Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Racing Life

Last week was my first race at San Dimas with Tibco and first race on a pro team. It is all quite an experience and I'm still taking it all in. I often can't believe this is all happening, but I think I'm managing just fine. Here are things that are different now.

1. I have slept 12.5 hours in the past 20 hours. I have been super tired after my first 3-day stage race. I don't feel sick and my legs feel OK, but all I've wanted to do is sleep. But naps=Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production so every time I sleep, I feel like a Kindergartner again, waiting for the Sleeping Fairy to come along and sprinkle magical HGH on all the well-behaved children, sleeping during nap time.

Needlepoint courtesy of Park Avenue Needlepoint

2. I complete volunteer and sponsor work. Yesterday, we went to Kimberly Elementary School to talk about being a pro women's cyclist. It was so cute how the kids would ask questions like "Why are your clothes so tight?" "Why do you wear sunglasses?" We asked the kids how much they thought our bikes weighed. One kid guessed 100lbs, the next 150 pounds. I almost fell over imagining myself hauling a 150-pound bike up a hill.
Showcasing the Shiv and Amira
Today's sponsor event consisted of: "I'm Jennifer Whee...wait...I'm Jennifer Wheeler of Tibco...of Team Tibco...and I chose SRAM, yes SRAM. And cut!!!"

3. I have a job on the team. Before the races we'll discuss tactics and some strategies to get there. My job basically has been to cover attacks, take away points from other teams if we can't set our GC leader up, and to create breaks in hopes for a breakaway or counter attack. You know, standard bike stuff. What's different now though is that people are counting on me to do my job. For example, they can't expect the GC leader to chase an attack and then also go for a sprint. I need to make sure I'm up there to help. This was a bit difficult for me in the road race. I found myself not setting up for the climb and being in a bad position several times, which caused me to use so much energy to fight my way back up on the climb. I ended up getting popped right before the last lap after an attack. I spent the last lap working like hell to make sure I finished as close to the pack as possible--I couldn't get time cut. I was needed in the crit tomorrow. When shit happens, like a mechanical or a crash, you can't just quit or call it a day. People are counting on you. That's definitely a cool and motivating feeling.
Anyway, it turns out I did my job well the next day at the Criterium. I got a mention in Cycling News as a "notable aggressor," which was a really cool thing for me as a newbie.

Photo credit Jonathan Devich:

Photo Credit Jonathan Devich:

4. You go back to the days of high school sleepovers. Pillow fight! No, not really--wastes too much energy. But you do end up sharing a room with several women and mingling with your friends post race. And just like in high school, we watch chick flicks and make jokes about how each other's mama's are so fat, etc. And I may have cried while watching The Proposal. But I may not have, too...We also complete "homework" assignments on the road. Several of the women on the team are in college, some have coaching businesses. We play computer lab in the morning and catch up with the world and complete "homework" assignments before and after racing. Luckily, I get paid for my homework assignments. I'm seeing just how lucky I am to have completed all my schooling and found a job to fall back on before all this cycling business.

Sam, Carlee, and I into the movie

Oh, Lauren, you don't say!

5. You get coaching scholarships. Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) has a scholarship program where they award a certain number of scholarships to "aspiring athletes." This includes testing, nutrition, etc. I applied and got one! I'm working with Jason Tullous who is based out of Tucson, so when I'm there periodically I can have some face time, etc. The big thing I'm doing is trusting the coaching and not adding or modifying as I see fit. That's new to me, but I hear that at some point you have to realize that you actually don't know everything--or in my case--barely anything and put your trust in someone who does. EEEEEEEEEEEEGADS! No, it's not hard for me at all...not at all.

6. You get homesick. I really miss Seattle. I've been in Tucson since December and home maybe a total of a week in a half. I miss my boyfriend, I miss my friends, I miss the trees and the green parks, and cool air, and Mt. Rainier, etc. I'm looking forward to my trip home after Sea Otter in April.

I'm sure this list will increase as the season progresses...stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And after four takes...

I finally said my name without stuttering. I was so excited and forgot my words. But regardless, it turned out to be an awesome video for an awesome bike fit experience.

I'll talk more about this experience in a bit. But in the meantime...

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Aren't we just gorgeous?

Photo Credit to Larry Rosa

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Something to Share

Is there something you'd like to share with the rest of us, Amazing Larry?

(Don't worry--I'm not missing my bike.) All I'll say is that my life often makes me feel like this:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Who Needs a Vespa if you can have a BERMAN?!!!

I got me a Berman! But just for a few days.

A Berman

I'm excited because one of my friends is passing through town again and FINALLY I'm able to ride with him. You see, I, too, used to be a Berman. You might recognize my Bermanese from magazine covers such as 2011 Bicycle Paper Northwest Race Guide. (Hee hee, snort snort *blush *blush)

Wait did I say covers as in plural? This was my first...Ok. Ok. I was once on the front page of my family newsletter growing up (My sister and I would make newsletters to let my mother know the status of the household.), but I was the editor, too, and quoted myself so it really doesn't count.
Pulling that Clip Art Floppy
Anyway, back to the story of my Berman. So Berman had to do a 4-5 hour workout consisting of tempo, base, tempo and sprint intervals. So, it worked out well because I could sit on his wheel and still maintain my tempo pace. It was human moto-pacing! All was well in the world of Wheeler.

But then my Berman started to create chaos by re-routing the tempo down a 15-mile dirt road. I got to the dirt road and immediately put on my brakes when I saw a sign that said "Pavement Ends Ahead" and then "No Pavement for 50 miles." I said calmly, "Amelia doesn't ride on dirt. She's a lady."

But the Berman didn't want to hear this and began his escape.

Berman Escaping

And, of course, I will not be left out, so Amelia Roadhart and I sucked it up and began the trek. At first I was a bit overcautious as I had never ridden a road bike on gravel and bumps for so long. And during the first couple passes over the ruts and rumble strips, I swooned and said to Amelia, "Lawdy child! I do believe I have a spell of whiplash!" but not really--just a little drama practice.

But then we got the swing of it and I let go of the brakes, took pressure off the handlebars and followed the snaking tire track of the Berman ahead of me. After a few miles, we were flying, and Amelia Roadhart became Amelia "Dirt"hart for the day, and I had visions of me showing up to a cyclocross race or the X-Games on my Amira--because I'm sure they're all JUST LIKE THIS ROAD. I was in the zone. Bunny hopping and gaining a mad 3cm AT LEAST. I was very proud of my steed and my wheels and tires for taking the abuse. Not once did I think I was going to fall or worry about popping my tires. Thinking about falling=falling.

I guess you could say I was in the zone, until I pulled up to this carnage. Berman Down! Berman Down!

 I traded a tube for a modeling expose of Amelia "Dirt"hart and myself.
Hands on the Hips and Pop
Finally the Berman was fixed and then we proceeded to finish the final hour of intervals on the 5 hour 96 mile ride. Yep. It was an epic day.

One deserving steak with Christy and Berman. See video below.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"You know, my blood don't lie..."

Enter Shakira....Exit Shakira (This is MY BLOG, DAMMIT!)

Anyway, the test was great. CTS put me on a stationary bike adjusted to my fit and then gradually increased the watts in 3 minute increments until there was a spike in the amount of lactic acid in my blood. So the routine went like this:

ME: Pedal, pedal, pedal and watching a screen to make sure my RPMs stayed at 90 (a number comfortable to me during the test).

CTS: Nod, nod, alcohol swab, wipe finger, PRICK (it didn't hurt but I still feel it deserves all caps.) Ask me my level of perceived exertion. I said...between gasps for air... "EASY, like a 1 on a scale of 20!" ...Then they added 5 or 6 to record an accurate number. (Sort of like when a short guy tells you he's 5'8" you assume he's actually 5'6".)

ME: Wait 60 seconds and then peek at the reading on the lactic measurer thingmabob. See it is still under 3.5 and think "HO YEAH!" like Peggy Hill!

Then this process continued until my measurements jumped from 2.1 to 3.7 to 5.1 to 8.7 in the span of 12 minutes. I made it further than I thought. And used the results to come to the conclusion that prior to surgery, I was a BEAST. Not like Christian the Lion beast but more like Simba during the fight scene with Scar in Lion King. Wait--did I really just make a Disney reference and expect people to be intimidated?

I'll come up with a better analogy after the next test when I'm asking where the gun show is--flex, flex, flex.

Talk later. Gotta work, then ride, then work. It's 80 here. I'm aiming for another euphoric sunset ending to my ride.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In the News

It's been awhile since my last post. But just to update you quickly, here are a few highlights of my life in the past couple of weeks:

1. My life is awesome. I love my new Specialized bike, Amelia Roadhart. I see now that people who were riding $3500 bikes were at a severe disadvantage to those riding $7200 bikes. Seriously, it just exudes fast and I feel a difference in every component, every jump, etc. I feel fast on my training wheels! Perhaps because they're Reynolds and pimp, but still they're training wheels! I'm also getting used to SRAM. I feel like SRAM had created a cool persona with its different operating system. Is it like Apple versus Microsoft? Now I just "tap, tap that" to shift, but you know I'm always just single tapping because I NEVER shift into easier gears. Mash hard or go home!

2. Getting back in shape sucks big time. Lots of irritation after several hours on the bike. For example, "M-Fer! How much longer is this shitty road? Grrr... I'm in the middle of NOWHERE...nowhere...nowhere...and have hours and hours and watts and watts to go! AHHHH!" But then after a certain point, I'm thankful for sticking it out and think about putting training in the bank.

I have a LT test today--thank you Carmichael Training Systems (CTS). I like to say what happens in CTS stays at CTS...unless the results are really really good. I've never had a blood sampling test done so I guess i can't fake it till I make it. "These colors don't run!!!"...wait, I mean "The blood don't lie!!!!!!"

(I saw a Harley with a full size American flag suspended from the back of the bike the other day and thought "These colors don't run!" Oh and I'm back in Tucson for a few weeks because it decided to snow in Seattle. I need to have words with "it.")

What else? That's about it. Just cycling, putting in hours at MediaPro--thank you for letting me work remotely. I couldn't do this all without them. (If you're a corporate person reading and ever need elearning, you know who to call...)

Oh and I'm waiting for my fat suit to get loose so I can unzip it and step out. Apparently, when you go from doing nothing to full gas, your muscles eat up a bunch of water and your entire body looks like this for a few weeks while adjusting--well, that's what I'm telling myself.

"Jinny! Is that you in that fat costume? Well, git on outta there and get some dinner!" (Dinner is lunch, supper is dinner. Breakfast>Dinner>Supper. I learned that in high school when working in Kevil, Kentucky on a tobacco farm. "Come get you some dinner. We're having bologna sandwiches!" on Bunny Bread, of course.

Yep. That's about it. Random thoughts.