Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet some dirt girls

Finally after much delay with the weather, we finally were able to have a Chica ride. It was at Lake Manawa and I'm tickled to report I had my largest group yet: 6. Woo-hoo! Two were newbies, Linda and Jennifer. It was literally Linda's first time on single track and she did great! You should have seen her one-foot it through a couple of hilly spots. But she kept the rubber side down the whole time. Jennifer has a new Specialized full squish that she's getting used to after getting her mad skillz on a hard tail. Nicole, Cat. 2 racer, came out and lead the group while I swept the trail. A few others that had been before left before we took the photo. One of the ladies said that if it wasn't for the chica ride, she wouldn't go out on the trails. That's what I'm here for, ladies. Your guide to good times!

Thanks for coming out and riding with me. See you next week at Swanson Park in Bellevue.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

LiveStrong wristband in Iran.

Courage & tenacity know no boundaries. Live what you believe. Soak up every moment.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ponca's Rad Revenge

The Psycowpath race at Ponca State Park went great. Despite the rain, the trails were very rideable, except for a couple climbs. Great work Jay and his team.

Ryan and I decided to do the marathon race to prepare for the Firecracker 50. It was a mass start at Ponca and I was in about 10th position at the hole-shot. I rode behind some beginners and as soon as the trail started to go up, it was chaos. But I managed to run my bike through the carnage and came out the other end behind a junior who's trying to break into the big boys' club by racing open. I stayed behind him despite his requests to let me pass. I wanted to encourage him to push. But once past I did my thing and came up on Larry and one other dude. I stayed with them for a couple laps and then stopped for a water change. Larry went on and I chased him for a lap. Then he stopped for a water change and I never saw him again. I picked off riders as I went and got caught up in the Cat. 2's race, so it was nice to not be by myself for part of the race. At 2:55, I stopped just before the end and chatted with a fellow racer to kill some minutes so that I would roll in after the three hour mark. YES I sand bagged it but I was ready to be done. Come to find out, I ended up 3rd overall, with Ryan taking 1st and a young guy getting 2nd. It was a great race. Hard. So much climbing but the down hills are sweeping and actually sustaining, so all of the work to get up is worth the rides down. Ponca is always a favorite venue and this year didn't disappoint. 26 miles, 4100 feet of climbing. Whew!

You Know It's A Good Weekend When...

Your list of what you did this weekend goes something like this:

Friday: We loaded up bikes and camping gear and were on the road by 4pm. We got to Ponca and were able to check out the wedding site. Score. Got a campsite down by the race course. Score. Bummer, but next to the drum circling hippies. (Note to self - don't camp next to a large area with lots of tents and an old guy with a tye-tied Tshirt who channeling Jerry Garcia). We heated up some pasta, made a fire and were in bed by 11:30, sung to sleep by the crickets (the drummers had finally called it quits).

Saturday: We raced the marathon class in preparation for the Firecracker 50 race over the 4th. The future Mr & Mrs took 1st and 3rd respectively. Score! Then we checked out the wedding site again and scouted for photo ops. Ate at a gas station diner where we downed country skillets, all the while window shopping for fiber optic angels or the latest in Sturgis-wear. I love those odd places. Got home around 6 and just chilled for the night. Ryan had a friend over and grilled Brats. Nothin like a brat and a beer to make things right in the world.

Sunday: We slept in til 8 and went for breakfast. HyVee breakfast buffet rules! Then I went over to Manawa State Park to help with the Trek Demo day then met with my flower guy after that. Then met Ryan's fam for a father's day meal at Valentinos. I'm sorry, but that place is gross. Food is tastey but the environment is like a hot day at the zoo or World's of Fun. Lots of overweight folks eating way more than necessary and it was hot and crowded. I was glad to get out of there, although Ryan's parents had great stories from their canoe trip down the Missouri with some scouts. After chow I went for a recovery ride (both from the race and my Valentinos gut). It was kinda late, almost 8:00 but on the longest day of the year, that was okay. And the best part of the weekend was the long, long shadow of me on my bike that stretched down the Keystone trail, across the grassy embankment and onto the corn field. Now if that isn't getting the most out of the last bit of daylight, I don't know what is. I capped off the night with a phone call to Dad to wish him a Happy Fathers Day.

You know it's a good weekend when you can spend it doing the things you love with the people you love.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Christmas in June

Look what Santa Trek brought me! Shoes, helmet, gear, XT cranks, tools...all cuz I ride my bike. Ain't that just the coolest thing ever?! All of this is the rest of the stash all of the Trek Woman Who Ride contest winners recieved. Does Trek take care of us or what! Serioiusly, I want for nothing. I have no excuse not to ride. So, let me say it one more time. Ride your bike, people. Look what can happen if you just ride your bike (well, besides lose weight, live healthier, drive less and tap into the 10 year old that's inside all of us).

Thanks again, Trek, and their super generous rockstar head of sales for WSD products, Ms. Heather Henderson. As well as all of those that support women in their quest to rediscover themselves using two wheels. This company/brand gives and gives and gives. They just want people on bikes. I can't say enough so I'll do it by pedaling instead.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 15, 2009

My focus is starting to narrow

Okay, sports fans, so here is why I do what I do-- long days in the saddle, turning over mile after mile. At the prime age of 39.75 years my body is telling me go long. I prefer the marathon type mountain bike races to the classic XC. I can maintain a high heart rate for hours on end once I've ramped up to it and can push back many of the mental demons that can stop most riders after a couple of hours.

So my first big race, as profiled, is the USAC Marathon Nationals in Breckenridge Co called the Firecracker 50. It's a great race, for many reasons.
1. I get to race the same course as the Pros
2. I get to race in the peaks of Colorado
3. The race starts in the town of Breckenridge, CO and we are the start of the 4th of July parade, so as we roll out of town, we are supported by thousands of cheering fans. Kids put up their hands for high 5s. It's pretty sweet.
4. It's supported along the way with 4 aid stations with peeps handing up goos, water and gatorade.
5. Free food and beer following (but ya gotta get done early enough)

...the list goes on. It's such a great vibe and even though the town is a touristy ski town, it's gorgeous in the summer and the condos are cheap! You can find 1bed or studio for $75 a night within walking distance of Main Street. Park your car when you arrive and not again until you head home. It's pretty sweet like that.

So, back to my race prep. I'm concerned. I haven't had the XC season I'm used to having by now. I've usually done 5-7 XC races come July but I've only done 3. THREE! And my training is different. Lots of long hours to build up that endurance but not consistently at high heart rates. The great thing though is my bike is made for this type of racing. 4" in front and rear give me what I need to make the decents faster and my climbing more efficient (with pro pedal). If I can channel how I felt in the Rocky Mountains State Cup race in April, I should be fine, however, that was an XC event at 4,000 feet. The Firecracker 50 is a fifty miler at 9,000 and up. But, I've done this three times now. I know what I'm in for so that's good. I placed 4th in my age division last year. My hope is to get on the podium this year. That means I need to shave off 30 minutes from my time. That's a ton of time. I'm contemplating going with just one bottle and filling up at the aid stations instead of using my camel back. Ryan's done it that way before. I just fear I won't drink enough. We'll see.

Ryan, Larry "Hot Pepper Harlan" Kitner and I will head out 7/2 in the 'ru. There's nothing like summer time in the mountains. There's no place I'd rather be.

Roxy's ride Saturday

We did some hill repeats in Iowa, between Logan, Magnolia, and Pisgah. There were some brutal hills in there, and Rox is climbing stronger than I've ever seen her before!

4200' of climbing in 65mi. 15mi of ascending, total 1:05. Avg speed while ascending of 14mph. Gaining 20 feet of altitude per minute, on average. Not too shabby!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ida Groove

Man, this wedding planning is killing my blogging time. Sorry!

RF and I were in some serious need of racing. We're usually 10 races into the season by now but without the Heartland Series, we're really scraping for some dirt intensity. So, we decided to wander over to the IORCA series (see link in side bar) to see what's up.

The race was held at Moorehead State Park in Ida Grove, or Castle City. I shit you not, there were castles all over the place- on golf courses, store fronts and museums. Some cat back in the day who was the industry leader liked castles and when you're the one with the dough, guess what, you get to build castles.

Anywayyyyyyyyyyyyyy, the race. The weather was sketchy off and on thus scaring away all beginners. So it was only one group of experts and one group of sports. Yours truly went off with the experts but that lasted for about 100 yards. BUT I wasn't last! HA!

The trails were in amazing condition considering the weather. There wasn't even so much as a puddle until we got back onto the service road. As a member of THOR, I was totally impressed! They don't have the clay soil we do, but by golly, it wasn't sticking and by lap 4 it was golden. Berms, log crossing and lots of climbing...2450 in total. It was a short L&C type course with lots of flow. Not a weed touched my leg and not a down tree within 10 yards of the trail. Can I get a hell yeah!

I was the only expert female, out of only twenty-some dudes (there was one other sport female), so I just rode hard to get the work out in. Post ride was at the Family Table where we engulfed burgers and fries. Had weather been better, the local Pizza Hut had outdoor seating on a deck over looking a pond.

Sometimes, you just gotta get out of town and see what's out there. You just never know. You might find a castle in the middle of a cornfield.