Thursday, March 29, 2012

Almost a Fairy Tale

It was almost a fairy tale. Break arm in crash, come back a year later and win that same race. But, it wasn't a fairy tail. I did not win the Redlands crit. Honestly, I didn't think I could. You don't win a race that you don't have confidence to win in the first place.

Instead, I won the next day. That's good enough for me.
Actually, I didn't win alone. Unlike three years ago, I could not have won Sunset without my teammates. They set me up perfectly. All I had to do was deliver. It was an amazing feeling.

I cried on the podium. Life is an interesting ride. It takes all kinds of twists and turns. All you can do it enjoy the ride and make it as comfortable as possible.

What made Redlands even more special, this year, was one of my ALP Cycles Coaching athletes, Monica, was racing as well.  She cleaned up. Actually, she better have cleaned up- she's world TT champ so coach would expect nothing less.
Watching Monica race each day was very rewarding for me.

After racing, it was time to pack up and head to the airport.
My post race dinner? Chips, guac,
and airport burrito--all for myself!
Now, I get to be home. I love home and I appreciate more and more when I leave it.

Friday, March 23, 2012


It's official. I have done more road racing this year than I did all last year. Well, that's not quite right, but it's close. 

The first race of the season was San Dimas. I have never done that race before, but I liked it and I ended up 4th overall. Not bad for "damaged goods".  I'm pleasantly surprised at my early season fitness. The last time I raced a stage race, in Aspen, suffered like a dog every day. I guess that's the difference between 6 weeks vs. 6 months of training.

 The down side of San Dimas--in our host house we were sardines.

The good side of San Dimas? There was a big breakfast bowl to prepare my belly for the Full Gas road race.

Then it was on to Redlands. I have to admit, when I got to the host house and unpacked my bags I got a little emotional. The last time I shuffled on the floor packing or unpacking a bag in this very room, I had a cast on my arm after 4 days in the hospital post 'bow surgery. At that time, I never thought I would be in Redlands again. I gave Anne the bed as the last time I slept in that bed with with the cast, and I took the "window bed". I love the window bed!
I got a little bit of redemption, yesterday, in the TT. 3rd. I have never podiumd in the TT here before. I'll admit, that felt good. I guess you could say I'm "back". What makes it even more special is last year, at this time, I was 100% sure I was quitting after the season.

Tomorrow is the crit. The sight of the 'bow breaking crash.

I'm actually excited about racing tomorrow. Thanks to that crash, I'm back here more motivated and excited than ever.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cool Stuff

I have not been blogging, but I have been doing cool stuff. For the past week or so, I've been on vacation. Part of being on vacation is not getting on the internet--hence the lack of blogging.

Some of the cool stuff that has been going on for the past week includes-
-Coffee at Handlebar coffee (every single day-sometimes twice a day). The coolest and best coffee bar I have ever been to.
-Riding bikes with my NOW Pro Women's Cycling Team
-Learning how to ride bikes faster with said teammies
-Hanging out in Santa Barbara- farmers market, shopping, Handlebar coffee, etc.
-Riding bikes with Phil and Louise Keoghan--some of the team sponsors
-Eating good food made by my teammies in our amazing luxury house with a view of the ocean.
-Enjoying Vacation

As of yesterday, vacation is officially over.  We moved from Santa Barbara to Rancho Cucamonga (yes a bit of a change), and started racing today with a 4 mile uphill TT. In Santa Barbara we had a Luxury Rental House and here in "Rancho" we have a host house where we are crammed in like sardines (I much prefer host housing to a hotel--so I am very appreciative of our host family--it's just a little tight. It's a good thing we had "tightness" practice in South Carolina together).

Tomorrow, we race again--in big circles in the rain. Sunday, smaller circles again (probably) in the rain.

I have a few pictures of vacation and beyond. I'll post some sometime. In the meantime, check out my teammie, Addy's blog.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I feel like I am on vacation. One of those vacations you pay money to go on. One of those vacations where you ride your bike, get massage, get fed good food, and ride a fancy bike- all in a beautiful place.

But reality is, this is not vacation. This is my life and I get paid to do this. How cool is that?

After 7 years of bike racing and 7 years of ski racing before that, I had become immune to how cool my life was. I had become the grouchy veteran. Enter 1 broken elbow, 2 surgeries, 3 months off the bike, 4 months of racing missed, and a taste of the "real world". Now, I'm more excited than ever to have my life back. I am so lucky to get to do what I do- ride and race my bike AND get paid to do it.

I have been in Santa Barbara for 4 days now. I have napped, I have lounged around, I have gone to Handlebar Coffee for espresso everyday, and I have relaxed. It feels good. Life as a bike racer isn't so bad after all.

I feel like I have been given a second chance. I'm excited, I'm motivated, and most of all, I appreciate everything that I get and that I earn. Thank you to my team, Now Pro Women's Cycling Team.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Caffeine-aholics anonymous

My name is Alison and I am a caffeine-acholic. I have known I am addicted to coffee for several years now. 4 years ago, I gave it up for 10 days.The first 5 days of that were some of the most miserable days of my life. Headache, body ache, general moodiness and crankiness.

When we woke up Sunday morning to no power, I learned my addiction had risen to an all time high.  Due to the situation of the tree on the power line, not only did we not have hot water, but we couldn't grind the coffee beans. There was absolutely no way for me to get coffee at the house.
The wind blew the tree over sometime around 11pm.
Without coffee, or something warm to drink, I was at a loss. I couldn't figure out what to do with myself--I was off. I paced around the living room, took the dogs for a walk (who were also "lost" as they couldn't play fisbee due to the down power lines), had a hard time eating breakfast, then when I did, the hunger wouldn't go away (seems caffeine stunts my hunger).

By 11am, I already had a lack of caffeine headache. I didn't feel good and I was grouchy. I desperately needed to go into Ned for a coffee shop stop.

The United Power trucks moved out of the way of our car and we were able to escape for coffee bliss.

This United Power worker was on the power pole for HOURS! Those guys were amazing and restored our power by evening time.
Once in Nederland, I got a "dirty chai" (Chai and espresso). I started to feel better and more "normal". The edge was gone and I was able to relax and enjoy the afternoon. I had no idea I had become this addicted to coffee and caffeine. Seems I can't function without it.

The cause of the down tree--other than wind--Butt Rot.
Here's to power, coffee, and caffeine! Cheers.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Butt Strength

After 7 years of bike racing, you would think I would be able to figure stuff out. Last week, with the help of my friend Andy, I was able to figure something out.

You see, despite massage, stretching, and foam rolling, my left hamstring had been getting tighter and tighter. Last week, it was just dang painful while pedaling-on the trainer. As I was starting to freak out and become a head case, it occurred to me--I have had this exact pain before and have become a head case because of it. I kept thinking about it. I've had this pain while training on my TT bike. However, this pain has never happened while racing, and has never happened during the summer. I only get this pain in February and in March--the same months I up the ante on my bike training while also continue to skate ski. A-HA! Skate ski!! Last week, especially, I had been skate skiing a lot (winter training camp) and my left Gluteus Medius (glute med) got pretty sore and tired while skiing. Could a tired and sore glute med be leading to my hamstring pain?

Enter Peak Sports Chiropractic (aka, my friend Andy). I took my situation to him and he determined my left glute med was VERY tight. He caused me a small amount of pain while using his elbow, hand, thumbs, etc. to release and relax the muscle. 2 hours later, during my intervals on the bike, I had NO hamstring pain. I had power while riding in the drops and could feel my butt working. Butt strength while riding a bike is a big deal. It helps!

Andy gave me some "homework" that included a tennis ball and stretching.Three days later, my left leg is strong and working well--pain free. I am no longer a Head Case (at least about this situation), and am happy to have finally figured this yearly problem out.