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Showing posts from February, 2011

2011 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo Race Report

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The story of the 2011 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo was not just rider vs rider and team vs team but riders vs the elements. With an outline writ in wind, the tale quickly turned into what will be known as the Arizona Hurricane. This race did not start between midnight and 2:00am like most 24 hour races, but at 5:30 pm as waves of mist, fog and rain were driven across the desert by gale force winds. By Noon on Sunday, Team TopoFusion/Gooney Riders of Scott Morris and Eszther Horanyi proved themselves strongest physically and mentally, covering 18 laps at 12:02. Nick and I finished second, one step higher on the podium, with 18 laps at 12:58:24. We had a solid race despite the adverse conditions, a few miscalculations, and one late exchange. In third place, Las Chupacabras with Jill Hueckman and Erick Lord completed 17 laps at 1:06:05. All the athletes who persevered into the rain and wind should be proud of their achievements and success at the 2011 edition of 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo…

Adventures on the Road

Home at last! And this year getting home was the adventure. We left Tucson Mountain Park with plans to return next year and do some more exploring. Nick was getting a little antsy to move on and I was getting tired of having pointy plants shredding my legs. So we packed up and bolted with plans to maybe ride in ABQ on the way home. The Back of the Pack racing team had given me some info on some good riding just north of ABQ. Everything seemed to be going pretty smoothly with the traveling until we turned off of I-10 in Demming. Then the Turtle started acting up. After almost the entire trip of a well behaved, "fast" moving Turtle, that 48 miles on back roads between I-10 and I-25 were a nightmare. Twice, we almost stopped dead in the road as the Turtle chugged and sputtered. Even the auxiliary fuel pumps didn't help. Finally it started behaving a little better in Hatch and we got on the interstate heading north. There was still some chugging and sputtering, but things we…

Exploring Tucson Mountain Park

It has definitely been a chill few days since the race. After playing tourist on Monday, we headed back down to Cactus Country RV for two nights so we could relax, sleep in and get some chores done. After racing for 24 hours in wind, rain and mud, we desperately needed to do some laundry. Three loads of clothes later and all the cycling gear from the race was was clean. Although I am still not sure all the mud is out of one set of bibs... Next order of business was showers! Talk about a much needed treat! We had a basic plan - ride easy at Fantasy Island on Tuesday, then head west to Tucson Mountain park for the rest of the stay in Tucson. The ride on Tuesday was very easy - we were both tired so the pace was pretty slow. The good news is it is harder to get lost when you are riding slow!

Then Wednesday, we met up with fellow Xterra racer, Christine J. She was happy to take us for a ride on some of the trails in east TMP. There was some fun, technical riding there - all shadowed by gi…

Out on the town - 24 Hour Town!

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While I still have not had a chance to write the race report - too much to digest to get it done right now - it was still an awesome weekend in 24 Hour Town. At least when the sun was shining and the wind wasn't howling! Nick and I rolled in on Thursday and got an awesome pit site near the transition tent. We got everything set up nice and neat and made sure there was room for our solo friends from Texas. That was the hardest part of the weekend - ensuring that our little kingdom was not conquered by neighboring racers! We also had a decent view of the Option from camp, so we were able to watch riders practicing the drop throughout the day. I had time to practice my photo skills - can never resist a good sunset, sunrise or an artfully framed cacti! This time I even got a few really good full moon shots. The sunrise photos never come out quite as nicely - I've struggled with that for the last three years. But besides photos, there were some good times in camp.
 

Playing tourist at the Biosphere 2

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For the last three years, we've seen the ads for Biosphere 2, hyping it as a really cool place to visit. So we decided to take our day off and play tourist after the race. I have to admit, I was a little curious about the whole thing, having read about the Biosphere experiments years ago. I also wanted to know why it was called Biosphere 2 - was there another one built somewhere else? (Answer to that question, Earth is Biosphere 1, Duh.) Nick was also really interested in the science - like how they sealed the sphere, things like that.

It was interesting - we learned a little about the Biosphere experiments, how it was built and how the people who were living in the Biosphere survived. We got a tour of the different biomes in the building - the rainforest, savanna, marsh, desert and ocean. Seeing the rain forest in the middle of the desert was bizarre! Now, it's a giant greenhouse where the University of Arizona and other researchers go to perform large scale, long term exper…

Prelim Report from 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

The 2011 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo was another successful race for Nick and I. There were a few goof-ups and one late exchange, but it overall a strong performance. While we did not meet our lap goal, we still preserved against the Arizona wind, rain, mud and a rouge cactus to claim second. We completed 18 laps, finishing at 12:58. Scott M. and Ezther H. of  Topo Fusion Gooney Riders won the class with 18 laps, finishing at 12:02 and Jill H. and Erick L. of Las Chupacabras finished third with 17 laps at 1:06. I will have a full report after we get home.

Pre-ride in the Old Peublo

Well, the pre riding is done and there is nothing left to do but wait until noon Saturday. And people watch. That's always a hoot! It isn't that hard to figure out how to park three cars without taking up that much space. At least you would think! Seriously, it was a good refresher on desert riding, getting out on course again. We mostly had a clean run for the preride and everyone we met on trail was super cool. I had forgotten the twisty flowing speed of the trail and quick dips and dives around the cacti. It didn't take long to remember the lines and rocks in the trail. Nick rode his single for the pre ride, so if he need to race on that he has the gears down. I took a few trips down the option, just to build up some confidence. And it was as fun as I remembered. We also did both the Bitches and the new Skip the Bitches section of single track. And I know what I will be riding come Saturday. I love the ladies, but...

Fantasy Island Fun

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  Okay, so I had a different title for this post, but it wasn't quite proper. So I settled on a more mundane description. But Fantasy Island, in the South East section of Tuscon was lots of fun over the last few days. We rode pretty much every trail and did a half decent job of not getting lost. We also manage to avoid most of the cacti, with only a few spines getting into my wrist. Nick's arms were sliced up from all the friendly trees surrounding the trails and we both have done a great job of working on the tan lines!
  The first day, we parked at the southern entrance and tried to get to the north entrance. At that point, we had no clue as to the names of the trails or the general layout of the park. We just knew that most of the trails were one way. Full of enthusiasm to be riding in the sun, on dry trails, we set off into the cacti. Fantasy Island south is made up of fast, flowing trails with gentle banking on most corners. There are plenty of dips and dive…

Notes from the Road

This time, we were the slowpokes on the interstate, but that meant there was plenty of time for people watching. It's pretty funny, the looks we get as other drivers pass. Here you have the old, slow Turtle and people are expecting a couple matching the turtle in age. And nope! Two young "kids" manning the controls... But as Nick was driving, I had my pencil ready for my travel observations...

*Where would we be without billboards? How else will I know that the world's largest prairie dog in only 40 miles away? Seriously, the billboards do make traveling easier, at least anticipating where food and gas might be next.

*Inspection stations only work if they actually inspect something....

*You don't get much rest at a rest stop sandwiched between the interstate and an active train track.

*Trucks like driving at night - easier on the eyes then dealing with the sun...

*Safety Corridor - a fancy way of saying boring road that people like to drive fast on, so we'll …

The Travelin' Turtle!

Last year, the travel challenge was the snow and ice from Raton south. We were creeping along at 10 mph, having trouble seeing the road and eventually faced the exciting task of getting the chains on the Turtle. This year, no snow and sunny skies. But we faced an equally insidious challenge to the trek. Warm temperatures in Colorado and New Mexico in the winter mean one thing - wind. The poor turtle was pegged, chugging along at 40 mph or slower on the hills to the north of Santa Fe. We were fighting a losing battle with the wind as we kept going slower and slower and slower... I have to admit, I've driven that section of I-25 a few times and it has always been windy. It shouldn't have been a surprise! But this was a blow the Turtle across the road wind. It didn't matter what direction we were going either. The wind was a constant companion. But once the sun went down, the air was calm. Nick even set a speed record in the Turtle - 68mph!

CTS Night at the Races

Carmichael Training Systems hosted the third set of "Friday Night at the Races" over the last month and it's been a blast. Like the November-December, the Computrainer races brought athletes of all abilities together to ride hard and have fun. The races also provided some motivation to ride hard and keep training in the sub-zero weather that had been hanging around. To make things even more fun, Jayson had figured out how to start all Computrainer pods at the same time. So unlike the first races, we weren't just racing the seven people on the same computer. We were racing the entire room and with nearly every computrainer taken, there was some stiff competition.

January 21 - Time Trial Day. There was both a TTT and ITT this day, with the team event coming first. We were set up into teams according to rows in the pods, with the front row in each pod racing the back row. The race was on one of the flat courses, so strategy and drafting played a huge role in the times. …

Snow Ride

After reviewing all the options yesterday (incline, snowshoe hike, being lazy) Nick and I decided to brave the wind and chilly temperatures and play around in Stratton for a few hours. Nick just got me a set of bar mitts and it seemed like the perfect day to test them out. After all, I might need them in AZ this year! There was about two inches of slush on the roads, and we figured it would be a mud bath on the trails. But we had a pleasant surprise when we got to Stratton. Because it was still cold and the sun was playing hide and seek with some clouds, the snow had not yet melted. There was about two to three inches of fresh snow on the trails. Plent of hiker tracks, but we were the first riders. And as long as we stayed out of the wind it was a really good day for a ride. The traction was decent, with only a few really soft patches. The bar mitts worked great. it was below 30 and all I had on were my light summer gloves. And my hands were nice and warm. If I need to use them at Old…

Groundhog Day Resolutions

Okay, so I missed New Year's for the Resolutions! I've never been very good at making New Year's resolutions - it seemed kinda silly to me to flip a page in the calender and all of a sudden try to be a totally different person. Making changes takes time and it is hard - there will always be slip ups and set backs, no matter what the resolutions are. So I used the month of January to ease into things! Waiting until February also gave me more time to think about what I needed to improve this year.

A clean bike is a happy bike and happy bikes are fast
I need to spend more time with my equipment. No more getting home and leaving a muddy bike sit for days - it needs to be cleaned right away. Maintenance and knowing how things work is integral to racing at full potential. I have been bad about cleaning and relying on Nick to fix everything. I need to start doing more for myself. (Thanks Ascent Cycling for the quote)

Understanding why is key to achieving potential
Instead of just …