Race Day Prep

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Preparation is key in just about anything in life. Think about it. If you had been prepared, you could have thought out your answer, your reaction, you could have prevented or avoided the situation entirely. I usually only get nervous and anxious when I haven’t gone through the steps toward preparation.

Race day is approaching. Race numbers are revealed today and packet pick up begins this evening!

What’s laid out in this picture is not the final edit. Just the rough draft. It’s expected to be in the 90s on race day, so I don’t anticipate needing my arm warmers or jacket. But.. Getting out of 60 degree water might tell a different story so right now, the arm warmers are in the first draft.

Last night I made a practice run with bare feet in shoes and new no-tie laces. They need some adjustments before I cut them to size and add the clips at the end.

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On Monday’s ride I decided I wanted water with me on the ride. Lots of it. So I have to forgo the discomfort of the aero bottle in order to bring as much as I can. I’m not used to having weight by my handlebars, but I’d rather have water and be hydrated.

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I’m excited about this race. It’s a step toward a much bigger goal. My longest triathlon to date. First time racing with a wetsuit. One step closer to Ironman.

I know I have my work cut out for me and I know what I have to do to keep the momentum going. Have a goal, a race in sight. And stop ignoring the run!

I need to run more. I love the bike, but I have to remember that the bike is just one leg. I have to find a way to get more mileage in on the running shoes. This is why I also enter running races. Dirty Half was just a sneaky way for me to get in a long run without having to nag so much at my will power. It worked. I ran 13.1 miles that day. Slow but with great form. And I did it.

Anyway.. I am missing two things from my race prep pile. The bib/chip and my race belt which attaches the bib for easy access. I need to find it.. and hope I know where it is! I won it at my first triathlon. “Win” is a strong term. They tossed them out to first-time triathletes.

I will write more today on race prep and plan to do an easy ride followed by an easy run just for more prep on that transition without pounding my legs. I want to try to find a good water level for my aero bottle without getting splashed or pushed about.

And I am still undecided about the sock situation. Decisions, decisions..

The Triathlete’s Dream

My anxiety dreams have subsided. Between Saturday’s mock triathlon, the successful trip to Crows Feet Commons, and my 25-mile ride last night, my brain cells are starting to settle their nerves.

I woke up with a tight back. I first noticed when I let Andi out at 5 am and then again when I limped to the car to get the chibolster to aid in some stretching. I am typing this from the hot tub.

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Thank God for the hot tub!

I just enjoyed a good breakfast of homemade sweet potato bread (so good!), cantaloupe, cottage cheese and hard boiled eggs (and coffee). As I soak in the hot tub I can’t help but reflect on my progress in the past few months. I should really take a look back and compare bike speed, distance, etc. Because although I managed a 16.2 mile avg speed, which I would consider fast for me, I wasn’t trying to push the pace. Just go. Just ride. So it was a nice boost.

I’m developing a plan to help acclimate my lungs to the cold water. Tonight I will be floating the river as part of the FootZone Float Run. They will be serving root beer and stout floats afterward, and it might have to serve as my pre-race root beer float extravaganza. Not sure yet. But I am looking forward to running sans Andi and floating the river. We run 2 miles and then float down to Tumalo Canoe & Kayak where the party awaits. I love Bend and I love FootZone!!

Must wrap things up.. Time to start the day. The soak has really helped to loosen up my back.

Life is good.

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What’s in a Bike Shop?

What’s In A Bike Shop

by Katy Murray

A bike shop serves many purposes to a lot of different people across a wide variety of skill, fitness and socioeconomic statuses. A good bike shop maintains decent inventory or at least the ability to obtain it, knowledgable associates, experienced and professional bike techs, and above all else a desire to serve the public. An excellent bike shop remembers that it’s not about the bike, but about the person riding it. The bike doesn’t complete a century ride. The cyclist does.

I recently had a reason to look for a new bike shop. Not hard to do considering I live in a town with more than 14 bike shops to choose from.

If you’ve read my blog, you know the recent issues I’ve had with flat tires. You can catch up here: Flat Tire Saga. My bike computer has also been failing. Only technology could turn a 16-mile ride into a 2.89-mile ride.

I am still relatively new to triathlons, and I don’t consider myself an expert with the bike by any means. Which is my main purpose for a bike shop. I can change my own flat, but at the very least I expect a bike shop to do that with ease. No big deal, right? What self-respecting bike tech leaves a piece of a tire lever in the wheel of a time trial bike?!

When I go to a bike shop, I want to be treated with interest. I want a sales associate to listen to me, treat me with respect, and at the very least provide a service at a professional quality.

Though I am new to triathlons, I am not new to racing and training and fitness prep. I know I am not in peak fitness. I won’t place in my age category and I definitely won’t win. But that doesn’t mean I won’t take the race seriously. I want to do my best, and I want to know I’ve given it my all. And part of a triathlon is the bike. In this triathlon, it’s the biggest part of the race. 2,000ft of elevation gain over the first 12 miles, on a course I have yet to master.

My last three memorable rides included a heat-stroke induced near passing out experience, two flat tires, a dying computer and a horrible bike tech.

So on Saturday I wheeled my Aeryn into Crows Feet Commons to ease some of my anxiety. I was greeted by a loud exclamation that someone recognized my bike. It was the tech who changed my cassette a few weeks ago. He was still wearing his cycling clothes, all the way down to his shoes. He had just come back from a nice ride with some bike pros. He could have ignored me and let someone else help. He could have taken time to change. He could have pretended he didn’t remember me, or what’s more – he could have not remembered me at all. But he had me at “I remember that bike!”

He took some time to go through my bike. He checked the chain, the gears, the computer. He adjusted the aerobars, which were loose and out of position. He adjusted my brakes, which the previous bike shop forgot to do. He tightened my water bottle bracket, he talked me out of changing my handle bar wrap. And he talked to me. Educated me. Spent time with me. And he returned my confidence I had lost in my bike last week. And I felt good knowing I had a bike shop I could rely on.

Some people have been telling me to taper this week, but I have too much at stake to start my taper right now. Things I haven’t yet experienced. Decisions not yet made. And a lot of bike time lost to mechanical issues.

Tonight I rode 25 miles after work. Compared to Deschutes Dash, it was a flat course but I tried to keep the resistance on hills rather than shifting through. I just wanted to wear out my legs to know they could handle it.

25 miles at 16.2 MPH, and when I got back I ran a mile with a couple strides at the end. And I learned a few things I would have missed had I taken it easy:
1. I was thirsty, and I drank my entire bottle. I had decided on Saturday to leave my aero bottle at home. But today I decided I need to have it with me. I’d rather be hydrated and annoyed with the occasional splashing than dehydrated.
2. The run is going to be uncomfortable and there’s no way to prevent that. On top of uncomfortable, I’m going to be slow.
3. I need to start taking the prescription my doctor gave me for acid reflux last year. Though I determined it was caused by chronic dehydration, it’s back and I don’t want to deal with it while I am racing.
4. I need to figure out what to do with the mop on my head. Not long enough to pull back. Too annoying not to.

Tonight I was able to ride 25 miles on my bike with an average speed of 16.2 miles. Because I was able to ride, I was able to gain a lot of wisdom. My bike shifted smoothly. It braked quickly. The aerobars and bull horns were comfortably positioned. And my new Crows Feet Commons bike bottle was easy to pull in and out of the tightened bracket. I could see my speed and my distance and everything else I had been missing.

My confidence is back. My anxiety is turning to excitement. I am beginning to feel ready!

This, my friends, is the difference between a good shop and the best shop in town. None of this would have been possible without that trip to CFC on Saturday.

If your bike shop doesn’t make you feel this way, keep looking.

Weekend of Change

Productivity was disguised as chaos this weekend but as I type this on Sunday evening, I am typing with a belly full of amazing sweet potato bread that I made from scratch. My running shoes are half laced with no- tie triathlon laces. My bike has been tuned up, the battery on my bike computer has been replaced, my wetsuit has been broken in, and I finished the top of a quilt that’s due Friday. Oh, and my bed is clean.

Here goes:

Mock Triathlon
On Saturday morning I met a friend for a slow run through the triathlon course. It was my first time using the wetsuit and my first time swimming in the Deschutes River. The water is really cold. Colder than I gave credit for. The wetsuit is so warm and so buoyant, but putting my face in the water was near impossible. I could not breathe deeply because my lungs were so constricted, so I just swam with my face out of the water. Now I know on Sunday not to panic when that happens. Just go with the flow – literally.

I rode my bike without getting a flat for the first time since Monday. After that, I took the bike to my favorite bike shop. Crows Feet Commons. The tech looked everything over and adjusted and tightened my handlebars and brakes, cleaned my chain, and made me feel a lot more confident about this upcoming triathlon. I went to my second favorite bike shop for a new battery and was good to go. I rebuilt my flat kit and got a new water bottle with Crows Feet Commons logo on it. I’ll have to get a sticker to cover the Hutch’s logo on my other one. It would be a waste to throw it away. But I am now feeling confident stating that I no longer do business with Hutch’s. Long story, but I’m sure you can figure it out!

Today I finished the top of my Michael Miller challenge quilt. It’s titled “Hashtag Love” and is due Friday.

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Andi and I ran a short easy mile tonight and she had a great time.

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My friend Amy and I went halves on a 40-yd bolt of 90″ Warm & Natural batting. Normal price = $600 in-store 445 (online). We got it for $191, and split it for 20yds at $95/each. 20 yards of 90″ batting will sure come in handy! Even though it’s a good deal, I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for my quilt sale last week. Reinvest the money!

I also picked up some no-tie laces for my running shoes to help with the bike-to-run transition. Now for the rest of the week I can work on preparing for the race. I have a busy week ahead!

Ok, enough for now! Must sleep!

Flat Tire Saga

On my honey-do list tonight was change the flat. I need a honey. Meanwhile, I got that checked off the list.

Back up the story. A few weeks ago the valve on my tube broke so I needed a new tube. Not a flat. I bought a tube, and hell broke loose at my house. I abandoned the bike and headed for the hills. By Monday I brought my bike to Hutch’s and they replaced the tube for free. Which was nice because as it turned out they originally sold me the wrong tube. I have deep rims and needed a long thingamajig.

While they changed the tube, the tool that’s used to loosen the tire snapped. I joked that they broke my bike and haha, they joked back. I went on my way, a happy camper. How many miles have I put on my bike since then? Probably between 60-100+.

Monday morning I made it out at 5:20 AM to discover I had a flat. What caused it? In 5 years I’ve never had a flat.

I called Hutch’s and they told me to check the wheel and the tire for a probable cause.

Three days later I finally got around to it. And as I pulled the tire off to feel inside, something fell out. It was pink. And it was plastic. What was it?

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The tip of the tool that snapped!

How crazy is this… I will be calling Hutch’s for two purposes: educate them on what happened (it was a preventable mistake), offer them a chance to rectify.

I am not mad, though the flat was inconvenient. Had I changed it on the side of the road I never would have uncovered the cause. I would have gotten another flat.

I’d honestly like my wheel trued in case riding with a chunk of plastic threw things off. I’d be happy with a free replacement tube. But most of all I hope they take me seriously and hear me out. This should not have happened. If I did it, it would be a different story.

Anyway… My bike is back in action and voila! I’ll be on the roads early tomorrow!

Mock Tri

One thing I wish Bend had was a weekly mock triathlon. $5 or $10 nominal fee to enter and an self-supported “race” just to practice transition and technique.

A friend called this morning and asked if I wanted to do that this weekend and so now my job is to map out a course that utilizes the Deschutes River, Century Drive and the DRT. So exciting!

I’m excited to use my wetsuit! I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to put the pieces together and ease some wild nerves.

Tonight I received my Vega Sport electrolyte drink which I will be testing and reviewing in the next couple weeks. Can’t wait for that either! It could not have arrived at a better time!

95 degrees here today.. Finally getting relief in the shade.

I have a lot to do inside tonight to get ready for this upcoming weekend.

Cheers!

Urban Garden & Hail

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We got a pretty good hail storm on Sunday, and while it was exciting for me and frightening for the dogs, it was apparently deadly for much of my garden.

I’m feeling sad as I write this report, especially since I had just taken inventory. It’s not all bad news, however.

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Growing tomatoes in Bend is something special apparently and the fact that I have now harvested 4 ripe tomatoes is worthy of a badge.

I lost two of my bean plants and this morning I came out to discover that two more (my final two) are not looking well.

Yesterday I had to throw away my once-beautiful zucchini plant. The one growing zucchini rotted on the plant and the rest was completely infested with aphids. I learned a lesson here. One I did not know prior so I will apply it next year.

You can buy ladybugs in bulk (100) for about $5. 80% will fly away but you don’t need many. One ladybug will eat about 100 aphids a day. That could have saved my zucchini. And it explains why the aphids disappeared from my eggplant.

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My broccoli is not looking good but I’m not counting anything out yet.

On the bright side…

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The same person who told me to buy ladybugs told me to put my cucumbers in a tomato cage (I had chicken wire from my sunflower). He said it would give them something to climb and get the cucumbers off the wet ground. He lives in Portland where the ground is wet. But I wrapped the chicken wire around the cucumber plant and it has already made friends! The cucumber plant, which I had written off for dead already, is probably my healthiest looking plant right now. Tons of blossoms beneath the leaves too.

My two squash plants and the lettuce, all the newest additions, seem to be thriving.

My cilantro plant has been amazing to have around. Fresh cilantro whenever I want. Without having to buy an entire acre’s worth from the store.

It’s supposed to be 97 today. That will either hurt or help. Time will tell.

The other good news is that once this bean plant dies off completely I can move my pepper plant into a bigger container. I think it’s root bound and not happy.

That’s all for now.