Shake It Off – Work it out

As soon as I got back from Monterey, it was 100% focus on XTERRA season.  It was a very abrupt shift from 3x mountain bike races to staring down 7x XTERRA events in a row.  With a couple weekends off.  I spent the Monday after Ocean Weasel in Monterey enjoying sunny, hot temperatures with a cruise down the waterfront staring at fat, sun tanning seals and gorgeous ocean vistas.  I feel so lucky to do this because that was the most wonderful day I have ever had in Monterey.  I have had one great race at Sea Otter in about 10 starts (maybe more!) so doing well or doing crappy at this race is really not a big concern for me.  This year half went well, half went sideways.  I am pretty sure I am better than last year right now so even if my mountain bike results are spotty the form is still there.  The sunny, warm conditions made the weekend overall pretty great.

I then went for a swim at USC, packed my stuff and headed to SFO.  After a very late arrival into Victoria I got a nice, sleep-in morning and regrouped.  This was going to be a week of speed focused training to start shifting from aerobic fitness to race specific speed.  Perhaps it sounds a little late, give we are heading straight into race season but I felt that it would be better to be a bit under-done going into the first race and build from there rather than going out all guns a-blazin’ and susceptible to injury or illness.. we’ll see how the plan pans out..  so read more for the nerdy training deets of this past week…

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Sea Otter Cross Country

The cross country event did not go as well as planned.  I felt fluttery in my stomach all day but not anything that I can pinpoint as a definitive reason for my less than stellar race. I think maybe I was dehydrated.  Or overheated.  Something that could be addressed at the next super hot race!

I ended up 22nd after tumbling backwards from much closer to the front.  I actually felt comfortable in the mad sprint to the dirt off of the race track in stark contrast to last year but that is where the highlight reel ends.  For some reason I just was not recovering from anything all day.  I had a solid race according to hr profiles but the race itself was terrible.  I wasn’t going all out and I still blew up! 

It was very hot.  It was fun to ride the downhills… even if I had to pedal them all!  I really did expect more than I got that day though… so I am bummed about my result but focused on making sure the next race is better!

The Specialized crew lit it up.  Christophe Sauser won the XC, Todd Wells and Lene Byberg the Omnium overall.

Sid Taberly and Max Plaxton of the Sho-Air squad took second and third.  That is a LOT of Specialized bikes at the front of the field!  Conrad had a great race too in taking 8th in the cross country.

Two weeks to Vegas!

Sea Otter Short Track – Briefly

Yesterday was the short track race here at Sea Otter.  The race format is 20 minutes plus 3 laps.  A lap takes probably 2 ish minutes?  Not sure on that one …  Anyhow, it is hard!  Emily Batty was phenomenal taking the win on the last lap and the usual superstar suspects were up there behind her including Lene Byberg, Catherine Pendrel, Heather Irminger and Georgia Gould, in that order.

I ended up 9th on the day after having a super start, riding in 3rd for the first three laps, fading, regrouping and then having issues that didn’t really send me backwards but more cost me energy I didn’t have.  Read on for more….

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GU Photoshoot in Freezing Cold California

Conrad and I did a photoshoot at Laguna Seca on Thursday this week.  The weather was sunny and freezing cold.  Not all that pleasant but the company was good so we managed to make the best of it.

John Segesta was the photographer and is always loads of fun.  Plus, he tends to get spectacular photography so I was stoked to be working with him.  Even though I have clearly lost my tan 🙁

 

Mel trying to look tough…

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Life and Sport – It all applies

No matter what you do, if you do it well and have confidence you will succeed.  I love this video.  Everyone thought she was going to be terrible.  Everyone expected little.  Everyone, that is, but Susan herself….

Click Read More to click through to the video and see how cool it is for someone to believe in themselves, step up to compete, give it their best and outperform possibly even their own expectations.  Pretty motivating with the season just around the corner.

Starting Mel’s Farm

I guess the reason that this blog might be interesting to anyone (hi mom!) is watching the progression from off season training to race season form and how that translates to results.  Having a blog means anyone can follow along and see whether what I did then gave the outcome I was looking for.  So in the spirit of creating a history of cause and effect, I will again give a few boring details of the last week or so of training. 

More interesting though, will be my new blog entrant: the farm!  I was so excited last year when I planted everything entirely too late to enjoy bushy green tomato plants in September (of course, only green tomatoes as well) that I have been inspired to actually start this farm when I am supposed to:  now.  I have planted watermelons, four varieties of tomatoes, peppers, calendula, african daisy, two varieties of beets, arugula, spinach, rainbow chard, broccoflower and four varieties of basil.  I plan to grow ALL of this on my porch.  In addition I have a pot of strawberries along with two blueberry and two raspberry bushes I have planted in the backyard to test whether deer are interested in them at all.  I do live in a city, mind you, but I live across from a park and a lot of green space so we have LOADS of large deer roaming around eating TULIPS this time of year.  Mine have escaped capture thus far but I am sure I will not have any flowers upon my return from Monterey this weekend.

Read more to see photos of the “farm” in its infancy and to read what the triathlon nerd in me has accomplished….

Continue reading “Starting Mel’s Farm”

Calling All Teams !!

The XTERRA West Cup is only THREE weeks away!!  Time to organize… how about the Mountain Mudders?  Or the So Cal Stompers? 

Whatever… put it on Facebook and call it good.  Cody and I are CALLING YOU OUT!!

New for 2009, XTERRA Team Competition

Cody Waite’s EPC Squad and the new “Mel’s Rad Racing Team”, a collection of 20-some amateurs racing under the wings of Melanie McQuaid, has inspired XTERRA to create a team competition for the eight XTERRA Cup Series races and National Championship in 2009.

In this first year the team competition will be a no-frills affair with nothing more at stake than bragging rights.

As such, XTERRA is encouraging individuals to join forces as a team with friends and family, other racers in their region, triathlon club, mountain bike group, facebook page, or whatever.

To register a team, the group leader or captain needs to email XTERRA communications director Ann Mickey at info@xterraplanet.com with the following:

1) name of team (keep it clean!)
2) name of team members (with age group)
3) what race or races your team will compete at

Note: You can have as many individuals on a team as you want

Scoring:  For scoring purposes, teams must designate four amateur athletes from at least three different divisions (all men, all women, co-ed, it doesn’t matter).

Each of the teams four designated racers will be scored on their finishing position in their division with points as follows:  1st (100), 2nd (90), 3rd (82), 4th (75), 5th (69), 6th (63), 7th (58), 8th (53), 9th (49), 10th (45).  In addition, each member will receive an additional point for every finisher in their division (for example, Joe Schmo finishes 1st in the 35-39 age group = 100pts, and there were 15 finishers in the 35-39 division so Joe’s score is 100 + 15 = 115).

Add together all four team members’ scores and the squad with the most points wins.  We’ll announce the results online as soon as possible after the event. 

There are no major rules, aside from signing up your team with Ann Mickey at least one week prior to the race in question, and handing Dave Nicholas (or the race director) the names and age groups of your four designated racers prior to the race start.  Of course, it would be cool if teams had unique jerseys, shirts, hats, outfits or something that unified the group – but for this first year that won’t be mandatory.

The ultimate goal of the team competition is to a) have some fun and b) create and expand on local networks of racers so groups across the country have friends they can swim, ride, run, and train with all year round.

 

Perspective

As published in Triathlete Magazine

I remember the first day I ever rode a mountain bike. I had just bought my first road bike. I was planning to try doing a triathlon and had acquired road shoes and pedals to match my blue road rocket. As I was embarking on my new adventure in road cycling I met a trials rider. Trials is the kind of mountain biking where you don’t really pedal, you hop instead, bouncing from one obstacle to another. Obviously, he was a much, much better rider than I was. Anyways, he thought it would be fun to take a complete beginner, not yet a triathlete or cyclist, out mountain biking for the afternoon. So we borrowed his roommate’s bike, which happened to be all of one size too large and possibly two sizes, installed my fancy new ROAD pedals and headed to the most technical trails in Victoria. I am sure he chose the trails that he thought were easy but they seemed death-defying to me. It was the most frightening, frustrating and painful experience of my life and I would never advise riding off road on road pedals unless you are highly skilled. I was covered in dirt, blood, tears and bruises. I was also hooked for life.

I bought myself a mountain bike the next day complete with mountain bike pedals and embarked on a career in mountain bike racing starting that weekend. Yes, I am that person who will go to the ends of the earth to conquer that which has beaten me in the past. Over time the amount of blood and tears I would shed per ride decreased but it really took more than a year to become a reasonably proficient rider. Then it only took two years to earn a spot on the national cycling team…

Melintheday_001

Mel back when she started… in a cupcake outfit with gnarly scabby mess on my elbow Continue reading “Perspective”