Saturday, August 24, 2013

Return to XC Racing

I should be cutting the grass right now...'s so nice to be sitting in the air conditioning...that I decided to update my blog instead.

Today was Tailwind-Racing's end of summer race at Stony.  I decided on Thursday it might be fun to drop in and give the cross country thing another go.

By incorporating it into my planned "long" ride, I was hoping it would keep me at a faster tempo during those tricky middle miles.

This morning rolled around and the weather was gorgeous!  I packed up my hydrapak with some treats and began my ride to stony.

Surprisingly I was on time for registration (I'm traditionally always late when I drive) and felt like things were going to work out perfectly.

What I didn't realize was the fine print on the USA Cycling website about Cat 1 registration.  Apparently you cannot purchase a day of license for Cat 1 racing anymore.  Three years ago when I was an active member you could.

A few months ago there were quite a few emails going around about the new "rules" and maybe this information was included in there, but I didn't pay them much attention since they didn't impact my endurance events.

I explained all of this to the lady at the registration table and she said with a very straight and unsmiling face, you can race sport.

And so, I found myself signing up for my age group in the sport category...which started at one o'clock.  Three hours later...

With some extra time on my hands, I decided to ride out and put in some extra miles before the race.  My number plate was already strapped on and as I rode back out of the park it brought a few curious glances (people probably felt bad for me since it appeared I was lost from my race...haha).

Fast forward through three hours and thirty miles and it was back to the line...but first, I am pleased to report that I was able to officially meet Miss Avery Liagre at the starting line (!  Check this kid out!  She is awesome!!!

The course was extremely dry and rumors were floating around that two elite riders had broken their collarbones that morning.  Yikes!

The first lap was by far my favorite, I felt properly warmed up and the dust wasn't as stirred up as it would be over the next two.

I traded the lead back and forth with Lisa Loetzner from the Flying Rhino Club.  It was so nice to have someone to ride with that was close to my pace, I was beside myself with excitement!

Since we weren't racing in the same category there wasn't any pressure, which made it twice as nice!

When all things were said and done, I have to say it was really a nice day today!  I enjoyed the race and was happy to be able to mingle with alot of people I haven't seen in ages.

In addition, I ran into a rider that recognized me from my daily commute :-)!

She said it was my socks that gave me away!!! Lol!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ruby 50

My neck is red, swollen and itches like the devil!

Yesterday was the Ruby 50 mountain bike race put on by Fun Promotions. 

Somewhere along my second loop, I was on the Avoca trail pushing 20 mph sucking down a gel, thinking about this song from the Greys Anatomy soundtrack:

When I was stung by something that must have been flying butt first down the trail. It hurt like the dickens and I couldn't stop slapping and scratching at it until I was back in the single track concentrating on the trail.

The gnarly switchbacks pushed the itch and burn from my neck right out of my mind!

Overall, I was happy with how the race went.

The first lap was the worst, I missed the break at the beginning and never made up the gap.

Once I was into the single track I let all the "intimidating" stories people had told me about the trail take over and it turned me into a total mess.

I had trouble ascending and descending the switchbacks and almost toppled face first into the river.  On my way back to the timing tent I saw Kevin (Laroe) from wheels in motion coming up behind me.

Kevin and Josh had discussed gopro filming tips at the Island Lake Demo and I saw he had his camera with him at Ruby.  Thats when I remembered I was supposed to be riding with our camera today (and that I had forgotten it at home).


I told this to Kevin as we exited the single track and started the climb back up the driveway.

As we came to the top of the climb, Kevin pulled off the trail and jumped off his bike. 

Just off the starting line he had hid a gopro camera to film the riders coming in and out for laps.  I started laughing as I was leveling out onto the rode.

This pulled me out of my slump and from then on I felt better (minus the sting).

A very nice single speeder demonstrated a clean line down the switch backs and the river crossing became air conditioning for the feet.

I never did see the first place rider, Melanie Bermier (Reynold Cycling), after the start...she was having a great ride and after my mistakes, I wasn't going to make up the lost time.


I pretended I could anyways and pushed past my normal comfort zone.  I kept my legs in just "enough" discomfort that I am still considerably sore today.

I was also able to push through every lap without stopping and even performed a very fancy extraction of a gel from my hydrapak while riding.

Coming in second, without any injuries and only one bee sting was worth the price of admission...and now I can say I survived the Ruby course...and if anyone asks me what I think of the course...I would tell's a blast!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Best Helmet Ever!

I cannot believe how excited I am about my new helmet!!!  Look how green it is!!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pando pando pando

I think in the future before I race, I'm going to write down my goals and seal them up in an envelope.  This should help me to keep my brain on track...

This race was a hard one for me, the plan was to get some mileage, enjoy the day and check out the infamous Pando course.

Josh and I packed up for the race and started on the road around six Friday.  We had plans to get to the hotel around nine and in bed by ten.

This was about the time I decided to double check the registration fees on the website and realized the race went from 12-12 and not 8-8.  Crappers...

We turned around to drive back home to grab the lights (we actually discussed bringing them right before we left and decided against it...oh man).

We eventually did make it to the hotel and checked in at just before midnight.  At least we would be able to sleep in the next day!

Saturday we were up and moving, but we still managed to arrive right at the last minute for late registration.

Josh went to work setting up our pit and I grabbed my race number. 

After dressing in my kit, I grabbed my helmet to do some warm up spinning and noticed that there was a giant crack on the back.

Last weekend at WAM I had taken a spill on day one when a passing cyclist lost control of his bike and went down in front of me.  Apparently my helmet took a bit more of a hit then I realized during that episode!

We had brought Josh's helmet as an alternate so at least we had a replacement...

The race began and the 4 mile loops started accumulating.  There's quite a bit of climbing (it is a ski park after all) and immediately my legs were their defense WAM was just five days prior...but who wants to make excuses for them?

Now, my bike on the other hand, had no qualms about making its issues known.  It sounded like a bowl of rice krispies...snap, crackle, pop.

Josh kept playing with it at each pit stop, but we weren't able to completely eliminate the problem until he switched out the seat clamp at mile 45.

After the six hour riders had finished, I started feeling fairly nauseous and found myself spending more and more time in the port a john.  It crossed my mind that people might be counting the number of times I was stopping to use them...but thats probably just in my head.

Around seven o 'clock, I rolled into the pit and broke the news to Josh that I was calling it a day.

We discussed it for a few minutes and agreed it was the best course of action (technically I was the only 12 Hour Lady so by default I was taking first either way).

After breaking down the pit we stopped in to say good bye to our friends from D2 racing and then started home.

Overall, I had met my race goals:

1.)  Have fun
2.)  Get in some mileage
3.)  Check out a new course
4.)  Don't push too hard and get injured

But, it was still hard to deal with not staying on the bike for 12 hours (it was a 12 hour race afterall).  The mind is a funny thing and it keeps wanting to fixate on this one detail.

So instead, I'm diverting and focusing on how beautiful it was that day and how lucky I am to be able to ride :-).

And now it's time to start writing down my goals for my next race!

Friday, August 2, 2013

WAM'd It Up!

It took a total of five days to get back into the normal routine of going to work and not getting to ride my bike all day....and now it's Friday and tomorrow I get to ride my bike all day again! Yeaaaaah!!!

Last weekend was WAM and it was absolutely fantastic! 

Josh and I packed up and drove to Traverse City Thursday.  With a laundry list of errands, we didn't actually settle into our hotel until 11, but the short stay was probably for the best because the hotel left something to be desired...our suspicions started when we saw the fish tank of black water in the lobby...

Friday we were up at 5 and en route to the start.  When we rolled into the parking lot, there were already blinking red taillights fading into the distance as the early risers embarked on their first hundo of the weekend.

After sorting out my bike and belongings, I left Josh in a sea of riders seeking last minute repairs on their bikes and started my journey to Dewitt.

Now, I have to say that my bike is a phenomenal machine, because it sailed through all three days of that hundo like a dream.  Between the bad ass tires I was loaned (thank you again Rick) and Josh's fine tuning, it was cake maintaining a steady pace.

Favorite discovery on day one....double chocolate rice krispy treats....delicious!

Favorite discovery on day two...a very entertaining group of guys from Team Taylor.  They were gracious enough to let me jump on the back of their paceline and I have to say I am so glad I did!

I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard while riding and honestly I think my face hurt more then my legs by the end of the day from smiling.  Definitely hoping to see them again next year!

At the end of Day two, we were able to attend the Wammies, a special presentation put on by Make-A-Wish to thank the fundraisers.

During the Wammies, we were shown a few of the wishes that were granted over the past year.  It was fabulous to put it lightly...

Day three was windy and slightly rainy, but there was chinese food at lunch and gigantic smiles at the really couldn't ask for more then that!

I cannot wait to embark on this journey again next year.  It really is a great way to make memories and I recommend both the ride and the ride on a superfly (wink wink).

Now Josh and I are on our way to the 12 Hours of Pando....hopefully I haven't forgotten how to ride my bike on dirt!