Thursday, March 28, 2013

Whole 30 Reintroductions

The last few weeks I have been reintroducing a few types of foods to see if I would have any adverse reactions. Since I went through the Whole 30 program back in December 2012, my only non-Whole 30 food that I have reintroduced has been sugar.

I figured now would be a good time, before the race season really begins to heat up. It would be nice to know that if I was ever in a “food pinch,” I could tolerate a Cliff Bar, a pouch of Uncle Ben's rice, or a bag of tortilla chips. Well, after my experimentation, I am just royally screwed!

Not only has my body revolted against wheat, oats, and quinoa, but it has deemed corn, rice, and dairy unworthy of ingestion. The results are not as severe or long lasting as gluten, but they are there. It does seem to be dose dependent, whereas with the gluten, all it takes is a crumb.  

After the corn and rice, it took about 3-4 days to get back to normalcy.  The dairy was a different story.  I had 1 slice ... LESS THAN 1 OUNCE ... last Saturday, and I am still feeling the ill effects. Luckily it has not affected my wattage or my recovery.  I am just dealing with GI discomfort and the inability to take in my caloric requirements without feeling like I just cleaned out the buffet at Golden Corral.

It seems that my immune system gets a bit confused with the proteins found in grains and dairy.  Cross-reactivity is a condition where your body’s autoimmune antibodies mistake other food proteins for ones you can’t tolerate. Cross-reaction to other foods creates the same effect as though you consumed gluten.

Now what am I supposed to do with the 6 boxes of Chocolate Chex that I got on super duper special last fall?

And I REALLY loved this as a post-race snack!

My family keeps asking me to make my scrumptious shrimp 'n grits. That is like asking me to drive a group of friends to my favorite trail, but that I cannot ride with them. Well, they just might get their grits, but I am gonna have a lobster tail … and maybe a steak, too!

I suppose that the Tour Divide or even the TNGA is now totally out of the question.  Unless I carry a rifle to shoot a varmit for meat and take a survivalist course on what berries, roots, and leaves I could forage for.  Convenience stores and fast food restaurants are totally off limits to me now.

Having said all that, I am thankful (and blessed, perhaps?) that I am not allergic to what I truly love:  fish, meat, eggs, bacon, fruits, and veggies.  It is not so bad being allergic to garbage ... at least that is what I keep telling myself.  

And then I take a look in the mirror ... and smile.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

ChainBuster 6 Hour Race Report

Last weekend I headed down to Conyers to team up with Tyler Murch in the Coed Duo division.  The SuperSport crew was there in force.  The weather was perfect and my legs were sparkly.  I let Tyler start us off, as the parade lap was not single speed friendly.

Tyler and Jeff -- super fast and super cool! 

While Tyler was out on Lap 1,  I tried to stay relaxed and calm, but this "team" thing was new to me.  I felt like I had "restless leg syndrome."  I went up to the transition area WAY too early, but I was eager to pedal. Sean came through first, Shaggy second, and then Tyler ... about 2 minutes off Sean's time.  The first timing chip exchange was messy!  My bad, I was all thumbs.  Finally, I got it wrapped around my ankle.  I was off like a greyhound after the mechanical rabbit.  Let's just hope I could catch 'em.

The course was opposite last year's and there were some short change ups as a large area had been logged and some trails were re-routed.  Overall, it was FAST!  Having said that, I was spinning a cadence of 120  through a lot of sections.  Where are the climbs?  I thought my legs were gonna fly off at the hip joints.  I managed to catch and pass 1st and 2nd before the first of the climbs.  The climbs were short, but steep.  I was worried that I chose too easy of a gear as I was still spinning a pretty fast cadence up them.  

My tire selection was perfect for this hard packed course.  The Specialized Renegades were rolling fast and hooking up when needed.  Once I was in the lead, I was able to settle in to a slightly less hectic pace and enjoy the ride.  Until I popped out of the woods and saw a flat stretch of double track that went on forever.  Time to ramp the cadence back up!  I forced myself NOT to look over my shoulder on this section.  I came through the transition area, giving Tyler a little breathing room for his second lap.

While Tyler was out, I refueled and tried to relax.  But with lap times of around 35-37 minutes, it was difficult.  I was trying out a new thinner chamois that James gave me, but it was attached to bib shorts.  That made pee breaks interesting!  Bibs were new to me.  I like the feeling of nothing binding at the waist, but it extended my port-o-john time considerably.  This new chamois was a perfect mate to my tush ... I did not even know it was there.  That plus a two-finger dip of Chamois Butt'r and my body parts down under were in heaven!

Tyler came through first and of I went on my second lap.  I was more settled for this lap, cadence was less, speed was still up, and I was feeling the flow of the trail.  With about a mile to go, I hit a root hard, felt something pop, and my cranks spun freely.  I thought I had broken my chain, but it had just come off ... a first for me.  You would think putting it back on would be simple and easy, but not when your heart is racing and you are standing over your bike looking at it upside down with the blood rushing to your head.  That was just evil!  After what seemed like an eternity (probably 60 seconds), I was back up and pedaling.

After the exchange, I went back to the pits and tightened the chain "Carey-tight," which is just to the point of resistance when spinning the cranks backwards.  Afterwards, I "tooled" around with my daughter while waiting to go out for my third lap.

My third and fourth laps went by without incident.  I was happy with my gear selection as I began to feel the climbs.  I would rather be a more spinny and not have to walk the climbs.  Tyler finished us up with 9 laps and we took the W!

Friendly and motivating competitors

Finally, I got a 29'r tire in my prize bag!  I do think the team thing is harder than solo.  It felt like 4 ITT's with short rest breaks in between.  Just long enough for the lactic to build up in the legs making the first few minutes of each lap a struggle to get moving back up to speed.  And the added pressure of having someone else relying on your performance.  That little chain incident made me realize the potential of going from first to last in a heart beat.  Having said that, it was great to get four superfast laps in as opposed to just knocking them out one by one at a slower, but steadier pace.  Change ups to my racing schedule keep it interesting and motivational.  I am looking forward to the next one.

Kudos to Jeff Clayton for taking the overall win!  He was on fire, getting in 9 laps AND was 6 minutes faster than us.  And I was happy to see some of my team mates snacking on sardines and tuna post race.  It works!  A big shout out goes to James Stankowitz, owner of SuperSport clothing, for the sponsorship and the feel good bib shorts.

The best part was Carly's support

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Snake Creek Gap TT Race #3 Report

I was not really looking forward to the last running of this one.  Coming off a big training week in Florida plus cold and wet conditions did not have my juices flowing.  That morning as I drove down I told myself that I would race the first half and if my time was better than the previous months', I would forge on and give 'r for the second half.  If not, then I would just ride for the buckle.

My number was an omen.  A sub-3:30 had been eluding me since 2009 when I pulled a 3:27 on my single speed.  That had me wondering if I should race gears or single.  Coach said single since I had a big time in Florida.

I left the parking lot along with my team mates in Rick Moon's limo at 7:30.  Waking up at 5 am paid off, as I ended up only being behind 20 racers and most of them were insanely fast.  I opted for the aero look and so chose not to wear the palpation sleeves on my feet, taking my chances with the creek crossing from hell.

The legs were heavy at first so I just rode hoping they would come around ... or not, so that I would not have to "race."  As I rode along the fire road, my race almost ended as quickly as it began.  Some antsy dude in a blue kit (Biker's Choice?) decided to pass me on the right.  As he bunny hopped a small log, he about took out my front wheel with his rear wheel.  I swear his ass grazed my right elbow.  I think "Jesus!" escaped my lips on that one.

With my adrenalin in over drive now, I hit the creek with vigor.  The creek was high but not as high as February.  My left foot got wet a bit but not enough to bother me.

As I began the double track climb, something happened that has eluded me since Fool's Gold.  My legs were "sparkly."  Well, crap, now I gotta go!  I began marking racers in front of me and picking them off one by one.

Once I entered the single track and made that first initial climb, I felt good enough to throw it in the big ring and go!  This feeling had not been with me the first two races ... granny had been my best friend then.  After the second creek crossing, the forest service had done some dozer work to create a fire break for a recent controlled burn.  This 1 mile section was pretty tore up with some nice muddy spots, but overall, I did not think it hurt my progress any ... just got to work on my hike a bike skills some.  It was also at this point that I noticed some "ghost shifting" when I would pedal as the rear suspension compressed.  I made some adjustments at the shifter and it "seemed" to go away ...

The descent down to the Snake Creek parking lot was just tacky enough to be blazing fast.  I was super duper happy with my Specialized Ground Control tires as they shed all that mud previously and then held tightly onto the trail as I railed the corners.  As I rolled up to the SAG stop, I looked down at my speedo and saw a 1:30.  Really?!?  Well, ladies and gents, I am officially racing to the finish!  I did a "swapparoo" and gulped down a Red Bull.

Anyone who has done this race knows that the climb out of the Snake Creek gap parking lot is arduous, especially after stopping at the aid station.  In the first 100 meters the legs are burning and the pedals just don't want to turn over.  It always takes me a few minutes to get back into a rhythm.  Today though, something made it easier to climb to the top.  As I began, I heard, ever so faintly, a cheering voice and a cowbell.  The closer to the top, the louder it became.  Whoever you are, you MADE my day!  What a morale booster:  You made that climb easy.  My legs fed off your enthusiasm.  And that little push on my saddle at the end helped, too!

Back into the big ring I rode those ridges as if I was back at Santos.  At this point I was feeling "Oh so good!" and I probably had the energy to have singled it today.  (And had I been able to see into the future, I should have)  I entered the final stretch of single track at 2:19.  At this point, I knew that second was mine to lose and I had a chance, be it ever so slight, at first.

But then my bike decided to misbehave!  The fork died ... again.  Seriously? I had just had it rebuilt a month ago, after it died on this very same section of the race.  I tried to stay focused and positive.  My new mantra was, "Suspension is over rated."  And then, as the trail got rockier, my shifting was ALL OVER THE PLACE.   The slightest compression in the rear would cause it to skip, fall off the little ring, chain suck, or get jammed between the lower derailleur pulley and the cage.

I am sure I was quite the spectacle.  I began chastising my bike like a Mom would her child who had just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.  Was I talking to my bike or Carly?  Eventually I just had to HTFU, put it in the big ring and mash!  I rode when I could and ran when I could not.  My bike had went from a geared full suspension to a single speed reverse hard tail with too tall a gear.  Staying positive, I told myself that at least my cleats were not iced over.  And besides, who needs suspension and shifty parts on the most technically demanding section of the Snake anyways?

I was never so happy to see the cell towers which signaled the end of the single track and the beginning of a 2 mile descent to the finish.  I hammered so hard down that descent I thought my legs were going to explode.  I crossed the finish line in 3:29:34!  Despite the adversity, I accomplished all 3 goals I laid out:  belt buckle, sub 3:30, and 2nd place.

1st was in France, 3rd and 4th decided to go home early.

A huge shout out to NWGA SORBA and all the volunteers who braved extreme conditions for all 3 runnings of The Snake.  I think they had it harder than us racers.  Kudos to Shanna with Endless Bikes for trying to ramp up the ladies SS field by doling out huge sums of money.  Thank you Ginni and Mulberry Gap for having unlimited hot coffee to warm me up post race.

And I think the hunger monster just disemboweled the gluten monster last night.  I woke up at 3 am to a rumbling stomach (in a good way).  20 cashews seemed to satisfy the beast!