Culmination

A year is a long time to be working towards a goal - espcially when there’s so many individual milestones to be met along the way. In 2018, ...

Feb 27, 2010

Waldo Canyon Run

We had been planning on the Pueblo run, but the trails down there were too muddy. I even stopped by the park after work to double check! After ruling out riding down in Pueblo this weekend because of trail conditions, I decided to take Tracy H up on her offer to "Run, hike, slog" the Waldo Canyon trail. I haven't been to Waldo in a number of months and it's a good trail. I wasn't sure how the trail conditions would be  - or how much running we would actually get done. I knew there would be ice, so I brought my spikes with me.

It turned out that we were able to run most of the way. It was a good thing we both had our spikes, because there was a good layer of ice underneath the snow. And where there was no ice, there was mud. The spikes have good traction even in the mud. The only part of the trail that was not runnable (or that I did not feel like running) was the part of the loop right next to the creek. There was no ice, but the snow was very deep and trampled. I didn't feel like twisting an ankle trying to run on the soft snow, so we hiked that part. Everything else was either muddy or icey or clear. But it was a good run and a really pretty day to be up in the mountains. But after being able to ride so much, having the ice and snow up here is a let down. Hopefully Pueblo will dry out soon.

Feb 26, 2010

Ah - recovery

This has been a good week for a recovery week. I needed some time off after the 24 hour race, time that we didn’t take right away because of the riding oppertuinies in Arizona. With the cold and snowy weather we’ve had since getting home, it’s been very easy to behave. Truthfully, I haven’t had the desire to do anything hard, or long. Even when I went to CTS for one of my rides last week, I had to ask for them to load an easier course on the Computrainer! The first one just had way too many hills for my taste at the time. That indicates that sleeping and being lazy is well overdue. We’ll start ramping up the intensity and volume soon – both in riding and running. The first Xterra is just under two months away and I need to be ready.

Driving down to Pueblo for work today was a bit of a shocker. I got on 25 and everyone was passing me like crazy. After two weeks of crusing down the interstate at a sedate 55 mph, being able to actually drive the speed limit was a little odd. It took me a bit to get up to speed, literally. The Subaru felt like a sports car compared to the Turtle, and I was still getting passed by lots of other drivers.

Feb 25, 2010

Out of wack in the water

I was a little surprised when I got back in the water. Normally, swimming is the easiest thing for me and I usually don’t have any problems after an layoff. Well, I got in the water on Wednesday, and I was just blah and all out of wack. I had no sense of the water or feel for my body position. I did swim once over the trip, but not for long or very fast. I was not expecting to be so discombobulated my first time back in the water. I was happy that I had decided to sleep in and skip the masters this week. No sense in stressing out getting in the yardage right after a layoff like this. Today was a little better in the water – I was able to hit better intervals and felt more at home. Still didn’t swim very long, but ah – it’s a recovery week! I’ll be back at Masters next week, although I might drop down a lane for the first few days.

Feb 21, 2010

2010 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

It took a while to get up, but here is the full race report from the 2010 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. (http://www.epicrides.com/twofour/24.htm) It was a solid race for Nick and I this year. There was also some stiff competition and some very fast teams racing in the Co-Ed Duo this year. It was a close race between the top three teams for most of the race. In the end, 2-Epic with Scott Morris and Lynda Wallenfels won, completing 20 laps at 1:14:21. They broke the previous lap record for Co-Ed Duo of 18 laps. Second place went to Fast + Sassy with Aaron Gulley and Jeny Meinerz. They completed 19 laps at 1:03:25. Nick and I, competing as the Road Turtles (named after our slow but steady, ancient camper) finished third with 18 laps at 12:10:20. We are both really happy with that result. Most importantly, we both stayed mostly upright and cacti free for the whole 24 hours.
I have photos from the race and our adventures in Arizona posted here
http://picasaweb.google.com/TracyThelen.triathlete/24HoursOfOldPueblo2010TripPhotos#
http://picasaweb.google.com/TracyThelen.triathlete/24HoursOfOldPueblo2010RacePhotos#

Keep reading for all the gory details. It’s a little long, but a lot can happen in a day!

Back to winter!

Well, after waking up to sunshine and highs in the 70s, this is a shock to the system. Snow, ice and my thermometer reads a cozy 15 degrees out. I don't think we'll be riding outside anytime soon! Good thing that we took advantage of the fun trails and summer like weather down in AZ after the race. Not the best way to recover from a 24 hour race, but hey - take the single track while you can find it, right? This will be the recovery week I was supposed to take last week. Now it's time to get all the laundry done, wash dishes, bottles and camelbaks, and put everything away. Nick is taking care of the lights right now, making sure everything is in order.

Don't worry, photos and race report will be up soon!

Feb 20, 2010

On the road for home

This has been a fun, but very busy two weeks. We got to explore Tucson a little more, had a great race, visited Nick's parents in Phoenix, visited my sister and rode in a lot of new areas. Thursday, we headed over to McDowell Mountain Regional park, planning on camping and riding. Well, the camp ground was full, but they let us set up in the "overflow lot" - a parking lot near the trail head. I finished with setting everything up and Nick headed out for an hour hard ride.

The next morning, we went to the competitive track and rode for two hours. Unlike at the White Tanks, the competitive track was fun single track. There was some good technical stuff, some fun decents and some long climbs. We rode all of the trails at least once. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot, but we did not see anyone on the trails the whole day. It was perfect. My knee didn't hurt at all until the very end, which was even better. After the ride, I went for a short run, figuring that I might as well enjoy the sun. We had no clue what the weather would be like at home.

The drive home was long. We went up AZ 87, thru Payson to get the the interstate. Once we got on 40, Nick drove until Grants, NM. Then we pulled into a truck stop and buttoned up the Turtle for the night. We were hoping to ride somewere today, but no such luck. After pulling back on the the interstate, we just drove. Nick even had me drive for a little once we got onto the quiet stretch of 25 north of Las Vegas. Not by choice - there was too much snow on the ground north of Santa Fe to ride and we hit bad weather outside Walsenburg. So no camping at Pueblo and riding. So we drove straight home, unloaded everything into a huge pile on the floor and cleaned up the Turtle. Now we just have to finish unpacking and cleaning. The cats are happy to see us, that's for sure!!

Feb 17, 2010

White Tank Mountain "Riding"

Nick is fired from trail finding for the next few days. We went to White Tank Mountain regional park outside Surprise to ride and run today. My knee was still a little tender, espcially with higher power efforts. So I wanted an easier day so I didn't stress my knee. Well, Nick takes off on this trail without letting me look at the map. It's a nice trail at first, a little rocky, really wide. It starts getting a little narrower and a little steeper. Then we get to a sign stating "Hazardous trail conditions ahead. Horses and bikes strongly advised against attempting trail."

And Nick just keeps going. There is no stopping him. After all, we see signs like that all the time and the trails are just fine. Not this time. The trail quickly gets narrower and steeper and nearly impossible to ride. We pass two hikers who almost start laughing at us. And soon we find out why. Although the trail is really pretty, it was not a good idea to have bikes. We were lugging the bikes up four foot cliffs of white rocks. We found out the reason for the name of the park. We were scrambling up a canyon wash with huge white bowls filled with water. Supposebly, mountain lions come down to drink from the tanks at night. We did not see any wildlife other then a few lizards, jackrabbits and a hummingbird, thankfully.

But it was not a fun day with the bikes. At least until we got to the end of the scrambling. It was a decent ride back to the camper, but not worth the struggle up. Nick had a good time riding and want to head back. I think I was just frustrated because of my knee and hiking.

No rest for the weary

What a busy few days. Monday, Nick and I slept in really late. When we finally got up, there wasn't much left of 24 HR town. A few campers and other racers packing thing up, and the races staff tearing down the timing tent. Nick and I decided that we would help clean up some of the microlitter around town. So we meandered up and the town roads, collecting zip ties, bottle caps and other trash. It was amazing and a little disgusting the people couldn't take a few minutes and look around their camps. We tried to recruit a few more helpers, but had no success. Everyone assured us that their camp was neat and they would look around on their own.

After leaving town, we did three loads of clothes at a small laundromat. Between Nick and I, we had a pile of dusty, wet cycling clothes. The older ladies at the laundromat kept giving us the once over, as if we had too many clothes. Next stop, dinner somewhere. We found a really good place on the north east side of Tucson. It also help that the waitress was able to give us some good info on a place to swim. We were planning on heading to a YMCA and parking in the lot overnight. That way Nick could shower before his interview and I could swim. Well, the Y was closed for facility renovations. We had to find another option. So we took the waitresses advice, headed to the community college and there was the rec center. Perfect. We parked in the lot, half expecting security to wake us up in the middle of the night.

After Nick's interview, we headed to a different trail to ride. One of the 24 hour staff gave us directions to the Stillwater trail head on the north east side of Tucson. This was a completely different riding then Fantasy Island. A lot rockier and a lot more climbing, not as swoopy. We have some photos riding amoung the saguaro cacti. My knee lasted about an hour before it started hurting again, but it was not as bad.

Feb 15, 2010

Third Place after 24 hours

Another successful 24 HR race for the Road Turtles. We finished third among the Co-Ed Duo teams, with 18 fun-filled laps. The competition was stiff this year, with the winning team doing 20 laps and the second place team doing 19 laps. The weather was perfect for racing most of the time, with a bit of a wind kicking up in the morning. I'll get a full race report and some photos posted after we get home.

Feb 12, 2010

Ready to race

I think we are ready. Or at least as ready as you can be for a 24 hour race. The best we can hope is that we have what we need for any unexpected issues. Beyond that, tommorow is time to ride. And the race won't really start until midnight. There is time to work the kinks out of the system between now and then.

Nick will be doing the first two laps so I don't have to deal with the testosteone. He's better at passing and guys will be more likely to let him pass. I don't know what it is, but some guys need to just grow up. We were riding the back half of the course to check tire tire pressure. We pass three guys stopped at the side of the trail. After a few minutes, Nick looks over his shoulder and those guys are steam rolling towards us. We reach a good area and slow up so they can pass. And they have no clue what we're doing. One of the actually stops behind us! After killing themselves to bridge the gap, their pace slows way down. Way down. Except on the double track where passing is easy. Nick and I finally got around them, but really. Do you think you will never get passed by a woman? So Nick will do the first two rather then just one as originally planned. Avoid the issue when people are still fresh.

Feb 11, 2010

Welcome to Town

No problems getting into camp. The road was a little rutted and washboarded, but half decent. Jeff and Joan drove in just after the big rainstorm yesterday and they had some major issues with the mud. We have a nice setup this year. The turtle, the RV Jeff and Joan rented and two cars make a nice "circling the wagons" effect. Even with everyone else here, we have some privacy. I have't explored town at all, but I think we have some prime real estate for our camp. We are about two minutes walking away from the exchange tent and the expo area. It's an easy ride - much better then last year!

Today was a pretty quiet day. We got set up with the Feedback bike stand, bike rack, chairs and such. My little bikes looked so tiny compared to all the 29ers hanging on the rack! After getting organized, I ran the canned goods and money back out to the entrance station. We got in a little early and they weren't set up. I needed to run anyway, so it made sense. Nick took care of the bikes while I ran so we could head out for a pre-ride.

The trails are a little more rutted and rocky the last year. The rain washed away some dirt. After a few laps it should get a little smoother. Felt pretty good riding, even took the Option with no issues. I'm really happy about that. I'll be riding the Option on all my daytime laps this year for sure, unlike last year. The lap time was right where I want to be for a comfortable pre-ride. This should be a good weekend. Nick is feeling fast and we are both ready to ride.

Now we're sitting around the campfire with the gang, chilling out. I got some nice photos of the sunset and trail. The stars a brilliant tonight, with no lights and no moon. I also saw a shooting star, flying right through Orion.

Heading to 24 hour town

Time to head to 24 hour town. One last hurdle for the poor, over worked turtle to achive - the dirt road into camp. That road can be a bear - washboarded, rutted and really hard on vehicles. The more people in and out, the worse it gets. Town does not officially open until noon, but I know there will already be squatters. Yes, the Wild West still thrives in Arizona, especially where finding land to live and race on comes into play.

We splurged last night. We were planning on camping at a state park so we could plug in and charge lights, phones and such. We also wanted to shower. Well, the park was full, so we were out of luck. Decided to get all the last minute food stuff and drive up the road a bit. We didn't know what we'd find, if anything. A cheap little motel sounded good. And that's what we got. Turtle parked out front, but everything is charged and the shower felt good.

Feb 10, 2010

Respect the Cacti!

I have new respect for those darn chola cacti down here in Tucson. I got bit by one on the wrist during the ride and yes, it did just jump out of no where!

Nick and I stopped in Tucson to ride in the Fantasy Island park. It was great single track and a good refresher to desert racing. The same kind of twists and turns that we'll be facing in 24 hrs Old Pueblo. I had a few near misses with the prickly pears and my shoes - I will be wearing booties the whole time while racing. I don't want to mess with spines in my toes. I was also doing pretty good with keeping up with Nick and not running off the trail. There were a few well named features on the trails - like "Goal Post" a straight shot between two upright cacti and "Over Under" a figure eight deal that went over a bridge, then curled back around, under the bridge. We were getting close to the end of the ride when all of a sudden, there was this stabbing pain in my wrist. Had no clue what it was, just started yelping and grabbed the brakes. A large chunk of Chola was lodged in my wrist and glove. Getting it out without a comb was not easy. It jumped from one hand to the other, then onto Nick's shorts.

Making matters worse, was the weather. When we left for the ride, it was nice and sunny. There were a few clouds in the distance, but so far away that we really didn't pay any attention. We did both bring our rain jackets, just in case. As we were cruising along, enjoying the ride, those clouds were getting closer. Just before the Chola jumped onto my wrist, the rain started. A gradual sprinkle at first, then a full fledged downpour. We were soaked by the time we got back to the camper. But the riding was fun and we manged to get in a good two hours even with the cacti attack and the rain.

Feb 9, 2010

Slip Sliding Around

We are lucky that we have the chains Nick's Dad gave us. After stopping for the night at the Fort Union, we hit the road early. And the road was icy, thanks to a layer of freezing rain. I was still really sleepy, so went back to bed while Nick drove. I know that he pulled over frequently to scrape off the windshield. Well, after about two hours, he decided to get off the interstate. The road was a mess, trucks were throwing up all kinds of ice and road sludge. And they all wanted to drive 70, much faster then we can on a good day. So we decided to take a lower traffic detour. Only we both forgot how steep and twisty one hill on the detour was.

A third of the way up and the right rear wheel starts sliding. There is no margin for error. If we keep sliding, we end up on our side, in the ditch. Thankfully, we were able to get the chains on without too many issues. We crawled up the hill, in the middle of the road, hoping there was no one coming down. But the chains did the job.

The good news is that we missed rush hour in Albuqure. And the sun is out and there is no snow south on 25!

Feb 8, 2010

On the road

Not an auspicious beginning to the 24 HRs Old Pueblo trip. It started snowing last night and hasn't stopped. I got up this morning, headed to the pool to swim and there was a thin dusting of snow over the ice. The pool was quiet because of the weather, which was nice. It'a been really busy the last few weeks. Yeah resolution season. But we were able to spread out and have some space. Always a good thing on IM day.

It looked like the snow was going to taper off over lunch, but it came back with a vengance. Luckly, Nick got off work early. He was able to get home and get the camper loaded before I got home. So we got at least an hour jump on leaving. He did a lot of work loading. Now we are heading south, through light snow, hoping Raton Pass is clear. But not the best start, this snowstorm and the road conditions.

Feb 3, 2010

Last night ride

I met up with the girls for the last night ride before Nick and I head to Old Pueblo last night. As usual, it was a great ride. We decided to head back to Red Rocks and take our chances there. It was a good move - there was hardly any ice and it was cold enough for the mud to freeze. So the trails were in great shape this time.

We did a different loop this time, again - more trails that I had not ridden on before. It's always strange riding on new trails for the first time in the dark. You're more focused on the trail and less on the consequences of not cleaning the obstacles. As a result, I was more willing to try riding thing then the other women. I didn't know what was around the corner! Having good lights also helps with confidence night riding and the Amoeba lights are some of the best on the market (http://amoebalight.blogspot.com/)

On one of the trails I knew, I put in a harder effort and got a small gap on the other women. We had two dogs with the group and they always run with the leader of the group. So I had both Stella and Tonka with me, running right behind me. When the other women caught up at the next intersection, Betty asked if I had the dogs with me. Yeah - I did. Well, they had all heard a noise in the brush and were hoping that it was the dogs. But it wasn't the dogs. We started asking how big the noise was - hoping is wasn't anything big. Couldn't come to a consenus - so we stuck pretty close together, just in case!

Feb 1, 2010

Soup Success

Well, after wrinkling his nose up while I was making the soup last night, Nick called me at lunch to declare that he liked it. It was funny, actually. I normally make Chicken Tortilla soup, with peppers, onions, chiles and all sorts of spicy stuff. I started out the Sausage and Kale White bean soup the same way, sauteing onions in the big pan. I also had a lot of the same ingrediants out, can of tomatos, a few cans of bean, garlic, ect. So he assumed that I was making my normal soup.

I got everything in the pot simmering and started cutting up the kale. That's when he walked into the kitchen, looked at the kale and said "what is that crap you're putting in the soup? You're going to ruin it." At that point, I had to explain what I was making and why the funky looking plant was. I don't think Nick was impressed at that point. He decided to eat the pizza instead, not trusting some that some weird looking leaf could taste good. Well, after smelling the broth while I was enjoying my bowl, he decided to take some for lunch today. And now I have two different soups that I can make.