Monday, November 5, 2012

Work the Plan: My 2012 Season Recap

Whole Enchilada Enduro-  Moab, Utah

A week has gone by since my last mountain bike race of 2012. I gave myself some time to enjoy this last win at the BT Epic and reflect on the year; something I didn't always allow myself to do. But as I was cleaning up the Top Fuel one last time before I give her back, I thought back on all of miles we put in together this year and yeah, it was a one sweet ride. Probably one of my best seasons ever.

Some highlights: 
I was really surprised by the wins in Arkansas. The trails down there are gnarly, especially at Syllamo's Revenge. Spa City wasn't gnarly but I wasn't sure what shape I'd be in since I had just started training with FasCat only four months prior. It was awesome to get a win right out of the gate but that can sometimes come back to haunt you. Luckily the good fortune carried through at Bone Bender in April (so thankful for the Bontrager carbon wheels) and then at Syllamo and Black Hills FTF in May. I got pretty lucky. I was sick for both of those races, having an indigestion issue in Arkansas and both an inflamed tooth and a weird flu-like issue in South Dakota. But as we all know, sometimes the bike works these things out. 

July was a high point of my season. Ryan and I had an epic mountain bike vacation that started with the Breck 100 race (I did the 32 miler). It was such a fun trip because so many of our team and other friends came out to do it too and cheering them on and then reliving it through everyone's war stories really made for a memorable race. I managed to get on the podium in my age-group some how. Though not the top step, to even get on a step in Colorado, to me, is an achievement. Then after that race, we sent our Top Fuels home and spent the next several days on vacation in Crested Butte, living out of the van, raging on our Trek Remedys. I absolutely love that bike. It makes me look like I have some handling skills. Add on the dropper seat post, and you can f'get about it. I took it to the Trek Women Dirt Series camp in Winter Park at the end of that trip. It did awesome for someone with my (lack-of) skill level. I learned so much at camp - mainly that I had the ability to do the things that scared me. I just needed to be taught how to do them correctly. Now I feel like I can go almost anywhere thanks to both the camp and my Remedy. Did I mention I love that bike?

September was another busy month for racing, starting off with The Dakota Five-0, one of my A races. Its popularity has really drawn some great talent and that top podium continues to allude me. But I don't let that overshadow the experience. I love going to this race and this year was no different. I managed 3rd in my age group and beat last year's time by 12 or so minutes. Plus the folks we were traveling with and the folks that joined us at the camp ground made it one of the more memorable trips of 2012. Next year they are doing it in reverse! 

Another favorite venue, Sugar Bottom Scramble, near Iowa City, was schedule for September. It got rained out. But we still had a great time on the road with everyone, despite the fact. That's one of the benefits of traveling with mountain bikers: they go with the flow and if we can't race, we eat and drink and still have fun. The rain out was scheduled perfectly before our next big race but unfortunately Ryan crashed and broke is collar bone so we missed it. Hopefully next year. 

Despite Ryan's injury, our big fall trip was still on. Fresh off the operating table, he drove his van with the Todds to Colorado. I was already there with Carly Thomsen and April Eyberg. We attended another Trek Women Dirt Series camp in Fruita and then spent the rest of the week tearing up single track all over the high desert. The creme d'la creme came when me and Martin Bixby got to race the inaugural Whole Enchilada Enduro. I have yet to post my race report but that was the most fun I've ever had on a bike. Period. Starting at 11,600ft in the frosty La Sal mountains and racing down to the desert of Moab is indescribable. It's sex on two wheels. Since Ryan missed out, we'll most def be going back. Needless to say, we'll both be on our computers no matter what time registration opens. I raced my Remedy and it was the perfect bike for it. We had to ride up a couple of places and it rode like a champ and when it came to pointing those wheels down, the Remedy sniffed out the lines and I just flew. My usual saying, "my favorite part of racing; being done," didn't hold true for this race. I wanted to keep going. Two hours went by in a wink. Though I only placed 10th out of 15 in the amateur field, I still had an epic day! And one I won't soon forget.

Once we got home from Moab, life got crazy. THOR took over with back to back events and I still had to find time to train. One more race to top of the season was booked for the end of October. But after Moab it was hard to stay motivated. Other racers had stopped focusing on training and were either doing CX or just riding for fun. Me? I had to go out and do intervals. When it's gorgeous out in October, the only thing I want to do is be on single track but I bucked up and did what I was told. I only had about 3 weeks of structure to get dialed and I wasn't sure if it was going to be enough time. But it all worked out. And I must give props to my coach Jason Hilimire from FasCat Racing. He has been the cornerstone to my successes this year. I also changed over to training with power, thanks to Ryan. Using power and working with Jason took me up a level. Going into a season with a new coach, there is naturally a level of uncertainty. But I did the work and trusted the plan. The result: 4 top podium finishes at endurance races with some additional top podiums at local and regional XC events. Thank you Jason and FasCat.

Along with a top coach, to be successful, the equipment must also too be top quality. I am very proud to race for Trek Stores' Midwest Cycling Community. Trek Stores made sure I was on the best equipment possible. When I am investing so much time, energy and money into trying to be the best racer I can be, having an amazing and fun bike to race makes it that much more sweet. I can't express how thankful I am to Jay and Kent for providing me and our race team with what we needed to succeed. 

Let's be real: racing is a selfish pursuit. It's like having a second job, with all of the training and travel. My family, friends and my bosses are an invaluable asset to me. Without them, this pursuit would be much more difficult. I am very lucky to have people in my life that support my bike habit. They keep me motivated and inspired. Especially that gregarious ginger with whom I share all of this. Even after he was injured, Ryan set aside his own disappointment to keep me energized. Every time I left for a training ride or finished a race he exclaimed how proud he was of me. He rooted me on at the Whole Enchilada and at the BT Epic. All season he made sure my rigs were always running perfectly. He's the one who pushed me into training with power and he's the one who hooked me up with FasCat. I owe much of my success this year to Ryan. I couldn't imagine doing this sport without him. He makes it so much more fun.

So what's next? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Coach's orders. Now that's a plan I can definitely believe in.

1 comment:

  1. The off road racing season is just starting down here.
    The house at the end of the block is for sale?


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