Saturday, May 23, 2015

It is here.

 On Saturday I got this box. I have been waiting a long time for it and was super excited. It was a long day of putting it together (Chris did most to all of it).

The long awaited box

 The result was this. We will be making some slight changes on the accessories, but this was just so I could ride it in Moab that Monday. It handled the dirt and rocks like a pro. I felt super smooth and in control. I did go through the FIVE inches of plush travel on occasion. Chris asked about how it felt on the small bumps...I didn't even feel them.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

It has been hard to find the right window to ride these days. I did get out for a glorious ride  from home. This was a view on one of the peaks.

And I was able to sell my Element. This was with mixed emotions. I really liked it. I was grateful for the money, but it left a bit of emptiness in my heart. I am thinking that will be filled with my Thunderbolt though. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mesa Verde (SURPRISE) Mudder

Okay, I will be honest, I really don't know what a tough mudder is. I have not done any research on this, but none the less I whole heartedly believe I that I was thrown into a twisted version of one.
The 12 Hours of Mesa Verde weekend started like we expected. We arrived and rode the course. It was wet and tacky. It sprinkled on us a little bit but the course really handled the moisture well. We had checked the weather the night before we went to bed. It looked like the worse of the weather was over and the next day was going to be pure delight on a fast, fast course.
The pre-race meeting confirmed our expectations. The directors said the course should be great. Weather looked promising. Everything was a go.
Chris headed out. I did my thing getting ready, but it started to snow and get cold. I made some last minute attire changes dressing more warmly than I previously planned. Chris came in second place just behind the leader. He is so fast at these things. I went out hopeful.
I took some time to get a feel for the course as it was really wet. Chris and I discussed riding smart, so I did not want to blow it my messing up myself or my bike due to a slick trail. I knew I was riding slow. I finally took off my glasses and could see again. I sped up a bit. Things were going ok. I was wet, but not really cold. I got through Tuffy Rim which should be the end of the hard stuff. Now it was time for the fun.
Fun did NOT happen. The fun sections turned to muddy, clay messes. I spent the last three to four miles on and off my now 35-40 pound bike. I had to stop and clean it multiple times; the mud just stuck and nothing was moving. I pushed my bike up hills. I pushed it down hills. The mud would accumulate around my bottom bracket and push my chain off the chain ring. It was an absolute mess. I was a mess. The mud made everything cold.
My longest lap ever at MV had no redeeming value until it was over. They essentially called the race during my lap. They reassessed a couple of hours later but decided the trail could not take the moisture they had unexpectedly received. I guess we were lucky as our 12 hours of MV turned into 3 hours, but other teams only made it a little over an hour. And many individuals never even raced their bikes.
So if a Tough Mudder is slugging around in the mud going through obstacles (i.e. carrying a bike up and down slick trails), yes I have done one. I think I would like it better if I was prepared.
Of note, I have nothing but respect for the directors of the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. They made logical and wise decisions in the heat of the battle. Kudos for sure.

Friday, May 01, 2015

6 Hours of Frog Hollow

I was so excited that Chris felt that he could race. I was really nervous/apprehensive for him though. I hoped that he and his shoulder would feel good and that he wouldn't be frustrated with either. After his first lap (coming in first) my worries were lessened. He was so fast all day.

I on the other hand did not perform so well. It is time to lighten up.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Moab Thaw

 The Moab Thaw was the inaugural ICUP EXC race. Thus it was longer, around 40 miles or so. The other really, really cool thing about it was the location--Moab. Moab is known for mountain biking but not so much for mountain bike racing. I believe this event can change that. The course was great, relentless, but great.
I still have quite a bit of work to do, but felt good about my performance. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Redemption Finally.

I finally, finally finished True Grit. What a relief. I was so nervous as this finish has escaped me both times I have attempted. This year everything was better though...and the times show it. The weather was ideal. The trails were awesome--let's just say Stucki Springs was not an absolute chore. And my bike stayed together, tires and all.
The start was a bit sketchy as we took off with the guys. And I get anxious in a peleton so the first couple of miles on the road were not my favorite. Once we got on the dirt it was better, but it got really dusty until we hit the Green Valley race course. Then things seemed to calm down. By that time though I had no idea where I was in the group. I knew there were three maybe more girls ahead of me. So I just rode.
I did have to warn a few guys that I was going to be riding sections and they were pretty good about getting out of my way which was nice. Chris prepped me beforehand though reminding me that if I did not have a clear line on sections it is better to walk than ride them. I lucked out and got to ride everything I wanted.
I do feel as though I blasphemed Zen. I just felt like I cheated when the course took us around the waterfall section. I understand why it done, but it just did not seem right to me on a personal level.

As I stated Stucki Springs was not so bad this year. There was hardly any wind and nor dust. It was pavement-esque. This made it (seem) much faster. I always love climbing Rim Runner and was elated to climb back over the gate with air still in my tires. All I had to do then was Barrel Roll and back. I was so nervous at this point. All I could think about was keeping it together and ride smooth. Barrel Roll is scary to race. You can just see so many people and it is nearly impossible to tell if they are coming or going as the trail wraps around and around.
Finally, I was on the road back to the start/finish. Again, I was sure there were riders behind me about to pick me off. So I pushed and pushed. Excited to be all but done, but riding scared at the same time. And then I saw the final corner, family cheering, and I was done. Completely done.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Let it begin

My race season has started; the first ICUP MTB race was this weekend. Honestly, I did not have very high expectations. I spent the week prior traveling abroad so my schedule, diet, training and the like were all different. I had tried to put in a big block of riding so I could go into my travels tired. I also tried very hard to "train" while I traveled. This can sometimes be difficult as I am a bike snob.

The "bikes" to which I had access were uncomfortable at best. The seat was enormous so standing up was difficult. In fact, I had to drop the seat down in order to comfortably be out of the saddle. Staying in the saddle was equally uncomfortable as the adjustments made the seat height either a bit too high or a bit too low. Luckily, I had trouble sleeping. The early waking allowed time (and motivation) to hit the gym. 

Almost a bike
I got home on Friday after 5 pm. I had to unpack, pack again, pack for another, clean up from the travel funk, and get to bed so we could get up early and head down to St. George. I did not expect to do well. This weekend was more about next weekend than anything else. I figured getting hard effort in would help prepare for the long race I have scheduled. I lined up on the second row and as Chris said after the race, I did not have a good start. After a little bit though I started to reel in some individuals. There was a lot of back and forth for third, fourth and fifth place. I ended up in fourth quite pleased with my effort and outcome.

I was also very lucky to avoid getting taken out by a rider at the very end. A competitor had just gotten around him. I realized that he had a completely flat front tire. I alerted him I was approaching and started to go around him. Just as I did his front washed out and he went down. I felt badly and wondered for a moment if I should stop. I didn't though and was able to pass the competitor just before the end capitalizing on the fact that she made a mistake. I was completely spent by the end.

Photo Cred: Zep Tittensor

Photo Cred: Zep Tittensor

Travel photos
Shanghai in the morning

The Shanghai Innovation Park

Shanghai at night

No trumpeting?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

This whole blogging thing is much more difficult these days. I can remember when it was easy to get out for rides and the issue was being over trained as opposed to under trained. As Chris says I should be getting 12 hours in the saddle per week, I am pretty shy of that.
I try to make my rides count though. The weather has been cooperative for the most part. It may be the best February ever. I have had a bit of bad luck here and there though. The trip to St. George where I did not ride. It started raining mid ride or it would snow--on both these occasions though I waited through it and the weather turned delightful.

Rain coming down at Slate Canyon
Every once in a while I go out for an easy ride to just spin the legs. These used to be hard to do because I would always end up pushing too hard. Now they are easier. I just bring a lil' friend with me and cruise.

 I did have the opportunity to ride Camp Lynda. It was 90 plus miles in two days as day three was a rain out for me. It was kinda like the old days but Chris wasn't there so not quite as good.