Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Destination Florida

Day two of our drive to the sunshine state began just before 6:30am so I'm still in the process of waking up, I've never been good with mornings...

Yesterday included a scenic venture through western Virginia to enjoy middle of no-where beauty, watching the wind slowly diminish and temperatures slowly rise. And watching a drivers last minute decision result in a swerving, skidding, donut turning adventure in front of us but shockingly miss everything and remain upright.

Now I'm looking forward to 70-80 degree's, salt water swimming, sand between my toes and oh yeah, 12 hours of mountain biking enjoyment - hopefully.

Happy New Years Eve everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fixie ?!?!

Headed out on a little road ride with hubby yesterday on a nice cloudy 25 degree day (yea, a little sarcasm there). It’s not too often hubby and I venture out together, with our different pace and all, but apparently he was feeling the holiday spirit so off we went. About 5 miles in he pulls over, hops off his fixed gear and tells me to get on.

What?? I’ve never ridden a fixie!

There’s the pro’s and con’s of us being similar heights. We’ve ridden each other bikes or demos, I currently ride his old mountain bike and he can pull over in the middle of a ride to tell me to get on his fixed gear. Besides figuring out how to start riding the thing (yes, hubby had to hold the bike in place while I clipped in), riding it was actually pretty cool. I only had one little girl scream moment when I stopped pedaling on a very slight decent. And yes, he proved his point that I shift into much too easy of a gear during any slight incline and don’t really stand enough. All in all, it was a very cool ride.

Today was a no ride day. The horizon looked white this morning...
but that wasn’t snow covering everything… Today brought rain and freezing rain with the high never above freezing. The sun finally came out late in the day and really showed all the ice.

Heck, at least I got some decorations on the tree. And with that, it’s time for a beer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Catch up time

The couple month quick catch up…

Since my last post (almost two months have passed… really? I can’t believe how quickly time is flying by)

I’ve rediscovered the bundling up for winter road rides. Riding with ice on the side of the roads, using hand and foot warmers and remembering what a shivering ride is.. and constantly questioning why any of us do this?

Rediscovered winter mountain bike rides and how much I love those. Remembering that’s why I do cold winter road rides.

Headed to Fairhill and met up with a group of green (Guy’s). All the trails were white, covered with snow and I loved it. Besides the fact Fairhill is just a fun place to ride.

Re-acquainted myself with Wissa. Still thinking of a different mountain bike for next year. Acknowledged I probably won’t. Reminded myself there’s a stable of bikes in our basement that need to find different home.

Realized we haven’t really had many freezing days yet.. wonder if they’ll be coming soon.

Managed not to do a single cross race. Pondered, next fall maybe?

Found my running shoes a few times, sometimes remembered I used to love running.. sometimes remembered not.

Discussions began on the Neshimany race next year. Find myself excited and a little, well.. you know.

Enjoyed our team’s year end party. Realized I've actually started to know more teammates.

Went to my first NFL game. Actually found myself cheering after the Eagles had a good play (I’m an anti-Eagles fan normally). Very cool to be at the game.

Helped our economy by doing some vehicle swaps, couldn’t resist helping our own bottom line. But the fun little convertible is gone and the short bus is no longer the short bus.

Realized my Dad turns 70 next week, really my Dad is 70? Why does that make me feel old...

Our youngest turns 2 next month, guess he’s not a puppy anymore. Besides the fact I actually noticed it in his face this month.

Hubby’s side of the family arrives next week to celebrate Christmas at our place. Christmas is next week already?!! We got our tree, it's up but without a single decoration (guess that needs to happen this weekend). Hubby hung the stockings, one for each of our boys (and us). Love how they look.

First race of 2009 is in 16 days. Already??
Still haven’t found my 2009 ‘race face’.........

Thursday, October 30, 2008

News worthy?

So I know it's goofy, but it's kinda cool seeing the results and write ups for the Oktoberfest in & and seeing my name and our teams name in there!! I'm in the cycling new's world - he he!! But then add to it's in Tinker's blog too, Tinker! Okay, yes I know he co-sponsored the race and it was just part of his write up but I'm in there, nothing much but it causes another - he he!! There's the goofy little girl in me :) We're all allowed sometimes right?

It's a horrible picture on the cyclingnews but that's okay, Tinker's picture would be a little better but it's dark.
I haven't found any other pictures out there yet. But this does add additional motivation for me. I enjoy racing, endurance events and just being on the bike. I'd like to be able to do that again and actually perform stellar to feel like I 'deserved' that podium visit.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Endurance Podium – Me!

Headed down to NC for the Oktoberfest 8 hour this past weekend with Hubby & Bikewrench, the event with many of the best racing, both men and women. I was just looking forward to “racing” (if I could call it that) with all the expected pro crew. I always love endurance races, the environment and comradery. Everyone is just there to ride their bikes and have fun. Granted, during many of those hours no one actually thinks they are having fun, it’s always when you look back!

Rain fell the night before and morning of. Our friends had told us this course gets slick with rain, they weren’t lying! The first laps were slick with the wet clay/mud mix combined with a good number of roots. After a few hours the course was starting to dry and you could tell just how fast and fun this course could be. But once you started flying with the dry sections you were occasionally reminded there were still those spots of wet trails around the corner. I never went down; instead I played it safe all day. But oddly this was physically the hardest race I can remember for me. I felt spent, even though I had plenty of nutrients and hydration. My heart rate was lower than average rides. I was just tired. But it didn’t matter to me, I didn’t care if I was riding slow Saturday, I just kept riding. Really it was only around 7:43 minutes of riding (they had a cut-off for the last lap at 7:30, and honestly I was quite alright not doing another lap)

Throughout the day I got to watch Harlan Price and Jeremiah Bishop ride & race together the entire time, to end with basically a sprint finish. I watched Tinker ride his race with a steady smoothness; I watched Pua pick up her pace as the course dried out. (Really, they all lapped me quite a bit) Okay, almost everyone lapped me and I enjoyed just watching everyone ride their race and I rode mine. I enjoyed everyone I talked with; I enjoyed seeing Hubby during the day; enjoyed watching him have a great race. It was cool our friends made it down during the day to see a little of the event. Cooler they seem interested in trying it themselves.

But then it even got better for me, I got my first endurance race podium, 3rd place. I was on the podium with one of the best! Didn’t matter to me that the lower female turnout is what really caused my podium, I was stoked. I was there and I rode my ‘race’. I would insert what I’m sure would be a great podium photo shot that I’d love to share but… the camera battery chose to die right when I went up. So be it, I’m sure they’ll be some pictures out there at some point.

Add to it that I got my first paycheck from racing! Pretty darn cool. Hubby asked me if I’d frame it or cash it.. Tough, but cash is cash – it’ll go to the bank. (That’s what scanner’s are for!) I got a cool mug and huge wine size bottle of Acai juice to try sometime. They really did a great job with the event, sponsor’s, organization, everything. Hopefully it’ll be an event they’ll do again and I’d expect the turnout would grow as word of mouth spreads.

Overall a great weekend seeing friends and all of us having a great race. Now we’re back in PA, we’re back with our boy’s and it’s time for family R&R time! (As I currently listen to our youngest snore.. I think they’re more tired than us!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cross less..

So yea, I had.
I had thought about racing my first cross races this weekend. But I didn’t. Other things came up and no racing occurred. Really, almost no riding. I thought of everyone doing thier cross thing and hope they were enjoying it. Maybe next year for me.

Saturday morning I was running around and didn’t leave for a road ride until noon, actually decent timing considering it was finally above 40 degrees! I enjoyed my ride for a little while until I turned onto a road normal to my ride route from the house and discovered they grated the entire road! To say it sucked to ride on is being nice. So I turned off my normal route to avoid having to return on the same grated road and low and behold, they grated that road too! After a couple miles of grated road riding, I flated, after a total of 6.5 miles on the bike. Honestly by this point I didn’t even feel like dealing with changing a tire and since Hubby was driving back from his ride I made the call.. ride done. Add to the ride that I wasn’t wearing gloves. I apparently didn’t want to believe cold weather riding is here. Yes, my hands were darn cold!

So I figured for a good ride on Sunday, no particular plans but decided against mountain biking. I haven’t been having the most enjoyable mountain rides recently, for whatever reason (last weekend included a flat as well, one of those pop all the air out and crash flats). But finally around 10:30 I decide to head out on the road bike. Problem one.. I still have a flat. Okay, that’s no biggy. But then Problem two was waiting…

What the heck? No idea how this happened, the whole cable is split apart. But I gave up trying to be the mechanic years ago. So ride bagged.

On the riding front, I’ve summed up this weekend as being a recovery weekend that I didn’t actually need. My last weekend before getting my training right.

Next weekend is the Oktoberfest 8 hour. Should be an awesome weekend seeing some friends we haven't seen in years and hanging with some of the best endurance racers around. Let’s just say I’ll be “racing” against one of the best. I'll be happy if I do half the laps as her...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another year & 29er ride !!

The day started with hubby waking me, a delicious blueberry muffin in hand - for me.
Loaded up for a little mountain bike ride a wissa… hubby offer’s me his 29er!

You’d think it was my birthday or something, oh wait a minute – it is!
Not that I'm happy being older.. another year.. but heck, you're only as old as you feel, right? I just don't feel old. (Granted, 20 years ago I believed anyone was well 'gone' by this age)

29er - the story of the year… it seemed everyone we know was switching to it. Hubby has loved it. I’ve heard plenty of opinions of its greatness. I’ve also heard it might not be the best for anyone under 5’6” or female. Granted I’m 5’6 1/2” but I figured it’d still apply to me. Plus I don’t have the largest quads for strong climbing which I heard you need to get it going.

This was admittedly the first time I ever rode a new/different bike and actually expected not to like it.

Was I ever wrong!

The first couple miles I didn’t feel quite one with her. Maybe I was just being cautious, it is hubby’s bike after all! I remember him riding around the house quite happy when he first got it...

(There may, or may not, have been a few beverages before this. I'm not saying)

But back to my ride on the 29er. Quickly I had noticed the climbing was phenomenal. Fast forward a few more miles and I was smiling bigger than a pig in you know what. It felt great, the 29er really just wanted to go.. didn’t take much to get her going and then she’d just keep it going. Rocks, logs anything… the bike just loved them, devoured them. Climbing over large rocks, even better! I can only describe it as my first ride where I actually felt like I was slowing the bike down verses me trying to keep the bike going.

Is it my bike for next year… still undecided. Oh I loved the ride… but one thing that I felt was contrary to what everyone has said “It doesn’t ride like a hard tail, it feels like there is a little rear suspension”. I would say the 29er felt more like a hardtail than my 26er hardtail, if that makes any sense! But Wissa isn’t really a good place for me to make a decision on the bike. The only time I haven’t enjoyed the hardtail is over roots.. for whatever reason I could never keep my momentum going with roots, especially off-camber roots. I never had a problem with them before on my Scapel or Rush.. but this last year on the hardtail, I never road well. I never developed the “hardtail riding skill” I guess. Wissa is absent those roots so I’m not sure if the 29er would improve this or not…

Maybe some more test rides are in order!?!?

Friday, October 3, 2008


Have we really lived in the northeast/mid-atlantic (whatever you want to call it) so long that I’ve actually started to like seasons? I’m okay with winter coming?

This winter will mark our 6th in PA since moving here from Florida, the land of warmth, arriving the end of November 2002, just in time to experience our first winter storm.. Now being Florida ‘folk’ the winters were no easy feat to deal with. Our first winter succumbed to the “heck no, way tooo cold – no way there’s any riding happening”. Couch time it was.

Gradually over the years we’ve been educated about the actual ability to ride during the winter.

Today I enjoyed feeling the cooler air. Me… this is a new one.

I actually find myself looking forward to those winter mountain bike rides. Snow on the sides of the trails.. Clean crisp air.. It’s just a different feel and for the first time, I don’t think I’ll mind it. I might just be looking forward to it.

My realization of this today astonished me..

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The season ends..

Though I would expect to be sad, really I’m not. I find myself looking forward to next season already. Not only what I hope to do in the racing arena but also within the series itself, with our teams race and maybe help out on the MASS front as well.

The season came to a close.. only two of us raced in my class.
Liz decided to be our cheering section verses our competitor… we’ll have to work on that in the off season. So second place in the race at Bear Creek…

And the series…

The weekend came to close with a quick tour of Hersey with the folks and their departure back to Florida. Hopefully with a weekend they enjoyed as they were thrown into our world.

Now we're off for an unexpected visit to the vet as our middle boy has been hobling around on three legs.. broken toe? splinter? We shall see..

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cross began...

First weekend of cross races, both Saturday and Sunday at Bear Creek, and I enjoyed being a spectator. I’ll do one at some point but this weekend was not the time for me. Even though my lap on Saturday before the racing began was a blast, just nice muddy fun. It was great seeing so many familiar faces this weekend and hanging out to watch everyone including hubby do their cross thing.

Sunday morning brought a great mtb ride at Bear Creek before assuming the spectator role again. Though with a few miles to go on the lap my bike began dragging… Not me getting tired, but my rear wheel not wanting to turn. Thankfully most of the last couple laps were downhill. Turns out one of the many rocks hit and bent the rear rotor… guess it’ll need a little tlc before next weekend…

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

7 Springs 24hr

I know.. a little delayed in this post

Last weekend was the 24hour at 7 Springs that I did on a 5 person team. There were 2 other Guy's teams, another 5 person and a 4 person. We arrived Friday night and spent the evening race prepping. Race prep- talking about racing, drinking, eating.. and drinking some more. Good way to kick off the weekend!

Between our drinks we all went out for a little pre-ride of the course. I went out with another girl on my team and after less than a mile we discovered she had zero brakes. And by discovered I mean I turned around at the end of a decent at a switchback and watched her fly like superwoman into the woods. A good 5 feet but she was okay. Needless to say our pre-ride was over. So I had no clue what the course might be bringing me the following day. And it had an impact.

I was the 5th rider in our team and my first lap was a mess. I was riding like a complete rookie and looking stupid (yes, more than normal). The first 6 miles have a fair amount of rocks, my usual love, but today I was bouncing around in ways never before. Finally after being fed up with this I pulled over just after the mile 6 mark knowing it was a 12 mile lap. My tires were sooo over inflated.. beyond a road bike tire. So I let out air... and probably too much in my frustration. Then I make the next turn and to my surprise it's where the climbing begins! Would have been nice to have the tire pressure now... but it was all gone. I just suck it up not knowing how much climbing might be in front of me. And there was lots! I finally approach the camping area, what was mentioned to me was basically the end of the lap. Ha! There's still over 3 miles. Some fun sections I'd realize later but at this point I'm just pissed. I let the ride get the best of me. By the time I'm going through the last rock gardens my tires are popping out any air left. And no, I didn't stop to fill them. It just seemed to make more since to me to keep riding. I thought I was almost done. On the last climb a teammate on the fast 5 person team passes me and kindly lets me know my tires are really flat. I just acknowledged with a yea and kept pedaling. Finally the lap was over and I was in a very foul mood. I spent a good 30 minutes just NOT talking to anyone and shooing anyone away from me. Finally one of my teammates got me out of my funk and back in the spirit of things. I guess that's some of what teammates are for and it really helped.

After a little nutrition and relaxation it's time for my second lap, going out around 2am. I love riding at night with lights. It's just a different experience and gives me extra energy. I was having a blast this lap and thought I might pull a lap with a great time. But my cockiness came out in the last rock gardens and I hit some rocks way wrong with some good speed. No biggy as I send my bike flying through the air, I managed a run off and didn't hit the ground. Once I get my bike back I realize the front tire is flat.. throw on the CO2 and I'm off. Right after this is a quick little roller coaster that you usually don't have to pedal out of. But not carrying any speed into it I had to. That's when I discover my left foot isn't clipped in and I'm falling backwards. I grab a "tree" to my right hoping to stop but since this "tree" was only a small branch I tumble to the bottom with my bike falling on top of me. My handlebar hit my wrist so hard I thought it was broken and some part of my bike knocked my light off my helmet. Now I'm just rustling around trying to get my light and me back in order. Thankfully the wrist impact was actually 2 inches behind my wrist so it's only sore. I'm still having a blast though and finish my lap with a smile, not a great time but just glad I'm smiling again.

I made a mistake here though and just showered and slept. Forgot the post-ride nutrition part. I felt it on my last lap but since we were getting closer to the noon cut-off I figured I'd be the last rider of our team and just kept it easy and safe. Came in a little before 12:30 and the 24hrs were done.

Then came the post ride drinks and the awards ceremony. Our other two teams finished in the top. Hubby's 5 person team kicked butt all night and came in first while our 4 person team came in 3rd. I'm not sure where my 5 person came in, if my laps would have been faster maybe we'd be closer to the top. I don't think we were last but the results will have to show us for certain. My teammates were awesome in their support of "not caring" about the results.

Certainly an event I'd do again and I'm now up for a 24hr anytime. There wasn't as much socializing after Friday night as I thought might be but more in/out rider prep/rest time. It still made for a great weekend. One with highs and lows but I'll keep all the highs in my memories.

There's a few pic's of the weekend... but you'll have to visit hubby's post for those!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Half Century with the Dentist

And nope, I didn’t need any teeth work. Today was the Lake Nockamixon Century, or in my case, a half century. Our Dentist, who’s also a fellow rider and friend, was game for meeting up with me to do the Nockamixon ride. Friday night, after a few drinks, my optimistic side stated I’d do the full century. My Sunday morning realistic side acknowledged that I probably shouldn’t attempt to jump up from 20-25 mile rides to a 100 mile ride unless I really wanted the consequences come Monday morning. Which I really didn’t, I do have to function a little on Monday.

So it was decided to take it easy, have fun and just ride until we didn’t feel like riding anymore. The weather was beautiful and though all the roads were mostly my familiar riding roads, it was different than most just being an event, riding with the Dentist and a having a fair amount of people showing. The morning began with hubby and I going down there to meet all the Guy’s riders that hubby would ride with. Not my pace so it wasn’t even a brief thought to join them. The Dentist and I headed out first and the Guy’s were soon to follow. It was awesome watching them all fly by and in a pretty good size train of green. Not quite a blur thankfully, at least slow enough to exchange the quickly passing hello’s!

The weekend excluded any mountain bike time and I honestly missed being on the trails but it was good to just get some miles in. Unfortunately I started having numbness in my feet after about 25 miles which continued to the end and didn’t make me too happy. I wasn’t too surprised to have my nail-less toe be a little aggravated either. It was a ride that I wasn’t physically fatigued after though my legs are a little sore. Overall a good 53 mile day on the bike, enjoying socializing and spinning.

Plus the post ride conversation’s bring more excitement into next year already!!

But before I get too excited about next year, first is my excitement for next weekend. Seven Springs 24hr is calling my name. Besides looking forward to hanging out with everyone and having a weekend full of mountain bike time, it’ll be my first time riding there, first time doing an enduro on a team and first time at a 24hr event. I can’t wait!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

34 days...

And my toe nail is gone. Still looks ugly as anything but now it's kinda creepy looking too!

Easy recovery ride in beautiful weather. Lot's of other roadie's out and about as well. Kayak's on roof tops everywhere. Still felt sore.. fatigued..

Post ride shower, went downstairs to bs with bikewrench and hubby. Mid sentence I realize my toe nail is perpendicular to my foot! Ewwwww!! Hubby thankfully took the "honor" to remove.

Poor bikewrench. He's had to witness this twice in two weeks with another fellow friend, rockstar, having the same occur. But her nail had hung on for 6 months!

Glad it happened after the Enduro.. it just seems wrong to have no nail there!!!

Change of plans...

Had a change of plans yesterday morning and decided that instead of doing 3 laps for the Iron Hill Sport Race, why not do the Enduro! It’s only four hours. Besides the Sport race wasn’t until 2:00 in the afternoon and the Enduro started at 9:00am. Not to mention that there was four of us in the short bus going down and the other three were already definites for the Enduro.

It was a great day of riding. Weather was perfect and the trails were in great shape for this fun, fast, twisty short course. I managed to put in 5 laps and finish 9th out of 10. Oh, I had no expectations of “placing” well but only to have fun and get some good riding in. Achieved and my body is fatigued today to show it.

My first lap was basically a jumble with all the beginner racers starting just behind us. Not to mention one stop to fix some trail markings that had been torn down, one stop to help a Jr. that crashed pretty hard and my third stop to fix my re-occuring chain suck issue requiring me to pull my chain out from between the cogs, it gets stuck in there pretty darn good! But, that’s the nice thing about an “enduro”, for me anyway it just becomes about riding and having fun, not pushing race pace. My second lap was a cool social lap just riding with Lisa while she finished the second and final lap of her race. Thankfully we were just social enough so that she didn’t lose second place in her race, but I think we caused it to be a little too close for comfort for her afterwards! My third lap was solo for the first half and I was just enjoying the trails. I knew it wouldn’t be long before the freight train of elite/expert racers would be on my tail. Once they caught my goal was just to make sure I’d be out of the way which I’m pretty sure I managed. There were many spots I’d be pulled over and just watching the finesse by which many of these racers ride. So much different than the beginner racers in the laps before, for the most part anyway. My fourth lap still had some elite/experts passing but I found myself zoning out a lot during this lap. Just going through the motion. But my fifth lap was solo with elite/expert complete and only a few other Enduro’s out there. I got my groove going again and even though I was tired, I was loving the trail and having a blast. Then I was done, and yea, my body was too!

Overall yesterday was just another great event where I got to enjoy seeing everyone again, a great day of riding, socializing and having fun.

And with that, I’m off for a little recovery ride. It looks like another beautiful day out there!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Been a while...

I just haven’t got around to an update. Sometimes I wonder why I’d update, why I blog, what do I have to say to everyone or anyone. I enjoy reading what everyone else writes. It feels as though I should, I feel like I want to. But honestly, sometimes I just wonder who is reading everyone’s blogs. It’s always surprising to find out who has ventured to your page and you know there are always those that you’ll never know that ventured to your page. Isn’t that what this is all about though? But really, I think my lack of update results from just that, my mind being all over the place recently without the ability to put it into a steady thought. This really covers many avenues of my life but intentionally I tend to keep this blog to the riding related aspects of me. Good bad or otherwise, this is just my place to talk, vent or cheer on the riding front. Mostly anyway.

So on that… One of my mental battle’s in the last couple weeks.. I’ve continued to be disappointed with my riding. Where I’m at verses where I believe I could be. Yea, old news… I started this blog by listing my riding goals for this season and technically I didn’t active any of them. About two weeks ago I set a strong plan in place and mentally set the stones in place for what was needed for me to improve. I felt determined. I know what I personally need to do but my biggest struggle is actually making it happen. I lasted a week on my plan. One week. One simple aspect of my plan was just trying to force riding or running into the evenings. I’ve failed. I managed two evenings of activity during my one week “on track”. But even then my plan was three nights and I fell a little short. Sure I ride every weekend, but never enough. I’ve even played with my nutrition even though most times that isn’t what causes my biggest weakness. But funny enough, I think trying to focus on “better” nutrition caused the opposite to happen. I went downhill after week one. Guess that goes along with my downhill love.. but that’s just supposed to be biking! Ha Ha Ha.

On the riding front… Last weekend went down to Iron Hill for a little riding of the race course. For me the purpose wasn’t as much to get to know the course but just have a great day of riding. Achived, mostly. Meet up with some other Guy’s and ran into many familiar faces. Iron Hill is a fun course and was in great shape, I was having a blast. Oddly though, I really fell off after 1 ½ laps and these weren’t pushing myself laps by any stretch. There were many stops. My body kinda quit, not like a bonk but just a suddenly lethargic feeling. I was lightheaded and my legs wouldn’t keep going so for “safety sake” I called it quits shortly after.

So how do I feel about racing Iron Hill tomorrow with 3 laps necessary.. Well. Very very uncertain. I’m hoping last week was just a fluke. But I know it contributed to me falling off my plan. If I can’t ride because of something I’m doing, trust me, I won’t keep doing it.

With racing occurring again, an update will surely follow….

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Racing done?

It really feels like the race season is over. MASS is basically wrapped up and I’ve already moved on (at least mentally) to next year. I know there are two races left, Iron Hill and Bear Creek. Iron Hill was fun before, raced there once years ago. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, I’m sure I’ll actually go. Bear Creek will be fun being the wrap up event of the year and got the folks coming to town. Between those there’s the Seven Springs 24hr and it looks I might do that on a team. But what I realize is that my racing mindset is gone. Is it just the break? Weeks off between races? Does this cause the “high” to go missing.. Either way I’ve kinda switched gears, for me anyway. I feel the change and I know, it seems a little too early. I have the chiver’s of winter on my mind. The riding on snow, the bundling of layers. It is still 90+ degree’s out, right?

Perhaps it’s because of riding at Wissa again this past weekend. I guess my last time riding there was before the racing season and it was probably winter. I had a great ride, felt oddly familiar but different. Kept it easy at unusual times but found myself pushing harder in other spots that’d I’d usually slow. Felt some changes in my abilities and I know there was a big smile on my face just enjoying the ride.

Then there’s the ever present fall/winter racing known as Cross on the horizon.. I know there are many out there looking forward to Cross and have all season. Many of those, Cross is their racing season. I’ve just never got into a race where I’m supposed to intentionally carry/run with my bike. Maybe I’ll try a few with the hardtail this year but I’ve had to run (oh.. wait.. probably just push) that before and well, it’s just a little heavy. But I’m certainly not ready to throw money into a cross bike. The wet slimy mud aspect.. yea, that could call to me. I guess fall will tell.

But this upcoming weekend I’ll be ‘spectator extraordinaire’ again at a road crit. I look forward to seeing many familiar faces. It’s a great course (Doylestown Crit). And it’s another form of racing I haven’t got into… road racing… trusting all those around me, the hard asphalt below… No thanks, I’d prefer the rocks.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I've been shot! Oh wait.. only tagged

Okay Kim, you asked, I obeyed, the tagging continues… And Marc, this is at least slightly better than the chain emails.. those get deleted instantaneously. (I know, I hear they all say bad luck is certain to find me. May you all hope the best for me)

If you could have 1, and only 1, bike in the world, what would it be?

There’s no if and or buts, no thought needed here… it’s a mountain bike. That’s what I love doing. Which one is still debatable.

Do you already have that coveted dream bike? If so, is it everything you hoped for? If not, are you working toward getting it? If not, why not?

Can’t say I have my dream bike or that I know what my dream bike would be. Current debate is between the Hardtail I started riding this year, which I do love, or going back to a Scapel, which seemed to handle the roots a little better.. but then throw in all the conversations about 29er’s recently and I’m completed undecided. But I’ll work towards it once I get there. Might be the winter of some test rides! Yeah!!

If you had to choose one & only one bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Depressing thought… I lose the thrill and bliss of mountain biking riding the same trail too often. Most non-race related riding seems to be at Wissa and when I ride it too often I’m not even “on my bike” during the ride. My mind goes everywhere else just like I was in some shrink’s office being analyzed.

If just one… Porcupine rim in Moab or wait.. maybe Bryce.. or.. Oh forget it, I can’t say just one.

What kind of sick person would force someone to ride one ride for the rest of his/her life?

A VERY sick and Demented person in need of Extreme help to even have such a horrible thought! Okay, not really, just sounded good. Yes, it’d be better than not being able to ride at all!

Do you ride both a road & mountain bike? If both, which do you prefer & why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrow minded?

Both… Mountain biking is certainly #1. I ride the road bike when I must… either because of time constrains or the realization that it is good training (at least that’s what folks tell me!). I love being in the trails, feeling the terrain, the fresh air (no car exhaust) plus mountain biking takes me to a complete mental reprieve. All you think about is the riding, which lines to take, what’s coming up next and it usually brings a giddy goofy smile to my face. (At least that’s what I’ve been told on more than one occasion when hubby doesn’t even have to ask how my ride was.. he says my face tells all!)

Have you ever ridden a recumbent? If so, why? If not, describe the circumstance under which you would ride one.

What’s a recumbent? (that should say it for me)

Have you ever raced a triathlon?

Yea, years ago. Would like to again. Let me restate.. I will again. Maybe some off-road ones too.

Suppose you were forced to give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would it be and why?

Easy.. Ice cream would be gone. Besides many obvious reasons like the health aspect, I never feel as good after eating ice cream as I do after a great ride (even a not so great ride!). Nor do I work all week looking forward to ice cream, or stare at the woods on the side of the road each day and think about ice cream.

What is the question that should have been asked on this questionnaire that hasn't been? Ask & answer it.

What originally got you into riding (doing more than just rolling around the neighborhood as a kid)?

I went out to Utah a few months after meeting my hubby (when we were still “getting to know” each other dating). He was going to a fat tire festival in Brian Head with his folks (and yea, this was my first meeting of the parents too). He thought I’d just spectate. Nope… I rented a cannondale full suspension and joined in a ride. 90% Downhill!! My legs (and body) were completely covered with bruises by the end. It was a blast and that was it for me.

If you could only ride with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

My hubby. Nothing beats spending time with the ones you love while doing what you love.

You're riding your bike in the wilderness. You see a bear & the bear sees you. What do you do?

I’d think the bear was so cute and cuddly I'd give him/her a big hug and expect one in return! I’m sure the bear would recognize I’m a friendly well meaning person :)

Next tagging… you know I gotta throw this to Hubby, then Jason - They can help keep it going!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

MTB Nationals

This weekend was the MTB Nationals in Mt. Snow Vermont. It was a great weekend just enjoying all the hanging out time and seeing all the racing and racers. This was the first time I'd watched the pro's go at it, first time I had pro's giving me some advice here and there on the trail during the pre-riding, and it was just fun.

My race went pretty decent, got off the line clean and hit the climb in second position. But throughout the climb I lost some spots and headed backwards. I figured I was in 5th or 6th spot by the end of the first half mile climb and by this point various groups were all mixed together. I kept my pace and trudged on. After the first half mile climb that came back down to the start/finish area we started the real climbing, guessing around 3 miles of various steepness. Numerous racers were off their bikes walking and I’d pass but I really wasn’t sure what my position might be. I knew from my pre-ride when the downhill fun was about to begin and I couldn’t wait. Close to a mile of fast twisty flowing singletrack with mostly roots and a few rocks thrown in. As I made the last turn before the real descending began I saw a girl I knew was in my class, I passed her as we entered the singletrack and began the fun. Little did I know that she was in second. I don't think either of us did! Throughout the decent I wasn’t certain how close she was so I just hammered it. Flew through the downhill and kept it in my big-ring for the last half mile sprint. Not sure if she had backed of but I had put over 3 minutes on her in the decent. First had still finished 5 minutes ahead of me though.

Considering the amount of climbing and being Nationals, I wasn’t too upset with 2nd. Plus it marks my last beginner race.

Good news is that my toe pain has decided to subside!!! Can't say it really looks any better but I won't complain! Though this week will actually include a doctor visit, the poison ivy from Marysville is still alive & spreading... figure I'll show the doc the toe while I'm there

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pain & Apologies

That was the Fairhill race for me.

My toe was more painful than the prior weekend for whatever reason. I was really really really hurting. I was debating the logic of why we all put ourselves through the pain of racing and particularly, why was I today. This day was all about just trying to finish but wondering if I should.

I fully convinced myself during today’s race that my racing days were done. The towel is thrown.


To everyone that I was a bitch & anti-social to, including but certainly not limited to:

The guy that was having a tough day and just wanted to ride with me to the finish. He said he knew I wouldn’t DNF and planned to ride with me to get him to the end. I apologize that I could not be social, couldn’t be friendly in any way.. nor could I manage to keep company during the race. I just needed to struggle through this. I think you were bailing at one of the water stops.. sorry.

To Marc and his crew at the awesome water stop and pool. Thank you for hanging out at your stop even when you could have easily packed up and left since everyone else besides me and one other had already finished. I only bitched as I went by and that isn’t what I wish I would have done. Sorry for not actually being thankful at the time for the fun you were adding to the event and not enjoying it.

Fernando and his sweeping buddy. I hope I wasn’t a complete bitch. I know I certainly wasn’t social. Sorry I wouldn’t talk more and thank you for hanging back and just letting me struggle alone.

Overall, I was just pissed. I can’t ride because I couldn’t open a freakin’ door without hitting my toe! WTF!!

Fairhill – A blast of a course, normally. Full of awesome trails; fast, twisty, fun singletrack (with the exception of a few fire roads). I wanted to enjoy the trails but I certainly wasn’t. Every one of those roots were shooting pain and every fast twisty decent, that normally I would have loved, I was dreading since you kinda have to get out of the saddle and balance your weight on your feet!

I was slow. I was unhappy. I kept turning around expecting to be passed. There were two of us in my class and I had taken the lead early on. I couldn’t believe that I would lose 1st because of the pain. But to my surprise, she didn’t catch me and was actually 35 minutes back at the finish. So after “discussing” with the promoter’s that my racing class does actually exist and I got 1st, I received my medal and pint glass. Most days I would have just walked away with nothing and not cared but after the pain I went through I was getting that damn medal and pint glass.

And I’ve reconsidered the throwing of the towel.

Somehow I’ll make it through Nationals on Friday. Hopefully with less miles and another week of recovery I’ll have less pain. I know I’d be more upset with myself if I didn’t do it. And I know I wouldn’t be happy if I gave up racing and everything that comes along with it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Freakin' toe

What's in a toe... besides being ugly and painful

Managed to make it through most of the day yesterday with minimal pain. Wore open toe shoes to work and let’s just say they didn’t look good or seem right to be wearing to work. Toe looked like crap but was still thinking maybe it would just heal up and keep that minimal pain.

Last night was a complete shitty night for multiple reasons. I finally just called it a day and went to “sleep” when our young pup decided to STEP ON MY TOE!! I basically fell to the f’ing ground, it scared the crap out of me and the young pup so my next few minutes were just comforting him verses dealing with my own pain. He got over it much quicker than me. I had been impressed with the boy's staying off my wounds.. but it had to happen at some point I guess.

Toe throbbed all night. Slept like crap. Toe looks like crap. Beginning to consider that a doctor’s visit might be necessary. I hate going to the f’ing doctor. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, July 7, 2008

My worst injury of the year..

and to everyone's surprise, it didn’t come from mountain biking….
(but let's hope it stays my worst injury!)

This weekend was the Marysville festival stage race & XC, expected it to be a great weekend and it was. Kuhn, the Oesterlings, Visit PA and everyone who makes this happen always do such a great job. Weekend full of festivities, fellow riders, supporters and friends including a Friday night “time trial”, Saturday XC and capping off with a hill climb and short track on Sunday.

We had expected to stay in Marysville area all weekend but since we forgot the kennel wasn’t open to drop off our boys on Friday we sucked up the fact we’d be driving back and forth each day. It certainly added to a long weekend and my exhaustion today.

Friday night’s time trial was ‘just a little slick’ thanks to some rain, but I had a good ride. Enjoyed riding with the lights again, managed to slide out only once and receive only a slight scratch, and thankfully on my left leg. (One goal this weekend was to Not add additional bruising or scratching to my right leg). Then we headed home for a few decent hours of sleep before heading out again.

This is where my injury occurs… of all places... unbelievable.

Saturday morning we stopped at a rest area about 10 miles from Marysville. Coming out of the restroom I caught my toe on the door that had this nice metal plate at the bottom. Needless to say, the metal plate won the battle with my big toe taking a chunk to symbolize its victory and lifting my nail out of its bed.

The shock and complete disbelieve of what just occurred covered up any pain that might have been there. Hubby came out to the car to find me with my foot wrapped in a towel and my words of “you’re not going to believe this” followed by “Sorry, this is really gross”. (I won’t get too descriptive here and no pictures… you’d thank me) Hubby got to work in his wonderful hubby way and tended to the wound and we left the rest area with the toe officially wrapped in gauze. Good thing we had our little medical kit!

And to the pleasure of my right leg, it was my left foot so I kept my goal of not adding injury to my right appendage. (I’m all about balance in my injuries)

It's certainly nothing life threatening or life altering… just couldn’t believe it.

Then the internal mental debate begins… Can I race? Would I do more damage or would it just be pain? Today is the XC race and I really want to do this, don’t I? I can’t be a DNS because of a rest area door?!? So again I look to hubby, he re-examines the toe and confirms that all the damage is done. Not a lot more damage I could do, it’s just a question of pain. So kitting up I began and racing I would do. This is when I discovered just how much you use your toes during mountain biking. It hurt to push the pedal so every climb was painful and mostly pushed by my right leg. It hurt trying to balance myself during any log over or root, but mostly it hurt going over any bumps.. that landing part was really painful.

I took it easy and did my race, usually riding solo with me passing only a few and only a few (the enduro's) passing me. Hubby never lapped me! Yes, that felt good. Marysville is another really fun course and I enjoyed it, well.. most of it anyway. I hadn't let a wounded toe stop me and I was proud of myself for that. I had an out that I didn’t take.

Though when I saw hubby with 10 minutes left in my race I did yell out “Advil… and a beer!” Which he kindly meet me at the finish with, it was the best beer I ever remember tasting and before long the mix of the beer and Advil took away any pain.

Then it was some great time just hanging out with everyone before we made our way back to the boys again. Our brief visit for outside time, feeding time, sleep, feeding time, outside time and we’re off!

Sunday brought the two other stage events of the hill climb and short track.

Hill climb… Sorry Kim, I bailed on this one and I thought of you knowing how much you’d love to do it and knowing I wasn’t. The downhill return would have been more pain than the climb (and trust me, the climb would have been extreme pain without a toe injury) so I choose to bail.

20 minute short track… I could do that… it’s only 20 minutes. So I kitted up again and went out for my few laps, not sure how many laps I actually did but it was fun.

And the finish meant my cycling shoes could be officially removed for the weekend!! Then it was time to sit back and enjoy watching all the other short track classes with some really great races, hanging out, bs’ing and some more beer. Not to mention the really great food the Oesterling’s had put together. The chicken wraps on Saturday and Sunday were awesome! I always love hanging out at races and seeing everyone, that’s the best part to me and Marysville always brings more “hanging out” time.

So overall a great weekend, even with my wounded toe.
(And receiving the new name of “Nine Toes”… thanks Dan)

Results wise…
I managed a 2nd in my XC and 2nd in my overall stage race. (I won’t make the puppy pose, again)

Hubby finished 1st in his XC and 1st in his overall stage race plus wrapped up taking the 1st place for Sport this year. Sweet!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Not my day to shine

But had plenty of shinning on me, sun that is. Yesterday was all about the sun… the heat… and the humidity. It was a bad sign that we were feeling the heat at 7am just setting up for the day.

Day started like any other endurance race.. setting up the pits, laying the bike in a field, doing the little run back to the bike, start riding/walking and waiting for traffic to settle in on the first lap. But the day didn’t have as much energy as most, not because of the organizer’s, they did a great job on the entire day, but more so the spectators. Usually endurance events have a lot of people hanging around, yelling and cheering.. and extra energy. That just wasn’t there.. at least this year. Traffic thinned out enough after the first couple miles and it became so quite I was really thinking I could hear a squirrel fart. That quiet continued for most the riding. A few passes here or there with some conversations and joking but mostly just quiet. (And I-Pods were not allowed)

The heat was killer from the start and I had decided to use bottles verses the camelback, seemed pretty logical for a 10 mile lap where they have 3 aid stations. But I ran out of liquid at mile 7 of my first lap and quickly decided the camelback would be necessary for the day. Lap one is when I found out this course had a lot more climbing than I expected and gave me my first clue that my day probably wouldn’t go as hoped.

Lap two the heat was taking an extreme toll… my usually cooling and hydrations methods weren’t working and the chill bumps were appearing all over. Then around mile nine I took a turn on a gravel road way to fast and hot… and yes, I was trying to re-pass someone that just passed me. SLAM… I went down hard on the gravel. My right leg took the gravel, lots of it, you know that road crash look, and my hip took the impact with a ‘pretty bruise’ today.

But lap three is where the stomach kicked in and I couldn’t hold down any more fluid. It was an extreme push just for me to finish that lap.. which I did.. but it that was my final lap. Nope.. not my day. Those 30 miles took me 7 hours.

The heat was taking it’s toll on everyone, it was just hot and humid. It also apparently took all my mental ability yesterday since today I found out that hubby didn’t know he was in first yesterday, or when he fell to second, or that he was still in second when he retired. I apparently never thought to communicate that to him and thought he knew… how would he know? Um.. he wouldn’t.

So yesterday was just that, yesterday… not a great day, but heck, there could be worse. Just not the day either of us wanted.

Friday, June 27, 2008

24 Hours to the start of 12 Hours..

This time tomorrow the 12 hour's will begin!

Bag is packed, water's are filled, the food is loaded and the cooler even has a few beers for the finish!

Looking forward to what I hope will be a great day tomorrow, except I have no idea what the course will be like! Lets hope flat!! Oh wait, nevermind.. I do know there's a hill climb that most can't make. I think I'll fall into that catagory!

My hope... 8 laps, which will push me. We'll see how long laps take me, seems most do it in an hour or so. Hope I can average 1 1/2 hour laps and squeeze the 8 in! That means I should see hubby about every other lap!

And on my crash, bang incident yesterday.... this morning I discovered I took a HUGE chunk out of my tire (rim too) but after driving on the turnpike 3 times now since taking that chunk out and at a "not so slow pace" I'm shocked the tire hasn't fallen apart. Let's just say I hope to make the fourth drive on the turnpike without incident and then she'll have to be parked until another new shoe goes on... To make it worse, 4 new shoes were just put on two weeks ago.

Oh well.. just means time for me to stop driving and start riding...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

F! F! F! F! F!

Backed out of the garage like any other morning. Looked right… only right.
Managed a two for one.


I slammed my Honda into our FJ this morning. Fuck.

Not like the FJ wasn’t in the EXACT SAME SPOT it always is when I back up, on my left. Nothing was different besides my apparent ability to veer slightly right to AVOID the FJ.

FJ’s front end is scratched pretty bad and a little dinted in. Fuck. The Honda’s rear quarter panel and bumper are scratched and dented. Fuck.

No bodily injures, sure it’s only metal/rubber. But Fuck. The FJ’s interior might show its wear from being our “biking” and “dog” vehicle but the exterior was fine. And though the Honda might always be completely filthy dirty, there wasn’t any damage. Today I managed to mess them both up. Fuck.

Thank you hubby for only sarcastically applauding my skills and allowing me to be the most pissed off of the two of us. Some good comments too.. “hey, maybe when you get the body work done on the Honda they’ll actually wash the car” and some more comparisons of me to our young dog.. lack of focus, spaz, etc. etc.

But the best… trying to hand me my riding helmet before I attempted my drive to work - You always make me smile!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Winners and Losers

You can guess this, it's the theme of hubby's and mine racing this year. Hubby would be the ____ and that would make me the ____. You can figure this out.

Neshimany meant 2 hours and 27 minutes for me… That’s how long it took me today but that did get me a second place finish and a silver so our young boy could pose with a medal again.

Not necessarily that hard when you only have three people in your class but my goal was to finish and eventually I’ll increase my speed. (Probably about the same time I loose all that extra bagage that "allows" me to race in that class with only three people!) I was somewhat curious if I’d be able to keep pace with the woman who usually gets first but I got to see that I couldn’t. She was gone in the first mile and beat me by 27 minutes. To truly put my time in perspective, hubby did the same distance in an hour and 24 minutes and the fastest sport woman came in at an hour and 37 minutes. So I’m just a little off the pace!

But I suppose I enjoyed doing the longer distance of sport, somewhere around 14 some miles. I never really got in a groove though. Neshimany isn’t the kind of place I could keep speed, between the built up logs and all the other little things here and there. My log nemesis continues and there were two in the course that I just couldn’t do, mental yes but I had attempted them a handful of times riding in the week before with no success and race day wasn’t going to be my next attempts.

The second part of each lap included racers passing. The first lap finished with some of the sport racers (including hubby) passing me as they were finishing their second lap going to the finish. I kept thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if I only had to ride half the time to cover the same distance like these guys. But that's not my speed. Then I realized that the elite and expert races would be starting soon and some would catch me before I finished my second and final lap, which they did. It was a little disappointing having racer’s catching me in the last part of both laps since it’s actually a really fun part of the course that I could usually keep some speed but instead I was pulling over, a lot! So I didn’t end this race physically fatigued. I'd call the 'event' a combination of a race, ride and trail spectating all wrapped into one.

Overall an enjoyable day, I always love seeing everyone that we tend to only see on race days. Plus, it was our team’s event and the first event that I had spent some time working on the trails, marking the trails the day before and being there to “help” on race day. It added a little something to the event for me.

Hubby finished first and had another great race, aka. winner. And I finished the day by enjoying a little bit of coconut sinfulness. (Cocount goodness and 120 calories... I went for it)

Next up..Saturday’s 12 hour Cranky Monkey. And I'm really looking forward to it. No need for a race pace in this event. My plan -push my slow steady riding to its limits and maybe achieve one of my goals for the year.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekend off !

Surprisingly nice having this weekend off, no race! Since all the recent weekends had races and the next 5 weekends having races, it's nice to have one off. Add to it being hubby's b-day weekend plus father's day and you get the workings for a great weekend.

Today began by sleeping in until 8:00!! I haven't done that in I don't know how long and it felt great. Sat down for some breakfast and hubby mentions maybe meeting some folks at 9:00 for a mountain bike ride at Neshimany, leaving me about 25 minutes to get ready. But - mountain biking - Sure! Neshimany to fight by log over issue - you betya! I'll get ready really really quick!! So I did (well kinda), but we managed to get there close enough to 9:00 for things to work out.

My ride became more about me proving I could change a rear tubeless tire. Shortly after getting started I hear that wonderful sound off all my rear air escaping at a rapid pace. Pull out the CO2 and fill her up but she won't hold any air. Turns out I sliced the sidewall and get to hike a bike back to the car. Thankfully we had an extra tire in the car and I got to work. (We'll skip past the part of me not having a key to our FJ and climbing up, over & through the thankfully opened sunroof!) After a little more time than most would probably take, I got her changed and found a little surprise. Ever since hubby "handed down" the hardtail to me, we've heard what we assumed to be a rock rolling around in the tire. Today I became a dime richer as it turns out I'd been having a dime rolling around in the rear!

Just as I'm mounting the rear wheel back on hubby and the crew return from their ride. So I went out for another 20 minutes playing with some various log’s and then called it a day.

We checked out a new place for lunch, had some good grub, good drinks and enjoyed just hanging out for the rest of our day. Good day. Tomorrow… no Stoopid 50 here, no events, nothing planned at all. Maybe some ride time, relaxation and celebrations. Up to the hubby, since it is his ‘double day’. Looking forward to another good day and us doing whatever we feel.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lessons Learned

Danville… 3,500 ft of climbing and I officially moved up to Sport. The Athena class I’m unfortunately eligible for.

My biggest fear of the day was the amount of time it might take me to finish the race. My biggest mistake because sure enough it played into my day. I had a goal of finishing in 3 hours, which was my one and only stupid focus for this race. Sad and stupid. Focused on being about double of hubby's time..

I decided to take off basically last in the mass start for the ¾ mile climb since I knew my climbing speed was pathetic. Which was my First Mistake, why not get every minute you can when you’re concerned about time. But that thought didn’t occur to me until later. So I enter the course dead last and the only riders I pass are those fixing their mechanicals, those coming towards me retiring early on or those unfortunately injured. I trudged on through all the climbing, slowly. It felt like the downhills barely existed. But even on the downhills my bike was feeling Horrible underneath me. Probably the terrain but I never got a groove and just kept feeling like my rear tire wanted to separate itself from the bike. So my downhills were even slow, the one place I’d usually make up time.

But I felt good overall, even with the heat I wasn’t feeling the hot drain and was pleased that my hydration plans seemed to be working well. Water bottle for the occasional head cooling and the camelbak filled with Hammer electrolytes.

The course just seemed never ending slow climbing and I kept watching my time. Before the race someone mentioned that the one spot to bail was about halfway through the course. I haven’t seen the bail spot and I’m almost at 2 hours! “I can’t make everyone wait for me to do a four hour race” That’s all I kept thinking. Finally see the ‘one bail spot’ closing in on the 1:50 mark. “Should I stay or should I go?” (Yes I was actually signing The Clash song in my head). I shout out to a few people trying to get a better idea if this is really the halfway spot. One person tells me that I’ve got a really really long way to go and gives me this look like there’s no way possible you should keep going.

I bailed. Big Mistake. I was more than physically able, even though I was walking some climbs. I DNF’d because I was feeling guilty and concerned that everyone would have to wait to leave the heat because some slow chic is still out there riding.

Turns out only about 4 miles were left of the 13 some and my time probably would have just been over 3 hours. Even if it was 3 ½ - I should have finished. The awards didn’t happen any quicker because I DNF’d, I wouldn’t have held them up.

So if this is my year for learning racing… I’ve just been handed more lessons. Sorry fellow racer’s, I don’t plan to DNF again because of guilt..

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Two races, same day, completely different...

MASS race #4 at Sewell. Fun course right - so might as well do it twice! Besides most my riding is only on race day anyway..

Race #1 - Beginner. I've come to the conclusion that our youngest dog must be powering my starts. He's a spaz with speed but can't stay focused on much for long. Again, this race starts and I took off. Apparently this is my trend and now a humor point with me and my fellow racers. It's just the way I go out and it's sadly (or a good thing?) not from me really trying to go out fast/hard. I knew from the start that this race would be against a racer that has won of every race she's entered this year. She's strong, originally a roadie, getting into mountain biking now.
I only keep the lead for about 2 miles then she (the one I expected) comes past and kindly tells me to grab her wheel. I just chuckled since 1. that's the roadie in her and 2. hell, I would grab you're wheel if I could. I keep her in sight for another half mile or so and then she's gone. Second place I am. But we have two laps of a 5 mile loop and now I'm just pushing hard trying to keep 2nd place. I know she's back there in third. I can see and hear her as we're doing the switchbacks.

Near the end of the first lap I take way to much speed into a switchback over roots and go down hard. (Heard a guy grasp his breath and scream 'you okay'? The 'you okay' part, fine, but the grasping - hell that scared me more than the crash!). My left calf cramped into a solid knot as I went down, tried to stretch it then grabbed my bike hoping the spinning will loosen the calf, eventually it does. My bruising and abrasions today would make you think I did much worse. Shocking the different colors your skin can actually turn.

Anyway, I finish my first lap still in second place. But by this point 3rd is only about 20 seconds behind me.

As we go into the second lap it only takes until the first little climb in the singletrack for her to pass me. Since I didn't actually make the little climb and she does. By this point my pushing during the first lap is catching up with me, fatigue and the heat are starting to get to me, and I just didn't have the power inside me to keep a pace anymore. Embarrassing is dying right in front of two of my friends warming up for their elite race that have helped and motivate me.

So I mentally digress from a race mind set. I'm pretty certain I have a comfortable lead to hold onto 3rd, which I did. I start letting my heart rate drop well below the 185 it had been and take it easier. I was almost 5 minutes slower in lap two. Finished in 3rd out of six. Can't complain, Can't cheer...

My overwhelming feel of that race was fast, dry and hot. I was really f'ing hot...

But don't fret, the day would change.

Expert/Elite went out between beginner and sport. That gave me a moment to really decide if I wanted to do a second race. And to unfortunately help one of my friends (one of the same that I died in front of during my race) to recover from a crash and into the ambulance. Thankfully only a broken hand, recoverable, but still sucks.

So at this point I'm still questioning my sanity to go out again but I've thought it so I'm doing it. Besides, everyone says rain was coming and that to me was a good thing... so I thought. I do love getting wet, riding in mud and it would cool off..

So I grab my medal for my 3rd place finish in beginner and register for Sport. And hell, since I'm already carrying that Athena weight with me for no good, I might as well register for it...

Race #2 - Now I line up and with only three of us I have no intent of a strong start. Our youngest dog can take a big break. We all line up and I see my hubby go in the trails ahead of me... He's second. Good start. I relax.

We get the go and I enter the trails second, good I've paced myself. I keep 1st in view for a while and decide no reason, start taking it easier. I am a little tired and quickly third was no where in sight behind me. Right after they give our class the go, the skies open! They had us vote at the start of our race 2 or 3 laps... 2 won and I was pleased. Just do the same as I did earlier, no biggy. As it turns out, everyone was ultimately changed to 2 laps... Saying the skies opened is an understatement. Lightning and thunder met with this downpour. And thankfully I didn't know until after, lightning struck right near hubby and he smelled the woods burning... I had questioned the sanity of us all racing in this hail/thunderstorm projected but wet racing is fun so I wasn't about to complain.

When I enter lap two I could complain but wouldn't. Hubby had just passed me finishing his second and final lap as I finished my first lap and managed to get out of him that he finished first. Freakin awesome!

I ride on... I had never thought of Sewell as a place to get really muddy, but it did. On my second lap I couldn't keep speed anywhere. Multiple run-off's from my bike as the mud sucked it away from me, multiple times riding with a barely coasting speed so my wheels would stay below me... Knowing the conditions, I expected the 3rd place racer in my class had DNF'd... she had. That meant I was the last person on the course. Can't get more embarrassing than that. Especially when I couldn't seem to do anything about it. I couldn't get more speed, I wasn't spent, the course just wouldn't allow any speed.

I thought about calling it quits, knowing everyone was waiting for me to finish. But I didn't want a DNF just because... So I became selfish and just slowly rode on.. I finished... Everyone kindly applauding as I came to the finish... (thank god, she's finally done!) Both laps in my sport race were slower than my beginner race laps but I had felt good, just slower.... I was covered with mud to receive my 2nd place medal.. (in case you can't tell, I'm not wearing long tights or tall socks in this picture, that's mud...)

So yesterday brought me a third in beginner and a second in sport..

Now to next week... and the class to race. Continue in beginner or move up to sport. My problem is that the extra miles in sport would be good for me (though I might occasionally regret it) but I just don't know if I'm ready to state that weight I carry is here to stay or that I should be using it for the class I race...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

F'ing Logs..

Managed to get a little riding in last night at Neshimany. Meet up with some folks that ride there pretty regularly and the hubby (who had already been in the trails for the past couple hours) willing to take it "easy" with me. Granted I was the weak link even pushing harder than I intended at times.

Neshimany is a fun place. Except all the f'ing log overs that I can't do. I know it's mental, I know I should be able, I know my bike would go over it. Trust the bike... many two wheeled apparatuses just like yours complete the task... you just watched them... But I hesitate and stop. Not the little logs here or there, but the build up log overs. Give me a pile of rocks and no problem... same pile but as logs and I don't. Heck even some larger logs stopped me last night.

So Neshimany is the place I'll use to get me over it. This battle might just result in a few bruises...

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Granoque. A true Love & Hate relationship for me...

But first... HUGE thank you to everyone that made this event happen. Marc, you rule.

Thank you to Everyone. The ones who spend their hours getting the trails ready, the sponsors, the DuPont's for letting us tear up their estate. Great venue, great cause, great $$ raised.

Thank you's to everyone cheering. It really was quite motivating (and surprising!) hearing my name yelled out from everywhere. Thank you to Diane for warning me not to pass when I would have ended up in a water pit if I had!

The love & hate....
Love.... such an awesome place, awesome group of people, the day of hanging about - A blast!
The single track.. some of the best. The sun was shinning. Truly another awesome venue.

See, my mountain bike and I don't get along with each other when there's not rocks, roots or mud under her tires. We develop this failure to communicate.... I say move forward when I pedal, she says nope, you gotta pedal faster. I couldn't.
This SUCKED for me. Grassy climbs, dirt flats and a paved road climb. Not friends of mine.

This was another race that my time at the front was limited to the starting line.

Sorry out there for all those who cheered. Yesterday was not my day. From the start I feel back on the first little climb to the tower, met with the bottleneck coming from the backside of the tower, managed to pass a few on the little downhill before heading into the FUN twisty section (did I mention FUN) even passed another after the grass/gravel flats. My first lap did not have a groove. My finishing position had already been determined. 5th out of 7 in my class. (Only hubby gets to crown the boy's with a medal this week.. a great 2nd place finish!)

I began cramping in my first lap. Even though I had and was drinking plenty. Even during endurance races I didn't have cramping like this. I made sure to drink my bottle empty before finishing lap one where hubby was kindly waiting with a fresh bottle. (I'd share the picture he took here but... um... it's really really awfully embarrassing). I was dreading a second lap. But the second lap was an interesting mix... The second lap is when I enjoyed the singletrack even more. I somehow got into a fun groove (even while getting sick throughout, my stomach had turned and needless to say this race's pre-nutrition regiment won't be repeated)

Granoque is a blast to ride, mostly. I still hated the grass... but moreso that paved climb. But heck by the second time up it I was going to the finish. It didn't even matter.

But I can't wait to tackle it next year! (and I might even keep my 'cow' bracelet on til then)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chivalry is lost…

Not that I care about any of that stuff but yesterday was just funny.

You know when you’re driving and you hear that ‘wonderful’ sound of your car hitting something…. then you wait for it. Reduce your speed from 85mph. The wheel starts pulling… you pull over… confirm… yep, that’s one flat tire. Thankfully it wasn’t completely flat and I was able to limp my way into the turnpike rest stop. (The thought of changing my tire on the side of the turnpike was a little less than appealing)

Called the hubby and let him know I’d be running just a little later than planned. He kindly offered to come assist me but I figure it'd be changed before he could even get to me.

So I pull out all the tools, start loosening the lugs and get the jack turning. That’s when one of the turnpike cop’s pulls up and asks “everything okay?” Which I reply “sure, fine, just changing a flat tire” (in case he hadn’t actually noticed). Now I’ve had a few flat tires in my time and I’ll admit, every time some Good Samaritan would pull over and help the ‘damsel in distress’. And yes, though I was able, I’d let the ‘man’ do it. But last night was a first.

This cop actually gets out of his car, sits on the hood, pulls out a smoke and just starts talking to me while I’m changing the tire. Some casual conversation, some ‘coaching’ on how I should do this whole tire changing process but mostly just taking a break in his ‘work day’. I finish up without many hiccups (okay, the tire I pulled off the car didn’t fit in the trunk! Glad I didn’t have a passenger, they would have been hugging a tire, or curled up in the trunk).

But then the cop compliments my abilities and actually departs saying “I’d shake your hand but… um… yours are a little dirty” No shit jackass, I just changed a tire while you had some smokes. But I just laugh and say “Thanks – have a great day” It was almost like when you thank a cop after he gives you a ticket, the polite goodbye. What the heck did I just say Thanks for???

Monday, May 19, 2008

Trail Work and...

Sunday was a cool and fun day working on the Neshimany trails. Of course it’s always fun to play in the dirt and move rocks but this time it was actually with a purpose - Build Trails. My first time “building trails” and it was cool (and a little scary) seeing what goes into making the trails. The occasional thought, so that’s what we ride on?

Didn't ride on the trails after working since the rain was soon to come (add in being a little tired / hungry). Neshimany looks to be another fun race. The section we were working on would only be for the expert/sport racers, which included a nice banked downhill. We walked the trails some when we first got there and I got to see that most the trails look fast, the occasional root or log build up, but overall just keep your speed. Lots of singletrack, little passing room. I'm hoping get a ride or two there before the race and get a better feel.

I've also had little thoughts on my mind since Friday, when I got the news that the company I previously worked with sold to another company. I know, no big deal, happens every day. But this was the company I was with from the ground up, hubby and I were both there. I got to develop and run in some regards, took them public, the reason I was never out riding in 2006 into 2007. The reason we live in PA, the reason we almost moved to Australia last summer. It was just kinda weird to have something big happen with them and not be part of it. But also realizing how glad I am that I wasn't part of it, knowing the caious that would have been. It's weird to know that the name of that company will no longer exist… it'll be gone..

But Friday also brought some great discussions with the company I joined a few weeks ago. Again strategizing about the future, where to go and things to do. I’ve known since I first met with them that it was a perfect fit for me. Great group of young quick thinkers (okay, sucks I’m kinda the oldest in the ‘management group’) but it’s the kind of group of people you can enjoy working with everyday. I get to do all the things I enjoy (sure... there’s always a few necessary evils). Its great being part of what’s happening in the plant again, the day to day details but also taking that step back ‘big picture’ view for the future.

What I’ve thought about (or should I say realized) since Friday. The symbolism. Perhaps best said -In with the new.. out with the old. Really - time for me to enjoy my work life but most importantly allow the time and focus for what really is important to me… Hubby, the boy's, biking - time to be the best wife I can and maybe even the mountain biker I know I could be.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Great day of road riding…

Yea, I said road riding and great in the same statement…

I drove from the house to Peace Valley Park for my road ride today while Hubby road from the house around the same time to begin his ride. A little chilly out but the sun shining bright. It really turned out being a beautiful day.

When I was in the parking lot getting ready, I noticed a deer watching me. It was the sweetest thing, we just began staring at each other. I finished getting ready and went to the edge of the woods towards the deer – stopped and sat there for a second. The deer was the cutest I’ve seen and as just as inquisitive about me as I was about her. To my surprise, she started coming over to me… within inches. We just started at each other for a few minutes. I had to pull out the camera phone....

It was a nice little inquisitive interchange between us and was a great way to start a ride.
What made it even better was hubby rolling up as the deer and I were saying our goodbyes.

Then the ride began.

So what happens when you mix a very strong sport racer with an average beginner racer? The beginner racer gets worked and the sport racer gets a nice easy ride. It was a great ride for me and it was great to ride with him, I loved it. During the ride my heart rate was higher than any other recent ride. Only 22.1 miles for me but he helped me play around with my riding style, climbing and gearing. I started with a climb that usually challenges me but I managed my way up stronger than normal. We rolled around, up – down - flats, where ever in our normal area and just had a great ride. We finished off with my first stop to Tabora farms and we both got a little post ride ‘nutrition’. Even got a little white chocolate coconut treat for later.

Tomorrow brings a potential mountain bike ride and work day at Neshimany for Guy’s race there this June. Hope the weather holds….

Monday, May 12, 2008

Beyond Stupid

Last night I was the ultimate Jackass.. Beyond stupid.

Why is it we always take out our frustration on the ones we love. And never for any good reason. Perhaps because they are always there for us, even when they wish they weren’t.

My true frustration this yesterday was all just with myself. The person I am, the cyclist I am. What I’ve become.... But that’s not what came across.

I just felt behind on everything in life yesterday.

Sunday began great, a sweet Mother’s day card from our boys and a nice breakfast with the hubby (even though Cracker Barrel didn’t sit well for either of us). Followed up by a little road ride. Another solo road ride for me, the post-race day slow easy recovery ride. Probably like many other people out there.

But I got all wound up that my pace isn’t fast enough to ride with anyone else. That I couldn’t climb up that gravel hill faster on Saturday. Okay, a whole self pity experience. But instead of just swallowing my pity, or at least talking about why I was actually down, I just became a moron. I don’t think I really realized until today why I was so “off” yesterday.

My hubby is nothing but wonderful and supportive and certainly doesn’t deserve to deal with a basket case, but he did last night. Every day he does numerous wonderful things for me. For me. Why do I never say the great things I think and feel every day. Why was I focused on the negative of me. Why don’t I show my gratitude. Why don’t I tell my hubby how great he is every day. Because I’m a jackass.

Today I wish I could call in a” re-do”. It was one of those nights where “I’m sorry” doesn’t quite cover it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

French Creek

Race #2 of MASS, French Creek. The week was projected to bring enough rain that I truly expected the race to be rescheduled/cancelled. Which lead to me mentally not expecting or wanting to race. The prior two weeks (since Greenbrier) included barely any riding or training. Maybe 35 miles on the road bike over two weeks. But the race was on, it'd be a little muddy but never the less, it was happening. Wiether I felt like racing or not.

At the start we were informed the website had an error and we would be racing 9 miles, not 6. It caught a few people of guard that hadn't even brought water. I realized I hadn't really eated much.

The race started with a nice gravel climb... I suck at climbing. Really really suck. I honestly thought about just turning around and calling it quits. But I trundged on and made my way to the single track and entered the singletrack 2nd to last out of 13 women (W1 & W2). Singletrack meant Rocks and Mud. Now we're talking, this is mountain biking. So it took me a few minutes but then I started getting into it. I began just enjoying the terrain and even though there continued to be more and more climbing (seemed like neverending climbing), it was the kind of climbing I could enjoy more than a gravel road. Downills felt great, flying over rocks and anything else on the trail. I was passing without hesitation, yelling out the line I'd be taking. (And yelling out lines for all the sport & elite racers catching me to pass through).

I knew I had passed a few beginner women but had no idea were I might be. I kept trudging until around 7 miles in and then I basically bonked. 7 miles and I was spent. No one was in sight behind me, I just wanted to slow up but I tried hard to push myself, I didn't want to be passed.

Finally I was informed the end was near, just some downhills and flats - and some mud. Surprisingly the trails were in great shape. Some wetness and mud here and there but not the gooey sludge I thought. The only real puddle was near the end and by that point I was more than happy to just plow through it. The bike was actually less muddy than I expected...

Once the results were finally posted I learned I finished 3rd in W2. Fourth out of the 13 beginner women. Still not sure how I feel about that. Considering no training, not feeling like racing and almost calling it quits - I guess okay. But I really need to get in shape so I can actually climb. Where would I have finished if I could have actually kept up with everyone on the gravel climb? This is what I'll have to use to motivate me.

So yesterday brought me 3rd and the bronze....

Hubby - he rocks, got first and the gold. And this week he gets to enjoying showing me what the gold looks like.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The day after... and to my surprise

Somehow I managed to finish first at Greenbier yesterday!

I still acknowledge it's a beginner race and I had hoped to do sport. But it still felt great.

I went into the day with no expectations, I had no idea what the course was like and wasn't worked up about wanting to place well. First or last could equal Nationals. I was more interested in how hubby would do and pulling for him to have a great race. Don't think I realized I was "going racing" until about 30 minutes before. I had a few thoughts that I didn't want to go out first like I did at Fairhill (since that didn't have good results).... but I apparently did anyway.

Went into the trail side by side for first, into the first little climb. The two of us were climbing well but then I shifted and experienced my reoccurring chain suck issue (even with the new chain rings). Had to hop off the bike and fell to third. I was thinking 'here we go again, great start to last'... But that only lasted a moment and I managed to get back into second place before the finish of the climb. Into the first decent I could see first place and made my way by through the rocks just enjoying the little decent. Then it hit me, I was in first. A first for me..

Greenbier was my first race that I actually rode like a race and not a ride. I didn't slow down, I didn't back down. I didn't stay behind people being polite, instead yelled out (hopefully still politely) 'rider back - going on your left'. It was the first time I rode realizing I just had to keep it going, don't do anything stupid and you could actually finish first. Yea, my mind was going non-stop. Everything from I wish I could be doing this in the faster classes to I'm learning how to actually race to what a blast of a course!

The course was wet and muddy with some rocks! a blast! Have I mentioned before - I LOVE rocky courses and Greenbier actually had a few rocks so you could enjoy being on a mountain bike. The rain the night before added to my enjoyment. It was great blasting through the muddy water (since we were the early group on the course it hadn't become a gooey sludge). Granted there was more climbing than I wanted... but all do-able climbing.

Finished my race and searched for the hubby. Managed to get a little stressed watching everyone line up for the next race, his race, which about to start and no hubby around. Didn't know he was on a pre-ride. Then he magically appeared just before the start. Hubby did awesome - missed him coming through each lap but caught him at the end when he finished second for his group out of 30 some riders. I was so pleased knowing he qualified for one and finished awesome for two.

The mud was a little messy but the lake provided a little washing area -

(Sorry hubby - loved this picture to much not to post!)

Many rider's went above and beyond any thought I could imagine, refusing to get a DNF... Broken derailleur's brought some big challenges. One rider (Acura Matt) broke his derailleur and ran backwards and back to his car to fix his bike and start over. It took me a minute to click that I was saying hey to him when he should be Racing!

Nikki shocked me when she came running in after her first lap and informed me that she too had broke her derailleur. I threw my bike over and she was close to taking off on it when we were informed she'd be disqualified if she took it. I thought she was done... think again! Her bike had broken when she was only a few miles into the first 5.7 mile loop and she was determined to finish. That's when she took off to continuing running, now the entire second lap with her bike. Needless to say she was a little pooped when she finished!! Phenomenal job Nikki!

Now the thoughts move on to Frenchcreek, the next MASS race.... and many thoughts there are.