July 19, 2010

Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge 2010

Well after 2 years of non- motivation and/or being out of race shape, there seems to be some hope for this old broad. For that time I've needed to race more with the muscle between my ears. It was frustrating to be less than successful, even knowing the reasons.

Most of the top riders in the country and Canada came to throw down some hurt. It was quite competitive. One of my goals this season is to ride under 40 seconds in the 500m. TT. I came close and feel it can happen in the next month. Usually at AVC, 2-3 ladies will ride under 40 seconds. This year.... 9. I got 10th place with a great time for me. Crazy.

I posted a good time for 200m.TT to seed 5th or 6th for sprint tournament. Lost the first ride, but eeked out a win in the reps. The last ride placed me 6th overall. Keiren went well also.

Details aside, the results might not show that I did very well this weekend. But I honestly was very happy with my riding AND with the level of competition. I'm totally looking forward to next weekend up in Seattle.

April 22, 2010


The 1st Annual Daybreak Middle School Walk-a-thon is on Friday, May 7th. This walk-a-thon raises money for the American Cancer Society. Part of the money goes to our school's ASB account. Many teachers at my school and friends of ours have been affected by this disease. I don't know if you know this, but racer, a official, David Hart's wife is going through chemotherapy right now.

Teachers can choose whether to volunteer to help that day... or participate. It wasn't a hard choice.

How it works: Our walk-a-thon is 2 hours. You sponsor me a certain amount of money per lap I walk. Remember, I have long legs and determination. Your amount per lap can be as small as $.25 a lap up to... as much as you want. The estimated lap total is 15. You can also indicate a maximum donation, in case I walk more laps than you can afford. Finally, you can also just donate a flat amount.

You can send me a message privately or get excitement going, by replying to this note publicly. List your sponsorship like this:

Name, $ per lap, Maximum donation
ex: Sally Smith, $2.00, $50.00

P.S. My class has a goal of $1000. At 25 people counting me, we estimate that each person only has to raise $40 in lap sponsorships!

April 12, 2010

Cryptococcus and a Criterium

This year's Icebreaker Crit turned out to be a nice "break"through for me. As too many of you know, I contracted a blood infection last fall through a wound I got in a cross race. It took until mid-January to discover what it was.

Cutaneous Cryptococcus is rare. The doctor who removed most of the infection from an area on my leg had never seen it. It's quite rare to contract ever. Of those that do get it, most have HIV. Then, of those that get it, most get it by inhalation, so by the time is shows up on the skin, the disease is pretty advanced. My version was that tiny % of a tiny % of a tiny % that actually contract Crytococcus through a wound on the skin.

Since then, I have been on a heavy dose of an antifungal medication. Luckily, it only targets the infection, not damaging healthy cells. However, liver was working double time, my appetite was practically non- existent, and I spent the last 3 months, quite disappointed in my racing. I started 7 races and finished 3. Although I tested negative for the disease in early March, the doctor wanted me to stay on drugs for another month to be sure it was totally gone.

I came home from visiting mom and Larry in Kentucky on Saturday, the 3rd. I attempted to race a cat 3/4 criterium on Sunday. It was flat, and so was I. The 35 minute race only lasted about 10 minutes for me. That was it. No more drugs.

My logic: I had tested negative, and was now taking medication for an infection that only had about a 1% chance of still being in my system. The next Wednesday, I finally saw doctor again... and he agreed, after much SYA discussion.

So, on to the crit yesterday....

We had 12 riders, which by Oregon standards, from what I can remember, isn't too bad for a crit. Or course, I haven't really raced much on the road for two years, so no clue what field sizes have been like. The race was pretty typical. Lots of riding tempo around and around, with the occasional attack. There was a nice wind coming from the north. I spent most of my energy playing a game called, Stay Outta da Wind. Not too many ladies seem to know how to play this game. Oh well. If you want to ride directly behind the wheel in front of you with a strong wind hitting your left, then your right side... that's cool. The only trick to this game on a "D" shaped course was in the last turn (think bottom of the big "D") on to the front straight, trying to take an inside line to stay wind free.

Early on, I launched a little "I'm-not-really-attacking-just-opening-up-the-system" attack. It was good! I took the 2nd prime- a large pizza for a pizza joint in Eugene. Super great.Because I'm in Eugene about 2 times a year. Like I mentioned, pretty uneventful. A comical part was when this girl (snicker) thought she could (giggle)... push E-Charb....(hoooooo) off of a wheel she wanted. Um, yea. Not even I can get Emily off a wheel she wants. OK, maybe I could, but she's my home girl, so... I probably never will. There was a firm elbow and a shoulder check,along with a little bumping. There were a couple "Woaaaaah"s from behind. I was off to the side (refer to wind game).... laughing.

OK, enough rising actions here. Finally we were down to 3 laps to go. If you were following the conflict that I have sucked at racing this spring, then we've already hit the climax. I survived feeling all right. If you're following the conflict, that I haven't placed well in a criterium in a few years, the climax isn't much better. At 2 to go one women attacked pretty hard. Of course, I was about 8th back in the group and this girl had attacked a few times already. (ding dong) 3 women linked up quickly to chase, followed by another 3 including me. Now sure how it all went down, but in the end, I finished 6th. Had Emily and I chatted and planned a little before or during the race, we could have at least been better positioned to be 2nd and 3rd. Had we felt even more confident, we could have surprised out little party and worked together to... win. Next time.

I'm just excited to finally feel like my training all winter, fighting infection and drugs is going to pay off. I'm actually looking forward to spending my Tuesday nights this month at PIR with the boys.

December 30, 2009

Ha ha! I figured it might be fun to throw in another post for 2009. I think that makes it a total a 3 posts for the year. To anyone that is following, I'm going to be closing this blog. I'm on facebook. Befreind me if we are not already. If I don't know you, please indicate so I don't ignore you


Heather VanValkenburg
Vancouver, Washington

September 6, 2009

It's About Time

So...uh... I guess it's time to update the bloggy blog. Not sure if I'm going to keep this going. Facebook seems to be easier to post stuff and stay tuned.

I thought about completely closing this blog, but I don't want to lose some pretty funny stories. Maybe another rainy afternoon, I'll go find all my posts and copy them into a document. Hmmm

Oops! Computer is about to die. Guess I'll figure it out later.

February 22, 2009

Might I Race This Year...?

It's possible. I threw on the new duds and rode to the coffee shop. Then I continued riding to Swan Island for some crit intervals. My knee is little tweeked, but nothing Kurt can't fix.

October 5, 2008

Nationals Recap

Tuesday night, Jeanie, Nathan, Charlie, and I boarded Alaska flight 560 for LAX. Nationals. Finally. I had light expectations, considering the season I've had and my weak motivation lately.

Our house was a 3 minute walk from Manhattan Beach. The beach was not heavliy used, even on the first hot, Wednesday morning. Brian was surfing before most of us got up. I put it on my list of things to do the next day. That afternoon I did not have a race, so I hopped on the track for a bit to regain my bearings. It takes a few laps on ADT to shake the feeling that you're going to slip. This year's turnout looked to be light compared to the past 3 years I've been here. Brian, Nathan, and Mark put out a standing 250 and the rest of us... stood. And cheered.

Thursday morning, I spent more time in any ocean than I ever had. Jeannie, Mark, Brian, and I, along with our house quiver of 1 surf board and 2 boogie boards went down to the beach. It wa about 9:00am and 70 degrees! I had SO MUCH fun. I didn't let that evening's race affect my wave time. Nothing irrigates your sinuses like a few salt water waves crashing on your head.

The water romp must have been a good idea because that night I rode my fastest 500m. time on that track, 39.021. SO close to sub 39. Oh well. I'm far from fastest though, as that time placed me 9th. But I was content with a PR at the end of a blah season. Cari won her first gold metal of the week.

Friday morning, we were awakened by members of the other house, so I was a GRUMP. I big, nasty why-did-you-not-be-quiet-and-let-me-sleep grump. But after breakfast, Jeanie and I went to the beach again. The waves were grumpy and rip-like, so we mostly sat on our boards right where the water stretched and dug our feet into the coarse sand and absorbed the sea air. Very nice.

The morning's rage was released in my first heat of the keiren. I won the heat with quite a gap. I was confident going into the semi-finals. I got into a box- no problem, but right when I decided to crawl out, another rider bumped my onto the apron. Not a huge deal. Rubbin's racing, but it messed up my rhythm, and I finished 4th. 3 went to the final. Grrr. Then in the minor final, I finished 2nd behind Liz, which landed me 8th. We later found out that Liz was disqualified after a series of bogus calls, so I was placed 7th.

Saturday morning, my legs did not agree with the idea of going to the beach. Instead, I enjoyed it from the big windows of our kitchen. I hung around, ate lots of granola and yogurt, and made a spreadsheet of everyone's 500 splits. I also looked forward to the sprints that night.

Well, I think my lack of training this... year affected my endurance. I was TIRED- during warm up, while waiting to ride... and apparently in my 200 meter TT. I posted my official worst time ever on this track. 12.9 is .2 slower than last year, and .4 slower than the 3 times before that. Crazy. The 4th-7th qualifying times were all 12.9 something. Tight!

My first sprint was against Colleen. The first ride was very close- photo finish in her favor. The second ride was not as close, but she successfully sent me to the minor final in 2 rides. I wasn't too disappointed. I rode smart and did my best. She had quite a turn of speed and eventually earned a bronze medal.

As I was spinning on the rollers, waiting for the 5-8 final, a lady in a USADA shirt came up to Jeanie and I and asked who Heather was. "Guess what Brian, we're going to be here until midnight again. I have to pee in a cup." At that moment, I began drinking lots and lots and lots of water. I still had to race, so that bought me some time. After finishing my sprints, where I finished 3rd in the group to earn 7th overall, I continued to take in liquid and change bike wheels. Eventually, I decided to go with the lady to the super secret place. And in a surprizing short amount of time (read August 2005), I "produced." It helped to have the lady talk to me about everything else but peeing. I was back to the track in time to watch Brian and Dean in their keiren minor final.

So, all in all, it was a good week. I'm glad to have had successful races under all my circumstances. Cari swept the sprint races- 500, keiren, sprints, and I ahve to assume the team sprint. What a great birthday gift for herself. We hopped to 6:15 morning flight back home and I spent the entire day laying around and cuddling with kitties.

September 13, 2008

It's not a Bucket List

On the sly, I've discussed with a few friends my plans for the fall/ winter. They say, "Oh, like a bucket list." No, it's more like a "I've ignored it for 8 years and now I want to do other things than ride my bike...list"

There you have it. How did I get here? First, I fell off my bike last December... onto my shoulder. This injury put me off the bike for a while, but I wasn't too sad. Then, I caught the super flu in late February and couldn't get out of bed, let alone train, and I wasn't too worried (since at that time, nationals was, 1..2..3...8 months away.) Then I began my Mary Kay business in April. All those little white boxes and trips to the bank (to make deposits) are pretty intoxicating. When that happened, I set my training aside. Then my close friend's mother passed away and I began thinking about what I've done in the past few years... and what if it all ended tomorrow. Once the new Mary Kay adventure reduced to a simmer, I was struck with Guido, the intestinal demon that destroyed my system.

Finally by August, I was healthy, my business was underway, I was looking forward to a new school year, and...

I'm still not motivated to train.

At this point, I'm going through the motions. Ryan Triplett passed away last weekend and again, I"m reminding that it's a big world out there to explore and I need to get on it. I LOVE racing, but I'm not IN LOVE with the training anymore. I need to be IN LOVE with something to give it my all. I want my last hoo-rah at Nationals to be fun and worthwhile and I have the motivation and the spirit to hang in there and do the work for 3 more weeks.

This fall and winter, I'm planning to do all the things that I've put aside. Some are get-back-to's and some are want-to-try-them's. So, add my on your list to join you...

climbing (want to try)
dating (you may need to help me supply the date)
riding- yes, i still plan to
snow shoeing
xc skiing
snowboarding- i have a little- 10 years ago
hash running
ok, now i'm starting to visualize the floor plan at REI
football (i think)
chili feeds
running- a little at first

I think that's about it. The point is, my goal is to be outdoors every weekend, and some weeknights from mid- October- end of February and beyond.

Call, email, post to my facebook, whatever!