relax and i tend to put the brakes on - my max speed did reach 50.4 km p/h which i think is my quickest yet.  three of the four guys had disappeared but james - who said he was a bit under done for the ride was kind enough to stay with me.  he has a great deal of riding and bike experience and was excellent for advice. he said he was hoping to finish the ride in under three hours and we were pretty close to that so hopefully he still enjoyed the day.  most of the time he was slightly in front but i worked hard to stay on his wheel - especially through the windy flats coming back into byford.  my legs were rooted.  the weather was an absolutely fantastic and a gorgeous spring day.  it did get a bit warm out there but i loved it.

hope the guy behind me is giving me the thumbs up on my excellent biking skills !
the organisation was brilliant and while it was not closed roads all the intersections were manned and they had a drink station at the top the of the first climb which was great to see.  i didnt stay for the meal but headed home straight after.  i had lawns to mow and pavers to move.  in bed by 9 pm.  check out the elevation from mr. garmin.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

city to surf 12k race report 2011

this is the biggest running event for perth and the third time for me.  42,000 people converge on the city to either do the full marathon, half marathon or the traditional 12k.  i was meant to do the half this year but my running was all over the place and i couldnt consistently follow the training programme.  so i switched to the 12k and thought i would just go out and enjoy it.  and take my camera.

The Esplanade - Foreshore

My camera does weird things.  The Bell Tower.

this has never happened in the history of the race but this year a 30 year old man suffered a heart attack at the finish line after completing the half marathon.  he died.  he was fit and active.  it really pays to go and get checked out for any unknown defects.  it turned out to be a really warm day.  that may not have helped when  people push themselves beyond what they may have trained for.  he wasnt the only one who required medical help.

for an event this size the organisation is pretty good.  however sometimes they do screw up.  last year the lead bike for the half marathon took them on the wrong course and the front runners had to double back.  this year the announcer stuffed up the wave starts.  they have four waves for the 12k.  priority and then 1,2, and 3.  this is then followed by the 12k walkers.  it is based on your expected finish time.  most people lie.  within wave 1,2, 3 and walkers they have sub-waves A and B.  so the announcer calls all people in wave A to make their way up to st georges terrace rather than 1 - A.  and just like sheep people followed.  i was in wave 2 - A and ended up having to run past walkers, ladies with prams and people who just should not have been there.  it was ridiculous. 

the first k is up st georges terrace and then past kings park.  this is the first of three hill sections.  people madly dash away at the start and you catch up as they run smack into the hill.

Looking back down St Georges Terrace

Heading up to the first hill at Kings Park.
once i got past the pram pushers i started having fun.  i was running easily and it felt great.  on friday i had suffered a really bad episode of gastro (i know - gross) and had struggled to eat anything since.  i was worried i wouldnt have the energy.  last year i crushed my previous time by 12 minutes and i was secretly hoping to come close to my PB which meant an average 5.30 pace. allowing for time off for taking photos i found myself running quite quickly.  after the first hill it is downhill from kings park before turning and heading for hay street.  at this turn there is a short cut behind a house and while it isnt a huge deal i cant believe people take it.  it is cheating - you are not on the official course.  this happens again at perry lakes.  around here i was running a 5 minute pace.  yikes.      

Looking down Hay St
 Hay st is a gradual downhill before becoming level.  this is a fun part as there are alot of spectators and the atmosphere is awesome.  but you know that as soon as this part comes to an end you are faced with heartbreak hill.  this is selby street and you can see it coming - the mass swarm of people crawling up it like ants.  i have never walked this hill and even waited till i got to the top to take a photo.  clean record.

Here comes Heartbreak Hill

There goes Heartbreak Hill.
 after this the course heads down to perry lakes.  last year they changed the course so the half marathon runners went the old way and the 12k runners headed through the park.  however it was very confusing  with people going both ways so this year they fenced it off really well and it worked.  but again people cut through the park instead of following the designated path.  cheaters !  this section is always really hot as you are tucked behind the hills and no breeze at all.  this is where i hit the wall at the 8-10k mark.  i just didnt want to run anymore and had this incredible urge to just stop and sit down.  as you come out of the park you are confronted with the three sisters.  a group of hills that dont look big but i find worse than heartbreak hill and for ages i thought this was heartbreak  with the change of course the first hill hits you as soon as you come out of the park and it is now a longer section.  at this point everything caught up with me a  bit and i slowed the pace.  i kept reminding myself that as soon as i was done with these hills it was all downhill and i could unleash and i ran the last k in under 5 minutes. 

the finishers.
taking everything into account i went okay.  my official time was 1.09.31 while my garmin moving time (which does not include the time taken out for photo opportunities) was 1.07.48.  only a minute off my time from last year.  gotta be happy with that !