Thursday, March 3, 2011

Alive and Kickin'

Yes, I'm still alive.

And yes, I'm now living in Fort Collins, Colorado.  I told you things would happen fast!  Wednesday of last week I learned that a teammate had a room for rent and I made the move on Friday.  Seeing as I now have rent to pay, I'm job hunting--a task made more difficult with the fact that I'll only be available to work 2 weeks each month because of all the traveling to races.

I've always been tight-fisted with my money, but it's reached a new level's the little things.  I've changed my driving habits and have extracted an additional 4mpg average out of my truck over the last 2000 miles, by accelerating like my truck only has 4 little cylinders and not using cruise control anymore so I can coast up hills.  And, don't laugh (but I know you're gonna)--I now eat apple skins and the heels of bread loaves.  Those are calories I paid for!

I know that's all terribly exciting, so here's some pics of my new digs:

 I'm in the may notice the window.  There's a trench around the house down to the window to let in light, but to keep people from falling in the trench it's covered with wood slats that are then shaded by the awning on the patio.  I'm always confused about the time of day because it's always dark outside the window!

My old tarmac and my commuter, plus a bike that is not mine but looks just like the one I'll be getting next week.  And my closet.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about my new best bud.  He's my teammate/roommate Ian's dog, his name is Gizmo, and he's awesome.

The modest living arrangement is entirely overshadowed by the fact that I can walk out the front door and be on the collegiate nationals crit course I raced twice.  A scant 5 miles away lie the foothills of the rockies.  7 miles away begins a 10 mile category 1 climb that takes nearly an hour to climb if you're going moderately quick.

When I arrived Friday night, the ground was covered in snow. By saturday afternoon, the roads were clear and I went out for a quick spin on the nationals road race course.  Sunday morning was the rescheduled 85 mile saturday hammerfest ride.  It first goes east of town into the farmland, then heads over to the mountains for some climbing.  I was mostly concerned about keeping my wheezing self in the lead group, as I was now 5000 feet higher than just a few days prior.

But that's no fun.

So I won the city limit sprint half way through the ride.

Then we hit the first climb, a 8% or so switchback number that takes about 5 minutes to get up.  Despite telling myself to play it cool, I ended up with local Jelly Belly Pro Cycling rider Alex Hagman off the front.  Then we continued to motor away from the other riders for the next 25 miles.  We finished ahead of schedule (or so I was told), so the two of us kept going to finish off the century in a total time of 4:40.

The next day, Alex took me out on another long ride and we headed over to a climb called Rattlesnake, which is a fairly steep 20 minutes of climbing and a moderately technical 50+ mph descent.  Neither of us had eaten quite enough the day before to recover, so the final half hour of our 4.5 hour ride was spent slogging home with empty tanks, too zapped to debate the finer points of Colorado's cycling traffic laws with an officer of the sheriff's dept when he told us to single up (and we were both on the shoulder).

As this is the first significant climbing I've ever done, Alex will be taking me soon to experience some "real" climbing.

Also coming up this week, I'll be getting my new Tarmac, then I'm scheduled to meet with the famed Andy Pruitt for a bike fit and....testing.  It's been 2 years since I had lactate threshold testing done, and I've never, ah, experienced the torture of VO2 testing.

That's it for now!