Monday, December 28, 2009

Pics I promised!

Lots of people commented and were worried about my emotions. I am good... much better. As I explained to my coach, I couldn't just jump on here, post happy pictures, and ignore the truth. If there is some junior out there reading this, then they just learned something. Elite athletes struggle sometimes. We accept the bad times in order to really appreciate and celebrate the bad times. We learn... and move on!

The pictures from the last trip that I promised:

The trip started back in LA for a training camp. Day 1 and I was just happy to be in the sun.

Some of us were happier then others. Yes, I found him riding his bike back to the hotel like this. Of course when we got to the hotel, he quickly put his jersey, helmet, glasses, and shorts all back to normal so nobody (*coaches*) would see the "other" side. Nice one Guy!

Then we packed up, again, and headed to Columbia. I LOVE this Zuca roller bag. Everyone must get one.

Oh wait, we did have one fun night in LA driving these indoor race car things. The madison partners were doing some bonding. What is wrong with this picture? I wonder how many people will be able to figure that out.

The velodrome is Cali drew pretty big crowds for the night session. Super cool track!

It was covered but open on the sides so we had fresh air, daylight, and some wind.

They packed the stands with kids during the day sessions. They were SOOO loud especially when any Columbian was on the track.
The kids would line up and wait for the athletes to leave... and just stare at us. I think the girls liked Ryan.

Lauryn had been studying her Spanish and decided to practice with the kids. The girls were so cute and so excited!

But, not as excited as the people were about this French guy. Seriously, I happened to walk out with him a couple days in a row and the Columbian people loved him. He soaked it up! I told him I was going to get a picture of all the people around him and he thought I asked to take a picture with him. ha! He said, "sure, I'll take a picture with you." Lost in translation. I didn't want a picture withe him. Thanks anyway.

Well, the media always likes a winner. Sarah killed the Individual Pursuit and won the Gold. She is flying right now :) Watch out world!

The girls getting ready for the Team Pursuit. Notice Red Bull in hand.

US ended with a Silver in the TP. Congrats to Canada... yes, I really like those girls and I am being sincere!

This picture is for Nicola and Shelley. He was so cute playing with this little girl... your heart would have melted right there :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Facing the Truth

Before I begin... this will be long, lots of words. I do have some more pictures and will post those separately tomorrow.

Ok, the truth was that the World Cup in Cali SUCKED. Sorry all you family people reading this but there is only one way to get the message across.

I haven't wanted to talk about it with anyone- husband, coach, family, etc. How many times can you have the same depressing conversation? To say the least, I haven't wanted to write about it publicly either.

I came to a conclusion though- some people reading my blog could gain something (advice, inspiration, insight) from reading what's it like to fail at this level. I don't care what sport you are talking about but elite athletes don't always win. Ok, that's obvious. But, as an elite athlete, I am used to making progress and getting better. I am not used to taking steps backwards. 2 steps forward, 2 step back. yay, yay.

It's been a long and tough road the last couple months for reasons on and off the bike. I am in transition from being a sprinter to an endurance rider. There are reasons and, in the big picture, it all makes sense. But, to do this in the middle of my first World Cup season is a blow.

I am fortunate to be a part of what USA Cycling is building in order to win a medal at the 2012 Olympics in the Team Pursuit. There is a program and it is exciting. This is all very positive. But, I come from a different background and am a different athlete then the coaches and this is all new to me too. The load of the team camps and increased endurance load away from the camps finally caught up to my body. My body quit... it said done... shut down. I have been told to "look at the big picture and long term" but that is hard. I am too competitive to accept sucking in Cali.

Part of this is hard for me to talk about and much less write because it feels like excuses. But, unless I can analyze what's going with my training and my body, I won't learn from it.

After spending almost 3 weeks in Europe racing (where I felt fine), I came home for less then a week before heading to LA for team pursuit track camp. I stayed a couple days extra for more training (mistake?) before heading straight to Atlanta to spend a week with the husband, family, and friends. I came home from Atlanta for 3 days before heading back to LA for another camp. We left straight from camp to Cali.

So, let me just break down that 8.5 weeks....
1) 2.5 weeks in Europe where I had major sleeping issues
2) took one day off back in Colorado before I hit a tough week of training which included being back in the weight room (I was going to use this week and the next week of camp as a super block of endurance training which I had not done much of to this point)
3) Track camp where the legs were "fine" despite crashing super hard on the 2nd day. I still was in good spirits about training and enjoying the tough load and recovering between training sessions.
4) went to Atlanta where I still had a tough load of training PLUS seeing friends and family everyday. = no rest.
5) home for 3 days trying to manage training and household (things add up when you are only home 3 days in one month)
6) back to track camp part 2 where my body and mind started shutting down
7) on to Cali where I had no body and no mind
8)home for now... until next camp :)

Lessons in order:
1) sleeping pills. I now have a Rx and will travel with these religiously.
2) after all that travel, take a couple days off or 1 day off and 1 easy day. let the body and mind recover. I was so excited about starting this new chapter of training and I felt good... but, don't let emotions take over smarts.
3) my body (I found out 3 weeks later) was pretty messed up from the crash. Even though there was no pain (only soreness), I should have been seeing a chiropractor right away instead of letting the issue fester in my body. It's now taking a lot more work to get things functioning properly then it would have taken had I just seen a professional right away.
4) in Atlanta I was on a borrowed road bike (because I destroyed mine) which wasn't kind to the body and I didn't MAKE myself rest and recover. Mentality now was "I can't skip a workout. This is what my plans say. Must push through this." Listen to your body. Being around family and friends in the holiday season wasn't great for resting... but I wouldn't trade seeing everyone for the world because I needed that :)
5) not much I could change about being home because I had to get things done. My workouts weren't terribly hard these couple days but my body was showing it's fatigue.
6) Knowing I was racing a World Cup the next week, I should have insisted on getting more rest. The track intensity was good but adding the hours of the road rides everyday really was the nail in my coffin. My lesson was that I need to stand up for myself because only I am responsible for my results. So, my one meek effort to tell the coaches that I was tired wasn't good enough.
7) Not much to change here because the damage was done.
8) So, now, I am home and really carefully monitoring training. I decided not to travel back to Atlanta to be with Greg, family, and friends because the last thing I need is more travel and lack of rest. I can revive the spirits and the body but it takes a concerted effort. I am clawing my way out of this hole.

I don't call it overtraining but under resting. There is the fine line for athletes. You push, push, push to the limit, recover, and make improvements from those efforts. But, pushing too far is bad. I know I will be better for the training but I want to be better NOW. ha!

Meanwhile, I am here in Boulder where I am forced to ride indoors. The cold weather hasn't really inspired me to be out and running around either. This is good for the recovery!

I did go up to Breckenridge and spend Christmas with my good friends the Erben family... 6 kids and 2 dog makes for a festive holiday household. They hardly noticed Elke and I were even there :)

Happy Holidays to all!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Bueno

Team USA was not firing on all cylinders today. 0-3. None of us (me, Lauryn, Daniel) made the finals. The 2 riders with trade teams (Luttrell and Carney) did make their respective finals. So, some salvation.

Lauryn and I had the scratch race. I was WAY more comfortable today then I was in Manchester 6 weeks ago... that was my first World Cup scratch race. I wasn't over confident but I was comfortable. Didn't that come back to bite me in the ass?

Once again, I played a pretty smart race until I found myself in a bad position with 6 to go. I went back, up, and around... wait, I missed the around part. In Manchester, out of fear, I just went to the front and kept the pace high. Today, I went up and got on a Cuban's wheel thinking she would make a move because she is a pursuit type. Well, she made the move but didn't complete it. I told myself to be patient but that was the wrong idea. I should have just kept going around her. In the last lap I got my bars tangled with someone... or something happened that I thought I was crashing. No crash but it sure did take my head out of it. Needless to say, I didn't make the finals. It sucked! There, I said it. That sucked!

The thing that bugs me is that is wasn't the speed of the race or the fast sprint at the end. I was trying too hard to be calm and patient and I was too calm and patient. I need to find the middle ground because I am usually the anxious one who chases or goes early or something else like that. Tonight, I was the opposite.

Tomorrow I race again. Points. I have never done a points race internationally at this level and have little idea what to expect. Send me smart and fast thoughts!

I have no pictures from inside the track since I have been focused every time I have been in there. Tonight I may make it back as a spectator and take some pictures... but then again, I may stay and get a good night's sleep.

Today they filled the stands with kids. They were LOUD!!! Cool to see.
Girls gawking at the American boy. Good job Ryan Luttrell for lapping the field in the points qualifier and making the finals tonight.
Lauryn was practicing her spanish with these little girls.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cali- view from the hotel

Ok, actually there are no pictures yet from this trip. Honestly, I have only left the hotel once since arriving almost 2 days ago. Yesterday I went to the velodrome.

It´s a shame really because I can see how these place could be beautiful. We have been warned not to wander the streets alone, especially at night... funny since we are in one of the nicest areas of the city. From my hotel window, I can see we are at the base of the mountains... what a shame that we won´t be able to explore!

The track is fast. The weather is hot and humid. My spanish is poor at best. The people are wonderful. There are lots of strange vibrant colored fruit drinks that taste like nothing. The sirens go all night. The motorcycles seem like the most logical, yet most dangerous mode of transportation. The Dunkin Donuts 2 doors down is supposed to have the best coffee around... today I will venture.

That is my quick update!

Charlotte, I will not be coming to Rotterdam for the 6-day. I am very upset by this but had to make a decision on whether to participate in the National Team Camp that week or Rotterdam. In order to reach my goals, the camp was the obvious decision. I will miss the racing and miss seeing you guys!!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Let's Catch Up!

I have been a slacker. There I said it. Not a slacker in training, a slacker in blogging. I will give you the quick run down of where I have been and all the doo-doo that has happened and maybe you will understand.

Last update was Nov. 4th and I had just come home to Boulder from Amsterdam/Manchester.

Nov. 6th-8th leave town for my first ever USA Cycling Board of Trustees meeting. On my way out of town, I drive my bike (mounted on top of my car) into a parking garage. Ruin bike and wasn't kind to car. STRESS!
2 straight/full days of meetings was real interesting and I have some thoughts that will soon surface in an interview I will post.

Nov. 10th-16th Track camp in LA. Tough week. Borrowed road bike. Dealing with insurance from the accident. Crashed at camp on the track (all ok... just put a hurt on the body for a couple days.)
No real internet.
Ok- I am starting to like the idea of a beach, at least a beach ride.
I stayed in LA until the 18th for some extra ADT velo time. I got to see DeNelle!
No free internet where I stayed for those extra days.

DeNelle and I with our personal shopper at Marc Jacobs. Nelle was picking out Christmas presents while I was just playing dress-up.
Nov. 18th- 26th Atlanta. Great visit with family, Greg, and friends. I had not been home in years- about 4 years to be exact. Rode Dick Lane Velodrome for the first time. :) Special. Celebrated mom's 60th birthday, meeting my brother's new kick-butt girlfriend, Thanksgiving, Mande moving back to ATL, went shopping for the first time all year, had a family photo shoot, and seeing Greg for the first time in a month. Rode a borrowed bike- thanks Stephanie!
No internet in the house where I stayed.

Greg trying to avoid an pictures.

Nov. 26th- 29th Boulder. Sweet home, Boulder. I got a new bike built and snuggled with my dog a lot. I had internet but I had no desire to sit inside since in was high 60's every day I was home. Oh, and my car didn't start.

Elke- just as I left her.

Nov. 30th- today Track camp in LA. Lost my credit card in the airport of the way here. Bad bike Karma continued with about 4 flats. Whatever! I am over stressing about small things these days.
At this camp, I hit my limit. Boom! Physically, my body met it's match. It's good though and I am happy to find that point. It's been a while since I have been pushed that hard. I think all the stress of the last couple weeks caught up.
Once again, internet in the hotel is lame. We only have it in the lobby.

I think something weird happens to the body when you push it that hard. It's some strange opposite effect. I should be sleeping soundly right now in bed but instead I tossed and turned all night until I finally got out of bed at 4am. Working hard physically does make you sleep better and I usually (aside from traveling) have very little issues sleeping. But, I wonder what happens physiologically when you push yourself so hard and find that dark place in training. Does it alter the sleep for the worse? Interesting.

Today I lay in bed thinking if I could have gone harder on not blown apart on that last team pursuit. Was that in my head? Could I have pushed through? It's like replaying the finish of a race that you didn't win. How could I have won that? Should I have sprinted earlier? Later? The weird part is that what kept me up tonight was 1 training ride. That's a different level of intensity.

Today we leave for Cali, Columbia and the next World Cup! I cross my fingers for good internet because I know I will have downtime... I will force myself to have downtime!

Geography lesson: