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Showing posts from August, 2014

Countdown

Yikes! Less then 10 days to go before the biggest adventure of my season. I'm hesitant to call it a race just yet - the primary goal is to finish in one piece with a smile and have fun along the way. That doesn't mean I don't have a goal time in mind, but I'm also going to be realistic. If the wheels come off halfway through, finishing is more important then the time on the clock. At the same time, health is more important then crossing the line. Its an adventure for sure and I think will be one of the hardest things I've done. I know the on the bike prep has been done and I'm ready to ride. I've been slacking a little on some of the off the bike training, but hopefully that won't affect me too badly in the later hours. We've had fun scouting the different segments of the course and I know I can ride everything. I just need to keep my head attached and never get cocky or overconfident. That alone could end the ride.
There's only a few loose ends …

Here comes the rain again... 2014 24 Hours in the Sage

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This was my sixth time racing at 24 Hours in the Sage and Nick's eighth. In all those years, we have had nothing but perfect weather - sunny and warm with just some wind during the day, a few rain sprinkles as sun set, chilly and occasionally humid nights and then beautiful sunrises to end the day. I've never needed arm warms until after dark and then hardly needed a jacket. So when I packed for our foray into the 12 hour offering, I debated leaving most of my rain gear and such at home. After all - shorter race, less clothes needed, right? Last minute I opted to bring the new rain jacket Nick got me for my pack, as well as my Gore jacket and the usual assortment of gloves, wool socks and booties. And when the rain moved in Friday, I was suddenly happy to have it all...

Race morning started with a quick downpour followed by some sun. I knew we weren't out of the woods. Anytime there is a rainbow to the west, it means trouble. The skies spat at the KOA throughout the mornin…

Sage!

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That time of year again - best party at a mountain bike race as crazy cyclists take over the Gunnison KOA. It's going to a fun weekend - Nick and I are doing the 12 Hour Duo this year. There's a lot of duo teams in the 12 hour so the competition is going to be good. It's also duo open - so we are honestly racing the guys! We did a pre ride Thursday to find super sandy trails. Stopped to take some photos in my jersey..
Sun was the story of Thursday - but how quickly fortunes turned overnight. The rain, clouds and drizzle moved in. Friday was a dreary day, with off and on rain the entire day it seemed. But we weren't complaining. The trails could use the nice steady moisture - tramping down the sandy pits. 

So we chilled under the shelter of our tent, watching the clouds and rain drifting over camp. Racers were slowly filling in the cracks with tent forests. 
Sunset brought rainbows and more rain.
The patter of rain woke me race morning. I missed the sunrise, opting to s…

Agate Creek

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Saturday - sandwiched between two Canyon Creek runs. It was time for some serious Vapor scouting - and then some serious fun. With Greg along for the ride (welcome to Colorado, lets go spend some time above tree line!) we had a big loop in mind. I figured it would take us about 5.5 hours, including stops and such. Up Old Monarch Pass, across the Continental Divide Trail to Hwy 50. Then onto the Monarch Crest Trail to Agate Creek Trail. It was all new for Greg - and Agate Creek would be new for me. A big loop - over 40 miles with plenty of climbing, fun singletrack and creek crossings. Lots of creek crossings....

The day started out silly, with another rider cruising around camp, desperately looking for a pair of spd shoes to borrow. She was doing Canyon Creek and had left her shoes at home (?) but was still hoping for a solution. I happened to have two pairs of shoes - my Rimes and my winter shoes. My winter shoes happen to be a size larger then my others so I can wear two pairs of so…

Mortality

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a ride!'” - Hunter S. Thompson
It seems such a trite quote, but true at the same time. Life is about the journey - the adventures along the way, the failures and successes. A life well lived is a person with stories to tell, taking the chances along the way that will provide fulfillment. You don't realize how close we are teatering to the edge until something happens that affirms our mortality. 
In eleven years of practicing physical therapy in a nursing home setting, I've had my share of experiences with death. Never close though - far enough removed to be touched by the passing but not affected. Sometimes it's expected and everyone says "it's for the best. They are happier now." Other times, it's not and we are all shocked when we get to w…

Finding the fun

With all the pressure lately with getting ready for Vapor, it's been easy to forget about the fun of riding. There's a lot of stuff that I still need to do in the next three weeks. I need to hem my rain pants to knicker length so they fit better and don't get caught in my chain. I have to figure out which arm and leg warmers I want to wear and then make sure they are comfortable for the long haul. I also need to make sure I'm not over loading my backpack. I don't need two sets of everything in my pack - there is a drop bag available so I can get dry stuff at Monarch Pass if I need too. I do need to double check the rain coat and wool layer I'm planning on taking with me - the past weekend affirmed my concern that the alpine darkness will be bone chilling. And lights - we haven't had the chance to sit down and look at the lights for the eight hours of darkness we will be facing. 
Then there's food. How much, when and what? All big questions - I know the a…

Canyon Creek

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This was a weekend for getting away, alpine riding and having fun. The plan was to meet our friends from Texas at the Snowblind campground Friday morning, then riding Canyon Creek with Greg. Well, a few issues kept them from arriving until Friday night (traveling with a seven month old will do that...) so we got to ride Canyon Creek twice this weekend! Talk about fun...

Friday was just Nick and I. A steady pace up Tomichi road, but it took me a while to get my wheels underneath me. The rocks were always winning, bouncing me off my bike. I generally was cranky on the climb because I couldn't seem to apply the right amount of power at the right time. Luckily, the views were enough to distract me from the sloppy riding. Huge mountain views as we climbed from the valley up to treeline and beyond. If I'd been riding alone, I would have been able to to stuff myself with hundreds of tiny alpine strawberries. But alas - Nick waits for little and even alpine strawberries don't make …

Darkness

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The enormity of the undertaking doesn't always sink in right away. But when it does, it makes you think.... The logistics of Vapor are nearly overw helming - from metering fluids for the long haul over the continental divide to pacing for being safe on some of the technical singletrack near the end. There's a lot to figure out and not a lot of time left to do it.  And then there is the darkness. Darkness at 9:00 in August is much different then darkness at 10:00 in September. There is still a touch of light right now, the hint of the sun fading from the western sky. Not so in September. It will be dark - the kind of dark that burns into the soul; the kind of dark that isolates you, surrounding you in solitude. That is the kind of dark we will be starting in. Watching the light fade from sky as we drove out of Salida - paralleling the first leg of Vapor hammered that home. Prepare for nearly eight hours of darkness, the trail illuminated only by my lights. And that brings its ow…

Cheyenne Canon

Cheyenne Canon - a Classic Colorado Springs climb. Gaining 1,139 feet in just 3.1 miles, it's a popular testing ground for many cyclists. Roadies flock to the narrow ribbon of black top for long climbing intervals. It's deceptive, starting out easy, kicking steep the middle through a few switchback, settling down as Helen Hunt Falls approaches, then kicking again near the summit. No matter how hard or easy you go, it's going to be a challenge. I've been doing two trips up and down for repeats the past month, getting some good climbing and steady state repeats on that road. The first time, I narrowly missed some thunderstorms, on my road bike. Two weeks ago, I opted to take the Fate to the blacktop. Cracked in the heat, but still made the trips. I've also been doing the time trial series (more on that later) so I've been able to get plenty of data for that particulare climb. Given the nerve wracking descent in rain drenched roads at the last time trial, for this…

Potato and Zucchini pancakes

It's that time of year - the squash are growing wild and overwhelming home cooks everywhere. I used to have difficulty with using up the zuchinni and yellow squash. After all, there's only so many zuchinni breads we can eat and sautéed squash gets old. So I'd experimented with one of Nick's favorite breakfast foods. Potatoe pancakes - almost latkes, but not quite. They are versiitle - good for any meal. I'll serve them with eggs for breakfast, under a bed of green and chicken for lunch and with almost anything at supper. I figured that zuchinni would add some flavor and sneak in some veggies to our diet. And I was right - it's hard to even notice the squash in the potato pancakes. 
Shred three medium potatoes and set aside
Heat skillet on medium heat. 
Combine into large bowl: Shred two zuchinni or yellow squash - or one of each.  Chop finely 1/2 cup or more fresh parsley Mince two cloves fresh garlic Mince one medium onion Chop finely any other fresh herbs you have, s…