Monday, July 19, 2010

US MTB Nationals - Granby, CO

On Thursday before US MTB Nationals I hopped on US 40 out of Heber and 6 hours later I had made it to SolVista Basin for the second year in a row for this big event. I love driving directions like that. Short, sweet and easy as in "Get on highway, drive long time, you are now there".

Ahhhh, if only the course were like the directions I just described of short, sweet and easy! Check out this first climb. Doesn't look like much here but it was a lung and leg buster. Nothing like hitting that right out of the start gate!

No, but really the course was great. I expected somewhat of what we had last year (straight up and straight down) and was pleasantly surprised to find just the opposite with more punchy climbing and descents, berms galore (fun!!!) and fresh fresh FRESH cut singletrack (read: better hold off on eating a lunch before preriding or you WILL see it again). It reminded me a lot of what we ride in Utah with a lot of the course sporting moon dust and it being pretty open for the sun to sear. All in all, a step up from last years course indeed.

Alright so the course wasn't SO great though that I wanted to pre-ride it again on Friday. Instead I took a venture off into the woods out of Fraser and found some true gems.

And jumps!! Yep........I went around. : )

Too bad I was feeling like total and complete JUNK on this day. Legs and all. What the heck was going on????? I had nats the next day for crying out loud!! I don't want to feel like this the day before. Plus WHY was I feeling like this the day before? I had done everything "proper" to prepare. Sometimes that is just how it goes though. You prepare the same best you can and sometimes you win and sometimes you don't....literally. Let's hope for better days ahead, namely Saturday and Sunday!!

After the early ride I got settled in the team house in SolVista. Got to meet some of the team that I hadn't met yet, greeted those that were just arriving off the plane and got to meet some other great people that weren't on the team that I have heard about a ton. Nice to put a face to the name you know? GREAT vibe at the team house for sure. Plus met Brian Alders who has my exact car/truck down to the interior and year. He gave me all kinds of tips for travelling in the ole 4runner with bikes. A super highlight of the weekend for sure when someone who is as serious as you about cycling can give you car tips!!

So I guess my legs were listening somewhat to my perplexed brain and they decided that "no, they shouldn't feel like shat right now and yes, it was time to get - r- done." It was now Cross Country race day and the legs were in my court.

The base of the ski resort and home to every last industry tent and trailer for the weekend.

Game on!! Had a great start even though I was near the back row of the 31 ladies. I maintained a solid pace choosing quite the lovely section to pass people on each lap. That hurt but it had to be done! I really enjoyed most of the course and was looking forward to each section as they came up. The downhill was especially fun with its wide swoopy turns and berms.

I was sitting in/near the Top 10 until the last lap when I slowed down. Not on purpose though. Just spent. Could only push so hard and when that happens, you get passed. I ended up 12th which is a step in the right direction for the year. I only thought I would get faster as the season progressed and I did!! Yes!! Is is my best placing at Nats? No. Was it better than last years placing at nats when both my parents were extremely sick? Yes. I am satisfied as I move forward.

This was one of those days where you simply wake up and you know you got it. Your legs are good, your mind is good and you are relaxed, calm, cool because you feel the energy inside and YOU KNOW its going to be a good day in the saddle. I have been doing this long enough to know this feeling and I was pretty psyched!!!!

Got the dream warm up in where you are feeling the love, life is good and you know you are ready to and can take on the world.

Then the dream came to an end.....

Gun goes off, made a poor starting position into an awesome position (things are still good) and then in the second corner not even 15 seconds into the race I take MYSELF out. NICE.

I simply slipped while taking a corner too aggressively. Duh. You can see the slippage here in the lower right corner of the picture. I went from Top 10 to mid 20's in the blink of an eye. Oh and "P.S.", the slippage wasn't just a quick was this long drawn out ordeal until I finally fell. Good lord, learn to ride a freaking bike will ya!

When I got back on my bike, I have to be pretty honest, I was very disheartened as I had my work cut out for me - even more so now. The little bad inside voice told me quit (which I never have willingly) and call it since it was going to be impossible to make my way thru the field especially on this course in this 20 minute race. But that voice was quickly stomped on as I made the conscious decision to make the impossible possible. There was now none of this "Hoping, wishing, trying" there was only "Doing". And I needed every second as I dashed off and up the course to catch those that already had good gap on me!!

This is where the good legs and day comes in. I pushed beyond the limits that I even knew I had. My mind and legs allowed for this on this day and in the end I was not only able to fight all the way back up into 12th before the the race ended I was able to do it and be proud of what I had accomplished given the circumstances.

After the race - this was now the time to reflect on the shoulda, woulda, coulda. Maybe this was the moment that I really really needed to see that I can and will do it. Maybe that slip in the corner was the best thing that could have happened to me. Maybe all that nasty retirement talk swirling around in my head is just that bad voice that I need to push away again because this is TRULY what I want to do. It has just taken a long time to get back after the death of my parents in late 09. I think I just needed patience all along and it took todays "victory" to see that.

Maybe the fire is still burning inside a lot bigger than I ever thought it was!!! Going into the weekend part of me thought these may be my last races ever. I have been fighting for so long to get everything back, to get my life back in order, to get my fitness back after a too hard 2009 and maybe this was the sign I needed that this can and will be done! One thing for sure is that I will never get my parents back on this earth but I can get my own existence, fitness and fire back . In fact, its all already here but I just didn't know it because I couldn't see it! Now I see it and any questions I had about racing have been answered.

See you at the races!!!

Mafia Racing members (me, Becca and Meghan K)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

UT State MTB Championships - Solitude, UT

After getting back from WI, I was able to be home for a while and lucky for us, our great buddies from Santa Barbara had come into town. It was fun to get out on some great rides with them!

Eric tearing up Round Valley

Chris L, triathlete. We need to get her racing mtb!! She'd be awesome!

Brooks dad was riding so well. We were all very impressed since it was his 2nd time on a mtb.

And Kristin, a Boston Marathoner, enjoying some time on the bike.

But in no time flat it was down to biz-nass yet again with the Utah State Championship race coming up at Solitude Ski Resort.

I have always loved the riding at Solitude. I think one of the best things is buff, well cared for singletrack in a beautiful alpine setting. It is just amazing and the race should be super FUN.

The start of the Pro Women's UT Championship race

The race started great and I was feeling like myself again! What a awesome feeling that is!

We had the Slyfox cash zone there too.
By: Ryan Keating

That was a sight enough to put a smile on anyones face which is exactly what I was laughing at here.

I was feeling good enough to have my nose out front the entire race.......up until the last lap. At the start of the climb I was passed by Zephanie Blasi, a teammate from last season on the Kenda Tomac MTB Team and local Pocatello, ID ripper.

She had a burst of energy that I could not match despite my best efforts. I kept her in sight but that was not good enough to take the Utah State Championship win. 2nd place would have to do today.

By: Ryan Keating

Pro Women's podium.

Next up is the US MTB National Championships in Granby, CO.