Sunday, July 26, 2009

Feet R Up and the TV's on

This has been an interesting and enlightening week.

Looks like I am on bed rest for a while - nope not pregnant, but over trained. That sucks bad but all signs are pointing to just that given what I have been doing for training in addition to all the family stuff I have had on my shoulders all year. The thing is that I am doing no more or less than last year training wise but all the emotional strain has put me over the edge. I knew this may happen and I was really careful too about all of it - just not careful enough. Guess I should feel lucky to have made it until the end of July at the rate I was going.

But between a high resting rate, not sleeping, hard core napping and the fact that I haven't seen my race pace heart rate since the first of July (in neither races nor training), are all sure signs among others that it is time to reanalyze. The weird thing is that even when I got word to STOP training, I was still looking forward to my upcoming workouts to improve my fitness! So I suppose since I still wanted to work on the bike and still wanted to ride that we caught this before it got too bad.

I think this will be a superior thing for the upcoming cross season. As for the rest of the season.....we will just have to see and will have to roll with the punches. Not much I can do right now to change things except rest up.

When I was riding my bike earlier this week, I flew past this cute little Rock Chuck that are starting to appear all around Heber

Here is an up close picture of one since you really can't see the one above all too well.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

US MTB Nationals STXC - Granby, CO

Today started out pretty interesting. Mary M. our fellow competitor and US Olympian for mountain biking asked me how I was an hour before the race and I started crying. Not great when you are trying to warm up right? But where did that come from because I wasn't feeling anything that I was aware of?! But I know where it came from - Mary has met my dad before and that coupled with the fact she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, did it. I got my s*** together quickly though because I didn't want to bring her down too!!!! She was wonderful about the situation and told me to race for my dad. Well since I have been either "racing" for my mom or my dad for each race I have done since December I decided to actually race for ME. How about that concept!?

I have never seen a short track like this before. You could have called it a mini cross country race with all the climbing and the length of it! When I was pre-riding you went up one hill to where it "flattened" and you thought, its going to go down from there but it went up even more on another climb that was just as long as the first! Then at the top of that was a false flat that was like a bumpy cow trail just to top off any suffering you may be enduring at the moment. From there it rapidly descended to the start/finish area with just a few grassy turns to slow you down some. Normally in an Short Track race you are crushing things in your bigger rings and there might be one really short, steep climb but not today!

Well, at least I got a good call up and a good start. But I think I was pedaling backwards the whole time. Who knew I was suppose to go forward in these races? Well at least I did a smidgen better today than yesterday but I am still not psyched.

I did feel so lucky though to have a friend from Steamboat who I hadn't seen in 8 years come out to watch and cheer. To have her there meant so much. I needed to see a happy, fun and excited person especially after breaking down once already today. It just took me away from all my problems because I couldn't let it all hang out when I saw her. It was perfect and it was so great to see her!!!! Life on the road does have its advantages of seeing people you may never see otherwise!

A sunset view from the condo in Granby

After the race we all headed back to our respective homes in various states (CO, UT, WY and MO). I think we all got home except for Heather. Her car broke down in Steamboat! She ended up having to stay there a few days getting her car worked on. In the meantime she was seen around the local area in her skinsuit looking for water holes. Only Heather I tell you!!! : )

I drove the young Rob Squire home (he placed 2nd in the U23 category right behind my teammate Colin!!!) with hard working, Chris Magerl, our team mechanic. The only carnage we saw was a little chipmunk playing Frogger in the cars. Let's say, he did not win and all you could hear in our car at that moment was "OOOOOOHHHH!!!!"

Saturday, July 18, 2009

US MTB Nationals XC - Granby, CO

Broken cages, broken lungs, broken buns and one broken spirit. Alright a little explaining. Zephanie, our teammate broke one of her bottle cages today during the race but still managed a stellar result for cross country!!

Heather had her asthma kick in part way up the first climb exacerbated by the moon dusty and hot conditions. She ended up having to DNF choosing breathing over racing (smart girl).

Amanda had to bail off her bike in a steep section because the person in front of her crashed and she didn't want to be a part of a huge pile up. She was already behind the saddle in a steep section when it happened and she had to thrust her bike forward, landing directly on her tailbone. Yeow - ouch!

As for me I had no excuses for doing as poorly as I did. My legs actually felt good believe it or not but I was as flat as a pancake and suffered badly on the last to laps. It was the hardest day in the saddle for me in a long time. Probably had the worst day on my bike in many years today actually. But no crashes or anything like that for me so that is good. Just a hard day in the saddle. It is a tough pill to swallow for sure but I am getting used to those these days it seems like. It is hard to race when you suck so bad and know that you are capable of SO MUCH MORE because you have proved it before!

I have to accept where I am in my life right now and accept that there are things going on that are completely out of my control. But man, a girl can only be so dang tough you know? I feel like it is all starting to wear on me (putting up a "I am all good" front at the races all the time). It is so hard to compartmentalize and that is what I need to do and have been doing since November 08 but it is starting to not work!!

I just need to try and control what I can control which includes my mental game. There is certainly nothing easy about what I am trying to accomplish right now with all that is going on. But I still love what I do and I don't want to stop!

And what is up with getting a side stitch during the race? I have never had that before!!! My body even revolted right after the finish when I had my recovery drink. I immediately got so sick to my stomach which lasted for at least an hour after I drank it. I am falling apart mentally and physically and I need to figure out what I am going to do about it because things cannot go on like this!

Friday, July 17, 2009

US MTB Nationals Preride - Granby, CO

Got to Granby, CO safe and sound in 6 hours exactly yesterday just in time to do a couple laps on the course. And what can I really say about the course except that it isn't one that I would ever ride on my own. It starts out on one brutal dirt road climb that goes straight up for several minutes - and when I say up, I mean up. You can relate if you have done the last part in the Little Stick hill climb at Deer Valley before except this is that way the entire climb. Wowzers. In fact even the start line is on the hill itself and not on the flats which is usually the norm. So from there you hit some wider techy and rocky singletrack through the woods that traverses back and forth until you hit the top.

Off the top you are sent down a moon dusty singletrack which exposes another triangular shaped rock with each pass through. It is amazing how many rocks are just waiting to grab that front tire of yours.

There is also one pretty steep section that you at first look at and say to yourself "Ah hell no!" But if you can grow a set and just do it, you will see that it is just fine and is completely ridable. At the bottom of it is an immediate left turn and a nice pad just in case you don't make it. I am sure you will see it as all the photographers will likely be there to watch the carnage.

Oh speaking of carnage. So far in a less than 24 hour period we have had my fork blow, Andy's bike frame break and Heather's car almost not making it to Granby yesterday. Ah yes, all in a days work in the life of a cyclist!

So for tomorrow the ladies get four laps. Should be around a 2 hour race. There will be a lot of interesting things going on tomorrow. Keeping it upright and keeping yourself safe from others who couldn't will be imperative. This is a true mountain bikers course and who ever wins will be a superior all around mtber.

And speaking of winning........hello Colin Cares, our trusty teammate and NOW CURRENT U-23 NATIONAL CHAMPION as of today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The team couldn't resist helping Colin celebrate with some champagne

Colin has quite the future ahead of him and is gonna have to learn how to open those champagne bottles!!! And he is going to have to watch out for those pesky rocks!

Amanda and hubby Nate are pictured below. Nate is responsible for not letting me ride on a blown fork tomorrow. My ride is all ready to go as of late this evening (whew!) with a nice new fork. Thanks Nate for slaving over bikes tonight!

After going in circles today trying to figure out the best strategy for racing tomorrow Andy will still ride his CRACKED carbon hardtail on tomorrows course in the Pro Men's race. I think duct tape and epoxy were part of the program there. Wow. Brave.

And here is little bit of the area we are in at the lower elevations. This is a dirt road just across the street from the venue. A golf course sits down that road.

Saw 2 massive storks today in the water too!

And this kid riding his unicycle outside our condo was pretty impressive. That is high up there if you decide to goof and fall or something. Another brave one!

Alright, time for some sleepy at 8100 feet. Gotta big day tomorrow.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I must say that I am certainly enjoying the later half of the summer being in one piece for the first time in 2 years. This last Sunday was the day I broke my hand one year ago while racing in Windham, NY. That day was the end of my mtb season and the start of being miserable not racing. Two years ago at the Mont Sainte Anne World Cup in Quebec I dislocated a crazy amount of ribs making a pass on a downhill section with a drop in it. Wished I had known that the drop was 2 feet deeper on the side I took! I do. That day was pretty much the end of getting good results because high end breathing was DONE although I could still "race". Both of those injuries took a long time in healing up....well into cross season in fact.

So here is to a safe and sound rest of the summer for us all!!!!

On Tuesday Chris was able to take his first baby steps on his ankle. To see him without crutches now seems weird. He still has a ways to go with therapy and another surgery here in a few weeks but he is doing well. The ankle is pretty unstable and he gets around now like a slow older person but he is doing it!! He is coming to the realization that the doctor is pretty correct in saying that he won't be kite boarding until November. I think in April if he had known that it was going to be November, he would have been destroyed.

In the meantime though, he can fly this kite : )

Ok, off to Granby, CO right now. US Nats!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Intermountain Cup #9 - Snowbird, Ut

Today I made the mistake of listening to the radio on the drive down to Snowbird for the race. Who knew that one song with one word was going to hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried all the way down the canyon and over to Snowbird. I just couldn't help thinking of both my parents and their dire states with dad in hospice and mom so sick. Most of the time I have "good" days and can talk and think freely about them and their situation but this morning I made up for all that.

What a great way to prepare for a race.

I kept fighting myself on it too telling myself to get a grip but the other side of me said release it now while you can. So I did and it sucked but was probably good for me I suppose.

I got to the venue with plenty of time to go on a half hour hike to registration and then get a bit of a warm up in. Little did I know that I was going to spend more time changing clothes than I would actually warming up do to the weather. The nice weather that we had at the Bird upon arrival had quickly changed to rain and wind prior to the race. If you so happened to throw your rain gear in your car that morning it was a good thing! Next time I will have to question whether or not forgoing my proper warm up routine is worth being dry and warm. It is kind of a toss up really depending on what your body can handle.

The weather subsided by the time the race started and the Pro Women were off like a shot in our already wet gear. We rumbled our way into the (very) singletrack making our way over rocks, roots and freshly cut terrain. It was really fun. I got the hole shot off the line and tried to put the pressure on but Heather, my teammate, wasn't taking any of it. She sat close on my wheel for a while and then attacked in the best spot possible. From there over the next lap or so out of 3 laps, she got a good 25 second gap on me while I was convincing (read: pleading with) myself to give her no more than that while I pushed harder on every pedal stroke as we made our way up to the 900 foot climb.

The rain started coming down again mid race and it felt really good. I was lucky that my Kenda Small Block 8's were shedding like a dream in the sandy like dirt too.

FINALLY somewhere towards the very end of the race something kicked in me to "freaking race already girl" and I was off like a shot. It was as though someone said "GO!!!!!!" and I did. Before I knew it I was closing the gap the way I should have hours earlier but it was too late. Heather got me by 3 seconds for first and I was second.

Having Heather there was perfect too because we pushed each other which will be great training for next weekends US Nationals in Colorado. I am happy for Heather as she is ripping it up right now!!!!

A big thanks to Ted and Kurt with Binghams (race sponsors!) who helped me with my water bottle feeds. Hugh...just thought of this....we call those things water bottles but there is never water in them....always sports drink. What is up with that?

Here is some post race yummy-ness from the waffle place next to Binghams Cyclery. You can make this thing into a real gut bomb by adding chocolate, ice cream, cream fraiche, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I stuck with the plain jane version and it was quite enough.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Intermountain Cup #9-Snowbird Pre-Ride

I wasn't sure I was going to actually pre-ride the course for the race on Saturday but I decided it was good idea. Pure laziness of not wanting to drive an hour each way to do so was the main reason I was wavering. But I am glad I did it.

The new mtb course was super fun and hidden from any wind that I may have encountered on the road if I hadn't pre road the course today. Plus I am a sucker for muscle memory and body memory and I figured going and pre-riding at 8100 feet plus was good prep for MTB nationals next week since I will be doing this same thing next week (pre-riding/racing) at almost the exact same elevation.

On the flip side though, my other argument for NOT pre-riding today was that it is good to be prepared for anything at anytime (I think I am learning this from my chaotic life with sick parents right now) and to not be completely "in the know". Not pre-riding a course will build other skills that you never would have thought about! But since it really is all about NEXT weeks nats, I went and pre-rode and had a blast.

The course is great and is so different than in years past. It is really fun as you climb up the newly built singletrack and gain 900 feet of elevation each lap.

But the dh is the same which is just a sketchy fire road. That is a lot work to be putting in for a fire road descent that will fly by in the blink of an eye but hey, it's going to have to all about enjoying the uphill climb....a new skill that most of us need to acquire right!?

But that is quite the uphill climb.....hmmmm??

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stress Effects

Have you ever had that day where your heart rate isn't budging, you feel like total junk, you have a massive head wind, your legs feel like tree trunks, and every single last bump in the road feels like the grand canyon? Oh and not to mention also feeling like you are towing bricks behind you?

That was me today. Oh my goodness, such pain and pure agony.

I forced every bit of today's workout in. I even promised myself a minute into it that I was not going to do any more of it and I would just go home. Well.......2.5 hours later I finally did go home. Such stubbornness but at the same time I had a lot to get out of my system even if I did feel like junk. Just makes racing and other hard days seem easier after a day like today.

On the way home I thought the angle on this was funny.

Plus, it's a copper moose.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July

Six loud cannonball shots woke us up today! After getting woken up at the crack of 6 am to the Memorial Hill Cannon Ball Wake Up that they do every year in Midway, Chris and I went to Jennie L.'s on Park Ave to watch the Park City Parade that comes down right in front of her house. She also makes one heck of a brunch for everyone. When she said she was making breakfast, she was not messing around. Full buffet with all the frills. I couldn't believe it.

The parade:

Check out this Diva's motorcycle. Each of those dots you see on her bike light up. So cool!

An old yummy beer sponsor of mine

Just a cool tandem

And a cool bike with a real parrot. I know I would wreck that thing for sure!!!

Deer Valley's float consisted of everyone wearing old old old ski attire. A bit different from what we see out there every day on the slopes!

Whoa, that guy is tall!!

Where is the rest of the car? Check out the clearance on that thing.

Downhiller Nick Van Dine has been seen racing XC since his accident and now he's thinking of doing cyclocross too.
Yeah right. Kidding. He broke his face earlier this season SNOWBOARDING but is doing well now as he re-enters the racing scene. Between myself, Chris and him we could have gone on forever about our injuries, pains and whoas.

Speaking of which, we had loud cheers for these gals when they came by. Chris waved his crutches at them but I think he should have done the crutch dance too.

Always love when the bikes come by!

And, my favorite.

Do you know that when I went and did the Scotland MTB World Cup a few years ago in the Scottish Highlands that we didn't see ONE bag piper? What's up with that?

Afterwards we were able to get together with Lisa and Mike up from San Diego for a good ole fashion 4th of July BBQ at the Sherwins. Their presence couldn't have come at a better time with all that is going on with our family right now.

The next day I got out with Bobbay and Erika for a great ride up into the thin air of Deer Valley. Ran into some of the mountain bike patrollers I used to work with on patrol there which was cool. After somewhere around 4500-5000 feet of climbing were were smiley and happy. 27 miles of singletrack and we didn't even touch the surface!

Erika and Bob posing for pix

I can't wait until Chris can ride with us again. I miss having him around on our rides dang it! But it is going to be a while I think considering he is still on crutches and is only at 75% weight bearing this coming week. I will have to put him on the plan to get him back in action the second he can start even hammering a little!

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Dad

I finally got some real bad news. My dad, after 2 weeks of a very sudden and massive decline is officially under the care of hospice. As we all know, that means he is in his last stage of life. So sad and so heart breaking for everyone in our family. One could argue that he will be better off and the thought of that as I write this wells me up with tears. At this point hospice has given dad 5-6 months but I am sure that the call to go back home and hold his hand while he is dieing will come within that time frame and I will be there for that no matter where I am in the country competing.

Since this news, life hasn't been an easy one that is for sure. When people start putting numbers on things such as your life, it is just wild and is a lot to take in when you actually have a number now. And to be honest, dads state did come as a surprise because he has been the least sick one out of both parents meaning that he had his massive stroke 3.5 years ago which impaired him greatly but he wasn't in and out of the hospital all the time. Well.....not as much as mom shall we say.

This news was certainly a tough pill to swallow although I knew the day would come. Upon hearing this news I struggled immediately with when I should go home and if I should go home and all the rest. I have the US National MTB Championships coming up next week and I am just starting to feel like myself again in every way....or I was. I am right in there for a podium spot or more if I can keep it together - I just know it!!! And keeping sponsors happy is a lovely thing too since this is my job!!!!

Going home now would be too hard in many ways. There is something to be said for being mentally prepared for big races and with two sick parents....there is something to be said for being ready mentally for that too. And I am ready for the first but not the latter right now. I am not ready to face the music right now and cry for as many days as I am home and then come back to Utah just in time for nationals completely beat up from not sleeping and stressing the whole time. If I thought I could control any of that I may change my mind but the fact that I have had to take sleeping pills (when in Utah!!) for the first time in my life because of the stress tells me I am not ready to go home right now. Many other reasons factored in to my decision to delay my presence in WA. It's not the same or easy anymore with both parents not driving and not at their own house anymore!! This just wasn't the time to go up there but it will be soon. Now, I must focus on the task at hand, NATIONALS in Granby, CO.

After getting the news about my dad, I still had to go train. And while doing so I was looking for anything....ANYTHING that could give me peace. And this waterway did it for me. It was beautifully bright, green and vibrant looking.....everything I was and wasn't (green and not so vibrant). : )

The next day I found a training partner, Paul, and did some serious intervals to take my mind of my life. Paul is a roadie at heart but he still decided to hit the dirt with me. He rides his mtb bike about once a year and all of his comments and questions on that day about mtb reminded me that I do know what I am doing out there. Sometimes you get so jaded riding and racing with the Top 15 women in the country (and World!!) all the time. He was a sure trooper today though and beat himself up as much as I did myself. What is wrong with us?

Paul killing it

The next day I got a kick out of this: I stopped to take a picture of these 2 huge cranes in the field.....

and when I turned around I saw this.

I know, it is just a bunch of cattle huddled together but they are ALL staring directly and intently at me!! They weren't that way when I pulled up. Must have been feeding time. I felt kind of bad leaving them all hanging but I don't think they would have liked my Hammer Bars as much as I do.