Friday, February 27, 2009

Race Season Approacheth

As it gets closer to race season, I get more and more nervous, but more excited! It's been a crazy month and a half, completely changing the way I train and how I look at cycling. The past couple of weeks have been marked with huge improvements but also serious problems for me.

Thanks to Don, I learned (finally) how to corner and bump elbows. I'm not braking through turns as much anymore, and I'm taking them much faster. A lot of it was a lack of confidence, but there was definitely a lack of technical "know how" as well.

Problem areas included nearly a week recovering from my crash (see my last post for gory details.) It didn't really seem too bad at first, but my legs were super sore for a few days afterwards. Then, to make matters worse, my legs started spontaneously cramping again during a run and haven't been the same since.

A trip to the doctor resulted in a knee brace, a physical therapy routine for me to do at home and a battery of blood tests, which showed a significant increase in my muscle enzymes that may be causing the cramping. The brace helped a lot, and I've spent hours hooked up to the stationary trainer in the basement watching Frasier reruns and pedaling furiously to get back in the game. Swimming has also helped in soothing my muscles, and I think a lot more cyclists could benefit from this cross-training (or maybe I just want to get more of the team into swimming!)

With racing only a week away, it's all starting to feel more real to me. Triathlon is a totally different animal- there, if I do badly, it just is about me. Here, I'm terrified of screwing up or doing badly and making the team look bad. I'm just not used to being part of a team yet!

In the meantime, tomorrow will be the first time in two weeks (yikes!) that I'm riding outside (barring cornering drills and biking to all of the different campuses on my mountain bike), so I'm really happy about that. Hopefully the doctor can figure out why my legs are acting up and how to fix them. For now, I'm going to ride as hard and as well as I can, get to work on a race day press release, and stick to the physical therapy!

I've been reading a book by Johan Bruyneel about how he masterminded 8 Tour de France victories, and I love this one quote from him: "If you’re going to expend that first big block of effort and energy to participate, you might as well go ahead and give whatever it takes to win."

Rutgers Cycling has already expended the effort and energy training for this season, so I hope that this Spring has a lot of victories in store for us!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gu: Keeping Rutgers Cycling Energized and Hydrated in 2009!

Gu Energy Products has come aboard complement Rutgers Cycling's ever-growing family of sponsors.

Rutgers Cycling will be using Gu energy gels during training and competition and hydrating with Gu2O, Gu's electrolyte drink. For longer endurance events, riders will be reaching for Gu's newest gel, Roctane.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rutgers Cycling at the Pool

Captain Chaz, Molly, and I got some cross training at the pool yesterday. We jumped in the open lanes on the far side of the pool, each of us taking a whole lane, because we had the room. We swam for an hour, and yet nobody came to our side of the pool... every other lane was empty when we left, even though the other side was full of swimmers.

It turns out, Rutgers Cycling makes a big splash.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Medium Rutgers Cycling Jerseys Now in Stock!

Thanks to our friends at Verge Sport, we have a limited supply of Rutgers Cycling jerseys in size medium in stock once again.

Jerseys are available to order in sizes Medium-XXXL through Bikereg here:

Order Rutgers Cycling Jerseys

Questions regarding clothing may be directed to clothing(at)

Your purchase of Rutgers Cycling jerseys from Rutgers Cycling directly supports cycling at Rutgers University.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Productive, but Painful Week

Another week, another set of bruises.

I'm getting better at riding hills, riding long, riding intervals, and everything else. It's happening gradually, but I can feel things changing.

I'm also feeling tired. But it's been an exhausting week.

Sunday saw me riding part of the century with the team again, though this time I didn't need prompting to keep up and only tapped the brakes once or twice by accident. I also went an extra few miles! The only bad part of the ride was when a truck with a trailer attached decided to pass us on a narrow strip of road, sandwiching a few of us between it and the guardrail. A lot of the team managed to pass it, but it closed too close to the guardrail for me to squeak by, and Ken and I got stuck behind it, waiting for an opening. It came (meaning a whole 2 feet of space between the flatbed and the rail) and Ken gave me the push I needed (literally a push and yelling "go!") and I pushed as hard as I could to get past it before it swung back towards me.


Monday was a swimming day, but 65 degree weather meant running too. As usual, we had our mini-team recovery swim, and I learned the joys of aquajogging (very boring.)

Tuesday morning, I rode with the team on the A-loop. Hills and I have a love-hate relationship, but I appreciate the need to ride them as much as possible. We got to the top of the steepest one and somehow- I'm not sure how- I ran over a block of Styrofoam. Crash!

My shoulder ended up under Charlie's wheel (I owe him big time, since it almost was my head instead). But what hurt the most was my jersey, gloves, and new booties getting ripped. I managed to make it home, very very sore and very bruised. My arms, legs, and hands are host to bruises, scrapes, and cuts.

But that night, I was back to yoga, and Wednesday and Thursday were training as normal. It takes more than a few cuts and bruises to keep me off the bike!

I'm getting more and more excited about race season as it gets closer, but also a lot more nervous. Triathlon is totally different than cycling, and the rules I learned from that don't apply at all. I just hope I'm ok at technical stuff like drafting and cornering. We'll see, but I'm really looking forward to it!

Friday, February 06, 2009

It's all about Teamwork!

Well, I’ve survived long enough to write another update. But then again, this is just the Base past of training!

I feel the need to expound a bit on just how much I’ve found myself loving being part of this team. I never though I would say that, but as my awkwardness begins to decimate, I realize more and more just how important it is to have such a great support system surrounding you if you want to really succeed.

While I can’t claim to have biked the Century with the team this past Sunday, I rode a small portion of it with them, and an additional 20-25 miles before and after for a total ride of 75 miles. I met up with everyone in Frenchtown at the coffeeshop and got to meet a lot of people I hadn't before- I was also amazed at how many town locals and people on bikes stopped to chat with all of us. After coffee and bagels, we rode along the Delaware River to Titusville, before I turned around to meet my Dad for another 25 miles of riding.

However low my mileage with the team was, I learned quite a bit in that 25 miles. Don spent a hefty portion of time teaching me how to properly draft and how to avoid tapping the brakes so much, and Rich chimed in as well. (“It’s just a lack of confidence!” “No, it’s a lack of me wanting to kill any of you!”)

Their advice paid off, or so I’d like to think. This Sunday I’ll be ready to attempt proper drafting technique again. Corners are still nerve-wracking for me, always have been. But with a combination of Rich yelling, “stop braking!” and my Dad yelling, “cut that out!” over the course of the day, I think I’ve improved.

Just when I thought I was out of the draft and would never catch up, I had Rich behind me yelling, “Go, Molly!” and somehow my legs managed to pedal faster. Amazing what a little motivation can do for you!

Monday was a “rest day,” but those of you who know us triathletes know that bike rest days mean swimming and running. And who can avoid running when it’s warm enough to wear shorts and get muddy? Don and I did our Monday night swim, and he got to draft behind me for a change. Finally, something where I’m faster than him!

Tuesday night was spent in Chris’s attic on a trainer copying his interval riding, Wednesday was the gym with the team lifting weights, and Thursday I realized I was thoroughly disappointed when I couldn’t ride because I had class and plans with my Dad to hit the gym together, though my stationary trainer got an early morning workout.

I’m biking more than I ever have in my life, and I couldn’t be happier!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Ride Report: Super Bowl Century

Sunday the Rutgers crew came out in force, this time for a hundred plus miles of pre Super Bowl masochism. Spirits were high from the prospects of the temperature breaking freezing for the day. College Ave. was deserted when we met to leave. The whole campus is ours at this hour. There was agreement to keep the stopping to a minimum. We needed to get back in time to join the rest of the Heartland in the gluttony and general excess necessary for football watching. Like a skinny, silent motorcycle gang, we rolled onto College Ave. proper taking up both lanes. There were no cars, but we looked fearsome enough that it didn't matter. So many people in matching Rutgers kits earns more than the usual respect from the cars.

A few miles down River Road Ricardo flats, changes the tube, and flats again. So much for luck with the stopping! He decides his tire is not wont for this journey, so we leave him behind and press on. In the time spent changing the flat, Joe, Jay and I managed to ride 1.3 miles in circles on a side street. Take that, century.

The action begins when we climb the hill before Frenchtown. The long hill gives everyone a chance to overheat within the windproof confines of many layers. Chris takes a decisive sprint at the top of the climb, while the rest of us roll in throughout the ensuing 5 minutes. Don goes up the road to film some overly grainy footage for his documentary. We make it to Frenchtown and try to have hasty coffee, pastries, and bathrooms. This is impossible with so many clowns crammed into such a small clown car.

Leaving Frenchtown the sun shines and the layers begin to come off. We keep good time as we cover the flat miles along the river and enter the second climb of the day with big rings a roaring. We pass a recreational rider on the climb at a furious pace, no doubt looking like a bunch of showoffs. Sorry, dear rider friend, this fury has been brewing for miles before we saw you. I lead the stampede. with Chris, Coach Ken and Don clinging to me. Chris manages a second win, paying me back for nicking him on the line last week. The hills never forget.

After a quick water fill at the gas station, we get to the mile of dirt road in the century route. With ice melting under the afternoon sun, the road is ugly. Real ugly. Unable to decide the proportion of ice, mud and gravel beneath my tiny tires, I fall to the back and tripod the winding swamp decent. The rest of the team takes the ice with impressive (some might say foolhardy) speed. It is quickly clear to your roadie author why Rutgers is the three-time ECCC cyclocross champs. Something about the icy slush on their backsides makes the these guys right at home (or so I imagine, as the team is now far out of my sight).

We enter the "dark hours" of the century with plenty of time to spare. By this time each rider is battling personal demons. Chamoix are out of place, butts are sore, legs are fading. We still manage to assault the Landing Lane hill with prideful stupidity. If anybody has life in their legs, this does the job of emptying it out. The utter lack of any desire to pedal means we are finally home.

...just in time to watch the real athletes on TV.