don't kill me. my cell phone is fucked up and i think it's dying. did i spell dying wrong? if i did i'm sure you'll correct me.

call me today at work if you want.


...out of road

It was a long drive. 7 and a 1/2 hours. construction, wendy's and storms delayed us by an hour and a half i believe. sunday home and in bed by monday morning. sucks. i'm tired. i can say i'm happy with my result but not satisfied. i had made it a goal to get top 5 overall, but there were only like 20 some women. top 3, 7 minutes back from 1st place. i'm sure i lost a lot of time on the start and finish stretches. i also went off course at one point. and i really really need to work on eating while on the course, i must come to a complete stop! sitting here right now i have no desire to do phillips next year.
the course started with the road to a gravel road with a big up, big down and another big up. we then headed right into some double track over a bridge to a steep, loose, sandy, rocky, gravel incline. i knew on the preride i'd be hiking up this... at the start i huddled back behind 5 women. i saw about 10-12 girls ahead of us, but didn't panic. i'm not a strong starter at all and a road start heading into the wind wasn't anything i was looking forward to. i conserved a lot of energy. as we hit the gravel i abandoned that 5 and latched onto two girls going up, then down and as we headed up again i started to rev up and passed em to head into the doubletrack where i knew sitting behind someone wasn't as important to me. down the doubletrack, over the bridge sure as shit about 4 women off their bikes climbing that little rocky loose incline. no matter, i knew i'd be running this in the race. but i saw an opening to the right and took it. it was way loose at the top so i dismounted on the right side of the bike and just started running. i think i passed two girls. next there was a small section of singletrack with a small climb which dumped us back out onto the doubletrack. i could see a couple girls ahead of me but told myself to be patient i'll get them in the singletrack. i actually caught a clyde first up on the first section of singletrack. he took it really slow. it wasn't a long section so i passed him as soon as we got out and looked for some ladies to pass. i passed someone on the doubletrack in my age group just as we were about to head into some off camber singletrack. on the pre-ride the day before i took the lower part of the trail with no problem. not on race day. the trail had become more off camber and i slid down the side essentially falling down in front of the girl i had just passed. man i felt stupid. i apologized for passing then falling. i know how irritated i get when that happens. but i guess next time i'll be a little more understanding. i would have felt worse if she finished with me. like maybe i had thrown her groove off or something. anyway... i got back on the bike and bolted out of there as fast as i could. i passed a couple more women. at one point someone said i was 3rd overall, but then i passed two women who i knew weren't the leaders after a granny gear climb heading into some steep, loose off camber singletrack. i knew tony and kristina were still up there. i just rode my race. it was possible i was in third overall. and if i wasn't i was for sure top 5 most definitely. on my second lap i felt a little off, i took the clif shot i had in my leg. i'd have liked to have had more water with me as i didn't feel like i washed it down well enough. i could feel my stomach cramp up a little... but as the lap went on i felt a bit better. as the third lap came around i still felt good. i dumped it into the granny gear a little bit more than previous laps but i never felt like i needed to get off or that i didn't have enough gears. towards the end of the elite/comp/sport loops there was a short climb in the doubletrack followed by a short descent (or something like that) but it ended in a short rocky climb that flattened out, climbed a little and had a small wicked descent into a soft sandy climb with another sliding descent. i had heard the hugi girl coming. i had followed her up on the first lap, with her bike making some odd noise. she stopped at the top of the climb and fixed it, i'm assuming. anyway, i knew it was her. i felt like she was right there on that rocky climb with me. i could hear her ratcheting hub. so i gave the climb all i had. i knew i could ride that better than her and i let it all hang on the descent (scary) in hopes of getting some time as i knew the race ended on the road (not a strong point for me). i kept looking back and nothing. i finally reached the finish stretch that seemed to last forever. it was quite bumpy and wet with a weird off camber climb out and then another climb out. i kept looking back but didn't see anybody. as i came on the road i popped it in 3, locked out and gave it all i had. she was close, she finished 20 seconds behind me :) . john seemed happy for me. he was like you didn't finish that far back, and after he came back from the clock he was like 7 minutes. UGHH. that is so far back. oh well. i was happy with my finish.
i watched the elite guys take off. i then headed back to the car to get cleaned up and head out to be the water feeder. what a long bike ride to get to where i wanted to be! anyway, i felt good about being there for them.
beginning of my blog i made it sound like i didn't have a good time. but really i did have a good time. i felt good. it was hard though. harder than devil's head i think.
sara scorched the women's elite field winning by 4 minutes. zach and john took 22nd and 26th. i think... the drive home wasn't as bad as the drive up. we made it home in like 5 and a 1/2. but still, really long day.
this weekend 24 hours of 9 mile. hell yeah. lots to do though.


fuckin cats

went to the beach yesterday. i guess i'm not a beach person. i get bored easily. hour and a half is fine with me. it was all for casey though. she had fun. talk about a bad week. not horrible in the grand scheme of life or anything, but just minor annoyances that built up and created a super emotional day yesterday. i need to call walgreens and insurance...


we are sooo cool


wet spandex

is a good way to describe this weekend... have you ever tried to put spandex on while there's drops and streams of sweat covering every part of your body? it's a mess. you start by putting your foot in the hole while your still sweating... then you are all nervous so you wanna do it quick, cuz god forbid someone see you naked. you get your leg in and then you pull them up... but the only thing that comes up is the elastic for the waist because the bottom is still wrapped around your ankles. so essentially your spandex are tights right now. so now that your good and bad parts are covered you bend over (i'm sure a beautiful site) and start maneauvering and grunting to get them up. and then you pick at them for the next 10 minutes. i think if sara shook her head saturday while changing her tires she'd have given us all a shower! it was so frickin' hot!
it was a slow start for our drive up to devil's head. we watched the tour stage and it was too exciting to bust out. luckily we had packed the night before so the only thing we had left was pack the element. we dropped casey and carbon off and headed out. we ran into some traffic on the way up near schaumburg. i must've stared at the bright blue ikea building for a good half hour. that sucked! we finally passed a construction something or other. i have no idea what they were doing.
anyway it was a pretty uneventful trip up... til we got the resort anyway. right as we are ready to turn in a cop put orange cones in the turning lane and had us stop. looked like a huge motorcycle gang! turns out there were over 2000 riders riding for muscular dystrophy. how cool. we sat there for a good 15 minutes and headed in. we met sara in the parking lot. she wasn't hard to miss standing behind her element. we pulled next to her and started getting ready for the pre-ride. mike came in shortly after.
the guys were ready pretty early so they headed out without us. sara had a "quick" tire change and she, jill and i headed out as well. we took the ride pretty slow. i didn't know how i'd react to the climbing as the last two times i was at devils head i had an asthma attack, so i wasn't taking any chances. i have to admit for hating climbing i loved the course! i was a little awkward in the singletrack and even climbing as the front end seemed to wander, but i was okay with that as i knew it was the stem that i had recently changed. i brought the old one just in case.
we finished preriding and headed out to watch frank and jeremy ride the pro/semi-pro shorttrack. it was so fast. frank started pretty good and had a hell of a few laps. he dropped out just as hall and devine were coming up on him. man they were fast. way to start and hang in there frank. jeremy was still going strong. we entertained ourselves watching him from the sidelines as he usually rides a rigid singlespeed and he was on a suspended geared bike... so we'd watch him shift or not shift... we convinced ourselves he was confused all in good fun as it made it more fun to watch :).
we headed for the hotel room and food afterwards. it was a pretty early night. we had some minor bike work to do and we chatted a bit, but all were in bed by 10:30pm.
wake up was around 7:30 am. we headed down for a buffet breakfast. it was nice having something other than mcdonalds for a change. i love my sausage mcmuffin, but this was nice.
we headed back up to the hotel room to get the flock out. numerous trips were made by all and we were outta there. the van pulled in as we were getting out of the room. perfect timing i guess.
i was flippin' happy to hear our sleeveless jerseys would be arriving for dh. it was a brutally hot day with temps well into the 90s and the heat index over 100 degrees. i wrestled my spandex on and all my other goodies and headed out for a preride. i hung out in the shade on a road climb for a bit, came back for a little brake adjustment and headed to the start area.
i was called up first. it's nice being called up, however i am better off hanging in the 3rd or 4th row as i can never hang in the start. this i knew would be bad. i feel pressured to hang on with the real strong sport ladies. but today i just rode my own climb. i knew it was slow but at least i was riding. as i was climbing i thought of the sand turtle that was lost from orland park a few days ago... it had been missing for two weeks. i imagined how slow he must have gone but he got so far... i even thought that he was probably faster than me on that climb. i'm at the top of the climb now headed into the singletrack... i felt like i was in like 15th, when i really think about it, that's not bad. 15th out of almost 50. although that was just a guess. i knew I had the whole race to go. but it’s still frustrating to watch everyone pass you. i knew jill was right behind me. i could feel her. we were now in the singletrack. nice backup on the steep climb. a rider behind us apparently felt that she was going to win this on this particular climb. nope. wait with the rest of us, cuz if we coulda gone faster or around we would have. an opportunity to run up the side came and i took it. i must’ve passed 3 girls.
the temperature difference in the woods compared to the hill was amazing. it felt like 10 degrees! on the first lap coming out of the woods with the log crossings on the clim heading to the feedzone, i thought there is NO way i am going to be able to compete 3 laps. i grabbed a water. HOLY SHIT. it was soo cold I started to hyperventilate. i had to concentrate to get my breathing back to normal. sucked. i was tempted to just stop racing and sit in drink that cold water though…
but i moved on. I had no idea where i was in the race, who was ahead, who was behind… all i knew is the were dropping like flies.
the night before i had switched my stems. 100mm to 90mm. saved me. holy crap. i felt oh so comfortable in the singletrack again. Man, this race report is soo boring to write… long story short (i'll edit later if i remember anything important), my 2nd and 3rd laps i loved. i had a blast. i was actually passing people in the hidden rock singletrack… it felt good. i came into the finish in an hour and 40 minutes… just in time to give john a kiss and wish him luck as well as the others on the team. well, i didn't kiss them.
turns out i was 8th overall and 1st in age. sweet… jill was the surprise of the day with 2nd in age and 10th overall!!! way to go girl.
after wishing everyone luck i went to hose off and get changed and head up to the top of the hill.
as i was climbing i saw frank going up… next was kelsall followed by zach and john. later i saw sara come through essentially right behind kim and sara kj. she was flying. go sara.
jill and i headed down for awards which seemed to take forever. we ended up missing a bunch of the action… we saw everyone come in for the finish. sara was the winner for being the dirtiest of the whole bunch.


oh yeah...

and if my week hasn't been shitty enough, i have poison ivy on the face. dammit.

weak ass

i'm so tired. i'm leaving work early today. i have so much to do. i'm completely burned out at the moment. i had a rough night last night. in bed by 10:30. a first in months... however, i was up at 3 am because of carbon and casey. long story i'd care not to write about. i wouldn't be here today but i had some packages to pick up. i'll hopefully leave after lunch or something.



holy fuck it's cold in here. it's like mid-60s... cold ass air. sweatshirt on with another as a blanket. can't wait to watch the tour tonight. it read exciting, i'm sure it'll watch even better. i may take friday off to catch up on some housework and pack early for the weekend. casey will be staying with the gatto's while we are gone... i already miss her. she's been sooo good at the races. phillips or no? i can't decide. i really want to go, but i don't think we could ditch the dog again.


fuckin' tired

the l.a.t.e ride. out of the last 6 years i've missed it once. i'm tired today. i was tired yesterday. hopefully tonight i can catch up on some zzzz's. devil's head is this weekend. i'm excited for it, but at the same time i'm worried about my breathing. i'm having a hard time taking a full breath. i'll see how i feel tomorrow. if i still feel the same i'll have to do the dreaded pills. sucks. hopefully get a road ride in tomorrow.


mice eat cheese

it's a bit after 1pm this lazy friday afternoon. green day is playing on itunes. it's really cold in the office. it's mid-80s outside and i'm sitting here freezing with a hoody on and goose bumps covering my legs. red the fraggle is staring at me. she's hanging out at my cube. i forget fraggle rock. i watched it all the time. in fact i'd like to watch it again as an adult. i'm waiting for some packing slips to print to send to raleigh. pain. it takes forever and you can't do anything else while they are printing- well except maybe update your blog and send emails. it's a typical friday here at work. nobody is really here. in fact i'm the only one down on this end of the building. i feel lonely. my stomach is growling. i need to find some lunch. i'm starting to get that weak fidgety feeling. i don't want to leave. i didn't bring a lunch either. not even any ramen in my drawer. on a more positive note, the day will eventually come to an end (i'm guessing early) and i'll head home. jill will come over so we can finish her bike and maybe we can order a pizza or something.... mmmm. tomorrow will be a lazy saturday. hopefully straighten the house early and do whatever. then the l.a.t.e. ride. looks like a pretty big group is going. john, eric, tad, jill, sara, tony, izzy, bos, umhhh... who else, i thought there were more. anyway, still a decent crowd. i'm riding the spot i think. the fit will probably feel all fucked up, but we'll see. sunday, hopefully a mountain bike ride out at the mesa. i haven't been there all week and i miss it. anyway, back to work. i'm sure my packing slips printed.



if seen please call 800.WTF.JILL


i flatted last night. i haven't flatted in a long time. i hope it's not a sign of things to come. the ride was good. we had a good cast of characters. met a couple new characters. it wasn't too slow, but the pace wasn't grueling either. sara had a good spill in the first ravine i'm sorry i missed. hope her shoulder isn't too painful today. i'm dreading a crash. i haven't in awhile, so i know it's gonna be good. we pretty much rode everything legal. the canal trail looked completely different. surreal was brought up and i kind of looked forward to doing it as last time i was there i had such a good ride. but it wasn't missed. out n back, burrito hill, canal trail, dynamite road, three ravines, ho chi minh, psychopath, turf 1, stair steps and badass hill to green grassy for the ride home. sweet. we definitely missed beth. i hope she can ride with her cast. i know she will, i don't think anythin could keep her away. i'm so jumpy right now. iced coffee with extra sugar on the way back from daycamp this morning... woo. maybe i'll use this extra energy and clean the house... we'll see ;)


podium girl... not

(think austin powers) she's a man baby... woohoo. hope someone has a better pic of me from the race showing my braid. how could i forget running to the podium? as usual awards were at 2:30 which is of course the time i'm expecting the guys to come around on a lap for water... and of course it's a middle lap so it's always iffy if i'll make awards. so after john goes by i take off for awards... they are announcing my age group as i'm running past the horse or cow stables or whatever they were... so i get up there and run to the medal lady and say who i am just as the guy is announcing first place. DUH. 1st place gets announced last. i showed up as they were announcing third thinking they announced me first. i felt kinda dumb and flustered. nobody noticed, but i still felt dumb for a minute :)

sideshow bob

did you ever notice some fireworks look like sideshow bob's hair? that's all i could think of last night watching the fireworks. wondering when i'd see sideshow bob.
it hasn't rained in ages in the southwest 'burbs of chicago, so of course it rained on the 4th of july all day on and off. i guess it's a good thing as the ground was pretty dry (dry being an understatement) so the rain i'm sure warned off many lawnfires. we got ready to hit the OF fireworks over by the park district. they always put on a damn fine show. this year was no different... but to get there by bike, we were bundled in rain gear and soaked by the time we got there. but i guess that's what made it special. i'll always remember it for that reason.
but anyway... the race weekend.
john, casey and i left saturday morning for the stanford's for a ride up to the inaugural chippewa firecracker in eau claire. it was a hectic morning... on our way to wors #5. my how quick time flies. our watches were fast so we thought we were way late... turns out it wasn't too bad, but we stopped for donuts anyway. we pulled up, everyone was hanging out in the driveway. i offered up some donuts and mike was all over it. we got the van loaded and everyone got situated for the long drive up. we had a yukon, instead of the van, so setup inside was a bit different. before we even got out of the cul-de-sac i offered up the donuts... at first i was given the look of "donuts, nah, we are healthy racers", but that didn't last long before everyone dug in for their favorite.
aside from sara freaking out about directions the ride was pretty uneventful. i don't even know what time we left or what time we go there.
john, mike and zach all headed out for a preride and sara and i hung out to pre-ride together. casey pulled me around for a bit on the back of the trike and sara tried to take it from her, but case was having none of that.
soon the guys returned. sara, tony, beth and i all headed out for a pre-ride. we took it a bit slow as beth had a torn tendon or ligament in her left hand. there were a lot of people preriding the course while we were out there. there was lots of singletrack. i thought it was a blast, but I was nervous about it as a racecourse.
after the preride brought up the usual question of "where to eat". turns out our hotel had the best looking restaurant around. once inside the menu confirmed it was a good choice. i unfortunately wasn't happy with the lasagna i ordered, so i snacked on other's plates and wished i'd gotten a hamburger.
it was getting late so we headed up to the room to get cleaned up and go to bed. it never fails, somebody always has a bad case of gas... never a dull moment.
wake up call was about 7 am, but as usual we all laid in bed for few extra moments.
breakfast was at the local micky d's. next stop, the race venue. wouldn't ya know, it starts pouring as we get to the event. wind was blowing like crazy. we all sat and felt sorry for ourselves for a bit. finally we got motivated and started to get ready. the rain stopped and the wind died down. we all went and picked up our numbers. turns out the chippewa firecracker had child daycare. how cool is that? it made life simple for the Gattos for sure.
anyway, race time was 11:30 for me... i warmed up with tony for awhile and headed back for staging. i decided that i wasn't going to blow myself up at the start. the past couple races i've started awesome... but then just watched everyone pass just as we'd gotten to the singletrack cuz my heart was stretching out my rib cage... not that my results have been bad, but how demoralizing to watch everyone pass you right at the beginning? anyway, don said Gooooo and we were off... the start wasn't too fast... in fact i could see the leaders the whole 3 miles or whatever it was. my strength is definitely not open flat trail on the grass. all i could think of was the singletrack and how fun it would be... finally made it to the singletrack. i felt like i came to a halt. all the women screaming c'mon... rider, rider... i knew it was going to be like this the whole first lap. unfortunately there were only 2 laps for this race. i rammed my tire into a number of riders in the first lap of singletrack. riders just coming to complete halts in the singletrack. panic-braking in turns or dowhills. if you are walking or fall down and can't get back on your bike... get out of the way! geez. i will say i definitely need to work on my singletrack passing. although it's hard to pass the clydes when there are a couple of them bunched together. some help you out, some don't. i had a bummer start for the second lap. i was sooo looking forward to that section of singletrack that started the new lap. unfortunately i don't think the guy in front of me was. i kept asking if there was room... he never budged. He was a bit big and that singletrack was super twisty and tight. But that's racing i guess.
end of the second lap i was behind a racer in the next age group up... she was ok in the singletrack but i ran into her twice as she struggled on the root lined short ups... i couldn't get by her. everytime i tried to pass her she accelerated so i couldn't get by. it's like she'd see my tire and be like nuh uh and push a little harder, then i'd have to get back because of the trees... then she would slow up again. i tried a couple times and wore myself out a bit so when the open came my legs were tired. i wanted to sprint her to the finish but i couldn't. i'd like to think that was her strategy, but i don't think it was. sitting here right now, i feel like i could've outsprinted her. but who doesn't when it's over.
I can’t complain about my race. My start wasn’t where I’d like it to be. I want to be able to hang at the beginning as to not get hung up as bad in the singletrack. I do need to be more aggressive about passing is well. I rode well in the singletrack, however. When some of the other racers were hung up I was able to stay upright and power pass them on most opportunities. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. So hopefully I will be better at each race.
The race was a short one. I was done in an hour and about 16 minutes. I finished in plenty of time to cruise around and chat with other racers and friends and still have plenty of time to get dressed to watch the elite racers start.
There was a big field with the combination of the MN riders there as well. The national anthem was done and it seemed like forever before don said Gooooo!!! I watched the men take off. It was a fast start as usual. I couldn’t see any of the D’Arcy guys with all the dust and other racers. No comps from the team were there so I walked over to wish Sara luck. It was nice to see more than 10 woman in the elite field. They were off and it was just a matter of time before I would be needed at the feed zone.
I ran over and picked up Casey. We walked over to get a smoothie and an ice cream cone and headed over to Tony and Beth’s tent to watch the race and feed the team.
For the most part the race was uneventful. I could tell Mike was having a good race. He passed at one point just chatting up a storm with a fellow racer flying by (and then wondering later where I was)… Zach moved up the field as usual. I could tell John was struggling a little and not having an optimal day. Sara looked good. After John passed for the last time I headed towards the finish to welcome everyone. Sara was the first to come in. She looked like she fought a hard one by the look and color of her face. She fought hard with a fellow elite racer who finished just in front of her. We laughed about her dirty face for a bit and watched as the rest of the field came in. Mike was the first to arrive. A little bummed about some leg cramps but excited about his finish and even more excited about what could’ve been if he hadn’t cramped. Zach followed a few minutes later. He had a decent crash on the last lap that left him tumbling for awhile. The spectators I’m sure were talking about him for awhile. He lost a bunch of places so he was a bit bummed about it. John followed shortly after. He crashed himself on the last lap towards the end but only lost about one position.
All in all a good weekend. We all have good days and bad. We just hope the good outweigh the bad.
WORS cup next. Ready?