Tag Archives: Cycling

The Rematch … It’s On Devil’s Canyon … It’s So On. I’ve Got Backup This Time

2 May

It’s that time of year again … the time when I challenge my weary bones and muscles … the time of year when I pretend I can swim freestyle knowing full well that it never works and I just end up swimming the backstroke and floating my way to the finish line. It’s that time of year where I step out of the “mom” box and step into the badass frame of mind which lasts up to 24 hours, then I go back to being defeated. It’s … Tinman Triathlon time and Devil’s Canyon awaits.

Pinche Devil’s Canyon. It’s on … It is so on.

Image via Durtbagz.com

Image via Durtbagz.com

 

I’m counting down. I’ve got about two months to whip this Guat body into Tinman shape. Don’t get me wrong the Fight For Air Climb certainly put my quads where they belong, it’s just the rest of my body that needs to cooperate. Specifically, the old parts. The parts that take Glucosamine and something called CoQ10. But I’ve decided to add some yoga and stretching to the mix, because my lower back seems to be aging faster than any other part of my body. Although my knees are a close second, and I’m afraid I’m going to need both to conquer Devil’s Canyon. So if you have any pointers feel free to share them.

However this time, the Tinman experience will be different. The training will be different. I’ll have someone there. My son. My four-year old son has agreed to enter the Tiny Tots Tricycle Triathlon. A super miniature version of the race and I’m excited to see him cross the finish line.

This of course means that I’ll be doing double duty when training. I can’t really go at full speed when training with him, so I’ll have to do my training whenever I can get it. This usually means at the break of dawn, which sucks for a night person like myself, or it can happen in the dark of night where suspect people usually walk the streets and I have to keep my Hapkido skills on high alert. Win-win I guess, but at least I have one day during the weekends where I can get my muscles up to Tinman status.

My son is pretty much at Mini-Tinman status when it comes to biking and running. He’s pretty high energy all we have to do is extend the road he covers. However we do have to practice our swimming a bit more, so the Lightening McQueen floaties and goggles will be making an appearance.

We’re both excited about the event and all I’m hoping for is that he finishes the race. He doesn’t need to be first. He just needs to finish. As for me? I don’t need to be first either. I just need to conquer Devil’s Canyon. It kicked my ass last year and I’m hoping the incident doesn’t repeat itself. In truth all I want to do is finish my race before the Tiny Tinman race starts. I want to be at the starting line cheering him on and be part of his pit crew when he gets on his bike. So I definitely need to get into kick-Devil’s -Canyon’s-Ass Shape.  It’s a rematch. Definitely a “Thrilla in Manila” type of event.

Stay tuned.

 

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The Crazy Hill and The Mighty Stop Sign

14 Oct

It’s a stop sign. A red octagon with white letters. And normally this traffic sign is insignificant. It’s a stop sign. You stop, then go.  But this stop sign … this one, represented a woo-hoo! moment for me. A holy crap I can’t believe it.

It sits there at the top of a long, winding incline, practically at the top of a mountain. Taunting runners and bikers alike.

Had I attempted to reach the top before, during my previous triathlon training regiment? Yes. Did I make it? The first time I barely reached the 25 MPH sign. The second time … well … the second time I reached the deer-crossing sign and told myself I could do it. And I made it, huffing and puffing and gasping for air, but I made it. It took two attempts and many bike training sessions in between to build up enough endurance to reach the mighty stop sign.

I told myself that this time around I would make multiple trips over there, but seeing how it had been raining last week, and then hitting temperatures of 102 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit the week before, I hadn’t gotten around to as much bike riding as I wanted.

Image via Durtbagz.com

But I needed to cowboy up, because in my last triathlon Devil’s Canyon kicked my ass, and I didn’t want a repeat performance. Although I’m not sure what the bike course looks like in this race, I’m certain they’ve got hills and mountains. So this weekend I busted out my two-wheeler, with its new tires, and hit the pavement.

Now I wasn’t planning on visiting that crazy hill with its stop sign today. It had been a rough morning and emotions were running high in the Guat household. In truth, when I left the house I was thinking of riding  about five or six miles and then just heading over to the 7-11 for some chocolate, but found myself riding  to the state park instead, looking at that crazy hill and its mighty stop sign. As I stood there, I noticed all these racing bikes whiz right by me and I thought … oh hell no, even if I don’t have Gatorade I’m going up there.

I found myself pedaling towards that crazy hill and the stop sign.

Now once I got to the 25 MPH sign I thought yeah … I’m feeling pretty good. I haven’t even shifted gears, but once I got to the deer-crossing sign I began contemplating just turning around. My quads had not prepared for a ride of such magnitude and altitude. But I kept going. I kept saying, just one more sign, or just one more tree and I’ll turn back.

However, I just kept going. And in truth it wasn’t the upcoming triathlon that was fueling my inspiration to reach that pinche stop sign. It was the family drama that took place that very morning that pushed my Guat butt up that hill. My frustration and anger fueled me all the way to the top. All I could think was if I made it to the top at least something positive would have happened to me that morning. I would have a happy, triumphant moment among the crappiness.

And you know what? Anger works, man.

I reached the top passing all the racing bikes that had zoomed by me earlier. I got off my bike and smiled. I grabbed hold of that stop sign, while trying to catch my breath. I stood there for a moment. Red-faced, sweaty, huffing and puffing. And victorious. I had made it on my first attempt. And it felt good. Real good. I don’t know how it’s going to feel tomorrow, but today it felt good.

Some random couple drove by as I was feeling the thrill of conquering that crazy hill and reaching the mighty stop sign. They looked at the bike, then at me, and smiled. It felt pretty good to have a random stranger give me an imaginary high-five with a glance.

However as I was taking deep breaths, in order to try and catch my breath, I didn’t get a whiff of fresh mountain air that athletes need after such a victory. My oxygen was tainted. Tainted with the smell of fresh horse manure. And not just a little bit either. I think they were giving a group tour or something because there was a definite aroma in the vicinity.

So I grabbed my bike and made my way down hill. I wish I could have stayed a little bit longer and relish in the moment, you know, take it all in, but unfortunately horse crap isn’t really my thing. And it wasn’t great for my deep-breathing victorious moment either. Maybe next time will be better.

 

My Tinman Update #4

10 Jun

They were on fire. Burning. My quads. My sad little Guat quadriceps  were aching and yelling Spanish profanities at me.

But there I was huffing and puffing trying to pedal up the incline, while a sixty-something year old man in blue biker shorts and a red shirt raced passed me.

Image via Durtbagz.com

I need more practice.

Not only did the bad-ass senior citizen whoosh past me in his racing bike, I didn’t make it all the way up. Two reasons.

One: It took me longer than anticipated to bike all the way down to this park and I had to get back home. If I continued my quest up the incline, considering my speed, it might have gone well into the late hours of the evening. I might have come back home extremely late, and in the dark. I have coordination skills, but the night-time makes it harder for drivers to see me, which may cause untimely falls into a ditch while trying to avoid crazy drivers. So the darkness was the first contributing factor. 

Two: the steepness of this mountain. I was completely unprepared for this endeavor. So were my muscles. I was pedaling so slowly that people riding on horses were passing me. I stopped at the 25 MPH sign to assess the situation. Well … in truth I stopped to give my quads a break. Quads … they are a four-part muscle and let me tell you all the parts were burning and aching.

I definitely needed more practice. Not on straightaways, that I managed to be Lance Armstrong-like. I’m talking uphill. Uphill battles.

But then the question comes to mind. What the hell is a matter with you? Why would you try to bike up a crazy incline like that?

I know you’re in training, but get a grip. It’s not the Ironman, it’s the Tinman. Who does that to themselves?

Me. I do. The crazy Guat.

I’m playing catch-up with my training and feel the need to go a little extra on the running and biking parts of the race, because as you know I have yet to hit the water during my training sessions, and know that the swimming will probably sink me. I’ll try my best to float toward the finish line. So I’m hoping the biking, running, and conditioning will help build up enough endurance to help me splash around.

Training? Yes. But what’s up with the steep incline?

Well, it occurred to me that something called Devil’s Canyon probably possesses some kind of evil, malicious uphill battle that will test every part of my legs. I mean otherwise they wouldn’t mention it on the course map. I don’t know exactly what it entails, but I imagine it won’t be easy, otherwise they’d call it something else.

In any case I’m in preparations to get through Devil’s Canyon, without stopping. So, I decided to go up the mountain in hopes that it would assist me, but I only made it to the 25 MPH sign. Maybe next time I’ll make it to the no-parking sign. We’ll see. I’ve got three more weeks to make it to the top. One sign at a time, I guess. One sign at a time.

Giddy up!

 

My Tinman Update #2

24 May

My booty muscles were not prepared.

I hadn’t ridden my Bianchi Avenue Hybrid Bike in over two years. It’s a comfort bike. It’s got a BodyFit cushioned seat. Lies. All lies. My butt was not feeling the cushiness. I had forgotten about my muscles back there. They were out of shape. I never knew my booty could be out of shape. But it was. That’s what I get for neglecting my Bianchi for that long. However, I’m sure my back-end will be fine after a couple of rides.

Image via Durtbagz.com

The sad thing is I didn’t even bike that far. Maybe like five or seven miles. I would have ridden more, my booty muscles weren’t the issue at the time. They didn’t start hurting until the next day. It was my bike. It was undergoing some technical difficulties.

Air. I needed air. There was all kinds of air outside, surrounding me, whirling about in the California sunshine, but not so much in the back tire. So my ride was cut short. I thought I had inflated it, but for some reason it was escaping.  

However regardless of the short ride, I was glad to be pedaling again. In truth I was a little scared at first. Wobbly. Trying to stay coordinated. Wondering if I was going to fall. But after the first mile, I found my biking legs again. And I truly enjoyed my surroundings.

The Lake

 

I forgot how awesome it was to bike around this lake, in addition to working out my quads and butt muscles. After this ride I did feel inspired to continue training. The running was getting to me. I was lacking motivation as my New Balance pounded the track. I couldn’t find the awesomeness of this preparation. However, changing it up to the bike this week seemed to help my muscles say: Woo-Hoo! Bring it, girl! We like these fresh moves. We’re finally on board. 

Even though we need more time to workout and prepare we’re on board Guat. We’re tight on time, we’re not sure we’re going to make it, but if you work us out, we’ll help you finish the race.  You’re crazy, but we’ll help you.

Even my booty was on board.

Giddy up!

 

The Chapusero and His Karma

21 May

I just missed it.

It could have been a repeat performance of my 50 mile adventure with a motley crew of amateur and professional bike riders. I could have been riding next to the inebriated biker who stopped by Puerto Nuevo for some lobster and Dos Equis. Or I could have been left in the dust by the crazy biker in the skin-tight Lance Armstrong suit and matching shoes. That could have been me … burning calories and sweating next to them in celebration of Cinco De Mayo.

Starting line

But alas I was at home, drinking my solitary margarita during my kid’s nap time. Burning no calories whatsoever. In fact I think I was accumulating them. When looking for my big athletic challenge, I had no idea that the Rosarito-Ensenada Fun Bike Ride had started up again. It had stopped due to a lack of participation, but was back at full strength. Seeing the flyer again reminded me of the first time I did the race. 

I was nervous about the fifty hilly miles through the Baja California coast. But once I got started and felt the adrenaline and camaraderie of the fellow bikers, I was all right. I knew I would finish.

The Beginning

It was quite an adventure. The first twenty-twenty five miles seemed like a breeze, but once I got to the hills and inclines my quads were cursing me out.

I remembered being at mile thirty-something climbing what seemed like the Mount Everest of all inclines. My bike gears were all the way down, and I was still struggling. Some riders got off their bikes and walked it. They saw no point in continuing the grueling effort. I mean who were they kidding, right? But I couldn’t. Fifty miles were fifty miles.

But I had some motivation. I heard the beat up old Toyota truck’s radio at the top of the hill blasting the Rocky theme song. How could I stop? I continued my turtle-pace up the killer hill, quads burning and sweat dripping down my face. Then I heard it.

CHAPUSERO! Hey! Hey Chapusero!

Being Guat I had no idea what this Mexican lingo was … but as I see them pass by I got the picture.

Another small pick-up truck, a local trying to get home using the non-toll road, the bike race path, to go home. They informed us that from time to time we would have to share the road with locals, so I wasn’t surprised. But then I saw the cargo.

A handful of bike riders were hanging on to the back of the pick-up truck, being pulled up the mighty hill, avoiding the challenge. Some bikers laughed, others called out: Chapusero! Chapusero!

My medals. Did the race twice.

As I looked up I recognized one of the bikers. It was my boyfriend at the time. He smiled as he waved and pumped his fist up the air. I shook my head, and pretended not to know him. He was not a Guat.

My dude and his fellow bikers could care less if they were called cheaters, they were getting a free ride. They didn’t want to bike up the hill, nor walk up there either. So they lucked out. They still got their medals at the finish line, after all it was a “fun ride” not the Tour De France.

But karma seemed to bite him in the ass on our way back to the hotel. Unfortunately since I was with him, some of his karma landed on me.

The Finish Line Party

After the finish line celebration with live entertainment, tacos, and beer we loaded our bikes and boarded the shuttle back to Rosarito. We decided to stay there, instead of Ensenada. A mistake that was not repeated the next year.

With a few miles away from Rosarito the shuttle breaks down. They said they had called for somebody to come fix it, but that was over half an hour ago. There is no Triple A on this side of the border.  We weren’t sure if another shuttle would make the trip. It was dusk.

So the passengers decided to ride back into town. Never mind that we just rode 50 miles and stocked up on tacos and beer. What was another ten miles, right? It was not ten miles. It was more like fifteen-to-twenty.

There I was in Baja California riding in the dark cold toll-free rode, with no flashlight, barely being guided by the moonlight and hoping not to get run over.

Damn Chapusero and his karma.

Bike photos via RosaritoEnsenada.org