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!