Thursday, August 25, 2011

ISO CX Tandem partner with bike

I am looking for a cross tandem partner with tandem bike.

As predicted last year (, I am out for cross. However, since I don’t want to totally miss out on the fun of the fall season, I think I can get myself into tandem racing; sharing the cruelty makes it easier. Now I only need a tandem partner with bike!

There are some small little things I am looking for in a tandem partner to make this a perfect team and an unforgettable (believe me!) and successful (definition TBD) season:

1.) The person will have the front seat and should be big enough to block my view entirely from where we are going, where we intend on going, and where we are actually going. I should have no say in finding the right line.

2.) The person should be heavy enough to offset any leaning from my part. I most likely will lean to the other right and will cause some minor and major balancing issues. Giving me the German “rechts” and “links” will not diminish the 50/50 chance of going wrong.

3.) The person should be strong enough to carry the bike over the hurdles by him-/herself. Chances are high I will trip without the bike. (There is a reason why I only did one season of collegiate high-jumping)

EXCEPTION: Requirement 3 does not come into effect if person is able to bunnyhop hurdles with bike and Monika.

4.) The person should be fond of wearing some outrageous costume that will cover most of our faces so chance of unwanted recognition by the MABRA community is kept to a minimum.

It would be great if tandem partner would come with bike that has some bottle cages (out of convenience) and no brakes on my handlebar (for the safety of the team).

I welcome any recommendations and suggestions for potential tandem partners.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What matters in a TT – Church Creek TT Championship

Today, I wanted to give myself a great birthday present by winning the Championship jersey but apparently the age increase became immediately apparent.

In contrast to last time, I had no excuses.

I did some overwhelmingly un-monika-like preparation for a race. Usually I just show up and hope for the best. This time, I made sure the TT position (although on a road bike) was perfect, I borrowed a disc wheel and a nice front wheel, did even some leg openers at Hains Point the day before. This was the most preparation I ever did for a race. So I felt actually pretty confident that I could do well.

The only concern I had was my starting position…I started first. There was no single soul in front of me. No one! The 15 min break between the categories before ours made sure that I really wouldn’t see anyone. Not even those who flatted or took the wrong turn or bonked. That concerned me. I thrive through competition. I was so concerned that I even made a time sheet I could stare at to keep my motivation up or at least my mind in the race.

So I started the TT and felt already slower than during the last Church Creek earlier this year. The wind condition changed. So I rode and rode and rode and got bored and dazed off and snapped back and rode more and finally….I got passed! Jenn Rasmusson who would win and beat me by impressive four minutes or more came by. And the following thought process shows that I was mentally not in the right state. I was happy! Yes, I finally wasn’t by myself anymore and yes, I am still on the course and didn’t take the wrong turn and finally I could look at someone’s rear…the motivation lasted for about 4 minutes and then she was nowhere to beseen.

Katy Giles passed me too. I don’t even want to mention how many minutes she started behind me but by a lot! The race became a little bit more interesting since finally some people (including the Cat 1/2 guys) were around. One time I thought a car passes me…nope it was a dude with a disc wheel! He was that much faster than me! So time and pain went on and I thought I could at least make the one hour mark but nope (there are no excuses!).

So what did I learn from this experience? I don’t like to start first.

What I also learned it’s not all about equipment! At least not for me! Despite my upgrade of wheels, position, and consequential complacency I achieved a worse time than the last TT on the same course!

Moreover, I am not convinced about the disc wheel. I couldnt hear my own swoosh-swoosh sound! I was so looking forward to sounding fast! But I didn’t hear it!

All in all, I am happy though that I was able to get third, bringing a bronze medal home.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pictures - Speedway and Hill Climb Championship

Speedway crit, Aug 5, 2011

Highway to Heaven Hill Climb Championship, Aug 13, 2011
from left: Sara Clafferty, Ainhoa Perez-Diez, Monika Sattler

Thank you, Harry Fang, for the pictures!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Highway to Heaven?naaa to hell!

I wasn’t sure if it was my kind of race. It’s uphill –good. It’s short – bad. It didn’t take Ainhoa long to give me the answer to my question!

It was NOT my kind of race.

I lost by 20 seconds.

So you might think, not too bad. But not when I tell you I lost 20 seconds on her in eight tenths of a mile! (For clarification, no, I did not walk it!)

So how could I possibly justify 20 seconds on a 0.8 mile race? I ran through my head all the well-established and proven excuses but realized soon: There was no excuse!

When I pre-drove the course, I was intrigued. The start was on the 18% grade then flattens out a little, then kicks up again and flattens out at the end.

Yeah, apparently my strategy of going hard right from the start didn’t quite pay off, because my legs felt torn.... I guess that would be the condition one level higher than burning?

In addition to my rather lamentable look for the spectators, I couldn’t get my breathing right so I hyperventilated my way up and felt sorry for anyone who had to listen to me. It took me entire 4min and 39 seconds to get to the finish!

So…..Ainhoa who won with a respectable 20 second advantage (and broke the record) has just made my winter a little harder.

No screwing around anymore. I think it’s time to actually have a training and racing plan. My previous motto, do as many group rides and races (counting 55 as of now) as possible, doesn’t fly anymore.

However, before I can start working on my list of weaknesses in the off season, finishing the racing season takes priority.

I am probably the last person who found out but one good news I got today is I am VA State Champion... I take that!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Shenandoah TT

After a tough stage race in Oregon, it was good to race in the MABRA region again. I was looking forward to see familiar faces and race in known terrain.

My legs had been dead all week. I had to cut an attempted ride on Wednesday short because my they were not responding. So the Shenandoah TT was a test of how much my legs have recovered.

The course was not flat. There were definitely some hills involved. I liked it!

A friend and I drove the course prior to the race to see what to expect, which I think was crucial to race the course right. I would call the beginning 4 miles definitely as rolling, then a false flat for about 7 miles, turnaround and then false flat downhill onto a turn to a hilly loop. The hilly loop was probably the biggest challenge of the course. The last 10k was a false flat uphill and then rolling uphill.

There were only 2 people in my category and I started second. When I passed my 30 second girl, there was no one in front of me since the Men 1,2 were ahead of us and there was no way I would catch any of them.

My initial motivation was not to get passed again but after a while when the first half of the race went really well, I extended my goal/motivation to sub-one hour. (A lot of people who raced this course probably start laughing out loud right now!). Hey, it went really well for the first 25k or so…and then I hit this hilly loop: the end to my goal #2.

Apart from a minor disturbance, my chain fell off, I tried to find a new goal for the last 4 miles. The time span thinking of one took so long that I already saw the 1k mark.

I have really started enjoying time trials and the hilly terrain made it even more fun! (I know a lot of people might disagree right now :) )

Full results are here:

Thank you, Chris, for putting on a really interesting and challenging TT course!