Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Draper ICUP

I raced Sundance again and this time it was fun. I think I am getting faster. I am definitely not fast per se, but getting to the point that I am having more fun. (Everyone knows fast=fun, right?)
Then I tried to take it easy over the weekend and raced on Monday (Memorial Day). There were nine pro women, NINE! That is a lot for our little series. Several moved on up from Expert. I hope they liked it as they deserved to be there in my opinion...mostly because they are faster than I am.
It was warm and the course was long. Most of it was pretty fun and I had a good time racing/riding my bike.
 I started thinking about Memorial Day though. Maybe it is because I don't do any real memorializing on this day and I feel guilty, but could we (and I don't necessarily know who "we" is) do more. I know it is the Stan Crane Memorial Race, but I don't know who Stan Crane is/was. I have been racing the series for years and I have never heard a thing about him. We don't really memorialize him during the race. There is no moment of silence for him or anything. So what if during this race, we actually made it a Memorial. Racers could select riders for whom they are riding. Racers or friends who have passed--most of knew or remember Patrick McKinght. Or service people. Anyone really. Those names could be put on stickers and placed on number plates, helmets, or someplace. Then conversations could start about those we have lost.
I don't know it is just an idea that came to me as I was suffering during this race. I thought I would put it "out there".
Here are some photos from the race thanks to the Powers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Difference a Few Days Makes

I had an epic breakdown. It was bad. I kept thinking about Willow and totally understood why she decided what she did. It is just so hard balancing everything and then there is work on top of training. I struggle balancing caloric and macronutrient needs while trying to get my shape and fitness back.
I raced Wednesday and it was a mess. I know I did not eat well that day of the race. I may still have needed some recovery also from our Moab trip. None the less, Sundance wasn't fun. Sundance is always fun...always. I came home and told Chris I quit.
I tried to find him a partner for Mesa Verde but he finally came back and said he did not wanted to race it without me. If I wasn't going to race neither would he. Ugh! I said I would race then.
I decided that I would not focus on pushing hard on my laps. I instead try to focus on riding smooth. Smooth riding would equal quick laps and spare my energy to ensure I could make it through the event. I was apprehensive about putting in my half of the 12 hours.
I had lots to do in between laps. Chris was throwing down fast times around 75 minutes. That did not leave me with much time to do the normal bike maintenance, fuel, relax, and the needed "personal time". After my third lap, I was exhausted. I just wanted to sit in a chair surrounded by food and eat. I knew we would be cutting it really, really close to get nine laps.
On my fourth lap, I still try to focus on smoothness but I knew I needed to push some too. It was getting super close to the cut off and I thought I might make it back in time for Chris to go out. I didn't though. I was a few minutes late. We only got eight laps.
My lap times were not impressive by any means, but they were fairly consistent and quick-ish considering. I did feel much better about myself and riding. It really was what I needed. And being surrounded by great friends also helped soothe my soul for sure.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

We Win

Chris and I took a quick day trip to Moab this week. We hit up the Amasa Back and Moab Brand areas. There is apparently more new stuff out by Sovereign called "Klonzo". We did not have time to do it, but Chris had heard of it previously. I was a bit surprised and delighted that there is more to explore. It dawned on me, Moab and St. George seem to be in a race or competition to have the best mountain biking. I am not sure who is winning besides us as mountain bikers.
The weekly mountain bike races started this week and I am way stoked to be able to do these this year. The first one was on some new trails cut at Euclid with lots of switch backs up and down. It was a bit loose, typical of new trails, but lots of fun. The lap was short so I had to count to five which was hard when self starving for oxygen. They shook up the categories so I was pretty far out of the points. I am hoping to get faster and start accumulating points more quickly.
The trails were super tacky early this week too. It was so, so nice. I am always surprised how quickly they dry out. They were pretty loose again this weekend. But I am riding my bike so I can't complain too much.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Six Hours of Frog Hollow

We visited "Frog Town" on Friday night. We both Chris and I wanted to get in a ride. I mostly wanted to see the new stuff. So I just did a quick half lap cutting out almost all the dirt road climb and the fun fast descent ending up at the Virgin River Trailhead. I did the new stuff and headed back. Chris did an entire lap and was gone for-ev-er. He got back not much before dark. I did get to hang out and say hi to some friends though which was fun.

Photo Cred Jamie Rees see
Day of was a bit more choatic than normal. Chris was getting ready to start per the usual. I was trying to help him as I could. He went out for a blazing fast first lap coming in first in a mere 47 minutes. I then went out. My first lap did not go so well. I slid out and went down on the road. My handle bars flipped around pulling my lock out cable from my fork. I thought my front end would be unlocked and super squishy the whole time, but instead the front end felt crazy stiff. Ryan helped me fix it (or more like I helped Ryan fix it) and my second lap felt much better than my first.

Because the course was different it was hard to know what constituted a fast time. I thought I was pretty quick, but after seeing times...not so much. But then I compared them to my 25 hour times six months earlier and they seemed better.

I still have alot to do. Given the situation I thought the day went pretty well. I look forward to the time when our "support" can actually support as opposed to being a simple baton. But she was really pretty good all day.

Photo cred MTB Race News

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Missed A Race For This

I usually love the early spring races as they are in St. George. It is fun to get out of Northern UT and soak up the sun while stretching the legs. Even though I am not as fast I had hoped I have still looked forward to these events. 
I missed the second ICUP race for a little Australia instead. It seemed like a fair trade off. I left on Monday afternoon, lost Tuesday completely and arrived on Wednesday morning. The office set me up on an afternoon tour of Sydney. Here is what I saw.

When I was in elementary school a picture of the Sydney Opera House was featured in one of my text books. I was enchanted and always wanted to visit. I still didn't get to actually visit it, but I did see it in person. It was beautiful.

Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge

AU version of Alcatraz

Harbor Bridge

My shadow

Infamous Bondi Beach

Don Riche Grove

Suicide Point

Navy Base

Most ships were looking for MY flight 370

I also visited Brisbane. I don't have so many pictures as I was there for a short 24 hours or so. I learned that Australia has lots of sandstone...which made me a bit homesick for Southern UT. It beautiful. The people are super friendly, but European-esque at the same time. The air felt muggy to me, but not too bad. I would definitely go back.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Feeling more normal

I think I am starting to get back into shape. Lately on the bike I felt ... more normal. Even though I did not finish, I feel as though I am reaping the benefits of True Grit. It is hard to tell though because I don't get to ride with Chris so much anymore.
I have had the opportunity to ride with EP. She recently moved out of Salt Lake and has been looking for someplace (closer) to ride her bike. She decided to give UC a try. So I showed her around our trails.
It has been great to have someone with whom to do long rides.

Hopefully my form will continue to improve and I can be competitive soon...or at least as fast as I once was.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I lack grit...sort of

The score is True Grit 2, KC 0. Or more like KC's bikes 0. The last time I attempted True Grit it was the inaugural year and it was a mess. I dropped out before the race promoter started pulling people in order to save my bike. But Chris (a bit before its time) was running a 1x10 and was able to finish and take a podium spot.
This year I was slow. I knew that going in. My plan was to ride a nice steady pace based on my heart rate and see what happens. I thought I was pretty well rested and prepared, but my legs did not feel spectacular off the start. I am not sure how soon after the next categories left but I was caught pretty early by the next group of guys. I was continuously caught by gentlemen as the race progressed. I just try to keep my heart rate up and not get frustrated.
A small group of guys passed me right as we entered the single track of Barrel Cacti/Ride. I hoped this would not be problematic as I planned on riding the techy stuff. As we entered several of the guys ended up getting off their bikes. I called out rider back. And then again. Finally as I was attempting to ride but still had people (testosterone monkeys is what I was thinking at the time) walking in front of me a voice from behind me called out rider back for me. Then people started to move out of my way. So to that guy, Thank you.
My ride on Zen was good and then not so much. I made a couple of the harder climbs and thought things were going well. Then I bumbled the descent at the end before the big drop. this was after definitively telling the guy behind me that I was going to ride it. I ended up making him have to jump off his bike. So to that guy my deepest apologies; I really can ride that section. And now I was frustrated.
The climb to Bar Claw/Poppy was a climb. I was thrown off by the sign about what routes to take and ended up taking a slower route down for the first little bit of the initial descent. Next time I need to preride and pick the way I want to take.
Stuki....well Stuki sucked. Sorry but it just did. I am not a fan of Stuki (why can't we race something fun like Snake Pit?). The wind was brutal, but at least I only had to do it once. I feel so badly for the 100 milers. I heard the wind got even worse throughout the day.
My friend Steve caught me on the dirt road section towards Rim Runner. He was kind enough to slow down and let me try to hang with him, but I couldn't. First, I just am not good at drafting. And I think I just had to go my pace at that point. None the less, it was kind and fun to ride with him for a bit.
The Rim Runner ascent was actually pretty fun. At each switch back the wind turned. Tail wind, head wind, tail wind, head wind. Finally I could really feel the winding helping and not just hindering. I was pretty excited as I descended Rim Runner. I knew I just had Barrel Roll and then back. I could do this. It could me fun. Spshhhhh. I sliced the sidewall on my rear tire.
It was a big gash. I remained calm and optimistic. I pulled out my tube, air, etc and got to work. I had some plastic I hoped was big enough to boot the tire. I fought the tire trying to get it back on the rim and finally opted to use my tire levers because I could not get it. Then I heard it again but more quiet. Spshhh...I just punctured my tube. That was it; I was defeated as more and more people passed me.
I walked from the bottom of Rim Runner then to the Cove Wash aid station, borrowed a phone, called and texted Chris to come pick me up when he was done, and started walking to Santa Clara practically in tears. I had tried to hard and come so far. Erin, who was at the aid station and let me borrow her phone, was making her way back to her vehicle. She got off and walked with me. I was so grateful for the company of a friend. I really needed that talk to calm down. I told her maybe I was done with True Grit. Today though I think I need redemption. I hardly ever mechanical and I have twice at this event. I can do this race. I know I can.
Each year that I have DNFed Chris has taken a podium spot. He finished third I was so proud of him. But then I was angry because we had to wait for-ev-er for awards. Totally worth it though. I think the year of Chris is extending into 2014.
I raced/rode 34 miles and then walked two.  Next year, right?