Monday, November 24, 2014

Cyclocross and the weekend

Saturday I decided it would be fun to try something new...cyclocross. Nothing fancy, just a group of about 20 people who like to ride bikes, getting together in a local park to set up their own course and race for 40 minutes. No money, no awards, just fun. The podium is 20 (or however many people show up) deep and there is beer at the 1 and only aid station. 

I don't have a mountain bike, I don't have a cyclocross bike, I don't even have a TT bike anymore (for now....), but riding bikes is always fun. To be completely honest, and this is a total blonde moment, I thought it was called cyclEcross until a few days ago, whoops. Anyways, blonde moment friend Marcy is out of town and lent me her sweet Julianna mtn bike. I didn't even try it out before Saturday because I didn't want to break such a fancy bike, just a little spin around the parking lot before the race to get the seat height dialed and we were good to go. In retrospect, I probably should have taken the bike out for a little spin beforehand, but it's just like riding a bike, right, I'd be fine!?
the course, thanks to Strava
Aaron, Gary and I showed up early to help Ray set up the course. I'm glad we, well Aaron, decided to go help because it gave me a little view of what was in store beforehand, I was a little nervous, only having truly ridden a mtn bike once before. Aaron and I were able to ride the course once before the warm up lap with everyone before the 40-minute race started. Thank goodness for this. There was only 1 section that made me a bit nervous and that was the only really "technical" part of the course. A short kind of steep downhill (approximately 3 feet long), which wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and then right into a short (no more than 4-5 feet) uphill filled with bumps and rocks and cracks, all things that my mind thinks to avoid when riding a bike! It's hard for me to get my head wrapped around the fact that on a mountain bike and probably a cross bike as well, you can ride through that stuff and in fact it's better to just ride through it them instead of trying to squiggle (yes, not a word, I know this) and maneuver around them. I think you probably need to be a little fearless to be a good mountain biker. The faster and more "recklessly" you go through obstacles, the better and safer the ride is. That's just not me.  

Anyways, the rest of the course was dirt road, gravel road, some riding through grass and around trees, up and down hills, over a sand mountain and over some barriers. I'm not so good at the over-the-barrier part. I only had one crash all day and that was right before this barrier....
Colin Cross Photography 
I was watching Kate do a flying dismount at one of the barriers, something I know I need to learn how to do as it will benefit me when it comes to triathlon as well. I kept thinking to myself, try it, you can do it, it's not that difficult, she made it look so easy, so, I tried it and proceeded to eat it. Whoops. The worst part of the crash was that I stained my new cute SOAS kit with red dirt! Do you know how difficult it is to get this red dirt off of your clothes!? Oh well. I guess my lack of a flying dismount needs some work before I try it out on the road and seriously hurt myself. 
Colin Cross Photography 
The race was fun, but I was never super tired or out of breath (which is the whole point of a 40-minute as hard as you can go kind of loop race in the park) because it takes me so long to get on and off of my bike (note to self: something to work on). But, I'm super glad I went and if I have a bike to use I will be back again in 2 weeks for the next one in the series.

Side note....I can't find it right now, but there's a fun video posted on YouTube of the race, CORP CX Series race #3, something like that. Thanks, Al! When I find the link again, I'll try to come back and link it to this page. Here's the link, Thanks, Al!

Off-season fun and time to work on some, apparently much needed, bike handling skills. 

After the race we decided to drive home the scenic way and stop for lunch at Turtle Bay. Great company, good food and some surf watching. 
Sunday was a water filled day. This is the map of the epic swim we did last weekend. What was supposed to be an "easy" 6.5-7k swim turned into a 6.5 mile swim. Same thing right?! But the conditions were so great and we had an out-of-town guest who wanted to see what "those islands way out there" were so we added a bit to our adventure and had a loooooooong morning of swimming.
Yesterday wasn't quite as long, but we did get in a solid 6k in Waikiki. To be able to swim outside in the ocean in November, how great is that!? Saw some HUGE turtles at turtle canyon, an Eagle Ray, the biggest puffer fish I've ever seen, swam to Shipwreck and saw a couple of baby sharks; this was the first time I'd ever seen a shark in the ocean and initially, I wasn't too happy about it, but they were kind of cute (smaller than 3 feet) sleeping in their little living room in the bottom of the ship. A good way to see sharks in the ocean...sleeping and little. A great morning for a swim, followed by an afternoon of paddling out at the Mokes with Aaron and Gary. I will catch a wave and learn to SUP surf before this off season is over with.

Two more days of work and then it's off to Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving and to visit with Aaron's older brother and family!

Happy November!

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