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Showing posts from May, 2013

Growler take one

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Nick's day to race. One fun and rock filled lap of the Growler course. My job was to make sure he got some fluids about 12 miles into the race. I wouldn't be able to get out and about on the course this time because I was also babysitting for Lonna and Matt. They were both racing the 34 and I had volunteered to watch Kirwin, their 9 month old son. So I was pretty limited in where I could go. But Nick and I had a plan and had practiced. I would give him his Osprey pack on the black top road - easy to get to, smooth pedaling for him to buckle the straps and no issues with getting back to the hotel so Kirwin could get at least part of his nap.

Yes - I was going to give Nick a fully loaded backpack while he was in motion. That way he'd have enough fluids to finish out the rest of his race. We spent about 30 minutes practicing his jousting at the KOA on Friday. It was just like jousting - I held out the pack and he slipped his arm through the strap. We had quite the audience w…

Growler ready

We got to Gunnison midday Thursday, got everything all set up at the KOA, and headed out to Hartman Rocks. We wanted to re-ride a few chunks of the trail to doublecheck lines and freshen our legs up from the long drive. We parked just at the top of Candlehill and decide to ride part of the 24 hours in the Sage course to get to Top of the World and Ridge trails. Those are the ones we wanted to really look at - lots of technical stuff that would be coming late in the race. All I can say is I was lucky it wasn't race day! I was so off my game it was crazy. Little rocks I had no issues with on the first pre-ride were freaking me out. And the big ones, well huh. Had no clue what was going on, but I was not riding smart. I was a mess on everything and felt like a slug. Slow and stiff and just blech. Good thing it was Thursday and we had plenty of time before the race. I needed to pull myself together.

Back up into the rocks on Friday for two more trail sections. This time Josie's, G…

Fat tires = fun

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We get so caught up in the training and the numbers - going faster, going further -sometimes we forget what riding is all about. Mountain biking is about fun. getting out with friends, trying a few things over again, and the satisfaction of making it or the realization that it's going to take a few more tries. When you forget what matters with mountain biking is when you lose the joy of being one with the trail. Tuesday's ride was kind of ride that makes you remember why you start riding. The fun of just pedaling and being out amid sunshine and rain drops. There was no agenda with the ride, other than just have fun. It was a small but enthusiastic group that world away from Procycling, heading for red rocks and the promise of singletrack. We took advantage of the easy road pedal over to talk about basics and some techniques.

And then we hit the singletrack. Jen was the first, and only victim of the day doing some soil sampling sampling on the first switchback of Codell's.…

More then Sage

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This is the year of new races, starting with Whiskey and continuing with the Growler. We've heard good things about the Growler from all our riding friends and finally decided this was the year to give it a try. And that meant a weekend escape to Gunnison to pre ride the course. We wanted to know what we were in for! Any time the course description starts with "say, do you like trail riding?" And goes on to say no beginners, Nick gets excited. That means there's some fun riding and probably some rocks. Well, Nick is super excited about the upcoming Original Growler. Me? I'm a little apprehensive, but ready for a long day on the bike.

We got to Gunnison mid morning and headed for the base area of Hartman Rocks. Armed with a nice 11x17 color print out of the course map, we loaded up our Osprey packs and headed up Kill Hill. Yikes. What a way to start a race! Straight up a wall! Nick was bummed that he didn't get to ride more single track to start, but the easy …

Happy Mother's Day!

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Nothing says "Happy Mother's Day" better then meeting her at Palmer Park and making her ride over some rocks! Pre-riding the Ascent Cycling Series Palmer Park course with Mom, and we had her practicing nearly every obstacle on the course. Some of them she got, some not. But she gave everything a try and had a smile on her face the whole time. And now she's looking forward to trying her hand at more then just the Bear Creek Terrace races! Can't beat that for a present - some sun, some rocks and a whole bunch of smiles.

In the pack

Another group road ride in the books. While I still don't look forward to them, after my experience on the starting line at Whiskey, I know that the close-in group riding is good for me. I also realize the pressure of having to stay with the group means I'm gonna ride harder. It was another large group this time, but without some of the usual suspects for stirring up the pace. But that doesn't mean much - there's always someone willing to attack. I started near the back, chatting with one of the other women in the group. Not to many women this time, which was surprising, given the size of the group. Then I started moving up, getting into the front half of the peloton. I had a feeling that I needed to be right up near the lead riders when we started rolling down Bolder and Platte and got nearly every light red. It was a good thing too - the light on Chelton and Platte turned yellow just as the leaders blasted through. Had I been any further back, I might have gotten stu…

The Soaking of Spring.

There is something to be said for rain. I usually like riding in the rain, especially a warm, soft drizzle. It's cleansing and usually so quiet when it rains. Yesterday however, was not a good day in the rain. It was cold and we got soaked. All because as we were getting ready to hide in the garage for our workouts, the sun peeked through the clouds. Wow! No rain! Time to get outside and ride! We bundled up and headed for Stratton open space. With the kind of workout I had planned and the soaked trails, Stratton was the best place place to ride. The decomposed granite that forms most of those trails only gets better with the rain. Everywhere else just gets muddy. Of course, the minute we left the house, the clouds closed in. The rain returned and before we even reached the trails, we were soaked. Then came the workout. I spent 30 minutes chasing Nick all over Stratton. And while I was dying and pedaling squares, he was idling along, "encouraging" me to work harder. Ouch.…

April Snow Brings May Showers

Winter, er Spring, has been crazy this year. I was doing intervals in the snow in late April and never took my knee warmers off the whole month. After getting back from Whiskey, I was hoping we might actually get some real spring before summer arrives. (Then again, we might not even get summer this year!) No such luck. After an early May snowstorm last week, we've seen more clouds then sun this month. Yesterday it rained most of the day. There is a fresh layer of snow on Pikes Peak and the front range. It's really pretty, and the slow rain is exactly what we need right now. The forecast is for more rain for the rest of the week and into the weekend. Hero dirt in the canyon! Along with some snow and mud everywhere else...

Yesterday, I watched the steady downpour with trepidation. It was cold, cloudy and damp. Perfect riding weather for January - not May! I got out of work just as the clouds were lifting. Maybe I would be lucky and not get soaked? I still brought all my warm clo…

Riding with the big fish - Whiskey Off Road

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Wow - my first major race with a huge and deep field. I've had good success at the local endurance mountain bike races - solid fields, but still local races. I was a big fish in a small pond. Well, the Whiskey 50 was the Atlantic ocean of races and all the apex predators showed up. Multiple national champions, Olympic medalists, World Cup racers, world champions and more. This was one of the strongest fields assembled for a women's mountain bike race, with over 50 fast and fit riders ready for the throw down. It was hard not to be intimidated when I read the starting list. Seeing my name on that list was cool - I was #2, right behind Georgia Gould. But would I belong in the mix or just be a face in the crowd? After the crit on Friday, I was thinking pack fodder, but I still had aggressive goals. Finish sub 4:00 and hopefully a top 20 placing. Both were tall orders, but I felt within my reach if I rode smart and steady.

After a short warm up, I said goodbye to Nick. He was pla…

Real food - real fueling

When we were at Fruita (day 1, day 2 and day 3), I didn't use as many gels or chews as I usually have for long rides. I used the Gu Brew and Gu Tabs in my bottles for my electrolytes because it was much hotter than what we had been used to in Colorado Springs. Yay - the endless winter with inches of snow every weekend! What I didn't do was load my bottle full of gels and take in all my calories in my liquids. I wanted to keep those separate. Eat my food and drink my fluids. I got the idea for doing this after reading the Feedzone Cookbook. There was a lot of conversation in that book about why it's important to keep fluids and fuel separate especially when it's hot out. I had already been doing something similar at the 24 hour races. Focusing on eating while I was in pit and drinking a mild electrolyte solution while out on the course - not trying to replace all the calories I was burning while I was riding. So far I've made the chocolate peanut coconut rice cakes …

Recovering

Sometimes the recovering is harder then the racing. I've been struggling to get my energy back since the Whiskey Off Road and the goof off week hasn't helped. I normally bounce right back after a hard race, ready to rage in a few days. Not this time around. Why? A few solid reasons - but I'm still not happy about it. I want to be riding my bike, not trying to get recovered to ride my bike.

Our trip was crazy and much more stressful then we had anticipated. It was our first trip without the turtle and boy, did we miss it. I don't think we got a good nights sleep the entire trip. The first night, we had a crazy person screaming from 10:00 pm until 3:00 am - slamming doors, hollering obscenities and really scary. I have never been in a situation where I was so worried, and Nick was even more concerned about it. Yikes. And I made the mistake of getting a downstairs room once we got to Prescott. More noise! So horrible sleep the entire trip. We slept our alarms two days in …

One Gear Speedster

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Saturday meant nothing for me - just ride my bike, recover from the crit and get ready to race again on Sunday. It also meant that it was Nick's turn to race. He was racing the 25 (more like 30) Proof on his Singlespeed. With this being our first year at the Whiskey, we had no clue what to expect come Saturday morning. We'd both heard stories of traffic jams on singletrack and other nightmares, but never really quite belived them. I was planning on riding up the road, taking some photos in a few spots, then waiting for Nick to give him a bottle at the top. All easy riding and a good way to get out of the hotel for a while. We rolled down the start about 8:30 - for a 9:30 race... We both figured there would be plenty of time for Nick to do what he needed, pedal around to warm up for a bit, and be able to get a decent spot on the line.

Well, we were so wrong about that one! The line was already full and the road packed with riders at 8:45. We both stared in shock at the number o…

Whiskey Off Road - Fat Tire Crit

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I have never done a road race, never toed the line in a crit or anything even close. Maybe a short track race, but its been a few years since my last one. So the Fat Tire Crit on Friday was going to be a new experience. Fast cornering, pack riding, all out from the gun. Yikes! I had no expectations going into the race. I knew they would be pulling lapped riders, so my goal was to just stay in the race for as long as I could. The crit really had no bearing on the main event Sunday, but starting was mandatory. So while I wanted a good performance, I also didn't want to kill myself just for the show. Since our hotel was just a mile from Whiskey Row, Nick and I rode down to the venue. The course was marked and mostly clear. I did a few laps for my warmup, trying to learn the corners and prep for the coming event. Two steep hills, a few tight corners and fast descents. Bike handling would be important. The crowds were building - cheering on all the riders warming up and pedaling around…