Monday, October 27, 2008

Rest, recovery, work and school.

This is what I've been up to. Now more than two weeks have gone by since Moab and I still have numbness and loss of sensation in my fingers and I'm still healing. I've been to the Doctor more days in the past 2 weeks than I have in 10 years and I'm still going. I am getting better but still not completely better, still can't ride, still can't run and can barely hike. I can't believe that this happened. It's crazy how sick I got and how fast it happened and how long the recovery road is.
Biking is my therapy, so not being able to do it lately has been tough. I know that rest now means health later. This has been quite the experience, the worst pain of my life. The pain still comes and goes and when going through treatments with my new best friend, my P.A., the pain can get out of hand to the point of tears. It has been a lesson for me though, as I try to see the good in every situation.

Not getting to podium in Moab has been hard to swallow but my health was/is more important and who knows what would have happened if I didn't stop when I did. I realize that maybe it wasn't my time and that my new friend, Kris Cannon needed to get 2nd that day instead of me. She rode strong and hard and was rewarded for her mighty efforts and she got to celebrate that. Of course there was that part of me that felt envy and sadness but once I could let that go and realize the selfishness behind it, I felt better, happier.

I want to thank all my friends who have supported me especially these past couple of weeks. Most understand how difficult it is for someone like me not to be able to do what I love most. My great friend Julie from Big Sky, Montana told me to "embrace the pain" as her pre-race advise. I shared this with Kris Cannon before Moab and we both copied the mantra onto a piece of duck tape and put it on our handlebars. I spoke with Julie about this the other day and she laughed as she most always does. Today I think about that and wonder if her advise can't be used for my post-race blues? Can I embrace the pain I'm feeling now? Not just the physical but the emotional. Maybe she spoke those words knowing that they were important for something else, maybe she didn't. I suppose embracing is accepting and just being, not changing, not judging. So, here I am 2 weeks after Moab, crying less, suffering less, stressing more. As I write I decide not to stress it anymore, worrying is wasteful. I trained this summer with Moab in mind, thinking that it would be my race, the one I was ready for. Well, I was ready, but someone or something had other plans so I have to just be. Sometimes life is out of our control and when we fight it we feel those unwanted feelings. The moral of the story? Simple, don't have expectations, just try your best and see what happens. Lynda Wallenfels quoted someone last year when she got sick right before Worlds (I think that was it). The quote went something like this "God takes things away from us that we care about sometimes to humble us." Perhaps I needed to be humbled. Don't we all?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


That's what I got. It's been a hard few days. I'll spare readers the details but I'm on many antibiotics and hopefully on the road to recovery. Still have no feeling in my fingers so can't write much more. I still plan on giving the full race report once I'm feeling better. Thanks for everyone's great wishes and encouragement.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

24 Hours of Moab Short Version

I'll have to write more later as my fingers are completely numb. The short version is that I had a great race until somewhere around 3-6 am. I hurt a part of my body that made continuing near impossible. Initially it felt like a saddle sore until the pain spread to the front of my pelvis and it swelled up like a balloon. I went over the handle bars a few times and fell in various other ways but could not pinpoint what specifically caused it. My last loop started after 3am and it took me over 3 hours. I could barely ride, walk or just sit and coast. I knew something was up and it wasn't a "good" pain that I could work out. It got worse after I sat and right now it's hard to sit, stand or lift up my leg to get in bed. Hopefully it's just a bad pulled muscle or an infection or cist of some sort. If the swelling doesn't decrease I'll have to have it checked out. Tune in later for my full report.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

24 Hours of Moab

When: October 11, 2008 12:00PM Start
Where: Moab, Utah
Finish: October 12, 2008 1:00PM

Real time results can be seen on race website found by clicking on "24 hours of Moab" above.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

White RIm In A Day

A couple of weeks ago Matt and I rode the White Rim. For those of you not familiar, it is the 100 mile loop starting just outside Canyonlands National Park. Isn't it just like me to post this weeks after we did it? Here are some pictures.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Double Lives

Why, When I love the woods' cool solitude
Where leaves cast shadow shapes on leaves beneath
And frame the patchwork of the sky above,
Do I feel a peace and deep well-being
When I step into the light
And see the valley-farms, houses, fields-below?

Does the chaos and aloneness of the woods,
Where life and death lie littered on the forest floor,
Awaken need for order
In those tilled and tended places?

Like the frog an salamander we live doubled lives
Thriving in both wild and settled spaces.

by: Sabra Fields

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Vapor Trail 125 Race Report......finally!!

Pathetically this is the only picture of the VT 125 Matt took. The batteries died but I find the blurry shot quite appropriate. It is me finishing and it "clearly" represents how I was feeling.

I have been the ultimate blog slacker. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to post my Vapor Trail race report. I started working full-time and on the other days I am taking one class. I had two exams last week in the midst of my VT 125 recovery which by the way was lengthy.
I am not great at giving the play by play race report for a couple of reasons. The first one is I don’t think I’m good at it and secondly I’m not sure if anyone actually reads them. It’s all good though because I see blogging as a journal that I can look back on years later and have fond memories. If you do happen to be one of the two people that read this blog, let me know by posting a comment. It is so exciting to me to see a comment has been posted after one of my blogs, it’s like getting a letter in the mail these days.
Back to the Vaporizer. Surely the hardest race I have ever done. Those of you who have not been able to finish or unable to start, need to put this on your to do list. I feel every endurance biker should have this on your race resume. Again I have several reasons for believing this way. It seems like an achievable enough endeavor, 125 miles. We cover more mileage in 24 hour races after all. I am convinced however that the Vapor Trail somehow covers more ground in less mileage. The near 20,000 feet of climbing may have something to do with this. Hands down the Vapor Trail is the coolest “race” ever. It is an invitational event, not to say that I’m someone special for getting an invitation but more importantly I want to bring attention to its stellar organizer. Tom Purvis is one cool dude. Shawn Gillis is too. This is virtually a free event, there is no entry fee. There are stocked aid stations, this year free Ay-Up light demos and search and rescue cards paid for by Shawn Gillis. Now who would do all this for nothing? Stellar people. Thank you Tom and Shawn and Absolute Bikes. I forgive you now Tom for that Starvation Creek loop but don’t ever do that again.
So the line up this year was thicker than last with 40 or so people. I was one of two girls to start. The race leaves downtown Salida led by a pace vehicle until we hit county road to heaven, about 40 minutes maybe less. We started at 10 pm and my demo lights had ample power for the entire night. Thanks Darren and Brianna! These lights are bright and light, that’s all I ask for. I got to Absolute Bikes after 8 pm with a 10 pm start, over an hour after I wanted to be there. I almost didn’t go, feeling stressed about life. Matt finally got me in the car and drove me to Salida, showing me that he sometimes knows me more than I know myself. It’s funny but as I stubbornly told myself that I wasn’t going, I experienced a deep pain almost to the core of my heart. It’s hard to explain but as I imagined riding my bike through the night towards the Alpine Tunnel, hiking my bike up the CDT, seeing friends and familiar faces I started to miss it, to long for it, to crave it. I was craving the Vapor Trail, riding through the night and seeing the sun rise was something I didn’t want to miss. I knew if I made the decision not to go, I would be sad, I would regret it. So I went and am happy I did. As soon as I checked in the lady at the table (I’m sorry I don’t know your name) said she overheard a few people asking if I was going to be there and made some nice comments about me. This made me feel so good and happy to be among friends. This is my community and this is why I ride and race. I may only see these people a few times a year but when I do it’s just an awesome feeling. We seem to understand each other without saying much. In this crazy and sometimes negative society, finding a strong community through these endurance events has been very helpful to my soul. I’m so appreciative of that.
The night riding was awesome and I never got too cold. I stopped a lot though, to fiddle with this and eat that. Too many stops, too long, slow transitions for sure. Oh well, this was a training ride more than anything for 24 Hours of Moab. The sun rose after my Tomichi descent and during the start of the big mama hike-a-bike to Canyon Creek. This is when I felt my best. I love hike-a-bikes. I’m built less like a cyclist and more like a hiker (whatever they’re built like) and I have stamina. Walking up a hill over virtually a scree field doesn’t bother me. I passed a few people and that made me feel good because I know I’m staying strong at a critical point in the race. The descent was sweet and fun and pretty fast and would have been slightly more enjoyable if my hands weren’t numb. This is where I met up with Matt Juth and from here on out he would become my riding partner and companion to laugh and suffer with. We got to aid station #2 and I was starving. I hardly ate anything though which annoys me. I can never eat during these races. I had a couple sips of black coffee, a couple bites of muffin and attempted to eat some potatoes and I think that was it. For a famished girl that’s not much but by the time we climbed Old Monarch I was ready for more food. The folks at Monarch made us sandwiches, got our lights off our bikes and did just about anything we wanted. They were awesome! Really everyone was.
Off we went after probably too long of a time at Monarch. I wasn’t really paying attention to the clock. I knew I’d finish eventually so I just had to keep plugging along. The Monarch Crest Trail hurt, every little incline felt like the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Matt and I joked a lot and laughed which was much needed. The loop up and down and up Starvation Creek sucked. That’s the only word I knew in that 2.5 hours of agony, sucks. I couldn’t ride a lot of the more technical down hills through the tight narrow sections. I couldn’t find balance, I kept falling to……I can’t remember which side now. After Starvation we worked our way up, yes up again to Silver Creek and descended that to the beginning of the Rainbow Trail. The Silver Creek descent hurt and I felt like slowing down because every muscle in my body throbbed. Matt said that it would hurt whether we went slow or fast so we might as well go fast. He was right then my body just became numb and stopped hurting. We downed some soup and soda before Rainbow and I got the kick I needed despite burping the soup up for the next hour. You could smell the finish at this point so mentally I’m able to hammer it out. I wasn’t going that fast but if felt a heck of a lot faster than the previous section.
In the end I was the only female to finish. I wish more had come out and if the ones on the roster had, their names surely would have been above mine at the end of the day. Nonetheless I’ll take my 1st place finish with grace and pride and want to say congrats to Nicole Habay who has been out of racing for a few years and came back for this one. You’re awesome girl and it was great chatting with you at the start. Thanks for cheering me on at Silver Creek too.
As agonizing as the Vapor Trail can be at times and as many moments I had wishing something would go wrong with my bike that would prevent me from torturing myself any longer, I am ecstatic to have started and humbled to have finished. It is an event that I want to support because of Tom and Shawn and Absolute Bikes and Salida Trails and the volunteers and participants. Like I said earlier I see old friends and meet new ones and I feel so lucky for this. Thank you to all who cheered us on and supported us and made it possible to finish this great adventure. I love the beauty in it all. I take everything from this event; the good, the pain, the scenery, the agony, the climbing, the descending, the people, the volunteers and just the opportunity to pedal my bike on some of the most gorgeous terrain not only in Colorado but in the world and I cherish all of this as a gift.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just some fun summer riding.

Getting started in Marble.

Bliss on the 401 trail in Crested Butte.

The Crystal Mill.

Must have coffee.

More of 401.

Morning at our camp spot.

Matt and I went on an awesome bike tour this weekend. We parked in Marble and headed over Schofield Pass to Crested Butte. Devil's Punch Bowls and Crystal Mill were just a few of the amazingly beautiful attractions. I was a total tourist stopping every few minutes to take pictures. I left the camera with Matt who isn't back from Summit until next week. Here is one of the Crystal Mill to tie you over until I get the camera back. I found it on the following website:

Other great rides this summer included my biggest group ride ever and that was on Lenawee Trail. You climb to the top of A-Basin and descend into Zuma. It's a pretty short ride but lots of elevation gain and fun, fast, single-track descending.
Katherine's brother, Richard.......

Looking into Zuma Bowl (a controversial decision involving the disapproval of many long-time locals)......

Katherine, the fastest female descender I know, my teacher, and great pal........

The group, Maya, Richard, Scott, Mark, Dawn, Katherine and I. Yes a huge group but loads of fun.......

Other fun stuff this summer.....Here is Christian, tired after The Firecracker 50, he told me he needed to get some cytomax.

The kids on Morgan Peak.....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

24 Hours in The Sage

I rode on a 5 person co-ed Absolute Bikes team for The 24 hours in the Sage. It was a great time and Matt was one of my teammates. He had a good time too and I think we are closely tied for the fastest lap. His laps were super consistent, all fast. I only did 3 laps because I arrived late so that I could take my CNA state test in Rifle that morning.
The hardest part about doing a team 24-hour is the waiting. Riding is awesome but then you have to stop just when you’re getting hot, try to eat sleep maybe shower and before you know it you’re getting ready for your next loop. Matt and I are talking about racing duo next year. It is such a great venue and everyone is super mellow and nice. The KOA in Gunnison is an awesome place to have this type of event. They served coffee and pancakes and sausage for breakfast! Mmmmm, that was delicious.
We got first in our category and I did have the fastest loop (just found out from the results), a mere 4 second margin!

I drove back solo to GJ after the race and had to stop to nap, I was practically falling asleep at the wheel. I start my A&P class tomorrow at Mesa State. I’m getting ready for the Tabeguache Trail this Friday. Go time is 12:00 a.m. from a brewery, so Matt Turgeon style. Purchased the BLM maps for Delta and Nucla today, I hope they help or I hope I can read them in the wee dark hours of the morning. Can’t wait for this one, it’s going to be an adventure for sure.

Here are some random photos. The first two are of Blue Mesa Lake which I took as I drove by it with the camera out the window. This was scenery on my way to Gunnison.

This one is the only race shot I got. Yes lame I realize but it is Matt finishing a lap in all his blur.

The Rio Stampede 12 Hour Endurance Race

I’m a little late on my race report for this one but I don’t spend a whole lot of time in front of the computer. I suppose that is a good thing and means I’m spending more time outside. The scheduled 12 hour race turned into a 7 hour one. Hail and wind caused the early finish.

Ryan Huth and I travelled together for the short ride from Summit County. Matt decided to do a bike tour and would maybe meet up with us after the race. He (Matt) parked on Rabbit Ear’s Pass and was going to check out the Continental Divide Trail in those parts. He showed up after my fourth loop and before my last one. Just in time to clean up the big mess, the transition area quickly turned into what we all expected it would. When you stage a race at the bottom of a ski mountain under construction with no grass or any other erosion control devices, you are going to have a big old mud mess. I really enjoyed the race directors Katie and Brad so I don’t want this to come out the wrong way. I do have to be honest though even if it is a complaint. I was tired before I started this really arduous course, about 2,000or so feet of climbing per lap. Did I mention I’m not a strong climber? We had to lug all our “stuff” from our car to the staging area which consisted of about 5 trips to and from. My forearms were sore from carrying the heavy cooler. We also had to do the same to and from our hotel room on the third floor. The construction zone at the mountain didn’t allow for cars to pull in so unloading and walking a borderline uncomfortable distance was what our pre-race evening and morning consisted of. Not exactly the resting I was looking for before this effort.
Well now that I’ve vented I can talk about the actual race.

There were 3 solo females including myself competing. Erika Tieszen I knew and Kelly Bonaface I did not. Taking one look at Kelly I knew she would be tough. She’s built like a climber; lean, little and strong. I am built like a rugby player; tall, thick and strong. Erika is a strong rider too with tons of experience under her belt. I knew there was going to be a race this day and as soon as it began I knew I was going to get my butt kicked. I tried my best to hang onto Erika’s wheel but my HR was anaerobic and I knew I couldn’t sustain that without blowing up so I backed off. Then Kelly passed and disappeared just as quickly as she appeared. She was cute saying, “So there are three of us now so we’ll all podium”. I never saw her again. The climb was relentless, steep, slow, hard and back breaking. I had heard about the climb and one reason I did this race was to improve my climbing skills. The first lap was HARD, the second easier and I felt better, the third and fourth terrible and the fifth, ahhh the fifth. I loved the fifth! The dark clouds formed and thunder howled. I tried not to look up at the lightning striking virtually on top of me. The rain came and cooled me down which was nice, then the wind which made for a nice breeze that moved the rain from vertical to horizontal. The best was the hail. With no rain jacket or any warm wear to speak of, what choice did I have but to laugh? I laughed out loud and my terrible back pain went away. I was fixated on the descent, because I knew it would be hypothermic city. I figured they would have some garbage bags at the aid station on top to hand out or I figured they would call the race. I hoped to continue because bad weather is a true test of strength and determination and it can sometimes even out the playing field. I wanted to ride in this weather, finally getting another chance after Moab 2 years ago, they can’t cancel it. I reach the end of the climb and approach the tent with a dozen or so cold wet riders. The aid lady is waving me in saying the race had been called. We all go inside the gondola house to get warm, the race is over we find out a little later. We jump in a vehicle that transports us down the mountain and Matt has already moved all our “stuff” under a roof. There was still no escaping the rain and mud mayhem so we spent the next 3 hours cleaning up and loading up.

I felt bad for Ryan because he broke his chain on the first loop but had caught up by his sixth and was in fourth and riding strong. I think he could have done really well if it had continued. That’s mountain biking though.

Needless to say I came in third out of three and won $100 which more than covered my entry fee! I also got a 6 pack of Dale’s Pale Ale and some Smart Wool socks. These guys know how to have an awards ceremony. The raffle prizes were awesome, including a Yeti frame and some DT Swiss wheels. It sure is nice for us starving racers to have the opportunity to participate in an affordable event that knows how to reward their racers. The male and female payouts were also equal; a big thumbs up to Brad and Katie for that one. All and all a good time was had!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Breckenridge Beauty.

Saturday’s fourth annual Breckenridge 100 with also my fourth year at participating in the race. For me fourth time happens to be a charm. I achieved my personal best time of 12 hrs and 55 seconds. I really wanted to break 12 hours and probably could have if I had a rear brake during the race. I hate excuses and hate when other racers make comments like “I could have beat this person or won or blah blah blah if I didn’t flat or crash or blah blah blah”, so I feel guilty saying this. I was as usual racing the clock though and descending fast could not be a priority today. I had to be conservative and gentle with the front brake. By the time I finished I will say that my front braking skills were quite good.
So, the race started like this:
I jump on my bike to run to the bathroom when I notice that my rear brake lever is touching my ergon grip. Not a good sign. I run around nervously with tears in my eyes venting to friends but feeling it’s not a nice thing to do that as they are rightfully preoccupied with their own pre-race goings on. “I just need to deal with this” I think to myself. I ask Thane if there is a mechanic and he nicely makes an announcement requesting help on my behalf. A gracious racer offers his support but not to my surprise there isn’t much one can do for an air pocket in a hydraulic disc brake. I quickly borrowed Thane’s phone to call Matt who realized that a phone call at 5:45 am probably meant that something has gone awry. He will bring a spare brake and put it on after the first loop if I can just make it down the Wheeler Trail. Uggghhhh!!! “Just make it down the Wheeler Trail”, a concept that is understood as no small task for all participating racers. I flailed on the single track section right before the hike-a-bike switch backs without a brake. It is technical on this part and with the morning dew still settled things were slippery and sketchy. I fell and stumbled, swore and mumbled. “God help me get through this” I prayed. As I approached the top of the climb I did what any well-raised Christian would do, I made the sign of the cross and prayed to safely make it down the Wheeler Trail. I did just that, within seconds I had a rear brake. I couldn’t believe it, so I took off still conserving as the fear of the brake failing at any moment was very real and very possible. Matt was in Copper on the bike path waving me down but I told him I was fine and kept going. I jumped on the Peaks Trail and made it back to Carter Park much faster than last year without that hike-a-bike. I transitioned for a few minutes, re-fueled and hydrated and was off.
Loop 2
After feeling like I was still sleeping on the service road climb on loop 1, loop 2 reminded me that I did have legs again and yes they did work. I also had Cytomax, my new-found miracle drink. I tried to just take every loop at a time, pretending that I only had to ride the loop I was on. This imagery tactic helps me mentally even though it may not be the best race strategy. If I let my mind wander too much into the dread of climbing back up Boreas from Como, I’d be doomed before I got there. So I got present quick and it actually worked. Little French went by a lot quicker than I thought it would. I walked a lot more of it compared to the Firecracker 50 but I didn’t want to waste too much energy here. The American Gulch descent was super fun but less fun than last year because of the brake situation. I didn’t miss the North Fork section of the Colorado Trail. I’ve had to climb that so many times in such bad condition that a new view was called for and even though we still climbed plenty, the change of scenery did me good. The other part of this race that I always dread is the end of loop 2, the Gold Hill Road section. Again I just kept moving, kept my momentum and stayed positive and it flew by. I was amazed when I came to the top of the climb. I felt so much better this year and I had lots more to give which benefited me since there were lots more to ride.
Loop 3
Mentally loop 3 is always the toughest. This loop has the most climbing which consists mostly of road. Climbing up Boreas from Breckenridge was also faster this year; I think the road was in better condition, really smooth and hard. I made it down the single track to Gold Dust with no crashes which I am always grateful for. The flume section of trail is just so fun, twisty, fast and cool that it made me feel like a million bucks. When I got into the Como aide station I asked for some caffeine and a fellow racer offered me a sip of his warm red bull. Thank you whoever you are!! I didn’t spend much time in Como and was riding away looking at my odometer knowing that 10 miles to the top was what lied ahead, not always an inspiring moment. The miles cruised by though. At times I was riding anywhere from 6-10 miles an hour and I was watching the clock diligently trying to break 12 hours. I caught up to Leon Fetzer on the road and no sooner did he drop me leaving me to finish out the last endless mile alone. I now think back on the afternoon and wish I could have hung with Donny, Big Wheel Racing rider, who came cruising by me from Como like he was fresh in the saddle and finished in 11:45ish. In the moment it’s hard to push it hard to the end, even though you know you want it. In the moment of the race things hurt that don’t hurt now and it’s hard to justify going any harder or faster knowing that it could exacerbate the pain. In this moment as I write this race report, I feel happy that I finished with the time I did but I wish I had pushed it just a little harder to come in under 12 hours. I didn’t feel trashed at the end of the race this year, which may mean I had more to give…..who knows though??
Basically cytomax was my #1 caloric source. I had 2 bottles of 500 calorie perpetuems, a pb and j sandwich, 4 or 5 pretzels, pepenzymes, water, vitamin-I, half a banana, 3 small pieces of watermelon, a joint juice, and some caffeine type orange powder drink from GNC (I experimented with this in the race which is a no, no but it turned out safe).
I had a great day and kept a smile on my face for most of it. I love riding my bike! I can’t imagine keeping up with the top females who finished in 10:00 to 10:30 hrs. Unbelievable in my book! It was fun to see Cullen, Thane, Matt Turgeon (toughest guy out there according to Matt Fletcher and I….single speed winner in 10:04, good enough for top 10 overall. Very impressive and pushing a BIG gear!), Bethany from Park City, Josh Tostado, Ryan Huth, Jeff Rank…….good friends that I know from racing and almost only see at races. Congrats to all the boys and girls who came out to play, who were supportive and positive and who had fun. Thanks Thane for being concerned about me and helping me out with supportive words and wisdom. Thanks to all the awesome volunteers for a great race and great aide stations. Thanks ladies for saving food for my slow self, even though I couldn’t eat it. And once again thanks Matt Fletcher for always being there.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Front Range 50

It was a short and fast race. For a 50 Miler I was psyched with my 3rd place finish in my age group. More than that I was happy with my time. I was shooting for a 4:30 and I finished in 4:15! I cramped really bad in this race, everyone I talked to did also. I had to stop and fill up water bottles after the first loop and just had to stop and grab new ones every loop thereafter. I lost a few minutes each loop having to stop for drinkage but I expected that. We did 5 loops on a 10 mile course, the same time The Battle of The Bear XC race was happening. There was a lot of passing but everyone was super nice on the course. I felt consistent with lap times between 45-49 minutes. I think I had a 52 minute lap, which was my fourth I think.....major cramping on that one. I thought I could just hammer my final lap but I had nothing left and thought I was going to die. I felt terrible. I was cramping, thirsty/dehydrated, nauseous, and aching (back and head). I couldn't believe that feeling so awful I could still do a 45 minute lap. I guess sometimes it just doesn't matter what your brain is saying because your body just keeps on going. In these short races, every single second really does count. I made sure to big ring it on the flatter "rollier" stuff and really focused on keeping the momentum up. My goals were accomplished in this race: 1.) Ride 4:30 or less 2.) Keep going steady and consistent 3.) Try to podium in age group 4.) Be in the top ten overall.
It was a great way to spend the day and a great workout.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Results and pics

Here are the lap results from 18 Hours of Fruita. In the column to the right where it lists our results there is a link to overall team results and I'm listed as Girls4Dirt which is a name that not many people know yet. Consequently no one knows or thinks I did the race! Very funny. I believe that pictures help tell a story and even though they are not stellar shots, they are helpful.

The start of the race. Looks like all other starts...dark, lights shining at the camera. We ran about 50 yards across the sandy beach to our bikes and were shortly off them again up a very steep short hill that without enough momentum or room, you weren't going to make it. Following that cluster with less than 5 minutes into the race I took an incautious sharp left and landed hard on my left hip. "ahhh!!!OUch!!!", I thought, "already". However, that was the one and only momentary lapse of reason.

My Specialized S-works Epic dusty and resting as my Ventana and I take a whirl on the course.

Still in the early am judging by the attire. The 12:00 am start was frigid, in the 30's and my feet thankfully stayed numb for the next 10 hours. I am really, really working on my form in this shot...head down, slouched back, straight arms, a work of art I tell ya. Jeesem I'm hurtin' already!!

Up that one switchback hill that just kept getting harder. By the end I was climbing it standing still. Quite a skill I may add, not many people can do that.

I think a good picture showing off our awesome team kits by Voler.

Okay enough of those pictures. It was all in all a fun event followed by a short results announcement and a taco party. Soloist got to eat first and a nice lady took me out of line so that I could do so. Yummmy, I was so excited that I could actually eat. I think it was all the ginger ale that kept my stomach functioning somewhat properly. No "podium" shots because there wasn't really one and Matt a.k.a. camera man, was graciously packing up camp during the awards.

I fell asleep within 10 minutes of getting into the van for our long 25 minute drive home. Shower and bed. Upon awakening the next morning, an ice bath to soothe those sore legs. Legs were good the following day but other parts still ached for a few to come.

Next stop is.....The Front Range 50. It is clearly a 50 miler, not my strong race but a good training event. I look forward to putting in a good strong effort and eating chicken bbq made by Dale from Oscar Blues afterwards!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

18 Hours of Fruita Race Report

I am still recovering and will give a better report with pics later as I have a sister, niece and nephew to entertain. I placed second in the solo female category and fifth overall (solo female and male). I completed 28 laps on a 6 mile course and stopped riding at about 17 hours and 30 minutes. I felt that 28 laps was enough of one course for one day and I knew 2nd place was mine so I stopped a little early. Jari Kirkland won with 31 laps! I was pretty happy with my performance being the first real race of the season. I spent April in Summit County where there is still a ton of snow. I did some road riding and went to Boulder once for a mtb ride. So considering the challenges of training on the bike this last month I feel really good about Fruita and feel I'm strong and ready for the '08 race season. Details to be continued...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Dawn 'til Dusk

The best part about doing a long technical self-support mountain bike ride in the desert is that I get to spend virtually every minute of daylight outside, on my bike, and in the beautiful outdoor world. I am truly lucky and appreciative to be alive, healthy, strong, motivated and in possession of a fine bike. I am also lucky to have Matt Fletcher as my partner because he is a wonderful self-taught bike mechanic and a genius when it comes to conjuring up ideas on how to make a bike self-support race ready. Oh, not to mention Matt also happens to be quite the bike rider and last Saturday proved himself to be a pretty good racer as you can see by the results here. Not bad Matt for your first “race”.
Photo taken of Matt by Tom Purvis.

My main goal for the Rim Ride was to have and stick to a nutritional plan. Believe it or not I have never controlled my nutrition in races before hence the nausea I experienced in every race last summer. It felt great to be in control of my caloric intake and even better to reap the benefits of this new found strategy. No nausea until about the 12th hour and I’m pretty sure I know why.

We started riding at 6:20am with lights. Up the bike path towards Bar M Loop we went soon to enter Rockin’ A slickrock trail. The name is appropriate as my lower back suffered immensely. I thought I was in trouble when at only hour 1 my back already felt like I had been on my bike for 10 (hours). Luckily I was able to stretch later on and take some Excedrin to help soothe the pain. On Sovereign trail I fell and broke the end off my brake lever. I thought because of the impact of the fall that my left Ergon grip would have been broken in half, but there was zero damage to speak of. The grips are awesome, I use the GC2 Grips and when I used to experience numbness in my hands pre-Ergon grips, now I only experience pain in my butt. I started to leap -frog with Brad Mullen, Adam Lisonbee, Tom Purvis and Matt Fletcher starting on the Sovereign Trail and gradually by the end at the “top” of Poison Spider it was just Brad and I.

Rather than going into all the details of the different trail segments I’ll just point out some highlights. Actually seeing Lynda during the first 5 minutes of the race was cool, she was on her SS of course but I’ll take what I can get. She is my hero. The morning sun on Poison Spider Mesa seen from Sovereign was spectacular, almost surreal. Taking an Excedrin (or 3) on Seven Mile and feeling like a new woman afterwards enabling a slow (as usual) but steady pace until the very end was life saving. Matt finishing and finishing 20 MINUTES in front of me, after feeling at mile 30 he couldn’t make it, was a great example of how if you endure the worst will pass. Seeing Josh Tostado coming up behind us on Gold Bar Rim when he started almost 3 hours after us was not only a humbling experience but testament again to what a strong and amazing athlete Josh is. Having a friend like Brad Mullen to finish such a long day on the bike with was a gift. The end of this one happened to be the hardest for me with some nausea setting in during the last hour, I couldn’t pull a strong finish together but I finished and that is always the #1 goal. On Potash Road Brad not only accompanied me to the finish but he practically pulled me in. He would actually stop and turn around to come back and ride with me when he’d get ahead. He also gave me a peppermint candy which was like gold at that point. Thank you Brad, there are not many men or women that would sacrifice a sprint to the finish to keep a tired and hurting rider company.

All in all the day was a wonderful success and adventure. I can’t stop thinking about how great it is to live on this beautiful earth and be able to see a great portion of it from the view of my handlebars. I also can’t stop thinking about the KTR!!! Moab to Loma this year is going to be pure bliss. Happy riding and thank you everyone for an awesome day.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rim Ride Tapering

I have figured out that being consistent is hard for me. This is why having a coach is helpful. All I need is a personal assistant to help me with my blog and help Girls4Dirt get sponsorship. Dream big right?!!? I have been enjoying the fine weather that Grand Junction has to offer this time of year. Finally got to take the leg warmers off this week to show off the pale legs! Getting ready for my first big ride of the year next weekend. I'll be heading a mere hour and a half away to Moab, one of my favorite places on earth. The Rim Ride is my favorite kind of race/ride. It is a self-support 100 mile mountain bike race. No caches, no drops, no cheerleaders and no course markers. For me this is what mountain bike racing is all about. Physical stamina is extremely important but preparation, navigational skills and endurance of everything are the ingredients necessary to ensure a finish. That is my first finish. I have no idea how long it will take and I'll keep those expectations to myself. Training has been good, going fairly strong since early February. I don't feel it has been too hard (the training) and that makes me nervous. I think in order to conquer a ride like this, I need to hurt before going into it with enough time to recover before the race. In 7 days I'll know if I did enough hurtin' to prepare for the technical desert riding Moab has to offer. Tune in next week to see how it went.

Here are just some pics for folks who haven't seen where I live now.....

View of The Monument from the house.

Winter biking in Moab, Klondike Bluffs area...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year Biking

Matt and I decided to toughen up and do what we moved to Grand Junction to do......ride our bikes. We headed over to Kokopelli in Fruita and did a couple of loops by the river. It was a gorgeous day and turns out we weren't the only loony ones out there in these temps (mid 20s). It was my first real snow biking experience. Most of the trail was actually dry (well 50%) and since it has been so cold the snow stays nice and hard making cornering and climbing quite manageable. It was a ton of fun and I can see how riding in the snow helps bike handling skills. Being on your line and keeping your upper body strong are two ways of making the experience a successful one.

Here's Matt wizzing along Rustler's Loop on his 29er (I know it doesn't really look like snow biking here but I promise there were some sections, but nothing compared to the high mountain riding).

Just a couple pics from the parking spot to show the amount of snow around (I've been told it's a lot for Fruita this time of year.
No pics of me riding 'cause the batteries died. I realized as I was ascending the first hill on Mary's Loop that the last time I did this was in May at the beginning of the Kokopelli Trail Race. Ahh the memories.
It was a great day and way to spend New Year's. I'm totally psyched to be back on my bike. Oh and Matt has so graciously rebuilt my Blur which has been sitting without arms and legs since July. He has set it up trail bike style with some fatter tires, sturdy wheels and of course the Blur is already such a great trail bike with a nice cush suspension. Boy did I miss riding her.
Happy New Year to all!!!