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...

Sep 24, 2011

Xterra USA intial report

Ufdah! Fast, lots of climbing and fast descents, and too few rocks on the bike - that's my initial impression from the Xterra USA National Championships in Ogden/Snowbasin today. It was was a perfect day for racing, with clear weather outside of the media storm. Melanie M rode away for the win (and I think the win in the America Tour Series as well). Lesley P placed second, with Danielle Kabush in third. Kelly Cullen finished 4th and won the American Championship ahead of Emma G. I finished 13th pro, 17th overall - there were plenty of speedy women out there today!

The new bike course added plenty of climbing and some great views - but I was suffering too much to enjoy! I had a great run, reeling in three women who had passed me on the bike. It wasn't quite enough though - still need to spend some quality time on my bike over the winter.
Heading for the finish along Snowbasin's fun single track
Photo - Nick Thelen

Sep 19, 2011

Palmer Park 50 Race Report

A race report about not racing? How does that happen? Very easy - I was running support and Nick was racing! This was his last big race before 24 Hours of COS and it was training for both of us. Him for riding his bike for a while and me for support! After the rain on Wednesday and Thursday, the original course was completely trashed - there were wash out ruts nearly two feet deep on sections of Palmer Point trail. Obviously, it wouldn't be safe to run the race right through those ruts. So Saturday am, the course was changed to a five mile lap that Nick would be riding 10 times. Ufdah! That meant my planned "easy" day of sitting around and reading, then handing out a bottle every now and then was gone. I would have to be on my best game to keep Nick with bottles and food. Nick had pre mixed two half gallons of drink, had food in the cooler and I had my game plan set. At first, a bottle every lap - on a short climb just outside the tents. Then when the heat picked up, it went to two bottles per lap. That boy drinks a lot! I only missed one exchange - didn't have the bottles ready when he came through the pit zone. Not bad for my first time pitting in a while. Hopefully, my mind reading skills will be in tune when it comes to 24 Hours of COS, and we did learn some things for that race.

Giving Nick a hand up on one of the early laps
Photo - Rob Bergsten

Nick said the course was lots of fun - a lot more then he was expecting after seeing the course revisions. He also had a great race - finishing in about 4:33. I think he finished 6th individual racer for the 50 mile. He won the single speed class by almost a lap. I don't have full results, but it was fun to watch, fun to crew and good food after the event thanks to Front Range BBQ (even better - they knew what was gluten free what Nick could eat!)
Nick cleaning the climb right out the pit area on his last lap
And the podium for the 50 mile Single Speed Men - I will add names of 2/3 when the results are posted

Sep 11, 2011

A day in the Sage - 2011 24 Hours in the Sage

Coming off the Notch on the last lap
Photo - About the Shot (
Our third year of racing at the 24 Hours in the Sage and it was still a grand time. The KOA has fully embraced the madness of the noon to noon race, making the venue the best of all the 24 hour races we've been to. Add in the fun of Hartman Rocks and it's clear why 24 Hours in the Sage has become an annual pilgrimage. But besides the fun, the racing is also serious. Last year Nick and I won a close race in the Co-Ed Duo class and we came to Gunnison hoping to defend the title. Despite some hiccups and completely scrapping our pre-race plan, we kept it together. As usual in 24 Hour racing, the weather proved as much an opponent as the other teams. It was a close race for most of the first day and into the night. At the end of the day, Nick and I - racing as Happy 2 B Here - turned 20 laps, finishing at 12:08. We even beat the Men's Duo team by a few seconds! The second place Co-Ed team, Keeping it Kalm with Peter and Genevieve Kalmes, finished with 19 laps at 11:30 and the Single Track Siblings of Taf and Ken McMurruy completed 16 laps at 11:02. Congrats to everyone who braved the heat and tackled 24 Hours in the Sage this year.

Sep 9, 2011

single speed stupidty

So two days after I promised Nick that I wouldn't do any night rides alone, I found myself getting lights and heading out at 7:00pm to hit the trails. And I wasn't planning on meeting anyone - had just gotten home from work late and it was too nice to not ride outside. Given the type of ride I was supposed to do, it seemed like a great night to take the single speed out for a spin. Texted Nick that I was leaving and was planning on riding about an hour - and off I rode into the twilight. I saw a few other groups of riders finishing up as I climbed into Stratton. But I was alone - just me, my light and the cat toy I'd swiped as a bear bell. It was kinda nice at first, the silence and stillness of the trail - isolated in the trees. But as the darkness consumed that trees, it started getting a little freaky. There was literally no one around and I kept seeing eyes staring at me. Although I knew that the eyes were from the deer I'd seen browsing in the fields as the sun was setting, it was a comfortable feeling. I kept the tempo high, never stopping because I wasn't sure what else was watching me.

Then on one of my trips up Chamberlain - I saw something that really un-nerved me. A deer leg, in the middle of the trail. It wasn't fresh and bloody, but the problem was this - it hadn't been there on my first lap up to the Chutes. Oh Oh! That meant there was something out there, something a lot less friendly then a deer. And I still had to get off the Chutes, out of Stratton and home. The dingling of the bell in my jersey pocket also made me think - it attracts the cats at home. Would it do the same for a bigger cat? So I started singing - loudly, off key and completely screwing up the lyrics. I'm sure that anyone else out there would have thought I was nuts - riding a single speed, light on my head, singing as loud as I could while riding. And the choice of songs was utterly random - everything from the Band Perry, Neil Diamond, Madonna, Adele, Jan Arden. None of the songs complete, just repeating what I could remember. Don't know if it worked, but the only other eyes I saw were those of a coyote. And it was running in terror from me!

Nick was not happy when I got home. Can't blame him - I ended up riding for 90 minutes instead of the hour I'd promised. Add in the dark and me being alone and ... I think I will try to behave and listen from now on. Night riding alone is just plain crazy!

Sep 6, 2011

Quiet night on the trail

While I still haven't gotten the race report from 24 hours in the sage written that doesn't mean I've been slacking! It has been a busy few weeks. We just finished painting the bedroom, a really warm brown that looks great. Still waiting on getting blinds and such, but now one step closer. That meant that yesterday's ride turned into a night ride. We headed out about 7:00 with full lights and meandered up thru stratton. The plan was to just ride Buckhorn and Jacks, then meander home. Stratton was quiet on the way up but Gold Camp road was crazy busy. And none of the cars wanted to either slow down or give us an inch of space. Really frustrating. And the road was really dusty which made things even worse. Finally on Buckhorn and full darkness. With no cars and no hikers it was perfectly still. Just the two of us and the beams of our lights. Had a good climb and stopped to adjust lights at the top. Then down we headed. And I was slow this time! Between my normal hesitancy on Jack, the darkness and the really deep loose gravel, I might have been setting a record for the slowest descent off Jacks. It didn't help that Jacks was in really bad shape with lots of deep gravel and eroded ruts. But after I got used to the washed out color of the gravel we were able pick up some speed. The night was perfect for a ride, still a little warm but with s slight chill in the air. And so quiet. We were the only people on the trail. I did hear a few big animals, but Nick assured me just deer. More night rides to come as Autumn and Winter arrive.

Sep 3, 2011

Back to basics - playing on the rocks in Palmer Park

With Nick racing the 24 Hours of Colorado Springs in a few weeks, it's time to head back to Palmer Park and get to know the trails a little better. I'm not racing, but I am supporting, so knowing where he's riding is a good thing. We were supposed to do a course recon on Wednesday, but did not have a map printed out yet. So we just rode around with Kristi, showing off some of the fun trails the park has to offer. We did ride sections of the course, but for the most part, just had a good time on the bikes. The trails were pretty quiet so we were able to keep the tempo high. Up the hill, along the mesa's edge, down one of the rocky trails, then back up and around. Nick took us on one of the social trails on the south east corner of the park that I had had difficulty with the last time. No issues on the this ride, and even better was that I was able to stay on my bike on the next "goat" trail we chose!

We meandered our way to little Moab, where it was time to session the rock drop. I didn't want to do it at first - the erosion crack in the rock scares me. So I walked down at first. Then Kristi decided that she wanted to try it. Nick spotted her and talked her through the line and she cleaned it on her second attempt. That meant I had to bow to peer pressure - time for me to try the rock face again... Nick showed me the line, walked me down the drop. Then I wheeled my bike back a ways to give it a try. And with a rather loud squeak as I approached the rock, I got my weight back and rolled down the rocks. Not as hard as it looked, but scary as anything to look at! It was also the first time I'd even really attempted the rock face so I was pretty stoked about that!

After the adventures at little Moab, it was back to riding around. We swung by the cars, then decided to do another lap of the south mesa and take the fun descent off the mesa. More just fun, fast riding on the rocks. We spent a little time working on one particular rock on the top of the mesa, then started heading for the parking lot. Sunset was coming and none of us had lights. While we didn't achieve the original goal for the ride, we all had a really good time. Kristi hadn't ridden in the park before and was really surprised by the variety of terrain available and the number of trails jammed into such a small spot. We'll make another trip this weekend to scope the course, but I'll be on foot for that adventure!