Posts

Showing posts from October, 2014

25 hours of fun

Frog Hollow - 25 hours of fun. Last year, Nick and I had no clue what we were in for. We didn't know the course or anything. This year, we've been there and are looking forward to the return trip. A course with a kick - after a long, steady double track climb the fun begins on Jem trail. A giggle inducing descent that pops out onto the rock filled Hurricane Rim trail. A pure climber will love the first half. The technical riders will find thrills galore on the Jem drop. Me? I just enjoy it all and I know Nick loves Jem.

One challenge of this race is the desert weather swings. From the start when it will (hopefully) be sunny and warm to the dark of night there can be a 40* temperature swing. That's what happened last year. I was broiling on the first few laps, sweating in the dusty sun. Then came the sunset and the desert chill. From a fully unzipped jersey on the climb to a wool puffy and wind breaker for my final night lap - that's the differences I'm expecting aga…

Transitions

I think Autumn is one of my favorite seasons - a time of change. The air is still warm, but starting to get cooler - especially in the mornings. The mountains are full of color, aspens and cottonwoods popping amid the green pines. There's always the chance that singletrack escapes might get dusted with snow and the campfire at the end of the day is a welcome retreat. The hustle and bustle of the busy summer weekends is settling down and the epic loops are nearly deserted. It's the perfect time to escape. Nick and I have taken advantage of the quiet for several long weekends the last few falls. The quiet trips also provide plenty of time to think - reflecting on the successes and weakness of the past season and pondering the goals for next season. There's a lot for me to think about this year - a lot of changes happening. More on that later.....

It's also a time of transition - from the hectic, race filled months of summer to the quiet off season of winter. I also tend …

Half the Road

I've been looking forward to this documentary since I first heard about it. A reflection of women's cycling and the issues women face struggling to make a living through professional cycling. I was hoping for a thought provoking, introspective look at women's cycling and how to move past the gender inequalities. I know there are plenty, from the number of races to the  quality of the fields as well as the amount professional women are paid to the depth of the prize money. Simply awknowledging the problems is the first step of solving the issues. I was hoping that in addition to revealing the issues, solutions would be presented. And in that, I was disappointed. In my opinion, there was a lot of complaining about things, but no solutions offered. Complaining alone does not provide changes or incite cultural shifts. Getting up on screen demanding things but without the understanding of the cultural and economic challenges in meeting those demands does not help the cause. Nei…

Body Image

There is a stereotype about what true elite athletes look like - svelte and muscular with little to no body fat. Thin and tiny - even for the cyclists. When I was a runner, it was always very clear that I did not match that stereotype. I was inches shorter then my competitors, but pounds heavier. Standing in the starting ling for the 2005 Half Marathon National Championships, I looked like a line-backer compared to the other women. It was disheartening in a way - I felt like no matter how hard I trained, I would never be as fast as they were because of my stature. Instead of thin and lanky, I was stocky.  And that would never change, no matter how much I dieted or how far I ran. When I switched to triathlons, my broad shoulders became an advantage in the water. Rough water didn't bug me. With mountain biking, I've been able to throw the bike around and absorb wrecks that Nick was sure would break something. The stockiness was an advantage for the type of riding that we like do…

Eclipse

Full moon and an eclipse. I was planning on running today anyway, but the promise of a lunar spectacle was enough to lure me out earlier. I missed the full Blood Moon - hidden behind the trees from my front window. I should have just gone out to see it, but needed to get ready for my run. As it was, the shadow of the earth was sliding off the moon as I started my run. There was a hint of reddness in the shadow over most of the brilliant moon, but when I tried to capture the image, my phone wasn't up to the task. The brightness of the sliver of moon showing overwhelmed the rest of the picture and there was no differentiation between moon and shadow. Oh well. It would be for my memory only with no visual record. I watched the shadow vanishing from the moon over the rest of my run, the reddness fading into brilliant white. Combined with the high clouds, it was one of the prettiest mornings in a while. The clouds were always there, but as the eclipse ended, they were illuminated into …

Balancing goals

Sometimes setting goals is easy. Look at performances from last year and strive to improve. Make the jump up a step on the podium or ride a course even faster. Those goals seem so simple and are what most people consider traditional goals. I've made my fair share of those types of goals over the last few years. Then there the finisher goals - to just make it around the course without concern of time. When approaching something challenging even before factoring in a finish time, those are the best goals. But it's still all big picture goals - and mostly time related. Focusing on the big picture is good, but it can take away from the purpose of sport. If it's all about work and time and power to weight, the fun quickly vanishes. Setting out for every ride with just intervals and no time to enjoy the ride will make you faster - but it won't make you more skilled. And mountain biking isn't just speed and power - there is plenty of skill required and that can become fre…

Two way street

Last week I wrote equality in sports - specifically in the uneven prize purses for many mountain bike races. And while I firmly believe that race promoters can help bring about change - taking the leap of faith to provide equal payout despite the discrepancy in numbers - there is also a weight upon the women. We cannot sit around, waiting for the money to show up, while complaining that there are no races that pay out. We have to make an effort to bolster our numbers, with or without the money. There are races now that offer huge and equal prize purses - the Epic Rides Off Road events come to mind. And where are the women? If we are going to complain about not having equal money, then we damn well better show up when it is available. Otherwise, what is the point. All talk and complaining without action isn't the way to bring about change. Support the events that support us, showing the race promoters that the numbers are there. Because if we don't it doesn't matter how muc…