Tales from the Saddle

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Tune-Up!

Its true--I'm a triathlete. This morning I completed my first triathlon in Manassas, VA at the Tune-Up Tri, an itty, bitty tri, whose purpose was to help me gain confidence with my new swim skills.

Back in November, a guy I was sort of dating suggested that I should do a triathlon. I was all for it, but noted that the fact that I'd spent the last half of my life with my head purposely above water might hinder my performance. But with his and others help, I learned how to swim, decently.

For the past 5 months, I'd been in a regular routine of running in the mornings and lifting, ab work and swimming in the evenings and some limited cycling on the weekends. At most, I thought that I'd learn to swim and get toned for the upcoming spring cycling season, but the results surprised me. I have lost 15 pounds, dropped 3 sizes and developed a flat tummy. A very nice bonus to what I needed to do anyway to get ready for spring and this tri. As the guy and I parted ways, but I kept focused and leaned on others to help me tweak my stroke appropriately.

On Saturday, Nicole was kind enough to lend me her tri shorts and tri tank, so that I would be comfortable and show my Velo Bella colors with pride. She also gave me some helpful tri-tricks about number belts and where to lay my helmet and shoes, so that I'd transition efficiently. With her support and enthusiasm, I was excited to race!

The Tri would be raced in reverse. It consisted of a 1.5 mile run, 4 mile bike and a 250 yard snake swim, where I'd start in lane 1 and finish in lane 10.

This morning I arrived and went to work setting up my transition area. I warmed up with a nice run and took advantage of my rookie status and interviewed all those experienced triathletes around me. I learned a lot and took it all in.

I ran with my fellow 25-29 year old women competitors (my first race as a 29 year old, despite the fact that I won't be 28 until July!). The run went well. I paced myself alongside another woman, so it just seemed that I was with my morning running buddy and we had agreed to push the pace. From there, I got on the bike, with little difficulty maneuvering my running shoes off and cycling shoes on. We weren't allowed to get on our bikes until we crossed a designated mount line. While others ran alongside their bike, I threw my bike over my shoulder and got into cross mode and ran as best I could in road shoes!

Though I'd not been on my bike in a few weeks (or more!), it was just as I remembered. With such a short distance, I was focused on keeping a high cadence and it worked. I put the hammer down and picked off everyone in front of me and managed not to be overtaken by anyone the entire time.

From there, it was time for the swim. The run from the parking lot into the pool was surreal. Was it really almost over? It gone by so quickly and I was loving it. I'd not had anytime to fret over the swim.

I pulled on my swim cap and positioned my goggles and slid into the pool (no diving allowed, which was great, since I'd not yet learned that skill). It was hard. Not hard as in that I didn't think I could do it. Just hard in that it was entirely less graceful than I thought it would be. I had to instead settle for the splashing and chaos, but I managed. I swam strong, but took my time. I didn't want to panic myself and ruin the experience. It's very likely that all those that I passed on the bike, passed me in the swim, but I didn't mind.

I finished and I was sad that it was over. I wanted to savor it. So, suffice it to say, I'm hooked. I can't wait to do another one. It's exciting to think of myself outside the realm of cyclist. I will continue to improve my swimming and look forward to learning how to dive and do a flip turn. Until then, I will also race on the road as planned.

Thanks again for all your support. I look forward to racing with all the Bellas this spring. Go Bellas!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

So I've been in a post-breakup, your ex-boyfriend's being sent to war, and now you're suddenly single at 28 after 4 years of a relationship in which I compromised way too much of myself, but he's still my best friend funk. We broke up in April. I haven't touched the road bike much since. Sure, there's been the occaisonal ride here and there, and though I felt a rush of adrenalin on the bike, I lacked severely the motivation, inspiration and dedication to get back on that bicycle (figuratively and literally).

Being that the Quicksilver is a local race, I decided that, training or no training, I would race in the hopes that I would remember how wonderful it was to race, even if I did have a flare for coming in last.

Everything went according to plan, which means I didn't get lost, allowed plenty of time to register, warm up, ride the course and generally feel like I was in control. I'd ridden this course many times before as I'd been racing the QS since 2004. At the start, I stayed with the pack for 3 or 4 laps and then slowly fell away from it. To be expected, afterall my training had only included sleeping in, crying and the occaisonal post-break up fling (I am only human, for christ sake...). Truth be told, though I was racing hard, I enjoyed the solitude of my laps chasing the girl who also fell off the pack. It gave me to time to think, build my confidence and just be. After about 3 laps I caught the girl and we worked together. Thankfully she appreciated the art of endurance and we took turns leading each other around. I depise the girls who expect me to sprint to keep on their wheel when I should be drafting. Besides I was born to be a domestique and rather enjoy pulling someone. It makes me feel useful.

Anyway, after being lapped twice by the pack, I began to wonder if Velo Bella would understood what they had gained by adding me as a teammate. On our final lap, I broke from the girl who'd been pulling me and caught the wheel of those who'd been left behind by those in the pack who sprinted up the last hill. I followed their trail to achieve the slightest of ego-boosts provided by not coming in last.

It was a good race. and I think it worked. I am hoping to race this weekend in Richmond and possibly on Sunday at the RFK Crit. I'm still finding it hard to train during the week but hopefully I'll emerge soon from the self-imposed no-good, very bad funk.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hagerstown Challenge

So there was an impetetus behind this weekend's race. A well-admired former high school history teacher of mine teaches at a private school outside of Hagerstown. Now that I also work at a private school, we've reconnected (our schools are athletic rivals). I'd let him know late in the week that I may be in his area for a race on Saturday. It's been several years since I've seen him, although we kept in touch while I was in college, I gave myself the goal of racing so that I might have the opportunity to visit with him.

Keep in mind, after completing (barely) the Fitchburg Longsjo stage race a week ago, I was facing the so-called wall and lacking some motivation to get back on the bike. However, it's my favorite time of year--the Tour de France is on 24-7 in my house, on my pc, on my phone. If those guys can do what they do so well, I can get my ass on a bike and race for 45 minutes. So I drove up to H-town and zipped around the course. It was a combined 3/4 field, something I am getting used to. I was encouraged by the results of the Bryan Park Circuit Race from a few weeks before, so I wasn't dreading the race--I just wanted it to be over.

The course had some peculiar corners and some interesting lines to say the least. The first few laps went pretty well and I remained with the pack. A small group fell off the back soon after and we worked together as best we could. Despite a good warmup, it took my legs several laps to get into the zone and it didn't last too long. I rode strong, averaging 20 mph, but my legs were tired. I followed the chase group, about 10-15 seconds behind them. I was working hard, so it didn't bother me too much.

Alas, a last place finish, but at least it was over. I am a little discouraged, as I was trying to make it a season of no last places, but so far I've got a 10-3 record. And the season isn't over yet. This coming weekend it's the Cobblestone Crit and the VA State TT Championships. That will satisfy my 15 race requirement, but my road season lasts until mid-september with a few more races lined up before I seque to cross! I can only hope that all this road racing is preparing me mentally and physically for another go at the A races in the fall.

Enough already, right? How was the history teacher, you wonder? Just as I remembered him--only a little older and greyer, but as charming, captivating and entertaining as always!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fitchburg Longsjo Day 3

July 1, 2006

Today was the hardest race I've ever done. But before I begin my tale, I would like to report that I didn't come in last in yesterday's circuit race. As dumb luck would have it, I came in 60th (out of 78) and my rank in the GC
was 73rd at the end of Day 2.

Today, however, I am sure that I am right back at the bottom. At 9am Cat 4 men, Juniors, Men 35+ and Womens 3/4 set off on a road race up/down Mt Wachusett. Women 3/4 was racing 4 laps of a 11.4 mile course. It began downhill and wound along a nice rolling 5 miles. Then it was all uphill. a nice steep climb separated the men from the boys, so to speak, right away. I slipped to the back of the pack and then slipped away completely. But that was not unexpected. After climbing the hill we rounded the corner onto another off-cambor hill that gave way to a neutral feed zone and some flatter, welcomed terrain. Back at the top of the mountain I descended until the 1km King of the Mountains then tucked myself into a nice aero position that sped me 40 mph down the mountain and back around again.

My legs felt very strong and were very helpful in leading me up and down mountains all day. Four laps later, as I came back to the top of the mountain, the course lead me into the state park where a 2 mile ascent from hell awaited me. This was the only part of the course that I had not been able to drive, as it was a service road only accessible to state park officials. it proved itself to be the most treacherous soul-sucking experience of my life. The finish line was up there somewhere, but not close enough. As I slowly climbed (my road bike is blessed with a triple ring and I ran out of gears on this climb), I couldn't believe how I'd make it up to the summit. however, I did--with great support from other competitors and spectators alike. Without them, I might be still on that hill!

So I finished 46 miles in 3 hours 18 minutes. I don't think I made the cut to compete in tomorrow's final stage--a criterium. The women's winner completed the course in 2 hours 33 minutes. However it doesn't really matter as I had already planned to leave on vacation to the Hamptons! But, if it turns out that I did qualify, I might think about staying around, just to say I did it all! Regardless, this was a fantastic race with great planning and fabulous, friendly roadies from all over. I might just do it again next year!!

Thank you all for your wonderful words of support--It helped more than you know!

Fitchburg Longsjo Stage Race Day 1 & 2

June 29-30, 2006

As many of you know, I've been in Massachusetts since Monday. Planning back in March for a conference in June in Boston, a quick Bikereg.com search revealed the 4-day stage race known as Fitchburg Longsjo. Longsjo was an athlete from Fitchburg, MA (where the race is held) who was the first athlete to compete in both the summer (cycling) and winter olympics (speedskating) in the same year! The Fitchburg Lonsjo has been won by Lemond, Phinney, Armstrong and Hamilton in years past, letting the race promote itself as the race that paves the way to France! Listening to the latest news, perhaps this is the race that leads you to controversy, as wel!

Anyway, the race started on Thursday morning with a time trial/prologue. A short 6.2 mile course of gradual inclines that ends a quarter up the way of Mt. Wachusett. There was no hold at the start and I was immediately faced with a head wind and an immediate incline. I think the race bible indicated that we would climb 500 ft over 6.2 miles.

Despite a good warm-up, hydrate, etc. I didn't find my legs until it was too late. I also didn't want to spend too much shifting and lose my place in the aero bars, so I messed up strategically by staying too long in my middle ring before the imminent climb at the end. My time was good for me at 22:16 but put me in 82nd place (read: DFL).

Day two was a circuit race around the campus of Fitchburg State College. A 3.2 mile course that women 3/4 would have to ride 7 times. My dad accompanied me to the race (it would be the first time he'd see me race)! I warned him this is where that unconditional love would come in handy, as I couldn't promise a great race! I stayed in the middle of the pack on the first lap where the top 10 in the GC lead us around comfortably. The pack blew up, or rather my place in the pack blew up shortly after rounding the final corner of the course: a rather intense climb. I fell to the back trying to stay on the others that also fell off the pack. However, soon
enough I found myself riding solo. However, I kept a good tempo and worked on my cadence. After the hill, the course was great will fast corners that helped give a much needed push. Each time I climbed the hill well, just not fast! The Men's 35+ race started a minute in front of us and they lapped me twice, but I was comforted by the cat 35+ stragglers that rode beside me. I was intent on keeping the women's peloton from lapping me, as I knew I was facing the chance of elimination from the next day's event if I didn't stay within 20% of the leaders time. The more laps I did, the better I got at climbing. My legs felt reasonably good. The women's field caught me on the last lap. My dad said I was never more than 5 minutes behind them, so I'll see if I am allowed to start tomorrow morning.

On one hand I want to qualify for tomorrow's race, even if I have finished last in last two day's events, just to continue my progress in this classic race. On the other hand, tomorrow's road race has us climbing Mt. Wachusett, a local mountain whose slopes keep skiers active in the winter. The women's field only needs to do 4 laps of this mountainous route, however the means we get to come downhill 4 times as well!! I'll keep you posted!

The GC for today's race hasn't been posted yet--but considering one of the cyclists in the top 10 didn't show up for today's race, I have moved up in the rankings by one. If others dropped out of the race or didn't finish today, I could possibly move into a high 70th ranking!! I love advantage as the misfortune of others (Just kidding--well, sort of!)

How do I feel about being DFL? I'm taking in it stride. The races have been fun and have gone well on a personal level. As some have said, It's just an honor to participate!

Bryan Park's Circuit Race

What better way to beat the 90-degree heat on an almost summer's day than to ride around in circles? Sounded good to me--so that what I decided to do on June 18 in Richmond, VA. I drove down from Alexandria and Nate drove up from his posh military set up in Hampton, VA.

The women's categories 1-4 would be racing together, although they'd be scoring Women Cat 4 separately. It was a fun course with grand turns and very accomodating gradual inclines that favored my legs. Some of the course featured nice shady stretches--a great way to avoid the sweltering, dry heat that awaited us at the beginning of the course.

This was a great race as I kept with the pack for a record 4 laps. It was fabulous and it gave me great encouragement. Though I finally lost contact with the main field, I was a chase field of one between them and another pack of women. For the first time ever in my crit racing experience, I lapped a cyclist (twice!), and yet kept the peloton off of me until the very last lap. I didn't know it at the time but the group of women chasing after me were Cat 3 cyclists. I finished 5th out of 7 in my category. I was very pleased--however these are the unofficial results, as I never went back to the start to check results.

After I finished, I went back to the car to deal with my dehydration and then sat at the bottom of the hill to cheer Nate on. Had I checked the results I would have noticed that they left me off of the results. However, I didn't notice until days letter when results were posted online. They couldn't change the official results, as it was well after the 15 minute protest period and so the race promoter agreed to change the unofficial results. I am a little peeved that they left me off the initial results and a little annoyed that they failed to acknowledge their mistake officially. I think most racers take it for granted that they will accounted for, at the very least for showing up.

Regardless, it was a great race, one of my best for the season and very encouraging-- considering the races I had lined up in the days to come!!

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Not So Quicksilver

One of the races I was mostly looking forward to all season, sprung up with surprise. It is June already? Why, yes it is.

How had I not predicted how chaotic my life would certainly become when I laid out my training plan in January? Had I been so cynical to think that I would be resigned to the same old, same old of the last 4 years and have plenty of that thing called time to train accordingly in hopes of tackling the A races I'd so strategically planned out? As it turns out, yes.

Of course, as many of you know, since February, I've taken on 2 new jobs and since March, I'd taken on 2.5 more. Even though my day begins before dawn and finishes early enough to idealistically get in a decent workout, more often than not sleep and whatever food I am able to scrape together from my bachelor(ette) refridgerator wins over.

Anyway, the Quicksilver had long been destined to be my A race. Last year's race was great as I proved my mettle staying with the pack for most, if not all of the race. This year, I knew enough to not expect too much. Again, I had a great start and stayed with the pack for a few laps, until again it broke up. A new tactic developed, born out of laziness and past failed attempts to govern a paceline from the stragglers; I became a wheel suck. I found a wheel, any wheel and just held on until I was able to pull and get myself to the next rider. The wind was something fierce and drafting anything made more sense than going it alone. I wasn't opposed to a paceline formation, but I wasn't going to facilitate it.

My legs felt it this time around. I was strong, but definitely not at my best. Maybe it was the wind. Maybe it was the loss of bike time. Regardless, the bike and I are going to spend some quality time together, no matter what it takes. Until I regain some of the training required to get me back into focus, my goals of the season have shifted a bit. I realize that it wasn't too long ago that it was a fairly common occurence for me to finish in last place (hard to believe, I know). But it's true. And while I could look at my past few races as a rather discouraging display of hard work and effort gone to pot--I am choosing instead to see the silver lining (on behalf of the Quicksilver, no less!). Out of the 8 road races this spring, I have yet to finish last. A small accomplishment, maybe--but promising progress, no doubt.

Finished 16/20.

Boring Baltimore Bike Jam (BBBJ)

On Saturday, May 27 I returned to the Baltimore Bike Jam. After a week seemingly spent on overdrive, I welcomed the opportunity to leave the state, even if it meant bolting after 630a crew practice and putting pedal to the metal in order to meet the 945a start time. A bolt that inevitably required us to return right back around and retrieve my wallet from my car (at least it wasn't on top of the car)! Fortunately, we made great timing and arrived without much ado.

The women's cat 3/4 field was big. The women's pro123 field was rumored at 80 riders. That's huge and with a fast course--anything was possible. I had an incredible start of the line, holding with the pack for about 2 laps, until it just split up. Soon after, a crash off of the second turn (a straight away, no less) divided up the field and left most of us to wind our away around the carnage strewn about the back stretch. I rode with a few pockets of riders, trying to close up on some riders in front.

My legs felt decent despite a week not spent doing more than chasing dogs around a back yard and a few 40 minutes runs. A pretty boring race too, as races go. I was pulled with 4 laps to go. Finished 26 out of 34.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Takes One & Two

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a sense of direction, a memory and a constant awareness of myself and my belongings. What would I do with all the time I currently spend patting myself down in a frantic search for my wallet, keys, cell phone? Could I imagine not having to come up with catchy jingle to help me remember aisle 3 section F in a parking garage (in case you’re wondering, that would be the three little pigs named Frank, Fred and Fester)? And what about all that time I spend getting lost? Surely without all this mindlessness I would be a rather boring, uninteresting person—or so I tell myself.

Because of early Saturday morning rowing practices, I was unable to race at Poolesville this weekend. Instead, I found another road race in Lancaster County, whose women cat 4 race started at 1pm. Plenty of time for me to finish practice and drive up. In theory I was correct. I was on the road by 9. I hit traffic on the beltway and traveled 3 miles in 30 minutes. After that I made all my connections (95 to 695 to 83 to 30) speedily. And then I got confused. I blame it on the directions that I printed off of the web site that named no landmarks and referred to the race site as “the church on the right.” Very helpful in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of spiritual enlightenment.

I kept telling myself as I backtracked along east and west, that as long as I arrived an hour before my race I’d be fine. Another wrong turn, bad decision, and an hour became 45 minutes which became 30 minutes which became 20 minutes then 15 minutes. Registration closes 15 minutes before the race. Surely, it would be a close call, but that’s what makes me so darn exciting!

As I finally gave up and decided that I would drive to a familiar location of past time trials and go for a nice, long ride on the back roads of Lancaster---wouldn’t you know, I found the race—just in time to watch the Women’s race start! They were off to ride a 40k road race, so I set off in the opposite direction to do the same. Forty kilometers and many hills later, I returned just as the women rode back to the parking lot. I got back in my car and drove home—without getting lost.

Take Two

Sunday morning I was determined not to mess up again. Knowing that the Bunny Hop Criterium was only 20 miles away, I was confident that I would get there with enough time to experience my usual pre-race warm up routine. I left the house at 645, got fuel for the car and then for me (thank you Dunkin Donuts!). I was on the road by 715 and arrived at the race course by 745. I ate my bagel and drank my morning cup o’ joe listening to NPR’s Weekend Edition. Today was going to be alright.

I registered and got my bike out of the trunk and race wheels on. I attempted to solve the case of the crazy front derailleur. During yesterday’s ride, my front derailleur continued to act crazy (see I Want a New Drug) and would shift or not at all or make very loud noises that called undue attention to me. I recruited a fellow cyclist when I couldn’t get anything to work. He fixed it some, but we couldn’t get it to shift into the big ring through regular means. It would only shift when the cable was pulled. I sought out neutral support, who was able to make my bike function through conventional shifting.

My race was scheduled to start at 930a. There were two junior races before ours. One started at 8am and the next was supposed to start at 830. At 9am they started the Junior 17-18 race. At 930, the cat 4 women were allowed one warm-up lap of the 1 kilometer course. We got the line only to be informed that the course needed to be clear of two tractor trailers. We got to ride around for another 15-20 laps before they stopped us again. Again, the course was still not clear. We rode around for another 15 minutes. By 10:15 when our race should have been over, we were finishing up our seemingly never-ending warm up laps. By 1025 we finally started our race, which had now been shortened to 30 minutes.

I stayed on the back of the pack for a while, never able to get myself inside the pack. After approximately 10 laps I fell off. Another rider and I worked together around the course for another 10. With about 10 laps to go, the officials blew a whistle at me and my counterpart and gestured for us to get out of the way of the pack that was closing in behind us. We got over and continued our tempo. As we tried to get on the back of the pack, one of the women in the pack shouted at us that “they blew the whistle, get off the course!” The other cyclist and I looked at each other confused and said, “I don’t think so, they just told us to get out of the way.” So we kept our tempo up and proceeded around the course. As we approached the start/finish area we asked the officials under the tent if we had been pulled. They said that we hadn’t and urged us to keep going. A second group beyond the official’s tent, yelled to us to “get off the course.” We rode down to the first turn, thoroughly confused and a little pissed off. We got off the course and rode back to the officials.

I spoke to the officials and asked them if they minded telling us if we were still racing or not. One official said yes, but another one said no. I asked, “well, which one is it?” Finally they said we’d been pulled, as we’d been lapped. I asked why they didn’t use a more official and less confusing way of pulling us, by either saying our team name (as in "hey you Potomac Velo! Get off the course!") or by our name/number—they had a complete roster, after all. I was told they didn’t have the capabilities for that. I bit my tongue as to not get DQ’d, but believe me, I had words foaming at the mouth. Thank god for limited lung capacity, or else they would have gotten out!

After only 25 minutes of racing, I was done. It worked out to be $1 a minute in the end, but I am still upset that they shortened our race, instead of just pushing everything back, and that they were desperately unclear in pulling riders. My legs felt good, and despite the fact that I didn’t hold onto the pack, it would have been nice to get 45 minutes of racing in.

Perhaps I will protest the Bunny Hop next year, as I am duly unimpressed and discouraged by this year’s crit, considering that last year’s was very well run.

Special thanks to Eric Sloman who graciously put my wheels to the pit and took my jacket on the start line! His race was also shortened considerably.

Friday, April 14, 2006

No One Puts Baby in a Corner

After a relaxing night spent watching Dirty Dancing and eating pizza inside our spacious Econo Lodge motel room outside Hampton Roads, VA, Nate and I piled into the truck at 6am and headed to Norfolk for Conte’s Cycling Classic.

Rainy and 50 degrees, I set out in hopes of another exciting race. With some early morning drama about parking and towing and the realization that our least favorite race announcer was on the scene, the day promised some excitement.

While Nate’s 30+ race was in progress, I warmed up and tried to keep warm from the winds and spray of the Elizabeth River. Superstitiously, 45 minutes before my race, I treated myself to a race brownie (see previous post, I want a New Drug).

My race was at 930a and it was a combined Womens 1/2/3/4 race, though they were scoring separately. As I warmed up on the course, I tried to figure out the best lines to manage the strong head winds, strategically placed at the start/finish and the cobbled S-turn. At the start, I lined up on the front, not realizing that the Lipton Tea gals (read: pros) were wedged in behind me. I figured it would be the only time I’d be in front of them, so I didn’t feel guilty.

Off the line, I held onto the pack decently as it wound around into the head wind and into a straight away. Again, my legs felt strong. The USCF officials announced at the start of the race that no one would be pulled, no matter how many times we were lapped. Everyone was in it for the total 60 minutes and we were able to work together, regardless of what lap we were on. This made for some interesting tatics and some confusion. I felt like Forrest Gump at times, finding myself in very amicable, but bizarre situations. All of a sudden, I'm pulling for the Cat 3 women or sucking the wheel of a pro. Everyone was so spread out that there was no way of telling if I was leading or behind (though I did know...it was fun to pretend like I wasn't behind). I think the lead group of Lipton gals lapped me 3 times, while the rest of the field and I just played along.

Though I finished 20 of 21 riders, I was very pleased with my power. I averaged 19 mph in a head wind, the day after a TT.

No body puts baby in a corner.

I Want a New Drug

We all remember the Huey Lewis & The News song, I want a new drug, (I know I do—I had a hugenormous crush on him when I was a child) and the video of him putting his face in a sink-full of ice. Had Huey just stuffed his face with a handful of gooey brownies instead, I think he would have found what he was looking for. I know I have.

I’ve never been one to overindulge in pre-race food. I’m not a gel, goo or protein shake kind of girl. If anything, I’m coffee and bagels. This past weekend I added brownies to that list. Not just any brownies---the most fudge-full, sugar-full and blissful brownies. Ever. Made exclusively for racing, by Nate, we had joked as he poured the batter into the baking pan that we’d doped our brownies with the likes of EPO and creatine. Come race day, I thought maybe we had.

Warming up on the trainer before the start of the Smithfield time trial on Saturday, I realized I hadn’t eaten anything and with about 45 minutes to go, I thought I should at least chew on something. I asked Nate for food and with surprise he handed me a large brownie square. As I pedaled, I felt the sugar absorbed into the enamel of my teeth and evidently, my bloodstream.

The night before, Nate had put a new front derailleur on Pony, in an effort to remedy my shifting issues. As I disengaged from my trainer and headed to the staging area approximately 13 minutes before my start time, I realized that I couldn’t shift into my big ring. I swung back around to the truck and with moments to spare, Nate fixed what he could. For a time trial, I didn’t suspect I’d do much shifting from middle to big ring or vice versa, so we placed the chain onto the big ring and I vowed not to shift down until afterwards. However, I was still left with a loud clicking noise, which made my presence painfully obvious to everyone.

I clicked to the line and I was off. I had a strong start and what I assumed to be adrenaline kicked in and never waned, except during mile four and seven of a 16 mile course. There were fierce cross winds the entire time which made everything much more painful as each turn approached. Crouched down in the aero bars, I fiercely pedaled. Unusual but pleasantly enough, no one passed me until mile five. I passed my minute (wo)man at mile two.

The last mile of course was a slight incline—painful after having spent the entire time fighting winds and gravelly pavement. As I sprinted to the line, my computer announced that I had been on the mark with what I had hoped to achieve. In all, I had been overtaken by 3 women and a guy, but managed to finish 11th out of 21 women with a time of 47:46.

After I finished racing, I noticed that my adrenaline high remained. I talked incessantly and very fast (many of you are wondering how this is different than usual). I’ve never been on speed or any other amphetamine, but I imagine that was how it would have felt. What was the source of such excitement and immediacy? You guessed it—brownies!

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that a sugary substance could create such a firestorm of energy and efficiency, but I am putting my money on the race brownies from now on. If results are drastic enough, I just might consider marketing them on the pro-circuit.