Saturday, March 7, 2009

More training, some racing, and psyched for spring

The good news is that the snow has been clear from the roads since the beginning of February, even though it hasn't been completely eliminated from the forecast. The bad news is that it's still too cold to bike without many, many layers. But the fact that I can ride outside is ALL GOOD. I brought the camera along a few weeks ago but only captured a fraction of the shots I wanted to because when biking in sub-freezing weather and wind, stopping is not an option.

I love my local roads and rides. I am so lucky to have so many long, interesting, variable, and traffic-free roads. Granted, there are only a few months each year when the riding is comfortable weather-wise, but the terrain (did I mention that there isn't any traffic?) rocks.

After finishing the above ride last weekend, Aaron and I headed up to Vernon, Canada for the BC Cup Biathlon Championships. I meant to take a lot of pictures, because it was a very well put on event and a pretty venue to boot, but I only managed one shot wherein I hit the picture button instead of accidentally turning the power off. It turns out that I can spend 4.5 hours biking in near-freezing rain, but I am the worlds most pathetic biathlon spectator. Even when wearing 5 layers (including wool and down), standing on snow completely drains all heat from my body. Fingers and toes go immediately numb and nearly all enjoyment is zapped from the experience. Except of course, when Aaron has a good shooting bout or when Ole Einar Bjorndalen skis by. He was really there!

Since getting back from Vernon, the weather has been pretty crummy. Luckily, I didn't have very much riding to do, but I did have my first non-snow related race in a long while - The Snake River Canyon half marathon. I'm not going to bother with too many race report details except to say that it was beautiful down in the canyon with snow on the canyon walls and the occasional appearance of blue sky.

The course is flat, but wind is almost always an obstacle. This year proved to be no different with a truly formidable head wind on the way out and a tailwind on the homestretch. Last year was the opposite, and we fought a ridiculous headwind on the way back. So really, conditions were easier this year. I did go a minute faster (1:23), but it wasn't quite what I was shooting for, especially given the reduced, albeit very much present, wind. I have to thank(?) Nicole C. for pushing me harder in the last couple miles than I really felt like going at the moment.

Annie was accidentally registered in the wheelchair division, which led to a minor pre-race snafu. She's now bitter that she didn't get to stay in the division because she would have come home with some snazzy hardware.

One thing I love about the race is that a good number of Spokanites head down, and because it's an out-and-back course, I get to see a lot of people I haven't seen all winter.. We're all just so eager to get off of the treadmills and trainers. I wasn't terribly conversational during the race today, but I did get to reconnect with a lot of friends post-race.
...and we were off

loving the wind

It was a pretty spectacular drive home, with some serious wind, sleet, and hail. Apparently the winds hit 52 mph in town. I couldn't resist this shot. With 5-10 inches of snow in the forecast, it's looking like it's going to be a fun 3 hour ride tomorrow. Sigh. Someday greenness will return to the area and my veggie garden will do this again. I actually dreamed last night that Aaron let me dig up the entire backyard to make a bigger, sunnier garden. Given the work he has done on the lawn, I doubt it will transpire. Seasons are pretty amazing.


Spokane Al said...

Wow - any day with a new post from you is a good day!

Congratulations on a great race.

And we do live in a great place and when the temps rise a bit more I will venture outside on my bike so I can experience some of the terrific roads. said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

Finally looked at the results. Wow! Nice job, Coops. I believe I made a smart ass comment last night but whatever it was, I take it back now.
;) S
i get the giggles every time I think of the Annie story. Goofy things happen to that girl! She's like Steven- Comic relief without even intending to be.

Charisa said...

Nice job on your race and those pics are awesome - love the snow!

Kirsten said...

Your shots from riding outside make it look like a wonderful day! What route was that?? I'm just starting to swim and bike again. Hoping to enjoy the same views soon! Enjoy! Green's almost here, I can taste it!

rr said...

It indeed bodes well for the sleepover at Shelbys that you are a Mouse Au Vin fan.

The rabbit said that Louis beat the monkey at arm wrestling..

And 1:23 is smoking fast, girl. Congrats!!!

Matt said...

Great race out there on Sat! Looking strong for Oceanside, just dont lap me on the run :)