Transcendence

Most people do crazy stuff when they turn 40 - the classic midlife crisis type affair. There's buying a snazzy new car (does a 4WD Merce...

Aug 31, 2010

Xterra Lory Race Report

I know that this is out of order, but I still haven't finished writing the 24 Hours in the Sage report! It's coming, I promise.

Xterra Lory was a great race. I loved the course - The swim was in a protected cove of Horsetooth Res and was very well marked. The bike was a good mix of terrain, from a long climb with rock gardens, tight switchbacks and water bars to a fast and technical descent to the long undulating valley trail. The run climbed up the hill from the bike course and then back down to the finish line. And I thought the slip and slide at the end of race was perfect for a hot day. My plan going into the race was to push the pace on the swim, then try to hammer the bike and survive the run. A little different then how I normally approach a triathlon, but given the Achilles issues I've been working with, it seemed logical. And it worked out well. I had a strong swim, a really good bike and held onto the win with the run, finishing in 1:47:28. Tess Amer was second woman in 1:50:04 and Jaime Brede was third in 1:50:10.

Aug 28, 2010

Xterra Lory pre ride

Well in Fort Collins and ready for the Xterra Lory. It's a fun course actually, with a long climb right out of transition, a fun technical downhill then a rolling flat loop in the valley. There are a few tight switch backs on the descent and it will catch a few racers off gaued. I did have to stop and try a few sections a few times. Then there are the water bars. I think they took a cue from JefCo with the water bars in the middle of the switchebacks. The good news is that I was able to ride most of them on the first try. There is a large group of COS athletes in the race. It should be fun. I ran a little after the pre ride and there was no big issues with my calves. Here's hopimg things go smoothly. Race starts at 800 in the morning!

Aug 27, 2010

still dragging

Nick and I went to CMSP for an easy ride last night and wow. I was still so tired. Nick was on his single speed and I could not even come close to keepimg up with him. And he had already ridden at lunch. Whem it took an hour to ride the Talon loops and Sundance, it was time to call it a night. I was planning on riding an hour and a half but no. Too tired to fight for that other 30 minutes. So we went home.

I felt better swimming this morning sso things are looking up. I am doing the Xterra Lory on Sunday and not feeling ready at all. Racing is not not the smartest idea this weekend at all. But I can always use the practice with my transitions and my wet suit. So I will head up to Ft Collins and have a good time at the race. have a good race as well. No pressur for performance.

Aug 25, 2010

Tired days

Today was the first time I have gone to Masters in the morning and not finished the workout. My alarm went off, I thought about swimming, crawled back into bed, then decided I needed go. It would just make the day so much easier. But I had no motivation to swim, none at all. Did the warmup, relaxed and very easy. Was dragging on the drill set a little. But when we started the main set, there was nothing. I wasn't even coming close to hitting the interval and didn't even care. That's when I decided enough, I was done. I am still pretty tired from 24 Hours in the Sage, both physically and sleep wise. The short swim was good, but I don't need to push the effort level right now just to finish the workout. So I didn't! Being a good athlete is also knowing when to rest.

Aug 24, 2010

24 Hours in the Sage Preliminary report

It was a long, hard 24 Hours in the Sage. The weather was great for racing, a little warm and windy Saturday, not to cold overnight and perfect on Sunday . The Co-Ed Duo was one of the closest races of the day, with team Bo and Bec trading the lead many times with the Pedalin' Fools, aka Team Thelen. Finally, at 4:00am Nick and I took a tenuous lead and made it stick. It came down to the last lap of the race, with me holding off a fast closing Bo Randolph to finish at 11:05 with 19 laps. Bo and Bec finished at 11:08, also with 19 laps. Full report coming later.

Aug 20, 2010

A lap in the sage

First thing - I hate the Notch. I really do. I have never cleaned it going up and the last two times we've ridden here, I've crashed pretty hard coming down the back side. So right now, the Notch and I are on bad terms.

Now for the rest of the course - the intial blacktop is never a problem - nothing hard there, just a false flat to the trail head. A good time to eat, drink and recover for the solo riders. I hope that I can take advantage of some of the other teams during that section and draft off of other riders. Right away when the course hits trail, it's up. Not super steep, but long enough and steep enough to make the rest of the lap hurt. The climb is on single track, but there is plenty of room for passing. After the single track climb, there's another more gradual dirt road climb. Again, steep enough and long enough to affect the rest of the lap and other laps in the race.

Finally on to the real single track. The first section is a rolling piece along one of the rock ridges. It's got some decent technical sections to keep you honest and paying attention, espcially during the night laps. The trail pops out from behind the rocks and starts a gradual climb to the northern most high point. There's a few rock gardens on the climb, one long section of rocks right at the top, then the downhill. It's two steeper and slightly rock descents seperated by a section of ridgeline. Again, nothing really hard, but enough to keep you on your toes. There's a dirt road down hill and the course returns to single track again for a long gradual climb through the sage. Nothing technical in this section at all, the trail just meanders through the high sage. At the very top, it's a quick downhill to the cottonwoods. SAR usually sets up there and keeps an eye on everyone.

The next section of single track continues the gradual climb through the sage. It's a little steeper, with a little more twists and turns, but again not that challenging. What will make it hard is the gradual uphill, espcially at 2:00 am when going up hill just really is getting old. There's another section of fast dirt road - but a good place to eat a little. Then the trail turns onto Sea of Sage and it's time for a fast, swoopy descent back to the cottonwoods. That section of trail is fun because it flows so smoothly through the sage. Too soon, the descent is over and it's a short, steep climb to the ridge line. We follow the ridgeline to the east, with quick climbs, rock gardens and fast drops. There's a brief respite as the trail descends through the sage to the start of the Notch.

Finally the Notch. It's a long rock face, a quick drop, another rock face, a sharp left turn between two large rocks, a couple of rock steps up to the top. Sounds easy? Haven't ever ridden the entire thing up. Nick could tell more about it. After the climb, it's time for the downhill. There's a steep drop down a rock face, a left hand turn, more rocks with another two foot drop, then just fast, sandy and loose to the end of the single track. I'll be honest - I've not had the best luck on the descent this year. I might just walk the whole thing for a few laps.

But the lap time was decent and I think our plan's good. Tommorow at noon!

Welcome to the KOA

Nick and I got to Gunnison mid-day yesterday. The drive up and over Monarch was a little slow with theTurtle, but we made it. Speeds were about 30-25 mph heading up and not much faster coming down, but we made it without any issues this time. Everything behaved! We stocked up at the Safeway for food, spending over $200 for both junk food and real food. The fridge is full, the cupboards are overflowing and we are ready to ride for 24 hours. (We hope) I was really annoyed - I have been looking forward to being able to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on cinnamon bread and Safeway did not have the bread I wanted! Oh well, will have to make do with some other bread. But we are so stocked up, it's crazy.

After shopping, time to head to the KOA and get set up. There were plenty of people there, but it wasn't the crazy race crowd. We were getting some looks as we wheeled bikes out of our camper. I don't think most of the Thursday night campers were associated with the race. We have a really good location - right on the course, right after the timing tent. It's going to be so easy to come in and pit between laps. We also have enough distance between us and the race area that it shouldn't be too noise. And with all the windows closed, its pretty quiet in the camper. Time to get a lap in to figure times better, then wait for the real crowds to show up!

Aug 15, 2010

Haulin' Aspen Trail Marathon Race Report

All I had to do was finish the Haulin' Aspen Trail Marathon and it would mean another state in my quest to run a marathon in all 50 states. I was not expecting to have a great race since my training leading up to the marathon was less then stellar - at least in terms of long runs and "traditional" marathon training. I knew all along that I was taking a slight risk when it came to my end of season marathons by not running a signifigant amount of mileage and not having my usual long runs. I also knew that if I wanted to get better at the bike for the Xterras, running would be taking a back seat in training focus. So when I found myself in a postion to contend for the women's title at the Haulin' Aspen I was pretty surprised. Then pride kicked in and I turned my "long run" into a race. And it was a close race - after 26.2 miles of ups and downs and rolling single track, less then five minutes seperated the top four women.

I'm happy this was my Oregon marathon. The trails were great for running, the scenery was pretty, the course was challenging and race organization was outstanding. The course was marked really well, there were more water stations then anticipated and there were plenty of friendly volunteers through out. This was a much better choice then any of the road marathons (and there are a lot) that Oregon has to offer. I would highly recommend the Haulin' Aspen Trail Marathon to anyone. And to think I picked it just because the name was cute!

Aug 13, 2010

Time for a short rest

I have been such a lazy bum this week. One short swim, one easy ride, a few short walks and that's it. After the marathon and the traveling, taking a week off for some good recovery sounds like a great idea. It's a good thing I am not so type a with my training that I can't take a day off! I was planning on swimming this morning, but just did not want to get up. Sleeping in sounded much better. It's been a busy summer and I still have a few races left. Taking an easy week now will mean a better end to the season. Allow me to fully recover and make sure I'm ready to start working hard again. I'm starting the endurance phase of the season now, with marathons, 24 hour mountain bike races, and long course triathlons, so taking a full recovery, easy week will be the best and smartest way to start the next few months.

Aug 10, 2010

Mount St Helens

As someone who has always been fascinated by volcanos, earthquakes and other forces of nature, I was looking forward to my trip up to Mount St Helens after the marathon. I've done a lot of reading about the area, the mountain, the type of eruption and the forces that caused most of the distruction. I wanted to see the mountain and explore a little. Well, we woke up to grey. Typical low hanging northwest clouds covered everything. Not to be detered, we made the hour and a half drive into the Momument, hoping that the clouds would lift and we would be able to see something. Every so often, things looked promising, the clouds withdrawing enough to see patches of the landscape. Then the grey soup would close down even thicker. No seeing the volcano today!

So we hiked around a little, read the displays in the visitor's center on Johnson's Ridge and watched the film. Still the clouds were not budging. It was getting cold and windy and with the clouds, there wasn't much to see. So no photos of Mount St Helens on the blog. The link to the Volcano Cam will have to do! Not as impressive as in real life, but if there's clouds in the way, it's easier to come back another day!

Volcano CAM

Aug 9, 2010

Haulin Aspen trail marathon

The Haulin Aspen Trail marathon is in the books and one more state is finished. This was a great trail run and I had a fun time. I ran 3:27:40, winning the women's race by three minutes. It was a tough win and I had to really work hard the last few miles. And I am paying the price today - my legs are tired! A full race report will be posted soon.

Aug 6, 2010

Xterra Portland course

Since I'm in Portland for the Haulin Aspen trail marathon (in Bend, but I flew into Portland) I figured I would take the chance and pre-ride the Xterra Portland course out at Hagg Lake. The race is the 14th, so i'm not going to be around to compete, but it was good oppertunity to get out on the bike and ride in a different area of the country. And I have a friend who's racing and she's not the best of mountain bikers. She wanted someone to pre-ride with her. I rented at bike from the Fat Tire Farm in Portland (http://www.fattirefarm.com/) and drove out to the lake. My first experience with a hard tail and it was interesting. The hard tail definently climbs much better then my full suspension bikes, but it wan't smooth going down hill at all. Might be my plinko chip style of decending, but I felt like the rear wheel was getting hung up on everything.

It was a fun, not very technical but challenging course. The trail alternated between riding in the deep, dark old growth evergreens around the lake and wide open fields filled with black berry brambles. The sections in the trees were twisty, with short descents and steep climbs. I was surprised that there weren't very many roots at all. After Waco and Pelham, I was expecting this to be a fairly rooty trail. But it wasn't without challenges. My legs were still rather tired from the Falcon 100 km, so I ended up walking up some of the steeper climbs. Had a good time on the descents through the trees, despite being on an unfamilar bike. The sections through open fields were pretty hot, with a narrow path through the brambles. There were ruts on each side of the trail, making passing pretty tricky. It will be a fun race - almost wish I was able to come back out and compete.

I think the best part of the ride was being able to stop and eat blackberries right off the bushes! I love blackberries and these were so good. Nothing like fresh berries in the middle of the ride. I wish I'd had something to keep the berries in - would have picked a little more for later!

Aug 5, 2010

On the way to Oregon

Airports are strange places. Little cities, with transient populations that ebb and flow dependant on departure and arrival times. Sometime crazy busy, other times just quiet and dead. And it seems that people have decided that flip flops good shoes to wear. That was the biggest thing I noticed this time - lots of people wearing flip flops. Doesn't matter if you can't move very quickly in those shoes or that there is no protection for your feet at all. I would say 80% of all the people I saw were wearing flip flops of ome incarnation. Wooden soled flip flops with a heel even worse. I saw someone trying to run to a gate in those shoes. She wasn't going very fast - would have been better off taking her shoes off and holding them. At least then she would have been able to run without her shoes falling off her feet every five seconds. Then there are the oblivious people wandering around in a daze, not paying attention to surroundings at all. Lots of stressed people running around, lots of impatient people. The ticket agent did not cause the huge thunder storm today! I've done enough flying that I have decided that going with the flow is the best. Music, reading and people watching passes time pretty well. Speaking of time, if there is a difference in local time between Colorado Springs and Denver, something is really wrong.

Wet year on the CT

I bet Nick is happy he's just riding the first half of the CT and not racing this year. It's been wet one for all the riders, with thunderstorms and downpours every night. Nick and Greg have only camped one night so far - and they got dumped on. They also ended up taking the bike path from Frisco to Copper instead of climbing the 10 Mile Range on the CT. Same reason - had already had enough weather. Monday and Tuesday, they hung out at Janet's Cabin and watched most of the actual CT racers push thru. Then they headed over to Leadville. Nick had to get a new tire for his bike, they enjoyed some burgers and beer and decided to get a hotel for the night. Well, when I tried calling the number Greg gave me - it was the owner's cell phone! And it was still raining!

The boys should be rolling through the Mount Princeton Hot Springs later tonight and I bet they will be staying there. I wouldn't want to pass up a warm room, shower and good food at the resturaunt there if I was riding through!

Aug 3, 2010

Falcon 100 KM Race Report

Five laps of the Falcon Trail at the Air Force Academy, 6+ hours on the bike. There were two women brave (crazy?) enough to tackle the 100 km race and I finished second - or last :) But it was a good day, a long, hard ride. It was harder then I thought it would be because of the speed and I really had to stay focused to stay on top of the race mentally. Endurance mountain bike racin is a lot different then the shorter cross country events, but still different then the slower paced world of 24 hour racing. While I did make some mistakes with pacing and nutrition, I was able to recover and finish strong. The official finish time was 6:32:24 (but my watch showed 6:39...) I think I like this marathon riding stuff - just not sure I'm ready to give up triathlons yet! I'm lucky that the CTS crew was there in force - with Jason, Ryan and other racing, I was able to get someone to help with bottle handups. Jared did a great job at the feed zone - even reading my mind near the end of the third lap. Without his help, the race would have been a lot harder. I was wearing my birthday present from Nick - an Osprey Talon 11 - the perfect size pack for long distance riding. I had food - Chomps and fruit strips - in the pockets, and my 70 oz bladder filled with my mix of water and GU and GU Brew, as well as some rain gear.

The other thing that helped with a race of that length was not thinking about the number of laps - just focusing on the task at hand and the section of trail I was on. To stay focused, I'd broken the 13 mile lap into four distinct sections, so I was just riding from section to section within each lap. With the start at Falcon Stadium ( between miles 4 and 5), the first section was the rolling, smoother section with some shorter climbs and easy downhills, finishing with the long gradual climb up past the BX (about mile 9). The next sections was the fast drop down past the firestation, across the bridges, through the rock gardens and down the rock steps (which I walked every time) on the southwest corner and then up the steeper, long climb to the ridge above the Stanley Canyon Trailhead ( about mile 11.5). The third section was the most technical, starting with the twisty drop from the ridgeline to the main road through the AFA, up a rocky climb through the mile 13/0 parking lot, down the switchbacks then across the roads just south of the Vistors center to the final big climb of the course. The last section is the rolling down from the ridgeline just east of the Cadet area, the rocky switchbacks dropping down the ridge into the woods north of the golf, finishing with the fast, twisty single track back to the finish line. Having the distinct sections of each lap helped and made the race seem more managable instead of thinking about the whole 100km event.