Monday, May 31, 2010

Intermountain Cup #6 - Draper, UT

I have been waiting a long time to feel like I did in today's race. It was one of those "no chain" days. Wow, I live for those. I think its been about 1.5 years (right before the parents got super sick) since I have felt the love like that in a race. I felt like ME again. I had the fire, the punch and the power!!!! All the stars were aligned for me to come away with another win.

The race course was 1,100 feet elevation gain per lap and we did 3 laps on a extremely nice and mild day on awesome singletrack. I hope there are more race courses and days like this!

Afterwards the wind picked up enough that Chris could go Kiteboarding with a bunch of buddies in Deer Creek Reservoir.

The kiteboarding launch area

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Intermountain Cup #5 - Midway, UT

We finally got back from sunny CA and the weather wasted no time in welcoming us home........

Seriously? It's like summer or something around here and the sun should be blazing, flowers blooming.

Being home was weird since we had been in our new house a whole 14 days total before we left for 5 weeks. And now here we were back getting used to things all over again. I even at one point told myself that I needed to put a project off until I got home. The kicker was that I WAS home sitting on my couch. Change is definitely an interesting thing although it hasn't affected me too much since I am used to being at different place every other weekend.


The morning of the race I woke up and it was cold, dreary, snowy and just plain yucky outside.

We had the heat on, the fireplace going and I was happily warm and extremely content. The thought of getting outside in that nasty cyclocross weather to race wasn't entirely appealing since it was May but I drug myself out the door to go ride in circles with a bunch of other crazy people that wanted to do the same thing.

Driving into the venue at Soldier Hollow looked like this.....not too bad by this time really as it was warming up some. Note the snow in the background that forced the promoter to re-route the course a bit.

I was reminded quickly just how much extra time you need on days like this to prepare for the race. Between fiddle farting with bike stuff and changing clothes 500 times, I manage to squirrel away most of my warm up. Yeah...not so pro to say the least. Whoops.

The first lap was a slippy and slidey one, especially since most of us showed up with "dry" condition tires. I just see that as optimistic, but again it really was.....not so pro. And I almost paid the price for it too as I slid sideways on one of the first corners on the race but was able to keep it upright somehow. You don't have to tell me twice to slow down!!!

So if it wasn't the corner telling me to slow down it was going to be the altitude on this day - or at least it was going to try. Here it was my 4th day back at altitude after 5 weeks gone and the 4th day back is always my worst. Sweet timing. Again, not so pro since I could have come back to altitude a lot earlier.

And, yes, I suffered the most extreme hurt that one can feel while racing at altitude after being gone. My legs were on fire looking for all that oxygen that CA had to offer and so were my lungs. I was breathing as deep as I could trying to make use of every inch of my screaming lungs.

I honestly thought I was gonna die during the whole race. Yeah, racing hurts but this was to the extreme as my body screamed for oxygen. The word misery comes to mind actually.

But apparently I am stubborn enough and know how to suffer with the best of them enough because I was able to put down the right amount of wattage to come across the line in first place. I have never been so happy to breath again normally!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Santa Barbara - Lake Mohave - Utah

After racing outside of Palm Desert at the Idyllwild Challenge we headed back to Santa Barbara to do those things that we wanted to do but hadn't yet.

But do remind me to never go wine tasting and then go home and make a pot of tea. I poured boiling water down my leg and literally watched the skin melt. It hurt soooooo bad for a few hours at least. No pain threshold for 2nd degree burns apparently. OUCHY.

Training on some easy to find steep a$$ hills in Santa Barbara.

Ok, so the views were worth it.

Headed to Thousand Oaks for a day of mtbing and a nice dinner with friends. In pic: me, Meg, and Chris. Yes.......Chris rode his bike!! I was actually able to tear him away from Kitesurfing for one day.

Ok, so the non water sports thing didn't last long for Chris. A whole day in fact. That next day we headed to our cousins house on Lake Mohave on the way back to Utah. Thought it would be a good halfway mark on the way home to rest and relax for a night. And it was! Sometimes I think the best part of this job is getting to see family that you may not see as often if you weren't tootling around to all the nooks and crannies of the country racing your bike.

Chris water skiing for the first time in quite a while......

Chris cruising on the Kiteboard behind the boat.

Chris getting some air while Kiteboarding!!

Chris doing his thang that he loves so much!
Later that day we drove up to St. George and got a bit of a ride in to stretch the legs before heading home. For Chris is was a big day as this was the 4th sport that he did! He is nuts. For me if you call sunning yourself on the boat and holding the flag up when someone falls in the water a sport then it was my 3rd sport of the day. Ha!!

We ran across this little guy in St. George.

LOVE turtles. He was getting his singletrack today too.

Holy cow I got Chris on his bike AGAIN. What is the world coming to?!

After the ride, we got some grub and boogied back to our new home that we pretty much purchased, lived in for 2 weeks and then left for 5 weeks. Was it really going to feel like home?? Kind of a weird scenerio really.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

AMBC Idyllwild Spring Classic-Idyllwild, CA

What a better deal than to go to the Palm Springs area, see my Aunt and Uncle and race at a new venue near their place! Awesome!!!

Chris and I arrived in Palm Desert on Thursday evening after battling with traffic all the way from Santa Barbara. Crazy how busy the roads were at 9pm at night!

That left us Friday to go check out the new venue (for us) at Hurkey Creek Campground. We made our way out of the sunny, beautiful and quite balmy Palm Desert up into the mtns that sit directly behind Palm Desert. Who knew that we were about to ascend to approximately 5000 feet to the start of the race!!!

Some views on the way up.

The further we climbed up into the mtns the more we found it to be absolutely beautiful!

We got to the alpine campground around 1pm and were ready to check things out, course included.

We knew it was a 30 mile course but I wasn't sure what kind of 30 miles it was (fast, techy, major hills, switchbacks, etc) which was why I was there to pre-ride what I could dependent on the terrain.

But plans changed big time when we found out that the course wasn't quite marked yet. Yikes!!!! They really really really tried to help us out by giving us verbal directions and a map but it was way to much information to remember unfortunately.

We were able to figure out the start loop and then the first uphill section but after that we had no idea where we were or where we were going so we pulled the plug on the pre-ride idea. We were stopping and breaking out the map so much that the "ride" was turning into not riding at all and it was getting late in the afternoon too and we still had to drive back home.

Sometimes you just have a to say to heck with it and get your buns home to rest and recover instead of dinking around trying to figure things out. Sometimes that is the best choice you can make. It was a bit unnerving to leave the course after having seen maybe a couple miles of the 30 mile course but so be it. It was going to be a good challenge for me the next day to race sight unseen. Having the ability to do that is a good weapon to have in your race arsenal and I definitely need to work on that particular skill. I don't like to do it but I was going to have to tomorrow morning.

The singletrack we did find was looking mighty fine though!!

In addition to not knowing the course now, we also didn't know where the feed zones were, how to get to the them or even if I would need all/any of them. I think there were 3 and it was looking like Chris was only going to be able to get to one by the looks of the map. Just to make sure that he COULD get to the one he was eyeballing, we drove into the cute little town of Idyllwild (reminded me of Big Bear) and somehow found the off beaten road that we were thinking was the feed zone for tomorrows race. As if it weren't getting late enough in the day but this was important. We drove on it for a while and it was STEEP. I wasn't sure what I was thinking at that point but it was looking like the road we were on was part of the course at about a steady 18% grade. Whoa.

The first climb takes you thru the Tunnel of Love

That night I studied the extremely detailed written course description like I was going to be quizzed on it in the morning. Well I kind of was really!! And since I couldn't see most of the course that day I had to visualize big time as I studied. It was the only source I had and I wanted to be as comfortable with the course as possible without having ridden the majority of it.


In poor form I forgot my purse which I needed to register for the race. This wouldn't have been such a raw deal if I hadn't had discovered this 15 min into the drive on up to the race outta Palm Desert. We had to turn around and go get it which put us at the very early race WAY LATE. I didn't stress to much because "it is what it is" but I had to finish my hour long warm up DURING the race. Nice. But luckily I knew I could do that because we had ridden that part of the course the day before. It was perfect for exactly what I needed to do too! I went hard when I had to then sat up when I didn't.....yes during the race. It was perfect in fact and just in time for the climb(s). Phew, barely got that in!

The race is wildly popular with the CA residents as it should be but unfortunately the pro women's' field was a whopping 3 people. Great prize money, spectacular singletrack and fun atmosphere........where was everyone!!!? Sad but maybe not such a horrid thing for me since I was not even supposed to be racing this weekend according to my training. I had been working myself over all week on that hill by my buddies house in Santa Barbara and was supposed to be chilling a little............but I wanted to race dang it!!

Good thing I did because I have never had so much fun during a race. It was gorgeous and the singletrack was EPIC. The only thing that was sucking bad was that I didn't know what was around every corner so I would throw the brakes on, then get thru the corner and either be happy I braked or completely annoyed that I did because I could have carried my speed through. Oh well, such is life and this something I need to learn and get over as I learn to let er rip on terrain that I am unfamiliar with. My own personal barrier I guess you could say. That is ok, at least I have identified the issue.

It was interesting how much I felt like I knew each part of the course though. Not the actual singletrack, but the AREA I was in. The descriptions I had studied paid off and I felt more at ease knowing approximately what mileage point I was at and where I was in the long race.

And the odd thing? I studied the topo, map, descriptions, etc and determined approx what time I would show up at that feed zone Chris could get to near Idyllwild and I got there within 2 minutes of the time I thought I may. Experience?? Visualization?? Course knowledge?? Whoa, that was pretty cool!!

And YES when I got there, it was that steady 18% climb of about 15-20 minutes too. Good lord! Luckily there were 2 guys just ahead of me and I just told myself to either keep that gap or close it and I used that to keep my mind (and body) from completely exploding. At one point my legs were turning 60 rpms AT RACE PACE. Owe that was steep but a good challenge that was over before I knew it. Glad we saw that climb yesterday though otherwise I would have wondered how long it was, when it was going to be OVER already, etc. Lucked out on that one big time becuase seeing that for the first time during the race could have been disheartening.

After it was all said and done I placed mid pack a few minutes behind the race leader Allison. Ok, that was 2nd place on this day but still mid pack. : )

Flowy fast fun singletrack - I highly recommend you go to this race next year if possible!

Afterwards there was a Q and A session for women racers to ask the pro women any questions they had about racing. Dorothy Wong was instrumental in getting that all put together.

Great day! Now back to Palm Desert for some chilling with the family and then back to Santa Barbara for some more fun.