Monday, September 15, 2008

New name, new blog

So, as my much smarter and prettier than me sister pointed out (and also OLDER than me, btw), now that my name has changed “caramccauley” might not be the best pick for the address of my blogspot.


It needs a little work but will get there, someday. If you would like to have a link on the bloggity blog underneath the cool peoples listing let me know!

Hopefully an update there later today about the supertabulastic awesome good workout I got at the Asheville Grand Prix.

No more posts here…. It was a decent 2 year run.

I STILL need a name for the new blog. HALP! “Smurf along with Cara” is the interim name, a holdover from my radio show in college where I was just as (not) creative.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I needz your help!

Halp! I need a new name for the blog!

After 7 years of marriage, that we celebrated yesterday with a store-bought cake and mexican food (we're high class, I tell ya), I have officially changed my last name to Applegate. (i.e., gone to Social Security and everything!)

So, it kinda means I gots to change my bloggity blog name. Suggestions, please?
Yay to being married for 7 years!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Race to the Rock

After returning to work on Tuesday, volunteering for the United Way’s “Day of Caring” on Thursday, and then skipping out of work early on Friday to attend to a very important matter (of someone else’s) at the courthouse, this week practically flew by!

Saturday dawned bright and early and I drove to my buddy Dwight’s for a long, hilly ride that I was certain would hurt me, as my poor little hamstrings were screaming at me for improperly weeding on Thursday. The ride itself was relatively short – 3 hrs 15 minutes, but my longest since the Hot Doggett in July. And it seemed as if we tried to hit every long climb possible in a 3 hour radius of his house. I discovered two things: one, my arm can make about 2 hours and 20 minutes before screaming in protest, and two, my old staple of gel-as-fuel for rides of that length is no longer sufficient. I bonked, and boy did it suck. A mere 3 miles from the house we had to stop to buy me a coke, which got me home in much better spirits.

All the climbing on the Saturday ride totally trashed me and I was useless all day long, somewhat concerned about how my legs would react to that as I planned on racing a hill climb time trial up to the top of Chimney Rock Park in Lake Lure, NC (just 20 miles away) on Sunday.

I can’t remember if Dwight told me about the race or if I told him about it, but one thing is certain: the smack talk was frequent and severe. When I smack talk it is usually with full knowledge that I will get creamed by the person I’m handing it to, and this was no exception. This AARP card holder is fast, and always beats me. So when I started 30 seconds after him and could see him up the road on the “flat” section at the beginning, I figured that was the end of it.

I have no odometer, and have never been to Chimney Rock before, despite having lived in the Asheville area for more than seven years and riding by it fairly often. So, I really didn’t know how long the ride would take me – but the grade suited me and I was able to turn the legs over fast and furious. 10 minutes in I was surprised to see Dwight through the trees in a switchback above me, and at 12 minutes I caught him and made the pass. At 20 minutes I was sprinting up the final pitch to the finish line, to the congratulations of the small fleet of volunteers at the top.

Dwight rolled in about 45 seconds later, and fellow Ashevillian and former Coors pro Ned Gallaher and I took turns ribbing him about getting “girled”. After receiving our rewards (Ned & I won our categories, Dwight was 2nd behind Ned), we descended in a bus for about the same amount of time that we climbed, just barely arriving safely at the bottom.

I talked Ned into riding some more with me, “an easy ride around the lake”, while Dwight avoided more of my adventures by going home. After thoroughly preparing myself for an easy 1 hour spin with a small bottle of Motortabs, Ned & I set off. The first thing that is important to mention is that quite often, I block unpleasant memories out of my mind. So it was to my mild surprise that we hit the first rather steep climb after crossing over the dam. “oh well,” I thought to myself, “I guess I forgot about this one!” And the next, and the next, and the next. And then, I misremembered a turn that sent us up a climb that was harder than the one we TTed up, and made poor Ned ride on gravel on his delicate tubulars. I was dreadfully worried that he would be pissed at me, but we talked cheerfully the whole time and he never seemed concerned in the slightest that I had, er, lost my bearings a bit. Fortunately Ned was a little more prepared than me and he shared a bag of jelly beans that prevented the bonk that threatened to set in. I had a blast riding with him and was so happy to have a partner who took my misdirection in stride.
Dwight on the left, Ned on the right.
With officially tired legs and sore arm (it lasted less time today), I made my way home to “recovery” tacos and a big sodie pop. The interminable pile of housework awaited, although my meowmie had different ideas.

Maxine says "no you may not fold laundry"

US 10k Classic - Laborin' on Labor Day

US 10k Classic
Marietta, GA
Labor Day, September 1, 2008

The Saturday of Labor day weekend, 2008, I found myself en route to a mountain bike race in Chattanooga with the Andykins. With the previous weekend’s debacle of a mountain bike race still fresh in my memory, I chose to be supportive wifey wife and wait instead for the road racing on Monday to play my cycling hand.

While Andy was busy securing third place on the dusty, roller coastery course, I explored the island around Lake Chickamauga on my bike, following the ride with a quick run to try to get some familiarity of the action in my legs. We then packed up and headed on over to Atlanta, where on Monday we planned on competing in the US 10k Classic, a cycling/rollerblading/handcycle/running race that travels down 10 km of a completely shut-down Cobb Parkway (except the Elite Men cyclists, they do 100km on a circuit).

After a highly entertaining dinner with my 3 partners-in-non-crime (a.k.a teammies Deb, Christy & Tonya), where we discussed the intricacies of a 10 kilometer road race on a bike, Andy & I settled in for pre-race prep. The length of his race required gathering up race food, getting water bottles ready, etc. etc. My prep consisted of putting empty bottles in my cages (more aero) and pinning my numbers on my jersey. Oh the luxury!

Our 7:15 start time came sooner rather than later and we were all congregated by the Cumberland Mall, waiting for the big show to begin. Understanding the seriousness of the event, I brought my cell phone with me and took some pre-race photos (check out the slideshow at the bottom of the post)

Soon enough the men were off and we were not far behind them. I’ve done this event three times before: 2003, 2004 & 2005. Each time I made some mistakes and learned something new and important and pretty much was always at the back of the money. Knowing my fitness is, ahem, “low” at the present time, I had my game plan settled long before we suited up to get to the start. It was almost derailed on the first roller out as my legs protested from running the previous day. As we approached the first prime, a Cheerwine rider popped out in front of me and I was in perfect position to follow her as she went for it. Here, experience finally served because I chose NOT to go too – in a 15 minute race someone in my current condition has 1 match to burn, and it wasn’t going to be on a prime I had little chance of securing.

Though a break formed and a half-hearted chase ensued, I followed along for the ride until about 1k to go, when it was game on for the long, 40+ mph sprint to the finish. A Metro Volkswagen girl made a move in front of me, and I followed her, congratulating myself on seeing the move. Should’ve stuck that wheel, though, she wound up 3rd! Somewhere along the way I lost it and I was spinning along in my 50 x 11, coasting then even braking a bit as riders ahead of me bobbled, shooting a hole here and there, smiling with the big goofy grin I remember from years past, but this time because of the idea that I was actually mixing it up in a sprint for the first time since my crash in June. We crossed the line safely and I knew I was firmly esconced in the decent money – 15th as it were, and you won’t hear me complain about that!

Best of all was that I was finally happy after finishing a race, and perhaps it had something to do with the giant chicken we passed en route.

(my teammates Deb, Tonya and Christy were 19th, 20th and 23rd, respectively, and learned a very valuable lesson about the big chicken)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Velosports 'Cross Clinic/Race October 4 & 5

If you don't need the clinic, at least come to the race!

it is about 1 hr 30 min from Asheville....

Where has I been? WVA 8/23-24

It has been a long time since I have posted a real post. I’m not too sure what I’ve been doing, but every day I seem to make it through the maelstrom of life and the computer is the last thing I want to touch.

We had a good weekend of August 23/24, travelling outside of our usual Southeast circle to a mountain bike race at ACE Adventure Center near Beckley, West Virginia. Andy is really digging mountain biking right now and with me not caring one way or the other, I go along to keep him company. I foolishly signed up for the race but found that I could hardly manipulate my bike on the more technical aspects of the course due to my still nowhere close to being healed shoulder/arm issues. So, amidst very bad spirits I bailed after the first 13 mile lap.

The race was well run and the trail excellent, excepting that I suck at mountain biking and it’s even worse when I’m injured. I stopped to help someone with a broken chain (again!), so couple that with my MI good deed and I should have two good Samaritan acts coming my way at some point in the future. Unless, of course, I was really paying back all the favors that I receive on a constant basis. Most likely the latter… d’oh!.

The ACE Center is great, though! Tons of camping, cabins, horseback riding, mountain bike trails, a water park, and whitewater rafting if you care… even a restaurant/pub onsite! They let the mtbers camp for free (which we did), and let us into the water park after the race. The promoter gave us free burritos and Powerade, and had a keg too! But we don’t drink so it was sodie pop for us.

Lots and lots of fun was had afterwards hanging out with the Shogrens & Chris M. of Team Bi-atch and other WVMTBers at the water park. We all had to wear PFDs and at first the swimmer in me whined about it till I realized a PFD means you can float in the water with NO effort whatsoever… So many hilarious shenanigans ensued I am hard pressed to describe them appropriately. Let’s just say on several occasions I laughed so hard I almost wet myself, except I was already wet so it wouldn’t have mattered.

I spend so much time travelling to races and racing and travelling home from races that rarely do I get to spend any quality time with the people I compete against, and dagnubbit that is a shame. Especially when water parks are involved. No pictures can be had of our adventures but they will certainly last for quite a while in my memory.

Next report: Labor day weekend and the US10K classic, where the women race 10km for $10k. Yeah!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Cara's Marquette Trip: Pictorial

What good would a trip to the UP of MI be without eating freshly picked raspberries until your belly aches? Well, for me, it wouldn't have quite the same ring to it...

Somehow I failed to plant raspberries of my own this year but mark my words, next year I WILL HAVE THEM! And they don't produce really yummy ones the first year so I'll just have to be patient. But, WANT WANT WANT razzleberry plants of my own...
While in Marquette, after the bike race, I went to the Farmer's Market with my beautiful Aunt Sara. A strange sight was at hand: PIRATES! Shopping with their pirate children. So I took a photo.
Further research showed the real reason they were in town:

My post-race meal was probably not the best choice by athlete standards, but the restaurant name provided a few minutes of entertainment:

These young'uns are probably going to grow up to be major troublemakers.
Like their mommy... (my big sis)

My Grandpa always has a story to tell... maybe one day I'll write them down. Here he is yarning one out to my big brother...