Las Cruces Road Race


A month ago the Zia Velo team went on a Saturday ride along the Las Cruces Road Race route.  Mike did the whole thing with them and I went along for the last part of the ride.  I was glad to be able to at least know where they went when it came time for the race this weekend because I became the designated photographer for the whole thing.

Mike and I were laughing because on Jason McClure’s bike (that Mike is borrowing) it has the words “Daddy is the best”.  So fitting in many ways.

At the beginning, they rode up Dripping Springs towards the new high school.  It is such a smooth road with a gradual incline (it is also the same road we do the Turkey Trot on too). 

The crew was yelling spontaneous things like “Liz + 1” and “Stalker” at me the whole time, but I was trying to get some good shots!

I like this picture because Mike is waving at me.  You can hardly see it, but it makes me laugh.

My favorite part of the ride is the part that passes the pecan orchards and heads over to Stahlman Farm.  I LOVED the weather mixed with the view too.  Couldn’t have asked for a better day to do it.

Matthew Busche who rides for Team Radioshack came along for the race as a tribute to his hometown.  Mike was able to get a picture with him and we sat with him at lunch and chatted it up for a while.  Nice guy!

Also, in honor of Barney’s birthday I took him on part of the route and this is what he was acting like:

What a beast.

Viva Bike Vegas!

 Well, its been a LONG time since I have been in the blogging world.  I blame it on work and lots of things happening.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to take pictures of EVERYTHING we have been going, which makes me so sad.

So Mike and I took off for our pilgrimage to Las Vegas for his third Viva Bike Vegas race back in the middle of September.  It’s always a good time because I get to see family in the process and we get a good bike race in the process.  This year it went 122 miles, which is the longest race Mike has ever done.

Here is Mike and his crew at 5 in the morning ready to take on the day!  It was a LONG day…

Mike was so funny because he saw me taking this picture and he hurried to the front to get a shot.  All for the sake of an awesome photo.  This was pretty much our view the whole day…driving around in a van and getting out of window shots!

The best view was when we went through Lake Las Vegas to Lake Mead.  It was sunrise and so beautiful!

I was making fun of my dad because he has this American flag all day.  I was embarrassed, but Mike was so proud of him and how he supported him throughout the race!

My dad kept stopping traffic to make sure Mike was getting his water bottles.

It was pretty cool because my nephews and my brother came out to support him.  We all got fired up to go biking when we come down for Christmas.  These guys were awesome helpers!

Overall, it was a great success,  Even tough Mike busted his bike at Lake Mead and we had to rent him a bike, he still was able to finish the whole thing thanks to the help of the family.  Here’s to hoping that next year goes a little smoother!


My First Triathlon

 So I finally sucked it up and tried my first triathlon.  It just happened.  Every month I get an email from White Sands Missile Range letting me know about half marathons, triathlons, or other events going on in town.  The Yucca Triathlon popped up a few weeks ago and I talked Mike into doing it considering on our vision board Mike had put “to do a triathlon or duathlon”.  When it comes to that board, we can not let anything pass. 🙂

First of all, we only trained a week.  The bike has been an ongoing training, but I have to admit the running and the swimming made me a little nervous.  I love running in races, just not every day (unless I had a running buddy or something to train for).  I knew I was in trouble when we did the Color Run 5k in Albuquerque and I felt like crap.  And well, let’s see, the last time I went swimming was…..I can’t even remember. 🙂

The Yucca Triathlon starts out with a 8k run, a 45k bike, and ends with a 400m swim.  Mike and I had googled 8k and found out it was around 4 miles, so the whole time we kept thinking it was only a little more than a 5k on the run.  Piece of cake.  We didn’t look at the decimal until the night before and realized it was 4.9…5 miles!  Mike was bummed because of all the rain, they had to shorten the ride to 14 miles.  There was a terrible headwind, so it ended up working out that way.

Judging by the picture of me coming in on the bike, you can probably guess what the weather was like!  It was cold, rainy, and windy, which made it a memorable experience for the both of us. Mike took off on the 8k with no trouble and stayed with the group.  His buddy Jason and I ran together in the back of the group (which was my plan all along).  The transition to bike was pretty easy…grab a helmet, and put my bike shoes on and I was off!  I’m guessing that part felt awesome to me because of all the biking I have done, but really, it felt awesome.  The headwind decreased my speed in half on the way back.  I was hitting almost 30 mph on the way out, but on the way back, it was 13-15 mph.  The rain also decided to act up at that point too and the other riders looked so mad when I came up on them.

When I came back in, I was SO NERVOUS about the swim.  It’s not that I didn’t think my muscles can’t do it.  It’s my breathing.  I can’t control it enough to go under water and I panic!

I am so glad it was NOT open water.  I like having the mental image of eight lanes to go up and down.  Since I had a pretty good gap on the people behind me on the bike, I was glad to not have people behind me in the pool.  I know this is normally first in a normal triathlon, and I wonder how people do it.  But hey, I made it, even after stopping a few times for a few seconds to get my breath.

I did it in 1:52 minutes while Mike finished in 1:28.  The cool thing is that they print out all your times so you can compare them to all of the other racers.  If I wasn’t so slow on the swim, I actually could have gotten first in my category (30-34)!  I ended up in second place and I will take it!

I love the no makeup and crazy swimming hair picture.  Mike was making fun of my curly hair trying to escape.  It was way crazy!

Mike was in the category called Clydesdale, for guys above 200 pounds.  He actually had one of the fastest bike times, so I think he would have done great in his normal category. He rocked it!

We are very addicted and I had a lot of fun! Mike is sitting here right now asking me when is there another one we can do and I am wanting to do it again.  Don’t get me wrong, we look like a bunch of 80 year olds walking around today, but it feels so good.

P.S.  I am taking a huge liking to swimming too! Mike and I are getting memberships to the local aquatic center.  I am so excited!

The Color Run Albuquerque, NM

 I’ve always wanted to do a Color Run ever since I saw someone post it on Facebook.  Since June, I have been bugging Mike to go and talked the brothers into going too.  I was definitely made fun of a lot and was even scolded when we found out the Bike MS race was the same weekend!  So we made a sacrifice and continued to press on with the plans!

The crowd was pretty big for such a small town.  We had 6,000 people.  Places like Philadelphia and New York had 65,000 people.  I can’t imagine!

Pre-race stretching.  Is that guy going to the bathroom?  (He isn’t, but it sure looks like it and makes the picture more funny!)

Here I am coming across the finish line.  Out of the four of us, I was last, but I have my reasons!  I did it in less than a half an hour and consider that great considering I stopped running when we were getting sprayed and talked to the people.  The boys made it a competition.

Mike won the “Who Got The Most Color Running” contest.  We really didn’t get that much until the Color Festival.  It’s where they count down from ten and everyone throws their dust in the air.

This is what I looked like…and then…

Brad and Jared both had red dust and I got it all.  I am still trying to get it out of my hair! 

This is my absolute favorite picture of the day.  The powder was so thick that it felt like it was night-time.

Can you believe this was taken on a cell phone?  What a cool idea.  It was pretty fun standing in it.  What a fun date idea too if you want to bring the significant other.  We had a blast! We are definitely gonna do it next year. A lot of people walked, some people had strollers, and some people were in wheel chairs.  I highly recommend it for anyone.

Mountainair, NM

 When I moved here three years ago, I knew NOTHING about New Mexico.  Las Cruces was a stopping ground on road trips to Texas and Florida, but that was about it.  We started doing mountain bike races and I was introduced to all the other cities of New Mexico like Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Gallup, and Los Alamos.  It’s pretty neat to explore these places and especially enjoy the awesome scenery.

Ever heard of Mountainair, NM?  Me neither.  Something about a town that’s named after a fresh mountain breeze.  I wish I would have gotten the pictures of the “main street”.  It was pretty much the whole town.

Anyway, Mike is finishing up the NM road series (he is trying to move up from Cat 5 and this was the last race).  I decided to join in, even though I had NO TRAINING whatsoever.

We got there and warmed up on the road.  It was cloudy, which was nice so we wouldn’t burn to death.  The race was 40 miles long and had a small climb at the end.

Mike was able to stay in the lead and got fifth in his category of more than 25 guys…awesome job!

My story ends tragically with being the naive one of my group.  I was in a group of 13 girls.  Three of them fell off the back and I was able to stay with the whole group until mile 25.  It was there a huge right turn happened.  One, I hate turns on a road bike and two, I hate people who cut me off on turns on a road bike.  And that’s what happened.  Four of us fell off the back of the group, and well, we stayed back.  I had so much rage and energy that I “pulled” the girls a lot to see if we could make it.  After being yelled at for going too fast, I slowed down and stayed with the girls.  At the finish line, they all slipped past me.  I was used. 😦  But I did learn to not help people if they are going too slow!

So I did it!  A road race!  9th place. He he.

Sandia Peak Challenge 2012

Even though I haven’t been riding the New Mexico Off Road Series as much this year (see, I still want to give it a shot this year!  People get so excited for this race because it is listed as the state championship.  Two more hours of registration and there are only two girls racing the sport race! Ha ha!  Thankfully, the other girl is in my category so I have some competition.

We decided to pre-ride the course last Saturday and it was so beautiful out.  I was able to make it to the top in about an hour and a half.  Ned Overend, awesome mountain biker extraordinaire, has made it in about fifty minutes so I will take it.

I love this shot of Mike on the downhill.

The downhill is so fun.  It’s very smooth and gradual and it takes about 25 minutes to get down at a quick pace.  A lot of people take the lift to the top and then just ride down for fun.  We prefer to take the “free” route (that doesn’t cost any money) and ride our bikes up on our own.  Plus it gives us bragging rights of being hard-core.

I tried to re-enact Mike’s awesome picture, and instead made the “fish face” and ruined it.  (See my Fitness post on how to breathe when running…I am a pro at making the fish face!)

12 Hours In The Old West

Well, we did it again.  Another 12 hour race in the books under the name “Lady Cluck and the Boys”.  We drove about two hours north of Las Cruces to the town of Ruidoso, New Mexico.  It’s a resort town with mountain bike trails, snowboarding, horseback riding, and casinos (makes me feel like home..hehe).   

We stayed at a cabin off the main street, down the street from an awesome Schlotzsky’s (which they don’t have in Las Cruces).  I had a turkey and avacado sandwich and a cup of Boston Clam Chowder.  We ordered some Cinnabon (YUM!) for our race day sugar rush we needed.

We had to hurry back to the cabin to prep all the bikes and to get some sleep!

I was so ready for bed!   P.S.  Yes, I wore a hoodie to bed because it was VERY cold in the cabin and it took a long time for the heater to kick in.

Safire has seen some good times and bad times on the race coarse.  The huge thing with her is that her shock has been acting up and getting really “squishy” (I just need to get a new one.) and so I have to pump it up the night before and right before the race.  Also, my big problem I have is seat height.  I tend to ride with my seat a little too low, so I adjusted the seat a little higher to see if anything improved.

This is a little bit out of order and it leaves no room for suspense, but can I tell you how tight our race was?? We raced four man co-ed and were planning on being the only team, until we found out that three other teams had signed up.  We are actually standing in order from left to right on how we went out on our laps.  Wayne was first and our fastest rider with 48-49 minute laps, Mike was second and he was hitting 53-56 minute laps, I was third with 1 hour laps, and Brent was fourth with 59 minute laps.  We followed that order until the final lap. 

Red Bull sponsored the race, so we had to represent by getting pictures with some Red Bull.  Energy drinks, Sportslegs, and some good old fashioned sugary foods are great fuel for an endurance race like this one.  I’ll be honest, after a while you get pretty sick of it, and all you want to do is drink water. 

The tradition shot of Mike and I riding by the Red Bull tent.  Our Christmas card last year was the picture of us riding under the Red Bull arch, so it is now tradition for us. 🙂

Mike was nice enough to walk up to the last part of the 11 mile loop and take a picture of me coming in on my lap.  This part is right after a little downhill, technical part through the trees and you start hearing the music from the parking lot and it gets you so pumped.  I was a lot faster on this part than last year, thanks to Cloudcroft, which prepared me for rocks and roots.

Once we hit the finish line, we would head back on the coarse to our parking spot and trade off there. It was really nice to have a spot right next to the trail.

I am super excited to finally get a first place in a 12 hour race.  This is my first one and I owe it all to the boys.  What happened was when it was time for my final lap, we were only four minutes ahead and the second place team was going to send out their fastest person (we may have eavesdropped a little…), so I told Wayne to go again and that sealed the deal.  I felt guilty about the whole situation, but after thinking about it, there are a lot of things that are involved with a 12 hour race and STRATEGY is one of them.  The last lap is the most crucial and if you are planning to place, you need to play your fastest rider.  I highly recommend this for any team in upcoming races.

Sizing Up The Competition

So we have a 12 hour race on Saturday in Ruidoso, New Mexico.  Mike is excited because he signed us up for a four man coed team.  The reason why he did it was that there is a greater chance to podium if you are on a coed team because there will hardly be any people signed up for it.  Most people want to race all boys or all girls.  We were hoping to be the only team.  As a matter of fact, we were the only ones that were signed up as of Saturday.
Well….they extended the deadline and guess what happened?  A group signed up.  Tonight I got a frantic phone call from Mike while he was out biking and he tells me to check out the group.  Usually when we race we will look up the roster and start measuring up the competition by Googling or looking on for people who have raced before.  My senses told me to look on Google first because the girl signed up was from Tucson, Arizona.  And this was the first link I got:
“Women of Giant: Cindy Lacotta”
Cindy Lacotta, Giant’s only female account executive, sets a precident for reaching out to new riders and growing the women’s cycling community in her Southwestern territory. Cindy, truly a jack-of-all-trades, has worked as a as an electrician for stage productions, usually running a spotlight (citing that she’s seen Cats waaaaay too many times), has a background working in bike shops, and as you’ll read in a few minutes, has even been part of an archeaological dig!
In case you don’t know, Giant is a maker of mountain bikes and road bikes.I have some work to do…

Pre Race Superstitions

As hesitant as I want to admit it, I am a little superstitious when it comes to race day.  There are certain rituals that have to be done in order to make sure we are calm and ready for a race.  For a while it was never discussed, until we finally came to terms and told each other things we HAD to do or else it would ruin any routine we had.
Superstition #1:  You must eat a bowl of oatmeal before the race.  We seriously love Starbuck’s Perfect Oatmeal (if you haven’t tried it, do it…and its only $2.95!).  Even if you have to force it down your throat, which I usually end up doing out of nervousness, you must eat some! 
Superstition #2.  Let me back up a second.  You have to have a night before meal which consists of chicken pad thai (from Thai Delight) and salads.  It is fuel for the legs and lungs. 🙂 Anything else, leaves you less than ready for the next day.
 Superstition 3 : If there are bad songs on the radio, then it will be a bad race.  Only good tunes allowed.
Superstition #4:  No talking before a race. We both are nervous, therefore we just make it worse if we talk.  It helps to avoid any confrontations.
Superstition #5:  Mike must check the front tire of my bike.  Even if I know its on,  I’ve raced where the tire flew off and it wasn’t pretty, so Mike has to check it and put it on each time from now on.
That about sums up the basic superstitions we have.  If these rules are not followed, catastrophe lies ahead.
P.S. Chocolate milk and pickle juice. Awesome after race combination.