Tuesday, February 26, 2008

colin's new favorite website

from http://www.hotchickswithdouchebags.com/

So he nailed the douchebag part, but isn't there someone missing in this picture?

cadence camp day 6, sunday

final hours in the lobby

I got up late, feeling like crap . . . and we were supposed to be on our bikes at 8, it was 7:10. Not much time to eat and digest and get my shit together. I was half hoping it was pouring out and instead the ride would be postponed. But the sun was out. I crawled down to breakfast and the team was already there. I ordered my pot of coffee and told the guy at the omelette station to make me the usual. The usual being an omelette with spinach, tomoatoes, onions, mushrooms, ham and cheese. I also had a bowl of oatmeal, plus berries and yogurt for later. OJ, and lots of coffee. I made the mistake of looking in the mirror on my way to breakfast. My eyes were puffy with deep circles. Damn, I looked like death.

Colin said that we were going to have a choice: ride at 9 in the rain or listen to a lecture that he and Brian were giving. Brian walked by as I was trying to figure out if I should blow off the ride. The pros of not riding: I would be able to relax, finish my breakfast, read, write, get my stuff together for the airport, listen to a lecture from 2 professional coaches, one of whom was a 3-time Olympian, and most of all rest my very tired legs. The cons: I could hate myself for not riding my final day in california.

“Brian” I said, “do you think I should ride? My TSB is about -57 right now….” I smiled. Then it occurred to me that several of us had been riding since Tuesday, perhaps we were all pretty smoked. “then again,” I said, “perhaps everyone’s TSB is pretty low right now—do you think?”

“Nah,” he said, “just a few people, maybe 3.”
“You mean 2 others and me?” nice. well actually it turns out that only 2 people plus a coach rode. The rest of us were tired and in no mood to ride 50 degree rain, which seemed inevitable at some point.

So the camp was over, I finished breakfast, stood outside while Colin demonstrated cornering, and then showed us what not to do by eating it cornering through a sandy puddle in the parking lot; giving himself an avocado-sized splash of California road rash across his hip and ruining a lovely new pair of Cadence cycling shorts. He had a nice gash on his elbow as well. Ouch. I will spare you all a picture of that. One thing he did NOT do when he went down was put his arms out, which is what you are supposed to do I learned (that is NOT put your arms out) since extending the arm is the fastest way to a broken collarbone. I can’t imagine sliding out on the road and not putting an arm out, although many times on the mountain bike my front wheel washed out so fast I did not have time to react at all. Falling in the woods is cake though, and so far I have never ever gotten road rash, which is pretty amazing since I spend 80% of my time on the road, something I need to change. I miss my Yeti!

After packing up we watched the final of the Tour, and headed to the airport. We took off in the Citation X, and Randy opened up the Veuve Cliquot and started pouring.

Then came wine, jack & coke for Jamie, beer, etc etc. Check out my most awesome omelette:

Try getting that on US Air. The way back was one big party, as we attempted to postpone that painful dose of reality that waited for each one of us, whether that entailed work, children, or other responsiblities we had the luxury of blowing off for 6 days . . .

The Citation X even managed to break the sound barrier at one point (an alarm went off) and we got into Dover, DE in 3 hours, 48 minutes. Here is the sunset over the left wing visible shortly after takeoff.

All in all I had an incredible 6 days. Great scenery, great food, great riding, great coaching, and most of all great comrades. I am learning my own limits now; not that I won't try and push them when I can, but when I can't I need to be proud of myself anyway.

It's really not all about the bike.

me and Laurel Wassner, pro triathlete and roommate, who gets paid to ride her bike . . .

cadence camp day 5, Tour of California

Saturday am the plan was to get up and ride to Moorpark, to watch the final major climb of the Tour of California at the VIP tent. First we met at a grassy field and played some bike handling drills.

Those were my favorite. We had to stay in a small square and try to knock each other off our bikes, keeping our hands on the bars and feet on pedals. The second time around I ended up winning. I guess this weekend it was all about the small triumphs.

Anyway, for the actual ride we met up with a large group leaving from Sundance Cycles down the road from the hotel, 2 vans with a change of clothes in tow. The sun came out and the scenery was beautiful, but the group was a little shaky and slow. We did separate from them towards the end and put in some hard efforts, one long hill and some speed work on the flats. My legs felt OK, I was keeping up pretty well but I knew I was in the hole and was just buying time.

When we got to the Amgen VIP area I changed into jeans and rode on my bike up this really steep climb with sneakers on , that was a bitch, I almost had to get off the bike and walk. A $25 donation to cancer later we were watching the tour from way up on the hill: check out this scenery:

The only problem was that is was cold up on the ridge and I was not dressed properly. After the barbecue a bunch of us walked down to the road to get closer to the action as the pros went by. That part was awesome!
the race leaders flanked by BigHairSuperFan

Afterwards we we changed back and headed home. Now the adventure begun. We were no longer riding with a local club, so we had to figure out a route back. Colin mapped something out, but we ended up missing a turn and doing an extra 6 miles or so. The sun wend behind a cloud and the wind blew harder, and it would start to rain on and off. We had 2 flats. We were getting cold and tired. I was off the back of the first group somehow, but way ahead of the second and third group, and suddenly I realized I had been riding alone for awhile, 3000 miles from any roads that I knew; my legs felt like lead and I was getting cold and tired. And I had heard a rumor that the people behind me were going to get home via van. Where did that leave me? I could not see the first group and I was getting tired of pulling into the headwind by myself. I was riding past beautiful pastures framed by a backdrop of verdant mountains but all I kept thinking of was a hot shower and some food that had once had a pulse. Meat that is. I felt like I could not choke down another bar or gel.

Finally all that pushing paid off because I managed to catch the lead group on Agoura Road a few miles before the hotel. I downed some yogurt, berries, granola, and a rice cake with peanut butter , took a shower followed by a stint in the hot tub with Laurel, Colin and Ken. We went back and forth from the pool to the hot tub in an attempt to get some circulation in the muscles. Then another hot shower. I knew I was not going to be good for much on Sunday, but it seemed a lot of the camp participants felt the same way, and the forecast for Sunday was rain rain rain, so there was a chance the ride would not go off on time anyway. good, more sleep.

Afterwards Ken, Colin, Laurel and I went to Padri for some Italian food and wine. I was dog tired, wondering how the hell I would ever make it up the Yerba Buena climb on Sunday. 9 miles of winding mountain road straight up into the clouds. I was in bed with the laptop, updating my training peaks and screwing around on my email. I was also trying to figure out why Max was so pissed off at me, but realizing finally that the web was offering me absolutely nothing to help solve this mystery, I finally put out the light.

Cyclingwise, today had not been bad. Actually taking into account watching the Tour, it was pretty awesome, but I have to say the ride home was something of a deathmarch at the end. It was only 72 miles all in all, but it felt like 120.

cycling fans are a bit odd . . .

Friday, February 22, 2008

cadence camp day 4, friday

Dianna addressing the group before the morning ride . . .

Today was my demise. Plain and simple. I could not hang with the lead group to save my life on the 2 mile climb leading up to the 3-mile uphill field test. I was just beat from the get-go. I was really upset about it but my legs refused to perform, and I had to be happy keeping my power between endurance and sub-LT. The same hill, Mulholland, that I tackled with confidence on Wedneday kicked my ass today. I was supposed to average about 209 on that climb, but instead I averaged 187. Afterwards when the groups split up I cut the ride short and headed back to the hotel with about 8 others. I really had no choice, because Brian said that I was tired and if I rested up I should recover for the weekend. I hoped he was right.

Back at the hotel I was visibly upset, which I guess is lame that I let my poor performance ruin my day, but then again I am on a cycling camp. I could be in Mexico somewhere sitting on a beach, but this week it was all about riding the bike. I think I squeezed out a couple of tears. Being the good friend that he is, Colin refused to leave me alone until I told him what was wrong. We looked at cyclingpeaks, and he reviewed what I had been doing for the past month. And he brought up my performance management chart. What it revealed was that I am in the hole right now, at -36 on the PMC. Colin says that when he is at -40 it is fruitless for him to even get out of bed, much less train. Those parameters might be different for me, but even so it explained a lot. S0, I need to recover a bit before the hard day tomorrow and Sunday. Recover . . . like take a few days off. Since that's not going to happen, I need to dig really deep, make the best of it, and try not to beat myself up too much.

Later it started to rain. We decided to bag the technique ride we were going to do and resume in the morning. So we sat in the lobby and reviewed everyone's power data, like a bunch of true cycling geeks. Sam's driver sat at the bar and watched TV. Sam, the other guy on the trip with a chartered jet, had a car follow us on the rides in case Sam could not hang. The rest of us just had to ride a little faster. Anyway, I typed away at my laptop and chatted away with Ken, the strongest rider of the camp participants, a marine, former White House staffer and EAS Body for Life winner in 2004. We both are coached by Mike Kuhn. He and a friend have produced a documentary, "Inspired," about all of the people they have helped lose weight, overcome disabilities and turn their lives around. It will be done in a few months and they are submitting to Sundance. You can watch the preliminary trailer here.

Ken gearing up to make Colin work for a living

Friday night was the big party at Jay & Terri Snider's house in Pacific Palisades. The party was enough to make you forget you sucked on the bike during the day. We were greeted warmly by our hosts and their staff, and ate and drank delicious food in front of a raging fire (it was 50ish, damn cold by Cali standarads) The party at Jay’s was interesting, not just because of the beautiful house, the 12-year old magician, the warm but elegant atmosphere, but also because I happened to mention to Jay about my perceived gluten intolerance. He told me Ed Snider, his father, has Celiac disease. He himself has stopped eating wheat gluten, and when Terri came over to join in the conversation she showed me all of the gluten-free items she had bought for Jay in her large walk-in pantry, which was about the size of my whole kitchen. Terri was such a vivacious, gracious host, and Jay such a stand-up great guy, that it really made you forget that the two of them had so much wealth. And I will never forget those chocolate-covered strawberries, the size and succulence of ripe plums. (yeah I made that word up)

the view from the rear patio

more photos here

cadence camp day 3, thursday

. . . so this was the day that it all caught up to me. It turns out that I have been riding a lot, and for the Thursday morning ride once my legs woke up I felt pretty good. It was not a true recovery ride, granted, but it's hard to do a true recovery ride on these hills. I took the truck and went out to lunch with Laurel, Colin, Deanna and Chad. We went to a Mexican joint and I had chicken and corn tortillas or something like that. Actually it was pretty crappy mexican food for Southern Cali. The best part of the joint was the bronze statue sitting outside on a park bench. Colin thought so too . . .
So I have to confess, I took and herbal appetite supressant in the am, as I often do these days in my attempt to get back down to my fighting weight. Perhaps this was why during the afternoon ride, which was the first ride of the camp (so the legs should have been fresh--techincally day 1, right?) I crashed and burned hard.
My legs were sluggish at first, and there was a large group of us. I was up in front chatting next to Brian pulling into a headwind and at first my watts hovered at the high end of endurance, then sub-LT, then that wind really started blowing and I was above 215 watts consistently, so I turned to Brian and said I was going to peel off. Nah, don't do that, our turn is just up ahead. Our turn? You mean the one that would take us to the base of the back side of the Mulholland climb, which we would do twice? Yeah, that one. We peeled off at the base, I was beat. I started at the back, but dropped back further as my bonk progressed. I could not recover and got to the top, hurting and annoyed with myself, and then we did it all again. It took me until the top of the second time around 'till I felt that characteristic pang that told me I was on dead empty. That's when I knew for sure that no matter how much I had eaten over the past week, no matter that I had ridden soon after lunch, I still had nothing left in the tank when I needed it. Crap, this nutrition stuff is my downfall.
Later while sitting in the hot tub with Colin, I confessed about the pill I took and he told me that that was crazy and I should be eating all that I can shove into my mouth for this trip.
"This isn't the Tour de France," I stammered.
"It doesn't matter. You aren't used to riding like this every day and you need the fuel. I bet you by the end of the week you will have lost weight."
Why are female athletes so f#@ed up about weight and body image? And I thought I was less obsessed about it than most.
For dinner I made my next mistake. I ordered a large macked-out Cali burger with all the fixins and curly fries. I had not eaten wheat in a couple of weeks, and I ate about half of that bun. Halfway through I started feeling sick. I don't know if it was the fries, the wheat gluten, or that large slab of medium rare cow but now it is 24 hours later and I still have a stomach-ache.
The day ended with me reading a book, my tail between my legs. Oh well, I guess I'm learning.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

cadence camp day 2, wednesday

aaahh, the wednesday morning ride . . . technically this camp does not even start until thursday afternoon but somehow . . . while analyzing my power data from the day, Colin said that my highest career mean maximal power for 15 minutes took place on the morning ride on February 20, 2008 at the Cadence Climbing Camp. Granted, that only includes recorded data, and I don't have power data for any of my mountain bike races, but still. Did I say the camp had not even started yet?
We had 2 good efforts, the first being a mile long climb, and I stayed with the strongest riders until the top (breathing hard, damn it) and then we did Mulholland, the 3 mile time-trial climb and again I felt strong and looked pretty good. I was relieved, I thought if I keep eating and sleeping well I might actually be able to ride hard 6 days in a row, or thereabouts. Even though I would be much happier if I were 4 lbs skinnier, but I am trying not to dwell on my recent weight gain . . .

We rode again in the afternoon, an easy spin, and the sun was shining. That was nice, because although Cali was beautiful last week this week was marred by showers and the threat of a deluge for the weekend. Afterwards Colin and I talked about nutrition in the hot tub, and hopefully not anything else incriminating, because I found out later that Randy's suite was right over the hot tub and he could hear everything that we were saying. Shit, what did we say?

By the evening more of our compatriots had arrived, and the other camp attendee with his own chartered jet, Sam, had offered to take 10 of us to Koi. He had a limo for 4 and the rest of us followed in Randy's rented Expedition. The journey to LA down the 101 and Laurel Canyon Drive was pretty cool. Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, it was all there, the city glimmering like a jewel under the clouds as a lunar eclipse unfolded above us.
Koi is a place to be seen in West Hollywood. It was a slow night I guess, as there were only 2 members of the Papparazzi standing out front, cameras in hand, glaring at us as we disembarked, so they could stick a camera in our faces at a moment notice if even for a lingering moment we resembled someone famous. Luckily for us we were nobodies, however, not knowing they were there I happened to ask Sam after the meal if his driver had arrived, and they both turned towards me as if I might be someone whose picture might fetch some coin. No dice. Damn, I'm giving'em away for free right here . . stay tuned. (The pictures, I mean)

The dinner at Koi was fabulous, we gave our waittress carte blanche to choose for us and to keep the dishes coming, and coming they did, until we could not ingest any more of the delicasies, as delightful as they were. As I was the sole chick in our party (see below) I did get my dinner paid for, however, as it turns out, there were others in the party who were not so lucky; that is to say, they were told that they were being treated to sushi LA-style, and instead were asked to anti-up a credit card or $260 when the bill finally arrived. Ouch.

this picture was taken before the check arrived--see? everyone is smiling and happy : )

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

cadence climbing camp day 1 (prologue)

and we are off to the airport . . . .

well day one started early, getting up at 6 to finish up stuff at home. For some reason for this vacation my shit was relatively in order, so I actually got some sleep. Chris came and picked me up from 3434 at 8, and 10 minutes later I was in Manayunk getting a latte at La Colombe and loading my suitcase and wheelbag into the waiting "limo", which had morphed into a Ford Expedition to accommodate all of our stuff. And the fun began. Woody, Jamie, Randy (our gracious host), myself and the driver were off the Dover, Delaware to meet up with Chad, Brian, Brian's wife Dana and the waiting private jet. Yes this was my chance to see how the other half lives, glimpses of which I had caught before, but this . . this was downright outrageous.

This was was the Citation X, a 28-million dollar jet and the fastest plane in the sky next to those of the military variety. It was originally built for the miliary and now was the preferred means of travel for the true "jet-set." The takeoff was a rush: I mean the thing just drove up into the sky with ferocity. We went vertical FAST, none of the gradual climbing of a heavy, lethargic jumbo airliner. We flew to California at 600 mph.

We had ordered lunch from a 10 -page menu a few weeks before and it was waiting for us when we boarded. I felt like I was back in grade school with all of the laughing that went on in that cabin. At one point we sprinted past a jet airliner, got within 1000 feet of it and passed it like it was standing still. Here is one of the views out of my window:

We sailed over the grand canyon, black mesa, Pike's Peak and dozens of other geographic landmarks at 43,000 feet. Your typical airline flight takes you to 30,000 feet. Most of the time it was clear so we kept the window shades up so we could enjoy the view. Anyway, we got to California, loaded up our rentals, and headed to Agoura Hills to the Marriott Renaissance hotel. Woody and Jamie went to work putting our bikes together, I finally got my room and dressed for our first ride. We did about 20 miles and hit a 3-mile climb. After a hard Pretzel on saturday, no riding for 2 days, and then a cross-country trip, my legs felt like dogshit for the first mile but mile 2 and 3 were much better; I settled into a rhythm and contemplated catching and passing Randy and Chad but then I remembered the camp had technically not even started yet, and I did not need to choke on day 4. The mountains around here are amazing, the 20 mile ride was just what we all needed to wake our legs and spirits.

Randy treated us to a nice Italian dinner and I managed to remain gluten-free which I have been attempting for the last month to see if it improves my asthma and allergies. I was back to the hotel and in bed by 9:30 local time. I tried to do some reading, since I have been engrossed in Max's book, but could not even hold my head up. When I woke in the am my hamstrings were tight, I used The Stick to roll them out a little before we head out again at 9:30. More pics here.